Apr 232024
 


Gustav Klimt The Park 1909

 

Alina Habba Rages As Judge Approves Trump’s $175 Million Bond (ET)
Will Trump Testify? (Victoria Taft)
Trump Urges “Peaceful Protest” As Day 1 In Hush-Money Case Ends (ZH)
Trump Sold-Out His Base to Shovel $95 Billion to Ukraine and Israel (Whitney)
Supreme Court Denies Bid to Expand No-Excuse Mail-In Ballots in Texas (ET)
Biden Targets Radical IDF Unit With Sanctions to Placate His Voters (Sp.)
US Forced Israel To Abandon Larger Attack On Iran – NYT (RT)
Will Zionism Self-Destruct? (Alastair Crooke)
US Goes ‘Slippery Slide’ With Sending Its Military Personnel to Ukraine (Sp.)
The Bad Faith Olympics (Kunstler)
Polish President Rejects Own PM’s ‘Pre-war’ Warning (RT)
Biden Fears RFK Jr. as He Gets on Another Ballot (Sp.)
Michael Brenner: The Moral Depravity of Western Imperialism (Sch.)
No, It Does Not Matter Why the Man Lit Himself on Fire (Turley)

 

 

Still trying to understand this.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1782508137582608427

 

 

Bannon
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782461540442263664

 

 

Something Amazing is Developing with this Presidential Immunity SCOTUS Case…

Mike Davis:
— Can the Trump 47 Justice Department charge Obama for Capital Murder for murdering 2 Americans in a drone strike?
— Can the Trump 47 Justice Department charge Biden for the illegals pouring into the US, and their resulting crimes?

What to do? What to do? Trump says he should have “ABSOLUTE Immunity” . “Absolute” is the key word here… As it stands, the Constitution does say a President has Absolute Immunity from many lawsuits (not all)… BUT…. Trumps case is under legal dispute to determine whether or not a President has immunity from CRIMINAL Liability or Prosecution. No President in history has ever been charged for a crime, as the Constitution currently stands. A major precedent will be set with this SCOTUS ruling this Thursday… I believe this ruling may be closing some loopholes to go after others.. The wordage is going to be very very important.

 

 

Tulsi Kamala 2019

 

 

Tucker Ukr

 

 

Zel

Zel 2006

 

 

Founding Fathers

 

 

 

 

“…in one hour, that judge and the attorney general realized they had no idea what they were talking about… and we came to an agreement that everything would be the same…”

Alina Habba Rages As Judge Approves Trump’s $175 Million Bond (ET)

Former President Donald Trump and New York Attorney General Letitia James reached an agreement on April 22 regarding his $175 million bond in his New York civil case, imposing additional restrictions while resolving concerns about the funds’ security. The attorney general argued that Knight Specialty Insurance Company (KSIC) lacked a “certificate of qualification” and that President Trump still had access to the Charles Schwab account pledged to the insurer as collateral. Judge Arthur Engoron accepted the April 22 agreement, which gave KSIC exclusive control over the account. The state made the offer after Chris Kise, President Trump’s attorney, provided oral argument. The attorney general established five bond conditions this morning that allow President Trump to use a non-New York company as a traditional license surety to cover the $175 million he was ordered to pay.

KSIC is unauthorized by the New York Department of Financial Services, which bond experts have said is a victory for President Trump. “[The company] is probably charging Trump less and they accepted a pledge rather than actually receiving $175 million in cash,” Bruce Lederman, a commercial and real estate litigator who has dealt in bonds for more than 40 years, said. All of President Trump’s attorneys agreed to the settlement stipulations, which are expected to be memorialized by the end of the week. The five bond conditions include retaining the collateral in a Schwab account and restricting KSIC from trading or withdrawing any of the funds for anything other than payment of the bond. “The state was not looking to be vindictive,” Mr. Lederman told The Epoch Times. “They are looking simply to be guaranteed that they are geting paid if they win the appeal, and they were sufficiently satisfied that if these five conditions were met, they would get paid.”

[..] President Trump defended the bond outside the courtroom at his criminal trial. “We put up cash and the number is 175,” President Trump said. “She shouldn’t be complaining about the bonding company. The bonding company would be good for it because I put up the money. I have plenty of money to put up.” After the hearing, President Trump’s lawyer in the case, Alina Habba, fumed at the judge’s incompetence, “he doesn’t even understand basic principles of finance,” and at AG James’ “this is where your taxpayer dollars are going America…witch hunt after witch hunt after witch hunt…” Habba continued to excoriate the whole farce: “…in one hour, that judge and the attorney general realized they had no idea what they were talking about… and we came to an agreement that everything would be the same…”

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“The media have called this case a “hush money” case, but one of our crafty commenters called it the Hush Trump case. Touche’.

Will Trump Testify? (Victoria Taft)

Will Donald Trump testify at his New York City at the Hush Trump bookkeeping trial? Testimony is underway in the trial of former President Trump, who is charged with a bookkeeping issue of misreporting payments in 2017 as legal fees instead of campaign expenses. His overarching crime, by the Manhattan district attorney’s lights, is a federal election crime, which boils down to Trump stealing the 2016 election. Hillary Clinton won New York in 2016 by a nearly two-to-one margin, so clearly this trial is on the up-and-up. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg dredged up this trial from the dead after federal elections officials and the previous DA as well as Bragg himself declined to bring this case years before. But after Biden’s DOJ parachuted in a Trump specialist attack dog to go after the former president, the Democrats decided to throw everything against the wall to prevent him from being reelected.

Former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr, who can’t stand the former president, calls this case an “abomination… obviously political …and a real threat to liberty.” Better late than never, Bill. He’ll be out with his 2020 observations by, hmmm, let’s say next year. The witness list is out, and the first person to take the stand in this non-televised drama will be the former publisher of the National Enquirer, who paid porn performer Stormy Daniels money for exclusive rights to her story and then killed it. That’s not a crime, but it will dovetail nicely with the prosecution’s index horribilis that they will use as distractive chaff from this “abomination.” The Enquirer paid Daniels $150,000 while Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, who will also testify, paid her $130,000. Trump personally paid Cohen for his legal activities by more than doubling the amount and giving him a $60K spiff for his legal services.

This is the “crime” for which Trump is dragged through the courts. Since it has been, as the lawyers like to say, “bootstrapped” to an unspecified federal elections crime (which the feds said wasn’t a federal elections crime) it has suddenly gone from a civil case to a criminal case. Robert Costello, Cohen’s former attorney, will testify for the defense, according to the witness list. Trump is not on the witness list, but a defendant can always decide if he wants to testify during the trial. Trump has told the world he will testify. “I don’t know, I’m testifying. I tell the truth. I mean, all I can do is tell the truth,” he said recently. “And the truth is,” he continued, “that there’s no case, they have no case.” Last week he answered “yes” when a reporter yelled the question as he entered the Manhattan courthouse. One of Trump’s appellate attorneys, Will Scharf, told CNN recently that he thinks if he decided to testify Trump would do well. “If the jury decides based on the facts and the law, there’s no way President Trump can be convicted,” he said. Scharf says Trump “would be a compelling witness” if he chooses to testify.

In the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial, Trump testified for less than four minutes. One can imagine the cross-examination of Trump by prosecutors using the list of bad acts that have nothing to do with his case, getting him flustered and angry and showing the jury what a bad guy he is. Trump can be cool and calm, but they’ll do everything they can to rattle him on the stand, obviously. The media have called this case a “hush money” case, but one of our crafty commenters called it the Hush Trump case. Touche’. When a judge shuts up the defendant but not the other trial participants you can’t help but wonder if the fix is in. Where else will you read that in this censorious media world that we’re living in?

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“His entire financial livelihood depends on President Trump’s destruction,” he said of Mr. Cohen. “You cannot make a serious decision about President Trump relying on the words of Michael Cohen.”

Trump Urges “Peaceful Protest” As Day 1 In Hush-Money Case Ends (ZH)

Day one of former President Donald Trump’s so-called “hush-money” trial concluded early on Monday after Judge Juan Merchan said that an alternate juror can visit a dentist appointment (despite previously telling Trump he would have attend every day without fail – missing his son’s graduation – or face jail). Judge Merchan had previously planned to adjourn the trial at 2 p.m. ET due to the Passover holiday. But he said Monday that it would adjourn at 12:30 p.m. He previously said he would end at 2 p.m. on Tuesday for the holiday. Jack Phillips reports, via The Epoch Times, that the early adjournment came after prosecutors and defense lawyers make their respective cases for why the former president should be convicted or acquitted. In the case, President Trump is accused of falsifying business payments during the 2016 campaign by allegedly paying a former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to bury negative stories.

At issue were claims from an adult film performer, Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, that she was engaged in a relationship with the former president. President Trump has denied her claims and has pled not guilty. An attorney for the former president spoke to the jury, asking them to “use your common sense” when they assess the case. “We’re New Yorkers. It’s why we’re here,” Todd Blanche said. “There will be a very swift not guilty verdict” if they decide based on the evidence involved, he said. “You told all of us, you told the court, you told me, you will put aside whatever views you have of President Trump,” Mr. Blanche told the jury as he wrapped up his arguments. “The 34 counts, ladies and gentlemen, are really just pieces of paper,” Mr. Blanche said of the indictment. “None of this was a crime.”

Mr. Blanche was critical of Ms. Clifford, saying that she has earned income and fame from her allegations about an alleged affair that occurred in 2006. “She also wrote a book. She was paid for a documentary,” Mr. Blanche says of Ms. Clifford, adding that courts have sided with President Trump’s legal disputes with Ms. Clifford. As for Mr. Cohen, Mr. Blanche accused him of profiting off his criticism of President Trump. “His entire financial livelihood depends on President Trump’s destruction,” he said of Mr. Cohen. “You cannot make a serious decision about President Trump relying on the words of Michael Cohen.” “He has a goal, an obsession with getting President Trump,” Mr. Blanche said of Mr. Cohen, who is expected to be a witness. “I submit to you that he cannot be trusted.”

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Mike Whitney. A different view.

Trump Sold-Out His Base to Shovel $95 Billion to Ukraine and Israel (Whitney)

The man who is most responsible for the $95 billion giveaway to Ukraine and Israel, is the same guy who pretends to oppose America’s “wasteful” foreign wars. Donald Trump. It was Trump who consulted with Speaker Mike Johnson about the contents of the Ukraine aid package, just as it was Trump who concocted the idea of issuing loans instead of dispersing the standard welfare handout. It was also Trump who said: “I stand with the Speaker, (Mike Johnson)” after which he added that Johnson is doing “a very good job.” A “good job”?? So, secretly collaborating with the Democrat leadership to push through a bill that “reauthorizes FISA to spy on the American people without a warrant, (bans Tik Tok) fully funds Joe Biden’s DOJ that has indicted President Trump 91 times, and giving Biden’s political gestapo a brand new FBI building bigger than the Pentagon,” while not providing a dime to protect the southern border from the swarms of people entering the country illegally, is doing a “good job”?

The question we should all be asking ourselves is why has Trump decided to participate in this scam? He keeps saying that if he was president, he’d end the war in Ukraine in a day. If he’s sincere about that, then why did he collaborate on a bill that will drag the war out for another year or two? This is from a Twitter post by political analyst Michael Tracey: “Mission Accomplished. It is done: Donald Trump and the House GOP just completed one of the most epic swindles in political history, with Trump personally effectuating the largest-ever dispersement of Ukraine funding through his emissary, “MAGA Mike Johnson” (as Trump lovingly calls him) The $61 billion passed this afternoon is likely enough to underwrite the brutal, pointless trench warfare for at least another year or two. This after the same old endless media screeching that Trump and MAGA Republicans were being brainwashed by Putin and would never fund Ukraine. That fundamental hoax continues — only this time Trump was in on it…. Michael Tracey, Twitter.

And the response from Luca Cabrilo: “Michael you’re 100% spot on. Trump could have at any point killed this monstrous bill if he wanted to, but he didn’t. He even let MAGA Mike go on TV and say that he and Trump are “100% agreed” on the Ukraine funding Trump screwed his base on this one, no other way about it.” Michael Tracey again: “He didn’t just “not kill it,” he personally facilitated its passage..” Here’s more background from Tracey: “The bill, designed after consultations between Mike Johnson and Trump, mysteriously gives the President the ability to forgive the purported “loan” to Ukraine — immediately after the November election…

And if that’s not brazen enough for you, here’s the catch: The funds eligible for “loan forgiveness” are the direct budgetary infusions to Ukraine — meaning the money that pays for the salaries of Ukrainian government workers and so forth — NOT the military “aid,” which comprises the vast majority of the package. So, only $8 billion of the $61 billion allocated to Ukraine is even *eligible* for “loan forgiveness” under the terms of this gargantuan bill. And even that was a fake “loan” to begin with — it never had to be paid back at all!

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“..in the long run, we need the French model: Everybody votes on the same day, everybody has a photo ID, everybody’s accounted as a person..”

Supreme Court Denies Bid to Expand No-Excuse Mail-In Ballots in Texas (ET)

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a legal challenge to a Texas law that requires voters under the age of 65 to provide justification to vote by mail, meaning that the Democrat-aligned attempt to sharply expand “no-excuse” mail-in ballots in the Lone Star state has failed, with implications for other states. According to an April 22 order list, the high court denied petition for a writ of cetriorari in a case that stems from a federal lawsuit filed in 2020 on behalf of the Texas Democratic Party and several voters who requested that Texas lift its age-based limitations on no-excuse mail-in voting. Texas law only allows individuals to vote by mail without a qualifying excuse, like sickness, if they are 65 years or older. In their original complaint, which made its way through a number of lower courts before ending up before the Supreme Court, the petitioners alleged that the Texas voting law violates the 26th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits denying the right to vote due to age.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the appeal means that the Texas law stays in place, delivering a win to election integrity advocates who argue that no-excuse mail-in voting is prone to fraud and makes elections less secure. At the same time, the high court’s decision to deny certiorari is a setback for groups who see laws like Texas’s age-based limits on no-excuse mail-in ballots as “voter suppression” or an unfair attempt to impose barriers to voting for certain groups, in this case younger voters. The high court’s decision not to hear the appeal has broader implications, however, since six other states–Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee–have similar laws on the books that let older voters to request absentee ballot without having to provide any justification. Public opinion in Texas over the issue of no-excuse mail-in voting is split, according to some polls.

In their initial petition filed in 2020 on behalf of the Texas Democratic Party and a group of voters amids the COVID-19 pandemic, the plaintiffs requested that Texas lift its age-based restrictions to no-excuse mail-in voting, citing public health risks related to the outbreak. A district court judge sided with the plaintiffs in May 2020, temporarily blocking the Texas law. Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Texas officials then filed an appeal with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which paused the district court’s ruling while the appeal played out. The plaintiffs then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reimpose the district court’s decision to freeze enforcement of the age-based limits to no-excuse mail-in voting, or to take the case up for review, but the high court rejected both requests.

Ultimately, the 5th Circuit voided the lower court’s May 2020 order in full. This led the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint in the district court, this time asserting other claims, including ones of racial discrimination under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and arguing that the age limitations on mail-in ballots violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th and 26th Amendments. In a July 2022 order, the district court judge dismissed all of the plaintiffs’ claims, leading to another appeal before the 5th Circuit, which ultimately affirmed the district court’s decision to dismiss. The plaintiffs filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court in December 2023, asking the high court to declare Texas’s age-based voting law unconstitutional.

[..] The Supreme Court ruling comes amid a broader fight between those who see election integrity efforts as “voter suppression” and those who believe that the security of U.S. elections is too lax and should be tightened. According to a running tally by the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice, expansive voting laws far outpaced restrictive ones in 2023. At least 53 expansive voting laws were introduced last year in at least 23 states, compared to 17 restrictive laws being passed in 14 states, suggesting that the election integrity movement is falling behind. Amid concerns over voter fraud, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently suggested that to win the presidential election in November, Republicans need to outvote Democrats by a significant margin. “Everybody who wants an honest election should know that in the long run, we need the French model: Everybody votes on the same day, everybody has a photo ID, everybody’s accounted as a person,” Mr. Gingrich said in a February interview on Fox News.

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All else remaining equal…

Biden Targets Radical IDF Unit With Sanctions to Placate His Voters (Sp.)

Axios reported Saturday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken is planning to imminently announce sanctions against the IDF’s Netzah Yehuda battalion, with the measures expected to stop the battalion’s fighters from being able to receive US military assistance and training. Officials confirmed the looming sanctions to the Times of Israel, indicating on Monday that other Israeli military and police units accused of human rights abuses may also be targeted. However, one of Axios’s sources said others will not be affected after being probed and deemed to have “remedied their behavior” in unspecified ways. The US investigation into Netzah Yehuda goes back to before the current Palestinian-Israeli escalation, with the State Department starting a probe of the unit in December 2022 after troops were caught engaging in violence against Palestinian civilians. One such incident led to the death of a 78-year-old Palestinian-American man.

“Sanctions must not be imposed on the Israel Defense Forces,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Saturday, assuring that his government would “act by all means against these moves.” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant echoed Netanyahu’s sentiments, heaping praise on Netzah Yehuda and assuring that its soldiers operate “in accordance with the values of the IDF and in accordance with international law.” Gallant warned that even if the infantry unit was the only one targeted by sanctions, it would cast “a heavy shadow on the actions of the IDF” and affect “the entire defense establishment.” The Israeli military moved the Netzah Yehuda battalion – which consists mostly of ultra-Orthodox and hardcore Zionist forces, out of the West Bank and away from contact with the Palestinians in late 2022, but no actions were taken to punish members suspected of human rights abuses. Gallant said the unit has been used in Israel’s operation “to dismantle Hamas brigades in Gaza” after last fall’s escalation.

It’s not clear what impact the sanctions will have. The US has donated tens of billions of dollars in military equipment to Israel (including $26 billion in a tranche approved by the House of Representatives on Saturday), and it’s unclear how Washington plans to keep track of weaponry to assure that it doesn’t fall into the Netzah Yehuda battalion’s hands. Netzah Yehuda is a distinct unit within Israel’s armed forces in that it’s made up almost entirely by radical Zionists, Dr. Simon Tsipis, a Tel Aviv-based international relations expert, told Sputnik, commenting on the US plans These forces have “an aggressive attitude toward the Palestinians, and there have been many cases of the violation of the rules of war, aggression toward civilians who live around these Jewish settlements” in the West Bank, the observer explained, noting that this aggression stems from the fighters’ Zionist perspective that all Palestinians are “direct enemies.”

As far as the US administration’s sanctions plans, “this is an attempt to kill two birds with one stone,” Tsipas believes. In the first place, sanctions are designed “to create the appearance of punishing Israel,” he said, with Biden and the Democrats seeking desperately to regain “at least part of the Arab and Muslim vote” in the upcoming election amid the president’s plunge in the polls. The restrictions are not meant to weaken Israel’s military capabilities overall, Tsipis stressed, suggesting the decision to target Netzah Yehuda signals the Democrats’ displeasure with Netanyahu’s hard-right Zionist and religious right coalition. “This is a blow to Zionism as an ideology, not an attempt to influence Israel so that it stops, suspends or is otherwise unable to continue its military operations in the Gaza Strip, or even the [potential] upcoming war with Iran,” the observer said.

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“Israeli and American officials stressed that Washington wanted West Jerusalem to avoid provoking Iran into an escalating series of tit-for-tat strikes and counterstrikes..”

US Forced Israel To Abandon Larger Attack On Iran – NYT (RT)

Israeli leaders planned a “much more extensive counterstrike on Iran” after Tehran launched a drone and missile barrage on Israel last weekend, but were pressured to pare down the operation by the US and its allies, the New York Times reported on Monday. Israel targeted Iran with a handful of drones and air-launched missiles on Friday, according to US officials and anonymous Israeli sources who spoke to the newspaper. While Western officials believe that an Israeli missile hit an Iranian airbase, Tehran has only acknowledged being attacked with small quadcopter drones, with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian describing the aircraft as “children’s toys” that were easily shot down. West Jerusalem initially intended a much wider wave of strikes targeting military sites across the country, including near Tehran, anonymous Israeli officials told the outlet.

However, the US, UK, and Germany exerted “concerted diplomatic pressure” on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and forced him to settle for a more limited response, the officials said. Such a response “avoided significant damage, diminishing the likelihood of an escalation,” the New York Times reported. The Israeli military has not commented on the report, and has stuck to its usual policy of refusing to confirm or deny strikes on foreign soil. The latest round of escalation between Israel and Iran began on April 1, when an Israeli airstrike allegedly hit the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital of Damascus. The strike killed seven officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, including two high-ranking generals. Tehran warned that it would retaliate, and two weeks later launched multiple waves of missiles and kamikaze drones at Israel. Most of the Iranian projectiles were intercepted, but with more than 300 drones fired, air defenses were overwhelmed and multiple missiles reached their target, damaging an Israeli air base.

Netanyahu initially planned immediate retaliatory strikes, but was talked out of it during a phone call with US President Joe Biden, the New York Times reported last week. In both last week’s report and Monday’s, Israeli and American officials stressed that Washington wanted West Jerusalem to avoid provoking Iran into an escalating series of tit-for-tat strikes and counterstrikes. The plan appears to have succeeded. “As long as there is no new adventurism by Israel against our interests, then we are not going to have any new reactions,” Amirabdollahian stated on Saturday. With some of Netanyahu’s hardline political allies criticizing the supposedly “lame” response, the officials who spoke to the New York Times insisted that the strikes demonstrated “the breadth and sophistication of Israel’s military arsenal,” the paper paraphrased.

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“Iran’s missiles were able to penetrate directly into Israel’s two most sensitive and highly defended air bases and sites. Behind the whooping western rhetoric lies Israeli shock and fear. Their bases are no longer ‘untouchable’. ”

Will Zionism Self-Destruct? (Alastair Crooke)

In the summer following Israel’s 2006 (unsuccessful) war on Hizbullah, Dick Cheney sat in his office loudly bemoaning Hizbullah’s continuing strength; and worse still, that it seemed to him that Iran had been the primary beneficiary from the U.S. 2003 Iraq war. Cheney’s guest – the then Saudi Intelligence Chief, Prince Bandar – vigorously concurred (as chronicled by John Hannah, who participated in the meeting) and, to general surprise, Prince Bandar proclaimed that Iran yet could be cut to size: Syria was the ‘weak’ link between Iran and Hizbullah that could be collapsed via an Islamist insurgency, Bandar proposed. Cheney’s initial scepticism turned to elation as Bandar said that U.S. involvement would be unnecessary: He, Prince Bandar, would orchestrate and manage the project. ‘Leave it to me’, he said. Bandar separately told John Hannah: “The King knows that other than the collapse of the Islamic Republic itself, nothing would weaken Iran more than losing Syria”.

Thus began a new phase of attrition on Iran. The regional balance of power was to be decisively shifted towards Sunni Islam – and the region’s monarchies. That old balance from the Shah’s time in which Persia enjoyed regional primacy was to be ended: conclusively, the U.S., Israel and the Saudi King hoped. Iran – already badly bruised by the ‘imposed’ Iran-Iraq war – resolved never again to be so vulnerable. Iran aimed to find a path to strategic deterrence in the context of a region dominated by the overwhelming air dominance enjoyed by its adversaries. What occurred this Saturday 14 April – some 18 years later – therefore was of utmost importance. Despite the bruhaha and distraction following Iran’s attack, Israel and the U.S. know the truth: Iran’s missiles were able to penetrate directly into Israel’s two most sensitive and highly defended air bases and sites. Behind the whooping western rhetoric lies Israeli shock and fear. Their bases are no longer ‘untouchable’.

Israel also knows – but cannot admit – that the so-called ‘assault’ was no assault but an Iranian message to assert the new strategic equation: That any Israeli attack on Iran or its personnel will result in retribution from Iran into Israel. This act of setting the new ‘balance of power equation’ unites the diverse Fronts against the U.S.’ “connivance with Israeli actions in the Middle East, that are at the core of Washington’s policy – and in many ways the root-cause of new tragedies” – in the words of Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Ryabkov. The equation represents a key ‘Front’ – together with Russia’s war against NATO in Ukraine – for persuading the West that its exceptionalist and redemptive myth has proved to be a fatal conceit; that it must be discarded; and that deep cultural change in the West needs to happen. The roots to this wider cultural conflict are deep – but finally have been made explicit. Prince Bandar’s post-2006 playing of the Sunni ‘card’ was a flop (in no small part thanks to Russia’s intervention in Syria).

AndIran, has come in from the cold and is firmly anchored as a primary regional power. It is the strategic partner to Russia and China. And Gulf States today have switched focus instead to money, ‘business’ and Tech, rather than Salafist jurisprudence. Syria, then targeted by the West and ostracised, has not only survived all that the West could ‘throw at it’ but has been warmly embraced by the Arab League and rehabilitated. And Syria is now slowly finding its way to being itself again. Yet even during the Syrian crisis, unforeseen dynamics to Prince Bandar’s playing of Islamist identity versus Arab socialist secular identity were playing out:

I wrote then in 2012: “Over recent years we have heard the Israelis emphasise their demand for recognition of a specifically Jewish nation-state, rather than for an Israeli State, per se”; – a state that would enshrine Jewish political, legal, and military exceptional rights. “[At that time] … Muslim nations [were] seeking the ‘undoing’ of the last remnants of the colonial era. Will we see the struggle increasingly epitomised as a primordial struggle between Jewish and Islamic religious symbols – between al-Aqsa and the Temple Mount?” To be plain, what was apparent even then – in 2012 – was “that both Israel and its surrounding terrain are marching in step toward language which takes them far away from the underlying, largely secular concepts by which this conflict traditionally has been conceptualised. What [would] be the consequence – as the conflict, by its own logic, becomes a clash of religious poles?”

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“I’m not quite sure how big the US embassy is in Kiev, but I doubt it’s enough to set up a maintenance workshop for, I don’t know, Abrams tanks or something like that..”

US Goes ‘Slippery Slide’ With Sending Its Military Personnel to Ukraine (Sp.)

Troops from the US and other NATO countries will be in Ukraine fighting Russian troops within a year, security and international relations expert Mark Sleboda predicted on Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Monday. “We (The United States) were at trainers and advisers and CIA and special forces [in Ukraine], and now already, we’re at logistics and maintenance personnel. It’s quite clear where this is going,” Sleboda began. “US troops and [troops] from several other NATO member states will most likely be on the ground in Ukraine fighting the Russians within a year.” On Saturday, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that includes $61 billion earmarked to support Ukraine, however, Sleboda explains that it will not have a major effect on the battlefield. “It will, maybe, slow Russian forces down a little bit. That’s the extent of what the $61 billion [will do].

And, in another six months or perhaps a year, they’ll be back, demanding more from the US taxpayer to try to prop up the Kiev regime a little longer.” One underreported aspect of the bill is that a large portion of it is going towards replenishing US weapon stockpiles and not weapons that will end up on the battlefield in Ukraine. “I would say, that of the $61 billion, actually only $14 billion of that is going to go to Ukraine for direct military aid and weapons,” Sleboda explained. “It sounds like a lot of money, it’s really not considering that just one Patriot battery of 6 to 8 launchers costs more than $1 billion, and they’ve already lost several of them.” The Patriot surface-to-air missile system is considered the most advanced anti-aircraft system in Ukraine’s arsenal. However, the first confirmed Russian destruction of a Patriot system occurred back in May 2023. Since then, several more have been taken out, including two last month.

The reports of an increased US presence in Ukraine were presented as “they’re going to be working out of the US embassy,” in Kiev, Sleboda said, but that assertion is far from reality, he argued. “I’m not quite sure how big the US embassy is in Kiev, but I doubt it’s enough to set up a maintenance workshop for, I don’t know, Abrams tanks or something like that,” Sleboda jokes. “So it almost certainly means that these US troops will be out and about in Ukraine, probably not too far from the front line. And you can certainly see the slippery slide. While the aid shows that, despite some hype in the media, the US is not “giving up on Ukraine,” Sleboda notes that it doesn’t change the calculus for the Russian government, who expected the aid to pass last year after US President Joe Biden requested it in August. “You already have Ukrainian military commanders speaking anonymously, of course, to the Financial Times, saying that this isn’t actually going to change much,” Sleboda recounted.

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“Very soon, Ukraine will be reduced to medieval living conditions — no lights, no phones, no Internet, no shopping, no ability to conduct modern warfare. End. . . of. . . story.”

The Bad Faith Olympics (Kunstler)

Did it warm your heart to see all those blue and yellow Ukrainian flags waved by our elected officials in Congress Saturday night with the passage of the $60-plus-billion aid bill to the Palookaville of Europe? You realize, don’t you, that the tiny fraction of that hypothetical “money” — from our country’s empty treasury — that ever reaches Ukraine will rebound on the instant into Mr. Zelensky’s Cayman Islands bank account. The rest of the dough enters the recursive shell-game between US weapons-makers and the very hometown folks in Congress waving those blue and yellow flags, who will receive great greasy gobs of fresh “campaign donations” from the grateful bomb and missile producers. No wonder they’re cheering. What the $60-plus-billion won’t do is provide any fresh arms and equipment to Ukraine’s sad-sack army soon enough to prevent Russia from bringing this cruel, stupid, and unnecessary war, which we started, to a close.

Yes, we started it, not Russia, in 2014 with our Intel blob overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych in the so-called “Maidan Revolution of Dignity” (what Wikipedia calls it). And for what reason? To jam Ukraine into NATO as a prelude to “weakening” Russia sufficient to bust it up and gain control over Russian oil, ores, and grain. Yes, that was actually the neocon’s game, equal parts megalomania and hubris, a fiasco as strategically ill-fated as Hitler’s push to gain control of Russia’s oil fields via Stalingrad in 1942-3. With failure and humiliation looming in Ukraine, the blob’s objective for now, in theory, is the vain hope of prolonging the hostilities just long enough to get its hologram president, “Joe Biden” re-elected, so that said blob can continue its amoebic digestion of what’s left uneaten by it in our sore-beset republic. You’ve got to wonder, of course, what this blob thinks will remain to rule over when it’s done gobbling up everything and jailing everyone from sea to shining sea who objects.

You tell me what conceivable way Ukraine can prevail in this proxy war now without just tripping off the civilization-ending nuke exchange? America does not have enough tactical missiles and artillery shells at hand to send over there. What we did have is gone. NATO never had much to begin with. Ukraine has run out of available cannon-fodder to conscript from its dwindling population. Despite Mr. Macron’s recent bluster, NATO can’t raise a credible army, or even agree on which country would send what. Nobody is riding to the rescue. Instead, Russia is fortifying its home-grown armaments industry and its military while systematically turning off the electricity all over Ukraine by blowing up the power stations. Very soon, Ukraine will be reduced to medieval living conditions — no lights, no phones, no Internet, no shopping, no ability to conduct modern warfare. End. . . of. . . story.

This is apt to play out much faster than America’s blob-controlled news media will be able to lie about. I’d guess it can be functionally over before mid-summer. The result will be yet another humiliation on the “Joe Biden” scorecard. When it’s over, you can be sure the Russians will abstain from an end-zone dance so as not to provoke America’s genius-losers into some final petty grand act of requital. Russia will just soberly declare what is self-evident: that for centuries Ukraine has been in its sphere-of-influence, as Mexico is in ours, and that they have reestablished the natural order of things in that corner of the world.

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Tusk and Duda don’t belong together.

Polish President Rejects Own PM’s ‘Pre-war’ Warning (RT)

There is no imminent threat of a military conflict breaking out in Europe, Polish President Andrzej Duda has said, contradicting the country’s prime minister. Late last month, Donald Tusk claimed that the continent was in a “pre-war era.” The prime minister argued at the time that “literally any scenario is possible.” Tusk also warned that “no one in Europe will be able to feel safe” if the West fails to provide Ukraine with enough weapons, allowing Russia to prevail in the conflict. When asked whether he shared the prime minister’s grim outlook during an interview with Poland’s Fakt media outlet on Monday, Duda replied in the negative.

“If we act responsibly, and we are acting responsibly so far, there will never be a war, because we will always be powerful enough to not be worth attacking,” he said. According to the Polish president, credible deterrence helped the West to prevent the Cold War from turning into a military confrontation. He suggested that the West today should emulate this strategy by arming up. He also said his country was ready to host the nuclear weapons of NATO allies as part of a sharing scheme within the bloc if such a decision were made. Earlier this month, UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps echoed Tusk’s assessment, claiming that “we have moved from a post-war to a pre-war world.” He argued that the West needed to beef up its defense spending.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell also subsequently stated that the “possibility of a high-intensity conventional war in Europe is no longer a fantasy.” Moscow has repeatedly denied having any intention of attacking NATO member states. Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed such claims as “nonsense,” suggesting that Kiev’s backers were using the supposed threat of a Russian attack to “extract additional expenses from people, to make them bear this burden [of funding Ukraine] on their shoulders.”

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“RFK Jr. has been even more of a staunch supporter of Israel than Biden or Trump. In December, he said that Palestinians are arguably “the most pampered people by international aid organizations in the world.”

Biden Fears RFK Jr. as He Gets on Another Ballot (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden’s campaign and the DNC are upping their efforts to stop the presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., including opening up a department dedicated to stopping the independent’s campaign. On Friday, the Biden campaign released an ad featuring several members of the Kennedy family endorsing the President over their relative who is running for the same spot. Fifteen members of the Kennedy family have also publicly endorsed Biden. Additionally, according to US media, the Biden campaign has been dumping opposition research and claiming in press conferences that a vote for RFK Jr. is a vote for former President Donald Trump. They have also been challenging RFK Jr.’s ballot access, like in Hawaii where their efforts were shot down by a judge on Saturday.

Democrats have long blamed third-party candidates for their election failures. In 2000, Green candidate Ralph Nader was blamed for George W Bush’s victory over former Vice President Al Gore, despite more registered Democrats in Florida voting for Bush than Nader. Then in 2016, Green candidate Jill Stein was blamed by Democrats for Trump’s 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton, despite the Libertarian candidate (and former Republican governor) Gary Johnson far outperforming Stein. Nevertheless, Democrats are worried yet again about third-party candidates, particularly since Kennedy is already on the ballot in four swing states: Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada and North Carolina. Kennedy has qualified for nine ballots so far. “There will be a clear choice facing voters this November and the more they learn about RFK Jr, the more they will recognize that a vote for him is a vote for Donald Trump,” Matt Corridoni, a spokesperson for the DNC, told US media.

But polling data and Kennedy’s donor list don’t seem to back that up. In a recent national poll, Trump leads Biden by 2% in a two-way race, 46% to 44%. But when the race is expanded to include Kennedy, Green candidate Jill Stein and former Bernie Sanders surrogate Cornel West, Trump’s lead flips, with Joe Biden leading 39% to 37%. Kennedy receives 13%, Stein grabs 3% and West pulls in 2%. The poll also notes that 15% of people who said they would vote for Trump in a two-way race say they would vote for Kennedy, compared to just 7% of Biden supporters who switched to Kennedy when given the chance. Meanwhile, an analysis of Kennedy’s donor list revealed that he has received roughly $224,000 in donations from donors who gave to Trump’s 2020 campaign, compared to $105,000 that came from supporters of Biden’s 2020 campaign.

Despite these metrics, Trump and his campaign have treated Kennedy with a lighter touch. Trump previously said he likes him personally. He also seems to be working on making Democrat fears that Kennedy will siphon off votes from Biden become a reality. In March, Trump called Kennedy the “most Radical Left Candidate by far” in the 2024 race and slammed his support of environmental issues. “I guess that would mean that RFK Jr. is going to be taking away votes from Crooked Joe Biden. And he should because he is actually better than Biden. He’s much better than Biden. If I were a Democrat, I’d vote for RFK Jr. every single time over Biden,” Trump said in the video.

However, one group of disaffected former-Biden voters who will likely not be voting for RFK Jr., are the ones upset with the Biden administration for its support of Israel and its campaign in Gaza Sixty-nine percent of young Democratic voters disapprove of Biden’s handling of the war, and RFK Jr. has had some good polling numbers among young voters in the past. However, RFK Jr. has been even more of a staunch supporter of Israel than Biden or Trump. In December, he said that Palestinians are arguably “the most pampered people by international aid organizations in the world.”

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“..mass psychosis of government leaders who consistently make global decisions through a distorted lens completely detached from reality..”

Michael Brenner: The Moral Depravity of Western Imperialism (Sch.)

Professor Michael Brenner joins this episode of Journalists for Sale to discuss the moral emptiness of Western empire, most visibly expressed through its unequivocal support of the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza. Brenner details how this depravity manifests not only in the form of mass slaughter and total disregard for human life, but also through mass psychosis of government leaders who consistently make global decisions through a distorted lens completely detached from reality. Only this can explain their escalations in Ukraine at every turn, their “acknowledgement” of Palestinian life yet total complicity in its destruction and the mass censorship being imposed upon dissidents by the ruling class, most recently at the University of Southern California. Brenner’s wealth of knowledge and impressive ability to articulate the philosophical implications of this ongoing lunacy form a unique analysis one can’t quite get anywhere else but from the man himself.

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“..as lay persons, most of us would hazard to say that it is not “normal” or “valid” to set oneself on fire in a protest..”

No, It Does Not Matter Why the Man Lit Himself on Fire (Turley)

The scene outside of the New York courthouse holding the Trump trial has become a microcosm of our deep political divisions and rage this month. Images of citizens screaming at each other from across security barriers have played out nightly on news programs. But few were prepared for what occurred Friday night, when a man threw flyers in the air, poured a flammable liquid on himself and lit himself on fire. Some immediately rushed to use the incident to fuel their own rage. On the far left, postings and comments declared MAGA supporters were lighting themselves and “MAGA Terrorist just set himself on fire.” For many, it seemed a fact too good to check. Even after the police and fire officials explained that the material distributed by the man did not seem to relate to the trial, journalists pushed for a connection to the pro-Trump protesters. Officials reported that the flyers concerned wacky conspiracy theories related to schools and other matters.

Max Azzarello, 37, of Florida worked briefly for Rep. Tom Suozzi (D., N.Y.), but has a criminal record of property offenses that included throwing a glass of wine on a photo of Bill Clinton. We know little of his political views beyond his conspiracy obsessions. However, does it really matter? What should be clear is that he was a deeply disturbed individual. Yet even self-immolation may no longer be treated as per se evidence of mental illness. In today’s politics, even setting yourself on fire can be rationalized. An event was held recently at UCLA in which two psychiatrists appeared to rationalize self-immolation in the cause of people in Gaza. Ragda Izar and Afaf Moustafa were reportedly discussing the self-immolation in front of Israel’s embassy of airman Aaron Bushnell in February to protest Israeli policies. It was referred to as a “revolutionary suicide” on the panel on “Depathologizing Resistance.”

UCLA’s Izar stated that Bushnell “carried a lot of distress…but does that mean that the actions he engaged in are any less valid?” She suggested that it is “normal to be distressed when you’re seeing this level of carnage [in Gaza].
Moustafa is quoted as saying that “Psychiatry pathologizes non-pathological…reactions to a pathological environment or pathological society. It’s considered illness to choose to die in protest of the violence of war but perfectly sane to choose to die in service of the violence of war.” There have been a few prominent historical self-immolations in protest, including the famous case of Thich Quang Duc, who burned himself alive to protest the Vietnam War in 1963. However, as lay persons, most of us would hazard to say that it is not “normal” or “valid” to set oneself on fire in a protest.

The dividing line between rage and reason has always been contextual. In my forthcoming book, “The Indispensable Right: Free Speech in an Age of Rage,” I discuss how we have faced regular periods of rage in our history. How one views rage depends largely on the underlying viewpoint. This country was born in rage with the Boston Tea Party, where a riot with massive property damage is celebrated as a moment of liberation. Yet even self-immolation may now be viewed as somehow valid when used to oppose Israeli policies or other “distressful” realities. If Azzarello was motivated by his view of a conspiracy among educators or Trump’s trial, would his self-immolation also be viewed as valid?

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Trump SNL

 

 

RFK Autism
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782611008713806295

 

 

David Martin

 

 

Wind

 

 

Kate
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782425377094455494

 

 

Dog is not impressed
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782645630227173683

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 312024
 


Titian Christ Carrying the Cross 1565

 

Why Americans Have Little To Smile About These Days (Bridge)
Trump Pushes Legal Challenges In Two Cases (BBC)
We Need A Ceasefire In Ukraine – Orban (RT)
‘Odessa Will Fall’, Musk Warns Ukraine (RT)
Ukraine Was Testing Ground for Western Big Pharma (Sp.)
Money Transfers Proof That Crocus Terrorists Followed Orders From Ukraine (Sp.)
US Marines Struggle to Adapt to Fighting Adversary That Can Fight Back (Miles)
Biden Claims Saudi Arabia, Qatar ‘Ready To Normalize’ With Israel (Cradle)
Israel Believes Only 60-70 Out Of 134 Hostages Are Still Alive (ZH)
The Never-Ending Federal Surveillance Crime Spree (Bovard)
Republicans Score Win In Court Battle Over Pennsylvania Mail-In Ballots (ET)
Behind Massive Mail-in Ballot Push Is a Little-Noticed Executive Order (ET)
Judge Rebukes DOJ Arguments Against Release Of Jan. 6 Defendant (ZH)
$935 Diabetes Jab Ozempic Costs Less Than $5 To Make (ET)
Why is $BCH So Hot Right Now? (Kim Dotcom)

 

 

How Joe Biden chooses to celebrate the resurrection of Christ.

 

 

Maher Trump

 

 

Habba

 

 

 

 

Mike Davis Fani

 

 

DeSantis

 

 

Lie
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773809245504278628

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Not since the Civil War period have the American people witnessed such stark political divisions, and it seems to be just a matter of time before the Blue and Gray battle fatigues are back in style..”

Why Americans Have Little To Smile About These Days (Bridge)

From a sputtering economy and high inflation to a lack of trust in political leadership, Americans are expressing displeasure with many facets of their daily lives. In the annual World Happiness Report, the United States plunged eight places to 23rd, a historic low for the land famous for its pearly white smiles. It’s the first time since the report launched back in 2012 that the US did not feature among the world’s 20 happiest countries. So what’s dragging Americans down? Perhaps the best place to start is with the economy, which has left many people in the dust as the rich just keep getting richer. Consumer prices for basic grocery items remain above what they were in January 2021, when President Joe Biden assumed office. Prices for chicken (+26%), bread (+30%), sugar (+44%), and butter (+27%) are enough to trigger many shoppers, while a simple trip to a restaurant has become a rare luxury for many financially strapped consumers. Meanwhile, rent costs have surged by 20% over the same period.

Amid this sticker shock at the checkout line, Americans have also expressed a heavy amount of skepticism with the political system. A comprehensive Pew Research Center survey reveals high levels of dissatisfaction with the three branches of government, the Democratic and Republican parties, as well as the candidates for office. Among the findings, just 4% of US adults say the political system is working extremely or very well; another 23% report it is working somewhat well. About six in ten (63%) express not too much or no confidence at all in the future of the US political system. A growing proportion of Americans are expressing contempt for both political parties. Nearly three in ten (28%) express unfavorable opinions of both parties, the highest share in three decades of polling. And a comparable share of respondents (25%) do not feel well-represented by either party.

While trust in government has remained near historic lows for much of the last two decades, today it stands among the lowest levels dating back nearly seven decades. And now, three years after the January 6 protests at the Capitol Building, more Americans believe their country is heading for a political smash-up. According to a CBS/YouGov poll released in January, 49% of respondents expect some sort of violence in future political contests, like the upcoming showdown between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on November 4. Meanwhile, a full 70% agreed with the statement that American democracy is ‘threatened’. Not since the Civil War period have the American people witnessed such stark political divisions, and it seems to be just a matter of time before the Blue and Gray battle fatigues are back in style, albeit over entirely different issues.

The Democrats and Republicans are trapped inside of their own iron-clad echo chambers, where they are prevented from hearing their political opponents just across the aisle. This lack of a national dialogue, worsened by an overtly pro-liberal media, is what spawned the so-called insurrection on January 6, and could easily trigger a new bout of violence sometime down the road. Feelings of loneliness is another thing dragging Americans down. In May 2023, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called loneliness a “public health epidemic.” The latest Healthy Minds Monthly Poll from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) reveals that, early in 2024, 30% of adults said they have “experienced feelings of loneliness at least once a week over the past year, while 10% say they are lonely every day.”

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When you don’t take it as “News”, the MSM is a delight. Take the new Trump gag order, “barring Mr Trump from attacking court staff and their family members”. What happened is Judge Merchan’s daughter uses a pic of Trump behind bars as her avatar. But he cannot say now that that is inappropriate.

“Contrary to the People’s suggestion, the Court cannot ‘direct’ President Trump to do something that the gag order does not require..”

Another gem: “Ms Willis had described Mr Wade as a “trusted friend..”

Michael Cohen boinked Stormy Daniels and paid her for it using Trump’s money. When that ran out, he claimed it was “hush money”. The paper trail was already there. Does that sound about right?

Trump Pushes Legal Challenges In Two Cases (BBC)

Donald Trump’s attorneys pushed two legal challenges before Easter weekend. His camp is appealing against a verdict from a Georgia judge allowing Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to stay on an election subversion case. They also aim to stop the expansion of a gag order, limiting Mr Trump’s speech, in a New York hush money case. The Republican presidential nominee faces four legal cases, and these two are the most likely to be heard in court before the US elections. Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty in all the cases, and claimed he is being politically persecuted. Mr Trump and his co-defendants in the Georgia case, which accuses them of plotting to overturn the 2020 election, have alleged that Ms Willis financially benefitted from an improper romantic relationship with Nathan Wade – a prosecutor she hired to lead the case. Judge Scott McAfee – who is overseeing the case – held two weeks of chaotic hearings that included fiery testimony from Ms Willis.

She admitted to the relationship but denied benefitting from it financially. In the end, the judge sided with Ms Willis, though he said the relationship had the “appearance of impropriety” and demanded Mr Wade or Ms Willis step down. Mr Wade did so within hours. In a 51-page motion filed on Friday before the Georgia Court of Appeals, Mr Trump and eight of his co-defendants argued Ms Willis should also be removed – which would greatly delay the case or could lead to it being dismissed. Mr Trump and other co-defendants’ lawyers said Mr Wade’s resignation did not sufficiently address the “appearance of impropriety” that “cast a pall over these entire proceedings”. “The trial court was bound by existing case law to not only require Wade’s disqualification (which occurred) but also to require the disqualification of DA Willis and her entire office,” the attorneys said in the filing. CBS News, the BBC’s US partner, has reported that Ms Willis intends to play a prominent role in the case, which the judge has ordered to proceed if Mr Trump appeals.

Meanwhile, in New York, Mr Trump is embroiled in other legal battles while he awaits the start of his first criminal trial over the alleged falsification of business records related to a payment made to adult film star Stormy Daniels. This week, the justice in the case, Juan Merchan, granted a request from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to impose a gag order on Mr Trump barring him from making statements about jurors and witnesses or intimidating court staff. On Friday, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg sought to clarify – and possibly expand – the gag order barring Mr Trump from attacking court staff and their family members. His motion came after Mr Trump insulted Justice Merchan’s daughter in a social media post before the gag order was issued.

Mr Bragg asked Justice Merchan to “make abundantly clear” that the gag order applied to “family members of the Court”, the district attorney and other individuals mentioned in the gag order. He also asked the judge to “warn” Mr Trump “and direct him to immediately desist”. If Mr Trump does not, the prosecutor argues, he should face sanctions. The former president’s attorney, Todd Blanche, denied that his client had violated the gag order and argued that the judge’s daughter was not a part of it. He wrote that there was nothing wrong with the social media posts. “Contrary to the People’s suggestion, the Court cannot ‘direct’ President Trump to do something that the gag order does not require,” he said.

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“There is no remaining “reasonable dispute between Russia and the West,” Orban added..”

We Need A Ceasefire In Ukraine – Orban (RT)

Ukraine’s path to peace and security could lie in establishing a buffer zone next to the Russian border, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said. With the conflict between Moscow and Kiev in its third year, the Western flow of military and financial aid to Ukraine is dwindling, while its army is losing ground. Orban suggested that now is the time for a ceasefire, Hungarian magazine Mandiner wrote on Friday, quoting the prime minister’s interview with former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel in Budapest. There is no remaining “reasonable dispute between Russia and the West,” Orban added. “People in Europe are not happy that their governments want to provide more financial assistance to Ukraine,” he said, explaining that Europe cannot provide the kind of support that would result in a military victory for Ukraine. EU states have allocated €77 billion ($83 billion) in aid to Kiev, while pledging €144 billion since the beginning of the conflict in February 2022, according to Germany’s Kiel Institute.

Ukraine has lost several strategically important cities in Donbass in the last month. Officials in Kiev have repeatedly cited the lack of Western-supplied munitions as the reason for their battlefield setbacks. Orban doubled down on his idea of a buffer zone next to the Russian border as Ukraine’s ideal peace solution, provided there are “additional security guarantees.” Without this, he said, “they could lose their country.” He stressed that Russia will never accept Ukraine joining NATO. Moscow has stated that one of the main causes of the conflict was the expansion of the US-led military bloc towards Russia’s borders. President Vladimir Putin has said one of the key goals of the Russian military operation is to force Kiev away from its goal of joining NATO – an ambition enshrined in the country’s constitution in 2019. While the Hungarian prime minister condemned the Russian military operation, he has repeatedly spoken out against the EU’s handling of it. Unlike the other EU states, Hungary has not sent any armaments to Kiev, limiting their contributions to humanitarian aid.

Mearsheimer

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“Whether Ukraine loses all access to the Black Sea or not is, in my view, the real remaining question..”

‘Odessa Will Fall’, Musk Warns Ukraine (RT)

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has reiterated his belief that Ukraine’s position is weakening with each passing day of the hostilities, warning that the “real question” is how much territory Kiev will lose and how many lives it will waste before sitting for talks with Moscow. The entrepreneur claimed in a post on his X platform on Saturday that “any fool could have predicted” that Kiev’s much-touted counteroffensive last year would fail, adding that even if Kiev had followed his recommendation to “entrench and apply all resources to defense,” it would be “tough to hold land that doesn’t have strong natural barriers.” “It was a tragic waste of life for Ukraine to attack a larger army that had defense in depth, minefields and stronger artillery when Ukraine lacked armor or air superiority!,” Musk wrote. Kiev has lost over 444,000 troops killed and wounded in two years of hostilities against Moscow, including more than 166,000 during last year’s counteroffensive, according to last month’s estimates from the Russian Defense Ministry.

However, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claimed in February that Kiev’s forces lost only 31,000 soldiers killed since the start of the conflict. The billionaire went on to argue that “the longer the war goes on, the more territory Russia will gain until they hit the Dnepr, which is tough to overcome.” However, if the war lasts long enough, Odessa will fall too… Whether Ukraine loses all access to the Black Sea or not is, in my view, the real remaining question. I recommend a negotiated settlement before that happens. Elon Musk has shifted his position on Ukraine several times since the conflict began in early 2022. He initially supplied Kiev with free Starlink internet terminals and access to the satellite-based network, but declined to activate the service near Crimea for fear that Ukraine would use it to guide drone attacks on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. If this had happened, he explained last year, SpaceX would have been “complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”

Musk has also used his X account to speak extensively about the trajectory of the conflict. More than a year ago, he proposed that Kiev abandon its claim to Crimea, declare neutrality, and allow the four new Russian regions – Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye – to hold fresh referendums on joining the Russian Federation. This proposal is similar to the terms offered by Russia to Kiev and the Western powers before the conflict began, except Moscow initially called only for autonomy in Donetsk and Lugansk. Moscow has stressed that it remains open to meaningful talks with Kiev and has blamed the lack of a diplomatic breakthrough on the Ukrainian authorities, who refuse to accept the “reality on the ground.” Ukraine must take into account the fact that its borders have changed drastically since 2022, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Saturday, commenting on Zelensky’s suggestion that a return to 1991 borders was no longer a precondition for negotiations.

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Biolabs.

Ukraine Was Testing Ground for Western Big Pharma (Sp.)

Ukraine was one of the main testing grounds for trials of a drug that could potentially cause various forms of cancer and that was used on patients in the psychiatric ward of Mariupol Hospital No. 7 with the support of local officials in the interests of Western pharmaceutical companies, according to documents seen by Sputnik. In particular, the trial involved the experimental drug SB4 for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The drug inhibits the action of molecules of the so-called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF), which plays an important role in the immune system, and its use creates the possibility of developing various forms of cancer, including in the lymphatic and hematopoietic systems, as well as skin. The manufacturers of SB4 were Biogen Idec Denmark Manufacturing ApS (Denmark), Catalent Pharma Solutions (Belgium), and Fisher Clinical Services UK Limited (UK). The study was sponsored by South Korea’s Samsung Bioepis, the documents read.

An application from Quintiles Ukraine for approval by the state expert center of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health and the Ethics Commission at the medical and preventive institution for conducting clinical trials of SB4 was found among the documents. Quintiles Ukraine was established as a division of the US outsourcing pharmaceutical company Quintiles Transnational. According to the application, signed in February 2013, at that time it was planned to test the drug in Ukraine on 152 patients (later this number increased to 180), and in total on almost 500 patients around the world. According to the periodic report of the SB4-G31-RA project on SB4 trials, by November 2013, 777 patients had been selected for testing, including 285 in Poland, 143 in Ukraine, 108 in the Czech Republic, 77 in Bulgaria, 60 in Lithuania, 37 in the Republic of Korea, 34 in Mexico, 17 in Hungary, 14 in Colombia, and two in the United Kingdom.

The documents found in Mariupol Hospital No. 7 were collected between 2008 and 2016. The results of the initial inspection show that drugs with numbers and without names were tested on people, with the tests also conducted on toddlers. Companies such as Pfizer (US), AstraZeneca (UK, Sweden), Celltrion (South Korea), Novatris International AG (Switzerland, US), IQVIA (formerly Quintiles and IMS Health Inc., US, UK), Sanofi (France), Galapagos NV (Belgium), Janssen Pharmaceuticals (now Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine, Belgium), Abbott Laboratories (US), Covance (now Labcorp Drug Development, US), and Merck KGaA (Germany) are mentioned in the documents.

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“..In order to save face, and to hide the fact that Ukraine itself is a huge terrorist organization..”

Money Transfers Proof That Crocus Terrorists Followed Orders From Ukraine (Sp.)

It is of paramount importance that data in the technical devices seized from the suspects in the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack has confirmed their connection with the Ukrainian side, Kirill Kabanov, chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Committee, told Sputnik. Initial data received from those detained in the case related to the terrorist attack indicated Ukraine pulled the strings. However, the fresh report by the Russian Investigative Committee points to the Ukrainian special services, and “we must understand that they are directly connected with the CIA and MI6 and MI5,” Kabanov said. “That is why the West is trying to cover this up, blaming an outlawed international terrorist organization for everything. In order to save face, and to hide the fact that Ukraine itself is a huge terrorist organization,” Kabanov, who is also a member of the Human Rights Council, said.

The ongoing investigation into the attack at Crocus City Hall has discovered proof of the connection of the terrorists who carried out the heinous crime with Ukrainian nationalists, the Russian Investigative Committee said on March 28.”The initial results of the investigation fully confirm the planned nature of the terrorists’ actions, careful preparation and financial support from the organizers of the crime. As a result of working with the detained terrorists, analyzing the technical devices seized from them, analyzing information about financial transactions, evidence of their connection with Ukrainian nationalists has been obtained,” the Russian Investigative Committee said on Telegram.

The terrorists received significant amounts of money and cryptocurrency from Ukraine, Russian investigators added. Russia’s special services have completed their task by uncovering this proof, yet they “refuse to hear us in the West, the world’s mechanisms don’t work,” said Kirill Kabanov. “The Americans can get away with brandishing an empty vial and using it as a pretext for starting a war and destroying an entire state, as was the case with Iraq. Unfortunately, I am not at all sure that our evidence of cryptocurrency transfers will be heard. Although for citizens of many countries this might add to their perception of reality,” the expert noted. For people in Western countries whose leaders remain committed to supporting the regime holed up in Kiev, a reality check as to what is really happening in Ukraine is long overdue, the analyst believes.

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“..the United States has deployed its military forces almost 400 times during its short history..”

US Marines Struggle to Adapt to Fighting Adversary That Can Fight Back (Miles)

After killing at least 3.6 million people in its so-called “War on Terror,” US armed forces are regrouping to combat adversaries capable of mounting a resistance. In a hagiographic article entitled “Preparing for a China war, the Marines are retooling how they’ll fight,” ruling class stenographer Ellen Nakashima blithely considers the prospect of fighting a war against a nuclear-armed country of 1.4 billion people. The piece, appearing in The Washington Post, details the US Marine Corps’ efforts to adapt to what she appears to believe is an inevitable, and desirable, conflict with China. “The Marines are striving to adapt to a maritime fight that could play out across thousands of miles of islands and coastline in Asia,” writes Nakashima, admitting the armed service has devoted the last 20 years to fighting less capable forces in the Middle East. “Instead of launching traditional amphibious assaults… nimbler groups are intended as an enabler for a larger joint force.”

“Their role is to gather intelligence and target data and share it quickly — as well as occasionally sink ships with medium-range missiles,” it is explained, “to help the Pacific Fleet and Air Force repel aggression against the United States and allies and partners like Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines.” The country she imagines launching this aggression has not been at war since 1979, while the United States has deployed its military forces almost 400 times during its short history. “New regiments are envisioned as one piece of a broader strategy to synchronize the operations of US soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen, and in turn with the militaries of allies and partners in the Pacific,” the piece continues. “Their focus is a crucial stretch of territory sweeping from Japan to Indonesia and known as the First Island Chain. China sees this region, which encompasses an area about half the size of the contiguous United States, as within its sphere of influence.” Naturally, China needs to understand its coastal waters are not its own concern, but the United States’, Nakashima’s logic suggests.

“China not only has the region’s largest army, navy and air force, but also home-field advantage,” Nakashima writes, apparently under the impression the United States will be allowed to attack China without suffering retribution on its own shores. “Taiwan, a close US partner, is most directly in the crosshairs.” China’s links with Taiwan go back hundreds of years. In the 1950s the United States attempted to cleave the island off from the country after the Chinese Civil War. As the defeated Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan the US threatened to use nuclear bombs if leader Mao Zedong crossed the Taiwan Strait, seeking to balkanize China as the US did in Korea and attempted to do in Vietnam. Nakashima writes of the disastrous consequences for shareholder profits of a war over Taiwan: “A successful invasion would… have catastrophic economic consequences due to disruption of the world’s most advanced semiconductor industry and of maritime traffic in some of the world’s busiest sea lanes — the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea.”

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“..either a “multinational force” or a “Palestinian peacekeeping team” to oversee the affairs of a post-war Gaza..”

No use without involving Russia and China.

Biden Claims Saudi Arabia, Qatar ‘Ready To Normalize’ With Israel (Cradle)

US President Joe Biden said at a campaign event on 28 March that Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are ready for a full normalization of ties with Israel. During the event – which was meant to show unity in the Democratic Party ahead of US elections in November this year – Biden was joined on stage by former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. “I’ve been working with the Saudis and with all the other Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan and Qatar. They’re prepared to fully recognize Israel. There has to be a post-Gaza plan, and there has to be a trade to a two-state solution. It doesn’t have to occur today. It has to be a progression and I think we can do that,” Biden said. Since the outbreak of the war in Gaza, which has seen Israel kill over 32,000 civilians, Saudi Arabia has repeatedly stated that normalization with Tel Aviv is still on the table.

However, Riyadh has doubled down on its demands for concessions to the Palestinians, including, most prominently, the demand for the eventual realization of statehood. Washington has been devising a plan for post-war Gaza, which includes the idea of a “reformed” Palestinian Authority (PA) assuming control over administration in the strip. In late February, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a similar plan, which included demilitarizing Gaza, forming a local governing authority, and a broader normalization pact with Arab states, including the Saudis. Politico reported on the same day as Biden’s campaign event that the White House, State Department, and Pentagon are discussing the potential establishment of either a “multinational force” or a “Palestinian peacekeeping team” to oversee the affairs of a post-war Gaza.

Yet Israel has yet to achieve its goal of dismantling the Palestinian resistance and is continuing brutal and incessant airstrikes daily. “There are too many innocent victims, Israelis and Palestinians,” Biden added at the event. “We’re in a position where Israel’s very existence is at stake. You had all those people massacred,” the president said about 7 October, adding: “It’s understandable Israel has such a profound anger and Hamas is still there, but we must in-act, stop the effort that is resulting in significant deaths of innocent civilians and particularly children.” Several pro-Palestine activists erupted in chants throughout the campaign event, accusing Biden of complicity in the genocide being carried out against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

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How many Palestinian hostages?

Israel Believes Only 60-70 Out Of 134 Hostages Are Still Alive (ZH)

Israel’s official count for the number of people still being held hostage in the Gaza Strip remains at 134 mostly Israeli citizens as well as some foreigners, which includes possibly deceased victims. Amid stalled truce negotiations in Qatar, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has revealed that Israeli officials believe only 60 to 70 Israeli hostages in Gaza are still alive. “According to the IDF, a total of 134 hostages and bodies are being held in Gaza,” Haaretz wrote Thursday. “Thirty-six of the people were confirmed by the army as killed – some on October 7, when their bodies were taken into the Strip. Of the 98 living hostages, 10 are foreigners (eight Thais, one Nepalese national, and one man with Mexican and French citizenship).” What’s more is that a month ago some of the families of the hostages were informed that 20 captives were in life-threatening condition.

An unnamed source close to the crisis told Haaretz, “I hope I’m mistaken, but the number may even be lower”—suggesting there may be even fewer that are alive. Given the intense battles unfolding across most of the Gaza Strip, it is widely speculated that the hostages are being held somewhere within the miles of underground tunnels below, where Hamas also has command and control centers. There’s a possibility that some of the hostages could have been killed by Israeli’s relentless bombing campaign which has decimated entire neighborhoods. A horrifically tragic incident last December saw three Israeli hostages shot dead by Israeli forces who mistook them for Palestinian militants. Israeli leadership under Netanyahu has been accused by the hostages’ families of prioritizing the military operation to defeat Hamas far and above hostage recovery.

Some recent testimony of hostages freed in last year’s truce and exchange with Hamas said the following: Echoing this sense of an indiscriminate and haphazard policy, testimonies from newly freed Israeli hostages, who were released as part of exchange deals for Palestinian prisoners during a temporary ceasefire in late November, as well as from some of the hostages’ families, indicate that one of the main fears of those held captive in Gaza was the threat of being hit by Israeli airstrikes and shelling. Many of the hostages, according to these testimonies, were held above ground rather than in tunnels, and were therefore particularly vulnerable to such attacks. Large-scale anti-Netanyahu protests led by victims’ families have persisted in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Pressure has also mounted on Washington to strike a ceasefire. Prime Minister Netanyahu is currently facing accusations from within his own government of ‘sabotaging’ the truce process with an aim to prolong the war, and also thus his political future in the top office.

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“..a much more lenient standard for wiretaps than the Constitution permitted for American citizens..”

The Never-Ending Federal Surveillance Crime Spree (Bovard)

Last December, one of the most intrusive provisions in the federal statute book was set to expire. Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) authorizes the National Security Agency to vacuum up trillions of emails and other data. A bevy of bipartisan members of Congress called for radically curtailing those nullifications of Americans’ privacy. But the effort to put a leash on the federal surveillance failed dismally. Congress voted for a four-month extension of FISA, which will likely be followed in April by a much longer extension. There was a bipartisan congressional conspiracy to entitle the Deep State to continue trampling the Constitution. In 1978, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to outlaw political spying (such as the FBI had committed) on American citizens. FISA created a secret court to oversee federal surveillance of suspected foreign agents within the United States, permitting a much more lenient standard for wiretaps than the Constitution permitted for American citizens.

The FISA court “created a secret body of law giving the National Security Agency the power to amass vast collections of data on Americans,” the New York Times reported in 2013 after Edward Snowden leaked court decisions. The court rubber-stamped FBI requests that bizarrely claimed that the telephone records of all Americans were “relevant” to a terrorism investigation under the Patriot Act, thereby enabling National Security Administration (NSA) data seizures later denounced by a federal judge as “almost Orwellian.” In 2017, a FISA court decision included a 10-page litany of FBI violations, which “ranged from illegally sharing raw intelligence with unauthorized third parties to accessing intercepted attorney-client privileged communications without proper oversight.” The latest controversy involved FISA Section 702, first enacted by Congress in 2008.

That section authorizes the National Security Agency to surveil targets in foreign nations regardless of how many Americans’ privacy is “incidentally” destroyed. The NSA collects vast amounts of information as part of that surveillance and then permits the FBI to sift through its troves. The Electronic Frontier Foundation warned more than a decade ago that Section 702 “created a broad national-security exception to the Constitution that allows all Americans to be spied upon by their government while denying them any viable means of challenging that spying.” Professor David Rothkopf explained in 2013 how Section 702 worked: “What if government officials came to your home and said that they would collect all of your papers and hold onto them for safe-keeping, just in case they needed them in the future. But don’t worry … they wouldn’t open the boxes until they had a secret government court order … sometime, unbeknownst to you.” Actually, the law in practice is much worse.

From the beginning, federal agencies brazenly lied about the number of Americans whose privacy was ravaged. In 2014, former NSA employee Edward Snowden provided the Washington Post with a cache of 160,000 secret email threads that the NSA had intercepted. The Post found that nine out of ten account holders were not the “intended surveillance targets but were caught in a net the agency had cast for somebody else.” Almost half of the individuals whose personal data was inadvertently commandeered were American citizens. The files “tell stories of love and heartbreak, illicit sexual liaisons, mental-health crises, political and religious conversions, financial anxieties and disappointed hopes,” the Post noted. If an American citizen wrote an email in a foreign language, NSA analysts assumed they were foreigners who could be surveilled without a warrant.

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“..this 3rd Circuit ruling roundly rejects unlawful left-wing attempts to count undated or incorrectly dated mail ballot..”

Republicans Score Win In Court Battle Over Pennsylvania Mail-In Ballots (ET)

Pennsylvania rules that require mail-in ballots to be dated are legal, a federal appeals court has ruled. A state law that says voters must fill out, date, and sign envelopes containing the ballots is not prevented by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a majority said in the March 27 ruling. The act bans denying “the right of any individual to vote in any election because of an error or omission on any record or paper relating to any application, registration or other act requisite to voting.” But that provision “only applies when the state is determining who may vote,” U.S. Circuit Court Judge Thomas Ambro, appointed by former President Bill Clinton, wrote for the majority of a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit panel. “In other words, its role stops at the door of the voting place. The provision does not apply to rules, like the date requirement, that govern how a qualified voter must cast his ballot for it to be counted.”

The same court ahead of the 2022 election ruled that state officials must count undated ballots but the U.S. Supreme Court vacated that order. After the state’s acting secretary of state said counties should still count undated ballots, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that counties could not count mail-in ballots with missing or incorrect dates. About 7,900 ballots were not counted in the 2020 election because they were missing a signature or date, or had an inaccurate date, according to state officials. U.S. District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter later ruled that the Pennsylvania law violated the Civil Rights Act provision, meaning Pennsylvania officials had to count mail-in ballots even if they lacked dates, or contained inaccurate dates. “Federal law prohibits a state from erecting immaterial roadblocks, such as this, to voting,” Judge Baxter, appointed by former President Donald Trump, wrote at the time, referring to the Pennsylvania law.

According to the law, a voter casting a ballot by mail must mark the ballot, then place it inside a provided envelope. That envelope must then be placed into a second envelope, which contains the areas for the date and signature. “The elector shall then fill out, date and sign the declaration printed on such envelope,” the law states. The Republican National Committee (RNC) and other groups appealed Judge Baxter’s ruling, arguing that her conclusion was wrong. “This is a crucial victory for election integrity and voter confidence in the Keystone State and nationwide. Pennsylvanians deserve to feel confident in the security of their mail ballots, and this 3rd Circuit ruling roundly rejects unlawful left-wing attempts to count undated or incorrectly dated mail ballot,” Michael Whatley, the RNC’s chairman, said in a statement after the new ruling was handed down.

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“This is Zuckerbucks on steroids because instead of $400 million, it’s unlimited funding and resources and the reach of the federal government and all its offices located across the country..”

“..the president’s unprecedented effort to deploy federal agencies in support of partisan voting operations and fortify politically aligned private organizations working to circumvent state election integrity laws.”

Behind Massive Mail-in Ballot Push Is a Little-Noticed Executive Order (ET)

A federal effort to register voters using the government’s vast reach, including throughout the U.S. prison system, is raising concerns from critics who have said it won’t benefit Democrats and Republicans equally. Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson wrote to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on March 6 alleging that agencies under the attorney general’s charge are “attempting to register people to vote, including potentially ineligible felons, and to co-opt state and local officials into accomplishing this goal.” The allegation relates to President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14019, which states, “The head of each agency shall evaluate ways in which the agency can, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, promote voter registration and voter participation.”

Among other things, this order has forced U.S. Marshals to modify more than 900 contracts with prisons and jails to provide voter registration documents and facilitate mail-in voting for inmates, Mr. Watson wrote. “We have worked extremely hard to restore the confidence of Mississippi voters in our election process,” Mr. Watson told The Epoch Times. “To have the Biden administration and the DOJ purposefully undermine these efforts and jeopardize the integrity of Mississippi’s elections is unacceptable.” The secretary of state is the chief election officer in Mississippi. The work by the Department of Justice to register voters in prisons, critics say, is just the tip of the iceberg. Other agencies, including the Department of Education, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, are also carrying out campaigns to sign up new voters.

On Feb. 26, Vice President Kamala Harris lauded a federal plan to use work-study grants to pay students to register voters. In addition, President Biden’s executive order directed federal agencies to select “approved, nonpartisan third-party organizations and state officials to provide voter registration services on agency premises.” President Biden’s executive order was called “visionary“ by Ceridwen Cherry, a former staff attorney on the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Voting Rights Project, who said, ”In a democracy, governments at all levels should be doing everything they can to help eligible people register to vote.” However, critics say elections are under the purview of states, not the federal government.

“The reason it’s such a big problem is that, with the president, it’s only one political party that’s in power,” Stewart Whitson, legal director of the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), a conservative think-tank, told The Epoch Times. “If you allow the president to be the one to decide where all these massive resources are channeled, that’s problematic,” he said, adding that this is why the Founders gave election authority to states and not to the federal executive. The plan has been called “Bidenbucks” by some of its detractors, referencing the injection into state election programs of $400 million in 2020 from Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, dubbed “Zuckerbucks.” “This is Zuckerbucks on steroids because instead of $400 million, it’s unlimited funding and resources and the reach of the federal government and all its offices located across the country,” Mr. Whitson said.

[..] In July 2021, the FGA filed a FOIA request regarding President Biden’s Voting Access plan. The group sought information about what federal agencies were doing to implement the plan, as well as records from planning and strategy meetings among President Biden’s staff, federal agencies, and the architects of EO 14019. “These documents, in any other context, would be handed over much more quickly,” Mr. Whitson said. “So this indicates to us that there’s something there the Biden administration really does not care to share, because they’ve withheld it for nearly three years now.” The America First Legal foundation, another plaintiff in a FOIA suit, characterized EO 14019 as “the president’s unprecedented effort to deploy federal agencies in support of partisan voting operations and fortify politically aligned private organizations working to circumvent state election integrity laws.” More than two years later, court battles over the information requests are ongoing. The administration has brought in White House counsel and the Department of Justice to fight the requests.

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Can’t find anywhere what he’s supposed to have done, other than: “obstructing an official proceeding among other charges..”

“..the appeal raises a substantial question likely to result in a significantly lesser sentence or reversal..”

That will be true for most. But then they will have been locked up for years.

Judge Rebukes DOJ Arguments Against Release Of Jan. 6 Defendant (ZH)

A Jan. 6 defendant seeking to be released from prison was granted in part by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia this week. The order, signed by U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden on March 26, will grant the release of Kevin Seefried, a defendant convicted for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach, pending the appeal of his conviction. This decision comes despite stark warnings from the Justice Department regarding the implications of such a move. Mr. Seefried received a three-year prison sentence for obstructing an official proceeding among other charges, facing a potential maximum sentence of 23 years. After his conviction, he appealed and requested release pending appeal, a request that gained new relevance when the Supreme Court decided to review a related case, Fischer v. United States, which could impact many Jan. 6 defendants.

The high Court’s decision on this case may influence the outcome of Mr. Seefried’s conviction, suggesting it could be vacated depending on the justices’ ruling. The decision to release Mr. Seefried is grounded in the ongoing legal debate over the application of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c), the obstruction of an official proceeding statute, beyond the context of “evidence impairment.” “Seefried’s current motion is déjà vu all over again,” Judge McFadden wrote. This legal question is currently under review by the Supreme Court in a related case, Fischer v. United States, which directly challenges the scope of § 1512(c) and its application to the Jan. 6 defendants. Judge McFadden, in his memorandum order, outlined that the release is premised on two conditions mandated by 18 U.S.C. § 3143(b): a defendant is not likely to flee or pose a danger to the community if released, and that the appeal raises a substantial question likely to result in a significantly lesser sentence or reversal.

Judge McFadden found that Mr. Seefried met both conditions, noting a lack of evidence to suggest Mr. Seefried would flee or pose a danger, and that the Supreme Court’s review of Fischer represents a substantial question of law that could materially affect Mr. Seefried’s conviction. Judge McFadden noted the argument of the Justice Department that, in their belief, he now knew the “day-to-day reality of confinement in prison” and was therefore “more likely” to flee than return to prison. Judge McFadden also noted U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves’s argument of 2024 being an election year involving “what will likely be another fiercely contested presidential election” and if released, the Court “would be releasing defendant into the same political maelstrom that led him to commit his crimes in the first place.”

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Why not focus on preventing diabetes? Easier, healthier and cheaper.

$935 Diabetes Jab Ozempic Costs Less Than $5 To Make (ET)

It costs Novo Nordisk less than $5 per month to produce its top-selling diabetes injection, Ozempic, even as it charges nearly $1,000 for a month’s supply before insurance, according to a new study. The study, published Wednesday in the journal JAMA Network Open, raises questions about the prohibitive cost of the popular diabetes treatment and other weight loss drugs that belong to a pricy class of medications based on GLP-1 technology. Those medicines work by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which stimulates the pancreas to release insulin when blood sugar rises too high, slows down the emptying of the stomach, and targets brain receptors involved in reducing appetite. Over the past year, demand for GLP-1 agonists has exploded despite soaring costs and limited insurance coverage.

For their study, researchers at Yale University, King’s College Hospital in London, and the nonprofit Doctors Without Borders looked at the cost of manufacturing insulin and compared it with that of GLP-1 agonists. They estimated those prices by combining manufacturing costs for the weekly injection with costs of formulation and other operating expenses, plus a profit margin with an allowance for tax. The foundational price for a weekly dose of injectable semaglutide—the generic name for Ozempic—ranges from $0.89 to $4.73 per month, the study found. By contrast, a vial of human insulin can be manufactured at a cost between $2.37 and $5.94 per month. A month’s supply of Ozempic is $935.77 for those in the United States without health insurance, according to Novo’s website.

The Danish company’s GLP-1 weight loss drug, Wegovy, is listed as $1,349 per month. Wednesday’s study concluded that GLP-1s “can likely be manufactured for prices far below current prices, enabling wider access.” “High prices limit access to newer diabetes medicines in many countries,” the researchers wrote. “The findings of this study suggest that robust generic and bio-similar competition could reduce prices to more affordable levels and enable expansion of diabetes treatment globally.” Citing the findings, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on Novo to slash prices for both Ozempic and Wegovy, highlighting the price gap for the identical drugs sold in America and other developed countries.

“A new Yale study found that Ozempic costs less than $5 a month to manufacture. And yet, Novo Nordisk charges Americans nearly $1,000 a month for this drug, while the same exact product can be purchased for just $155 a month in Canada and just $59 in Germany,” the senator said in a statement. “As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, I am calling on Novo Nordisk to lower the list price of Ozempic—and the related drug Wegovy—in America to no more than what they charge for this drug in Canada,” he continued. “The American people are sick and tired of paying, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs while the pharmaceutical industry enjoys huge profits.”

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Kim has promoted Bitcoin Cash for a while now.

Why is $BCH So Hot Right Now? (Kim Dotcom)

Bitcoin Cash is launching a new innovation on May 15th. The adaptive blocksize limit algorithm. This is an important step for BCH in preparation for substantial growth and one of the reasons why BCH is gaining popularity with Miners and Investors. The algorithm automatically adjusts Bitcoin Cash’s block size limit to reduce infrastructure costs during periods of lower usage while enabling up to a doubling of the maximum block size per year at peak growth. The block size limit caps the technical requirements of network infrastructure, enables reliable infrastructure cost projection, and prevents attacks that increase the cost of participating in the network. Excessively large blocks could require users and businesses to waste resources on unnecessary infrastructure, switch to cheaper and less secure validation strategies, or even to abandon running their own infrastructure and instead rely on third-party service providers – reducing the overall privacy, independence, and financial freedom of all users.

To limit block size, most bitcoin-like networks employ a static block size limit. For Bitcoin Cash this limit is currently 32MB. If a payment network is growing, usage will eventually approach any previously established static limit. If this limit is reached before a successfully coordinated upgrade, network service degrades, transaction fees and confirmation times become less predictable as size-limited blocks become more common. Uncorrected, market actors begin to adapt to this artificial scarcity by using alternatives to on-chain transactions, custodians, intermediaries, and competing networks. This in turn compromises the long-term economics of mining, cumulative transaction fee revenue is suppressed, and long-term network security grows to rely on continuous inflation via block subsidies.

Because static block size limits can only be changed as part of a widely coordinated network upgrade, they present a focal point for network interruption or capture by motivated attackers, rent seeking institutions, competing networks, opponents of peer-to-peer cash, etc. To make matters worse, the attackers have a significant coordination advantage – while honest network participants must achieve near-unanimous consensus to activate an upgrade, attackers must only create sufficient uncertainty among the honest participants to delay limit increases, as inaction results in degradation of the network’s functionality and long-term security.

Adaptive block size limits resolve the economic vulnerability of static limits by automatically adjusting the maximum block size over time. While an adaptive block size limit could still diverge from a hypothetical “ideal” size due to significant changes in the rate of technological advancement or the availability of capital, such divergences would likely remain much smaller than with static limits, and attackers are no longer afforded an advantage. Bitcoin Cash’s Adaptive Algorithm is conservative and based on observed usage. In cooling-off periods of falling network usage, the limit slowly decreases to preserve the resources of infrastructure operators. On the other hand, during periods of rapid growth, the limit can increase at a rate of up to 2x per year.

Exciting times for Bitcoin Cash.

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Kory

 

 

Denier
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774045305509446045

 

 

Coyote

 

 

God jump

 

 

Girl power

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Aug 102020
 


William-Adolphe Bouguereau La naissance de Vénus 1879

 

The Spies Who Hijacked America (Schrage)
Memo Shows FBI May Have Misled Senate About Russia Probe (JTN)
Pelosi, Mnuchin Open Door To Narrower COVID19 Aid Through 2020 (R.)
Fed’s Evans Says Another Coronavirus Aid Package ‘Incredibly Important’ (R.)
The US Economy Is Stronger Than the Eurozone’s (Lacalle)
Hong Kong Media Tycoon, Pro-Democracy Leader Arrested In New Crackdown (JTN)
Should The Government Balance Its Budget? (DO)
One-Fifth Of All Mail-in Ballots Disqualified In NYC Primary (JTN)
The Very Un-Christian Nagasaki Bomb (Kohls)

 

 

We passed 20 million cases, another sad milestone. But both new cases and new deaths are quite low. With US new cases below 50,000, and deaths at “only” 534, overall not a bad weekend, in the grand scheme of things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pelosi
https://twitter.com/greg_price11/status/1292647384124661767

Aaron Maté Russiagate Monsters under the bed

 

 

If you read just one thing today, try this. From Matt Taibbi’s substack.

“As a doctoral candidate at Cambridge working under “FBI Informant” Stefan Halper, I had a front-row seat for Russiagate..”

The Spies Who Hijacked America (Schrage)

Global scandals now labeled Russiagate, Spygate, and what President Trump calls “Obamagate” shook the political world, but hit me closer to home. I’m the reason the so-called FBI “spy” at the center of Spygate, Stefan Halper, met Carter Page, the alleged “Russian Asset” in Russiagate’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation. On May 19, 2018, this realization blindsided me in London as I was about to fly out for my wedding. The New York Times, NBC News and other sources had outed my PhD supervisor, Stefan Halper, as a spy known to the UK’s MI6 intelligence service as “The Walrus.” It didn’t seem real. Could a former professor I once trusted as a mentor have betrayed his word, profession, and country to start these disasters?

I had moved to England to pursue an academic career and leave DC’s politics behind, only to have my PhD supervisor throw me back into the most outrageous political firestorms I could imagine. Just my luck. Then an even worse question began nagging at me. Did I unintentionally light the match that started it all? As I started to piece together what happened over the next few months, I realized something. The stories that The New York Times, Washington Post, and others were pushing didn’t add up. Many seemed planted to cover up or advance the agendas of several individuals whose tentacles secretly ran through these scandals, and who each had longstanding ties to intelligence services like the FBI, CIA, and MI6. I call these individuals the Cambridge Four.

Strangely, all four were linked through that sleepy British academic town thousands of miles from the alleged “ground zeroes” of Russiagate’s conspiracies, Moscow and DC. In addition to the central “Spygate” figure Halper, they include the central source of “Russiagate’s” fake conspiracy theories, Christopher Steele; former MI6 Director Sir Richard Dearlove; and Halper’s and Dearlove’s partner in a Cambridge Intelligence Seminar linked to titillating — but false — tales of a “Russian spy” seducing Trump’s top national security advisor. My years of work with Halper provided an inside view of how their four networks interconnected. The more I dug up new pieces of this puzzle, the more I saw how these individuals’ seemingly separate acts might fit together in an absurd picture of how these scandals really started.

Armed with first-hand knowledge and evidence, I quietly sought to help federal investigators uncover these scandals’ mysteries. It wasn’t my first rodeo. After witnessing the plane that hit the Pentagon on 9/11, I led G8 and State Department international crime and terrorism efforts with Department of Justice (DOJ), FBI, and intelligence officials and had worked for decades in White House, Congressional, and presidential campaign roles. This helped me keep a stiff upper lip when I was falsely accused in 2019 by the House Intelligence Committee’s Ranking Republican and others on television as being part of a secret anti-Trump cabal. As much as I wanted to defend myself, I knew our best shot of exposing the real forces behind these scandals was for me to remain publicly silent and not let those under investigation know what I knew or was willing to say.

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MAY have?

Memo Shows FBI May Have Misled Senate About Russia Probe (JTN)

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Sunday released a document it says shows the FBI misled senators on the Intelligence Committee during the Russia probe by falsely suggesting Christopher Steele’s dossier was backed up by one of his key sources. “Somebody needs to go to jail for this,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the panel’s chairman, told the Fox News program Sunday Futures with Maria Bartiromo. “This is a second lie. This is a second crime. They lied to the FISA court. They got rebuked, the FBI did, in 2019 by the FISA court, putting in doubt all FISA applications. “A year before, they’re lying to the Senate Intel Committee. It’s just amazing the compounding of the lies,” Graham added.

The document in question contains the draft talking points the FBI used to brief the Senate Intelligence Committee in February 2018, including an assessment that the primary sub-source of the information contained in the Steele dossier had backed up the former MI-6 agent’s reporting. The primary sub-source “did not cite any significant concerns with the way his reporting was characterized in the dossier to the extent he could identify it,” the FBI memo claimed. “…At minimum, our discussions with [the Primary Sub-source] confirm that the dossier was not fabricated by Steele.” In fact, by the time the FBI provided senators the briefing, agents had already interviewed Steele’s primary sub-source who disavowed much of what was attributed to him in the dossier as in “jest” or containing uncorroborated allegations.

Agents also had been warned by the CIA that Steele’s memos contained disinformation fed to him by Russian intelligence services, and had created a spreadsheet showing most of the claims in the dossier were either debunked, unable to be corroborated or Internet rumor. Graham said the document is so misleading he is demanding FBI Director Chris Wray identify the names of those involved in the briefing. “They misled the hell out of them,” he said. There is widespread evidence released by the Judiciary Committee and the DOJ inspector general contradicting the February 2018 FBI briefing memo including that the primary sub-source:

• told the FBI that he “has no idea” where some of the language attributed to him came from or that his contacts and “never mentioned” some information attributed to him.
• told the FBI he “did not know the origins” or “did not recall” other information contained in the dossier that was supposedly from his contacts
• alleged that Steele used “incorrect source characterization” for one of his contacts. told the FBI that the corroboration for the dossier was “zero” and that he takes what the sources for the dossier told him with “a grain of salt.”
• claimed much of what he told Steele was second-hand or even in jest and never intended it to be treated as intelligence because if was “word of mouth and hearsay” and “conversation that [he] had with friends over beers.”

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Pelosi tried to be a leader and failed. Now she’s a follower. Does that about sum it up?

Pelosi, Mnuchin Open Door To Narrower COVID19 Aid Through 2020 (R.)

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday said they were open to restarting COVID-19 aid talks, after weeks of failed negotiations prompted President Donald Trump to take executive actions that Democrats argued would do little to ease Americans’ financial distress. Discussions over a fifth bill to address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic fell apart on Friday, a week after the expiration of a critical boost in unemployment assistance and eviction protections, exposing people to a wave of economic pain as infections continue to rise across the country.

Trump on Saturday sought to take matters into his own hands, signing executive orders and memorandums aimed at unemployment benefits, evictions, student loans and payroll taxes. Trump told reporters in New Jersey before returning to Washington on Sunday that his suspension of the collection of the payroll tax could be made permanent. He said doing so would have no impact on Social Security because reimbursement would be made through the general fund. Trump, noting that Democrats want to resume stimulus discussions, said the White House would be willing to talk to them again “if it’s not a waste of time.”

On Sunday, both Pelosi and Mnuchin appeared willing to consider a narrower deal that would extend some aid until the end of the year, and then revisit the need for more federal assistance in January. That would come after November’s election, which could rebalance power in Washington. “Let’s pass legislation on things that we agree on,” Mnuchin told Fox News in an interview. “We don’t have to get everything done at once. … What we should do is get things done for the American public now, come back for another bill afterwards.”

DDMB Out of work

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Protect small businesses? Half of them are gone forever. Protect the people instead.

Fed’s Evans Says Another Coronavirus Aid Package ‘Incredibly Important’ (R.)

The United States should implement another support package to ensure workers can stay safely at home while the novel coronavirus continues to spread, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said in an interview with CBS News released on Sunday. Evans said it was up to U.S. lawmakers to protect small businesses and vulnerable communities with measures that ensure they can continue to pay their rent and buy food as long as the virus was not under control. “I think that public confidence is really important and another support package is really incredibly important,” Evans said on CBS’s Face the Nation program.


He also said that the most pessimistic economic projections involved not supporting state and local governments, which in turn would have to implement drastic cuts to support some of the federal aid measures. Evans’ comments come after U.S. lawmakers failed to strike an agreement on a second aid package after weeks of negotiations, leaving tens of millions of unemployed Americans without direct federal support.

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And you would expect to see that reflected in the USD’s exchange rate. But not yet.

The US Economy Is Stronger Than the Eurozone’s (Lacalle)

The United States is showing resiliency and strength compared with other leading economies worldwide. The impact of the covid-19 forced shutdown crisis is lower in the United States than in Japan, Germany, France, the average of the European Union 27, and the euro area countries. The recovery is also stronger and more sustainable. This does not mean that the economic impact is small. Recession is severe and its impact on jobs and growth cannot be underestimated, but it is important to show how other economies with larger government spending plans and important entitlement programs are showing a much weaker performance. The second quarter GDP was much better than in the euro area (–9.5 percent quarterly compared to –12.1 percent in the eurozone), although it reflects a notable quarterly drop, and well below the one seen in 2008.

This comparison is important because most mainstream economists believe that higher government spending and public sector help offset the blow of a recession. They do not. The United States quarterly GDP fall, at –9.5 percent, is small compared to Germany’s –10.1 percent, France’s –13.8 percent, Italy’s –12.4 percent, Spain’s –18.5 percent and the European Union 27’s at –11.9 percent. You may have read about the quarterly annualized –32.9 percent figure for the United States, but it is misleading to compare it with the European published figures, which are not annualized. The annualized rate estimates how much the economy would grow or shrink if the rate of change seen in the quarter continued for four consecutive quarters.

If we compared apples to apples, the quarterly annualized GDP collapse would be from –40 percent in Germany to –55 percent in Spain compared to the US’s –32.9 percent. In any case, it seems relevant to insist on three points: 1) the United States GDP decline was smaller than consensus estimates; 2) it is notably lower than the eurozone figure, which was worse than consensus expected; and 3) the advanced US data points to one of the strongest recoveries in the world. The improvement in domestic demand that we already began to observe in the month of May has been confirmed in June. Retail sales registered an increase of 7.5 percent per month, the second-highest number in the historical series after the May data, and this time with a less relevant “base effect.” In year-on-year terms, retail sales have already grown 1.1 percent and, eliminating vehicle sales, this increase amounts to 7.3 percent year on year. Still a lot to improve, though.

Advanced and leading indicators in the United States point to a third quarter GDP rise of 18 to 20 percent in annualized terms, a recovery of more than half of the decline in first half of the year in three months. There is a lot to do and no one can be complacent. If consumption and investment progress within potential, the US economy could close the year at flat growth and 6 percent unemployment in the most optimistic scenario. However, it is more likely that the economy will end the year down 5 percent and with unemployment at 8.5 percent, all according to our estimates. This compares with a eurozone that may likely fall more than 9 percent in 2020, with official unemployment and furloughed jobs reaching an average of 12.5 percent according to Bloomberg.

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Cullusion with foreign forces. It’s like the US. And now they can take him to China under the new law?!

Hong Kong Media Tycoon, Pro-Democracy Leader Arrested In New Crackdown (JTN)

Jimmy Lai, a prominent publisher and pro-democracy leader in Hong Kong, was arrested Monday on charges of foreign collusion under a new national security law sharply criticized by the United States. The 71-year-old founder of the Apple Daily outlet and a longtime antagonist of communist China was taken in custody as police raided his newsroom seeking documents. Lai was already facing other charges related to his organization of protests last year, but the new counts sent shockwaves through Hong Kong. Lai’s arrest was part of a larger police operation. Hong Kong law enforcement officials said at least seven people aged 39 to 72 had been arrested on suspicion of collusion with foreign forces against national security, and conspiracy to commit fraud.

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Twitter thread from Deficit Owl h/t Steve Keen. I’ve said it before: we must have these discussions.

Should The Government Balance Its Budget? (DO)

One popular idea in “Keynesian economics” is that the government should balance its budget over the course of the business cycle, running deficits for stimulus during recessions, then surpluses in booms to bring down the debt. This is a bad strategy, because it neglects the interconnectedness of financial positions in the economy. One entity’s spending is another’s income; so for somebody to run a surplus, somebody else has to run a deficit. So if we say “gov should run a surplus,” what does that imply about private financial positions? In the US, because of structural factors that aren’t going away anytime soon, we nearly always run deficits against the rest of the world (the trade/current account deficit), meaning that we send income overseas that doesn’t come back as spending.

That means that for the US private sector balance to be positive (a surplus), the gov sector balance has to be negative (a deficit) and it has to be at least as large as the losses to the foreign sector (the gov deficit ≥ the current account deficit). The private sector doesn’t need to be in surplus at all times. But we also wouldn’t expect it to be continually in deficit – that would imply, on net, ever-worsening financial positions in the private sector, running down saved assets and/or issuing new IOUs. So what happens to the private sector if the gov “balances its budget over the cycle”? In recessions, depending on the size of the gov deficit, the private sector will be balanced or running small surpluses (because the foreign deficit cancels out some/all of the gov deficit). But in booms, the private sector would be deeply in the red (deficit), because the gov surpluses would be subtracting income out of the private sector, while the foreign sector is doing it too. /7

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This discussion is far from over.

One-Fifth Of All Mail-in Ballots Disqualified In NYC Primary (JTN)

Tens of thousands of mail-in voting ballots in the recent New York Democratic presidential primary election were disqualified without being counted — a sign that the country’s looming presidential election, one which may be conducted significantly by mail, could be facing procedural chaos over countless disputed and uncounted votes. A total of more than 84,000 ballots were disqualified in the city primary — roughly 21%, or one out of every five votes — many of them due to late submissions, lack of postmarks and missing signatures. Kings County — the borough of Brooklyn — alone saw 30,000 ballots invalidated. The disorganized voting and tallying process could signal a coming crisis in November, when much of the American vote is expected to be submitted via mail due to fears of the coronavirus.

A Pew Research Center Poll from June found that just one out of every five Americans voted by mail in the 2016 election; many officials across the country have been pushing in recent months for every American voter to receive a mail-in ballot. President Trump has of late warned repeatedly that the mail-in voting process is ripe for fraud and abuse, yet the disarray of New York’s primary suggests procedural issues may form a much larger concern for election integrity in November. A localized ruling by a federal judge last week has thrown the New York primary into even greater disorder. Judge Analisa Torres ruled Aug. 3 that, due to faulty mailing and processing issues, all mail-in votes in the state received up to two days after the election must be counted so long as they were postmarked by the day of the election.

Torres extended that order to cover all elections across the state, claiming that not doing so “would risk running afoul of the Constitution’s guarantee of equal treatment.” State Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin told Just the News that Torres’ ruling has not yet been enforced. “The State Board of Elections is appealing the decision,” he said via email. “If we lose the appeal then all affected boards will have to conduct additional canvassing for absentee ballots received on June 24th and 25th without a postmark. The local boards would then submit amended certifications of their primary results.”

“It is not expected that the outcome in any contest will be changed,” Conklin added. “Absentee ballots can be disqualified for any number of statutory reasons,” he added, including “late postmark, no postmark, the Oath envelope not signed and dated by the voter, the signature on the Oath envelope does not match the signature in the voter’s registration record, the Oath envelope not sealed by the voter, the voter is deceased, the voter showed up in person to vote on Election Day,” and numerous other factors.

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There was zero need to drop it, or the Hiroshima bomb. Japan had been looking for a way to surrender for months. But Russia also declared war on Japan, and that changed things.

The Very Un-Christian Nagasaki Bomb (Kohls)

Seventy-five years ago today, an all-Christian bomber crew dropped “Fat Man,” a plutonium bomb, on Nagasaki, Japan, instantly annihilating tens of thousands of innocent civilians, a disproportionate number of them Japanese Christians, and wounding uncountable numbers of others. For targeting purposes, the bombing crew used St. Mary’s Urakami Cathedral, the largest Christian church in East Asia. At 11:02 a.m., on Aug. 9, 1945, when the bomb was dropped over the cathedral, Nagasaki was the most Christian city in Japan. At the time, the United States was arguably the most Christian nation in the world (that is, if you can label as Christian a nation whose churches overwhelmingly have failed to sincerely teach or adhere to the peaceful ethics of Jesus as taught in the Sermon on the Mount).

The baptized and confirmed Christian airmen, following their wartime orders to the letter, did their job efficiently, and they accomplished the mission with military pride, albeit with a number of near-fatal glitches. Most Americans in 1945 would have done exactly the same if they had been in the shoes of the Bock’s Car crew, and there would have been very little mental anguish later if they had also been treated as heroes. Nevertheless, the use of that monstrous weapon of mass destruction to destroy a mainly civilian city like Nagasaki was an international war crime and a crime against humanity as defined later by the Nuremberg Tribunal. Of course, there was no way that the crew members could have known that at the time. Some of the crew did admit that they had had some doubts about what they had participated in when the bomb actually detonated.

Of course, none of them actually saw the horrific suffering of the victims up close and personal. “Orders are orders” and, in wartime, disobedience can be, and has been, legally punishable by summary execution of the soldier who might have had a conscience strong enough to convince him that killing another human, especially an unarmed one, was morally wrong. When Nagasaki was destroyed, it had been only three days since another U.S. atomic bomb, nicknamed “Little Boy,” had decimated Hiroshima. The Nagasaki bombing on Aug. 9 occurred amid chaos and confusion in Tokyo, where the fascist military government, which had known for months that it had lost the war, was searching for a way to honorably surrender.

The only obstacle to surrender had been the Allied insistence on unconditional surrender, which meant that the Emperor Hirohito, whom the Japanese regarded as a deity, would be removed from his figurehead position in Japan and possible subjected to war crimes trials. That was a deal-breaker, an intolerable demand for the Japanese that prolonged the war and prevented Japan from giving up months earlier.

St. Mary’s Urakami Cathedral after the bomb exploded above it as shown in a photograph dated Jan. 7, 1946.

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1944 CIA memo on how to infiltrate an organisation

 

 

This statue doesn’t like dogs. Think we should topple it?

 

 

Support the Automatic Earth in virustime.

 

Aug 042020
 


Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud, Brussels 1873

 

Yale Doctor Battles CNN Anchor Over Effectiveness Of HCQ (Fox)
COVID19 Survivors Show Increased Rate Of Psychiatric Disorders (G.)
New Heart Problems Seen In Recovered COVID-19 Patients (R.)
Italy Survey Suggests Coronavirus 6x More Prevalent Than Official Data (R.)
Mutation May Have Made Virus More Vulnerable To Vaccines (R.)
Less Than Third Of Canadians Willing To Travel Without COVID19 Vaccine (CBC)
Manhattan DA Probing Trump Over More Than ‘Hush-Money’ Payments (R.)
Trump Considering Executive Action To Suspend Evictions, Payroll Tax (Hill)
Trump Calls To ‘Re-Run’ New York House Race Over Discarded Mail-In Ballots (F.)
How White Radicals Hijacked Portland’s Protests (Tracey)
Debunking The Coup d’Trump (Turley)
‘The Money Story’ Told By A Father Of MMT (Kohler)
Papers Leaked Before UK Election In Suspected Russian Operation Were Hacked (R.)
A Glimpse Towards November (Kunstler)
Biden Says He Can’t Wait To Find Out Who He Picked For VP (Babylon Bee)

 

 

Some encouraging looking numbers. Cases and deaths decrease both globally and in the US. Europe doesn’t look so good, though, and neither does Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taleb – How to Handle a Pandemic

Yaneer COVID growth rates Europe Africa

 

 

1) I’ve noted before that the first HCQ criticism was all about you could die from it. That’s gone, now it’s merely ineffective. Why? What happened?

2) Dr. Risch says the studies look at the wrong people (low risk). Do we know, however, how HCQ is administered? Is it given to early onset patients, and combined with zinq?

3) Zelenko explains in great detail how he works, and why. But he’s completely ignored and shunned by corporate media. Doesn’t look like truth finding to me.

Yale Doctor Battles CNN Anchor Over Effectiveness Of Hydroxychloroquine (Fox)

Yale epidemiology professor Dr. Harvey Risch and CNN host John Berman bickered over hydroxychloroquine on Monday during a heated discussion about the polarizing drug, which the president has hailed as a possible treatment for COVID-19. Risch recently wrote an op-ed in support of hydroxychloroquine, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Deborah Birx and other experts have dismissed the anti-malarial drug being used to combat coronavirus. Risch cited various studies that backed up his pro-hydroxychloroquine stance, but the host of CNN’s “New Day” disagreed. “None of those studies that you just cited are random placebo-controlled trials, what Dr. Fauci refers to as the gold standard,” Berman said, as the CNN on-screen chyron stated “Growing body of evidence shows hydroxychloroquine is ineffective.”

Risch responded: “That’s not actually correct. The problem with those randomized controlled trials, is they were trials done on the wrong people. They were trials done on low-risk people with low risks of hospitalization and mortality. You don’t do a study of prostate cancer with women… because nobody is gonna get the outcome.” Risch said the studies were conducted on “very low-risk people who are not going to get hospitalized or die” from coronavirus. “We don’t treat those people. We treat high-risk people,” Risch said. Berman then accused Risch of being inconsistent compared to the op-ed, but the Yale epidemiologist disagreed and the interview grew contentious.


“You’re misstating what I said, I said it had to be in high-risk people,” Risch said. “As I’ve said, you have to treat the right people. You have to study the right people. Those studies did not study the right people, period. That’s the bottom line.”

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55% of them.

COVID19 Survivors Show Increased Rate Of Psychiatric Disorders (G.)

More than half of people who received hospital treatment for Covid-19 were found to be suffering from a psychiatric disorder a month later, a study has found. Out of 402 patients monitored after being treated for the virus, 55% were found to have at least one psychiatric disorder, experts from San Raffaele hospital in Milan found. The results, based on clinical interviews and self-assessment questionnaires, showed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 28% of cases, depression in 31% and anxiety in 42%. Additionally, 40% of patients had insomnia and 20% had obsessive-compulsive (OC) symptoms. The findings will increase concerns about the psychological effects of the virus.

The paper, published on Monday in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity, says: “PTSD, major depression, and anxiety are all high-burden non-communicable conditions associated with years of life lived with disability. “Considering the alarming impact of Covid-19 infection on mental health, the current insights on inflammation in psychiatry, and the present observation of worse inflammation leading to worse depression, we recommend to assess psychopathology of Covid-19 survivors and to deepen research on inflammatory biomarkers, in order to diagnose and treat emergent psychiatric conditions.” The study of 265 men and 137 women found that women – who are less likely to die from Covid than men – suffered more than men psychologically.

Patients with positive previous psychiatric diagnoses suffered more than those without a history of psychiatric disorder. The researchers, led by Dr Mario Gennaro Mazza, said these results were consistent with previous epidemiological studies. They said psychiatric effects could be caused “by the immune response to the virus itself, or by psychological stressors such as social isolation, psychological impact of a novel severe and potentially fatal illness, concerns about infecting others, and stigma.” Outpatients showed increased anxiety and sleep disturbances, while – perhaps surprisingly – the duration of hospitalisation inversely correlated with symptoms of PTSD, depression, anxiety and OC.

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“Among 100 patients ages 45 to 53, “a considerable majority” – 78 – had inflammation in the heart muscle and lining…”

New Heart Problems Seen In Recovered COVID-19 Patients (R.)

More than three-quarters of recently recovered COVID-19 patients had heart muscle problems show up during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests, German doctors reported on Monday in JAMA Cardiology. In some patients, the heart may be “in serious trouble as a part of COVID-19 disease,” Dr. Valentina Puntmann of University Hospital Frankfurt told Reuters. Among 100 patients ages 45 to 53, “a considerable majority” – 78 – had inflammation in the heart muscle and lining. Sixty-seven had recovered at home while 33 had required hospitalization. Half of the former patients were more than two months out since their diagnosis at the time of the MRI.


Thirty-six patients reported ongoing shortness of breath and general exhaustion, and 71 had blood markers of heart muscle damage. Compared with similar people who had not had COVID-19, the recently recovered patients’ hearts pumped more weakly and displayed other risk factors for heart failure. Puntmann suspects the abnormalities are signs of permanent problems. “While we do not have direct evidence for late consequences yet, such as the development of heart failure … it is quite possible that in a few years, this burden will be enormous based on what we have learned from other viral conditions that similarly affect the heart,” she said.

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It’s still just 2.5% that have antibodies. Not 60%. Even in Lombardy no more than 7.5%.

Italy Survey Suggests Coronavirus 6x More Prevalent Than Official Data (R.)

Almost 1.5 million people in Italy or 2.5% of the population have developed coronavirus antibodies, a figure six times more than official numbers reported, according to a survey from statistics agency Istat on Monday. The survey by Istat and the health ministry, was based on antibody tests conducted on 64,660 people. Official figures show 248,229 confirmed cases of COVID-19 patients in Italy, with 35,166 deaths. The survey found marked local differences with the northern region of Lombardy, where the epidemic first broke out in February, showing 7.5% of the population had tested positive for coronavirus antibodies compared to just 0.3% in the southern region of Sicily. The survey found almost 30% of people with antibodies were asymptomatic, pointing to the risk of the illness being spread by people unaware they were carriers.

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Easy to say when there is no vaccine.

Mutation May Have Made Virus More Vulnerable To Vaccines (R.)

A genetic mutation that made the new coronavirus more infectious may also make it more vulnerable to vaccines, researchers believe. The mutation, designated D614G, increases the number of “spikes” on the surface of the virus and makes them more stable, allowing the virus to more efficiently break into and infect cells. The mutation will not pose problems for vaccines now in clinical trials, however, because the extra spikes retain the targets for the “neutralizing antibodies” the vaccines are designed to induce.


Those targets, called receptor-binding domains, or RBDs, are the places where the spike attaches itself to the cells it infects. With more spikes, there are more RBDs for the antibodies to bind to in order to neutralize the virus. “The gain in infectivity provided by D614G came at the cost of making the virus more vulnerable to neutralizing antibodies,” the researchers wrote in a paper posted on medRxiv on Friday ahead of peer review.

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Tourism in Greece is at a very low level still. People stay home this year.

Less Than Third Of Canadians Willing To Travel Without COVID19 Vaccine (CBC)

Most Canadians and Americans aren’t rushing to travel anywhere, even within their own countries, before a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, according to a new online survey. Fewer than a third of Canadians are willing to take a flight anywhere right now whether it’s to another continent, to another province, or within their own province, according to the poll by Research Co., a Vancouver-based polling firm. Only 17 per cent of Canadian respondents were willing to take a plane to the United States. Thirty-five per cent of Americans say they are willing to take a flight within the U.S., but only 28 per cent would fly to Canada.


“The appetite for travel before a COVID-19 vaccine is readily available is low in Canada and the United States,” said Mario Canseco, president of Research Co., in a written release. “North American residents aged 55 and over, who are usually ready to explore and spend, are particularly reticent about all journeys unless inoculation is a reality.” The online poll, conducted July 1-5, surveyed representative samples of 1,000 Canadians and 1,200 Americans. It asked them their willingness to travel by five different modes of transportation: by train, by plane, by bus, by cruise ship and by ferry.

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We couldn’t have too long a period without some public investigation against Trump, could we? Got to cover the entire 4+ years. Election tampering?

Manhattan DA Probing Trump Over More Than ‘Hush-Money’ Payments (R.)

Manhattan’s district attorney on Monday suggested a grand jury subpoena for U.S. President Donald Trump’s tax returns was part of an investigation of “possibly extensive and protracted criminal conduct at the Trump Organization,” including alleged insurance and bank fraud. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance raised the scope of the probe in court papers filed in federal court in Manhattan on Monday. He is seeking to dismiss Trump’s latest challenge to the subpoena for eight years of personal and corporate tax records. Asked about the investigation at a coronavirus press briefing on Monday, Trump repeated that he believed he is the victim of a political “witch hunt,” which he said was “Democrats’ stuff” and started “even before I got in” to office.

“There is nothing that I know even about it,” he added. Trump is scheduled to respond to Vance’s motion to dismiss by Aug. 10. In a court filing last week, Trump’s lawyers argued the subpoena was “wildly overbroad” and issued in “bad faith.” Vance noted in the court papers that when the subpoena was issued last August, there were “public allegations of possible criminal activity” at the Trump Organization dating back a decade. He said public reports show a basis for each category and timeframe of documents sought from Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA. Trump’s argument that the subpoena is overbroad “rests on the false premise that the grand jury’s investigation is limited to so-called ‘hush-money’ payments made by Michael Cohen” on Trump’s behalf in 2016, Vance said.

Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to campaign violations tied to the payments to pornographic film actress Stormy Daniels and former model Karen McDougal, who claimed they had affairs with Trump, which he denies. In a footnote to Monday’s filing, Vance cited media reports on Trump’s alleged role in the hush-money scheme and on the “unorthodox strategies” he used to expand his real estate empire.

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Do unemployment benefits too.

Trump Considering Executive Action To Suspend Evictions, Payroll Tax (Hill)

President Trump said Monday that he is considering taking executive action to halt evictions and suspend payroll tax collection as coronavirus relief talks see slow progress on Capitol Hill. “I could do that if I want, and I want to do that. I don’t want people to be evicted,” Trump told reporters at a press conference Monday evening when asked about his suggestion earlier in the day that he could act unilaterally to suspend evictions. Trump noted that individuals who are evicted often go to shelters, where the coronavirus can spread easily because of crowding. “They’re thrown out viciously. It’s not their fault. It’s not their fault. It’s China’s fault,” Trump said, continuing to blame China, where the virus originated, for the pain inflicted on Americans.

Trump also asserted that he had unilateral authority to suspend the payroll tax. “I can do that also through executive order, so we’ll be talking about that,” Trump said. Trump’s admission came after conservatives Stephen Moore and Phil Kerpen penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal urging Trump to declare a national economic emergency and to direct the IRS to suspend collection of payroll taxes. They argued that Trump could defer payroll tax payments using the same section of the tax code used by Treasury earlier this year to postpone the 2019 tax filing deadline until mid-July. The move would amount to a deferral, though the two argued that Trump could pledge to sign a bill in the future to forgive the repayments.

[..] Trump’s remarks make clear the White House is considering unilateral actions as the administration and Congress struggle to reach a consensus on the next coronavirus relief bill. Congress in March enacted a federal moratorium on evictions through the CARES Act, though that expired roughly a week ago. Expanded unemployment insurance benefits enacted under the same bill officially expired last week. The White House has pushed for both measures to be extended quickly in a short-term deal as negotiators hammer out the details of the relief package, but Democrats have resisted a short-term measure.

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Mail-in may run reasonably well in Colorado, but here’s your first mess.

Trump Calls To ‘Re-Run’ New York House Race Over Discarded Mail-In Ballots (F.)

At a White House press conference on Monday, President Trump called to “re-run” the Democratic primary in New York’s 12th Congressional District, a race in which one candidate has refused to concede citing a large number of discarded and unreceived mail-in ballots. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) led progressive challenger Suraj Patel by just 648 votes– or 1.6%–in the Manhattan and Queens district on election night, but expanded her lead to 4 points after mail-in ballots were finished being counted in late July. Patel has refused to concede, citing reports that 9,000 of the more than 47,000 mail-in ballots sent in were invalidated for a variety of reasons and that many voters didn’t receive their mail-in ballots in time for the election.


Trump has pointed to the district, which contains Trump Tower, as a prime example of the flaws of mail-in voting, against which he has waged a fierce campaign in recent months, telling reporters on Friday, “They’re never going to have the result of that election, never the correct result.” Trump doubled-down on his criticism of the 12th District’s primary on Monday, calling it a “total disaster” and saying “nobody knows what’s happening with the ballots and the lost ballots and the fraudulent ballots I guess.” “I think I can say right here and now you have to re-run that race, because it’s a mess,” Trump added. Ultimately it would be up to New York State, not the federal government, to decide whether to re-run a race–as was the case in North Carolina’s 9th district in 2019.

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Michael Tracey spent a lot of time on the ground.

How White Radicals Hijacked Portland’s Protests (Tracey)

The overwhelmingly white, anarchist activists who populate the ongoing protests in Portland, Oregon should not be underestimated for their strategic savvy. In seizing the mantle of “Black Lives Matter”, they’ve discovered a work-around to arrogate moral cover for whatever insurrectionary upheaval they would have been ideologically committed to fomenting anyway. The Left/liberal political and media class is deeply invested in preserving the untouchable sanctity of “BLM”. So by fusing themselves in the public mind with this ambiguously-defined protest movement, or even putting themselves at the vanguard, the anarchist whites insulate themselves from the type of scrutiny that might ordinarily be prompted by activists whose ultimate goal is the overthrow of the state — and who are happy to engage in what they call “a diversity of tactics” (up to and including violence) to achieve this.

It makes for a bizarre dynamic, as Democratic Party pundits and politicians routinely describe avowed insurrectionists as nothing more than benign “peaceful protesters”. And since the protests came to be arrayed against the federal forces dispatched to Portland by Donald Trump, more conventional elements of the Left/liberal “Resistance” have made common cause with these revolutionary anarchists who regard the very essence of the US political system — not just Trump — as innately fascist and “white supremacist”. On a recent evening, for instance, an older white couple in a pair of matching “Resistance”-branded T-shirts could be spotted in attendance among the radical activists, as well as a man sporting the slogan “Ridin’ with Biden”.

To characterise what’s gone on in Portland as a traditional “protest” is a misnomer, however. Pay a visit to the area around the Federal Courthouse in Downtown after midnight and you are greeted by brigades of black-clad “Antifa” foot soldiers — geared up in full body armour, complete with industrial-grade gas masks, shields and even customised radio systems. Being overwhelmingly white, they are strategic about public presentation: the speakers appointed to address the nightly “rallies” are almost exclusively black, as “amplifying black voices” to whom whites must dutifully “listen” is a central tenet of the Summer 2020 protest ethos.

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Turley often tries to be overly correct.

Debunking The Coup d’Trump (Turley)

This week, American democracy either died or it didn’t, but you couldn’t tell from the news coverage. Some commentators and members of Congress warned that we are looking at “nothing less than a coup.” Others called for organized protests, proclaiming it is now clear that President Trump’s “anti-democratic intent was blood-chillingly real.” One leading academic called for Trump’s immediate impeachment as a fascist out to destroy our constitutional system. We have not seen such rhetoric since Aaron Burr tried to peel off the entire southwestern territory of the United States. The cause this time was an 11-word Twitter question from President Trump. Returning to his favorite subject of denouncing mail-in voting as a disaster in the making, he ended his July 30 tweet by asking, “Delay the election until people can properly, securely and safely vote?”

As I said at the time, the tweet was reckless and repugnant. However, cries of some Twitter-based coup d’état were equally unconnected to reality. I have written repeatedly about this conspiracy theory that Trump will never allow an election to occur in 2020, which has raged on liberal websites and cable news since soon after his inauguration. Trump does not have the authority to delay the election. Even if he could persuade Congress to change the date, with the implausible assistance of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Constitution still stipulates that his term ends at noon on Jan. 20. In the interim, not only do citizens have to vote, but electors have to cast ballots in the Electoral College, and those votes must be certified and counted by Congress.

It is not much of a coup when you do not extend your time in office. It does not matter what Trump would like; it is what the Constitution will allow. A demand to delay the election has the same impact as Trump declaring he will change his name to “Joe Biden” if needed to claim victory, or that he will adopt Neptune’s calendar to extend his four-year term to 660 years. That is why this conspiracy theory has been so maddening. Indeed, in a column in April, I criticized former Vice President Joe Biden when he took up the theory, triggering another round of panic; Biden added a second theory to this baseless fear, suggesting that Trump’s opposition to funding the U.S. Postal Service was part of a plan to steal the election. (I later wrote an equally caustic criticism of Jared Kushner when he equivocated about Election Day.)

While I portrayed Biden back then as a virtual nut for raising this conspiracy theory, many now have proclaimed him a virtual Nostradamus following Trump’s tweet. Biden was not right — any more than Trump is today. It is no surprise — and no sign of a conspiracy — that Trump might suggest something outrageous, such as a delayed election, on Twitter. Such behavior is an established fact that occupies many of us on a daily basis. The “conspiracy theory” is to suggest that Trump could actually halt or delay the election. In fairness to Trump, he has not stated that he can unilaterally delay the election but rather has asked if we should do so.

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We have to discuss MMT, just like we have to talk about UBI. The bottom is falling out.

‘The Money Story’ Told By A Father Of MMT (Kohler)

Warren Mosler is one of but possibly the originator of modern monetary theory, but he did collaborate with Bill Mitchell of The University of Newcastle, who I interviewed in March, among other people. Warren is talking to us from The Virgin Islands where he lives on the Island of Saint Croix. But the difference with Warren Mosley is he’s not an academic, he is a fund manager, started off with a big bankers trust or a group of other banks, eventually had his own hedge fund trading bonds and essentially, put into practice his ideas that became known as modern monetary theory. I suppose the key insight is here, that what he’s talking about is actual operations of money, not theory. He’s an operational guy and the way he approaches it is in the way the monetary system actually works. He’s really clear, really worth listening to and it’s long but really worthwhile.

Warren, it occurred to me that maybe a good place to start would be the insights you started to have in the 70s, when you were a fairly young bond trader – I can’t remember who with but at some stage, BT, and I think you moved around a bit… I mean, those were the peak times of what we call monetarism and Friedmanism and so on, and I think you started then saying that the Emperor had no clothes. What exactly did you identify as the problem? “I can only remember bits and pieces from back then. I remember being a bankers trust and the Fed had raised reserve requirements and the trading managers, Allan Rogers – and he talked without moving his mouth like this, and he said, “Why I hope the Fed doesn’t just give them the money. The money supply is too high, they need to take the $10 billion or whatever it is out of the economy.”

And I remember saying – I was a fairly new trader there, I was 27 years’ old – I go, “Allan, you can’t do that, you can’t just – you know, it’s just a spreadsheet, you can’t take the money out, they have to add the money. They always add the money because otherwise it’s, in the first instance, the reserve requirements are debit and so then they either have an overdraft which is a reserve-add or you have to buy securities as a reserve-add. Since the overdraft would cause the Fed funds rate to go up 100 basis points, they don’t want that to happen, they have to just do repos or add to reserves.” He goes, “Well, they could bring back those Euro dollars, there’s 300 billion Euro dollars sloshing around.”

I go, “No there aren’t. There’s a spreadsheet over there with assets and liabilities, there’s nothing sloshing around, you can’t bring those back, that’s just empty rhetoric…” He didn’t really want to hear that. One of my clients was Cliff Viner at Phoenix Mutual, who later became my partner, and he directed my attention to an article in the Wall Street Journal by Eric Heineman, “The money supply is too high, I hope the Fed doesn’t just give them the money but takes it out.” I explain it to him and he was a client of Morgan Stanley so he called them with my answer and he calls me back with their double-talk answer and I straightened that up. He calls them back and then he calls me back and he says, “They’ve retracted their statement. They agree that you have to add the reserves.” So, I don’t know, maybe that was part of the pieces of the puzzle.

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Reuters started this. They say “suspected” Russians, which means it might have also been Martians. Their info is MI6- sourced. The UK press turns it into Russians for sure., with one report linking them to state based operations. Now suspected Russians have become Russian intelligence. Who, having gone through the trouble of hacking into a US-UK trade deal, don’t keep it for themselves to use later, but know nothing better to do with it than hand it to antisemite Jeremy Corbyn to wave around.

The British DO NOT like that Russia doesn’t find them interesting anymore. They DO like that they can sweep all their failures unnder the RussiaRussia carpet.

Papers Leaked Before UK Election In Suspected Russian Operation Were Hacked (R.)

Classified U.S.-UK trade documents leaked ahead of Britain’s 2019 election were stolen from the email account of former trade minister Liam Fox by suspected Russian hackers, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because a law enforcement investigation is underway, said the hackers accessed the account multiple times between July 12 and Oct. 21 last year. They declined to name which Russian group or organisation they believed was responsible, but said the attack bore the hallmarks of a state-backed operation. Among the stolen information were six tranches of documents detailing British trade negotiations with the United States, which Reuters first reported last year were leaked and disseminated online by a Russian disinformation campaign.


British foreign minister Dominic Raab confirmed that report last month, saying that “Russian actors” had sought to interfere in the election “through the online amplification of illicitly acquired and leaked Government documents”. Reuters was not able to determine which of Fox’s email accounts was hacked and when it was first compromised. It is not clear if Fox, who is still a member of parliament but stood down as trade minister on July 24 last year in a cabinet reshuffle, was a minister at the time. A British government spokeswoman said: “There is an ongoing criminal investigation into how the documents were acquired, and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this point.” She added that the government had “very robust systems in place to protect the IT systems of officials and staff.”

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“..if ever there was a Lady Macbeth moment for wickedness to prevail, this is it.”

A Glimpse Towards November (Kunstler)

The New York Times and its media co-seditionists insist that massive mail-in voting will do just fine despite plenty of evidence that it’s already a demonstrable fiasco — for instance in the recent New York primary where two congressional district contests remain undecided months later due to ballot irregularities. The boards of election “had operational issues,” as Governor Cuomo put it, “and we have to learn from them” — another teachable moment in the Democratic Party’s valiant struggle to morally improve America strictly on its own terms. Over in Nevada, the state legislature passed a mail-in vote scheme that will send ballots out to everybody and his-or-her uncle, with no ID required, and a feature that permits ballots to be filled-out by someone other than the addressed voter.

Nice! A “ballot-harvesting” model for other states. In California, where anybody with a driver’s license is automatically registered to vote via the 2015 “New Motor Voter Act,” ballots will go out to 600,000 un-documented non-citizens who were granted licenses under a separate act (AB-60) the same year. Do you suppose all of them will conscientiously toss their ballots in the trash while California’s mighty Democratic Party machine importunes them to vote early-and-often? There’s your set-up for a 2020 election that can’t possibly be resolved, and a recipe for a Hieronymus Bosch style orgy of Lawfare litigation that would deliberately seek to confound the Federal Election Commission’s best efforts to untangle the mess — just as Lawfare is doing in the mess of a case against General Flynn — and effectively end 232 years of continuous, orderly four-year election cycles. Is that what you want?

The other index of the Democratic Party’s desperation is the ongoing emperor’s-new-clothes charade posing the effigy of Joe Biden as a serious candidate for a rather important position in government. Everybody knows that they know — and we know that they know that we all know — that Mr. Biden is sailing into a fog-bank of senility, and more measurably each day! His every staged performance is an obvious embarrassment of fumbled phrases and things forgotten. They are going to have to find a replacement. It really comes down to two figures: Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. What a predicament!

[..] Hillary still owns the DNC — literally. Nobody knows how much of the Clinton Foundation’s ill-gotten moolah still underwrites the party’s national operations. The arrest of Ghislaine Maxwell, with new allegations about Bill Clinton’s capers on Epstein’s Pedo Island, is a strange twist with mystifying implications — especially the timing and the motives of those in the DOJ’s Southern District who stage-managed it. With the Clintons, intrigues always abound. But if ever there was a Lady Macbeth moment for wickedness to prevail, this is it. For now, the old warhorse is laying low on her yoga mat somewhere in the Chappaqua woods.

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“What Joe was trying to say is that he’s chosen a well-qualified candidate who will run the country ..”

Biden Says He Can’t Wait To Find Out Who He Picked For VP (Babylon Bee)

According to sources in the Biden campaign, the presidential candidate is on pins and needles waiting to see who it is he picked to run for vice president on his ticket. Campaign aides say it’s been Biden’s most anticipated event since he found out he was running for president a few weeks ago. A reporter asked Biden if he could hint about his VP pick during a brief interlude from his stay in the basement, where he was allowed to come upstairs to get some snacks. “Oh boy — I hope it’s a real classy broad,” he said as he drank straight from the milk jug. “I bet I picked somebody good and smart. A chick with class and style.


You know, in my day, dames were dames and guys were guys. None of this ‘guys becoming dolls’ and ‘dolls becoming guys’ stuff. We would go down to the hop and do the mashed potato. You know, there’s lots of good nnnn– nutrients and stuff in potatoes. Potato is a funny word.” “Po – ta – to.” “OK, Joe, let’s go,” said an aide, shoving him down into the basement. “What Joe was trying to say is that he’s chosen a well-qualified candidate who will run the country — err, I mean, help him run the country — with excellence.”

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