May 282024
 
 May 28, 2024  Posted by at 8:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  36 Responses »


Edward Hopper Second Story Sunlight 1960

 

Saving our Democracy This Memorial Day (Jim Kunstler)
Why the Trump Trial Could End With a Hung Jury (Turley)
Trumpophobia Is Cresting With His Polls (Victor Davis Hanson)
NATO Falling Into ‘Wartime Ecstasy’ – Kremlin (RT)
ECB Tells Banks To ‘Get Out Of Russia’ (RT)
Russia Producing Shells at 25% Price of NATO Countries, 3x Faster (RT)
NATO To ‘Institutionalize’ Arms Support For Kiev At US Summit (TASS)
Ukraine Conference is Propaganda to Cover Up Zelensky’s Illegitimacy (Sp.)
The Small Baltic States Lead The EU In Insanity (Paul Craig Roberts)
Estonian President Pledges To Bring Russia ‘To Its Knees’ (RT)
Zelensky Bodyguard Told His Men To Surrender – The Times (RT)
The Brink Of Dissolution: Neurosis In West As Levee Breaks (Alastair Crooke)
Canada Afraid To Prosecute Colonel For Saying Ukrainian War Is Lost (Helmer)
Biden’s Tariffs Are Another Nail in the Dollar’s Coffin (Ron Paul)
Raisi’s Legacy is a Beacon For Posterity (Bhadrakumar)
Blinken’s Blunders Epitomize The Bankruptcy Of US Power And Diplomacy (SCF)

 

 

 

 

“Israel must accept that it cannot exist without a Palestinian state.”

 

 

US bases
https://twitter.com/i/status/1794832164913365037

 

 

Elon Obama

 

 

SpaceX booster

 

 

 

 

Hard choice what to open with today. Both Kunstler and Turley are excellent.

“..Legal experts at MSNBC, Andrew Weissmann (of the Mueller Special Counsel office) and Andy McCabe (former Deputy Director of the FBI), have already found this Trump guilty, and they know about these matters better than anybody..”

Saving our Democracy This Memorial Day (Jim Kunstler)

Surely it was the right thing to do for President “Joe Biden” to remind the nation of the tragic loss of George Floyd four years ago this Memorial Day weekend. At the time, the man known as “the Black Thomas Edison” was rumored to be this close to achieving an economically viable system for producing electricity via atomic fusion using the fentanyl molecule (C22H28N2O) combined with the nuclei of alcohol (C2H6O), releasing enough energy from one gram to power a city the size of Minneapolis for a day. The math he left behind on his chalkboard spells it out:

You see how that works? Alas, Dr. Floyd had apparently ingested a small amount of these experimental substances accidently before leaving his lab May 25, 2020, when he encountered the white supremacist police officer Derek Chauvin outside a Cup Foods convenience store in Minneapolis’s “Powderhorn” neighborhood. For reasons never understood, despite manifold judicial inquiries, the officer dragged the Great Man out of his car — where he was polishing some of the requisite algebra in his notebook — and for no reason at all placed one knee, and all his weight, on Dr. Floyd’s neck, constricting his airway and causing his death. The nation erupted in violence, and you know the rest of the story: no cheap energy for you, you nation of white supremacist asswipes!

And so it has gone since that fateful day: one darn thing after another. Luckily though — and with a little help from Mark Zuckerberg’s Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) — the vigilant “Joe Biden” presides in the White House, keeping America safe for democracy, by democracy, and of democracy. The country has never experienced so much democracy. The Brookings Institution even warns that the country might be close to a democracy overload, in which the popular will is so immense that everyone in all fifty states thinks the same morally correct thoughts all day long without giving offense or making any space unsafe or dis-including any diverse category of human (except white supremacists) from his, her, or they’s share of the nation’s limitless wealth.

“Joe Biden” has been especially effective at containing the Grand Golem of all white supremacists, Trump, from deconstructing our utopian democracy. This Trump uttered perfidious misinformation that the 2020 election was less than fair and upright. He is under indictment in Fulton County, GA, for conspiring to transmit this incorrect thinking to other white supremacists and creating an unsafe space for GA Sec’y of State Brad Raffensperger by asking him to “find” additional votes. What log was Bradraff supposed to look under, anyway (ha ha!)?

The case is being guided by Fulton County DA, the indomitable Fani Willis, at least for now, as she awaits a process known as getting the bidness from a white supremacist so-called ethics committee in the Georgia State Senate, where she has been falsely accused of mis-spending state money on vacations with erstwhile special prosecutor Nathan Wade. These trips were, of course, fact-finding efforts. One fact found is that the white supremacist cruise ship directors attempt to kill black people by luring them into all-you-can-eat buffets at sea, from which escape is impossible.

“Joe Biden” also got Attorney General Merrick Garland to appoint Lawfare paladin Jack Smith to prosecute this nefarious Trump in the most upright of all federal court districts, Washington, DC, for instigating what “Joe Biden” recently called an “erection” against our democracy. Trump, you see, told a gigantic mob of white supremacists to penetrate our nation’s capitol building so as to obstruct certification of the 2020 electoral vote and murder then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, if possible, along with all congresspersons of color. Legal experts at MSNBC, Andrew Weissmann (of the Mueller Special Counsel office) and Andy McCabe (former Deputy Director of the FBI), have already found this Trump guilty, and they know about these matters better than anybody, so the trial under Judge Tanya Chutkan may be unnecessary.

Things are not going quite so well for SC Smith in the Martin County Federal Court of Judge Aileen Cannon, where this Trump stands accused of fobbing off with classified government documents, claiming some fabricated sort of presidential privilege — unlike “Joe Biden” who got his classified docs before he was president and therefore does not have to claim any such privilege (and was understandably “forgetful” when asked about the docs by the other SC Robert Hur). In any case, AG Garland can always dispatch an FBI SWAT team to Judge Cannon’s home to spur an attitude adjustment on the bench, if required.

Hopes really rest, though, on the current case against the Grand Golem Trump in Judge Juan Merchan’s Manhattan courtroom, where the most supreme of all white supremacists stands accused of book-keeping irregularities in furtherance of federal crimes so unspeakable that they have never actually been spoken. The case, engineered by veteran DC Golem hunters Mary McCord, Norm Eisen, Lisa Monaco, and Matthew Colangelo, fronted by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, goes to the jury after final arguments this week.

Judge Merchan is expected to instruct the jury to vote guilty because no other conclusion is possible. Thus, Judge Merchan will be celebrated far and wide for saving our democracy. But that’s not all. After the most excellent verdict of guilty X-23-Plus, he will have the pleasure of sentencing this Trump to life in the Rikers Island prison complex, where it will be difficult for the Grand Golem to organize any white supremacist activities and will be relegated to a diet of baloney sandwiches for the duration of his term.

The only downside for this scenario is that Trump might get elected President of the USA despite conviction, and on January 20, 2025, commence operations to put “Joe Biden” and all the others in his train of officials in jail for the rest of their natural lives. You have to wonder if they’re thinking about that this holiday weekend.

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“..the only thing worse in New York than being a Trump supporter is being a chump..”

Why the Trump Trial Could End With a Hung Jury (Turley)

Abstract artist Jackson Pollock once said that his paintings have no objective meaning, so the best way for people to enjoy them is to stop looking for it. For many of us, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has created a new school of abstract law where there is no need for objective meaning. The jury is simply supposed to enjoy it for what it is: a chance to convict Donald Trump. Pollock was famous for his painting drips on large canvases. Bragg has achieved the same effect by regenerating a dead misdemeanor on falsifying business records as 34 felony counts. To achieve that extraordinary goal, he has alleged that the document violations (which expired long ago under the statute of limitations) were committed to hide some other crime. Originally, Bragg vaguely referenced four crimes and there have been months of confusion as to what he was specifically alleging as his criminal theories. Even legal analysts on CNN and MSNBC have continued to question the specific allegations against Trump as we head into closing arguments.

As it stands, there are three crimes that have been referenced by prosecutors: state and federal election violations and taxation violations. Bragg’s legal vision for non-objective indictments was greatly advanced by Judge Juan Merchan, who will allow the jury to reach different rulings on what crime is actually evident in Bragg’s paint splatters. Merchan has ruled that the jurors can disagree on what actually occurred in terms of the second crime. This means there could be three groups of four jurors, with one believing that there was a conspiracy to conceal a state election violation, another believing there was a federal election violation (which Bragg cannot enforce), and a third believing there was a tax violation, respectively. Nonetheless, Merchan will treat that as a unanimous verdict. In other words, they could look at the indictment and see vastly different shapes, but still send Trump to prison on their interpretations.

Moreover, Michael Cohen is the sole witness even to address the elements of any of these crimes. Cohen is a convicted serial perjurer and disbarred attorney who appears to have lied again during the trial. Even if they consider his testimony, there is no direct corroboration in evidence on Trump’s intent or knowledge. As a result, the prosecutors will rely on circumstantial evidence to support whichever interpretation the jurors will buy. Faced with charges that can mean different things to different jurors, Trump’s team will have to focus on the spaces between the paint drips; the canvas itself. All of this case is based on the payment for a non-disclosure agreement that is perfectly legal and indeed common in business and politics. The Trump team needs to stop dancing around the NDA.

The jury likely believes that Trump knew of the NDA and supported it. The defense has to emphasize the testimony of David Pecker, the former publisher of the National Inquirer, that he killed stories for a variety of celebrities and politicians, including Rahm Emmanuel and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also said that he killed stories for Trump for years before he even thought of running for president. They need to emphasize the testimony of multiple witnesses that Trump seemed to want to avoid embarrassment to his family. He was also the host of a popular television show and an international businessman. The payment of a couple hundred thousand to kill stories is considered a cost of doing business for most celebrities, particularly those who have television contracts with provisions allowing cancellation for scandals. In the instructions, the court will tell the jurors that payments cannot be campaign contributions if they would have been made anyway regardless of the campaign.

They also need to point out other gaps. It was not Trump who listed payments as legal expenses or retainer payments. Witnesses said that payments to lawyers are routinely recorded as legal expenses. Indeed, it is not clear how the money should have been denominated but the decision was being made by others in the Trump organization and by Cohen himself. Moreover, on the characterization of payments as part of a “retainer,” the other party to that characterization was former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. He is currently in prison in New York, but was not called by the prosecution. The prosecutors elected to rely entirely on Michael Cohen with various witnesses, including Cohen, referencing Weisselberg’s decision on how to pay the money.

That made the canvas itself largely Michael Cohen. All of this is held together by a witness who admitted that he has lied to banks, Congress, prosecutors, business associates, and virtually every creature that has ever walked or crawled on the face of the Earth. He also lied in front of the jury about the critical call where he said that he told Trump about the NDA payment. The defense showed that that 96-second-long call was to Trump’s bodyguard, Keith Schiller, in late October 2016. It was preceded and followed by text messages that indicated that their conversation was actually about a teenager harassing Cohen.

Moreover, Cohen admitted to making millions by bashing Trump, and that he has a personal interest in his conviction. You can throw paint on Cohen all day, but it will not cover up the fact that he is a pathological liar and grifter. That is why I still believe that a hung jury might even be the most likely possibility. That may change when we see Judge Merchan’s final instructions. However, the only thing worse in New York than being a Trump supporter is being a chump. To rely solely on Cohen and not even call someone like Weisselberg is to play these jurors as chumps.

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“The public increasingly agrees that the Democrat Party is the party of the very rich, the bicoastal privileged, and the subsidized poor..”

Trumpophobia Is Cresting With His Polls (Victor Davis Hanson)

So, what is Trumpophobia? The syndrome displays a number of symptoms. One, the left always projects its sins onto its opponents. It accuses Trump of doing precisely what it has done, as a way of avoiding blame for its self-inflicted disasters. And the left so vehemently projects because it knows what it would do if it were Trump and was treated as he has been by them. Two, desperate Democrats are scrambling to find some bizarre way to depose both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, especially should Biden have a disastrous, historic preconvention June presidential debate. As a result, the 2024 campaign has never been about comparison of 2017-2020 to 2021-2024. But rather, it has already descended into the Democratic de facto smear that “Trump is even worse than Biden.”

And that fixation instills fears of what Trump might do rather than what he actually has done. Three, the left feels Biden may do more than just lose the Democrats the presidency, Senate, and its close margin in the House. His hyperinflation seriously damaged the middle class. He turns them off with his arrogance, screaming speeches, loud, obnoxious gibberish, compulsive lying, and generally impotent appearance. His racial condescension and pandering fool no one. As a result, Biden may well redefine the two parties as race is replaced by shared class concerns. Wealthy blacks may vote for Biden because they are black and wealthy, but more and more middle-class blacks may vote for Trump because they feel his policies benefit the middle class like themselves.

The public increasingly agrees that the Democrat Party is the party of the very rich, the bicoastal privileged, and the subsidized poor, while the lower and middle classes feel far more confident and secure with Republicans. Four, the left fears a more organized, savvier Trump second term might hit the ground running‚ and thus rapidly and professionally instill a conservative agenda to stop the current neo-socialist revolution. Given all that, 2024 for the left is little more than “Fear Trump or Bust.”

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“NATO is increasing the degree of escalation, NATO is flirting with warlike rhetoric, falling into “wartime ecstasy.” This is the reality we have to continue to deal with,” Peskov stated.”

NATO Falling Into ‘Wartime Ecstasy’ – Kremlin (RT)

The US-led NATO bloc has not only been directly involved in a confrontation with Russia but is now falling into “wartime ecstasy,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. He was speaking in response to the military bloc’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg advocating the removal of restrictions on use of Western weaponry by Ukraine. Stoltenberg’s remarks can be only considered as the official stance of the entire US-led military bloc and Russia will respond accordingly, Peskov told the Izvestia newspaper on Monday. “This cannot be his personal opinion. He is an official, he is the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and that is how we perceive it. NATO is increasing the degree of escalation, NATO is flirting with warlike rhetoric, falling into “wartime ecstasy.” This is the reality we have to continue to deal with,” Peskov stated.

Subsequent remarks by Stoltenberg that NATO “will not become part of the conflict” were rather “contradictory,” Peskov noted, given that the military bloc has de-facto long been a party to the hostilities and had entered into a direct confrontation with Russia. NATO is directly involved into the conflict. On Friday, Stoltenberg urged NATO allies to lift restrictions on Kiev’s use of Western-supplied weaponry against Russia. “To deny Ukraine the possibility of using these weapons against legitimate military targets on Russian territory makes it very hard for them to defend themselves,” he argued. “The time has come for allies to consider whether they should lift some of the restrictions they have put on the use of weapons they have donated to Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said in an interview with The Economist.

However, Stoltenberg insisted on Sunday that “NATO will not become part of the conflict.” The bloc has no plans to send in troops or to protect Kiev through extending “NATO’s air-defense shield to Ukraine,” the NATO chief told Germany’s Welt am Sonntag. Moscow has long rejected NATO’s rhetoric about its role in the conflict and the supposed restrictions on the use of Western-supplied munitions for striking deep into Russian territory. Such talk is merely designed to maintain the illusion that the West is not part of the conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. “We proceed from the fact that American and other Western weaponry strikes targets on the territory of Russia, primarily civilian infrastructure and residential areas,” the top diplomat told reporters on Friday.

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The only things these banks still do in Russia are either essential for survival or highly profitable. And that may be the same thing. The ECB is trying to kill off the banks.

ECB Tells Banks To ‘Get Out Of Russia’ (RT)

A senior official at the European Central Bank (ECB) has urged Italian banks with operations in Russia to pull out, amid the threat of harsher US sanctions on Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine. Italy’s UniCredit currently has the second largest exposure to the Russian market among EU-based banks, after Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI). Another lender, Intesa Sanpaolo, is working to dispose of its business in the country. ”From there (Russia) you have to get out,” ECB policymaker Fabio Panetta said at a press conference following a G7 finance meeting in Italy, as quoted by Reuters. ”There are objective difficulties because getting out of Russia is complicated… however, you have to get out because there is a reputational problem,” said Panetta, who is also the governor of the Bank of Italy.

The G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in the Italian lakeside town of Stresa was also attended by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. In an interview with Reuters, Yellen warned that European banks operating in Russia face growing risks, as the US is looking at “potentially a tougher stepping-up” of secondary sanctions on lenders that do business in the country. Sanctions related to banks’ dealings in Russia would only be imposed “if there was a reason to do so, but operating in Russia creates an awful lot of risk,” Yellen stressed. The risk of a US crackdown has reportedly spurred the ECB to up the pressure on European financial institutions still working in Russia.

Apart from RBI, UniCredit, and Intesa Sanpaolo, a number of other EU banks – notably the Dutch lender ING, Germany’s Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank, Hungary’s OTP Bank, and Sweden’s SEB –maintain a presence on the Russian market despite Western sanctions. According to the Financial Times, the regulator has sent letters to lenders with a request for an “action plan” to fold their business in Russia as early as June. Earlier this month Reuters reported that the US Treasury had threatened to cut off Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI)’s access to the American financial system due to its activities in Russia. RBI said it would start withdrawing in the third quarter of this year following pressure from the ECB.

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“..the production of ammunition in the country has increased 14-fold, drone manufacturing has increased four-fold, and the assembly of tanks and armored vehicles has increased 3.5-fold..”

Russia Producing Shells at 25% Price of NATO Countries, 3x Faster (RT)

Russia is able to produce artillery shells much faster and cheaper than Ukraine’s backers in the US and Europe, Sky News has reported, citing a study by the consulting firm Bain & Company. According to the research, based on publicly available data, Russian factories are projected to make or refurbish approximately 4.5 million rounds this year, compared to the West’s combined production of about 1.3 million rounds, the broadcaster reported on Sunday. This means that Moscow currently generates more than three times more artillery shells than the NATO members. The figures given by Bain & Company suggest that the average production cost of a Russian 152mm shell is $1,000, which is one quarter the price of the 155mm rounds used by NATO, which are priced at $4,000. The fact that the output of shells in the US and EU “lags behind” Russia poses “a major challenge” for the Ukrainian military amid the conflict with Moscow, Sky News stressed.

According to the broadcaster, Ukraine’s frontline troops are complaining that they can only fire one round for every five shells launched from the Russian side. The Pentagon said last fall that it plans to increase its output of 155mm rounds from 28,000 to 100,000 per month by the end of 2025. The EU announced in March that its goal is to ramp ammunition production capacity to 2 million shells per year during the same period. During a meeting with the leadership of Russia’s defense industry enterprises on Saturday, President Vladimir Putin said that the production of ammunition in the country has increased 14-fold, drone manufacturing has increased four-fold, and the assembly of tanks and armored vehicles has increased 3.5-fold since the launch of the military operation in Ukraine in February 2022.

“It’s a good pace, a large volume,” the president stressed, adding that the output of the country’s military-industrial complex continues to grow. “I want to thank you and your teams for dealing with such large-scale tasks,” he told the industry leaders. Moscow has warned repeatedly that deliveries of weapons and ammunition to Kiev by the US and its allies will not prevent it from achieving its military goals, adding that it will merely prolong the fighting and could increase the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO. According to officials, the provision of arms, the sharing of intelligence, and the training of Ukrainian troops obviate that Western nations have already become de-facto parties to the conflict.

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Trump wants peace. NATO does not. So they try to come up with something he cannot touch when elected.

“..a permanent NATO military fund for Ukraine worth $100 bln a year..”

NATO To ‘Institutionalize’ Arms Support For Kiev At US Summit (TASS)

NATO will establish a permanent entity at July’s summit in Washington to organize mandatory arms supplies to Ukraine and their financing, with the amount to be determined later, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, speaking at a NATO Parliamentary Assembly meeting. “Support must start to flow in again, but delays and also the fact that not everything is delivered as promised, has caused serious consequences. That’s also the reason why I have suggested that at the summit we agree a bigger NATO role in coordinating and providing security assistance and training for Ukraine. Because I strongly believe that we need a firmer, stronger institutionalized structure for the support. Ad hoc, short-term, voluntary announcements are good, but in the long term we need more predictable, stronger support for Ukraine,” he emphasized. According to Stoltenberg, the budget has not been agreed yet. The secretary general said earlier that it was necessary to create a permanent NATO military fund for Ukraine worth $100 bln a year.

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Switzerland just sold out its long lasting status of neutrality.

“Under these circumstances, Switzerland cannot be a neutral host by definition, let alone a mediator..”

Ukraine Conference is Propaganda to Cover Up Zelensky’s Illegitimacy (Sp.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin “is correct” when he states that the goal of the upcoming Ukraine ‘peace’ conference in Switzerland is to try to confirm Volodymyr Zelensky’s legitimacy to the Western community, Christopher C. Black, an international criminal lawyer with 20 years of experience in war crimes and international relations and a commentator on international affairs, told Sputnik. “It is a propaganda exercise to try to cover up the fact the Kiev regime is not legitimate. Of course legitimacy cannot be assured by statements by supporters of an illegitimate regime and those who arranged the coup d’etat of 2014,” Black pointed out.He was echoed by Francis Boyle, a professor of international law at the University of Illinois’ College of Law, who said in an interview with Sputnik that “everyone knows that the conference in Switzerland is a joke and a fraud that is based upon Zelensky’s peace program.”

“[The] Switzerland [summit] will just be an anti-Russian propaganda stunt designed to further vilify Russia in the eyes of the world. I am surprised the Swiss government is going along with it. But, of course, Switzerland is a member of NATO’s Partnership For Peace (PFP) and is no longer truly neutral — I have lectured there against this and told the Swiss they should pull out of NATO/PFP,” Boyle noted. As for Zelensky, he “has never been a legitimate president of Ukraine,” Black argued. According to him, the last legitimate president of Ukraine was Viktor Yanukovich, “who was overthrown in the NATO orchestrated coup d’etat of 2014” and who “has never served out his complete term.” “So when the Kiev coup regime conducted subsequent elections they could not be considered free and fair by any standards in the world. They were all rigged to maintain the coup regime in power under different figures or puppets,” the analyst noted.

In this vein, he referred to the people of eastern Ukraine who “have never accepted the legitimacy of the regime installed by NATO in the coup of 2014 for two reasons – it was a regime that still regards them as enemies and their democratic choice was denied” and “their chosen president [Yanukovich] was overthrown.” The remarks come after Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that discussing security issues at the Switzerland conference will be “absolutely futile” without the participation of Russia. “Most likely, it will be just empty scholasticism with no prospect of getting at least some tangible result,” Peskov added. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova earlier confirmed that Russia was not planning to participate in the summit due to be held in Buergenstock, Switzerland, on June 15-16. She also said that Russia had no confidence in Bern, a supporter of the Ukrainian government in Kiev that has implemented several rounds of EU sanctions against Russia. “Under these circumstances, Switzerland cannot be a neutral host by definition, let alone a mediator,” the spokeswoman underscored.

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“We should not be afraid of our own strength,” she declares..”

The Small Baltic States Lead The EU In Insanity (Paul Craig Roberts)

The president of Estonia (population 1,319,000 million) pledges to bring Russia “to its knees.” The prime minister of Estonia says she is not afraid of Russia and favors sending troops to Ukraine. “We should not be afraid of our own strength,” she declares. Lithuania (population 2,696,000) also thinks it is a good idea. The prime minister of Latvia (population 1,883,000) says she supports sending troops to Ukraine. The population of one Russian City, St. Petersburg is 5,600,000.

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“We will do everything possible to bring Russia and Putin to their knees,” Karis stressed. “Then it will be possible to start serious negotiations on ending the war in Ukraine.”

Estonian President Pledges To Bring Russia ‘To Its Knees’ (RT)

Estonian President Alar Karis has claimed that meaningful discussions on ending the Ukraine conflict can only take place when Moscow is fully subdued. The head of state also called on Western nations to attempt to force political change in Russia. In an interview with the news website Yle on Sunday – ahead of Finnish President Alexander Stubb’s state visit to Tallinn on Monday – Karis expressed skepticism over whether Russia can “change” quickly enough to “respond to our [Western] understanding of democracy.” He urged Western powers to intensify the pressure on Moscow – referring to sanctions imposed by the EU and US since the start of the conflict – with the goal of fueling public discontent among ordinary Russians. “We will do everything possible to bring Russia and Putin to their knees,” Karis stressed. “Then it will be possible to start serious negotiations on ending the war in Ukraine.”

Russia had a “chance” when the USSR ended, but then something went “wrong,” and now even regime change and the removal of President Vladimir Putin would not have the effect desired by the West, he argued. “Maybe you have to wait a little longer, many similar leaders, before change occurs,” he continued. Since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in February 2022, the Estonian leadership has adopted a hawkish stance towards Moscow, regularly referring to the country as “an aggressor” and an “existential threat” to the Baltic states.

Last week Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas suggested that the conflict between Moscow and Kiev should end with the breakup of the Russian Federation into separate states, arguing that it would bring “a change in society.” She repeatedly urged NATO nations to keep “all options on the table” to ensure that Moscow “loses the war.” The Kremlin has consistently decried Western involvement in the conflict, accusing NATO of waging a proxy war against Russia. Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said that “the acute phase of the military-political confrontation with the West” is currently in “full swing,” with no end in sight, claiming that “many facts” indicate that “Europe as a partner” will remain irrelevant for at least another generation.

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“..the arrests were likely connected to Zelensky’s attempts to purge all people he does not trust, as his popularity dwindles..”

Zelensky Bodyguard Told His Men To Surrender – The Times (RT)

One of the Ukrainian officers arrested earlier this month for allegedly trying to assassinate the country’s leaders told his men to lay down their arms after the conflict with Russia erupted over two years ago, The Times has claimed. The SBU, Kiev’s security agency and successor to the Soviet KGB, has arrested two colonels serving in the State Security Administration, which is responsible for the personal protection of senior officials. On Sunday, the British newspaper reported new details about their alleged activities. The SBU claims Andrey Guk and a subordinate named Derkach were willing to assist Russia in executing a coordinated missile strike, which would have killed Vladimir Zelensky and other senior figures in the Ukrainian government sometime in early May. The Times spoke to an SBU insider, who claimed on condition of anonymity that Guk had become a traitor right after the Ukraine conflict erupted, when he instructed presidential bodyguards not to resist Russian forces.

“He told them: ‘We are not the armed forces, we don’t have a particular task to defend Ukraine and I’m not paid enough to organize Brest Fortress here,’” the officer said, referring to an outpost in Belarus, which heroically stood against a Nazi onslaught during Adolf Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union. According to the report, Guk retained his position because his words were dismissed as an emotional outburst. The Times said his men had “realized he was acting under orders from” the Russian intelligence, which came as a shock. The colonel’s alleged betrayal could be explained by the fact that he was born in Russia, the newspaper suggested. The SBU claims that Guk also received some $3,000 a month plus expenses while working for Moscow.

After the Ukrainian agency first claimed that it had thwarted an assassination plot involving the two colonels, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said no statements coming from the SBU “can be treated as truthful.” The Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) said last week that the arrests were likely connected to Zelensky’s attempts to purge all people he does not trust, as his popularity dwindles. Zelensky’s five-year term in office has expired, and he has postponed elections under the martial law that remains in force in Ukraine. Ruslan Stefanchuk, the speaker of the national parliament, declared last Thursday that only “enemies of Ukraine” express doubts regarding Zelensky’s claim to the presidency.

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“Just for clarity, this (i.e. Ukraine) is Russia’s existential war which it will fight, no matter what it takes..”

The Brink Of Dissolution: Neurosis In West As Levee Breaks (Alastair Crooke)

[..] how and why can the West be said to be accelerating its own dissolution? The NY Times gives the clue to the ‘why’: The old ‘Anglo’ obsession with a defiant Russia that the West has never been able to bend to their will. And now, Russia and China have signed a joint statement somewhat similar to the ‘no limits’ friendship declared in February 2022 but reaching further. It portrays their relationship as “superior to political and military alliances of the Cold War era. Friendship between the two States has no limits, there are no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation … ”. Put starkly, this breaches the long-standing western rule of triangulation: the U.S. must stand with either the one, Russia or China, against the other; but never should China and Russia be permitted to band together versus the U.S.! – a doctrine sanctified in western ‘canon law’ since Mackinder’s time in the 19th Century. Yet, that ‘two versus one’ is precisely what Team Biden inadvertently have ‘done’.

What then, constitutes the ‘how’? The problem with the western solutions to any geo-political problem is that they invariably comprise more of the same. The combination of this deep disdain for Russia – subsumed into the undercurrent fear of Russia as a putative geo-strategic competitor – invites a western recourse to repeating the same triangulation approach, without due reflection on whether circumstances have changed, or not. This is the case here and now – making for a ‘clear and present’ risk of unintended and damaging escalation: A prospect that might midwife the very thing that the West most fears – a loss of control, spiralling the system down into freefall. The Mistake: Ray McGovern, a former U.S. Presidential briefer, has chronicled how as “Biden took office in 2021, his advisers assured him that he could play on Russia’s fear (sic) of China – and drive a wedge between them. This represents the ‘mother of all errors’ of judgement, because it brings about the circumstances in which the western ‘Order’ may dissolve”.

“This [presumption of Russian weakness] became embarrassingly clear when Biden said to Putin during their Geneva summit … let me ask a rhetorical question: ‘You got a multi-thousand-mile border with China. China is seeking to be the most powerful economy in the world and the largest and the most powerful military in the world’.” McGovern observes that this meeting gave Putin clear confirmation that Biden and his advisers were stuck in a woefully outdated appraisal of Russia-China relations. Here is the bizarre way Biden described his approach to Putin on China: At the airport after the summit, Biden’s aides did their best to whisk him onto the plane but failed to stop him from sharing more ‘wisdom’ on China: “Russia is in a very, very difficult spot right now. They are being squeezed by China”. ‘Yes’: More of the same! Biden was trying, on the advice of his experts, to insert the ubiquitous western ‘wedge’ between Russia and an ‘BIG’ China.

After these remarks, Putin and Xi spent the rest of 2021 trying to disabuse Biden of the “China squeeze” meme: This mutual effort culminated in the Xi-Putin ‘no limits’ friendship summit of that year. If the advisers had been paying attention however, they would have threaded a long history of Russo-Chinese rapprochement. But no, they were ideologically frozen in the view that the two were destined to be eternal enemies. Doubling Down on the Mistake. It gets worse: Then, in a 30 December 2021 telephone conversation, Biden assured Putin that “Washington had no intention of deploying offensive strike weapons in Ukraine”. However, Foreign Minister Lavrov has revealed that when he met Blinken in Geneva in January 2022, the U.S. Secretary of State pretended he had not heard of Biden’s undertaking to Putin on 30 December 2021. Rather, Blinken insisted that U.S. medium-range missiles could be deployed in Ukraine, and that the U.S. might be willing to consider limiting their number.

In August 2019, when the U.S. withdrew from the treaty banning intermediate-range missiles in Europe, the U.S. had already deployed missiles in Romania and Poland (saying their purpose was ostensibly ‘to defend against Iran’). However, the tubes installed are deliberately configured to accommodate nuclear warhead equipped, cruise and ballistic missiles; but here is the rub: it is not possible to determine which missile is loaded, as the tubes have lids to them. The time for these missiles to reach Moscow would be 9 minutes from Poland, and 10 from Romania. But if, as Blinken threatened, missiles might be installed in Ukraine, it would drop to only 7 minutes (and were it to be a hypersonic missile, which the U.S. does not yet possess, it would be a mere 2-3 minutes). Just for clarity, this (i.e. Ukraine) is Russia’s existential war which it will fight, no matter what it takes. Beijing is fully aware of the high stakes involved for Russia (and ultimately for China, too).

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“A reporter named David Pugliese, who works for the Ottawa Citizen, has been the single source of the publicity against Kearney..”

Canada Afraid To Prosecute Colonel For Saying Ukrainian War Is Lost (Helmer)

A new press release in Ottawa reports that the court martial announced for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Colonel Robert Kearney for his disagreement with Canadian, American, and British military planners of Ukrainian battlefield operations against Russia may not proceed. The Canadian government news slip reveals the allegations of disloyalty against Kearney announced publicly last month are now likely to be abandoned. On April 29 a CAF press release was issued in Ottawa claiming that as a senior planning officer based in the UK and in Romania for Ukraine war operations, Kearney had made “derogatory and disloyal comments about Senior CAF [[Canadian] and NATO [US, UK] members. The first offence allegedly occurred in December of 2021 and four subsequent offences ranged from January 2023 to November 2023. The offences are alleged to have taken place in the United Kingdom and in Romania.”

Kearney was at the time of his “disloyal comments” the assistant chief of staff at the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) in Innsworth, United Kingdom. In this role, Kearney supervised more than 400 staff officers from the armies of the UK, US, Canada, Italy, Denmark, and other NATO states. ARRC and NATO press releases claim Kearney’s unit has been operating against Russia in Estonia and in Romania “in its primary role as a war fighting Corps Headquarters.” Under Section 129 of Canada’s Defence Act – the provision of military law reportedly being applied against Kearney — prosecution of soldiers is allowed for an undefined “act, conduct, disorder, or neglect to the prejudice of discipline”. The penalty for conviction is “dismissal with disgrace”, which includes loss of pension. This law has not been tested — no officer of Kearney’s rank has been charged and prosecuted for a Section 129 offence in a court martial before.

Canadian military sources believe Kearney is being threatened with court martial now because the Canadian government’s policy to finance, arm, train, plan, and direct Ukrainian operations against Russia is being defeated; and that the military collapse east of Kiev now risks loss of more territory and the lives of Canadians currently working in the Ukraine and at cross-border bases in Poland and Romania. At least one thousand Canadians have been counted by the Russian Defense Ministry on the battlefield since the start of the Special Military Operation; by March of this year, 422 had been confirmed killed in action. Loss of confidence in the Ukraine war has become increasingly public in the military staffs of the US, France and Germany, but this is being kept secret in the UK and Canada.

On May 15, a new press Canadian government release was issued acknowledging that, in fact, no charges have been filed against Kearney, and that the “military [have] yet to decide on court martial for colonel accused of making derogatory comments about Canadian Forces leaders”. The new press release, issued ten days ago in an email to an Ottawa journalist, reversed the meaning of the earlier government announcement. The new message divulges that Kearney has been accused by officers he had criticized for their professional incompetence, but he has not been charged with a military offence. “National Defence spokeswoman Andrée-Anne Poulin noted the charges against Kearney have now been referred to the Director of Military Prosecutions. ‘The prosecutor assigned to review the case will first complete the post-charge analysis,’ she explained in an email.

If the prosecutor prefers charges, and once the counsel for the accused indicates they are ready to proceed, the case will be brought before the Chief Military Judge, at a scheduling conference.’ Once the dates for the trial have been identified, the court martial administrator will issue a convening order, and a summons to the accused, which will specify the date for the court martial, Poulin added.” Canadian lawyers point out that the conditional “if” and “once” in this defence ministry statement are a new sign that the political costs of prosecuting Kearney have become too high to proceed against him. A reporter named David Pugliese, who works for the Ottawa Citizen, has been the single source of the publicity against Kearney. According to his newspaper, Pugliese is “an award-winning journalist covering Canadian Forces and military issues in Canada.”

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“This will not just end the US military and financial empire abroad. It will also end the welfare state at home.”

Biden’s Tariffs Are Another Nail in the Dollar’s Coffin (Ron Paul)

President Biden recently raised taxes on American consumers and businesses and may have hastened the end of the dollar’s world reserve currency status. President Biden did this by increasing tariffs on Chinese imports. Specifically, President Biden raised tariffs on products including Chinese-produced steel and aluminum and many components imported from China for use in manufacturing electric vehicle batteries. Tariffs on Chinese-made semiconductors are rising from 25 to 50 percent while tariffs on Chinese-made electronic vehicles are rising from 25 percent to an astounding 100 percent. Of course, the costs of these tariffs will be borne by Americans wishing to purchase electric cars and American electric car manufacturers that use material imported from China. These new tariffs thus undercut Biden’s goal of getting more Americans to drive electric cars.

The tariffs on Chinese goods give China even greater Inventive to challenge the dollar’s world reserve currency status. The same week Biden imposed these tariffs, China President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced they were strengthening their alliance in order to better challenge US military and economic hegemony. This is a reaction to US foreign policy of the post-Cold War era which has reversed the Richard Nixon-Henry Kissinger strategy of pursuing good relations with China.

A part of the announcement recognized use of the Chinese yuan and Russian ruble for over 90 percent of the trade between the two countries. This is only the latest challenge to the dollar’s world reserve currency status. China’s share of the global economy has more than doubled in the last twenty years from 8.9 percent to 18.5 percent while the US share of the global economy has fallen from 20.1 percent to 15.5 percent. China’s rise is one reason why the US currency held by foreign central banks has dropped from over 70 percent in the early 2000s to under 60 percent today.

Last year, China and Saudi Arabia agreed to expand their use of their own currencies in trade between the two countries. This is the first time the Saudis have agreed to use a currency other than the dollar for the oil trade since Henry Kissinger negotiated a deal where the Saudis would trade exclusively in dollars in return for US support for the Saudi regime. The “petrodollar” is a major reason why the dollar retained the world reserve currency status after President Nixon severed the last link between the dollar and gold.

If the dollar loses its world reserve currency status, the US government would lose the ability to “weaponize the dollar.” Other countries would then have less incentive to abide by US demands, including related to regime changes. It would also reduce other countries’ interest in purchasing US debt instruments. This would increase pressure on the Federal Reserve to monetize the debt, creating more price inflation and leading to a major economic crisis. This will not just end the US military and financial empire abroad. It will also end the welfare state at home.

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Raisi was not “just some kind of butcher..”

Raisi’s Legacy is a Beacon For Posterity (Bhadrakumar)

Raisi’s three-year term stands out for his non-involvement in the bickering endemic to Iran’s various powers and institutions, including parliament, judiciary, Revolutionary Guard Corps, military, intelligence services, the police agencies, clerical elite, the ubiquitous bazaar, the Friday prayer leaders, and so on. Having been a cleric who spent his entire public life in the judiciary, he acquired a deep understanding of Ayatollah Khomeini’s vision of velayat-e faqih as crucial to the Islamic government. Hence, his total submission to the Supreme Leader was anchored on the conviction that it is essential for the harmonious functioning of the system. Arguably, in the past three years, the presidency and the government showed a rare unity of purpose, even in the face of the concerted fueling of protests by western powers.

Raisi openly attributed his actions and policies to the Supreme Leader’s instructions. This meant that the government’s paralysis due to incessant factional feuds disappeared. The breakneck speed with which Tehran could advance its nuclear program, resisting pressure from Washington and Brussels, testified to this. When Raisi came to power, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) negotiated by the previous government had reached a cul-de-sac. Raisi’s administration tried to negotiate with the US through European intermediaries to revive the nuclear deal. However, the Biden administration ultimately refused to re-enter the JCPOA, and the EU proved ineffective as a mediator. As things stand, Iran is a nuclear threshold state. Equally, last October, the UN arms embargo on missile transfers to Iran ended, as the European members of the Security Council decided not to instigate the snapback mechanism. Iran can now legally supply the missiles, and sanctioning such arms transfers is voluntary. This has been a tremendous diplomatic victory.

From a longer-term perspective, another big shift in the situation around Iran is Washington’s tacit recognition that Tehran can be a factor of regional stability and security in the West Asian quagmire. The New York Times reported on 18 May that talks took place between senior officials of the US and Iran in the past week, the first such conversations after the Iran–Israel “tit-for-tat” missile strikes. Brett McGurk, the top White House official on West Asia policy, and Abram Paley, the deputy special envoy for Iran, attended the talks in Oman alongside Iran’s newly appointed interim Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani, who has played an active role in Iran’s nuclear negotiations with the US and European powers over the years.

[..] The Iranian news agency Nour News coined an apt description of the vital link between Iran’s diplomatic strategies and the battlefield needs of the Axis of Resistance under Raisi’s watch – “rational resistance.” At any rate, the geostrategic reality is that if Israel feels boxed in today, Iran is responsible for it. Raisi realized that hard power alone could not solve the looming crisis and understood the importance of soft power embodied in Iran’s culture and values through which it could generate trust and mobilize the regional and international audience around forward agendas that looked beyond the military and political problems. Abhorrence of war has become axiomatic in Raisi’s approach, which in turn has transmuted Iran’s “soft power.” That became possible only because Raisi understood deeply that power is nothing more than the ability to affect others to get what you want.

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“Even more cringe-making was his choice of song, Neil Young’s ‘Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World’. Not only was Blinken tone deaf to the horror of war, but he was oblivious to the fact that the song is an explicit condemnation of American imperialist barbarity…”

Blinken’s Blunders Epitomize The Bankruptcy Of US Power And Diplomacy (SCF)

As the Iranian nation mourned the tragic death of President Ebrahim Raisi this week, the United States could not even muster a respectful offer of condolence. The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, officially that country’s top diplomat, made a crass remark that the Iranian people would be “better off”. This as the Islamic Republic had declared five days of mourning for the late president whose funeral in the city of Mashhad was attended by millions of Iranians. President Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash along with the country’s much-respected Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian and several other dignitaries who were also on board the aircraft. The fatal crash happened in treacherous weather over a mountainous region in northwest Iran as the president’s entourage returned from a visit to Azerbaijan. Most of the world expressed shock and grief over the loss. The UN General Assembly held a minute’s silence and at the funeral, 68 nations were represented including officials from Russia and China.

The United States and Iran have been staunch adversaries for more than half a century following the Iranian revolution in 1979. Nevertheless, it is a basic matter of diplomacy and etiquette for countries to show a token of sympathy at such a time of national mourning. The disgraceful and cheap comments about the death of Iran’s president show how inadequate Blinken is as the supposed U.S. primary diplomat. But the failure is not merely a personal matter, it epitomizes the general collapse of Washington’s political quality and international standing. The United States presumes to be a world leader but it evidently has no class. Biden, the president and Blinken’s boss, is a foul-mouthed crank who regularly insults other leaders with ignorant prejudice.

On Blinken’s insult over the Iranian president’s death, Russia’s presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed the disgust of many observers around the world when he said: “It is hard to believe that a diplomat — let alone a high-ranking official of a country such as the United States — would make such a clumsy remark, to say the least. In essence, it was an insult directed at an entire nation.” Apart from the lack of human decency, there is a total lack of politics. Blinken’s offensive comment comes at a moment of extreme tension in the Middle East amid a genocide perpetrated by the Israeli regime with support from the United States. The powder-keg situation could explode at any time into an international war engulfing the entire region. Israel and Iran have already exchanged military blows. All diplomats worth their salt should be trying to calm tensions, not inflame them. Blinken’s contemptible insult to the Iranian people is a reckless provocation.

But such sensibility and respect are too much to expect from Blinken who has shown himself to be way out of his depth as a diplomat. Last week, the “top diplomat” embarrassed his office by playing guitar on stage in a bar during an official visit to Kiev. Blinken was in the Ukrainian capital promising billions of dollars more in military aid to prolong a bloody and futile proxy war against Russia. Reliable estimates put the Ukrainian military death toll at over 500,000 in over two years of combat. Yet, here was Blinken strumming electric guitar with a local rock band. Even more cringe-making was his choice of song, Neil Young’s ‘Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World’. Not only was Blinken tone deaf to the horror of war, but he was oblivious to the fact that the song is an explicit condemnation of American imperialist barbarity. How could anyone be so stupid and insensitive? That is the measure of Antony Blinken right there.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

“Be Careful What You Eat”

 

 

Egbert

 

 

Mongoose

 

 

Steel

 

 

Fence

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 252024
 


Thomas Cole Prometheus Bound 1847

 

Zelensky’s Legitimacy Has Expired – Putin (RT)
Betting on Armageddon: What is Zelensky’s Plan Now That His Term is Over? (Amar)
NATO Forming Network of Cyber Labs Along Russia’s Borders (Sp.)
NATO ‘Preparing For War’ With Russia – Orban (RT)
Ukraine Enforces Desperate Conscription Laws, Russia Closes In On Kharkiv (ZH)
Speaker Johnson: Ukraine Should Use US Weapons on Russian Territory (Antiwar)
Let Ukraine Freely Strike Russia With Western Arms – NATO Chief (RT)
US Should Quit Sending Money to Ukraine, Try to Negotiate Peace – Massie (Sp.)
Will the Trump Jury Exercise Blind Justice or Willful Blindness? (Turley)
Trump Says Bronx Residents Being Left Behind By Biden Policies (ZH)
Biden Admin Is Hiring A ‘Meme Manager’; Hilarity Ensues (MN)
Boeing Sued Over Deaths Of US Marines (RT)
The CIA’s Secret Effort To Seize Control Of Social Media (ZH)
Kevin Morris Reportedly Protected by CIA in Hunter Biden Investigation (Turley)

 

 

 

 

Schumer

 

 

Prince

 

 

 

 

Comey

 

 

FBI at my door

 

 

 

 

Who can Russia have talks with for peace? Not Zelensky…

“..Russia must be absolutely sure it’s dealing with the legitimate Ukrainian authorities before it can engage in meaningful and legally binding talks..”

“..one of the goals of this conference for the Western community, the sponsors of today’s Kiev regime is to confirm the legitimacy of the current – albeit no longer valid – head of state,” he suggested, adding that “such PR moves are meaningless for legal documents.”

“The Biden administration has yet to comment on the issue of Zelensky’s status publicly. However, the European Commission and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock assured on Tuesday that he is legitimate..”

He is not legitimate just because he says so, or Brussels or Berlin do…

Any deal with Zelensky is meaningless.

Zelensky’s Legitimacy Has Expired – Putin (RT)

Russia must be absolutely sure it’s dealing with the legitimate Ukrainian authorities before it can engage in meaningful and legally binding talks to conclude the conflict between the two nations, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday. He noted that Vladimir Zelensky’s term in office has expired. The president made the remarks in Minsk on Friday during a joint press conference with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko. Putin was asked for comment on Zelensky’s presidential term running out earlier this month and the impact of this development on potential talks. Putin reiterated Russia’s readiness to engage in talks with Ukraine to end the hostilities, stating that negotiations must be based on “common sense” and acknowledge “realties on the ground,” while using the preliminary agreement reached in the early days of the conflict as the foundation.

“But with whom to negotiate? That’s a peculiar question, I agree. We realize that the legitimacy of the incumbent head of the [Ukrainian] state has expired,” the Russian leader stated. The upcoming “peace summit,” scheduled to take place in Switzerland next month and actively promoted by Kiev is designed, among other things, to prop up Zelensky in his role, Putin said. “I think one of the goals of this conference for the Western community, the sponsors of today’s Kiev regime is to confirm the legitimacy of the current – albeit no longer valid – head of state,” he suggested, adding that “such PR moves are meaningless for legal documents.”

It’s up to Ukraine’s legal system, its “parliament, constitutional court and some other governing bodies” to determine whether Zelensky is now a legitimate leader or not, according to Putin. As for Russia, in order to engage in any meaningful talks with Kiev, it must be absolutely sure it’s dealing with the country’s legitimate authorities, the president stressed. Zelensky’s term expired on Monday, while no elections were held under the pretext of the martial law introduced by Kiev early in the conflict with Russia. The Ukrainian Constitution explicitly prohibits holding parliamentary elections under such circumstances, yet does not mention presidential elections. However, while setting the length of the presidential term, it also specifies that power is transferred the moment a new president is sworn in.

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“Legitimate or not, the Ukrainian leader is a national catastrophe hell-bent on going global..”

Betting on Armageddon: What is Zelensky’s Plan Now That His Term is Over? (Amar)

On 20 May, something important changed for Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky. On that day, the five-year presidential term for which he had been elected in 2019 came to an end. He remains in office, however, without having to face fresh elections. Zelensky’s critics, including within Ukraine, argue that he is now illegitimate in a strict, constitutional sense – in effect, a usurper. His followers and defenders, including in the West, insist that Zelensky legally remains president under martial law. What is clear is that, according to the Ukrainian constitution, presidential elections can be held during wartime (unlike parliamentary ones, which are ruled out), even if a lack of clarity would require amendments, as Ukrainian experts have explained in national media. Even the New York Times acknowledged as much as recently as last October. At that point, however, Zelensky himself had not yet ruled out elections and American super hawk Senator Lindsey Graham was demanding them in his usual imperious tone.

Wartime elections in Ukraine would have posed practical challenges, although these could have been overcome. For instance, back in October, Zelensky himself stated that online voting was a possibility. Western media, including the BBC, which now claim Zelensky had no legal or practical option of standing for reelection, are misinforming their audiences by simply reproducing his regime’s current talking points. Not, obviously, for the first time. No doubt, the legal legitimacy of a president is a critical issue, especially one as high-handed and authoritarian as Zelensky has been for years and since well before the escalation of the war in February 2022. Yet what is more important are the political meaning and effects of Zelensky’s transition to past-due-date status.

In this respect, the first point to note is that is Zelensky is evading the basic accountability of an election that would inevitably increase public scrutiny of his record. Even more disturbing, however, is to see one of his closest associates turning unquestioning compliance with this move into a de facto loyalty test, complete with ominous threats. The speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, a key magnate in Zelensky’s “Servant of the People” party, has reportedly even called all those who doubt the president’s continuing legitimacy “enemies of the people” and “political lice.” Of course, this rhetoric – ironically reminiscent of Stalinism – comes with the usual tired smears: Anyone who dares doubt the Zelensky regime is routinely accused of doing so at the behest of Russian agitators. Perish the thought – in Zelensky’s post-“Revolution of Dignity” and “free world” showcase Ukraine – that citizens could genuinely disagree with their superiors!

Verbal brutality of the Stefanchuk kind is especially intriguing because a reasonably reliable and recent (February) poll shows that almost 70% of Ukrainians agree that Zelensky should remain president until “the end of the state of war.” For better or worse, Zelensky’s decision to avoid elections – whatever his reasons – is not unpopular. But a closer look at the same poll reveals why the Zelenskyites are so touchy and aggressive: Widespread consent with postponing presidential elections does not translate into the same amount of popularity for Zelensky personally, or, for that matter, for his regime. For instance, in December 2023, 34% of respondents believed that he should not stand for another election (whenever the latter were to take place). By February of this year, only three months later, that share had risen to 43%. Clearly, Ukrainians who believe that this is not the right time for presidential elections and, at the same time, that Zelensky should never be a candidate again, don’t consider elections unnecessary because they are happy with his rule.

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“..carry out acts of electronic sabotage under the close tutelage of NATO supervisors..”

NATO Forming Network of Cyber Labs Along Russia’s Borders (Sp.)

NATO is forming a network of cyber laboratories along the perimeter of Russia’s borders in Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Romania, Artur Lyukmanov, the special presidential representative for international cooperation in information security of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said in an interview with Sputnik. “Washington has long been practicing methods of hybrid warfare against Russia in the information sphere. Ukraine is used as the main training ground, whose hackers, including from the much-touted ‘IT army,’ carry out acts of electronic sabotage under the close tutelage of NATO supervisors,” he said. Lyukmanov said entire units of Western security services and armed forces have been sent to Kiev.

“It’s no secret that the alliance is forming an entire network of cyber laboratories along the perimeter of the Russian borders in Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Romania, and in the future – in Georgia and Moldova. Under the auspices of the Pentagon, cyber exercises are being carried out on a systematic basis (the Cyber Flag exercises recently ended in the US), during which scenarios of confrontation with us in the digital sphere are tested,” the diplomat said. Western countries, led by the United States, are building up offensive potentials in the field of information technology to conduct computer operations against Russia and China, Artur Lyukmanov said. “Indeed, Western countries, led by Washington, continue to build up offensive ICT potentials to conduct computer operations against their geopolitical opponents, that is, Russia, China and other independent states,” he said

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“Orban noted that the bloc was created with the purpose of defending member states against aggressors, not waging wars outside its territory..”

NATO ‘Preparing For War’ With Russia – Orban (RT)

Hungary is reevaluating its role in NATO, as it has no intention to take part in actions that could involve member states in the Ukraine conflict and lead to a direct clash with Russia, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday. Speaking on local Kossuth Radio, Orban stated that his country has already been relegated to the role of a non-participant within the US-led military bloc due to its stance on Ukraine, and Budapest is now working on legal ways to retain its membership but reserve the right to abstain from joining NATO operations it disagrees with. “Hungary’s position must be redefined, our lawyers and officials are working on ways to allow Hungary to continue to exist as a NATO member without participating in NATO activities outside the bloc’s territory. We need to create a new approach, a new definition for our position as a pro-peace force within NATO,” Orban said.

According to the prime minister, there are “alarming similarities” between the emotionally charged media publications and statements by Western politicians regarding the Ukraine conflict and the atmosphere preceding the First and Second World Wars. “What is happening today in Brussels and Washington… looks like warming up for a possible direct military conflict. We can safely call it the preparation of Europe’s entry into the war,” Orban said, adding that there are working groups within NATO that are assessing the best ways for the bloc to further boost its participation in the conflict. He warned that the end result of these actions could be a direct conflict between the EU, NATO, and Russia – a “grim prospect,” as the conflict would involve nuclear powers.

Someone tell me why instead of isolating this conflict – because it is a war between two Slavic peoples, despite all the arguments on the side of Ukraine – we choose to jump into this war? Orban noted that the bloc was created with the purpose of defending member states against aggressors, not waging wars outside its territory. Commenting on Western claims that Russia could attack Europe if it defeats Ukraine, Orban said the chances of this happening are extremely slim, and these warnings only serve as an excuse to become directly involved in the Ukraine conflict. Hungary has opposed NATO funding and arming of Ukraine from the outset of the conflict in February 2022. The country has not sent any weapons to Kiev, and has not allowed its territory to be used for their delivery, despite pressure from both Brussels and Washington. Budapest has called for a ceasefire and a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

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“If only the media was as energetic about promoting peace negotiations as it has been about promoting war. ”

Ukraine Enforces Desperate Conscription Laws, Russia Closes In On Kharkiv (ZH)

Ukraine is now enforcing a new mobilization law which is being called ‘divisive’ among many Ukrainian citizens and some political leaders. The law requires men ages 18-60 to carry their military paperwork at all times to be presented to authorities on demand. It lowers the minimum draft age from 27 to 25 (Ukraine has a demographic shortage of men ages 18-25). And, all military age Ukrainian men abroad must come back to Ukraine to renew their passports, including refugees driven from their homes in the early days of the war. Conscripts must update their address, contact information, and military records within 60 days through government institutions or a mobile application. This is in preparation for a national draft database containing information on every fighting age male in the country. The conscription measures are expected to greatly reduce Ukraine’s labor pool, forcing many businesses to shut down. Essential workers are not exempt from the draft.

Vladimir Zelensky signed two other bills into effect, one allowing prisoners to be deployed to the front lines (the western media criticized Russia last year for implementing a similar measure), the other bill quintuples fines for people caught trying to evade the draft. Early versions of the law allowed for concessions on pay and better rotation for soldiers, including a policy which would relieve soldiers serving for 36 months or more. All demobilization concessions were removed from the final version; Ukraine’s military leadership argued that they needed the most experienced soldiers to remain at the front. Kyiv has offered cash bonuses to troops towards purchases of housing and cars as an incentive to join the war effort, however, critics argue that the Ukrainian treasury does not actually have the funds to fulfill the promises Zelinsky is making. To counter charges of undermining soldier morale, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry says it is working on a separate demobilization bill, but massive manpower shortages make any demobilization action highly unlikely.

Front line soldiers have repeatedly complained about the lack of rotation, with some rarely getting a chance to leave the trenches in the past two years. These desperate conscription laws arrive just as Russian forces close in on Kharkiv, the second largest city in the nation. Bombardment of the city’s defenses and infrastructure is already underway in preparation for a possible offensive. Some analysts argue that Russia does not have enough troops to take Kharkiv and that this is a distraction. Russia may open a new front near Sumy which is 100 miles away, or they may plan to full envelope Kharkiv because they know Ukraine’s troop strength is at a minimum. The western media has been an avid mouthpiece for the Ukrainian government over the past couple years with many pundits shaming Ukrainian citizens who have tried to leave to avoid being involuntarily mobilized. Seeing the complete lack of organization and the habitual embezzlement of funds among Ukraine’s leadership it’s not surprising that many citizens do not want to fight for them. If only the media was as energetic about promoting peace negotiations as it has been about promoting war.

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“Moscow recently warned the UK that if Ukraine used British weapons on Russian territory, Russian forces would target UK military sites in Ukraine “and beyond.”

Speaker Johnson: Ukraine Should Use US Weapons on Russian Territory (Antiwar)

On Wednesday, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) expressed support for Ukraine using US-provided weapons on Russian territory, a step that would risk a major response from Russia. Ukraine has been lobbying the US to allow the use of US-provided missile systems on Russian territory in the wake of Russia’s Kharkiv offensive, and the idea is gaining support in Congress. A group of bipartisan members of the House sent a letter to President Biden on Monday urging him to lift any restrictions on Ukraine’s use of US weapons. “It is essential the Biden administration allows Ukraine’s military leaders to conduct a full spectrum of operations necessary to respond to Russia’s unprovoked attack on their sovereign land,” the lawmakers said. Johnson was asked if he supported the idea of Ukraine hitting Russian territory with US weapons and replied that the US needs “to allow Ukraine to prosecute the war in the way they see fit.”

“They [Ukraine] need[s] to be able to fight back. And I think us trying to micromanage the effort there is not a good policy for us,” he told Voice of America. Moscow recently warned the UK that if Ukraine used British weapons on Russian territory, Russian forces would target UK military sites in Ukraine “and beyond.” The warning came after British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said Ukraine had the “right” to use British arms in attacks on Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is asking NATO to take another step that could lead to a catastrophic escalation. In an interview with The New York Times on Tuesday, he pleaded for the Western alliance to shoot down Russian missiles over Ukraine, which would mean direct NATO involvement in the conflict, raising the risk of nuclear war.

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You’re located in Brussels, right?

Let Ukraine Freely Strike Russia With Western Arms – NATO Chief (RT)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has argued that members of the Western military bloc should let Ukraine freely use their weapons to launch strikes deeper into Russian territory. “The time has come for allies to consider whether they should lift some of the restrictions they have put on the use of weapons they have donated to Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said on Friday in an interview with The Economist. “Especially now when a lot of the fighting is going on in Kharkov, close to the border, to deny Ukraine the possibility of using these weapons against legitimate military targets on Russian territory makes it very hard for them to defend themselves.” Stoltenberg noted that some NATO members have already lifted restrictions on using their weapons to attack targets in Russian territory.

Asked whether he was referring to the US as the one major holdout, he said, “I think what we see now demonstrates the need to reconsider those restrictions, not least because we have fighting going on along the border between Russia and Ukraine.” However, according to Moscow, the rhetoric about restrictions on the use of US munitions are false and designed to maintain the illusion that the West is not part of the conflict. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that US weapons, such as ATACMS missiles armed with cluster warheads, have already been used on attacks inside Russia, including strikes against civilian targets. “We proceed from the fact that American and other Western weaponry strikes targets on the territory of Russia, primarily civilian infrastructure and residential areas,” he told reporters on Friday.

The NATO chief’s comments come at a time when Western leaders are making increasingly bold statements about attacks on Russian territory. US President Joe Biden held back on sending long-range weapons to Ukraine in the early days of the conflict with Russia, citing concern over the possibility of triggering a wider conflict. When more advanced weaponry was later approved, it came with strings attached, including a prohibition on hitting Russian territory. However, as the New York Times reported on Thursday, views on those restrictions have shifted as Russian forces make battlefield gains. After making a “sobering” visit to Kiev earlier this month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly began urging the administration to let the former Soviet republic use American weapons as it sees fit. A group of US lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin earlier this week, pressing him to give the Ukrainians the permissions they have requested.

Stoltenberg said he believes NATO members can thread the geopolitical needle by supporting Ukraine’s defense without becoming direct parties to the conflict. “We provide training, we provide weapons, ammunition to Ukraine, but we will not be directly involved from NATO territory in combat operations over or in Ukraine,” he said. “So, that’s a different thing.”

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A lonely voice..

US Should Quit Sending Money to Ukraine, Try to Negotiate Peace – Massie (Sp.)

The United States should stop sending money to Ukraine and attempt to negotiate peace as soon as possible, US Congressman Thomas Massie told Sputnik on Friday. “I think we should quit sending money there. I think we should try to negotiate peace as soon as possible,” Massie said on the sidelines of the 2024 Libertarian National Convention. US lawmakers are showing dwindling support for sending military aid to Ukraine each time the matter comes to a vote, Massie highlighted. “The support for sending weapons to Ukraine is weakening in the US Congress, as you can see with each subsequent vote,” the congressman emphasized. There should be some effort made to bring both Ukraine and Russia to the upcoming conference in Switzerland as it is hard to imagine negotiations without Russia, Massie stressed “This sounds kind of hard to negotiate a peace if they don’t have Russia at the table. So I think there should be some effort to have Ukraine and Russia there,” the congressman said.

Talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden could help solve the conflict in Ukraine, and even lower-level discussions between top diplomats could help achieve progress, Massie highlighted. “I think it could help,” Massie said when asked whether talks between Biden and Putin could help solve the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. “Although, even lower-level negotiations would help as well, I think.” When asked at what level such discussion should be held, the congressman said, “Maybe at the secretary of state level, for instance.” Massie expressed his view that it is “wrong” that communications between the US and Russia are limited. “I think there should be talks,” he said. The US government freezing of foreign assets, including those of Russia, is a very short-sighted policy and sends a message to the international community that the United States may stop honoring transactions, the congressman emphasized.

“I think it’s very short sighted of our government to freeze for instance, Treasury assets, that are held by other countries, such as Russia, because it sends a message to the world that if you buy our debt, then we may not honor the transaction at some point,” Massie explained. The representative added that US moves to freeze foreign assets are “extremely dangerous” because they will increase the price that Washington has to pay to finance its debt. “I’m sure that our closest allies will still trust that we’ll be good on our word, but other sovereign funds will have a diminished appetite for financing our debt,” Massie said. “So, I think it’s very short-sighted of us to do that.” Moscow has maintained that any attempt to confiscate its frozen assets would violate international law, with the Russian Foreign Ministry labeling such an action as theft. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has also said that Moscow is willing to issue a “symmetrical” response to this form of Western financial aggression.

The congressman argued that he opposes the US government sending more money to Ukraine unless such assistance achieves peace. “I told our own speaker – if you want to send $60 billion and the goal is to achieve some kind of peace, I might be compelled to vote for it. But I’m not voting for $60 billion that will then only necessitate another $60 billion,” the representative clarified. Massie also said that both sides to the conflict in Ukraine will eventually run out of people if fighting continues. “I think it’s immoral to grind up people in this war on both sides,” Massie added. Earlier on Friday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced that the United States was providing a new weapons package for Ukraine worth $275 million. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Monday the United States has already delivered many of Ukraine’s “top-priority requirements” and much more assistance is on the way.
Austin added that he expects a steady flow of US assistance for Ukraine on a weekly basis.

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“Bragg is expected to finally state with clarity what he is alleging … at the closing arguments of the case.”

Will the Trump Jury Exercise Blind Justice or Willful Blindness? (Turley)

With closing arguments scheduled for Tuesday, May 28, the prosecution of former President Donald Trump will finally head to a jury. Judge Juan Merchan has refused every opportunity to bring an end to this politically manufactured prosecution. Now it will be up to 12 New Yorkers to do what neither the court nor the prosecutors were willing to do: adhere to the rule of law regardless of the identity of the defendant. Merchan has allowed the government to bring back into life a dead misdemeanor and convert it into 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. To accomplish this legal regeneration, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has vaguely referenced a variety of crimes that Trump allegedly was trying to conceal through the business record violations. The problem is that he has left the secondary crime mired in uncertainty to the point that experts on various networks are still debating what the underlying theory is in the case.

Indeed, Bragg is expected to finally state with clarity what he is alleging … at the closing arguments of the case. In the meantime, the prosecution is pushing to make it easier for the jury to convict. First, they have vaguely referenced a variety of possible offenses from tax to election violations. Bragg initially laid out four possible predicate crimes. It is down to three – a tax crime and violations of state or federal election law. Merchan has ruled that the jury does not have to agree on what crimes were being covered up so the jury could literally have three different views of what happened in the case and still convict Trump. Prosecutors are also seeking to effectively shorten the playing field by allowing the jurors to convict on a lower standard of proof for the key term in using “unlawful means.” The defense wants the jury instructed that it must find that such use of “unlawful means” was done with willful intent.

The prosecutors do not want to use that higher standard. For the defense, it is effectively reducing the field to the end zone to make it easier for the prosecution to score. In the last few days, the Bragg strategy has come into sharper focus in one respect. Bragg is not counting on the evidence or the law. He is counting on the jury. Call it the Lawrence O’Donnell factor. After Michael Cohen imploded on the stand in the trial, even experts and hosts on MSNBC and CNN stated that his admissions and contradictions were devastating. Cohen is not only accused of committing perjury in his testimony, but he matter-of-factly detailed how he stole tens of thousands of dollars from the Trump organization. After being disbarred and convicted as a serial perjurer, Cohen waited for the statute of limitations to run on larceny to admit that he stole as much as $50,000 by pocketing money intended for a contractor.

Liberal commentators acknowledged the fact that Cohen had committed a far more serious offense than the converted misdemeanor against Trump (but was never charged). Yet, one figure stepped forward to assure the public that all was well. MSNBC host O’Donnell said that he watched the testimony and that Cohen did wonderfully. Keep in mind that Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche asked Cohen point blank: “So you stole from the Trump organization, right?” Cohen answered unequivocably: “Yes, sir.”O’Donnell, however, rushed outside to declare that Cohen was merely acquiring a bonus that he thought that he deserved as a type of “self-help”: “Cohen [was trying] to rebalance the bonus he thought he deserved. And it still came out as less than the bonus he thought he deserved and the bonus he had gotten the year before.”

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25,000 is not a “large-scale campaign” either. Not for Trump. Not even in NY.

Trump Says Bronx Residents Being Left Behind By Biden Policies (ZH)

Former President Donald Trump took aim at President Joe Biden over a range of issues while vowing to turn New York City around “very quickly” at a rally in the South Bronx on Thursday. President Trump made the comments in front of a crowd estimated at 25,000 supporters in one of the most Democratic counties in the nation. His appearance at Crotona Park, which comes as he is on trial in New York, marked his first large-scale campaign in the state since 2016, when he held two events at the Times Union Center in Albany and another in Buffalo. As Axios (of all people) reported, the Thursday night drew a crowd that looked very different than the typical MAGA flock. The unusual sight of Trump speaking to several thousand people in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in deep blue New York is a sign of the realignment happening between the two parties.

Trump’s GOP is becoming more working class and a little more multiracial. Democrats are gaining with more well-educated voters in the suburbs. The thousands of people gathered to see the former president were a diverse group of people, including what Fox News Digital noted were Black, Hispanic, White, Asian and Muslim supporters. Ahead of Trump’s rally yesterday, both the Biden and Trump campaigns rushed to paint their opponents as racist and a worse choice for Black voters. The Biden campaign put out a digital and television ad that begins: “Trump disrespecting Black folk is nothing new.” The campaign posted on X: “Let’s remember that Trump is a lifelong racist.” The Trump campaign responded with a reminder that Biden helped pass the 1994 Crime Bill that led to mass incarceration disproportionately impacting minorities.

As Katabella Roberts reports via The Epoch Times, President Trump used the rally to criticize his Democratic rival and his immigration policies amid the ongoing crisis at the southern border, telling the crowd of attendees that his rival was failing to “get the job done” for those living in the Bronx. He also described his rival as “grossly incompetent.” President Trump said that under President Biden’s watch, impoverished communities and minorities have been hit the hardest. He said President Biden’s policies have seen inflation, crime, and illegal immigration rise. “African Americans are getting slaughtered, Hispanic Americans are getting slaughtered,” President Trump said. “These millions and millions of people that are coming into our country—the biggest impact and the biggest negative impact is against our black population and our Hispanic population who are losing their jobs, losing their housing, losing everything they can lose.”

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It’s an entire language they fail to understand..

Biden Admin Is Hiring A ‘Meme Manager’; Hilarity Ensues (MN)

The Biden campaign has posted a job listing seeking a ‘meme manager’ prompting many to submit examples of their finest Biden meme manager memes. The listing, seeking a ‘Partner Manager, Content and Meme Pages’, was posted on Daybook. It states, “In this role, you will initiate and manage day-to-day operations in engaging the internet’s top content and meme pages.” “The ideal candidate for this role is passionate about bringing political content to voters where they already are on the internet,” it adds.

Responsibilities in the post include a need to “cultivate and manage relationships with top digital media companies, podcasters, and meme pages across a number of social media platforms” as well as to “identify and land engagement opportunities.” The listing betrays the fact that Biden is haemorrhaging support among young voters, and the campaign, in its infinite ignorance, believes that a few well executed memes might turn that around. The problem is, the left can’t meme. Leftist memes routinely include walls of text explaining what they mean, rendering the meme itself pointless and absurd.

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Now the military arm of Boeing gets its turn.

Boeing Sued Over Deaths Of US Marines (RT)

The families of US servicemen killed in a V-22 Osprey crash in California in 2022 have brought a lawsuit against Boeing, Bell Textron, and Rolls-Royce, accusing them of hiding and failing to correct known reliability issues in their aircraft. Filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of California, the suit alleges that the three corporations “intentionally, recklessly and/or negligently provided false information about the safety, airworthiness, and reliability of V-22 Osprey aircraft,” its engines, systems, and component parts, according to the court documents. “The aircraft, as fielded, has failed and continues to fail to meet the government’s safety and reliability specifications and requirements and the aircraft is not safe,” the lawsuit reads.

The incident at issue occurred in southern California on June 8, “on a training mission during the day with good weather,” when a V-22 suffered catastrophic mechanical failure and crashed, killing all five Marines aboard. The subsequent investigation by the US Marine Corps found that “there was no error on the part of the pilots and aircrew and nothing they could have done to anticipate or prevent this mishap,” nor any “maintenance error” from the ground crew. The V-22 Osprey, a relatively recent addition to the US aircraft fleet, is capable of vertical take off and landing using its tilting twin proprotors, acting as both airplane-style propellers and helicopter-style rotors, depending on which flight mode the craft is using.

There have been 58 accidents involving Ospreys since 1991, with at least 20 being lost beyond repair and leading to more than 60 fatalities, according to the Flight Safety Foundation statistics. The V-22 gained the nickname ‘widow maker’, having led to 30 deaths before it even entered service in 2007. The US military temporarily ceased all flights of the aircraft for an investigation in November last year, after a V-22 crashed near Yakushima, Japan, killing eight. Two months prior, Boeing was ordered to pay $8.1 million to settle allegations that it failed to adhere to critical manufacturing specifications in its V-22 parts production. The claims were brought against the aerospace giant by three whistleblowers who worked at its Ridley Park, Pennsylvania facility.

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New “Twitter Files”.

The CIA’s Secret Effort To Seize Control Of Social Media (ZH)

While the CIA is strictly prohibited from spying on or running clandestine operations against American citizens on US soil, a bombshell new “Twitter Files” report reveals that a member of the Board of Trustees of InQtel – the CIA’s mission-driving venture capital firm, along with “former” intelligence community (IC) and CIA analysts, were involved in a massive effort in 2021-2022 to take over Twitter’s content management system, as Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag report over at Shellenberger’s Public. According to “thousands of pages of Twitter Files and documents,” these efforts were part of a broader strategy to manage how information is disseminated and consumed on social media under the guise of combating ‘misinformation’ and foreign propaganda efforts – as this complex of government-linked individuals and organizations has gone to great lengths to suggest that narrative control is a national security issue.

According to the report, the effort also involved; • a long-time IC contractor and senior Department of Defense R&D official who spent years developing technologies to detect whistleblowers (“insider threats”) like Edward Snowden and Wikileaks’ leakers; • the proposed head of the DHS’ aborted Disinformation Governance Board, Nina Jankowicz, who aided US military and NATO “hybrid war” operations in Europe; • Jim Baker, who, as FBI General Counsel, helped start the Russiagate hoax, and, as Twitter’s Deputy General Counsel, urged Twitter executives to censor The New York Post story about Hunter Biden. Jankowicz (aka ‘Scary Poppins’), previously tipped to lead the DHS’s now-aborted Disinformation Governance Board, has been a vocal advocate for more stringent regulation of online speech to counteract ‘rampant disinformation.’ Jim Baker, in his capacity as FBI General Counsel and later as Twitter’s Deputy General Counsel, advocated for and implemented policies that would restrict certain types of speech on the platform, including decisions that affected the visibility of politically sensitive content.

Furthermore, companies like PayPal, Amazon Web Services, and GoDaddy were mentioned as part of a concerted effort to de-platform and financially de-incentivize individuals and organizations deemed threats by the IC. This approach represents a significant escalation in the use of corporate cooperation to achieve what might essentially be considered censorship under the guise of national security. Nina Jankowicz And The Alethea Group: Remember Nina? A huge fan of Christopher Steele – architect of the infamous Clinton-funded Dossier which underpinned the Trump-Russia hoax, and who joined the chorus of disinformation agents that downplayed the Hunter Biden laptop bombshell, Jankowicz previously served as a disinformation fellow at the Wilson Center, and advised the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry as part of the Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship. She also oversaw the Russia and Belarus programs at the National Democratic Institute.

Jankowicz compares the lack of regulation of speech on social media to the lack of government regulation of automobiles in the 1960s. She calls for a “cross-platform” and public-private approach, so whatever actions are taken are taken by Google, Facebook, and Twitter, simultaneously. Jankowicz points to Europe as the model for regulating speech. “Germany’s NetzDG law requires social media companies and other content hosts to remove ‘obviously illegal’ speech within twenty-four hours,” she says, “or face a fine of up to $50 million.” By contrast, in the US, she laments, “Congress has yet to pass a bill imposing even the most basic of regulations related to social media and election advertising.” -Public.

In a 2020 book, How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict, Jankowicz praises a NATO cyber security expert for having created a “Center of Excellence,” a concept promoted by Renée Diresta of the Stanford Internet Observatory, in which she made the case for the (now failed) Disinformation Governance Board that Jankowicz would briefly head up. One year later, Jankowicz began working with ‘anti-disinformation’ consulting firm, Althea Group, staffed by “former” IC analysts. Althea notably came after ZeroHedge at one point, shopping a ‘dossier’ around which suggested we were allegedly contributing to “increased online panic” amid the monumental collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. The outlets they peddled said dossier to included Bloomberg – which elected to exclude ZeroHedge from their report following a brief email exchange. Eventually, one of their operatives dropped the dossier on Twitter, only to be mocked as a propagandist.

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“..they were summoned to the CIA in Langley concerning Mr. Morris, and that because of the information provided there, he could not be a witness for the investigation. AUSA Wolf proudly referenced a CIA mug and stated that she purchased some CIA “swag” at the gift shop..”

Kevin Morris Reportedly Protected by CIA in Hunter Biden Investigation (Turley)

Recently, it became public that Kevin Morris, the entertainment lawyer who has subsidized the expenses and bought the art of Hunter Biden, had stopped his funding of Biden. Morris has paid off Hunter’s IRS debts and reportedly lent him a total of $4.9 million for housing, car payments, legal fees, and other possible costs. The so-called “sugar bro” is “tapped out” according to media reports. (For full disclosure, Morris previously threatened me with a defamation lawsuit over my writing about his representation of Hunter). Now the House has confirmed prior stories that whistleblower records indicate that the CIA prevented the Justice Department from questioning Kevin Morris as a witness in its probe of Hunter Biden. Morris has maintained that he lent Hunter millions for “no ulterior motive” and continued to support him out of friendship. Yet, when investigators started to look into the payments and the relationship, they were told that Morris had some relationship with the CIA in August 2021. According to previously unreleased information, IRS special agent and current whistleblower Gary Shapley documented the bizarre intervention of the spy agency.

In a sworn affidavit in May, Shapley declared: “During a recurring prosecution team conference call in or around late August 2021, Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Lesley Wolf told the team that she and DOJ Tax Attorney Jack Morgan had recently returned from the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where they had been summoned to discuss Kevin Morris. AUSA Wolf stated that they were provided a classified briefing in relation to Mr. Morris and as a result we could no longer pursue him as a witness. Investigators probed AUSA Wolf, but since her briefing was classified and she was apparently sanitizing it to an unclassified form to share over an open phone line, she did not elaborate with more information. She reiterated more than once that they were summoned to the CIA in Langley concerning Mr. Morris, and that because of the information provided there, he could not be a witness for the investigation. AUSA Wolf proudly referenced a CIA mug and stated that she purchased some CIA “swag” at the gift shop while she was there. It is unclear how the CIA became aware that Mr. Morris was a potential witness in the Hunter Biden investigation and why agents were not told about the meeting in advance or invited to participate. It is a deviation of normal investigative processes for prosecutors to exclude investigators from substantive meetings such as this.”

It is a testament to the level of bias in the mainstream media that this story is not the sole focus of every media outlet in America. Imagine if the CIA intervened to stop an investigation into a donor maintaining one of the Trump children and supporting his effort to blunt any investigation into corruption. MSNBC would make it ongoing special programming with its own time slot. This is an agency that is supposed to avoid domestic interventions into politics as well as other areas. It is accused of pulling in a prosecutor to tell her to close part of a criminal investigation involving the financial supporter of the president’s son. Even if Morris was an asset, the question is why shut down the inquiry into his payments to Hunter Biden. The work of Morris with the CIA could be protected or redacted. Instead, the line of inquiry was shut off and Wolf reportedly left Langley with CIA swag and an empty bag of evidence.

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Vivek

 

 

Tigress

 

 

Lioness

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 072024
 
 April 7, 2024  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  28 Responses »


James McNeill Whistler Miss Ethel Philip Reading 1894

 

Extremism On The Ballot (Keenan)
America Is Hurtling Toward a Full Blown Hot Civil War (BP)
Liberals Trying to Force Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to Retire (ET)
Trump Accuses Biden of Unfairly Targeting 71-Year-Old Jan. 6 ‘Hostage’ (ET)
Fani Willis Accused Of Illegally Recording Lawyer, Till Monday To Recuse (ZH)
US, Allies Understand Ukraine Will Never Join NATO – Journalist (TASS)
Russia and Ukraine Must Talk – Austrian Chancellor (RT)
NATO 75 Years On… A War Machine Long Past Its Sell-By Date (SCF)
NATO’s ‘Losing War’ and an Empty Promise to Ukraine (Sp.)
New Rustled-Up Joint NATO Mission Shows West ‘Has No Real Plan in Ukraine’ (Sp.)
1992 Explicit NATO Pledge Not to Meddle in Russia’s Neighborhood (Sp.)
Pelosi Joins Call For Biden To Stop Arming Israel (ZH)
Scott Ritter: Israeli Attack on Consulate Could ‘Throw World Into Chaos’ (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

Superman

 

 

What time it is
https://twitter.com/i/status/1776328737874743402

 

 

 

 

O’Reilly

 

 

GenZ

 

 

MEP, Christine Anderson

 

 

Post human
https://twitter.com/i/status/1776488310304604352

 

 

 

 

Trump 1987
https://twitter.com/i/status/1776642658657505457

 

 

 

 

“The 2024 election is between a dangerous madman and Donald Trump…”

Extremism On The Ballot (Keenan)

I hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful day with family and friends on the holiest day of America’s liturgical year, the Transgender Day of Visibility. I had never heard of this blessed Federal holiday until a few days ago, but my kids loved it. We had a visit from the Easter Drag Bunny and it/they filled the kids’ baskets with all kinds of treats. Puberty blockers, dilators, lipstick for the boys, packers for the girls. She/They is risen—and you will bow down and worship Her/Them! Of course, Joe Biden’s Easter sacrilege was only the latest travesty that proves what you and I already know, which is that the 2024 presidential election is a contest between common-sense centrism and dangerously radical extremism. One candidate is a classical liberal whose positions are squarely in the middle of the political spectrum. On nearly every issue, his views are anodyne, conventional, mainstream—positions that were the norm, nationwide, in every state, on both sides of the aisle, within recent memory (not including a few fringe strongholds in Berkeley and the West Village).

His opponent, however, is a dangerous radical extremist; a divisive, fanatical agent of chaos who holds frightening positions that threaten to destroy America. To preserve what’s left of Our Sacred Democracy, the extremist must be stopped. The radicals we are up against are so deranged that they are embracing and even leaning into the Replacement Theory they once vilified and dismissed as fake. You will recall that “replacement theory” was a taboo conspiracy only racists and bigots believed in until about 15 minutes ago. But the extremists running the country recently decided that akshally, “replacement” is the perfect strategy to finish off what’s left of what you and the country formerly known as “America.” Replacement means you don’t need to worry about convincing Congress to pass new laws or give speeches or waste time governing. To get your way, just replace everyone. But the extremists in charge are not going to stop after replacing you with “newcomers.” They’re replacing everything not nailed down.

Easter just got replaced with a demonic child abuse cult festival. Jews are getting erased, literally chased out of cities, harassed out of college, and replaced with ululating Hamas enthusiasts. Your grandchildren got replaced with fur babies. Formerly great universities have been replaced with plagiarizing paperclip factories. Your borders have been replaced with Welcome Centers. Your retirement has been replaced with twenty more years of work to pay for safe injection sites for your kids and free gender affirmation surgeries for the world. As Elon Musk likes to point out on X, Americans are just four percent of the Earth’s population. Soon, they’ll be just four percent of their own country. This is, in President Biden’s own words, going according to plan. “Just like we drew it up,” he tweeted ominously. An explosion in robberies and violent crime. Two dangerous new foreign wars. Forced conversion therapy on normal people to make them believe children can change their sex. Rampant hate crimes and open, gleeful discrimination against people who are not “of color.”

Who is the extremist again? The dangerous tyrant seeking re-election has the full support of our bloodthirsty elites, a warmongering foreign policy establishment, virulently antisemitic academia, and the entire mainstream media apparatus. Sometimes it’s hard to even fathom what we are facing, but then you remember that they had the nerve to arrest and sentence a young man to prison for… wait for it… sharing a funny Hillary Clinton meme. That actually happened in real life. The humble moderate whom these frightening cretins hope to defeat this fall faces expropriation of his property to satisfy hundreds of millions of dollars in absurd fines, plus hundreds of millions of dollars in legal fees to fight regime lawfare on a Hiroshima scale. The threat of prison looms. His support comes not from wealthy celebrities, titans of industry, or the tech billionaires. It comes from the peasants. The rabble. A ragtag coalition of nobodies, the working class, the powerless middle class, and a few anonymous dissidents forced to post samizdat from undisclosed locations to avoid the eye of Sauron.

The radical extremist we face wants to empty our treasury so he can continue to launder hundreds of billions of our dollars through the most corrupt nation in Europe, which for decades was the world’s number one producer of child pornography, among other evils.

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“.. an evil, unrestrained, immoral freedom that is no freedom at all, a bringer of Death..”

America Is Hurtling Toward a Full Blown Hot Civil War (BP)

In an ideal and perfect world, all Americans would be following a righteously guided conscience and their better angels, and they could trust that their elected leaders were doing likewise; but, we live in a far from perfect world or society, and the fools of the country have abandoned Christian kindness, the Golden Rule and humanity for the evil of trans-humanism. Heartwarming words advocating for true freedom and liberty are far and few between in today’s society and political arenas, in a manner not too unlike the years between 1850 and 1860 that led to the Civil War; and tho’ some on both side of the political aisle still exude goodness in a way that makes each day seem a bit brighter, by and large, the Democratic Party has been completely infiltrated by Marxist-Maoist Communists, who are driving the nation towards the darkest tyranny and bloodiest days ever witnessed in America, as they attempt to stamp out the tenderness and beauty in each person’s soul and reduce us all to mere mindless cogs in their authoritarian machine.

Look around. Half or more of America’s citizenry have lost their minds and are six steps or more removed from reality, either due to the mind-numbing communist indoctrination they have absorbed from their “education” in the public school system, something genetic or a trauma from their life, some new maniacal drug that has them hooked and out of their minds, or a combination of all three. Some would suggest that we set about immediately reforming public education to promote and defend the ideas that originally built America, but we don’t have time to change hearts and minds to counter a movement that started over a hundred years ago and now sits on the cusp of being able to solidify its current stranglehold on America, if the tide swings its way in the 2024 Election or they are able to steal the election through current fraud facilitating mechanisms.

Although we can still move to properly educate the next generation in a newly reformed education system or through homeschool, now is the time to organize and assemble those within the country who already know and hold to the truth of American principles and all the freedom and liberty that follow — time to gather our like-minded American patriots and those Lions of Liberty who have had enough of witnessing this America we love so well so sorely abused, put upon and assaulted. It doesn’t help when we have self-serving, corrupt people in high office promising to save the gullible and ill-informed from their hell and the misery it brings, if only they will support more madness to be placed in U.S. code. Vote for more economy killing “climate change” change regulations and initiatives and “we’ll put more money on your EBT cards, courtesy of Uncle Sam and the American taxpayer”.

“Help us make sure the government has the final say over everybody’s children and can kill babies as they exit the birthing canal, and we’ll make certain you get privilege over all other Americans”, one can almost hear Traitor Joe whispering in some dimly lit concert hall. “You can be a champion among champions”, they say — “Let us help you change your gender”. And if anyone stands in your way in the pursuit of any evil, it is they who will be called evil and fallen upon by the full weight of the U.S. Federal Government. Oh yea. And as if that isn’t bad enough, Biden is now moving as fast as he can to forgive $144 billion more in student loans. He plans to announce this on Monday, April 8th 2024, and for anyone with eyes to see, this is simply corruption at its worst and Biden buying votes in the upcoming presidential election. What a slap in the face of Americans who couldn’t afford to go to college but now will be forced to bear the tax burden this move will bring.

I see the immorality growing every day, the people who revel in its evil, freaks from some futuristic sideshow that bodes ill and speaks to the destruction of humanity. and with each passing day, I find myself moving farther and farther away from those with whom I have little or nothing in common with, adrift from most of humanity too. Not in any manner that lends itself to any sadness over my situation, but rather as if to say “whew” in a realization of the relief that has come by way of my separation from those I despise most. It’s sort of like I’m standing on the river bank watching the “ship of fools” sailing over the river falls in denial of their own mortality, thinking their crazy ideas will save them and hold them invincible, or worse, knowing they are going to die and not caring who they drag to Hell along with them. They think we’re crazy for defending America’s righteous and true founding principles and virtues and the liberty associated with them, and we think them mad for denying God, reality and the best mankind has to offer in exchange for an evil, unrestrained, immoral freedom that is no freedom at all, a bringer of Death.

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They’re scared stiff Trump will win.

Liberals Trying to Force Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to Retire (ET)

Liberals are mounting a pressure campaign to force liberal Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to retire from the bench so President Joe Biden, who faces a tough reelection fight in November, can appoint a younger liberal successor before the election. Democrats fear that the 6–3 conservative majority on the nation’s highest court could become a 7–2 conservative majority if President Donald Trump wins the election in November and she dies during his second term of office. They point out that President Trump was able to replace liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died of pancreatic cancer complications on Sept. 18, 2020, at 87, with conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett days before the 2020 election. Justice Ginsburg refused to step down despite her fragile health. Justice Barrett’s appointment, they say, helped supply the votes on the Court needed to overturn abortion rights precedent Roe v. Wade by a 5–4 vote in June 2022.

The ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization found there was no right to abortion in the U.S. Constitution and returned the regulation of abortion to the states, which Roe had taken away. Justice Sotomayor, 69, is reportedly in good health, but activists have seized on the fact that she has had Type I diabetes since she was 7 years old and that she has had some health scares. They note that she is the only Supreme Court justice to have traveled with a medic and remarked she was “tired” during a talk in January at UC Berkeley Law School. In January 2018, she was reportedly treated at her home for low blood sugar by paramedics but was able to report for work afterward. Left-wing activists seem emboldened because they successfully pressured liberal Justice Stephen Breyer, now 85, to retire in June 2022, which allowed President Biden to replace him with liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, now 53.

In an April 3 broadcast on NBC News, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), said Justice Sotomayor should consider stepping down soon. “Justices have to make their personal decisions about their health, and their level of energy, but also to keep in mind the larger national and public interest in making sure that the Court looks and thinks like America,” the senator said. “We should learn a lesson, you know? And it’s not like there’s any mystery here about what the lesson should be—that the old saying, ‘graveyards are full of indispensable people,’ ourselves in this body included.” Before that, left-wing commentator Mehdi Hasan published a column in The Guardian (UK) saying it pained him to argue that Justice Sotomayor should make way for a younger successor who can serve for decades on the Court because she is a good standard bearer for the progressive cause. He described Justice Sotomayor as “the greatest liberal to sit on the Supreme Court in my adult lifetime.” Mr. Hasan added that she is “the first Latina to hold the position of justice, [and] she has blazed a relentlessly progressive trail on the highest bench in the land.”

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Liz Cheney’s the one who belongs in jail.

Trump Accuses Biden of Unfairly Targeting 71-Year-Old Jan. 6 ‘Hostage’ (ET)

Former President Donald Trump has criticized President Joe Biden and the Justice Department for “unfairly” targeting a 71-year-old woman dubbed the “J6 Praying Grandma” who entered the U.S. Capitol for around 10 minutes on Jan. 6, 2021. Rebecca Lavrenz was convicted on April 4 on four federal misdemeanor charges, including entering and remaining in a restricted building, and disorderly and disruptive conduct. She faces up to a year in prison and $200,000 in fines, with her sentencing scheduled for Aug. 12. President Trump took to social media on Friday to denounce the conviction. “Rebecca Lavrez, also known as the ‘J6 Praying Grandma,’ has been unfairly targeted by Crooked Joe Biden’s DOJ, and now faces up to 1 YEAR in prison for peacefully walking around the Capitol, and praying for our Failing Nation on January 6th!” he wrote in a post on Truth Social.

President Trump said that Ms. Lavrez, a 71-year-old grandmother and small business owner from Colorado, has now become “one of Joe Biden’s J6 HOSTAGES!!!” President Trump has made the alleged mistreatment of Jan. 6 defendants a cornerstone of his reelection campaign, vowing to use executive power to issue pardons and free Jan. 6 “hostages” soon after taking office, if elected. “Crooked Joe Biden spends more time prosecuting Patriots like Rebecca, AND ME, than Violent Criminals, Thugs, Murderers, and ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS who are destroying our Country. THIS IS WHAT WE ARE UP AGAINST,” President Trump added in his post. President Biden has been sharply critical of President Trump’s statements about the Jan. 6 defendants, while Attorney General Merrick Garland has promised to press ahead with more Jan. 6 prosecutions—and to cast the Justice Department’s dragnet even more widely to include people who weren’t even present at the Capitol that day.

“As I said before, the Justice Department will hold all January 6 perpetrators, at any level, accountable under the law—whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy,” Mr. Garland said in a speech on Jan. 5. More than 1,350 people have been charged with various crimes in relation to the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, ranging from misdemeanor offenses such as trespassing to felonies such as seditious conspiracy and assaulting police officers. Of these, roughly 800 have been sentenced, with nearly two-thirds receiving some time in prison.

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Fani’s biggest talent is compromising herself.

Fani Willis Accused Of Illegally Recording Lawyer, Till Monday To Recuse (ZH)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has been accused of illegally recording a lawyer in the Trump-Georgia case. During an interview with Townhall columnist and legal analyst Phil Holloway, an attorney for Trump co-defendant Harrison Floyd, Christopher Kachouroff, claimed that Willis recorded a phone call between herself and one of his colleagues in Maryland. “Fani did reach out to one of my colleagues in Maryland” said Kachouroff. “And was rude and abrupt with him on the phone … and she ended up recording him.” He further noted that Maryland is a “two party state,” meaning that both parties on a phone call have to consent to being recorded. “So, are you saying she illegally recorded a phone call?” asked Holloway. “Oh yeah, it’s a felony in Maryland,” Kachouroff replied. Maryland is one of 11 states which require two-party consent. Under the state’s Wiretap Act, recording a private conversation without consent from both parties is punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

Harrison Floyd, the defendant, has given Fani until noon on Monday to recuse herself from the case or he “may have no other choice than to pursue all lawful remedies.” As Redstate notes: In Floyd’s tweet, it refers to Willis providing a copy or a recording of a call to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution between herself and Carlos J.R. Salvado, an attorney in Maryland, who also represents Floyd on an unrelated matter. Atlanta News First and Newsweek have reached out to Willis’ office for comment on this new allegation but she doesn’t appear to have weighed in yet. It will be interesting to see what her response to this allegation is. Floyd, who served as a senior campaign staffer for Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign, was indicted by Willis on three felony counts stemming from his alleged efforts to help Trump overturn his loss in the state. The charges include conspiracy to solicit false statements, influencing witnesses, and racketeering. He has also been accused of assaulting an FBI agent in Maryland. He has pleaded not guilty.

Fani’s wiretapping accusation is the latest debacle involving Willis’ RICO case against Trump and his allies. On Wednesday, special prosecutor Nathan Wade’s estranged wife filed contempt of court proceedings against him. Wade and Willis’ romantic relationship was the focal point of the disqualification efforts against the district attorney’s office. However, Judge Scott McAfee ultimately allowed Willis to remain on the prosecution so long as Wade stepped down. Wade handed in his resignation hours after McAfee’s ruling. -Newsweek. Floyd, a former Black Voices for Trump leader, turned himself in without a lawyer or bond agreement on August 24 of last year, and was released August 30 on $100,000 bond. He is one of 19 defendants in the case.

https://twitter.com/hw_floyd/status/1776060884546113790

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“.. join a defensive alliance when the need for defense is over..”

US, Allies Understand Ukraine Will Never Join NATO – Journalist (TASS)

The US administration and authorities of NATO member-countries understand full well that Ukraine will never join the alliance, senior editor of The American Conservative Sumantra Maitra said in his article. “Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated that Ukraine will one day join NATO. It is a meaningless, almost theological gesture—practically pagan hymn-chanting at this point. Blinken knows his promise to be untrue. European allies know it to be untrue. The majority of Americans either don’t care about Ukraine or are actively opposed to further engagement in Europe,” Maitra said. “It is, of course, deeply cynical to dangle the NATO carrot in front of Ukraine especially, when NATO did not let them join after the Bucharest summit [in 2008] and will not in future,” he noted.

“The argument goes that NATO members will welcome Ukraine only once they have solved their existing security issue, i.e. join a defensive alliance when the need for defense is over. To any sane person, that sounds absurd—that would mean the security issue will not be solved in this lifetime, and it will continue to be a frozen conflict,” Maitra said. “There will not be any NATO cavalry over the hills,” the journalist wrote. “The best we can do is seek a compromise making Ukraine and Georgia neutral buffers, similar to Austria during the Cold War. But for that, Washington needs bolder leadership to admit some hard truths and render some strategic coherence,” Maitra concluded.

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Slovakia, Hungary, Austria speak with reason. The countries closest to Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine Must Talk – Austrian Chancellor (RT)

The Ukraine conflict can only be resolved if Russia is present at the negotiating table, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer has said. In an interview with the French daily Le Figaro on Friday, the chancellor reiterated that the West should continue to be in “full solidarity” with Kiev and support it in its fight against Russia. However, Nehammer said “it is also important to think about how the conflict could end.” The Austrian leader noted that when he went to Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in April 2022, several weeks into the conflict, Moscow and Kiev were still engaged in direct talks. ”This is no longer the case today, because Russia shows no desire to negotiate. But without the Russian Federation there will be no peace,” he said, adding that the situation remains difficult. “But the resumption of a dialogue, when the day comes, is a necessity,” he stressed.

Moscow and Kiev held several rounds of talks early on in the conflict, which revolved around Ukrainian neutrality. While the negotiations initially made some headway, Kiev later walked away. Moscow has claimed that the peace process was derailed by then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who advised Ukraine to keep fighting, which Johnson has denied. Russia also maintains that it is open to new talks with Kiev. However, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree banning all negotiations with the current leadership in Moscow after four former Ukrainian territories voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining Russia in autumn 2022. Meanwhile, Nehammer has said he has some disagreements regarding support for Ukraine with French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently stated that he cannot rule out the possibility of putting NATO troops on the ground in the embattled country.

The chancellor noted that while he and Macron believe in the need to support Ukraine and that Moscow and Kiev should eventually engage in diplomacy, they are at odds over the way to achieve this. ”I am in favor of the precautionary principle. The French president is a supporter of the principle of deterrence,” Nehammer said, acknowledging that some elements of this approach are “convincing” given what he called Russia’s “aggressiveness.” “However, I also think that we must apply the precautionary principle to avoid an uncontrollable escalation,” he added. In a rare phone call earlier this week, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu warned his French counterpart, Sebastien Lecornu, that Paris would only “create problems for itself” if it decides to send troops to Ukraine.

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“..the United States and its NATO partners embarked on an orgy of aggression and militarism over the next three decades..”

NATO 75 Years On… A War Machine Long Past Its Sell-By Date (SCF)

This week marks the 75th anniversary of NATO’s founding in April 1949. The organization has become a global danger to peace and security and should have been disbanded more than 30 years ago when the Cold War supposedly ended. That the alliance was not disbanded attests that its real purpose was always to serve as a weapon for U.S.-led Western imperialism. Barely four years after the end of World War Two – the greatest calamity in world history – and amid the ruins of a devastated Europe and Asia, Western imperialism was once again reinventing its nefarious internal forces. Nearly 30 million citizens of the Soviet Union had died at the hands of Nazi Germany. And yet despite the horror and evil of war, the Western powers were busy reconfiguring their military forces to confront again the Soviet Union. With the defeat of the Nazi war machine largely by the Soviet Red Army, the Western imperialists innovated a new instrument in the form of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The betrayal and treachery were not just to the Soviet people. All of humanity was once again subjected to the warmongering designs and necessities of a global elite under Western imperialism. NATO’s declared purpose was to defend Europe from Soviet aggression. The same pretense exists today in the claim that the alliance is defending Ukraine from Russian belligerence. The proof of NATO’s real function is demonstrated by the fact that the organization did not disband in 1991 when the Soviet Union was dissolved. Over the ensuing 33 years, the military bloc has doubled its membership to 31 nations. Russia has replaced the Soviet Union as the Western-designated security threat to Europe. But such rationale turns reality on its head. NATO has always existed as a tool of aggression for Western imperialism. Where Nazi Germany failed to do the job of conquering the Soviet Union, NATO tacitly took over the task, and when the Soviet Union disappeared, the new enemy of convenience became the Russian Federation.

Twenty-five years ago, the U.S.-led NATO axis engaged in a pivotal step change when it unilaterally bombed former Yugoslavia in an audacious aggression based on duplicity and lies (as usual). That illegal military intervention was the opening of a new phase of Western imperialism that blatantly snubbed international law and the United Nations Charter. In the same year, 1999, the NATO alliance began its rapid expansion by acquiring new members across Eastern Europe up to Russia’s borders. Having smashed legal restraints against war, the United States and its NATO partners embarked on an orgy of aggression and militarism over the next three decades, invading and sabotaging countless countries and unleashing global problems of terrorism, displacement, poverty, and mass migration.

In 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a seminal speech at the Munich Security Conference in which he warned of the looming chaos and conflict from unbridled Western militarism. The next year, in 2008, the NATO alliance declared that it would admit Ukraine and Georgia to its ranks. Neither of the former Soviet Republics has yet joined the bloc, but for Moscow, such a move has long been demarcated as an intolerable red line. The expansion of NATO all the way to Russia’s doorstep is not some ad hoc innocent development. It is a deliberate plan of aggression to strategically defeat Russia for the conquest of its natural wealth by Western imperialism.

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“Clearly the US does not like to lose wars or to be associated with losing wars. And clearly they don’t want to be associated with a losing war that Biden is responsible for..”

NATO’s ‘Losing War’ and an Empty Promise to Ukraine (Sp.)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated Thursday that Ukraine will eventually join NATO. It was the same message the US has been repeating since 2008, although the alliance has not revealed a concrete timeline for Ukraine’s accession. US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (often referred to as MTG) and US Senator JD Vance took to social media to decry Blinken’s comments as irresponsible and dangerous, saying inviting Ukraine to join NATO during a war is to “invite our nation to war.” KJ Noh, a scholar, educator and journalist and member of Veterans for Peace, joined Sputnik’s Political Misfits on Friday to discuss these developments. Sputnik’s Michelle Witte asked Noh what would happen if Republicans decided that opposing NATO expansion is a winning political message. “I think it would signal the end of NATO,” answered Noh. “I mean, it’s an interesting situation because this entire war was provoked on the idea that Ukraine would eventually join NATO. So they can’t, from this administration, can’t abandon the concept completely.”

“But let’s come back to MTG and JD Vance. You know, they are not the most informed people in the political classes, they’re clearly pandering to the base,” he claimed. “And as I said if you recall on this show, the US public tends to reflexively support most US wars initiated by their elites until they start losing and then they stop supporting them.” “I think it has to do with the fact that they don’t believe it’s a winning proposition to be associated with NATO, which is currently losing a war, and this is a NATO war. And, of course, it also has to do with the fact that [former President Donald] Trump himself has a very mercantile, business view of NATO. He sees them as free riders on the American military, and he wants the quid pro quo.” “Clearly there is popular opposition to the Ukraine war. Clearly the US does not like to lose wars or to be associated with losing wars. And clearly they don’t want to be associated with a losing war that Biden is responsible for,” Noh concluded.

Former President Donald Trump said recently he would “100%” keep the US in NATO should he return to the Oval Office, as long as European countries pay their “fair share” and “play fair.” The former president told British media the US pays for “90% of NATO,” adding that it is the “most unfair thing.” NATO estimates that for 2023 Poland was actually the top spender and allocated 3.9% of its GDP to the alliance, which was more than twice the amount it had spent in 2022. In contrast, the US spent 3.5% of its GDP – about the same amount it has been spending for the last decade. However, only 35% of NATO member states meet the alliance’s spending targets on defense, prompting criticism from Trump and aligned “America First” conservatives. Proposals to resurrect European countries’ weakened defense industries have been greeted with skepticism as the continent is rocked by protests over economic concerns.

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“..support for Ukraine is “limited to certain logistic, advisory and training functions,” and under the current North Atlantic Treaty, “it would not be possible to do more.”

New Rustled-Up Joint NATO Mission Shows West ‘Has No Real Plan in Ukraine’ (Sp.)

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski’s thoughts regarding a new joint NATO mission in Ukraine are “more a wish than reality,” strategic analyst Paolo Raffone told Sputnik. “To date, nobody in NATO is willing to engage with a stable allied military presence in Ukraine,” said the director of the CIPI Foundation in Brussels. “Sikorski’s thoughts do not match with David Cameron’s statements at the NATO summit in Brussels. The UK foreign secretary acknowledged that the ‘war will be lost if the allies don’t step up,’ but when asked whether Western nations should send troops into Ukraine, Lord Cameron replied ‘no,’” Paolo Raffone said. The Polish foreign minister earlier told journalists after a meeting of the Ukraine-NATO council that members of the alliance had decided to establish a joint mission in Ukraine.

“This does not mean that we are entering a war, but it means that we will now be able to use NATO’s coordinating, training, and planning capabilities to support Ukraine in a more coordinated manner,” the minister clarified. Sikorski added that more Ukrainian troops will be undergoing training in Poland. As for the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, he said that there were no plans for deploying NATO troops on the territory of Ukraine. “We don’t have any plans of having any NATO combat troops inside Ukraine, there have been no requests for that, but the Ukrainians are asking for equipment, for ammunition, for weapons and we are providing that to Ukraine — that doesn’t make NATO allies party to the conflict,” Stoltenberg told a press conference. He did, however, add that NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) is working on a proposal to enhance the alliance’s coordinating security role in Ukraine.

According to officials, this would presuppose bringing the Ukraine Defense Contact Group – currently led by the US –under NATO’s control. It is this group that coordinates the delivery of weapons to Kiev. [..] Paolo Raffone underscored that the alliance’s support for Ukraine is “limited to certain logistic, advisory and training functions,” and under the current North Atlantic Treaty, “it would not be possible to do more.” “Diplomats in Brussels do not see any concrete space for a direct engagement of NATO troops in Ukraine. NATO posturing is to avoid the collapse of Ukraine under the constant Russian pressure with the strategic aim to create the conditions for a negotiated settlement, whatever it may be,” the analyst said.

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“We would like to establish [the] most friendly relations with all the former Soviet republics. This will suit our common interests and as such we will be able to provide more lasting stability..”

1992 Explicit NATO Pledge Not to Meddle in Russia’s Neighborhood (Sp.)

The US National Security Archive dropped a fresh trove of documents this week on previously classified conversations between senior Russian officials and their US and NATO counterparts in the period between 1992 and 1995, detailing what at the time seemed like rosy prospects for cooperation, and featuring a key pledge related to the internal affairs of the new post-Soviet republics. A transcript of a meeting between then-chairman of the Russian parliament Ruslan Khasbulatov and NATO secretary general Manfred Woerner dated February 25, 1992, exactly two months after Mikhail Gorbachev declared the USSR defunct and resigned from office, features an unmistakably blunt commitment by Woerner that the alliance will not meddle in the internal political affairs of Russia and other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

“We would like Russia and all other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States to join the Council for Cooperation [under NATO, ed.],” Woerner said during his conversation with Khasbulatov in Moscow. “From what I hear, -and you yourself talked about this – that some people still doubt our intentions. I would like to state here very clearly that we need stability, or some kind of stabilizing element for peace. We are not going to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs, as well as the internal affairs of other sovereign member states of the CIS. We would like to establish [the] most friendly relations with all the former Soviet republics. This will suit our common interests and as such we will be able to provide more lasting stability. We will all be better off as a result,” the NATO chief assured.

“We want to see close cooperation between states in a Europe composed of sovereign democratic states. How can this be achieved? We want to build a Europe that will inhabit a new security environment from [the Urals] to the Atlantic. It will be a unified Euro-Atlantic community built on three pillars. The first is the Helsinki process, the second – the European Community [predecessor to the European Union, ed.], which will create a basis for a solid political future for our community, and the third pillar is NATO,” Woerner added. A second document, dated March 8, 1994, and recording a conversation between senior Russian Duma leaders and Clinton Defense Secretary William Perry, offered clues of the extent of security concerns felt even by members of the liberal, highly pro-American Yeltsin government regarding US and NATO policy toward Russia.

By that time, the Clinton administration had firmly committed to the expansion of the Western alliance in Eastern Europe in spite of fervent (but impotent) opposition by Yeltsin. “As Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Defense, I am interested in a whole range of issues,” lawmaker Sergei Yushenkov was recorded as saying. “These include US military doctrine…NATO’s prospects in connection with the end of the Cold War, issues of our collaboration in peacekeeping actions, concrete approaches to the implementation of the Partnership for Peace program (which I consider a thin veil for NATO expansion), prospects for the ratification of START-2 and the implementation of START-1,” Yushenkov said.

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“..vehemently opposed to any Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, or any person who has an ounce of humanity” attending the event..”

Pelosi Joins Call For Biden To Stop Arming Israel (ZH)

A divide among Democrats over whether to halt defense aid to Israel is growing more fierce, causing a crisis and headache for Biden strategists ahead of the presidential election, which has only intensified in the wake of last week’s Israel Defense Forces (IDF) attack on the World Central Kitchen convoy in Gaza, which left seven international workers dead, including an American. This intensifying fragmentation of Biden’s base has been on display this weekend also given former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – still very influential among Dems – has publicly come out against Biden’s policy to continue arming Israel. The issue is entering the heart of the Democratic establishment, threatening unity. Axios reports that she “signed onto a call by progressive members of Congress for the U.S. to stop transferring weapons to Israel over a strike that killed seven aid workers in Gaza.”

The letter she signed, and which was led by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), included the signatures of some 40 Democrats. “In light of the recent strike against aid workers and the ever-worsening humanitarian crisis, we believe it is unjustifiable to approve these weapons transfers,” the lawmakers stated in the letter addressed to President Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “If this strike is found to have violated U.S. or international law, we urge you to continue withholding these transfers until those responsible are held accountable,” the lawmakers wrote. However, a follow-up statement from a Pelosi representative to Axios has this to say: “Speaker Pelosi knows President Biden’s support for Israel and empathy with the innocent civilians in Gaza, and she respects his judgment in how to proceed.” This trend of the Gaza war becoming a bright red dividing line among Democrats is also on display with recent stories like the following from Epoch Times– Pro-Israel Democrat Group Endorses ‘Squad’ Primary Opponents:

“A Democrat pro-Israel group has endorsed candidates challenging incumbents who are members of the far-left congressional group “The Squad.” Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI) announced on April 3 its backing of Westchester County Executive George Latimer and St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell. DMFI did not state its reasons for backing the two other than through announcing a slate of endorsements.” So now the ‘fight’ is on and it’s becoming a real issue with campaign money lining up on either side. Still, those voters who put the Squad members in office in the first place are more than likely to come down on the anti-Israel side. Another indicator that the internal Democrat divide is accelerating is that the controversy has completely altered a long-standing White House tradition. Muslim leaders are boycotting an annual White House Ramadan gathering which marks the end of the Muslim season of fasting:

“The Biden administration is hosting a scaled-down Ramadan gathering for Muslim and Arab Americans after several community leaders declined the invite over the unrelenting and steadfast nature of US support for Israel’s war on Gaza. The event scheduled for Tuesday will be in stark contrast to previous Muslim celebrations and gatherings under the Biden administration, which have seen packed ballrooms of Muslims from all over the country joining the White House festivities. This year, the iftar will be confined to staffers only, and a separate gathering will take place for Muslim community members.” One such Muslim community leader and activist told Middle East Eye that Palestinian-Americans are “vehemently opposed to any Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, or any person who has an ounce of humanity” attending the event. All of this is of course a plus for Trump’s chances of retaking the White House going into November, also given the Israel-Gaza issue is much less of a divisive flashpoint issue for Republican voters.

Sachs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1776496160821449125

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“..wasn’t just a onetime ‘oops’. It was three deliberate attacks designed to kill everybody involved in the WCK convoy, to leave no survivors. And they left no survivors..”

Scott Ritter: Israeli Attack on Consulate Could ‘Throw World Into Chaos’ (Sp.)

Israel targeted the Iranian Embassy compound in Damascus, Syria on Monday, killing 16 people, including a top IRGC Quds Force commander. The same day, IDF drones struck three World Central Kitchen vehicles in Gaza, killing seven aid workers. Scott Ritter tells Sputnik how these events are connected. “In the span of a week, the world has witnessed two wanton violations of international law and the norms and standards of civilized nations by the state of Israel,” Scott Ritter, a former UN weapons inspector and retired US Marine Corps intelligence officer, said, commenting on the twin April 1 attacks in Syria and Gaza. The Damascus attack ostensibly targeted high-ranking IRGC officers operating in Syria. “But the fact that Israel views these officers as legitimate targets doesn’t give them the permission to violate the protections that are afforded to these structures. Diplomatic immunity is a reality, and these buildings (consulates, embassies), are afforded inviolability, protection of international law, and Israel opted to violate this,” Ritter emphasized.

The consequences of the Embassy attack “have yet to be fully borne out…but based on Israel’s own reaction and anticipation could be quite severe. And this could throw not just the region but the world into chaos, turmoil and conflict, all because Israel decided that it could operate above the law,” the observer warned. As for the strikes against vehicles carrying World Central Kitchen (WCK) charity workers in Gaza, Ritter doesn’t buy Israeli assurances that they were accidental. “This wasn’t an accident. The Israelis claim it was a mistake, an accident. It wasn’t. These aid workers were driving on a route that had been identified to the Israeli military in advance and approved. They were riding in three clearly-marked vehicles. And the attack that took place wasn’t just a onetime ‘oops’. It was three deliberate attacks designed to kill everybody involved in the WCK convoy, to leave no survivors. And they left no survivors,” Ritter stressed. The consequences of the WCK were predictable, the observer said.

“Almost immediately, ships filled with humanitarian aid turned around and refused to offload their life-sustaining cargoes in Gaza out of fear of being attacked by Israel. Israel achieved its objective. It is terrorizing, intimidating international aid groups so that they don’t provide the assistance necessary for the sustainment of life in Gaza, because that’s what the Israeli policy in Gaza is all about,” Ritter said. Ritter expects Israeli “crimes” and “wanton” lawlessness to continue unless and until Tel Aviv is made to face consequences for its actions, and for so long as the government of Benjamin Netanyahu remains in power.

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Assange Al Jazeera 25 m.

 

 

Eclipse


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Kitten
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Horse
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Apr 052024
 


Jan van Eyck Crucifixion and Last Judgement 1430

 

New York Judge Calls Trump Jan. 6 Case ‘Federal Insurrection Matter’ (ET)
Judge Denies Trump First Amendment Challenge to Georgia Election Charges (ET)
The Trump-Proofing Checklist (Manley)
Ukraine ‘Will Become a Member of NATO’ – Blinken (RT)
NATO Exists To Respond To The Conflicts Caused By Its Own Existence (Sp.)
Enlargement Made NATO Hostage to Agenda Pushed by Eastern Europe (Sp.)
Russia and NATO Already In ‘Direct Confrontation’ – Kremlin (RT)
Lavrov Says Obvious That Ukraine Involved in Terrorist Attack in Crocus (Sp.)
‘Stop Lying,’ Russia Tells US (RT)
Kiev’s Backers Fear Frontline Breach – Media (RT)
Why Are Central Banks Buying Gold? (Martin Armstrong)
“Is He Blackmailed?” MTG Questions Speaker Johnson (ZH)
Europe’s Identity Crisis (Patrick Lawrence)
The European Union’s Fires Where Freedom Burns (Hugo Dionísio)
Canada’s Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland Diagnosed With Progressive HPD (Helmer)

 

 

It’s so easy to confuse me…

 

 

Peltz Musk

 

 

Galloway Escobar

 

 


WikiLeaks Ukraine Cable from 2008 written by CIA director William J. Burns, then US ambassador to Moscow

 

 

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1775830366622024005

 

 

CNN

 

 


Foreign-born population growth:
Barack Obama: 68,000 per month
Donald Trump: 42,000 per month
Joe Biden: 172,000 per month

 

 

Trump UN
https://twitter.com/i/status/1700360281698791655

 

 

Obama

 

 


Elon Musk: “Bet you didn’t know that this administration is flying hundreds of thousands of illegals into America using your tax dollars …”

 

 

 

 

A judge who confuses the case beforee him with a parallel case? Seems a very strange mistake.

New York Judge Calls Trump Jan. 6 Case ‘Federal Insurrection Matter’ (ET)

On April 3, New York Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan denied a defense motion to adjourn the upcoming trial scheduled for April 15, and in his order, referred to former President Donald Trump’s case before the Supreme Court as the “Federal Insurrection Matter.” “Defendant fully briefed the issue of presidential immunity in his motion to dismiss the matter of United States v. Trump, US Dist Ct, DDC 23 CR 25, (TSC) (hereinafter “Federal Insurrection Matter”) on October 5, 2023,” Justice Merchan wrote. Justice Merchan is presiding over one of four criminal cases against President Trump. This one is a state case, where Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has charged President Trump with 34 counts of falsifying business records, alleging a scheme to influence the 2016 elections. The other case in question charges President Trump with four counts of obstruction and conspiracy for his acts on Jan. 6, 2021, but it does not allege insurrection in the indictment.

Special counsel Jack Smith is prosecuting the case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and trial proceedings have been stayed as President Trump pursues an appeal on grounds of presidential immunity. Counsel for President Trump in the Manhattan case brought the federal case up recently in requesting that the trial be delayed, arguing that the presidential immunity they raised in state court will soon be under review by the U.S. Supreme Court. On April 25, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on “whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office.” The presidential immunity defense is one President Trump has raised in several of his cases, and attorneys in other cases have requested additional hearings and delays in anticipation of a Supreme Court decision. It is unclear why Justice Merchan would use the “insurrection” as shorthand for the federal case.

The only appearance of the word “insurrection” is in a quote in response to an attorney saying there would be “riots everywhere” if President Trump remained in office. In response, one of the unnamed co-conspirators tells him, “Well, [Deputy White House Counsel], that’s why there’s an Insurrection Act.” Separately, critics of President Trump have colloquially referred to the events of Jan. 6, 2021, as an “insurrection,” resulting in a wave of almost 100 state-level lawsuits to disqualify him from the ballot over the past half year. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court heard another case involving President Trump and ruled that states have no authority to disqualify a federal candidate in elections. However, it would be unlikely that the judge confused the two cases, as President Trump did not argue presidential immunity in the ballot disqualification case, and the Supreme Court issued a ruling ending the challenges on March 4. Defense attorneys in the Manhattan case are also renewing requests that the judge step down, arguing that he has shown partisan interest.

Last August, Justice Merchan rejected an initial motion for recusal. He stated that his small-dollar donations to President Trump’s political opponents and his daughter’s employment at a marketing firm, which has received millions from those campaigning against President Trump, would not affect his ability to try the case impartially. However, Justice Merchan recently broadened a gag order to prevent President Trump from discussing the judge’s family members. The move follows President Trump’s renewed grievances about the judge’s daughter helping to campaign for politicians such as Vice President Kamala Harris and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Defense attorneys made another request that the judge recuse himself on April 1, arguing that the judge’s family has commercial interests that “are benefitted by developments in this case that harm President Trump’s penal interests.”

Read more …

I was wondering if, like Fani and her boytoy, the judges in various Trump cases have also had 8-hour sessions at the White House. How would we ever find out?

Judge Denies Trump First Amendment Challenge to Georgia Election Charges (ET)

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee has denied former President Donald Trump’s motion to dismiss charges under the First Amendment, noting that the way the challenge was brought limited the arguments that could be made. “Without foreclosing the ability to raise similar as-applied challenges at the appropriate time after the establishment of a factual record, the Defendants’ motions based on First Amendment grounds are denied,” the judge wrote in an April 4 order. President Trump is being charged along with 14 others of violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act for their actions in challenging the 2020 election results. He had brought a First Amendment as-applied challenge, arguing that everything he said listed in the indictment was protected by the First Amendment.

The defense also touched on making a First Amendment facial challenge, arguing that the charges were overly broad and the statutes may be unconstitutional. But when such a challenge is made before trial, the only record of facts that can be used is the indictment itself. The allegations must be accepted as fact at this stage. Much of President Trump’s speech is cited as part of the RICO charge, in which legal acts and truthful speech can be listed in order to show that an “operation” was in place, prosecutors explained. The First Amendment does not protect speech “integral to criminal conduct, fraud, or speech presenting an imminent threat that the government can prevent,” the judge wrote. Political speech is protected, as is communication to government officials, but protection “does not extend to allegedly fraudulent petitions,” the judge wrote. In the indictment, prosecutors allege all included speech was tied to criminal conduct and the furtherance of a conspiracy.

Defense attorney Steve Sadow argued that President Trump’s speech could not be prosecuted for falsity, and argued that courts have recognized that even false speech must be protected, as free debate cannot be free from error. However, the judge found that prosecutors did not bring charges because the speech was “false” but because President Trump allegedly “knowingly” and “willfully” acted in a way that “impacted matters of governmental concern.” As for proving out that intent, that was a matter for trial, he added. “The allegations that the Defendants’ speech or conduct was carried out with criminal intent are something only a jury can resolve,” the order reads.

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“The US has used the group to funnel tens of billions of dollars in weapons and other equipment to Ukraine. But NATO may bring the group under its control should Ukraine lose US support..”

The Trump-Proofing Checklist (Manley)

Mainstream media has dubbed a new proposal a way to “Trump-proof” aid for Ukraine. Some foreign ministers, however, have made it clear that any funding that moves NATO closer to war will not be supported. NATO foreign ministers met Wednesday to discuss a proposal by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg for a €100 billion ($108 billion) five-year fund for Ukraine. The move comes as Europe fears the return of a Donald Trump presidency. The former US president has said he will not aid Ukraine in their conflict with Russia if he is elected, according to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. “What is obvious is that we need new and more money for Ukraine. And we need it over many years. And the whole idea of now discussing a framework, commitments and an institutionalized framework, for the support is to ensure more predictability and more confidence that the money will come every month, every year for the long haul,” said Stoltenberg before the meeting.

The Ukraine Defense Contact Group was first created in the early weeks of the conflict by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and then-Joint Chiefs Chair General Mark Milley. The US has used the group to funnel tens of billions of dollars in weapons and other equipment to Ukraine. But NATO may bring the group under its control should Ukraine lose US support. “We need to shift the dynamics of our support,” Stoltenberg said. “We must ensure reliable and predictable security assistance to Ukraine for the long haul… less on short-term offers and more on multi-year pledges.” But foreign ministers have reportedly warned that putting together such a fund would not be easy. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto “firmly stated Hungary will not back any [NATO] proposals that might draw the alliance closer to war or shift it from a defensive to an offensive coalition,” government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs said on X.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said he and others warned against duplicating efforts between bilateral, European Union and NATO aid. In early March, former President Donald Trump met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. According to Orban, Trump will “not give a penny into the Ukraine-Russia war and therefore the war will end” as its “obvious that Ukraine on its own cannot stand on its feet.” Stoltenberg concluded at the end of the summit that NATO will make its final decision in July. A consensus between its 32 members will be required before they can move forward with such a decision. As NATO marks its 75th anniversary this week, Russia has accused the military alliance of returning to a Cold War mindset. Late last year, US legislators passed a law requiring congressional approval should any US president attempt to pull the country out of NATO.

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Note that he doesn’t say when.

Ukraine ‘Will Become a Member of NATO’ – Blinken (RT)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has capped a meeting of NATO diplomats by doubling down on an issue that helped trigger the Russia-Ukraine conflict: allowing Kiev to join the Western military alliance. “Ukraine will become a member of NATO,” Blinken told reporters on Thursday in Brussels. “Our purpose at the summit is to help build a bridge to that membership and to create a clear pathway for Ukraine moving forward.” Blinken made his comments as NATO foreign ministers completed a two-day meeting to rally more international support for Kiev. He spoke at a press briefing alongside Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, who argued that Ukraine “deserves to be a member of NATO.” The Ukrainian diplomat added, “This should happen sooner rather than later.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned for the better part of two decades that NATO’s eastward expansion undermines Russian national security and that moving the bloc’s forces into Ukraine would cross a “red line.” NATO-Russia relations have deteriorated so much amid the current Ukraine crisis that the alliance is now in “direct confrontation” with Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday. The determination of NATO members to back Ukraine remains “rock solid,” Blinken said at Thursday’s press briefing. “We will do everything we can; allies will do everything that they can to ensure that Ukraine has what it needs to continue to deal with Russia’s ongoing aggression.” The top US diplomat also urged Congress to approve $60 billion in additional aid to Ukraine. The proposal has been stalled by rising opposition from Republican lawmakers since last fall. The administration of US President Joe Biden has already burned through $113 billion in previously approved Ukraine funding.

US Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene said in an interview on Wednesday that the latest aid bill is likely headed for passage when Congress goes back into session next week. The Georgia Republican argued that Washington’s escalating “proxy war” in Ukraine is making Americans less safe and pushing the world closer to World War III. Reacting to Blinken’s statement on Thursday, Greene reminded her 3.2 million followers on X (formerly Twitter) that under the NATO charter, an attack on one member is considered an attack on all. “Making Ukraine a member of NATO means that the US will be going to war against Russia, as mandated by Article 5,” she wrote.

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“We could exit this tragedy by reaching out to Russia to negotiate a new inclusive European security architecture devoted to reducing security competition instead of imposing hegemony..”

NATO Exists To Respond To The Conflicts Caused By Its Own Existence (Sp.)

Exactly 75 years ago, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was founded by the US, Canada, and several Western European nations, with the main aim of deterring and confronting the USSR, their former Second World War ally. After the Soviet Union’s collapse in December 1991, the conditions for a new inclusive security architecture in Europe and beyond emerged, according to Glenn Diesen, professor of international relations at the University of South-Eastern Norway. “After the Cold War, we developed the format for a new inclusive security system,” Diesen told Sputnik. “The Charter of Paris for a New Europe in 1990 and the establishment of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 1994 were both based on the [1975] Helsinki Accords, and embraced the principles of sovereign equality, indivisible security, and ending the dividing lines in Europe.”

The Helsinki Accords, signed during the Cold War by the US, Soviet Union, and several European countries, led to greater cooperation between Eastern and Western Europe. Even though the agreements weren’t binding, they significantly contributed to the détente between the East and West. Instead of building on that momentum, the US saw the end of the Cold War as the beginning of its unipolar moment, according to the professor: in 1992, George H.W. Bush proudly declared that the US had “won” the Cold War during his State of the Union address. “The US also developed a security strategy based on hegemony, which required expanding NATO and thus cancelling the pan-European security architecture,” Diesen said. “NATO therefore transitioned from a status quo power to a revisionist power. NATO required a new purpose, which became ‘out-of-area’ military interventionism and expansionism.”

The next 30 years saw a string of NATO overseas military campaigns, neither of which has seen a comprehensive resolution, resulting in the creation of hotbeds of instability instead. “During the 1990s, NATO turned from a conceptually defensive organization into an openly aggressive organization when it entered the Yugoslav wars and waged a massive bombing campaign there,” Gilbert Doctorow, an international relations and Russian affairs analyst, told Sputnik. “More generally, the United States was at this time preparing NATO to move out of its core geography in Europe and to assist US plans for global domination in the Middle East in the succession of regime change operations and open invasions that the United States planned and led.” Doctorow highlighted that these “out-of-region NATO operations were one disaster after another, ending in the withdrawal from Afghanistan after participation in a 20-year-long war directed by Washington.”

Meanwhile, the alliance’s seven waves of post-Cold War eastward expansion accelerated tensions in Europe, according to the Norwegian academic. “Reviving the bloc approach to security and competing over where to draw the new dividing lines has been the primary source of conflicts in Europe for the past three decades and eventually resulted in the Ukraine war,” Diesen said. The academic pointed out that “by going along with NATO expansionism, the Europeans allowed their continent to be re-divided and remilitarized, which has predictably doomed Europe to greater irrelevance.” He projected that Europe “will undergo systemic economic decline and become painfully subordinated to the US.” “We could exit this tragedy by reaching out to Russia to negotiate a new inclusive European security architecture devoted to reducing security competition instead of imposing hegemony,” the professor emphasized.

NATO exists to respond to the conflicts caused by its own existence,” Diesen explained. “The problem now is that NATO is returning to great power conflicts with the same disastrous approach to security, based on hegemony rather than mitigating security competition.” Despite the Western mainstream media claims that the North Atlantic Alliance is united like never before amid the Ukrainian conflict, it is in fact not true, according to the professor. “There are great tensions within NATO that simmers below the surface, and I do not think the hatred of Russia is enough to ensure unity after the war is over,” he said.

Tucker Ukr

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“..classic tail-wags-the-dog situation..”

Enlargement Made NATO Hostage to Agenda Pushed by Eastern Europe (Sp.)

The decades-long NATO expansion to all of Central and Eastern Europe has turned the United States into a hostage of the agenda pursued by Eastern European allies in a classic case of “tail-wags-the-dog,” James Carden, former adviser to the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission at the Department of State, told Sputnik. The United States together with 31 other NATO members is celebrating the alliance’s 75th anniversary this week. “NATO expansion has turned what once arguably (pre-March 1953) could have been called a defensive alliance into a (post-1992) classic tail-wags-the-dog situation,” Carden said. That has resulted in the former Soviet and Warsaw Pact states “pushing their parochial agenda on the United States,” he said. “Not a good state of affairs but here we are,” Carden concluded.

Even at the height of the Cold War, and a quarter century before the peaceful disintegration of the Soviet Union, NATO’s tendencies to over-extend itself to the east and become a tool for the continued US domination and micro-management of Europe had been noted by the great, visionary French statesman President Charles de Gaulle, Carden pointed out. “Over-extension is the core issue, identified early on by no less a statesman than de Gaulle, who intuitively understood that the opening of the European Economic Community (ECC) to the United Kingdom (UK) would introduce an American Trojan horse into the most sensitive issues of European economic affairs,” he said.

For years, Moscow has objected to NATO’s continued expansion and military buildup near Russian borders. Ukraine’s plans to join the bloc were among the reasons why Russia launched its special military operation in February 2022, President Vladimir Putin said. In response to the latest NATO enlargement, Russia will station its troops and strike systems near the borders of Finland and Sweden, Putin said in a March interview with Rossiya Segodnya Director General Dmitry Kiselev for the Rossiya 1 broadcaster and RIA Novosti.

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“NATO continues to fulfill its purpose, which currently, however, in no way contributes to security, predictability and stability on the continent, but on the contrary is a destabilizing factor..”

Russia and NATO Already In ‘Direct Confrontation’ – Kremlin (RT)

The current state of relations between Russia and NATO can be described as a “direct confrontation,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. He claimed that the US-led military bloc has been a destabilizing force in Europe rather than ensuring the continent’s security. He made his comment on Thursday, as the bloc marked 75 years since the signing of its founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty. Since the start of the Ukraine conflict, NATO has provided Kiev with billions worth of military aid and weaponry, as well as sharing intelligence and helping to train Ukrainian troops. “The bloc itself is already involved in the Ukraine conflict. NATO continues to move towards our borders, expanding its military infrastructure towards our borders… In fact, our relations have now descended to the level of direct confrontation,” Peskov said at a press-briefing.

He stated that the organization had been created as an “instrument of confrontation” in Europe, and is fulfilling its purpose to the detriment of the entire continent. “NATO continues to fulfill its purpose, which currently, however, in no way contributes to security, predictability and stability on the continent, but on the contrary is a destabilizing factor,” Peskov explained. Multiple Western leaders have warned that Russia may attack NATO once the Ukraine conflict is over. Moscow has repeatedly dismissed those claims. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last month that talk of a potential Russian attack on NATO countries is simply propaganda by their governments aimed at scaring their own population to “beat the money out of them.”

Moscow has for years voiced concerns about NATO’s expansion toward its borders, viewing the US-led military bloc’s policies as an existential threat. However, it has also warned that NATO’s more pronounced involvement in the Ukraine conflict, in particular, the possibility of a troop deployment to the front lines, would be seen as an intervention. This, according to an earlier statement by Putin, would take the conflict “one step shy of a full-scale World War III.”

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“Now they want to turn voluntary military assistance to Ukraine within NATO into mandatory military assistance..”

Lavrov Says Obvious That Ukraine Involved in Terrorist Attack in Crocus (Sp.)

It is obvious that Ukraine was involved in the terrorist attack in the Crocus City Hall concert venue on March 22, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday. “This terrorist attack, as you know, is now being actively investigated by the Investigative Committee and the Prosecutor General’s Office, other competent authorities. It is already obvious … that there was a Ukrainian trace, especially since Ukraine’s involvement in many other terrorist attacks on Russian territory is no longer in doubt,” Lavrov said at the round table with ambassadors of over 70 countries dedicated to the Ukrainian crisis. On March 22, several armed men broke into Crocus City Hall and started shooting at people. They also started a fire in one of the auditoriums, which was full of people ahead of a concert. The attack left 695 casualties, including 144 dead, according to the latest data from the Russian Emergencies Ministry.

The four main suspects in the case — all of them citizens of Tajikistan — tried to flee the scene in a car but were detained and charged with terrorism. Russian authorities believe their plan was to flee to Ukraine, where the masterminds of the attack had arranged a safe haven for them. An investigation is underway. Providing aid to Ukraine is planned to be made obligatory for NATO members, Lavrov added. “Now they want to turn voluntary military assistance to Ukraine within NATO into mandatory military assistance. To force all NATO members through strict discipline to sign up for the mandatory provision of funding and weapons to the Kiev regime,” Lavrov said at the round table with ambassadors of over 70 countries dedicated to the Ukrainian crisis.

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A hard habit for them to break:

“Russia is not a pariah,” Blinken stated, and “the idea has never been to exclude [it]..”

‘Stop Lying,’ Russia Tells US (RT)

The US mantra that Russia must change its behavior to improve relations with the West disregards the fact that Washington has for years willfully ignored Moscow’s core interests, Russian Ambassador Anatoly Antonov has said. Moscow’s envoy was responding to comments by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken who told French broadcaster LCI on Tuesday that he did not rule out a possible meeting between President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, despite the current standoff over Ukraine.“Russia is not a pariah,” Blinken stated, and “the idea has never been to exclude [it],” while insisting that Moscow is responsible for the current rift with the West. “If policy changes, we don’t rule anything out. The problem is that we don’t have any proof, for the moment, that policy is changing.” It was not Moscow that “moved its war machine to NATO’s borders” and spearheaded unprecedented economic and personal sanctions, Antonov added.

“Everything that is happening now is the exclusive choice of the West, which has trampled on the basics of diplomacy, the principle of indivisibility of security and has been abusing the trust of the Russian Federation for many years,” the envoy claimed. For relations to improve, Western countries “should abandon illusions about the possibility of inflicting a strategic defeat” on Russia and learn to respect other nations’ interests, the ambassador stated, adding that Moscow does not accept “attempts at dictatorship” and the US desire to impose its values on others. President Putin said in December that Moscow is open to improving relations with the US, but that this process depends on fundamental changes in Washington’s policies and a desire to seek compromise. Russia has for years voiced concern about NATO’s expansion toward its borders, viewing the US-led military bloc’s policies as an existential threat. Putin, however, has repeatedly said Moscow has no plans to attack NATO.

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“..the Center for Countering Disinformation (CCD), stated on Tuesday that Moscow “does not have resources” for a major push forward..”

Kiev’s Backers Fear Frontline Breach – Media (RT)

There are growing concerns both in Ukraine and among its Western backers that an expected Russian offensive this summer could break through the country’s defenses, Western media have reported. Kiev has been complaining for months that a shortage of weapons from the West has put it at a massive disadvantage on the battlefield against Moscow. President Vladimir Zelensky told the Washington Post last week that his forces may have to retreat further to reduce the length of the front line and the amount of munitions and men needed to hold it. “If [the line] breaks, the Russians could go to the big cities,” he warned. Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that the ratio of artillery shells fired by Russia compared to Ukraine has increased from 3:1 to 7:1 since the beginning of the year.

Sources told the outlet that concerned foreign donors intend to improve the ratio to 7:3, as Western-donated weapon systems are supposedly superior to Russia’s. An even gloomier prediction came from Ukrainian military officials, who spoke to Politico on condition of anonymity, and warned that the front line may collapse. Russia’s advantage in weapons and manpower means that it will likely be able to “penetrate the front line and to crash it in some parts,” one of the officers said on Wednesday. “There’s nothing that can help Ukraine now because there are no serious technologies able to compensate Ukraine for the large mass of troops Russia is likely to hurl at us,” a top military leader said. The warning came from officers who served under Valery Zaluzhny, who was the commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces until Zelensky replaced him in early February.

Prior to that, the pair had clashed publicly over whether the hostilities with Russia had reached a stalemate, which was the general’s assessment. The officers cautioned against underestimating Russia’s ability to adapt and counter new military capabilities provided by the West to Ukraine. They “are always studying. They don’t give us a second chance. And they’re successful in this,” one of them said. Even now, Russian forces are laying the groundwork for engaging F-16 fighter jets, which Kiev is expected to eventually deploy, the report said. Domestically, the Ukrainian government has been downplaying the risks that a Russian offensive would pose. Its information warfare service, the Center for Countering Disinformation (CCD), stated on Tuesday that Moscow “does not have resources” for a major push forward.

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“..You simply do not buy the debt of your enemy. Central banks are buying gold because the USD is political..”

Why Are Central Banks Buying Gold? (Martin Armstrong)

Investors’ curiosity has peaked as central banks are increasing their gold purchases. We are not going back to a Bretton Woods type situation and that is not the issue. You must understand that gold is neutral. Central banks are buying gold because the Neocons have weaponized the dollar. Russia was removed from the SWIFT system, and private citizens’ assets were confiscated. When Russian assets were removed from SWIFT, a threat to the world was issued to say, “Hey, if you don’t do what we tell you to do, we will take you out of SWIFT.” This is not the end of the dollar. Money continues to pour into US equities, particularly the Dow. Why? When the drum of war is beating, major institutions rush to move their money into a safe haven, which happens to be the US at this point in time.

The big money is not purchasing start-up equities on the Nasdaq, for example, as they will not take that risk. Our computer model indicates the Dow will continue rising into 2032 as it remains one of the last safe havens. The West has become extremely aggressive in its geopolitics. You simply do not buy the debt of your enemy. Central banks are buying gold because the USD is political. There is a stark difference between short-term and long-term bonds. The central banks have zero control over the short-term and that is how this whole QE fiasco began as central banks began purchasing long-term debt in an attempt to reduce long-term interest. Why would you buy long-term when war, the primary driver of inflation, is looming? This is a serious situation that the neocons who have weaponized the dollar simply do not understand.

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GOP picking one Trojan horse after the other…

“Is He Blackmailed?” MTG Questions Speaker Johnson (ZH)

Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) suggested that House Speaker Mike Johnson is being “blackmailed” because of his “complete departure” from Republican concerns, saying the Louisiana Republican “has completely changed his character.” “Mike Johnson has completely changed his character in a matter of about five months after he has become speaker of the House,” Greene told Tucker Carlson in a recent episode of Tucker Carlson Uncensored Carlson pointed to Johnson’s meeting with Ukraine’s President, Volodymyr Zelensky – after which Johnson said that the second congressional recess ends, “his number one priority at a moment when the U.S. is being invaded” is to ” send that $60 billion to Ukraine, possibly as a loan.” According to Carlson, Johnson won’t come on his show to explain, while Zelensky also refused to discuss his position:

They’re not grateful now. So we sent a message to the speaker of the House and asked him to come on and explain why, when the majority of the Republicans he represents both the voters and members of Congress, opposes why he would join with Democrats to do the one thing that Americans don’t think we should do, which is send another $60 billion to pay the pensions of Ukrainian bureaucrats and fund a doomed war. Why are you for that? And of course, he hasn’t responded. We also sent multiple requests to Zelensky himself for an interview to explain his position. Of course, he ignored that as well. Greene echoed Tucker’s concerns, saying “It’s outrageous.” When you saw Zelenskyy right there on that interview talking about, oh, we’re going to lose territory. Oh, we really need this money. This $60 billion should have been approved yesterday.

Let me tell you, we are losing our country to the illegal invasion that’s happening every single day at our southern border. And I am so pissed off about it because the American people are pissed off about it. And while our so-called Republican speaker of the House is only working with Chuck Schumer and Hakeem Jeffries and Ukraine First Mitch McConnell and the white House and Jake Sullivan, who he talks to on the phone all the time. We are angry and people have had it. Greene said this “needs to end,” but Johnson “has has made a complete departure of who he is, and what he stands for and to the point where people are literally asking, is he blackmailed?” When Carlson asked her to expound, Greene said that she has “no idea” if that’s the case, but asks: “What radically changes a man. I mean, if we break down the the second part of basically an omnibus, let’s let’s break that down.”

Greene cited Johnson’s funding of “full term abortion clinics” despite being pro-life, doing “nothing for the southern border” – particularly on the heels of Laken Riley’s murder at the hands of an illegal, which followed “a video that was running on loop on social media, where illegal aliens had rushed our border, ran over Texas National Guard.” “He did nothing to secure the border. It’s the number one issue in the world. He completely changed who he was. Funded the FBI, gave them a brand new building, fully funded the Department of Justice that is persecuting everyone on the right and actually targeting our presidential candidate, for for election this year. Literally trying to put him in jail the rest of his life. We don’t know who Mike Johnson is anymore. So there’s no, I can’t comprehend it,” Greene continued.

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“To militarize as much as it needs to,” he wrote, “Europe needs its citizens to bear higher taxes or a smaller welfare state.”

Europe’s Identity Crisis (Patrick Lawrence)

It is many years now since the French, bless them, revolted as Disneyland Paris arose near the previously uninvaded village of Marne-la–Vallée–Chessy. Soon enough came the Disney Hôtel New York, the Disney Hôtel Santa Fe, the Disney Hôtel Cheyenne, the Disney Newport Club, the Disney Sequoia Lodge, Disney Village, Parc Disneyland, Parc Walt Disney Studios. Let us not omit Star Wars Hypersonic Mountain among these monuments to the Americanization of Europe. Blocking imports of American “culture,” and we need the quotation marks, is among the world’s more quixotic undertakings, given the failure rate. But losing the battle against the infantilization of European sensibilities seems the least of the Continent’s worries at this point. The irrational Russophobia, the proxy war in Ukraine, the disruption of the Continent’s natural place as Eurasia’s western flank, the conjured-from-nothing “threat” of Russian expansionism, support of Israel’s siege of Gaza: These are U.S. imports, too, and Europe finds itself in crisis in consequence of them.

Who are we, Europeans now ask in one or another way. What have we made of ourselves? Are we always to be America’s obedient underlings, taking all orders and refusing none? What has become of us in the 21st century? European social democracy in its various forms has been vulnerable to the attacks of market fundamentalists and neoconservative ideologues for many years. Now the apostles of “savage capitalism,” as its Latin American casualties call it, and their warmongering siblings begin, this time in the name of Cold War II, what appears to be their final assault. Europe has vacillated between two contradictory impulses — asserting its sovereignty and succumbing to an undignified dependence on American power — since the mid–Cold War years. Charles De Gaulle was the last European leader to stand with conviction for the Continent’s independence and autonomy.

But Gaullism is no more than a faint and far-off light around Europe today. I reluctantly conclude that, in the moment of truth now upon it, the Continent will make the unwise choice, a self-condemnation that could endure for decades to come. A long-evident divide between Europeans and those who purport to lead them now widens. The former defend what remains of the socially advanced state erected across the Continent during the first postwar decades. The latter are poised to tear it down to import a version of America’s military-industrial complex precisely as The Walt Disney Company brought Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to the French capital’s outskirts. “Europe’s leaders have woken up to hard power” is the headline atop a commentary Janan Ganesh, a Financial Times columnist, published on this topic last week. “To militarize as much as it needs to,” he wrote, “Europe needs its citizens to bear higher taxes or a smaller welfare state.”

This is bitterly succinct. Europe’s leaders and the media that serve them are in the process of normalizing the “need” to turn Europe into a warrior state in the American image — suffused with animus and paranoia, beset with “threats,” never at ease as the social fabric deteriorates.

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Taking it all to 2030.

The European Union’s Fires Where Freedom Burns (Hugo Dionísio)

It is in Brussels that we find the symbolic center to which we must be loyal. The “Ukrainian project”, for the idolaters of european central power — and their followers — which is based on the bodies that make up the European Union, has a founding dimension, having become the ultimate symbol of the regime; a regime that no longer asserts itself by what it is, but by what it defends as the ultimate symbol of Russian antagonism: support for the Kiev regime. The more rigid, uncompromising and demanding you are in your support for Kiev, the more anti-Russian you became. And that’s the ultimate proof of loyalty. Is that a reason to say that this EU is no longer the same. Or is it, now, what it should be from the very start?

Presented as a peace project, but which ended up financing the war, even the most absent-minded passer-by in Brussels won’t miss the regime’s ultimate symbol. Since February 25, 2022, Brussels has been a city bathed in blue and yellow. From billboards to public works fences, everything seems to denounce the single truth to which we must be loyal. Zelensky’s Ukraine is indeed a member state of the EU! The legitimacy that it lacks in formal law, it has in the manifestation of symbolic paraphernalia and in the persecutory frenzy with which the European institutions embrace its protection. By dispensing with the usual access procedures, which only aim to give some formal legitimacy to a whole phenomenon (Ukraine on the “fast track” to the EU) that is observable in fact, Ukraine benefits from a whole altar that is the ultimate symbol of this idolatrous fundamentalism and this de facto adoption.

Nothing is more overwhelming than a trip to the central square of “Luxembourg”, where the European Parliament is located, under the watchful eye of a vigilant European Commission and a European Council commanded by far more distant powers. Yellow and blue are so intensely prominent here that we seem to be both in the sky and close to the sun. They say they are the colors of the EU… Their presence has never been as strong as it is today. Ukraine and the EU are also intertwined in color. Zelensky’s image stands out from this sea of colors, flooded with messages like “stand with Ukraine” or billboards saying “the brave people of Ukraine, represented by their president (…)”. As if to prove that what is outside, emanates from within, the Ukrainian state, without other democratic backing than that generated by the immense propaganda that floods our senses, even has its space in the very hemicycle of the European Parliament.

In addition to all the simultaneous translation booths for each of the languages that make up the European project, the “Ukrainian project” also has its own. Even if it has no MEP’s. Even the 50 billion euros recently approved by the European Council for the remaining 4 years of the Multiannual Financial Framework (which normally runs until one year after the nominal period, which is 21-27), taken from the respective financial cake, seems to reproduce, more or less, what a country with 35 to 40 million inhabitants and a per capita income below the European average would receive. In other words, not even the funds are lacking for the development of the goals of the 2030 strategy. Now, tell me Ukraine isn’t a member state?

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“Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD)”

“– Incurable Unless She Takes The Prime Ministry From Justin Trudeau..”

Freeland is of Ukrainian origin.

Canada’s Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland Diagnosed With Progressive HPD (Helmer)

In two public performances of less than two minutes apiece, Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister, Finance Minister, and leader of Canada’s war against Russia, has demonstrated bizarre facial and upper torso symptoms. Political analysts and psychiatrists have been asked if they believe Freeland is suffering from a clinical pathology or drug abuse. Cocaine use has been ruled out. According to a medical psychiatrist, “the display [of symptoms] is remarkable. And just as remarkable, they disappear when [Freeland] takes the tribune from the prime minister and starts to make a speech herself. The control of torso, eyes, and speech she shows then is not consistent with chronic cocaine use.” The source, who specializes in treating drug addiction, says that Freeland’s display of symptoms does not reveal the twitches, tics, or other involuntary muscular movements usually seen with cocaine users. “What can I make of the relentless movements,” the source commented.

“[They] are more or less non-stop and they serve to draw attention away from everybody but herself. In her speech, there was no restlessness. It was fluent and clear. But she was the centre of attention then. It seems to me that with all her restless movements taking so many different forms she could still be the centre of attention…In some ways she was like the child who must always have attention.” Another expert source believes Freeland’s symptoms have been diagnosed clinically in the US as Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD). This has been reported in a research paper published in January of this year: “a chronic and enduring condition marked by a consistent pattern of attention-seeking behaviours and an exaggerated display of emotions. Typically emerging in late adolescence or early adulthood, individuals with HPD are often characterized as narcissistic, self-indulgent, and flirtatious. Individuals with HPD may feel undervalued when not in the spotlight, leading to a persistent need for validation…People presenting with HPD typically demonstrate rapidly shifting and shallow emotions that others may perceive as insincere…

Women are four times more likely to be diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder than men.” Canadian political analysts report that Freeland’s condition has long been recognized among male voters; less so among female voters. The analysts also note that as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau loses general voter approval, and also the support of his Liberal Party constituency, Freeland’s ambition to replace him before the national election next year, is becoming more obvious. Her HPD symptoms, the sources say, become extreme when she appears in public with Trudeau, revealing her impatience to replace him. In this personal contest of wills and of political power in Canada, the national and provincial polls are showing that the looming defeat of Freeland’s side in the war against Russia, the partition of the Ukraine, and the loss of more than C$4 billion in Canadian military donations to Kiev, are making no (repeat no) difference to the election outcome in Ottawa.

Freeland’s career to promote herself and the neo-Nazi ambitions of the Ukrainian community in Canada – the largest Ukrainian diaspora outside the country identifying as anti-Russian – has been documented in this archive. Her grandfather, Mikhail Chomiak’s career as a profiteer and propagandist of the ethnic cleansing of the Ukraine and murder of Russians, Jews and Poles, was documented from January 2017; Freeland and her supporters have dismissed this record, including US Army intelligence and Polish police files, as Kremlin propaganda. The recording of Freeland’s facial and torso displays have not been noted in Canadian politics before. Layman observers have suspected the display to be symptomatic of drug use, particularly of cocaine. The standard lists of symptoms of cocaine use include restlessness, agitation, irritability, tremors, involuntary muscular spasms, and volatile behaviour, such as temper tantrums. Sources who have worked with Freeland in the past note that her screaming fits were commonplace.

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VdB
https://twitter.com/i/status/1775594138378854503

 

 

Aaron Russo

 

 

Bachmann

 

 

Worm

 

 

Max

 

 

Kitten

 

 

Bath
https://twitter.com/i/status/1775918366290493661

 

 

Baby
https://twitter.com/i/status/1775628060366090723

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 042024
 


Edward Hopper Rooms By The Sea 1951

 

Deep State Goes After Trump and Musk’s Financial Assets-Who’s Next? (ET)
Wife of Judge In Trump ‘Hush Money’ Trial Worked for AG Letitia James (ET)
Trump Lawyers Reveal He Kept Classified Documents in Trump Tower (ET)
Jack Smith Urges Federal Judge to Change Course in Trump Case (ET)
In America the Legal Process Is the Punishment (Paul Craig Roberts)
Zelensky Ignored Interview Requests – Tucker Carlson (RT)
NATO Seeking To Insulate Kiev From Trump Pressure (RT)
Ukraine Can’t Win On The Battlefield, Military Intel Admits (RT)
Ukraine’s Starting to Get Dangerous (James Rickards)
A New Russia Has Emerged (Paul Craig Roberts)
Russia Is Undergoing A New, Invisible Revolution (Trenin)
WaPo Report About Crocus City Hall Attack Is a “Hoax” – Zakharova (RT)
Crocus Terror Attack Well-Organized, With Pre-Orchestrated Media Blitz (Sp.)
Biden Calls For Swift Probe in Israel Attack on WCK Workers (Sp.)
Scottish Minister Doubles Down on Anti-Free Speech Law (Turley)
White House Flack Raises Legal Concerns Over Biden Corruption Scandal (Turley)

 

 

 

 

NATO

 

 

 

 

Sickos

 

 

 

 

Neilsen
https://twitter.com/i/status/1775307290289061994

 

 

2001

 

 

 

 

Let’s check our terminology. Is this the Deep State or just the Democratic party? Or is that now the same? And moreover:

“It is becoming difficult to argue that the U.S. judicial system has not become a political arm of the Democratic Party..”

“Nations are either based on the rule of law or the rules dictated by the powerful.”

Deep State Goes After Trump and Musk’s Financial Assets-Who’s Next? (ET)

Is America as we know it over? Are we in the middle—or perhaps the end—of the transition from a national republic to a single-party regime that rules by fiat instead of law? If we look at what’s happening to two, high-profile cases, the answer is less than comforting. It is becoming difficult to argue that the U.S. judicial system has not become a political arm of the Democratic Party. Nations are either based on the rule of law or the rules dictated by the powerful. The former is meant to restrain, or better said, eliminate the possibility of the latter. But, as we’ve witnessed with the relentless political persecution of former President Donald Trump and, lately, of Elon Musk, laws only work when they’re fairly applied and enforced. Neither of those things are happening with President Trump or Mr. Musk. President Trump was found guilty of fraud by a left-wing judge who determined this without considering, or despite, mountains of evidence to the contrary.

The New York Attorney General Letitia James accused President Trump of over-valuing his real estate to obtain loans. Coincidentally, Ms. James ran for the office of attorney general in 2018 with the campaign pledge to go after Trump, showing clear political animus toward President Trump. What’s more, Judge Arthur Engoron has been accused by Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York of violating “political giving rules with financial contributions to Democrats as recently as 2018, and ignored a decision on the appropriate statute of limitations in the case,” according to NBC News. Ms. James prosecuted President Trump in a civil trial, which was by design; criminal court cases require a trial by jury and proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Somehow, Deutsche Bank was “defrauded” by President Trump into lending him hundreds of millions of dollars on a property, the value of which the bank determined by their own analysis. Talk about shifty business dealings.

Then, after a period of time, the former president had the audacity to sell the property at over $130 million profit and then pay the loan back, with interest. Despite all of this exculpatory evidence that showed no fraud and no money loss or any other determinable damages, the judge refused to allow President Trump to give his closing argument in his own defense and found him guilty of fraud, fined him $354 million plus interest, and forced him to forfeit the profit he made on the deal with Deutsche Bank. President Trump was also ordered to pay $111,000 per day in interest. The financial penalty is excessive under the Eighth Amendment, which disallows “excessive fines,” which is the case because it doesn’t reflect the value of the “damages,” which are nil, nor the profits he made. What’s more, President Trump is barred from doing business or getting loans in New York for three years, and two of his children are also barred from their executive roles in the Trump Organization for two years. All of this for paying back loans on properties that the bank made willingly, according to its own value assessments, and profited from.

Meanwhile, a Delaware judge voided Elon Musk’s $56 billion Tesla payout. The judge arbitrarily determined that the record-breaking compensation granted by the Tesla board was an “unfathomable sum” and was “unfair” to shareholders. The payout was the result of a 10-year pay plan that the board agreed to with Mr. Musk back in 2018. Mr. Musk is not only an entrepreneur extraordinaire, he’s also a fan of America and our constitutional right of free speech. He attracted the left’s wrath after acquiring Twitter (renamed X) and making it a bastion of free speech for conservatives who were formerly censored by Twitter and other social media outlets. In short, Mr. Musk single-handedly broke the stifling monopoly on speech and thought control the left had allegedly in close coordination with the federal government, prior to the acquisition.

The rationale for the judge’s unlawful decision was that the board was, in some way, “beholden” to Mr. Musk. Kathaleen McCormick of Delaware’s Court of Chancery speculated if the payout plan was necessary in order to keep Mr. Musk involved in Tesla and achieve the EV maker’s business goals. By that logic, the entire EV market is “beholden” to Mr. Musk since he is the single biggest influencer in the industry. There is no indication that the judge has a seat on the Tesla board or possesses expertise in the Tesla business model or investing strategies. So far, Mr. Musk’s response has been to begin moving his companies out of Delaware to the business-friendly states of Texas and Nevada.

Read more …

“He has to recuse himself now. There’s clearly at least an appearance of a conflict here. That’s enough in itself.”

Wife of Judge In Trump ‘Hush Money’ Trial Worked for AG Letitia James (ET)

Lara Merchan, the wife of the judge presiding over former President Donald Trump’s “hush money” case in Manhattan, once worked for New York Attorney General Letitia James, who brought the massive $350 million civil fraud case against the former president, with the revelation reviving claims of bias and calls for the judge’s recusal. Records reviewed by The Epoch Times show that Ms. Merchan worked for 21 years as a Special Assistant to the AG in New York, including three years under Ms. James. She changed jobs over two years ago. Ms. James is a Democrat who fixated on President Trump as she campaigned for New York attorney general, calling him a “con man” and vowing to shine a “bright light into every dark corner of his real estate dealings.” She began investigating the former president soon after taking office, eventually suing him for allegedly misleading banks and others about the value of his assets.

Ms. James eventually won the case on Feb. 16, with New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ordering President Trump and Trump Organization executives to pay $350 million in damages, and barring the former president from doing business in the state for three years. Judge Juan Merchan is presiding over a separate criminal trial involving President Trump in New York, in which the former president is accused of falsifying business records in order to conceal a $130,000 “hush money” payoff to an adult performer to stay quiet about their alleged affair. President Trump on his Truth Social platform accused Judge Merchan of bias and corruption, while labeling the case against him “election interference” and also demanding the judge’s recusal. The former president has also alleged that the judge’s daughter, Loren Merchan, has a partisan interest in the case because she leads a political marketing firm and has represented President Trump’s political opponents, receiving millions from them.

Judge Merchan imposed a gag order against President Trump in the case and, on April 1, expanded it to include family members of the judge and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. The judge wrote in the order that President Trump’s speech “injects fear in those assigned or called to participate in the proceedings that not only they, but their family members as well, as ‘fair game’ for Defendant’s vitriol.” Laura Loomer, an independent journalist and popular conservative commentator who on social media shared records that Judge Merchan’s wife worked for Ms. James, wrote in a post on X that this fact represents “another major conflict of interest!”

Various conservative accounts reacted to Ms. Loomer’s post, arguing that the revelation adds to evidence that the judge should recuse himself from the case. “And this is why they expanded the gag order on Trump,” Paul A. Szypula, a popular conservative commentator on X with over 140,000 followers, said in a post. “It’s even more obvious how biased Judge Merchan is. He has to recuse himself now. There’s clearly at least an appearance of a conflict here. That’s enough in itself.”

Read more …

“President Trump acted as an ‘original classification authority’ while he was President of the United States” to declassify the records..”

Trump Lawyers Reveal He Kept Classified Documents in Trump Tower (ET)

Lawyers for former President Donald Trump revealed in new court filings that the former president kept classified materials at his Trump Tower in New York City and his estate in New Jersey. The former president kept the classified documents at those two locations as well as his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida while he was in office, and also during the months before he was inaugurated in 2017, the filings revealed. His lawyers were responding to a deadline to support U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon’s proposed jury instructions. “You may consider evidence that government officials discussed classified information with President Trump and provided classified briefings and documents to President Trump before and during his Presidency—including inside President Trump’s private offices and residences, such as at Bedminster, New Jersey, and Mar-a-Lago, in Palm Beach, Florida, as well as at Trump Tower in New York City,” they wrote to the judge.

President Trump, the GOP presumptive presidential nominee for 2024, is facing dozens of felony counts related to alleged mishandling of classified documents, according to an indictment. Part of his defense centers around how he personally designated presidential files as his personal items before he left the White House in early 2021. In Tuesday’s court filing, his attorneys said that jurors could be told that President Trump had the legal power as president to make those documents his personal belongings. “President Trump acted as an ‘original classification authority’ while he was President of the United States” to declassify the records, it said, adding that it “means that all classification decisions during his term as President were based on his authority, and that he also had absolute and unreviewable authority to declassify documents and information.”

There also is “evidence relating to former Presidents, Vice Presidents, and other public officials being authorized to possess documents containing classified information without criminal prosecution by the government after they left their positions,” his attorneys continued to say. “You heard evidence during the trial that President Trump exercised that authority, at times verbally and at times without using formal procedures, while he was President,” the proposed Trump jury instructions read. “I instruct you that those declassification decisions are examples of valid and legally appropriate uses of President Trump’s declassification authority while he was President of the United States.”

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“..the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the document you are considering is a ‘presidential record’ and not a ‘personal record.’”

Jack Smith Urges Federal Judge to Change Course in Trump Case (ET)

The federal judge overseeing former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case in Florida needs to clarify recent instructions to parties so the government can seek a higher court ruling, special prosecutor Jack Smith said late April 2. In March, U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, who was appointed by President Trump, ordered prosecutors and the defendant’s lawyers to file proposals for jury instructions. The parties must offer “alternative draft text” that assumes two “competing scenarios” are “a correct formulation of the law to be issued to the jury,” she wrote. The scenarios are former presidents being able to retain personal records under the Presidential Records Act (PRA), and presidents being able to designate records as personal. But both scenarios rest on a “fundamentally flawed legal premise,” Mr. Smith and his team wrote in the new filing.

The distinction in the PRA between personal and presidential records is irrelevant because President Trump has been charged under the Espionage Act, prosecutors said. “Based on the current record, the PRA should not play any role at trial at all,” they wrote, urging Judge Cannon to “decide whether the unstated legal premise underlying the recent order does, in the Court’s view, represent ‘a correct formulation of the law.’” If Judge Cannon wrongly decides that it does, the filing states, then the government may seek intervention from a higher court. They cited a ruling by an appeals court in a separate case that concluded, “the adoption of a clearly erroneous jury instruction that entails a high probability of failure of a prosecution—a failure the government could not then seek to remedy by appeal or otherwise—constitutes the kind of extraordinary situation in which we are empowered to issue the writ of mandamus.”

A writ of mandamus is an order to a lower court. “The question of whether the PRA has an impact on the element of unauthorized possession … does not turn on any evidentiary issue, and it cannot be deferred,” prosecutors said. “It is purely a question of law that must be decided promptly. If the court were to defer a decision on that fundamental legal question it would inject substantial delay into the trial and, worse, prevent the government from seeking review before jeopardy attaches.” President Trump, charged with 32 counts of violating the Espionage Act for retaining what the government described as national defense documents and other sensitive materials after his presidency, has stated that under the PRA, he could designate even classified records as personal and retain them upon leaving office.

“There is no basis for the special counsel’s office, this court, or a jury to second-guess President Trump’s document-specific PRA categorizations,” his lawyers wrote in a separate filing on April 2. Proposed jury instructions from President Trump said that to establish unauthorized possession of the records in question, “the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the document you are considering is a ‘presidential record’ and not a ‘personal record.’”

Read more …

There’s Letitia James again. And New York State Supreme Court Judge Sabrina Kraus.

In America the Legal Process Is the Punishment (Paul Craig Roberts)

The white-hating blacks to whom insouciant New Yorkers turned over the prosecutorial system have made it impossible to support the existence of, or advocacy for, a white ethnic nation. The First Amendment is also a victim of “black justice.” In New York today, speech is free only for sexual deviants and “preferred minorities.” Peter Brimelow, founder of VDARE and a former Forbes editor, writes: “I launched VDARE.com on Christmas Eve 1999. So it is perhaps appropriate that, on Good Friday 2024, the anniversary of Christ’s death, I must announce VDARE.com’s crucifixion by New York State’s communist Attorney General Letitia James.

On March 27 2024, in another of her lightning-fast NYAG James-compliant rulings, New York State Supreme Court Judge Sabrina Kraus held us in Contempt Of Court because we have not yet complied (because we were fighting it) with her January 23 2023 order that we meet NYAG James’ massive and crippling subpoena demands. Judge Kraus did modify her earlier order to reflect the intervention (much appreciated) of the Institute for Free Speech. So now we no longer have to reveal, explicitly, the names of our pseudonymous writers, some of whom would certainly be fired from their jobs if their identities leaked. But we are still required to review 40 gigabytes of emails, an enormous amount.

And of course these would in fact reveal the names of those pseudonymous writers, as well as our donors, privileged communications with lawyers etc. Judge Kraus has also now allowed us to redact these emails. But this is a huge task, which our lawyers estimate could cost as much as $150,000. An observer tells us this order is more typical of major corporate litigation, not a tiny charity. And, perversely, although Judge Kraus has now modified her January 23 2023 order, she is nevertheless now fining us $250 a day for not complying with it. We have fought NYAG Letitia James, at a cost of up to $1 million, for nearly three years. But now we are literally hanging on the cross. REMEMBER, VDARE.com HAS NOT BEEN CHARGED WITH ANYTHING—BECAUSE IT IS NOT GUILTY OF ANYTHING.

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“..invited House Speaker Mike Johnson to explain why he would want Congress to “fund a doomed war.” “Of course, he hasn’t responded,” the journalist said. “We also sent multiple requests to Zelensky himself for an interview to explain his position. Of course, he ignored that as well.”

Zelensky Ignored Interview Requests – Tucker Carlson (RT)

American journalist and political commentator Tucker Carlson has said that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky snubbed multiple invitations for an interview. Carlson had previously recorded a lengthy interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where they discussed the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and Russia’s standoff with NATO. The journalist revealed his attempts to contact Zelensky in a video on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday. In a monologue before his interview with Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, Carlson said that he had invited House Speaker Mike Johnson to explain why he would want Congress to “fund a doomed war.” “Of course, he hasn’t responded,” the journalist said. “We also sent multiple requests to Zelensky himself for an interview to explain his position. Of course, he ignored that as well.”

The conservative commentator went on to argue that, no matter how much foreign money Kiev will receive, it cannot defeat Moscow on the battlefield, given Russia’s bigger population and industrial capacity. “It’s not working. Two years in, the war is still going,” Carlson told his viewers. “Ukraine can’t win. Everybody knows that around the world. People are very clear on that. There is not one informed person outside the United States who thinks that somehow Ukraine is going to beat Russia.” A vocal critic of Zelensky, Carlson has accused US news organizations of not being truthful about the origin and nature of the ongoing conflict. He stated that the media bias was one of the reasons he had sought an interview with Putin.

During a conversation in Moscow in February, Putin reflected on the centuries of shared history between Russia and Ukraine, and stressed that he has no intention of attacking NATO unless Russia is attacked first. Zelensky, however, dismissed Tucker’s interview with Putin as “more than two hours of bull***t.” The Ukrainian leadership has been increasingly pressuring the Western countries to provide more military aid in an effort to reverse the tide after a string of battlefield losses. Kiev has been particularly frustrated by House Republicans who refused to back President Joe Biden’s $61 billion aid package that has been stuck in Congress for several months.

Read more …

They’re afraid Trump will win. So they think up schemes he can’t stop.

NATO Seeking To Insulate Kiev From Trump Pressure (RT)

NATO leaders are devising ways to limit Donald Trump’s potential leverage over Ukraine by ensuring the continued supply of arms to Kiev does not depend on Washington, according to Western media reports. Trump has suggested he would reassess aid to Ukraine, should he be reelected to the White House later this year. The plans are set to be discussed at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels this week, sources have told news outlets including Politico, the Financial Times, and Euractiv. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for the November US presential election, has claimed on his campaign trail that he could end the Ukraine conflict in 24 hours by making phone calls to Kiev and Moscow. He has declined to explain the specifics of his scheme, but presumably intends to pressure both sides of the hostilities to force a compromise.

Ukraine has declared a full military victory as the only acceptable outcome, but its army is heavily dependent on Western aid. One of the proposed shifts in assistance to Kiev would affect the so-called Ukraine Defense Contact Group, which holds monthly meetings at the US Ramstein Air Base in Germany to coordinate weapons deliveries to Ukraine. It is currently led by Washington and includes non-NATO states that follow the US lead in the conflict. The idea is to formally incorporate the group into NATO structures, according to the reports. “There’s a feeling among, not the whole group but a part of the NATO group, that thinks it is better to institutionalize the process just in case of a Trump reelection,” Jim Townsend, a former Pentagon and NATO official, told Politico.

Outgoing NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has reportedly suggested the creation of a fund to pay for arms supplies over the next five years. Dubbed Mission for Ukraine, the war chest would amount to up to $100 billion or €100 billion ($108 billion), conflicting reports have said. In addition to “Trump-proofing” and entrenching arms deliveries, giving NATO a formal role would supposedly allow it to push Ukraine into implementing reforms required for its eventual accession to the bloc, according to justifications cited by Euractiv. Moscow considers the Ukraine conflict to be part of a US-led proxy war against Russia, in which Kiev and NATO serve as tools of American hegemony. The US-led bloc’s expansion in Europe and its intention to absorb Ukraine were among the key triggers of the hostilities, according to the Russian leadership.

Read more …

Luke Harding still works at the Guardian. What a disgrace.

Ukraine Can’t Win On The Battlefield, Military Intel Admits (RT)

Kiev has no other option but to launch attacks inside Russia, including on oil infrastructure, as its army faces continued setbacks on the battlefield, The Guardian has reported, citing the leadership of Ukraine’s military intelligence service, GUR. Officers who spoke to the British newspaper’s Luke Harding were candid about Ukraine’s desperate military situation. Brigadier-General Dmitry Timkov said his country was like a patient on life support. ”We are attached to a drip. We have enough drugs to stay alive. But, if the West wants us to win, we need the full treatment,” he said, referring to dwindling military aid. Major General Vadim Skibitsky, the deputy head of GUR, said Kiev’s wished-for battlefield victory was impossible at the moment, which is why the agency had “no choice” but to launch strikes deep inside Russia. He described this as a “NATO-standard procedure, known as center of gravity, or COG.”

The concept was first developed by Carl von Clausewitz, the famous Prussian general and military theorist, and essentially refers to targets that have the most value for the enemy, physically or morally. The GUR officials that spoke with the outlet claimed credit for a recent string of Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian oil infrastructure. This contradicts public statements by the head of SBU, the Ukrainian civilian security agency, who said it was his agents who were responsible for the operations. Both branches have been overhauled in the years since the 2014 armed coup in Kiev with the CIA’s help, according to reports in the Western media. Both were allegedly involved in targeted assassinations of persons deemed to be enemies of Ukraine, since before the hostilities with Russia escalated in 2022.

The newspaper said GUR intends to launch a new major attack on the Crimean Bridge –and to disable it– “in the first half of 2024.” Ukraine has previously targeted the structure, twice in 2022 and 2023. The first plot involved a powerful bomb hidden in a truck, which killed the vehicle’s driver and four other civilians in nearby cars. Moscow said GUR masterminded this attack. The second strike involved naval kamikaze drones that SBU said were deployed by its agents. That bombing killed two civilians. Moscow has accused Kiev of engaging in terrorism as a method of war. The regime in Kiev has adopted the tactics, Russian officials are claiming, because it is unable to score victories on the battlefield.

Read more …

“Putin has absolutely no incentive to invade any of these nations, which are NATO members. What do they have that he wants?”

Ukraine’s Starting to Get Dangerous (James Rickards)

A lot of people seem to have forgotten about the war in Ukraine. That’s a mistake. Russia is slowly but steadily defeating Ukraine, which is becoming increasingly obvious to everyone except the most anti-Russian diehards. That’s leading to desperation in elite Western circles determined to stop Russia one way or the other. In their minds, they simply can’t let Putin win. They think that if Putin wins in Ukraine, he’ll next move on to the Baltic states, Poland and elsewhere. You know the West is getting desperate based on recent threats by France’s Emmanuel Macron to send troops to Ukraine. The vice president of the Russia Duma, Pyotr Tolstoy (descendant of the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy), warned that French troops would be priority targets for Russian forces if they entered Ukraine.

Even though France would send troops independent of NATO, that puts us on a very dangerous path that ultimately leads to direct conflict between NATO and Russia. And that path ends in nuclear war ultimately. Tolstoy added that it would take “just two minutes to nuke Paris.” It’s not hard to envision how quickly things could escalate if France decided to send troops to Ukraine. Meanwhile, NATO is preparing to send F-16s to Ukraine. Airfields in Ukraine are highly vulnerable to Russian attack, especially since Ukraine’s air defenses are heavily depleted at this point and the Russian air force is becoming increasingly active in Ukraine. But if NATO allows the F-16s to be based on its own airbases, Putin has warned that these airfields would become a “legitimate target” if strikes against Russian forces were launched from them.

By the way, Russia has hypersonic missiles that NATO has no practical ability to shoot down, so these attacks would likely be successful. Of course, NATO would have to retaliate in kind. You can imagine where all this could lead. We’re already well along the escalation ladder. And the higher you go, the more face you stand to lose if you back down. I warned about that from the outset of the war. But the entire notion that Russia poses some existential threat to NATO or Europe is absurd. First off, the theory that Putin will invade other countries if he wins in Ukraine is nonsense. The Russian army lacks the men and materiel to occupy Ukraine while simultaneously invading other countries.

This isn’t the Soviet Union with its massive tank armies poised to roll over Western Europe. And Soviet communism is long dead, so there’s no ideological basis for Russia to invade Europe. These days Russia is a conservative, Orthodox Christian nation. But more importantly, Putin has absolutely no incentive to invade any of these nations, which are NATO members. What do they have that he wants? All it would do is trigger Article 5 of the NATO Charter, which stipulates that an attack on one member is an attack on all, inviting a massive NATO response. At that point, you’re on the fast track to nuclear war. Putin is fully aware of that.

Read more …

“..It is difficult to believe that 20 years ago Russia looked to the West with hope..”

A New Russia Has Emerged (Paul Craig Roberts)

Dmitry Trenin reports that Russia has come to its senses and, as I have long recommended, turned her back on the West, a morally debauched, socially dysfunctional, and politically disunited and disintegrating polity. For years Russia was handicapped by its pro-Western intellectuals, but the West’s demonization of Russia has forced them to change their spots or to leave. Free of the former influence of these Russian traitors, everyone of whom Stalin or Lenin would have shot, Russia has emerged as the leader of the world majority that is tired of Western bullying. The fools in Washington, instead of undermining Russia in the interest of US hegemony, have created their replacement by Russia as world leader.

The fools in Washington fail to comprehend that a country blinds itself when it curtails freedom of speech, discredits truth in the interest of self-serving agendas, and destroys the patriotism and security of its ethnic base. All across America and its empire everything is failing. Schools and universities are propaganda centers against white Americans, the military is a disunited tower of babel, massively expensive weapons systems are problem-plagued, the social and economic infrastructure is disintegrating, health care has been turned into a profit machine–at the public’s expense–for Big Pharma. Both water and food are polluted. Government bureaucracies have taken control over children away from parents. Economic opportunity is shrinking. Integrity cannot be found. People who insist on truth in place of propaganda are persecuted. It is difficult to believe that 20 years ago Russia looked to the West with hope.

Read more …

“In just two years, the European Union, which only recently accounted for 48% of foreign trade, is down to 20%, whereas Asia’s share has soared from 26% to 71%.”

Russia Is Undergoing A New, Invisible Revolution (Trenin)

When President Vladimir Putin, back in February 2022, launched Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, he had specific, but limited objectives in mind. It was essentially about assuring Russia’s security vis-à-vis NATO. However, the drastic, expansive and well-coordinated Western reaction to Moscow’s moves – the torpedoing of the Russo-Ukrainian peace deal and the mounting escalation of the US-led bloc’s involvement in the conflict, including its role in deadly attacks inside Russia – have fundamentally changed our country’s attitude towards our former partners. We no longer hear talk about “grievances” and complaints about “failures in understanding.” The last two years have produced nothing less than a revolution in Moscow’s foreign policy, more radical and far-reaching than anything anticipated on the eve of the Ukraine intervention. Over the past 25 months, it has been quickly gaining in strength and profundity.

Russia’s international role, its position in the world, its goals and methods of reaching them, its basic worldview – all are changing. The national foreign policy concept, signed by Putin just a year ago, represents a major departure from its predecessors. It establishes the country’s identity in terms of it being a distinct civilization. In fact, it is the first official Russian document to do so. It also radically transforms the priorities of Moscow’s diplomacy, with the countries of the post-Soviet ‘near abroad” on top, followed by China and India, Asia and the Middle East, and Africa and Latin America. Western Europe and the United States rank next to last, just above the Antarctic.

Unlike in previous decade, when Russia’s “turn to the east” was first announced, these are not just words. Our trade partners, not just political interlocutors, have also switched places. In just two years, the European Union, which only recently accounted for 48% of foreign trade, is down to 20%, whereas Asia’s share has soared from 26% to 71%. Russia’s use of the US dollar has also plummeted, with increasingly more transactions being conducted in Chinese yuan and other non-Western currencies: such as the Indian rupee, the UAE dirham, as well as the instruments of our partners in the Eurasian Economic Union, and the ruble itself.

Russia has also ended its long and tiresome efforts to adapt to the US-led world order – something which it enthusiastically embraced in the early 1990s, grew disillusioned about in the following decade, and unsuccessfully tried to establish a modus vivendi with in the 2010s. Instead of surrendering to a post-Cold War set-up, in which it was left with no say, Russia has begun pushing back more and more against the hegemonic US-centered system. For the first time since the Bolshevik Revolution, albeit in a very different way from then, the country has de facto become a revolutionary power. While China still seeks to improve its position in the existing world order, Russia sees that state-of-affairs as being beyond repair, and is instead seeking to prepare for a new alternative arrangement.

For the time being, instead of the “one world” concept, which the Soviet Union even accepted in 1986, under Gorbachev, Moscow’s contemporary foreign policy has now split into two. For Russian policymakers, the post-2022 West has turned into a “house of adversaries,” while partners for Russia can only be found in the countries of the non-West, for whom we have coined a new description, “the World Majority.” The criterion for being included the group is simple: non-participation in the anti-Russia sanctions regime imposed by Washington and Brussels. This majority of over 100 nations is not considered a pool of allies: the depth and warmth of their relations with the Russia vary greatly, but these are the countries that Moscow can do business with.

Read more …

The West is pushing the narrative hard.

WaPo Report About Crocus City Hall Attack Is a “Hoax” – Zakharova (RT)

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has rejected the Washington Post’s claim that the US alerted Russia that the Crocus City concert hall could be attacked by terrorists two weeks before the tragedy, calling it completely false. On Tuesday, the paper reported, citing unnamed US officials, that Russian authorities had received an alert with a “high degree of specificity” that the popular venue could be targeted by terrorists. According to the news outlet, the notice came one day before the US Embassy in Moscow warned Americans on March 7 to stay away from public gatherings for the following 48 hours because of the heightened threat. At a press briefing on Wednesday, Zakharova dismissed the report, noting that Moscow has grown “accustomed to American misinformation” as well as the Western media’s repeated attempts to retract their own assertions.

“I would really like… to receive factual material on this topic from the American side. That is, to whom and when did they give this information?” she added. In the aftermath of the Crocus City Hall massacre, the White House said that the US had shared data with Moscow about a potential terrorist attack. The head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), Sergey Naryshkin, has confirmed this, but noted that “the information was too general and did not allow us to fully identify those who participated in this terrible crime.” On March 22, a group of armed men stormed the venue, killing at least 144 people, including six children, and injuring over 500 others. The terrorist act was the deadliest on Russian soil since the early 2000s.

Russian law enforcement agencies arrested several suspects in the aftermath of the attack, including four suspected gunmen who were caught fleeing towards Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin has described the culprits as radical Islamists, saying that a “window” was arranged for them on the Ukrainian border. Moscow has suggested that the Ukrainian intelligence services may have been involved in the attack, a claim vehemently denied by Kiev. The US and its allies have insisted that the atrocity was orchestrated by Islamic State terrorists. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has accused the West of obsessive attempts to clear Ukraine of any culpability. He also advised against jumping to conclusions before the investigation is over.

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“..We should also bear in mind that ISIS*, Al-Qaeda* and other terrorist organizations were created by Washington..”

Crocus Terror Attack Well-Organized, With Pre-Orchestrated Media Blitz (Sp.)

The terrorist attack at Crocus City Hall was well organized, it was accompanied by extensive and pre-orchestrated media coverage in the West, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said on Wednesday. *”The terrorist attack was well organized and was accompanied by extensive, pre-orchestrated coverage by Western media in the right tone for them,” Patrushev said at the 19th annual meeting of security council heads of Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states.= On March 22, several armed men broke into Crocus City Hall and started shooting at people. They also started a fire in one of the auditoriums, which was full of people ahead of a concert. The attack left 695 casualties, including 144 dead, according to the latest data from the Russian Emergencies Ministry.

The Islamic State – Khorasan Province* (ISKP, also known as ISIS-K) terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The four main suspects in the case — all citizens of Tajikistan — tried to flee the scene in a car but were detained and charged with terrorism. Russian authorities believe their plan was to flee to Ukraine, where the masterminds of the attack had arranged a safe haven for them. An investigation is underway. “It is well known that the Kiev regime is not independent and is completely controlled by the United States. We should also bear in mind that ISIS*, Al-Qaeda* and other terrorist organizations were created by Washington,” Patrushev noted, commenting on the alleged role of ISIS* in the terrorist attack on Crocus in Moscow.

The reaction of Volodymyr Zelensky who said that the Russian authorities were responsible for the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack is inadequate, Patrushev pointed out. “The inadequate reaction of Zelensky, who accused the Russian authorities of organizing the terrorist attack, is also typical. At the same time, Slovakia directly says that the Kiev regime has been sheltering ISIS* militants on its territory for a long time and is using them for its own purposes,” Patrushev stressed. Immediately after the terrorist attack, phone calls from Ukraine to the Russian emergency services with false reports of mining of buildings began en masse, the official added.

Patrushev highlighted that terrorist groups are increasingly being used for geostrategic purposes, and they are given modern weapons and intelligence equipment, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said on Wednesday. “Terrorist groups are increasingly being used for geostrategic purposes. Terrorists are given modern weapons, advanced types of tracking and reconnaissance equipment are provided, and intelligence information is supplied,” Patrushev said at the 19th annual meeting of security council heads of Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states. The official called for resolutely and harshly condemning terrorism in all its manifestations and the actions of countries that support or condone it.

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“Israel has pledged to conduct a thorough investigation..” Pretending it was a accident…

Biden Calls For Swift Probe in Israel Attack on WCK Workers (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden in a statement called for a swift probe into the incident that killed seven humanitarian workers from World Central Kitchen in Gaza. “Israel has pledged to conduct a thorough investigation into why the aid workers’ vehicles were hit by airstrikes. That investigation must be swift, it must bring accountability, and its findings must be made public. Even more tragically, this is not a stand-alone incident. This conflict has been one of the worst in recent memory in terms of how many aid workers have been killed,” said Biden in a White House release. The president added that Israel has not done enough to protect civilians and that the United States will continue its humanitarian efforts in Gaza while urging Israel to do more to facilitate the aid.

On Monday, WCK staff were traveling “in a deconflicted zone” in two armored cars branded with the organization’s logo, and a soft skin vehicle, the NGO said. The humanitarian convoy was attacked as it left the Deir al Balah warehouse, where the team had unloaded more than 100 tonnes of food aid brought to Gaza by sea. The organization said that its convoy had coordinated its movements with the IDF. The Israeli strike against the staff of the WCK killed seven employees from Australia, Poland, the United Kingdom and Palestine, as well as a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. The organization suspended its operations in the Gaza Strip after the deadly incident.

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“The rewrite of Braveheart is going to be a real disappointment..”

Scottish Minister Doubles Down on Anti-Free Speech Law (Turley)

There is global criticism of the new anti-free speech law in Scotland, including a dare from author J.K. Rowling to arrest her for her criticism of transgender policies. The law is so bad that even the British Prime Minister, in a country widely denounced for attacks on free speech, has demurred from supporting the Scottish law. Now Humza Yousaf, first minister of Scotland, has doubled down in supporting the draconian law while misrepresenting its language. Yousaf bizarrely claimed that critics have ignored that the legal threshold of “the new offences is very, very high indeed. Your behaviour has to be threatening or abusive and intended to stir up hatred.” It is almost comical in its absurdity. No, a standard based on “stirring up hatred” is not very very high. Moreover, the showing can be based on a showing that stirring up hatred was “likely” rather than “intended.”

In signature form, Yousaf reportedly then lashed out at critics like Rowling and Joe Rogan as “right-wing actors” who have “[no] sympathy for the fact we are bringing in legislation that is clamping down on hatred.” He insisted that this is merely an extension of the fight against “disinformation.” The critics include virtually the entirety of the free speech community. Rowling’s objections to transgender policies are rooted in her feminist principles and the concern over the erasure of the gains of women generally.

By declaring opposing views as hateful, many on the left like Yousaf seek to shutdown any debate through a chilling effect on speech. Many do not want to face the cancel campaign or abuse directed against Rowling, who has the means and the following to weather this storm. The Scottish law is a disgrace to the nation, which once distinguished itself in the Scottish Enlightenment as a haven for free thought. The rewrite of Braveheart is going to be a real disappointment when Wallace asks what Scots will do without their freedom and Yousef steps forward to accuse him of “disinformation” and delivers him over to the English:

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“.. it is the type of posting that one would expect from the DNC, not the WHC.”

White House Flack Raises Legal Concerns Over Biden Corruption Scandal (Turley)

In a city of flacks, Ian Sams is prototypical. Quotable, punchy, and fast on social media, he stays ahead of the news cycle. Those traits are greatly valued by clients in this city where losing control of a narrative can allow a controversy to metastasize into a full fledge scandal. What is different is the client. Sams, a well–known Democratic operative, is not working for a Democratic campaign, but a Democratic president and speaks for the White House Counsel. That position continues to raise eyebrows, as it did this week when Sams issued insulting and taunting postings after the House Oversight Committee asked the President to answer ten questions from its impeachment inquiry. Sams posted images of signs mocking the inquiry next to his title reading “White House spokesman for oversight and investigations. Deputy Assistant to the President & Senior Advisor to WH Counsel’s Office.”

The White House Counsel’s office has historically avoided engaging in political spin and attacks. It prides itself on representing the office of the Presidency, not the president as a person. President Biden has personal counsel to look after his interests as an individual. What is striking is that his personal counsel has shown far more circumspection and restraint in responding to such inquiries. Sams has been previously questioned by the White House press corp over the accuracy of his statements and that fact that he is routinely cited as speaking for White House Counsel’s office on a variety of legal questions, but lacks any law degree. He was also the subject of a complaint from the head of White House press corps over his giving them “marching orders” on how to control the allegations against the President.

[..] I have previously raised concerns over the role of Sams in the impeachment inquiry. In my testimony in the first Biden impeachment hearing, I noted that the Biden White House was approaching a dangerous line in pushing false claims on the corruption scandal, including repeating President Biden’s past denials that he never spoke to his son or had knowledge of his son’s foreign dealings. It can lead to the same blurred lines that led to not just the impeachment articles but the criminal charges in the Nixon Administration. Those concerns became magnified this month when the House send the ten questions to the President to address glaring contradictions in his past public statements. Sams immediately responded on behalf of the White House Counsel:

“LOL. Comer knows 20+ witnesses have testified that POTUS did nothing wrong. He knows that the hundreds of thousands of pages of records he’s received have refuted his false allegations. This is a sad stunt at the end of a dead impeachment. Call it a day, pal.” Again, it is the type of posting that one would expect from the DNC, not the WHC. Yet, Siskel clearly approves of this type of taunting, sarcastic response from an office that has fought to maintain its image of professionalism and prudence. Sams, not Siskel, is now the face of the White House Counsel’s office. That is certainly welcomed by the Biden campaign, but it is often difficult to distinguish postings between the two operations. With an impeachment inquiry in the field, that aggressive media role can produce more than favorable media articles. It can become the basis for actual impeachment articles.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

17

 

 

Whacker

 

 

 

 

Wild crazy

 

 

Frens
https://twitter.com/i/status/1775572374248689794

 

 

Otter

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 192024
 


Rembrandt van Rijn Christ In The Storm On The Sea Of Galilee 1633
Stolen from Gardner Museum March 18 1990, the single largest property theft in the world. Never recovered.

 

2024 Could Turn on Smell of Selective Prosecution (Turley)
Trump Lawyers Say Posting $464 Million Bond ‘Impossible’ in NY Fraud Case (ET)
Trump Tells Ramaswamy ‘No’ For VP, But Leaves Cabinet Door Open (ZH)
SCOTUS to Weigh Free Speech Case Regarding Social Media ‘Misinformation’ (Sp.)
Joe Biden’s Parting Gift to America Will be Christian Fascism (Chris Hedges)
Gags and Jibes (Kunstler)
Russia – A Democracy that Works (Paul Craig Roberts)
China To Boycott Ukraine Peace Talks Without Russia – Politico (RT)
Putin’s Firm Stance on Ukraine Highlights NATO’s Impotence (Sp.)
Western Coverage of Russian Elections Awash in Disinformation (Sp.)
EU Boss Calls For ‘War Economy’ (RT)
Macron ‘Trying to Go Backwards’ to Days of Imperial France? (Miles)
UK MP Calls For Death Penalty For Members of Covid Cabal (WT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bloodbath

 

 

MSNBC

 

 

 

 

Cortes
https://twitter.com/i/status/1769734602225029158

 

 

Echo chamber

 

 

 

 

Flynn
https://twitter.com/i/status/1769775385732902993

 

 

Elon Lemon

 

 

Tucker Shaman

 

 

 

 

“There ain’t nothin’ more powerful than the odor of mendacity.”

“..an unprecedented way of using a state law to effectively prosecute Trump for a federal offense that the Justice Department has already rejected..”

2024 Could Turn on Smell of Selective Prosecution (Turley)

For years, conservatives have objected that there is a two-tier system of justice in this country. I have long resisted such claims, but it has become increasingly difficult to deny the obvious selective prosecution in a variety of recent cases and opinions. I have long stated that the charges against Trump over documents at Mar-a-Lago are strong and based on established precedent. However, the recent decision of Special Counsel Robert Hur not to bring criminal charges against President Joe Biden has undermined even that case. Hur described four decades of Biden serially violating laws governing classified documents. The evidence included Biden telling a third party that he had classified material in his house and actually reading from a classified document to his non-cleared ghostwriter. There is evidence of an effort to destroy evidence and later an effort of the White House to change the report.

There is also Biden’s repeated denial of any knowledge or memory of the documents found in nine locations where he worked or lived. Hur ultimately had to justify the lack of charges based on a belief that he could not secure a conviction from a D.C. jury with an elderly defendant with diminished mental faculties. Although Special Counsel Jack Smith could still proceed on obstruction counts, his prosecution of Trump for the retention and mishandling of national security documents is absurdly in conflict with the treatment Biden is receiving. In New York, the legislature changed the statute of limitations to allow Trump to be sued while New York Attorney General Letitia James effectively ran on a pledge of selectively prosecuting him. She never specified any particular crime, just promising to bag Trump.

Ultimately, James used a law in an unprecedented way to secure an absurd penalty of roughly half a billion dollars, even though no one lost a dime because of the Trump loans. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has also come up with an unprecedented way of using a state law to effectively prosecute Trump for a federal offense that the Justice Department has already rejected. The same odor has been lingering in the Hunter Biden cases. The Justice Department had reached a ridiculous plea agreement with Hunter Biden that would have allowed for no jail time and a sweeping immunity agreement that would have protected him from all of his other alleged crimes. As the plea agreement fell apart in court, the prosecutor admitted that he had never seen a defendant given such a deal over his long career. This came after the Justice Department had allowed the statute of limitations to run out on major felonies and scuttled efforts to conduct searches and interviews. Even after that embarrassing hearing, the Justice Department was still trying to preserve the agreement.

[..] In California, U.S. District Court Judge Cormac J. Carney issued an opinion that found such evidence of selective prosecution against conservative groups. In considering a far-right group, Carney noted that the Justice Department has had sharply different approaches based on the political views of the defendants. Antifa and other leftist groups often see charges dropped, whereas federal prosecutors seek draconian sentences against conservative defendants. “Such selective prosecution leaves the troubling impression that the government believes speech on the left more deserving of protection than speech on the right. The government remains free to prosecute those, like Defendants, who allegedly use violence to suppress First Amendment rights. But it cannot ignore others, equally culpable, because Defendants’ speech and beliefs are more offensive. The Constitution forbids such selective prosecution,” Carney noted.

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THE defining case. SCOTUS better hurry and get involved, or irreversible harm will occur. Like if Engoron and Letitia start selling Trump property.

Trump Lawyers Say Posting $464 Million Bond ‘Impossible’ in NY Fraud Case (ET)

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump urged a New York appeals court again on March 18 to remove or lower the $464 million bond President Trump must pay in less than a week as he tries to appeal a more than $350 million judgment from a civil fraud case. “Enforcing an impossible bond requirement as a condition of appeal would inflict manifest irreparable injury on Defendants, and ‘defeat or impair [this Court’s] appellate jurisdiction,’” they argued. The New York Attorney General’s office, which brought the civil fraud lawsuit, argued the appeals court had no authority to do so, while the defense pointed to other cases where it was found appropriate. The bond President Trump would have to put up would include backdated interest at 9 percent, adding another $100 million to the court ordered fine, which defense attorneys say has been improperly classified as disgorgement of ill-gotten gains. Defense attorneys submitted a hefty, nearly 5,000-page reply brief March 18, reopening arguments that had not been accepted during trial after New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron had already entered a summary judgment finding President Trump liable for fraud.

They pointed out, as they had repeatedly, that the case named no victims, and therefore no one would be harmed in a delay of payment. “The case involves no actual victims and no award of restitution, and [the attorney general] is fully protected by Defendants’ real-estate holdings. This factor alone warrants a stay,” the defense argued. “The judgment seeks to destroy a successful business that employs many hardworking New Yorkers, has contributed approximately $300 million in taxes to public coffers just during the dates in question in this case, and has made historic contributions to the State and City of New York.” Attorneys also revealed that 30 companies have already turned down the defense’s bond applications, attaching an affidavit from one of the brokers. A $454 million bond would require President Trump to have $1 billion in cash reserves, and four brokers have separate brokers have tried to obtain one so far to no avail. A ruling is expected from the appeals court in three to six weeks.

The attorney general had accused President Trump and other Trump Organization executives of persistent and repeated fraud and artificially inflating President Trump’s net worth through annual statements of financial condition (SFC), which were an informal summary document of Trump Organization assets. After a 45-day bench trial, Justice Engoron had ruled for the plaintiffs on all claims, setting disgorgement at more than $350 million in line with the calculation an expert witness called by the state devised. The judge had also put a ban on President Trump holding a director position in any financial or legal entity in the state for three years or taking out loans from any financial institution chartered in the state, and more limited bans for his sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. Crucially, he extended the third-party monitorship of Trump Organization, with future reviews based on the monitor’s report for additional penalties including the extension of monitorship and even business certificate cancellations.

Defense attorneys argued the judgment was full of “manifold errors,” including the disregard of the statute of limitations set by the appeals court on both claims and disgorgement, the “ridiculously” valuing Mar-a-Lago between $18 million and $27 million, and “a massive disgorgement award in the absence of any evidence that misrepresentations caused the supposedly ill-gotten proceeds.” “Supreme Court double- and triple-counted damages, and committed elementary errors in the process, such as conflating the proceeds of a sale with the profits from that sale,” the defense attorneys argued. “Such basic mistakes would have been prevented if this case had been allowed to be adjudicated in the Commercial Division, where it belonged.” The defense attorneys argued that the disgorgement award was “unconstitutional,” as it violates the excessive fines clause in both the U.S. and New York constitutions, calling it an “irrational, punitive sanction.”

“This case has no victims, no damages, and no actual financial losses,” the brief reads. Defendants argue that their business partners—including Deutsche Bank and the Zurich financial group—were “sophisticated” major financial institutions that testified they did their own analyses, were aware of the Trump Organization SFC disclaimers, and would not have changed the terms offered to Trump Organization “in light of the alleged ’misrepresentations’” in the SFCs as the attorney general presented at trial. The massive figure is not an objective one; the state needed to tease out the portion of profit earned by Trump Organization that would have been a result only of inflated numbers presented on the SFCs. The state presented an expert who created formulas to calculate the figure, and defense attorneys sought to show through their own expert testimonies that the profits were not “ill-gotten.” In court filings, the defense also argued that several of these calculations relied on transactions that were outside of the statute of limitations, and faulted the trial court for allowing this.

The attorney general had argued that the transactions were, under the continuing wrongs doctrine, distinct violations that each restarted the statute of limitations period, but the appeals court had previously found the doctrine did not apply to this case.“The proper application of this Court’s previous ruling forecloses over 75 percent of the judgment,” the defense argued. About $351 million of the disgorgement, after interest, falls outside the statute of limitations, the defense argued. This covers the loans for Trump National Doral Miami, Trump Golf Links at Ferry Point in New York, and Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago, all in 2012, as well as the Old Post Office building in Washington in 2013. Yet even with the statute of limitations properly applied, the defense argues there was no show of causation that the alleged misrepresentations on the SFCs resulted in these specific gains. The case was brought under Executive Law § 63(12) and the defense argued the statutes are “inapplicable to the facts of this case in the first place,” and was “wrongfully relied upon” by both the state attorneys and court. The defense attorneys blasted the attorney general for using cases that had no relation to the Executive Law § 63(12), including one involving attorney disbarment, to argue against a stay of penalties during appeal. The appeals court had already temporarily stayed some of the nonmonetary penalties ordered, which the defense argued should continue throughout the appeal.

Read more …

Shanahan?

Trump Tells Ramaswamy ‘No’ For VP, But Leaves Cabinet Door Open (ZH)

Donald Trump ‘personally told’ Vivek Ramaswamy that he’s been ruled out as a running mate, however the former president is eyeing a Cabinet job including the Homeland Security secretary, according to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the matter. According to the report, “Some Trump allies see Ramaswamy as ideal for the job because they say he excels at public speaking and, as an Indian-American son of an immigrant, could neutralize criticism of sweeping immigration restrictions.” “Their conversation is just one of many Trump has had recently with allies about administration positions as he seized hold of the Republican nomination. Loyalty, ideological compatibility and perceived electoral power are the metrics by which Trump is evaluating possible picks, according to people familiar with the process who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Those who have impressed Trump and his team for possible Cabinet roles include another former GOP primary foe, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum, as well as Representative Elise Stefanik and former US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.” -Bloomberg

Trump is apparently looking for a running mate who isn’t “motivated by the limelight,” but who will give the former president a significant edge. According to the report, none of the VP picks circulating have impressed Trump much, and his list of options has only grown longer, instead of shorter. Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is rumored to be a top candidate to serve as Trump’s deep state handler chief of staff. That said, after Steve Bannon and Mike Flynn were promptly squeezed out by dark forces the first time around, Trump is looking for a series of top-level aides and Cabinet members who can enable his agenda. Oh boy! Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law whose bed Bibi Netanyahu slept in one time, “has recently increased his presence in the campaign,” and has been “calling and texting to offer suggestions.” Trump Jr., meanwhile, has also expressed interest in a key transition role – in part because he can act as a gatekeeper to block people who are opposed by the MAGA movement.

In response to an inquiry by Bloomberg, senior Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller said it’s way too early to start speculating about Cabinet or senior roles. “Apparently somebody has decided to list out everyone who has ever met President Trump and is now speculating as to their potential participation in a second Trump administration. The truth is that unless you hear it directly from President Trump or his campaign, this is all b.s.,” he said. “Those who have participated in the discussions describe a quintessentially Trump experience, in which the former president peppers the conversation with political observations and media critiques as a steady stream of food is served, while he keeps an eye on cable news or chooses his favorite musical selections over dinner at his Mar-a-Lago club. The former president has repeatedly expressed admiration for Burgum, a billionaire who mounted a short-lived presidential bid. He has been discussed as a good fit to lead a transition – and possibly the Energy Department. Burgum, like Trump, is a supporter of fossil fuels.” -Bloomberg

If we’re still believing the hype, one person who’s been cast out of the Trump tent is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), following his failed primary challenge. Trump “regularly vents” about DeSantis in private conversations, however the pair did reportedly have a phone conversation shortly after DeSantis dropped out.

Read more …

“..the government is seemingly gaining, gathering, usurping new powers by leaning on these intermediaries in order to do things that it isn’t authorized to do itself.”

SCOTUS to Weigh Free Speech Case Regarding Social Media ‘Misinformation’ (Sp.)

On Monday, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) will decide whether or not the government disobeyed the constitutional right to free speech when they pressured social media platforms to take down content they labeled as misinformation. The case stems primarily from the Biden administration’s efforts to remove misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the US 2020 presidential election, according to a recent report.
SCOTUS is essentially tasked with deciding if the First Amendment has limits regarding what is written online and on social media platforms. “The key free speech issue is how far can the government go in verbally arm-twisting private speech intermediaries to remove speech before that constitutes a First Amendment violation or state action,” said Clay Calvert, a law professor at the University of Florida. SCOTUS will be looking at two cases regarding free speech rights. In Murthy v. Missouri, the social media case, a suit was brought by five social media users and the Republican attorney generals of Missouri and Louisiana.

“By silencing speakers and entire viewpoints across social-media platforms, defendants systematically injure plaintiffs’ ability to participate in free online discourse,” state officials from Louisiana and Missouri wrote. In their complaint, the plaintiffs claim that they were censored on social media regarding several topics including: a story about Hunter Biden’s laptop before the 2020 election; the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic; the efficiency of measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19; and the integrity of the US 2020 election. A federal district judge in Louisiana found that seven groups of Biden administration officials violated the First Amendment because they “coerced” or “significantly encouraged” changing social media platforms’ content-moderation decisions. The Biden administration argued that the social media users and states lack legal standing in their case, but said officials must be free “to inform, to persuade, and to criticize”, according to filings.

“The court imposed unprecedented limits on the ability of the president’s closest aides to speak about matters of public concern, on the FBI’s ability to address threats to the nation’s security, and on CDC’s ability to relay public-health information,” Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, who represents the government before SCOTUS, said. SCOTUS will also hear an appeal from the National Rifle Association (NRA) over comments made by Maria Vullo, a former New York State official, after she urged insurance companies and banks to abandon their relationship with gun-promoting groups after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The group says that Vullo, who served as the former New York State Department of Financial Services superintendent, violated the group’s First Amendment rights. Vullo reportedly sent out “guidance letters” to businesses and in a press statement called on banks and insurance companies operating in New York to consider the “reputational risks” in doing business with the NRA or other gun groups.

“In both cases, the government doesn’t actually have the power to regulate speech or to decide whether the NRA can access banking institutions or not,” said Will Duffield, a policy analyst at the libertarian Cato Institute, adding that “the government is seemingly gaining, gathering, usurping new powers by leaning on these intermediaries in order to do things that it isn’t authorized to do itself.” David Greene, the civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said US officials will not lose their ability to combat misinformation or disinformation, but adds that they do have a responsibility to not appear as coercive or forceful. “There are two main issues, and that is what do courts look at to determine whether and at what point a government crosses the line from voicing its opinion about how a social media platform should treat a specific post to unconstitutionally coercing the censorship, the negative moderation of that post,” he said. “There’s no disagreement that there is a point at which it becomes unconstitutional, but what the parties disagree on is what is that line and what is the appropriate analysis for setting that line, what factors to consider?

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Excuse me, Chris?!

“..Our imperial presidency, if Donald Trump returns to power, will shift effortlessly into a dictatorship that emasculates the legislative and judicial branches..”

Joe Biden’s Parting Gift to America Will be Christian Fascism (Chris Hedges)

Joe Biden and the Democratic Party made a Trump presidency possible once and look set to make it possible again. If Trump returns to power, it will not be due to Russian interference, voter suppression or because the working class is filled with irredeemable bigots and racists. It will be because the Democrats are as indifferent to the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza as they are to immigrants, the poor in our impoverished inner cities, those driven into bankruptcy by medical bills, credit card debt and usurious mortgages, those discarded, especially in rural America, by waves of mass layoffs and workers, trapped in the serfdom of the gig economy, with its job instability and suppressed wages. Biden and the Democrats, along with the Republican Party, gutted antitrust enforcement and deregulated banks and corporations, allowing them to cannibalize the nation.

They backed legislation in 1982 to green light the manipulation of stocks through massive buybacks and the “harvesting” of companies by private equity firms that resulted in mass layoffs. They pushed through onerous trade deals, including the North American Free Trade Agreement, the greatest betrayal of the working class since the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, which crippled union organizing. They were full partners in the construction of the vast archipelagos of the U.S. prison system — the largest in the world — and the militarization of police to turn them into internal armies of occupation. They fund the endless wars. The Democrats dutifully serve their corporate masters, without whom most of them, including Biden, would not have a political career. This is why Biden and the Democrats will not turn on those who are destroying our economy and extinguishing our democracy. The slops in the trough would dry up. Advocating reforms jeopardize their fiefdoms of privilege and power.

They fancy themselves as “captains of the ship,” labor journalist Hamilton Nolan writes, but they are “actually the wood-eating shipworms who are consuming the thing from inside until it sinks.” Authoritarianism is nurtured in the fertile soil of a bankrupt liberalism. This was true in Weimar Germany. It was true in the former Yugoslavia. And it is true now. The Democrats had four years to institute New Deal reforms. They failed. Now we will pay. A second Trump term will not be like the first. It will be about vengeance. Vengeance against the institutions that targeted Trump – the press, the courts, the intelligence agencies, disloyal Republicans, artists, intellectuals, the federal bureaucracy and the Democratic Party. Our imperial presidency, if Donald Trump returns to power, will shift effortlessly into a dictatorship that emasculates the legislative and judicial branches. The plan to snuff out our anemic democracy is methodically laid out in the 887-page plan amassed by the Heritage Foundation called “Mandate for Leadership.”

The Heritage Foundation spent $22 million to draw up policy proposals, hiring lists and transition plans in Project 2025 to save Trump from the rudderless chaos that plagued his first term. Trump blames “snakes,” “traitors,” and the “Deep State” for undermining his first administration. Our industrious American fascists, clutching the Christian cross and waving the flag, will begin work on day one to purge federal agencies of “snakes” and “traitors,” promulgate “Biblical” values, cut taxes for the billionaire class, abolish the Environmental Protection Agency, stack the courts and federal agencies with ideologues and strip workers of the few rights and protections they have left. War and internal security, including the wholesale surveillance of the public, will remain the main business of the state. The other functions of the state, especially those that focus on social services, including Social Security and protection of the vulnerable, will wither away.

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“misinformation” — that is, truth about what our government is doing that cannot be allowed to enter the public arena..”

Gags and Jibes (Kunstler)

Have you noticed how quickly our Ukraine problem went away, vanished, phhhhttttt? At least from the top of US news media websites. The original idea, as cooked-up by departed State Department strategist Victoria Nuland, was to make Ukraine a problem for Russia, but instead we made it a problem for everybody else, especially ourselves in the USA, since it looked like an attempt to kick-start World War Three. Now she is gone, but the plans she laid apparently live on. Our Congress so far has resisted coughing up another $60-billion for the Ukraine project — most of it to be laundered through Raytheon (RTX), General Dynamics, and Lockheed Martin — so instead “Joe Biden” sent Ukraine’s President Zelensky a few reels of Laurel and Hardy movies. The result was last week’s prank: four groups of mixed Ukraine troops and mercenaries drawn from sundry NATO members snuck across the border into Russia’s Belgorod region to capture a nuclear weapon storage facility while Russia held its presidential election. I suppose it looked good on the war-gaming screen.

Alas, the raid was a fiasco. Russian intel was on it like white-on-rice. The raiders met ferocious resistance and retreated into a Russian mine-field — this was the frontier, you understand, between Kharkov (Ukr) and Belgorod (Rus) — where they were annihilated. The Russian election concluded Sunday without further incident. V.V. Putin, running against three other candidates from fractional parties, won with 87 percent of the vote. He’s apparently quite popular. Meanwhile, Saturday night, “Joe Biden” turned up at the annual Gridiron dinner thrown by the White House [News] Correspondents’ Association, where he told the ballroom of Intel Community quislings: “You make it possible for ordinary citizens to question authority without fear or intimidation.” The dinner, you see, is traditionally a venue for jokes and jibes. So, this must have been a gag, right?

Try to imagine The New York Times questioning authority. For instance, the authority of the DOJ, the FBI, the DHS, and the DC Federal District court. Instant hilarity, right? As it happens, though, today, Monday, March 18, 2024, attorneys for the State of Missouri (and other parties) in a lawsuit against “Joe Biden” (and other parties) will argue in the Supreme Court that those government agencies above, plus the US State Department, with assistance from the White House (and most of the White House press corps, too), were busy for years trying to prevent ordinary citizens from questioning authority. For instance, questioning the DOD’s Covid-19 prank, the CDC’s vaccination op, the DNC’s 2020 election fraud caper, the CIA’s Frankenstein experiments in Ukraine, the J6 “insurrection,” and sundry other trips laid on the ordinary citizens of the USA.

Specifically, Missouri v. Biden is about the government’s efforts to coerce social media into censoring any and all voices that question official dogma. The case is about birthing the new concept — new to America, anyway — known as “misinformation” — that is, truth about what our government is doing that cannot be allowed to enter the public arena, making it very difficult for ordinary citizens to question authority. The government will apparently argue that they were not coercing, they were just trying to persuade the social media execs to do this or that. Maybe one of the justices might ask how it came to be that a Chief Counsel of the FBI, James Baker, after a brief rest-stop at a DC think tank, happened to take the job as Chief Counsel at Twitter in 2020. That was a mighty strange switcheroo, don’t you think? And ordinary citizens were not generally informed of it until the fall of 2022, when Elon Musk bought Twitter and delved into its workings.

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“No, the election was not rigged. Americans are so accustomed to their elections being rigged that they think all other countries’ elections are rigged also..”

Russia – A Democracy that Works (Paul Craig Roberts)

With a 75% voter turnout, 87% of the turnout voted for Putin. No, the election was not rigged. Americans are so accustomed to their elections being rigged that they think all other countries’ elections are rigged also. The whore American media instantly began the required chant: “a fishy election.” Of course, American elections are never fishy, not even when under cover of darkness vote totals are suddenly reversed. The election turnout is high in Russia because Putin, like Ronald Reagan and unlike Biden, is a leader who focuses on unifying the country. From a Russian national perspective, there is little, if anything, about which to disagree with Putin. His recent address to the Russian people shows his concern as well as the active measures he is implementing to support families and soldiers. It is rare for a country to have a leader who is not trying to survive being in office or using the office for his personal benefit.

There is no hope for US/Russian relations. The budget and power of the US military/security complex, a powerful lobby encompassing the armaments industry, the Congress elected by campaign contributions, and the CIA and FBI, depends on having an enemy. Russia is the enemy of choice. Americans were trained by decades of Cold War that there is a “Russian threat.” Another reason is that US foreign policy in the Middle East is controlled by the Israel Lobby, second in power only to the US military/security complex and often united with it. Israel’s interests in the Middle East differ completely from Russia’s interests. Israel’s interest is the destruction of Iran, which would open a pathway for CIA “jihadis” to flow into the Russian Federation and the former Central Asian provinces of the Soviet Union. Instead of one Ukraine, there would be many. Putin has the concept of good and evil. He is learning that in the West he faces evil. The Russian Church sees it as well and supports him.

Some Russians are still influenced by the American propaganda from “Voice of America” and “Radio Free Europe” during the Cold War of the 20th century. But as the previous lack of political support for Alexei Navalny and the absence of support for Putin’s challengers demonstrate, the Russian people understand that they face a threat from Washington’s empire, the response to which requires national unity. Meanwhile in the US the Democrats and the corporations have the borders wide open in order to replace higher cost American employees and Republican voters. Unity in America and throughout the Western World has been destroyed by Identity Politics. In the Western World no government represents the ethnic base of the country. Governments only represent the elite ruling interests. President Trump tried to change that, and we have seen what happened to him.

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Meaningless without China.

China To Boycott Ukraine Peace Talks Without Russia – Politico (RT)

China will boycott the talks to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict unless Moscow will have a seat at the table, Politico magazine reported on Monday, citing officials familiar with the matter. According to Politico, the message was “amplified” during Chinese Eurasia envoy Li Hui’s European tour earlier this month. During his March 7 trip to Kiev, Li met with Andrey Yermak, chief of staff of President Vladimir Zelensky. Ukraine will likely be discussed during German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to China next month. Chinese President Xi Jinping will then travel to Paris in early May and meet his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, Politico said. The South China Morning Post reported this month that Li told EU officials that a potential peace summit cannot turn into “a conference that produces a plan that is pushed down the Russians’ throat.”

Unlike many Western countries, China has refused to blame Russia for the ongoing conflict and stressed that the fighting can only be stopped through diplomatic means. In 2023, Beijing unveiled a 12-point roadmap to a peace settlement, urging both sides to de-escalate. Kiev has since rejected the Chinese proposal. Ukraine insists that a tangible peace can only be negotiated on Zelensky’s terms, which include the withdrawal of Russian forces from the “illegally occupied” territory of Ukraine. Moscow has rejected this demand as a non-starter, stressing that it will not surrender Crimea and four other former Ukrainian regions that joined Russia after holding referendums on the matter.

Meaningful negotiations between Moscow and Kiev effectively broke down in the spring of 2022, with both sides accusing each other of making unrealistic demands. Russian President Vladimir Putin subsequently said that Ukrainian negotiators had initially agreed to some of Russia’s terms, but then abruptly reneged on the deal. Kiev’s lead negotiator David Arakhamia revealed in November 2023 that his team’s main goal was to “buy time” for the Ukrainian military. Switzerland has proposed to host a major peace summit sometime this year. However, no specific date has been yet set, and no list of potential participants has been revealed.

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“..the whole name of the game is to keep it going without an obvious defeat until November, so that Biden has some reasonable prospect of not having to run having lost a war..”

Putin’s Firm Stance on Ukraine Highlights NATO’s Impotence (Sp.)

On Monday, Sputnik’s Critical Hour spoke to Ray McGovern, who served as a CIA analyst for 27 years and co-created Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. McGovern explained Putin’s approach to a possible battle with NATO, as French President Emmanuel Macron has toyed with the idea of putting boots on the ground—a sentiment his Western counterparts have vehemently rejected. “This business about Macron and some of the European leaders saying, ‘oh, my God, we can’t let Putin win in Ukraine,’ it doesn’t really square with what’s reality here because there is no way to prevent Russia from winning in Ukraine except by use of nuclear weapons,” said McGovern. “What [Putin] has done is just reminded people in NATO that if they send troops into Ukraine, there’s going to be a fight with Russia, and a fight with Russia would be very dangerous because they have weapons that NATO doesn’t have—such as hypersonic missiles,” McGovern explained, adding that Russia’s weapons are “fast” and “precise” and can cause a lot of damage without any “nuclear fallout, figuratively or literally”.

“The Western press has taken to accusing Putin of threatening to use tactical nuclear weapons,” McGovern added. “[But] he has not raised the issue of tactical nuclear weapons. It’s the US that is raising this, which makes me suspicious. Does the US realize that there’s no way they can stop Russia in Ukraine short of using tactical nuclear weapons, which in my view happens to be the case?” “And so, they are considering that and preparing the propaganda play by blaming the Russians and specifically Putin,” the former CIA analyst added. Putin spoke to reporters and journalists following his election victory, and said that at “some point” Russia could set up a buffer zone in Kiev-controlled territories in order to protect the Russian population from Ukrainian strikes.

The president explained that if and when Russia considers it appropriate, they will establish a “security zone that would be quite difficult for the adversary to overcome with its weapons, primarily of foreign origin.” “This went back a whole year,” said McGovern of the buffer zones. “[Sergey] Lavrov, the [Russian] Foreign Minister said they will be satisfied with the Donbass and those other two oblasts but, as long as there continues to be longer range artillery and missile range that much farther to the west, they’re going to have to go. “So Putin made that very clear just the other day saying, ‘look, there needs to be a cordon sanitaire. There needs to be a kind of buffer zone, a zone where if you have weapons that you’re aiming at us, it’s got to be that much more towards the West that we will draw this line,’” the analyst clarified.

“As far as what the Ukrainians are trying to do, they’re trying to show in one burst of energy that they really have the initiative, or at least they can take an initiative and they got slaughtered just over the weekend. They’re all trying to show the US Congress that there’s still life in the Ukrainian military—all they need is another $60 billion from Mike Johnson, the speaker of the [US] House,” McGovern added. “In my view, the whole name of the game is to keep it going without an obvious defeat until November, so that Biden has some reasonable prospect of not having to run having lost a war,” he said.

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“Your criticisms don’t mean anything to anyone anymore. You are literally the emperor with no clothes.”

Western Coverage of Russian Elections Awash in Disinformation (Sp.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin will return to the Kremlin this year with a renewed mandate, having won 87% of the vote in an election with over 77% turnout. The outcome suggests strong support for the leader among the Russian public, but Western media has repeatedly attempted to delegitimize the presidential contest with a combination of misleading characterizations, half-truths, and outright lies. International relations and security analyst Mark Sleboda returned to Sputnik’s Fault Lines program on Monday to break down mainstream media coverage of the election and explain why Putin enjoys such massive support in Russia.“Putin has won this election by stunning margins,” said host Jamarl Thomas, with early results showing a convincing win for the Russian president immediately after polls closed on Sunday. “On some level people expected Putin to win it, and the question was going to be how much enthusiasm was there going to be in this race? And, apparently, there’s been a lot of it.”

“All of the polls, of course – domestic polls, opposition polls, foreign polls, take your pick – whichever ones you don’t want to trust, they all show the same thing for the election,” noted Sleboda. “Glancing over the absurdity of the Western media, it’s quite obvious they are not going to recognize the results of this election at all, which will make even a slim hope of diplomatic settlement of the current conflict in Ukraine essentially impossible going forward because they will not even recognize the results of the Russian election. But this is nothing new,” Sleboda said. “Take a look at elections in Palestine and Lebanon when the elections didn’t go the way the West wanted,” recalled the analyst. “They just didn’t recognize the results.” The United States has a long history of casting doubt on foreign elections that produce results contrary to the country’s foreign policy aims. In the book Manufacturing Consent, authors Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman recall how the US discounted Nicaragua’s 1984 election, which revealed the Sandinista movement enjoyed the support of more than two-thirds of its citizens.

The United States criticized electoral conditions there even while supporting elections in neighboring Central American countries that returned US allies to power in conditions considered far more repressive, according to international observers. The US then backed violent Contra death squads in the country, fueling a bloody civil war until Nicaraguans were compelled to vote for US-backed forces to quell the conflict. “‘In your country, one of the two major candidates… there’s legal battles trying to keep him off of ballots across the country,’” noted Sleboda, referring to Russian presidential spokesperson Maria Zakharova’s response to Western criticism of the country’s election. “Not to mention the Electoral College and all of the corruption with campaign finance… Your criticisms don’t mean anything to anyone anymore. You are literally the emperor with no clothes.”

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“If we do not get the EU’s response right and do not give Ukraine enough support to stop Russia, we are next..”

EU Boss Calls For ‘War Economy’ (RT)

The EU must reimagine its military strategy and drastically ramp up its defense production in order to help Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia, European Council President Charles Michel said on Monday. He made his call as Kiev has been increasingly warning about ammunition shortages. “Russia is a serious military threat to our European continent and global security. If we do not get the EU’s response right and do not give Ukraine enough support to stop Russia, we are next,” Michel wrote in an op-ed published in the newspaper La Libre Belgique and news website Euractiv. The EU chief argued that “for decades, Europe has failed to invest sufficiently in our security and defense,” and now urgently needs a “a radical and irreversible shift in our thinking towards a strategic security mindset.”

We must therefore be defense-ready and shift to a ‘war economy’ mode. It’s time to take responsibility for our security. We can no longer count on others or be at the mercy of election cycles in the US or elsewhere. The bloc’s defense production has increased by 50% since the start of the conflict in February 2022, Michel said, adding that the bloc will “double ammunition production to over 2 million shells yearly, by the end of next year.” The EU has been struggling to procure enough weapons and ammunition for Kiev’s needs as Ukrainian and international politicians and experts, as well as soldiers of the battlefield, are blaming shortages for the losses of territory to Russia.

The shipments were further delayed when US President Joe Biden’s $61 billion aid package got stuck in Congress due to the political in-fighting between Democrats and Republicans. The bill remains stalled due to the opposition of some GOP legislators. The situation with the supply of Western air defense systems is particularly dire, according to the New York Times. The newspaper cited an official US assessment in early February that, without replenishment, Ukraine’s air defenses could operate only until March 2024. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has renewed his call for additional deliveries, warning in February that an “artificial deficit of weapons” would only help Russia.

Wagenknecht

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Le petit roi.

Macron ‘Trying to Go Backwards’ to Days of Imperial France? (Miles)

“Ever since its ignominious defeat in the Napoleonic wars, France is entrapped in the predicament of countries that get sandwiched between great powers,” began a provocative article recently published on the Indian Punchline blog. As other European countries have accepted the United States as the great power of the Western world, France has never fully given up its global aspirations, argues M.K. Bhadrakumar. And what better leader to carry the torch than one who once confided France needs a king and sometimes, according to his critics, appears to see himself as one? Columnist and political cartoonist Ted Rall joined Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program on Monday to discuss the case of Emmanuel Macron, his comments about the war in the Donbass, and whether the French president’s megalomania borders on the pathological. “One of the things I used to say during the early days of the war on terror was that the United States should follow the example of France,’ said Rall. “Which back in the 2000s seemed to have accepted its fate as a post-colonial, post-imperialistic power, albeit still an important country in Europe.”

“France, at the time, seemed like it had… accepted that colonialism was a bad idea and that they needed to redirect their resources away from militarism and more toward their own people,” he continued. “Maybe he didn’t read his history. Maybe he’s too young to remember that glorious period when France, finally in the 80s and 90s, was able to start establishing a major social safety net that created free college and socialized health care and everything else for its people. But he seems to have forgotten all that and he’s trying to go backwards.” As much of the Western world moved towards neoliberalism in the 80s with leaders like US President Ronald Regan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, France went in the opposite direction, elevating Socialist Francois Mitterrand to power. The French leader left a lasting legacy in the country, investing in infrastructure, social programs and grand construction projects. His focus on domestic concerns was largely shared in the 2000s by President Jacques Chirac, who rejected French support for the war in Iraq.

Macron has broken from tradition in a number of ways, implementing neoliberal economic policy and promoting a strident French militarism. Fortunately, according to Rall, his ambitions aren’t shared by most of the French public. “The good news is, I don’t think that the French people – whether we’re talking about the populist right, Marine Le Pen’s party, or you’re talking about the radical left represented by Jean-Luc Melenchon, or – not much of anyone else is in the mood to follow him down this path to destruction,” said the columnist. “And, for that matter, he doesn’t really even seem to have much cooperation from other European powers in terms of direct involvement to go and fight in Ukraine, to fight the Russians in Ukraine.”

Rall insisted most French people are more worried about domestic concerns such as the economy, unemployment, and demographic issues rather than the conflict in the Donbass. And the last time the French military was directly involved in a major proxy war was in the 1960s, he noted. Additionally, Rall claimed many French people are sympathetic to Russia’s position. “Russia is not a distant country to them,” he claimed. “There are lots and lots of French people who are descended, who are related to Russians. There was a huge white Russian migration after the Russian Revolution to France and very close ties between Russia and France that go back to the Tsarist era.” “I just think they get it and they don’t want to get involved in something that’s so brazenly provocative,” Rall concluded.

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“I’ve always opposed capital punishment on the principle that it’s wrong to take a life so it can’t be right for the state to take a life in revenge. Events have caused me to reconsider my position.”

UK MP Calls For Death Penalty For Members of Covid Cabal (WT)

British Member of Parliament Andrew Bridgen last week called for the death penalty for Bill Gates and the “Covid cabal” which he said committed “crimes against humanity” during the Covid pandemic. “Heads of governments around the world and others below them have engaged in what is tantamount to treason against the public,” declared Bridgen in response to a rebuttal from his colleague Penny Mordaunt, who is a long-term World Economic Forum (WEF) member. During a round of Business Questions in the UK House of Commons, Bridgen said: “I’ve always opposed capital punishment on the principle that it’s wrong to take a life so it can’t be right for the state to take a life in revenge. Events have caused me to reconsider my position.” Bridgen continued: “So can we have a debate on crimes against humanity and the appropriate punishment for those who perpetuate, collude and cover up for these atrocities, atrocities and crimes so severe that the ultimate punishment may be required?”

Business Questions are the oral questions to the Leader of the House that MPs are allowed to ask. As expected, UK liberals, including Mordaunt, and media dismissed Bridgen as a “conspiracy theorist.” “It is appropriate that the finale of this session, which has featured so heavily conspiracy theories, should fall to the honorable gentleman,” Mordaunt said of Bridgen. Bridgen said he has reached out to the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Mark Rowley and plans to organize a meeting where experts and whistleblowers will present evidence to demonstrate criminal activities conducted by senior members of the UK government and civil service during the pandemic.

Bridgen also said that a senior cabinet minister shared details of a plan to use what he referred to as “turbo cancer” to depopulate the world. According to Bridgen, this revelation unfolded in the tea room at Westminster Houses of Parliament. The unnamed minister allegedly conveyed that Bridgen would be “dead of cancer soon” due to being misled into taking the vaccine during the pandemic. “You can speak out all you want,” the minister told Bridgen. “It doesn’t matter. You are vaccinated. You will be dead of cancer soon.” Bridgen, who has served as Member of Parliament for North West Leicestershire since 2010, has become a prominent voice in the fight against globalist authoritarianism in the UK.

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Kirsch Amish

 

 

CO2

 

 

Zapruder

 

 

Tiger Long Jump
https://twitter.com/i/status/1769719673673617431

Lions meet an elephant
https://twitter.com/i/status/1769585797957607545

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 152024
 


Vincent van Gogh Lilac Bush 1889

 

US Has Created ‘Frankenstein’ States – Galloway (RT)
NATO’s ‘Welfare’ States: Treating the U.S. As ‘Room Service’ (Hoekstra)
US Intelligence ‘Threat Assessment’ Says Hamas Isn’t Going Away (Antiwar)
Scenario for Military Takeover of Ukrainian Parliament Was Written by US (Sp.)
France Mulled ‘Boots On The Ground’ In Ukraine Since June – Le Monde (RT)
Medvedev Responds To Zelensky ‘Peace Plan’ (RT)
EU Members Oppose Plan To Arm Kiev With Russian Money – Politico (RT)
Kremlin Slams US ‘Distortion’ Of Putin’s Words On Nuclear Weapons (RT)
Trump Unlikely To Win – Macron (RT)
US in ‘Constant State of Neo-McCarthyism’ – Sleboda (Sp.)
The U.S. Is Not a Democracy and Can’t Be Reformed (Barton)
Musk Cancels X Partnership Deal With Don Lemon (RT)
Canada Moves to Impose Potential Life Imprisonment for Speech Crimes (Turley)
973% SURGE in Heart Failure Among Navy Pilots (DW)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malaysia PM

 

 

Elon

 

 

 

 

@Judgenap: Congress has no right to ban TikTok

 

 

Tucker TikTok

 

 

 

 

“When you make a monster… it’s no longer yours. It’s a monster that can do monstrous things..”

US Has Created ‘Frankenstein’ States – Galloway (RT)

The American policy of giving billions in aid to Ukraine and Israel has created “monster” states, British MP George Galloway has claimed. Appearing on Rick Sanchez’s show Direct Impact broadcast on RT, Galloway discussed the debate surrounding Western aid to Ukraine, as well as the rift between US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the situation in Gaza. In the latest row between Biden and Netanyahu, the US president has insisted that an Israeli assault on the city of Rafah in southern Gaza – where around 1.5 million Palestinians have sought refuge – would be a “red line.” Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead regardless, arguing that his own red line is ensuring that the October 7 Hamas attack “never happens again.”

Comparing Washington to the fictional scientist Frankenstein, Galloway told Sanchez: “When you make a monster… it’s no longer yours. It’s a monster that can do monstrous things. And that’s what they have done with Netanyahu and people like him who now run Israel.” Israel is the biggest cumulative recipient of US military aid, being provided with around $3.8 billion worth of weapons and defense systems each year. Galloway also used the Frankenstein analogy to refer to the Ukrainian government, which he claimed has become a “client state” that now “tells the paymaster what to do.”

“Ukraine treats us now as if we owe them rather than them having been on the end of endless subventions of money and material. Now the Ukrainian leadership insults the people that gave them so much, hundreds of billions of dollars,” Galloway argued. Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky accused his country’s Western supporters of “playing internal political games” while criticizing them for delays in allocating aid. Ukrainian first lady Elena Zelenskaya declined an invitation last week to attend Biden’s State of the Union address, citing a busy schedule. The US has already doled out around $45 billion in military aid to Kiev. A foreign aid bill that would include another $60 billion in military support has been stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

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Make NATO a defensive alliance again and your problems are over.

NATO’s ‘Welfare’ States: Treating the U.S. As ‘Room Service’ (Hoekstra)

Last month, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg conceded what former US President Donald Trump has been warning about for nearly a decade: America’s allies are not paying their fair share — as they had agreed — for national defense. After four years in which Trump held our NATO allies accountable for funding their share of NATO’s collective defense, US President Joe Biden has once again allowed many of them to pass significant burdens of NATO spending on to American taxpayers – threatening the security of the NATO alliance in the process. The very nature of alliances is that they are a two-way street. Americans should rightly expect to realize benefits from U.S. participation in NATO, just as the citizens of other NATO nations can expect to benefit from their country’s relationship with the United States.

Indeed, that was the original idea behind the North Atlantic Treaty Organization when it was founded in 1949. In the wake of WWII, 12 nations agreed to band together to guard against the threat of the Soviet Union, a number that has now grown to 32 with the recent addition of Sweden. The NATO alliance today, however, more closely resembles an international welfare program than a true alliance, with most countries failing to meet their defense commitments and instead relying on the generosity of the United States. As the eminent journalist Amir Taheri put it: “others… treat the US as a ‘room service’ reachable by pressing a button…” In 2014, every NATO member agreed to allocate just 2% of their nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) to defense spending. This minimum baseline target is crucial to ensuring military readiness in the face of growing threats from hostile nations such as China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.

A decade later, 19 out of 32 NATO member nations have failed to meet this goal. Moreover, most of those countries that have reached the 2% target, such as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Greece, are smaller nations with smaller GDPs. The United States, meanwhile, accounts for a staggering 70% of all NATO defense spending — even though the combined GDP of the other 31 member nations is roughly equal to that of the United States. Germany, by far the richest NATO member behind the United States, allocates just 1.57% of its GDP to defense spending. The combined population of these 31 NATO member states, at more than 620 million, also now dwarfs that of the United States, at 333 million. In other words, each American citizen is now effectively responsible for funding the national defense of two people in another NATO nation. The situation in Europe today is far different than at the founding of NATO, when many nations were still relying on the Marshall Plan funding to be rebuilt.

Our NATO allies have highly advanced economies and immensely capable citizens. American taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize their national defense. If NATO is to function as an effective deterrent to military aggression from Russia and other adversaries, there seriously needs to be a new commitment by every NATO member state to invest in a strong national defense. Yet, the failure of our European allies to meet their spending commitments means they are woefully unprepared from a military standpoint to defend their countries – thus endangering the United States as well as themselves by threatening to draw America into war unnecessarily because of European weakness. President Trump wisely recognized this threat and accordingly made holding our NATO allies accountable a top priority of his foreign policy. Under his leadership, NATO member countries increased their defense spending by $350 billion.

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And neither are the Houthis. You got yourself a big problem.

US Intelligence ‘Threat Assessment’ Says Hamas Isn’t Going Away (Antiwar)

An annual “threat assessment” compiled by US intelligence agencies was released on Monday and said that Israel will likely face resistance from Hamas for years to come, another sign that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stated goal of “eradicating” the Palestinian group isn’t realistic. “Israel probably will face lingering armed resistance from HAMAS for years to come, and the military will struggle to neutralize HAMAS’s underground infrastructure, which allows insurgents to hide, regain strength, and surprise Israeli forces,” the assessment reads. The assessment aligns with an Israeli military intelligence document that was circulated last month and said even if Israel succeeded in dismantling Hamas as an organized military force, the group would still exist as “a terror group and a guerrilla group.” Other reports have said Israel is struggling to destroy the vast tunnel network underneath Gaza that is key to Hamas’s survival and is far more expansive than Israel initially thought.

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Charles Q. Brown, the highest ranking US military officer, previously said that Israel’s mass killing of civilians in Gaza will be a recruiting boon for Hamas. “The faster you can get to a point where you stop the hostilities, you have less strife for the civilian population that turns into someone who now wants to be the next member of Hamas,” Brown said in November. Despite believing Netanyahu’s goal is unrealistic, the US continues to provide unconditional military support for Israel’s genocidal war, which has killed at least over 31,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children. The Biden administration is trying to distance itself from Netanyahu by criticizing his government, but the rhetoric hasn’t amounted to a policy change. The US threat assessment said that while Hamas isn’t going away, Netanyahu could lose his hold on power. “Netanyahu’s viability as leader as well as his governing coalition of far-right and ultraorthodox parties that pursued hardline policies on Palestinian and security issues may be in jeopardy.

Distrust of Netanyahu’s ability to rule has deepened and broadened across the public from its already high levels before the war, and we expect large protests demanding his resignation and new elections. A different, more moderate government is a possibility,” the report says. The assessment also said that Iran had no role in Hamas’s October 7 attack and acknowledged Tehran is not seeking a nuclear weapon. “Iran is not currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activities necessary to produce a testable nuclear device,” the report reads. The report acknowledges that Iran’s increases in uranium enrichment since the US tore up the nuclear deal in 2018 were to gain leverage for negotiations, not seek a bomb. “Iran uses its nuclear program to build negotiating leverage and respond to perceived international pressure,” the assessment says.

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“..none of the Ukrainian military and intelligence structures is independent: each of them has either British or US “supervisors..”

Scenario for Military Takeover of Ukrainian Parliament Was Written by US (Sp.)

A takeover of the Ukrainian Parliament by the nation’s military would not be a grass-roots movement, “Other Ukraine” expert Alexander Dudchak told Sputnik, suggesting that the potential rebellion has been orchestrated from the West. The disillusioned Ukrainian military is planning a takeover of the Ukrainian Parliament or Verkhovna Rada, an exchange from private Telegram channel Parabelum obtained by Sputnik reveals. “This could be a scenario of replacing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky without holding elections,” Alexander Dudchak, researcher at the Institute of CIS Countries and expert of the ‘Other Ukraine’ movement, told Sputnik. The members of the classified chat, composed of commanders and soldiers of elite units of the Ukrainian armed forces, were discussing options for overthrowing the present government and the command of the Ukrainian armed forces following the sacking of Commander-in-Chief General Valery Zaluzhny.

“The most important action that we will need to pull off lightning fast is the takeover of the VR [Verkhovna Rada] at a certain point,” one of the chat members wrote. They also expressed dissatisfaction with Zelensky’s decisions and the new commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Oleksandr Syrsky, who was appointed a month ago to replace Zaluzhny. The alleged coup plotters placed special emphasis on involving Ukrainian troops fighting at the frontline in the anti-Zelensky movement. According to the researcher, engaging Ukrainian active duty personnel is fraught with risks, given that those in the trenches are closely monitored by foreign mercenaries from ‘barrier detachments’ with orders to shoot any who leave their positions against orders. If Ukrainian troops are allowed to march towards Kiev that would mean that the regime-change scenario was written in Washington in response to Zelensky’s refusal to hold elections this year, Dudchak argued.

Leaders of elite Ukrainian units, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the nationalist Azov and Aidar battalions are also reportedly planning to create a radical party with a military wing. The expert insists that none of the Ukrainian military and intelligence structures is independent: each of them has either British or US “supervisors”. “The confrontation between the military and the Kiev regime is in general a manifestation of the confrontation between London and Washington,” said Dudchak. “The office of the president is under British control, while the military, who supposedly will gather in the name of Zaluzhny, are under Americans, plus the SBU is also a US-backed structure.” The consequences for Kiev would be dramatic and could seriously complicate the Ukrainian military’s positions at the frontline, the researcher concluded.

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“..we are ready to use the means to achieve our objective – which is that Russia does not win..”

France Mulled ‘Boots On The Ground’ In Ukraine Since June – Le Monde (RT)

The idea of sending Western troops to Ukraine was secretly discussed in Paris as early as last June, months before French President Emmanuel Macron’s pledge to keep all options on the table to defeat Russia, according to Le Monde. The subject was raised at a defense council at the Elysee Palace in June 2023, soon after Kiev launched its much-touted counteroffensive, the French newspaper wrote on Thursday. “The role of the military is to always prepare the maximum number of possible options, in order to help with the political-military decision of the President of the Republic,” Chief of Staff of the French Army, Pierre Schill, told the paper. Macron’s recent public statements are “foremost a political and strategic message” to Russia about France’s “will and commitment,” rather than an escalation, the general argued.

Following a summit of Ukraine’s sponsors hosted in Paris in late February, Macron said there was no consensus on sending troops in any official manner, but claimed that “in terms of dynamics, we cannot exclude anything.” The controversial statement prompted a wave of objections from NATO members, including the US, UK, Italy, Spain and the Czech Republic. The US-led bloc’s chief has declared outright that “NATO has no plans to send troops to Ukraine.” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said there will be “no ground troops, no soldiers on Ukrainian soil, who are sent there by European or NATO countries,” and that the bloc’s leaders were “unanimous as far as this question is concerned.” However, the French leader has stood behind his words, repeatedly reiterating that nothing must be excluded to make sure that Russia is defeated in Ukraine.

“We must, with determination, will and courage, say that we are ready to use the means to achieve our objective – which is that Russia does not win,” Macron again said in a televised interview to TF1 and France 2 on Thursday. While refusing to draw red lines, Macron said France would never initiate an offensive against Russia, even as he called Moscow an “adversary.” The latest rift between the leaders of France and Germany has exacerbated an already strained relationship, as Macron allegedly made his comments “against express wishes of Scholz’s office,” Bloomberg wrote early in March. The heads of the two states are set to meet in Berlin on Friday in an effort to reduce tensions over Ukraine, Politico wrote on Wednesday, while Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk will join the meeting later in the day.

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“A “reasonable” peace agreement with Ukraine would involve Moscow taking full control over the country..”

Medvedev Responds To Zelensky ‘Peace Plan’ (RT)

A “reasonable” peace agreement with Ukraine would involve Moscow taking full control over the country, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has claimed. The senior official mocked the peace plan proposed by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, which has been backed by the West as the only way to end the conflict with Russia. First unveiled in late 2022, the proposal amounts to Moscow conceding military defeat, according to the Russian leadership. “Everyone, including those brazen Western liars, understands that even in a less complicated situation peace can be achieved either through reasonable compromise or after one of the sides capitulates,” Medvedev, who serves as deputy head of the Security Council, wrote on social media on Thursday. Since the Ukrainian proposal can only be taken with “loathing” and a “sense of shame,” Medvedev said he had come up with a “soft” alternative.

This would involve formal capitulation by Kiev, the dissolution of the Ukrainian government, and the UN-monitored election of a new parliament. The new legislature in Kiev would be tasked with paying reparations to Russia and ultimately ratifying a treaty of union, under which Moscow would assume full sovereignty over Ukraine. “This is a compromise position, right?” Medvedev added, addressing Western nations. “I believe that based on it, we can find a friendly consensus with the international community, including the Anglosphere, hold productive summits counting on mutual understanding with our close friends, the Western partners.” The comments came after Switzerland announced that it will host a new round of talks on the ‘Zelensky formula’ this summer. Bern has urged the inclusion of Russia in the talks, unlike during every previous summit, although neither Kiev nor Moscow has agreed.

The Russian government believes the entire process to be a ruse. The Ukrainian document includes points on non- specific issues such as global food and energy security. The ploy, according to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, is to get non-aligned countries to back these articles so that Kiev could then falsely claim global support for the entire ‘formula’. Russia is prepared for peace talks “based not on a wish list somebody came up with after taking psychotropic substances, but on the realities… on the ground,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview this week. Any stable truce with Ukraine will have to address Russian security concerns caused by NATO’s expansion in Europe, he added. Considering the lack of trust in Moscow after so many Western promises given to it were broken, that bridge would be difficult to cross, according to the Russian leader.

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“..a bad precedent that could push other countries to avoid holding their reserves in Western currencies..”

EU Members Oppose Plan To Arm Kiev With Russian Money – Politico (RT)

A European Union plan to use the profits generated by Russia’s central bank assets frozen in the bloc to buy weapons for Ukraine has faced resistance from Malta, Luxembourg, and Hungary, Politico reported on Thursday, citing an EU official. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last month suggested using the interest earned from the assets to acquire weapons for Ukraine rather than using the funds for reconstruction, as had been initially planned. According to the outlet, Malta, Luxembourg and Hungary “expressed reservations” about the plan during a meeting of the EU’s 27 ambassadors on Wednesday. The report indicated that von der Leyen’s idea of using Russian money to purchase arms for Kiev has “complicated talks” ahead of the EU leaders’ summit in Brussels next week.

The West has frozen roughly $300 billion in holdings belonging to the Russian central bank since the start of the Ukraine conflict two years ago. Brussels-based clearinghouse Euroclear holds around €191 billion ($205 billion) of the funds and has accrued nearly €4.4 billion in interest over the past year. The EU is aiming to give Kiev between €2 and €3 billion in revenue generated by the frozen assets this year, the Financial Times reported earlier this week. A first tranche of the money could be disbursed as early as July if Brussels can secure the approval of all bloc members, the outlet said, citing EU officials. Some member states are cautious about the controversial proposal, saying it needs a more thorough analysis, Bloomberg said in a separate report on Tuesday. Hungary has reportedly insisted that the proceeds from the Russian assets should be allocated to Ukraine’s reconstruction rather than be used for funding its military, the outlet said, citing people familiar with the discussions.

While Kiev’s Western backers generally agree that the frozen assets should be used to aid Ukraine, they are at odds about whether an outright seizure would be legal. While the US and UK support the direct expropriation of the funds, some EU member states, France and Germany in particular, warn the move would erode trust in the European financial system. It’s also argued that such a drastic move would set a bad precedent that could push other countries to avoid holding their reserves in Western currencies out of fear that they could someday also becomes targets of sanctions. Moscow has warned that it would respond in kind if the West went through with its threats to confiscate the assets. Russia has repeatedly said that any actions taken against its assets would amount to “theft,” stressing that seizing the funds or any similar move would violate international law and undermine Western currencies, the global financial system, and the world economy.

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“..Everything is written in our Strategy, we haven’t changed it.”

Kremlin Slams US ‘Distortion’ Of Putin’s Words On Nuclear Weapons (RT)

Washington “deliberately distorted” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s words about the conditions under which Moscow would use nuclear weapons, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday. He was referring to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s remarks about an interview Putin gave that aired on Wednesday. While answering a reporter’s question on whether US President Joe Biden had been briefed about Putin’s comments, Jean-Pierre responded that the Russian leader was “restating Russia’s nuclear doctrine” but went on to claim that “Russia’s nuclear rhetoric has been reckless and irresponsible throughout this conflict.” Peskov described the White House’s reaction to Putin’s interview as an “absolutely deliberate distortion of the context,” adding that “no threats to use nuclear weapons were made by Putin in this interview.”

He indicated that the president was answering the journalist’s questions rather than making official statements and explained that Putin “was just talking about the reasons that could make the use of nuclear weapons inevitable.” The Kremlin spokesperson also drew attention to the fact that Jean-Pierre had omitted the president’s remark where he stressed that “it has never come into his mind to use tactical nuclear weapons” despite the “various situations” that had emerged on the battlefield. While answering a question about tactical nuclear arms in the interview, Putin stressed that weapons of mass destruction have never been used by Russia in Ukraine. “Weapons exist to be used. We have our own principles and they imply that we are ready to use any weapons, including the ones you mentioned, if we are talking about the existence of the Russian state, in case of a threat to our sovereignty and independence. Everything is written in our Strategy, we haven’t changed it.”

In June 2020, Putin signed a decree on Russia’s nuclear deterrence policy. The document provides for the use of nuclear weapons in a number of cases, one of which is aggression against Russia using conventional weapons that puts the existence of the state at risk. Putin warned that Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons and considers its arsenal “more advanced than anyone else’s.” Meanwhile, the Russian leader suggested that Washington has enough experts in strategic deterrence, including President Joe Biden himself, to avoid a nuclear conflagration. But he added that if the US abandons its de facto moratorium on nuclear tests, Moscow will do the same.

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What a strange thing to say. Does he know something?

Trump Unlikely To Win – Macron (RT)

French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed doubt that Donald Trump will be able to secure another term in the White House, when asked who could potentially mediate peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. Macron called Moscow “an adversary,” but stopped short of declaring it an “enemy,” during an interview with the France 2 and TF1 TV channels on Thursday. He once again refused to rule out NATO deployments in Ukraine, reiterating that Paris is ready to make any “decisions necessary to prevent Russia’s victory” – and noting that he sees no opportunities for negotiations with the Kremlin at this point. “I am absolutely ready for discussions at any time, but we need someone sincere and peace-oriented to do that,” Macron said, adding that he hoped that the time would come one day to negotiate with a Russian president “whoever it might be.”

Noting Macron’s reluctance to engage in direct communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the interviewers wondered if the United States could potentially mediate such talks, especially if Donald Trump is reelected. “As far as I’m informed, I don’t think Donald Trump will become President of the United States,” the French leader claimed. At the same time Macron said there was “nothing personal” behind his decision to refrain from dialogue with Putin. “Undoubtedly, I am the head of the state that used to talk to him more than anyone else.”

Back in January, Macron said he would deal with whoever wins the US election, claiming “I’ve always had the same philosophy, I take the leaders that people give me.” US President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are set for a rematch in November, with recent polls showing Trump leading his incumbent rival by between two and nine percentage points. Trump has promised to end the Ukrainian conflict “in 24 hours” if voted back into office, without specifying how peace could be achieved. Meanwhile, Russia is holding its own presidential election this weekend, in which Vladimir Putin faces three opponents.

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“Let us understand that this is a propaganda bubble that Americans have, to a large part, inflicted on themselves.”

US in ‘Constant State of Neo-McCarthyism’ – Sleboda (Sp.)

The US fearmongering surrounding Russia is the result of a sort of “Neo-McCarthyism” Mark Sleboda, an international relations and security analyst told Sputnik’s Fault Lines on Wednesday. “If someone threatened the existence of the US state, they would use nuclear weapons. Putin is saying the exact same thing,” Sleboda explained. “The Western media just loves putting Russia and nukes together in the same sentence. I think it has a certain amount of scaremongering, a kind of neo-McCarthyite effect just by seeing the two words together in a headline.” Show host Melik Abdul pointed to a panel between US commentators Candace Owens and Chris Cuomo, during which Cuomo refused to acknowledge that Putin is intelligent, Abdul said that it is emblematic of the West’s refusal to “acknowledge basic stuff.”

“I mean, could we agree that Putin is intelligent?” Sleboda responded playfully. “Could we agree that Putin is a human being? [Do] we agree that Putin’s first name is Vladimir? None of these things, I guess, [can] be agreed on because we live in a constant state of hyper neo-McCarthyism,” Sleboda added, noting that the term isn’t quite correct since Russia is no longer communist. “Maybe Russophobic hysteria” is a better term, he pondered. “But Vladimir Putin is, obviously, an extremely intelligent and capable leader of his country. He is a thorn in the US hegemony’s side. Numerous US politicians and officials have admitted that, but in the current social-political climate in the United States, it’s simply verboten. It is forbidden to acknowledge things like that,” Sleboda explained. “Let us understand that this is a propaganda bubble that Americans have, to a large part, inflicted on themselves.”

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“It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery..”

The U.S. Is Not a Democracy and Can’t Be Reformed (Barton)

It may be reasonable to start with the Trump administration (2016-2020), especially with the view that he is likely to stage a comeback in the forthcoming presidential elections in November. How close was he to corporations and the very rich and to what extent did he represent their will? As noted by Eric Lipton in the New York Times, during Trump’s presidency (2016-2020) there was “the merging of private business interest with government affairs”. So, for instance, billionaire investor Carl Icahn was appointed as a special adviser to the president. Interestingly, as he was not an official government employee he therefore was not subject to conflict of interest divestment requirements. Consequently, Icahn maintained his majority holdings in an oil refinery while advocating for a rule change that would have saved his refinery more than $200 million the previous year.

Let’s take a shortcut and indicate how plutocratic Trump’s government was. Trump’s cabinet had more combined personal wealth than one-third of American households, and Icahn was richer than all of them combined. As Liz Kennedy from the Center for American Progress points out, corporate interests are in a position to outspend labor or public interest groups on elections. For example, in 2014, business interests spent $1.1 billion on state candidates and committees compared with the $215 million that labor groups spent. Unfortunately, the U.S. establishment, facing such huge volumes of money in politics that give lobbyists far greater access to legislators than should be allowed in liberal democracies, does nothing about the problem. How about the much-vaunted concept of “checks and balances”? The system was designed in theory to allow each branch of a government to amend or veto acts of another branch to prevent any one branch from having too much power.

But the money issue was already addressed by the Supreme Court. In its decisions like Buckley versus Valeo and Citizens United versus FEC, the Supreme Court stated that political donations and spending on lobbying were a form of free speech and therefore constitutionally protected. What a clever way of giving too much power to the very rich! In practice, one can hardly see any checks and balances. Hardly any high-ranking politician commented on the impact of the above Supreme Court decisions. One of the exceptions was the ex-president, Jimmy Carter. In 2015, he was asked on a radio show, the Thom Hartmann Program, what he thought about the 2010 Citizens United decision and the 2014 McCutcheon decision, both decisions by the five Republican judges on the U.S. Supreme Court. These two historic decisions enable unlimited secret money (including foreign money) now to pour into U.S. political and judicial campaigns.

President Carter elaborated as follows: “It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and U.S. Senators and Congress members. So, now we’ve just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over… At present, the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell.”

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“..basically just ‘CNN, but on social media,’ which doesn’t work, as evidenced by the fact that CNN is dying.”

Musk Cancels X Partnership Deal With Don Lemon (RT)

Elon Musk has abruptly withdrawn from a deal to exclusively host journalist Don Lemon’s new talk show on X (formerly Twitter), shortly after he interviewed the billionaire last Friday, the former CNN anchor has said. In a statement on Wednesday, Lemon explained that the deal was part of X’s public commitment to “amplifying more diverse voices on their platform” and that Musk had encouraged him to join X with a new talk show and promised to support the project. However, several hours after filming an interview with Musk on Friday, which Lemon described as a “good conversation,” the billionaire allegedly messaged the former host, informing him that the partnership contract with the Don Lemon Show had been terminated without explaining the reasons.

“His commitment to a global town square where all questions can be asked and all ideas can be shared seems not to include questions of him from people like me,” Lemon suggested, adding that there were no restrictions on the interview that Musk had agreed to, and insisted that his questions were “respectful and wide ranging.” Musk has since confirmed the deal was scuttled, but pointed out that Lemon would still be free to upload his show, monetize it, and build his viewership on the platform “along with everyone else.” “What we aren’t going to do is guarantee minimum payments to him, as he was demanding, which would be going beyond everyone else,” Musk explained. As for the reason for the sudden termination, the billionaire stated that Lemon’s approach to the interview was “basically just ‘CNN, but on social media,’ which doesn’t work, as evidenced by the fact that CNN is dying.”

“Instead of it being the real Don Lemon, it was really just Jeff Zucker talking through Don, so lacked authenticity,” Musk wrote, referring to the former president of the media company where Lemon worked until last year. In several snippets of the interview that have been published ahead of the full premiere on Monday, Lemon asked the billionaire a series of questions about content moderation, hate speech, conspiracy theories, as well as his political leanings and attitude towards former US President Donald Trump. The visibly frustrated Musk stated at one point in the interview that “he doesn’t have to answer these questions” and told Lemon that “the only reason I’m doing this interview is because you’re on the X platform and you asked for it.” “Otherwise I would not be doing this interview,” Musk said.

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“There is also a chilling option for house arrest if a judge believes a defendant “will commit” an offense..”

Canada Moves to Impose Potential Life Imprisonment for Speech Crimes (Turley)

We have previously discussed the unrelenting attacks by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his allies on free speech. There has been a steady criminalization of speech, including even jokes and religious speech, in Canada. Now, the Canadian parliament is moving toward a new change that would allow the imposition of life imprisonment on those who post views deemed supportive of genocide. With a growing movement calling Israel’s war in Gaza “genocide,” the potential scope of such a law is readily apparent. That appears to be its very draw for anti-free speech advocates in the country.

The Online Harms Act, or Bill C-63 increases the potential penalties from five years to life imprisonment. It also increases the penalty for the willful promotion of hatred (a dangerously ill-defined crime) from two years to five years. The proposed changes constitute a doubling down on Canada’s commitment to reducing free speech for citizens despite criticism from many in the civil liberties community. There is also a chilling option for house arrest if a judge believes a defendant “will commit” an offense. In other words, if a judge thinks that a citizen will be undeterred and try to speak freely again. Justice Minister Arif Virani employed the same hysteria to convince citizens to surrender their freedoms to the government. He expressed how terrified he was with the potential of free speech, stating that he is “terrified of the dangers that lurk on the internet for our children.”

It is not likely to end there. Today the rationale is genocide. However, once the new penalties are in place, a host of other groups will demand similar treatment for those with opposing views on their own causes. This law already increased the penalties for anything deemed hateful speech. The law comes after Canada blocked a Russian dissident from becoming a citizen because of her violation of Russian anti-free speech laws. In a telling act, the government said that the same conduct (i.e., free speech) could be a crime in Canada. Indeed, it may now be punished even more harshly.

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It ain’t over.

973% SURGE in Heart Failure Among Navy Pilots (DW)

A United States Navy medic who blew the whistle on an explosive report showing a massive increase in heart issues among military pilots has been blocked by the Department of Defense (DOD) from accessing his work computer. Navy Medical Service Corps Lt. Ted Macie shared shocking information about the surge in heart failure among military personnel. Macie claimed that members of the U.S. military have experienced massive increases in heart-related issues, presenting Defense Department data showing the following:
937% increase in heart failure
152% increase in cardiomyopathy
69% increase in ischemic heart disease
36% increase in hypertensive disease
63% increase in other forms of heart disease

The alarming data was first raised by his wife, Mara Macie, a candidate for Florida’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House against John Rutherford. “The responses to our concerns from the DoD have been memorandums, letters. As in a letter displaying how they confirmed the data but said it was due to the COVID-19 virus, even though all the issues start in 2021,” Lt. Macie told The Gateway Pundit last week. “I met with the Chief of Naval Operations and her aide. So far the only response to that is that the DMED data has been sent to the Navy IG from the CNO’s office. Slow rolling everything has been the norm as well as denying anything is happening.” Just days later, Mara Macie revealed that Lt. Ted Macie had lost access to his work computer. “This afternoon, as Ted was nearing the end of his work day, he went to use the restroom. And when he returned, he no longer had access to his work computer, and he needs to have access to his work computer to do his job,” Mara said. Mara Macie said the commanding officer ordered Lt. Macie’s access to his work computer to be blocked.

“I haven’t yet, and I believe that’s because I’m putting out the DoD’s own data. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s not my job to look at the defense database. However, it’s something that is affecting our entire DoD. So, I think it’s kind to point this out…” said Lt. Macie on Wednesday. Last year, Macie’s wife blasted the U.S. government’s treatment of military troops during the COVID-19 pandemic. “So you may have seen my wife’s recent post, and I want to elaborate on that and give you an example as to why reinstatement, back pay, and apologies isn’t enough,” Macie said in his video. According to information published by the U.S. Army, 97% of active-duty U.S. troops are fully vaccinated, 90% of Army National Guard members are fully vaccinated, and 91% of U.S. Army Reserve members are fully vaccinated.

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Tucker Kory
https://twitter.com/i/status/1768063269808361671
https://twitter.com/i/status/1768056633123385656

 

 

8 minute house

 

 

Heavens on earth

 

 

Egg

 

 

Tiger

 

 

Grounding your garden
https://twitter.com/i/status/1768002498248290739

 

 

Tom&Jerry
https://twitter.com/i/status/1768392683318624400

 

 

Starling
https://twitter.com/i/status/1768184803063394413

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 142024
 


Jacobello Alberegno The Beast of the Apocalypse 1360-90

 

‘Your Vampire Ball Is Over’ – Putin To Western Elites (RT)
What Message is Putin Sending the West in His Interview? (Sp.)
Putin: Warmongers Will ‘Get More Than They Asked For’ – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
Oil Industry Will Be Swamped With Work ‘For Another 100 Years’ – Putin (RT)
Ukraine’s Military Planning Takeover of Parliament in Kiev by Force (Sp.)
Kiev’s Allies Start Dividing Ukraine – Zakharova (TASS)
Macron Leads The Way To Western Civilization’s Suicide (RT)
US Uses NATO In Ukrainian Conflict To Tighten Grip On European Countries (TASS)
German Army Short of ‘Everything,’ Partly Due to Supplies to Kiev
Netanyahu Government’s Future ‘In Jeopardy’ – US Intel (RT)
Menendez Case Shatters Hunter Biden Claim of Selective Prosecution (Turley)
‘A Vote For Trump Is A Vote For Putin’ – Hillary Clinton (RT)
Georgia Judge Dismisses Several Counts In Trump Election Interference Case (ZH)
2/3 of Liberals Would Dispute Election If Trump Wins (MN)
Lara Trump: Preventing Cheating In November Is Top RNC Priority (ZH)

 

 

 

 

Tucker Schwab

 

 

Doocy

 

 

A-game

 

 

Hur

 

 

 

 

Rand Paul

Loomer

 

 

I have nothing with the UK “royals”, but this is wild.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1767693275622764667

 

 

 

 

”Those who are smarter” have now come to the conclusion that it is necessary to change their strategy in relation to Russia..”

‘Your Vampire Ball Is Over’ – Putin To Western Elites (RT)

The era of Western elites being able to exploit other nations and other peoples across the world is coming to an end, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an exclusive interview published by Rossiya 1 and RIA Novosti on Wednesday. The president stated that over the past few centuries, the so-called “golden billion” has grown accustomed to being able to “fill their bellies with human flesh and their pockets with money” as they have been “parasitizing” other peoples in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. ”But they must understand that the vampire ball is ending,” Putin said. He added that the citizens of the aforementioned regions, which have been continuously exploited by the West over the past 500 years, have started to associate Russia’s struggle for sovereignty with “their own aspirations for sovereignty and independent development.”

At the same time, Putin noted that Western elites have a very strong desire to “freeze the current situation” and preserve the “unjust state of affairs in international affairs.” Previously, in his keynote address to Russia’s Federal Assembly last month, Putin stated that the West, with its “colonial habits” of “igniting national conflicts all over the world,” intends to do everything it can to stall Russia’s development and turn it, as it did Ukraine, into a dying failed state. ”In place of Russia, they want a dependent, withering, dying space, where they can do whatever they want,” he said. The president followed up on those comments in Wednesday’s interview, stating that many Western elites, who have been “blinded by their Russophobia” were “thrilled” when they were able to push Russia to the point where it had to launch its military offensive in Ukraine in order to end the war unleashed by the West in 2014.

”They were even happy, I think, because they believed that now they would finish us off using a barrage of sanctions, having practically declared a sanctions war against us, and with the help of Western weapons in the hands of Ukrainian nationalists,” said Putin, suggesting that this mindset was behind Western calls to “inflict a strategic defeat on Russia on the battlefield.” Now, the West appears to have realized that defeating Russia in this way is not only unlikely, but impossible due to the unity of its people, the fundamental foundations and stability of its economy and the growing potential of its military, the president said. ”Those who are smarter” have now come to the conclusion that it is necessary to change their strategy in relation to Russia, Putin surmised.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1767922770661224783

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“Guarantees can only be given by responsible political figures representing stable governments of Western countries, and must be offered in the nature of absolutely binding signed documents..”

Putin won’t be fooled again.

What Message is Putin Sending the West in His Interview? (Sp.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin touched on a number of recent developments and hot topics that emerged after the message to the Federal Assembly in an exclusive interview with Dmitry Kiselev, director general of Rossiya Segodnya, Sputnik’s parent media group. President Vladimir Putin has stated very clearly that Russia is not against peace negotiations, but that they cannot be conducted on the basis of proposals put forward by the Kiev regime, Russian political scientist Dmitry Evstafiev told Sputnik. The so-called “Zelensky formula” “will not be discussed in any way,” Evstafiev underscored. Commenting on Vladimir Putin’s interview with Dmitry Kiselev, director general of Rossiya Segodnya, Sputnik’s parent media group, he continued: “Some of our partners have hinted to us about the need to start negotiations… But, first and foremost, [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky’s formula cannot be a starting position. Secondly, any negotiations should lead to the establishment of a lasting peace, and cannot be an instrument of a temporary truce at the front in order to further pump the Kiev regime with weapons.”

According to the analyst, an integral element of any negotiations needs to be “the West’s refusal to supply weapons to Ukraine.” Thirdly, these negotiations need to be conducted in a “public format and must be anchored in public agreements at the political level.” Putin laid out very clearly that Russia needs guarantees, the analyst said. “Guarantees can only be given by responsible political figures representing stable governments of Western countries, and must be offered in the nature of absolutely binding signed documents,” Dmitry Evstafiev said. He singled out the Russian head of state’s remark that there will be no secret temporary agreements with anyone. Russia was, is, and will always be open to negotiations on a settlement in Ukraine, but intends to continue the special military operation until its goals are achieved, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated earlier in the year. Russian and Ukrainian delegations have engaged in several rounds of peace talks, but the negotiations ultimately reached an impasse.

In October 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree stating that Kiev could not hold peace talks as long as Vladimir Putin is president of Russia. In November 2022, Zelensky unveiled a 10-point initiative dubbed a “peace formula.” It included an all-for-all prisoner swap with Russia, security guarantees for Ukraine, and a return to the pre-2014 borders. Moscow has continuously said it is open to peace negotiations as long as Kiev recognizes the territorial gains Russian forces have made since the launch of the special military operation. President Vladimir Putin has issued a warning to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization that Russia is prepared to defend itself with all possible means, military analyst Anatoliy Matviychuk told Sputnik. Weighing in on Putin’s interview on March 13, the analyst said: “I believe that Putin is warning the US that you [NATO] expanded and expanded, but as long as you did not affect our living space, we were silent.”

No matter what “plausible intentions,” such as “defense of democracy, or defense against Martians,” might be drummed up to justify any foreign army’s boots on the ground on Russian territory, it would be an intervention, the retired colonel of the Russian Armed Forces underscored. “Intervention is an invasion into the expanses of the economy, into the expanses of finance, into the expanses of military security and, strictly speaking, into vital areas where Russia carries out its life activities. We will defend it with all possible forces and means that we have. And we know that the president has always warned: in the event of a sharp deterioration or even a threat to sovereignty, we will not hesitate to use nuclear weapons. I believe that is his message in this interview,” Anatoliy Matviychuk said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his interview that there has not yet been any need to use tactical nuclear weapons as part of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine, but when asked whether such an idea ever occurred to him, he replied, “No, but why?” Russia is prepared to use nuclear weapons if the existence of the Russian state is threatened, the Russian leader said, adding that Russia’s nuclear triad is more advanced than that of any other country. “From the military and technical point of view, we are, of course, ready,” Vladimir Putin said.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1767879777468182873

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“..any future relationship between Moscow and Washington will have to be “negotiated carefully,” and any guarantees and assurances set down “in writing.”

Putin: Warmongers Will ‘Get More Than They Asked For’ – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

The key takeaway from President Putin’s conversation with Rossiya Segodnya head Dmitry Kiselev is that those “looking for a contrite Russia, a weak Russia, a compliant Russia” won’t find it in “the Russia that Vladimir Putin was presenting to the world in his interview,” says former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and independent military and international affairs observer Scott Ritter. “Instead, what he’s saying is that Russia’s not looking for a fight, but if somebody wants to bring the fight to Russia, they’ll get more than what they asked for. And if the world is looking for peace with Russia, it’ll be done on terms that are acceptable to Russia,” Ritter told Sputnik. “Russia hasn’t shut the door on peace, but the terminology used by the Russian president when discussing the potential of a peace negotiation with Ukraine didn’t bode well,” the observer suggested, pointing to the derision Putin cast in Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s direction when discussing Kiev’s maximalist ‘peace plan’.

“This shows that Russia doesn’t have respect for the Ukrainian leadership and indeed doesn’t view the ‘Ukrainian peace plan’ – Volodymyr Zelensky’s 10-point peace plan – as a serious effort for peace. This also points to the fact that Russia will probably continue the scope and scale of its military operations without let up until it accomplishes the missions that it has assigned itself, primarily demilitarization and denazification,” Ritter said. Furthermore, Ritter said, Putin has made clear that Russia expects US experts to “provide sage advice” to leaders in Washington to prevent the Russia-NATO crisis from breaking out into a full-blown nuclear war, while also making it obvious that he “doesn’t trust the United States,” making “that straight-up clear in this interview.” Accordingly, any future relationship between Moscow and Washington will have to be “negotiated carefully,” and any guarantees and assurances set down “in writing.”

Regarding the recent series of not-so-subtle hints by NATO officials that they would not “rule out” a direct, boots on the ground intervention in Ukraine, Putin confirmed that “any effort to intervene meaningfully, meaning large forces, etc., would be seen as a direct intervention that could lead to a direct conflict between Russia and NATO,” heightening the risks of a nuclear conflagration, Ritter said.Finally, regarding Putin’s comments about nuclear weapons, Ritter stressed that they must be taken at face value, since Russia’s nuclear doctrine provides for the use of such arms in the event of a nuclear attack, but also conventional aggression so severe that it “threatens the existential survival of Russia.”

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”..for a very, very long time humanity will be dealing with the issues of hydrocarbons..”

Oil Industry Will Be Swamped With Work ‘For Another 100 Years’ – Putin (RT)

The world will continue using oil and gas for a long time despite the focus on renewable energy, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said, adding that jobs in this sector have a secure future. He was speaking at a meeting with the winners of the Leaders of Russia award on Tuesday, when he insisted that hydrocarbons production would remain relevant for years to come, even with increased talk about transitioning to renewable energy. “No matter how they talk about renewable energy sources, for a very, very long time humanity will be dealing with the issues of hydrocarbons, their production and use,” Putin said. “There will be enough work for 100 years,” he added.

In its latest report published on Tuesday, OPEC said global oil demand is expected to grow by 2.25 million barrels per day (bpd) this year and by 1.85 million bpd in 2025. According to the report, robust growth in global oil consumption will be largely driven by transportation fuels. The Russian Finance Ministry forecast last year that the country’s revenues from oil and gas exports would surge by almost a third in 2024, reaching more than $118 billion. A further increase in energy revenues to over $121 billion is expected for 2025. Russia sharply increased its energy exports to Asia last year after the EU stopped accepting the country’s oil transported by sea. China and India have emerged as major buyers of Russian crude since Moscow redirected its cargoes from Europe eastwards in response to Ukraine-related sanctions imposed by the West.

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“When the staff is recruited, fighters are trained, the mass will be ready..”

Hard to gauge the accuracy of this.

Ukraine’s Military Planning Takeover of Parliament in Kiev by Force (Sp.)

The Ukrainian military, dissatisfied with the policy of the country’s leadership, is planning the takeover of the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, in Kiev and attracting other Ukrainian armed forces’ military personnel to their side, a correspondence on a closed resource obtained by Russian specialists has shown. Sputnik obtained the correspondence of the chat participants, which showed that the participants discussed a swift takeover of the Verkhovna Rada and attracting the military to their side. “The most important action that we will need to pull off lightning fast is the takeover of the VR [Verkhovna Rada] at a certain point,” one of the chat participants wrote.

Earlier this week, a source in the Russian law enforcement agencies told Sputnik that Russian specialists had gained access to a classified Telegram channel titled “ParaBelum,” where commanders and fighters of elite units of the Ukrainian armed forces are “seriously discussing options for overthrowing the current authorities and the command of the Ukrainian armed forces.” “When the staff is recruited, fighters are trained, the mass will be ready,” another chat participant said. “There must be support from the military. Without it, nothing will work. The main driving force. [They] will say from the trenches that [they are] with us, and people will follow,” one more chat participant said. “Especially when the people see that the military is at the helm and the rest of the military is following them – they automatically take the right side,” another chat participant added.

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“..they are starting to divide between themselves what’s left of Ukraine..”

Kiev’s Allies Start Dividing Ukraine – Zakharova (TASS)

French President Emmanuel Macron’s remark about the potential deployment of troops to Ukraine makes it clear that Western countries have started dividing Ukraine, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing. She pointed out that Macron “continues making statements about possibly sending troops to Ukraine.” “He did not rule out that French troops might be deployed to Ukraine if the Russian army <...> broke through to Kiev or Odessa,” Zakharova noted. “Clearly, Ukraine’s allies have started dividing the country. All the statements that Macron and other political figures from NATO member states are making about the possible deployment of troops or some paramilitary forces to Ukraine have to do with the division of Ukraine as they see it,” she added.

The diplomat also said that “this is why they are unwilling to grant full NATO membership to Ukraine.” “It’s about constant flirting with the issue and empty promises that are never kept because making Ukraine part of NATO means that all of the bloc’s members are ready to recognize its borders but not all NATO members are ready to do that. They are ready to occupy Ukraine and divide it; this is what political leaders in those countries are openly talking about. Actually, they are beginning to mentally prepare both their own people and Ukrainian citizens for such actions,” Zakharova added. According to her, “this is being done under a false flag, which is typical for NATO members.” “This is another staged show of an alleged confrontation with Russia but in fact, they are starting to divide between themselves what’s left of Ukraine,” the diplomat stressed.

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“While Russian President Vladimir Putin is encouraging his population to have more children, Macron’s France is celebrating the ‘enshrinement’ of abortion in the constitution..”

Macron Leads The Way To Western Civilization’s Suicide (RT)

While Russian President Vladimir Putin is encouraging his population to have more children, Macron’s France is celebrating the ‘enshrinement’ of abortion in the constitution. What does this say about France and the West in general? In 2022, there were 234,300 abortions in France. The procedure is legal upon request until 14 weeks after conception. These figures are interesting when one considers that French politicians (and elderly voters, who are the majority of the electorate) insist on maintaining the extremely costly pension system and say that it has a price. Someone needs to pay. That is, the active population needs to pay. You would think that to sustain the requisite size of the active population, it would be more logical to encourage having more new births than to ‘enshrine’ having fewer. But that’s not an issue if you import the population.

In 2022, France welcomed 320,330 new people to the country – not counting illegal immigrants. Immigration in the country has nothing to do anymore with the fact that France has been a colonial power and that it is dealing with the consequences of its former policies. More and more people are coming from countries or regions such as Pakistan, Eritrea, Chechnya… where France never meddled in local affairs whatsoever. Something important that goodhearted Frenchmen seem to forget and French politicians feign to ignore, is that these populations, especially those from Africa, come with traditions which do not quickly disappear with time. Having multiple children is one of them, as these populations have for centuries been accustomed to having ten children or more because most of them would die young. French women usually have one or two. And the women who go for abortions are in the vast majority local French women. It should be noted that the situation is the same in most of the European Union.

Besides political decisions, the euphoria that took hold after this reform of the constitution is also worrying from a psycho-social point of view. Abortion has been legal in France for decades. There is indeed nothing new in this symbolic gesture of President Emmanuel Macron’s government. The fact that many women celebrated this strictly formal political decision as a ‘victory’ is a sign that many, unconsciously, want to die, to disappear as a population, as a civilization. This neo-feminism has gone too far. It leads to pure infantilization. A child thinks that he is the center of the world; neo-feminists think that their uterus is the center of the world. A child doesn’t care about the consequences of his deeds; neo-feminists do not want to think about consequences. The real message of this ‘victory’ is the following – you can screw around with as many people as you want, there will be no consequences. Even when the existence of your people is at stake. No consequences.

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“..The US keeps pouring oil on the fire, which yields huge benefits..”

US Uses NATO In Ukrainian Conflict To Tighten Grip On European Countries (TASS)

The United States is using the conflict between Russia and Ukraine to gain control over European countries with the help of NATO, the executive director of the Center for Russia and Central Asia Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Sun Qi, has told TASS while commenting on CIA chief William Burns’ statement that Washington was providing support for Kiev to contain China. “The true purpose of Burns’ speech in the Senate is not to actually care about Ukraine, but to use the Ukrainian crisis to attain selfish geostrategic aims. These aims include using NATO to tighten the grip on the European countries. On the other hand, the Ukrainian crisis is being used for deriving profit. The US keeps pouring oil on the fire, which yields huge benefits,” Sun said, adding that Washington’s support for Kiev allowed the US to increase investment in its businesses and create jobs.

Sun noted that the United States unlike China was not interested in ending the conflict in Ukraine. As an example, he cited the European tour of the Chinese government’s special representative for Eurasian affairs, Li Hui. The expert also drew attention to the fact that the conflict in Ukraine was often compared in the West to the Taiwan issue. “The Taiwan issue is an internal affair of China. It is completely different from the Ukrainian one and has nothing to do with the US. No foreign interference is acceptable. While the US and the Western countries continue to add fuel to the fire of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, they often ignore the hard facts, compare the Taiwan issue with Ukraine and try to use the Russia-Ukraine conflict to impede China’s development. This is a vulgar, thoughtless and intemperate attitude,” he stated.

Speaking at a US Senate Select Intelligence Committee hearing, Burns said that Washington was providing support for Kiev, because such activities, among other things, contributed to the containment of China. He argued that the US was able to continue supporting Kiev in the conflict, the consequences of which went far beyond Ukraine and European security.

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Got to start from scratch. See you in ten years.

German Army Short of ‘Everything,’ Partly Due to Supplies to Kiev

The German armed forces lack equipment, personnel and “everything” in general, with stocks depleted by military deliveries to Ukraine, the parliamentary commissioner for the Bundeswehr, Eva Hoegl, said Tuesday. “Unfortunately, I have to admit that the Bundeswehr still has too little of everything. There is a shortage of ammunition, spare parts and radio equipment. There are not enough tanks, ships and aircraft,” Hoegl said presenting the annual report on the state of the German military. The commissioner praised Berlin for doing an “outstanding” job in supporting Ukraine in the conflict. However, supplying military aid to Kiev means that the German armed forces now have even less of everything, even more so two years into the conflict, she added. Germany continues to procure equipment to modernize the Bundeswehr under a special military fund worth 100 billion euros ($109 billion), Hoegl said, adding that two-thirds of it are already earmarked for specific purchases.

“As for personnel, I have no good news or messages here because the Bundeswehr is aging and shrinking,” Hoegl said, adding that the number of applications and recruits last year was the same as in 2022, while 20,000 posts remain vacant. A total of 181,514 people were serving in the Bundeswehr as of the end of last year, with the average age of a German soldier being 38.8 years. The 100 billion euro fund was announced by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to improve the country’s defense capabilities shortly after the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. The fund was approved by the German parliament in June of that year. In January 2023, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius told the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper that the special defense fund would not be enough for Germany to modernize its troops and cover maintenance costs for military equipment. Pistorius then called for an increase of 10 billion euros per year in the German defense budget.

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“..could potentially lead to “large protests demanding his resignation and new elections.”

Netanyahu Government’s Future ‘In Jeopardy’ – US Intel (RT)

Israel’s far-right cabinet led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could face serious challenges and be forced to step down due to flagging public support, the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) has warned. In a report published on Monday, the ODNI noted that a “different, more moderate government” could take over the reins in the near future. The US intelligence agency concluded that “Netanyahu’s viability as leader as well as his governing coalition of far-right and ultraorthodox parties that pursued hardline policies on Palestinian and security issues may be in jeopardy.” According to the document, “distrust of Netanyahu’s ability to rule has deepened and broadened across the public” – something that could potentially lead to “large protests demanding his resignation and new elections.”

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“What they do not share is the same level of prosecution or press support. Menendez is a pariah in Washington and Hunter is the president’s son..”

“Hunter is not the victim of selective prosecution but the beneficiary of special treatment in the legal system..”

Menendez Case Shatters Hunter Biden Claim of Selective Prosecution (Turley)

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., was in court this week for another superseding indictment brought by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. Rather than the four original counts, he now faces 18 counts with his wife, Nadine Arslanian Menendez, and alleged co-conspirators Wael Hana and Fred Daibes. What is most notable is not the proliferation of counts but the lack of comparative charges in the pending case against Hunter Biden. Some of us have long raised concerns over the striking similarity in the alleged conduct in both cases, but the absence of similar charges against the president’s son. That contrast just got even greater. The allegations in the two cases draw obvious comparisons. Menendez is accused of accepting a $60,000 Mercedes-Benz as part of the corrupt practices. In Hunter’s case, it was a $142,000 Fisker sports car. For Menendez, there were gold bars worth up to $120,000. For Biden, there was the diamond allegedly worth $80,000.

Underlying both cases are core allegations of influence peddling and corruption. However, the Justice Department threw the book at Menendez while minimizing the charges against Biden. That includes charging Menendez as an unregistered foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Many of us have said for years that the treatment of Hunter under FARA departs significantly from the treatment of various Trump figures like former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort as well as Menendez. Now, there is a new layer of troubling comparisons to be drawn in the two cases. The superseding indictment incorporates new charges after the plea and cooperation of Menendez’s former co-defendant and businessman Jose Uribe. Uribe appears to have supplied the basis for some of the new charges, including a telling account with Nadine Menendez. She allegedly asked Uribe what he would say to law enforcement about the payments used for a Mercedes-Benz convertible and Uribe said that he could say that the payment were a “loan.” Nadine Menendez responded that “sounded good.”

The loan discussion hit a familiar cord with those of us who have written about the Biden corruption scandal. The Bidens have repeatedly referred to payment from foreign sources as “loans.” That most notoriously included millions given by his counsel Kevin Morris. In some cases, foreign money was received by President Joe Biden’s brother James and then immediately sent to the president’s personal account marked as a loan repayment. James admitted that the $40,000 was coming from the Chinese. The Justice Department in the Menendez case dismissed the claim of loans as merely a transparent effort to hide influence peddling. That includes not just the convertible payment but more than $23,000 that one businessman made toward the senator’s wife’s mortgage. Menendez and Biden share the array of luxury gifts, cars, and loans. However, the most important common denominator was the underlying corruption. Both cases are classic examples of influence peddling, which has long been a cottage industry in Washington, D.C.

What they do not share is the same level of prosecution or press support. Menendez is a pariah in Washington and Hunter is the president’s son. Menendez is blamed by many inside the Beltway not for being corrupt but for being open about it. The fact that others have been prosecuted for conduct similar to his own has not stopped Hunter from claiming victim status. He has told courts that even the few charges brought against him are evidence of selective prosecution. In the most recent filing, Special Counsel David Weiss dismissed many of Hunter’s claims as “patently false” and noted that Hunter Biden virtually flaunted his violations and engaged in obvious efforts to evade taxes and hide his crimes. Weiss further noted that other defendants did not write “a memoir in which they made countless statements proving their crimes and drawing further attention to their criminal conduct.” [..] As Hunter continues to claim to be the victim of selective prosecution in various courts, judges need only to look over the Menendez case to see the truth of the matter. Hunter is not the victim of selective prosecution but the beneficiary of special treatment in the legal system.

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A loser trying to save face. Trump lives in her head rent-free.

‘A Vote For Trump Is A Vote For Putin’ – Hillary Clinton (RT)

Supporters of US presidential hopeful Donald Trump would be voting for Russian President Vladimir Putin, the former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has claimed. Clinton’s remark followed a meeting between the presumed Republican nominee and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Florida on Friday. After the talks that CNN sources described as “friendly”, Orban told the media that Trump had a “detailed plan” to end the conflict in Ukraine, which involved stopping US aid to Kiev. “It’s becoming clearer every day: A vote for Trump is a vote for Team Putin,” Clinton, who run for Presidency twice as a democratic nominee, wrote on X (formerly Twitter). The post also displays a photo of Trump and Orban shaking hands and features a caption “Trump will not give a penny to Ukraine – Hungary PM Orban.” The quote refers to the comments made by the latter in an interview to Hungarian broadcaster M1 broadcast on Sunday.

According to a readout from Trump’s campaign, the two politicians met “to discuss a wide range of issues affecting Hungary and the United States, including the paramount importance of strong and secure borders to protect the sovereignty of each nation.” The Hungarian leader is seen by many in the West as an ally of Russia. Budapest has consistently called for a diplomatic solution to the conflict between Kiev and Moscow, as well as criticizing other Western nations for sending weapons to Ukraine. It has also maintained economic ties with Russia and called the EU sanctions against Moscow “counterproductive.”

Trump has repeatedly claimed on his campaign trail that, if he had remained in the White House for a second term, there would be no hostilities between Moscow and Kiev. If voted back in November, he promises to end the conflict “in 24 hours” by applying pressure on stakeholders. The US President Joe Biden, who is also running for re-election, described the meeting between Orban and Trump as “worrying”, according to CNN. Orban did not meet Biden during his visit to the US. On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced a new military aid package for Ukraine worth $300 million. The move comes as a bill that would provide $60 billion additional funds for Kiev remains blocked by Republican leaders in Congress.

Armstrong

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6 out of 40. Yay!

Georgia Judge Dismisses Several Counts In Trump Election Interference Case (ZH)

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee dismissed six charges out of the 40-count indictment in the election interference case against former President Donald Trump and his co-defendants, including three of the counts against Trump. The ruling, which is not linked to Fulton County DA Fani Willis’s (D) relationship with a special prosecutor she hired on the case – however McAfee is expected to rule on that later this week as well. The tossed charges do not impact the RICO charge that serves as the foundation for this unprecedented prosecution. Each of the tossed charges related to alleged efforts by Trump and some of his co-defendants, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, to solicit Georgia officials to violate their oaths of office.

The judge ruled that while the charges do contain the “essential” elements of each crime, they fail to provide enough detail for the defendants to mount their defenses. Under the current charges, McAfee said, the defendants could have violated the law in “dozens, if not hundreds, of distinct ways.” -The Hill. “The Court’s concern is less that the State has failed to allege sufficient conduct of the Defendants – in fact it has alleged an abundance,” McAfee wrote. “However, the lack of detail concerning an essential legal element is, in the undersigned’s opinion, fatal.” McAfee also emphasized that his ruling “does not mean the entire indictment is dismissed,” and preserved Fulton County’s ability to seek new indictments once they supplement the charges to his satisfaction. He also gave the state a six-month extension to resubmit the charges to a grand jury, even if the statute of limitations expires, and that he would “likely grant” a request to appeal.

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“Trump polled higher than Biden on all issues except abortion and climate change..”

2/3 of Liberals Would Dispute Election If Trump Wins (MN)

After over three years of complaining about Donald Trump contesting the 2020 election, a Rasmussen poll has found that a majority of Democrat voters oppose certifying the 2024 election should Trump emerge victorious. The survey found that should Trump win the election in November, and at this point it is difficult to bet against it, fifty seven percent of Democrat voters would oppose certifying the result, and close to two thirds of voters who identify as ‘liberal’ would oppose the result. That’s not very Democratic is it? The poll asked the question “Some Democrats in Congress have said that if Trump wins this year’s election, they will vote against certifying the election results because of Trump’s role in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riots. Do you support or oppose Democrats refusing to certify the election results if Trump wins?” The majority of Democrat voters said they would support the move. Incredibly, in the same poll, just 24 percent of Democrat voters said Republicans should have objected to the 2020 results if they believed they were fraudulent. It’s literally the same thing.

In perhaps a more telling revelation, however, the poll found that overall, only 35 percent of all voters would support opposing certifying a Trump victory. The survey also found that among those voters who strongly support Biden, close to three quarters disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision to prevent states from removing Trump from ballots. In other words Biden loyalists want to see his opponent unconstitutionally removed from the ballot. Again, not very Democratic. But as Democrats like to continuously remind Americans, it’s OK when they do it. Meanwhile, a further ABC/Ipsos poll has revealed that more Americans trust Trump to lead the country than Biden on all the top voter issues. Trump polled higher than Biden on all issues except abortion and climate change.

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“We need to have the biggest legal ballot harvesting operation this country has ever see..s”

Lara Trump: Preventing Cheating In November Is Top RNC Priority (ZH)

RNC co-chair Lara Trump says that “protecting the vote” in the upcoming November election is the most critical task for the committee. “We have three pillars that we need to focus on at the RNC to ensure victory on November 5, turn out the vote, protect the vote, and raise money,” she told Fox news’ “Sunday Morning Futures” on March 10. “But I would argue that maybe the most important of those three is protecting the vote, election integrity,” she added. Trump was asked by host Maria Bartiromo about her opinion of Attorney General Merrick Garland’s speech earlier this month in which he suggested that it’s racist not to allow the least secure methods of casting a vote in America. “On March 3, Mr. Garland said the U.S. Department of Justice was “fighting back” against “efforts by states and jurisdictions to implement discriminatory, burdensome, and unnecessary restrictions on access to the ballot, including those related to mail-in voting, the use of drop boxes, and voter ID requirements.” -Epoch Times

“We have to ensure that, when people go vote, they feel like their vote counts, that they are inspired to go vote. We can never allow what happened in 2020 and the questions surrounding that election to ever happen again,” said Trump. Lar a, the daughter-in-law of former President Donald Trump, suggested that Democrats are against voter ID because they seek to expand their voter base with illegal immigrants.”Democrats are bleeding and hemorrhaging voters. They understand that they cannot fool people in this country any longer so they have to import people,” she said. “The only reason you wouldn’t want voter ID is if you want people who cannot vote to vote in these elections. It is insane.” Roughly 81% of Americans support voter ID, according to a February poll by Pew Research. Along party lines, however, 95% favor the concept, while 69% of Democrats – still a majority, support it. According to Lara Trump, the RNC has established an “election integrity division” and devoted “vast resources dedicated solely to this cause,” which include a “nationwide network of volunteers,” such as poll workers and poll watchers.

To those who might cheat in the upcoming election, “We will go after you [and] you will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Trump said. As the Epoch Times notes further, Trump also told Ms. Bartiromo that the RNC would use legal ballot harvesting in this election cycle. “It is already underway, and we will expand it again,” she said. Last week, Ms. Trump and Michael Whatley, chair of the North Carolina Republican Party, were elected to lead the RNC to replace Ronna McDaniel. Both were endorsed by President Trump last month. The leadership overhaul comes just days after President Trump dominated the Republican presidential primaries on Super Tuesday on March 5, solidifying his hold on the Republican nomination and the party itself. Last month, Ms. Trump also told The Epoch Times in an exclusive interview that she would mount a ballot-harvesting campaign in this election, something Republicans have been averse to in the past. “We need to have the biggest legal ballot harvesting operation this country has ever seen,” Ms. Trump said.

“It feels, for a long time, like the Democrats have been playing chess, and we’ve been playing checkers,” she said. Her goal is for the Republican Party “to be the opposite, to be steps ahead of them, and on our toes, and ahead of the game, and facing forward the whole time.” Ballot harvesting, legal in some states, allows people to deliver absentee or mail-in ballots to drop-off points on behalf of other voters. Republicans have been skeptical of the procedure, fearing it would lead to election fraud. Democrats have been much more willing to use the strategy. “Whether or not [Democrats] do it legally, that’s up for discussion,” Ms. Trump said, adding that it’s time for Republicans to start “attacking the game differently.” She also suggested that the RNC embrace early voting for the upcoming election. “The truth is, if we want to compete with the Democrats, we cannot wait until election day,” she said. “If we want to compete, we must embrace early voting.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1767966769572909284

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Otto

 

 

 

 

Kulning
https://twitter.com/i/status/1767558666834808984

 

 

Elephant
https://twitter.com/i/status/1767879410265268678

 

 

Deer

 

 

Galapagos
https://twitter.com/i/status/1767895359521485009

 

 

Maned wolf

 

 

Cute dogs

 

 

Happy feet
https://twitter.com/i/status/1767581402164494403

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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


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

 

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

 

 


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

 

 

Mess with Joe

 

 

Surge

 

 

 

 

Tucker Haley

 

 

Biden Lies

 

 

 

 

Too big to rig

 

 

 

 

Time for Melania to step up?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Braindead American Foreign Policy Establishment (Paul Craig Roberts)

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

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

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

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

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Join the chorus.

Musk Questions Why NATO Still Exists (RT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Germany Preparing For War With Russia – Medvedev (RT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Macgregor

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

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

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

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

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

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Make that moral ethics.

More Proof That COVID Killed Medical Ethics (Stansbury)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Very much like Covid.

Scientists Expose Major Problems With Climate Change Data (ET)

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

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

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

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

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Garland

 

 

 

 

VDH

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coil

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 032024
 
 March 3, 2024  Posted by at 9:35 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  16 Responses »


Edward Hopper Cape Cod evening 1939

 

Ukraine is Major Defeat for West Who Has Been Dominating Planet Earth (Sp.)
NATO Teetering on Edge of Direct Conflict With Russia (Sp.)
Ukraine Will Be ‘The Largest Operation In CIA History’ (HE)
NATO’s Presence in Ukraine is ‘Hardly Surprising for Anyone’ (Sp.)
Germans Plotting Attack on Russian Infrastructure: A Bridge Too Far (Jay)
‘Sheer Incompetence and Ignorance’ Led to Plan to Attack Crimean Bridge (Sp.)
German and French Leaders ‘Don’t Get Along’ – Bloomberg (RT)
Erik Prince Calls For ‘Ugly Peace’ In Ukraine (RT)
German Healthcare System Should Prepare For War – Minister (RT)
The West Can’t Be Trusted To Observe Its Own ‘Red Lines’ In Ukraine (Amar)
Settlement In Ukraine Impossible Without Moscow – China (TASS)
Heavy Losses Inflict ‘Dramatic Manpower Crisis’ On Israel (Cradle)
Trump Trounces Haley In Idaho, Missouri, And Michigan (ZH)
The Pipe Bombs Before Jan. 6: Capital Mystery That Doesn’t Add Up (Julie Kelly)
Federal Health Agencies and the COVID Cartel: What Are They Hiding? (AMD)

 

 

 

 

View

 

 

 

 

Hatch Act

 

 

 

 

Elon open source

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/Real_RobN/status/1763616646617526400

 

 

 

 

Dangerous moment.

“..now are going to have to get accustomed to a bitter new reality..”

Ukraine is Major Defeat for West Who Has Been Dominating Planet Earth (Sp.)

The conflict in Ukraine represents a major defeat for powers who have gotten used to “dominating planet Earth for hundreds of years” and are going to have to “get accustomed to a bitter new reality,” Dr. Gerald Horne, a professor of History at the University of Houston told Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Friday. The topic of discussion was French PM Emmanuel Macron’s comments that he would not rule out sending NATO troops into Ukraine to fight Russia, which led to several of Macron’s allies, including UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz ruling out the possibility. Russian President Vladimir Putin in turn warned against the escalations, saying that it could lead to nuclear war. “Everything that they are thinking up now, that they are scaring the world with, it all really poses the threat of a conflict involving nuclear weapons, and therefore, the destruction of civilization. Don’t they understand this?” Putin asked during his annual state-of-the-nation speech.

“[Western politicians] have already forgotten what war is,” Putin said, adding later that they apparently “Think that these are just some cartoons.” Horne explained that NATO’s position is “the worst of both worlds,” because “it is enmeshed in a war it cannot win, but it can’t afford to lose. And when you are in such a corner, inevitably, it leads to the kinds of intemperate remarks of Mr. Macron, it leads to Rishi Sunak of London dispatching the flower of British youth to an uncertain fate in Ukraine,” he said, referring to comments by Scholz that there are already UK personnel in Ukraine operating Storm Shadow missile launches. “I think taxpayers and US citizens should ask themselves how all these think thanks and bureaucrats at the State Department and Pentagon… manage this kind of potential quagmire that NATO and the United States are now enmeshed in?”

The international situation is not what the White House bargained for, Horne said, but “rather than make a sober assessment and trying to make the best out of this rather daunting situation, they’re floating ideas about nuclear conflict, they’re floating ideas about escalation in Ukraine, they’re floating rather harebrained ideas concerning Russia, supposedly putting weapons in outer space. “We see that this is a major defeat that has been inflicted upon the powers that have been dominating planet Earth for hundreds of years, and now are going to have to get accustomed to a bitter new reality,” Horne said.

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“They are spilling the beans in order to somehow stop this, so that the public of their countries support them, so as not to cross the Rubicon, so as not to get involved in a direct open war..”

NATO Teetering on Edge of Direct Conflict With Russia (Sp.)

A recording of German military officers discussing a potential attack on the Crimean Bridge was released by Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT and Rossiya Segodnya, Sputnik’s parent media group, on March 1. Judging from the transcript, NATO soldiers from the UK, the US and France have been operating in the Ukraine combat zone for quite a while. “A significant part of the weapons used by the Ukrainian Armed Forces is supplied from the West,” Leonid Reshetnikov, a retired lieutenant general of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), told Sputnik. “In addition, there is a considerable presence of Western intelligence operatives from NATO countries in Ukraine. They have long settled there, in Ukraine, even before 2014 – the intelligence services of the US, the UK, and also other countries.”

Likewise, when transferring sophisticated and high-precision weapons to Ukraine, NATO countries usually also dispatch maintenance personnel, repair staff and crews to operate this equipment to the combat zone, the retired intelligence officer continued. “They have no time for training the Ukraine military in the midst of the special military operation. Therefore the crews of these [NATO] countries have been operating or firing systems such as Patriot air defense systems and other systems supplied by the Americans, NATO members, the French, and the British for quite a while. Of course, they are not deployed at the very forefront, but they operate artillery, air defense systems, and partially tanks,” Reshetnikov said. Similarly, NATO Special Forces disguised as mercenaries have also been deployed in the zone of the special military operation, according to the intelligence veteran.

“Yes, there are indeed some mercenaries [in Ukraine] who had been engaged in this business well before the special military operation. But starting from the mid-2022 or the beginning of 2023, there has been a systematic recruitment of active [NATO] units,” he said. Reshetnikov explained that under this scenario, NATO Special Ops soldiers formally leave their unit and go to the zone of the special military operation as volunteers. However, they are not only paid for participating in hostilities on Ukraine’s side, but also retain the income they received while serving in the army of a NATO country. Thus, Special Forces from the US, the UK and France are fighting on the ground pretending to be mere mercenaries. Given all of the above, one can see that NATO is really involved in the Ukraine conflict and is actively fighting on the side of the Kiev regime, the intelligence veteran emphasized.

Prior to the Bundeswehr release, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz came under fierce criticism for disclosing information about the presence of the British and French military in the combat zone in Ukraine. According to Scholz, Western soldiers have been dispatched to operate long-range Storm Shadow and SCALP cruise missiles and help Ukrainian fire at Russian targets. Speaking to journalists in Berlin earlier this week, Scholz explained why Berlin hesitates to send Taurus missiles to Ukraine. “This is a very far-reaching weapon,” Scholz said about the Taurus. “What the British and French are doing in terms of target control and support for target control cannot be done in Germany.” Berlin’s French and British allies lambasted the German chancellor for what they called a “flagrant abuse of intelligence”.

[..] Reshetnikov outlined two opposite trends. According to him, there are Western politicians, who, like Emmanuel Macron, are willing to expand NATO’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict. However, there are also others, who fear that the alliance’s presence in the conflict zone may lead to direct confrontation with nuclear-armed Russia. The latter are openly speaking about NATO’s involvement to trigger a public debate and resentment about getting bogged down in Ukraine, according to the intelligence veteran. “They are spilling the beans in order to somehow stop this, so that the public of their countries support them, so as not to cross the Rubicon, so as not to get involved in a direct open war,” he stressed.

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“We were riding high and riding dirty. And that’s what this was, we thought we were unstoppable and we could just coup anyone we wanted, there’d never be any repercussions..”

Ukraine Will Be ‘The Largest Operation In CIA History’ (HE)

Jack Posobiec hosted guest Mike Benz on Human Events Daily Thursday to hear his take on the New York Times article that detailed the CIA’s involvement in Ukraine prior to the Russia invasion, which Benz said will reveal itself to be “the largest operation in CIA history.” The pair unpacked the reasoning behind the New York Times releasing their story which essentially agreed with what conservative commentators such as Posobiec have been saying since the war began. “This is actually such a shocking moment in American journalist history,” Benz stated. “These are highly highly, highly classified operations.” He said that “It’s my contention that when the dust settles on this, the Ukraine skirmish in the aftermath of the 2014 Maidan coup is going to ultimately be the largest operation in CIA history.” Compared to the CIA’s Syrian operation under Barack Obama, which was revealed to be the most expensive operation up to this point, Ukraine will blow it out of the water once all said and done, Benz said.

Posobiec clarified that Benz was implying the NYT article was a “limited hangout” when “an operation becomes so compromised, or public knowledge or public interest becomes so obvious around something,” that the CIA begins to unveil pieces of the big picture, like an “onion.” When the US involved itself in Ukraine in the Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Brennan era, “We were riding high and riding dirty. And that’s what this was, we thought we were unstoppable and we could just coup anyone we wanted, there’d never be any repercussions, and no one would ever stand up for themselves, and Russia would never actually backstop it,” Benz said. This, however, was a “serious miscalculation.” “And when it turned out that their own population didn’t support these dirty tricks, either in the form of the rise of a populace presidential candidate like Donald Trump who was running on putting America first in domestic priorities over foreign policy,” he explained, “then all hell broke loose.”

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“We are being made a target for Russian weapons and this matter must be discussed. The citizens must be informed about how carelessly and irresponsibly politics [in Germany] are being conducted..”

NATO’s Presence in Ukraine is ‘Hardly Surprising for Anyone’ (Sp.)

The German military made headlines this week after a recording of officials discussing the possible shipments of Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine and the use of these weapons against targets in Russia was disclosed by Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT and Rossiya Segodnya, Sputnik’s parent media group. In the recording, the German officers can be heard mulling various issues related to the transfer of Taurus missiles to the Kiev regime, as well as how to avoid implicating Germany’s involvement in the conflict while doing so. According to Eugen Schmidt, a member of the German parliament from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, the officers in question were likely not pursuing objectives of their own but were merely preparing for the possibility of Berlin approving the transfer of the missiles to Kiev.

“They act on political directives coming from above. That is, they follow orders, just like any military does. They do not act on their own initiative. So if a political decision on shipping the missiles is made, they would have to follow through,” Schmidt said. The lawmaker compared the current situation with the Taurus missiles to the Leopard tanks, which Germany was initially reluctant to supply to Ukraine but ultimately did after caving in to pressure from both the German political opposition and the “so-called allies from across the ocean.” “I do not know what really goes on in the defense ministry, but I suspect that the military were expecting certain political factions to force through the decision on missile shipments,” he said. “Besides, the French and the British are already sending similar missiles [to Ukraine], so the military likely assumed that Germany would have to do the same. And so they started calculating what would they have to do to make it happen.”

Commenting on the remarks made by the German officers during the conversation about a British and US military presence in Ukraine, Schmidt noted that NATO does wage a war against Russia, just not directly but by using Ukraine as a proxy. “So the presence of [foreign] military personnel there is hardly surprising to anybody, especially when it comes to planning operations, maintaining NATO military hardware and so on,” he said. At the same time, Schmidt pointed out, the powers that be in Western countries keep telling their citizens that there is no NATO military personnel in Ukraine. “They are painting a whole different picture for the common people, even though everyone realizes that there is NATO personnel there, a lot of them, not on the frontline but, shall we say, in the second or third echelon,” he added.

Schmidt also lamented that only the AfD, the German political party he represents, openly declares that a conflict with a nuclear power and the actions of the German government are detrimental to Germany’s security whereas other parties in the country prefer to keep quiet on such matters. “We are being made a target for Russian weapons and this matter must be discussed. The citizens must be informed about how carelessly and irresponsibly politics [in Germany] are being conducted at the expense of our safety,’ he said.

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“..the Germans have decades ahead of them in how be an effective fighting force on the international stage when they are so plagued by rank amateurism..”

Germans Plotting Attack on Russian Infrastructure: A Bridge Too Far (Jay)

When, at the beginning of the Ukraine war Scholz had his “moment” in the German parliament where he announced a new level or military spending many Germans paused and became nervous about the possibility of history repeating itself. But they were not alone. Many Europeans wondered about how wise the move was as it propelled a weak and ineffective coalition government down a dangerous and treacherous path towards exactly the same circumstances which led to the collapse of democracy in the 1930s and the rapid emergence of Hitler and his so-called “socialist” party: nationalism. Also, comical are the number of times these officials talk about the British who they call “the English” and how they consider them to be such important partners in the war against Russia, not only from a strategic standpoint but also a financial one. Roger and Fritz are closer than they’ve ever been.

But the obsession with the Crimean bridge is interesting as the transcripts reveal that it is on the Ukrainian side where the idea to hit it comes. The German airforce senior officials are sceptical about hitting the bridge with sufficient impact to actually destroy it and even less convinced that the Ukrainians can do this on their own. The idea of a French made Rafael jet is suggested for the job, but they believe that it would require 20 Taurus missiles to destroy it to any significant level. What exactly the Russians do while a French fighter jet repeats sortie after sortie dropping its bombs is unclear. There is also the problem of how to deflect attention or finger pointing when the job is done. It’s here where we see that the German air force commanders are woefully ignorant and misinformed about the realities on Russian intelligence.

The Germans actually believe they can protect themselves with a ring of disinformation and amateur distractions – like having their own people, while in Kiev talk with strong American accents while doing the training and logistics right through to insisting that the Ukrainians make a documented approach to the Germans for the equipment and training. As though this would temper the Russians even if they believed it once the bridge is destroyed! We are really in the land of amateur spooking here which leads the reader to believe that the Germans have decades ahead of them in how be an effective fighting force on the international stage when they are so plagued by rank amateurism – the same dismal lack of planning which made them lose the battle of Barbarossa in the second world war.

Planning is a word which comes up in the conversation transcripts a lot as it is an obsession of German public servants, whether they be in the military or work for Deutsche Welle news department – the latter a public funded German propaganda station which is so bad that even Germans gave up watching it years ago, forcing its executives to scrap the German language service. And yet it is the lack of planning, but merely the talk of it, which is the real heart of the problem of German thinking. A Bridge Too Far, in fact.

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Ray McGovern: “If I were Putin, I would have my focus on full alert because one of these acolytes [might] say ‘hey, Mr. Biden… we did the cluster ammo, we did the depleted uranium, who’s going to complain if we do just a mini-nuke?’”

‘Sheer Incompetence and Ignorance’ Led to Plan to Attack Crimean Bridge (Sp.)

On Friday, RT and the Rossiya Segodnya media group (Sputnik’s parent company) Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan published leaked audio of a conversation involving four German senior military officers, including the head of the German Air Force, General Ingo Gerhartz. The audio included operational and targeting details of Taurus missiles even though in public, sending Taurus missiles to Ukraine remains a matter of debate. Significantly, the four officers discussed hitting the Crimean bridge and how to maintain plausible deniability for their involvement in such operations. Ray McGovern, a peace activist and former CIA analyst with over 27 years of experience, told Sputnik’s The Critical Hour that only “sheer incompetence and ignorance” would lead NATO to consider such plans.

McGovern said that the leaked German conversation, which has since been reportedly confirmed as authentic by German officials, reflected comments that former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made during an interview with Western media. “If you want to give the Russians pause, if you want to interrupt that sense of momentum that they have, why not be able to do things like drop the Kerch Strait Bridge? That would have a big impact on the Russians, I think, psychologically as well as militarily,” Gates said during the interview. “Here’s this wise man, Bobby Gates, saying ‘Oh let’s get into World War Three,’” McGovern said. “I mean, if he is speaking for an influential element not only in the White House but also the German Army, my God.”

“It’s just sheer incompetence and ignorance,” McGovern continued later. “He reads the intelligence. Previous presidents and previous CIA directors are given special treatment, they can read the latest and most sensitive intelligence. … The intelligence has been so bad that Bobby Gates could be led to believe this would teach the Russians a lesson.” After noting that Gates wrote in his autobiography that “it has never been on top of [Gates’] job jar to please the Russians,” McGovern warned that “it may not be on top of the jar of people to make Putin or the Russians happy, but my God, they have to recognize that they don’t want to alienate the Russians or make the Russians think that [the West is] so unpredictable that the Russians may have to use this advantage that they have now in strategic weaponry.” Co-host Wilmer Leon asked about comments from US Senator and vice chair of the Intelligence Committee Marco Rubio (R-FL) that Ukraine needs to end in a negotiated settlement. McGovern said he doubted Rubio’s intentions but said the comments were still significant.

“He’s the same guy that voted vociferously to give [$60 billion] more to Ukraine, and of course $14 billion to Israel, X billion to Taiwan and whoever else. So I don’t know. A lot of this is rhetoric now, but it is significant that the rhetoric itself is changing,” McGovern explained. “If they don’t get a negotiated settlement or something they [can] depict as the same, it’s going to be just a disastrous loss.” But anytime a world nuclear power is cornered, it can be extremely dangerous, McGovern warned. “As John Kennedy said in that wonderful American University speech ‘Never give another nuclear power a choice between a humiliating retreat and using nuclear weapons’… Joe Biden is faced with humiliating retreat, he’s got lots at stake here,” McGovern warned. “If I were Putin, I would have my focus on full alert because one of these acolytes [might] say ‘hey, Mr. Biden… we did the cluster ammo, we did the depleted uranium, who’s going to complain if we do just a mini-nuke?’ So that’s the danger here.’”

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Good cop bad cop?

German and French Leaders ‘Don’t Get Along’ – Bloomberg (RT)

The relationship between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron has long been strained, but Macron’s recent refusal to rule out sending troops to Ukraine has driven tensions to boiling point, Bloomberg reported on Friday. The rift between Paris and Berlin was exposed earlier this week when Macron declared that while “there’s no consensus today to send… troops on the ground” to Ukraine, “we cannot exclude anything.” Responding a day later, Scholz told reporters that there will be “no ground troops, no soldiers on Ukrainian soil, who are sent there by European or NATO countries,” and that the alliance’s leaders were “unanimous as far as this question is concerned.”

Macron’s statement was “deliberately ambiguous,” and intended to “create uncertainty in the mind of Russian military planners,” Bloomberg reported, paraphrasing anonymous officials. However, it was made “against the express wishes of Scholz’ office,” the same officials said. In a further dig at the German chancellor, Macron followed up his comment by calling out NATO members who had offered Ukraine nothing but “helmets and sleeping bags” when the conflict with Russia began in February 2022. According to Bloomberg, this was perceived as an insult by the chancellery, considering that Scholz rapidly overcame his initial reluctance to send lethal weapons to Ukraine, with Germany now Kiev’s second-largest provider of military aid. Despite Macron’s apparent willingness to escalate, Germany has sent Ukraine 27 times more bilateral military aid than France (€17.7 billion to €0.64 billion), according to figures from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

“In Berlin,” Bloomberg noted, “Macron is seen as a monarchical figure who is better at issuing grand visions than delivering.” Close aides to Scholz acknowledged to Bloomberg that “the two don’t get along.” On the other hand, “Macron sees Scholz as a leader without courage and ambition who cannot think beyond the short term,” a French official told the American news site. Further evidence of this rift emerged on Monday when Macron announced that he was leading a coalition of states to provide Ukraine with “medium and long-range missiles and bombs” to strike deep into Russian territory. On Thursday, Scholz said that he was reluctant to send long-range Taurus cruise missiles to Kiev, as they could potentially be used to strike Moscow.

Scholz also angered British and French officials earlier in the week when he said that British Storm Shadow and French SCALP-EG cruise missiles – which are already being used by Ukraine and are roughly equivalent to the Taurus – required British and French crews to operate, a statement implying that both countries already had military personnel on the ground in Ukraine.. In his annual state-of-the-nation address on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Western leaders toying with the idea of intervening in Ukraine “have already forgotten what war is.” Russia, he said, has a massive nuclear arsenal, and therefore “the consequences for potential invaders would be far more tragic” than in bygone eras.

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“The Western defense base is pathetic and you’re not going to out-conventional war the Russian bear..”

Erik Prince Calls For ‘Ugly Peace’ In Ukraine (RT)

The West should pull the plug on the Ukraine conflict as soon as possible because it will not be able to outperform Russia’s defense industry, Erik Prince, founder of the American private military company Blackwater has said. Speaking to the podcast PBD on Friday, Prince, who served as the CEO of the mercenary group until 2009 and now heads Frontier Resource Group, a private equity fund, expressed doubts about whether Kiev and its Western backers could prevail in the conflict with Russia, which has just entered its third year. “We need to bring this war to a close because all Ukraine is doing right now is destroying itself demographically,” he said, adding that hostilities are “chewing up the next generation of Ukrainian manpower,” which will be almost impossible to replace. “The Western defense base is pathetic and you’re not going to out-conventional war the Russian bear,” Prince argued.

According to the former US Navy SEAL, in this light, the “ugly peace” and a freeze in hostilities would be a better option both for Kiev and its Western supporters than “whatever their idea of an ideal war is,” adding “let them [Russia] keep Crimea, Donetsk, Lugansk. Whatever.” The majority Russian-speaking Autonomous Republic of Crimea and city of Sevastopol voted overwhelmingly to become part of Russia in a 2014 referendum after a Western-backed coup in Kiev. Donetsk and Lugansk, regions which had declared independence from Ukraine, followed suit in September, 2022 after the start of the current conflict. However, Prince did not mention Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, which also held successful referendums to join Russia in the fall of 2022. “It’s not the American taxpayer’s obligation to spend another hundred billion in Ukraine when there’s been significant corruption and really nothing to show for it,” he added.

Meanwhile, Tesla and Space X CEO Elon Musk appeared to agree with Prince. Commenting on the Blackwater CEO’s quotes, which were cited by American investor David Sacks, he wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “Unfortunately, that is true.” Russia maintains it is open to talks on Ukraine; however, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree banning talks with the current leadership in Moscow after the referendums in Kiev’s four former regions, which it immediately condemned as illegitimate. At the same time, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last year that Moscow is opposed to a freeze in the Ukraine conflict, saying that it will not stop until its goals are accomplished and national interests protected by military or other means. Russia has repeatedly said that its main goals are to “denazify” and “demilitarize” Ukraine.

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Next up: food rationing?!

German Healthcare System Should Prepare For War – Minister (RT)

Germany must improve its healthcare system to be able to swiftly respond to crisis situations, such as a new pandemic or a military conflict, Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has said. Legislation for reforms expected to be presented this summer will be “a turning point for the healthcare system,” the Social Democratic Party (SPD) politician told the newspaper Neue Osnabrucker Zeitung in an interview published on Saturday. Though the ruling ‘traffic light coalition’ has already pushed for reforms following the Covid-19 pandemic, the health minister said that with the Ukraine conflict, the challenges have become even more important. “In the event of a crisis, every doctor, every hospital, every health authority must know what to do. We need clear responsibilities – for example, for the distribution of a high number of injured people among the clinics in Germany,” Lauterbach explained.

The minister said hospitals must also conduct drills to practice their response to disasters, dismissing accusations of scaremongering by arguing that “doing nothing is not an option.” “It would be silly to say we are not preparing for a military conflict and then it won’t come. According to this logic, there would be no need for a Bundeswehr,” he said. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius stated last November that the country must become “war-capable,” and insisted again in January that Berlin and all of NATO should arm itself more actively to be able to “wage a war that is forced upon us.”

Last month, Bundeswehr General Carsten Breuer called for a “change in mentality” in German society, insisting that the nation needs to build credible “deterrence” to prepare for a potential war with Russia within five years. Commenting on claims that Russia could be planning an attack on Germany or any other NATO state, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in January that EU officials were “inventing an external enemy” to divert attention away from domestic problems. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that “no one wants a big war,” especially Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed the claims as “complete nonsense,” insisting that Moscow has “no geopolitical, economic… or military interest” in starting a conflict with NATO.

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“..Germans might rally round the flag, or they might openly rebel against an already deeply unpopular government..”

The West Can’t Be Trusted To Observe Its Own ‘Red Lines’ In Ukraine (Amar)

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have disagreed publicly over how to support Ukraine – which has been ruthlessly deployed by the West as a geopolitical proxy – in its conflict with Russia. Macron used a special EU meeting he had convened, rumor has it directly inspired by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, to state, in effect, that sending Western combat troops into Ukraine was an option. Of course, the West already has troops on the ground, including those flimsily camouflaged as volunteers and mercenaries, or otherwise participating in the conflict (for instance by planning and targeting), as a recent leak of US documents has confirmed. But an open intervention by ground forces would be a severe escalation, directly pitting Russia and NATO against each other, as Moscow has quickly pointed out, and making nuclear escalation a real possibility.

Russia has deliberately tolerated a certain degree of Western intervention, for its own pragmatic reasons: In essence, it seeks to win the war in Ukraine, while avoiding an open conflict with NATO. It is willing to pay the price of having to deal with some de facto Western military meddling, as long as it is confident it can defeat it on the Ukrainian battlefield. Indeed, the strategy has the added advantage that the West is bleeding its own resources, while the Russian military is receiving excellent hands-on training in how to neutralize Western hardware, including much-touted “miracle weapons.” You do not have to believe Moscow’s words, but simply consult elementary logic to understand that there is an equally hard-headed limit to this kind of calculated tolerance. If the Russian leadership were to conclude that Western military forces in Ukraine were endangering its objectives (instead of merely making achieving them harder), it would raise the price for certain Western countries. (Selective treatment would be adopted to put under stress – quite possibly to breaking point – Western cohesion.)

Consider Germany, for instance: Berlin is by far Ukraine’s biggest bilateral financial supporter among EU states (at least in terms of commitments). Yet militarily, for now, Russia has been content with, in essence, shredding German Leopard tanks as they arrive on the battlefield. And, in a sense, punishing Germany’s meddling can safely be left to its own government: the country has already taken massive hits to its economy and international standing. But if Berlin were to go even further, Moscow’s calculations would change. In that case, as little as German mass media allow German citizens to think about it, a “sobering” (to use a term from Russian doctrine) strike – initially probably non-nuclear – on German forces and territory is possible. The domestic consequences of such an attack are unpredictable. Germans might rally round the flag, or they might openly rebel against an already deeply unpopular government that has been sacrificing the national interest with unprecedented bluntness to Washington’s geopolitics.

If you think the above sounds a little far-fetched, I know of someone who clearly does not share your complacency: the German chancellor. Stung by Macron’s provocation, Scholz countered with telling alacrity. Within 24 hours after the surprise French move, he publicly ruled out the sending of “ground troops” by “European nations or NATO nations,” underlining that that this red line has always been agreed on. In addition, the chancellor also chose exactly this moment to reaffirm that Germany will not deliver its Taurus cruise missiles to Kiev, as escalation that proponents have long demanded, including inside Germany. With, according to Scholz, the capability of striking Moscow, Berlin’s missiles in Ukrainian hands and Macron’s hypothetical ground forces have one thing in common: they come with a serious risk of spreading direct fighting beyond Ukraine, in particular to Western Europe and Germany.

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“..in addition to Russia, he will visit the EU headquarters, Poland, Ukraine, Germany and France..”

Settlement In Ukraine Impossible Without Moscow – China (TASS)

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin and Special Representative of the Chinese Government on Eurasian Affairs Li Hui during a meeting in Moscow stated that any discussion of the settlement in Ukraine is impossible without Russia’s participation and taking into account its security interests, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “An engaged and detailed exchange of opinions on the Ukrainian crisis took place. It was stated that any discussion of the political and diplomatic settlement is impossible without Russia’s participation and consideration of its interests in the security sphere,” the foreign policy agency said.

“That said, it was noted that ultimatums to Russia promoted by Kiev and the West and related dialogue formats only harm the prospects of any settlement and cannot serve as its basis,” the ministry stressed. The meeting was held in a traditionally friendly and trusting atmosphere, typical of Russian-Chinese relations, the agency added. On March 2, Li launched his second tour aiming to seek ways to settle the Ukrainian conflict. It is expected that, in addition to Russia, he will visit the EU headquarters, Poland, Ukraine, Germany and France. The previous tour took place in May 2023.

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Tolerance for body bags is not high in Israel.

Heavy Losses Inflict ‘Dramatic Manpower Crisis’ On Israel (Cradle)

The Israeli military is demanding an addition of at least 7,000 soldiers to its forces due to a serious manpower crisis. The 7,000 are needed on top of the soldiers already enlisting, the Israeli army said on 1 March. “The army requires standards for another 7,500 officers and noncommissioned officers, while the Treasury currently approves only 2,500. These are unprecedented numbers, which indicate the shock that befell the IDF following almost 150 days of fighting, which began with heavy losses on 7 October,” Hebrew news site Ynet reported, citing the army’s General Staff. “The army is compiling the data that will explain how dramatic the manpower problem is,” it added. Just one day ago, Israel’s Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, called to end draft exemptions for members of the ultra-Orthodox community. Gallant said he would only support legislation allowing for continued exemptions if all members of the ruling coalition backed it.

The minister asserted that “all parts of society” must “bear the burden” of service. Gallant’s position could result in tension with ultra-Orthodox parties in the coalition, viewed as integral to the current government’s survival, according to Hebrew media. However, the army’s demand for a boost in manpower “has nothing to do with politics or the demand for equal burden: The situation is simply not good and does not match the threat map,” Ynet wrote. Israel is taking severe losses in its genocidal war in Gaza and its attempt to eradicate the Palestinian resistance. While Israel claims that Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah is the final Hamas stronghold, the group’s military wing, along with several other factions, continue to fiercely confront Israeli troops across the strip.

A source from within the resistance told Al-Mayadeen on Thursday that the Israeli army has been forced out of Gaza City’s Al-Zaytoun neighborhood, where it had been operating over the past eleven days in an attempt to clear out Hamas fighters. The source added that the neighborhood is a “graveyard” for Merkava tanks, and the “bloodied and torn” uniforms of Israeli soldiers are spread out across the battlefield. Clashes between the resistance and the army continued to rage on 1 March in several areas of Gaza, including the southern city of Khan Yunis and the Jabalia area in the northern strip.

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“..a Republican event on Sunday in the District of Columbia (they have Republicans?)..”

Trump Trounces Haley In Idaho, Missouri, And Michigan (ZH)

Donald Trump dominated in Saturday’s primary races, inning caucuses in Idaho and Missouri – while sweeping the delegate haul at a Michigan party convention. The former president earned every delegate at stake on Saturday, bringing his overall count to 244 vs. Nikki Haley’s 24. To secure the Republican nomination, Trump will need 1,215 delegates in total. In Michigan, Trump won all 39 delegates at the Republican convention in Grand Rapids, after winning the state’s primary on Tuesday with 68% of the vote vs. Haley’s 27%. In Missouri, Trump won 51 delegates. Things went particularly not well for Haley at one point: “The steep odds facing Haley were on display in Columbia, Missouri, where Republicans gathered at a church to caucus. Seth Christensen stood on stage and called on them to vote for Haley. He wasn’t well received. Another caucusgoer shouted out from the audience: “Are you a Republican?” An organizer quieted the crowd and Christensen finished his speech. Haley went on to win just 37 of the 263 Republicans in attendance in Boone County.” -AP.

Earlier in the day, Missouri Trump supporters inside a church in Columbia linked up to appeal for the former president. “Every 100 days, we’re spending $1 trillion, with money going all over the world. Illegals are running across the border,” said Tom Mendenall, an elector for Trump in 2016 and 2020. “You know where Donald Trump stands on a lot of these issues.” And in Iowa, Trump won 32 delegates, once again smoking Haley. Next on deck is a Republican event on Sunday in the District of Columbia (they have Republicans?), followed by Super Tuesday two days later, when 16 states will hold primaries – and the date Haley suggested she’d be dropping out if things don’t start going her way. This is going to be fun, no? From tonight’s speech in Virginia:

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Once the main Jan. 6 story.

The Pipe Bombs Before Jan. 6: Capital Mystery That Doesn’t Add Up (Julie Kelly)

The now defunct Select Committee to Investigate the Attack on the U.S. Capitol barely mentioned the pipe bomb threat in its final report; the committee did not include video of the incident or the suspect during any televised hearings. This strikes some observers as odd for two reasons: The pipe bombs seemed to offer the strongest evidence for the Committee’s case that Jan. 6 was an act of domestic terrorism, and the direct threat to the life of the vice president, who was at the DNC for nearly two hours as the device sat undetected outside the building. The major news organizations that initially devoted significant space to promote the idea that a supporter of Donald Trump tried to blow up buildings near the Capitol on Jan. 6 have also lost interest in the case. But a handful of outlets led by Revolver News stayed on the story. And the same media once fixated on the pipe bomber now considers poking holes in the government’s official story little more than right-wing conspiracy-mongering.

The government’s seeming ineffectiveness, however, and lack of forthrightness regarding an allegedly deadly plot filled with unanswered questions has also created a wellspring of distrust. The presence of bombs in the nation’s capital as the joint session of Congress convened to debate the outcome of the Electoral College vote animated the notion that Jan. 6 represented an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated by Trump supporters. Reports that two explosives were found just blocks from the U.S. Capitol initiated the first wave of panic that accelerated throughout the afternoon. It began when a 37-year-old woman from Madison, Wisc., named Karlin Younger, who said she was walking to do her laundry near the RNC, discovered a device in an alley around 12:40 p.m. Although it is not clear whether the Jan. 6 committee interviewed Younger – her name does not appear in its final report – she gave numerous media interviews in the weeks and months following Jan. 6.

In November 2021, Younger told Business Insider, “When I cast my eyes down, I just saw something kind of metallic, and it was just a very passing glimpse, and all I thought is someone must have missed the recycling bin. And I was going to recycle it, because I’m about that life. I just looked, and it was so completely unbelievable. You’re not on high alert. You don’t think you’re under attack. I’m not in Iraq. This is Capitol Hill.” She beckoned an RNC security guard whose name has not been made public to confirm her suspicions. “Holy shit, it’s a bomb!” Younger said he exclaimed. The FBI interviewed Younger a few days later after she contacted the bureau’s Jan. 6 tip line. But it doesn’t appear she was interviewed again by the FBI.

The FBI official leading the investigation, Washington FBI Field Office assistant director in charge Steven D’Antuono, told House Republicans he did not “recall” who discovered the device. Had the FBI come knocking again, Younger certainly would have consented to another interview. At the time, Younger worked for a public-private partnership called FirstNet, which provides interoperable broadband for first responders across the country. The month before Jan. 6, the FBI awarded a $92 million grant to FirstNet. Authorities quickly dispatched officers to the DNC located a few blocks away. A similar device reportedly was found on the ground between two benches outside one of the building’s entrances at 1:07 pm.

In response, police immediately evacuated a few congressional buildings including the nearby Cannon House Office building. “I just had to evacuate my office because of a pipe bomb reported outside,” Virginia Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria tweeted at 1:46 p.m. “Supporters of the President are trying to force their way into the Capitol and I can hear what sounds like multiple gunshots. I don’t recognize our country today and the members of Congress who have supported this anarchy do not deserve to represent their fellow Americans.” The Capitol Police stated on Jan. 7 that both devices, which it said were “hazardous and could cause great harm to public safety,” were “disabled and turned over to the FBI for further investigation and analysis.”

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Please don’t miss. Ron Johnson was slow out of the blocks, but he’s become a solid Covid voice. The only one in DC.

“..in 2022, he decided to postpone his retirement to go through a grueling re-election campaign so there would be someone in the government who could advocate for everyone whose lives had been ruined by the COVID vaccines.”

Federal Health Agencies and the COVID Cartel: What Are They Hiding? (AMD)

Ron Johnson has gradually become one of my favorite senators in American history. In 2020, he repeatedly advocated for early COVID-19 treatments to be made available to Americans (which had they been made available would have ended the pandemic). Throughout 2021, he spoke out against the vaccine mandates and in November hosted a panel at the Senate which scrutinized the federal vaccine mandates and exposed how poorly those who experienced severe COVID-19 vaccine injuries were being treated. In January 2022, he hosted a panel which scrutinized the entire COVID-19 response, and in December of 2022, he hosted a panel focusing on everything we now know about the vaccines. Being one of the most outspoken critics of the vaccination program in American history got him a lot of pushback, and in 2022, he decided to postpone his retirement to go through a grueling re-election campaign so there would be someone in the government who could advocate for everyone whose lives had been ruined by the COVID vaccines.[..]

Since the entire panel was 4 hours long, I recognize that many of you will not be able to watch all of it. For that reason, I tried to highlight what I felt were it’s most important parts. First, in Johnson’s opening statement, he discusses just how hard it has been over the last three years to get any of the information his office is legally entitled to from the government. For example with (Fauci’s) NIH: “We are down to the last 50 pages [of the 4000 he originally requested]. They will not release these. It’s been now going close to 2 years. This is what has been provided to us. Do you think there might be some incriminating information in this?” Likewise, these agencies have completely brushed off all evidence something is wrong. For example, with the NIH: Just like former NIH director Francis Collins Collins told me when I asked about all the deaths being reported on VAERS, [he said], “Senator, people die.” The fact that both of these statements are as true as they are callous highlights the challenge we face in exposing the truth.

While with the FDA: “I’ve written 4 [letters on hot-lots] starting in December of 2021. The first letter compared 25,000 lots of COVID vaccine to 22,000 lots of flu vaccine. One COVID lot had 5,297 adverse reactions associated with it. The worst flu lot had a 137. So 5,300 versus 137. 365 COVID lots had more than 100 adverse events. Only 10 flu lots had more than 100. And 80% of the serious adverse events, those with emergency room visits, hospitalization, or death were associated with only 5% of the lots. So, again, to me, I’m from manufacturing. That shows to me a manufacturing process out of control. [It] took us a year to get some kind of response and, basically, response from the agencies was, “we don’t see any variation in lots.” Johnson then illustrates how the current political climate has undermined everything science once stood for:

“Vaccine injuries are rare.” “The benefits outweigh the risk and that the science is clear and overwhelming.” “And anyone challenging this narrative is an is an anti science conspiracy theorist.” In other words, second opinions are not allowed. To me, this attitude is the antithesis of science. I am amazed at the knowledge mankind has obtained over the millennia. But I would argue that what we don’t know vastly exceeds what we do know. So as we pursue truth, we must pursue it with the humility that that reality demands.” Johnson’s opening statement was then followed by Robert Malone: “I’ll be succinct. The SARS CoV 2 modified mRNA based vaccine products were deployed via emergency use authorization without adequate nonclinical and clinical testing and without full disclosure of known patient risk and efficacy data. This violated well established legislatively mandated patient informed consent requirements. The FDA and HHS justified these actions as necessary due to reliance on deeply flawed modeling data indicating that SARS CoV 2 was associated with an infection fatality rate of 3.4%.”

Note: the IFR was subsequently shown to average between 0.018%-0.03% for everyone under 60 and was approximately 0.506% for those between 60-69 years of age. Subsequent clinical research experience has revealed a number of problems with the genetic vaccine technology based SARS COV 2 products, which have been marketed as vaccines. In most cases, there has been an effort to obscure or deny facts in public communication by government and pharmaceutical industry representatives. Malone then listed the key issues with the vaccines, to which Johnson replied: Doctor Malone, I think one of the things that always bothers me is [that] so much of what we’re learning in terms of harms of these vaccine was clearly known before they were rolled out.

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Could it be this simple?

 

 

Harder/Smarter

 

 

 

 

Choke a horse
https://twitter.com/i/status/1763844457420509217

 

 

Good child

 

 

Yanis

 

 

 

 

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