Aug 222023
 
 August 22, 2023  Posted by at 8:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  44 Responses »


Titian Venus of Urbino 1534

 

Col. Macgregor Tells Tucker Why The Ukraine War Must End Now (ZH)
F-16 Transfers to Ukraine Will Take Years to Produce Results (Sp.)
Democrats Aren’t Laughing About The Hunter Biden Debacle Anymore (Turley)
The Disqualification of Donald Trump and Other Legal Urban Legends (Turley)
We Won’t Be Fooled Again (Jim Kunstler)
‘BRICS Is Now The Hottest Club In The World’ – Senior Diplomat (RT)
BRICS 2023: Who are Participants & Guests of the Summit? (Sp.)
BRICS Plus-SCO Super Bloc vs. US Empire (Pepe Escobar)
The Founder Members Of BRICS Face A Historic Decision (RT)
China Wants BRICS to Rival G7 – FT (RT)
‘Fallen Angels From Hell’ – Scholz On Critics Of His Ukraine Policies (RT)
Nuclear Fusion Still Long Way From Becoming Viable Energy Source (Sp.)
The Crucifixion of Julian Assange (Chris Hedges)

 

 

 

 

RFK Dore

 

 

Trump BRICS

 

 

Mask
https://twitter.com/i/status/1691137859485573120

 

 

 

 

Worth every minute of your time.

”President Biden has enabled ‘combat pay’ which implies there are American forces on the ground in Ukraine.”

Col. Macgregor Tells Tucker Why The Ukraine War Must End Now (ZH)

Tucker Carlson on Monday published an interview with former Trump administration official Col. Douglas Macgregor (Ret.), who explained why the war in Ukraine has put the United States on the brink of a ‘catastrophic war that could easily destroy us.’ Carlson begins with a bold statement: “pretty much everything that NBC and The NYTimes have told you about the war in Ukraine is a lie.” “‘The Russian army is incompetent’ – they claim. ‘Ukraine is a Democracy!’ ‘Vladimir Putin is Hitler and he’s trying to take over the world!’ ‘Thankfully, the Ukrainians are winning.’ “Every claim is false, the last one especially,” said Carlson, adding “the Ukrainian army is not winning – in fact, it’s losing badly. Ukraine is being destroyed. Its population is being slaughtered.”

“Most American know nothing about Ukraine,” Macgregor continued, adding that “if they knew anything about the history of Eastern Europe, they would all say ‘get out!’… because the wars and the blood and the hatred that’s been fought over for centuries is something we can’t sort out.” Macgregor’s comments grow more ominous in their tone as the discussion continues. He notes that President Biden has enabled ‘combat pay’ which implies there are American forces on the ground in Ukraine. “It would be a mistake to think that the Russian forces do not know where they are,” the retired colonel explains, pointing out that the Russians are sending a message with recent precision missile strikes near the borders of Poland and Moldova: “if you think you can hide from us, if you come in here, if you cross these borders, we will annihilate you.”

We need to come to terms with these realities because we can’t defeat it,” he remarked reflecting on the fact that people have called him ‘unpatriotic’ for his comments. He summed the situation in Ukraine up rather succinctly: “if we press this war with Russia in Central East Europe, it will reach us here in the United States.” According to Macgregor, “The smartest thing we can do is end this war now,” adding “The Russians will never tolerate NATO forces on Ukrainian soil.” “Ukrainian forces are in piecemeal fashion, surrendering to the Russians, not because they don’t want to fight; it’s because they can’t fight anymore, they have so many wounded they can’t evacuate them … we’re going to see this army that we have spent so heavily on, melt away.”

When it comes to the equipment being used to fight, MacGregor said that “a lot of the equipment we sent over there is quite frankly, obsolete… its very old, it’s not new.” “Integrated air defenses will knock virtually everything that flies out of the sky,” he said, adding “We will then fall back on a nuclear deterrent – a tactical nuclear weapon that says ‘if you keep advancing, we’ll have to use a nuclear weapon.’ We don’t want to go there, because the notion that there are so-called tactical nukes ‘oh, it’s just a little nuke, so that won’t precipitate a nuclear war’ – the use of any nuclear weapon is going to precipitate an escalation very rapidly,” he said.

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Medvedev on Telegram: “This is a good day for Ukraine, and consequently, a good day for Europe,” said the foreign minister with an incomplete secondary education, Annalena Berbock, regarding the decision to supply F-16 aircraft to the Bandera brothers of German Nazis. Oh, don’t play with toy planes in your sandbox, kids. Let’s hope one of these future ‘good days’ for Europe doesn’t turn out to be its last day…”

“Since Russian intelligence has certain capabilities to track such cargoes, it is possible to detect their location and eliminate them even before the start of their operation..”

F-16 Transfers to Ukraine Will Take Years to Produce Results (Sp.)

While Ukraine is now set to receive F-16 Falcon fighter jets from NATO, they won’t be on the battlefield for at least six months, and they stand little chance of being effective for at least two years, meaning the program won’t affect the course of Russia’s special operation in Ukraine for a while, experts told Sputnik. According to the latest deal hammered out between the NATO powers and Ukraine, the Netherlands and Denmark will together supply Kiev with 61 F-16 Falcon fighter jets of the older A/B variants – with updated equipment – in exchange for being permitted to buy newer versions of the jet from the United States. Kiev has long sought Falcons, which were introduced as an interceptor in the 1970s to counter Soviet fighters and bombers, as a year and a half of combat has severely attrited its air forces.

While Western powers that are former Soviet allies have until this point supplied Ukraine with Soviet-made aircraft from their own inventories, shipping Western-made fighters presents a new challenge since both Ukrainian pilots and Ukrainian technology will have to be adapted to use them. Boris Rozhin, a military expert with the Center for Military-Political Journalism, an independent Russian military affairs think tank, said that the transfer of fighters would likely be slow and it would present few problems for Russian forces.“It was promised that Denmark and Holland should receive 61 F-16 fighters according to their plans within three years. That is, some quantity will be delivered possibly before the end of the year, some parts will arrive in 2024-25 and even possibly in 2026.

This is a rather lengthy process, at each stage of which geopolitical and technical problems may arise. Maybe the conflict will come to naught by then. Various things can happen. But there is no particular doubt that these aircraft will be provided in principle, the process is underway, approved by the United States,” he told Sputnik. “It has already passed into the stage of practical implementation, so the planes will take part in the fighting. It depends on the quantity of the first delivery. In addition, how many aircraft will be delivered as part of the first batch is also unclear, as is the final number of aircraft that will be provided to Ukrainian troops,” Rozhin said. “If the planes are nevertheless handed over, the pilots have time to master these machines and learn how to handle them correctly and efficiently, then they will be used to launch missiles.

That is, they will also seek to carry out missile strikes against our facilities, because they fly at low altitudes,” Rozhin said. “In response, we can attack the airfields where they are based and warehouses with missiles that are transmitted from the West. Since Russian intelligence has certain capabilities to track such cargoes, it is possible to detect their location and eliminate them even before the start of their operation,” Rozhin continued. “We will probably also see strikes on military targets, personnel accommodation facilities and guarding the parking lot or repairing such vehicles. They will need to hide them well to avoid such blows.”

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“..those two mocked whistleblowers prompted the Justice Department to prosecute..”

Democrats Aren’t Laughing About The Hunter Biden Debacle Anymore (Turley)

“There is a time to laugh and a time not to laugh, and this is not one of them.” Those words from Inspector Jacques Clouseau may have to be emblazoned across the hearing room of the House Oversight Committee. It was a month ago that House Democratic members mocked the testimony of two whistleblowers who testified about the rigged investigation to protect Hunter Biden, the son of President Biden. Now it appears that the controversial “sweetheart deal” was not the first choice of US Attorney David Weiss. He actually was planning to let Hunter walk without even a misdemeanor charge despite massive unpaid taxes, gun violations, and work as an unregistered foreign agent, among other alleged crimes. The reason for his change at Justice, according to the New York Times? Those pesky whistleblowers.

One of the most insulting moments for the respected IRS agents came from ranking member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who mocked the allegations as part of “this Inspector Clouseau-style quest for something that doesn’t exist [that] has turned our committee into a theater of the absurd, an exercise in futility and embarrassment.” Raskin assured the public that these “disagreements” are “routine” matters in investigations (a position echoed by his junior colleague, Rep. Dan Goldman of New York). The IRS agents tried to object that they had never seen anything like what happened in this case. Then the case became anything but a laughing matter for Democrats. The plea agreement with Hunter Biden collapsed within minutes of a federal judge asking a few basic questions.

When District Judge Maryellen Noreika balked at sweeping language on immunity, she asked the prosecutor if he had ever seen any agreement like this one. He answered “no” and the deal quickly fell apart, with Hunter Biden’s lawyer finally saying exasperatedly, “Just rip it up.” The language was anything but routine. Then an FBI agent spoke to Congress and confirmed testimony of the IRS agents, including that Hunter Biden was tipped off on an attempt to interview him. The agent said they were forced to sit a block away and told not to approach the house. The interview was then cut off. He described being “upset” and how this was not routine. The New York Times, which has spent years downplaying the Hunter Biden scandal, has published an internal account of the investigation. The Times reported that US Attorney David Weiss was actually preparing to let Hunter walk “without requiring a guilty plea on any charges.”

However, that “changed in the spring, around the time a pair of IRS officials on the case accused the Justice Department of hamstringing the investigation. Mr. Weiss suddenly demanded that Mr. Biden plead guilty to committing tax offenses.” In other words, according to the Times, those two mocked whistleblowers prompted the Justice Department to prosecute. Why would that be? Attorney General Merrick Garland insisted that no political pressure or political considerations would affect the investigation. Yet it appears that the Biden team did raise the potential embarrassment for the president and the Justice Department if Hunter faced serious charges. New emails reveal that Hunter Biden’s lawyers told the prosecutors that, if there were serious charges, it would be President Biden in the spotlight.

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Gavin Newsom is trying to get him off the ballot in California..

The Disqualification of Donald Trump and Other Legal Urban Legends (Turley)

The popularity of urban legends is a testament to the will to believe. The desire of people to keep Elvis alive or prove that a Sasquatch could exist furtively in our backyards shows the resilience of fables. Constitutional urban legends often have an even more immediate appeal and tend to arise out of the desperation of divided times. One of the most popular today is that former President Donald Trump can be barred from office, even if he is not convicted in any of the four indictments he faces, under a long-dormant clause of the 14th Amendment. This 14th Amendment theory is something that good liberals will read to their children at night. It goes something like this: Donald Trump can never be president again, because the 14th Amendment bars those who previously took federal oaths from assuming office if they engaged in insurrection or rebellion.

With that, and a kiss on the forehead, a progressive’s child can sleep peacefully through the night. But don’t look under the bed. For as scary as it might sound to some, Trump can indeed take office if he is elected…even if he is convicted. Indeed, he can serve as president even in the unlikely scenario that he is sentenced to jail. Democrats have long pushed this theory about the 14th Amendment as a way of disqualifying not only Trump but also dozens of Republican members of Congress. For some, it is the ultimate Hail Mary pass if four indictments, roughly 100 criminal charges and more than a dozen opposing candidates fail to get the job done. I have strongly rejected this interpretation for years, so it is too late to pretend that I view this as a plausible argument.

However, some serious and smart people take an equally strong position in support of the theory. Indeed, conservative scholars William Baude and Michael Stokes Paulsen have argued for the interpretation and insist in a recent law review article that “the case is not even close. All who are committed to the Constitution should take note and say so.” But some of us like to believe that we are committed to the Constitution and, for that same reason, we say no. While I have great respect for these academics, I simply fail to see how the text, history or purpose of the 14th Amendment even remotely favors this view. Despite the extensive research of Baude and Paulsen, their analysis ends where it began: Was January 6 an insurrection or rebellion? I have previously addressed the constitutional basis for this claim. It is, in my view, wildly out of sync with the purpose of the amendment, which followed an actual rebellion, the Civil War.

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“..yet a new, fresh Covid-19 scare for the fall, in order to reenforce the special mail-in voting scheme that’s working so nicely (for them)..”

We Won’t Be Fooled Again (Jim Kunstler)

If you are among that segment of the population that has not lost its mind, you might realize that the public health authorities have no authority. They lied outrageously about everything connected with Covid-19. And when they were caught lying, they just lied some more in the vain attempt to cover up their previous lies. And so, it would be foolish to regard anything they say from now on — without a complete house-cleaning of agency personnel, plus some earnest prosecutions — as worth listening to and following. Authority, you see, is granted only to those who are trustworthy. Yes, it’s really that simple. If an authority lies about everything, and is caught doing it, then it is rendered invalid.

Now, it happens that the US public health agencies, huge and costly as they are, make up only one part of the even larger and costlier US government, which has been busy surrendering the authority of all its other parts for years now, to the point that the whole enterprise is untrustworthy and in need of a severe housecleaning. Traditionally, elections are the mechanism for cleaning that house, but our elections have lost their authority, too? Really? How so? Because the untrustworthy officials in charge of them employ dubious systems for gathering the vote: mail-in balloting that invites fraud and hackable vote-counting machines that are connected to the Internet. The defects of these things are so obvious they can hardly be ignored. And the remedy is obvious and simple, too: paper ballots hand-counted in small precincts of manageable size, all done on one day, which we call Election Day (and which should be a national holiday, so more working people can get to the polls).

Somehow, though, we are unable to avail that remedy, probably because the untrustworthy people in charge would lose their jobs and the power they enjoy in a truly fair election. So, they conclude, let’s not have that. It’s even looking like the untrustworthy public health authorities are ramping up yet a new, fresh Covid-19 scare for the fall, in order to reenforce the special mail-in voting scheme that’s working so nicely (for them), and to disorder the minds of the public so they’ll be too frightened to notice that all the other parts of the government are failing in virtually all their duties to the people of this land. Bring on some new Covid variants and the lovely new booster vax that’ll work so well (not). Go ahead, we should say, I dare you. We won’t be fooled again.

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BRICS Summit in Johannesburg from August 22 to 24.

‘BRICS Is Now The Hottest Club In The World’ – Senior Diplomat (RT)

African nations can establish new trade alliances by working with the BRICS group of emerging economies, Tanzania’s high commissioner to South Africa told RT in an exclusive interview on Sunday. Maj Gen Gaudence Salim Milanzi said BRICS is “the hottest club in the world” and although Tanzania has not yet applied for membership, it sees opportunities in working with the bloc. A Tanzanian delegation will be attending the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg from August 22 to 24. Milanzi explained that “BRICS offers an alternative to many other systems which we have now.” African nations have traditionally traded with Western countries, but “we always look for other trading partners,” and that is what BRICS can offer as well “as a huge economic bloc.”


According to the high commissioner, the economic objectives of BRICS – currently comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are “aligned to what Tanzania aspires to” and “there is common ground.” Milanzi noted “a welcome change” in recent years in how Western and Eastern countries have turned their focus to Africa and poured investment into the continent. “Many countries are realizing the potential of Africa as an economic partner,” he added. Gaudence Salim Milanzi also pointed to the long-running exploitation of Africa, saying that with its vast resources the continent “should not be poor as it is now” and that it needs “the development to be actually in Africa itself.”

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“..Over 40 countries have expressed their desire to join BRICS, with 23 of them doing so officially..”

BRICS 2023: Who are Participants & Guests of the Summit? (Sp.)

The heads of state or heads of government of the five member states – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – will be attending the BRICS 2023 Summit this year. Accordingly, on the list are President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, which took up the rotating chairship of the group in January, China’s President Xi Jinping, Brazil’s President Lula da Silva, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the gathering in person, but is expected to participate in the summit via video link. The online speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin at the BRICS summit in South Africa is expected to take place on August 23, according to Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s BRICS envoy. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will be heading the country’s delegation at the BRICS 2023 Summit.

The South African president has “invited (with consensus support from his fellow BRICS Leaders) sixty-seven (67) Leaders from Africa and the global South to attend the BRICS-Africa Outreach and BRICS Plus Dialogues. The Leaders cover all the continents and regions of the global South,” South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said earlier in August. Another 20 representatives of international organizations have also been invited, the minister said. “The President has also invited twenty (20) dignitaries that include the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, the President of the New Development Bank, the Chairs and Executive Heads of African Regional Economic Communities, African financial institutions, and the Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat and CEO of the African Union Development Agency,” the statement said.

Currently, 41 countries have confirmed their participation, with more expected, according to Anil Sooklal. Belarusian Foreign Minister Sergey Aleinik will participate in the BRICS Summit, Belarusian Foreign Ministry spokesman Anatoly Glaz told Sputnik. “On the instructions of the head of state, our delegation [to BRICS] will be headed by Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Aleinik,” Glaz said. He added that the country will participate in the BRICS-AFRICA Outreach and BRICS+ dialogues. This will be the first time Belarus takes part in BRICS Summit events, Glaz noted. No Western leaders have been invited.

[..] Over 40 countries have expressed their desire to join BRICS, with 23 of them doing so officially, according to South African top diplomat Naledi Pandor. “We have had formal expressions of interest from the Leaders of 23 countries in joining BRICS, and many more informal approaches about the possibilities of BRICS membership,” Pandor said. Among those who have officially applied are Argentina, Turkiye, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Senegal, Algeria, Ethiopia, Iran, and Indonesia. “The list of countries is large,” Anil Sooklal said..

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“In terms of a game-changing geopolitical moment, this is it..”

BRICS Plus-SCO Super Bloc vs. US Empire (Pepe Escobar)

Johannesburg is gearing up for the 15th BRICS Summit, which will kick off on Tuesday and run through Thursday, with this year’s theme entitled “|BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Mutually Accelerated Growth, Sustainable Development, and Inclusive Multilateralism.” “Multilateralism” is perhaps the most significant word to describe the gathering nations’ intentions, with the BRICS’ combined economic might already outweighing that of the G7, and, when accounting for the human, geographic, economic and resource potential of countries that have expressed interest in joining, pose a serious challenge to the US-led international order. “The great potential for creating a fair and democratic architecture of international relations lies in structures like BRICS,” Russian foreign intelligence chief Sergei Naryshkin said last week on the eve of the summit.

Pointing to the bloc name’s similarity to the English word “bricks”, Naryshkin indicated that BRICS is a subtle nod to the US and its allies that the so-called “rules based international order” is on its way out. “These are indeed the building blocks in the foundation of a truly free and equal world. In the near future, new bricks or poles will be added. The structure of multipolarity will continue to grow and strengthen, protecting the rights of nations to sovereignty and identity will promoting real economic development. No beast on Earth will succeed in dismantling this structure.” “In terms of a game-changing geopolitical moment, this is it,” Pepe Escobar told Sputnik, when asked about the special significance of this year’s BRICS summit.

“Much more than previous summits, much more than the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, much more than all previous BRICS summits. And the fact that it takes place in Africa, which, as we all know now, is at the center of everything once again, especially because of, let’s put it concisely, the ‘African revolt against French neocolonialism,'” only adds to the gathering’s significance, Escobar said. There’s also “the fact that the organizing committee invited 67 heads of state of powerful representatives from all over Africa and many other places in the Global South to be part of discussions involving the collaboration between BRICS and Africa and also ‘BRICS+,” Escobar added, referring to the exciting prospect of new members joining the bloc for the first time since South Africa itself did so in 2010.

“One thing we already know for sure coming from [leaders’ representatives] is that they already decided on a mechanism for the absorption of new members. Of course, this is a very complex endeavor because it involves, at the last count, over 30 nations, 23 that that have already expressed their formal desire to be part of BRICS+,” the observer noted. “Of course, these are baby steps, Escobar clarified. “We should not expect BRICS in two days in South Africa [to turn] the ‘rules-based international order’ upside down. No, this is going to be a gradual, slow moving, very challenging process. But what’s happening in South Africa and immediately after South Africa is, let’s say, a sort of Rosetta Stone for what’s going to happen ahead.”

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Iran, Indonesia, Argentina, Saudi Arabia. Who else in round 1?

The Founder Members Of BRICS Face A Historic Decision (RT)

About 20 countries are reportedly seeking admission to the five-member organization and the list of countries that will be represented at the meeting in South Africa is three times as long. This is a sign of the times and points to two things: the yearning of many non-Western nations to become more consequential to how the world is run, and the growing pushback against self-serving Western dominance in global politics, economics, finance, and the media. This does not mean, however, that BRICS (an acronym made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will have an easy run in reshaping the world order. Ahead of the Johannesburg summit, two issues emerged as the main challenges to the group’s further evolution.

One is expanding membership. A number of countries from all over the globe have lined up at BRICS’ door, ready to walk in. These include Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Going for a big-bang enlargement would be a loud statement, to the effect that an alternative to the US-led system of alliances and partnerships is being built. However, the question is would such an expansion make a much more diversified BRICS immediately stronger or not?

[..] Within BRICS itself, views on enlargement differ. Yet, there is a model that can prove useful. Another non-Western group, with some of the same participant states, did manage the enlargement issue without diluting effectiveness. This was the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which started with Russia, China, and three Central Asian states. Over time, the SCO has found a formula for categories of participating countries and criteria-cum-processes for admitting new full members. The organization was able to extend its full membership to India and Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Iran, with a number of others in line for admission. If the SCO approach is adopted by BRICS, this could be a solution.

The other challenge for the bloc is coming up with new financial instruments to reduce the non-Western economies’ dependence on the dollar. Washington’s weaponization of its currency in its Hybrid War against Russia and its concurrent manipulation of trade and technology against China have made the issue urgent. Western restrictions have hampered the activities of the BRICS’ New Development Bank. Calls have been made for the group to create a common currency, to break the dollar’s monopoly in world finance. Yet, it is self-evident that creating a reserve currency for five very different economies, of which China accounts for two-thirds of the combined nominal GDP of the group, will run up against the jealously guarded principle of national sovereignty. The original goal of achieving financial independence will not be met.

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“What we do seek is to advance the agenda of the Global South and to build a more inclusive, representative, just, fair global architecture..”

China Wants BRICS to Rival G7 – FT (RT)

China plans to push for BRICS to become a full-fledged rival of the G7 during the bloc’s upcoming summit in South Africa, officials told the Financial Times. The Chinese government has “clashed” with India over the prospect of expanding the bloc in the run-up to the event, which is scheduled to take place in Johannesburg between August 22 and 24, the British paper reported on Sunday. According to FT’s sources, there’s no agreement between Beijing and New Delhi on whether BRICS, which currently comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, should be a non-aligned economic club or a political force that openly challenges the West. South African officials told the paper that 23 countries had expressed interest in joining BRICS and some of these could receive invitations to join in Johannesburg.

The report singled out Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia as the favorites to become the first new members of the bloc since the inclusion of South Africa in 2010. “If we expand BRICS to account for a similar portion of world GDP as the G7, then our collective voice in the world will grow stronger,” an unnamed Chinese official told the FT. Earlier this month, New Delhi dismissed media reports that it opposed the expansion of the bloc, with Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Arindam Bagchi describing them as “baseless speculation.” “As mandated by the leaders last year, BRICS members are internally discussing the guiding principles, standards, criteria and procedures for the BRICS expansion process on the basis of full consultation and consensus,” Bagchi pointed out.

A senior Brazilian diplomat told the FT that the country supported the expansion of BRICS, but noted that “it’s important that criteria are defined for the entrance of these new members.” Last week, South Africa’s ambassador to BRICS, Anil Sooklal, dismissed claims that the bloc is “anti-West” and looking to compete with the G7. “What we do seek is to advance the agenda of the Global South and to build a more inclusive, representative, just, fair global architecture,” he explained. In early August, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said Russia believes that “in one form or another, the expansion of BRICS will contribute to the further development and strengthening of this organization.” He noted that “the format and size” of this expansion would be discussed by BRICS leaders during the summit in Johannesburg, in which Russian President Vladimir Putin will participate via video link.

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2/3 of people want him gone. That can’t of course be his fault…

‘Fallen Angels From Hell’ – Scholz On Critics Of His Ukraine Policies (RT)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz received a frosty welcome during a campaign speech in Munich’s iconic Marienplatz square on Friday evening. Critics of the country’s military aid to Ukraine booed the official, who then questioned the true intentions of his detractors and accused them of playing right into Russia’s hands. Scholz was confronted by a crowd that was calling the chancellor a “warmonger,” “loser,” and “liar,” among other things. The chancellor parried, insisting that the “right-wing populists” stand for a “gloomy future.” Scholz went on to argue that those demanding an end to German weapon deliveries to Ukraine were not peace doves, but rather “fallen angels, that come from hell, because at the end of the day they make the case for a warmonger,” – an apparent reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The official went on to defend his decision to provide Kiev with weapons to fend off “imperialist aggression,” assuring the public that such steps were taken only after careful consideration. Similar scenes occurred during events attended by Scholz in Frankfurt and Neuruppin last week, with critics also taking aim at his climate policies. Meanwhile, the results of a new opinion poll released by Bild on Saturday indicated that some 64% of respondents would want to see the incumbent “traffic light” coalition government made up of Scholz’s Social Democrats, the Free Democrats, and the Greens replaced. Only 22% are content with the way the country is being governed at present, the media outlet revealed, with 70% of the Germans polled dissatisfied with Scholz personally.

Back in June, Scholz was booed at a ‘European Festival’ in the town of Falkensee, organized by his own SPD party.As captured by a Ruptly video agency cameramen, some of the attendees denounced the chancellor as a “people’s traitor” and a “warmonger,” while calling for “peace without weapons.” According to Bild, some of those people were members of right-wing groups and were sporting pro-Russia symbols.Scholz’s government has consistently supported Ukraine since the start of its conflict with Russia last February, with the chancellor predicting that Berlin would have to provide weapons to Kiev for years to come.

However, in addition to those opposing such deliveries, the official has also caught flak from top Ukrainian officials and some politicians at home for his apparent hesitancy when it has come to certain types of hardware, such as Leopard tanks.Speaking at another event on Friday, the official insisted that all efforts to shore up Ukraine were being undertaken only after careful consideration and in close coordination with allies to minimize the risk of the conflict merging into a “war between Russia and NATO.”

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Is limitless energy a good idea for mankind? Look at what we did with our newfound energy the past 200 years…

Nuclear Fusion Still Long Way From Becoming Viable Energy Source (Sp.)

Earlier in August, the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California said it had repeated its controlled nuclear fusion reaction experiment, achieving higher energy yield than during the laboratory’s original feat last December. Back then, the US scientists became the first to conduct a controlled fusion experiment that produced more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to drive it. Such developments have excited proponents of fusion who hope to one day produce nearly limitless, carbon-free energy and displace fossil fuels as well as other traditional energy sources. However, this remains an elusive goal at the moment since fusion happens at inordinately high temperatures and pressures that are extremely hard to control.

“In the recent experiment, the fusion energy is very small. It can heat roughly a cup of water. To produce a power plant (i.e. to produce hundreds of megawatts of power per hour) one would need to have many fusion explosions per second. Now, one has no idea how to produce laser pulses at the required rate. My conclusion is that one would need at least 30 years of research to approach the necessary performance and it is not clear at all if it is possible,” Jean Barrette, professor emeritus with McGill University’s Department of Physics, said. When asked which of the main approaches to controlled-fusion energy — inertial confinement or magnetic confinement — is more viable from a technical and economic standpoint, the expert replied that there was no way to determine this as both methods have a long way to go before reaching a final positive result.

The magnetic confinement approach is embodied in the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project, which has been in development since the late 1980s, with actual construction launched in 2010. Nevertheless, while ITER is closer to being a working power plant, it is still unclear whether the project will be economically viable, Barrette said. At the same time, the inertial confinement model used by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is “further away but may be progressing faster at least for a while,” the expert added. “Note [that] today one only talks about the Livermore Inertial Confinement Result and ITER as the only two options. This is not quite the total picture,” Barrette said, citing reports about other approaches, some of which are quite old.

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“Tyrannies, from Biblical times to the present, invert the rule of law. They turn the law into an instrument of injustice. They cloak their crimes in a faux legality. They use the decorum of the courts and trials, to mask their criminality. ”

The Crucifixion of Julian Assange (Chris Hedges)

Bearing the cross, living in truth, is not about the pursuit of happiness. It does not embrace the illusion of inevitable human progress. It is not about achieving wealth, celebrity or power. It entails sacrifice. It is about our neighbor. The organs of state security monitor and harass you. They amass huge files on your activities. They disrupt your life. They throw you in prison, even when, like Julian, you did not commit a crime. It is not a new story. Nor is our indifference to evil; palpable evil we can see in front of us, new. In the reading from the Hebrew Bible we hear the story of the prophet Jeremiah. He, like Julian, exposed the corruption and lust for war by the powerful. He warned of the catastrophe that inevitably comes when the covenant with God is broken.

He condemned idolatry, the corruption of kings, priests and false prophets. Jeremiah was arrested, beaten and put in stocks. He was forbidden from preaching. An attempt was made on his life. After Egypt was conquered by Babylon, and Judea began to prepare for war, Jeremiah delivered an oracle warning the king to maintain peace. King Zedekiah ignored him. Babylon besieged Jerusalem. Jeremiah was arrested and imprisoned. He was freed by the Babylonians after Jerusalem’s conquest, but was exiled to Egypt, where, according to the Biblical tradition, he was stoned to death. Jeremiah, like Julian, understood that a society that prohibits the capacity to speak in truth extinguishes the capacity to live in justice.

Yes, all of us who know and admire Julian decry his prolonged suffering and the suffering of his family. Yes, we demand that the many wrongs and injustices that have been visited upon him end. Yes, we honor him for his courage and his integrity. But the battle for Julian’s liberty has always been much more than the persecution of a publisher. It is the most important battle for press freedom, and truth, of our era. And if we lose this battle, it will be devastating, not only for Julian and his family, but for us. Tyrannies, from Biblical times to the present, invert the rule of law. They turn the law into an instrument of injustice. They cloak their crimes in a faux legality. They use the decorum of the courts and trials, to mask their criminality.

Those, such as Julian, who expose that criminality to the public are dangerous, for without the pretext of legitimacy the tyranny loses credibility and has nothing left in its arsenal but fear, coercion and violence. The long campaign against Julian and WikiLeaks is a window into the collapse of the rule of law, the rise of what the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls our system of “inverted totalitarianism,” a form of totalitarianism that maintains the fictions of the old capitalist democracy, including its institutions, iconography, patriotic symbols and rhetoric, but internally has surrendered total control to the dictates of global corporations.

I was in the London courtroom during Julian’s extradition hearing overseen by Judge Vanessa Baraitser, an updated version of the Queen of Hearts in “Alice in Wonderland”, demanding the sentence before pronouncing the verdict. It was a judicial farce. There was no legal basis to hold Julian in prison. There was no legal basis to try him, an Australian citizen, under the U.S. Espionage Act. The CIA spied on Julian in the embassy through the Spanish company, UC Global, contracted to provide embassy security. This spying included recording the privileged conversations between Julian and his lawyers as they discussed his defense. This fact alone invalidated the hearing. Julian is being held in a high security prison so the state can, as Nils Melzer, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, has testified, continue the degrading abuse and torture it hopes will lead to his psychological, if not physical disintegration.

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This deceiving grid tricks you into thinking there’s a curved line somewhere, but you can’t find it. The purposefully placed gray lines will induce your peripheral vision to interpolate curved lines [image by Lesha Porche. Explanation: https://buff.ly/3b79VC8]

 

 

 

 

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Jul 312023
 
 July 31, 2023  Posted by at 9:32 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  53 Responses »


Henri Gervex Rolla 1878

 

Nuclear War No Worse Than Climate Change – Blinken (RT)
DOJ Tries To Jail Key Hunter Biden Witness Devon Archer (NYP)
Elon Musk Says Russia, Ukraine Should Start ‘Turning Other Cheek’ (Sp.)
Zelensky Frustrated Over Downing of US-Made HIMARS Missiles by Russia (Sp.)
UK Training Elite Ukrainian Force To Seize Crimea Before Christmas (RT)
Veteran US Army Officer Sizes Up Russia’s Naval Power Against US, China (Sp.)
Germany May Face Irreversible Deindustrialization – CDU Chair (Sp.)
Ye Restored To X (RT)
‘Facebook Files’ Show Biden Admin Even Targeted Jokes For Censorship (Turley)
Former US President Trump Spends $40 Million On Legal Fees (Az.)

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1685608840748789760

 

 

Trump ad

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idiot.

Nuclear War No Worse Than Climate Change – Blinken (RT)

The threat of nuclear annihilation is no more serious than the threat of climate change, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has claimed. Blinken’s critics argue that Washington is risking nuclear war by arming Ukraine. In an appearance on 60 Minutes Australia on Sunday, Blinken was asked whether nuclear war or climate change represented “the greater threat to humanity.”“Well, you can’t, I think, have a hierarchy,” he replied. “There are some things that are front and center…including potential conflict, but there’s no doubt that climate represents an existential challenge to all of us.” “So for us, this is the existential challenge of our times,” he continued, adding that this “doesn’t mean that in the meantime there are not severe challenges to the international order like Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.”

With July set to go down as the hottest month in history, the UN has called for “accelerated action” to reduce carbon emissions, including a global end to coal use by 2040. Earlier this summer, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry demanded an overhaul of the world’s agricultural system to reduce carbon emissions from farming in a bid to avert “half a degree of warming by mid-century.” In Ukraine, however, President Joe Biden’s administration continues its policy of open-ended support for Kiev’s military. The US and its NATO allies have armed Ukraine with long-range missiles and are currently discussing the supply of American-made fighter jets to Kiev, amid repeated warnings from Moscow that such weapons dramatically raise the chances of an all-out war between Russia and the West.

Kiev’s forces have also made repeated attempts to target Russian nuclear power plants, the Kremlin warned earlier this month, accusing Ukraine and its sponsors of “nuclear terrorism.” In the US, warnings about the imminent threat of nuclear conflict have primarily come from the isolationist wing of the Republican Party. Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson and former President Donald Trump have been two of the loudest voices calling for an end to the US’ support for Kiev, with Trump declaring in April that the world was facing “the most dangerous period” in history because of nuclear weapons and “incompetent” leadership in Washington. “Every day this proxy battle continues, we risk global war,” Trump said in March, arguing that “we should support regime change in the United States” to avert this risk.

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Confusing.

DOJ Tries To Jail Key Hunter Biden Witness Devon Archer (NYP)

The Justice Department is pushing for Devon Archer to report to prison — just days ahead of the former Hunter Biden business partner’s hotly anticipated congressional testimony, according to new court documents. Manhattan federal prosecutors on Saturday filed a letter requesting a judge set a date for Archer, 58, to start his one-year sentence in a fraud case unrelated to the first son’s various scandals. The request came after the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Archer’s 2018 conviction last Tuesday on two felony charges for his role in a conspiracy to defraud a Native American tribe. Archer — who is set to deliver closed-door testimony to the House Oversight Committee on Monday about Biden — had been challenging the conviction.


In light of the appeals court ruling, the DOJ “respectfully requests that the defendant be ordered to surrender, at a date and time determined by the Court, to a facility designated by the Bureau of Prisons to commence his term of imprisonment,” reads the letter to Judge Ronnie Abrams. Archer’s attorney, Matthew Schwartz, said Sunday his client would still testify on Capitol Hill as planned despite allegations the DOJ letter was an intimidation tactic. “We are aware of speculation that the Department of Justice’s weekend request to have Mr. Archer report to prison is an attempt by the Biden administration to intimidate him in advance of his meeting with the House Oversight Committee,” Schwartz said in a statement, per Politico. “To be clear, Mr. Archer does not agree with that speculation,” Schwartz added. “In any case, Mr. Archer will do what he has planned to do all along, which is to show up on Monday and to honestly answer the questions that are put to him by the Congressional investigators.”

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“there are no angels in war..”

Elon Musk Says Russia, Ukraine Should Start ‘Turning Other Cheek’ (Sp.)

Entrepreneur Elon Musk believes that Ukraine and Russia should act according to an old Christian principle of ‘turning the other cheek’ and should forgive each other to get out of the vicious cycle.”The thing is that people in Ukraine and in Russia can find a million reasons to hate the other side, if you just look at the history,” Musk said on Friday in an online conversation on X platform. “So this is why you know, the Christian principle of turning the other cheek is a very wise one because if you do not ultimately forgive your enemy, you’re stuck in a cycle of retribution forever.” There has to be some realism and we cannot label Russia as “pure devil” and Ukraine “pure angel” because “there are no angels in war,” Musk added.


“As we speak the flower of Ukrainian youth is dying in trenches,” the entrepreneur continued. ‘Turning the other cheek’ is an old Christian phrase that has its origin in the Sermon on the Mount in the New Testament. One should respond to the other with retort. Elon Musk had an online discussion on his newly named platform “X” with the American entrepreneur and a candidate in the 2024 Republican Party presidential primaries Vivek Ramaswamy on Friday. Musk spent a considerable amount of time talking with Ramaswamy about the Ukrainian crisis. Ramaswamy voiced his opinion that NATO should not admit Ukraine and that the Pentagon’s leadership needs new people.

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“We did not understand that the Russian population actually supports its government,” Macgregor underscored.”

Zelensky Frustrated Over Downing of US-Made HIMARS Missiles by Russia (Sp.)

Over the past few months, the Russian air defense systems have destroyed a whole array of Kiev’s HIMARS missiles in the special military operation zone in Ukraine. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is uneasy over the fact of the Russian air defenses successfully downing advanced missiles that the US delivers to Kiev, foreign policy expert and former Pentagon adviser Douglas Macgregor has told a YouTube channel. “The Russian air defenses are superb, is the best word that I can come up with. There is no such thing as perfect integrated air defenses; something will always get through, but overwhelmingly, they manage to shoot down HIMARS [High Mobility Artillery Rocket System] and all sorts of missiles,” Macgregor said.

According to him, Russia downing HIMARS missiles prompted “the frustration that we saw in Mr. Zelensky,” who was “furious, angry, and distraught.” “The losses inside his country are horrific; it’s only American cash that really sustains this Ukrainian state. It’s on life support and a humane thing would be to put an end to it and negotiate […],” Macgregor added, in an apparent reference to the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF)’s massive death toll. The remarks followed the ex-Pentagon adviser’s interview with another YouTube channel, in which he referred to Russia-related mistakes the US made before getting involved in the Ukraine conflict.

“[…] They [in Washington] were wrong about Russia. They did not understand what were they dealing with. They thought that Russia was still the backward, confused, chaotic state that it was in the 1990s. They missed entirely all of the things that had been done in the last twenty years by [Russian President] Vladimir Putin and his supporters. I’m not here to say that everything that they’ve done is perfect or has worked brilliantly, but it very definitely recovered Russia from the ash-heap of history. At the same time, we did not understand that Russians had maintained this large scientific and industrial base to produce and manufacture military equipment. We did not understand that the Russian population actually supports its government,” Macgregor underscored.

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2,000? Know how big Crimea is?

UK Training Elite Ukrainian Force To Seize Crimea Before Christmas (RT)

British instructors are training an elite Ukrainian unit that is supposed to help Kiev retake Crimea, the Sunday Express has claimed, citing sources. Ukrainian officials have been talking for months about plans to take back the Russian peninsula during its much-hyped counteroffensive, which has so far failed to live up to expectations in the West. According to the report, more than 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers comprising “an elite commando brigade” arrived at a training camp in Devon in southwest Britain to prepare for an attack that is supposed to “recapture Crimea before Christmas.” The brigade is expected to “form the tip of the spear” and will be supported by two other forces, the tabloid’s sources claimed.

The Express also noted that the operation would involve combined strikes from air, land, and sea, with Kiev’s armored formations attempting to breach Russian defenses while being backed by long-range attacks using Western-supplied missiles. An unnamed senior defense source told the paper that UK instructors aim to teach Kiev’s troops how to use NATO tactics to “shape the battle space” before committing forces for a decisive thrust. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky outlined Kiev’s ambition to reclaim Crimea through a major counteroffensive back in late April. However, when Ukraine launched its push against Russian lines in the early days of June, it failed to gain any ground and suffered heavy casualties, according to Moscow.

Despite apparent problems with the counteroffensive, Kirill Budanov, the head of Ukraine’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, claimed on Saturday that Kiev would take Crimea “soon,” without giving an exact timeline. Last year, he already predicted that this would happen in the spring of 2023, a projection that failed to come true. Meanwhile, in March former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned that, should Ukraine attempt to seize back Crimea, Moscow could resort to “all means of protection,” including its nuclear arsenal. The Crimean Peninsula overwhelmingly voted to rejoin Russia in a public referendum in 2014 following a Western-backed coup in Kiev. Neither Ukraine nor Western countries have recognized its results.

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“..only 5 percent of the components for military shipbuilding are “dependent on foreign imports.”

Veteran US Army Officer Sizes Up Russia’s Naval Power Against US, China (Sp.)

Today, Russia celebrates Navy Day, a national holiday that is observed annually nationwide on the last Sunday of July. This year’s Navy Day is being celebrated as Russia continues to upgrade and enhance its naval capabilities, despite the US-led West doubling down with their endless economic sanctions. Yet even as Washington and its allies seem willing to pull all the stops in its economic war against Russia, it seems that the West’s sanctions failed to harm Russia’s naval projects, says Earl Rasmussen, a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel and an international consultant “Sanctions have had little impact on modernization efforts,” Rasmussen told Sputnik, referring to Moscow’s drive to upgrade its naval capabilities. “Russia has taken steps to move weapon and defense security manufacturing to be based on internal/domestic capabilities.”

He pointed out that Alexei Rakhmanov, who heads the United Shipbuilding Corporation, earlier revealed that the West’s sanctions against Russia’s shipbuilding industry were feeble and had next to no effect whatsoever, brading them “practically unnoticeable,” since only 5 percent of the components for military shipbuilding are “dependent on foreign imports.” According to Rasmussen, the Russian Navy is currently considered “the third strongest globally after the United States and China to include a strong submarine presence,” and while many of its elements are either aging or are nearing their “life expectancy,” Russia’s efforts “have focused on the modernization of both new and upgraded forces.” “Several surface vessels are under development and will soon see active surface. Additionally, developments are underway with submarine modernization across 6 different submarine classes/types each providing unique capabilities to include the ability to carry [the] newest weapon systems,” the US veteran remarked. “Russia’s submarine modernization is the largest since WW2.”

He also argued that growing naval cooperation between Russia, China and Iran should be a cause for concern for the “foreign policy and defense makers” in Washington. “One of the main concerns for decades has been the potential of Russia and China developing an alliance. The current US administration policies have accelerated this partnership as well as adding Iran,” Rasmussen mused. “Hence, three of the strongest regional players globally seem more aligned than ever with increased cooperation and strategic alignment. Current western policymakers seem to be living in a world of past years and have not come to fully appreciate today’s reality.” Rasmussen’s remarks come mere days after the conclusion of the Russo-Chinese joint naval exercise dubbed North/Interaction–2023 in the Sea of Japan. This exercise involved Russian and Chinese warships and their crews practicing a variety of tasks such as convoying ships, anti-submarine warfare and naval combat.

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Wannabe Green.

Germany May Face Irreversible Deindustrialization – CDU Chair (Sp.)

The German economy is expected to be the worst-performing among the G7 nations this year, with the country’s GDP likely to plummet by at least 0.3%. Germany is facing further economic decline and deindustrialization, Friedrich Merz, the chairman of the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU), has told a German news agency. He pointed to the country’s grim economic indicators, including a summer rise in unemployment, a contraction in industrial production and a 16% increase in bankruptcies in the first half of 2023. “Germany is losing competitiveness. This is not an abrupt process that triggers an overnight economic crisis [and] instead, we are experiencing a gradual process of deindustrialization in our country. You have to take this very seriously [because] something is happening here at the moment that may no longer be reversible. The federal government must react to this now,” Merz warned.

The CDU chairman spoke after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) claimed earlier this week that Germany would be the worst-performing major economy in the world this year as the country’s manufacturing sector remains under pressure. According to the IMF, the German economy will suffer the only contraction in the Group of Seven (G7) before the end of the year, with the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) expected to fall 0.3%. The IMF earlier forecast that growth in Germany’s GDP would stay near zero in 2023, before gradually increasing to between 1% and 2% in the period of 2024 to 2026. This was echoed by Clemens Fuest, president of the Munich-based Ifo economic research institute, who told a US news agency that “it looks like the German economy is really having a hard time getting out of this recession.”

The Ifo earlier reported that the German Business Climate Index declined to 87.3 points in July versus last month’s 88.6 and the consensus forecast of 88.0. The index is calculated on the basis of a survey of about 9,000 German enterprises and remains the main indicator of the economic situation in the country. Paolo Raffone, a strategic analyst and director of the CIPI Foundation in Brussels, told Sputnik in this context that “long term, reliable, low cost and abundant energy supplies from Russia have been pivotal to German industrial sector development and strength.” He added that the destruction of the North Stream pipelines in September 2022 was “highly symbolic (cutting German energy ties with Russia and Eurasia) and it has had tremendous consequences for the German economy.”

Raffone warned that “without the convenient Russian energy supplies, Germany has entered (again) a period of industrial difficulty that impacts the general economy and the life of people.” Gunnar Beck, a member of the European Parliament for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) part, for his part, told Sputnik that Nord Stream’s collapse and Berlin’s move to join the West’s energy sanctions against Russia are “not the only source of Germany’s declining economic fortunes.”

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Just 5 years ago (or even 1?!), nobody would have had any idea what this headline meant.

Ye Restored To X (RT)

Kanye West was reinstated to X on Saturday after the social network formerly known as Twitter was provided with assurances that the controversial rapper will not use the platform to spread anti-Semitic or otherwise offensive content, the Wall Street Journal reported. West, legally known as Ye, was suspended from the social network – newly rebranded by owner Elon Musk – late last year, shortly after he posted an image of a swastika merging with a star of David. The ban was overturned on Saturday – a move which came after Musk restored numerous prominent Twitter accounts that had been suspended under its prior ownership. According to the Wall Street Journal, who cited an anonymous source close to the situation, X has been assured that West’s newly restored account will not be used to distribute anti-Semitic rhetoric.

He has not yet posted to the social network as of Sunday afternoon. West’s formal suspension from Twitter followed a string of anti-Semitic statements in interviews and on social media last year, including an October tweet in which he said he would go “death con 3” on members of the Jewish community. His account was locked by Twitter afterwards, before he was later readmitted to the platform. Shortly after his return last year, West praised Adolf Hitler and the Nazis on Twitter before posting the swastika image which appeared to lead to his suspension. Elon Musk declared at the time: “I tried my best. Despite that, he again violated our rule against incitement to violence. Account will be suspended.”

In March, West said that he “liked Jewish people again” while speaking about the movie ‘21 Jump Street’ featuring the American actor Jonah Hill. West will not be allowed to monetize his account under the terms of his readmission to Twitter, the WSJ added in its Saturday report. Elon Musk announced earlier this year that certain high-profile content creators would receive a share of revenue from advertisements linked to their posts. 24-time Grammy Award winner West was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2016 and has spoken about his struggle with mental health. He was released from a high profile partnership with sportswear company Adidas in October following public backlash against his offensive statements. This came just days after West said in an interview that, “I can say anti-Semitic things, and Adidas can’t drop me.”

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“Facebook executives were facing the same insatiable government desire for censorship..”

‘Facebook Files’ Show Biden Admin Even Targeted Jokes For Censorship (Turley)

COVID-19, the flu and the common cold all walk into a bar. The bartender asks, “what is this? Some kind of sick joke?” Indeed, it is one of the many COVID-19 jokes that raged on the internet during the pandemic. What citizens did not know is that the Biden administration was tracking the laugh lines for censorship, along with other views it found neither funny nor helpful.The newly released “Facebook Files” revealed a concerted effort by the Biden administration to censor not just false information, but also true information, along with jokes that its functionaries simply found annoying. Months ago, I testified before Congress on censorship after Elon Musk’s release of internal Twitter communications, also known as the Twitter Files.

I warned that the government was engaging in “censorship by surrogate,” using corporate allies to do indirectly what it is legally prevented from doing directly. Facebook had refused to open its own files on government censorship efforts. That came to an end when the House Judiciary Committee finally moved to hold Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in contempt of Congress. The resulting Facebook Files confirmed what many of us have suspected for years. Indeed, the emails proved to be a mirror image of what had occurred at Twitter — a massive effort by the government to pressure the company to censor its critics and other dissenting voices. Facebook executives used similar language to lament the “overwhelming” effort of the government to censor citizens and its unwillingness to take “no” for an answer.

Over at Twitter, executives described a deluge of demands for censorship from federal officials at the FBI and other agencies. One official wrote that “[t]he FBI has some folks in the Baltimore field office and at HQ that are just doing keyword searches for violations. This is probably the 10th request I have dealt with in the last 5 days.” In January 2020, Twitter’s then-director of policy and philanthropy, Carlos Monje Jr., expressed unease about the pressure coming from the FBI. “They are probing & pushing everywhere they can (including by whispering to congressional staff),” he said. One email from August 2022 sent “long lists of newspapers, tweets or YouTube videos” deemed to be voicing “anti-Ukraine narratives.” Even satirical and comedy sites were reportedly designated by the government for removal.

Now we know that Facebook executives were facing the same insatiable government desire for censorship. In an April 2021 email, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s president for global affairs, wrote to colleagues that Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser to Biden who was steering COVID-19 policy, “was outraged — not too strong a word to describe his reaction — that [Facebook] did not remove this post.” The post was actually a humorous meme shared by a user named Timothy McComas. It featured actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s character from the film “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood,” pointing at a TV with a beer and cigarette in hand. The caption read: “10 years from now, you will be watching TV and hear…. ‘Did you or a loved one take the COVID vaccine? You may be entitled…’”

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Campaign funds.

Former US President Trump Spends $40 Million On Legal Fees (Az.)

Former US President Donald Trump’s political action committee is expected to report on Monday that it has spent about $40 million in legal fees in the first half of 2023 to defend Trump and his advisers, among others, the Washington Post reported, Report informs. The New York Times separately reported that the PAC has sought the return of $60 million it made to another group supporting Trump, a candidate for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

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Moonwalk
https://twitter.com/i/status/1685700030710116352

 

 

tail

 

 


Discovered by researchers with the Census of Marine Life at a depth of 2,750 meters, this sea cucumber is so transparent that its digestive tract is on spectacular display

 

 

 

 

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Jul 272023
 
 July 27, 2023  Posted by at 8:35 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  82 Responses »


Samuel Melton Fisher Asleep 1902

 

Russian Military Emerging Bigger, Stronger From Ukraine War – Martyanov (Sp.)
Ukraine ‘Offensive’ Has Not Helped – They Already Lost The War – Macgregor (WF)
West ‘Torpedoed’ Ukraine Peace ‘Because We Want War With Russia’ – RFK Jr.
NATO-Trained Ukrainian Soldiers Being Wiped Out – Austrian Military Expert (Sp.)
US Official Shares Details of Secret ‘Track 1.5’ Diplomacy With Moscow (MT)
Zelensky Uses Martial Law To Avoid Election (RT)
West Using Dollar As Weapon – Putin (RT)
Cash Is King Of The Thieves In The Ukraine (Helmer)
Hunter Biden’s Plea Deal Falls Apart (DeMartino)
Inside Hunter Biden’s Plea Deal (Will Scharf)
Neither East Nor West: Turkiye’s Travails As A ‘Swing State’ (Bhadrakumar)
Elon Musk’s X Seizes @X Account From Longtime Twitter User (Sp.)
EV Suspected In Fire Of Massive Cargo Ship Carrying 3,000 Cars (ZH)

 

 

 

 

The federal court judge presiding over Hunter Biden’s case seems extremely uncomfortable that the plea deal is far too generous to Hunter — which is what the IRS whistleblowers have been saying — and she might reject it altogether, a very rare move

 

 

Patel plea deal

 

 

 

 

Trump ad

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I’m beginning to think that many American generals also know and learn about warfare from the entertainment industry, from Hollywood..”

Russian Military Emerging Bigger, Stronger From Ukraine War – Martyanov (Sp.)

Having blown over $95 billion on arms to Ukraine, Western countries have increasingly started talking about their inability to keep providing Kiev with weapons and ammo at the same pace as they have up to now. Some European countries have calculated that their armies would be able to fight a full-scale war for as little as 24-48 hours after their sending weapons and ammo inventories to Kiev. Earlier this month, President Biden admitted to media that the United States was deploying cluster bombs to Ukraine because it was running low on conventional 155 mm artillery ammunition. The admission sparked harsh criticism from former President Donald Trump, who blasted Biden for essentially revealing that the emperor has no clothes.

“Let me put it this way: We have witnessed, in the last 15 months, a ‘21+ mature audiences only explicit’ demolition of the American military mythology and American technological mythology,” Andrei Martyanov, a veteran Russian military analyst and best-selling author, told Sputnik’s New Rules podcast. “Those people from the think tanks [predicting the weakening of the Russian MIC], most of them never served a day in the armed forces. And to quote General Robert Latiff, author of the book Future War, ‘everything that the American public and politicians know about warfare is primarily from the entertainment industry.’ I’m beginning to think that many American generals also know and learn about warfare from the entertainment industry, from Hollywood. Those people are absolutely unprepared and not equipped to operate with basically what amounts to operational values, and they don’t even understand what they’re looking at,” Martyanov stressed.

Characterizing the field of Russia studies in Western countries as “basically a wasteland” today, Martyanov suggested that they don’t have the ability to comprehend realities on the ground because they take their primary data from Kiev, which falsifies it, and from “pseudo-academic shysters” in US academia whose “only task is to rewrite and then reiterate what Russia is and what is history, especially of the 20th century, is, and sell it to the public and policymakers.” [..] “The point is, just to give you a technological example…that the United States in terms of air defenses…is not even in the same league with Russia. In terms of cruise missiles, again, the United States lags here not by years, it lags by generations. And the same goes for armor, the same goes for operational concepts and things of this nature, and even in electronic warfare,” the observer stressed.

“For the average American political scientist who grew up with their Wall Street type economy, that’s the one I think they studied, they operate with gross domestic product numbers which are provided by Wall Street and shysters from the economic schools. They still cannot even grasp the idea” that the US could be weaker than its adversaries, Martyanov said. “For example, Russia produces as much steel as the United States. And it produces six times more aluminum…And when you look at these fundamental economic and military indices, how can you explain it? [Meanwhile] they still believe that they are the number one economy in the world, while China actually dwarfs the United States.”

Martyanov

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“Anybody else would have said by now, no more death. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are dying… but there’s no humanity in these people. They don’t care..”

Ukraine ‘Offensive’ Has Not Helped – They Already Lost The War – Macgregor (WF)

Col. Douglas Macgregor always tells it like it is. See the full interview below with Judge Napolitano as well as clips with Turley. Basically, a peace treaty was signed, Russian territories with mostly Russian people would be part of Russia. Putin started pulling his troops out. But the Deep State and the Big Guy want to keep the con going, costing lives and American tax dollars. And then… Ret. Col. Douglas Macgregor: “The message that Jake Sullivan and President Biden have sent to Moscow is ‘Gentlemen, you’re going to have to march west. Nothing will stop until you make it clear unambiguously that you’ve won.’ Unfortunately, that’s what they’re saying. These people are not reasonable. They’re not rational. Anybody else would have said by now, no more death. Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are dying… but there’s no humanity in these people. They don’t care”

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“Zelensky ran for president. He was a comedian. He had no political experience. Why did he win? Because he ran on one issue: signing the Minsk Accords.”

West ‘Torpedoed’ Ukraine Peace ‘Because We Want War With Russia’ – RFK Jr.

There is no chance of Russia losing the proxy war with NATO in Ukraine, the West fomented the conflict and a peace agreement is needed immediately to prevent further bloodshed, Democratic presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has said. “Russia’s not gonna lose this war. Russia can’t afford this – it’d be like us losing a war to Mexico. They are not gonna lose the war,” Kennedy said, speaking at a televised town hall Tuesday night. “Go look at what Russia did in Stalingrad in order to preserve its territorial integrity. Russia’s been invaded three times through the Ukraine. The last time, Hitler killed one out of every seven Russians. They’re 400 miles from Moscow. We already have Aegis missile systems within 12 minutes of Moscow.

We wouldn’t tolerate that if the Russians did it [like] in 1962 when they put them in Cuba,” the candidate added, referencing the Cuban Missile Crisis, during which time his late uncle, John F. Kennedy, was president. “The more disturbing thing,” Kennedy said, “is that on two occasions the Russians tried to sign a peace agreement with [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky,” and both times the West sabotaged it. The candidate pointed to the 2015 Minsk Agreements, which Zelensky expressed interest in before being talked out of it by the US in 2019, and the 2022 draft peace deal reached after talks in Belarus and Turkiye. “In 2019, France Germany and Russia all agreed to the Minsk Accords. That year, Zelensky ran for president. He was a comedian. He had no political experience. Why did he win? Because he ran on one issue: signing the Minsk Accords.

As soon has he got in there, Victoria Nuland and the White House told him he couldn’t do it,” Kennedy recalled. “Then,” in February 2022, he noted, Russia sent “40,000 troops in. That’s not enough to conquer the country. Clearly, [Putin] wanted somebody to come to the negotiating table.” Russian and Ukrainian negotiators met in Istanbul, hammering out a draft peace deal. After that, “Putin in good faith began withdrawing troops from Ukraine. What happened? We sent Boris Johnson over there to torpedo it. Because we don’t want peace, we want war with Russia,” RFK Jr. stressed. The Democratic politician also pointed out that the current crisis has its origins in the end of the Cold War. “We promised in 1992, the Russian leadership said… ‘We’re gonna withdraw 400,000 troops from East Germany and we’re gonna allow you to reunite Germany under NATO,’ which is a hostile army.

That’s a huge concession for them. ‘One commitment that we want,’ is what the Russians said, ‘is that you will not move NATO to the east.’ James Baker, who was then secretary of state under [George H.W.] Bush, famously promised ‘We will not move NATO one inch to the east.’ Well since then, we’ve moved it 1,000 miles and 14 countries. Now when we started that plan in 1997, Bill Perry, who was the secretary of defense under the Clinton administration, said ‘If you move NATO to the east, I am resigning because you are forcing the Russians to come to war with us.’ George Kennan, who’s the most important diplomat in American history, the architect of the containment policy [after] World War II, said the same thing. You do not need to make an enemy out of Russia,” Kennedy said.

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“Due to inexperience, he ordered his platoon to advance directly into minefields. Only just over half of the platoon returned..”

NATO-Trained Ukrainian Soldiers Being Wiped Out – Austrian Military Expert (Sp.)

Many Ukrainian soldiers who underwent a six-month training in NATO countries are lost in action, Colonel Markus Reisner, a military strategist from the Ministry of Defence of Austria revealed in an interview with a German television channel. “I recently spoke to a Ukrainian comrade: in a neighboring unit, their commander was a 47-year-old reservist. Due to inexperience, he ordered his platoon to advance directly into minefields. Only just over half of the platoon returned,” he recounted. According to Reisner, such a mistake severely affected the morale of the Ukrainian troops. The Austrian officer also expressed his opinion that the first phase of the Ukrainian counteroffensive has failed.


In a highly anticipated development last month, the Ukrainian forces finally launched the much-awaited counteroffensive. This strategic move had been eagerly anticipated for several months, with President Zelensky making multiple announcements about its impending implementation. Despite Kiev’s readiness to sacrifice hundreds of its soldiers, Ukrainian troops have encountered formidable resistance in their pursuit of strategic objectives. As of the current situation, they have not succeeded in breaching the initial line of Russian defenses, known as the “Surovikin Defensive Line,” underscoring the complexity of the conflict with both sides locked in a tense and high-stakes struggle for dominance.

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“Russian power,” he concluded, “is not necessarily a bad thing.”

US Official Shares Details of Secret ‘Track 1.5’ Diplomacy With Moscow (MT)

Secret diplomatic talks are ongoing between former senior U.S. national security officials and high-ranking members of the Kremlin, a former U.S. official directly involved in the talks has confirmed to The Moscow Times. Earlier this month, NBC first reported the existence of these back-channel discussions, which involve former U.S. officials engaging in discreet exchanges with the Kremlin, as well as a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in an effort to lay the groundwork for negotiations to end the war in Ukraine. Known as track 1.5 diplomacy, these covert discussions enable both sides to understand each other’s red lines and mitigate potential conflicts, serving as a crucial link between official government negotiations (track 1 diplomacy) and unofficial expert dialogues (track 2).

The Moscow Times has since spoken to one of the individuals directly involved in these talks. The former U.S. official agreed to speak on condition of anonymity given the confidential nature of the discussions. “There is an eminent need for track 1.5 diplomacy when the world gets closed off as it has now,” the former official said. Meetings between the U.S. and officials in the Kremlin have been taking place at least twice a month, often through an online format. “I have been visiting Moscow at least every three months,” the former official said. When it came to the Kremlin’s willingness to lay its cards on the table, the former official stated: “We were given some access to the Kremlin’s thinking, though not as much as we would have liked.”

From his vantage point, sitting across from senior Kremlin officials and advisers, it was apparent that the greatest issue was that the Russians were unable to articulate what exactly they wanted and needed. “They don’t know how to define victory or defeat. In fact, some of the elites to whom we spoke had never wanted the war in the first place, even saying it had been a complete mistake,” he said. “But now they’re at war — suffering a humiliating defeat is not an option for these guys.” “It was here that we made clear that the U.S. was prepared to work constructively with Russian national security concerns,” the former official added, breaking from the official U.S. line of squeezing Russia financially and isolating it internationally so as to prevent it from continuing its war against Ukraine.

“An attempt to isolate and cripple Russia to the point of humiliation or collapse would make negotiating almost impossible — we are already seeing this in the reticence from Moscow officials,” he said. “In fact, we emphasized that the U.S. needs, and will continue to need, a strong enough Russia to create stability along its periphery. The U.S. wants a Russia with strategic autonomy in order for the U.S. to advance diplomatic opportunities in Central Asia. We in the U.S. have to recognize that total victory in Europe could harm our interests in other areas of the world. “Russian power,” he concluded, “is not necessarily a bad thing.”

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To stay in power, he needs martial law to continue. For that, he needs the war to continue.

Zelensky Uses Martial Law To Avoid Election (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky on Wednesday proposed to extend the state of emergency, thereby effectively canceling the parliamentary elections scheduled for October. Zelensky announced martial law on February 24, 2022, and has been extending it ever since. The most recent 90-day extension was announced on May 20, and is due to expire on August 18. If the Verkhovna Rada approves Zelensky’s latest request, this will see the emergency extended through November 15. Ukrainian law calls for parliamentary elections no later than October 29, with a 60-day campaign season starting on August 28. However, it also forbids campaigning and voting during martial law. Another extension would cut into the campaign season for the presidential elections, currently scheduled for March 2024.

“If we have martial law, we cannot have elections. The constitution prohibits any elections during martial law,” Zelensky announced in May. The following month, he told the BBC that “elections need to happen in a time of peace, when there is no fighting.” Some of Ukraine’s supporters in Europe and North America have been critical of the possible cancellation of elections. Ukraine should prepare for a vote as soon as possible, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) head ‘Tiny’ Kox said in an interview in May. “Although democracy is far more than only elections, I think we all agree that without the elections, democracy cannot properly function,” Kox said at the time.

Zelensky ran on a peace platform in 2019 and won with 73% of the vote. Soon thereafter, his newly formed party – named after the TV show in which he played a fictional president of Ukraine – won a supermajority in the Verkhovna Rada as well. By late 2020, he had pivoted away from the notion of peace in Donbass and began to openly talk about a military solution for “occupied territories.”

Within three months of the conflict with Russia escalating, in May 2022, Zelensky enacted a law that allowed him to ban any political parties merely accused of being “pro-Russian,” without any right to appeal. He has outlawed a dozen parties since then, including the formerly largest parliamentary opposition bloc. Earlier this month, the Federal Intelligence Service of Switzerland accused Zelensky of attempting to “politically eliminate” Kiev mayor Vitaly Klitschko ahead of next year’s presidential election. The FIS cited “credible intelligence” to say that Zelensky was “showing authoritarian traits” which may lead to Western pressure, according to a classified report leaked to the outlet NZZ.

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The BRICS bank headaches.

West Using Dollar As Weapon – Putin (RT)

Setting up alternative financial institutions is a difficult but necessary endeavor at a time when Washington has weaponized the US dollar, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, at the meeting with New Development Bank head Dilma Rousseff. The former president of Brazil, who took over the former BRICS Development Bank in March, was in St. Petersburg to meet with Putin ahead of this week’s Russia-Africa summit. “I have no doubt that, using your rich experience in government and knowledge in this area, you will do everything to develop this institution, which I think is very important today,” Putin told Rousseff. “In current conditions, this is not an easy job, given what is happening in world finance and the use of the dollar as a tool of political struggle,” he added.

Putin underscored that the economic bloc of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa is not aimed against anyone, but working together in mutual interest, including in finance. He pointed out that BRICS members are already increasingly settling accounts in national currencies. Rousseff agreed that this approach should be implemented by developing countries in general. She also said that the biggest challenge to developing nations is the ability to raise funds for projects of national interest, from social service to environmental issues. This issue, she argued, gets neglected as everyone focuses on the debt problem. The US accounts for some 20% of global economic output, but more than 50% of world currency reserves are held in dollars.

That percentage has actually shrunk over the past year, as the financial sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine conflict – including the freezing of sovereign reserves and blocking of SWIFT access – raised concerns in other countries that such measures might target them in the future. Last October, Putin argued that the US had “discredited the institution of international financial reserves” by weaponizing the dollar, first by monetary emissions and then by “stealing” Russian funds. Since then, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has agreed that sanctions might drive some countries to abandon the dollar. “The long historical era of the dominance of the American dollar is coming to an end,” Andrey Kostin, head of Russia’s VTB bank, said in an interview last month. While most Western economists don’t see any other currency capable of replacing the greenback, Putin hinted in June that BRICS was working on a reserve currency of its own, perhaps based on a commodities basket.

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“This is Zelensky’s pyramid”..”No IMF member state has ever been allowed to take a six-times multiple of its borrowing quota at this money volume..”

Cash Is King Of The Thieves In The Ukraine (Helmer)

President Vladimir Zelensky has enough fingers to count that $115 billion is worth almost three times more than $41.3 billion. The first number is the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) calculation of “external support over 2023–27 involving sizable official financing in the form of grants and concessional loans, as well as debt relief.” This includes “SDR [Special Drawing Rights] 11.608 billion (577.01 percent of quota, about US$15.6 billion).” No IMF member state has ever been allowed to take a six-times multiple of its borrowing quota at this money volume except for the Ukraine. Nor has any IMF member state ever been authorised by the IMF board of directors to stop new domestic bank lending and postpone all borrowing obligations (“current debt standstill”) for at least another three years from this Christmas.

The resulting money pile the IMF calls “the wartime liquidity surplus”. Converting this into the Ukrainian banks’ profit line and diverting that into individual cash and assets, Kiev officials have told Reuters to report as the “Ukraine banks’ robust health.” “Across the banking sector,” the New York-based propaganda agency reports, “deposits are as abundant as they’ve ever been, and the country’s lenders have found ways to remain profitable.” This is being done, they explain, by borrowing more and more in government bonds at a 25% interest rate guaranteed by more IMF money flowing into the central bank; lending less and less to zero for customers; and ignoring the increasing pile-up of defaulted, non-performing, or fraud loans.

This is Zelensky’s pyramid, even Reuters and its Ukrainian banker sources imply, though the IMF staff cannot bring themselves to say so. “In the current context, Ukrainian bankers note, the choice makes sense. “’We will only survive if the government survives,’ [Privatbank chief executive Gerhard] Boesch sums up.” The big money number dwarfs the Pentagon’s most recent estimate that “the Biden administration has committed more than $41.3 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion in February 2022.” The new July 7 number includes deliveries of Patriot missiles, HIMARS rockets, cluster bombs, and “dual-purpose improved conventional munitions, or DPICM”. Using the banker’s term, the Pentagon announcement declared “the Ukrainian forces have effectively leveraged assistance…So we will continue to provide Ukraine with the urgent capabilities that it needs to meet the moment, as well as what it needs to keep itself secure for the long term from Russian aggression.”

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That was quite a dirty trick they tried to pull. He would have gotten away with murder.

Hunter Biden’s Plea Deal Falls Apart (DeMartino)

President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, is facing federal charges over information found on a laptop that he abandoned at a computer repair shop. His defense team and prosecutors earlier reached a plea agreement that was widely blasted as too ‘lenient’ by Republicans figures. An earlier plea deal agreement made between prosecutors and Hunter Biden’s defense team fell apart on Wednesday after the presiding judge questioned its constitutionality and prosecutors revealed that Biden is still under investigation. The first son appeared before US District Judge Maryellen Noreika on Wednesday, when he was expected to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges after his legal team and prosecutor David Weiss agreed to a deal that would have suspended a felony gun charge.

Noreika raised concerns that she believed the deal would be ruled unconstitutional. The agreement stipulated that if Biden broke any of the terms, Noreika would act as an arbiter to decide if the gun charge would be reissued. The district judge noted the executive branch – not the judicial branch – is in charge of when to charge a person, and said she was concerned Biden may lose his immunity if the accord was ruled unconstitutional. Biden’s defense attorney Chris Clark said the stipulation was necessary to prevent the case from becoming further politicized if the government were to bring up the gun charge again. While Noreika said she understood his concerns, the official noted she was unaware of any case law that would support the agreement.

Another bombshell came in the case when Noreika asked Weiss whether Biden was still under an investigation, to which Weiss responded that he is but could not provide additional details on the matter. Weiss later remarked it was a possibility that Biden could be hypothetically charged for violating the Foreign Agents Registry Act. Asked if the deal would shield Biden from a prosecution stemming from that ‘possibility,’ Weiss indicated it would not, although Clark disagreed. Weiss responded by noting that “then there is no deal,” to which Clark replied: “As far as I’m concerned, the deal is null and void.” Biden ultimately submitted a not guilty plea after Noreika relayed that she could not say whether she would in fact accept the plea deal.

The judge said she would need to order a fact-finding mission on the deal and asked both sides for a briefing but did not set a date. She also did not rule out the possibility of agreeing to all terms of the current deal after gathering more information. Weiss and the Biden legal team could also hammer out a new plea deal that satisfies Noreika’s concerns. Prosecutors say Biden received taxable income of over $1.5 million for both 2017 and 2018 and owed more than $100,000 in taxes for each year, but did not pay any taxes either year. Officials also say he lied about his drug use on a purchase form for a firearm, which is what led to the felony gun charge that was supposed to be suspended under the terms of the plea deal. Last week, two whistleblowers with the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) alleged during congressional testimony that the yearslong Justice Department investigation into Hunter Biden was fraught with misconduct and political favoritism.

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Twitter (X?) “thread”.

Inside Hunter Biden’s Plea Deal (Will Scharf)

Based on conversations with people who were in the courtroom today, and my experience as a former federal prosecutor, I think I know the full story of what happened with the Hunter Biden plea agreement blow-up this morning. Bear with me, because this is a little complicated: Typically, if the Government is offering to a defendant that it will either drop charges or decline to bring new charges in return for the defendant’s guilty plea, the plea is structured under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(A). An agreement not to prosecute Hunter for FARA violations or other crimes in return for his pleading guilty to the tax misdemeanors, for example, would usually be a (c)(1)(A) plea. This is open, transparent, subject to judicial approval, etc.

In Hunter’s case, according to what folks in the courtroom have told me, Hunter’s plea was structured under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 11(c)(1)(B), which is usually just a plea in return for a joint sentencing recommendation only, and contained no information on its face about other potential charges, and contained no clear agreement by DOJ to forego prosecution of other charges. Instead, DOJ and Hunter’s lawyers effectively hid that part of the agreement in what was publicly described as a pretrial diversion agreement relating to a § 922(g)(3) gun charge against Hunter for being a drug user in possession of a firearm. That pretrial diversion agreement as written was actually MUCH broader than just the gun charge. If Hunter were to complete probation, the pretrial diversion agreement prevented DOJ from ever bringing charges against Hunter for any crimes relating to the offense conduct discussed in the plea agreement, which was purposely written to include his foreign influence peddling operations in China and elsewhere.

So they put the facts in the plea agreement, but put their non-prosecution agreement in the pretrial diversion agreement, effectively hiding the full scope of what DOJ was offering and Hunter was obtaining through these proceedings. Hunter’s upside from this deal was vast immunity from further prosecution if he finished a couple years of probation, and the public wouldn’t be any the wiser because none of this was clearly stated on the face of the plea agreement, as would normally be the case. Judge Noreika smelled a rat. She understood that the lawyers were trying to paint her into a corner and hide the ball. Instead, she backed DOJ and Hunter’s lawyers into a corner by pulling all the details out into the open and then indicating that she wasn’t going to approve a deal as broad as what she had discovered.

DOJ, attempting to save face and save its case, then stated on the record that the investigation into Hunter was ongoing and that Hunter remained susceptible to prosecution under FARA. Hunter’s lawyers exploded. They clearly believed that FARA was covered under the deal, because as written, the pretrial diversion agreement language was broad enough to cover it. They blew up the deal, Hunter pled not guilty, and that’s the current state of play. And so here we are. Hunter’s lawyers and DOJ are going to go off and try to pull together a new set of agreements, likely narrower, to satisfy Judge Noreika. Fortunately, I doubt if FARA or any charges related to Hunter’s foreign influence peddling will be included, which leaves open the possibility of further investigations leading to further prosecutions.

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Erdogan paints himself into a corner.

Neither East Nor West: Turkiye’s Travails As A ‘Swing State’ (Bhadrakumar)

The Russian Foreign Ministry website featured two press releases last week on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s conversations with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts, Hakan Fidan and Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, respectively. The conversations took place at the initiative of the Turkish and Iranian sides. Lavrov’s conversation with Fidan was business-like and formal, while with Amir-Abdollahian, Russia’s top diplomat, was in a noticeably relaxed freewheeling exchange — “trust-based” and signaling “mutual interest in closely coordinating the approaches” to world politics. The alchemy of the Russian-Turkish relationship has distinctly changed, whereas, the strategic partnership with Iran has consolidated and a high level of maturity and predictability is visible.

One recent factor that corrupted the Russian-Turkish relationship is the Kremlin’s unilateral decision to let the Black Sea Grain Initiative expire on 17 July. Ankara tried behind the scenes to avert the moment, but the Russian decision was not Turkiye-centric. Therein lies the hope — and the despair. Russia has since offered that a new grain deal with Turkiye might be possible if Moscow’s demands are met, announcing works on new export routes. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reciprocated by calling on western countries to “follow up on Putin’s expectations.” However, the crisis of confidence in the Russian-Turkish relations has a geopolitical dimension, and it concerns the war in Ukraine. Succinctly put, Turkish foreign policies have lately displayed a nuanced “westernism” that affects vital Russian interests.

Indeed, there is no plausible explanation for the sudden visit of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to Istanbul on 8 July, the sudden release of notorious Azov commanders who were in Turkish custody per an understanding with Russia on the exchange of prisoners, or the plan to set up a co-production venture in Ukraine for Turkiye’s Bayraktar drones. One way of looking at such a sharp Turkish turnaround could be that interest groups in Turkiye’s defense industry are being manipulated by Zelensky. Erdogan’s open support for Ukraine’s NATO membership is blatant tokenism. The big picture is that Zelensky, with encouragement from the US, is looking for opportunities to erode the mutual trust and confidence that has accrued in the Turkish-Russian relationship over recent years, thanks to the hands-on diplomacy between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Anyway, on the eve of the NATO Summit in Vilnius (11-12 July), where Erdogan was expected to meet up with US President Joe Biden (and Zelensky), Lavrov made Moscow’s concerns known to Foreign Minister Hakan in a phone conversation initiated by the latter. The Russian readout said: “The sides exchanged opinions on the regional agenda and prioritized the latest developments around Ukraine, including the situation regarding the return of Azov battalion “ringleaders” from Istanbul to Kiev. The Russian side drew the attention of Ankara to the fact that continued deliveries of military equipment to the Kiev regime amounted to a destructive course. It was noted that subsequent steps could only bring about negative consequences.”

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Doesn’t look elegant.

Elon Musk’s X Seizes @X Account From Longtime Twitter User (Sp.)

The user who once held the @X account on the Elon Musk-owned social media site formerly known as Twitter and recently renamed “X” had his account taken by the company and was offered little in return. X reportedly took over the account on Tuesday night, which previously belonged to San Francisco photographer Gene Hwang, who opened the account in 2007, the year after the platform launched. The email informing him that his account had been taken over by the newly rebranded firm said it would let him pick any unclaimed or inactive usernames, and offered fan merch and a trip to the company’s headquarters in return.

“Additionally, as a reflection of our appreciation, you will also be provided with a selection of X merch and an exclusive visit to X’s HQ to meet members of our team,” the email read, which Hwang shared with US media. Hwang said he does not plan to take X up on its offer, and suggested he may ask for the bird on the sign the company is dismantling outside its main office. The @X account has since been posting as an official account of the site. Hwang seems to have moved to @x12345678998765.

However, X may run into issues with its new name. Trademark lawyers have said that a simple trademark will make it more difficult for Musk to sue companies that use the letter X for their own branding On the flip side, Musk may find his trademark being challenged by other tech giants. As previously reported by Sputnik, both Meta* and Microsoft hold trademarks for “X.” Google and Xfinity also own trademarks related to X. While none seem to be directly related to the services X currently offers, if Musk moves forward with his current plan to make X the “everything app” there may be some crossover that could cause another company to challenge his trademark.

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It’ll keep burning for days. What do the insurers think of this?

EV Suspected In Fire Of Massive Cargo Ship Carrying 3,000 Cars (ZH)

A fire on a ship carrying 3,000 cars off the Netherlands coast is suspected of being started by an electric vehicle and killed one sailor, “could burn for days,” the Dutch Coast Guard told AFP News. The fire broke out late Tuesday night on board the roll-on, roll-off ship the Fremantle Highway off the northern Dutch coast. “The fire could still burn for days,” stated a coastguard official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The ship is being cooled to keep it stable. “Only the side of the ship is being sprayed, not the deck,” said the official. Fremantle Highway is carrying 3,000 vehicles. Of those vehicles, 25 are EVs, a coastguard official told the NOS public broadcaster, adding there is suspicion that one of those 25 EVs started the blaze.

Rescue ships and helicopters have evacuated 23 crew members. However, one individual lost their life due to the fire. Should the vessel sink, “it would be a disaster of the highest order,” the daily paper De Telegraaf said. Bloomberg ship tracking data shows Fremantle Highway left the German port of Bremen on Tuesday. The vessel appears to have deviated off course around 5 pm local time Tuesday, an indication of possibly when the fire broke out. “Currently several parties including salvagers and the Dutch authorities are looking at minimizing the damage as much as possible,” the Coast Guard said.

Shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen warned earlier this year: “Shipping companies are facing an added concern with the increasing demand for electric vehicles. Fires onboard vessels can have catastrophic consequences, and battery fires are extra potent and dangerous. Li-ion batteries generate extreme heat when they malfunction, often reaching temperatures of 800 degrees Celsius or higher. This heat can quickly spread to nearby combustible materials, causing a rapid fire that’s challenging to extinguish. Controlling battery fires is nearly impossible and might indicate Fremantle Highway could burn for days, if not longer.

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Tucker Ice Cube

 

 

Always one
https://twitter.com/i/status/1684307786325262343

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 022023
 


Caravaggio The raising of Lazarus 1609

 

 

A Dutch paper tells me that PM Mark Rutte is “very disappointed” that Switzerland has decided not to deliver 96 more tanks, that belong to Swiss “defense company” Ruag, and which Germany, Holland and Denmark wanted to purchase, to send to Ukraine. The 96 would have come on top of another 100 they also apparently bought for the same purpose. Neither would make any difference for the outcome of the battle. 100 tanks is nothing. The only thing we know for sure is that 96 more tanks will kill 96xY more people. But of course Rutte is not the only EU and NATO “leader” who thinks the way he does. They all do, except Orban and perhaps Serbia’s Vucic. But Biden, Blinken, Macron, Scholz, you name them, they all say the same thing: we must deliver more guns, tanks, jet fighters. US “top general” Mark Milley chimes in:

Ukrainian Counteroffensive Will Be Long And ‘Very Bloody’

Ukraine’s counteroffensive will be “very difficult” and achieving significant gains could take a long time, a top US military officer has warned, Report informs, citing Yahoo. Army general Mark Milley told the National Press Club in Washington that the counteroffensive was “advancing steadily, deliberately working its way through very difficult minefields … 500 meters a day, 1,000 meters a day, 2,000 meters a day, that kind of thing”. Mr Milley said he was unsurprised progress was slower than some people predicted.


He said: “War on paper and real war are different. In real war, real people die. Real people are on those front lines and real people are in those vehicles. Real bodies are being shredded by high explosives.” Mr Milley added: “What I had said was this is going to take six, eight, 10 weeks, it’s going to be very difficult. It’s going to be very long, and it’s going to be very, very bloody. And no one should have any illusions about any of that.”

My problem with this is they all know very well that some 400,000 young Ukrainians have already died in the conflict, with many more severely injured, and many many more will be killed and maimed if these tanks are delivered to Kiev and the “counteroffensive” continues. Not Rutte’s Dutch young people, or Biden and Milley’s Americans or Macron’s French, no, just young Ukrainians. And some Russians, at about a 1 to 10 count. But if they don’t care about young Ukrainians, they sure care less about young Russians.

Where does this attitude come from? What makes it acceptable to help kill more young people, anywhere in the world? Young men who have mothers, fathers, girlfriends, wives, who should have children or already have them? Who are “leaders” like Rutte to knowingly send them to their deaths? For what reason? So they can beat Russia and save Ukraine’s “democracy”? Ukraine has no elections, no political parties, no free press, and Zelensky is selling its land to BlackRock et al as we speak. And that’s what these promising young lives have to be cut short for? For Zelensky’s and BlackRock’s profits?

Majority Of Americans Back Weapons Deliveries To Ukraine

Some 65% of Americans support continued military aid to Ukraine, up from 46% in May, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll published on Wednesday. Other surveys, however, show a fall in support for President Joe Biden’s promise of unlimited weapons for Kiev. Conducted earlier this week, the poll found bipartisan support for arming Ukraine, with 81% of Democrats and 56% of Republicans in favor. This result mirrors the situation in Congress, where Biden’s Democrats are almost unanimous in backing arms deliveries, while the GOP is split between an establishment that backs the weapons shipments and a pro-Trump, isolationist wing in opposition.

First, send young Dutch, American, French, boys -and girls -to die on the Ukraine battlefields. Then see how the homefront reacts. And tell them that Ukraine and NATO have no chance in hell of beating Russia. But yes, I know, the propaganda never stops. And then you get surveys like this. Putin is the antichrist and Zelensky is Churchill. If you dumb people down enough, anything goes. But still, Rutte, Milley, Biden, Blinken et al are murdering young Ukrainians. You can’t blame Putin, or Russia for this. Your voters may believe it, but the world at large, outside of your propaganda field, will not.

These people want you to believe, and maybe they still believe it themselves, that Ukraine can beat Russia. Over the past 16 months, there has been nothing that points to that, Ukraine has lost anything and everything, but EU and NATO still want to send more weapons into the meat grinder. Weapons, but not their children. Why do 65% of Americans, and “leaders” like Rutte, Blinken, Macron, want the killing to continue? Because their voters have no problem with 400,000 dead young Ukrainians. And their media will blame everything on Putin. The same media tells them they will win. But there is no indication that this is even remotely realistic. Unfortunately, NATO doesn’t care about realistic: losing to Russia is not in their dictionary. Having a million Ukrainians killed, is.

 

NATO is the past. Its power has waned. The US alone spends more than 10 times more on its defense budget than Russia, but is lagging way behind in weapons development. And it’s not going to make up for that disadvantage anytime soon. Certainly not in time to turn the Ukraine conflict around. And still guys like Rutte and Milley want to send more tanks into the battlefield. These people need psychiatric assistance. As do the next tranches of Ukraine cannon fodder. What we, the collective west, are providing Ukraine with, is not a chance at winning a war, but a mind boggingly huge assisted suicide program. And we, NATO citizens, should ask ourselves if we want to be part of that. If you live in NATO/EU territory, this is now on your conscience. No escaping anymore. They speak and act in your name. You can no longer claim innocence.

How many more young Ukrainians are left for you to kill? The “400,000 dead young Ukrainians” number comes from US military veterans like Scott Ritter and Douglas Macgregor. Maybe it’s “only” 350,000. But that included all their most experienced and trained soldiers. Their replacements are nowhere near as good. How many of those? I’d guess 100,000, 200,000 at best. While Russia just finished properly training 300,000 over an 8-month period, Kiev picked up kids and 65-year olds from the street, gave them a 2-week crash course, and dumped them at a frontline.

But you know what’s the worst thing here, and that I haven’t even mentioned? Nobody on the US/NATO/Kiev side, when confronted with those numbers among Ukrainians, ever mentions peace talks. No-one. The reason is that they would have to admit Russia’s won and NATO lost. Not just Ukraine lost, but NATO. And that is unthinkable. Consider what that would mean for the close to $1 trillion a year US arms industry, Raytheon, Boeing etc. They would never -voluntarily- admit it. Hey, they make more profit than they have in decades… What’s another 100,000 Ukrainian assisted suicides? I grew up thinking that every human life matters.

 

 

 

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Apr 192023
 
 April 19, 2023  Posted by at 8:57 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  43 Responses »


Ito Shinsui Snowy night 1923

 

China Offers To Facilitate Israel-Palestinian Peace Talks (AP)
Macron’s Yet-to-be Drafted Peace Plan: Long-term Guarantees To Kiev (TASS)
Russia ‘Winning’ Fight Against Ukraine – Retired US Army Colonel Macgregor (RT)
Lloyd Austin: ‘We Won’t Be In A War With Russia’ (Az.)
Russian Forces Control Almost All Of Bakhmut – DPR Head’s Advisor (TASS)
Kiev ‘Pissed Off’ UN Chief – WaPo (RT)
Leaked Document Reveals the US Spying on the UN Secretary-General (Antiwar)
White House: China Wants To See Dollar Weaken As Reserve Currency (Az.)
BRICS To Pass G7 In Economic Might – Bloomberg (RT)
Can BRICS Weaken the Dominance of the IMF and World Bank? (Baroud)
Russian Envoy Slams Die Welt Over ‘Kill Putin’ Quote (RT)
Russia Officially Rebukes UK Envoy Over Remarks On Journalist’s Verdict (TASS)
EU Funds Enslavement Of African Migrants In Libya – UN (GZ)
Trump Says Disney ‘Destroying’ Florida Governor DeSantis (RT)
Then There Were Nine (Turley)

 

 

 

 

Elon Tucker

https://twitter.com/i/status/1648488786056151041

 

 

 

 

CO2

 

 

Maddow leaks

 

 

 

 

China has solved problems in Yemen and Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. And seemingly without major issues. If they succeed in the Israel-Palestine talks, they will be the new world leader.

China Offers To Facilitate Israel-Palestinian Peace Talks (AP)

China’s foreign minister told his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts that his country is ready to help facilitate peace talks between the two sides, in its latest effort at mediation in the region. In separate phone calls to the two officials on Monday, Qin Gang expressed China’s concern over intensifying tensions between Israel and Palestinians and its support for a resumption of peace talks, the Foreign Ministry said in statements issued late Monday. Last month, Saudi Arabia and Iran reached a deal in China to restore diplomatic ties that were cut off in 2016. It was a dramatic moment of diplomacy for China that Beijing touted as evidence of its ability to be a diplomatic player in the Middle East. Qin stressed in his talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen that Saudi Arabia and Iran have set a good example of overcoming differences through dialogue, a statement about that phone call said.

He told Cohen that Beijing encourages Israel and the Palestinians to show political courage and take steps to resume peace talks. “China is willing to provide convenience for this,” he was quoted as saying. Israel and the Palestinians have not held substantive peace talks on ending the century-long conflict in over a decade. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is committed to expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank — which most of the international community considers illegal and an obstacle to peace — and several of his key allies are staunchly opposed to the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Cohen expressed his country’s commitment to reducing tensions, but said the problem appeared to be difficult to resolve in the short term, the Chinese Foreign Ministry statement said.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Qin and Cohen discussed “the importance of maintaining quiet at the Temple Mount, particularly in the final days of Ramadan,” the Muslim holy month, but made no mention of peace talks with the Palestinians. It said that Cohen conveyed “the threat that we see in Iran’s nuclear program” and called on China to help prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Qin also told Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad al-Maliki that China is willing to play an active role in the resumption of talks, a second statement said. On Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin confirmed Qin’s outreach to the two officials. “It is never too late to do the right thing,” he said.

This month, violence in Israel and the West Bank has increased, touched off by an Israeli police raid on Jerusalem’s most sensitive holy site, the compound home to the Al-Aqsa mosque. The Israeli military struck sites linked to the Palestinian group Hamas in southern Lebanon and the Gaza Strip after militants in the two territories fired rocket salvos at Israel. The mosque sits on a contested hilltop revered as the third-holiest site in Islam and the holiest site in Judaism.

Read more …

Compared to China’s initiatives, Macron looks defunkt. His “peace plan”: “Future measures will be aimed at upgrading Kiev’s armed forces. NATO members are also working to ensure steady supplies of weapons and military equipment.”

Macron’s Yet-to-be Drafted Peace Plan: Long-term Guarantees To Kiev (TASS)

French President Emmanuel Macron’s yet-to-be drafted peace plan, which he hopes to negotiate with China, would be based on long-term security guarantees for Ukraine, Bloomberg said, citing sources. The agency speculates that the plan would be based on long-term security guarantees to Kiev. However, as the report specifies, Western countries also plan to discuss the details of support for Ukraine at the NATO summit in Lithuania due in July. Future measures will be aimed at upgrading Kiev’s armed forces. NATO members are also working to ensure steady supplies of weapons and military equipment.


Macron has reportedly instructed his adviser Emmanuel Bonn to stay in touch with the head of the office of the Chinese Communist Party’s Foreign Affairs Commission, Wang Yi, in order to formulate a program that might serve as the basis for future negotiations between Russia and Ukraine. During his state visit to China, Macron told Chinese President Xi Jinping that he counted on Beijing’s mediation in settling the Ukrainian conflict. Le Monde has said that Macron’s visit to China has failed to bring about any change to Beijing’s position regarding the Ukrainian conflict and Russia.

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“The Ukrainians themselves know the truth. They’re in a very terrible position right now.”

Russia ‘Winning’ Fight Against Ukraine – Retired US Army Colonel Macgregor (RT)

Russia is defeating Ukraine and the recent leaks of US classified documents will not change the outcome on the battlefield, retired US Army colonel and former Pentagon adviser Douglas Macgregor has said. “I think the Russians are winning anyway, and the Russians know the truth,” Macgregor said in a video uploaded to his YouTube channel on Sunday. “The Ukrainians themselves know the truth. They’re in a very terrible position right now. We’ve been pushing them to launch this massive offensive in the spring,” Macgregor argued. “And, frankly, [Ukrainians] don’t have the forces, they don’t have the resources to make a difference at this point. They really need to fall back and defend against the Russians, who are ultimately going to attack in May and June.”


The documents dumped online sometime this year and recently discovered by news organizations include US intelligence dispatches and documents purported to be the Pentagon’s daily reports on the Ukraine-Russia conflict. According to a file dated February 28, Western countries have been training and equipping nine Ukrainian brigades for a counteroffensive slated for April 30. The same document said that three more brigades were to be formed “internally” in Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have said in the past that offensive operations would depend on the supply of tanks and other heavy weapons from the West. Prime Minister Denis Shmigal confirmed on Monday that the counteroffensive would begin “in the nearest future.” He rejected the idea that Kiev was being pressured from abroad regarding the timetable.

Doctorow

Read more …

Denial is useless. Who’re you gonna fool?

Lloyd Austin: ‘We Won’t Be In A War With Russia’ (Az.)

“We are not in a war with Russia, and we won’t be in a war with Russia,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in an interview with The Washington Post. Asked what happens if Ukraine doesn’t succeed in pushing back Russian front lines and reclaiming significant territory, the Pentagon’s top official deflected.

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90%, from 80% a week ago.

Russian Forces Control Almost All Of Bakhmut – DPR Head’s Advisor (TASS)

Russian forces have taken control of almost 90% of the city of Artyomovsk (called Bakhmut in Ukraine), Yan Gagin, an advisor to the Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DPR) leader, told TASS on Tuesday. “The Wagner private military company controls about 90% of Artyomovsk and its advance is inevitable,” he said. Wagner PMC founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said on April 11 that Russian forces controlled more than 80% of Artyomovsk, including all administrative buildings. Gagin specified that Ukrainian troops were booby-trapping and blowing up major infrastructure facilities before leaving the western outskirts of Artyomovsk.


“The Ukrainian armed forces are okay with using scorched earth tactics. This is what they did in Volnovakha and Mariupol, and now, they are blowing up and booby-trapping major infrastructure facilities in Artyomovsk before retreating from the western outskirts of the city. A local community center was one of the buildings that they blew up recently,” Gagin noted. Earlier, he told TASS that Ukraine was redeploying troops to Artyomovsk but the majority of new soldiers were getting killed on their approach to the city. Artyomovsk, located in the Kiev-controlled part of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), is an important transport hub in terms of Ukrainian military supplies. Heavy fighting is raging in the area.

Prigozhin
https://twitter.com/i/status/1648084845682196485

Read more …

“Zelensky “sprung the event” on Guterres, the newspaper said. The president’s aides later spun it to imply that the UN chief was “congratulating military personnel on one side of the Russia-Ukraine war.”

Kiev ‘Pissed Off’ UN Chief – WaPo (RT)

President Vladimir Zelensky ambushed UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with a surprise ceremony in Kiev during which the Ukrainian leader awarded medals to female soldiers, the Washington Post has reported, citing alleged US eavesdropping on the UN chief. Guterres’ reaction to the incident, which took place during his visit to the Ukrainian capital on March 8, was described in one of the slides purportedly leaked by a US National Guardsman who had access to classified US intelligence. The secretary general apparently discussed his experience privately with his spokesman Stephane Dujarric. Zelensky “sprung the event” on Guterres, the newspaper said. The president’s aides later spun it to imply that the UN chief was “congratulating military personnel on one side of the Russia-Ukraine war.”

Guterres “emphasized that he made a point of not smiling the entire time,” according to the US document purporting to describe the conversation. Footage of the ceremony, which took place on International Women’s Day, indeed shows Guterres maintaining an expressionless face as Zelensky awarded decorations to uniformed female troops. He offered a small nod and a brief smile to the ladies as he shook their hands while standing on the stage alongside the Ukrainian leader. Dujarric confirmed to the Post that his boss was “unpleasantly surprised” by the event, to which he did not consent in advance. Washington’s apparent snooping on the UN leader fits a long record of clandestine activities by the US and other Western powers, the Post noted.

Last week, a BBC report based on another slide from the same trove described the US’ displeasure with efforts undertaken by Guterres to deliver on his promise to Russia to facilitate exports of its food and fertilizers. The pledge was part of the so-called Black Sea Initiative, which allowed Ukrainian grain to be shipped out by sea. The UN chief’s attempts to deliver on the promise were “undermining broader efforts to hold Moscow accountable for its actions in Ukraine,” the slide said. Dujarric commented on the BBC report, stating that Guterres was “not surprised by the fact that people are spying on him and listening in on his private conversations.” “What is surprising is the malfeasance or incompetence that allows for such private conversations to be distorted and become public,” he added.

Read more …

“Washington’s apparent snooping on the UN leader fits a long record of clandestine activities by the US and other Western powers, the Post noted.”

Leaked Document Reveals the US Spying on the UN Secretary-General (Antiwar)

Classified documents allegedly leaked by Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira have revealed that the US is closely spying on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and is not happy with his engagement with Moscow. Several documents detail Guterres’ communications, including one that accuses him of “undermining” efforts to take action against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. The document addresses his communications with Moscow regarding the grain deal that unlocked Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. To broker the deal between Moscow and Kyiv, the UN agreed to help facilitate the export of Russian fertilizer and grain, which has been hindered by Western sanctions despite exemptions for agricultural goods.

The document reads: “UN Secretary-General Guterres is taking steps to accommodate Russia in an effort to protect the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI), which he considers a pivotal UN success and key to addressing global food insecurity, and his actions are undermining broader efforts to hold Moscow accountable for its actions in Ukraine.” The document was likely written either in late February or early March before Russia and Ukraine agreed to extend the grain deal on March 18. It says in early February, Guterres “urged Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in a letter to renew the BSGI before its term expires on March 18 and Guterres emphasized his efforts to improve Russia’s ability to export, even if that involves sanctioned Russian entities or individuals, according to FISA-derived signal intelligence.”

Signal intelligence refers to information obtained by intercepting communications. In response to the revelation that the US was spying on Guterres, his spokesman, Stephane Dujarric, told Al Jazeera that he is “not surprised by the fact that people are spying on him and listening in on his private conversations.” “What is surprising is the malfeasance or incompetence that allows for such private conversations to be distorted and become public,” Dujarric said. Other documents detailed private communications between Guterres and his deputy.

Read more …

Solution: more debt?!

White House: China Wants To See Dollar Weaken As Reserve Currency (Az.)

White House economist Jared Bernstein said there was “some evidence” that China wants to see the dollar weaken as the international reserve currency, and urged Congress to raise the US debt ceiling to protect the value of the dollar, Report informs referring to Reuters. Bernstein, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told a Senate Banking Committee hearing on his nomination to head the body that US control of the world’s reserve currency offered benefits, including the ability to impose sanctions, as Washington had done on Russia over its war against Ukraine.

Read more …

Nominal GDP includes a lot of unproductive work (like people sitting through meetings all day long). Once we ditch that, the situation looks much worse for the G7.

BRICS To Pass G7 In Economic Might – Bloomberg (RT)

The BRICS group – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – is expected to increase their share of the global economy to nearly 35% by 2028, Bloomberg reported on Monday. According to the outlet’s calculations based on the latest IMF data, this year, the BRICS countries will contribute 32.1% of the world’s growth, compared to the G7’s 29.9%. The Group of Seven nations (G7), consisting of the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan, is considered the most advanced economic bloc of countries on the planet. The report indicated that in 2020, the contribution of the BRICS countries and the G7 to global economic growth was equal, and from that moment on, the performance of the Western countries has been declining. By 2028, the G7’s contribution to the world economy is predicted to decrease to 27.8%.

Bloomberg calculations show that China will be the top contributor to global growth over the next five years, with its share set to be double that of the US. China’s share of global GDP expansion is expected to represent 22.6% of total world growth by 2028, the outlet wrote. India is projected to contribute 12.9% of global GDP. “In total, 75% of global growth is expected to be concentrated in 20 countries and over half in the top four: China, India, the US and Indonesia. While Group of Seven countries will comprise a smaller share, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and France are seen among the top 10 contributors,” the outlet wrote. A recent study by a UK-based macroeconomics research firm has also found that the gap between the two groups in terms of global economic weight is expected to continue to grow.

The analysts noted that China and India have been experiencing robust economic growth, and more countries are interested in joining BRICS. Earlier this year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that “more than a dozen” nations have expressed interest in joining BRICS, including Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Egypt, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Türkiye, the United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Bangladesh have acquired equity in the New Development Bank, the funding organization of BRICS. Last year, BRICS countries proposed the creation of their own currency in order to move away from the US dollar and the euro in mutual transactions.

Read more …

“There may be an obsession in America about Chinese activity on the continent, but there is no such obsession here..”

Can BRICS Weaken the Dominance of the IMF and World Bank? (Baroud)

For decades, the US’s greatest weapon has been its dollar which, with time, ceased being a normal currency per se, to become an actual commodity. Wars have been fought to ensure countries, like Iraq and Libya, remain committed to the dollar. Following the US invasion of Iraq in March 2003, Baghdad returned to selling its oil in US dollars. This struggle over the dominance of the dollar was also painfully felt in Venezuela which has the world’s largest oil reserve, yet was reduced to abject poverty for attempting to challenge the supremacy of Washington its currency. Though it will take time, the process of lessening the reliance on US dollars is now in full swing. On March 30, Brazil and China announced a trade agreement that would allow them to use the two countries’ national currencies, the yuan and the reais, respectively.

This step shall prove consequential, for it will encourage other South American countries to follow suit. But that move was neither the first, nor will it be the last of its kind. One of the main decisions by finance ministers and central bank governors of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) following their March 30-31 meeting in Indonesia is to reduce their reliance on the US dollar. They agree to “reinforce financial resilience … through the use of local currency to support cross-border trade and investment in the ASEAN region.” This too is a game-changer. The BRICS countries, in particular, are leading the charge and are set to serve as the facilitator of rearranging the world’s economic and financial map. While the West is busy trying to keep its own economies afloat, it remains wary of the changes underway in the Global South. Washington and other western capitals are worried. They ought to be.

Following a meeting between US President Joe Biden and 40 African leaders at the White House last December, it was clear that African countries were not interested in taking sides in the ongoing war in Ukraine. Consequently, US Vice President Kamala Harris flew to Africa on March 26 to meet African leaders, with the sole purpose of pushing them away from China and Russia. That effort is likely to fail. A perfect illustration of Africa’s refusal to abandon its neutrality is the press conference between Harris and President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, on March 28. “There may be an obsession in America about Chinese activity on the continent, but there is no such obsession here,” Akufo-Addo told reporters.

To argue that BRICS is a purely economic group is to ignore a large part of the story. The timing of BRICS’ expansion, the stern political discourse of its members, potential members and allies, the repeated visits by top Russian and Chinese diplomats to Africa and other regions in the Global South, etc., indicate that BRICS has become the South’s new platform for geopolitics, economy and diplomacy.

Read more …

It’s become normal.

Russian Envoy Slams Die Welt Over ‘Kill Putin’ Quote (RT)

Germany’s Die Welt daily “hit rock bottom” in its anti-Russian zeal last week, the Russian ambassador to Berlin, Sergey Nechaev, said on Monday, in response to an interview with American columnist Fred Kaplan in which he said the “easiest way” to end the Ukraine conflict is for someone to “kill Putin.” Die Welt has left “this de facto call for murder” unredacted and uncommented on and even used it as a headline, Nechaev wrote in a damning post published on the embassy’s Telegram account. The envoy was apparently referring to Die Welt’s Twitter account, which used the “killing” quote to draw attention to the interview with Kaplan on its social media. “It is unfortunate that some German media keep crossing all the lines and hitting rock bottom,” the ambassador said, adding that “although this is outrageous, it is no longer surprising.”

Kaplan made the statement in response to Die Welt’s question about the “most plausible scenarios” of ending the military conflict between Moscow and Kiev, which has now been ongoing for now than a year. “The easiest way for this to end is for someone to kill Putin,” Kaplan stated, adding that a “new leader” could them come to power, who would declare Russia’s military operation in Ukraine “a folly” and gain the support of the Russian elites to end the conflict. The American journalist and political scientist said he does not believe that Moscow will prevail, adding that otherwise the conflict could last “for years” and potentially end with an agreement that would involve the US and China as “guarantors.”

The US columnist also admitted that Kiev is fully dependent on US aid and that a halt to this assistance might force the Ukrainian government to “strike a deal” with Moscow. “Without the US assistance, it [Ukraine] would not last long,” he said. Die Welt’s choice of a quote has also been met with criticism on social media. One person accused the outlet of being “no longer above … an incitement to murder.” “Is it a call for murder?” another person asked, warning that killing the Russian president could also bring “hardliners” to power in Russia, potentially putting the world on the brink of a nuclear war. The German media outlet has not commented on the criticism so far. Neither the text of the interview nor the Twitter post has been altered in any way as of the time of this writing.

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“..indicates London’s clear violation of the fundamental principles of the 1962 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and runs counter to the status of the British diplomatic mission in Moscow..”

Russia Officially Rebukes UK Envoy Over Remarks On Journalist’s Verdict (TASS)

Russia has issued a stern rebuke to British Ambassador to Moscow Deborah Bronnert over her remarks as well as statements by senior British Foreign Office officials regarding the court verdict handed down in the case against journalist Vladimir Kara-Murza (designated as a foreign agent in Russia), the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday. “On April 18, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned British Ambassador to Moscow Deborah Bronnert to issue a protest to her against her unacceptable remarks as well as the provocative statements made by the highest officials of the British Foreign Office following the Moscow City Court’s verdict handed down in the case of Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian national convicted of high treason and making false reports about the Russian Army,” the statement reads.

The ministry added that London’s reference to the fact that Kara-Murza holds British citizenship was “legally null and void” under Russian jurisprudence. The Russian Foreign Ministry also pointed out that Moscow viewed foreign diplomats’ calls for revoking the verdict as blatant interference in Russia’s domestic affairs. “Such disrespectful behavior indicates London’s clear violation of the fundamental principles of the 1962 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and runs counter to the status of the British diplomatic mission in Moscow,” the statement added.

According to the ministry, Bronnert was informed that British officials’ attempts “to lecture Russia on respect for human rights” were unacceptable as the international community was well aware of London’s disregard for human rights issues. Russian Ambassador to the UK Andrey Kelin said earlier that the Russian Foreign Ministry had strongly protested to Bronnert, pointing out that “the activity staged by the British, the Americans and the Canadians yesterday morning is regarded as blatant interference” in Russia’s internal affairs.

Read more …

Legacy of the west. Of course they will turn to China.

EU Funds Enslavement Of African Migrants In Libya – UN (GZ)

An investigation by the United Nations has concluded that money provided by the European Union to state entities in Libya has facilitated crimes against humanity ranging from forced labor and sexual slavery to torture. Through its financial support of the Libyan Coast Guard and the Libyan Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM), the European Union has aided and abetted crimes against humanity, according to a recent UN report. On March 27, 2023, the United Nations released the findings of a three-year investigation, confirming that “arbitrary detention, murder, rape, enslavement, sexual slavery, extrajudicial killing and enforced disappearance” has become a “widespread practice” in the once-prosperous nation of Libya, which was plunged into civil war by NATO’s regime change war over a decade ago.

While crimes against humanity were found to be widespread throughout the country, the report homed in on the plight of migrants and blamed the European Union for enabling the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity to enact abuses against Africans seeking asylum in Europe. The report stated in its introductory section: “The Mission found that crimes against humanity were committed against migrants in places of detention under the actual or nominal control of Libya’s Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration, the Libyan Coast Guard and the Stability Support Apparatus. These entities received technical, logistical and monetary support from the European Union and its member States for, inter alia, the interception and return of migrants.”

In other words, rather than directly intercepting migrants traveling by boat to Europe, the European Union has outsourced the dirty work to the Libyan Coast Guard. Once the coast guard detains the migrants, they are sent back to Libya and transferred to both official and “secret prisons” where they are often exploited for financial gain through forced labor, ransom, or sexual slavery.

Read more …

Woke.

Trump Says Disney ‘Destroying’ Florida Governor DeSantis (RT)

Former President Donald Trump says Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is “being absolutely destroyed” in his months-long battle with Disney, after the governor unveiled a new bill that would give state officials more authority over the company’s massive Disney World amusement park. Trump took aim at DeSantis in a social media post on Tuesday, calling his feud with Disney unnecessary, while condemning the governor’s new legislative effort as a political stunt. “DeSanctus is being absolutely destroyed by Disney. His original PR plan fizzled, so now he’s going back with a new one in order to save face,” he said, using a disparaging nickname for the governor.

The former leader went on to predict that Disney – one of the state’s largest employers – would cut off investments in Florida “because of the governor,” suggesting the company “could even announce a slow withdrawal or sale of certain properties, or the whole thing. Watch!” While DeSantis has not announced a 2024 presidential campaign, he is expected to run for the White House and is widely considered Trump’s main Republican rival. On Monday, DeSantis announced a bill that would rescind an agreement Disney struck with state officials earlier this year, which granted Disney free rein to develop the district that hosts its Walt Disney World theme park and its related resorts. While DeSantis previously appointed officials to head up a new state board to oversee the district, the deal with Disney was completed before they began their roles, effectively circumventing the board in giving the company full developmental powers.

“They negotiated with themselves, to give themselves the ability to maintain their self-governing status. Now that’s in direct defiance of the will of the people of Florida,” the governor told reporters on Monday. “They thought that they could create some type of development agreements that would essentially render everything that we did null and void and put them in control in perpetuity for this. Well, that’s not going to work.” DeSantis’ row with Disney kicked off last year after the company publicly opposed his ‘Parental Rights in Education’ bill, which barred certain public school teachers from classroom discussion or instruction related to sexual orientation or gender identity. Dubbing the act the ‘Don’t Say Gay bill’, Disney said it “should never have been signed into law” and vowed to fight for its repeal.

The governor argued that Disney’s statement “crossed the line” and slammed the company for working to “repeal substantive protections for parents.” Since then, DeSantis has sought to strip Disney of its broad authority over the district housing its theme park, and more recently, requested an inspector general probe into Disney’s development agreement with the state for potential criminal or civil violations.

Read more …

“It is illegal to give a member of Congress or a president even $100 to gain influence. However, you can literally give millions to their spouses or children..”

Then There Were Nine (Turley)

House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer has revealed that there are not three but nine members of the Biden family that may have benefitted from suspected influence peddling efforts. For those of us who have long criticized the corrupt practices of the Biden family, the identity of these other family members is intriguing after the Committee secured new bank and financial records. Democratic members again insisted that there is no need to investigate such influence peddling. The new information on the Biden family is due largely to the takeover of the House by the GOP. Previously, Democrats blocked efforts to investigate influence peddling by the Biden family for years. After assuming control of the Committee. Comer sought suspicious activity reports sent by banks to the Treasury Department alerting of potential criminal activity in transactions involving President Biden’s family.

He stated on Monday that “We’ve identified six additional members of Joe Biden’s family who may have benefited from the Biden family’s businesses that we are investigating, bringing the total number of those involved or benefiting to nine.” Those are six names are in addition to three Biden family members and two associates previously linked to payment from China in 2017. Three million was wired Biden family associate Rob Walker in March 2017, who then allegedly divided and distributed the funds later. There remains an “Unknown Biden” who received four payments in 2017 totaling $70,000. The investigation into the Bidens has made many in the Beltway uncomfortable. Influence peddling has long been the favored form of corruption in this city, but few families seem to have cashed into the extent of the Bidens.

I frankly do not understand the willingness of so many Democrats to cover for the Bidens. Democratic members have gone all in with censorship, but this is an effort to scuttle investigations into corruption that may have resulted in millions of dollars going to Biden family members. The Biden family has long been associated with influence peddling to the degree that they could add an access key to their family crest. Influence peddling has long been a cottage industry in Washington. For decades, I have written about this loophole in bribery laws. It is illegal to give a member of Congress or a president even $100 to gain influence. However, you can literally give millions to their spouses or children in the forms of windfall contracts or cozy jobs. James Biden has been remarkably (even refreshingly) open about marketing his access to his brother.

Former Americore executive Tom Pritchard and others allege that Biden openly referenced his access to his brother and his family name in his pitch for clients. James has faced a wide array of litigation over allegedly fraudulent activities as well as a personal loan acquired through Americore before it went into bankruptcy. Hunter worked with his uncle but also branched off on his own in the family business. While his father recently emphasized that his son was a hopeless addict, that defense stands in glaring contradiction to the fact that he maintained a multimillion-dollar influence-peddling scheme. The question is why foreign figures (including some associated with foreign intelligence) rushed to him international money transfers and complex deals worth millions from Moscow to Kyiv to Beijing.

[..] Many Democrats and legal experts have objected that influence peddling is not a crime. However, it is corrupt and squarely within the oversight authority of Congress. Indeed, if it is not a matter for criminal charges, such congressional action may be the only way to force accountability for corrupt efforts to sell influence and access.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Happy dog day
https://twitter.com/i/status/1648374882726559746

 

 

Walter

 

 


While it may look at first glance like a composite image, this mind-bending picture by Kenichi Ohno and titled “Gap”, is a real single-exposure photo and not the result of Photoshop manipulation

 

 

Armadillo
https://twitter.com/i/status/1648377460201865244

 

 

Nemrut

 

 


Given its transparent body, the glass octopus, Vitreledonella richardi, remains one of the most elusive creatures of the deep sea. Rare photos such as this reveal an array of opaque organs and a glimpse of its unusually shaped eyes

 

 

Draco

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 162022
 
 August 16, 2022  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  54 Responses »


Piet Mondriaan Study for Blue Apple Tree Series 1908

 

Ukraine Failed To Mount Counteroffensive – Macgregor (RT)
‘Ukraine Is Bankrupt’ – Moscow (RT)
Ukraine To Boost Military Spending (RT)
EU ‘Blatantly Lying’ About Threat To Zaporozhye Nuclear Plant – Moscow (RT)
Kiev Mayor Klitschko Claims Zelensky’s Government Threatened His Citizenship (RT)
German Officials Warn Of “Extremists” Fueling “Mass Protests And Riots” (ZH)
A Different Sort of Warrant (Kunstler)
DOJ Admits It Took Trump’s Passports, Offers To Return Them (JTN)
Garland, Wray Must Be Impeached for Unconscionable Trump Raid (NW)
Jim Jordan Says 14 FBI Whistleblowers Have Come Forward (WE)
Too Little, Too Late: Disband The CDC Now (NYP)
CBS Pushes Study Blaming Climate Change For Rising Childhood Obesity Rates (NYP)
How Your Carbon Footprint And Your Carbon Wallet Are Really Going To Work (TI)
Judge Rules Twitter Must Turn Over Hidden Documents to Elon Musk (TP)
CIA, Pompeo Sued For Spying On Attorneys, Journalists Who Met With Assange (D.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chitins

 

 

 

 

Coast guy
https://twitter.com/i/status/1558732660062556160

 

 

People tend to think things have always been as they are

 

 

 

 

“He went on to predict that the Russian military would seize the key port city of Odessa, making Ukraine a “landlocked country.”

Ukraine Failed To Mount Counteroffensive – Macgregor (RT)

The Ukrainian military has not been able to pull off its promised counteroffensive, and Russian forces are now likely to take over the whole of Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, Colonel Douglas Macgregor, a former adviser to the secretary of defense in the Trump administration, has said. Appearing on a livestream hosted by former US judge and columnist Andrew Napolitano last Tuesday, Macgregor dismissed as “utterly nonsensical” reports in some US media outlets that the Russian military has lost some 80,000 personnel in Ukraine so far. According to the decorated Gulf War veteran, “more accurate numbers are probably thirteen to fifteen thousand dead on the Russian side,” with Ukrainian forces having lost “sixty to eighty thousand.”

Commenting on these reports in late July, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov described the alleged Russian casualty figures as “fake.” He also lamented that even established media outlets are publishing misleading reports these days. The last time Russia’s Defense Ministry provided an update on the number of casualties was in late March, at which time the official death toll had reached 1,351, with 3,825 service members injured. When asked to comment on the current state of affairs on the frontline, the former Pentagon official said that the majority of Russian personnel had been given rest, “refitted, reorganized,” to renew the offensive in August. Macgregor claimed that the first signs of that happening were already evident, “particularly down in the south.”

He went on to predict that the Russian military would seize the key port city of Odessa, making Ukraine a “landlocked country.” “Ukrainians have been unable to put together any sort of counteroffensive. So, I don’t see much evidence that the Ukrainians can stop this,” the former Pentagon adviser claimed. Moreover, Macgregor said that the activities of Russian forces south of Kharkov in the east of Ukraine seemed to him like preliminary “shaping operations” meant to pave the way for a major offensive later on. He concluded that “first comes the operation in the south and then subsequently up in Kharkov,” pointing out once more that the Ukrainian army does not appear to be able to stop either one.

Macgregor added that he expected these offensives to be over by the “end of August-beginning of September.” Last month, a number of top Ukrainian officials suggested that the country’s military would launch a counteroffensive in the south of the country in August to retake the city of Kherson. However, according to Moscow, it is the Russian military along with the forces of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics that have recently made advances and taken territory.

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EU promised €9 billion in May, paid €1 billion so far. Ukraine ‘needs’ €9 billion every month.

‘Ukraine Is Bankrupt’ – Moscow (RT)

Ukraine has lost its financial independence as it cannot meet its obligations to its citizens without Western help, Russian State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin wrote on Monday. Taking to Telegram, Volodin claimed that “collected taxes form only 40% of the country’s budget,” more than 60% of which covers military spending. Ukraine’s monthly deficit amounts to $5 billion, Volodin reminded. “Ukraine is bankrupt,” he said. The same numbers were reported on Friday by the Wall Street Journal. In the speaker’s opinion, “without the help of Washington and Brussels, Kiev can no longer fulfill its obligations to citizens.” “Ukraine has lost its financial independence,” Volodin concluded.

On Monday, the Ukrainian government introduced draft legislation to abolish preferential taxation on fuel. An explanatory note on the Rada’s website says that “there is a significant shortage of funds for financing the road industry.” The legislation is poised to create “during the period of martial law” conditions “for the proper functioning of the economy” and increased budget revenue through excise duties. In a recent interview with RBC Ukraine, Finance Minister Sergey Marchenko said that next year’s budget will be “extremely tight” due to “war conditions.” “There will be no expenses that will not be reviewed,” he said. According to Oleg Ustenko, a presidential adviser on economic issues, Ukraine’s state budget deficit is expected to reach $50 billion by the end of the year.

That is about 30-35% of the country’s GDP, he said in a TV interview last month, adding that “this is a problem of war.” Kiev says it needs $5 billion a month in assistance from Western backers. However, Ustenko, quoted by the Financial Times, said in July they would need an extra $4bn a month over the next three months to cover the cost of emergency accommodation and housing repairs for millions of people, and to fund a basic minimum income for those ones who had lost their jobs. The grants and loans pledged to Ukraine by the West have been arriving much slower than expected. So far, only €1 billion out of a €9 billion ($9.3 billion) long-term loan package proposed by the European Commission in May, has arrived. Since February, the EU has provided €2.2 billion.

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What you do when you’re bankrupt.

Ukraine To Boost Military Spending (RT)

The Ukrainian parliament approved on Monday a boost to defense spending amid the ongoing military conflict with Russia. According to the bill passed by the Rada, the country’s parliament, the government will be authorized to raise an additional 270 billion hryvnias ($7.3 billion) through domestic borrowing. This will allow an extra 241 billion hryvnias ($6.5 billion) to be allocated to the Defense Ministry and for more funds to be provided to the police, security and intelligence services. The move comes after the Wall Street Journal reported that a shortage of funds risks becoming “Ukraine’s Achilles’s heel” in the conflict.


“We have to worry about winning the war. It is better to risk high inflation than not to pay soldiers’ salaries,” Finance Minister Sergey Marchenko told the WSJ last week about the National Bank of Ukraine’s strategy of printing more money. Marchenko told news agency RBC Ukraine on Monday that Kiev hopes to receive $12-16 billion from foreign lenders by the end of 2022. The exact sum will depend on negotiations with foreign partners, he said.

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“biased informational stuffing”

Kiev knows the first thing the IAEA would find is proof that it was not the Russians who shelled the plant.

EU ‘Blatantly Lying’ About Threat To Zaporozhye Nuclear Plant – Moscow (RT)

Accusations that Moscow is jeopardizing the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) contradict the facts and allow Kiev to undermine the International Atomic Energy Agency’s efforts to inspect the facility, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday. Russia’s response comes after the EU released a statement on Sunday condemning the “unprovoked invasion of Ukraine” and accusing the Russian military of attacking the ZNPP and preventing nuclear and radiation safety from being maintained at the facility. “Western countries are once again descending to outright lies, arguing that the threats to the ZNPP are created by Russia,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in a statement published on the ministry’s website.

“Obviously, this contradicts the facts that we have repeatedly cited, including within the walls of the Security Council. It is undeniable that the attacks on the station and Energodar are carried out by Ukrainian armed groups acting on orders from Kiev.” Zakharova went on to suggest that the EU’s statement was marked by “biased informational stuffing” and full of “blatant Russophobia and distorted facts.” She noted that the authors of the text were obsessed with the so-called “Russian threat” and were using it to cover up their own foreign policy failures by putting “Russophobic foreign policy views above objectivity and the tasks of nonproliferation and nuclear security.” The spokeswoman also pointed out that such statements were being used by EU politicians to score “imaginary political points” while giving Kiev the go-ahead to create obstacles for an IAEA inspection of the plant.

“We strongly urge Washington, Brussels and other capitals, primarily European ones, to stop the irresponsible games and intrigues around the ZNPP and immediately influence the Kyiv authorities to force them to stop shelling the plant and its adjacent territories,” Zakharova stated, adding that Moscow is in close cooperation with the IAEA and will do everything necessary to provide its specialists with access to the power plant.

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Zelensky feels 10 feet tall.

Kiev Mayor Klitschko Claims Zelensky’s Government Threatened His Citizenship (RT)

The government of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky made a veiled threat to strip the citizenship of Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko, the head of the Ukrainian capital claimed in an interview published on Monday. “I had a conversation with an innuendo: ‘Since you are so proactive, we could look into your German citizenship’. I said: ‘I’d be very surprised if somebody showed me a German passport in my name and took it away,’” he said, as cited by the website Babel. The exchange allegedly happened after Klitschko signed a public call for Zelensky to reverse his decision to revoke the Ukrainian citizenship of Ukrainian official Gennady Korban, which he ordered last month. Korban, a longtime close ally of Dnepr Mayor Boris Filatov, was among several Ukrainians whose citizenship was taken away by Zelensky.

He was on a foreign trip when the move was made. Upon attempting to return to Ukraine he found himself at an impasse when the border guards would not let him cross back into his home country. Over a hundred Ukrainian public figures supported the open letter to Zelensky, which Filatov published on Facebook in late July. Klitschko declined to reveal who exactly put pressure on him, but said he supported reinstating Korban’s citizenship on principle rather than as a political favor to Filatov. “Everything must happen under universal principles, not selectively,” he explained. “In this case this is how it looks: we’ll take this one’s [citizenship] and let others keep theirs, so that they are more pliable, realizing that we can take theirs too.”

Ukraine disallows dual citizenship. Under the law, Ukrainians who also hold foreign passports are treated as regular citizens but are banned from holding public office. The president may revoke the citizenship of a Ukrainian who takes another passport. In practice, however, this principle is often ignored. For instance, billionaire Igor Kolomoysky, one of the people targeted by Zelensky’s July order, had served as a governor in Ukraine despite holding the citizenship of Cyprus and Israel at the time. The fact was widely known in Ukraine, and Kolomoysky even joked that it was OK, since the law bans dual citizenship, not triple citizenship. In the interview, Klitschko provided assurance that Ukrainian citizenship is the only one he has. The official was a world-renowned boxer before going into politics and spent much of his athletic career in Germany.

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Farmers=Extremists.

German Officials Warn Of “Extremists” Fueling “Mass Protests And Riots” (ZH)

As queries for “firewood” have exploded on Google in Germany, and Deutsche Bank predicting that “wood will be used for heating purposes where possible,” German officials are now warning of extreme energy rationing measures, along with the potential for “extremists” to fuel national unrest over the deteriorating situation. For starters, German Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck – who previously called on residents to cut back on heating, visits to the sauna, and showers – announced on Friday that public buildings across the country won’t be allowed to set heating above 19 degrees Celsius (66.2F) this fall. Exceptions will be made for hospitals and ‘social facilities.’

[..] Meanwhile, German officials are preparing for civil unrest. In an interview with ZDF, Stephan Kramer – who heads the domestic intelligence service in the German state of Thuringia – warned that ‘legitimate’ protests over the energy crisis could be ‘hijacked by extremists’ (and definitely not just enraged average citizens). Kramer said that officials were bracing for protests over “gas shortages, energy problems, supply difficulties, possible recession, unemployment, but also the growing poverty right up to the middle class,” adding that “extremists” which include “lateral thinkers” who rallied against pandemic lockdowns, and ‘right-wing activists’ who have been stirring the post over social media, could be at the heart of them.

“We’re likely to be confronted with mass protests and riots,” he continued. “We’re dealing with a highly emotionalized, aggressive, future-pessimistic mood in society, whose trust in the state, its institutions and political actors is fraught with massive doubts.” “This highly emotional and explosive mood could easily escalate,” the security chief continued, adding that the Covid-19 clashes would “probably feel more like a children’s birthday party” by comparison. Kramer offers a warning to would-be participants: “think carefully about which protests and demonstrations you join, or better stay away from them altogether, so as not to support the enemies of democracy.”

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“..the country is now viciously coming apart..“

A Different Sort of Warrant (Kunstler)

Over the weekend, independent journalist Paul Sperry reported that many of the same FBI officers involved in the Mar-a-Lago raid happen to be subjects of Special Counsel John Durham’s investigation into the origins of RussiaGate. Have some of them already been hauled into grand juries? We don’t know. But, with the Mar-a-Lago caper, it looks like the law enforcement apparatus of the federal government is seeking to suppress evidence of its own long-running criminal enterprise. The parallel purpose of the raid was to find — or perhaps plant — documents that might be used in a scheme to disqualify Mr. Trump from running for office again. The January 6th show-trial in Congress has failed to galvanize the country’s attention, and may have foundered in its attempt to find grounds for a criminal referral against the former president that would take him off the playing field. So, now this.

Momentous legal quarrels that arise out of the Mar-a-Lago raid may evolve into a constitutional crisis that the captive news media can use as a smokescreen to divert the public’s attention from any balloting shenanigans going into the November election. At least it will shove any other issues off-stage in the run-up to the midterm. Is it a miscalculation? The choice of going to federal magistrate Bruce Reinhart for the Mar-a-Lago warrant sure looks crude and desperate. Only weeks ago, he was presiding over the Trump v Clinton lawsuit. How did that even happen, given Mr. Reinhart’s role defending Jeffrey Epstein’s associates — many of them Clinton-connected — in the 2007 sex-trafficking case?

And only after the spectacularly weird act of switching sides from the federal prosecution team to Epstein’s defense team. Not to mention Mr. Reinhart’s record of public statements denouncing Mr. Trump. There are twenty-five other magistrates who rotate their duties in the Southern District of Florida, why pick him? It all shapes up as a systematic effort to obstruct justice by the US Department of Justice. They’ve been doing it consistently since 2016 in all matters pertaining to Mr. Trump, and it is a big reason that the country is now viciously coming apart.

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“DOJ admission it over-collected evidence in Trump raid creates new legal drama..”

DOJ Admits It Took Trump’s Passports, Offers To Return Them (JTN)

Three passports, Privileged documents. A file on a presidential pardon. As evidence surfaces about what FBI agents seized during the raid of former President Donald Trump’s estate in Mar-O-Lago, new questions about the real focus of the investigation and new avenues for legal challenges are bubbling to the surface. The Justice Department informed Trump’s team Monday that agents gathered the former president’s passports and are obligated to return them, and that officials are also reviewing seized materials that may be covered by various privileges, multiple sources told Just the News. DOJ has designated a process for separating materials that could be covered by executive privilege or attorney client privilege and hopes to return such memos to Trump within a couple of weeks, the sources said.

“Occasionally a warrant collection can grab things outside the scope authorized by the court and the department is now following a procedure we would for any person affected this way,” one official said Monday night. Kevin Brock, who served as FBI assistant director for intelligence under former Director Robert Mueller, said the new revelations raise legitimate questions about over-collection of evidence that could lead to significant legal challenges. Trump lawyers are weighing whether to ask a federal court to name a special master to review sensitive documents and protect the president’s 4th amendment, executive and attorney-client privileges. “Trump’s attorneys could have a runway to argue the scope of the search is overly broad,” Brock told Just the News.

“Search warrants normally require a level of specificity that seems to be missing in this warrant. Specificity is important in order to protect 4th Amendment rights from exuberant government overreach designed to find whatever they can.” Brock said he was particularly troubled FBI agents felt comfortable seizing a record of Trump’s pardon of longtime friend Roger Stone, which the bureau disclosed in court documents. He said it suggested the raid may have something more to do with the Jan. 6 Capitol riot probe, where Stone has been a figure of interest, than an investigation into classified records. “The president’s authority to grant pardon and clemency is clear but what isn’t clear is why the retention of a clemency order would be considered illegal,” Brock said.

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From Newsweek no less…

Garland, Wray Must Be Impeached for Unconscionable Trump Raid (NW)

For over a year, we’ve heard Democrats wailing about existential threats to “democracy!” Curiously, this has happened while these same Democrats in Congress have worked hand-in-glove with their fellow Democrats in the Justice Department to disregard all norms to hunt down and attempt to destroy President Joe Biden’s chief political rival, former President Donald Trump, as well as Trump’s top aides and even his political supporters. Last Monday, the Biden Justice Department crossed a red line by ordering an unprecedented, unnecessary, and unlawful FBI raid of Trump’s home and offices in Mar-a-Lago. The purported purpose of the highly controversial home raid with a brigade of 30 FBI agents—a raid Attorney General Merrick Garland admitted he personally ordered after his aides initially denied it—is related to 15 to 25 boxes of presidential records, some of which bureaucrats at the National Archives claim are classified and which Trump took to Mar-a-Lago when he left the White House over 18 months ago.

All presidents take mementos and other records when they leave office. They don’t pack their own boxes. The National Archives takes the position that almost everything is a “presidential record.” And the federal government, in general, over-classifies almost everything. Even if Trump took classified records, that isn’t a crime. The president has the inherent constitutional power to declassify any record he wants, in any manner he wants, regardless of any otherwise-pertinent statute or regulation that applies to everyone else. The president does not need to obtain Congress’ or a bureaucrat’s permission—or jump through their regulatory or statutory hoops—to declassify anything. The Supreme Court reaffirmed this in the 1988 case, Department of the Navy v. Egan :

“The President, after all, is the ‘Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.’ U.S. Const., Art. II, § 2. His authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security…flows primarily from this constitutional investment of power in the President, and exists quite apart from any explicit congressional grant.” Thus, if Trump left the White House with classified records, then those records are necessarily declassified by his very actions. He doesn’t need to label that decision for, or report that decision to, any bureaucrat who works for him. It is pretextual legal nonsense for the Biden Justice Department to pretend Trump broke any criminal statute. Indeed, it is noteworthy that Attorney General Garland apparently did not seek an opinion from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC)—the de facto general counsel for the executive branch—before ordering this home raid of his boss’s chief political enemy. Perhaps Garland knew OLC wouldn’t give him the answer he wanted.

In 2012, former President Barack Obama secretly told the Russian president he’d have “more flexibility” to negotiate with Russia after the 2012 presidential election. To convey that message is to clearly transmit highly classified information. So why not an Espionage Act violation? Well, because Obama was the president—period. All former presidents also get a federally funded office, called the Office of the Former President. They get lawyers and other staff, security clearances, Secret Service protection, and secure facilities (SCIFs) for the maintenance of classified records. Even if Trump had classified records, then, they were protected and secure.

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The GOP needs to win the midterms first…

Jim Jordan Says 14 FBI Whistleblowers Have Come Forward (WE)

More than a dozen FBI whistleblowers have come forward to Republican investigators in Congress, according to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). The congressman, who is the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News host Trey Gowdy the number has risen to 14 after the FBI raid at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. During a conversation about alleged politicization at the Justice Department, along with former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, Jordan made the case that the public has “figured it out” when it comes to what he characterized as the Left generating a lie, the “Big Media” reporting the lie, Big Tech amplifying the lie, and then both piling on Republicans when they catch on and say something. He said there are agents in the bureau who have realized the same.


“Fourteen FBI agents have come to our office as whistleblowers, and they are good people,” Jordan said. “There are lots of good people in the FBI. It’s the top that is the problem. Some of these good agents are coming to us, telling us what is baloney, what’s going on — the political nature now of the Justice Department — God bless them for doing it — talking about the school board issue, about a whole host of issues.” This would appear to be quite a bump from a little more than two months ago, when Jordan told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that, in total, six FBI officials have approached the committee, two related to a controversy surrounding a school boards memo and four related to Jan. 6. At the time, in early June, Jordan sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray warning that multiple former FBI officials were coming forward with information suggesting the bureau was “purging” employees with conservative viewpoints.

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“..And the CDC permits us to come within six feet of each other again. Finally! Husbands, tell your wives it’s on!”

Too Little, Too Late: Disband The CDC Now (NYP)

Dissolve the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last week, the CDC released updated COVID-19 guidance. The agency now believes we should be taking an individual approach to mitigating our COVID risk. In layman’s terms, we are all Florida 2020 now. The new guidance suggests ending “test to stay” so kids exposed to someone with COVID-19 can remain in school. Of course, this was only related to known exposure. People are exposed to COVID all the time, but only children who were aware of that exposure were punished. Kids lost so much throughout the pandemic because of terrible, irrational CDC guidance like this. The fresh guidance also says people without symptoms no longer need to be routinely tested. And the CDC permits us to come within six feet of each other again. Finally! Husbands, tell your wives it’s on!

But most important, the agency has finally faced some truths about the vaccine that it should have long ago. “CDC’s COVID-19 prevention recommendations no longer differentiate based on a person’s vaccination status because breakthrough infections occur.” And it’s admitted that “persons who have had COVID-19 but are not vaccinated have some degree of protection against severe illness from their previous infection.” Cities across the country fired teachers, firefighters, health-care staffers, police officers, sanitation workers and so many others because they refused to get vaccinated. Many of these people had worked through the early days of the pandemic — and contracted COVID many times over — while we baked banana bread and patted ourselves on the back for ordering from Uber Eats. Now the CDC acknowledges this was the wrong thing to do. Whoopsie!

[..] But with COVID, its word became policy. In what should go down as one of the most disgusting moments in public health, the CDC allowed, with direction from the Biden White House, Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers chief, to craft school-opening policies that forced classrooms across the country to remain closed in winter 2021. No one has been fired for this dereliction of duty. No one has even been openly chastised for allowing a special-interest group to control our health-care policy. This alone is why the CDC must go.

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“..scare Americans into accepting Government intervention–at any cost!!–against climate *apocalypse*“

CBS Pushes Study Blaming Climate Change For Rising Childhood Obesity Rates (NYP)

“CBS Mornings” pushed a recent study connecting climate change and hotter temperatures with childhood obesity rates in a ridiculed segment on Thursday. Co-host Nate Burleson introduced the study published in the journal “Temperature” that argued “climate change, specifically warmer temperatures is making our children more inactive and more obese.” Burleson said the study found that children were 30% less “aerobically fit” than their parents and claimed hotter temperatures were preventing kids from exercising outside. Although the segment focused primarily on climate change, Burleson acknowledged that technology was likely a factor in rising childhood obesity cases.

“Now listen, it has been a lot hotter, and the weather has been crazy, but I think it also has to do with technology, you know. It’s one thing not to go outside, but these kids don’t go outside because they can stay inside and be on their phones, play video games, and be social without having to go outside and be social,” Burleson said. Several Twitter users, however, attacked the segment for emphasizing “climate change” as a factor in childhood obesity without also recognizing coronavirus lockdowns. “Do you think it could be… nah, couldn’t be. Must be the climate change,” Deseret News contributing writer Bethany Mandel joked.

Hans Mahncke, co-host of “Truth Over News” on EpochTV, tweeted, “They made kids fat by shutting schools, playgrounds, parks and beaches. Predictably, they’re now blaming ‘climate change.’ If there aren’t severe penalties for the fraudsters who pushed lockdowns, it’ll happen again.” “Climate change? Ffs,” National Review journalist Claude Thompson wrote. Former congresswoman Nan Hayworth tweeted, “NO. NO. NO. Many factors contribute to children’s lack of fitness, but climate change is NOT one of them. This is propaganda that CBS, as with all ‘mainstream’ media, pushes to scare Americans into accepting Government intervention–at any cost!!–against climate *apocalypse*”

Read more …

“Mastercard and Doconomy Launch the Future of Sustainable Payments”

How Your Carbon Footprint And Your Carbon Wallet Are Really Going To Work (TI)

When most people think of carbon emissions and carbon footprints they think it only refers to travel, fuel, gas and electricity all under the guise of emissions. I hate to break it to you but it runs far deeper than that. Let me now introduce you to Doc Ono, a company you may never have heard of. Doconomy is a “credit card” endorsed by Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum. In May 2019 an article appeared on the WEF site called “This credit card has a carbon-emission spending limit” In the article it says “Swedish fintech company Doconomy has launched a new credit card that monitors the carbon footprint of its customers – and cuts off their spending when they hit their carbon max” Yikes, cuts off their spending. It continues:

“The DO card tracks the CO2 emissions linked to purchases to calculate the carbon impact of every transaction. The aim is to encourage people to actively reduce their carbon footprint and demonstrate the impact that small changes can have on the environment. The card uses the Aland Index as the basis on which it calculates the carbon footprint of each product purchased. Users can set a maximum value for their carbon spend and learn how to compensate for their carbon footprint by contributing towards schemes to reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions” Now we are getting closer to the truth of how this is going to operate. It isn’t just travel, it will be for everything. In February 2019 Mastercard published an article called “Mastercard and Doconomy Launch the Future of Sustainable Payments” where they say “Doconomy and Mastercard announce their joint effort to combat climate change by enabling DO – a free and easy-to-use mobile banking service that lets users track, understand and reduce their CO2 footprints through carbon offsetting”

Isn’t it fascinating that they emphasise it will allow the users to track everything. It would never be used for nefarious purposes such as banks and governments tracking everything. Of course not.. [..] Here is what is probably going to happen. When you go out to a restaurant depending on what your “carbon footprint” has been, will determine what you can and cannot order off the menu. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it ? Depending on how many points you have left for that month will determine whether you are allowed to eat “proper food” or “lab food”. If you’ve been a bold boy or girl you’ll only be allowed to eat the lab grown plant-based food so you don’t surpass your carbon quota. If you try to order beef which apparently has high CO2 levels you won’t be allowed to.

This will also be the case when you go to supermarkets to do your weekly shop. Every item you buy will be assigned a CO2 number. It gets even more ridiculous though. Within the last month Eamonn Ryan who is a WEF member and leader of the Green Party in Ireland has advocated for the reduction in the numbers of Irish cattle. Instead we will import cattle from Brazil. I like to call this the work of the “Ruminati”. How do you think the carbon footprint of importing beef from Brazil would look like on a menu now. It would be off the charts. Do you see what they are trying to achieve and where this is going ? The whole thing sounds ridiculously Dystopian, doesn’t it ? That would never happen. It’s so 1984, I hear you shout. If you have been paying attention to the last 2.5 years then you will realise it’s not remotely far-fetched at all.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1559165376939937794

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“A buyer can also walk if there’s fraud, assuming the discovery of incorrect information has a so-called ‘material adverse effect.’”

Judge Rules Twitter Must Turn Over Hidden Documents to Elon Musk (TP)

A judge on Monday ruled that Twitter must turn over documents from a former executive that would show how many ‘fake accounts’ are on the platform. “Twitter needs to give Elon Musk documents from a former Twitter executive who Musk said was a key figure in calculating the amount of fake accounts on the platform, according to a Monday court order,” Reuters reported. “Bot and spam accounts on Twitter have become a central issue in the legal fight over whether Musk, who is Tesla Inc’s chief executive, must complete his $44 billion acquisition of the social media company,” the report noted. “Twitter was ordered to collect, review and produce documents from former General Manager of Consumer Product Kayvon Beykpour, according to the order from Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick of the Delaware Court of Chancery,” the report added.

Elon Musk announced in early June that he would abandon his $44 billion Twitter offer after the company failed to provide satisfactory information about fake ‘bot’ accounts. Twitter sued the Tesla CEO to force him to uphold the deal. In a letter to Twitter’s board, Musk’s lawyer Mike Ringler complained his client had sought data to determine how many “fake or spam” accounts are on the social media platform. “Twitter has failed or refused to provide this information. Sometimes Twitter has ignored Mr. Musk’s requests, sometimes it has rejected them for reasons that appear to be unjustified, and sometimes it has claimed to comply while giving Mr. Musk incomplete or unusable information,” the letter said. Musk could be on solid legal ground to pull out of the deal if Twitter had attempted to defraud him during the takeover process.

“A reverse breakup fee paid from a buyer to a target applies when there is an outside reason a deal can’t close, such as regulatory intermediation or third-party financing concerns. A buyer can also walk if there’s fraud, assuming the discovery of incorrect information has a so-called ‘material adverse effect.’ A market dip, like the current sell-off that has caused Twitter to lose more than $9 billion in market cap, wouldn’t count as a valid reason for Musk to cut loose — breakup fee or no breakup fee — according to a senior Mergers and Acquisitions lawyer familiar with the matter,” CNBC reported.

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“The United States Constitution shields American citizens from US government overreach..”

CIA, Pompeo Sued For Spying On Attorneys, Journalists Who Met With Assange (D.)

A group of journalists and lawyers, who visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange while he was living under political asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy, sued the CIA and former CIA director Mike Pompeo. They allege that the agency under Pompeo spied on them in violation of their privacy rights. Undercover Global S.L., a private security company in Spain, and the company’s director David Morales are also named as defendants. UC Global ramped up surveillance against Assange and shared audio and video footage from the embassy with “American intelligence.” “The United States Constitution shields American citizens from US government overreach even when the activities take place in a foreign embassy in a foreign country.

“Visitors who are lawyers, journalists and doctors frequently carry confidential information in their devices,” declared Richard Roth, who is the lead attorney representing the plaintiffs. “They had a reasonable expectation that the security guards at the Ecuadorian embassy in London would not be US government spies charged with delivering copies of their electronics to the CIA,” Roth added. Two of the plaintiffs are attorneys who have represented Assange—Margaret Rather Kunstler, a civil rights activist and human rights attorney, and Deborah Hrbek, a media lawyer. The other two plaintiffs are journalists Charles Glass and John Goetz, who worked for Der Spiegel when the German media organization first partnered with WikiLeaks to publish documents on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

[..] According to the complaint [PDF] filed in a US court in the Southern District of New York, Glass, Goetz, Hrbek, and Kunstler, like all visitors, were required to “surrender” their electronic devices to UC Global employees hired by Ecuador to provide security for the embassy. What they did not know is that UC Global “copied the information stored on the devices” and allegedly shared the information with the CIA. Pompeo allegedly authorized and approved the action. Security required plaintiffs to leave their devices with them, which contained “confidential and privileged information about their sources or clients. This information was copied and allegedly shared with the CIA. It is estimated that “well over 100 American citizens who visited Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy” had their privacy rights violated. This includes attorneys who were there to represent Assange, journalists who traveled to interview him, and even doctors who came to the embassy to assess and treat his deteriorating health.

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Chinese century??

 

 

 

$717 a month

 

 

 

 

(Part of) Monastiraki in the foreground, Acropolis in the back.

 

 

Friends

 

 

 

 

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Jul 082022
 
 July 8, 2022  Posted by at 8:53 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  49 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Still life 1936

 

Ukraine Could Be Wiped Off The Map – Douglas Macgregor (RT)
No ‘Magic Bullet’ Can Turn The Tide For Ukraine (Davis)
Putin Says If West Wants To Defeat Russia On Battlefield, ‘Let Them Try’ (AFP)
Letter from a friend, an Average Russian (Saker)
Britain: The Titanic Hits the Iceberg (Batiushka)
White House Won’t Answer Questions About Joe, Hunter Biden Audiotape (Turley)
Biden Sold a Million Barrels From SPR to China-Owned Gas Giant (FB)
What India and China Spend on Russian Oil (ZH)
The Immuno-epidemiological Consequences Of The Mass Vaccination (Geert)
Lockdowns Have Demolished Our Immunity (DMA)

 

 

Just in: Shinzo Abe declared dead after being shot.

 

 

German parties this winter

 

 

Ingraham/Bexte

 

 

 

 

Tucker Eva
https://twitter.com/i/status/1545210414665007104

 

 

 

 

On the 8th day, God made a farmer.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1545035559029968896

 

 

 

 

“we need a ceasefire”and.. countries like Australia should be pushing for it since “no one in Washington is going to do it.”

Ukraine Could Be Wiped Off The Map – Douglas Macgregor (RT)

Ukraine could disappear from the map unless the conflict with Russia is resolved peacefully, former Trump military adviser Colonel Douglas Macgregor said in an interview with Sky News Australia on Wednesday. When asked what more could be done to help Ukraine in the ongoing military conflict, Macgregor stated that “the longer this lasts, the more people are going to be needlessly slaughtered, the more damage will be done to Ukraine,” adding that it is now “effectively a failed state, it could be erased completely from the map.” Noting that Ukraine’s military has suffered enormous losses during the conflict and that Russian forces were “by no means overstretched or hurting at this point,”Macgregor argued that “we need a ceasefire”and that countries like Australia should be pushing for it since “no one in Washington is going to do it.”

“We can’t afford to fight this until there are no longer any Ukrainians left,” he insisted, noting that he has heard from people in Berlin, Paris, and London that there is growing support for a ceasefire or coming to “some sort of an arrangement” between Moscow and Kiev. The former adviser also commented on the prospects of Russian President Vladimir Putin agreeing to such a ceasefire, noting that he has “never been interested in all of Ukraine,” and that the territory currently under Russia’s control is the “traditional Russian-speaking area.” Macgregor noted that Ukrainian forces which were concentrated in the Donbass region were of “great concern” to Vladimir Putin, who feared these forces “would attack Russia,” and the US would “inevitably deploy theater ballistic missiles there to hold his [Putin’s] nuclear capability at risk.”

“He’s not going to withdraw, that’s out of the question,” the former top Pentagon adviser said, suggesting that if the two sides were unwilling to come to some sort of arrangement on a territorial basis, then an armistice should be achieved, lest the conflict grow into a “wider, regional war.” Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”

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“..more of Zelensky’s troops will be killed, more Ukrainian cities will be turned to rubble, and more territory Kyiv will lose to the invaders.”

No ‘Magic Bullet’ Can Turn The Tide For Ukraine (Davis)

Last Sunday when the remaining Ukrainian soldier withdrew from Lysychansk, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said evacuating his troops from the city “where the enemy has the greatest advantage in fire power,” was the right call, but “means only one thing… That we will return thanks to our tactics, thanks to the increase in the supply of modern weapons.” While many in the West would like that to be true, the reality is very different: there is no basis upon which to hope for a future offensive to drive Russian troops out of conquered territories. The most likely result for the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) if they continue fighting the Russians is that more of Zelensky’s troops will be killed, more Ukrainian cities will be turned to rubble, and more territory Kyiv will lose to the invaders.

A sober analysis of the capacity of the of the two armed forces, an assessment of the military fundamentals that have historically proven decisive on the battlefield, and an examination of the sustainability potential for both sides, make it plain that Russia will almost certainly win a tactical victory. Ukrainian Presidential Advisor Oleksiy Arestovych said that, to the contrary, the withdrawals in Severodonetsk and Lysychansk weren’t defeats at all, but instead “successful” in that he claimed they allowed Ukraine to “buy time for the supply of Western weapons and the improvement of the second line of defense, to create conditions for our offensive actions in other areas of the front.” This is a common belief in the West but one not borne out by the facts.

In some instances, fighting tenaciously in the face of considerable enemy superiority can prove to be the difference between victory and defeat. For example, in the famous Battle of the Bulge, the U.S. 101st Airborne Division refused to surrender in Bastogne even after it had been surrounded and cut off by the advancing German army. [..] The much-ballyhooed supply of “heavy weapons” from the West that both Zelensky and Arestovych claim is coming will not be enough to turn the tide. Not even close. Zelensky advisor Mykhailo Podolyak correctly noted that the minimum needed by Ukraine to have a chance at reaching parity with the Russian invaders would require modern kit in the range of 1,000 howitzers, 500 tanks, and 300 rocket launchers.

As detailed by The Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the sum total of all heavy weapons delivered or promised by the West through last week’s G7 and NATO summits amounts to a paltry 175 howitzers, 250 Soviet-era tanks, and an anemic dozen or so rocket launchers. To date, no other help is being considered. The ramifications of this mismatch should be clear: despite numerous and boisterous claims of Western support, it is militarily unsound for Ukraine to base its defense plans on the hope that major quantities of high quality Western heavy weapons will show up to help Ukraine stop the Russians. But there is a bigger, less obvious truth at play as well: even if Zelensky got everything on Podolyak’s list, it still would not likely change the battlefield dynamics.

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“People in most countries do not want such a life and such a future,” he said. “They are simply tired of kneeling, humiliating themselves in front of those who consider themselves exceptional.”

Putin Says If West Wants To Defeat Russia On Battlefield, ‘Let Them Try’ (AFP)

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday challenged the West to try and defeat Russia “on the battlefield” and said Moscow’s intervention in Ukraine marked a shift to a “multi-polar world.” Delivering one of his strongest speeches since he sent troops to Ukraine on February 24, Putin also raged against “totalitarian liberalism” that he said the West has sought to impose on the entire world. “Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. Well, what can you say here? Let them try,” Putin told senior lawmakers on the 134th day of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine. He accused “the collective West” of unleashing a “war” in Ukraine and said Russia’s intervention in the pro-Western country marked the beginning of a shift to a “multi-polar world.”


“This process cannot be stopped,” he added. He also warned Kyiv and its Western allies that Moscow has not even started its military campaign in Ukraine “in earnest.” “Everyone should know that we have not started in earnest yet,” he said. “At the same time we are not refusing to hold peace negotiations but those who are refusing should know that it will be harder to come to an agreement with us” at a later stage. Putin said most countries did not want to follow the Western model of “totalitarian liberalism” and “hypocritical double standards.” “People in most countries do not want such a life and such a future,” he said. “They are simply tired of kneeling, humiliating themselves in front of those who consider themselves exceptional.”

Putin

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Not wiped off the map, but partitioned.

Letter from a friend, an Average Russian (Saker)

* Lvov and Lutsk regions will be annexed by Poland (marked on the map with the Polish flag). Almost a certainty – both Polish and Ukrainian officials made statements about “common land” and Poland already started to take over some administration functions there. The Head of the Russian External Intelligence Service made 2 or 3 public statements about it too, and he very rarely goes public. Poles will find the opportune moment to move in a military “peacekeeping force” to solidify their hold. This will be neither smooth nor bloodless because of history – Ukrainian Nazi collaborators performed ethnic cleansings there, killing up to 100000 ethnic Poles during WW2.


Polish political leaders see this as a populist move to restore historical justice (it will work, too), Polish far-right groups see this as a huge unpaid blood debt, and Polish police and security services see modern Ukrainian neo-Nazis as big trouble to be eliminated (through thorough denazification or other means). They were fine with it as long as neo-Nazis were acting against Russia, but when borders solidify and it will be their territory to govern it will be another matter entirely. It’s not out of the question that all ex-Ukrainians will become second-class citizens, like Russians in Baltic states.

* Zakarpatye region of Ukraine will be annexed by Hungary (marked on the map with the Hungarian flag). Looks very probable, but I didn’t see Hungary making any definitive statements about it. Hungary has been steadily building its influence there since the Soviet Union broke up – supporting Hungarian schools, language, and culture, even going so far as issuing passports. Ukrainian neo-Nazis issued threats of ethnic violence because they want “Ukraine for Ukrainians”, which mandates a set of standards for everyone in Ukraine – Russophobia, language (Ukrainian, other languages are not allowed), “ethnic purity” (this stuff is disgusting to even type). This annexation will be pretty smooth and bloodless, like Crimea was, due to how thoroughly Hungary prepared the ground there. If there is any trouble it will be caused by Ukrainian neo-Nazis. Hopefully, Hungarian police and security services are up to the task to keep people safe there.

* Regions marked with the Russian flag will join Russian Federation, the process has already begun. A follow-up anti-terrorist operation by FSB and RosGuard has started as well because the current regime in Kiev (heavily influenced by US+UK governments and Ukrainian neo-Nazis) already started terrorist attacks there. Thankfully Russian security services have a lot of experience with this sort of thing (Chechnya, Syria). The region in the bottom left, with a red exclamation point is a special one – on May 2, 2014 people protested in Odessa against neo-Nazis, burning the neo-Nazi flags. In response, neo-Nazis shipped their well-organized militia groups into the city, drove the protesters into a building, and set it on fire. 42 people died burning alive, shot, falling to death, or beaten to death. They’ve also killed 8 other protesters on the street.

Ukrainian new government (heavily supported by the US) basically ignored it – police had orders to observe but not interfere, a lackluster investigation was started but never yielded any results, and neo-Nazis had support from local law enforcement. This was a pivotal moment in Ukrainian history – the neo-Nazis made a loud and bloody statement “our ideology is the law in Ukraine, we will kill anyone who disagrees”. There is a high symbolic value in taking the Odessa region, I want to see a memorial to this atrocity right in front of that building. Odessa city itself is (or was) very international (this is common for many warm-water ports around the globe actually, due to sea trade) – Jews, Russians, Ukrainians, and many other ethnicities.

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Is there even one politician left in the UK who’s not a WEF member?

Britain: The Titanic Hits the Iceberg (Batiushka)

Possibly the greatest clown UK politics has ever seen is on his way out of the door. Ministers and aides, forty-one within twenty-four hours, have left his sinking ship. As for Johnson himself, he is spending his last days or hours rearranging the deckchairs with only the last yes-men by his side. The unsinkable Titanic is starting to go down. Let the band play. The Titanic is sinking. If you are a rat, get off now. Already, before Johnson has actually gone, some are speaking of a future Indian Prime Minster for the UK, the resigned Rishi Sunak, former Chancellor (Minister of Finance), married to the daughter of one of the richest billionaires in India. What an irony: the coloniser is colonised and the top job may go to a man from the most exploited and pillaged British colony of all.

Johnson is the first political victim of Western support for the bandit terrorists of the Ukraine. With swathes of his sanctions-hit population eating from foodbanks, people unable to afford travel or to heat and light their homes, shops closing down and strikes breaking out across the UK, but with billions of pounds to send to the Ukraine and waste on the already absurdly high spending on the military, Johnson’s political choices are being punished by the masses. His continual lies have destroyed all trust in him. The question is: Who will be the second to sink with the bad ship Titanic? Some suggest it will be Biden, in the mid-term elections in the USA on 8 November.

Frankly, he seems unlikely to be the second. It is only early July and the political situation of various political leaders in various European countries is so fragile that it is difficult to predict who or even how many will go before November. The fact that Johnson the Ignominious has been the first to be on his way to leave is significant. For Johnson, master of the moral vacuum, was the fanatic who supported the Fascist junta in Kiev more than any other Western leader, in rhetoric at least even more than Biden the Demented, master of the mental vacuum. Poets know all about poetic justice. Now atheists too should listen. Maybe, just maybe, given that Johnson has gone, there is a God who grants justice after all.

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Curious behavior.

White House Won’t Answer Questions About Joe, Hunter Biden Audiotape (Turley)

In yesterday’s White House press briefing, there was an extraordinary moment when White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre refused to discuss a 2018 voicemail from President Biden that showed that the President lied repeatedly in denying ever speaking with Hunter Biden about his foreign business dealings. Jean-Pierre refused to answer a question from Fox News’ Peter Doocy and then refused again to answer a question from RealClearPolitics reporter Philip Wegmann. The rest of the press seemed content with an answer that was not just openly evasive but contemptful of the press. It is continuing evidence of the success of the Biden campaign to get the media to maintain a false narrative that they helped create during the campaign.

As previously discussed, the recording clearly proves that President Biden has lied about his knowledge of these dealings. The audiotape of the President concerned a Times report on Dec. 12, 2018 detailing Hunter’s dealings with Ye Jianming, the head of CEFC China Energy Company. Ye was later arrested amid allegations of economic crimes. Biden associates reportedly worked on the Times to change aspects of the story and President Biden appears to view that effort as successful. The plan with the Bidens (which included Joe Biden’s brother) specified a proposed 10 percent share for Hunter for “the big guy.” According to Biden associate Tony Bobulinksi, that was a reference to Joe Biden. The voicemail, discovered on Hunter’s discarded laptop, reveals that Joe Biden was following the stories of his son’s alleged influencing peddling and specifically his Chinese dealings.

In his message, Biden tells Hunter, “Hey pal, it’s Dad. It’s 8:15 on Wednesday night. If you get a chance, just give me a call. Nothing urgent. I just wanted to talk to you. I thought the article released online, it’s going to be printed tomorrow in the Times, was good. I think you’re clear. And anyway if you get a chance, give me a call, I love you.” Some of us have written for two years that Biden’s denial of knowledge is patently false. Indeed, it is baffling how Attorney General Garland can ignore the myriad of references to Joe Biden in refusing to appoint a special counsel. Doocy asked the obvious question now that we have an actual audiotape of the President: “Why is there a voicemail of the president talking to his son about his overseas business dealings if the president has said he’s never spoken to his son about his overseas business dealings?”

Despite clearly contradicting the President, Jean-Pierre declared “Well, first I’ll say that what the president said stands. So if he — that’s what the president said, that is what stands.” Such an absurd response is only possible when you know that most of the media will go along with the evasion. [..] There is no plausible reason why the President would not be willing to answer a question about his own statement captured on audiotape. He is not denying that it is his voice, which appears obvious. He simply will not answer a question about whether he lied during the campaign and repeatedly as president. Again, this is only possible when you have the media in your pocket. Could you imagine if this was Trump caught on a tape and refusing to answer a question about the content?

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And this is a lot more serious than just “curious”. Oil from the SPR to make Hunter a profit?

Biden Sold a Million Barrels From SPR to China-Owned Gas Giant (FB)

The Biden administration sold roughly one million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to a Chinese state-controlled gas giant that continues to purchase Russian oil, a move the Energy Department said would “support American consumers” and combat “Putin’s price hike.” Biden’s Energy Department in April announced the sale of 950,000 Strategic Petroleum Reserve barrels to Unipec, the trading arm of the China Petrochemical Corporation. That company, which is commonly known as Sinopec, is wholly owned by the Chinese government. The Biden administration claimed the move would “address the pain Americans are feeling at the pump” and “help lower energy costs.”

More than five million barrels of oil released from the U.S. emergency reserves, however, were sent overseas last month, according to a Wednesday Reuters report. At least one shipment of American crude went to China, the report said. The Biden administration also claimed the Unipec sale would “support American consumers and the global economy in response to Vladimir Putin’s war of choice against Ukraine” and combat “Putin’s price hike.” But as the war rages on, Unipec has continued to purchase Russian oil. In May, for example, the company “significantly increased the number of hired tankers to ship a key crude from eastern Russia,” Bloomberg reported. That decision came roughly one month after Unipec said it would purchase “no more Russian oil going forward” once “shipments that have arrived in March and due to arrive in April” were fulfilled.

The White House did not return a request for comment. Its decision to sell barrels from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to a Chinese conglomerate comes as the American public increasingly sours on Biden’s energy policies. According to a January Gallup poll, roughly three in four Americans are not satisfied with the federal government’s national energy policy, the highest level in roughly two decades. Power the Future founder Daniel Turner admonished Biden for selling “raw materials to the Communist Chinese for them to use as they want.”

“We were assured Biden was releasing this oil to America so it could be refined for gasoline to drive down prices at the pump. So right off the bat, they’re just lying to the American people,” Turner told the Washington Free Beacon. “What they’re saying they did and what they did are not remotely related.” Turner also said the decision highlights the Biden family’s “relationship with China.” Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, is tied to Sinopec. In 2015, a private equity firm he cofounded bought a $1.7 billion stake in Sinopec Marketing. Sinopec went on to enter negotiations to purchase Gazprom in March, one month after the Biden administration sanctioned the Russian gas giant.

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Expect more.

What India and China Spend on Russian Oil (ZH)

India and China have both been spending more money on Russian oil in 2022 compared to 2021, but, as Statista’s Katharina Buchholz details below, for different reasons. China’s spending on the commodity rose by 78 percent between March and May 2021 and the same time period this year. According to a report by Bloomberg, this increase can be chalked up to the price increase of oil on the world market. China receives oil from Russia through pipelines crossing the countries’ shared border which makes delivery cheaper but also harder to increase. In addition, China had already been buying most oil that can be shipped out of Russia’s Pacific ports previous to the invasion of Ukraine, another factor showing that the increase in spending in China is for approximately the same amount of oil – which the country hasn’t majorly increased but also didn’t try to decrease since the Russian war in Ukraine started.


This shows that India has been buying additional shipments of Russian crude, which are – according to the report – those coming from Russian ports in the Western part of the country and would normally be shipped to Europe. But since European countries have decreased their buying of Russian oil, India has been accepted more shipments at a discounted prices as the route would normally be too long to be economically viable. The data also shows that despite India’s increase in shipments, the money it pays Putin’s regime is still far lower that the funds coming from China. While India paid $3.5 billion for the three-month period, China shelled out an much higher $15.7 billion.

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He’s been warning for two years.

The Immuno-epidemiological Consequences Of The Mass Vaccination (Geert)

The current SC-2 pandemic is still expanding as it is a pandemic of ‘more infectious’ variants and is thus enhancing the susceptibility of vaccinees to infection (infection-enhancing antibodies) while diminishing the susceptibility of the unvaccinated (infection-mediated training of innate cell-mediated immunity). In the pre-Omicron era, we saw more infectious variants becoming dominant; however, thanks to the neutralizing antibodies, vaccinees were still protected against disease. However, with the advent of Omicron and its growing resistance to neutralizing antibodies, vaccinees became more susceptible to infection; what we are now seeing is more virulent variants becoming dominant (Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5[1]).

However, thanks to the virulence-neutralizing antibodies (which are the same as those enhancing infection at the upper respiratory tract!), vaccinees were still protected against severe disease (e.g., in case of BA.1 and BA.2). I’ve no doubt, however, that with the growing resistance of BA.4 and BA.5 to the virulence-neutralizing Abs, vaccinees will now rapidly become more susceptible to virulence. Due to repetitive activation of the immune system in C-19 vaccinees, several infectious diseases can now be spread asymptomatically by vaccinees. Due to widespread asymptomatic transmission in highly vaccinated countries and the subsequent rise in infectious pressure, infection-mediated immunity in certain subsets of the population no longer suffices to prevent productive infection.

This is now basically igniting the global spread of a number of acute, self-limiting microbial infections (e.g., ‘seasonal’ Flu, RSV but also vaccine-preventable viral and bacterial infections in countries that interrupted their childhood vax program due to Covid crisis) and also of some acute, self-limiting viral diseases (e.g., monkeypox, pandemic [avian H5N1] flu). In addition, depletion of cytotoxic CD8 T cells due to repetitive cycles of re-infection has also led to an increased recurrence/reactivation rate of chronic infections (e.g., herpetic diseases + CMV, EBV, CMV, HIV, tuberculosis..) and relapse or metastasis of certain cancers in vaccinees. In the summary appended, I am sharing my informed predictions on the health impact these pandemics will entail in different subgroups of a highly vaccinated population.

While these new pandemics are developing, the super C-19 pandemic I’ve been warning about is coming our way soon. In highly vaccinated countries, it will definitely overhaul the pandemics mentioned above. This is because massive replacement of ‘natural infection-acquired’ immunity to SC-2 by ‘imperfect’ vaccine-induced immunity is now driving the evolution of the C-19 pandemic in highly vaccinated countries. This will not be the case in poorly vaccinated countries where natural immunity has been largely preserved and the population is often much younger (e.g., African countries). Last, I’d like to repeat my advice: If you’re C-19 vaccinated: Make sure you’ve access to antivirals and antibiotics and that you’ve established a contact with an MD you can trust.

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Plenty warnings about this, too.

Lockdowns Have Demolished Our Immunity (DMA)

Australia is facing a devastating ‘multi-demic’ assault from a vicious cocktail of viruses attacking the nation, a top medical expert has warned.The country’s defences against a range of different diseases have dropped after Covid lockdowns left Aussies’ immune systems untested by common viruses. Now the rapid spread of killer bugs is being fuelled by cold, damp winter conditions, combined with staff returning to offices and commuting on packed trains and buses. And that’s on top of the new, more infectious Omicron variant BA.5 which is sweeping through the population. ‘We’re facing a multi-demic of respiratory viruses,’ Sydney University infectious disease expert Professor Robert Booy told the Courier-Mail.


‘There’s three or four of them causing trouble – influenza, RSV, para-influenza, adenovirus, HMPV… there are a lot. ‘Because were locked down for two years, the level of natural immunity dropped off against flu and Covid, so we have a lot of cases and deaths due to Omicron and the opening of a society with less natural immunity. ‘If you want to spread an infection, you open up society.’ NSW alone is facing a massive outbreak of RSV which can kill infants, with numbers skyrocketing tenfold from 355 to 3775 cases a week in under a month. Businesses across the east coast have also been decimated by staff falling ill as the range of viruses wreak havoc and spread like wildfire.

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22 inventions

 

 


#MariaCallas and #MarilynMonroe at the birthday party for President John F. Kennedy, at Madison Square Garden, New York, on May 19, 1962.

 

 

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Jun 192022
 


Henri Matisse Still Life with Apples on Pink Cloth 1925

 

When The Lies Come Home (Douglas Macgregor)
Biden Tries To Climb Down From Ukraine Ledge (AT)
World War 3 For Dummies (Baltar)
Europe Committing Energy Suicide By Imposing Sanctions On Russia (PressTV)
Ukraine Proposed Viable Peace Plan in April, Then Cut Off Negotiations (LI)
Record Diesel Prices Could Lead To Food Shortages In US, Farmers Warn (NYP)
WHO Chief ‘Believes Covid Did Leak From Wuhan Lab’ (DM)
America Is The Only Country That Authorizes Covid Shots For Infants (Schachtel)
Contagious Vaccines: A Warning (Kheriaty)
Tribe Declares Trump Committed Attempted Murder (Turley)
French National Assembly Vote Decides Battle Between Macron And Left (BBC)
The Shameless Farce of UK Attempt to Send Refugees to Rwanda (NewYorker)
Assange’s Extradition – War Criminals And Murderers, Rejoice (Oborne)
The Guardian View On Julian Assange Extradition: A Bad Day For Journalism (G.)

 

 

 

 

German truth

 

 

 

 

Tucker FBI Biden

 

 

Nils Melzer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Macgregor has been a voice of reason all through the conflict. He’s so highly thought of in military circles that none of the usual suspects dares touch him.

When The Lies Come Home (Douglas Macgregor)

The Western media did everything in its power to give the Ukrainian defense the appearance of far greater strength than it really possessed. Careful observers noted that the same video clips of Russian tanks under attack were shown repeatedly. Local counterattacks were reported as though they were operational maneuvers. Russian errors were exaggerated out of all proportion to their significance. Russian losses and the true extent of Ukraine’s own losses were distorted, fabricated, or simply ignored. But conditions on the battlefield changed little over time. Once Ukrainian forces immobilized themselves in static defensive positions inside urban areas and the central Donbas, the Ukrainian position was hopeless. But this development was portrayed as failure by the Russians to gain “their objectives.”

Ground-combat forces that immobilize soldiers in prepared defenses will be identified, targeted, and destroyed from a distance. When persistent overhead intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets, whether manned or unmanned, are linked to precision guided-strike weapons or modern artillery systems informed by accurate targeting data, “holding ground” is fatal to any ground force. This is all the more true in Ukraine, because it was apparent from the first action that Moscow focused on the destruction of Ukrainian forces, not on the occupation of cities or the capture of Ukrainian territory west of the Dnieper River. The result has been the piecemeal annihilation of Ukrainian forces. Only the episodic infusion of U.S. and allied weapons kept Kiev’s battered legions in the field; legions that are now dying in great numbers thanks to Washington’s proxy war.

Kiev’s war with Moscow is lost. Ukrainian forces are being bled white. Trained replacements do not exist in sufficient numbers to influence the battle, and the situation grows more desperate by the hour. No amount of U.S. and allied military aid or assistance short of direct military intervention by U.S. and NATO ground forces can change this harsh reality. The problem today is not ceding territory and population to Moscow in Eastern Ukraine that Moscow already controls. The future of the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions along with the Donbas is decided. Moscow is also likely to secure Kharkov and Odessa, two cities that are historically Russian and Russian-speaking, as well as the territory that adjoins them. These operations will extend the conflict through the summer. The problem now is how to stop the fighting.

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“Climbing down off this ledge won’t be easy. It may be impossible. Biden denounced Russia’s leader as a war criminal, averred that he couldn’t be allowed to remain in office and bragged that US sanctions would cut the Russian economy in half.”

Biden Tries To Climb Down From Ukraine Ledge (AT)

President Joe Biden’s administration faces a double disaster after its Ukraine miscalculation, namely a US recession and a second strategic humiliation in the space of a year. The US economy is almost certainly in recession, while oil prices drive inflation that has cut workers’ real pay by about 6% year on year. Washington’s earlier boasts of driving Russian President Vladimir Putin from power, destroying Russia’s capacity to make war and halving the size of the Russian economy look ridiculous in retrospect. The world economy is reeling from supply shocks in energy and food provoked by Western sanctions on Russia. Monetary policy can reduce inflation only by forcing consumers to stop buying, which forces retailers to liquidate inventory at lower prices and crushes demand for raw materials – a cure that is worse than the disease.

Russia meanwhile earned a record €93 billion (US$97 billion) from energy exports during the first 100 days of the war, a Finnish study concluded. China and India, which refused to join Group of Seven sanctions against Russia, reportedly are buying oil at a discount of $30 to $40 per barrel, while American and European consumers are paying the full price. Energy prices have become the main driver of G7 inflation. Changes in the oil price lagged by one to four months explain 70% of the monthly change in the CPI, according to an Asia Times study. The sensitivity of the US Consumer Price Index to the oil price, moreover, was about twice as high during the February 2020 to May 2022 period than it had been during the preceding 15 years, the study shows.

US GDP contracted at a 1.9% annual rate during the first quarter. The surprise drop in May retail sales that was reported June 15 by the Commerce Department and the 14.4% month-on-month fall in US housing starts reported on June 16 point to a second quarter of contraction – that is, a recession according to the standard criterion. That spells catastrophe for the Democrats in next November’s election. [..] Climbing down off this ledge won’t be easy. It may be impossible. Biden denounced Russia’s leader as a war criminal, averred that he couldn’t be allowed to remain in office and bragged that US sanctions would cut the Russian economy in half. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin claimed that the US would destroy Russia’s capacity to make war.

A compromise in Ukraine with significant territorial concessions to Russia – the only conceivable way to end the war – would humiliate Washington. A negotiated solution to the Ukraine war, though, is not impossible. Washington could continue to portray itself as the defender of Ukraine’s sovereignty while encouraging European leaders to do the dirty work and force Ukraine into negotiations with Moscow. A possible hint in this direction came on June 14 from US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Colin H Kahl, who declared: “We’re not going to tell the Ukrainians how to negotiate, what to negotiate and when to negotiate. They’re going to set those terms for themselves.”

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“Part of the reason for the pressure on the Independents, particularly Russia and China, is simply that they have resisted western hegemony. That is enough for getting on the West’s naughty list.”

World War 3 For Dummies (Baltar)

How do Russia and China, and the war in Ukraine, factor into all of this? Why all the pressure from the West throughout the years and why all this panic now? Part of the reason for the pressure on the Independents, particularly Russia and China, is simply that they have resisted western hegemony. That is enough for getting on the West’s naughty list. But why the increased pressure in recent years? The reason is that Russia and China cannot be subjugated through bankruptcy and their assets harvested. They do not have much debt in western currencies which means that the people who own the West through debt do not currently own Russia and China (like they own the West and the indebted ‘third world’) and cannot acquire them through debt. The only way to acquire them is through regime change.

Their governments must be weakened by any means, including economic sanctions and military means if necessary -thus the use of Ukraine as a battering ram for Russia and Taiwan for China. Subjugating Russia and China is an existential issue for our Davos owners because when they take the western economy down, everything else must go down too. If the western economy is taken down and a large economic block doesn’t participate in the downfall, it will be a disaster for the West. The new block will gain massive economic power, and possibly unipolar hegemony of sorts, while the West descends into a feudal Dark Age and irrelevance. Therefore the entire world must go down for the Great Reset to work. Russia and China must be subjugated by any means, as well as India and other stubborn nations.

This is what has fueled the situation we now find ourselves in and will fuel the continuation of World War 3. The western owner-elites are going to war to keep their wealth and power. Everyone who resists must be subjugated so they can follow the West into the planned Great Reset Dark Age. The reason for the current panic among western elites is that the Ukraine project isn’t going as planned. Instead of Russia being bled on the battlefield, it is Ukraine and the West that bleed. Instead of the Russian economy crashing resulting in Putin’s replacement by a Davos-compatible leader, it is the West’s economy that is crashing. Instead of Russia being isolated, it is the West that is being increasingly isolated. Noting is working, and to top it all off, Europe has given the Russians the means and motive to destroy the European economy by partly shutting down its industry.

Without Russian resources, there is no European industry, and without industry, there are no taxes for paying for unemployment benefits, pensions, all the refugees, and pretty much everything else which holds European societies together. The Russians now have the ability to engineer an uncontrolled crash in Europe which is not what Davos planned. An uncontrolled crash might see Davos’s heads roll, literally, and that is causing fear and panic in elite circles. The only solution for them is to move on with World War 3 and hope for the best.

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“Nordstream 1 is scheduled for annual maintenance that will halt all flows between July 11 and July 21.”

Europe Committing Energy Suicide By Imposing Sanctions On Russia (PressTV)

The head of a Russian oil giant says European nations are committing energy suicide by following the United States in imposing sanctions on Moscow over the war in Ukraine. Speaking at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Igor Sechin, the head of Russian oil company, Rosneft, said that the Europeans are shooting themselves in the foot by restricting Russian oil and gas imports. “Europe is committing energy suicide by imposing sanctions on Russia,” Sechin said. The United States placed an embargo on Russian oil earlier this year, shortly after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a military campaign against Ukraine on February 24. Europe, particularly, has struggled to wean itself off from Russian energy.

The continent’s reliance on Russian gas and Moscow’s slashing of supplies in retaliation have proven a headache for the 27-member bloc. To that aim, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen proposed a gradual ban on Russian oil imports last month. The proposal would ban Russian crude gradually over the next six months and refined fuels by the end of this year.. The EU and Britain also agreed recently to prohibit insurance on tankers carrying Russian oil at the end of last month. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday that the EU “has completely lost its political sovereignty, and its bureaucratic elites are dancing to someone else’s tune, accepting whatever they are told from above, causing harm to their own population and their own economy.”

Putin previously described the sanctions on his country as a double-edged sword. Reports said Russian gas flows to Europe fell short of demand on Friday as temperatures blew past historical records for this time of the year, hitting over 40°C in some places. Italy and Slovakia reported receiving less than half of the usual volumes through the Nordstream 1 pipeline. The pipeline, which crosses the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany, accounts for around 40% of Russian pipeline flows to the EU. Nordstream 1 is scheduled for annual maintenance that will halt all flows between July 11 and July 21.

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Does anyone believe Lavrov is lying here?

Ukraine Proposed Viable Peace Plan in April, Then Cut Off Negotiations (LI)

As talks toward a peaceful settlement to the war in Ukraine have all but collapsed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow received a workable proposal from Ukrainian negotiators soon after the conflict began, but claimed Kiev abruptly broke off all dialogue and has been ‘silent’ ever since. Speaking to TASS for an interview on Thursday, Lavrov said that while peace talks held in Istanbul in March offered some promise for an end to the fighting, the efforts quickly crumbled after Ukraine’s negotiation team ceased all contact with its Russian counterpart. “These negotiations at some point at the end of March … led to a result that gave hope to all of us, thanks to the fact that the Ukrainian side for the first time put on paper a position that suited us as a basis for work,” the FM said.

As of mid-April, however, “the Ukrainian side has not responded to the proposals that we transmitted to them,” Lavrov went on, adding “There has been complete silence” ever since. “If the Ukrainian side shows understanding that it is still necessary to conclude some agreements, we are ready for this. But they showed no such desire.” It’s unclear what proposal was advanced by Kiev, but Lavrov said the talks were ended soon after the “provocation in Bucha,” referring to a series of alleged Russian war crimes in the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital. Though the minister dismissed the charges, claiming the atrocities were ‘staged,’ evidence has emerged indicating Russian soldiers were behind a number of grisly executions in the city. The allegations have yet to be probed by an impartial investigator.

While Kiev has previously signaled that it would be open to a diplomatic settlement, its rhetoric has become increasingly bellicose, with President Volodymyr Zelensky vowing to achieve a full military victory over Moscow earlier this week. Ukraine’s Western allies, meanwhile, have at times discouraged negotiations altogether, while simultaneously funneling billions of dollars in heavy weapons into the chaotic warzone.

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Will, not could.

Record Diesel Prices Could Lead To Food Shortages In US, Farmers Warn (NYP)

Record-setting prices on diesel fuel, coupled with soaring inflation and the ongoing war in Ukraine, could lead to food shortages in the US, farmers warned. “For so long, we’ve enjoyed lots of food in this country, so we’ve never ever faced a food shortage and I think that’s coming in the coming months,” John Boyd Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association, said during an interview on NewsNation’s “On Balance” with Leland Vittert on Monday. Average diesel prices in the US Monday reached $5.70 per gallon, representing a $2.40 increase compared to the same period last year. Farmers disproportionately rely on diesel to fuel their tractors and other heavy machinery used to plant and harvest crops, burning up to thousands of gallons a month, depending on the size of their operation.


Feeling the pinch at the pump, farmers can decide to stop planting certain crops to save money on fuel, which, in turn, could result in higher food prices and even food shortages. During this week’s hearing on inflation held by the Pennsylvania House Republican Policy Committee, Kyle Kotzmoyer, a legislative affairs specialist for the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, offered a bleak outlook, describing the current situation on local farms as “teetering on the edge,” reported the Morning Call. “If the farmers cannot get crops out of the ground, then there is not food on the shelves,” the Farm Bureau aide explained. In Pennsylvania, average diesel prices Tuesday were $6.19 per gallon, up 75% compared to last year, AAA reported. Kotzmoyer said he has already heard of farmers opting to plant hay instead of corn or beans, because it is more economical.

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What is it, 2 1/2 years? Go f*ck a duck.

WHO Chief ‘Believes Covid Did Leak From Wuhan Lab’ (DM)

The head of the World Health Organisation privately believes the Covid pandemic started following a leak from a Chinese laboratory, a senior Government source claims. While publicly the group maintains that ‘all hypotheses remain on the table’ about the origins of Covid, the source said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), had recently confided to a senior European politician that the most likely explanation was a catastrophic accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, where infections first spread during late 2019. The Mail on Sunday first revealed concerns within Western intelligence services about the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where scientists were manipulating coronaviruses sampled from bats in caves nearly 1,000 miles away – the same caves where Covid-19 is suspected to have originated – in April 2020.

The worldwide death toll from the Covid pandemic is now estimated to have hit more than 18 million. The WHO was initially criticised for its deferential approach to China over the pandemic, as well as a willingness to accept Beijing’s protestations that claims of a laboratory leak were just a ‘conspiracy theory’. However, in the absence of any compelling evidence of ‘zoonotic’ spread – the process by which a virus leaps from animals to humans – it is now adopting a more neutral public stance. Dr Tedros updated member states on the pandemic this month, admitting: ‘We do not yet have the answers as to where it came from or how it entered the human population. ‘Understanding the origins of the virus is very important scientifically to prevent future epidemics and pandemics.

‘But morally, we also owe it to all those who have suffered and died and their families. The longer it takes, the harder it becomes. We need to speed up and act with a sense of urgency. ‘All hypotheses must remain on the table until we have evidence that enables us to rule certain hypotheses in or out. This makes it all the more urgent that this scientific work be kept separate from politics. The way to prevent politicisation is for countries to share data and samples with transparency and without interference from any government. The only way this scientific work can progress successfully is with full collaboration from all countries, including China, where the first cases of SARS-CoV-2 were reported.’

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Now ask why.

America Is The Only Country That Authorizes Covid Shots For Infants (Schachtel)

It appears that the United States just became the only country in the world to “vaccinate” babies and toddlers with COVID injections. Despite what you are reading in the press, the U.S. seems to be, as of Friday, the only country in the world to partake in experimental COVID therapeutics for infants. On Friday, the FDA authorized mRNA COVID shots (both Pfizer and Moderna) under emergency use authorization for children under 5 years old, all the way down to 6 months of age. As you’ll see in a moment, this is unprecedented anywhere in the world. The approval made its way through the halls of the federal bureaucracy, regardless of any studies showing a positive benefit for injecting young children with mRNA shots, which, even in adults, do not effectively prevent coronavirus infection.

Making matters worse, our deceitful corporate press is actively engaged in a cover up operation to make it seem like the new policy is not particularly unique, when in fact, it is exclusively unique. Many corporate press reports, in hailing the announcement, churned out stenography today that made a quick mention of the fact that “a dozen countries, including China, already vaccinate kids under 5.” But when you break down the data further, a true scandal arises. As of a couple weeks ago there were only 7 countries where kids under 5 were given COVID injections, though the WHO now claims that number is 12. The seven countries on record are: -Argentina -Bahrain -Chile -China -Cuba -UAE -Venezuela (the territory of Hong Kong, which uses the Chinese-made shots, is sometimes listed as the eighth country on record). But that’s only the beginning of the madness.


Venezuela and Cuba are the only countries that allow for COVID shots between the ages of two and three. The rest of the countries only go as young as three. Moreover, none of the nations are using mRNA. 5 out of 7 are using Chinese manufactured inactivated vaccines. Cuba and Venezuela are using the Cuban homebrew shot. And NONE of these countries are allowing for COVID shots between the ages of 6 months to two years, which means that the United States has become the only country in the world to allow for experimental COVID injections shots for babies and 2 year old toddlers.

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Yes, it can still get worse.

“This technology bypasses the inconvenience of recalcitrant citizens who may refuse to give consent.”

Contagious Vaccines: A Warning (Kheriaty)

For two decades scientists have been quietly developing self-spreading contagious vaccines. The NIH funded this research, in which either DNA from a deadly pathogen is packaged in a contagious but less harmful virus, or the deadly virus’s lethality is weakened by engineering it in a lab. The resultant “vaccines” spread from one person to the next just like a contagious respiratory virus. Only five percent of regional populations would need to be immunized; the other ninety-five percent would “catch” the vaccine as it spread person-to-person through community transmission. This technology bypasses the inconvenience of recalcitrant citizens who may refuse to give consent. Its advocates highlight that a mass vaccination campaign that would ordinarily take months of expensive effort to immunize everyone could be shortened to only a few weeks.

Scientists have already shown proof of concept in animal populations: in 2000, Spanish researchers injected seventy rabbits with a transmissible vaccine and returned them to the wild, where they quickly passed the vaccine on to hundreds more, reportedly stopping a viral outbreak. European countries are now testing the technology on pigs. In the wake of the covid pandemic, about a dozen research institutions in the U.S., Europe, and Australia are investigating the potential human uses for self-spreading vaccines. The federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), for example, is examining this technology for U.S. military to protect against the West Africa lassa fever, a virus spread by rats to humans. This project, it should be noted, does not require the consent of our military service men and women.

In 2019 the U.K. government began exploring this technology to address the seasonal flu. A research paper from Britain’s Department of Health and Social Care advised that university students could be an obvious target group: “They do not work so [vaccinating them] will not cause much economic disruption and most have second homes to go to, thereby spreading the vaccine.” Researchers admitted a contagious vaccine for an attenuated flu virus would cause some deaths but estimated these would be less than the original influenza virus. As the U.K. government report described: “Self-spreading vaccines are less lethal but not non-lethal: they can still kill. Some people will die who would otherwise have lived, though fewer people die overall.”

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Still afraid of Trump.

Tribe Declares Trump Committed Attempted Murder (Turley)

In past columns, we have discussed how Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe seems intent upon running through the entire criminal code in declaring clear evidence of every federal crime by former President Donald Trump and/or his family. In light of Tribe’s prior declarations of the long litany of criminal acts by Trump, the opening question of Burnett seemed almost rhetorical bordering on the comical: “From everything you have seen so far, including the hearing today that focused so much on Trump causing violence against Pence, do you believe the committee has proven that Trump himself knowingly committed crimes?”

Tribe responded: “Without any doubt, beyond a reasonable doubt, beyond any doubt, and the crimes are obvious. The most obvious was that he was ordering his vice-president to do what everyone in the room knew would be illegal, namely, exercise power to pick the next president. It would be very convenient if Al Gore could have picked himself as the next president in 2000, very convenient if Richard Nixon could have done it in 1960. “Ordering your vice-president to violate the law in order to stay in power is a very serious federal crime, but there are other crimes as well. One that occurred to several people today is attempted murder. You know, under the criminal code of the United States, the attempted murder of the vice-president is punishable by life imprisonment. What we saw with the president egging the crowd on, telling them that, basically, his own vice-president was a traitor while he knew that the mob had gallows waiting for him, that’s pretty serious stuff. You don’t have to go to law school to know that there’s something seriously criminal about that. There are other crimes that have been proven. Those are plenty to start with.”

It is a curious thing that these crimes “have been proven” but Trump has not been charged with them. After the riot, District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine announced that he was considering arresting Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani and U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks and charging them with incitement. So what happened to that prosecution? The failure of Racine to charge Trump was not due to any affection or loyalty to the former president. It was due to the paucity of direct evidence of a crime that would hold up in court.

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“..he remains controversial, tweeting that “the police kill” and promising to naturalise Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as French if he wins the election.”

French National Assembly Vote Decides Battle Between Macron And Left (BBC)

It’s not even two months since Emmanuel Macron was convincingly re-elected as president but he is already in a crunch election that could prevent him pushing through his reforms. French voters are going to the polls to decide who will control their National Assembly. Mr Macron beat the far right in April, but this time the challenge is harder. Far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon leads a left-green alliance that finished neck and neck with Macron only a week ago. They call themselves Nupes, which stands for New Ecological and Social Popular Union, and the polls suggest they could stop the president winning the 289 seats he needs for an outright majority. The centrist Macron alliance, Ensemble, portrays them as a “marriage of convenience” of Communists, Socialists, far-left Mélenchonists and Greens.

But Nupes have galvanised voters with a promise to fight spiralling prices, bring down the retirement age and tackle climate change. Green leaders and many green voters back them, accusing President Macron of doing little in the past five years. Sunday’s second round is almost entirely made up of run-off duels between two candidates, and almost half involve the two big alliances. Several ministers in the Macron government are battling to keep their seats and hold on to their jobs, and two of the toughest fights involve Europe Minister Clément Beaune and Green Transition Minister Amélie de Montchalin. Without an outright majority of 289 seats, Mr Macron will need the support of other parties to push through his big-ticket reforms, such as raising the retirement age, cutting taxes and reforming benefits. Pollsters suggest Ensemble will win 255-305 seats and Nupes 140-200.

While fighting for the presidency, Mr Macron rallied voters across the spectrum by presenting his main rival Marine Le Pen as an extremist and contrary to the republic’s values. With mainstream parties joining the Mélenchon alliance it has become harder to do that with this rival. President Macron has appealed to voters to give him a solid majority in the “superior interest of the nation”, while Russia’s war rages at the gates of Europe. Former Marxist Jean-Luc Mélenchon has long wanted France to leave Nato but says that is now not a priority. However, he remains controversial, tweeting that “the police kill” and promising to naturalise Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as French if he wins the election.

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Governed by criminals.

The Shameless Farce of UK Attempt to Send Refugees to Rwanda (NewYorker)

On Tuesday evening, a chartered Boeing 767 passenger jet, in a blue-and-white livery, waited in the summer sunshine on the tarmac of Boscombe Down, a testing site for military aircraft, in the South of England. The plane was scheduled to take off at 10:30 p.m. and fly to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, initiating a new arrangement in which the African country will process and house asylum seekers who have sought refuge in the United Kingdom.Priti Patel, Boris Johnson’s Home Secretary, has described the deal—which almost certainly breaches international law and will cost at least a hundred and twenty million pounds in the next five years—as a “first-class policy,” but, as with anything agreed to by Johnson’s government, it’s usually worth checking the small print. Officials said that there would be a hundred and thirty people on the first flight to Kigali.

But, after dozens of successful legal challenges, only seven asylum seekers were taken to the airbase. “I can’t say exactly how many people will be on the flight,” Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, told the media. “But the really important thing is that we establish the principle.” Around 7:30 p.m., the European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, ruled that one of the seven, an Iraqi man known as K.N., should be allowed to remain in the U.K. until three weeks after all his legal options were exhausted. K.N. had crossed the English Channel in a boat on May 17th. Three days after he was ordered to be sent to Rwanda, a doctor found that he may have been a victim of torture. The European court ruling prompted a wave of emergency appeals from the other six passengers.

At around 10 p.m., half an hour before the plane was due to take off, there was no one left to take to Rwanda. Later, the jet, which had been hired at a reported cost of five hundred thousand pounds, flew back to Spain. The U.K.-Rwanda Migration and Economic Development Partnership was signed in April. It immediately invited comparisons to a similar arrangement that existed, until 2017, between Israel and Rwanda and Uganda. In the three and a half years of that program, which was secret, around four thousand Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers were relocated from Israel to sub-Saharan Africa, where they promptly disappeared. (Between 2009 and 2017, Israel accepted a total of ten refugees from Eritrea and Sudan.)

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Two pieces from the Guardian on Assange. No publication has done more to hurt him.

Assange’s Extradition – War Criminals And Murderers, Rejoice (Oborne)

Murderers, torturers and war criminals will be toasting the British home secretary, Priti Patel, tonight. Her decision to approve the extradition of Julian Assange turns investigative journalism into a criminal act, and licenses the United States to mercilessly hunt down offenders wherever they can be found, bring them to justice and punish them with maximum severity. Julian Assange’s supposed crime was to expose atrocities committed by the US and its allies, primarily in Afghanistan and Iraq, during the war on terror. He shone a light on the systematic abuse dealt out to prisoners in Guantánamo Bay. He revealed the fact that more than 150 entirely innocent inmates were held for years without even being charged.

He published a video of helicopter gunmen laughing as they casually massacred unarmed Iraqi civilians in an attack that killed around 15 people, including a Reuters photographer and his assistant. The US declined to discipline the perpetrators of that atrocity. But they are pursuing Assange to the ends of the earth for revealing it took place. Once safely in US hands, it’s all but certain that Assange will spend the remainder of his life in jail. That’s because the US is determined to show that terrible reprisals lie in store for any reporter who runs a story based on US government documents. That’s why Daniel Ellsberg, the former US Marine Corps officer behind the Pentagon Papers revelations that exposed the secret US bombing of Cambodia and Laos, has said that he feels a “great identification” with Assange’s work.

Edward Fitzgerald, Assange’s lawyer, argued convincingly in court that Assange’s only crime is investigative journalism. For example, the US charge states that he tried to conceal “the source of the disclosure of classified records”. Every journalist worth her or his salt would do the same, but the US insists that Assange is guilty of espionage – and the British home secretary shamefully agrees. While it is true that Patel is an unusually authoritarian home secretary, I suspect that every recent holder of the office, Labour or Conservative, would have made an identical decision. Britain values beyond measure its security relationship with the US.

Judge Nap Assange

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Now they think they can benefit from a 180º. Talk about shameless.

The Guardian View On Julian Assange Extradition: A Bad Day For Journalism (G.)

The decision by Priti Patel, the home secretary, to extradite the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the US ought to worry anyone who cares about journalism and democracy. Mr Assange, 50, has been charged under the US Espionage Act, including publishing classified material. He faces up to 175 years in jail if found guilty by a US court. This action potentially opens the door for journalists anywhere in the world to be extradited to the US for exposing information deemed classified by Washington. The case against Mr Assange relates to hundreds of thousands of leaked documents about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, as well as diplomatic cables, which were made public by WikiLeaks, working with the Guardian and other media organisations.

They revealed horrifying abuses by the US and other governments that would not otherwise have been disclosed. Despite claiming otherwise, US authorities could not find a single person, among the thousands of American sources in Afghanistan and Iraq, who could be shown to have died because of the disclosures. Mr Assange, who has a reputation for being a brilliant but difficult character, has suffered enough. Until 2019 Met police had waited seven years for him to emerge from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Since then he has spent three years in Belmarsh high-security prison without being convicted of any crime. Mr Assange should have been given bail to be with his wife and their two young children. To keep track of him, the authorities could have insisted that he be electronically tagged and monitored.

The use of the Espionage Act to prosecute him should be seen for what it is: an attack on the freedom of the press. As the Knight First Amendment Institute’s Carrie DeCell wrote in 2019, when the charge sheet was published, “soliciting, obtaining, and then publishing classified information … [is] what good national security and investigative journalists do every day”. Ms Patel could have turned down the American request. Britain should be wary of extraditing a suspect to a country with such a political justice department. Her predecessor Theresa May halted the extradition proceedings of Gary McKinnon, who hacked the US Department of Defense. The UK could have decided that Mr Assange faces an unacceptably high risk of prolonged solitary confinement in a US maximum security prison

Assange eternal war

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Democracy dies in dumbness

 

 

 

 

Our health czar is getting mighty fat

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Mar 302022
 


Pablo Picasso The artist and his model 1926

 

Ukraine SitRep – Part II Of Russia’s Military Operation Unfolds (MoA)
Col Douglas Macgregor’s Updated Opinion on Ukraine-Russia Conflict (CTH)
Russia, Ukraine & the Law of War: Crime of Aggression (Ritter)
US Top Commander In Europe Forced To Rebut Latest Biden Remarks
You Will Pay In Rubles! No? (Denninger)
Why Saudi Arabia Won’t Abandon Dollars for Yuan (Lacalle)
America Is Dismantling The Pillars Of Its Own Empire – Saudi Editor (JPost)
Ontario Cop Charged For Posting Video Praising Truckers (TC)
Miranda Devine: ‘Dam Is About To Burst’ On Hunter Biden Scandal (Fox)
CIA Officer Who Signed Hunter Laptop Letter Claims Credit for Trump Loss (ET)
Obama, Hunter Biden Ties To Ukraine Biolabs Get Fresh Scrutiny (JTN)
Biden Got 255,000 ‘Excess’ Votes In Fraud-tainted Swing States In 2020 (WT)
Democrats Push Garland To Come Down On Uncooperative Trump Allies (Axios)

 

 

 

 

Turley
https://twitter.com/i/status/1509017039301660674

 

 

• “One U.S. official said they do not believe the reports of the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich was poisoned during peace talks in Ukraine. ”

• “This Bellingcat/WSJ poisoning story has got to be one of the biggest disinformation fails of the entire Ukraine war. Within a few hours it was denied by the U.S., Russia, Ukraine and by the fact that Abramovich himself was fine attending the peace talks in Turkey.”

 

• “Two anonymous US officials trying to subvert ceasefire negotiations between Ukraine and Russia. One tells CNN they are worried EU countries will “press Ukraine to accept a peace deal to end the fighting.”

 

 

Ukraine no longer has an army. What few units are left are encircled and fully isolated from each other.

Ukraine SitRep – Part II Of Russia’s Military Operation Unfolds (MoA)

Overview: The Russian military operation in Ukraine began with a rather small force of some 150.000+ men against a much larger (including reservist and territorial forces) Ukrainian force of some 400.000. The Russian force used maneuver warfare to fix the larger Ukrainian forces into place. It attacked on a large front and threatened major population concentrations, i.e. cities. The Russian operations started with the destruction of the Ukrainian command and control network. Over the last four weeks the Ukrainian navy, its airforce, its radars and air defenses and a huge number of its armored vehicles were destroyed. Throughout the last week fuel depots all over the Ukraine were attacked and destroyed over night. Ukraine’s large ammunition depots are gone.

Military production and repair facilities have likewise been destroyed. The Ukraine is no longer able to move large numbers of troops between the various fronts. Its army has lost its mobility. While this was ongoing threats to Kiev, Odessa and other large Ukrainian cities have held significant numbers of Ukrainian troops in place and prevented reinforcements to move to the east. There units from the Donetsk and Luhansk republics attacked the 60,000 strong main force of the Ukrainian army to keep it in place. This allowed Russian forces from Crimea and from the Russian border in the north to move into positions that will now enable them to envelope the east.

Details: 1/ The move east and west of Kiev was, as I have said for a while, a feint to fix mobile Ukrainian units around their capital city. The feint is no longer needed as the Ukrainian army has now lost its mobility. The Russian troops around Kiev and Chernigov will be mostly withdrawn probably up to Chernobyl where a part of them may take defensive positions while most of the units deployed around Kiev will be moved back to Belarus and Russia for new operations in eastern Ukraine.
2/ Fighting around Kharkiv is ongoing. Ukrainian counterattacks on that front have failed and the next phase of the war will see increased activities there.
3/ The move on the west side of the Dnjepr river towards the important industrial area of Kryvyi Rih and on to Dnipro has been relatively slow. The move on the eastern side of the Dnjepr towards Dnipro has been at the same speed. Note that the western and eastern parts of those fronts are at the same level. They are well coordinated. The next phase will probably see more movement on the eastern side of the river.
4/ There are still a few pockets of Azov fighters in Mariupol with the main units encircled in the vast Azovstal steelworks. They have little food and ammunition and the Chechen unites of the Russian army and national guard are working to dig them out. The Russian forces that encircled and stormed Mariupol are now freed up and will be moved to attack further north.
5/ Ukrainian forces at Mykolaiv have attempted counterattacks in the direction of Kherson. These have failed.

Prospects: The Russian command has decided to now concentrate on enveloping and destroying Ukraine’s main forces at the Donetsk front. These are the most heavy equipped and most experienced units of the Ukrainian army. Since last fall some 60,000 men had been assembled there for a full fledged war on Donetsk, an attack that the Russian operation successfully preempted. It will probably take a few days for the Russian forces to regroup and resupply for that next phase of the war. I expect it to start around the end of this week. The U.S. and Polish military are helping to smuggle small arms stuff through the western Ukrainian boarder. These are anti-tank missiles, old short range anti-air missiles as well as machine guns, mortars and ammunition.

This is equipment for a guerilla war against an occupation force. But except for the east and maybe some parts in the south the Russian forces do not plan to occupy anything. Those regions are steppe, very flat with little woods, where one can see an approaching enemy from miles away. It will be extremely difficult for a guerilla force to survive there. That is likely the reason why the Russian forces have done little to interrupt the arms smuggling into western Ukraine. (Those smuggled weapons will for years haunt the ‘western’ Europeans as they are certain to proliferate to right-wing extremist groups all over the continent.)

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Voice of reason.

Col Douglas Macgregor’s Updated Opinion on Ukraine-Russia Conflict (CTH)

Col Douglas Macgregor appears for an interview with Dave Smith on his “Part Of The Problem” podcast. Col Macgregor gives his status update on the Ukraine and Russian military along with some excellent background information on the U.S. cultural issues which are driving the U.S. position. Additionally, Macgregor overlays the economic battle both domestically and geopolitically with the currency war and talks about economic repercussions for the U.S., NATO countries, Ukraine and Russia. As noted by Macgregor when the Biden administration turned favorably toward Iran the Saudis immediately realized it was in their best interest to withdraw strategic support for the U.S. It’s a good interview that goes into much more depth than the average media appearance, and permits discussion of multiple facets of the conflict in/around Ukraine. The video is prompted to begin at 17:34 when the Ukraine discussion begins.

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Ukraine history started on Feb 24. That is convenient for the West.

Russia, Ukraine & the Law of War: Crime of Aggression (Ritter)

Concerns that any attempt to carve a doctrine of pre-emption out of the four corners of international law defined by Article 51 of the U.N. Charter would result in the creation of new rules of international engagement, and that that would result in the breakdown of international order were realized on Feb. 24. That is when Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing Article 51 as his authority, ordered what he called a “special military operation” against Ukraine for the ostensible purpose of eliminating neo-Nazi affiliated military formations accused of carrying out acts of genocide against the Russian-speaking population of the Donbass, and for dismantling a Ukrainian military Russia believed served as a de facto proxy of the NATO military alliance.

Putin laid out a detailed case for pre-emption, detailing the threat that NATO’s eastward expansion posed to Russia, as well as Ukraine’s ongoing military operations against the Russian-speaking people of the Donbass. “[T]he showdown between Russia and these forces,” Putin said, “cannot be avoided. It is only a matter of time. They are getting ready and waiting for the right moment. Moreover, they went as far as aspire to acquire nuclear weapons. We will not let this happen.” NATO and Ukraine, Putin declared, “did not leave us [Russia] any other option for defending Russia and our people, other than the one we are forced to use today. In these circumstances, we have to take bold and immediate action. The people’s republics of Donbass have asked Russia for help. In this context, in accordance with Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, with permission of Russia’s Federation Council, and in execution of the treaties of friendship and mutual assistance with the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic, ratified by the Federal Assembly on February 22, I made a decision to carry out a special military operation.”

Putin’s case for invading Ukraine has, not surprisingly, been widely rejected in the West. “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” Amnesty International declared, “is a manifest violation of the United Nations Charter and an act of aggression that is a crime under international law. Russia is in clear breach of its international obligations. Its actions are blatantly against the rules and principles on which the United Nations was founded.”

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“When initially asked Monday about this “training the Ukrainian troops” remark, Biden offered the dubious explanation that he was actually referencing he himself “being with and talking with the Ukrainian troops who are in Poland.”

US Top Commander In Europe Forced To Rebut Latest Biden Remarks (ZH)

In yet another awkward contradiction out of this US administration concerning Ukraine, which at this point seems to come almost daily, the head of US European Command was forced to issue a contrary explanation after Biden on Monday said multiple times that US forces are “helping train” Ukrainian troops in Poland. This triggered a rebuttal of the US Commander-in-Chief from Gen. Tod Wolters, who also serves as NATO’s supreme allied commander in Europe. On Tuesday Gen. Wolters denied that the US is currently training Ukraine forces in Poland. “I do not believe that we are in the process of currently training military forces from Ukraine in Poland,” the top general told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. He said further according to The Hill when pressed on Biden’s series of statements, which the White House had later sought to downplay as gaffes and merely lacking in nuance:

“There are liaisons that are there that are being given advice,” Wolters told Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), without elaborating further. “And that’s different than [what] I think you’re referring to with respect training.” But again, as we detailed earlier, Biden had actually asserted that American forces were training Ukrainians in Poland multiple times, strongly suggesting this was anything but “confusion” or a mere gaffe on the president’s part… National security adviser Jake Sullivan previously stated that the US currently has 10,500 troops in Poland, some of which the president visited over the weekend. Across Europe, Washington has bolstered its presence to the tune of 100,000 total troops. The U.S. has 10,500 troops in Poland as part of the 100,000 total that it has stationed across Europe, told reporters.

When initially asked Monday about this “training the Ukrainian troops” remark, Biden offered the dubious explanation that he was actually referencing he himself “being with and talking with the Ukrainian troops who are in Poland.” But it remains that not only his own advisers have had to offer repeat corrections, but now even the US head of European Command in Senate testimony. This goes beyond an awkward situation, but even into the realm of dangerous, given many of these walked-back remarks serve as a huge provocation to Russia (especially Saturday’s regime change statement fiasco from Warsaw).

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Cut off date is tomorrow.

“Since the imposing parties of said sanctions include the recipients of the gas this is legally and functionally the same as agreeing to pay $50,000 for a car and then getting in it and driving away after putting a stop payment order on the check.”

You Will Pay In Rubles! No? (Denninger)

“BERLIN — The Group of Seven major economies have agreed to reject Moscow’s demand to pay for Russian natural gas exports in rubles, the German energy minister said Monday. Robert Habeck told reporters that “all G-7 ministers agreed completely that this (would be) a one-sided and clear breach of the existing contracts.” He said officials from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada met Friday to coordinate their position and that European Union representatives also were present.” So what? It was also a breach of “contract” to seize property and money of both Russia and private citizens who happen to be Russian, the latter in particular being done without evidence presented that a crime has been committed for which such a forfeit is reasonably tied to the alleged crime.

I get it that nation states often thing of contracts and private property rights as “quaint”, say much less a basic right to life. After all war, by its nature, vitiates all such claimed pleasantries. The very nature of war means that once you take sides expecting anyone on the other side to do anything for you is rather foolish. This is the price that is exacted when you extend the concept of “trade blunting the will to use bullets” into not just voluntary associations but essential goods and services where you have no reasonable substitutes available. Of course the G7 nations can refuse to pay for their gas in Rubles and argue that such a demand is a unilateral breach of the agreements made with Russia.

However, the sanctions are a unilateral and prior breach of the same agreements by the G7, since the G7 agreed to pay for said gas, and with the sanctions in place the payment cannot be made. Since the imposing parties of said sanctions include the recipients of the gas this is legally and functionally the same as agreeing to pay $50,000 for a car and then getting in it and driving away after putting a stop payment order on the check. In the common vernacular that’s fraud. Nobody is going to let you get away with that if they can help it and, if you manage to get away with it once the second time you won’t get the car until you prove you can deliver to the other party good funds for both the new and the previous vehicle you stole by conversion.

Thus while Germany and other nations can refuse to pay in Rubles it is equally true that by breaching the covenant implied in all commercial transactions to deliver good funds in exchange for the good or service, which the G7 has done, the contract has been vitiated by the G7 and, in point of fact, Russia has delivered natural gas without being paid for the last month. There’s no reason for them to continue to do that and thus it is entirely reasonable for them to shut the pipelines down until the sanctions are lifted and every single Dollar or Euro due for the previously-delivered volume is safely in Russia and available for use. Just because Putin is a bastard doesn’t mean that, on this matter, he is not correct.

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Repeat.

Why Saudi Arabia Won’t Abandon Dollars for Yuan (Lacalle)

There are numerous articles mentioning that Saudi Arabia may use the yuan, China’s domestic currency, for its oil exports. How much does Saudi Arabia export to China? According to the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development, the kingdom’s main exports are to China ($45.8B), India ($25.1B), Japan ($24.5B), South Korea ($19.5B), and the United States ($12.2B). Exports of crude oil reached $145 billion in total. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter at $145 billion, and China the largest buyer at $204 billion, with 2019 figures. Saudi Arabia’s public accounts are exemplary. From a 4.8 percent deficit, the kingdom expects a surplus in 2022, and its ratio of public debt to GDP (gross domestic product) is 30.8 percent, one of the lowest in the world.

Does Saudi Arabia need to use the yuan at all? No. Its foreign currency reserves including gold stood at $472.8 billion in 2020 despite the pandemic-led slump in exports and oil demand. Is it under any pressure to change currency? Even less so. Its reserves comfortably cover its external debt, giving it an enviable level of stability compared to other OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) nations that have large trade and fiscal deficits. What would Saudi Arabia gain from using the yuan? Not higher exports to China. China needs its oil imports more than Saudi Arabia needs China’s domestic currency. There is no real evidence that exports to China would fall if Saudi Arabia continued to use the US dollar.

Yuan utilization in global transactions is very limited. Considering figures compiled by the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, Bloomberg noted that “activity in the renminbi, as the currency is also called, rose to its second-highest level ever in 2021.” However, that means a stubbornly modest 2.7 percent of the market versus the 41 percent of the dollar, which has held the top slot for decades. The euro is used in 36.6 percent of global transactions, the British pound in 5.9 percent—more than double the use of the yuan despite the United Kingdom’s being a much smaller economy—and the Japanese yen is used as much as the yuan at 2.6 percent.

More importantly, despite the large increase in importance of the Chinese economy globally, the yuan’s importance as a currency has barely improved from its high in 2015, when it reached the fourth spot. Why is the yuan only used in 2.7 percent of global transactions despite being 14 percent of the world’s GDP, and what happened in 2015? The yuan is the only currency issued by a global economic leader that has capital controls and fixed pricing. As such, any holder of the Chinese currency faces the constant threat of an abrupt devaluation and the inability to use the currency freely in payments. And that is exactly what happened in 2015. The Chinese central bank announced an aggressive devaluation.

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Iran. Saudi and Israel vs US.

America Is Dismantling The Pillars Of Its Own Empire – Saudi Editor (JPost)

The Saudi-US relationship is in the throes of a crisis. As a Saudi who went to college in the US, loves America and wants to see it strong, I am increasingly disturbed by the unreality of the American discussion about the subject, which often fails to acknowledge just how deep and serious the rift has grown. A more realistic discussion should focus on one word: “Divorce.” When President Barack Obama negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran, we Saudis understood him to be seeking the breakup of a 70-year marriage. How could we not? After all, the flaws in the deal are well known. It paves a path for Iran to a nuclear bomb. It fills the war chest of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has spread militias across the Arab world armed with precision-guided munitions to maim and kill people who formerly looked to America to help guarantee their safety.

This past weekend, Secretary of State Antony Blinken joined a conference in the Negev, hosted by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and attended by a number of Arab foreign ministers. Blinken used this occasion to paper over the rift that the nuclear deal has created by presenting an image of regional solidarity, but the region is not deceived. Sold disingenuously to the American public as an arms control agreement, the deal is an assault on the regional order that the United States established in the aftermath of World War II. Explicitly hostile to Saudi Arabia, to say nothing of America’s other greatest ally in the region, Israel, the deal replaces the former American-led regional security structure with a concert system in which Iran, backed by Russia and China, becomes America’s new subcontractor while America’s former allies—the Gulf States and Israel— are demoted to second-tier status.

Most importantly, to its authors, the deal takes the United States out of the business of containing Iran, which in response has further ramped up its attacks on regional peace and stability. Last Friday, as Blinken prepared for his trip to David Ben Gurion’s old kibbutz of Sde Boker, the Iranian-backed Houthi militia launched a rocket attack against Aramco in Jeddah. This attack was only the latest in a long series of brazen attacks that Iran has conducted, either directly from its own soil or indirectly through proxies. During the Obama and Biden administrations, Iran’s aggressions have been met with American calls for “de-escalation” and frequent blaming of the Kingdom for a conflict we did not seek with terrorists on our borders backed by Iran — a foreign power which the Biden administration is promising to enrich with hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief. Russia will also get a cut, which will no doubt go towards funding its war in Ukraine.

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If the Jan 6 committee can claim insurrection, so can Justin.

Ontario Cop Charged For Posting Video Praising Truckers (TC)

A Durham police officer who posted a video of herself speaking in support of the Freedom Convoy as it headed towards Ottawa is now facing charges under Ontario’s Police Services Act. Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) had originally announced they were investigating Constable Erin Howard in January after she posted the 1-minute video to a now-deactivated Twitter account. DRPS spokesperson Chris Bovie confirmed to True North on Tuesday that Howard is now charged under the Police Services Act with two counts each of discreditable conduct, insubordination and breach of confidence. Howard appeared in full uniform in the video on Jan. 24, the same day the Freedom Convoy’s western fleet headed through Alberta. In it, she called the truckers “true heroes” and said she would be in Ottawa to speak when they arrived.


“I’m just – I really wanted to give a shout-out to all the truckers. I think what you guys are doing is incredible. You’re fighting for rights and freedoms. And right now, it feels like we’re a little bit at war, and those rights and freedoms are at stake. So, you guys are honestly true heroes. What you’re doing is just incredible. I will be in Ottawa when you guys roll in. I’m going to be speaking on behalf of Police on Guard. And we are thrilled – thrilled and honoured – to be able to be there. I can’t wait to meet you guys. Hope to talk to a lot of you in person. Anyway, just wanted to give you guys a shout-out and some support, and keep rolling, and we’ll see you in Ottawa.”

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Let’s hope for transparency.

Miranda Devine: ‘Dam Is About To Burst’ On Hunter Biden Scandal (Fox)

Fox News contributor Miranda Devine reacted on “Outnumbered” Tuesday to the federal tax probe into Hunter Biden’s foreign business dealings gaining momentum as some media outlets begin to acknowledge the “bombshell” controversy surrounding his infamous laptop. MIRANDA DEVINE: That’s just another extraordinary mistruth from President Biden there. He did that throughout the campaign. He pretended that he knew nothing about his son Hunter’s overseas business dealings. There’s plenty of evidence on the laptop and Tony Bobulinski’s material and the material that Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson collected for their Senate investigation and are currently presenting to Congress — and I think they’re going to be doing that on a regular basis, to show links between Hunter Biden and Communist China.


There’s also evidence that Joe Biden financially benefited from Hunter Biden’s grift and his brother, Jim Biden’s grift, with these countries which are crucial to America’s national security interest. The lack of curiosity from most of the media is repellent and really corrupt. But I think the dam is about to burst. We have Hunter Biden looking at indictments coming out of that a grand jury in Delaware. You see The New York Times and The Washington Post are now sniffing around. They’ve admitted the laptop is real, and they have realized this is a bombshell story.

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“I take special pride in personally swinging the election away from Trump..”

CIA Officer Who Signed Hunter Laptop Letter Claims Credit for Trump Loss (ET)

One of the former CIA officers who signed a letter claiming stories about a laptop allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden were disinformation says he helped swing the 2020 election from former President Donald Trump. “I take special pride in personally swinging the election away from Trump,” John Sipher, who served for decades as a senior operations officer at the CIA, wrote in a recent post on Twitter. “I lost the election for Trump? Well then I fell [sic] pretty good about my influence,” he also wrote. Sipher and 50 other former U.S. intelligence officials signed the letter on Oct. 19, 2020, alleging that the effort to distribute its contents “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” despite not knowing whether the laptop was legitimate.

The letter was the core of a story from Politico that claimed the New York Post story on the laptop was “Russian disinformation.” The Post was the first to report on emails on the laptop, which was dropped off at a computer repair store and never picked up by then-candidate Joe Biden’s son, according to the store’s owner. While the FBI picked up the computer and a hard drive from the owner, the bureau’s apparent inaction in probing the matter prompted him to pass on a copy of the hard drive to a lawyer representing former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who in turn passed it on to the Post.

The Oct. 14, 2020, story about the emails came as some voters were still deciding whether to vote for Biden or Trump. The story was widely questioned by legacy news outlets, suppressed by social media platforms, and claimed to be part of a Russian effort, despite top officials like Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe saying there was no evidence that was the case. Sipher is one of the few former officials who signed the letter to respond to fresh questions about its contents, after more legacy outlets, including Politico, said they’ve confirmed it is legitimate. Sipher got into arguments with former acting DNI Richard Grenell and others on Twitter, where he later said his claims of helping Trump lose were sarcasm.

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The pot and the kettle. Difference is, the US does it in third countries.

Obama, Hunter Biden Ties To Ukraine Biolabs Get Fresh Scrutiny (JTN)

In August 2005, the U.S. entered into a little known agreement with Ukraine that included America aid to upgrade security at Ukrainian facilities in which microbes were kept. Now, almost 17 years later, questions about the deal – and the United States’ broader support for biodefense laboratories in Ukraine – have surfaced amid concerns about chemical or biological weapons being used in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Russian government has been claiming for weeks that the U.S. government is funding bioweapon labs in Ukraine, justifying its invasion as an effort to stop a joint American-Ukrainian plan to wage biological warfare against Russia. Chinese officials and state media have echoed the claims, which Andrew Weber, senior fellow at the Council on Strategic Risks, calls “utter nonsense.”

“It’s KGB-style misinformation that’s been going on for about 15 years,” he said Monday. One concern among analysts and U.S. officials is that Russia could be laying the groundwork for using chemical or biological weapons in Ukraine and giving itself plausible deniability by blaming Ukrainian labs. Experts and U.S. officials agree with Weber that Moscow’s accusations are unfounded, roundly dismissing them as propaganda. “Russia is inventing false pretexts in an attempt to justify its own horrific actions in Ukraine,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said earlier this month. Others have pointed out that no evidence exists to show Ukraine is working to produce weapons of mass destruction. Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testified earlier this month that “we do not assess that Ukraine is pursuing either biological weapons or nuclear weapons.”

United Nations High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu similarly said the international group is “not aware” of any biological weapons program in Ukraine. The U.S. and Ukraine are members of the Biological Weapons Convention, which prohibits such weapons. And the U.S. government has said both countries are in full compliance. Russia, however, is not in compliance and “maintains an offensive biological weapons program,” according to the State Department. Weber told Just the News the Russian government has three top-secret military laboratories conducting work on biological weapons that have never been visited or observed by outside inspectors.

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But you can’t talk about it.

Biden Got 255,000 ‘Excess’ Votes In Fraud-tainted Swing States In 2020 (WT)

President Biden received hundreds of thousands of “excess” votes in Democratic-controlled areas in the 2020 election, according to an academic study on voter fraud that suggests the push to relax voting standards created new opportunities for electoral mischief. John R. Lott Jr., the man behind the research, teased out those numbers by comparing Democratic-dominant areas to Republican-dominant places over the past two presidential elections, particularly in places where claims of election fraud were reported in 2020. Looking at six swing states, the data he crunched found that voter turnout in Republican areas increased from 2016 to 2020 while voter turnout among Democrats dropped — except in places where voter fraud was claimed.

That accounted for 255,000 “excess” votes for Mr. Biden above what would be expected, Mr. Lott said. His paper has been accepted for publication in Public Choice, a peer-reviewed journal specializing in the intersection of economics and political science. “More heavily Democratic counties actually had a slightly lower turnout in 2020, except for counties where vote fraud was alleged. In those counties, you had a huge increase in turnout,” Mr. Lott told The Washington Times in an interview explaining his findings. “In some of those swing states, you had counties where vote fraud was alleged. In some of those swing states, you had counties where vote fraud wasn’t alleged. And yet you only had huge increases in turnout where vote fraud was alleged,” he said.

Taking another tack, Mr. Lott looked at specific voting precincts that touched each other but where one was inside a Republican-dominant county and the other inside a Democratic-leaning county where there were fraud accusations. He found that in-person voting for the neighboring precincts was about the same, but absentee or mailed balloting tilted toward Democrats in the Democratic precincts. Mr. Lott said there is no clear reason why absentee turnout alone should increase in just the Democratic jurisdiction, which suggests shenanigans were afoot. “You’re comparing two tiny areas that are very homogenous, very similar to each other, across the street from each other, and the thing that differs from these two, for the absentee ballots, is where the ballots were counted,” the researcher said.

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“I told you I would not tell the Justice Department what position to take or not take, and I’m not going to instruct the Congress, either..”

Democrats Push Garland To Come Down On Uncooperative Trump Allies (Axios)

Democratic lawmakers are openly pressuring Attorney General Merrick Garland to bring the weight of U.S. law enforcement against members of former President Trump’s inner circle they’ve deemed uncooperative with the House’s investigation of the Jan. 6 attack. The House select committee is seeking to compel or punish Trump loyalists who don’t comply with the investigation, while Republicans are preparing to win back control of Congress in November — and end the probe. The pressure campaign is putting President Biden on a collision course with his own party. Distinguishing himself from Trump, who Democrats lambasted for pressuring Justice Department officials during his White House years, Biden has pledged to ensure Garland operates independently of politics. “I told you I would not tell the Justice Department what position to take or not take, and I’m not going to instruct the Congress, either,” he told reporters on Monday.

During a meeting Monday night at which the select committee recommended House contempt votes against former Trump aides Dan Scavino and Peter Navarro, Reps. Elaine Luria (D-Va.), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) all called on Garland to act. Luria said the Justice Department “must act swiftly,” adding: “Attorney General Garland, do your job so that we can do ours.” On Tuesday Schiff told reporters it’s important for the Justice Department to act quickly and decisively to enforce the committee’s prerogatives because “we’re trying to prevent another Jan. 6. … We feel a sense of urgency and we hope the department does also.” Schiff said the cases against Navarro and Scavino are “pretty clear cut,” so “it shouldn’t be that difficult for the department to act.”

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who chairs the select committee, was asked Tuesday about committee members’ frustrations with the Justice Department’s pace. He replied: “I’m in agreement with my members.”

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Nov 122020
 
 November 12, 2020  Posted by at 7:28 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  7 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Dans l’atelier 1954

 

 

“There is nothing in Afghanistan worth the life of a single American soldier.”

– Douglas Macgregor

 

I’m having a bit of a problem finding the right format for this essay. I want to highlight a whole number of quotes, but I also would like you to read the original setting they came from. Please bear with me.

CNN: “A Pentagon spokesman confirmed Wednesday that retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor “will be serving as a Senior Advisor to the Acting Secretary of Defense. Mr. MacGregor’s decades of military experience will be used to assist in the continued implementation of the President’s national security priorities.”

Also CNN: “Macgregor once advocated for the use of lethal force against unarmed migrants [..] and has made a litany of racist comments.”

I must admit even my encyclopedic brain had never heard of Macgregor, and I’m sure most of you hadn’t either, but I’m taking a liking to the man. “The use of lethal force against unarmed migrants” sounds bogus off the bat, that’s “Putin eats babies” territory, and accusing someone of “a litany of racist comments” without naming even one, doesn’t do it for me either.

And even then. The man wants to bring US troops home. Oh wait, but that’s why you accuse him of all these unsubstantiated “facts”. Gotcha. What I do know is for instance this Nov 6 2019 interview Macgregor did with Tucker Carlson, in which he sounds like a reasonable yet worried man. And while opinions may differ on how big of a threat drug cartels may be to the US, his view appears to have its merit.

 

 

Macgregor Nov 6 2019 interview with Tucker Carlson
https://twitter.com/i/status/1192276635426279424

 

 

But then the press come in. We can’t have troop withdrawals (though a vast majority of Americans wants to bring the troops home). So let’s start by labeling Macgregor “divisive”. What does that mean? That he doesn’t agree with “official” military policy. What is that policy? Warmongering. Keeping troops in Afghanistan for 18 years. If Biden ever becomes president, will he bow to that policy and start sending US troops back in?

This here is from Axios. And all I can think is: what ever happened to journalism? My comments below.

Divisive Pentagon Hire May Rush Troop Withdrawals Before Trump’s Exit

President Trump’s newly installed acting Pentagon chief is bringing on a senior adviser in a sign the administration wants to accelerate the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Middle East before the end of his presidency in January, three people familiar with the move told Axios. A senior administration official says a wave of firings at the Pentagon and the hiring of Ret. Army Col. Douglas Macgregor is in part a settling of Trump’s personal scores — but senior White House officials also have made clear “they want them more publicly to talk about getting out of Afghanistan by the end of the year.” Trump, who ran in 2016 on a promise to bring U.S. troops home, is frustrated with the slow pace of withdrawing troops from the Middle East, another senior administration official said.

The president has told advisers on numerous occasions he wants troops home from Afghanistan by Christmas.In a 2019 interview with Fox’s Tucker Carlson, Macgregor said he would advise the president to get out of Afghanistan “as soon as possible,” including removing the U.S. embassy from Kabul, and that talking to the Taliban was unnecessary. Macgregor also said the U.S. needs to pull its troops out of Syria immediately and America had no national interest there. He said, “We need to listen very carefully to the Iranians … find out what their interests are and look for areas where we can cooperate” and that the U.S. needs to “turn the operational control of the [Korean] Peninsula militarily over to President Moon and the Koreans.”

The Pentagon, in a statement to Axios, confirmed Macgregor has been hired as a senior adviser to acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller. It said Macgregor’s “decades of military experience will be used to assist in the continued implementation of the President’s national security priorities.” Since Joe Biden became president-elect, Trump has refused to concede the race — but he’s also moved rapidly this week to fire top officials in the Pentagon’s civilian leadership. That includes Mark Esper, as well as the former Defense secretary’s chief of staff and other high-level officials in charge of intelligence and policy. He is replacing them with those perceived as loyal to him.

Macgregor, a decorated combat veteran, is a Trump loyalist and regular Fox News commentator. He’s known for his questioning of conventional Army leadership and decision-making , including strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as his extreme rhetoric about Muslims and undocumented immigrants. He was passed over earlier this year for the Pentagon’s top policy job amid reports Esper had concerns about him.

 

 

Let’s see:

the hiring of Ret. Army Col. Douglas Macgregor is in part a settling of Trump’s personal scores

Personal scores as in how and what? As in not wanting to accept his own failed effort to bring the troops home, the effort that’s been frustrated for four years running now? And that he may be trying to correct as we speak?

Trump, who ran in 2016 on a promise to bring U.S. troops home, is frustrated with the slow pace of withdrawing troops from the Middle East

Of being frustrated by being frustrated with the pace at which his orders and wishes as commander in chief have been executed?

The president has told advisers on numerous occasions he wants troops home from Afghanistan by Christmas.

How, pray tell, is that not a good thing? Why on earth would you want to present it as such? Asking for 320 million friends.

Since Joe Biden became president-elect, Trump has refused to concede the race

Biden is not the president-elect. Not one single state has so far certified its election results. It is bogus and you know it. Cut the nonsense. You have no clothes on.

He’s known for his questioning of conventional Army leadership and decision-making

Isn’t that part of a healthy process, that you question “official” policies which put the lives of young Americans at risk, that you do that every single moment of every single day, because those lives are precious and valuable? In my book, this is a big plus for the man. As it should be for every single American.

He was passed over earlier this year for the Pentagon’s top policy job amid reports Esper had concerns about him.

And that’s why Esper is gone. He was one more wrong choice Trump was led into. And yeah, Trump shares the blame for that.

 

 

Moving on to CNN’s comment on the Macgregor nomination. Mostly the same as that from Axios, with some added BS. Again, my comments below:

Trump Administration Installs Advocate For Quick Afghanistan Withdrawal At Pentagon

An ardent opponent of the US military’s presence in Afghanistan who once called for the use of lethal force against illegal immigrants and has made a litany of racist comments has been made a senior adviser at the Pentagon. A Pentagon spokesman confirmed Wednesday that retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor “will be serving as a Senior Advisor to the Acting Secretary of Defense. Mr. MacGregor’s decades of military experience will be used to assist in the continued implementation of the President’s national security priorities.” Macgregor’s appointment is the latest in a series of sweeping changes at the Pentagon that has put defense officials on edge and fueled a growing sense of alarm among military and civilian officials, who are concerned about what could come next.

Four senior Pentagon officials have been fired or have resigned since Monday, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper who was fired in a tweet by President Donald Trump, Esper’s chief of staff and the top officials overseeing policy and intelligence. The moves will likely only add to the sense of chaos within the Pentagon following Trump’s firing of Esper, which came two days after his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, was projected as the winner of the presidential election — a conclusion that Trump has refused to accept. Esper was replaced by Christopher Miller, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

Those who assumed new roles included controversial retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, who moved into the Pentagon’s top policy role, taking over the duties of James Anderson, who resigned Tuesday, according to another US defense official. Macgregor has been a vocal opponent of the US military’s mission in Afghanistan and has called for a total withdrawal of US troops and the American Embassy despite the continued presence of terrorist groups there.

Knowledgeable sources told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday that the White House-directed purge at the Defense Department may have been motivated by the fact Esper and his team were pushing back on a premature withdrawal from Afghanistan that would be carried out before the required conditions on the ground were met, and other pending security issues.

US military officials have long stressed that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan is conditions based, with those conditions including the Taliban’s breaking its ties to al Qaeda and making progress in peace talks with the Afghan government, two conditions that have yet to be met. But despite the lack of progress, the Trump administration has already substantially reduced US troops in the country by more than 50%, bringing the number of US military personnel there down to about 4,500, the lowest levels since the earliest days of the post 9/11 campaign.

Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, has advocated for a more accelerated withdrawal from Afghanistan irrespective of conditions on the ground, something made more feasible by the installation of White House loyalists in senior defense posts. He has also called for an immediate end to the US military effort in Syria, where a small number of US troops back the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in their fight against ISIS.

Macgregor once advocated for the use of lethal force against unarmed migrants to deter illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America. He was nominated by Trump this summer to be the ambassador to Germany but faced fierce opposition for his remarks uncovered by CNN’s KFILE. KFILE reviewed dozens of radio and television interviews with Macgregor and found he often demonized immigrants and refugees. He warned Mexican cartels were “driving millions of Mexicans with no education, no skills and the wrong culture into the United States, placing them essentially as wards of the American people.” He repeatedly advocated instituting martial law at the US-Mexico border and to “shoot people” if necessary.

He has also called for an immediate end to the US military effort in Syria, where a small number of US troops back the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in their fight against ISIS. He also said that Eastern Ukrainians are “Russians” on the Russian state-controlled TV network RT in 2014 after Russia tried to annex Crimea and began an ongoing war with Ukraine over the territory — positions not supported by the European Union and United States.


He lamented that the US government intervened against Serbian forces, who engaged in ethnic cleansing and war crimes, during the Kosovo War in the 1990s to “put, essentially, a Muslim drug mafia in charge of that country.”

Yeah, Bill Clinton’s intervention in former Yugoslavia was a highlight of US politics and intervention for the good of all mankind.

 

 

Again, let’s see:

An ardent opponent of the US military’s presence in Afghanistan who once called for the use of lethal force against illegal immigrants and has made a litany of racist comments

Pretty sure he was talking about the cartels, not unarmed people. But yeah, prove me wrong. And let’s see some of those racist comments.

Macgregor has been a vocal opponent of the US military’s mission in Afghanistan and has called for a total withdrawal of US troops and the American Embassy despite the continued presence of terrorist groups there.

Oh, get a life. It’s been 18 years and dick all has been accomplished. The country has always only ever been the CIA’s opium factory, providing the funds for its most secretive operations. You will find it in the thesaurus under “bottomless pit”.

the White House-directed purge at the Defense Department may have been motivated by the fact Esper and his team were pushing back on a premature withdrawal from Afghanistan

Again, yes, exactly. Why would a president leave someone in place whose policies contradict his own, who refuses to follow his orders?

US military officials have long stressed that the US withdrawal from Afghanistan is conditions based

Yeah, sure, and who decides what those conditions are? They themselves do. But there is still only one commander in chief.

despite the lack of progress, the Trump administration has already substantially reduced US troops in the country by more than 50%

That is, the progress towards the military’s “conditions”, not the progress towards their commander-in-chief’s goal of bringing the troops home.

Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, has advocated for a more accelerated withdrawal from Afghanistan irrespective of conditions on the ground

Like him already.

Macgregor once advocated for the use of lethal force against unarmed migrants to deter illegal immigration from Mexico and Central America.

That’s quite a slanderous accusation if you have no examples. All I’ve seen is his comments on drug cartels who push people into the US.

He also said that Eastern Ukrainians are “Russians”

Oh, now we’re getting into Russiagate. How convenient. Why don’t we ask the Eastern Ukrainians themselves how they feel, or, you know, look at their history?

He lamented that the US government intervened against Serbian forces, who engaged in ethnic cleansing and war crimes, during the Kosovo War in the 1990s to “put, essentially, a Muslim drug mafia in charge of that country.”

And just like that, he’s right again. Coincidence, or you think maybe he understands more than you do, and has more knowledge of the whole shebang? You know, being a 30-year veteran an all that? Or would you rather put your faith into a “journalist” at Axios or CNN?

Me, personally, I think about the families of the US troops stationed in the Middle East, and who want nothing more than to have their young loved ones home for Christmas. Alive and in one piece. Douglas Macgregor and Donald Trump may yet make that happen. But you have bigger interests and vistas in mind, you want to say?

 

 

 

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Tucker Macgregor Afghanistan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1326630978824007681

Macgregor Tucker May 1 2018

 

 

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