Mar 182024
 
 March 18, 2024  Posted by at 8:50 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  49 Responses »


Johannes Vermeer The Concert 1663
Stolen from Gardner Museum March 18 1990, the single largest art theft in the world. Never recovered.

 

Trump Warns Of ‘Bloodbath’ If He Loses Presidential Vote (RT)
Leftist Corporate Media Unleashes Trump “Bloodbath Hoax” (ZH)
US Is Not A Democracy – Putin (RT)
West’s Aggression Unites Russian People Behind Putin (Sp.)
Putin’s ‘Dedicated Work’ Added to Reinvigorated Russia – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
Zelensky ‘One Of The Greatest Salesmen In History’ – Trump (RT)
The Alleged Superpower, USA, No Longer Has a Military (Paul Craig Roberts)
European ‘Peace Fund’ Stoking War in Ukraine (Babich)
‘NATO’s Going to Suffer Defeat’ in Proxy War With Russia – Mearsheimer (Sp.)
Kamala Harris Urged to Step Down Ahead of 2024 Election (Sp.)
The Main Problem With EU diplomacy (Bordachev)
Only 15% of F-35s May Be Combat Capable (ET)
Haiti Health Care System Collapses Amid Unrest, Hospitals Looted (Sp.)
Native American Lawsuit in New York Sheds Light on Dark History (Sp.)
Boeing: How Much Trouble Is The Company In? (BBC)

 

 

 

 

Fani Trump
https://twitter.com/i/status/1769110575693303866

Wade Fani
https://twitter.com/i/status/1769023193497456855

 

 

Trump cars

 

 

 

 

China is ready
https://twitter.com/i/status/1769033617643123112

 

 

J6

 

 

Britain should consider conscripting citizens into the military to deter Russian aggression, Latvia has said…


A recruitment poster used in 1914 to encourage civilians to enlist for the First World War

 

 

 

 

“..for the American automobile industry and the whole country..”

Trump Warns Of ‘Bloodbath’ If He Loses Presidential Vote (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has warned of a “bloodbath” for the American automobile industry and the whole country if he doesn’t win a second term as a result of the vote on November 5. Trump made the remark during a rally in Vandalia, Ohio on Saturday while he was speaking about his plans to protect US carmakers from Chinese competition. The former president addressed China’s leader Xi Jinping from the stage, saying that “you and I are friends, but… those big monster car manufacturing plants that you’re building in Mexico right now… you’re going to not hire Americans and you’re going to sell the cars to us, no.” “We’re going to put a 100% tariff on every single car that comes across the line, and you’re not going to be able to sell those cars if I get elected,” the presumptive Republican nominee in the election added.

Trump urged Americans to vote for him in the fall, saying: “Now, if I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath for the whole – that’s gonna be the least of it. It’s going to be a bloodbath for the country. That’ll be the least of it.” Later in his address, he also cautioned the crowd that “if this election isn’t won, I’m not sure that you’ll ever have another election in this country.” Trump’s speech that evening was mostly improvised as he complained about not being able to use the teleprompter due to strong winds. “I can’t read this damn teleprompter. This sucker is moving. Like reading a moving flag in a 35-mph wind,” the 77-year-old said.

The team of US President Joe Biden interpreted Trump’s mentioning of a “bloodbath” as a threat of “political violence” from their rival. “He wants another January 6, but the American people are going to give him another electoral defeat this November because they continue to reject his extremism, his affection for violence, and his thirst for revenge,” Biden’s campaign spokesman James Singer said in a statement. Trump campaign spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt responded to the accusations later on Saturday, telling CNN that “crooked Joe Biden and his campaign are engaging in deceptively out-of-context editing.” Leavitt clarified that the former president was speaking exclusively about the country’s car manufacturing industry. “Biden’s policies will create an economic bloodbath for the auto industry and autoworkers,” she said.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1769414275888566776

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Fun for the whole family…

Leftist Corporate Media Unleashes Trump “Bloodbath Hoax” (ZH)

Corporate media and their woke allies on the Biden/Harris social media campaign team launched a disinformation and misinformation propaganda campaign against former President Trump, purposely misconstruing his speech at an event on Saturday. The blatant disinformation and misinformation by leftist newspapers, radicals in the Biden administration, and even Democrat lawmakers have been on full display over the last 15 hours. There has also been an awakening on X of just how bad Democrats are at propaganda – and they can’t even make it believable anymore. Let’s begin with the actual speech. On Saturday evening, X account EndWokeness posted a video of Trump at a campaign rally in Vandalia, Ohio. In it, Trump tells the audience that the American automobile industry will be a bloodbath if he’s not re-elected because the Biden administration will allow Chinese cars to flood the market.

https://twitter.com/EndWokeness/status/1769245792831701070

Almost immediately, legacy media outlets, such as NBC News, ABC News, and Politico, among others, took Trump’s speech entirely out of context… Then, the official X account of Biden/Harris trimmed down the clip to just nine seconds, taking Trump’s speech even more out of context. The Biden/Harris X account even released this ridiculous statement:

And the ‘Bloodbath Hoax’ by Democrats was even pushed on CNN this morning by the best stock trader who has ever lived:

Meanwhile, Elon Musk commented on the absurd propaganda, saying, “Legacy media lies.” Musk added, “Yup, hoax-making in process. And it is surprisingly effective!”

“Please send links from this platform to your friends who are still being misled by the legacy media!” said Musk. The disinformation and misinformation campaign by the Democrats this weekend is right out in the open. And they’re not even good at it! And you wonder why trust in corporate media is imploding to record lows as Americans are tired of being lied to for years. The result of breaking out of the corporate/government propaganda matrix has been the flood of Americans finding their news on X.

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“..the “whole world is laughing at what is happening” in the US..”

US Is Not A Democracy – Putin (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that by criticizing democratic processes in other states, all while using their own administrative resources to suppress one of American presidential candidates, Washington has become a laughing stock of the rest of the world. Speaking to the journalists at his campaign headquarters in Moscow on early Monday morning, after the preliminary results indicated his victory with over 87% of the vote in the country’s presidential elections, the Russian leader said that the “whole world is laughing at what is happening” in the US. “We are behaving with more restraint than their opponents in other countries, but this is just a catastrophe, not a democracy – that’s what it is,” Putin said.

Putin noted that the US administration is using all its power and resources to attack one of the presidential candidates, apparently referring to former president Donald Trump, who is facing a litany of lawsuits despite being the frontrunner and virtually the only remaining Republican hopeful. In a pre-election interview earlier this week Vladimir Putin said that Russia does not meddle in foreign elections and will work with any elected US president. “I think it’s obvious to everyone that the American political system cannot claim to be democratic in any sense of the word,” he said in an interview with journalist Dmitry Kiselyov. Putin refused to comment further on the current presidential campaign in the US, but described the atmosphere as becoming “increasingly uncivilized.”

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“..they will emerge as a dominant political country as Europe crumbles in the confusion of their own jealousy, envy, greed, and berserk belligerency.”

West’s Aggression Unites Russian People Behind Putin (Sp.)

“This is a great day for Russia,” declared former US State Department counterterrorism analyst Scott Bennett as early results showed a landslide victory for Vladimir Putin in 2024’s presidential contest. Bennet made the claim during an interview with Sputnik as it was revealed a record high number of Russians participated in the election. “The record turnout of the Russian people and the record landslide of Vladimir Putin… indicate the following,” said the former Army officer. “One, that the Russian people see [that] President Putin has the best hope for moving the people and culture and country forward in a prosperous, healthy, traditional way. Two, the Russian people see themselves unified in one voice, and together, oppose the violent economic, diplomatic and informational war that has been waged against them and President Putin by the West for the last 10 years.”

“And, three, the Russian people are prepared to face any challenge and realize their strength in unity is what empowers them to withstand the aggression against them,” he concluded. Russia was met with political condemnation and economic sanction in 2022 when President Vladimir Putin sent troops to carry out a special military operation in the Donbass region. Western countries portrayed the move as an act of unprovoked aggression and imperial conquest. Putin asserted the decision was inevitable, claiming Ukraine was being transformed into an anti-Russia force that threatened Moscow’s national security. Recent revelations of longtime CIA involvement with the Kiev regime have since proven the Russian president’s claims. A fierce information war has been waged against Moscow in recent years, with observers saying the West’s attempts to discredit Russia’s presidential election represent the latest intensification of the campaign.

“The West is trying to compromise President Putin‘s victory because they have always feared him,” claimed Bennett. “And now with this victory they will especially fear him, and become increasingly loud, obnoxious, and hostile because they understand this landslide victory will inspire the Russian people to greatness and boldness to challenge – not just withstand – and overcome the European-American sanctions against them.” “This will also greatly inspire the rest of the world to stand shoulder to shoulder with Putin,” the analyst said. Bennett claimed Putin’s convincing victory will frustrate attempts to divide and weaken Russia’s centuries-old civilization. Two years ago, the US-government sponsored Helsinki Commission held a hearing on its plans to balkanize Russia under the pretext of “decolonization.” The country has long been seen as a threat to Western and US hegemony with its vast territory, wealth of resources, and cultural resilience.

Former US Vice President Dick Cheney once proposed carving Russia up into several smaller countries, while ex US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski advocated transforming it into a “loosely confederated” union of republics. The United States employed such tactics in the former Yugoslavia and has openly admitted to funding separatists in China to erode national unity. “The West understands that with Putin’s victory they have lost the chance to dismember and cannibalize and weaken the Russian government, culture, and people,” said Bennett. “This is significant because the West’s strategy has always been to disintegrate and steal Russian resources.” “This is a great day for Russia and it gives new hope and promise that the future has a greater chance for peace and stability with President Putin at the helm of Russia than it would without him,” he concluded. “Moving forward we will see the Russian people stand with one voice, one heart, and one vision, and they will emerge as a dominant political country as Europe crumbles in the confusion of their own jealousy, envy, greed, and berserk belligerency.”

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“..a world without Russia is a world that cannot exist.”

Putin’s ‘Dedicated Work’ Added to Reinvigorated Russia – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

Speaking to Sputnik, former US Marine Corps Intelligence Officer Scott Ritter looked back at Putin’s previous years of presidency in light of the Russian head of state’s election victory. According to Ritter, the process of reinvigorating the Russian nation was one of the key achievements by Putin. One should understand that this process “didn’t happen in a vacuum” and was “the byproduct of a quarter century of dedicated work on behalf of Vladimir Putin for Russia and the Russian people,” the ex-US Marine Corps intelligence officer said. He recalled Putin’s state of the nation address to the parliament last month, when the Russian president talked about “the pride that Russians have in their country, the pride he has in being a Russian leader, that Russia is a civilization that must be taken into account by the rest of the world, that a world without Russia is a world that cannot exist.”

It seems, however, people “don’t understand where this is coming from,” per Ritter. “You see, the root of all of this passion for Russia comes from the decade of the 1990s, the time when the very existence of the Russian state, of the Russian people, of the Russian nation was being called into question. It came in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union. It was born of the dark times of the failure of perestroika,” which saw former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s “failed gambit to transition from a communist society into one where Western market capitalism could prevail,” Ritter noted.

At the time, he went on, “criminal oligarchs took over, hijacked the Russian economy on behalf of ostensibly western allies, who weren’t true allies, rather people […] who were seeking to dominate Russia politically and economically. This was the decade that Vladimir Putin grew into political prominence,” the former US Marine Corps Intelligence Officer pointed out. “Vladimir Putin was a product of the 1990s. He saw the reality of the 1990s and he understood that Russia could never allow itself to go back to those times. He understood that if Russia didn’t break free of the path that it was headed on during the decade of the 90s, there would be no Russia,” Ritter concluded.

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“I’ve never been able to do that. He’s a much better salesman than me..”

Zelensky ‘One Of The Greatest Salesmen In History’ – Trump (RT)

Donald Trump, the 2024 Republican presidential frontrunner, has claimed that Vladimir Zelensky is one of the “greatest salesmen” he has ever known, as the Ukrainian head of state manages to leave Washington with pockets full of cash every time he visits the US.During a campaign rally in Vandalia, Ohio on Saturday, Trump also shared his views about providing billions of dollars in support to Kiev. The former president reiterated his earlier idea that the US should lend money to Kiev instead of simply handing it over. “We should loan them the money, not send them the money, so that if they do make it – they are against tremendous odds – they pay us back,” Trump said. “Loan them the money, let them be a little bit like they have to be a little nice… Loan them the money, don’t just hand them a check for $60 billion,” he exclaimed.

“I tell you, Zelensky is one of the greatest salesmen in history. Every time he comes to the country, he walks away with $50 or $60 billion,” Trump said. “I’ve never been able to do that. He’s a much better salesman than me,” he added. Since the beginning of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine in February 2022, Washington has been Kiev’s primary backer, having provided it with around $113 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid. Trump, US President Joe Biden’s presumptive Republican challenger in this November’s election – said last week that NATO countries “laugh at the stupidity of the United States” for spending so much money on Ukraine, and must “pay their bills.”

Biden is currently pushing Congress to pass a $95 billion foreign aid bill that includes more than $60 billion worth of additional military aid for Kiev. He has claimed that Ukraine would lose more territory to Russia if the bill is not approved. The administration’s request – which was greenlit by the Senate – has stalled in Congress because of Republican opposition. On Tuesday, the Biden administration said that Washington would send a new military aid package to Ukraine worth $300 million. The White House also looked at options for seizing some $285 billion in Russian assets frozen in 2022 and using the money to purchase Ukraine weaponry.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1769133267175829602

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“There is no unity between heterosexual white males mainly from the South, and sexual perverts, feminists, people of color, and the higher command that restricts white heterosexual promotions and requires its only warriors to submit to “sensitivity training.”

The Alleged Superpower, USA, No Longer Has a Military (Paul Craig Roberts)

“West Point Drops “Duty, Honor, Country” from Its Motto and Replaces It with “Army Values” in Its Mission Statement”. Does this mean that “duty, honor, country” are no longer Army values? Are we moving toward a military academy whose values will be transformed in keeping with the woke ideology that has taken over the universities, public schools, Democrat Party, corporations, and media? Will the academy’s values be “transgenderism, equity, and open borders”? Time will tell. We can see why honor and country have to go. The last time the US military fought a war that could be claimed was “defending the country” was World War II. The Korean War was about preventing unification of Korea under the communists. The Vietnam War was about this and also defending the “Domino theory.” The Middle East wars were fought for the benefit of Israel. The Ukraine war was orchestrated as a strategy against Russia. The Israeli-Hamas war was intended to be a prelude for an attack on Iran.

Actually, all wars are fought for the benefit of the power and profit of the US military/security complex. Most of these wars were about bombing women and children. The notion that these murdered women and children were a threat to the United States is so far-fetched as to be insane. The question before us concerned civilians of the United States and the military veterans and retired officers is: Who is it that is destroying the US Military and its traditional values? The US military has turned off real warriors. The US military today is a tower of babel. There is no unity between heterosexual white males mainly from the South, and sexual perverts, feminists, people of color, and the higher command that restricts white heterosexual promotions and requires its only warriors to submit to “sensitivity training.” Sensitivity training means one thing only: that a white person must accept that compared to “people of color” you are a second class citizen.

This is the American world today. Little wonder no military service can meet its recruitment needs and is talking about enrolling immigrant-invaders to “defend” the country they themselves have violated. “Duty, honor, country” to be displaced by “Army Values” is for me and my generation a sacrilege. To witness the Superintendent of West Point, the Biden Secretary of the Army, and the Secretary of Defense submit to, or is it to orchestrate, this sacrilege tells me that the future purpose of the US military is not to protect the United States of America from invasion, but to serve the interests of the ruling elite. Indeed, the current tyrannical regime in Washington has declared open borders and is flooding America with immigrant-invaders. The same tyrants asserting American hegemony are pellmell destroying America. And dumbshit Americans will vote for this anti-white, anti-American regime that is destroying them. A country half of whose population is committed to its own destruction is already destroyed.

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“They [Estonians and other EU members] are sending their scraps to Ukraine and later buying brand new war materials for themselves, using EU money..”

European ‘Peace Fund’ Stoking War in Ukraine (Babich)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk recently vowed to procure more weapons for Ukraine at a meeting in Berlin. “A new era is dawning,” claimed Macron, while Poland’s Tusk lauded: “We want to spend our money on Ukraine.” But a closer look shows that European taxpayers’ money “spent on Ukraine” will go to a scheme called the European Peace Facility, which since its inception has been promoting war instead of peace and enriched shady operators. The problems bothering the three European leaders in Berlin seem clear. A $60 billion bill aimed at supporting Ukraine’s “war effort” has got stuck in the US Congress and $300 million worth batch of arms that the US recently sent to Kiev is obviously not enough to stop the gradual retreat of Zelensky’s troops.

So, Scholz, Macron and Tusk felt an urgent need to create the impression that “Europeans are ready to step in” and compensate for the military-industrial complex of the United States, with the EU sending deadly “gifts” to Ukrainians. This reimbursement is supposed to be done through the grossly misnamed and off-budget scheme European Peace Facility (EPF). The EPF fund was established in 2021 and was initially used to reimburse European producers of arms that were sent to “EU-friendly dictators in Africa” – an expression used by the fund’s critics in Western media. But from February 2022, the EPF started operating with billions and devoted itself entirely to arming Russia’s adversaries in Ukraine and other post-Soviet countries. On the surface, the EPF’s operations make an impression: “The EU agrees to €5 billion in Ukraine military aid,” “EU cash for Ukraine” – such headlines were omnipresent in the Western media last week. The EU member countries’ envoys in Brussels recently indeed agreed to increase the EPF’s assets to €17 billion, of which €11 billion are meant for Ukraine. (So far, the EPF has already spent €6.1 billion of taxpayers’ money on supplying Zelensky’s regime with arms.)

However, the European Conservative, a Budapest-based media outlet, reports that “it is theoretically possible that no actual money reaches the EPF under the agreement.” Why? The EU has become a victim of its own hypocrisy. According to the EU’s legislation, the European Union is a peaceful organization that cannot legally finance any war effort directly, despite member countries fighting in just about all the major wars since 1991 – from Iraq and Afghanistan to Libya and Yugoslavia. Hence the need for this “peace” fund, which uses European money, but legally is not a part of the EU budget system with its strict regulations, the outlet writes. So, all 27 countries of the European Union are supposed to make contributions to the EPF, depending on the relative size of each country’s economy. However, there is a provision that makes it possible for every country to replace its share in the obligatory payment of €5 billion by “an in-kind donation.”

This means that instead of donating money, Estonia or Germany could just “donate” weapons (including old ones) to this venerable “peace” fund. This opens the door to schemes. “The fine print specifies that for every $2 worth of military equipment donation member states can deduct $1 from their required money donation to EPF – with no limit on deductions,” The European Conservative writes. So, if we read the fine print, the news about the €5 billion ‘sacrifice’ of EU member states for the Ukrainian Army is not quite accurate: Germany, for example, may not pay an additional cent to the fund. Here is why. As Politico reports, Germany has been the largest donor for the Ukrainian military, having given €17.7 billion in military supplies. Now Germany is supposed to pay €1.2 billion a year into the EPF, but as long as it gives at least €2.4 billion in weapons to Ukraine in a year, Germany is free of any obligation to pay money to the fund.

However, if Germany is the biggest donor, then Estonia is the smartest schemer. Earlier this year, Politico accused Estonia of using a loophole in the rules that the European Council adopted for the EPF. The bureaucrats in Brussels forgot to specify how EU members should calculate the procurement price of the weaponry they send to Ukraine’s war machine via the European Peace Facility. So, Estonia (followed by Latvia and Lithuania) vastly overestimated the value of the old Soviet weapons that it provided. However the EPF still gave Estonia the money, which the officials later used to satisfy their country’s defense and consumer needs. “They [Estonians and other EU members] are sending their scraps to Ukraine and later buying brand new war materials for themselves, using EU money,” Politico writes.

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“..huge problem and a devastating defeat for the West.”

‘NATO’s Going to Suffer Defeat’ in Proxy War With Russia – Mearsheimer (Sp.)

“It’s becoming manifestly clear to more and more people that Kiev is gonna lose the war,” John Mearsheimer, an American political scientist and Professor at the University of Chicago, told the YouTube channel Duran, referring to the Ukraine conflict. “We can talk about exactly what it means ‘cause that is a very complicated issue, but there’s no question that […] the Russians are going to win,” while Ukraine “is going to suffer a defeat and indeed NATO’s gonna suffer a defeat as well,” Mearsheimer pointed out. According to the pundit, “there’s no plausible strategy” for Kiev and Brussels to rectify the situation, something that he said is a “huge problem and a devastating defeat for the West.”

What’s more, there are “no formidable military forces in Europe” that could fight in Ukraine or “even provide much deterrence” to Kiev without US support, the professor added. The comments come after French President Emmanuel Macron recently said in an interview that he doesn’t rule out a potential scenario of his country’s military conducting an operation to “confront Russian troops” in Ukraine. Moscow responded by making it clear that such a development would inevitably lead to a direct military conflict between Russia and NATO. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called discussing the possibility of sending “certain contingents to Ukraine an important new element of rhetoric.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, warned that the possible deployment of a European military contingent to Ukraine would not change the situation on the battlefield and would only lead to serious consequences for the Kiev regime. European head of states, NATO leadership and the White House, in turn were quick to say that they were not considering sending their militaries to Ukraine, with France’s Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne not ruling out that the French military could be send there for demining operations and weapons production on Ukrainian territory. In a separate development, Putin stressed during last month’s State of the Nation address to parliament that Russian forces are “firmly holding the initiative” and are successfully advancing in a spate of operational areas in the special military operation zone.”

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“..The former Democratic presidential hopeful is known for her own political ambitions with some observers suggesting that she may try to return to politics if Biden and Harris completely lose steam..”

Kamala Harris Urged to Step Down Ahead of 2024 Election (Sp.)

A Washington Post editorial called on the US vice president to step aside as she has become a “burden” to the Democratic ticket. Pulitzer Prize-winning WaPo politics columnist Kathleen Parker subjected Vice President Harris to sharp criticism this week. Despite Harris having an impressive resume, “pizzazz”, and a reputation for being a tough prosecutor, she has failed to meet the public’s expectations, according to the journalist. “Her performance as second in command has been disappointing, to say the least,” Parker highlighted. According to FiveThirtyEight poll aggregator, just 37.2 percent of Americans approve of the incumbent vice president while 52.3 percent disapprove. Parker pointed out that Harris “was a colossal failure as border czar” and used to “embarrass her boss with her sometimes inane, rambling remarks and a laugh that erupts from nowhere about nothing obvious to others.”

The Democratic Party’s “indulgence of identity politics” is not allowing President Joe Biden to fire Kamala, a Black woman of Asian descent, at the time when she has become a “burden to the Democratic ticket,” continued Parker. What’s more, one should bear in mind that Harris could take the reins of US politics if something happens to Biden: “The seriousness of this situation can’t be overstated,” the journalist warned. “Biden’s diminishing faculties, notwithstanding his relatively successful State of the Union address, and his increasing physical frailty are concerning. Every honest person knows he’s not in top form.” “There’s no reason to think her ranking would spike were she suddenly promoted to the Oval Office. Instead, most signs point to disaster,” Parker stressed. The reporter insisted that Biden could tap “someone else with executive experience”, who “would be ready to take the reins should events require it.”

The op-ed came on the heels of ex-Special Counsel Robert Hur testimony before American lawmakers about his investigation into Biden’s mishandling of classified records. Hur stressed that Biden willfully retained classified records when he was a private citizen, which was illegal. The former special counsel also underscored that despite not bringing charges against Biden he did not exonerate the president. Hur in his report described the president as a “sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory”. The description cast doubt on Biden’s mental capacity and his 2024 reelection campaign, according to the press. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quoted as saying in February 2023 that Harris wouldn’t be able to win the Democratic primaries due to the lack of “political instincts.” The former Democratic presidential hopeful is known for her own political ambitions with some observers suggesting that she may try to return to politics if Biden and Harris completely lose steam.

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“..we ourselves have never had the opportunity to understand what it is like to have a permanent enemy that can never be conquered..”

The Main Problem With EU diplomacy (Bordachev)

A recent incident in which a group of ambassadors from EU states refused to attend a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov perfectly encapsulates the state of European diplomatic culture today. The reason is simple – over the past 30 years, the need to be diplomatic in the traditional sense of the word has almost disappeared. Despite the fact that the envoys of EU countries in Moscow are relatively well-educated and not stupid, these individual peculiarities no longer count for much. Everything is determined by their dogmatic world view, which has become the opposite of what is necessary for civilized relations between states. And those observers who believe that in today’s conditions, it has become unnecessary to have ambassadors of individual EU states in Moscow, have merit in their arguments. After all, they do not decide anything and cannot fulfil their duties in the traditional accepted way. It would be much easier for everyone if these people – both great and not so great – would return to their countries for a while.

There are several reasons why Western Europeans have ventured so far on the road to their own, different world. First, they experienced a colossal upheaval just over 30 years ago. Since the 16th century, these states had been neighboring Russia, which they could not defeat. Dominic Lieven, a fine British scholar of Russian Empire origins, wrote in one of his works that the Russians were the only people Western Europeans had to deal with who were capable of fighting for their special, independent niche in the modern world with boundless courage, perseverance, and self-sacrifice. Consider these words – we are the only civilization against which the West has attempted to act aggressively, and failed to achieve its goals. All the rest – the Great Empire of China, the ancient civilization of India, and many others – were unable to withstand the decisive thrust of the West, which for 500 years had been expanding the frontiers of its power by fire and sword. They were beaten, even if they were able to restore their statehood after some time.

Our country was never defeated. But let’s try to put ourselves in the Western Europeans’ shoes and understand their emotional state. For centuries, they have been living with a trauma called ‘an independent Russia’. However, we ourselves have never had the opportunity to understand what it is like to have a permanent enemy that can never be conquered. So, when the USSR suddenly collapsed in 1991 and the unified state disintegrated, Western Europe found itself in a situation it had never experienced before. Overnight, the most unfulfilled wish of generations of European politicians and military leaders came true. All by itself, without a decisive military clash, and with the Russians’ full of desire to join the ‘European family’, even as pupils. Such a shock could not pass without serious consequences for the psyche of the statesmen and ordinary citizens of these Western European states.

Their entire foreign policy culture was based on the fact that Russia would never be pushed around or told what to do. Suddenly, the West felt it had won the Cold War without firing a single shot. In a state of fantastic emotional upheaval, the Western Europeans began to build relations with Russia as if it had finally been defeated. For several years, Moscow accepted the rules of the game that the West imposed. It took into account the wishes of the Western Europeans in the economic sphere and developed its foreign relations with an eye to how this would affect the main goal – which was gradual ‘integration’ with the EU. In the new circumstances, the bloc found itself in the position of a demanding teacher, offering numerous ‘partnership’ programs with two simple objectives. First, to secure the interests of Western European business and make the Russian market even more open to it. Second, to ensure that Moscow was complying with its instructions.

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And it’s not even Boeing…

Only 15% of F-35s May Be Combat Capable (ET)

A September 2023 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the F-35 revealed some shocking statistics on just how unready hundreds of billions of dollars worth of F-35s are to provide actual combat power. In fact, the report indicated that only 15 to 30 percent of F-35s may be capable of combat. But if you were to read a typical article in the media, you might believe that, on average, some 55 percent of F-35s are combat-capable. However, you would be wrong. You see, when the average person sees a report declaring that 55 percent of F-35 combat aircraft are “mission capable,” they assume mission capable equals combat capable. But in doing so, they are being deceived The deception comes out of how the F-35 program office and the whole of the Department of Defense define “mission capable.” It turns out that the DoD definition of “mission capable” does not mean combat capable. What it means is that an aircraft can fly and perform at least one mission.

So, a plane designated as mission capable might be capable of doing some type of combat, but it might not. Instead, the mission it might be capable of executing could be testing or training, or some other mission that does not involve combat. And even if it is considered capable of testing or training, it might not be capable of doing the full gamut of testing or training you would expect from a fully functional aircraft. Likewise, it could still be classified as mission capable even if it is only capable of executing a portion of the combat-type missions it is supposed to be able to perform. Hence, within the environs of the military–industrial–congressional complex, “mission capable” is a highly ambiguous term that allows for a whole lot of gaming of accountability metrics. And it tells us very little.

Still, it is worth noting that at a 55 percent mission capable rate, the F-35 fleet is well below program targets of 90 percent for the F-35A (Air Force) and 85 percent for the fighter’s F-35B (Marine Corps) and F-35C (Navy) variants. In other words, the F-35 fleet as a whole is nowhere near meeting its mission capability goal of being able to do anything at all. However, there is another metric that is more useful: “full mission capable.” It turns out that “full mission capable” F-35s are supposed to be able to perform all the missions for which they were contracted, including combat-oriented missions, surveillance, training, testing, show of force, etcetera. This metric is not often publicized, but in the case of the F-35, the watchdog side of the GAO actually did a detailed report of the problems and issues with the F-35 that included how the F-35 fleet looked from the “full mission capable” perspective.

Even for someone who is an F-35 realist, the results are shocking. Not only is the F-35 fleet’s full mission capable rate in the neighborhood of 30 percent, the full mission capable rate of the Marine Corps’ F-35B was a miserable 15.5 percent in March 2023. More current full mission capable rates have not been published, but given the program’s ongoing problems and issues, including unreliable engines that are now under-specced due to feature creep, it is highly unlikely the situation has improved in the last year.

Read more …

Where are the Clintons?

Haiti Health Care System Collapses Amid Unrest, Hospitals Looted (Sp.)

The attack on Haiti’s capital has devastated the country’s already fragile health care system, with more than half of Port-au-Prince’s medical facilities out of service because they have been left without medicine amid gang violence, The New York Times reported Sunday. The State University Hospital, the largest in Haiti, is closed due to a lack of donated blood and fuel for generators, the report said. Haitian doctors predict a spike in maternal and infant mortality as thousands of women are forced to give birth at home in the coming weeks, the newspaper added.

On February 29, gang violence erupted in the downtown area of the capital Port-au-Prince while Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry was visiting Kenya to seek an agreement for the deployment of foreign forces in Haiti to fight organized crime. The gangs said their goal was to prevent the prime minister from returning to Haiti, and they stormed Haiti’s largest prison and freed an unconfirmed number of inmates. The Haitian government declared a state of emergency in the capital region. Haiti has long been mired in a social and political crisis that escalated after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise on July 7, 2021. The country has faced an unprecedented increase in the activities of criminal groups, while the humanitarian situation has deteriorated due to a multitude of natural disasters.

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“The problem is that all of the land in New York, in the United States, is stolen Indian land.”

Native American Lawsuit in New York Sheds Light on Dark History (Sp.)

“The doctrine of discovery refers to a principle in public international law under which, when a nation ‘discovers’ land, it directly acquires rights on that land,” according to a definition offered by Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute. “This doctrine arose when the European nations discovered non-European lands, and therefore acquired special rights.” More broadly, the doctrine of discovery can be described as an international law doctrine giving authorization to explorers to claim terra nullius [uninhabited land]… in the name of their sovereign when the land was not populated by Christians. It’s a theory that’s offensive to most modern ears -suggesting settlers have a right to violently confiscate territory in the name of religion- and it was acknowledged as such last year when the Catholic Church officially repudiated it. But the doctrine of discovery was cited by the United States highest legal authority as recently as 2005, when the US Supreme Court ruled against the indigenous Oneida Nation in a majority opinion authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The Oneida people, the justice claimed, had no special rights in land they had inhabited for thousands of years before descendents of Europeans like Ginsberg crossed the Atlantic. New York State’s Onondaga Nation had filed a similar lawsuit just days before seeking compensation for territory they claimed their ancestors had been forced to sell against their will. The Onondaga have since reconsidered their strategy, taking their claim to the supranational Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. US media examined their story this week as the commission is expected to rule on the Onondaga’s claim in the coming months. “If we don’t admit that those things have happened, how do we move forward together?” asked Joe Heath, a lawyer for the Onondaga people. “The problem is that all of the land in New York, in the United States, is stolen Indian land.” Heath’s observation raises a thorny issue.

The US, for a time considered the world’s lone superpower after the Cold War drew to a close, has increasingly fashioned itself as a global arbiter and enforcer of morality. Ending genocide, toppling dictators, spreading democracy, and defeating communism are just some of the reasons offered by the United States to justify bloody interventions around the globe. But academics often dispute the validity of America’s self-perception as an authority on human rights, noting the country is unique among others as an historic settler colonial regime. “Settler colonialism is a form of colonization where a settler society entirely or partially replaces an indigenous people on their land,” explains the website Visualizing Palestine. Many countries trace their history back centuries or even millenia, recognizing a legacy of many historical inhabitants. Others continue a process of deliberately stamping out native influence, appropriating indigenous lands and killing their inhabitants.

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“The culture at Boeing has been toxic to trust for over a decade now..”

Boeing: How Much Trouble Is The Company In? (BBC)

Earlier this month the US regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration, said that a six-week audit of the 737 Max production process at Boeing and its supplier Spirit Aerosystems had found “multiple instances where the companies failed to comply with manufacturing quality control requirements”. The findings came shortly after another report into Boeing’s safety culture by an expert panel found a “disconnect” between senior management and regular staff, as well as signs that staff were hesitant about reporting problems for fear of retaliation. Adam Dickson, a former senior manager at Boeing who once worked on the 737 Max programme, agrees there is a gulf between executives and workers on the factory floor. “The culture at Boeing has been toxic to trust for over a decade now,” he says. “You can add safety steps, you can add procedures. But the fundamental issue of distrust makes those changes almost ineffective”, he claims.

Meanwhile, further evidence of how production problems could endanger safety emerged this week. The FAA warned that improperly installed wiring bundles on 737 Max planes could become damaged, leading to controls on the wings deploying unexpectedly, and making the aircraft start to roll. If not addressed, it said, this “could result in loss of control of the airplane”. Hundreds of planes already in service will have to be checked as a result. Boeing said based on the FAA audit it was continuing “to implement immediate changes and develop a comprehensive action plan to strengthen safety and quality, and build the confidence of our customers and their passengers.” But concerns about Boeing’s production standards are far from new.

Whistleblower John Barnett, who was found dead last weekend, had worked at Boeing’s factory in South Carolina from 2010 until his retirement in 2017. A quality manager on the 787 Dreamliner programme, he had claimed the rush to build planes as quickly as possible in order to maximise profits had led to unsafe practices. Among a number of allegations, he told the BBC that in some cases under-pressure workers had deliberately fitted substandard parts to planes on the production line. Boeing denied his claims. But his untimely death, which occurred between legal hearings in a lawsuit against the company, has focused new attention on them. The crisis at the aerospace giant is now causing problems for airlines. Ryanair has warned that delays to new aircraft deliveries will push up prices for passengers in Europe this summer. US carrier Southwest plans to cut its capacity this year because it can’t get hold of the planes it needs.

Some carriers may try to obtain Airbus models to replace the lost Boeings. But a wholesale transfer of orders from the American manufacturer to the European is simply impractical. Both have very full order books. Airbus has a backlog of more than 8,000 planes and Boeing more than 6,000. Airlines are already having to wait longer than they would like for new aircraft. Airbus has had its own supply chain problems, leading to late deliveries. There is a potential third player. The Chinese manufacturer Comac has developed the C919, a plane designed to compete with the 737 Max and the A320 neo. But that programme is still in its infancy. By 2028 it will be producing only 150 aircraft a year.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Net Zero
https://twitter.com/i/status/1769067749613928685

 

 

Durex

 

 

Just some love

 

 

Great White
https://twitter.com/i/status/1769223406690386340

 

 

Rescue

 

 

Squirrels
https://twitter.com/i/status/1769401762195063142

 

 

Octocar

 

 

Cookies

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 162024
 


J.J. Grandville ‘A Comet’s Journey’, Illustration from ‘Un Autre Monde’ 1844

 

Prosecutors Reportedly Met with Biden Admin Before 3 Trump Indictments (BB)
Judge Denies Trump Motion To Dismiss Stormy Daniels ‘Hush Money’ Case (ZH)
Obama CIA Colluded with Foreign Powers in Massive Spy Op Against Trump (Miles)
US Intel Asked Foreign Countries to Surveil Trump Associates (Turley)
US Intel Fabricated Claim Putin Preferred Trump Over Clinton in 2016 (Sp.)
Will Bobulinski’s Testimony End Joe Biden’s 2024 Presidential Bid? (Sp.)
A Kamala Harris Presidency Would Be The Death Of The Democrats (Bridge)
Trump Could Force Ukraine To Make Peace – Bloomberg (RT)
Texas Should Be Renamed ‘Ukraine’ – Rep. Chip Roy (RT)
Kremlin Responds To Rumors Of Russian Space Nukes (RT)
Epstein Victims Sue FBI (RT)
Over a Million Palestinians to be Forced Into Egypt at Gunpoint (Mike Whitney)
Soros Could Take Control Of Hundreds Of US Radio Stations (RT)
Europe ‘In For Very Rocky Times’ After Failed Sanctions on Russia (Miles)
Defusing the Derivatives Time Bomb (Ellen Brown)

 

 

 

 

Fani
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758242279196672503

Yeartie
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758162535197376793

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker radicalized


https://twitter.com/i/status/1758104468971769856

 

 

Mastery

 

 

 

 

The levels of collusion are out of this world. And still, “Stormy Daniels” is the only case left that still seems alive.

Prosecutors Reportedly Met with Biden Admin Before 3 Trump Indictments (BB)

Three separate prosecutors reportedly met with White House aides before indicting former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden’s political opponent. The reported meetings suggest a coordinated attack against Biden’s 2024 rival. If coordination occurred, it lends credence to Trump’s belief that the indictments are election interference. The timing of the indictments are peculiar. After Trump announced a reelection bid against Biden, four indictments hit Trump in four separate jurisdictions, each following revelations about the Biden family business. In three cases, prosecutors reportedly met with the Biden administration before indicting Trump:
Alvin Bragg: New York – “Stormy Daniels” Case (state)
Jack Smith: Miami – “Documents” Case (federal)
Fani Willis: Fulton County, Georgia (state)

First Case: “Stormy Daniels”
The first indictment occurred on April 4, 2023, the same day that former Biden aide Kathy Chung testified about Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, contradicting Biden’s version of events. On March 17, 2023, Bragg asked for a meeting with federal law enforcement ahead of the Trump indictment Trump, a court source told Fox News. A year earlier, Bragg’s office hired a former senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official Matthew Colangelo, who spent years targeting Trump at the Justice Department. He also attacked Trump in his role in the New York Attorney General’s office. “Bragg has been very discredited by the indictment because the people that read it, even Democrats—they’re saying this is not an indictment,” Trump exclusively told Breitbart News after the indictment: Some are saying this is unconstitutional because there’s no crime. He’s been absolutely discredited. It’s a shame. They’re willing to destroy our country. This is all run by the White House, by the way, just in case you have any questions. In fact, they put a man from the White House into one of the top White House/DOJ officials is right there—Matthew Colangelo. He’s the one that’s leading it. He was sitting in the front row in the court during the whole thing. He was in the front row. This is all done by the White House because they don’t want to run against us.

Second Case: “Documents”
Smith filed the second indictment on June 8, 2023, the same day an FBI 10-23 form surfaced alleging Joe Biden was bribed $5 million. Later in June, Smith filed a superseding indictment in the case the day after Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea deal in Delaware fell apart. Months prior, in March, a member of Biden’s counsel’s office met with a top member of Smith’s team, just nine weeks before he indicted Trump in the classified document case, Breitbart News reported. The meeting “raises obvious concerns about visits to the White House after [Bratt] began his work with the special counsel,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told the Post. “There is no reason why the Justice Department should not be able to confirm whether this meeting was related to the ongoing investigation or concerns some other matter.” Trump slammed the indictment as election interference. Biden does not want to “run” against him, Trump exclusively told Breitbart News in July. “They didn’t want to run against me. That’s why they did it,” he said. “They did this so I wouldn’t get the nomination… They don’t want to run against me, that’s why they did it.”

Third Case: Georgia Case
Willis filed the third indictment against Trump on August 14, 2023. The official court website of Fulton County, Georgia, published what appeared to be an indictment against Trump before deleting it. Months before the indictment, Willis’ top county prosecutor met twice with Biden’s White House counsel on May 23 and November 18, 2022, a year before Trump’s August indictment, Breitbart News reported. Willis’ prosecutor reportedly charged Fulton County taxpayers $2,000 for each meeting, billing $250 an hour for eight hours. Neither Willis nor the prosecutor dispute the allegations, but a spokesperson for Willis’s office told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution she would later respond in court filings. “[T]he district attorney was totally compromised. The case has to be dropped,” Trump told reporters in Washington, DC. “They say she’s in far more criminal liability than any of the people she’s looking at.” Once again, the timing of the indictment was suspect. Willis indicted Trump on the same day former FBI supervisory special agent confirmed Biden’s 2020 transition team was tipped off about its plan to interview Hunter Biden.

Read more …

“He has since been indicted in Florida, Georgia, and Washington D.C. – which has only propelled him to new heights in the polls.”

Judge Denies Trump Motion To Dismiss Stormy Daniels ‘Hush Money’ Case (ZH)

The judge in former President Donald Trump’s New York hush-money trial says the case will go forward as scheduled, with jury selection beginning on March 25. The decision by Judge Juan Manuel Merchan was made after consulting with the judge in Trump’s now-delayed federal election interference case in Washington DC. Trump was in attendance on Thursday for the hearing to determine whether Trump is guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in an alleged scheme to conceal stories about alleged extramarital affairs which former porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal sprung on the billionaire during the 2016 election. Thursday marked Trump’s first return to the court in the New York criminal case since he became the first ex-president indicted in US history. He has since been indicted in Florida, Georgia, and Washington D.C. – which has only propelled him to new heights in the polls.

Sparks flew in the coutroom, as Trump’s attorneys blasted the decision to keep the March date – arguing that Trump will have to stand trial in New York while simultaneously attempting to seal the Republican nomination. “It is completely election interference to say ‘you are going to sit in this courtroom in Manhattan,” said defense attorney Todd Blanche. Merchan at one point told Blanche “Stop interrupting me.” In recent weeks, Merchan has taken steps to prepare for the trial – which would be the first for Trump of his several cases, AP reports. Over the past year, Trump has lashed out at Merchan as a “Trump-hating judge,” asked him to step down from the case and sought to move the case from state court to federal court, all to no avail. Merchan has acknowledged making several small donations to Democrats, including $15 to Trump’s rival Joe Biden, but said he’s certain of his “ability to be fair and impartial.”

Thursday’s proceeding is part of a busy, overlapping stretch of legal activity for the Republican presidential front-runner, who has increasingly made his court involvement part of his political campaign. The recent postponement of a March 4 trial date in Trump’s Washington, D.C. election interference case removed a major hurdle to starting the New York case on time. -AP. Trump has denied any of the alleged sexual encounters. At the time, Trump’s lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000, and arranged for the publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid to pay McDougal $150,000 in a practiced coined “catch-and-kill.” Trump’s company then paid Cohen $420,000 and marked the payments as legal expenses vs. reimbursements, according to prosecutors.

Read more …

Why the Five Eyes? “..the US was not able to spy on Trump legally [through] the intelligence community,” McAdams said. “So they asked their allies, ‘Hey, spy on someone and tell us what’s going on.’”

Obama CIA Colluded with Foreign Powers in Massive Spy Op Against Trump (Miles)

New reporting suggests the lengths the US deep state went to to undermine former US President Donald Trump. Since 2016, Democratic Party officials have accused former US President Donald Trump of illegally colluding with the Russian government as part of the discredited “Russiagate” narrative. Now, it appears such claims may represent a case of projection on the part of Trump’s critics. That’s the takeaway from a bombshell report by “Twitter Files” journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger this week that suggests that CIA officials under former US President Barack Obama worked through English-speaking intelligence partners to spy on Trump’s presidential campaign. The report alleges that the CIA under intelligence chief John Brennan worked with Five Eyes intelligence partners to circumvent legal restrictions against domestic spying by the agency. Five Eyes is an alliance of intelligence agencies in the United States, the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Brennan’s CIA allegedly colluded with these foreign intelligence agencies to conduct surveillance on the Trump campaign. The spy agency also reportedly targeted prominent people associated with the campaign, operating from a list of 26 figures that intelligence assets could attempt to extract information from. Attorney Steve Gill and analyst Daniel McAdams joined Sputnik’s Fault Lines program on Thursday to discuss the shocking revelations. “It’s now becoming clear that despite all the claims that Trump didn’t know what he was talking about when he said that his campaign operatives were being spied on by the federal government – they were,” noted Gill. “It is deplorable that we have a federal government that is spying on our citizens, not because of a legitimate national security interest, but because the deep state is trying to protect their interests rather than the interests of fair and free elections,” he added.

“You know, they’re targeting their political opponent. This is the stuff that you see in third-world countries and allegedly in Russia, and it is despicable that it’s not getting the backlash from the public and the media that it deserves.” Host Jamarl Thomas then cut to a clip of a 2020 appearance by Trump on the 60 Minutes television program. “The biggest scandal was when they spied on my campaign,” said Trump to reporter Leslie Stahl. “They spied on my campaign.” An argument then ensued between Trump and Stahl over whether the alleged spying actually took place. “He was right,” Thomas observed after playing the clip. “Leslie Stahl should be fired by 60 Minutes today,” said Gill.

“All these people that have collected their Emmys and their awards for their journalistic integrity and their successes, including those that denied that the Russia hoax was being pushed by Hillary Clinton… at the very least they should be turning in their awards as they exit their positions of power in the media.” Daniel McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, also commented on the bombshell report during the final hour of the program Thursday. “The revelations about the spying on the Trump campaign now that have come out thanks to Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger… [are] astonishing because it tells you that the US was not able to spy on Trump legally [through] the intelligence community,” McAdams said. “So they asked their allies, ‘Hey, spy on someone and tell us what’s going on.’”

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“Congress should be interested in whether the origins for the Russian investigation began with nudges from American intelligence in 2016 to the “Five Eyes.”

US Intel Asked Foreign Countries to Surveil Trump Associates (Turley)

There is a disturbing report published on Michael Shellenberger’s Public Substack detailing how the U.S. intelligence community called upon foreign governments to target associates of Donald Trump before the 2016 election. The request to the “Five Eyes” agencies (the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) appears to have come from Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan. According to Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag, foreign intelligence agencies were asked to conduct the surveillance, including “bumping” the associates — a term for making contact with or casually engaging a target to generate intelligence. These encounters may also have been used to generate intelligence reports used to support further intelligence efforts by the United States in the Russian investigation. The journalists reported that Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters intelligence apparatus, or GCHQ, went ahead in contacting the Trump’s associates as early as March 2016.

Keep in mind that this was the same month that George Papadopoulos joined the Trump campaign as an adviser. It was also when Papadopoulos met a London-based professor, Josef Mifsud, who Papadopoulos was led to believe had “substantial connections to Russian government officials.” On March 21, 2016, Trump identified Papadopoulos and Carter Page as members of his foreign policy team. If true, the question is the basis for such surveillance of U.S. citizens associated with the opposing political party and a presidential campaign. The role of Brennan is intriguing. Brennan was the one who briefed President Barack Obama on Hillary Clinton’s alleged “plan” to tie then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.”

It was also Brennan who later declared during the Trump Administration that a press conference with Vladimir Putin was “nothing short of treason.” He later said that he did not mean real treason when he said it was nothing short of treason. Brennan also signed the infamous letter warning that the Hunter Biden laptop had all of the markings of Russian intelligence, a letter that he later admitted was “political.” Now these sources are claiming that agents from the Five Eyes “were making contacts and bumping Trump people going back to March 2016.” Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was sentenced to probation in 2021 after admitting that he falsified evidence to renew a wiretap against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Shellenberger and Taibbi have a record of investigating in areas long avoided by other journalists, particularly in exposing the massive censorship system funded and coordinated by the government. There is much to learn about these allegations and their underlying support. If proven, it would appear that neither the Inspector General nor John Durham were given the full picture of the origins of the Russian investigation. Moreover, there are intriguing questions over a referenced binder that sources said contained much of this intelligence and analysis. That binder or binders allegedly disappeared from the CIA. Once again, this is still the early reporting and we need to have more confirmation on these facts. However, Congress should be interested in whether the origins for the Russian investigation began with nudges from American intelligence in 2016 to the “Five Eyes.”

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“..intelligence indicates that Russians viewed Clinton as manageable and likely to continue existing US policies, the report said..”

US Intel Fabricated Claim Putin Preferred Trump Over Clinton in 2016 (Sp.)

The US intelligence community fabricated claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin preferred Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election, journalists Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag reported on Thursday. An Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) published by the US Director of National Intelligence in January 2017 purported that Putin wanted Trump to win the election. However, the assessment’s authors fabricated the intelligence on the claim, the report said, citing sources close to a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia scandal. The findings of the HPSCI investigation are being blocked from release, according to the report. Evidence indicates that Putin actually preferred Clinton, the report said.

The House investigators found that US intelligence analysts had information about Russians calling Trump unreliable and unsteady, the report said. In contrast, intelligence indicates that Russians viewed Clinton as manageable and likely to continue existing US policies, the report said. Former CIA Director John Brennan led the attempt to frame Trump as Putin’s preferred candidate in the ICA, the report said. The HPSCI investigation determined that the intelligence community conducted the assessment for political purposes, the report said. On Wednesday, Putin said in an interview with Russian media that it would be better for Russia for current US President Joe Biden to remain in office because he is more predictable. Trump called Putin’s remarks a “great compliment” and said that Biden would give up everything to Russia.

Russia will work with any president elected by US citizens, Putin added. In the wake of the 2016 election campaign, former President Trump was investigated by federal agencies for possible ties between his aides and Russia. Both Trump and Russia denied allegations of collusion. A four-year investigation by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the allegations found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy. A subsequent investigation by US Special Counsel John Durham concluded that the FBI should have never launched the probe into the collusion allegations.

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“..why are authorities finally giving Bobulinski an audience only now?”

Will Bobulinski’s Testimony End Joe Biden’s 2024 Presidential Bid? (Sp.)

Former head of the Sinohawk company Tony Bobulinski testified behind closed doors before US lawmakers in the House impeachment inquiry on February 13. Commenting on the testimony, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer told Just the News on Wednesday that Bobulinski had revealed that “Joe Biden knew [Tony] was going in business with Hunter and with [Joe’s brother] Jim Biden, and he knew that the business was selling the Biden brand.” In an explosive opening statement, Bobulinski alleged that Joe Biden could be probed in relation to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity statutes, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). “From publicly available information alone, it seems clear that the Biden family monetized Joe’s public offices for decades, just as the Clinton family seems to have done, albeit on a much smaller scale than the Clintons,” Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel told Sputnik.

“We also know from [Joe Biden’s] tax returns that he declared very low incomes for decades. Miraculously after he left the vice presidential mansion on January 20, 2017, his declared income soared. But the murky ventures that may have paid him millions of dollars have never accurately been explained. Like other corrupt, dynastic families in both political parties, the Bidens, until now, have never been forced to explain how they obtained their mansions and other assets, and whether they have paid all required income and other taxes on these cash flows.” Ortel drew attention to the fact that Bobulinski has been trying to make his case against the Biden family “business” for years; and yet over the same period, the FBI, Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service have refused to prosecute many Biden family members and associates for corruption, influence peddling, money-laundering and income tax evasion.

“The really damning questions here include why did government officials protect so many potential, high-level defendants and who has been involved in this decision-making process?” the Wall Street analyst asked. “As in my case in December 2018, when I tried to persuade the FBI to investigate Clinton Foundation crimes unsuccessfully, I think the real timing question is why are authorities finally giving Bobulinski an audience only now?” There are crucial questions concerning Bobulinski’s interaction with the Biden family and Chinese business tycoons which require answers, according to Jason Goodman, a US investigative journalist and founder of CrowdSource the Truth. “Bobulinski was in business with an individual who was addicted [Hunter Biden] to crack which is obviously illegal and dangerous,” Goodman told Sputnik. “Either he didn’t notice this, or he knew and didn’t think it was a concern. Either reflects poorly on his judgment.

Even without the crack, a reasonable person might have questions about getting into business with a bunch of Chinese nationals and the vice president’s moron son who clearly was doing exactly nothing for the business. It really is a very strange circumstance and hard to understand how a legitimate businessperson could find themselves in such a situation.” Charles Ortel also wonders “why [Bobulinski] agreed, initially, to get anywhere near the Biden family in these ‘ventures’. “Having stepped forward with his explosive allegations, Bobulinski runs the risk of being hunted by the Biden administration’s “justice machine”, according to Sputnik interlocutors. “One hopes Bobulinski is safe, but I believe another Biden accuser who deserves a fair hearing – Tara Reade – fled to Russia in fear of being attacked,” Ortel remarked. “Bobulinski will be repeatedly audited and harassed by the IRS. Also, given personal experience, his computer will be hacked by government operatives,” suggested retired certified public accountant Robert Bishop in an interview with Sputnik.

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“..Harris was polling at 1% when she dropped out of the presidential nominee race in 2019..”

A Kamala Harris Presidency Would Be The Death Of The Democrats (Bridge)

With President Joe Biden’s advanced age and cognitive decline taking central stage just months before the presidential election, Democrats need to discuss ‘the Kamala problem.’ As the US speeds towards the 2024 presidential election, the Democrats find themselves in a rather untenable position. Not only is the incumbent US President Joe Biden suffering visibly on the mental front – reminiscing aloud over meetings he’s never had with long-dead world leaders – but his second in command lacks the essential support of the Democratic base. While Biden’s approval rating sits in the basement at 39%, Vice President Kamala Harris has managed to outdo him with 37.5%. This should come as no surprise considering that Harris was polling at 1% when she dropped out of the presidential nominee race in 2019. How did she manage to alienate so many people within her own party?

Earlier in her career as California’s district attorney, Harris, the child of immigrants from Jamaica and India, had a reputation as a ‘top cop’ who worked against the interests of victims. She frequently failed, for example, to exercise her authority to investigate charges of misconduct and abuse by police and prosecutors. At the same time, she often kept people – many of them poor black people – behind bars even when there was ample evidence of wrongful convictions, while opposing legislation that would have demanded her office to investigate fatal police shootings. During the 2019 Democratic presidential debate, Representative Tulsi Gabbard called out Harris over her record. “She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations, and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Gabbard said. “She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California. And she fought to keep cash bail systems in place that impacts poor people in the worst possible way.”

Harris never denied the charges, only saying that she was responsible for “reforming California’s justice system.” More recently, Harris’ popularity has taken a hit because she has failed to show any real accomplishments in the past four years on the VP job. On the most important issue that Biden tasked Harris with, which was to investigate what was driving waves of illegal immigrants to America, she dropped the ball, neglecting to even visit the US-Mexico border. A former Biden administration senior official told Axios: “She’s been at best ineffective, and at worst sporadically engaged and not seeing [the border] was her responsibility. It’s an opportunity for her, and she didn’t fill the breach.” This is what happens when you elect a candidate based on their identity, not their competence – it’s nearly impossible to relieve them of their duties.

Should the Democratic Party take the decision to replace Harris, 59, at this particular juncture, the fallout would be fierce and swift. Anyone who dares criticize Harris, the first woman and first Black American to hold the office of vice president, will be accused of holding her to a higher standard than past (male, white) politicians. As far as Harris is concerned, she firmly believes that she can lead the nation should something untoward happen to Joe Biden. “I am ready to serve. There’s no question about that,” Harris told the Wall Street Journal in an interview last week, just days before the release of a damning report emphasizing her boss’ failing memory. The report, penned by Special Counsel Robert Hur after an investigation into Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, said Biden displayed “diminished faculties” in interviews and derided him as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

The public relations fallout has become so critical for the White House that there are rumors of invoking the 25th Amendment, which outlines presidential succession. This empowers the vice president and cabinet to remove the president from office through a majority vote in the event it’s determined he or she is no longer fit to hold office. The amendment has never been invoked in US history, and it probably won’t be invoked now since the specter of a Harris presidency is even less attractive than sitting through a Biden speech. Whatever the case may be, Donald Trump will not miss an opportunity to throw a spotlight on Harris and her inglorious stint as vice president, nor should he, considering that chances are high that Biden won’t serve out his term through age 86. In other words, Trump would be reminding Americans that a vote for Joe Biden is essentially a vote for Kamala Harris. Such a strategy will likely attract many swing voters into the Trump camp.

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And peace is of course bad.

Trump Could Force Ukraine To Make Peace – Bloomberg (RT)

Republican presidential frontrunner and ex-US leader Donald Trump is planning to pressure Ukraine to negotiate peace with Russia if he wins an expected rematch against incumbent Joe Biden for the White House, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing sources. Should Trump become president, he may also retract a number of defense commitments to some NATO allies, according to reports. People familiar with the matter said Trump advisers had talked about ways of bringing Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his Russian counterpart to the negotiating table shortly after the potential inauguration. One adviser, according to Bloomberg, suggested that Washington could push Kiev to engage with Moscow by threatening to cut massive military assistance, adding that Russia could be swayed by the threat of increasing that aid instead.

Bloomberg sources also stressed that Trump aides had not discussed the matter with Russian officials, as it would be illegal for private US entities to negotiate with foreign governments on behalf of the administration. Russian officials have repeatedly said they are open to talks with Ukraine, but noted that any dialogue would take place only after Zelensky cancels his decree banning negotiations with the current leadership in Moscow. The Ukrainian leader introduced the ban last autumn after four of Kiev’s former regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. Another facet of Trump’s presumed foreign policy appears to be a concept of “a two-tiered NATO alliance” in which a common defense clause would be applied only to those nations that had reached a certain defense-spending threshold, Bloomberg reported, adding that no final decision had been made on the matter.

Still, the agency noted that such an approach could “upend decades of US policy” while risking “fracturing” the defense alliance. During his term as president, Trump repeatedly pushed NATO countries to increase military spending to 2% of GDP, a threshold many have struggled to reach. As of July, only 11 NATO members had met or exceeded that level. Bloomberg’s report came after Trump claimed last week that, while in office, he had threatened not to defend those ‘delinquent’ NATO members that did not pay their fair share of defense spending if they were attacked by Russia. His remarks triggered condemnation both from the White House and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Moscow has repeatedly said it has no plans or interest in attacking the US-led military bloc.

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“I’ve never seen the nursing home known as the United States Senate work harder than when it comes to spending the American people’s money for foreign wars..”

Texas Should Be Renamed ‘Ukraine’ – Rep. Chip Roy (RT)

Republican congressman Chip Roy from Texas has slammed the US Senate for passing a $95 billion bill for Ukraine and Israel without including provisions for securing the southern border, calling the bill an “abomination.” The Democratic-led upper house passed the international security assistance package on Tuesday with a 70-29 vote after a group of Republican lawmakers broke ranks to back the measure – but it has yet to be approved by the House of Representatives. Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Roy proposed submitting a bill to rename the state of Texas as Ukraine, quipping that “then, maybe this administration and senators will work on securing the border of the United States.” “I’ve never seen the nursing home known as the United States Senate work harder than when it comes to spending the American people’s money for foreign wars,” the Republican lawmaker said.

Roy went on to call out GOP senators who supported the Senate bill, and who argued that much of the $60 billion for Ukraine would in fact support the US defense-industrial base and help American business. “Since when do we have economic development that is being driven by funding war overseas?” the congressman asked, insisting that “anybody that’s sane and sees what’s happening at our southern border would know that you cannot fund foreign wars, while our border is wide open and exposed to criminals and lawlessness and terrorists.” Roy stated that border security remains a priority for the American people as well as for Republicans in Congress, and vowed to block the Senate-approved bill when it gets to the House.

House speaker Mike Johnson has strongly opposed further funding for Ukraine unless it is tied to border security and tougher immigration laws. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has been urging Congress to speed up approval of the aid for Ukraine, arguing that stalling the funds plays into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin and increases the likelihood of a direct confrontation with Moscow in the future. Biden has claimed the Russia could attack a NATO state if it manages to defeat Ukraine, which would require Washington to intervene, in line with the bloc’s mutual defense guarantee. Moscow, in turn, has repeatedly denied having any intention to attack NATO – with Putin stressing that Russia has “no interest… geopolitically, economically or militarily” in doing so, and would only engage in hostilities if attacked first.

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“It’s clear that the White House is trying, by hook or by crook, to push Congress to vote on a bill to approve funding [for Ukraine]. We’ll see what tricks the White House will use..”

Kremlin Responds To Rumors Of Russian Space Nukes (RT)

Western media reports claiming that Russia could place nuclear weapons in space are nothing more than a ploy by the White House to convince US lawmakers to approve further military aid to Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. Citing sources, several US media outlets reported this week that American intelligence had obtained information on purported Russian plans to deploy a nuclear anti-satellite system in orbit, although the idea supposedly remains at the developmental stage. ABC News claimed that while the system would not be used to attack targets on Earth, US officials still consider it “very concerning and very sensitive.” Responding on Thursday, Peskov suggested that the administration of US President Joe Biden is using the issue to force a vote to approve Ukraine aid. Moscow, however, will wait and see what comes from an upcoming White House briefing on the topic, Peskov added.

“It’s clear that the White House is trying, by hook or by crook, to push Congress to vote on a bill to approve funding [for Ukraine]. We’ll see what tricks the White House will use,” he said. Nuclear weapons in space are banned under the Outer Space Treaty, which was opened for signature by the US, Soviet Union, and the UK in 1967, as Moscow and Washington sought to ease tensions during the Cold War. More than 100 countries have since joined the treaty. On Wednesday, Republican congressman Mike Turner, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, claimed to have shared information “concerning a serious national security threat” with US lawmakers, while urging Biden to declassify the relevant materials. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is scheduled to brief congressional leaders on security issues on Thursday.

When pressed on whether he would address Turner’s concerns, he declined to respond, noting he was “surprised” by the statement, given the upcoming meeting on the matter. His comments came after the New York Times suggested, citing sources, that Turner – whom it described as the administration’s ally on Ukraine aid – had pushed the nuclear issue into the spotlight, to “perhaps to create pressure” on lawmakers to approve $60 billion in supplemental funding for Kiev. The Biden administration has been urging Congress to approve more aid for Ukraine since the autumn. Its efforts have been met with opposition from Republicans, who have demanded that the White House do more to improve security on the southern US border in return.

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“..Wray promised to conduct an internal investigation to “figure out if there is more information we can provide.”

Epstein Victims Sue FBI (RT)

A dozen victims of Jeffrey Epstein have sued the FBI, alleging that the agency failed to properly investigate the notorious sex offender. They claim that the FBI sat on reports about Epstein’s activities for two decades, allowing the victims to be “trafficked, abused, raped, tortured and threatened.” The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in New York on Wednesday by 12 women, all of whom are referred to in the document as anonymous Jane Does. “For over two decades, the Federal Bureau of Investigation permitted Jeffrey Epstein to sex traffic and sexually abuse scores of children and young women by failing to do the job the American people expected of it,” the complaint alleges. “As a result of the continued failures of the FBI, Jane Does 1-12 bring this lawsuit to get to the bottom – once and for all – of the FBI’s role in Epstein’s criminal sex trafficking ring.”

According to the lawsuit, the FBI began receiving tips, reports, and complaints about Epstein’s alleged trafficking and abuse of minors in 1996, but failed to open a case or share this information with other law enforcement agencies. The FBI eventually opened a case in 2006, two years before Epstein pleaded guilty to a child prostitution charge in Florida. A controversial plea deal saw Epstein register as a sex offender and serve 13 months on supervised release in lieu of a possible life sentence. Despite the fact that he had been convicted for one offense and dodged a litany of other sex-trafficking charges, the FBI continued to ignore tips that flowed in over the next decade, the lawsuit claims. “As a direct and proximate cause of the FBI’s negligence, plaintiffs would not have been continued to be sex trafficked, abused, raped, tortured and threatened,” the complaint said. Epstein was eventually arrested in 2019 and charged with the trafficking of dozens of minors. He died awaiting trial in a Manhattan jail cell a month later, with his death officially ruled a suicide.

Epstein’s girlfriend and “madam,” Ghislaine Maxwell, was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for child sex trafficking in 2022. According to testimony from victims, Epstein and Maxwell recruited girls to perform sexual acts on themselves and their rich and powerful associates, and instructed these girls to recruit additional victims. Among the powerful men accused of abusing the girls was Britain’s Prince Andrew, who settled out of court with an accuser in 2022. The plaintiffs behind the latest lawsuit are seeking an unspecified amount in compensation and damages from the US government. The FBI has already been accused of negligence in its handling of the Epstein case. In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in December, agency Director Christopher Wray was asked why the FBI didn’t do more to stop the notorious pedophile. Wray promised to conduct an internal investigation to “figure out if there is more information we can provide.”

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Egypt has started building refugee camps.

Over a Million Palestinians to be Forced Into Egypt at Gunpoint (Mike Whitney)

Here’s a blurb from Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion who said: “You are no doubt aware of the [Jewish National Fund’s] activity in this respect. Now a transfer of a completely different scope will have to be carried out. In many parts of the country new settlement will not be possible without transferring the Arab fellahin.” He concluded: “Jewish power [in Palestine], which grows steadily, will also increase our possibilities to carry out this transfer on a large scale.” (1948) This same line of reasoning has persisted through the decades although today’s Zionists tend to express themselves more brashly and with less restraint. Take, for example, popular conservative pundit Ben Shapiro who presented his views in an article titled “Transfer is Not a Dirty Word”. Here’s what he said:

“If you believe that the Jewish state has a right to exist, then you must allow Israel to transfer the Palestinians and the Israeli-Arabs from Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Israel proper. It’s an ugly solution, but it is the only solution. And it is far less ugly than the prospect of bloody conflict ad infinitum…. The Jews don’t realize that expelling a hostile population is a commonly used and generally effective way of preventing violent entanglements. There are no gas chambers here. It’s not genocide; it’s transfer…. It’s time to stop being squeamish. Jews are not Nazis. Transfer is not genocide. And anything else isn’t a solution”. Transfer is Not a Dirty Word, Narkive “Squeamish”? Shapiro thinks that anyone who recognizes the appalling moral horror of driving people off their land and forcing them into refugee camps is squeamish?

This is the essence of political Zionism and it dates back to the very beginning of the Jewish state. So, when critics claim that Netanyahu has assembled the “most right-wing government in Israel’s history”, don’t believe them. Netanyahu is no better or worse than his predecessors. The only Prime Minister who veered even slightly from this ‘iron law’ of Zionism, was Yitzhak Rabin who was (predictably) assassinated by an opponent of Oslo. What does that tell you?It tells you there was never going to be a “two-state” solution; it was a charade from the get-go. And (as Netanyahu intimated recently) Israeli leaders merely played along with the hoax in order to buy-time to prepare for the solution that is being imposed today. Have you ever wondered why so many Israelis support Netanyahu’s murderous rampage in Gaza?

(Hint) It’s not because Israeli Jews are homicidal maniacs. No. It’s because they know what he is doing. They’re not taken-in by the “Hamas” diversion, that is merely propaganda pablum for the West. They know that Netanyahu is implementing a plan to seize all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. And, in doing so, he is achieving the territorial ambitions of his Zionist ancestors. So, even though the majority of Israelis despise Netanyahu and think he should be prosecuted for corruption, they are willing to look the other way while he does their bidding. What onlookers need to realize is that the current strategy is not new at all, in fact, it has a 75 year-long pedigree that aligns with the demographic objectives of the Zionist leadership. None of this of course has anything to do with Hamas which is merely the pretext for the eradication of the indigenous people. What we are seeing is the actualization of the Zionist dream, the modern version of Plan Dalet, the original roadmap for ethnic cleaning that was drawn up in 1948.

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“He was the largest donor of the 2022 US midterm election season, funneling $128 million to Democratic candidates and organizations..”

Soros Could Take Control Of Hundreds Of US Radio Stations (RT)

Liberal financier George Soros has bought a major stake in the US’ second-largest radio company and could gain “effective control” of more than 220 stations across the country, the New York Post reported on Wednesday. Soros Fund Management purchased around $400 million of debt owed by the Audacy media group during its bankruptcy process, the newspaper reported, citing court filings. The billionaire bought the debt at roughly 50 cents on the dollar from hedge fund HG Vora, the report continued, noting that once the deal is approved by a bankruptcy court, Soros will own about 40% of Audacy’s overall debt. While 40% is not a majority stake, a source told the New York Post that Soros could nevertheless gain “effective control of the media giant when it emerges from bankruptcy.”

Audacy owns 227 music, sports, and talk radio stations in 45 US states. The company also owns CBS Radio, which operates 11 news stations including San Francisco’s KCBS and New York’s WCBS. After years of declining revenue, Audacy filed for bankruptcy early last month with $1.9 billion in debt. Should the deal go ahead as reported, Audacy will be the latest addition to Soros’ growing media empire. Soros Fund Management joined a consortium of creditors to purchase Vice Media last summer, paying $350 million to acquire a former media juggernaut once valued at $5.7 billion. An “insider source” cited by the New York Post described the Audacy deal as “scary,” saying he believed that Soros intended to use his stake to influence public opinion ahead of this year’s presidential election.

A hedge fund manager who shot to infamy for crashing the British pound in 1992, Soros is among the wealthiest men on earth, with an estimated net worth of around $7 billion. That’s on top of the $32 billion he’s donated to a web of NGOs, charities and political campaigns through his Open Society Foundations. Soros is an advocate for mass immigration to Western countries, European federalism, and economic and political liberalism. He was the largest donor of the 2022 US midterm election season, funneling $128 million to Democratic candidates and organizations. As well as direct donations to candidates and activist groups, Soros reportedly gave $300,000 to a group of TikTok influencers who collaborated with the White House to promote President Joe Biden’s policies. The Open Society Foundations announced last year that Soros, who is 93 years old, would step down from the helm of the organization and hand control to his 38-year-old son, Alex.

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“..“no one is buying European or German products,” he claimed, contributing to “a really critically-wounded Europe.” “We are in for very rocky times..”

Europe ‘In For Very Rocky Times’ After Failed Sanctions on Russia (Miles)

Beijing reacted angrily Wednesday to reports that the European Union plans to target three Chinese companies as part of the bloc’s 13th round of sanctions against Russia. The move by the EU follows claims that Chinese and Indian businesses have helped Russia “circumvent” European sanctions by providing them with electronic components used in the manufacturing of drones and other military equipment. The EU has imposed sanctions on Russia since the intensification of the Donbass conflict in early 2022. Beijing blasted the EU restrictions as “illegal” and criticized the “long-arm jurisdiction” against Chinese companies. China has benefited in recent months as Western sanctions against Russian energy have hampered European competitiveness, forcing companies in Germany and other EU nations to raise prices as they rely on more expensive American liquified natural gas.

Seen in this light, the EU’s attempts to punish Chinese businesses may be viewed as a desperate attempt to hobble the competition as Europe increasingly faces economic crisis and deindustrialization. Economist Richard Wolff joined Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program on Wednesday to discuss the grim economic outlook for the continent. “Europe, which has been kind of a dominant player in the whole world for a couple of thousand of years, is in what I believe to be – and I’m far from the only one – a crisis so profound it may be what we look back on and call the terminal crisis, the last one, because it literally cannot survive,” Wolff speculated. “On the one hand, it is being outcompeted by the United States, which has dominated it for the last 75 years anyway,” he noted. “But now the new player in the world economy, the People’s Republic of China and its allies, known generally as the BRICS, competing and challenging Europe, from the other side of the planet, if you like, means that Europe is caught between them.”

Wolff claimed the cultural, historical, and linguistic differences between EU countries have undermined the continent’s attempts to unify in recent decades. Now, Europe is a “junior partner” Wolff claimed, caught between the US-led G7 economic bloc and the China-led BRICS countries. While Europe previously benefited from its relationship with Russia in the form of cheap natural gas, Russia has now turned towards China and the other nations of the BRICS bloc after being “betrayed by the rest of Europe.” If the solidifying of new alliances has economically harmed Europe, it has benefitted Russia, Wolff claimed, which has been able to sell its oil and gas to India and China. “The Russian ruble is in fine shape. The Russian economy is growing faster than last year, [faster] than the United States is and is in no way falling apart,” the economist insisted. Meanwhile “no one is buying European or German products,” he claimed, contributing to “a really critically-wounded Europe.” “We are in for very rocky times,” Wolff warned ominously.

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“.. in the event of the bankruptcy of a major financial institution, derivative claimants are put first in line to grab the assets — not just the deposits of customers but their stocks and bonds..”

Defusing the Derivatives Time Bomb (Ellen Brown)

This is a sequel to a Jan. 15 article titled “Casino Capitalism and the Derivatives Market: Time for Another ‘Lehman Moment’?”, discussing the threat of a 2024 “black swan” event that could pop the derivatives bubble. That bubble is now over ten times the GDP of the world and is so interconnected and fragile that an unanticipated crisis could trigger the collapse not just of the bubble but of the economy. To avoid that result, in the event of the bankruptcy of a major financial institution, derivative claimants are put first in line to grab the assets — not just the deposits of customers but their stocks and bonds. This is made possible by the Uniform Commercial Code, under which all assets held by brokers, banks and “central clearing parties” have been “dematerialized” into fungible pools and are held in “street name.”

This article will consider several proposed alternatives for diffusing what Warren Buffett called a time bomb waiting to go off. That sort of bomb just detonated in the Chinese stock market, contributing to its fall; and the result could be much worse in the U.S., where the stock market plays a much larger role in the economy. A Jan.30 article on Bloomberg News notes that “Chinese stocks’ brutal start to the year is being at least partly blamed on the impact of a relatively new financial derivative known as a snowball. The products are tied to indexes, and a key feature is that when the gauges fall below built-in levels, brokerages will sell their related futures positions.” Further details are in a Jan. 23rd article titled “’Snowball’ Derivatives Feed China’s Stock Market Avalanche.” It states, “China’s plunging stock market is leading to losses on billions of dollars worth of derivatives linked to the country’s equity indexes, fuelling further selling as retail investors offload their positions…. Snowball products are similar to the index-linked products sold in the 2008 financial crisis, with investors betting that U.S. equities would not fall more than 25% or 30%,” which they did.

The Chinese stock market is much younger and smaller than that in the U.S., with a much smaller role in the economy. Thus China’s economy remains relatively protected from disruptive ups and downs in the stock market. Not so in the U.S., where speculating in the derivatives casino brought down international insurer AIG and investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, triggering the global financial crisis of 2008-09. AIG had to be bailed out by the taxpayers to prevent collapse of the too-big-to-fail derivative banks, and Lehman Brothers went through a messy bankruptcy that took years to resolve. In a December 2010 article on Seeking Alpha titled “Derivatives: The Big Banks’ Quadrillion-Dollar Financial Casino,” attorney Michael Snyder wrote, “derivatives were at the heart of the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, and whenever the next financial crisis happens, derivatives will undoubtedly play a huge role once again…. Today, the world financial system has been turned into a giant casino where bets are made on just about anything you can possibly imagine, and the major Wall Street banks make a ton of money from it. The system … is totally dominated by the big international banks.”

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Ron Paul Assange

 

 

 

 

Baby rhino

 

 

Bear and Moose

 

 

 

 

Lion turtle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758108922764804147

 

 

Dinosaur
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758103418093064324

 

 

India and Pakistan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758122937905820057

 

 

Bach

 

 

Legend

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 132024
 
 February 13, 2024  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  79 Responses »


Giorgione The Tempest1508

 

I Am Ready To Lead America – Kamala Harris (RT)
What is the Democrats’ Playbook? (Paul Craig Roberts)
Too Old For The Court, But Not For The White House (Tony Cox)
Over 80% of US Citizens Deem Biden Too Old for Another Presidential Term (Sp.)
‘Ground is Shifting Under Biden’s Feet’ After Hur Report (Sp.)
Trump Asks Supreme Court To Intervene In Immunity Appeal (ZH)
Ukraine Aid Bill Is A Trump Impeachment ‘Time Bomb’ – US Senator (RT)
Western Diplomacy ‘Primitive’ – Moscow (RT)
Tucker Carlson Reviews Putin Interview And Reveals What ‘Radicalized’ Him (RT)
Putin Wants To End Ukraine Conflict – Tucker Carlson (RT)
Putin and Trump Seen as ‘Threat’ by Davos Globalists (Sp.)
“Vladimir Putin Will Not Lose This War” (ZH)
Fani Willis Could Be Disqualified, Judge Says (ET)
Israel’s Ever-widening War (Paul Craig Roberts)
Descent into Madness: Dostoevsky and the End of the West (Boyd)
The Crisis at The New York Times (Patrick Lawrence)

 

 

 

 

KJP

 

 

 

 

Campaign ad wars
https://twitter.com/i/status/1756754032108900694

 

 

Musk

 

 

 

 

Ritter Larry

 

 

 

 

Bring it on!

I Am Ready To Lead America – Kamala Harris (RT)

Vice President Kamala Harris is ready to replace President Joe Biden if necessary, she told the Wall Street Journal, amid growing concerns about his advanced age and apparent memory problems. The remarks by Harris were first reported by the WSJ on Monday, a week after the VP had made them to the daily during a flight on Air Force Two. Harris was asked whether concerns over Biden’s memory meant she must convince the public she was ready to serve. “I am ready to serve. There’s no question about that,” Harris stated boldly, brushing off the suggestion she actually needs to convince voters of anything. Anyone who sees her doing her job, “walks away fully aware of my capacity to lead,” she claimed.

Despite showing confidence about her leadership skills, Harris might still need to convince some voters, given her plummeting approval ratings. According to a fresh poll by NBC, the VP’s rating reached a new low, with a combined 53% of registered voters viewing her negatively. A vast majority of those holding such an opinion of her – some 42% of all the respondents interviewed during the poll – said they were actually “very negative” about the VP. At the same time, only a combined 28% of them held a positive view of Harris.

The remarks by Harris, despite being publicized only now, came ahead of a bombshell report compiled by US special counsel Robert Hur on Biden’s handling of classified documents, which only reinforced concerns over the president’s health. The Hur report described Biden as an “elderly man with a poor memory” and noted that the president had exhibited “diminished faculties” in public. The assessment prompted strong denial from the US administration, with Biden staging an extraordinary press conference to assure the public his memory was just fine and to angrily deny any suggestions to the contrary. During the event, however, the president managed to erroneously call his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi the leader of Mexico while discussing the situation in Gaza.

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“..As Kamala is not a viable candidate, she in turn would have to be moved aside. Her resignation would follow her choice of Hillary Clinton as her vice president..”

What is the Democrats’ Playbook? (Paul Craig Roberts)

I raised this question in a column or an interview as polls revealed declining public confidence even among Democrats that Biden was fit to serve a second term. I suggested that one possibility would be that a deal would be worked whereby Biden would be moved aside, Kamala would become President, choose Hillary as her Vice President and then resign, having been promised a cabinet or judicial appointment. This would place in the White House a candidate that Democrats and the presstitutes claim won the 2016 election before Putin allegedly stole the election for Trump by hacking Hillary’s email. Evidence that something of this sort might be in the works emerges from the way Biden’s Justice (sic) Department cleared Biden of charges of possession of classified documents more serious than those for which President Trump is being prosecuted.

Biden was vice president with no power to declassify documents. Moreover, unlike Trump’s documents, which were stored in a secured room in a house in which US Secret Agents were present, Biden’s were scattered about in various insecure locations, including in the trunk of his Corvette in a garage. Special Counsel Robert Hur cleared Biden from prosecution by finding that Biden was not mentally competent to stand trial. So how is Biden mentally competent to be President of the United States and to have the nuclear briefcase in his hands? This is the Democrats’ dilemma. If Biden is judged capable of continuing as President, Robert Hur’s report comes across as more double standards in which a Democrat president is cleared of charges while a Republican is prosecuted for the same offense. The Democrats might bank on the presstitutes obfuscating the matter, but even insouciant Americans are likely to notice.

The rest of the world will conclude that Putin was correct when he said he doubted the president was the one really in charge. As Kamala is not a viable candidate, she in turn would have to be moved aside. Her resignation would follow her choice of Hillary Clinton as her vice president. Under the 25th Amendment, when a vice president ascends to the presidency, the vacant office of vice president is filled by the president nominating a candidate, who is then confirmed by the House and Senate. As the Senate is under Democrat control, and as the House Republicans are filled with Rinos who would confirm Hillary, it is an easily done deal. Trump himself might prefer the rematch in order to demonstrate a second victory over Hillary, one that the Democrats and media whores can’t again assign to Putin. Anyhow, this is my take for now. I will stick with it unless counter-evidence emerges.

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“In a nutshell: It’s about who you are, not whether you broke the law..”

Too Old For The Court, But Not For The White House (Tony Cox)

A US prosecutor’s report rationalizing why President Joe Biden won’t face justice for his mishandling of classified documents contained an excuse that ought to trigger some major soul-searching about the state of America’s leadership and how it got there. It won’t. Instead, in a nation where gaslighting and thick-faced contempt take the place of serious political discussion, Americans are expected to accept that Biden shouldn’t be prosecuted partly because he’s a “well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory.” If that explanation – proffered in a report released on Thursday by US Department of Justice (DOJ) special counsel Robert Hur – isn’t absurd enough, citizens are also told to accept that the same guy who’s too addled for a jury to convict him is perfectly competent to serve as president and commander-in-chief.

The whole episode says a lot about how unjust, corrupted and broken Washington has become. For starters it comes at the same time Biden’s DOJ is prosecuting his chief political rival, ex-President Donald Trump, for mishandling classified documents. For another, as in the case of former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, a prominent Democrat is being let off the hook for exposing state secrets despite investigators admitting that they found evidence of criminal conduct. This isn’t a minor violation of protocol, either. Hur found evidence that Biden “willfully retained and disclosed” classified materials from his two terms as vice president. As pictures included in Hur’s 345-page report showed, the documents were stashed in multiple locations, including cardboard boxes stacked in the garage of one of Biden’s homes. The special counsel also found that Biden’s conduct “presented serious risks to national security, given the vulnerability of sensitive information to loss or compromise to America’s adversaries.”

The mishandled documents contained information “implicating sensitive intelligence sources and methods,” including White House deliberations on the US occupation of Afghanistan. Biden’s defenders argue that his case wasn’t as bad as Trump’s because unlike Bad Orange Man, the president cooperated with investigators and surrendered his documents when they were discovered. That’s both unmitigating and untrue. Being cooperative after committing a criminal offense doesn’t make one less guilty of the crime. Moreover, Hur found a recorded conversation with the ghostwriter of Biden’s memoirs in which the former VP said he had “just found all this classified stuff downstairs.” That was in 2017, five years before one of Biden’s lawyers reported the discovery of classified materials at his think-tank office in Washington.

Incidentally, Biden’s ghostwriter deleted some of his recordings after learning of the special counsel’s investigation, but unlike the resort employees who allegedly helped hide Trump’s documents, he won’t be prosecuted. Another key difference in the cases was that Trump retained documents from his time as president and therefore had the authority to declassify such materials. Biden had no such power as vice president at the time his state secrets were retained. On the other hand, some of Trump’s charges concern alleged obstruction of justice, which could apply even if he were exonerated for keeping sensitive documents. The more preposterous wrinkle in the case is Hur’s commentary about Biden’s mental state, as well as the White House’s reaction. During interviews with investigators, the president couldn’t even remember such details as when he served as VP and roughly when his son Beau died, the special counsel said. The recorded 2017 conversations with the ghostwriter were “painfully slow, with Mr. Biden struggling to remember events and straining at times to read and relay his own notebook entries.” Biden displayed “diminished faculties and faulty memory.”

At 81, Biden is already the oldest president in US history. “Based on our direct interactions with and observations of him, he is someone for whom many jurors will want to identify reasonable doubt,” Hur said. “It would be difficult to convince a jury that they should convict him – by then a former president well into his 80s – of a serious felony that requires a mental state of willfulness.” In a nutshell: It’s about who you are, not whether you broke the law. Never mind that crimes were probably committed, and that national security was jeopardized, Biden’s DOJ concluded. The president is so scatterbrained and demonstrably old that jurors wouldn’t feel comfortable sending him to prison. But like the FBI’s then-director, James Comey, said in sparing Clinton prosecution in 2016, a criminal indictment wouldn’t be the “appropriate” remedy for this particular wrongdoing. Biden, who has been getting away with serious misconduct since he plagiarized his work as a college student nearly 60 years ago, will face no consequences.

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“..considered by 86% of Americans too old to serve another presidential term..”

Over 80% of US Citizens Deem Biden Too Old for Another Presidential Term (Sp.)

The incumbent 81-year-old US President, Joe Biden, is considered by 86% of Americans too old to serve another presidential term, a fresh ABC News/Ipsos poll showed. That includes 59% of the people polled who said that both Biden, 81, and the 77-year-old former US president, Donald Trump, are too old to be the head of state and 27% who said that it was exclusively Biden who is too old for the second term in the White House. As for Trump, 62% think that he is too old for the job. That includes 3% who think that only the Republican front-runner is too old. Only 11% of the respondents said neither of the presidents, Biden and Trump, was too old to go for another term. The poll was conducted from February 9-10 among 528 adult US citizens with a margin of sampling error of 4.5%. Biden is the oldest sitting US president. If he wins the election in 2024, he will be 82 when he takes office, and 86 when he completes his second term.

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“..the idea of calling on Kamala Harris to take over makes a great deal of sense because her poll ratings are abysmal..”

‘Ground is Shifting Under Biden’s Feet’ After Hur Report (Sp.)

Last week, special counsel Robert Hur released a bombshell report, declining to press charges against US President Joe Biden partially because his report said, the president would appear to the jury as an “elderly man with a poor memory” and therefore would have trouble convincing the jury of his intent. The report also noted that he forgot when his term as Vice President ended and started, and couldn’t remember what year his son died. Biden attempted to quell concerns about his age by calling a press conference addressing the report but proceeded to confuse Mexico and Egypt while speaking to reporters. While Democratic leaders and administration officials were quick to defend the President, the cracks have started to show. Independent journalist and author Dan Lazare told Sputnik’s The Final Countdown on Monday that the “Biden administration is in real trouble,” and that “the ground is shifting beneath Biden’s feet.”

On Monday, Vice President Kamala Harris told a US media outlet she is “ready to serve” while slamming the report as “wrong” and “politically motivated.” Earlier in the week, former First Lady and 2016 democratic nominee Hillary Clinton admitted that Biden’s age is an issue. Finally, the New York Times editorial board released its opinion that Biden “needs to do more to show the public that he is capable of holding office until age 86” when his potential second term would end. It called on him to “hold regular news conferences” and said it looks like he is hiding “or worse, being hidden.” Lazare argued that is impossible for the Biden campaign. “Biden cannot go on that kind of tour,” he said. “He can’t sit down with Hannity or go on Fox News or do anything like that because he’ll only make things worse.[…] It’ll become completely clear that he doesn’t know what’s going on around him.”

Co-host Ted Rall asked how Republicans should tread the line between criticizing the president and being sensitive to people who have experienced dementia in their own families. “They can say, ‘look, that guy’s too old, he’s senile.’ and jump up and down […] [Or] is the best tactic to basically express sympathy and say, ‘look this can happen to any of us. We have sympathy for the president and his family […] but the needs of the country come first,’ and maybe they should call for Harris to take over knowing full well [that] politically she is unpopular.” That doesn’t sound like something former US President and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump would do, Lazare said, “But I think the idea of calling on Kamala Harris to take over makes a great deal of sense because her poll ratings are abysmal.” However, co-host Angie Wong, a Republican, argued that she “would love Biden to remain on the ticket in November. That’ll be fantastic for Donald Trump and [in down-ballot races].”

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No immunity, no US president as we’ve known them. It becomes a whole new job description.

Trump Asks Supreme Court To Intervene In Immunity Appeal (ZH)

Former President Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Monday to step in and weigh in on his claim of presidential immunity after the DC Circuit Court of Appeals sided with special counsel Jack Smith – ruling that Trump is not immune from prosecution. The lower court held off on issuing the mandate until Monday in order to allow Trump’s legal team time to approach the Supreme Court. Trump is specifically asking the Supreme Court to pause the lower court’s ruling until he can formally appeal, which will further delay his trial in front of District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan. The trial was originally scheduled for March 4, however Chutkan vacated the date in early February amid Trump’s immunity defense, and noted that the court would “set a new schedule if and when the mandate is returned.” Chutkan’s decision also denied Trump’s bid to toss the case in December based on the immunity claim.

“Smith sought to keep the trial on schedule in December by asking the Supreme Court to take up the question before the appeals court had a chance to consider it, but the justices rejected his request. “President Trump’s claim that Presidents have absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for their official acts presents a novel, complex, and momentous question that warrants careful consideration on appeal,” the application states. “The panel opinion below, like the district court, concludes that Presidential immunity from prosecution for official acts does not exist at all. This is a stunning breach of precedent and historical norms.” -Daily Caller

In January, Trump’s legal team presented oral arguments to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, which Trump attended. The Judge, Biden appointee Florence Pan, questioned whether presidential immunity extended to such examples as a president ordering SEAL Team Six to assassinate a political rival without facing criminal charges. “For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution,” the panel wrote in its Feb. 6 ruling. “Former President Trump lacked any lawful discretionary authority to defy federal criminal law and he is answerable in court for his conduct.” In short, to be continued…

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Booby-trapping the law.

Ukraine Aid Bill Is A Trump Impeachment ‘Time Bomb’ – US Senator (RT)

Republican Senator JD Vance has argued that a new bill proposing additional military aid for Kiev could spell another impeachment case against Donald Trump should he win reelection in November, calling the measure a “time bomb.” In a memo circulated on Monday, Vance noted that the latest Ukraine bill calls for funding which would expire “nearly a year into the possible second term of President Trump,” suggesting that Democrats could ultimately impeach him if he chose not to renew the aid. “If President Trump were to withdraw from or pause financial support for the war in Ukraine in order to bring the conflict to a peaceful conclusion… it would amount to the same fake violation of budget law from the first impeachment,” Vance wrote, adding that “Partisan Democrats would seize on the opportunity to impeach him once again.”

He went on to say that the aid bill “represents an attempt by the foreign policy blob/deep state to stop President Trump from pursuing his desired policy,” as the former president has repeatedly questioned American largesse to Ukraine throughout the conflict with Russia. Democrats voted to impeach Trump in late 2019, accusing him of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress after he threatened to withhold US aid to Ukraine during a call with his counterpart Vladimir Zelensky. Part of a larger funding package worth more than $95 billion, the bill would devote $60 billion for Kiev, as well as additional aid for Israel and US allies in Asia. It has been subject to political deadlock for months. Trump himself has slammed the legislation, recently telling an audience in South Carolina that such foreign aid should be repaid to the US government.

“They want to give, like, almost $100 billion to a few countries, $100 billion. I said, ‘Why do we do this? If you do, you give them, not $100 billion, you give it to ‘em as a loan,’” he said. Following lengthy negotiations over the new military package in Washington, a final vote to pass the Senate’s version of the bill could come as soon as this week, according to multiple reports. Trump has said on multiple occasions that he would somehow resolve the two-year-old conflict “in one day” if he were to return to the White House. His eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., suggested that “the only way” to persuade Zelensky to engage in talks with Russia was to “cut off the money” that’s being provided to Kiev by Washington.

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“Moscow’s representatives are not certain what caused this, but have simplified their messaging in response..”

Western Diplomacy ‘Primitive’ – Moscow (RT)

Russian diplomats perceive their Western counterparts’ approach to international affairs to be “quite primitive,” Moscow’s deputy permanent representative to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, has said. Moscow’s representatives are not certain what caused this, but have simplified their messaging in response, he added. Polyansky made remarks about the quality of the Western diplomatic corps in an interview with RIA Novosti published on Monday, based on his personal experience at the UN. He expressed concern about Anglophone speakers at the forum selectively ignoring the context of particular situations for their own benefit. ”They pick an arbitrary point in time and claim nothing happened before it. They try to blame a nation for its actions regardless of prior events or the general context,” he explained.

The diplomat cited the Ukraine conflict as an example. The US and its allies have been describing Moscow’s military action against Kiev as “unprovoked” and supposedly motivated by “imperial ambitions,” and have pressured other nations to frame it in the same way. As they learn more about the conflict, however, those parties realize how much the general context and Western actions since Ukraine gained its independence matter, he added. ”This trick does not always work, but it is a trend. I don’t know if it’s some deeper trend or just something typical for some people coming from [Western] schools of diplomacy,” Polyansky said. “Having a dialogue with them is challenging because they show certain superficiality, tunnel vision, and unwillingness to seek the core causes of conflicts. No solutions can be found without [such analysis].”

The office of the Russian envoy to the UN has been simplifying its addresses due to uncertainty over how their words are understood, he said. Russian diplomats used to quote foreign and Russian classics in speeches, but are no longer using this rhetorical device as much, Polyansky said. ”Times dictate things. Our partners may now be less well-read individuals, so occasionally we want to speak in plainer terms to make sure our signal comes through,” he explained.

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“..Hillary Clinton calling him a “useful idiot” for Russia, Carlson laughed it off. “She’s a child, I don’t listen to her,” he said. “How’s Libya doing?”

Tucker Carlson Reviews Putin Interview And Reveals What ‘Radicalized’ Him (RT)

Following his two-hour interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, US journalist Tucker Carlson opened up about his experience at the World Government Summit in Dubai. In an hour-long interview with TV presenter Emad Eldin Adeeb, Carlson addressed why the conversation with Putin did not touch on certain topics, how the US political establishment had reacted to it, and why Washington has failed to understand Moscow, among other things. According to Carlson, he had an off-the-record conversation with Putin after their recorded interview was over. He would not reveal what was discussed, however. Carlson did say that Putin seemed willing to negotiate with the West about both the end of the Ukraine conflict and a new balance of power in the world. Diplomacy is the art of compromise, and almost everyone “other than maybe the United States during the unipolar period” understands this, Carlson said.

But while Putin wants the conflict to end, his position will only harden the longer it goes on, he added. One of the major revelations in the interview for Carlson was that Russia had asked to join NATO – and while then-US President Bill Clinton seemed receptive, his aides pushed against the idea and it ultimately failed. Since the entire point of NATO was to keep the Soviet Union out of Western Europe, Carlson said in Dubai, “if the Russians ask to join the alliance, that would suggest you have solved the problem and you can move on to do something constructive with your life. But we refused.” “Go sit in the sauna for an hour and think about what that means,” he added. Politicians in the West aren’t setting themselves “achievable” goals, Carlson has argued. “I have heard personally US government officials say well we just have to return Crimea to Ukraine,” he said. “That’s not going to happen, short of a nuclear war. That’s insane, actually.”

Even bringing up this kind of idea “shows you are a child, you don’t understand the area at all, and you have no real sense of what’s possible,” the journalist concluded. According to Carlson, one of the biggest issues in the US and the West in general is the tendency to reduce everything to the 1938 Munich conference, at which Britain and France sought to “appease” Nazi Germany by giving it a portion of Czechoslovakia. “The American policymaker historical template is tiny – in fact there’s only one – and it’s a 2-year period in the late 1930s, and everything is based on that understanding of history and human nature. That’s insane,” Carlson said. Carlson pointed out that he’s 54 and grew up in an America that had nice, safe and beautiful cities, “and we no longer have them.”

It was “radicalizing” to see Moscow “cleaner, safer and prettier” than American cities, he said, or be reminded of that in Dubai and Abu Dhabi – while in the US, one can’t ride the subway in New York City because it’s dirty and unsafe. “That’s a voluntary choice,” he said. “You don’t have to have crime, actually.” Asked why he hadn’t raised certain topics with Putin, Carlson said he wanted to do the interview because he was interested in how the Russian leader saw the world – and not to inject himself into the discussion. Most journalists who interview leaders the US dislikes tend to make it about themselves, Carlson added, and since he only cared about the approval of his wife and their children, he didn’t need to virtue-signal. Asked to comment on former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton calling him a “useful idiot” for Russia, Carlson laughed it off. “She’s a child, I don’t listen to her,” he said. “How’s Libya doing?”

Tucker Moscow

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“Leaders of any country on the planet, other than maybe the United States during the unipolar period, are forced by the nature of their jobs to compromise. That’s what diplomacy is..”

Putin Wants To End Ukraine Conflict – Tucker Carlson (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin is willing to engage in diplomacy to end the fighting in Ukraine, but the longer it continues the less likely he will be to compromise, US journalist Tucker Carlson warned on Monday. Carlson spoke at the World Government Summit in Dubai, where he flew after interviewing Putin in Moscow last week. The video of the discussion has been viewed hundreds of millions of times. “Putin wants to get out of this war. He’s not going to become more open to negotiation the longer this goes on,” Carlson said in response to a moderator’s question. The West needs to keep in mind that “Russia’s industrial capacity is a lot more profound than we thought it was,” and that Moscow is having a far easier time manufacturing weapons and ammunition than NATO countries that have been supplying Ukraine, the journalist continued.

There are competent people in US President Joe Biden’s administration, Carlson noted, but they lack perspective and see international relations through a very narrow lens in which every foreign leader is Adolf Hitler and every day is Munich 1938. As a result, Western governments have no real sense of what is possible or achievable, he claimed. “Leaders of any country on the planet, other than maybe the United States during the unipolar period, are forced by the nature of their jobs to compromise. That’s what diplomacy is,” Carlson told the crowd in Dubai. Putin practices diplomacy just like everyone else, but “his position is hardening,” he added.

Following Carlson’s two-hour interview with Putin, the Kremlin said that Russia has communicated its stance to the US quite clearly, but that Washington did not appear interested in talks. “The US authorities know our position very well, they are perfectly aware of all of Putin’s main points,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS news agency on Saturday. However, the American leadership apparently lacks the “political will” for negotiations. “This is not an issue of knowledge, but an issue of desire. The desire to do something to get on to the track of negotiations. We have not yet seen such a desire or the political will for this [in the US],” Peskov noted.

Tucker Russia

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“..a world leader for a quarter century with the lack of gravitas — to put it politely of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and many others in both parties who are surface-level, donor-captured, soundbite specialists..”

Putin and Trump Seen as ‘Threat’ by Davos Globalists (Sp.)

Tucker Carlson’s interview with Vladimir Putin has attracted over 190 million views on X (formerly Twitter) as of February 11. “I think it was fortunate that the interview occurred well before the heart of the primary season so that voters got a fair chance to see the interaction for themselves in a long format forum that was, fortunately, not interrupted by pesky commercials,” Charles Ortel, a Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist, told Sputnik. “My guess is that getting on Putin’s calendar for such a long interview was a challenge, so I imagine it suited both parties to have this video out well in advance of the nominating convention for Democrats and of the general election. It would be great to have one or even more follow-ups in coming months,” he added.

“I also think the contrast between Putin’s measured and thoughtful perspectives, having been a world leader for a quarter century with the lack of gravitas — to put it politely of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and many others in both parties who are surface-level, donor-captured, soundbite specialists was stunning. This contrast was remarkable considering Biden’s post-interview meltdown before what remains of the ‘press’,” Ortel continued. The Wall Street analyst noted that judging from viewership statistics, the corporate — and political donor-controlled — media is destroying itself. He stressed that “no political interview has garnered nearly as much coverage as Putin’s recent sit down with Tucker,” adding that he expects “it will, in the end, change the thinking of most open minds.” Prior to the historic interview, US corporate media pundits and Democratic political figures urged Americans to ignore Carlson’s show.

Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton called Tucker a “useful idiot”, claiming that the US journalist “parrots Vladimir Putin’s pack of lies about Ukraine.. Clinton’s remarks before the interview echoed those of Soviet-era apparatchiks who said of Nobel Prize-winning novel Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak: “I haven’t read Pasternak, but I condemn him.” “Hillary Clinton’s star set long ago while Tucker Carlson is, today, one of the most followed and fair-minded voices on earth,” Ortel said, commenting on Clinton’s rant. “Certainly, the Clinton family has much to fear as 5 November 2024 looms.” The Wall Street analyst, who has carried out a private investigation into allegations of fraud by the Clinton Foundation over several years, noted that “there are serious unanswered questions over how much foreign government and oligarch money may have funded Hillary’s political campaigns in 2005-6, 2007-8, and 2015-16, including donations from Ukraine’s [oligarch] Victor Pinchuk and his wife.”

He added that there are also “reasonable concerns as in the case of the Bidens, that the Clinton family exploited their offices to enrich themselves for decades, illegally.” “Hillary Clinton will not be remembered well in history,” Ortel said. “She coasted into national politics, at first, in sympathy over the Lewinsky affair as she had no actual ties to my home state of New York. As Senator, she promoted foreign adventurism in Afghanistan and Iraq that clearly failed. Meanwhile her husband advanced a boldly crooked set of scam charities we have previously covered that bilked governments and other donors of billions of dollars, for which there has never been honest accounting.”

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“Musk echoed Johnson’s sentiment, saying “As you said, there’s no way Putin is going to lose. If he backs off, he will be assassinated..”

Really?

“Vladimir Putin Will Not Lose This War” (ZH)

During today’s Twitter Spaces, Elon Musk and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) discussed their opposition to the ongoing war in Ukraine. “We all have to understand that Vladimir Putin will not lose this war… Losing to Vladimir Putin is existential to Vladimir Putin. Russia has four times the population and a much larger industrial base,” said Johnson, adding “Russia can produce 4.5 million artillery shells per year. We’re not even up to 1 million per year. The average age of a Ukrainian soldier right now is 43 years old.” “If you’re worried about the people of Ukraine, you have to understand that probably 100,000 of their soldiers have been killed,” Johnson continued, adding “The only way this war ends is in a settlement, and every day that the war goes on, more Ukrainians and more Russian conscripts die, more civilians die, and more of Ukraine gets destroyed. Again, sending $60 billion as added fuel to the flames of a bloody stalemate makes no sense.”

Musk echoed Johnson’s sentiment, saying “As you said, there’s no way Putin is going to lose. If he backs off, he will be assassinated. And for those who want regime change in Russia, they should think about who is the person that could take out Putin?” He also defended his record – saying “My companies have probably done more to undermine Russia than anyone. Space X has taken away two-thirds of the Russian launch business. Starlink has overwhelmingly helped Ukraine.”

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“I think it’s clear that disqualification can occur if evidence is produced presenting a conflict or the appearance of one..”

Fani Willis Could Be Disqualified, Judge Says (ET)

Fulton County Superior Judge Scott McAfee confirmed on Feb. 12 that the hearing about misconduct claims against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade “must occur” on Feb. 15 and could lead to disqualification. Ms. Willis is presiding over the high-profile racketeering case that names former President Donald Trump and 14 others. “I think it’s clear that disqualification can occur if evidence is produced presenting a conflict or the appearance of one, and the filings submitted on this issue so far have presented a conflict of interest that can’t be resolved as a matter of law,” Judge McAfee said. Ms. Willis will be called as the first witness, the judge said after hearing some of the prosecutors’ arguments. “I don’t see how quash can be imposed here,” he said, referring to the district attorney’s effort to dismiss the subpoenas.

On Feb. 12, the judge held a hearing regarding the district attorney’s motions to quash the nine subpoenas issued on Ms. Willis herself and her staffers ahead of this week’s anticipated hearing in which the district attorney will have to respond to allegations of an “improper” relationship. On Jan. 8, defendant Michael Roman filed a lengthy motion that alleged that Ms. Willis was in a personal relationship with Mr. Wade, an attorney with a private law firm whom she had contracted to take a lead position in the racketeering case. He alleged that Mr. Wade took Ms. Willis on “lavish” vacations, including a cruise, and that she financially benefited from the situation. He also made several other allegations, including that Mr. Wade wasn’t qualified for the position and that Ms. Willis used funds improperly, which the judge indicated would not be the focus of the Feb. 15 evidentiary hearing. After the huge claims were made, several co-defendants filed their own motions to disqualify Ms. Willis based on “prejudicial” actions.

“Specifically looking at defendant Roman’s motion, it alleged a personal relationship that resulted in a financial benefit to the district attorney that is no longer a matter of speculation,” the judge said. “The state has admitted a relationship existed, and so what remains to be proven is the existence and extent of any financial benefit, again if there even was one.” Judge McAfee said the claims of prejudice were based on public statements—a speech Ms. Willis gave at an Atlanta church where she invoked God and said her critics were playing the “race card”—and did not warrant a hearing meant to produce evidence for the record. Other issues such as Mr. Wade’s resume also did not warrant an evidentiary hearing, according to the judge. The district attorney had filed a motion arguing that no evidentiary hearing was necessary because no conflict of interest had occurred, but the judge rejected the argument.

“Because I think it’s possible that the facts alleged by the defendant could result in disqualification, I think an evidentiary hearing must occur to establish a record on those core allegations,” Judge McAfee said. He said that the hearing will focus on “whether a relationship existed, whether that relationship was romantic or not in nature, when it formed, and whether it continues.” “I think that’s only relevant because it’s in relation to the question of the extent of any personal benefit conveyed as a result of the relationship,” Judge McAfee said. Mr. Roman’s attorney, Ashleigh Merchant, alleged that the relationship began as early as 2019 and that the couple cohabited at one point and claimed in a court filing that she could produce witnesses to testify to these allegations.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1757133934633386223

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“What is unclear is why Putin, Xi, and Iran think they can reach an agreement with immoral governments. How many times will Putin purchase a Minsk Agreement?”

Israel’s Ever-widening War (Paul Craig Roberts)

Rafah is the town that borders Egypt and the Sinai desert, where one million Palestinian refugees have fled to escape the merciless Israeli attacks against them. More than 100,000 Palestinian civilians, including 70,000 Palestinian women and children, have already been killed and wounded. Most of these poor refugees are literally starving to death because of the 3-month long Israeli blockade of water, food, electricity, and medicine to Gaza. If Israel launches this attack on Rafah, with the aim of driving one million Palestinians into the desert — and killing all those who refuse to leave Gaza– Egypt warns that a regional war will likely result, one which could conceivably become a World War. Biden could prevent this with a single phone call. If the US cut off all military and financial aid to Israel, the Israelis could not continue to prosecute its genocidal ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from Gaza. However, just the opposite seems to be happening, with the full support and complicity of the United States.

Putin, Xi, and the Iranians are extraordinarily mistaken thinking that they can sit aside from the conflict as the conflict is directed against them. The Israeli offensive has left 85% of Gaza’s population internally displaced amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave’s infrastructure was damaged or destroyed, according to the UN. And the Great Moral Western Democracies continue to support the Israeli Genocide of the Palestinians even as Egypt warns of a widening war. What is clear is that the West can no longer in any way be considered to be moral. What is unclear is why Putin, Xi, and Iran think they can reach an agreement with immoral governments. How many times will Putin purchase a Minsk Agreement?

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“..where we are cajoled to accept a “great reset” and a “new world order” controlled by unseen elites..

Descent into Madness: Dostoevsky and the End of the West (Boyd)

Our society is coming to resemble a dystopian “peoples’ paradise” in its darkly disturbing features. Think back to iconic works of literature like Arthur Koestler’s Darkness At Noon and George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four. Are we not living in a society which is little more than a cross between the nightmare visions of Koestler and Orwell? Do we not live in a society where dissidents are branded as “domestic terrorists,” “insurrectionists,” or “racists,” and face imprisonment for heretofore unimaginable thought crimes, all in the name of “defending our democracy”? –where our children have become wards of the state and are indoctrinated daily by mountains of fetid radical ideology? –where television and the Internet are employed to fashion a particular jaundiced view of life?—where science is now used to tell us the world will end in, what, ten years, if we don’t take immediate action to curb “the climate crisis”?—where we are cajoled to accept a “great reset” and a “new world order” controlled by unseen elites?

Far too many citizens do not fathom what has occurred and is happening in our society. And those who do understand, whether here in the US or in Europe, are swatted down by the long arm of “Big Brother,” turned into “non-persons,” their reputations destroyed, awakened by armed-to-the-teeth FBI agents before dawn and imprisoned for months or years without trial or the benefit of counsel—“enemies of the regime.” Is this not reminiscent of what occurred in Eastern Europe immediately after the conclusion of World War II, when the Soviets progressively installed socialist dictatorships by successfully eliminating and suppressing any real opposition, all happening why the benevolent USA looked on?

But in some ways our situation is worse than that of those Soviet-occupied countries in the aftermath of the world war. For while the post-war Communists essentially maintained certain inherited standards of behavior, for instance, supporting large families and traditional marriage, our elites continue to push the boundaries of what was once thought normative and acceptable in every area of human endeavor, even under Communism. And the disruption or rejection of the laws of nature and those well-established and valid millennia-old norms of behavior and belief leads to gross and grotesque imbalances and vicious infections in society which distort and eventually destroy it—what I have called in an earlier essay, “the zombification of our culture.”

It’s as if significant portions of American (and European) culture have been possessed by frenetic Evil incarnate…in academia and education, in our media and communications, in politics, and in our entertainment and sports industries. We are now supposed to be like Pavlov’s dog, trained to bark when prompted, to sit when told, in short, to be obedient and receptive subjects of the latest ukase or dogmatic proclamation of government or revelation of its satraps and lapdogs at some formerly-prestigious university or from fashionable glitterati.

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” We now have a usefully intricate anatomy of an undeservedly influential newspaper as it abjectly surrenders to power the sovereignty it is its duty to claim and assert in every day’s editions..”

The Crisis at The New York Times (Patrick Lawrence)

It has been evident to many of us since the genocide in Gaza began Oct. 7 that Israel risked asking too much of those inclined to take its side. The Zionist state would ask what many people cannot give: It would ask them to surrender their consciences, their idea of moral order, altogether their native decency as it murders, starves and disperses a population of 2.3 million while making their land uninhabitable. The Israelis took this risk and they have lost. We are now able to watch videos of Israeli soldiers celebrating as they murder Palestinian mothers and children, as they dance and sing while detonating entire neighborhoods, as they mock Palestinians in a carnival of racist depravity one would have thought beyond what is worst in humanity—and certainly beyond what any Jew would do to another human being. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports, as American media do not, that the Israel Defense Forces covertly sponsor a social media channel disseminating this degenerate material in the cause of maintaining maximum hatred.

It is a psychologically diseased nation that boasts as it inflicts this suffering on The Other that obsesses it. The world is invited—the ultimate in perversity, this—to partake of Israel’s sickness and said, in a Hague courtroom two weeks ago, “No.” Post–Gaza, apartheid Israel is unlikely ever to recover what place it enjoyed, merited or otherwise, in the community of nations. It stands among the pariahs now. The Biden regime took this risk, too, and it has also lost. Its support for the Israelis’ daily brutalities comes at great political cost, at home and abroad, and is tearing America apart—its universities, its courts, its legislatures, its communities—and I would say what pride it still manages to take in itself. When the history of America’s decline as a hegemonic power is written, the Gaza crisis is certain to figure in it as a significant marker in the nation’s descent into a morass of immorality that has already contributed to a collapse of its credibility.

We come to U.S. media — mainstream media, corporate media, legacy media. However you wish to name them, they have gambled and lost, too. Their coverage of the Gaza crisis has been so egregiously and incautiously unbalanced in Israel’s behalf that we might count their derelictions as unprecedented. When the surveys are conducted and the returns are in, their unscrupulous distortions, their countless omissions, and—the worst offense, in my view—their dehumanization of the Palestinians of Gaza will have further damaged their already collapsing credibility. We come, finally, to The New York Times. No medium in America has had further to fall in consequence of its reporting on Israel and Gaza since last October. And the once-but-no-longer newspaper of record, fairly suffocating amid its well-known hubris, falls as we speak. It has erupted, by numerous accounts including implicitly its own, in an internal uproar over reportage from Israel and Gaza so shabby—so transparently negligent—that it, like Israel, may never fully restore its reputation.

Max Blumenthal, editor-in-chief of The Grayzone, described the crisis on Eighth Avenue better than anyone in the Jan. 30 segment of The Hill’s daily webcast, Rising. “We’re looking at one of the biggest media scandals of our time,” he told Briahna Joy Gray and Robby Soave. Indeed. This well captures the gravity of The Times’s willful corruptions in its profligate use of Israeli propaganda, and Blumenthal deserves the microphone to say so. Since late last year The Grayzone has exhaustively investigated The Times’s “investigations” of Hamas’s supposed savagery and Israel’s supposed innocence. This is more than “inside baseball,” as the saying goes. We now have a usefully intricate anatomy of an undeservedly influential newspaper as it abjectly surrenders to power the sovereignty it is its duty to claim and assert in every day’s editions. It would be hard to overstate the implications, for all of us, of what The Grayzone has just brought to light. This is independent journalism at its best reporting on corporate journalism at its worst.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Assange

 

 

Elbalmer

 

 

Sunak vax
https://twitter.com/i/status/1757186168507052239

 

 

Silverback

 

 

Tree planting
https://twitter.com/i/status/1757059356535804164

 

 

Longest truck
https://twitter.com/i/status/1756952347735921042

 

 

Milky Way
https://twitter.com/i/status/1756949552953778634

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 182023
 
 December 18, 2023  Posted by at 9:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  50 Responses »


Edward Hopper Morning sun 1952

 

The Death of Israel (Chris Hedges)
Pentagon Mulls Strikes Against Houthis Amid Red Sea Chaos (Sp.)
‘Lower-Intensity Phase’ Of Gaza War Must Begin Within Weeks – US (Cradle)
Russia Wants To Improve Ties With NATO, Not Fight – Putin (RT)
Russia Is No Threat To NATO – Hungary FM (RT)
I Was Naive About The West – Putin (RT)
German Customs Threatens To Seize Russian Christmas Gifts (RT)
Fico Exposes Dark Reality of Western Plan for Kiev (Sp.)
EU Policies Threaten ‘Destruction’ – Fico (RT)
US Entering 2024 With Tiniest Military Since 1941 (Sp.)
Last of the Caucasians (Jeffries)
‘No One Off the Table’ for Deportation If Trump Re-Elected – Ex-ICE Chief (Sp.)
The Time to Replace Kamala Harris Is Now (Saperstein)
Eric Swalwell and The Politics of Contempt (Turley)
Musk’s Starlink Breaks Through Bureaucracy and Corruption in Africa (ET)

 

 

 

 

Priest

 

 


Free Palestine.

 

 


In Belgium, the green traffic lights become #Free_Gaza while the red lights say #Stop_Israel

 

 


Israel killed 92 journalists so far

 

 

Dore/Tucker

 

 

Larry Johnson

 

 

Nap Scott Ritter Resolution 377

 

 

 

 

Libya

 

 

Vivek AI
https://twitter.com/i/status/1736453257587822834

 

 

Klausi

 

 

 

 

“The vaunted fight against anti-Semitism is a thinly disguised celebration of White Power..”

The Death of Israel (Chris Hedges)

Israel will appear triumphant after it finishes its genocidal campaign in Gaza and the West Bank. Backed by the United States, it will achieve its demented goal. Its murderous rampages and genocidal violence will exterminate or ethnically cleanse Palestinians. Its dream of a state exclusively for Jews, with any Palestinians who remain stripped of basic rights, will be realized. It will revel in its blood-soaked victory. It will celebrate its war criminals. Its genocide will be erased from public consciousness and tossed into Israel’s huge black hole of historical amnesia. Those with a conscience in Israel will be silenced and persecuted. But by the time Israel achieves its decimation of Gaza — Israel is talking about months of warfare — it will have signed its own death sentence.

Its facade of civility, its supposed vaunted respect for the rule of law and democracy, its mythical story of the courageous Israeli military and miraculous birth of the Jewish nation, will lie in ash heaps. Israel’s social capital will be spent. It will be revealed as an ugly, repressive, hate-filled apartheid regime, alienating younger generations of American Jews. Its patron, the United States, as new generations come into power, will distance itself from Israel the way it is distancing itself from Ukraine. Its popular support, already eroded in the U.S., will come from America’s Christianized fascists who see Israel’s domination of ancient Biblical land as a harbinger of the Second Coming and in its subjugation of Arabs a kindred racism and white supremacy.

Palestinian blood and suffering — 10 times the number of children have been killed in Gaza as in two years of war in Ukraine — will pave the road to Israel’s oblivion. The tens, perhaps hundreds, of thousands of ghosts will have their revenge. Israel will become synonymous with its victims the way Turks are synonymous with the Armenians, Germans are with the Namibians and later the Jews, and Serbs are with the Bosniaks. Israel’s cultural, artistic, journalistic and intellectual life will be exterminated. Israel will be a stagnant nation where the religious fanatics, bigots and Jewish extremists who have seized power will dominate public discourse. It will find its allies among other despotic regimes. Israel’s repugnant racial and religious supremacy will be its defining attribute, which is why the most retrograde white supremists in the U.S. and Europe, including philo-semites such as John Hagee, Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene, fervently back Israel. The vaunted fight against anti-Semitism is a thinly disguised celebration of White Power.

Despotisms can exist long after their past due date. But they are terminal. You don’t have to be a Biblical scholar to see that Israel’s lust for rivers of blood is antithetical to the core values of Judaism. The cynical weaponization of the Holocaust, including branding Palestinians as Nazis, has little efficacy when you carry out a live streamed genocide against 2.3 million people trapped in a concentration camp. Nations need more than force to survive. They need a mystique. This mystique provides purpose, civility and even nobility to inspire citizens to sacrifice for the nation. The mystique offers hope for the future. It provides meaning. It provides national identity. When mystiques implode, when they are exposed as lies, a central foundation of state power collapses.

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Houthis means Iran. Really, US?

Pentagon Mulls Strikes Against Houthis Amid Red Sea Chaos (Sp.)

At least four major global shipping companies have suspended operations through the Red Sea in the past 72 hours, citing the threat of attacks by Yemen’s Houthi militiamen. The Houthis began their campaign of ship hijackings, missile and drone attacks in response to Israel’s military operation in Gaza, and Western powers’ support for Tel Aviv. The United States military is considering strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen. That’s according to a report by a US news outlet citing Biden administration officials. The anonymous officials indicated that they have been growing “increasingly concerned” by the Houthis purported efforts to “undermine global trade,” “both to undercut trade to Israel and raise the costs to the US and its allies” for supporting the IDF’s Gaza rampage. Officials further said that Washington is holding back, for now, out of “fears of potentially fueling a broader war against Iran and its proxies,” citing (unsubstantiated) claims that the Yemeni militia group is one such proxy.

A Pentagon spokesman stated publicly this week that the DoD “will not hesitate to take action” where “necessary and appropriate, including to protect against actions in the maritime domain that could threaten our troops,” but this has yet to include attacks on Houthi forces. US and British warships operating in the Red Sea targeted over a dozen suspected Houthi drones over the body of water on Saturday alone. Four major shipping companies, including Danish giant Maersk, Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd, Swiss-headquartered Mediterranean Shipping Company (MCS) and France’s CMA CGM halted operations through the Red Sea Friday and Saturday, citing the Houthi threat. With their proximity to the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait (lit. ‘Gate of Tears’) linking the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea, the Houthis have the ability to restrict access to a key global strategic bottleneck accounting for up to 10 percent of the world’s oil trade, and up to 20 percent of global shipping.

The Strait, which along with Egypt’s Suez Canal serves as a key gateway for maritime trade between Europe and Asia, threatens to turn into a genuine Gate of Tears for companies, businessmen and consumers worldwide amid the Houthis’ missile, drone and hijacking campaign. Oman stepped in to mediate talks between the Yemeni militia group and “international parties” over the weekend to try to put a halt to its Red Sea attacks.Houthi representative Mohammed Abdul-Salam confirmed that the Oman-mediated talks were taking place, but reiterated that the militia’s position was that “we cannot stand idly by in the face of attacks on the Gaza Strip, the crippling siege, and the complete ban on the entry of foodstuffs, medicine and even drinking water into the territory.” The Houthis’ stance on the Palestinian issue was “non-negotiable,” the spokesman said.

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Yeah, just carry on.

‘Lower-Intensity Phase’ Of Gaza War Must Begin Within Weeks – US (Cradle)

During a meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the Israeli war cabinet on 14 December, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan renewed Washington’s call that the “lower-intensity phase” of Israel’s assault on Gaza must begin within weeks. Israel has to “transition to the next lower intensity phase in a matter of weeks, not months,” Sullivan said, according to two US and Israeli officials who spoke with Axios. “[This is not] a deadline, and we understand the campaign must and will continue, but in a lower intensity manner,” the US official said. “Sullivan pressed Netanyahu and the members of the war cabinet on the timetable and details on planning for when the low-intensity phase of the war is going to start and what it will look like,” the White House official added.

An Israeli official said there was “no pressure” from Sullivan but instead “concern” over civilian casualties and the displacement of Palestinians. During the meeting, Sullivan also told Netanyahu and the war cabinet that the US “wants to move toward talking more seriously about what happens after the war, stressing that it will make it easier for the US to maintain support for the military operation.” The US recently said Israel has been more open to discussions about what post-war Gaza will look like. However, Netanyahu remains staunchly opposed to a US-proposed plan that would see the Palestinian Authority (PA) assume control over the enclave after the war.

During his visit to Israel, Sullivan also met with the Mossad chief, David Barnea. According to a report by Hebrew outlet Channel 12, the two discussed possibilities for a new prisoner-exchange deal between Hamas and Israel. “The American administration is currently discussing several initiatives with the two parties, Hamas and Israel, to renew the agreement to release hostages and prisoners between them,” Channel 12 said. The talks come just days after Saudi media reported that a European capital is hosting secret negotiations between Israeli and Qatari delegations for a new prisoner exchange deal.

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“We had the most open-hearted, cordial relations… We had no problems, but now are going to, because we are going to create the Leningrad military district and deploy certain military units there. Why did they need that?”

Russia Wants To Improve Ties With NATO, Not Fight – Putin (RT)

Russia does not have the slightest reason to attack NATO, President Vladimir Putin has said, adding that the US-led military bloc is well aware that Moscow has no plans to do so. In an interview with Russian journalist Pavel Zarubin aired on Sunday, Putin was asked to comment on remarks by US President Joe Biden, who said earlier this month that Moscow might attack the alliance if it prevails in the Ukraine conflict. The Russian leader dismissed his American counterpart’s speculation as “nonsense.” “I think that President Biden understands that this is just a figure of speech to justify his misguided Russian policy,” he said, explaining that he does not believe Moscow’s “strategic defeat” would be in the interests of the US. Putin went on to say that the president of the United States – which he called the “master” of NATO – surely knows that “Russia has no interest… geopolitically, economically or militarily… in waging war against NATO.”

Moscow, he added, has no claims on the territory of the bloc’s member states and only seeks to improve ties with them. However, the West’s political course is making this increasingly difficult, Putin noted, citing the example of Finland, which applied to join NATO after the start of the Ukraine conflict and became a full-fledged member in April. Russia has no disputes with its Nordic neighbor, Putin said, noting that the last territorial claims were settled after the end of WWII. “We had the most open-hearted, cordial relations… We had no problems, but now are going to, because we are going to create the Leningrad military district and deploy certain military units there. Why did they need that?” The president added that Russia has no quarrel with other NATO states either. “It is they who are artificially creating problems with us because they don’t want Russia as a rival.”

Russian officials have repeatedly described relations between Moscow and Washington as being at an all-time low, blaming the situation on the US’ support for Ukraine, as well as the country’s stance on arms control. Earlier this month, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the two powers are balancing on the brink of a hot war, with the last similar stand-off dating back to the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s.

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“I don’t think that Russia would attack any NATO member state..”

Russia Is No Threat To NATO – Hungary FM (RT)

Russia poses no immediate threat to NATO, including to those members of the bloc located close to its borders, because any attack would trigger an overwhelming response, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has suggested. Speaking in an interview with French broadcaster LCI, part of which was uploaded on Szijjarto’s Facebook page on Sunday, the minister was asked to comment on the warning of EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who suggested that after the end of the Ukraine conflict, Russia would threaten NATO countries. “I don’t think that Russia would attack any NATO member state,” he replied, explaining that most EU members are also part of the alliance. According to Szijjarto, the US-led military bloc is “the strongest security and defense alliance in the world.”

He cited Article 5 of the bloc’s treaty, which stipulates that if any NATO nation comes under attack, it will be interpreted as an attack all members. “I don’t think that anyone, not only Russia, would risk any attack against any NATO member state,” he stressed. When pressed on why the Baltic states and Poland disagree, the minister explained that some countries have “different histories and different geographic locations.” “I don’t know what would be my position if I was in the geographic location of the Baltics [or Poland],” he said, noting that Hungary has always respected their position and never tried to challenge it. “This kind of respect should be given to every position of every member state. My problem is that this respect is very rarely given to the Hungarian position. This is unfair and weakens the European Union,” he added.

Szijjarto’s remarks come on the heels of comments by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has said that his country does not have any intention of attacking NATO. Putin told Russian journalist Pavel Zarubin in an interview aired on Sunday, that the US-led bloc itself is well aware that the Kremlin harbors no such plans. “Russia has no interest… geopolitically, economically or militarily… in waging war against NATO,” Putin stated, dismissing the recent claims by US President Joe Biden that Moscow might attack if it wins the Ukraine conflict as “nonsense.” “I think that President Biden understands that this is just a figure of speech to justify his misguided Russian policy,” the Russian President suggested.

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“After the collapse of the Soviet Union they thought they just had to wait a little longer, and then they would break Russia apart as well.”

I Was Naive About The West – Putin (RT)

The West was determined to break Russia apart after the collapse of the Soviet Union, believing that multiple states based on the country’s ruins would be too weak to resist outside influence, President Vladimir Putin has said. In an interview with Russian journalist Pavel Zarubin aired on Sunday, Putin admitted that he was a “naive” leader early in his political career even though he had a solid background in Soviet intelligence. The Russian president said that he had believed that the West understood that Russia had become a completely different country after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and that there were no further ideological differences warranting a serious stand-off. According to Putin, even when he saw Western efforts to support terrorism and separatism in Russia two decades ago, he thought that it was the “inertia of thinking” that was to blame.

“They had just got used to fighting the Soviet Union,” he believed. In reality, however, the West was deliberately trying to undercut Russia, the president said. “After the collapse of the Soviet Union they thought they just had to wait a little longer, and then they would break Russia apart as well.” According to Putin, the West saw no need for the existence of the world’s largest country, with its large population. “It would be better, as suggested by… [former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew] Brzezinski, to divide it into five parts, and subjugate them one by one.” This alleged Western plan, he explained, hinged on the premise that several smaller states “would have no weight or voice of their own, and would have no chance to defend their national interests in the way that the united Russian state has.”

The Russian leader was apparently referring to a 1997 article penned by Brzezinski, an ardent supporter of Soviet containment who died in 2017, which suggested at the time that Moscow should abandon “a futile effort to regain its status as a global power.” The former White House adviser also opined that “a loosely confederated Russia, composed of a European Russia, a Siberian Republic, and a Far Eastern Republic” would have an easier time fostering economic relations with its neighbors. Putin has repeatedly said that the West was planning to split Russia into several states, warning that the Russian people could cease to exist if this happens, and naming its continued unity as the key condition for the country’s success.

Shaman
https://twitter.com/i/status/1736083270205378605

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“..even such innocent items such as books, toys and perfume sent from Russia will likely not make it to their German recipients..”

German Customs Threatens To Seize Russian Christmas Gifts (RT)

Germany may confiscate gift parcels sent from Russia ahead of this year’s festive season, the country’s Federal Customs Service announced in statement on its website this week. According to the statement, gift parcels are regulated by the same sanctions legislation as any imports, as they may contain sanctioned goods such as paper, pulp, precious stones and metals, cigarettes, chemical and plastic products, cosmetics, etc. “There is no exception to the prohibitions covered by an Annex XXI to the Sanctions Regulation for gift consignments sent from a private individual in Russia to another private individual in the customs territory of the European Union,” the statement read, signaling that even such innocent items such as books, toys and perfume sent from Russia will likely not make it to their German recipients.

Gifts are not the first personal items belonging to Russians that have not been allowed in Germany. Previously, the country’s customs officials warned that any personal belongings of Russians falling under sanctions could be confiscated at the border, including smartphones, laptops, suitcases, portables, clothing and even toiletries. Cars have also been subject to the embargo: there have been several incidents this year when German customs officers seized cars bearing a Russian license plate, which travelers brought across the German border. Several other EU member states have also been confiscating Russians’ personal items at border crossings. Most began doing so after the European Commission issued a sanctions clarification in September that condoned such measures.

Last month, the European Parliament urged EU nations to stop the practice and called on the executive body to “review its interpretation of sanctions leading to the seizure and confiscation of items and vehicles for personal use only.” In a joint motion, lawmakers warned that “such over compliance discredits the goal and instrument of sanctions.” However, the recommendation was not legally binding and has not yet been taken up by the European Commission. Moscow has repeatedly slammed the practice of taking away the belongings of ordinary Russians as illegal, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova calling it outright “racist.”

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“When major EU members calculate the hundreds of billions of euros that Ukraine’s EU membership would cost, the decision made in Brussels will remain a political gesture for many years..”

Fico Exposes Dark Reality of Western Plan for Kiev (Sp.)

Ukraine and its citizens have simply become a bargaining chip in the geopolitical squabble, says Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico. “In fact, most of the member states of the European Union are obsessed with Ukraine and hatred towards Russia, which leads to peculiar views that are undoubtedly propagated in the European media — that the war in Ukraine should continue to weaken Russia,” Fico said in his video address published on social media. The Slovak leader said that obsession was linked to unfounded scaremongering claims that Russia might attack a NATO member “In reality, Ukraine is only being used for geopolitical purposes to weaken Russia both economically and internationally,” Fico added. The Slovak prime minister also viewed Ukraine’s possible accession to the EU as nothing more than a political gesture to cover up inconvenient realities on the battlefield.

He emphasized that it will take years before Ukraine can realistically join the EU as the country is not ready both in terms of democratic functioning and the fight against corruption — putting the European Union in a hopeless situation. “When major EU members calculate the hundreds of billions of euros that Ukraine’s EU membership would cost, the decision made in Brussels will remain a political gesture for many years,” Fico added. He believes that Ukraine is simply a ‘golden goose’ for Western companies involved in the arms trade — regardless of the human cost. “I fear that, in the name of these geopolitical goals, the West will continue to fight with Russia until the last Ukrainian soldier, and we are not far from that,” Fico said. On Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed as “complete nonsense” recent comments by US President Joe Biden about a possible Russian attack on NATO.

Putin stressed that Russia has no interest in waging war against NATO countries, saying there was no political, economic or military reasons to do so. Moscow has previously argued that Kiev intends to continue fighting “to the last Ukrainian” in the interests of Western powers. Russia earlier warned NATO countries against further arms shipments to Ukraine. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said any cargo containing weapons for Ukraine would be a legitimate target for Russia. The Russian Foreign Ministry has previously accused NATO countries of “playing with fire” by supplying weapons to Ukraine. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that arming Ukraine with Western weapons would not contribute to the success of Russian-Ukrainian negotiations and would only have a negative impact. Lavrov charged that the US and NATO are directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine, “not only through arms supplies, but also by training personnel… on the territory of the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and other countries.”

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“if our exclusion from the international party is to be a price for pursuing a genuine left-wing agenda in Slovakia and voicing sovereign opinions, we are prepared to pay such a price.”

EU Policies Threaten ‘Destruction’ – Fico (RT)

The EU’s backing of Ukraine, sanctions on Russia, and “fanatic” environmental policies are “destructive for Europe,” yet Brussels does not tolerate discussion of these issues, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said on Saturday. “If we can’t tell the truth at the Brussels table that, for example, anti-Russian sanctions didn’t work, that further destruction of Ukraine and killing Ukrainians is going nowhere, that the fanatic implementation of the Green Deal is killing our economies, that 20 thousand casualties in the Gaza Strip cannot be overlooked just because Israel causes them, we are on a slippery slope that can be not only politically, but also economically destructive for Europe,” Fico wrote in a post on Facebook. The Slovak PM has cut off his own country’s military aid to Kiev and vowed to block Brussels’ next sanctions package if it includes an embargo on Russian nuclear fuel.

While Fico did not veto the European Council’s decision on Thursday to open accession talks with Ukraine, he has dismissed the vote as “a political decision that has nothing to do with reality,” and asserted that Kiev “is absolutely unprepared to open the negotiations.” Fico’s position on Ukraine’s membership bid is at odds with that of most EU leaders, who hailed Thursday’s decision as “a breakthrough” and “a clear signal of support” for Kiev, in the words of Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Apart from Fico, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been the EU’s staunchest critic of the bloc’s sanctions policy and its push to admit Ukraine. Orban has referred to Ukraine as “one of the most corrupt countries in the world,” and called the bloc’s leaders “senseless and irrational” for opening membership talks with a country involved in an active conflict, with an economy entirely dependent on foreign aid to function.

Before the conflict in Ukraine began, Orban regularly clashed with the EU over his hardline immigration policies. Earlier this year he accused Brussels of “raping” Hungary and Poland by introducing legislation that he said would “relocate migrants to Hungary by force.” “I respect every politician who can sovereignly stand up for the interests of his own nation, because today in Europe discussion is more of an exception than a rule,” Fico wrote on Facebook. “And Viktor Orban is the exception.” The Slovak leader said that he would take a similar approach when negotiating with the bloc’s officials, and would not seek to “collect personal praise from the West.” Fico’s position on the fighting in Ukraine was a key factor behind his party’s suspension from its European parliamentary faction, the Party of European Socialists, in October. Responding to the suspension, Fico declared that “if our exclusion from the international party is to be a price for pursuing a genuine left-wing agenda in Slovakia and voicing sovereign opinions, we are prepared to pay such a price.”

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Just blame TikTok.

US Entering 2024 With Tiniest Military Since 1941 (Sp.)

The United States will ring in the new year with its smallest active duty footprint since 1941 – the year Washington abandoned its non-interventionist foreign policy and joined the Second World War. That’s according to military strength levels outlined by the NDAA, which showed a drop in active duty personnel to 1,284,500 service members, from 1.39 million in the previous year, as recruiters face growing difficulty enticing young people to join. Observers blame a variety of factors for falling recruitment numbers, from declining confidence in the US military (from 70 percent in 2018 to about 46 percent now), to growing incidence of health problems among young people, to concerns among conservatives about the military’s increasingly “woke” culture, to falling morale in the wake of decades of illegal wars abroad.

DoD acting undersecretary for personnel and readiness Ashish Vazirani told lawmakers this week that the military had recruited about 41,000 troops less than planned over the course of 2023. “That number understates [sic] the challenge before us as the services lowered end-strength goals in recent years, in part because of the difficult recruiting environment,” Vazirani said. Citing “low trust in institutions” being a key problem among young people – specifically people from Generation Z born between 1997 and 2012, Vazirani stressed that America’s all-volunteer armed forces are presently facing “one of the greatest challenges since inception” in 1973 and the end of the draft. Some officials have proposed novel solutions for resolving the drought in recruits, with Democratic Senator Dick Durban telling his Senate colleagues earlier this month that illegal immigrants flooding into the country could be conscripted to fight in the wars Americans don’t want to.

“Yes, we need order at the border. Yes, we need to have changes in the laws that reflect the reality of the overwhelming numbers from all over the world who are coming to our shores and our border. But there’s also an incredible demand for legal immigration into this country even now. The presiding officer, my colleague from the state of Illinois has legislation which addresses one aspect of that. Her bill…says that if you are an undocumented person in this country, and you can pass the physical and the required background tests, you can serve in our military and if you do it honorably, we will make you citizens of the United States,” Durban said on the Senate floor during a debate on immigration and border security. “Do we need that? Do you know what the recruiting numbers are in the Army, and the Navy, and the Air Force?” Durban asked. “They can’t reach their quotas each month. They can’t find enough people to join our military forces, and there are those who are undocumented who want the chance to serve and risk their lives for this country. Should we give them the chance? I think we should.”

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“Nonwhites, especially Hispanics, just as often consider pregnancy great news. They think of the baby as a blessing. The ultimate blessing.”

Last of the Caucasians (Jeffries)

How does a “Great Replacement” work exactly? Well, it would be impossible without the cooperation of those who are being replaced. White females, especially, were conditioned into thinking that motherhood, particularly when combined with household drudgery, was something to be avoided. The tremendous increase in casual sex, and the availability of abortions. The channeling of the maternal instinct towards animals. Feminism created the “career woman” whose job, not family, was her top priority. Males enjoyed being the first generation to have the opportunity to have multiple sex partners. I knew very few males from my generation who didn’t pay for at least one, if not more abortions. With great relief. At the same time, the White nuclear family was belittled and demonized in films and on television. Actors playing adult children were shown as being ostracized from their parents, and dreading the occasional interaction with them.

We went from Ward Cleaver to Al Bundy in a very short period of time. Dysfunction was the norm in these productions, and it should be no surprise that those raised on this propaganda began living it out in real life. Life imitates art. Literally every family I know now is riddled with dysfunction. If you lose respect for the nuclear family, there is little reason for you to want children, which are the foundation of the family unit. I fell prey to this a bit myself. I love children, and ideally wanted a huge family. But I limited myself to the then “new norm” of two kids. As a White boomer, I’d been conditioned to think “responsibly.” Children cost a lot. Can we really afford them? How many White couples have not asked themselves this question? When a White woman becomes pregnant by a White man, it’s often considered bad news, especially if they aren’t married. They mull over the options, and often choose abortion.

Nonwhites, especially Hispanics, just as often consider pregnancy great news. They think of the baby as a blessing. The ultimate blessing. Their religious faith, which is usually Catholic, is stronger than mass media messaging. My very large family is full of middle-aged White females with no children. I’ve heard any number of White relatives proclaim that they didn’t want children. Remember, almost all of them were raised Catholics, where huge families were common. I don’t understand this mindset, but my libertarian impulse is to say, fine- that’s your decision. But the problem is this decision didn’t happen naturally, at least in the vast majority of cases. They were brainwashed, propagandized, into thinking this way. It’s an unnatural way to think. And no other race thinks this way. Of course, because so many Whites accepted the programming, White birth rates began to plummet. Which was the foundation for the Great Replacement.

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“..the cartels are “making more money than they have in their entire existence..”

‘No One Off the Table’ for Deportation If Trump Re-Elected – Ex-ICE Chief (Sp.)

Former acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director Tom Homan has lambasted the Biden administration’s border policies for generating the ongoing migrant crisis. Homan led ICE during the Trump administration between 2017 and 2018. He speculated in a US media interview that if the ex-President were to return after the 2024 elections for another stint at the White House, he could help launch a “historic” deportation program. No illegal immigrant would be “off the table,” Homan stressed. Homan quoted official data showing that under the Biden administration, deportations had dropped from a high of 267,258 in 2019 to 72,177 in 2022. According to the former agency chief, the Biden administrations border polices have in effect “enriched and emboldened” the people-trafficking cartels. The ex-ICE chief weighed in on the recent news that US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) had issued a memo last week warning agents to “exercise extreme caution and should report any possible armed subjects approaching the border with possible explosive devices”.

The internal officer safety alert followed discovery of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by agents stationed at a Tucson border post. 10 more IEDs were seized by the Mexican military after a gunfight between rival cartels close to a border fence gap, over control of the area increasingly being used for weapons, drugs and people smuggling. Cartels in Mexico have been using IEDs since 2010 against both rival groups and the Mexican military, Homan noted. He lamented that the cartels are “making more money than they have in their entire existence,” smuggling illegal immigrants and drugs. The gangs are well-trained, possess sophisticated weaponry and “meet all the definitions of terrorist organizations,” he warned, adding that “US special intelligence and special ops are the only means of taking them out.” “We have to take action, this is a serious threat to the security of the United States,” Homan said.

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No, let her run against Trump. Much more fun.

The Time to Replace Kamala Harris Is Now (Saperstein)

2024 is going to consist of an attack on Biden for being too old and frail, combined with an attack on his VP, who would become president if Biden died. The attack on Biden will be simple: endless, repeated videos of him slurring words, misstating facts, stumbling, looking lost, forgetting names — all the classic signs of dementia. The Republicans ignored Kamala in 2020, but they won’t in 2024 because of Biden’s age. They will be shouting from the rooftops, “Hey, people, this person could become your President!” Remember that the person we are talking about entered the 2020 primaries polling 18% and, after four debates, fell to 6% and dropped out. I can’t remember any presidential aspirant falling so far, so fast, so there should be no argument Kamala is a truly terrible candidate. But there is more, much more.

My career was as a trial lawyer in the SF Bay Area. The mayor and later Speaker of the California Assembly, Willie Brown, was a personal friend and political supporter of trial lawyers. I loved Willie. He was smart, politically gifted — he supported everything I ever asked him for — and funny. Willie defined the word “dapper.” We’d go shopping at the same store, Wilkes Bashford, where he was the King. He would always tell the staff, “Now, you take care of my white buddy Guy. Whites are not blessed with my good taste, so help the poor boy.” Willie had more charm than ten white boys. Willie was married and estranged from his wife. It was well-known he had a young — 30 years younger — black girlfriend. He didn’t even try to hide it. The girlfriend was Kamala Harris, then a nondescript assistant city attorney.

Next thing I knew, Kamala was running for District Attorney, supported by Willie’s powerful political machine against the then DA, Terence Hallinan, a progressive. Willie’s machine won and Kamala became San Francisco DA. Next next thing I knew, assistant San Francisco DAs were calling me and asking, “Where is Kamala?” They knew I was a friend of Willie’s. Apparently, she wasn’t showing up for work. A few months later, I read that Kamala had been read the riot act by a solid Democratic judge for not maintaining good chain of custody for evidence. “Chain of custody” is a legal term which means that the evidence you submit to the court is that same uncontaminated evidence you seized at the crime scene. Before I became a civil rights class action lawyer, I did 50 criminal jury trials, and chain of custody was never an issue because the DA would do his/her job competently and insure that the correct evidence was presented to the court. But that was before Kamala’s laziness set new standards.

Kamala was hauled before three liberal judges who were outraged by her sloppiness. In response, Kamala lied under oath to all of them, trying to blame it on the police department crime lab, but that was total bullshit. When an attorney presents evidence to a court, she or he vouches for it. Kamala should have been disbarred as a result, but San Francisco is a liberal “old boys” network, and liberals protect even lying, unethical DAs. When the dust cleared, 1,100 FELONIES had to be dismissed — and by Democratic judges. In the history of American jurisprudence, I don’t think this has ever happened. Just think of what it means to have 1,100 felonies dismissed for defective chain-of-custody. Harris was willing to allow 1,100 people to go to prison for years because she wouldn’t admit her errors.

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“..the House wants it this way. Witnesses, even a president’s son, do not get to choose how or when they appear..”

Eric Swalwell and The Politics of Contempt (Turley)

This week, millions of people were glued to their televisions as Hunter Biden defied a House subpoena in a press conference with the Capitol building in the background. It was an act of legal self-immolation as the president’s son engaged in flagrant contempt of Congress, a federal crime. Stranger still was that behind Hunter was standing his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, who watched as his client effectively begged to be criminally charged. But it was a familiar figure behind Lowell that was the most incongruous: Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.). At first, one had to wonder whether Swalwell had simply wandered by the presser on the way to his office. But the Biden team set up the conference on the Senate side — out of the reach of the House sergeant at arms, who might not have reacted well to an act of open contempt of Congress on his side of the Capitol. We later learned that Swalwell was not there simply as a pedestrian, but as a participant.

It was Swalwell who helped orchestrate the defiance of his own House and facilitated an alleged federal crime. As first reported by the Washington Examiner, Swalwell used his official position to reserve the space for the press conference and lent his assistance to Hunter in refusing to appear before the House committees investigating his father, President Biden. It was a curious role for a former House impeachment manager to play in assisting in the obstruction of an impeachment inquiry of three House committees. Of course, Swalwell has argued for the rounding up of anyone who aided and abetted the unlawful conduct during the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021. Indeed, in 2021 Swalwell sponsored a resolution exploring whether dozens of Republican colleagues could be expelled under the 14th Amendment for aiding and abetting an insurrection by “making unsubstantiated claims of systematic election and voter fraud.”

Now, Swalwell was standing in front of the same building aiding and abetting both a potential crime and the obstruction of congressional proceedings. Hunter was not just committing contempt of Congress; he was parading his contempt with Swalwell as the drum major. What followed him was contempt on steroids. All Hunter had to do was walk into the building behind him to appear in the deposition and plead the 5th Amendment to refuse to testify, as others have done. The only option he did not have was to refuse to appear. Swalwell insisted that it was the fault of the House for insisting on a closed-door deposition, which he portrayed as outrageous. It was another hypocritical moment since the Democrats insisted on the same process for witnesses, including those who appeared before the Jan. 6th committee.

It was also how Swalwell and his colleagues handled the investigation of the Ukrainian telephone call by Trump. Indeed, Swalwell participated in closed depositions and then gave interviews after they were held in private. There are various reasons for closed deposition preceding public hearings. First, these depositions allow professional staff to conduct questioning in a methodical and professional manner. In a public hearing, questioning is conducted by members who are often ill-equipped for substantive inquiries. Second, Hunter must be asked about an array of financial documents and communications involving names and privacy protected information. In a public hearing, the use of such documents would trigger redactions and interruptions in their use. Third, these depositions allow for in-depth questioning on transactions and communications. In a public hearing, members are confined to a five-minute rule that guarantees questioning cannot achieve much, if any, depth.

Both Hunter and Swalwell likely knew that, and that is precisely why they wanted a public hearing. Notably, after saying that he wanted to answer all questions in public, Hunter then refused to answer any questions in public put forward by the press. The fourth and most important reason for the deposition is that the House wants it this way. Witnesses, even a president’s son, do not get to choose how or when they appear. Two Trump associates – Steven Bannon and Peter Navarro – refused to appear in the House and were quickly held in contempt by a majority of the House, including Swalwell. Indeed, President Biden himself has maintained that defying subpoenas cannot be tolerated. When subpoenas were issued to Republicans during the House’s Jan. 6 investigation, Biden declared: “I hope that the committee goes after them and holds them accountable criminally.”

[..] The issue is whether the House has a right to demand answers in this investigation. One member was particularly passionate in 2018 in calling for contempt sanctions against Steve Bannon: “If they don’t force him to answer legitimate questions, they will be ceding Congress’ authority, and we’ll be setting a very, very dangerous precedent that people can just tell Congress what they will and will not answer, and will show no resolve to use our subpoena power to get to the bottom of what’s going on.” That was Eric Swalwell.

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Nice project.

Musk’s Starlink Breaks Through Bureaucracy and Corruption in Africa (ET)

Elon Musk’s revolutionary satellite internet service, Starlink, is spreading across Africa, flying in the face of repressive and corrupt regimes that are trying to block it. In some cases, African companies are “illegally” importing and selling the equipment to allow users to bypass expensive and often state-controlled internet service providers (ISPs), and to use the cheaper and faster connectivity provided by the world’s richest man. Many Africans living in countries where authorities haven’t yet granted regulatory licenses to Starlink, which is a division of SpaceX, are also accessing its services using signal-boosting equipment. The signal boosters enable users to link to a SpaceX “ground station” in Nigeria, which in January became the first African country to grant regulatory approval to Starlink services. “The tech revolution is happening at a pace that most African governments just cannot keep up with,” said Arthur Goldstuck, founder and CEO of World Wide Worx, one of Africa’s leading tech firms.

“The genie is out the bottle. The sooner they realize that they can’t control the uncontrollable, the better for them and the better for their people,” he said. Mr. Goldstuck said Africa is the world’s fastest-growing, but most “technologically-starved,” continent. “Data is expensive in Africa, and you can’t progress in the modern world when data is expensive. So demand for well-priced and speedy connectivity has exploded. Musk is feeding this demand,” he told The Epoch Times. “Some governments don’t like this, because they want to control everything, and mostly they want to control money and information flows.” Starlink, operated by Mr. Musk’s SpaceX spacecraft manufacturer and satellite operator, has a constellation of thousands of satellites in low orbit, delivering the world’s “most advanced broadband internet system” to 60 countries, according to its website.

Mr. Goldstuck said “progressive” African governments that encourage private enterprise and respect its ability to help develop their countries have “no problem” with Starlink and recognize its value. “It offers high-speed streaming, video calls, and remote working, all of which contribute a lot to economic efficiency,” he said. Officially, Starlink is available in only seven of Africa’s 54 countries: Benin, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Zambia. Another 25 are scheduled to go online in 2024. “Look at where [the] powers-that-be are trying to prevent the entrance of Starlink: It’s war-torn countries like Sudan, Libya, and Somalia. It’s repressive regimes like Congo and Equatorial Guinea, that restrict access to information,” Mr. Goldstuck said. “And it’s governments that have vested interests in keeping data expensive, and that have unreasonable rules designed to benefit political elites, like South Africa.”

Some African governments slap heavy taxes on private telecom services and infrastructure. For decades, the data needed to access the internet in Africa has been controlled by just a few multinational mobile telecommunications corporations, including South Africa’s MTN Group and Vodacom, and Kenya’s Safaricom. Their data packages are prohibitively expensive. In July 2022, research by British technology company Cable, published in Mobile Magazine, showed that six of the 10 countries with the most expensive data are in sub-Saharan Africa.In the tiny, mineral-rich kleptocracy of Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa, one gigabyte (GB) costs almost $50, the highest price for data in the world. In Chad, 1 GB costs $24. Until Starlink’s recent arrival, 1 GB was priced at $26 in Malawi.

An August 2022 report by global statistics service Statista calculated the average cost of 1 GB of mobile data in sub-Saharan Africa at $4.47. A one-time hardware and installation cost of Starlink kits, which contain a motorized satellite dish, assorted cables, a metal tripod stand, a power adapter, and a Wi-Fi router, is about the same everywhere: $550. But basic monthly subscription prices in the developed world, compared with those in Africa, are very different. In the United States, for example, Starlink’s monthly service fee is $110. In the African countries that officially have Starlink, the average price is about $45. This $45 package allows users to download 1,000 GB of data, meaning 1GB costs Africans less than $0.50—nine times cheaper than the average in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Plimer

 

 

Venus

 

 

Eagle

 

 

Visual expression
https://twitter.com/i/status/1736344236407063022

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Sep 072023
 
 September 7, 2023  Posted by at 9:09 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  38 Responses »


Edgar Degas Dancers in Blue 1895

 

White House Rejects ‘Ridiculous Claim’ That Staffers Treat Biden ‘Like a Baby’ (Sp.)
Kamala Harris ‘Ready To Take Over’ As President If Biden Can’t Do Job (ZH)
Blinken’s Visit to Kiev a Sign of Trouble in Washington – Larry Johnson (Sp.)
$100 Mln Per Day on Ukraine ‘A Lot of Money in Minds of US People (Sp.)
‘World Majority’ Sees Ukraine Conflict As Declining NATO Power (Lukyanov )
Majority Of Russians Support Turning Away From West (RT)
Mitch McConnell Warns US Not To ‘Go Wobbly’ On Ukraine (RT)
Prigozhin’s Three Strikes – Khodorkovsky, Berezovsky, Last Africa Trip (Helmer)
Bucharest Denies Ukrainian Claim That Russian Drone Hit Romania (Antiwar)
Putin, MbS Note Cut in Oil Production Will Stabilize Market (Sp.)
Eyesore Of The Month September 2023 (Jim Kunstler)
Donald Trump’s Georgia Trial Expected To Take Four Months, 150 Witnesses (BBC)
Debunking The Lies In ADL’s Response To Elon (Nawfal)
Facebook Files: White House Lies About ‘Disinformation Dozen’ (ZH)
French Court Turns Down Political Asylum Request For Assange (RT)
CDC Warns Of New ‘Stealth’ COVID Variant: Test Negative, No Symptoms (BBee)

 

 

Real Cover, May 2012

 

 

Tucker SInclair

 

 

2016

 

 

 

 

TuckerWhitmer

 

 

Macgregor believes the Russians have simply decided to wait it out. In his opinion, European economies are on the brink of collapse, and their time is running out. Europe faces not only a severe recession but also catastrophic fuel shortages due to the winter. “I think the Russians have decided: let’s wait a bit until everything falls apart on its own over there. Putin is nothing like us. Putin wants to live peacefully with the West, peacefully with the Ukrainians.

But we say, we don’t want to live in peace with Mr. Putin. That’s where the problem lies,” the Colonel believes. “They are quietly building up troops. They are recruiting 750,000 to reach a force of 1.2 million. Everything we wanted to prevent with this war is happening in reverse. We have inadvertently given life to a force we always feared,” Macgregor concluded.

 

 

Ukraine draft

 

 

Russia MFA Spokeswoman Zakharova: “Since February 2022, over 5 million people have come to our country from Ukraine… Reasonable people who did not want to have anything to do with Kiev’s neo-Nazis, understand perfectly well that in Russia they can build a future for themselves and their children without being targeted for more psychological, gender-based or political experiments.”

 

 

Steven Donziger: BREAKING: In one of the great modern abuses of police power, prosecutors in Georgia filed a bogus RICO case against 61 Cop City activists. Pathetic attempt to silence a powerful movement. The real racketeers are officials who violate the law to persecute their own citizens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Rather than own his failure,” Foer writes, “[Biden] fumed to friends about how he was treated like a toddler. Was John Kennedy ever babied like that?”

White House Rejects ‘Ridiculous Claim’ That Staffers Treat Biden ‘Like a Baby’ (Sp.)

At 80, Joe Biden is the oldest person to ever serve as president of the United States. The first book covering his time as president is nearing its release and published excerpts have already begun to alarm some observers. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre recently said claims that US President Joe Biden is treated like a baby by White House staff are “ridiculous.” The comments came during a Tuesday press briefing after Jean-Pierre was asked about excerpts from a new White House biography by author Franklin Foer, titled The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden’s White House and the Struggle for America’s Future. In the book, Foer writes that Biden complained to friends about being treated like a “toddler” after White House staffers had to walk back statements he made about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Rather than own his failure,” Foer writes, “[Biden] fumed to friends about how he was treated like a toddler. Was John Kennedy ever babied like that?” When asked why the White House staff treats the president of the United States like a baby, Jean-Pierre called the assertion “ridiculous.” “No one treats the United States president, the commander-in-chief, like a baby. That’s ridiculous, that is a ridiculous claim,” she said. The press secretary further added that the White House had seen the excerpts with more context and asserted that the quote was making the “opposite overall point” and lauded the value of his “experience and wisdom. In March 2022 during a speech in Warsaw, Poland, Biden discussed the conflict in Ukraine.

During his speech, he made comments about Putin that seemed to advocate for regime change, “for god’s sake this man cannot remain in power,” Biden proclaimed. White House officials quickly walked back the statement, claiming: “The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors in the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.” Foer asserts in his book that Biden “knew that he had erred, but then resented his aids for creating the impression that they had to clean up his mess.”

A late August poll indicated 75% of registered voters believe Biden is too old to run for a second term, including two-thirds of Democrats. Another poll showed 70% of Americans do not want Biden to run for a second term, with half citing age as a major factor. Foer said during a media tour for the book that it “wouldn’t be a total shock” if Biden dropped out of the 2024 presidential race. Biden has downplayed his age as an impediment to his performance as president. “I can’t even say I guess how old I am, I can’t even say the number. It doesn’t register with me.”

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“.. I see how his ability to understand issues and weave through complex issues in a way that no one else can to make smart and important decisions on behalf of the American people have played out..”

Kamala Harris ‘Ready To Take Over’ As President If Biden Can’t Do Job (ZH)

Vice President Kamala Harris is ready to serve word salad to the world as POTUS, should Joe Biden – the oldest president in US history at 80, croak or is otherwise unable to effectively govern (so, now?). “Joe Biden is going to be fine, so that is not going to come to fruition,” Harris told AP in an interview published Wednesday. “But let us also understand that every vice president — every vice president — understands that when they take the oath they must be very clear about the responsibility they may have to take over the job of being president.” “I’m not different,” Harris added. According to a Monday Wall Street Journal poll, 60% of registered voters don’t think Biden is “mentally up for the job” of being president, while 73% say Biden is just too old to be president.

Meanwhile, a Harvard Caps/Harris poll from May found that 61% of voters don’t think Biden would even make it through another term in office. If Biden wins reelection, he will be 82 at the time of his second inauguration and 86 at the conclusion of his term. The current oldest president at the end of his term was Ronald Reagan, who left office in 1989 at the age of 77. In the AP interview, Harris argued that Biden “delivers” when he’s in the Oval Office. “I see him every day. A substantial amount of time we spend together is in the Oval Office, where I see how his ability to understand issues and weave through complex issues in a way that no one else can to make smart and important decisions on behalf of the American people have played out, she said. “And so I will say to you that I think the American people ultimately want to know that their president delivers. And Joe Biden delivers.”

According to Boston University professor emeritus Tobe Berkovitz, “The problem with Biden being 80 is that he is acting more and more like a senior citizen without all of his faculties,” who added that Biden’s general demeanor “reinforces that he is an old 80-year-old, not a spry, competent 80-year-old.” [T]he age issue will be eagerly amplified by political opponents and their media allies if Biden makes any slip-ups during a taxing election campaign. The template has already been established in the extensive coverage given to Biden’s fall at a U.S. Air Force Academy graduation event in Colorado in early June. Verbal misfires — as when he twice in 24 hours referred to the war “in Iraq,” when he meant “in Ukraine” earlier this year — deepen the perception problem. -The Hill

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“Blinken is the message bearer in the first place. He is neither the driver of Washington’s foreign policy nor his stature is similar to that of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: essentially Blinken is carrying the instructions that he’s been given to share.

Blinken’s Visit to Kiev a Sign of Trouble in Washington – Larry Johnson (Sp.)

Antony Blinken arrived in Kiev to show Washington’s support to Ukraine and announce $175 million-$200 million in new US aid as well as a larger package amounting to $1 billion, according to the US press. The secretary of state’s visit came as the third month of Ukraine’s botched counteroffensive has wrapped up, with the Kiev regime unable to boast any military gains. However, the Ukrainian military claims that they made some progress here and there. Still, the topics mentioned by the Western media aren’t the centerpiece of Blinken’s visit, according to Larry Johnson, retired CIA intelligence officer and State Department official. “I think this is just a sign of the trouble with the policy set,” Johnson told Sputnik. “They’re trying to figure out what to do next because the majority of American people do not support [the current policy].

“They’re coming into the political season, getting prepared for elections next year. The Biden administration is under pressure domestically. [A g]rowing number of Democrats are very upset and outraged with his border policy allowing all these illegal immigrants to flood across. They’re now hitting the states of New York, Massachusetts and California, and it’s creating problems for those governors. So, you know, I think when you take it all together, they’re trying to figure out what to do next.” Per Johnson, Blinken is the message bearer in the first place. He is neither the driver of Washington’s foreign policy nor his stature is similar to that of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, according to the CIA veteran: essentially Blinken is carrying the instructions that he’s been given to share.

Johnson does not rule out that the US secretary of state may also touch upon the issue of the anti-corruption fight in Ukraine, as details of bribery of Ukrainian officials and overbuying of weapons supplied to Ukraine are still being uncovered. Earlier this year, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh cited CIA sources saying that the Ukrainian president and his entourage embezzled around $400 million of US money in 2022 alone. US economic aid to Ukraine is at risk from corruption in the Kiev government and the Ukrainian private sector, the State Department Inspector General’s Office warned in July. Alas, the corruption in Ukraine goes well beyond Zelensky, noted the CIA veteran: “It’s endemic to the Ukrainian government, to the military.”

Most recently, Zelensky sacked Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov whose name is associated with several large-scale scandals, from inflated prices on army food and fuel supplies to a winter jacket procurement row, corruption-driven draft evasion and payoff schemes, and weapons pilfering and smuggling-related criminal allegations. On September 5, Ukraine’s authorities arrested Igor Kolomoisky – one of the country’s most powerful tycoons – who was rumored to be Zelensky’s former patron. Kiev is accusing Kolomoisky of fraud and money laundering. “There’s something just very off about getting rid of the previous defense minister for ‘corruption’,” noted Johnson. “Why wasn’t he arrested? Well, he wasn’t arrested. They’re talking about giving him another job. So this is political theater. I think he’s removing him so that they can at least maybe have a potential scapegoat to point to for this failed counteroffensive.

But if this is really about corruption, he would be arrested. I mean, heavens, they arrested Kolomoisky ostensibly for corruption. And he’s not even a government official.” The botched counteroffensive appears to have seriously undermined Washington’s Ukraine plan. What’s worse for Team Biden – US financial or military assistance cannot currently fix the situation on the ground, according to Johnson. “The only thing that would change is that the United States suspended, cut off all military and financial assistance. This war would end in two or three days, I think. They would not be able to sustain the fight. Otherwise, it does not matter what weapons system or how much aid the United States gives, it’s not going to change the situation on the battlefield with Ukraine losing,” Johnson concluded.

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“.. their own time is limited unless they can fix the election again and retain power. But then what do they have to offer? Nothing.”

$100 Mln Per Day on Ukraine ‘A Lot of Money in Minds of US People (Sp.)

The next few weeks will most likely see the US House’s opposition to the Biden administration’s ongoing financial support of Kiev grow, Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, told Sputnik. Kiev needs to supply coal to international markets for five months and 17 days in order to earn the sum necessary to finance just one day of the Ukraine conflict, calculations made by Sputnik have revealed. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, who was replaced by Rustem Umerov on Monday, claimed in an interview with a local media outlet that one day of the conflict costs Ukraine at least $100 million.

The next few weeks will most likely see the US House’s opposition to the Biden administration’s ongoing financial support of Kiev grow, Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, told Sputnik. Kiev needs to supply coal to international markets for five months and 17 days in order to earn the sum necessary to finance just one day of the Ukraine conflict, calculations made by Sputnik have revealed. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, who was replaced by Rustem Umerov on Monday, claimed in an interview with a local media outlet that one day of the conflict costs Ukraine at least $100 million. He noted that when one expends $100 million per day “on a battlefield for a war that no one really understands, it’s going to raise a lot of questions.”

“I guess that might be one reason why [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky had to get rid of the defense minister because he was being truthful for once,” the ex-Pentagon senior security policy analyst argued. Maloof called the $100 million a day an “incredible amount”, warning that the quality of life in the US “is going to be affected by this”, something that he said would also cause “even greater inflationary trends in the US economy.” The ex-Pentagon analyst warned that the US’ ability to continue pumping Ukraine with money “is going to diminish greatly and it’s not going to be in the too distant future.” “The Biden administration is just totally oblivious and doesn’t have a response to all of this. They’re just acting now and doing what they can, knowing that perhaps their own time is limited unless they can fix the election again and retain power. But then what do they have to offer? Nothing.

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“..it can be argued that the Ukrainian crisis really does draw a line under colonialism in the broad sense.”

‘World Majority’ Sees Ukraine Conflict As Declining NATO Power (Lukyanov )

The Ukrainian crisis has several practical implications for the majority of the world.

Firstly, a power has emerged that openly and unreservedly challenges the West, and the West has been unable to do anything about it, despite considerable efforts. This allows the non-Western world to act more and more independently – right in front of our eyes.

The second is that when the states of the Global North start to conflict with each other, they still don’t care about how it affects the Global South.

Third, the policy of distancing in general but engaging on specific issues can pay dividends, but we just have to use it skillfully.

Fourth, fruitful relations are possible and necessary without grandees who insist on their indispensability, but often do not solve the problems of countries and regions, but instead drive them into a dead end in pursuit of their own interests.

These are all factors that will help shape a new international framework. It has not yet emerged. But when the current conflict comes to an end, whatever the concrete outcome for the immediate participants, it will be the majority countries of the world that will have strengthened their positions the most.

Not only China, which is often talked about as the real winner of the confrontation between Russia and the West (such a conclusion follows only from linear logic), but also a number of countries that previously played a subordinate role and are now emancipating themselves and coming out of this straitjacket.

We dare to believe that world politics could become more rational, because pragmatic interests would then be voiced openly and in a businesslike manner, and not under the Kool-Aid of various messianisms, which have been popular in the Global North for centuries. And in this sense, it can be argued that the Ukrainian crisis really does draw a line under colonialism in the broad sense.

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Most Russians don’t think “Russian and eastern cultures are very close”. But that’s still where they want to go.

Majority Of Russians Support Turning Away From West (RT)

A vast majority of Russians are supportive of Moscow’s policy that prioritizes the development of ties with the countries of the global East rather than the West, a new survey by the state-owned Russian Public Opinion Research Center (WCIOM) shows. The findings of the survey, carried out in collaboration with the Kommersant daily, were published on Wednesday. The polling itself was conducted in late August, sampling the opinions of 1,600 randomly selected Russian nationals. Some 67% of the respondents approved the “turn to the East” policy, with only 11% weighing in against it. A further 15% remain indifferent to the ongoing major shift in Russian foreign policy, with the rest of respondents failing to provide any opinion on this matter, the poll results show.

Around 65% of those who were supportive or indifferent to the “turn to the East” believe that the best way to achieve it was through the development of trade and economic ties, major investment projects, the creation of joint enterprises, and so on. Tourism and scientific cooperation are also deemed to be important approaches to achieve the goal, with 36% and 32% of respondents, respectively, backing such activities. At the same time, only a fraction of those polled believe that Russian and eastern cultures are very close. Some 23% said they differed drastically, while a majority took a more balanced position, stating that the cultures have both common and differing features.

In recent years, Russia has been gradually developing ties with the countries of the global east and south. The process was greatly accelerated amid the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev, backed by the collective West and multiple waves of economic sanctions against Russia. The restrictions accelerated Russian efforts to even further reorient from Western markets to the East. As of the end of 2022, according to data from Chinese customs, Russia had become the top European country in terms of exports to China, fourth in terms of imports, and second in trade turnover. The country has also recently become the top exporter of oil to both China and India.

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When Mitch McConnell does one of his freeze routines, it’s not because he goes wobbly; he just quotes Thatcher on going wobbly. Did I get that about right?

Mitch McConnell Warns US Not To ‘Go Wobbly’ On Ukraine (RT)

The US Congress should approve an additional $20 billion in funding for Ukraine, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday. The Republican senator from Kentucky argued that the aid provided by Washington to Kiev has been weakening Moscow “without firing a shot.” In a speech on the Senate floor, McConnell claimed that President Joe Biden “has not been as decisive as many of us have preferred” when it comes to funding Ukraine’s war effort, but that this was not a reason for Congress to “compound the administration’s failures with failures of our own.” “Helping Ukraine retake its territory means weakening one of America’s biggest strategic adversaries without firing a shot,” the senator argued.

With Kiev “eroding Russia’s capacity to threaten NATO,” McConnell claimed, “it is not the time to ease up,” and with NATO unified and European countries starting to spend money on their militaries, “it is certainly not the time to go wobbly.” That particular line was made famous in 1990 by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who used it to urge US President George H.W. Bush to launch a war against Iraq over Kuwait. McConnell also suggested that Congress would pass the supplemental government funding bill before the end of the month, which is intended to avoid a government shutdown before the new fiscal year starts in October.

The proposed spending bill has bundled $20.1 billion for Ukraine with disaster relief for fire-stricken Hawaii, despite objections from some Republicans who wanted to vote on the packages separately. The US Congress has approved over $130 billion in funds for Ukraine since February 2022. America’s aid to Kiev has included weapons, equipment and ammunition, as well as cash remittances to pay the salaries of government officials. When some Republicans tried to curtail the spending spree last December, McConnell insisted that aiding Ukraine was the “number one priority of the US,” and helped the Democrats to pass the 4,155-page omnibus spending bill.

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“It’s the gangster who thought he was the capo dei capi, boss of bosses; and was brought down to earth because he wasn’t.”

Prigozhin’s Three Strikes – Khodorkovsky, Berezovsky, Last Africa Trip (Helmer)

On March 5, in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR), there was a fire-bombing of a French–owned brewery which destroyed 50,000 bottles of beer. On August 23, a private jet of the Wagner Group was bombed in the air north of Moscow, and the Wagner leaders, Yevgeny Prigozhin and Dmitry Utkin, were killed, along with five of their associates and three flight crew. The connection between the two incidents is that Prigozhin’s methods of doing business in Africa cost him his life in Russia. The African business, not the mutiny at Rostov on June 23-24, is the fatal link. It was the last straw. This is not a case of a soldier who lived by the sword and died by the sword. It’s the gangster who thought he was the capo dei capi, boss of bosses; and was brought down to earth because he wasn’t.

To ignore the warnings that he had reached his multi-billion dollar operating limit, that he should stop muscling in on the competition, retire and keep his money — these are well-known rules of American business, not to say mafia rules. But Prigozhin followed Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Boris Berezovsky in thinking Russian business is different. They thought there was no limit to their power to get what they wanted. There are two competing Russian press compilations of what exactly happened on August 23, and what the evidence reveals of who arranged the killing and how the operation was carried out. These are Konstantin Malofeyev’s Tsargrad on the national patriotic side, and Meduza, the anti-Putin opposition publication now based in Riga. The Anglo-American accounts in the mainstream press and the alt-media blogs, including Andrew Napolitano’s group of US military and CIA retirees, Douglas Macgregor, Tony Shaffer, Larry Johnson and Scott Ritter, do not come close to the Russian interpretation of the case.

In Tsargrad’s reconstruction of the flight of Prigozhin’s aircraft and of the doppelganger or decoy aircraft which flew ahead by 40 minutes, and then returned to Moscow 35 minutes after the crash, the cause was one or two bombs detonated on board Prigozhin’s flight. The destruction occurred so suddenly that the pilots had no warning and no time to signal air traffic control. The subsequent recovery and decoding of the aircraft black boxes, and the civilian and military radar track records appear to have confirmed this also, although there have been no official releases of this information, and no unofficial leaks. A report by FlightAware suggests that although the two flights appear to have followed the same flight path, tracking their precise locations is impossible “likely due to … interference (or) jamming in the area.”

Reuters reports that position locations were calculated from signals sent to multiple receivers in the area. In the Tsargrad report, the sources include former Russian civil aviation, military and intelligence veterans. They concur the assassination was the settling of “old scores”. They differ on whether these were domestic in origin, or Ukrainian, British or other foreign sources. They also agree that President Vladimir Putin did not order the killing and probably did not know in advance. “Putin forgave him; there are other enemies who did not”, Lieutenant General Leonid Reshetnikov, a veteran of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), told Tsargrad: “No special service of our country will ever go into an operation that leaves a ‘hint’ of the involvement of its leadership.

Of course, [if there was the operational order], another place would have been found — Africa is a big place and the circumstances more opportune there; for example, the crocodiles don’t have enough high-quality meat to eat. And so, there might be a terrorist attack with a subtext pointing away from those most likely to have done it.” A Moscow source believes that before the event Putin did not act and did not know. After the event he did not disapprove.

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Keep your false flags away from us!

Bucharest Denies Ukrainian Claim That Russian Drone Hit Romania (Antiwar)

NATO member Romania has strongly denied a Ukrainian claim that a Russian drone detonated in Romanian territory during an overnight bombardment on one of Ukraine’s ports on the Danube River. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko made the claim on Facebook. He said that according to Ukraine’s state border service, a Russian drone “fell and detonated on the territory of Romania” during an attack on the Ukrainian port of Izmail. “This is yet another confirmation that Russia’s missile terror poses a huge threat not only to Ukraine’s security, but also to the security of neighboring countries, including NATO member states,” Nikolenko said. Romania’s Defense Ministry quickly refuted the claim. “The Ministry of National Defense categorically denies information from the public space regarding a so-called situation that occurred during the night of September 3 to 4 in which Russian drones allegedly fell on the national territory of Romania,” it said.

The Romanian Defense Ministry added that “at no time did the means of attack used by the Russian Federation generate direct military threats to the national territory or the territorial waters of Romania.” Russian attacks in the region risk an escalation as the Danube River acts as a border between Ukraine and Romania. The Ukrainian port of Izmail that was targeted is just across the river from NATO territory. Ukrainian officials have previously made unfounded claims about Russian munitions hitting NATO territory. Last year, when a Ukrainian air defense missile hit Poland and killed two people, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy and his top aides claimed it was a Russian missile in an effort to get NATO to intervene directly.

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Powerful duo. And members of BRICS.

Putin, MbS Note Cut in Oil Production Will Stabilize Market (Sp.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman noted that reduction in the oil production will stabilize the global market during a phone conversation on Wednesday, the Kremlin said. “A high assessment was given to the interaction of the two countries in the OPEC+ format. It was noted that the agreements reached on reducing oil production, combined with voluntary commitments to limit the supply of raw materials, make it possible to ensure the stability of the global energy market,” the Kremlin said in a statement. The sides also expressed satisfaction over development of relations between the countries and discussed a number of issues related to trade, logistics and investment. Moreover, the crown prince thanked the Russian side for supporting Riyadh’s bid to join the BRICS group.

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I’ve never understood the attraction of cruise ships.

Eyesore Of The Month September 2023 (Jim Kunstler)

Behold, Royal Caribbean International’s new ship, Icon of the Seas. Well, okay, but icon of what, exactly, of the seas? Of the wretched excess that the cruise industry is sending forth to sail the oceans blue? I remind you: societies build their most extravagant monuments just before they collapse. This looks like the perfect vehicle for partying at the end-of-the-world (that is, the world as we know it). This monstrosity is so huge — equivalent of a 20-story building — that the promoters say it has “neighborhoods.” Below is the Royal Bay Pool in the new “Chill Island neighborhood.” Very posh, indeed. Excludes all the waddling, land-whales of the lower decks with their slushies and burritos in-hand.

Below: the ship’s Thrill Island Waterslide neighborhood, looking a little bit like the gastro-intestinal system of someone who subjected themselves to six days of round-the-clock, all-you-can-eat buffets.

This beast sets sail in January of 2024. Ask yourself: what sort of economy supports a venture like this? And what if it isn’t there anymore when this thing is ready to launch?

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They don’t want him campaigning.

Tom Fitton: “Fact check: Trump didn’t engage in insurrection/rebellion and, even if he did, the key 14th Amendment clause doesn’t apply to the president.”

Donald Trump’s Georgia Trial Expected To Take Four Months, 150 Witnesses (BBC)

Prosecutors in Donald Trump’s Georgia racketeering case say that the trial would take four months and include approximately 150 witnesses. Mr Trump and 18 others are charged with a conspiracy to overturn the state’s 2020 presidential election results. A date for the trial has not yet been set, although prosecutors hope to begin on 23 October. The former president and his co-defendants have all denied any wrongdoing and pleaded not guilty. In court on Wednesday, state prosecutor Nathan Wade said that the expected timeline does not account for jury selection, which could potentially add months to the process. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee said he hopes to decide questions regarding the trial’s schedule by “either the end of this week or early next week”. All 19 co-defendants in the case have pleaded not guilty and waived their right to in-person arraignments, which were due to take place on Wednesday.

During Wednesday’s court session, Judge McAfee also heard arguments on whether some of the defendants could sever their cases from the wider racketeering, or Rico, case. Attorneys for Kenneth Chesebro sought to sever the counts against him, as did attorneys for Sidney Powell, a former Trump lawyer, who has also asked for a speedy trial – a constitutional right in the US. Both will now go on trial together on 23 October after Judge McAfee denied a motion to sever their cases from one another. In court, he said that he does not believe that “the severance for Mr Cheseboro or Ms Powell is necessary to achieve a fair determination of the guilt or innocence for either defendant in this case”. He added that two separate trials would “inconvenience” jurors and complicate scheduling. In total, six of the defendants in the case have sought to sever their cases, including Mr Trump and ex-Georgia Republican chair David Shafer.

Other defendants are seeking to have their cases moved to federal court. A federal judge has yet to decide on the issue, known by the legal term of “removal”. Mr Chesebro and Ms Powell’s trial is slated to begin on 23 October – the same date being sought by district attorney Fani Willis for the other 17 defendants. Judge McAfee, however, said it seemed “a bit unrealistic” to try all the defendants together in October, noting that “we’ve got less than two months to figure this out”. In court, Mr Chesebro’s attorney Manubir Arora argued that the far-reaching racketeering case would mean that his client would have to be in court for “weeks, if not months” of testimony unrelated to the specific charges against him.

Additionally, Mr Arora said that Ms Powell – who famously vowed to “release the Kraken” after Mr Trump’s electoral defeat – was “sort of on a lark on her own” and not connected to Mr Chesebro. Speaking to CNN after the court hearing, Mr Chesebro’s second attorney, Scott Grubman, accused the government of “weaponising” the Rico statute to “connect three or four conspiracies into one”. Prosecutors allege that Mr Trump and his co-defendants were involved in a multi-pronged effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state, culminating with a phone call in which Mr Trump pressured the state’s secretary of state to “recalculate” the vote tally.

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X thread.

Debunking The Lies In ADL’s Response To Elon (Nawfal)

ADL’s CEO broke his silence on X and Elon by lying and trapping the host: 1) He claimed that Elon brought and amplified anti-semitism and hate speech back to the platform. This is NOT TRUE. The X Safety team shared that an independent assessment by Sprinklr found that hate speech impressions on X to be 0.003% compared to Twitter’s estimate of 0.012%. 2) Greenblatt clarified that he has never claimed Elon or X are anti-Semitic: “I don’ t think Twitter as a platform is anti-Semitic”. 3) When Greenblatt was asked by the host (who also identified as Jewish) if he was seeking a position or donation from X to the ADL, he took offense to this, called it an anti-semetic trope, almost as if he was trying to cancel him, leaving the host uncomfortable and defensive.

4) Greenblatt claimed ADL is NOT publicly or privately talking to advertisers, BUT shortly after, said, “It is true we did call for a pause back in November, after the acquisition and since then” and in a previous interview he stated “if it remains a hellscape the advertisers won’t take part in [Twitter]” 5) Greenblatt said the ADL is a SMALL non-profit in NY. NOT TRUE. The ADL is an influential organization with over 100 years of history, and according to the ADL’s 2021 tax filings, the organization’s total revenue was $101 million with a balance sheet of $238 million. They ALSO received millions of dollars of indirect government funding via grants to groups in which the ADL has special interests.

6) Greenblatt says the ADL works WITH other social media platforms, including Facebook. We saw in the Politico article that @elonmusk posted that the ADL indirectly CONTROLS what can be posted on Facebook. 7) Greenblatt claimed he doesn’t know what prompted Elon’s tweets, but Elon was clear it was prompted by the 60% drop in advertising from the ADL’s interference, which Greenblatt admitted in the video. Doesn’t seem like the meeting with X CEO Linda Yaccarino went as well as Greenblatt is making it out to be.

Greenblatt

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Remember, “We saw in the Politico article that @elonmusk posted that the ADL indirectly CONTROLS what can be posted on Facebook.”

Well, so does the White House.

Facebook Files: White House Lies About ‘Disinformation Dozen’ (ZH)

A UK-based, government-linked dark money nonprofit operated by a far-left British Labour Party operative fabricated statistics about the so-called ‘disinformation dozen’ – people with large social media footprints that expressed vaccine or lockdown skepticism, according to the latest Facebook Files released on Tuesday by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). The Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) run by a man named Imran Ahmed claimed that Robert Kennedy Jr. and 11 other people were responsible for 65% of “anti-vaccine content circulating on social media.” That claim itself was disinformation, according to Jordan – who notes that Facebook employees were highly skeptical of the CCDH’s claims, which they said were just Americans expressing “vaccine hesitancy,” which is often “not misinfo” even under Facebook’s policies.

What’s more, the Biden White House repeatedly peddled the 65% lie as Facebook employees were preparing to draft a memo to CEO Mark Zuckerberg to complain about “pressure from … the White House” to remove the so-called Disinfo Dozen, even though they did “not believe we currently have a clear path for removal.” According to the internal emails, Facebook continued to monitor the so-called disinformation dozen to justify censorship, only to find that the “majority” of them weren’t spreading misinformation. The Biden White house kept pushing for censorship despite Facebook’s clear policy against cross-platform punishments except in rare cases. The White House also wanted Facebook to remove all URL links to off-platform websites which would ”

The White House then pressured Facebook’s President of Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, to censor the ‘disinformation dozen’ even more – which led to frustration among Facebook staff, who said that Biden himself helped ensure that the CCDH’s influence had “unrelenting staying power.” Longtime readers may also recall that the CCDH laundered lies about ZeroHedge through a trust-fund NBC News ‘journalist’ who immediately came under fire for peddling obvious propaganda against a competing outlet, and subsequently left to work for Al Jazeera (and now she’s gone from there too).

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The French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti is Assange’s former lawyer, and still says no. What’s going on?

French Court Turns Down Political Asylum Request For Assange (RT)

A court in France’s Creteil commune turned down a request to grant political asylum to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the AFP news agency reported citing a court document, Report informs referring to TASS. The agency quoted the document as saying that “the fact that he [Assange] is being kept in custody” should not be viewed as a reason for an exception to the rule stating that “the applicant must be present on the territory of the country or the European Union” in order to apply for political asylum in France. The request was filed by members of the Robin des Lois association, who sought to challenge in court several regulations related to rules of entry, residence and political asylum for foreigners.

According to the organization, some provisions from French laws contradict the preamble to the country’s constitution, as well as several international conventions. Legal representatives of the French government were not present in the court. The association has no plans to appeal the ruling, but publicly urges French Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti – who is Assange’s former lawyer – to “at last take the matter into his own hands.” Assange was taken into custody after leaving the premises of Ecuador’s embassy in London in April 2019, and has since been held at the Belmarsh maximum security prison in London. Washington has been seeking his extradition for more than four years, but Assange’s defense team has so far managed to successfully fend off their moves in court.

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“This deadly variant has bypassed our most sophisticated tests by ingeniously becoming harmless to the human body..”

“Pfizer had announced early development of a new, 103% effective vaccine, followed 3.8 seconds later by approval from the FDA.”

CDC Warns Of New ‘Stealth’ COVID Variant: Test Negative, No Symptoms (BBee)

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky held a press conference to warn the public about a deadly new “stealth” COVID-19 variant that causes negative test results and causes no symptoms. “This deadly variant has bypassed our most sophisticated tests by ingeniously becoming harmless to the human body,” said Director Walensky, “It is estimated that eight billion people have caught this variant. We must prevent it from spreading further by closing schools and locking up kindergarten children.”

The CDC director’s guidance to close schools and stem the tide of this “stealth” variant is backed by data that has been thoroughly and rigorously altered, proving that public school teachers are the most susceptible, testing negative a whopping 100% of the time and often succumbing to the worst symptom-free symptoms. At publishing time, Pfizer had announced early development of a new, 103% effective vaccine, followed 3.8 seconds later by approval from the FDA.

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Jump

 

 

Age gap

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 292023
 


Gustav Klimt Lady with a fan 1917-18 (sold for $108.4m June 27 2023)

 

Standoff Between Russia And West Is ‘War Of Worlds’ – Lavrov (RT)
What Happens In Russia After The Longest Day? (Pepe Escobar)
US Hawks Lose Momentum Amid Faltering Ukrainian Counteroffensive (Sp.)
West’s Foolish Regime Change Policy Only Drives Russia and China Closer (Sp.)
Russia Can’t Give Up Goals Of Special Military Operation – Lavrov (TASS)
Russia Asks States To Boycott Zelensky’s ‘Peace Forum’ (RT)
Will US Use New Pretext to Prolong Proxy War in Ukraine? (Sp.)
Europe Must Break Out Of Its War Psychosis – Hungary (RT)
Russian General Arrested Following Wagner Mutiny (MT)
RFK Jr: Bill Gates, WEF Use Climate Narrative For Totalitarian Controls (JTN)
Pfizer Vaccine Batches in the EU Were Placebos, Say Scientists (DS)
Comer: Overseas Payments To Biden Family Could Exceed $40M (NYP)
New Source in Hunter Biden Probe Points Finger at AG Garland (Sp.)
Pressure Grows On Judge To Reject Hunter Biden Plea Deal (JTN)
Kamala Harris Worst VP in Polling History – NBC (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

Milley
https://twitter.com/i/status/1673729065243623432

 

 

Biden: Putin “is clearly losing the war in Iraq.”

 

 

Habba

 

 

 

 

Putin

 

 

Wallace

 

 

“Ukr sources report that the entry of PMC Wagner into Belarus is directed against the plans of Ukraine/Poland/Lithuania to deploy a corps on the borders of Western Ukraine. British intelligence warned Zelensky’s Office that a new military unit of 30-40 thousand people will be formed in Belarus, the main task of which will be a new campaign against Kyiv at the time of difficulties of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on the southern front. The equipment for these units has long been in Belarus, it was filled up during 2022-2023.”

 

 

 

 

“When it comes to our former Western partners, though, we cannot rely on any agreements with them, including those of a legally binding nature..”

Standoff Between Russia And West Is ‘War Of Worlds’ – Lavrov (RT)

Washington and its allies will never allow any nation to pursue a sovereign policy based on national interests if it conflicts with their own plans, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday. The ongoing standoff between Russia and the Western nations is a “war of worlds” involving incompatible approaches to international politics, he added. “Should any other nation try and defend its national interests just as staunchly and decisively, the West would turn against it as well,” the minister told the Great Game show aired on Russia’s Channel 1. The US and its allies still treat the “threat” posed by Russia to their plans as a “tactical” one but believe that Moscow’s victory would make this threat “unacceptable.” Western nations claim to defend a supposed “rules-based order,” the Russian minister said, adding that such an order is nothing but a dictate by Washington and its allies.

“It is when they [the West] decide on which globalization system applies to the world, what are its mechanisms… how trade disputes are resolved,” Lavrov said. The top Russian diplomat also said Washington and its allies had easily exploited principles they had previously declared to be inviolable. “The West has trampled on all its principles in an instant… free trade, fair competition, presumption of innocence… were all turned into weapons when they [the West] needed to punish the Russian Federation,” he said. “When it comes to our former Western partners, though, we cannot rely on any agreements with them, including those of a legally binding nature,” Lavrov maintained. The US and its allies have repeatedly bent the rules of the “order” they were supposedly defending and neglected their commitments under agreements struck with Moscow, the minister stated.

Washington and many Western nations recognized Kosovo’s independence without any referendums on the basis of a unilateral declaration by Pristina, Lavrov said, adding that the same countries dismissed the results of the referendum in Crimea, arguing that the principle of the territorial integrity of Ukraine supposedly takes precedence in this particular case. In February 2014, when the Ukrainian opposition broke their obligations under a deal struck with then-president Viktor Yanukovich, none of the Western guarantors of the agreement “lifted a finger,” Lavrov said, adding that the list of guarantors included France, Germany and Poland at that time. Now, the West is trying to pin all the blame on Russia, accusing it of “unprovoked aggression,” the minister said, describing this as nothing but an attempt to shift the responsibility from Washington and its allies.

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“The rebellion” turned out to be a Western P.R. stunt, a series of (ultimately faded) pictures for global consumption.”

What Happens In Russia After The Longest Day? (Pepe Escobar)

The first draft of the extraordinary events that took place in Russia on The Longest Day – Saturday, June 24 – leads us to a whole new can of worms. The Global Majority badly wants to know what happens next. Let’s examine the key pieces in the chessboard. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is cutting to the chase: he has reminded everyone that the Hegemon’s modus operandi is to back coup attempts whenever it can benefit. This dovetails with the fact that the FSB is actively investigating whether and how Western intel was involved in The Longest Day. President Putin could not have been more unequivocal: “They [the West and Ukraine] wanted Russian soldiers to kill each other, so that soldiers and civilians would die, so that in the end Russia would lose, and our society would break apart and choke on bloody civil strife (…) They rubbed their hands, dreaming of getting revenge for their failures at the front and during the so-called counter-offensive, but they miscalculated.”

Cue to the collective West – from Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on down – frantically trying to distance itself even as the CIA leaked, via its trademark mouthpiece, the Washington Post, that they knew about “the rebellion.” The agenda was painfully obvious: Kiev losing on all fronts would be ritually buried by wall-to-wall coverage of the fake Russian “civil war.” There’s no smoking gun – yet. But the FSB is following several leads to demonstrate how the “the rebellion” was set up by CIA/NATO. The spectacular failure makes the upcoming NATO July 11 summit in Vilnius even more incandescent. The Chinese, much like Lavrov, also cut to the chase: the Global Times asserted that the idea of “Wagner’s revolt weakening Putin’s authority is wishful thinking of the West,” with the Kremlin’s “strong capacity of deterrence” further increasing its authority. That’s exactly the reading of the Russian street.

The Chinese reached their conclusion after a crucial visit by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Rudenko, who promptly flew to Beijing on Sunday, June 25. This is how the iron-clad strategic partnership works in practice. Arguably the best explanation so far of the nuts and bolts of The Longest Day has been offered by Rostislav Ischenko. The Global Majority will rejoice that Prighozin’s theatrics, in the end, left the collective West dazed, confused, and shattered: wasn’t the whole thing supposed to unleash total chaos inside Russian society and the army? Even as the fake, lightning-quick “mutiny” was in progress, Russia continued to pound Kiev’s forces – which, by the way, were spinning that the main phase of the “counter-offensive” was being launched exactly on June 24 at night. That was, predictably, yet another bluff.

Back to the Russian street. “The rebellion” – inbuilt in a very convoluted plot – in the end was widely interpreted as just another military demonstration (by master of ceremonies Prighozin, not by the overwhelming majority of Wagner soldiers). “The rebellion” turned out to be a Western P.R. stunt, a series of (ultimately faded) pictures for global consumption.

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“..it will be difficult for the Biden administration to justify increased military aid packages to Ukraine without some success story to tell the American people..”

US Hawks Lose Momentum Amid Faltering Ukrainian Counteroffensive (Sp.)

Ukraine has failed to demonstrate much progress in its counteroffensive so far, putting the brakes on those US lawmakers who agree that new funding should depend on such. “I agree with most observers that it will be difficult for the Biden administration to justify increased military aid packages to Ukraine without some success story to tell the American people,” retired US Air Force Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, a former analyst for the US Department of Defense, told Sputnik. “At this point, the Ukraine project is easily portrayed as a waste of time and money, and is something that NATO countries may not be able to support without continued massive US domination in the provision of aid and cash,” she said.

Currently, US military assistance comes to Ukraine via two main routes: first, direct supplies from the Pentagon stockpiles under the Presidential Drawdown Authority; second, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI) – a Pentagon-led funding program to increase Kiev’s military prowess. However, “there’s no additional money in the base budget,” as per defense officials as quoted by the US media. As per the Pentagon, the US has invested $41.2 billion in security assistance to Kiev since January 2021 which includes more than $40.5 billion since the beginning of Russia’s special military operation to demilitarize and de-Nazify Ukraine. For its part, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy estimates that since the start of the Ukraine conflict, the Biden administration has directed over $76 billion in humanitarian, financial and military assistance to Ukraine.

Around $47 billion of that has been allocated to Kiev’s military needs, including $18.5 billion (through USAID); $23.5 billion (through the presidential drawdown authority); and $4.7 billion (through the Foreign Military Financing program). The generous military packages for Ukraine included: numerous infantry arms and equipment; artillery (hundreds of howitzers, 38 HIMARS systems, in particular); tanks and armored carriers (109 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, 31 Abrams tanks, 45 T-72B tanks, 90 Stryker carries, etc.); ground support vehicles; air defenses (one Patriot air defense battery, 12 Avenger air defense systems, 8 NASAMs, and 1,600 Stingers, in particular); air-to-ground missiles; manned aircraft (20 Mi-17 helicopters); explosive and surveillance drones; coastal defenses (including two Harpoon defense systems and 62 coastal and riverine patrol boats); radars and communications; as well as satellite services, as per Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) chart.

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“..a stable and successful Russia is important for China because without Russia on its side, the Western powers would be able to totally isolate China.”

West’s Foolish Regime Change Policy Only Drives Russia and China Closer (Sp.)

In the wake of the aborted mutiny by Wagner PMC chief Yevgeny Prigozhin, China has voiced its support for the Russian Federation and Moscow’s efforts to stabilize the situation. “As Russia’s friendly neighbor and comprehensive strategic partner of coordination for the new era, China supports Russia in maintaining national stability and achieving development and prosperity,” a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in a Sunday statement. Thomas W. Pauken II, a Beijing-based geopolitical consultant with expertise in crisis management, told Sputnik that China has “an understanding that for their very own survival, they need Russia to succeed.”

“China supports a strong and stable Russia for many important reasons, obviously, because Russia is north of China and Russia and China are both facing pressure from the Western powers in regards to sanctions, while the US and other European countries are increasing their pressure on China,” he explained. “So because of this pressure, basically, China needs to rely more on its real partners, including Russia, because they can work together to strengthen both sides. If Russia and China split apart, that will not only create hardships for Russia, but will also create hardships for China.” Pauken explained that a stable and successful Russia is important for China because without Russia on its side, the Western powers would be able to totally isolate China.

“Political stability in Russia is important to China for a key reason: China has become a major manufacturer in the world. It is a major exporter to the world. But currently, there are many Western powers who are trying to contain China and contain China’s rise. Therefore, the Western powers are pushing and pressuring China to move against Russia. But China does not support this because they realize that if the Western powers are successful at knocking out Russia, then they will simply move on to China and attack China. So China does itself no favors by turning against Russia or by supporting instability in Russia. Obviously, they would want to see Russia succeed and for Putin to succeed, and for the mutiny that was led by Prigozhin to fail. It’s very logical for them. And it makes common sense,” he said.

On Sunday, after the situation had been defused, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko flew to Beijing to meet with Chinese leaders and reaffirm their close partnership and political trust. Pauken said it was “very significant” and sent a message to the Western powers that the Prigozhin affair had not created any “friction or tensions” between the two states. The official underscored that the recent meet between Chinese and Russian figures proved a “very important event because it shows their close relationships, and that they are not going to be driven or come apart over recent events, and the West is going to be unable to drive them apart.” “Instead, what’s really going on is that China and Russia are drawing closer together and we will see their relations get even stronger in the months to come,” he added.

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“..the destruction of all things Russian in Ukraine continues to be their stated goal.”

Russia Can’t Give Up Goals Of Special Military Operation – Lavrov (TASS)

Russia can’t give up the goals of its special military operation in Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. The minister said Russian President Vladimir Putin “in the past few days has spoken at length to give an assessment of the current situation, especially stressing that, as we overcame the attempted mutiny, we haven’t made the slightest concessions with respect to the goals of the special military operation and haven’t lost any positions on the battlefield. <…> It’s impossible to give them up – the goals that have been set,” Lavrov said on Channel One. The minister said that Russia cannot change its approaches to the conduct of the special operation as long as the West is purposefully creating threats to Russia’s security, funneling lethal weapons into Ukraine, and as long as “the destruction of all things Russian in Ukraine continues to be their stated goal.”

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..a “document that combines all the nonsense their propaganda has promoted in one place.”

Russia Asks States To Boycott Zelensky’s ‘Peace Forum’ (RT)

Countries of the Global South should not dignify with their presence the so-called peace summit the West wants to hold without Russia, the country’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday. During the regular briefing at the ministry, Zakharova pointed out the “wild logic” of holding a peace summit without Moscow, calling it an attempt to “ritually discuss” the Western agenda and get moral and propaganda support from the rest of the world. “We call on responsible states, those that truly strive for peace and express the desire and readiness to play a constructive role in finding a political and diplomatic solution to the conflict, not to participate in this provocative scheme,” Zakharova told reporters.

“The West needs you at the ‘summit’ only to create the impression its policy has widespread support. This very thing will make the prospects for peace that much more distant.” The Russian diplomat pointed out that the West is trying to push the so-called peace formula of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky as the only path to resolving the conflict. However, Moscow has repeatedly pointed out that the ‘formula’ has nothing to do with peace, but is a propagandistic set of demands based on absolutely false pretenses. Zakharova reminded reporters that Zelensky’s formula envisions Russia withdrawing from its own territory – including Donbass, Kherson, Zaporozhye and Crimea – paying reparations to Ukraine and submitting to ‘war crimes tribunals,’ among other things. She described it as a “document that combines all the nonsense their propaganda has promoted in one place.”

She compared the ‘peace summit’ with the countless round tables the US has organized over the years regarding the conflict in Syria, none of which produced any results whatsoever. To make peace, one must end the bloodshed and stop the supply of weapons, the diplomat noted, but the US and its allies continue to fuel both.“Attempts to determine the outcome of the Ukraine conflict without Russian participation are doomed to failure. Otherwise this would have been done long ago,”Zakharova pointed out. She also pointed out that Kiev has a history of reneging on its international obligations, mentioning specifically the Minsk Agreements concerning Donbass, which were even endorsed by the UN Security Council. “One can’t believe a word they say,”Zakharova said.

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“Ukraine still remains nothing short of being a “testing grounds” for the US military-industrial complex and justifies huge future investments in the militarization of Europe..”

Will US Use New Pretext to Prolong Proxy War in Ukraine? (Sp.)

The Biden administration needs a new pretext to enhance support to Kiev. Even though there is some bipartisan consensus in the US Congress on the “necessity” to back Kiev, there is opposition from the right-wing Freedom Caucus to further spending. US national polls also show that the US public is steadily losing appetite for prolonging the conflict. Two Republican presidential front-runners – Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis – as well as Democratic candidate Robert Kennedy, Jr., who commands the support of at least 15-20% of Democratic voters, openly express their opposition to Biden’s adventurism in Ukraine. Previously, Washington substantially stepped up military spending on Ukraine in the wake of the Bucha events groundlessly pinned on Moscow, as well as the derailment of the Russo-Ukrainian preliminary peace agreement of March 2022.

The Russian forces’ partial retreat in autumn 2022 also provided Team Biden with an opportunity to renew calls for further arming of Kiev under the pretext of Ukraine’s “imminent” victory. As Ukraine’s much-anticipated counteroffensive largely stalled in summer 2023, it appears that the Democrats are trying to capitalize on the Wagner mutiny of June 23-24 even though its quick settlement has seemingly caught Team Biden off guard, according to Paul E. Vallely, retired US Army major general and chairman of Stand Up America US Foundation. The US mainstream press expressed hopes that Kiev would be able to benefit from Russia’s “unrest”. However, despite Wagner’s mutiny, the Russian army has managed to keep the situation on the frontlines stable, repelling several Ukrainian attacks over the weekend.

“I don’t think Ukraine was going to be successful in the counter offensive anyhow,” Vallely said. “So I think the Wagner group, what they tried to do, probably surprised Ukraine as well. But I don’t think Ukraine was in a position to do anything to take advantage of it.” For her part, Karen Kwiatkowski noted that Washington was apparently hoping that “the Ukrainian forces would achieve at least one breakthrough along the lines of control, something to justify the massive Biden investment in Ukraine’s political leadership.” “Hope, as they say, is not a strategy, and I do believe that the Biden Security Council is and has been preparing plans for the post-combat phase, with talk of an Israel-like ‘outpost’, of a ‘green’ rebuild of western Ukraine, and a NATO practice arena over the long term.

Plans for hundreds of billions of US taxpayer money administered by Blackrock in the rump state of Ukraine have been in place for over six months at this point,” she continued. Nonetheless, despite the much-advertised counteroffensive having failed so far, what’s left of Ukraine serves NATO’s mission needs for the foreseeable future, Kwiatkowski noted. Ukraine still remains nothing short of being a “testing grounds” for the US military-industrial complex and justifies huge future investments in the militarization of Europe, according to the ex-Pentagon analyst. “I think we’re going to see a crescendo or some kind of, I don’t know whether they’re going to cease operations, but we think at the end of July, August, there’s going to be a new phase in this conflict,” Vallely said.

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“Ukraine is no longer a sovereign country. They don’t have any money. They have no weapons. They can only fight because we in the West support them.”

Europe Must Break Out Of Its War Psychosis – Hungary (RT)

Europe is moving closer to “catastrophe in every sense,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto declared on Monday, before extending Budapest’s veto on EU arms transfers to Ukraine. “Europe is moving closer to a catastrophe – in every sense, unfortunately,” Szijjarto wrote on Facebook before meeting with EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday. “Now even bigger trouble could be prevented and many thousands of lives could be saved,” he continued, “but to do this one would have to break out of the war psychosis.” “I have no illusions that this will happen at the meeting of the EU Foreign Ministers in Luxembourg today,” he concluded. Szijjarto’s prediction played out on Monday. After an address by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, the bloc’s top diplomats voted to increase their joint weapons fund for Ukraine by an additional €3.5 billion ($3.85 billion).

Known as the ‘European Peace Facility’ (EPF), the fund is a €5.6 billion ($6.08 billion) purse that the bloc uses to finance foreign militaries and reimburse its own members who send arms to foreign conflicts. Before the conflict in Ukraine, the ‘Peace Facility’ had only been used to supply non-lethal equipment to Georgia, Mali, Moldova, Mozambique, and Ukraine, for a total of less than $125 million. While the EPF’s ceiling will be increased, Szijjarto confirmed on Monday that Hungary will maintain its veto on the latest €500 million ($546 million) tranche of arms from the fund for another month. Budapest is currently blocking the transfer of EU weapons to Ukraine due to Kiev’s blacklisting of Hungarian companies doing business in Russia.

Szijjarto and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban have both repeatedly called for a ceasefire and peace deal in Ukraine, while insisting that anti-Russia sanctions hurt Europe more than they hurt Russia. In an interview with German tabloid Bild on Tuesday, Orban stated that the idea of a Ukrainian victory on the battlefield is “impossible” and that without an immediate ceasefire, Ukraine will “lose a huge amount of wealth and many lives, and unimaginable destruction will occur.” “What really matters is what the Americans want to do,” Orban said, explaining that “Ukraine is no longer a sovereign country. They don’t have any money. They have no weapons. They can only fight because we in the West support them.”

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Can’t find this in the Russian press, other than this in Moscow Times.

“Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday dismissed the report as “speculation” and “gossip..”

Russian General Arrested Following Wagner Mutiny (MT)

Russian General Sergei Surovikin has been arrested, The Moscow Times’ Russian service reported Wednesday, citing two sources close to the Defense Ministry who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The Defense Ministry has yet to comment on the alleged arrest of Surovikin, who has not been seen in public since Saturday, when Wagner Group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin launched an armed rebellion against Russia’s military leadership. “The situation with him was not ‘OK.’ For the authorities. I can’t say anything more,” one of the sources said. According to the second source, the arrest was carried out “in the context of Prigozhin.” “Apparently, he [Surovikin] chose Prigozhin’s side during the uprising, and they’ve gotten him by the balls,” the source said.

When asked about the general’s current whereabouts, the source replied: “We are not even commenting on this information through our internal channels.” Earlier Wednesday, pro-war military blogger Vladimir Romanov said Surovikin was detained Sunday, the day after Prigozhin’s aborted mutiny. Romanov claimed that Surovikin is now being held in Moscow’s Lefortovo detention center. Alexei Venediktov, editor-in-chief of the shuttered Ekho Moskvy radio station, wrote on Telegram that Surovikin has not been in contact with his family for three days and that his guards are not responsive. The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing unnamed U.S. officials, that Surovikin had prior knowledge of Prigozhin’s plan to instigate a rebellion against Russia’s military leadership.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday dismissed the report as “speculation” and “gossip,” suggesting that Putin had not given in to Prigozhin’s demands for an imminent reshuffle of the Russian military’s top brass. Wagner’s uprising set off Russia’s most serious security crisis in decades before Prigozhin agreed to stand down Saturday night in exchange for immunity in exile, as part of a deal brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. Surovikin commanded Russia’s forces in Ukraine for three months between October 2022 and January 2023 until he was replaced by Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov.

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“..we should reward the cheapest, most efficient energy sources,” which he “generally” feels to be renewables..”

RFK Jr: Bill Gates, WEF Use Climate Narrative For Totalitarian Controls (JTN)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2024, didn’t mince words when discussing certain “elites” like Bill Gates and leaders of the World Economic Forum (WEF), whom he accused of using the “climate narrative” to gain “top-down totalitarian controls” of societies. Kennedy made his remarks in a Tuesday “Virtual Health Policy Roundtable” on Zoom, which featured several doctors and others Kennedy described as “critics of prevailing health policy.” During the round table, Kennedy was asked how he would ease the minds of the next generation surrounding climate change, to which he responded by criticizing those he views as responsible for the climate hysteria.


“I think that the climate narrative has been hijacked by the World Economic Forum and by Bill Gates,” Kennedy said. “Crises are used by elites within societies to consolidate their power, to diminish democracy, to constrict civil rights and human rights, and to impose top-down totalitarian controls.” “I think the climate crisis is being used in that way by those people,” he added. Kennedy proceeded to offer his solution to climate issues. “My approach to climate has always been a free market approach… we should use marketplace rules rather than top-down controls, we should reward the cheapest, most efficient energy sources,” which he “generally” feels to be renewables. He then said he doesn’t try “scaring people” with CO2 emissions but has focused on “getting off of coal.”

RFK

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Not sure why this happened the way it did.

Pfizer Vaccine Batches in the EU Were Placebos, Say Scientists (DS)

Scientists have uncovered startling evidence that a substantial portion of the batches of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine deployed in the European Union may in fact have consisted of placebos – and that the German regulator knew this and did not subject them to quality-control testing. The scientists, Dr. Gerald Dyker, Professor of Organic Chemistry at the Ruhr University Bochum, and Dr. Jörg Matysik, Professor of Analytical Chemistry at the University of Leipzig, are part of a group of five German-speaking scientists who have been publicly raising questions about the quality and safety of the BioNTech vaccine (as it is known in Germany) for the last year and a half. They recently appeared on the Punkt.Preradovic online programme of the German journalist Milena Preradovic to discuss batch variability. Their starting point was the recent Danish study showing enormous variation in the adverse events associated with different batches of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, or BNT162b2 per its scientific codename. The below figure from the Danish study illustrates this variation.

It shows that the batches used in Denmark, which are represented by the points in the graph, essentially break down into three groups. The ‘green batches’ clustered around the green line have a moderate or moderately-high level of adverse events associated with them. In the discussion with Preradovic, Gerald Dyker takes the example of the green point furthest to the right. As he explains, it represents the batch that was the used the most in Denmark, with somewhat over 800,000 doses having been administered. These 800,000 doses are associated with around 2,000 suspected adverse events, which gives a reporting rate of one suspected adverse event per approximately 400 doses. As Dyker puts it, “That’s not a small amount if we compare to what we know otherwise from influenza vaccines.” According to Dyker’s calculation, the green batches account for more than 60% of the Danish sample.

There are then the ‘blue batches’ clustered around the blue line, which are obviously associated with an extraordinarily high level of adverse events. As Dyker notes, no more than 80,000 doses of any of the blue batches were administered in Denmark – suggesting that these especially bad batches may perhaps have been quietly pulled from the market by public health authorities. Nonetheless, these batches had as many as 8,000 suspected adverse events associated with them. Eight thousand out of 80,000 doses would give a reporting rate of one suspected adverse event for every 10 doses – and Dyker notes that some of the blue batches are indeed associated with a reporting rate of as high as one suspected adverse event for every six doses! On Dyker’s calculation, the blue batches represent less than 5% of the total number of doses included in the Danish study.

Nonetheless, they are associated with nearly 50% of the 579 deaths recorded in the sample. Finally, we have the ‘yellow batches’ clustered around the yellow line, which, as can be seen above, barely gets off the x-axis. On Dyker’s calculation, the yellow batches represent around 30% of the total. Dyker notes that they include batches comprising some 200,000 administered doses which are associated with literally zero suspected adverse events. As Dyker puts it, “malicious” observers might note that “this is how placebos would look”. And malicious observers might be right. For Dyker and Matysik compared the batch numbers contained in the Danish study with publicly available information on the batches approved for release, and they made the startling discovery that almost none of the harmless batches, unlike the very-bad and not-so-bad batches, appear to have been subject to any quality-control testing at all.

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“This was organized crime. There’s no other way to define it,”

Comer: Overseas Payments To Biden Family Could Exceed $40M (NYP)

Members of President Biden’s family may have accepted in excess of $40 million from foreign nationals in exchange for favorable policy decisions, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer suggested Wednesday. The Kentucky Republican said that his panel has identified “six specific policy decisions” where Biden, 80, took actions that indicate he may have been “compromised,” during an appearance on John Catsimatidis’ “Cats & Cosby Show” on WABC 770 Wednesday. Comer noted that of the six policy decisions, four of them “were made while Joe Biden was president early on — [where] we cannot come to any other conclusion as to why these decisions were made, other than the fact that this president is compromised.” “This was organized crime. There’s no other way to define it,” Comer alleged.

The Oversight Committee chairman explained that as recently as “in the last five days” his panel has obtained banking statements and suspicious activity reports that show “more bank accounts, more shell companies and more Bidens” being involved in the family’s overseas influence peddling scheme. “We’re going to try to determine how much money the Bidens took, and what role Joe Biden played in all of this … It’s a huge puzzle,” Comer said of the GOP-led committee’s investigation. “Around 30 to 40 different banks, and about that many different shell companies. This is an organized attempt by the Biden family to hide the source of money going into these shell companies, and to distract from the IRS so they wouldn’t have to pay taxes on it. And that’s exactly what the IRS whistleblowers alleged in the transcribed interview with the Ways and Means Committee — that the Biden family never paid money on any of these wires that came into these shell companies,” he added.

IRS whistleblower Gary Shapely told Fox News host Bret Baier on Wednesday that in 2017 and 2018 alone, first son Hunter Biden ducked a $1.2 million tax bill, and that there is likely hundreds of thousands of dollars more in income from previous years that he failed to report. “I mean to this day, there’s still around $400,000 of unreported income from Burisma [Holdings] in 2014,” Shapley said. “Hunter Biden was told by his partner, Eric Schwerin, that he needed to amend his returns, and he never did.” Comer told Catsimatidis that he’s “confident” his investigation will prove the Biden family raked in “at least $17 million” from overseas, but that the “transactions could exceed $40 million-plus.”

Shapley

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Garland should testify before the House. Simple.

New Source in Hunter Biden Probe Points Finger at AG Garland (Sp.)

The New York Times has revealed that it had a new source confirming an IRS whistleblower’s claim about the Justice Department’s meddling in the Hunter Biden probe. While the US mainstream press has a record of ignoring reports concerning alleged misdeeds by the president and the first son, the NYT has claimed it has a source backing some of accusations voiced by IRS supervisory agent-turned whistleblower Gary Shapley. One of Shapley’s bombshell claims is that US Attorney David Weiss – assigned to conduct an investigation into Hunter Biden’s alleged tax crimes – was reportedly told by the DoJ that he could not bring charges against Hunter in California and Washington DC. Shapley’s former subordinate, who came forward as a second IRS whistleblower, made the same claim.

This story runs contrary to Attorney General Merrick Garland’s earlier assertions to the US Congress that Weiss has his hands untied when it comes to the Hunter probe in various state jurisdictions. Back in April, the IRS whistleblower placed emphasis on a false testimony to Congress made by a “senior political appointee.” Later, the New York Post reported that Garland was the appointee whose sworn testimony to congress is being challenged. Garland repeatedly denied having thrown any sand in Weiss’s gears. The attorney general even offered to ask Weiss himself to comment on the matter. “As I said at the outset, Mr. Weiss, who was appointed by President Trump as the US attorney in Delaware and assigned this matter during the previous administration, would be permitted to continue his investigation and to make a decision to prosecute any way in which he wanted to and in any district in which he wanted to,” Garland told reporters last week.

“Mr. Weiss has since sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee confirming that he had that authority. He was given complete authority to make all decisions on his own behalf.” However, the US mainstream newspaper has recently confirmed that Weiss indeed complained about being rebuffed by justice department officials. “In mid-2022, Mr. Weiss reached out to the top federal prosecutor in Washington, Matthew Graves, to ask his office to pursue charges and was rebuffed, according to Mr. Shapley’s testimony,” the newspaper wrote on Tuesday. “A similar request to prosecutors in the Central District of California, which includes Los Angeles, was also rejected, Mr. Shapley testified.

A second former IRS official, who has not been identified, told House Republicans the same story. That episode was confirmed independently to The New York Times by a person with knowledge of the situation.” US conservative outlets have drawn attention to the fact that the newspaper hid this very important piece of information concerning not just Hunter Biden but also AG Merrick Garland in the 21st paragraph of its lengthy report.


Shapley’s colleague, IRS whistleblower 2, the lead case agent, itemized the money precisely in his testimony

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“..and demands on an honest investigation and an honest prosecution as well.”

Pressure Grows On Judge To Reject Hunter Biden Plea Deal (JTN)

Pressure is growing in congressional, legal and media circles for the federal judge in the Hunter Biden case to reject a plea deal that would spare the first son from serving prison time after evidence has emerged from two IRS whistleblowers that a more serious criminal tax case was sabotaged by the Justice Department. “I don’t understand how any judge could bless this plea agreement now that all of this evidence of obstruction and DOJ and FBI wrongdoing has surfaced,” Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., told Just the News. “So I hope this judge does reject this, and then insists and demands on an honest investigation and an honest prosecution as well.”

Johnson, who with Sen. Charles Grassley led a two year probe into Hunter Biden’s overseas business dealings, was reacting to testimony and evidence from IRS supervisory agent Gary Shapley and another whistleblower that federal prosecutors blocked search warrants, interviews and more serious criminal charges. Shapley first made the allegations to the Justice Department inspector general and the House Ways and Means Committee. And in an interview to be aired Thursday on the John Solomon Reports podcast he detailed how career agents, career prosecutors, the DOJ tax division and lead U.S. Attorney David Weiss supported charging Hunter Biden with felonies alleging tax evasion and avoidance all the way back to 2014 totaling $2.2 million, including failing to pay taxes on $400,000 in income he got from the Ukrainian energy firm Burisma Holdings.

Shapley said President Joe Biden’s son was spared the more serious charges when the U.S. Attorneys in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles – both appointed by Biden – declined Weiss’ request for an indictment and then the statute of limitations on the older alleged offenses were allowed to expire. Hunter Biden has now struck a deal with Weiss to plead guilty to two misdemeanors tax evasion charges from 2017-18 and to enter a probation program that would result in a federal felony gun charge to be dismissed. Hunter Biden, 53, is slated to appear July 26 in federal court in Delaware before U.S. District Court Judge Maryellen Noreika, an appointee of former President Donald Trump.

Famed Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, an unabashed supporter of Joe Biden, agreed there is good reason for Noreika to set aside the plea deal and seek to investigate the whistleblower allegations. He said it was concerning that the whistleblowers’ testimony directly conflicts with Attorney General Merrick Garland’s testimony there was no interference in the probe. “If I were the judge on the Hunter Biden case, I would refuse to accept the plea bargain unless and until Garland and Weiss testify,” Dershowitz told the John Solomon Reports podcast on Tuesday. “What they’ve said is utterly incompatible.”

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Better be quick about replacing her.

Kamala Harris Worst VP in Polling History – NBC (Sp.)

Nearly half of Americans have a negative view of Kamala Harris and only 32% of them have a positive opinion of the US vice president, a new poll by the US’ NBC News broadcaster has revealed. The survey showed that 49% of respondents are critical of Harris, of which 39% have a “very negative view” with respect to the 58-year-old politician. Only 11% said they have a “very positive” opinion of Harris. She received a net negative rating of -17, which NBC News said is “the lowest for any vice president in the poll’s history.” The poll was carried out from June 16 to June 20 with a total of 1,000 respondents participating in the survey. The poll’s margin of error was 3.1 percentage points. For comparison, Harris predecessor Mike Pence’s ratings sat at 34% positive vs. 38% negative (-4%) in October 2019.


Views of Joe Biden were at 34% positive to 33% negative (+1%) when he was Barack Obama’s vice president in December 2010, while then-US Vice President Dick Cheney checked in at 47% positive and 24% negative (+23%) in May 2003. Earlier this year, media reports quoted an unnamed White House official as saying that US President Joe Biden is reportedly growing increasingly annoyed that his second-in-command, who allegedly refuses to take on more responsibility over a fear of potentially “messing up.” “A point of tension in their relationship is that I don’t think that the president sees her as somebody who takes anything off of his plate” due to a “fear of messing up,” the official said. The US vice president, who adheres to a hawkish stance on the Ukraine conflict and calls for more hefty military packages, has in particular repeatedly been criticized for sitting on her hands when it comes to tackling the US migration crisis.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Carvey Spade
https://twitter.com/i/status/1674210937086046209

Wrasse

 

 

Baby rhino
https://twitter.com/i/status/1673803056968867842

 

 

Stop it
https://twitter.com/i/status/1674143751525081089

 

 

 

 

P&K
https://twitter.com/i/status/1674026415635808256

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 232022
 


Jean-Francois Millet Charity 1859

 

Ukraine’s Propaganda War: Int’l PR Firms, DC Lobbyists and CIA Cutouts (MPN)
Biden Team: More Russia Sanctions Will Be Announced This Week (DM)
The Lie of American Innocence (Chris Hedges)
Joe Rogan Exposes How West Has Done A Complete 180 On ‘Corrupt’ Ukraine (SN)
Medical Conspiracy: With Eyes Wide Open, They Killed, Maimed Thousands (TN)
A Simple Way To End Vaccine Misinformation Immediately (Kirsch)
Record Infections In Super-vaxxed UK Seniors (Blaze)
Is Tinnitus A Rare Side Effect Of Covid Vaccines? (NBC)
New Zealand’s Discrimination Against Unvaccinated Is Rampant (Bexte)
Next Inflation Shock Comes From Resource Nationalism (Cerasuolo)
White House Comms Director Blames Harris For Chaos In VP Office (JTN)
SCOTUS Nominee: Lighter Sentences Pedophiles b/c Internet Makes It Easy (ZH)

 

 

Have a wonderfully happy wedding day, Julian and Stella.

 

 

 

 

Zelensky is a puppet
https://twitter.com/i/status/1506488050670579716

 

 

@MaajidNawaz challenges the mainstream narrative on Volodymyr Zelenskyy

 

 

 

 

K Street in Kyiv. “Agencies have offered up entire teams to support Kyiv in the communications war.”

Ukraine’s Propaganda War: Int’l PR Firms, DC Lobbyists and CIA Cutouts (MPN)

Since the Russian offensive inside Ukraine commenced on February 24, the Ukrainian military has cultivated the image of a plucky little army standing up to the Russian Goliath. To bolster the perception of Ukrainian military mettle, Kiev has churned out a steady stream of sophisticated propaganda aimed at stirring public and official support from Western countries. The campaign includes language guides, key messages, and hundreds of propaganda posters, some of which contain fascist imagery and even praise Neo-Nazi leaders. Behind Ukraine’s public relations effort is an army of foreign political strategists, Washington DC lobbyists, and a network of intelligence-linked media outlets.

Ukraine’s propaganda strategy earned it praise from a NATO commander who told the Washington Post, “They are really excellent in stratcom — media, info ops, and also psy-ops.” The Post ultimately conceded that “Western officials say that while they cannot independently verify much of the information that Kyiv puts out about the evolving battlefield situation, including casualty figures for both sides, it nonetheless represents highly effective stratcom.” Key to the propaganda effort is an international legion of public relations firms working directly with Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to wage information warfare. According to the industry news site PRWeek, the initiative was launched by an anonymous figure who allegedly founded a Ukraine-based public relations firm.

“From the first hour of war, we decided to join the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help them distribute the official sources to show the truth,” the nameless figure told PR Week. “This is a hybrid war: the mix of bloodily struggling fight with a huge disinformation and fake campaign lead by Russia [sic].” According to the anonymous figure, more than 150 public relations firms have joined the propaganda blitz. The international effort is spearheaded by public relations firm PR Network co-founder Nicky Regazzoni and Francis Ingham, a top public relations consultant with close ties to the UK’s government.

Ingham previously worked for Britain’s Conservative Party, sits on the UK Government Communication Service Strategy and Evaluation Council, is Chief Executive of the International Communications Consultancy Organisation, and leads the membership body for UK local government communicators, LG Comms. “We’ve been privileged to help coordinate efforts to support the Ukrainian Government in the last few days, “ Ingham told PRovoke Media. “Agencies have offered up entire teams to support Kyiv in the communications war. Our support for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine is unwavering and will continue for as long as needed.”

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As energy and food prices rise in US and EU. America is bankrupt in more than one way.

Biden Team: More Russia Sanctions Will Be Announced This Week (DM)

President Joe Biden will unveil another round of sanctions on Russia and tighten existing ones during his visit to Europe this week, his national security adviser announced on Tuesday. Biden is due to leave the White House tomorrow ahead of a N.A.T.O. summit in Brussels on Thursday. ‘He will have the opportunity to coordinate on the next phase of military assistance to Ukraine,’ said National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. ‘He will join our partners in imposing further sanctions on Russia and tightening the existing sanctions to crack down on evasion and to ensure robust enforcement.’ The president will also unveil additional help for refugees and for civilians inside Ukraine, many of whom are trapped in besieged cities, he added.

‘From Brussels, President Biden will travel to Poland where he will engage with US troops, who are now helping to defend NATO territory, and he will meet with experts involved in the humanitarian response,’ said Sullivan. ‘He will also hold a bilateral meeting with President Duda of Poland.’ The U.S. and allies have already imposed sanctions on Russia, as part of an effort to weaken President Vladimir Putin’s position at home and starve funding from his war machine. Washington has also worked with European and N.A.T.O. governments to deliver billions of dollars of weapons and aid to Ukraine. During the briefing at the White House, Sullivan was also asked about Russia’s potential use of nuclear weapons.

‘We have not changed our nuclear posture today. But we are constantly monitoring for that potential contingency and of course we take it as seriously as one could possibly take it,’ he said. ‘We will be consulting with allies and partners on that potential contingency among a range of others and discussing what our potential responses are.’ Sullivan said Biden will use the trip to work with allies on strengthening N.A.T.O.’s defenses on its eastern flank. ‘He will announce joint action on enhancing European energy security and reducing Europe’s dependence on Russian gas,’ he said.

Peskov nukes

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“Tens of millions of people, who had no connection with the attacks of 9/11, were killed, wounded, lost their homes, and saw their lives and their families destroyed because of our war crimes. Who will cry out for them?”

The Lie of American Innocence (Chris Hedges)

The branding of Vladimir Putin as a war criminal by Joe Biden, who lobbied for the Iraq war and staunchly supported the 20 years of carnage in the Middle East, is one more example of the hypocritical moral posturing sweeping across the United States. It is unclear how anyone would try Putin for war crimes since Russia, like the United States, does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But justice is not the point. Politicians like Biden, who do not accept responsibility for our well-documented war crimes, bolster their moral credentials by demonizing their adversaries. They know the chance of Putin facing justice is zero. And they know their chance of facing justice is the same.

We know who our most recent war criminals are, among others: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, General Ricardo Sanchez, former CIA Director George Tenet, former Asst. Atty. Gen. Jay Bybee, former Dep. Asst. Atty. Gen. John Yoo, who set up the legal framework to authorize torture; the helicopter pilots who gunned down civilians, including two Reuters journalists, in the “Collateral Murder” video released by WikiLeaks. We have evidence of the crimes they committed. But, like Putin’s Russia, those who expose these crimes are silenced and persecuted. Julian Assange, even though he is not a U.S. citizen and his WikiLeaks site is not a U.S.-based publication, is charged under the U.S. Espionage Act for making public numerous U.S. war crimes. Assange, currently housed in a high security prison in London, is fighting a losing battle in the British courts to block his extradition to the United States, where he faces 175 years in prison.

One set of rules for Russia, another set of rules for the United States. Weeping crocodile tears for the Russian media, which is being heavily censored by Putin, while ignoring the plight of the most important publisher of our generation speaks volumes about how much the ruling class cares about press freedom and truth. If we demand justice for Ukrainians, as we should, we must also demand justice for the one million people killed — 400,000 of whom were noncombatants — by our invasions, occupations and aerial assaults in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Pakistan. We must demand justice for those who were wounded, became sick or died because we destroyed hospitals and infrastructure.

We must demand justice for the thousands of soldiers and marines who were killed, and many more who were wounded and are living with lifelong disabilities, in wars launched and sustained on lies. We must demand justice for the 38 million people who have been displaced or become refugees in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya, and Syria, a number that exceeds the total of all those displaced in all wars since 1900, apart from World War II, according to the Watson Institute for International & Public Affairs at Brown University. Tens of millions of people, who had no connection with the attacks of 9/11, were killed, wounded, lost their homes, and saw their lives and their families destroyed because of our war crimes. Who will cry out for them?


10 wars, 6 millions killed, 1 Nobel Peace Prize, 0 sanction

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“We’re supposed to just veer away from the narrative that was being pushed just a couple years ago..”

Joe Rogan Exposes How West Has Done A Complete 180 On ‘Corrupt’ Ukraine (SN)

Joe Rogan noted on his podcast that the Western narrative on Ukraine has flipped 180 degrees in a few weeks from the country having a horrible corrupt government to being heroic allies against the Russian scourge. “I have this screenshot that someone sent me,” Rogan stated, “about the way the people on the left were talking about the Ukraine situation before the war.” He continued, “This is one of the things that’s so weird is that they were very disparaging of Ukraine, and they were talking about the massive corruption of Ukraine, and how horrible it was over there.” “And now, all of a sudden, they’re looking at it like they’re heroes. The same exact people. This is what’s confusing,” the host added.


Rogan then read out points from the screenshot he referenced wherein Ukraine was labeled “the most corrupt nation in Europe” with an “increasingly corrupt and authoritarian” leader who is seeking to deepen an “alliance with the far right”. “We’re supposed to just veer away from the narrative that was being pushed just a couple years ago,” Rogan asserted. Rogan also went on to point out how insane it is that Facebook and other social media platforms are officially sanctioning violent rhetoric against Russians, exclaiming “What the f*ck is that? What is that?”

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“..about 158,000 different health problems in all..”

Medical Conspiracy: With Eyes Wide Open, They Killed, Maimed Thousands (TN)

> A small batch of documents released by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in mid-November 2021 revealed that in the first three months of the COVID jab rollout, Pfizer received 42,086 adverse event reports that included 1,223 deaths. The first really large tranche of Pfizer documents — some 10,000 pages — was released by the FDA March 1, 2022. Included are nine pages of recorded side effects, about 158,000 different health problems in all. An initial review of case report forms (CRFs) reveal significant data collection errors and anomalies. Problems included patients entered into the “healthy population” group who were far from healthy; serious adverse event (SAE) numbers that were left blank; sample barcodes that were missing; at least one death of a patient the day before being listed as being at a medical checkup; and second doses that were administered outside the three-week protocol window.


There also are questions as to whether participants were properly observed for an adequate amount of time; plus adverse events were listed as “not serious” despite extended hospital stay and much more. A majority of the CRFs in this release were from Ventavia-run trial sites. Ventavia is currently facing a lawsuit brought by Brook Jackson, a former Ventavia regional director. Jackson was fired shortly after she brought concerns about potential data falsification and poor laboratory management to the attention of the FDA and higher-ups in the company.

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Autopsies. Embalmers.

A Simple Way To End Vaccine Misinformation Immediately (Kirsch)

If they truly wanted to end vaccine hesitancy, all they have to do is require autopsies if you die within 60 days of vaccination and require the medical examiners to make the required tests to determine vaccine involvement (as doctors Bhakdi and Burkhardt have done) and publish them. Publishing a fraudulent report would be a criminal offense. This would end the debate. Or they could simply require all licensed embalmers to check for the telltale clots and make the numbers public. Again, it would be a crime to falsify reports. Or they could do both. Why don’t they do this? I’ll tell you why they don’t do it: They don’t do it because they know the results would be devastating and would immediately halt the vaccine and discredit the FDA, CDC, the entire medical establishment, virtually all members of Congress, and the mainstream media.


Why doesn’t Florida Governor DeSantis require this in Florida? What is he afraid of? Why doesn’t Governor Newsom require this in California? What does he have to fear? DeSantis would be the most likely of any governor to do this. He could be a world hero if he did this. My suggestion isn’t limited to the US. Any public health official anywhere in the world could order this: local, state, federal. A state or federal legislature could require it. Any member of any legislature could introduce a bill. Why are California Assemblymember Evan Low and state Senator Dr. Richard Pan doing nothing? They have said they want to end medical misinformation. This is a perfect opportunity for them to walk the talk! Why aren’t members of the medical community calling for this? Will any of these people join me in calling for this? Or will they sit on the sidelines and say nothing?

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“Just because Volodymyr Zelenskyy is the new Fauci, it doesn’t mean COVID is over.”

Record Infections In Super-vaxxed UK Seniors (Blaze)

Just because Volodymyr Zelenskyy is the new Fauci, it doesn’t mean COVID is over. In fact, cases are surging in many European countries, and U.K. seniors are now experiencing record numbers. “Covid infections surge to record high for over-70s in UK” was the title of a Financial Times article from Friday. But how can there be record infections precisely after nearly every senior was vaccinated and 90% were boosted, even though many already have had prior infection? Or are the record infections because of the shots, not despite them, and does this mean that they are preventing people from achieving immunity? Ireland is one of the most vaccinated countries in the European Union, yet hospitalizations are rising. There are now more people in Irish hospitals than at any point in 12 months.

Nearly 95% of all adults are fully vaccinated, and nearly 100% of seniors are vaccinated and boosted. The number of COVID cases has nearly tripled in the U.K. since the nadir of the post-winter drop four weeks ago. Moreover, deaths are still hovering around 125 a day, whereas after the 2021 winter wave (with a much lower prior infection rate), deaths were nearly reduced to zero. Furthermore, Scotland, which has the highest vaccination rate of anywhere in the U.K. and is the only region with mask mandates, seems to be worse off than ever before. “Scotland recorded its highest infection rates of the pandemic so far, with one in every 14 people infected with the virus in the week to mid-March, up from one in 18 a week earlier,” reported the Financial Times.

Roughly 90% of all people over age 12 in Scotland have two shots, and 73% have boosters. Among seniors, boosters are nearly universal. Thus, there is nowhere to run or hide from the vaccine failures. The negative efficacy is out of control. What about protection against death? Well, we can’t exactly see where the deaths are coming from because Scotland conveniently stopped providing that data, but the U.K. government will still offer the weekly reports for a few more weeks. According to the latest U.K. health surveillance report, roughly 95% of those over 70 are double-vaccinated and about 90%-93% of the age cohorts over 70 are boosted. Just 1.6% of the senior cases between weeks 7 and 10 of this year were among the unvaccinated, which is below the 5% share of the population pie they compose. The triple-boosted are 90% of the cases.

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NBC tries to obfuscate the issues.

Is Tinnitus A Rare Side Effect Of Covid Vaccines? (NBC)

It was the shock of a loud whistle that almost caused Gregory Poland to veer off the road as he was driving home after getting his second Covid-19 vaccine. “It startled me,” said Poland, who is 66 years old. “I thought it was a dog whistle going off right next to me.” It was not a dog whistle; it was a piercing sound his brain conjured up for an unknown reason. Poland suspects it may have been a side effect of the vaccine. That was one year ago. The noise, he said, has been unrelenting ever since. For the record, neither Poland nor the medical community at large can prove that the mRNA Covid vaccine that he received had anything to do with his sudden onset of tinnitus, a condition that is often described as a ringing, buzzing or hissing noise in one or both ears. It can be constant or intermittent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and vaccine manufacturers, have investigated anecdotal reports of tinnitus through programs such as the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS, following Covid vaccination, but have found no evidence of cause and effect. And Poland’s tale might not carry much weight if he weren’t Dr. Gregory Poland — a globally respected physician who has dedicated his career to vaccine study and development as founder and director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minnesota. What’s more, Poland is a paid scientific adviser for Johnson & Johnson/Janssen Global Services, and acts as a consultant on vaccine development for Moderna, as well as other pharmaceutical companies.

Given Poland’s interests and the uncertainty of a true link between the vaccine and tinnitus — not to mention a strong anti-vaccine movement — why would he publicize his condition and suspicion that a vaccine could be involved? “As a physician who’s taken an oath to first do no harm, I think about these things,” Poland said. His day-to-day focus, he said, is to help patients work through the potential risks and benefits of any treatment, including vaccines. “I refuse to be anything less than transparent,” he said. “I refuse to cherry-pick the information that should be presented to people to make good decisions.” What does the science say? There is no known cause of tinnitus, though it is often associated with “acoustic trauma,” such as what is experienced by active duty military personnel.

There is some evidence that Covid-19 itself may worsen the condition in people who have previously suffered from ringing in their ears. When it comes to potential auditory side effects of vaccination, research is sparse. A study published last month in the medical journal JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, analyzed reports of hearing issues following Covid-19 vaccines. The reports had been submitted to VAERS. Such reports raise the issue of unexpected problems following any vaccine. Scientists are then tasked with reviewing the reports, looking for patterns of unusual side effects.

In a statement to NBC News, Pfizer said the company takes reported adverse events “very seriously.” “Tinnitus cases have been reviewed and no causal association to the Covid-19 vaccine has been established,” the statement read. A statement from Johnson & Johnson said that tinnitus was identified as an adverse event in its phase 3 clinical trials of the Covid-19 vaccine but also maintained that it was impossible to “establish a causal relationship to vaccine exposure.”

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“..a self-satisfied grin adorning her face…”

New Zealand’s Discrimination Against Unvaccinated Is Rampant (Bexte)

New Zealand remains one of the most flagrantly discriminatory countries in the world due to its treatment of the unvaccinated. While much of the world opens up and ends the two-tiered systems put into place to coerce the unvaccinated to comply with the government’s agenda, New Zealand, under the rule of PM Jacinda Ardern, seems hellbent on dragging the ordeal out as long as possible. According to the government’s website, policies remain for nearly all public sector workers, and the government gives all private businesses the right to continue requiring up to three doses to retain employment. Additionally, during an interview on March 20, Ardern admitted that even if some restrictions are loosened, the vaccine passport will remain in the government’s back pocket just in case.

Perhaps inspired by the Freedom Convoy protests in Canada, New Zealanders took to the streets in early February and have been protesting their government’s restrictions ever since, causing Ardern noticeable concern. Much like other globalists, when finally faced with massive protests not just against mandates but against her as a leader, Ardern claimed that anyone opposed to her authoritarianism is simply being misled by “disinformation.” While Australia was extremely brutal in its crackdown against protesters, what made New Zealand, perhaps, most notable in addressing anyone who dissents, is how smug their PM was when stating the discriminatory policies she planned to implement.

During an interview from October 24, 2021, Ardern unambiguously stated that she was creating an apartheid state to discriminate against the unvaccinated — of course, under the guise of public health. “So, you’ve basically said, you probably don’t see it like this, but two different classes of people. If you’re vaccinated or unvaccinated. You have all these rights if you are vaccinated,” an interviewer asked. “That is what it is. Yep,” Ardern stated, a self-satisfied grin adorning her face.

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Stop calling it inflation. It’s embarrassing.

Next Inflation Shock Comes From Resource Nationalism (Cerasuolo)

First there was supply-chain disruption brought on by the coronavirus, then war in Ukraine further rocked commodity markets. The next bout of inflation via raw material prices will be brought on by resource nationalism. While the cost pressures brought on by the difficulty in moving goods in a world in lockdown are fading, other factors are more enduring. For instance, the post-Cold War spread of e-commerce allowed companies to treat the world as both factory floor and marketplace. Comparative advantage, strategic partnerships and the success of globalization led to growth and prosperity. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine jarred that dynamic and has set in motion a series of quasi-isolationist responses. What started as economic sanctions on Russia has tipped the balance: we are no longer in a uni-polar world.

We have entered into a multi-polar one where traditional economic superpowers can no longer call the shots. Service-driven economies are price takers and have far less leverage over those producing raw materials. The geopolitical landscape has changed and economic incentives along with it. The growing emergency that sanctions on Russia have caused over energy supply security will be inflationary for years to come. Nowhere is this more evident than in Europe, given its direct exposure to Russia energy, with individual countries prioritizing domestic energy security as a first port of call. The European Union entered an era of energy inflation given its commitment to address climate change and fossil fuel dependence by “greening” the economy. Such aims create price pressure, and has led to discussion at the European Central Bank on whether its inflation target should be adjusted.

Russia and Ukraine are two of the globe’s top grain producers. Conflict has triggered panic and price squeezes on everything from fertilizer to cooking oil, and has also led nations to rethink their approach to national stockpiling. Energy security pulls into focus security of other commodities. The list of countries restricting agriculture exports is growing. It includes Indonesia, Hungary, Argentina, and Turkey. China’s begun stockpiling corn and soybeans while sources mention state refiners are considering pausing exports of gasoline and diesel in April. Effectively, every resource a nation produces has the potential to become a bargaining chip. There is a price to meet security of resources. As more economies step away from globalization that cost will get steeper as isolationist tendencies produce greater trade frictions.

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NYT turns on Kamala?

White House Comms Director Blames Harris For Chaos In VP Office (JTN)

Kate Bedingfield, the White House communications director, reportedly pins the blame for disfunction in the vice president’s office squarely on the shoulders of Kamala Harris, according to a new book. “This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden, and the Battle for America’s Future,” by New York Times reporters Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns, was profiled in Politico on Tuesday and reported details about chaos in the vice president’s office were on display. Harris’ office has lost 10 staffers since summer of 2021 and is reportedly a difficult environment in which to exist. Some of Harris’ staffers reportedly blamed the issue primarily on mismanagement of the vice president, to which Bedingfield responded.

Martin and Burns write that “Bedingfield had taken to noting that the vice presidency was not the first time in Harris’s political career that she had fallen short of sky-high expectations.” “Her Senate office had been messy and her [2020] presidential campaign had been a fiasco. Perhaps, she suggested, the problem was not the vice president’s staff,” write the pair. Politico notes that Bedingfield unequivocally denies making such remarks. “The fact that no one working on this book bothered to call to fact check this unattributed claim tells you what you need to know. Vice President Harris is a force in this administration and I have the utmost respect for the work she does every day to move the country forward,” wrote the White House comms director.

The book reports that frustration between the White House and the office of the vice president began to grow last year after Harris’ widely panned trip to Mexico and Guatemala to assess the “root causes” of the migration crisis at thee U.S. southern border. The vice president has since been tasked with leading a number of political missions, most of which have ended in abject failure – most notably, the election reform bill that failed in the senate after months of political back-and-forth.

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It’s already nuts to insist on a black woman, like two wrongs make one right. But this woman herself is nuts too. Lighter sentences for child porn because there is so much of it? The internet has tons of bomb-making instructions too. Now insert that same logic….

SCOTUS Nominee: Lighter Sentences Pedophiles b/c Internet Makes It Easy (ZH)

Supreme Court Nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson defended her record of giving pedophiles light sentences, arguing that it’s easier for them to procure large volumes through the internet – vs. the effort required to obtain child porn through the mail. “The guideline was based originally on a statutory scheme and directives, specific directives from Congress at a time in which more serious child pornography offenders were identified based on the volume, based on the number of photographs they received in the mail. And that made total sense before, when you didn’t have the internet.

“When we didn’t have distribution. But the way that the guideline is now structured, based on that set of circumstances, is leading to extreme disparities in the system because it’s so easy for people to get volumes of this material now by computers. So it’s not doing the work of differentiating who is a more serious offender in the way that it used to.” Brown Jackson, who notably served as the judge in the ‘Pizzagate’ shooting, was responding to Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-MO) claim last week that her legal record “endangers our children.” “As a mother and a judge who has had to deal with these cases, I was thinking that nothing could be further from the truth,” Jackson said Tuesday. “These are some of the most difficult cases that a judge has to deal with because we’re talking about pictures of sex abuse of children, we’re talking about graphic descriptions that judges have to read and consider when they decide how to sentence in these cases.”


As Tuesday’s confirmation hearing of Ketanji Brown Jackson continued, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) got into heated exchanges with the nominee over several issues – including her views on Critical Race Theory and her record on child predators. When Cruz asked her opinions on CRT, referring to a 2020 speech she gave at the University of Michigan where she mentioned Nikole Hannah-Jones’ revisionist 1619 project, Brown responded: “It doesn’t come up in my work as It’s never something that I have studied or relied on, and it wouldn’t be something that I would rely on if I was on the Supreme Court.” She also says she hasn’t reviewed “any of those books” that are available at Georgetown Day School, where she sits on the board. Cruz also pressed her over her record on pedophiles.

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Europe changes time this weekend.

 

 

Why is Ukraine America’s fault? | Nicolai N. Petro

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Aug 232021
 


Vasily Polenov Moscow courtyard 1878

 

The FDA Is Begging You Not to Take Horse Dewormer for Covid-19 (RS)
How Does Covid-19 Affect The Brain? (NatGeo)
Potential Use Of Ivermectin For Treatment And Prophylaxis Of SARS-CoV-2 (SD) /span>
Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection (AJT)
Stop The Mandates Or People Die (Denninger)
Molecular Determinants of SARS-CoV-2 Variants (Cell)
Biden Team’s Misguided And Deadly Covid-19 Vaccine Strategy (WT)
100s Of Doctors Sign Open Letter: Need Debate On ‘Flawed Covid Guesses’ (Exp.)
Rescue Dogs Shot Dead By NSW Council Due To Covid-19 Restrictions (SMH)
Afghan Staff At US Embassy Losing Faith In Evacuation Efforts (NBC)
White House Announces They’ve Lost Kamala Harris (BBee)

 

 

 

 

A drug safely used by an estimated 3 billion people has been relabeled a horse dewormer. This is a dangerous campaign. Lives are being lost.

The FDA Is Begging You Not to Take Horse Dewormer for Covid-19 (RS)

“You are not a horse. You are not a cow,” the Food and Drug Administration tweeted on Saturday alongside a link to a page on their website explaining “Why you should not use Ivermectin to treat or prevent Covid-19.” Why? Because Ivermectin, a medication usually reserved for deworming livestock, is responsible for a spike in poison control calls in Mississippi as people duped by conspiracy theories have purchased the drug and ingested it, hoping it will treat or prevent Covid-19 — something the drug is not proven to do. According to an alert issued by the Mississippi Department of Health on Friday, 70 percent of all recent calls to poison control in the state “have been related to ingestion of livestock or animal formulations of ivermectin purchased at livestock supply centers.”

Although most callers (85 percent) only reported mild symptoms, one person was advised to seek additional treatment. “Animal drugs are highly concentrated for large animals and can be highly toxic in humans,” the alert said. Ivermectin is sometimes used in humans to treat parasites or scabies, but in much smaller doses than are given to livestock. The calls have clearly baffled health officials in the state. “I think some people are trying to use it as a preventative which is really kind of crazy,” Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi’s state health officer, said. “So please don’t do that.”

“You wouldn’t get your chemotherapy at a feed store,” Dobbs added. “You wouldn’t treat your pneumonia with your animal’s medication. It can be dangerous to get the wrong doses of medication, especially with something meant for a horse or a cow.” But the obvious risks of humans ingesting Ivermectin haven’t stopped people at Fox News — including hosts Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson — from dangerously suggesting that it is a safe and effective treatment for Covid-19, as Rachel Maddow pointed out on her Friday night show where she showed clips of Fox personalities pushing the drug consistently over the last six months.

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Very little is clear. Only thing to do is keep people from being infected. And the vaccines don’t do that:

..an internal document from the C.D.C. states that some 35,000 vaccinated people experience symptomatic coronavirus infections each week..

How Does Covid-19 Affect The Brain? (NatGeo)

If SARS-CoV-2 doesn’t infect brain cells, how is so destructive to cognition? There are two leading hypotheses. The first is that the infection somehow triggers inflammation in the brain. Some COVID-19 patients have suffered encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, which can cause confusion and double vision, and in serious cases, speech, hearing, or vision problems. If left untreated, patients can develop cognitive problems. Viruses like West Nile and Zika can cause encephalitis by directly infecting the brain cells, but how COVID-19 may lead to brain inflammation is less clear. An immune response run amok, known as autoimmunity, might be to blame for some instances of inflammation throughout the body, including the brain.

When the immune system is fighting a disease like COVID-19, it unleashes antibodies to do battle against the infection. But sometimes a person’s immune system becomes hyperactive and instead starts making self-attacking antibodies, known as autoantibodies, which can contribute to inflammation and blood clots. These autoantibodies have been found in the cerebrospinal fluid of COVID-19 patients with neurological symptoms. In the Columbia study, researchers found clusters of microglia—special immune cells in the brain whose job is to clear out damaged neurons—that appeared to be attacking healthy neurons. The phenomenon is called neuronophagia. Most of these rogue microglia were in the brain stem, which regulates heartbeat, breathing, and sleeping.

The researchers think these microglia may get activated by signaling molecules called inflammatory cytokines found in patients with severe COVID-19. These molecules are supposed to help regulate the immune system, but some people’s bodies release too many inflammatory cytokines in response to a viral infection. When researchers at Stanford looked at brain tissue from eight patients who died of COVID-19, they also observed signs of inflammation compared to 14 control brains. Using a technique called single-cell RNA sequencing, they found that hundreds of genes associated with inflammation were activated in brain cells from COVID-19 patients compared to controls.

They also noted molecular changes in the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain involved in decision-making and memory that suggested signaling imbalances in neurons. Similar imbalances have been seen in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The results were published in Nature in June. A second explanation for cognitive issues is that COVID-19 may restrict blood flow to the brain and deprive it of oxygen. In patients who have died of COVID-19, researchers have found evidence of brain tissue damagecaused by hypoxia, or the lack of oxygen.

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Slow but sure take-up by serious medical journals.

Science Direct (Elsevier). Current Research in Translational Medicine
Volume 69, Issue 4, October 2021, 103309

Potential Use Of Ivermectin For Treatment And Prophylaxis Of SARS-CoV-2 (SD)

Ivermectin performs its function mainly through inhibition of nuclear transport mediated by the imported heterodimer a/b1 , which is responsible for the translocation of proteins of several viral species (Human Immunodeficiency Virus, type 1- HIV1, and Simian Virus 40 – SV40; a known oncogenic DNA), and such translocation is, in turn, essential for viral replication [7,8]. This inhibition appears to affect a considerable number of RNA viruses. It has recently been shown that ivermectin inhibits the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in vitro [8, 9], although it is not clear how this occurs. However, since the causal agent of COVID-19 is an RNA virus, the interference with the same proteins and molecular processes described above can reasonably be expected.

However, these studies were conducted at concentrations substantially higher than expected in the plasma and lungs of humans who receive the approved dose of ivermectin. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic studies suggest that in order to achieve the plasma concentrations required for in vitro antiviral efficacy, it would be necessary to administer doses up to 100 times higher than approved for human use. However, increasing the dose/kg of body weight may be a strategy to increase efficacy, the increase of the risk of toxicity is not conclusive. Currently, there is a noteworthy absence of efficacious treatments for patients with early infection. Although most patients present mild or moderate symptoms, up to 5-10% may have a bad disease progression, so there is a pressing need for effective drugs to be administered early in the course of infection, even before the appearance of severe symptoms, i.e. when the course of the disease is more modifiable to prevent disease progression and longer-term complications.

In fact, it is known that the earlier the antiviral therapies are started, the greater the benefits for patients, in both influenza [15] and SARS infections [16], as well as, more generally, for all infections. Given the need to find an effective drug that can mitigate the harmful consequences of COVID-19, a large number of studies are being carried out in order to assess the effectiveness of different existing drugs, including ivermectin, with promising results. This narrative review summarizes and outlines the evidence-based effectiveness and safety of ivermectin in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection, recommending the drug for the treatment of COVID-19 especially in the early stages of the disease.

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American Journal of Therapeutics: July/August 2021

Ivermectin for Prevention and Treatment of COVID-19 Infection (AJT)

Ivermectin is a well-known medicine that is approved as an antiparasitic by the World Health Organization and the US Food and Drug Administration. It is widely used in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) to treat worm infections. Also used for the treatment of scabies and lice, it is one of the World Health Organization’s Essential Medicines. With total doses of ivermectin distributed apparently equaling one-third of the present world population, ivermectin at the usual doses (0.2–0.4 mg/kg) is considered extremely safe for use in humans. In addition to its antiparasitic activity, it has been noted to have antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties, leading to an increasing list of therapeutic indications.8

Since the start of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, both observational and randomized studies have evaluated ivermectin as a treatment for, and as prophylaxis against, COVID-19 infection. A review by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance summarized findings from 27 studies on the effects of ivermectin for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 infection, concluding that ivermectin “demonstrates a strong signal of therapeutic efficacy” against COVID-19.9 Another recent review found that ivermectin reduced deaths by 75%. Despite these findings, the National Institutes of Health in the United States recently stated that “there are insufficient data to recommend either for or against the use of ivermectin for the treatment of COVID-19,”and the World Health Organization recommends against its use outside of clinical trials.

Ivermectin has exhibited antiviral activity against a wide range of RNA and some DNA viruses, for example, Zika, dengue, yellow fever, and others.13 Caly et al14 demonstrated specific action against SARS-CoV-2 in vitro with a suggested host-directed mechanism of action being the blocking of the nuclear import of viral proteins that suppress normal immune responses. However, the necessary cell culture EC50 may not be achievable in vivo.16 Other conjectured mechanisms include inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 3CLPro activity(a protease essential for viral replication), a variety of anti-inflammatory effects,19 and competitive binding of ivermectin with the viral S protein as shown in multiple in silico studies. The latter would inhibit viral binding to ACE-2 receptors suppressing infection. Hemagglutination via viral binding to sialic acid receptors on erythrocytes is a recently proposed pathologic mechanism that would be similarly disrupted. Both host-directed and virus-directed mechanisms have thus been proposed, the clinical mechanism may be multimodal, possibly dependent on disease stage, and a comprehensive review of mechanisms of action is warranted.

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You can’t force people. And you shouldn’t be trying.

Stop The Mandates Or People Die (Denninger)

Better watch this one folks and let it sink in.

“If I don’t show up for my job, as I just explained to you, people die. On Saturday night at 10 p.m. I got a page. I did not want to go to work. Somebody was having a very critical problem, they were dying. I worked until 6 a.m. the next day. If I had not of showed up, there would have been nobody to do my job. These guys can’t show up to their job, and I’m sorry, your jobs are not as important as mine.” There are tens if not hundreds of thousands of people just like him They’re everywhere in the health care system. They have unique skills without which the system does not function, and when you need those skills you need them now, not later. There is no “later”; there is either now or death. Take someone on dialysis. This is not a “robotic procedure”; each patient has specific levels of various drugs and their specific metabolic reactions to them that must be individually managed.

The people who do that job are not replaceable on short notice, if at all. If you need dialysis and do not get it, you die. This is not a “maybe” or “might die” you WILL die with absolute, 100% certainty. Things happen at odd hours of the day and night. Most real medical emergencies are not scheduled — heart attacks, strokes, car wrecks, gunshots and similar. They happen when they happen and either someone is there to respond to it and deal with it or the person in question dies. Those hundreds of thousands of people who are utterly essential to people not dying every single day — hundreds if not thousands who will otherwise die if those employees refuse to show up — and exactly zero of those people can be compelled to work. This is America. It is not the Soviet Union. It is not North Korea.

NOBODY is a slave and EVERYONE has the right to say “**** you” and walk out. EVERYONE. ALL THE TIME. Then there are of course both cops and firefighters. You want someone to put your house out if its on fire, right? What if the firefighters say “**** you” to a jab mandate and quit? Who’s going to put the fire out? Do you even have a wrench to get the hydrant open, say much less the correct fittings and hose? What happens when your child is in that burning house and there is no firefighter to put it out? He or she dies. You cannot arrest and jail someone for quitting their job or refusing a mandate and being fired. All employment is voluntary, no matter how “essential” the position. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS and there is no way to replace the people who do these jobs without which hundreds of people per day WILL DIE.

Therefore you have a choice to make America and you have to make it NOW. You will stand up and stop these mandates. You will do it now. You will do it or every single person who dies as a result of your failure to do so, and the refusal of others to consent, is YOUR responsibility. Not their person who quits — YOURS. THEY are not slaves. THEY cannot be compelled to consent. THEY have NO obligation to put up with your bull****. You’d better get this through your thick ******n skull RIGHT NOW. YOU are why that person who needs dialysis will be dead. YOU are why the person who is in critical trouble in a hospital and there is no perfusionist available right now will die. YOU either stop this madness, right now, by whatever means are necessary, without exception from top to bottom or YOU are responsible for those deaths and those deaths WILL come.

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“While replication-associated mutations generate small changes in the viral genome, recombination may introduce more important modifications, leading to dramatic changes in the phenotype of SARS-CoV-2..”

Molecular Determinants of SARS-CoV-2 Variants (Cell)

Accumulation of genomes with replication-associated random mutations within the same cell has the potential to generate a heterogeneous mix of viral proteins, including spike protein, which brings into question the true diversity of the spike on the surface of individual virions and subsequent tissue-level spread of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. If a more orderly molecular process to regulate the homogeneous distribution of spike protein variants on individual virions exists, it remains to be identified. Regular RNA sequencing analyses are unable to identify these differences since they can only be captured by ultra-high-resolution single-virion protein sequencing, the technology for which is in its infancy.


The SARS-CoV-2 genomic mutation rate in humans is estimated at 0.8-2.38 x 10-3 nucleotide substitutions per site per year largely based on analysis of sequencing data archived in public repositories. Emerging studies are attempting to confirm this mutation rate using experimental investigations. By comparison, mutations rates for influenza A virus and Middle East respiratory syndrome CoV (MERS-CoV) are 2.3 x 10-3 and 1.12 x 10-3 nucleotide substitutions per site per year, respectively. Human CoVs (HCoV)-OC43 and HCoV-229E have an average mutation rate of 3-6 x 10-4 nucleotide substitutions per site per year. Emerging experimental data suggest that SARS-CoV-2 is capable of mutating and accumulating changes when facing a new cell type, albeit in the absence of immune surveillance in a single-cell-type infection model. A clinical study also reported the rapid evolution of SARS-CoV-2 variants in the presence of antibodies from convalescent plasma therapy. While random errors during replication may induce genetic mutations in SARS-CoV-2, multiple extrinsic factors, such as individual and population-level immunity, play a vital role in the selection of these variants. More research is warranted to fully understand the cellular and molecular drivers of genomic mutation and selection in SARS-CoV-2. As SARS-CoV-2 accumulates new genetic changes, we shall need to reassess the mutation rate to better understand the contribution of replication-associated random mutations and its impact on SARS-CoV-2 transmission and emergence of new variants.


Figure 1 Replication-Associated Generation of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Variants.

While replication-associated mutations generate small changes in the viral genome, recombination may introduce more important modifications, leading to dramatic changes in the phenotype of SARS-CoV-2 (Figure 2). Discontinuous transcription of CoV genomes enables recombination in a cell coinfected with more than one CoV species or variant via ‘strand switching’ by the viral RdRp (Figure 2A). This process leads to the production of chimeric subgenomic RNA and proteins. Chimeric proteins may have consequences for the fate of infected cells and for cellular and tissue tropism of progeny virions. As technology evolves, we might be able to track the spread of individual virions, along with deciphering the heterogeneity of their composition.


Figure 2 Recombination-Induced Variants.

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Dr. Robert Malone and Peter Navarro.

Biden Team’s Misguided And Deadly Covid-19 Vaccine Strategy (WT)

The Biden administration’s strategy to universally vaccinate in the middle of the pandemic is bad science and badly needs a reboot. This strategy will likely prolong the most dangerous phase of the worst pandemic since 1918 and almost assuredly cause more harm than good – even as it undermines faith in the entire public health system. Four flawed assumptions drive the Biden strategy. The first is that universal vaccination can eradicate the virus and secure economic recovery by achieving herd immunity throughout the country (and the world). However, the virus is now so deeply embedded in the world population that, unlike polio and smallpox, eradication is unachievable. SARS-CoV-2 and its myriad mutations will likely continually circulate, much like the common cold and influenza.

The second assumption is that the vaccines are (near) perfectly effective. However, our currently available vaccines are quite “leaky.” While good at preventing severe disease and death, they only reduce, not eliminate, the risk of infection, replication, and transmission. As a slide deck from the Centers for Disease Control has revealed, even 100% acceptance of the current leaky vaccines combined with strict mask compliance will not stop the highly contagious Delta variant from spreading. The third assumption is that the vaccines are safe. Yet scientists, physicians, and public health officials now recognize risks that are rare but by no means trivial. Known side effects include serious cardiac and thrombotic conditions, menstrual cycle disruptions, Bell’s Palsy, Guillain Barre syndrome, and anaphylaxis.

Unknown side effects which virologists fear may emerge include existential reproductive risks, additional autoimmune conditions, and various forms of disease enhancement, i.e., the vaccines can make people more vulnerable to reinfection by SARS-CoV-2 or reactivation of latent viral infections and associated diseases such as shingles. With good reason, the FDA has yet to approve the vaccines now administered under Emergency Use Authorization. The failure of the fourth “durability” assumption is the most alarming and perplexing. It now appears our current vaccines are likely to offer a mere 180-day window of protection – a decided lack of durability underscored by scientific evidence from Israel and confirmed by Pfizer, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other countries.

Here, we are already being warned of the need for universal “booster” shots at six-month intervals for the foreseeable future. The obvious broader point that militates for individual vaccine choice is that repeated vaccinations, each with a small risk, can add up to a big risk. It’s an arms race with the virus.

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Still not sure what they’re mad about, other than lockdowns.

100s Of Doctors Sign Open Letter: Need Debate On ‘Flawed Covid Guesses’ (Exp.)

A hundred and thirty three doctors, nurses, psychiatrists paramedics and midwives signed the letter released today which states that despite a “complete lack of widespread approval among health professionals,” of the pandemic policies, “no attempt” has been made to measure the harms of lockdown policies. The letter, also addressed to the Health Secretary and First Ministers for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland states: “You have failed to engage in dialogue and show no signs of doing so. You have removed from people fundamental rights and altered the fabric of society with little debate in Parliament.” The signatories, from a broad range of specialities, came forward despite the risk of doing so to both their jobs and reputations.

Founding signatory Dr Ros Jones, a retired paediatric consultant said: “We wrote the letter as a group of healthcare professionals, connected only by our deep concern and shared commitment to “first do no harm.” We can no longer stand by in silence. We are not the first group of medically and scientifically qualified professionals to write in such terms to the Government. In March, 22 eminent scientists publicly called for drastic policy change. We sincerely hope we will be the last who feel the need to write such a letter.” Dr Alan Mordue, another founding signatory said: “To move forward now our governments urgently need to facilitate a wider and open debate within the medical and scientific community, for the short term as we lift restrictions, and the longer term to improve how we manage winter respiratory viruses and pandemics in the future.”

Concerns voiced in the letter include accusations that no Minister responsible for policy “has engaged in an open and full discussion of alternative ways of managing the pandemic,” despite being aware of other medical and scientific viewpoints. It adds the pandemic response policies have caused “significant, permanent and unnecessary harm” to the UK and “must never be repeated.” The letter focuses on 10 areas where the UK’s approach to COVID failed. It argues the nature of the covid threat has been exaggerated, it claims the use of behavioural science to generate fear was “inappropriate and unethical” and it argues the role of asymptomatic spread has been overplayed and used to promote public compliance with restrictions.

Finally it states that restrictions have been imposed with an overreliance on modelling data whilst ignoring real world data. The signatories called for a “sea change within the Government “which must now pay proper attention to those esteemed experts outside its inner circle who are sounding these alarms.”

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New normal. I see videos every day from Australia that make me want to vomit.

Rescue Dogs Shot Dead By NSW Council Due To Covid-19 Restrictions (SMH)

Several impounded dogs due to be rescued by a shelter have instead been shot dead by a rural council in NSW under its interpretation of COVID-19 restrictions, alarming animal activists and prompting a government probe. Bourke Shire Council, in the state’s north-west, killed the dogs to prevent volunteers at a Cobar-based animal shelter from travelling to pick up the animals last week, according to council’s watchdog, the Office of Local Government. “OLG has been informed that the council decided to take this course of action to protect its employees and community, including vulnerable Aboriginal populations, from the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” a spokesman from the government agency said.

The spokesman said the agency was examining the circumstances of the incident to find out whether companion animal and cruelty prevention laws had been broken. The Herald attempted to contact the council administration multiple times, but received no response, and a member of Rural Outback Respite/Rescue – the shelter that was supposed to receive the dogs – declined to comment. A source who is familiar with the arrangement said the shelter volunteers are distressed and had COVID-safe measures in place to handle the dogs, one of which was a new mother. According to NSW Health, there have been no recent locally acquired COVID-19 cases in Cobar, although fragments of the virus have been found in the area’s sewerage system.

The Office of Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock, who has previously faced questions in Parliament over the shooting of animals in council pounds, did not comment. However, animal liberation campaigner Lisa Ryan called for an urgent investigation. “We are deeply distressed and completely appalled by this callous dog shooting and we totally reject council’s unacceptable justifications that this killing was apparently undertaken as part of a COVID- safe plan,” Ms Ryan, Animal Liberation’s regional campaign manager, said.

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“It would be better to die under the Taliban’s bullet” than face the crowds again..”

Afghan Staff At US Embassy Losing Faith In Evacuation Efforts (NBC)

Local staff members at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul are “deeply disheartened” by U.S. evacuation efforts and have expressed a sense of betrayal and distrust in the U.S. government, according to a State Department diplomatic cable obtained by NBC News. The cable, which was sent Saturday, said memos were sent Wednesday inviting Afghan staff members at the embassy to head to Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. It told them to take food and to prepare for difficult conditions. “However, no one anticipated the brutal experience that occurred,” the cable said.

Staffers reported being jostled, hit, spat on and cursed at by Taliban fighters at checkpoints near the airport, it said, adding that criminals were taking advantage of the chaos while the U.S. military tried to maintain order “in an extremely physical situation.” Some staff members reported that they were almost separated from their children, while others collapsed in a crush of people and had to be taken to hospitals with injuries, the cable said. Others said they had collapsed on the road because of heat exhaustion, it said. “It would be better to die under the Taliban’s bullet” than face the crowds again, a staff member was quoted as saying in the cable.

“Happy to die here, but with dignity and pride,” another said, while a third accused the U.S. of prioritizing Afghan government elites with contacts in the U.S., who already had the correct paperwork and other ways to flee the country. A local embassy staff member reported that his home had been tagged with spray paint — a tactic the Taliban have used in the past to identify homes’ occupants for further questioning, the cable said, adding that the family had been forced to flee their home but was unable to get to the airport. Others shared concerns about conditions in Qatar, where many refugees have been flown before they make their way to other locations.

The U.S. began evacuating its citizens, diplomatic staff members and Afghans who aided its mission in the country last week after the Taliban seized control of much of Afghanistan before they finally walked into Kabul last Sunday without firing a shot. A State Department spokesperson said the U.S. has a “special commitment” to local embassy staff members who “have suffered hardship, pain and loss because of their dedication to working with us to build a better future for all Afghans.”

Read more …

… But They’re Also Not Looking For Her Very Hard

White House Announces They’ve Lost Kamala Harris (BBee)

In an interview with Morning Joe, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield revealed they have lost Kamala Harris and have no idea where she’s gone, although she admitted nobody is really looking for her all that hard. “Yeah, I dunno. She’s somewhere, I guess. I mean, she didn’t just disappear,” said Bedingfield. “We have some people looking for her I think, but we’re not too worried, honestly. I’m sure she’ll turn up sooner or later.” “Wait, wait, wait,” said the show’s host. “You mean to tell me that in this time of crisis, you have literally no idea where the Vice President of the United States is?”

“Well, it sounds bad when you put it that way,” replied the Communications Director. “I don’t really see how this is a big deal. It’s been kind of nice and quiet around here since she left… we’re not even quite sure what she does, anyway,” she said with a shrug. Anonymous sources have suggested Kamala may be somewhere around Camp David, as locals reported the sound of cackling through the night.

Read more …

 

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Aug 182021
 
 August 18, 2021  Posted by at 9:05 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  137 Responses »


Salvador Dali Meditative rose 1958

 

Leaky Vaccines, Super-spreads, And Variant Acceleration (Gato Malo)
A Grim Warning From Israel: Vaccination Blunts, But Does Not Defeat Delta (SM)
Delta Spike P681R Mutation Enhances SARS-CoV-2 Fitness Over Alpha Variant (Bx)
Here’s Your (Dead) Canary (Denninger)
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Resigns Amid Skyrocketing COVID-19 Cases
The Authoritarian Takeover of Australia (Spiked)
Growing New Zealand Covid Cluster Linked To Sydney Delta Outbreak (G.)
Vaccine Mandate Protest Letter (Barnes Law)
One Of The Most Dangerous, Unpredictable Times In Modern History (BDW)
My Heart Is Broken by Biden’s Afghanistan Failure (Michael Flynn)
Biden’s Polling Takes Massive Hit Following Collapse Of Afghanistan (JTN)
Kamala Harris Is The Most Unpopular Vice President In 50 Years (DW)
Biden To Increase Food Stamp Benefits By 25%, Largest Hike In History (ZH)
US Gov’t Tells Americans In Afghanistan It ‘Can’t Guarantee’ Their Safety (DW)
Every American Stuck In Afghanistan To Receive A Mail-In Ballot (BBee)

 

 

DATA SHOWS COVID VARIANTS BEGAN AFTER VACCINATIONS STARTED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..you keep its host alive with a vaccine, then it can transmit and spread in the world. So it’s got an evolutionary future, which it didn’t have before.”

Leaky Vaccines, Super-spreads, And Variant Acceleration (Gato Malo)

The rule of evolution is simple: make a copy of me and pass it on. Any species still around to notice is very, very good at this. That’s the test and it’s as simple as it is daunting. This evolutionary selector creates pressures and these pressures shape evolution. Useful traits are conserved, traits that work against replication and propagation are selected against. This creates a simple evolutionary gradient for viruses: become more contagious, spread further, infect more hosts. Many viruses and bacteria are incredibly good at this. The good news is that harming the host is maladaptive. It’s like burning down your own house and your car with it. You soon have nowhere to live and no way to move around easily. So the selection process drives viruses away from being deadly. Ebola is a fearsome virus, but poorly evolved. It kills too quickly and spreads too slowly. That’s why outbreaks are small, rare, and (relatively) easy to manage.


People who feel sick stay home, they stop mingling and carrying the virus to where others are. It’s a built in societal and species level trait to mitigate pandemic. But what if you could break that trait? What if you could prevent a carrier from realizing it was infected? Well, then you’d spread virus far more effectively, wouldn’t you? You could do a lot of damage and the natural brake on the spread, harm, and lethality of a viral evolutionary vector would be removed. You’d supercharge a pandemic. This is a long discussed and hypothesized problem with “leaky” vaccines. A leaky vaccine is one that lacks sterilizing immunity. It prevents severe infection and perhaps death, but it does not stop infection and colonization by virus. So, the vaccinated become a carrier but remain unaware of it. This is a massive accelerator of disease spread and possibly/probably of overall fatality rates. You can see discussion here: (from 2015)

This is another example of “science we tossed out the window this year” and is exactly the sort of thing the fda should have been laser focused on from day one. “But a chicken virus that represents one of the deadliest germs in history breaks from this conventional wisdom, thanks to an inadvertent effect from a vaccine. Chickens vaccinated against Marek’s disease rarely get sick. But the vaccine does not prevent them from spreading Marek’s to unvaccinated birds. “With the hottest strains, every unvaccinated bird dies within 10 days. There is no human virus that is that hot. Ebola, for example, doesn’t kill everything in 10 days. In fact, rather than stop fowl from spreading the virus, the vaccine allows the disease to spread faster and longer than it normally would, a new study finds. The scientists now believe that this vaccine has helped this chicken virus become uniquely virulent.”

Stop for a minute and absorb what this means. By turning the vaccinated into essentially perfect carriers of virus, it transformed them into a set of plague rats to infect the rest. A disease so deadly it would burn itself out rapidly becomes one capable of endemic spread so long at there are more vaccinated carriers around. ““Previously, a hot strain was so nasty, it wiped itself out. Now, you keep its host alive with a vaccine, then it can transmit and spread in the world,” Read said. “So it’s got an evolutionary future, which it didn’t have before.”

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Even Science Mag. joins in.

“There are so many breakthrough infections that they dominate and most of the hospitalized patients are actually vaccinated..”

A Grim Warning From Israel: Vaccination Blunts, But Does Not Defeat Delta (SM)

Israel is being closely watched now because it was one of the first countries out of the gate with vaccinations in December 2020 and quickly achieved a degree of population coverage that was the envy of other nations— for a time. The nation of 9.3 million also has a robust public health infrastructure and a population wholly enrolled in HMOs that track them closely, allowing it to produce high-quality, real-world data on how well vaccines are working.

Israel’s HMOs, led by CHS and Maccabi Healthcare Services (MHS), track demographics, comorbidities, and a trove of coronavirus metrics on infections, illnesses, and deaths. “We have rich individual-level data that allows us to provide real-world evidence in near–real time,” Balicer says. [..] Now, the effects of waning immunity may be beginning to show in Israelis vaccinated in early winter; a preprint published last month by scientists at MHS found that protection from COVID-19 infection during June and July dropped in proportion to the length of time since an individual was vaccinated. People vaccinated in January had a 2.26 times greater risk for a breakthrough infection than those vaccinated in April. (Potential confounders include the fact that the very oldest Israelis, with the weakest immune systems, were vaccinated first.)

At the same time, cases in the country, which were scarcely registering at the start of summer, have been doubling every week to 10 days since then, with the Delta variant responsible for most of them. They have now soared to their highest level since mid-February, with hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions beginning to follow. How much of the current surge is due to waning immunity versus the power of the Delta variant to spread like wildfire is uncertain. What is clear is that “breakthrough” cases are not the rare events the term implies. As of 15 August, 514 Israelis were hospitalized with severe or critical COVID-19, a 31% increase from just 4 days earlier. Of the 514, 59% were fully vaccinated. Of the vaccinated, 87% were 60 or older.

“There are so many breakthrough infections that they dominate and most of the hospitalized patients are actually vaccinated,” says Uri Shalit, a bioinformatician at the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) who has consulted on COVID-19 for the government. “One of the big stories from Israel [is]: ‘Vaccines work, but not well enough.’” “The most frightening thing to the government and the Ministry of Health is the burden on hospitals,” says Dror Mevorach, who cares for COVID-19 patients at Hadassah Hospital Ein Kerem and advises the government. At his hospital, he is lining up anesthesiologists and surgeons to spell his medical staff in case they become overwhelmed by a wave like January’s, when COVID-19 patients filled 200 beds. “The staff is exhausted,” he says, and he has restarted a weekly support group for them “to avoid some kind of PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] effect.”

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The picture is getting painfully clear.

Delta Spike P681R Mutation Enhances SARS-CoV-2 Fitness Over Alpha Variant (Bx)

SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant has rapidly replaced the Alpha variant around the world. The mechanism that drives this global replacement has not been defined. Here we report that Delta spike mutation P681R plays a key role in the Alpha-to-Delta variant replacement. In a replication competition assay, Delta SARS-CoV-2 efficiently outcompeted the Alpha variant in human lung epithelial cells and primary human airway tissues. Delta SARS-CoV-2 bearing the Alpha-spike glycoprotein replicated less efficiently than the wild-type Delta variant, suggesting the importance of Delta spike in enhancing viral replication. The Delta spike has accumulated mutation P681R located at a furin cleavage site that separates the spike 1 (S1) and S2 subunits.


Reverting the P681R mutation to wild-type P681 significantly reduced the replication of Delta variant, to a level lower than the Alpha variant. Mechanistically, the Delta P681R mutation enhanced the cleavage of the full-length spike to S1 and S2, leading to increased infection via cell surface entry. In contrast, the Alpha spike also has a mutation at the same amino acid (P681H), but the spike cleavage from purified Alpha virions was reduced compared to the Delta spike. Collectively, our results indicate P681R as a key mutation in enhancing Delta variant replication via increased S1/S2 cleavage. Spike mutations that potentially affect furin cleavage efficiency must be closely monitored for future variant surveillance.


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Saw the article Karl talks about, on an outlet called Wesh(?!). But “Not available in your region”.

Here’s Your (Dead) Canary (Denninger)

She said, up until two weeks ago, she was able to successfully treat every patient who contracted COVID-19. But, since then, she said seven fully vaccinated patients died from complications, such as pneumonia or stroke, caused by the virus. “They were all fully vaccinated, which was disturbing… For one, I got to the hospital, the initial report, he was doing well. 2 liters of oxygen, sitting up, good saturation rate, crashed in 72 hours and died,” Seemann said. This sort of ridiculous acceleration of disease progression is a screaming safety signal. It strongly implies, but does not prove, that the vaccine turned on the recipient and when later exposed made the progression of disease worse.

This was repeatedly demonstrated in animal testing with the original SARS virus when vaccine development was attempted. It was believed the cause of it was evaded by the current vaccines developed for Covid-19 but the only way to know for sure was to take years of testing to make certain that the ordinary mutational patterns that all viruses undergo did not result in such an outcome down the road. This is one of the many reasons it takes 10+ years to qualify a vaccine; you can’t un-take the shot, and if something like this happens and then you get infected you’re ****ed. She said the vaccine isn’t 100 percent effective and there is a 4 percent chance of failure, but she still recommends it.

She has no evidence to support that these patients had an actual failure to build an effective antibody response. None. Zero. Determining that would require a fairly significant amount of lab and pathology work, which simply can’t be done that fast. These people need to be autopsied and exactly what happened determined. It won’t be done because if it is, and it turns out that they had circulating titers of binding antibodies for Covid in their system then it will be scientifically-irrefutable evidence that there are millions of Americans walking around with ticking bombs in their veins and there is nothing that can be done about it. The reason you don’t short-time vaccine studies, ever, is that THE VIRUS ALWAYS BATS LAST.

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“..despite a seven-month state of emergency and a lockdown since June to tackle the crisis..”

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Resigns Amid Skyrocketing COVID-19 Cases

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin resigned less than 18 months into his tenure Monday, becoming the country’s shortest-ruling leader after conceding that he lost majority support to govern. Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin wrote on Instagram that “the Cabinet has tendered our resignation” to the king, shortly after Muhyiddin left the palace after meeting the monarch. Deputy Sports Minister Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal also thanked Muhyiddin for his service and leadership in a Facebook message. Muhyidddin’s departure will plunge the country into a fresh crisis amid a worsening COVID-19 pandemic. Political leaders have already begun to jostle for the top post, with his deputy Ismail Sabri rallying support to succeed Muhyiddin and keep the government intact.


His resignation comes on the back of mounting public anger over what was widely perceived as his government’s poor handling of the pandemic. Malaysia has one of the world’s highest infection rates and deaths per capita, with daily cases breaching 20,000 this month despite a seven-month state of emergency and a lockdown since June to tackle the crisis. Local media said the national police chief, the Election Commission chairman and the attorney-general were also summoned to the palace Monday before Muhyiddin arrived. Muhyiddin, who chaired a Cabinet meeting at his office earlier Monday, waved at reporters at the palace gate and left 40 minutes later.

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“Some of us thought: who the bloody hell is this sheila? Not only had I never heard of her, I hadn’t listened to anything anyone like her had said since I’d been kicked out of high school.”

The Authoritarian Takeover of Australia (Spiked)

People who once thought they’d won the lottery of life by being born in Australia now wake in fright every day to the sudden realisation that they are living in a 21st-century penal colony. The country they once loved has been replaced by something they barely recognise. The restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic are just the start of it. People have been confined to their houses, prevented from going to school or work, denied the freedom to cross state borders even to see a dying relative, and coerced to take a vaccine in order hopefully to regain the freedoms that were once their birthright. Worse, these restrictions are being imposed by authoritarians who have seemingly come from nowhere and now dominate all of Australia’s positions of power, from the government to big business.

These people are unlike any ruling elite Australia has ever known. There were, to be sure, harsh authoritarians in middle levels of power during the nation’s initial 19th-century incarnation as a penal colony, especially at Port Arthur and Norfolk Island. But they never actually ran Australia. [..] Australians have, like the original settlers, never felt the need to explain the ideas on which their nation was founded. They have simply believed their version of Enlightenment truths to be self-evident in the standard of living they enjoyed and the audacious disrespect they showed for other, older cultures. I grew up in a country where such confidence was ubiquitous. A lack of academic achievement was never an impediment as long as you worked hard. Obstacles that were insurmountable to people from other countries were mere challenges to us. And we approached it all with a fatalistic humour that seemed all our own.

New South Wales chief health officer Kerry Chant became world famous recently when a video of her went viral. In it, she said, in the patronising tone of a school matron: ‘It is human nature to engage in conversation with others, to be friendly. Unfortunately, this is not the time to do that. So even if you run into your nextdoor neighbour, in the shopping centre, at Coles, Woolworths or Aldi or any other grocery shop, don’t start up a conversation.’ Some of us thought: who the bloody hell is this sheila? Not only had I never heard of her, I hadn’t listened to anything anyone like her had said since I’d been kicked out of high school. My robust upbringing among ratbags and larrikins in the Australian suburbs had instilled in me an instinctive and entirely rational distrust of anyone who, like her, placed an undue significance on obedience above personal freedom and responsibility. My life has been, and continues to be, all the better for it.

New South Wales residents were surprised to learn they had been paying Chant’s wages since she joined the public service in 1991. Like many of her fellow neo-authoritarians, she had spent her entire career cloistered away from the freely enterprising general population, biding her time until the opportunity arose to exercise the powers none of us knew she had. Now she and her type are all around us, telling us what to do every minute of the day. She is emblematic of Australia’s new elite, from the cops who told me to ‘move on’ when I was enjoying the sunshine by myself at Bondi Beach recently, to prime minister Scott Morrison, who peppers his updates on the latest panicking policies with reminders that ‘we are all in this together’. No, we’re not.

Read more …

Weirdest thing is they stopped vaccinations. Don’t really believe in those, I guess?

But also, what is the idea here? That they can have zero cases? And then? Lock the door?

Growing New Zealand Covid Cluster Linked To Sydney Delta Outbreak (G.)

New Zealand’s coronavirus cluster has grown to 10, with genomic sequencing linking it to the Delta outbreak that began in Sydney, as the country woke up to day one of a snap lockdown stemming from just one case. The prime minister’s office confirmed three new cases on Wednesday evening. The Covid-19 response minister, Chris Hipkins, told broadcaster RNZ “we’re seeing more cases coming through, I don’t have details of those cases. But yes, I can confirm that we have further positive test results since the press conference today.” He expected more cases to emerge overnight. The country went into a snap level four lockdown – the highest level of restrictions – on Tuesday night, after detecting one case with no obvious links to the border.

New Zealand has not had a level four lockdown in more than a year, and the case is the country’s first instance of Delta transmission in the community. The prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, warned on Wednesday that there would be more cases given the activity of those infected and that a link to the border had yet to be established, adding “there is more to be done to help piece together this puzzle”. “Our ability to narrow down that this is a case that is linked to New South Wales outbreak, gives us a lot of leads to chase down as quickly as we can,” she said. The seven community cases are all linked to the 58-year-old man who tested positive on Tuesday. One person is a fully vaccinated nurse at Auckland city hospital and another is a teacher at an Auckland high school.

[..] The vaccine rollout will also continue from Thursday morning, after momentarily being paused. The country’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout has faced scrutiny. As of Monday, 22.9% of the population had been fully vaccinated, with 40% having had at least one dose. The numbers are lower for fully vaccinated Maori (14%) and Pasifika (20%) populations, and New Zealand has the lowest vaccination rate in the OECD, according to the World Health Organization.

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Attorney f @barnes_law i has put together a warning letter for people to use (free of charge) when their employers force them into getting the jab.

Vaccine Mandate Protest Letter (Barnes Law)

No authorship claim or copyright asserted…this letter just came to me in a bottle, and I have no idea who might have penned it, nor can I possibly vouch for it, and what you fine folks do with it is entirely in your own hands, as the Gentlemen of the Bar remind me I can proffer no general legal advice in the matter, and must officially disclaim proffering any such advice here…edit and excise as you see fit, amend and append as you desire, and claim authorship or anonymity as may best befit you…as always, as you wish…

Dear Boss,

Compelling any employee to take any current Covid-19 vaccine violates federal and state law, and subjects the employer to substantial liability risk, including liability for any injury the employee may suffer from the vaccine. Many employers have reconsidered issuing such a mandate after more fruitful review with legal counsel, insurance providers, and public opinio n advisors of the desires of employees and the consuming public. Even the Kaiser Foundation warned of the legal risk in this respect. (https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/key-questions-about-covid-19-vaccine-mandates/)

Three key concerns: first, while the vaccine remains unapproved by the FDA and authorized only for emergency use, federal law forbids mandating it, in accordance with the Nuremberg Code of 1947; second, the Americans with Disabilities Act proscribes, punishes and penalizes employers who invasively inquire into their employees’ medical status and then treat those employees differently based on their medical status, as the many AIDS related cases of decades ago fully attest; and third, international law, Constitutional law, specific statutes and the common law of torts all forbid conditioning access to employment upon coerced, invasive medical examinations and treatment, unless the employer can fully provide objective, scientifically validated evidence of the threat from the employee and how no practicable alternative could possible suffice to mitigate such supposed public health threat and still perform the necessary essentials of employment.

At the outset, consider the “problem” being “solved” by vaccination mandates. The previously infected are better protected than the vaccinated, so why aren’t they exempted? Equally, the symptomatic can be self-isolated. Hence, requiring vaccinations only addresses one risk: dangerous or deadly transmission, by the asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic employee, in the employment setting. Yet even government official Mr. Fauci admits, as scientific studies affirm, asymptomatic transmission is exceedingly and “very rare.” Indeed, initial data suggests the vaccinated are just as, or even much more, likely to transmit the virus as the asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic. Hence, the vaccine solves nothing.

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Twitter thread. Bryan Dean Wright is a former CIA Ops. officer.

One Of The Most Dangerous, Unpredictable Times In Modern History (BDW)

Former US intelligence colleagues are angry and deeply worried at what has happened in Afghanistan. Here’s what I’m hearing, and why there’s nearly universal belief that America and the world are in for one of the most dangerous, unpredictable times in modern history. Afghanistan has shown the world — enemies & allies alike — that our military & intel assets are largely irrelevant because we can’t deploy them successfully. The blame lays at the feet of multiple Presidents. The Generals. The Spies. The Congress. America’s Elites are trash. China knows it. They will become emboldened, covertly & overtly. War over Taiwan and contested islands in the S. China Sea and E. China Sea is now more likely. Russia will consider similar covert & overt moves, focused on Crimea, & former Soviet satellites. The fear is that China & Russia will act in concert.

Why? America was whipped by a tiny rebel force and couldn’t even retreat properly. Meanwhile, the American people are angry, COVID weary, & divided. If there were ever a time to push American hegemony aside, this is it. If Cold War III grows hot, America will need to quickly build up & work with foreign counterparts. But who will trust America after Afghanistan? Who believes we have the leadership to use our military might well? Who will trust us when we say “We Will Stand With You”? Beyond China/Russia, others will take gambles too. Terror orgs like al-Qa’ida & ISIS are degraded but not dead. Their ideology is very much alive. Iran’s Hizballah — with terror cells throughout the US — may see an opening to create chaos too. Meanwhile, the disaster inside Afghanistan is only just beginning.

The Taliban will launch a terror campaign against American collaborators. The pictures will shock the conscience of the world, further degrading American moral authority. Biden & Co will struggle to respond. There’s also the nightmare of tactical weaponry now awash in Afghanistan, in the hands of the Taliban and — soon — on the global black market. These arms will fuel chaos around the world for decades. The Pentagon has no idea where this stuff is and no plans to destroy it. Finally, if Afghani refugees pour into the US, there are profound implications for security, culture, the economy, & politics. Are they properly vetted? Do they hold Western / tolerant values re: women, gays? Do they bring skills / education? Which party will they support?

The existential problem is that America needs good leadership to right its ship but there is none. Our federal bench is weak. Biden is a corrupt old man. Impeachment is a long shot; VP Harris is an unpopular paperweight. The Legislature is a feckless cabal of empty suits. Leadership could come from a state Governor, it’s true, but not soon enough. The above threats by China, Russia, & Co will metastasize well before the 2024 elections, and even a heroic new President will need years to clean things up. Again, our enemies and allies know this. Upshot: There is fear and outrage streaming through former intel officers over the Afghanistan debacle. America is rudderless. And the world now knows it. Grave dangers lie ahead, some predictable, others unimaginable. Keep your loved ones tight. Pray. And vote for change.

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The military comes to resent Biden, because he squandered all their efforts, and also to avoid being thrown under the bus.

My Heart Is Broken by Biden’s Afghanistan Failure (Michael Flynn)

My heart breaks as I see the Afghan people flood the Kabul airport in the hope of escaping the Taliban. President Biden’s assurances — supposedly based on what he was told by his intelligence community — that the Afghan Armed Forces were fully able to defeat the Taliban proved to be colossally wrong. Americans want to know whether President Biden and Defense Secretary Austin’s military-wide “stand-down” order to root out insufficiently woke “extremists” in the armed forces has caused our Defense Department to ignore what is unfolding in Afghanistan, as well as other real threats to our nation. After Afghanistan, I believe we can no longer rely on neocon senior military leaders, talking heads and politicians.

We have allowed military and civilian lawyers (read: rules of engagement restrictions) to become all-powerful, and many of our generals have been so indecisive and risk-averse that they are acting as little more than career-seeking politicians. We have been trained at participating in wars but untrained at winning wars since WWII. Afganistan is a tragic situation, much like the Kurds in Iraq, but at least President Trump drove up our respect internationally, which proves that being tough and smart is better than being tough and stupid. Today I don’t believe America is respected the way we were only a few short months ago. More countries visit China these days than come to the U.S., and China is prepped to recognize the Taliban once they declare the Islamic State — if only to embarrass us.

Seeing our defeat, my sense is Taiwan is having some incredibly uncomfortable internal discussions — as are a lot of U.S. allies in Europe. I also believe China is doing a lot of wargaming of costs and benefits with respect to future moves in the South China Sea and Europe. America is now in a fully engaged information war. Soon it may be worse. I pray our senior military leadership is intensely planning all options; the best plan offers the most options at the last possible moment. Trust me, our enemies are not waiting. They plan and they don’t care about stupid mask policies or fake insurrection show trials. Our enemies will be working on the next three vulnerabilities we haven’t even thought about. I believe Russia and China have a clear-eyed understanding of our corrupt political leadership that they and many other nations no longer respect or fear. America will come back soon, but it will come at a cost.

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46% approve? Of what?

Biden’s Polling Takes Massive Hit Following Collapse Of Afghanistan (JTN)

According to several new polls, President Biden is in trouble following the collapse of the Afghan government as U.S. and western troops withdrew from the troubled country after 20 years. A Rasmussen Reports poll illustrates the president’s approval index is currently 17 points down from where he started in January – the lowest it’s been since he took office. A total of 46% of Americans approve of Biden’s performance while 53% disapprove – also the highest that number has been. A new report from Convention of States Action in conjunction with the Trafalgar group shows that 69.3% of Americans disapprove of the president’s handling of military operations – a supermajority of the population. Just 23.1% approve, and 7.5% have no opinion.


Even among Democrats, 48.2% disapprove, compared to just 39.8% who approve of Biden’s Afghan strategy. Among GOP voters a stunning majority at 88.8% disapprove, while just 7.1% of Biden’s actions. Numbers for political independents tilt closer to GOP figures, with a total of 74.8% disapproving of the handling of military operations, and 19.8% giving a nod of approval. Democrats in Congress are speaking out against the actions of the president, and though National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan is set to brief the press corp today alongside Jen Psaki, none of Biden’s military leaders appeared alongside the Commander-in-Chief yesterday, as he deflected blame for the Afghan collapse during a brief speech.

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I had to look this up, but sure, maybe Spiro Agnew was at one point less popular than Kamala. Close call no doubt.

Kamala Harris Is The Most Unpopular Vice President In 50 Years (DW)

Vice President Kamala Harris has only been in office for six months, but she is already the most unpopular vice president since at least the 1970s, according to recent polls. The Los Angeles Times on Monday reported that as of July 27, “45% of registered voters had a favorable opinion of Harris and 48% had an unfavorable opinion — a net rating of -3 percentage points, according to a Times average.” The most recent YouGov tracking poll shows that Harris’ unfavorability rating has hit 49%, while her favorability rating sits at just 45%. Harris’ unpopularity is worse than former Vice President Mike Pence’s was six months into his tenure, according to The Telegraph.


The outlet reported that around this same time in 2017, Pence’s unfavorability rating sat at 41.9%, while his favorability rating was 42.1%. Pence may have been helped by a massive media focus on then-President Donald Trump and false accusations that he was a Russian agent who colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election. During the Biden administration, much more focus has been on Harris since she’s the first black female vice president. President Joe Biden, however, has put her in charge of some nearly impossible tasks, including handling the situation on the southern border. As the Times reported, Harris’ approval ratings started to decline after she was assigned the task, though Biden also received a small decline in job approval.

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Buying votes.

Biden To Increase Food Stamp Benefits By 25%, Largest Hike In History (ZH)

Having solved domestic problems like inflation and foreign problems like the complete and total collapse of Afghanistan in minutes after the U.S. withdrew from the country, President Biden is now focused on offering the largest long-term increase in food stamp benefits in the program’s history. The program adds “billions of dollars in costs” to the government, Bloomberg noted in a writeup this weekend. But, in Biden’s defense, what are dollars anymore, after all? Benefits are set to rise more than 25% from pre-pandemic levels for some 42 million people enrolled in the program. Average monthly benefits will rise $36 per person, from $121, according to the report.


Yet despite the rise, there are still “anti-hunger advocates” that believe it isn’t enough. The Agriculture Department is responsible for the hike in benefits – which can be done without congressional approval – but adjusting the estimated costs of food. The USDA makes a “shopping list” to determine benefits which, when updated, can adjust the amount of benefits issued to recipients. The basket of food items used for the list was started in 1961 and then updated in 1975. Its latest review was in 2006. Benefits were set to drop prior to the planned update as a result of a September 30 expiration of a 15% boost in pandemic relief. Even with the boost, the USDA budget for a family of four amounts to about $22 in food per day. As Bloomberg notes, food stamps used to be bipartisan common ground, but have since “evolved into a partisan flashpoint”. Biden’s plans stand at odds with how President Trump attempted to limit eligibility for the aid. Trump’s attempts were overturned by courts.

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Most popular president.

US Gov’t Tells Americans In Afghanistan It ‘Can’t Guarantee’ Their Safety (DW)

President Joe Biden’s administration told American citizens trapped in Afghanistan that the administration cannot guarantee their safety if they travel to the airport in Kabul to be evacuated. The news comes as thousands of American citizens remained trapped as Taliban terrorists have now taken control of the country. The Biden administration sent the following message to Americans trapped in Afghanistan: “To American Citizens, Thank you for registering your request to be evacuated from Afghanistan. The U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan has confirmed that an undefined number of U.S. government provided flights will begin soon. Please make your way to Hamid Karzai International Airport at this time. PLEASE BE ADVISED THAT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT CANNOT GUARANTEE YOUR SECURITY AS YOU MAKE THIS TRIP.”

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“The Air Force will conduct a daring airdrop at night to deliver hundreds of pallets of paper ballots..”

Every American Stuck In Afghanistan To Receive A Mail-In Ballot (BBee)

Congress passed emergency legislation today to address the thousands of U.S. citizens still trapped in Afghanistan. The new legislation will mobilize the Air Force to drop much-needed absentee ballots for Americans eager to vote in the 2022 election. “Our heart goes out to the helpless Americans still stuck in Taliban-controlled Kabul,” said Senator Chuck Schumer. “We know they are eager to vote for us in the upcoming elections, and we will not rest until they receive the ballots they deserve. To our American friends overseas, help—in the form of easy-to-fill-out ballots—is on the way!” The Air Force will conduct a daring airdrop at night to deliver hundreds of pallets of paper ballots into the waiting hands of American citizens, eager to vote for their favorite Democrat politicians. To make things easy, Democrats have ensured all the ballots will be pre-marked for Democrats.

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Aug 022021
 
 August 2, 2021  Posted by at 9:34 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  146 Responses »


René Magritte Empire of light 1950

 

Stupid Is Supposed To Hurt (Denninger)
Only Half Of Israelis Want A Third Covid-19 Vaccine Shot (JPost)
233 Staff at 2 San Francisco Hospitals Test Positive in July (NW)
Pfizer, Moderna, Hike Prices For Covid Jabs By Up To A Quarter For EU (RT)
Apple Removes Dating App For The Unvaccinated (RT)
Is Covid-19 On The Run In The UK? (G.)
Experts Fear Unlocked UK Could Become Incubator For New Covid Variants (CNBC)
Major Unions Push Back Against Biden’s Vaccine Mandates (ZH)
Kamala Harris A ‘Historically Unpopular’ VP (RT)
Keeping Freedom Alive (Craig Murray)

 

 


Fort Mill South Carolina 1902. Smallpox, an actual vaccine.

 

 

The Sake of Freedom

 

 

But can my stupid hurt someone else please?

Stupid Is Supposed To Hurt (Denninger)

I’m getting reports from all over the place, including on my forum and mailbag. Nurses are walking out en-masse over vaccine mandates in hospitals and other care settings. This of course leads to demand shifting to other places where they haven’t done so (yet), but that’s a problem too because they’re short-staffed as well. This isn’t a big deal — other than wildly increasing wait times — until and unless you have something going on where waiting could kill you, such as a heart attack. You aren’t seeing these events in the news. Guess why? Yeah, that’s why.= Guess where else this is going to happen? “You didn’t want the firemen to show up and put out your house that’s on fire, did you?


Well, better buy more garden hose because in several large cities it’s been made clear that they will not comply either. Ditto for Streets/San guys. Oh, you want the garbage hauled away? Too bad so sad.” Stupid is supposed to hurt. It’s going to, especially now that it has been admitted that (1) the CDC lied about “unvaccinated are 98% of deaths” when they knew damn well the jabbed were dying on a vertically-accelerating basis in May, we’re two months further down the road now and (2) the CDC has also admitted that those who get “breakthrough” cases are ending up with equal or higher viral loads than unvaccinated people, which means there is no public health argument for the jabs at all since at best they can only protect you and not others.

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Back to last night’s discussion:

Yes, they were sold as protecting against infection of both you and those around you. Or no-one would have accepted the term “vaccine”.

“*Only* 59% of respondents said the vaccine protects against infection, 69% said it prevents the spread of the virus and 82% said it protects against developing symptoms.”

And even the most vaccinated country in the world is only at 60%. Try get that to 70%. Good luck. “But it’s our only chance!” No, it’s not. We’re lucky.

Only Half Of Israelis Want A Third Covid-19 Vaccine Shot (JPost)

Only 52% of Israelis who received two shots of the COVID-19 vaccine said they would take advantage of the opportunity to receive a third shot, according to a survey released Friday by Prof. Michal Grinstein-Weiss, director of the Social Policy Institute (SPI) at Washington University and a visiting professor at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. When looking at those under the age of 60, only 47% said they would take the shot. Among those 60 and older, 67% said they would get the booster. “We decided, ‘yalla,’ [let’s go] even before the Food and Drug Administration [gives emergency approval], and I think the Health Ministry thought there would be more inclination” to get the shot, Grinstein-Weiss said. “But there is a big drop in the number of people who are interested in vaccinating. It’s surprising, but there is not a real desire for a third vaccination.”

Israel opened up third shots to people over the age of 60 last week. Several thousand people were inoculated on Friday and, despite what the survey shows, already more than 40,000 elderly have signed up to get the jab this coming week. Surveys taken before the COVID vaccine came to the country showed there would be high degree of vaccine hesitancy among the public, but Israel became the quickest country in the world to vaccinate the majority of its people. [..] The survey also asked whether or not parents would give their younger children between the ages of five and 11 a vaccination if it became available and the majority (54%) said they would not. Only 23% said they would vaccinate, while 23% said they were wavering. When broken down between parents who vaccinated themselves versus those who didn’t, no parents who did not receive the vaccine said they would vaccinate their children, while only 27% of those vaccinated said they would.

[..] When it comes to children, parents are most concerned that health officials still do not know the long-term impact of the vaccine. To date, only 35% of people under the age of 20 are fully vaccinated versus 90% of those over the age of 60. However, the survey also found that as the Delta variant spreads across the country, including reinfecting a high percentage of vaccinated individuals, more people believe that the vaccine does not work. Only 59% of respondents said the vaccine protects against infection, 69% said it prevents the spread of the virus and 82% said it protects against developing symptoms. Around 53% of all new cases are people who were fully vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry.

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Twist and turn all you want, but it’s the vaccinated.

233 Staff at 2 San Francisco Hospitals Test Positive in July (NW)

At least 233 staff members at two major San Francisco hospitals, most of them fully vaccinated, tested positive for the coronavirus this month, and most, according to a hospital official, involved the highly contagious Delta variant. Some of the cases were asymptomatic, most involved mild to moderate symptoms and only two required hospitalization, officials said. The infections were determined to be Delta-related because most samples in San Francisco were tested for the variant, which is now dominant in the city. About 75 to 80 percent of the more than 50 staff members infected at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital were fully vaccinated, Dr. Lukejohn Day, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said in an interview on Saturday. The University of California, San Francisco Medical Center said in a statement issued on Friday that 153 of its 183 infected staff members had been fully vaccinated.

The statement from the U.C.S.F. Medical Center said that two of the infected staff members required hospitalization. None of the infected staff members at San Francisco General have been hospitalized and most had mild to moderate symptoms, Dr. Day said. The asymptomatic cases were discovered through contact tracing. Without vaccinations, Dr. Day said, the hospitalization rate would be much worse. “We’re concerned right now that we’re on the rise of a surge here in San Francisco and the Bay Area,” Dr. Day said. “But what we’re seeing is very much what the data from the vaccines showed us: You can still get Covid, potentially. But if you do get it, it’s not severe at all.”

On July 11, San Francisco ordered that workers in high-risk workplaces, including hospitals, be vaccinated by Sept. 15. The U.C.S.F. statement said that the hospital was “doubling down on our efforts to protect our staff. This includes requiring all employees and trainees to comply with the new UC-systemwide Covid-19 vaccination mandate, with limited exceptions for medical or religious exemptions.” Staff members at both hospitals have continued to wear personal protective equipment, Dr. Day said. But the number of staff infections reported in July is about as many as during the peak of the winter surge. “We’re nervous that we could potentially exceed it,” Dr. Day said.

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Before they all find out these things don’t work, might as well squeeze out what we can.

Pfizer, Moderna, Hike Prices For Covid Jabs By Up To A Quarter For EU (RT)

Pfizer has reportedly raised the price of its Covid vaccine dose by a quarter, with Moderna also ramping up the price in its latest deal with the European Union. The two are making tens of billions of dollars in pandemic profits. According to the Financial Times, which has seen contracts between the two pharmaceutical companies and the EU, Pfizer’s latest price for one vaccine dose was €19.50, or around $23 – up by four euro from the previous unit price of €15.50 euro. Meanwhile, Moderna’s latest price is around €21.50 ($25.50) per dose, up from the previous price of €19 ($22.60). Despite this, the Moderna price is still lower than previously expected – $28.50 – because of the EU purchasing more doses.


Pfizer and Moderna – which earn a profit from the vaccines, unlike AstraZeneca, which is sold at cost – have pulled in tens of billions of dollars from the vaccines, with Pfizer forecasting $33.5 billion in revenue from its doses in this year alone. The forecast is up $7.5 billion from its previous prediction in the last quarter. Moderna, though behind Pfizer in sales, is forecasting $19.2 billion in Covid-19 vaccine revenue for 2021. Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine still hasn’t been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) despite having been registered in 69 of the world’s countries to date, including EU members Hungary and Slovakia.

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No worrries, Big Brother shall protect you.

Apple Removes Dating App For The Unvaccinated (RT)

Apple has removed the dating app Unjected, marketed as a “safe space” for unvaccinated Americans, from its store, saying it “inappropriately refers to the Covid-19 pandemic.” The app’s developers say this amounts to censorship. Unjected describes itself as a “platform for like-minded humans that support medical autonomy.” The dating app has been pitched as a ‘safe space’ of sorts for unvaccinated Americans looking to date without the pressure of being or not being inoculated against Covid-19. Critics, however, have viewed the app as a growing social-media platform for anti-vaxxers and a hotspot of Covid misinformation. After the app was removed from Apple on Saturday, the company blasted the move as “censorship.”

“Apparently, we’re considered ‘too much’ for sharing our medical autonomy and freedom of choice,” the company said in a Saturday statement posted to Instagram. The app remains on the Google Play store, but they acknowledge that the move by Apple may mean a website may be Unjected’s best option moving forward so that they are not reliant on app stores. Other dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble have introduced features to encourage vaccinations, making Unjected stand out even more after launching in May. But the boiling point for the platforms was reached after Unjected added a social feature that allowed more general postings. It was flagged by Google after Unjected’s moderators were accused of not doing enough to police misinformation on Covid-19 and the vaccines available.

In response to Google’s concerns, the social feed was removed, though co-founder Shelby Thompson wants to soon reintroduce it and the flagged posts. “We’ve had to walk a censorship tightrope,” she said, according to Bloomberg News, which first reported Apple removed Unjected on Saturday after being contacted by a reporter about the app. The app also includes lists of businesses that disagree with vaccine mandates. Apple has already had issues with Unjected, initially denying approval for the app during its initial review process. Changes had to be made for it to get approval to be in compliance with the company’s strict policy on Covid-19 “misinformation,” but a spokesperson for Apple said updates to the app, as well as statements made to its thousands of users, have brought it back out of compliance.

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That can’t be! How are we going to sell our clickbait?

Is Covid-19 On The Run In The UK? (G.)

The fact that we are a year and a half into the pandemic and are still being wrongfooted by Covid-19 may seem surprising. After all, in that time, we have developed powerful vaccines to protect against it and have pinpointed critically important drugs to treat patients. Science has worked wonders. Nevertheless, researchers are still very unsure about how Covid-19 will progress in the UK in the coming months. The statistics have certainly been startling. First, case numbers rocketed at the beginning of July. Then they reversed and began to fall, leaving statisticians and scientists struggling to make sense of the fluctuating figures. For good measure, a host of conflicting factors has been put forward to explain Covid case numbers.

Has the opening up of society on 19 July had a major impact? Did Euro 2020 propel the virus through the homes and pubs of England? Could the UK be approaching herd immunity? And what impact have the school holidays had on the progress of the disease? Untangling these factors, as well as understanding the exact impact vaccines have had on society, has now become a complex, urgent business. “It will tell us just how bad things are likely to get when society really opens up in September and October and as winter approaches,” said Edmunds. There is clear agreement on one factor, however. All the evidence indicates that vaccines are now playing a pivotal role in controlling the disease. Had the government completely opened society on an unprotected populace, daily death tolls would by now have soared into their thousands. But just how far has our vaccine protection reached?

It is a crucial question, whose answer will determine just how severe will be the return of Covid-19 in the autumn as schools reopen, the weather chills and people head indoors. A key factor is the degree to which the country has achieved herd immunity. In other words, will we have reached the point where so many people have been either infected or vaccinated – and therefore possess some immunity to the disease – that viral transmission falls or even stops? “You can run some very simple models to see if the case numbers that we saw earlier this month are consistent with effective herd immunity,” said Prof Mark Woolhouse of Edinburgh University. “And in my view the answer is, yes, it is. There are some big caveats but the bottom line is that those figures are consistent with the impact of herd immunity.”

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Amid all the fear, new infections were down 37% in one week. Like a deflating puffed-up balloon.

Experts Fear Unlocked UK Could Become Incubator For New Covid Variants (CNBC)

England’s relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions is risking the emergence of new, potentially more dangerous variants of the virus, scientists have warned. England lifted most of it last remaining restrictions on July 19, including mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland still have some restrictions in place. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has previously described the easing of restrictions as “irreversible.” However, the reopening policy has been publicly criticized by a consortium of more than 1,200 scientists from around the world. One concern is around the possible consequences of unlocking society amid high infection rates and a partially vaccinated population, and how unrestricted mixing under those circumstances could shape the way the virus evolves.

“If I were to design a massive experiment to create a more dangerous virus, one that is capable of blasting through our vaccines, I would do what the U.K. is proposing to do,” Michael Haseltine, a U.S. virologist and chair and president of ACCESS Health International, told news show Good Morning Britain on so-called “Freedom Day”. “Half the population vaccinated in the midst of a rampant pandemic, which would allow the virus to learn how to avoid our vaccines. That’s what I would do, and the rest of the world is justifiably concerned.” Each time a person is infected with Covid-19, they go from having a few copies of the virus to hundreds of thousands or even tens of millions of copies in their system. When the virus makes a copy of itself, there’s a chance it might make a mistake in the new copy that could inadvertently give the virus an advantage.

“You’re rolling the dice every time someone’s infected,” Charlotte Houldcroft, a scientist working on virus evolution at the University of Cambridge, told CNBC via telephone. “In a big population with lots of infections going on, you’re just rolling the dice more often — any population with lots of people infected at once is a worry, which is obviously why a lot of the rest of the world is watching the U.K.” During the week ending July 29, 204,669 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the U.K., down 37% from the previous week.

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US mandates is/are asking for disaster.

Major Unions Push Back Against Biden’s Vaccine Mandates (ZH)

Last week, the Biden administration announced sweeping vaccine requirements for federal workers (except, oddly, postal workers). The day before, the nation’s biggest union boss, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, parroted Biden’s push to vaccinate, and said that the union organization supports vaccine mandates. As it turns out, much like in California – not all unions are on board. While labor groups representing federal workers have urged their members to get the jab, most of the leading public sector unions either oppose vaccine mandates or say that it must be negotiated first, according to The Hill. Groups representing educators, postal workers, law enforcement officers, Treasury Department personnel and other government employees expressed unease about the vaccine requirement this week.

Only a few public sector unions outright endorsed the measure. “We expect that the particulars of any changes to working conditions, including those related to COVID-19 vaccines and associated protocols, be properly negotiated with our bargaining units prior to implementation,” said Everett Kelley, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents nearly 700,000 workers. Meanwhile, National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon says that his group has “a lot of questions about how this policy will be implemented and how employee rights and privacy will be protected.” And in yet another example, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association President Larry Cosme said in a statement that mandating vaccinations “is not the American way and is a clear civil rights violation no matter how proponents may seek to justify it.”

According to the report, most public sector unions sounding the alarm over Biden’s vaccine mandates previously supported most aspects of his policy. “In order for everyone to feel safe and welcome in their workplaces, vaccinations must be negotiated between employers and workers, not coerced,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten earlier this week. And the American Postal Workers Union said “it is not the role of the federal government to mandate vaccinations for the employees we represent,” adding that any new rules for its workers would need to be run past union leaders.

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Put her in charge of the mandates.

Kamala Harris A ‘Historically Unpopular’ VP (RT)

Kamala Harris has become the most unpopular vice president six months into an administration in years, according to recent unfavorable polling for the former senator. Harris found her future hopes of ever becoming president a point of mockery over the weekend as critics jumped on a report indicating that recent polling shows she has become the least popular vice president six months into an administration since the 1970s. According to a report from the Telegraph, Democrat strategists have internal worries about the controversial politician, describing her polling as “underwater” at this point. Two recent polls cited by the report show approval ratings of 46% in both, but disapproval ratings of 47% and 48%.

Harris is also struggling with support among significant and influential voting groups, such as young people and Hispanics. An Economist/YouGov poll showed only 36% of respondents between the ages of 18-29 viewed Harris “favorably.” In a recent aggregate put together by RealClearPolitics, 46% also said they viewed Harris unfavorably, three points higher than Biden at the same time. In a poll posted by the Telegraph on Twitter in a thread regarding worries about Harris’ unfavorable view among much of the public, over 50% of over 40,000 voters – as of this writing – said Harris is doing a “bad job.” Approximately 20% said she is doing a “good job,” and another 27% were “not sure.”

Harris has made some noticeable stumbles as vice president. She was heavily criticized for continually avoiding the southern border when put in charge of historic levels of migrants being detained there. When questioned why she hadn’t visited months after being named a leader on the crisis by Biden, Harris responded by saying she also hadn’t visited Europe yet. Harris is still being handed opportunities to succeed as she will soon become the first US vice president to visit Vietnam next month. Harris’ polling and reports on Democrats’ concerns about the California senator who once attempted to run for president and even clashed with Biden made the vice president a point of mockery for critics.

“You have the media on your side and basically nothing to do except for optics and you just can’t do it. It’s amazing,” Federalist editor Christopher Bedford tweeted. “So weird that making her Border Tsar didn’t work,” Texas Monthly editor Christopher Hooks added.

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Craig Murray reported to prison yesterday. Who in the UK stands up for him?

Keeping Freedom Alive (Craig Murray)

I want to make one or two points for you to ponder while I am in jail. This is the last post until about Christmas; we are not legally able to post anything while I am imprisoned. But the Justice for Craig Murray Campaign website is now up and running and will start to have more content shortly. Fora and comments here are planned to stay open. I hope that one possible good effect of my imprisonment might be to coalesce opposition to the imminent abolition of jury trials in sexual assault cases by the Scottish Government, a plan for which Lady Dorrian – who wears far too many hats in all this – is front and centre. We will then have a situation where, as established by my imprisonment, no information at all on the defence case may be published in case it contributes to “jigsaw identification”, and where conviction will rest purely on the view of the judge.

That is plainly not “open justice”, it is not justice at all. And it is even worse than that, because the openly stated aim of abolishing juries is to increase conviction rates. So people will have their lives decided not by a jury of their peers, but by a judge who is acting under specific instruction to increase conviction rates. It is often noted that conviction rates in rape trials are too low, and that is true. But have you ever heard this side of the argument? In Uzbekistan under the Karimov dictatorship, when I served there, conviction rates in rape trials were 100%. In fact very high conviction rates are a standard feature of all highly authoritarian regimes worldwide, because if the state prosecutes you then the state gets what it wants. The wishes of the state in such systems vastly outweigh the liberty of the individual.

My point is simply this. You cannot judge the validity of a system simply by high conviction rates. What we want is a system where the innocent are innocent and the guilty found guilty; not where an arbitrary conviction target is met. The answer to the low conviction rates in sexual assault trials is not simple. Really serious increases in resources for timely collection of evidence, for police training and specialist units, for medical services, for victim support, all have a part to play. But that needs a lot of money and thought. Just abolishing juries and telling judges you want them to convict is of course free, or even a saving.

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