Jun 132024
 
 June 13, 2024  Posted by at 9:15 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  56 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Courtesan (after Eisen) 1887

 

Biden’s Problems Are the Real Threats (Newt Gingrich)
“Pelosi SHOULD Take Responsibility!”: J6 Capitol Police Chief (ZH)
Maddow Says She’s Worried Trump Will Put Her In A Concentration Camp (MN)
Alito Exposed as ‘Crusader for Christian Nationalism’ (CD)
Hunter Biden’s Conviction on Gun Charges Is a Red Herring (Paul Craig Roberts)
Hunter Comes Up A Donut Short of a Defense in Delaware (Turley)
Did the Defense Make Prison More Likely for Hunter? (Turley)
Ukraine Must ‘Prevail’ To Join NATO – Stoltenberg (RT)
House Moves To Defund Ukrainian NGO That Issued ‘Enemies List’ (ZH)
The Summer of Living Dangerously (Pepe Escobar)
A New (and Fairer) Nuremberg (SCF)
Cuomo Blames COVID-19 Nursing Home Order on Unknown Staffer (ET)
Musk Drops Case Against OpenAI (RT)
The Absence — and Presence — of Daniel Ellsberg (Solomon)
The Destruction of Julian Assange (Jacob G. Hornberger)

 

 

 

 

Irreparable harm

 

 

Trump Biden

 

 

Comer

 

 

Benz

 

 

Bidenpromo

 

 

NapRitter

 

 

 

 

“The 2024 election isn’t about what the establishment media thinks. It’s about America’s survival.”

Biden’s Problems Are the Real Threats (Newt Gingrich)

Democratic analysts don’t seem to understand why the all-out legal assault on President Donald Trump isn’t working. It’s because they keep talking among themselves and not with the American people. The American people don’t live and work in the New York-Washington political-media-government bubble. If reporters and analysts listened to Americans, as we do at America’s New Majority Project, they would learn how decisive the choice between President Joe Biden or President Trump is. They would also see how difficult, if not impossible, it will be for President Biden to get easily re-elected. The propaganda media is trying to focus the election on what it sees as President Trump’s flaws. The Democrats, including the Biden campaign, are trying to focus the election on what they see as the threat President Trump represents.

But the 2024 election is ultimately going to come down to a simple question: Can the American people afford four more years of Biden’s policies and principles? President Trump’s problems all involve his own alleged behavior and activities. Even the totally phony legal attacks remain locked into a Trump-centered issue. No American is hurt by the things President Trump has supposedly done. Indeed, few Americans pay any attention to the outlandish, manipulated legal attacks on President Trump. Most Americans see the case against Trump as political lawfare. If anything, they are offended by the left’s assault on the rule of law and the Constitution. This is why the conviction in the so-called hush money trial led to an enormous surge of contributions to Trump’s campaign. Far from running away from President Trump, the American people found themselves running to defend him. They saw him as a champion being persecuted unfairly and took the conviction as a direct warning of what could happen to them.

By contrast, President Biden’s problems all impact everyday Americans. Bidenflation continues to drive already high prices higher. Child care costs increased 4.1 percent in the last year. Young parents are having to take on third and fourth jobs just to break even on costs. Grocery prices are forcing Americans to make tough decisions about how to feed their families. Young people can’t afford to buy houses – which is more than offsetting any good will Biden might have generated by (illegally) waiving student loan repayments. President Biden’s policies are causing millions of Americans real pain. Biden’s open border policy allows Venezuelan criminals to go to New York City and murder policemen. Biden’s open border policy allows fentanyl and other drugs to flood our country and poison our communities. When more than 100,000 Americans a year are dying from drug overdoses, it is hard to worry about how Trump valued his apartment or paid his attorney.

The average American can’t afford groceries, gasoline, or the electricity bill thanks to Bidenflation. Democrats want Americans to focus on these legal attacks. But Americans are focused on their own survival in the terrible economy President Biden and Democrats created. For the elite establishment Democrats, this is all still about politics. For the American people, it’s about survival. Economically, Biden’s destructive policies make life more expensive. Culturally, people are sick of radical dictates which denigrate religious liberty and seek to indoctrinate children against the will of their parents. Finally, as a matter of safety, Americans realize that Biden does not have the knowledge, ability, or wits to defend our nation against our adversaries. The 2024 election isn’t about what the establishment media thinks. It’s about America’s survival.

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“..the National Guard didn’t show up until 6 p.m., hours after the fatal shooting of Babbitt.. He also claimed that the Pentagon deployed resources to the homes of generals, but not the Capitol.”

“Pelosi SHOULD Take Responsibility!”: J6 Capitol Police Chief (ZH)

Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund responded to a viral video of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) admitting that she was responsible for the lack of preparedness on Jan. 6, 2021. “Pelosi should take responsibility!” Sund posted on X, adding “She put herself in the security decision process and her Sergeant at Arms denied my requests for support before and during the Jan. 6 chaos. She undermined my law enforcement capabilities.” Sund, who was in charge of the Capitol Police during Jan. 6, then asked “Why did they change the law (2US1970) that tied my hands?” On Monday, the House Oversight Committee posted footage of Pelosi admitting “I take responsibility” for the lack of security on Jan. 6. The video shows Pelosi in an exchange with Chief of Staff Terri McCullough on the evacuation. Pelosi states:

“We have responsibility, Terri. We did not have any accountability for what was going on there. And we should have. This is ridiculous.You’re going to ask me in the middle of the thing when they’ve already breached…that, should we call the Capitol Police? I mean the National Guard? Why weren’t the National Guard there to begin with? …They clearly didn’t know, and I take responsibility for not having them just prepared for more.” In February of last year, Sund told journalist Tucker Carlson that Jan. 6 was a “setup” – noting that Pelosi’s staff refused to authorize the deployment of the National Guard at the Capitol despite his pleas, and that federal agencies withheld information and warning signs of potential dangers prior to the riot. “It doesn’t seem like people really want to get to the bottom of it,” said Sund, adding “It really doesn’t. And it just gets worse. It gets worse from there.”

“Sund got approval to bring in the National Guard at 2:09 p.m. Before his approval, he alleged that he begged several generals, including General Michael Flynn, to bring the National Guard. The officials told Sund they did “not like the optics of the National Guard” as he allegedly begged for their assistance to intervene in the violence.” -Daily Caller. “This sounds like a set up to me,” Carlson said, adding “I’m sorry, it does.” To which Sund replied: “It gets better. So I beg and beg and he goes ‘well, I’m gonna walk down the hall and we’ll talk to the Secretary of Defense or whoever he’s gonna talk to. Right then I get a notification, oh, I’m still on the call, we have the shooting of Ashli Babbitt. And I said we have shots firing, I still remember yelling over the phone. We have shots firing on the U.S. Capitol, is that urgent enough for you now?” According to Sund, the National Guard didn’t show up until 6 p.m., hours after the fatal shooting of Babbitt. He also claimed that the Pentagon deployed resources to the homes of generals, but not the Capitol.

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“These people are completely ideologically captured and sound totally unhinged. They’re also psychologically projecting exactly what Democrats are trying to do to Trump on to him..”

Maddow Says She’s Worried Trump Will Put Her In A Concentration Camp (MN)

MSNBC performative hack Rachel Maddow has declared that she is worried that if Donald Trump becomes the president again he’s going to round her up and throw her in a concentration camp with all her leftist friends. Yes, really. Maddow teamed up with CNN’s resident mole man and former Brain Stelter acolyte Oliver Darcy for a super best friends ‘we hate Trump’ interview in which she made the comments. Darcy told Maddow, “Trump and his allies are openly talking about weaponizing the government to seek revenge against critics in media and politics, with some of his extremist allies even talking about jailing their fellow Americans,” further asking “You’re one of his most notable critics on television. Are you worried that you could be a target?” Maddow replied “I’m worried about the country broadly if we put someone in power who is openly avowing that he plans to build camps to hold millions of people, and to ‘root out’ what he’s described in subhuman terms as his ‘enemy from within.’”

“Again, history is helpful here. He’s not joking when he says this stuff, and we’ve seen what happens when people take power proclaiming that kind of agenda,” Maddow further declared.She continued, “I think there’s a little bit of head-in-the-sand complacency that Trump only intends to go after individual people he has already singled out. Do you really think he plans to stop at well-known liberals?” “When Trump invokes the Insurrection Act to deploy the U.S. military against civilians on his first day in office, do you think he then rescinds the order on day two?” the paranoid host added. “For that matter, what convinces you that these massive camps he’s planning are only for migrants? So, yes, I’m worried about me — but only as much as I’m worried about all of us,” Maddow concluded. This is the person who for four years got on TV every day and claimed Trump is secretly a Russian agent.

She has previously stated that if Trump wins he will try to remain president for life and cancel all future elections. These people are completely ideologically captured and sound totally unhinged. They’re also psychologically projecting exactly what Democrats are trying to do to Trump on to him.

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And if going after Trump doesn’t do the trick, they’ll target the Supreme Court.

Alito Exposed as ‘Crusader for Christian Nationalism’ (CD)

Judicial reform advocates on Monday demanded that the U.S. Senate take decisive action to hold Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito accountable for his clear display of bias and conflicts of interest, after a documentary filmmaker released audio clips she had recorded of the justice discussing ideological battles in the U.S. he said “can’t be compromised.” Shared exclusively with Rolling Stone, tapes recorded by filmmaker Lauren Windsor at the Supreme Court Historical Society’s annual dinner on June 3 include comments from Alito about the need to return the country to “a place of godliness” and suggesting that he sympathizes with right-wing activists who believe they can’t “negotiate with the left.” Windsor attended the annual dinner, which is frequented by right-wing activists who are able to interact with the justices at the event, using her real name and as a dues-paying member of the society, which costs $150 per year to join.

The liberal filmmaker asked questions of Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts “as though she were a religious conservative,” Rolling Stone reported. Alito replied, “I agree with you,” when Windsor said people who are conservative Christians need “to return our country to a place of godliness.” He said Windsor was “probably right” when she said, “I don’t know that we can negotiate with the left in the way that needs to happen for the polarization to end. I think that it’s a matter of, like, winning.” “One side or the other is going to win,” agreed the justice. “I mean, there can be a way of working—a way of living together peacefully, but it’s difficult, you know, because there are differences on fundamental things that really can’t be compromised. It’s not like you can split the difference.” In her response, Sarah Lipton-Lubet, president for the Take Back the Court Action Fund, referred to the display of an upside-down American flag at Alito’s house in early 2021—which the justice said was an action taken solely by his wife.

“Justice Alito can hardly blame his wife this time,” said Lipton-Lubet. “In case it wasn’t glaringly obvious to anyone paying attention, Alito is now on tape declaring himself a political crusader for Christian nationalism.” Progressives including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) have demanded in recent weeks that the Senate Judiciary Committee open a formal investigation into the display of the upside-down flag and another flag that read, “Appeal to Heaven”—both symbols that have been embraced by the “Stop the Steal” movement that’s baselessly claimed President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory was “stolen” from former President Donald Trump. Advocates have said the Alito family’s embrace of the symbols is grounds for Alito’s recusal from cases involving the 2020 election and Trump, and Judiciary Committee leaders last month called on Roberts to back the demand—but Alito wrote to the Senate and the House on May 29, saying he would not recuse.

Alito has also been rebuked by progressives following reporting by ProPublica last year that showed he and fellow right-wing Justice Clarence Thomas both accepted luxury travel and other gifts from conservative groups and operatives who had business before the court. Now that Alito has been heard aligning himself with right-wing zealots who aim to “return” the U.S. to “godliness,” Lipton-Lubet said, Democratic leaders must take further action against the justice. “If the sheer brazenness of his comments doesn’t spur Democratic senators to do something besides jot off a sternly worded letter, it’s hard to imagine what will,” she said.= As the story broke on Monday, more than 60 civil society groups joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights wrote to the Judiciary Committee, reiterating the need for an urgent investigation into Alito’s various ties to right-wing groups and interests.

“Given Justice Alito’s dismissive and combative response and his refusal to recuse, as well as Justice Thomas’ ongoing ethics failures, further action is needed to protect our democracy, prevent future violations of this nature, and restore public confidence in the judiciary,” the groups wrote. “These abuses of power, left unchecked, have already become more frequent and more severe, further corroding the public’s faith in our judicial system and weakening our democracy.”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1800868363121447094

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“Founding Father Thomas Jefferson said that periodically the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants.”

Hunter Biden’s Conviction on Gun Charges Is a Red Herring (Paul Craig Roberts)

We now have matching news from the opposing camp. Just as Trump is the first US President to be convicted by a jury, Hunter Biden is the first son of a sitting president to be convicted of a federal felony. This conviction of Hunter Biden leaves me unsettled, as does his likely pending conviction for federal income tax evasion. The real issue is the information on Hunter Biden’s laptop that the FBI was able for awhile to suppress and brand as “Russian disinformation.” This is under US law obstruction of Justice by the FBI. All responsible should, if US law is still enforceable, be arrested, indicted, and prosecuted. It would be justice to see the FBI in the dock after all the innocent people the corrupt organization has put there.

The laptop information is the real issue. It shows that the Bidens are a crime family and that Hunter was marketing abroad his father’s influence as Vice President and as President. It seems clear that Biden senior, “the Big Guy,” received payments from the influence peddling. Yet, not only did the corrupt FBI and whore media cover this up, the Justice (sic) Department directed attention away from the major crime by focusing the prosecution on minor issues. Hunter is convicted of lying on his handgun purchase statement by hiding the fact that he was a drug user, and Hunter most likely will be convicted of income tax evasion as he and his accountants could not report income from influence peddling without launching a federal case that would cast a net over father Biden.

MAGA Republicans are delighted with the verdict as it spreads the criminal accusation into the Democrat camp. MAGA Republicans do not realize that they are being manipulated and diverted from the main issue into a subsidiary issue. Decades ago the Nobel prize-winning economist George Stigler pointed out that government is a private, not public, organization. Political campaign contributions purchase Congressional votes for special interest enrichment, and federal regulatory agencies are captured by the private industries that they are suppose to regulate, thereby serving private and not public interests. Fauci at NIH, for example, served the profits of Big Pharma’s Covid “vaccine” at the expense of the lives and health of millions of people.

Today all sorts of American politicians are serving Israel’s interest at the expense of Palestinian lives and the honor and integrity of the US government. The same politicians are serving the profits of the military/security complex by widening the conflict in Ukraine and fomenting war with Russia, Iran, and China that could easily end in the extinction of life on earth. There is no doubt that Stigler was right. I watched and experiences it during my quarter century in Washington. The public’s interest never enters into Washington’s concern. There is no such thing as the “public interest.” In the Western world government is merely a tool of the greed of private interests. Voting cannot overturn this high level of corruption. Founding Father Thomas Jefferson said that periodically the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of tyrants. It remains to be seen if Americans are up to the task of preserving liberty.

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“..a deal that would have avoided any jail time and would have given Hunter an immunity bath that would have drowned the entire criminal code..”

Hunter Comes Up A Donut Short of a Defense in Delaware (Turley)

The conviction of Hunter Biden on all of the federal gun counts created a surprising new precedent in Delaware … for Hunter Biden. In terms of the law, this was the easiest judgment since the Jussie Smollett verdict. (Actually the Biden jury took a third of the time with a verdict in just three hours.) For Hunter Biden, though, this was the first time he’s ever been held accountable for any criminal conduct, be it drug use, or prostitution, or tax evasion, or violations of various federal laws. To have that moment come in the hometown of the Bidens likely only magnified the shock. Last year, I described the growing legal problems of Hunter Biden as the cost of “legal gluttony.” The Bidens have always been adept at avoiding accountability, particularly for the extensive influence-peddling operation that raked in millions in foreign payments.

That appetite for special treatment proved the undoing of Hunter, much like his appetite in other areas of his life. Hunter and his team expected the same level of immunity when he worked with special counsel David Weiss to cut an astonishing deal to avoid any real punishment for these or other crimes. Even before the deal was cut, Weiss allowed major crimes to expire under the statute of limitations (despite having an agreement to extend that period).= He also agreed to a deal that would have avoided any jail time and would have given Hunter an immunity bath that would have drowned the entire criminal code. Hunter and his legal team succeeded in securing this sweetheart deal, which shocked many of us.

More importantly, it shocked US District Judge Maryellen Noreika, who only had to question the immunity provision to have the entire agreement fall apart in open court. The prosecutor admitted that he had never seen a plea bargain like this in his long career. That’s when the legal gluttony became even more pronounced. Rather than fight to preserve key elements of the plea agreement, defense counsel said, “Just rip it up.” Later, the special counsel said the Hunter defense team would not agree to a compromise agreement and instead forced the matter to trial. I wrote before the trial that the defense was insane to try the case rather than plead guilty. A plea would have virtually guaranteed that there would be no jail time in the case.

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“Given the calculation for the three felonies, the defense had to know that they were increasing the chances of prison time by pursuing a nullification defense..”

Did the Defense Make Prison More Likely for Hunter? (Turley)

For months, I have been expressing disbelief that Hunter Biden and his defense team were going to take the gun case to trial. Even on the eve of the trial, I thought that the defense might snap into sanity and plead out the case. The reason was simple. A guilty plea would have materially improved the chances that Hunter could get probation and avoid jail by accepting responsibility. Conversely, a trial in a case with overwhelming evidence of guilt would make it less likely that a judge would depart from the guidelines at sentencing. Nevertheless, Hunter went forward with a nullification strategy and, in so doing, it may have nullified his best chance to reduce the risk of jail time. After the verdict, I have been stating that jail time is a real possibility in this case despite the fact that this is a first offender. Frankly, I do not see any real need for incarceration in this type of case and many judges would be likely tempted to grant “downward departures” in sentencing or disregard any recommended prison sentence.

It is also important to note that, after the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Booker, sentencing guidelines are discretionary. Judge Maryellen Noreika could sentence him to probation in light of his struggle with his addiction and his status as a first offender (as well as the absence of other aggravating factors). Yet, while many view this as a relatively minor offense, the sentencing guidelines do not. Judges regularly sentence people to prison for these offenses. The sentencing guidelines put the recommendation at 15 to 21 months in prison. Moreover, over 90 percent of those convicted are sentenced to prison time. The chances of probation are increased with guilty pleas, which generally allow for a downward departure of two levels for taking responsibility. That may not seem like a lot but it could prove determinative for a judge on a marginal call over the need for incarceration. By pursuing the nullification strategy, Hunter lost that benefit and now would have to belatedly accept responsibility just before sentencing after putting the court and public through a trial.

If the defense reviewed Judge Noreika’s past cases, they would have seen that she takes a tough approach on gun cases. In May, she sentenced defendant Zhi Dong to a year in jail for lying about his address on a gun form. Notably, that was twice the recommended sentence of the prosecutors. One point of distinction is that Dong purchased 19 pistols and 10 “lower receivers” rather than the single gun purchased by Biden. It is also notable that the prosecutors were only seeking six months of incarceration in that arguably more serious case.The defense strategy also makes it more difficult for Special Counsel David Weiss, who has shown remarkable lenience at critical stages of his investigation. It was Weiss who allowed the most serious tax offenses to lapse under a statute of limitations (despite reportedly having an agreement to extend the period). It was Weiss who sought to give Hunter an obscene sweetheart deal that would have avoided any jail time and given him immunity for all crimes.

Many remain skeptical of Weiss and his actions in this case. For that reason, the failure to plead guilty puts Weiss in a box. Given the sentencing guidelines of prison time, any recommendations for probation would be read as more favoritism for the president’s son. Weiss may feel compelled to follow the recommendations to show that Hunter is being treated the same as other defendants. Given the calculation for the three felonies, the defense had to know that they were increasing the chances of prison time by pursuing a nullification defense. The hope was that Wilmington is Bidentown and no local jury would convict the son of the favorite son of Delaware. It didn’t work out that way. The team seemed to overplay its hand with defenses that were so implausible as to be insulting for the jury. They suggested that Hunter might not have checked the box or signed the form during a brief window where he was not using drugs. The prosecutors demolished those defenses within two days of the trial.

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Never never land.

Ukraine Must ‘Prevail’ To Join NATO – Stoltenberg (RT)

Ukraine must prevail in its conflict with Russia if it wants to join NATO, the bloc’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said on Wednesday. The comments come as NATO countries prepare to meet for an annual summit in Washington on July 9-11. “I expect that allies will actually make important announcements between now and the summit and also at the summit for more military equipment … which is urgently needed to ensure that Ukraine prevails as a sovereign independent nation,” Stoltenberg told reporters during a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels. “And without that, of course, there is no membership issue to be discussed. We need to ensure that Ukraine prevails – that’s an absolute minimum for Ukraine to become a member of the alliance.”

Ukraine formally applied to join the US-led bloc in September 2022, citing the armed conflict with Russia. Despite Kiev’s requests for an expedited path to membership, the bloc has so far refused to provide a timetable or roadmap for accession. The allies have further ruled out admitting Ukraine until the conflict with Russia is resolved. Ukrainian officials, nevertheless, have continued their push for concrete steps towards accession. “We also expect specific decisions regarding Ukraine’s membership in NATO, in a package with other guarantees of continuity of military aid and increased interoperability,” Olga Stefanishina, Ukraine’s deputy prime minister responsible for Euro-Atlantic integration, told Politico this month. The White House, however, has said Ukraine will not become a member of the bloc during the upcoming summit in Washington.

“We do not anticipate that there’ll be an invitation for Ukraine to join NATO, but we think there will be a substantial show of support for Ukraine as it works to win its war,” US Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs James O’Brien said in May. Since 2023, Ukraine has signed bilateral security pacts with several NATO members, including the UK, France, and Germany. These agreements do not have the same power as Article 5 of the NATO Charter, however, which stipulates that an attack against one member must be treated as an attack against the bloc as a whole. Russia has cited Ukraine’s aspirations to join NATO and the bloc’s continued expansion eastward as one of the root causes of the current conflict. Moscow views NATO as a threat to its security and has insisted that Ukraine must be a neutral country with limited armed forces.

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Elon Musk called for this.

House Moves To Defund Ukrainian NGO That Issued ‘Enemies List’ (ZH)

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) has taken swift and decisive action against the Data Journalism Agency (texty.org.ua), a Ukrainian NGO with US State Department links that recently published an ‘enemies list’ of individuals and organizations opposed to the war in Ukraine. Following a letter sent by Banks to his Republican colleagues, the House Appropriations Committee has passed a provision that would prohibit US funding and sever ties with the NGO, which deemed 76 organizations and 388 individuals as enemies of Ukraine – including ZeroHedge and prominent American politicians opposed to the war in Ukraine. “Federal bureaucrats should not support or partner with foreign groups that attempt to intimidate and silence U.S. citizens and lawmakers,” Banks wrote in his letter.

“I am urging the Appropriations Committee majority to support efforts in the Fiscal Year 2025 SFOPS bill to force the State Department and USAID to end all relations with foreign NGOs like TEXTY that seek to silence the speech of Americans they dislike and to sway U.S. policymakers to serve their own interests.” Texty.org.ua was founded by Anatoly Bondarenko, a participant in the State Department’s TechCamp program, which aims to train foreign journalists and activists in digital skills. The relationship between Bondarenko and the State Department has been publicly acknowledged, adding layers to the debate over the NGO’s activities and its impact on U.S. interests. This legislative action occurs amidst broader discussions about foreign influence in American politics, with increasing scrutiny on how foreign entities may use U.S.-linked platforms or resources to sway public and political opinion in the United States.

As this bill moves forward, it sets the stage for further debates on the balance between global cooperation and safeguarding national sovereignty in the realm of information and policy. On Tuesday, Banks sent a letter to journalist Jack Posobiec informing him that his name appears on the TEXTY list, and notifying him of his intent to put a stop to US taxpayers funding the organization. “I’m not bothered by what foreign nations think of me,” Banks said after the Appropriations Committee moved forward with his suggested provision. “But it’s shameful for our agencies to be using Hoosiers’ tax dollars to collaborate with foreign groups that attempt to intimidate U.S. citizens and lawmakers. I’d like to thank the Republicans on the Appropriations Committee for defunding any such work with the Data Journalism Agency.”

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“..what he really craves is to become a “War President” – together with the Cadaver in the White House, Starmer in the UK, Rutte in the Netherlands, the Toxic Medusa von der Lugen in Brussels, Tusk in Poland, without having to answer to the French people.”:

The Summer of Living Dangerously (Pepe Escobar)

So Le Petit Roi in Paris was predictably crushed in the European polls. He has called parliamentary snap elections, dissolving the Assemblée Nationale in an act of blind, puerile revenge on French citizens, de facto attacking French institutional democracy. That doesn’t mean much anyway, because the lineaments of “liberty, equality, fraternity” have long been usurped by a crass oligarchy. The second round of these fresh French elections will be on July 7 – nearly coinciding with the British snap elections on July 11, and only a few days before the slow-burning urban catastrophe which will be the Olympics in Paris. Paris salons are ablaze with intrigue on why the little Rothschild stooge with a Napoleon complex is throwing all his toys out of the pram now because he’s not getting what he wants. After all what he really craves is to become a “War President” – together with the Cadaver in the White House, Starmer in the UK, Rutte in the Netherlands, the Toxic Medusa von der Lugen in Brussels, Tusk in Poland, without having to answer to the French people.

It’s nearly certain that Le Petit Roi will be facing the real prospect of becoming a lame duck President who needs to obey a right-wing parliament; Elysée Palace chatter already joined the circus, conveying the impression he might resign (that was later denied). Still, if Le Petit Roi runs off to war on Russia no French citizen will follow him, least of all the – pitiful – French army. Bigger things though are in play. Following the – auspicious – game-changing messages to the Global Majority coming out of the St. Petersburg forum last week, anchored on openness and inclusiveness, the BRICS 10 meeting of Foreign Ministers in Nizhny Novgorod carried the baton early this week. Foreign Minister Lavrov stressed three key points:

“The countries of the Global South no longer want to be dependent on the double standards of the West and its whims.”
“Everyone knows that the BRICS countries already serve as the locomotive of the world economy.”
“We [at the BRICS FMs meeting] stressed the need for consistent efforts to create a new world order, where the equality of independent states will be the key.”

Now compare it with the shrinking G7 meeting later this week in Puglia in southern Italy: the same old song, from a “tough new warning” to Chinese banks (“Don’t do business with Russia or else!”) to vociferous threats against the China-Russia strategic partnership. And last but not least, extra plotting to skim interest from the massive, frozen/stolen Russian assets with the intent of sending them to country 404; the Toxic Medusa itself announced that country 404 will receive €1.5 billion of the income from stolen Russian assets from the EU in July, 90% of it to buy weapons. As for U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell – the man who invented the defunct “pivot to Asia” during Harpy Hillary Clinton’s tenure in the early 2010s – he had already advanced that Washington will sanction Chinese companies and banks over Beijing’s relations with Russia’s military-industrial complex.

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“The mistakes of the Nuremberg of the past generated the Nazism of today. And it is up to the Russians, again, to defeat and punish the Nazis. Now the task seems even clearer. Westerners are no longer disguised as “allies”.

A New (and Fairer) Nuremberg (SCF)

The Russian Federation continues to play its civilizing role in Ukraine, capturing, trying and punishing Nazis who participated in massacres against the civilian population of Donbass. Recently, a militant from the infamous Azov Regiment was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering three civilians in Mariupol in the spring of 2022. In total, more than 250 sentences have already been passed by Russian courts against Ukrainian and foreign criminals, neo-Nazis and mercenaries – 32 of which are life imprisonment sentences. The act of capturing and imprisoning enemies during or after a conflict situation is commonplace in the international scenario. However, we cannot confuse the Russian attitude with a merely punitive gesture against the enemy. Moscow has at no time violated international standards of humanitarian law, with no Ukrainian soldier being tried or punished simply for fighting for Ukraine. Russia recognizes the role of the common soldier and respects it, having several rights and guarantees for all surrendered and captured Ukrainian fighters.

However, as has been made clear since 2022, special courts are being established in the New Regions to specifically judge those Ukrainians and foreign mercenaries involved in neo-Nazi activities and war crimes. The militants of the Ukrainian nationalist battalions are excluded from the norms of humanitarian law, since, like the foreign mercenaries, they are not ordinary citizens mobilized by the State for a war effort, but people who voluntarily chose to fight against Russia. Members of the so-called “Foreign Legion” and Nazi groups such as Azov, Aidar, Right Sector, S14 and several other Ukrainian militias are tried as criminals, without any special protection. It is important to remember that these fascists and mercenaries have since 2014 been the main actors behind the massacre of Russian civilians in Donbass. The genocide has been carried out mainly by paramilitary groups, as among the ordinary soldiers of the regular Ukrainian armed forces there are also many ethnic Russians, Russian speakers and Orthodox Christians.

The Kiev regime relied heavily on the work of neo-Nazi groups, ideologically driven by anti-Russian racism, to promote Ukraine’s “de-Russification” policies. After the start of the special military operation, Kiev began to internationalize its neo-Nazi apparatus, welcoming fascist militants from all over the world into the ranks of its “Foreign Legion”. Obviously, Russia could not remain silent in the face of this scenario. Eliminating foreign mercenaries and neo-Nazis has been Russia’s top priority since 2022. The goal of denazifying Ukraine remains vital. The process of eradicating fascism as a state ideology and military instrument in Ukraine needs to be completed, not only by military means, but also through law. For this reason, a special Investigative Committee has been operating in the New Regions, researching evidence of war crimes on the part of every enemy soldier. Those identified as neo-Nazis and mercenaries are often tried and punished.

Recently, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated that a new Nuremberg needs to be established to punish today’s Nazis. More than that, he made it clear how necessary it is to go beyond the limitations that occurred in the Nuremberg Court of the past. According to Medvedev, all those responsible for Ukrainian Nazism must be captured and punished, which includes decision-makers, politicians, commanders and sponsors of the genocide in Donbass. In practice, the entire political structure of the Kiev regime and its international supporters must be investigated and tried by the Russians, thus avoiding the mistakes made in the previous Nuremberg. [..] The mistakes of the Nuremberg of the past generated the Nazism of today. And it is up to the Russians, again, to defeat and punish the Nazis. Now the task seems even clearer. Westerners are no longer disguised as “allies”. The US and Europe openly position themselves as supporters and promoters of fascism. Moscow must act decisively to dismantle the entire international network of support for Nazism, with Ukraine being just the first step towards a new and fairer Nuremberg.

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Coward.

Cuomo Blames COVID-19 Nursing Home Order on Unknown Staffer (ET)

Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told members of Congress on June 11 that he was not responsible for an order requiring nursing homes to accept residents discharged from hospitals even if they still had COVID-19, according to lawmakers in the room. Mr. Cuomo did “tell us that he did not know that this directive existed, that he did not authorize it, that his department of health commissioner did not authorize it, that somehow it just popped up from an unknown staff member,” Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) told reporters in a briefing after the closed-door hearing. Ms. Malliotakis said it was “outrageous” that the governor didn’t know the mandate came out of his administration. “The governor finds out about this directive that kills thousands of seniors a month later,” she said. “And he did not do an internal investigation to find out who this lowly staff member, who’s still unknown, who that person was? That to me is unconscionable.”

The March 25, 2020, directive from the New York Department of Health stated that nursing home operators couldn’t refuse to accept residents even if they tested positive for COVID-19. “No resident shall be denied readmission or admission to a nursing home solely based on a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of COVID-19,” the order stated. Nursing homes were also barred from requiring COVID-19 testing if hospital staff determined the residents were medically stable before discharging them. Mr. Cuomo said that nursing home operators could lose their licenses or be fined if they did not follow state policies. More than 15,000 nursing home residents in New York state died from COVID-19, according to state data. The numbers were adjusted upward after Mr. Cuomo left office and several state agencies found the Cuomo administration had undercounted nursing home deaths.

Mr. Cuomo partially reversed the order in May 2021 but kept other elements in place for additional months. Mr. Cuomo previously said that health care workers and family members of residents brought COVID-19 into the nursing homes. He has blamed the Trump administration for the directive, pointing to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that said nursing homes can accept patients with COVID-19. However, the guidance, which cited the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that the facilities should only do so if they could follow specific rules, including isolating the patients in their own wing for two weeks. In remarks to reporters before the hearing on Tuesday, Mr. Cuomo said that “the investigations say New York followed the federal guidance.” He also said New York did well during the pandemic, but that “the federal government failed this nation.”

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No explanation?

Musk Drops Case Against OpenAI (RT)

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has unexpectedly dropped a legal case against OpenAI, shortly after he criticized the ChatGPT owner’s recently announced partnership with Apple. Attorneys for Musk asked the California state court to dismiss the lawsuit against the artificial intelligence (AI) research firm without giving a reason for the move, Reuters has reported, citing a filing in San Francisco Superior Court. The Tesla and X (formerly Twitter) boss filed the case against OpenAI in February, arguing that the company, which he had helped establish in 2015, had abandoned its founding mission of developing AI for the benefit of humanity and not for profit. OpenAI’s ChatGPT has since become the face of generative AI thanks to investment from Microsoft. Musk dropped the case just a day before the court was expected to hear OpenAI’s bid to have it dismissed.

The firm described Musk’s lawsuit as a contrived attempt by the tech billionaire to advance his own AI interests, Reuters said, citing court filings. Musk founded his own artificial intelligence startup last year. Called xAI, it announced in May that it had raised $6 billion in funding that would help bring its “first products to market”. xAI has so far launched a generative artificial intelligence chatbot dubbed Grok as a rival to ChatGPT. Grok is available via X. Earlier this week, OpenAI and iPhone maker Apple unveiled a partnership to boost Siri voice assistant with ChatGPT. The announcement triggered criticism from Musk, who warned that the tie-up would result in an “unacceptable security violation.” In a post on X, the mogul threatened to ban staff at his companies from using Apple devices if the iPhone maker integrates OpenAI’s artificial intelligence software into its operating systems.

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” If freedom of speech is violated to this extent, our republic is in danger. Unauthorized disclosures are the lifeblood of the republic.”

The Absence — and Presence — of Daniel Ellsberg (Solomon)

On a warm evening almost a decade ago, I sat under the stars with Daniel Ellsberg while he talked about nuclear war with alarming intensity. He was most of the way through writing his last and most important book, The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner. Somehow, he had set aside the denial so many people rely on to cope with a world that could suddenly end in unimaginable horror. Listening, I felt more and more frightened. Dan knew what he was talking about. After working inside this country’s doomsday machinery, even drafting nuclear war plans for the Pentagon during President John F. Kennedy’s administration, Dan Ellsberg had gained intricate perspectives on what greased the bureaucratic wheels, personal ambitions, and political messaging of the warfare state.

Deceptions about arranging for the ultimate violence of thermonuclear omnicide were of a piece with routine falsehoods about American war-making. It was easy enough to get away with lying, he told me: “How difficult is it to deceive the public? I would say, as a former insider, one becomes aware: it’s not difficult to deceive them. First of all, you’re often telling them what they would like to believe — that we’re better than other people, we’re superior in our morality and our perceptions of the world.” Dan had made history in 1971 by revealing the top-secret Pentagon Papers, exposing the constant litany of official lies that accompanied the U.S. escalation of the Vietnam War. In response, the government used the blunderbuss of the World War I-era Espionage Act to prosecute him. At age 41, he faced a possible prison sentence of more than 100 years.

But his trial ended abruptly with all charges dismissed when the Nixon administration’s illegal interference in the case came to light in mid-1972. Five decades later, he reflected: “Looking back, the chance that I would get out of 12 felony counts from Richard Nixon was close to zero. It was a miracle.” That miracle enabled Dan to keep on speaking, writing, researching, and protesting for the rest of his life. (In those five decades, he averaged nearly two arrests per year for civil disobedience.) He worked tirelessly to prevent and oppose a succession of new American wars. And he consistently gave eloquent public support as well as warm personal solidarity to heroic whistleblowers — Thomas Drake, Katharine Gun, Daniel Hale, Matthew Hoh, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Jeffrey Sterling, Mordechai Vanunu, Ann Wright, and others — who sacrificed much to challenge deadly patterns of official deceit.

Dan often spoke out for freeing WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, whose work had revealed devastating secret U.S. documents on America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. At the end of a visit in June 2015, when they said goodbye inside Ecuador’s embassy in London, I saw that both men were on the verge of tears. At that point, Assange was three years into his asylum at that embassy, with no end in sight. Secretly indicted in the United States, Assange remained in the Ecuadorian embassy for nearly four more years until London police dragged him off to prison. Hours later, in a radio interview, Dan said: “Julian Assange is the first journalist to be indicted. If he is extradited to the U.S. and convicted, he will not be the last. The First Amendment is a pillar of our democracy and this is an assault on it. If freedom of speech is violated to this extent, our republic is in danger. Unauthorized disclosures are the lifeblood of the republic.”

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“Don’t ever even think of doing what Assange did. If you do, we will do to you what we have done to him.”

The Destruction of Julian Assange (Jacob G. Hornberger)

Last month, a British court gave Julian Assange permission to continue opposing the U.S. government’s attempts to extradite him to the United States to stand trial for violating the World War I Espionage Act. In truth, what U.S. officials are really targeting him for is that Assange, as head of WikiLeaks, had the audacity to reveal war crimes and other dark-side activities of the U.S. national-security state. U.S. officials know that Assange’s recent judicial victory is a pyrrhic one. That’s because Assange continues to be jailed under brutal conditions in a maximum-security jail in England — and will continue to be — until his appeal is finally decided. What difference does it make to U.S. officials if Assange is jailed under brutal conditions in England or under brutal conditions here in the United States? The fact is that either way he is being jailed under brutal conditions.

In fact, there is an increasing possibility that Assange will die in an English jail before the extradition proceedings are finally resolved. That would undoubtedly fill U.S. officials with glee, given that they will have been relieved of the task of putting a person on trial for revealing war crimes and other dark-side activities of the U.S. national-security state. Keep in mind that the Assange prosecution has much more to it than just inflicting harm on Assange. U.S. officials know that they have to send everyone else a message: “The secrecy surrounding our war crimes and dark-side actives is sacrosanct. Don’t ever even think of doing what Assange did. If you do, we will do to you what we have done to him. We will finish you. Even if you are ultimately acquitted, you will be an utterly destroyed individual at the end of the process.”

Thus, U.S. officials couldn’t care less about Assange’s latest judicial “victory.” They know that British officials will keep him rotting in their jail system until his appeals are finally resolved, if ever. Ideally, from the perspective of U.S. officials, Assange will die during the pendency of his forever appeals, in which case the destruction of his life and his subsequent death in prison will have served its purpose with its message to everyone else: “Don’t ever mess with us or we will do to you what we did to Assange.”

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Maté

 

 

Donkey

 

 

Barkour

 

 

Maruay

 

 

Shoes

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 112024
 


Utagawa Hiroshige Sudden Evening Shower on the Great Bridge near Atake 1857

 

Ukraine Is A ‘Gold Mine’ – Lindsey Graham (RT)
Zelensky Not The One Running Ukraine – Times (RT)
Russian General Staff Aims At Ending The Ukraine By Electric War (Helmer)
Russia Ready To Strike NATO Airfields Hosting Ukrainian Jets – MP (RT)
US Lifts Arms Ban On Notorious Azov Brigade (RT)
The Three Key Messages From St. Petersburg to the Global Majority (Pepe Escobar)
Can Democracy Survive the “Defenders of Democracy”? (Turley)
Defense Rests In Hunter Biden Gun Case Without Defendant Testifying (JTN)
Democrat Lawfare Has Failed To Derail Trump Campaign So Far (JTN)
It’s Trump vs WWIII – Martin Armstrong (USAW)
Elon Says Will Ban Apple’s Creepy Spyware Devices If They Integrate OpenAI (ZH)
1000s of Californians Lose Jobs Thanks To Newsom’s $20/hr Minimum Wage (RT)
If Wishes Were Fishes – a Teachable Intermezzo (Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

Trump 51

 

 

Trump jail

 

 

Trump tips

 

 

Michael Cohen

 

 

Bannon Epstein

 

 

 

 

“..They could be the richest country in all of Europe… If we help Ukraine now, they can become the best business partner we ever dreamed of..”

Ukraine Is A ‘Gold Mine’ – Lindsey Graham (RT)

Washington “cannot afford” to allow Russia to achieve victory in the Ukraine conflict as this would mean losing direct access to vast mineral assets, US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has said. In an interview with ‘Face the Nation’ on CBS on Sunday, Graham accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being a “megalomaniac” who is attempting to “re-create the Russian Empire by force of arms,” starting with Ukraine. He further claimed that if Moscow wins the current conflict, it will then take over Ukraine’s wealth and share it with China. Graham described that prospect as “ridiculous,” suggesting it would be better if this “gold mine” were available to the US instead. “They’re sitting on 10 to $12 trillion of critical minerals in Ukraine.

Lindsey Graham

They could be the richest country in all of Europe… If we help Ukraine now, they can become the best business partner we ever dreamed of, that $10 to $12 trillion of critical mineral assets could be used by Ukraine and the West, not given to Putin and China,” Graham stated. This is a very big deal how Ukraine ends. Let’s help them win a war we can’t afford to lose… They’re sitting on a gold mine. To give Putin $10 or $12 trillion for critical minerals that he will share with China is ridiculous. Graham, a longtime Russia hawk and one of the staunchest supporters of Ukraine in the US Senate, also called on the West to speed up the seizure of $300 billion in frozen Russian sovereign assets. He reiterated his demands for Russia to be designated “a state sponsor of terrorism” under US law, a suggestion which earlier this year landed the senator on Moscow’s list of extremists and terrorists.

One day prior to Graham’s remarks, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban argued that the West wants Kiev to win the conflict with Russia so that it can control Ukraine’s wealth. In an interview with Hir TV, Orban accused the US and its allies of seeing Ukraine as a potentially huge source of revenue which they will be able to control, provided Russia is defeated. He also said the conflict is a major boost for Western “arms suppliers, creditors, and speculators,” arguing that this is the reason it has dragged on for so long. Moscow has repeatedly stated throughout the conflict that its goals are to protect the largely Russian-speaking population of Donbass against persecution by Kiev, and to ensure Russia’s own security in light of NATO expansion toward its borders. Moscow has never spoken of any intention to take over Ukraine’s resources, but has repeatedly stressed that the former Ukrainian regions which have chosen to join Russia, including Crimea, must remain under its control.

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“..Yermak is a former film producer whom Zelensky – an actor turned politician – brought into the government in 2019. He has recently begun moving into the spotlight..”

Zelensky Not The One Running Ukraine – Times (RT)

Multiple Ukrainian officials have complained to The Times about the growing power of Vladimir Zelensky’s chief of staff Andrey Yermak, who they say de facto runs Ukraine. The 52-year-old has previously been described as “Zelensky’s right-hand man” and “Ukraine’s real power broker.” Officials in Kiev who spoke to the British outlet now say he has become something more. “Yermak’s authority has surpassed that of all of Ukraine’s elected officials bar the president,” The Times’ Maxim Tucker wrote in the article published on Friday. “Some sources went so far as to describe him as the ‘de facto head of state’ or ‘Ukraine’s vice-president’ in a series of interviews.” Tucker claimed to have spoken with “senior government, military, law enforcement and diplomatic sources,” many of whom requested anonymity. He described Yermak as Zelensky’s “greatest flaw,” and his behavior as “thirst for power.”

“Concern is mounting that Zelensky is increasingly reliant on a handful of sycophantic domestic voices,” Tucker noted, as the number of people with direct access to him shrinks while Yermak’s team expands. Zelensky’s “big mistake has been to entrust so much authority to Yermak, who is clearly intoxicated with power,” said Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center. Military officials have also blamed Yermak for arranging the firing of General Valery Zaluzhny in February, because he saw him as a rival. A spokesman for the Zelensky’s office denied this, saying Zaluzhny was not fired but promoted to ambassador to the UK, “which signifies a high level of trust.” A spokesperson for the presidential office, which Yermak runs, dismissed all criticism of the chief of staff as “propaganda attacks.”

Yermak has a “direct but efficient management style,” they said, which has delivered successes such as the Swiss “peace summit” next week. Zelensky “is the one who makes all the key decisions,” the spokesperson insisted. Yermak is a former film producer whom Zelensky – an actor turned politician – brought into the government in 2019. He has recently begun moving into the spotlight, attending the ‘Democracy Summit’ in Denmark alongside former NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen, himself a paid adviser to the Ukrainian government. It was Yermak and Rasmussen’s ‘International Working Group on Security Issues and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine’ that first proposed lifting all the restrictions on the use of Western weapons supplied to Kiev, which was quickly amplified by former British PM Boris Johnson. The talking point then spread to NATO capitals until the White House eventually agreed to it.

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“DTEK has lost some 86 percent of its generating capacity..”

Russian General Staff Aims At Ending The Ukraine By Electric War (Helmer)

As the Ukraine’s peak summer electricity season approaches, the list of the Russian General Staff’s Electric War targets is shrinking. This is because almost all the Ukrainian electricity generating plants have been stopped. What remains for destruction are the connecting lines and distribution grids for the Ukraine’s imported electricity from Poland and other European Union neighbours. The microwave and cell telephone towers, and the diesel fuel stocks which are powering the back-up generating sets are next. “There’s no keeping the Ukrainian cell network up any more than there is keeping up the electrical grid,” comments a close military observer. “The General Staff have set the flow of Ukrainian refugees west as inversely proportional to the flow of data and electrons over Ukrainian airwaves and transmission lines. We can expect that relationship to be set to highly inverse before the summer is out. What calculations have been made regarding things further west are just beginning to become evident.”

The Electric War is now accelerating faster to the Polish border than the Russian army advance along the line east of the Dnieper River. In the very long history of siege warfare, there has never been a case of letting the enemy’s civilian population run safely away from his castles and cities until the fortifications and army which remain must choose between surrender and destruction. The geographic spread, the explosive yield, and the cost of each of the raids are accelerating. On June 1, the Russian military bloggers, which continue to be the semi-official source of battlefield news each day, reported that energy facilities had been attacked in five regions of the Ukraine – in the east in Zaporozhye and Dniepropetrovsk; in the west in Kirovograd and Ivano-Frankovsk regions. Two thermal power plants were seriously damaged, following a salvo which the Ukrainians counted at 53 missiles and 47 drones.

The next day, June 2, the Russian sources, quoting Ukrainian electricity company bulletins to consumers, reported emergency blackouts and restricted power supply schedules were in effect in Kiev and its surrounding region. On June 5, the situation in Kiev was worse, according to DTEK, the dominant privately owned utility, and Ukrenergo, the state operator of the country’s high-voltage transmission lines. On June 6-7, The Washington Post – editorial motto, “Democracy Dies in Darkness” – reported Ukrainian utility managers and state officials as confirming that at least 86% of the country’s electricity generating capacity has now been destroyed. “We are catastrophically short of electricity for our needs,” the newspaper quoted Sergei Kovalenko, chief executive of the Ukrainian private electricity distributor YASNO, ….The power cuts have divided Kiev into the haves and the have-nots — with even residents at some privileged, high-end addresses suddenly finding themselves in the latter category.”

“DTEK has lost some 86 percent of its generating capacity, [DTEK chief executive Maxim] Timchenko said. What makes the situation worse is that many of the electrical facilities have been targeted repeatedly — a cycle of destruction, recovery, destruction, he said.” “Next week will be better,” Ukrenergo spokesperson Mariia Tsaturian said. “The week after that could be worse.” “The scheduled outages will continue — the only question is how severe they will be, Ukrenergo CEO Volodymyr Kudrytskyi said.” “We are talking about a huge loss of generation,” said Yury Kubrushko, founder of Imepower, a Ukrainian energy consultancy. “I can hardly see from where Ukraine can get new extra capacity just this winter.” On June 7, a video recorded stroll down one of Odessa’s shopping streets revealed an emergency generating set providing electricity for almost all of the commercial establishments.

“This is in no way sustainable,” comments a NATO military engineer. “Note how each shop has its own genset. The generators in the video are not designed for the duty cycle they’re being run at. They’ll wear out soon enough. The military, including deployed NATO personnel, use the shops and the gensets, too. The idea of pooling their resources, sharing load among gensets, thus reducing wear and tear on the whole network, while collectivizing fuel and maintenance costs, doesn’t seem to have occurred to them. To be sure, what follows will be no lack of electrocutions, carbon monoxide poisonings, and fires. We can bet the manifestations of the social pathology we’re seeing here have been factored in by the General Staff. Their attack point will now be to stop fuel, engine oil, spares, and replacements from getting through. ”

Independently of one another, Russian and Ukrainian reporters are confirming the impact of the power losses on the operation of water and sewerage systems in the majority of Ukrainian cities. According to Oleg Popenko, a Ukrainian expert on energy for communal services, “Armageddon has already arrived. We just don’t feel it yet. But the residents of Poltava, for example, feel it, because since May 5 of this year, 120,000 residents of the city receive water by the hour and use sewerage by the hour. You can imagine what happened in Zhitomir when the central sewerage collector didn’t work there for a week, but now in Poltava [it’s been] a month. And this is the problem with water utilities in 70% of Ukrainian cities. Water utilities are probably more important than rest of the infrastructure in the city. Heat and electricity can be replaced somehow, and you can go somewhere. But if the sewer system breaks down in a city, the city is no longer viable in principle.”

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“..Moscow would perceive the deliveries of F-16 fighters to Ukraine as a nuclear threat..”

Russia Ready To Strike NATO Airfields Hosting Ukrainian Jets – MP (RT)

F-16 fighter jets and any airfields they are based at will be legitimate targets for the Russian military if they participate in combat missions against Moscow’s forces, the chairman of the Russian State Duma Defense Committee, Andrey Kartapolov, has warned. The comments come as Kiev prepares to receive the first delivery of US-made fighter jets from its Western backers, after Ukrainian pilots were trained to fly them. In a statement to RIA Novosti published on Monday, Kartapolov clarified that if the F-16s “are not used for their intended purpose” or are simply held in storage at foreign airbases with the intent to transfer them to Ukraine, where they will be equipped, maintained, and flown from Ukrainian airfields, then Russia would have no claims against its “former partners” and would not target them.

However, if the jets take off from foreign bases and carry out sorties and strikes against Russian forces, both the fighter planes and the airfields they are stationed at will be “legitimate targets,” according to Kartapolov. “As for [our ability] to shoot [them] down, we can shoot down anyone, anywhere,” the MP insisted. Kartapolov’s statement comes after the chief of aviation of Ukraine’s Air Force Command, Sergey Golubtsov, stated in an interview with Radio Liberty on Sunday that some of the F-16 fighter jets donated to Kiev by the West would be stationed at foreign airbases. He explained that only a portion of the jets would be stationed directly on Ukrainian territory, corresponding to the number of pilots trained to operate the aircraft. The other jets would be kept in reserve at “safe airbases” abroad so that they are not targeted by the Russian military.

Golubtsov stated that so far four countries have agreed to transfer F-16s to Ukraine, namely Belgium, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands. While he did not specify exactly how many aircraft would be donated, he claimed it was between 30 and 40 planes, with potentially more to come in the future. Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has also warned that Moscow would perceive the deliveries of F-16 fighters to Ukraine as a nuclear threat, given that the jets have long been used as part of the US-led bloc’s joint nuclear missions. At the same time, the minister stressed that the US-designed jets would not change the situation on the battlefield, and would be shot down and destroyed like any other foreign weapons supplied to Ukraine.

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Poking the bear.

US Lifts Arms Ban On Notorious Azov Brigade (RT)

The State Department has allowed the delivery of US weapons to Ukraine’s Azov Brigade, whose members openly espouse ultranationalist and neo-Nazi views. The flow of arms had previously been restricted due to the unit’s ties to hateful ideology. “After thorough review, Ukraine’s 12th Special Forces Azov Brigade passed Leahy vetting as carried out by the US Department of State,” the agency said in a statement to the Washington Post on Monday, referring to the legislation that bans military aid to units that were implicated in human rights violations. The State Department added that it found “no evidence” of such violations committed by Azov. Azov was founded as a volunteer battalion in 2014 and participated in the war with the breakaway republics of Donbass after they chose to secede from Ukraine in the wake of the Western-backed coup in Kiev. The unit’s core fighters were active and former members of ultranationalist and neo-Nazi groups, as well as far-right football hooligans.

The unit’s primary co-founder Andrey Biletsky was a member of a white supremacist organization in the 2000s. He has since toned down his rhetoric and denied ties to neo-Nazism. Nevertheless, many Azov fighters continue to sport Nazi tattoos and memorabilia associated with the Third Reich. The brigade continues to use banners with the Wolfsangel symbol, which was used by several German divisions during World War II, including the 2nd SS Panzer Division Das Reich. The unit was incorporated into Ukraine’s National Guard in 2015 and has significantly grown in size over the years. In 2018, Congress banned the delivery of arms to the Azov Brigade, citing its ties to neo-Nazi ideology. Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California, said at the time that “white supremacy and neo-Nazism are unacceptable and have no place in our world.”

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), which combats anti-Semitism and monitors hate groups, described the unit in 2019 as a “Ukrainian extremist group” with ties to US-based neo-Nazi organization Atomwaffen and similar white supremacist movements in Europe. The ADL has since changed its view, however, writing in an email to The Grayzone news outlet in late 2022 that it no longer considered Azov as the “far-right group it once was.” Many Azov fighters surrendered to Russian troops during the siege of the city of Mariupol in 2022. Moscow has accused the members of the unit of war crimes, including torture and execution of civilians.

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“The Unit, [..] an apolitical, transactional form of cross-border payments, anchored in gold (40%) and BRICS+ currencies (60%)..”

The Three Key Messages From St. Petersburg to the Global Majority (Pepe Escobar)

In the year of the Russian presidency of BRICS, the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) had to deliver something special. And deliver it did: over 21,000 people representing no less than 139 nations – a true microcosm of the Global Majority, discussing every facet of the drive towards a multipolar, multinodal (italics mine), polycentric world. St. Petersburg, beyond all the networking and the frantic deal-making – $78 billion-worth clinched in only three days – crafted three intertwined key messages already resonating all across the Global Majority.

Message Number One: President Putin, a “European Russian” and true son of this dazzling, dynamic historic marvel by the Neva, delivered an extremely detailed one-hour speech on the Russian economy at the forum’s plenary session. The key takeaway: as the collective West launched total economic war against Russia, the civilization-state turned it around and positioned itself as the world’s 4th largest economy by purchasing power parity (PPP). Putin showed how Russia still carries the potential to launch no less than nine sweeping – global – structural changes, an all-out drive involving the federal, regional, and municipal spheres. Everything is in play – from global trade and the labor market to digital platforms, modern technologies, strengthening small and medium-sized businesses and exploring the still untapped, phenomenal potential of Russia’s regions.

What was made perfectly clear is how Russia managed to reposition itself beyond sidestepping the – illegitimate – sanctions tsunami to establishing a solid, diversified system oriented towards global trade – and completely linked to the expansion of BRICS. Russia-friendly states already account for three-quarters of Moscow’s trade turnover. Putin’s emphasis on the Global Majority’s accelerated drive to strengthen sovereignty was directly linked to the collective West doing its best – rather, worst – to undermine trust in their own payment infrastructure. And that leads us to… Glazyev and Dilma rock the boat.

Message Number Two: That was arguably the major breakthrough in St. Petersburg. Putin stated how the BRICS are working on their own payment infrastructure, independent from pressure/sanctions by the collective West. Putin had a special meeting with Dilma Rousseff, president of the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB). They did talk in detail about the bank’s development – and most of all, as later confirmed by Rousseff, about The Unit, whose lineaments were first revealed exclusively by Sputnik: an apolitical, transactional form of cross-border payments, anchored in gold (40%) and BRICS+ currencies (60%). The day after meeting Putin, president Dilma had an even more crucial meeting at 10 am in a private room at SPIEF with Sergey Glazyev, the Minister for Macro-Economy at the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Glazyev, who had previously provided full academic backing to the Unit concept, explained all the details to President Dilma. They were both extremely pleased with the meeting. A beaming Rousseff revealed that she had already discussed The Unit with Putin. It was agreed there will be a special conference at the NDB in Shanghai on The Unit in September. This means the new payment system has every chance to be at the table during the BRICS summit in October in Kazan, and be adopted by the current BRICS 10 and the near future, expanded BRICS+.

Message Number Three: It had to be, of course, about BRICS – which everyone, Putin included, stressed will be significantly expanded. The quality of the BRICS-related sessions in St. Petersburg demonstrated how the Global Majority is now facing a unique historical juncture – with a real possibility for the first time in the last 250 years to go all-out for a structural change of the world-system. And it’s not only about BRICS. It was confirmed in St. Petersburg that no less than 59 nations – and counting – plan to join not only BRICS but also the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). No wonder: these multilateral organizations now finally have established themselves on the forefront of the drive towards the multimodal (italics mine) – and to quote Putin in his address – “harmonic multipolar world”.

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“..the line that sends many of us into a fetal position: “I’m a Democrat and I am here to save democracy.”

Can Democracy Survive the “Defenders of Democracy”? (Turley)

In 2024, the greatest test for our Constitution may be whether it can survive the “Defenders of Democracy.” Ronald Reagan often said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” Today, Reagan’s line cannot compare with the line that sends many of us into a fetal position: “I’m a Democrat and I am here to save democracy.” The jump scare claim is that unless citizens vote for democrats, the end of democracy will begin shortly. In 2022, House Majority Whip Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told “Fox News Sunday” that “democracy will be ending” if Democrats lost the midterms. The rhetoric has continued to ramp up with the upcoming election. From President Joe Biden to a host of progressive politicians and pundits, the 2024 election is all about saving democracy. The public has been told that if the Democrats lose power, citizens will be living in a tyrannical hellscape.

Vice President Kamala Harris stated in one interview that 2024 “genuinely could be” the last democratic election in America’s history. Dozens of Democrats have said that democracy will end if Biden is not reelected. The Washington Post even ran an op-ed titled, “A Trump dictatorship is increasingly inevitable. We should stop pretending.” Many Americans have tuned out the overheated rhetoric, as shown by Donald Trump’s continuing lead in many polls even after his conviction in Manhattan. The warnings also ignore that our system has checks and balances that protected democracy for centuries as the world’s oldest and most successful constitutional system. These dire predictions would require all three branches to fail in an unprecedented fashion. While these figures cite the Capitol riot on Jan 6., 2021 as evidence of the pending collapse of democracy, the system worked as designed on that day. Congress refused to be deterred by the riot and virtually every court (including many presided over by Trump-appointed judges) rejected challenges to the election.

The most obvious threats today to the democratic system are coming from the left, not the right. Democratic secretaries of state sought to block Trump from the ballot in 2024, and Democratic members sought to bar roughly 120 colleagues from their respective ballots. It seemed that the greatest threat to democracy was its exercise by voters. Fortunately, a unanimous Supreme Court rejected the theory and added, “Nothing in the Constitution requires that we endure such chaos.” There has also been a push by Democrats to keep third-party candidates off ballots. Again, the last thing democracy needs is for voters to have more democratic choice. In New York, Democratic congressional candidate Paula Collins even suggested that, after the election, the focus must be on “re-education” of MAGA voters, although she acknowledged that “that sounds like a rather, a re-education camp. I don’t think we really want to call it that. I’m sure we can find another way to phrase it.”

Democratic operatives are using the same rationalization to call for biased reporting to help Biden get reelected. Democratic strategist James Carville this week demanded more “slanted” media coverage against Donald Trump to save democracy. Carville was triggered by New York Times editor Joe Kahn suggesting that the newspaper report the news in a fair and neutral manner. The suggestion sent many pundits into vapors at the very thought of reembracing objectivity in journalism. “I don’t have anything against slanted coverage,” Carville insisted. “I really don’t, I would have something against it at most other times in American history, but not right now. F— your objectivity. The real objectivity in this country right now is we’re either going to have a Constitution or we’re not.”

There has also been a push by Democrats to keep third-party candidates off ballots. Again, the last thing democracy needs is for voters to have more democratic choice. In New York, Democratic congressional candidate Paula Collins even suggested that, after the election, the focus must be on “re-education” of MAGA voters, although she acknowledged that “that sounds like a rather, a re-education camp. I don’t think we really want to call it that. I’m sure we can find another way to phrase it.” Democratic operatives are using the same rationalization to call for biased reporting to help Biden get reelected. Democratic strategist James Carville this week demanded more “slanted” media coverage against Donald Trump to save democracy. Carville was triggered by New York Times editor Joe Kahn suggesting that the newspaper report the news in a fair and neutral manner. The suggestion sent many pundits into vapors at the very thought of reembracing objectivity in journalism.

“I don’t have anything against slanted coverage,” Carville insisted. “I really don’t, I would have something against it at most other times in American history, but not right now. F— your objectivity. The real objectivity in this country right now is we’re either going to have a Constitution or we’re not.” It was particularly galling to hear the call for “slanted coverage” in the same week that the Hunter Biden laptop was authenticated and used as evidence in his Delaware trial. The government has called the widely reported claim that the laptop was “Russian disinformation” a debunked “conspiracy theory.” Carville was making his pitch for more biased reporting to the very media that buried the laptop story before the last election and spent two years in denial of its authenticity. Yet, many journalists agree with Carville. Some journalism schools have been teaching that reporters need to dump concepts of objectivity and neutrality to achieve political and social reforms.

This week, reporters were irate after Washington Post publisher and CEO William Lewis issued a blunt message that the newspaper could not survive after losing half of its readership and tens of millions of dollars last year. He told the staff: “People are not reading your stuff. Right. I can’t sugarcoat it anymore.” The fear that these newspapers might cover Biden and Trump in a fair and balanced way was immediately denounced as . . . wait for it . . . a threat to democracy. After Carville’s meltdown, the Washington Post’s Margaret Sullivan warned Kahn and others that “our very democracy is on the brink, and how the Times covers that existential threat is of extraordinary importance.” She then asked whether the paper will “forthrightly identify the problems posed by a radicalized Republican Party that is increasingly dedicated to lies, bad-faith attacks and the destruction of democratic norms.” Sullivan expressed alarm that the media would “try to cut the situation straight down the middle as if we were still in the old days — an era that no longer exists?”

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Let’s see them acquit him..

Defense Rests In Hunter Biden Gun Case Without Defendant Testifying (JTN)

Hunter Biden’s defense rested their case in his Delaware gun trial Monday without calling the first son to testify. The gun trial is now in its sixth day, with closing arguments starting after lunch. The trial resumed after a week of witness testimony from ex-girlfriends, an ex-wife and other Biden family members. The unprecedented trial of of the child of a sitting American president is expected to enter its final stages with closing arguments beginning shortly. The prosecution rested its case last week and the defense spent the weekend contemplating whether or not to call Biden to the stand to testify in his own defense. “We are down to that last decision,” Lowell told the judge last week. Hunter Biden was charged in Delaware by Justice Department special counsel David Weiss with three felony crimes in connection to 2018 firearm purchase while he was using drugs.

The accusations include lying to the licensed gun dealer, making a false claim on the application used to screen firearm’s buyers by declaring he was not a drug user, and illegally possessing the firearm for 11 days. Several witnesses told the jury they witnessed Hunter Biden’s crack cocaine addiction first hand at the time when he purchased the firearm at a Wilmington gun shop. President Joe Biden said last week that he would not consider a pardon for his son and said he would accept the outcome of the trial. Hunter Biden is set to face other charges in California before the 2024 election on federal tax charges after he failed to pay $1.4 million in taxes over four years. His debt has since been settled, the Associated Press reported. That trial is set to begin in September after the judge recently granted a delay.

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“..more campaign funds were given to this campaign than any campaign they think in history, almost $400 million..”

Democrat Lawfare Has Failed To Derail Trump Campaign So Far (JTN)

Four indictments and one set of convictions later, a Democrat-led lawfare strategy has failed so far to derail Donald Trump’s bid to return to the White House, but it has triggered an avalanche of financial support as the former president hold leads in most battleground states that will decide the 2024 election. No where was Trump’s resilience more obvious than his travels across the West Coast this weekend, where he collected $12 million at a Silicon Valley fund-raiser at the home of a Big Tech executive who used to support Hillary Clinton, scored millions more at events in blue southern California and then jetted off to Las Vegas for a boisterous rally in Nevada where a post-conviction poll showed him leading that once-Biden-friendly state by five points. Experts say the narrative and imagery last month of a Democrat prosecutor in Manhattan securing a conviction against the opposition party leader just six months before Election Day galvanized support for Trump among the GOP base while motivating complacent independents and Never Trumpers to choose sides.

This created a painful boomerang for Democrats who hoped the May 31 conviction would sink the 45th president’s election efforts. “People are motivated,” former New York Rep. Lee Zeldin told Just the News. “They woke up the next day wanting to do something about it, realizing that they have to fight even harder […] They’ve turned their energy, their emotion into activity into wanting to make a difference. If someone goes out to the WinRed platform and donates $5, they might be willing to donate 25 more dollars. They may be willing to sign up to volunteer today, if you ask.” “There are people who were on the sidelines altogether on President Trump,” he added. “I know of one person just a few weeks before the verdict came out. I called him up I tried to talk him into supporting President Trump. He had supported another candidate. He wasn’t yet ready. Right after the verdict came out, he wired in $800,000 to President Trump’s joint fundraising committee. I just learned that his mother matched him for another $800,000. This these are two people were actually on the sidelines before the verdict.”

The data confirms Zeldin’s anecdotes. Trump campaign officials said the candidate raised more than $50 million in the first 36 hours after the verdict, much of it from first-time donors. Trump and the Republican National Committee reported their best fundraising month ever in May, with a $141 million haul. Officials said June could be on track for closer to $200 million, positioning Trump to be cash flush for a fall run after months of trailing Biden in the fundraising contest. The former president has embraced the surge, repeatedly portraying himself as a persecuted political martyr while warning the Democrat strategy is backfiring. “Right after the announcement of this, more campaign funds were given to this campaign than any campaign they think in history, almost $400 million,” Trump boasted at a Turning Point Action event last week.

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“This is why they need war. This is why Europe is going into war. . . . If you cannot sell the new debt, you have to default. If you have war, and that is what is really behind this, if you go into war, they get to default and blame Putin..”

It’s Trump vs WWIII – Martin Armstrong (USAW)

Legendary financial and geopolitical cycle analyst Martin Armstrong says we are going to have a wild close to 2024. Let’s start with Biden’s new job approval rating from Martin Armstrong’s “Socrates” program, which is now only 6% to 7%. Armstrong explains, “It’s the old story of draining the swamp, but now, the swamp is an ocean. This is completely crazy. The cases against Trump show you how desperate they are here. The reason they want Biden, and they even blocked RFK Jr. from getting on the Democrat ticket, the reason they want him is he is just a sock puppet. He’s not really in charge. He’s not making any decisions.”

Are the Deep State globalist Democrats panicking over the 6% to 7% Biden approval rating? Top people on both sides know this is an accurate number. With about four months to go before the 2024 Election, are they now panicking over these dismal approval numbers? Armstrong says, “Oh, yes, they are panicking. I have been in politics for more than 40 years. I know how it works. All of a sudden, you see in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, oh, Biden is slipping behind closed doors. That would not make the press unless they wanted it to. They are floating a ballon to see how it goes. All of a sudden, they want Biden to do a debate. Before, no debates. Why? Because they know he’s going to look bad. . . . At the Democrat Convention, they will draft someone else, and that is most likely going to be Hillary.”

The economy and war are linked in a big way, according to Armstrong, and he explains, “You’ve got about $10 trillion of US debt that is maturing this year. . . . You’ve got Secretary of State Blinken threatening China with war. China dumped $53 billion in US debt in the first quarter of 2024. That means China are sellers and not buyers. You had Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen flying to China asking, ‘Please don’t sell.’ It didn’t work. This is why they are talking about raising the capital gains to 44%. Why? If nobody is going to buy the debt, that’s when default comes. If you cannot sell the new debt to pay off the old debt, guess what? It’s done. This is how governments fall, and I have been warning them for decades that this is how it’s going to end. . . . This is why they need war. This is why Europe is going into war. . . . If you cannot sell the new debt, you have to default. If you have war, and that is what is really behind this, if you go into war, they get to default and blame Putin. . . . In November, it’s going to be Trump vs World War III regardless who is on the other side. If you get Hillary or you get Biden, it’s the same thing. Hillary is a neocon, and Biden says yes to whatever the neocons want.” And the neocons clearly want war–a big one.

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“Apple has no clue what’s actually going on once they hand your data over to OpenAI. They’re selling you down the river.”

Elon Says Will Ban Apple’s Creepy Spyware Devices If They Integrate OpenAI (ZH)

In the end, Apple’s 2024 Worldwide Developers Conference proved to be a flop, with the stock sliding 1.9%, its worst WWDC performance since 2010 and the 4th worst in the iPhone era. It wasn’t supposed to be like this: Apple was supposed to make the grand introduction of (Open AI’s ChatGPT) artificial intelligence features and pretend they are the company’s, leading to the long-overdue surge in AAPL stock which has painfully underperformed most pure AI names. However, once the market realized that Apple [can’t] even in house its own AI module, that’s when the wheels fell off (the “introduction” of a calculator for the iPad did not help Apple’s trailblazing image). But the slump in AAPL stock was just the start of its woes.

Shortly after the close, in response to OpenAI founder Andrej Karpathy’s observation that the laughably named “Apple Intelligence” as it will be called (and which Elon Musk said it is “neither Apple nor intelligent”) will be a persistent layer on top of the entire Apple operating system, Elon Musk made the casual observation that Apple’s approach means that “we can never turn it off”, in other words it is an always on spying system feeding the OpenAI LLM (and who knows what and who else) with constant data.

That’s when the fireworks started. Realizing that his sworn enemy Sam Altman (whose “non-profit” ChatGPT only exists thanks to funding from Musk in the first place) is using his chatbot to supplant Amazon as the most ubiquitous spyware system in the world by having it installed across the entire Apple ecosystem, Musk first responded to an X user that he might have to launch his own phone “if Apple actually integrates woke nanny AI spyware into their OS”… … before directly telling Tim Cook that “he doesn’t want” the latest Apple product, and adding that “either stop this creepy spyware or all Apple devices will be banned from the premises of my companies.”

And just to underscore that point, the Tesla CEO said that “If Apple integrates OpenAI at the OS level, then Apple devices will be banned at my companies. That is an unacceptable security violation” and “visitors will have to check their Apple devices at the door, where they will be stored in a Faraday cage.” Musk saved the piece de resistance for last, slamming Apple as a dumb company which can’t even come up with its own AI, and even dumber for promising it is “somehow capable of ensuring that OpenAI will protect your privacy” even as it is “handing your data over to a third-party AI that they don’t understand and can’t themselves create is *not* protecting privacy at all!”

The punchline: “Apple has no clue what’s actually going on once they hand your data over to OpenAI. They’re selling you down the river.” While we assume that much of Elon’s outrage is genuine (mixed in with just a smidge of personal self-interest to have Grok handle the world’s AI requests), this particular eruption by the world’s richest man (or 2nd, or 3rd, or wherever he is now) is a good example of the coming AI wars where competing AI vendors will do everything in their power to have their LLM be the sofrware of choice for the entire world due to its ubiquitous data gather and analysis which will make China’s “always on” spying nanny state seem like amateur hour by comparison.

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“You can only raise prices so much..” [..] “..people are not going to pay $20 for a Big Mac. It’s not going to happen.”

1000s of Californians Lose Jobs Thanks To Newsom’s $20/hr Minimum Wage (RT)

Californian fast-food restaurants have had to slash some 10,000 jobs in recent months due to the state’s new minimum wage hike, according to a recent report by the California Business and Industrial Alliance (CABIA) trade group. The report comes after California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill dubbed AB 1228 in September of last year, raising the state’s minimum wage from $16 to $20 an hour. The law came into effect in April and many companies have since been forced to close down, raise prices, or lay off employees. CABIA president Tom Manzo has told Fox News that Californian businesses had already been “under total attack and total assault for years,” and claimed that the state’s lawmakers were living in a “fantasy land” if they thought that drastically raising wages would help workers and businesses.

“You can only raise prices so much,” Manzo said, insisting that “people are not going to pay $20 for a Big Mac. It’s not going to happen.” He also stated that jobs in the fast-food industry were never meant to be long-term or high-paying, calling it a “starter industry” in which people start out working as kids to gain a good work ethic for the rest of their careers. Last week, CABIA ran a full-page ad in the California edition of USA Today, featuring mock “obituaries” of restaurants that have been harmed by the new minimum wage law. These include popular chains such as Pizza Hut, Subway, Burger King, McDonald’s and Cinnabon. According to the trade group, one taco chain, Rubio’s, has had to close as many as 48 outlets in the state due to the “rising cost of doing business,” including 24 stores in the Los Angeles area, 13 in San Diego, and 11 in Northern California.

Meanwhile, the owner of 140 Burger King franchises in the state has announced he will slash workers’ hours and expedite the rollout of self-service kiosks to offset the impact of the new minimum wage law. Similar measures will be taken by a McDonald’s franchisee, who said he will hike menu prices and delay renovations at his 18 restaurants. As restaurants across the US have also been forced to gradually raise their prices due to rampant inflation, a survey conducted by LendingTree last month has also found that nearly 80% of consumers now consider fast food to be a “luxury” purchase due to how expensive it has become.

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Bad management as a feature not a flaw.

If Wishes Were Fishes – a Teachable Intermezzo (Kunstler)

Forgive me for reiterating a basic principle driving this moment in history: everything organized at the gigantic scale is steaming toward failure: big governments, giant companies, the huge capital investment firms, global shipping, energy production, chain retailing, mass motoring, big electricity, big medicine, big education, big anything. They are all fixing to fail while our politicians and economists make plans based on consolidating them into one super-gigantic mega-system that will run flawlessly on computer tech magic. The failures of each giant system will only amplify and ramify the failures in all the other systems. Take that as axiomatic. For instance, the fantastic failures in higher education now on display, largely due to the Marxian defeat of excellence, will implant a generation of incompetents in all hierarchies of management.

That will result in an insidious matrix of bad decision-making. The Pareto 80-20 principle will ensure that 80-percent of all institutional energy will focus on propping up failing institutions with bad decisions that add up to broken business models (while 20-percent goes into actually carrying-out the bad decisions as policy). That explains how Pete Buttigieg’s Department of Transportation spent $7.5-billion to build seven electric car charging stations. Similarly, if you have an urgent medical problem, the 80-percent of administrative clerks in your primary care doctor’s overgrown practice (with an assist from the health insurance company cohorts they must coordinate with) will actually manage to delay your treatment as long as possible, with a fair chance of disallowing it altogether. And if you happen to get treatment, there’s also an excellent chance you will be misdiagnosed and subjected to iatrogenic injury.

The 80-20 principle explains the stupendous mismanagement of the Covid-19 event, especially the “marketing” of mRNA vaccines as miracle remedies that turned out to be the opposite of beneficial. The result of that chain of bad decision-making will ensure that any widespread health crisis arising from the long-term effects of the Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines will destroy the hospital system. (It is already underway.) You can extrapolate that grandiose failure of competence to the World Health Organization and its efforts to orchestrate a new pandemic crisis. You might have noticed that it is increasingly difficult to get replacement parts for any machine, most particularly cars. That’s a symptom of failure in several integrated systems that are breaking down now: the manufacture of products in distant lands, price disorder in the container-ship business, the collapse of the US trucking system (and with it, the just-in-time inventory model), and the inability of auto dealers to find competent mechanics (while the sinking middle class can no longer afford to buy the cars they sell under the most liberal financing schemes). Expect all that to intensify.

You’ll see similar dysfunction in the system that delivers food to the people of our country. Even as currently operating, with the supermarkets amply stocked, the triumph of poor decision-making has led to 80-percent of the products sold being some form of processed corn syrup and GMO grains marketed as “fun” snack-foods that have destroyed the health of a great many citizens (and overwhelmed the medical system with chronic illness). The breakdown of the US food system is now proceeding with idiotic policy from our government (actually every government in Western Civ is doing it) undermining farm operations, and most especially small farms, with egregious regulation. The pretext for this is the delusional hysteria over “climate change.” It gives the managers something to manage badly.

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Elon autonomy

 

 

Optimus

 

 

Redfield

 

 

Boop

 

 

Ripe banana

 

 

Kids
https://twitter.com/i/status/1799912861885780311

 

 

6 minutes

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 182024
 


René Magritte The therapeutist 1937

 

The Biden Re-Election Strategy (Victor Davis Hanson)
“Up to a Third” of Illegal Immigrants Are Registered To Vote (NTB)
Whistling Past the National Train Wreck (Jeffries)
The Demolition of Cohen on Cross Examination (Turley)
An Urgent Matter (Kunstler)
NATO Chief Allies With Gays (RT)
Russia Won’t Accept Any Ultimatums on Ukraine – Putin (Sp.)
Ukraine Formally Asks NATO To Send Troops For First Time (ZH)
Desperate Ukraine Launches Mass Kamikaze Drone Attack On Black Sea Coast (ZH)
The West Has an Illiterate Financial Press (Paul Craig Roberts)
Chief Economic Adviser Refuses To Admit Biden Is LYING About Inflation (MN)
The Heroism of David McBride (John Kiriakou)
Vitalik Buterin Says OpenAI’s GPT-4 Has Passed The Turing Test (CT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Van Drew

BBee

Benz

1. Elon announced that Twitter is gone for good, and all the core systems have now migrated to the X domain.

 

 

 

 

“..left-wing local, state, and federal prosecutors are tying Trump up in court on crimes that have never been seen before and will never be again after the election. All the cases are politically motivated, with many coordinated with the White House..”

The Biden Re-Election Strategy (Victor Davis Hanson)

President Joe Biden polls at or below 40 percent approval. Historically, such unpopularity has made it almost impossible for a president to be reelected. Biden is not so much an octogenarian as an unhealthy and prematurely aging 80-year-old. It is America’s irony that he is fit for almost no other job in the country other than the presidency, which apparently allows for a three-day-a-week ceremonial role while others in the shadows run the country. So how does Biden become renominated and reelected, as polls show he is behind in almost every critical swing state on nearly every issue? Answer: not by campaigning, not by championing his record, and especially not by doubling down on his neo-socialist and now unpopular agendas. Instead, his campaign is focused on four other strategies to beat former President Donald Trump.

First, left-wing local, state, and federal prosecutors are tying Trump up in court on crimes that have never been seen before and will never be again after the election. All the cases are politically motivated, with many coordinated with the White House. Even if Trump is not convicted by blue-state prosecutors, in blue-state courtrooms, in front of blue-state juries, he will lose critical campaigning time. Trump may end up paying out $1 billion in legal fees and fines. At 76, the monotonous days in court are designed to destroy him financially, physically, and mentally. Biden and his operatives know that, in the long term, they may have fatally damaged the American legal system with such judicial sabotage. But short-term, they hope to destroy Trump before the ballots are cast. Second, in his fourth year, Biden is suddenly selling government favors to special-interest voting blocs, or hoping to bring short-term relief to voters at the expense of long-term damage to the nation.

For elite college students and graduates, there are now billions of dollars in student-loan cancellations, despite a Supreme Court ruling declaring such targeted contractual amnesties illegal. For consumers, before the election, Biden will likely drain the last drops from the critical Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower gas prices — now sky-high due to his previous disastrous green policies. If that is not enough, Biden has ordered Ukraine not to hit Russian oil facilities to avoid panic in the global petroleum markets before early and mail-in balloting begin. Biden will quietly jawbone the Federal Reserve Bank to lower interest rates and reinflate the economy, despite his own creation of hyperinflation that caused interest rates to rise in the first place. He will pander to Arab-American voters in swing-state Michigan by cutting arms deliveries to Israel, even as it seeks to destroy the killers of Oct. 7. And if that mollification is not sufficient to win Michigan, he will suddenly slap higher tariffs on imported Chinese electrical vehicles to win back apostate union auto workers.

Three, the left learned after 2016 that the only way to beat Trump is to change the way Americans vote. So under the cover of the COVID-19 lockdown, the left sued in critical states to reduce Election Day to a mere construct, while 70 percent of voters mailed in their ballots or voted by early, rolling balloting over many weeks. The key was the inability to fully authenticate votes, given the old practice of showing up on Election Day and presenting an ID was declared “racist.”

Four, Biden, as he did in 2020, will outsource his campaign to the media, 95 percent of which is left-wing. Talking televised heads will claim Biden is “sharp as a knife” while focusing on Trump’s tweets, Stormy Daniels, Michael Cohen, and lurid but irrelevant testimonies that permeate Trump’s court appearances. Trump will continue to hold weekend-long, massive 100,000-person rallies, even in blue states. Meanwhile, Biden’s fixers in the media, administrative state, and legal community will counter that even with no crowds and no campaigning, Biden can win through 24/7 nonstop “October Surprises” — all summer long. So expect more false “Russian collusion,” “laptop disinformation,” and “Jan. 6 insurrection” hoaxes and their new replacements designed to smother the airwaves with salacious scandals nonstop.

Biden’s fading tenure is similar to the last sad months of Woodrow Wilson’s second term, when in 1919-20, the country was assured that a bedridden president was somehow hard at work, even as his wife, doctors, and handlers kept everyone else away. Biden’s keepers do not seem to care about the president’s own failing health or his dismal polls. They discount his rare, anemic, and disastrous public appearances. They laugh off the huge Trump rallies. And they certainly could care less about the bad optics of pandering to special interests at the expense of the country or the damage done to the American legal and balloting systems. Instead, Bidenites believe they can reelect an unhealthy, unpopular, and unsuccessful president by any means necessary. And they may be right.

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“Potentially high enough to overturn the will of the American people”.

“Up to a Third” of Illegal Immigrants Are Registered To Vote (NTB)

I know there were still those among us who were truly convinced that 2024 was going to be maybe, sort of, somehow, a fair fight. But even those holdouts can finally disabuse themselves of that notion: Based on the latest available data and an enhanced version of a stress-tested methodology from a scholarly journal, a new study by Just Facts has found that about 10 percent to 27 percent of non-citizen adults in the U.S. are now illegally registered to vote. Researchers originally made this determination based on data pulled from the 2008 election. They found: •”roughly one quarter of non-citizens” in the U.S. “were likely registered to vote;” •”6.4 percent of non-citizens actually voted;” •”81.8 percent of them ‘reported voting for Barack Obama;'” and •”illegal votes cast by non-citizens ‘likely’ changed ‘important election outcomes’ in favor of Democrats, ‘including Electoral College votes’ and a ‘pivotal’ U.S. Senate race that enabled Democrats to pass Obamacare.”

There has been some dispute over these figures, including recently from the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, who claimed that a 2023 data review revealed a much lower incidence rate of 1% of illegals voting. Yet recent voting data from the 2022 midterms does appear to indicate the considerably higher upper bound of 27%, a rate high enough to significantly influence U.S. elections (many elections are razor thin – even a few thousand votes in one direction would secure victory). There are, it’s worth stressing, a lot of illegal immigrants in the US: The U.S. Census recorded more than 19 million adult non-citizens living in the U.S. during 2022. Given their voter registration rates, this means that about two million to five million of them are illegally registered to vote. These figures are potentially high enough to overturn the will of the American people in major elections, including congressional seats and the presidency.

Note that, according to Just Facts, “uncertainties in the data” could be leading to an undercount of the illegal immigrant voting rate: “The Census Bureau counts only the number of non-citizens who respond to Census surveys,” for instance, “and some immigrants, especially unauthorized ones, avoid such surveys out of fear of exposing their immigration status.” “Certain groups of immigrants,” meanwhile, “often misrepresent themselves as citizens in Census surveys.” Republicans recently introduced legislation to require proof of citizenship in U.S. elections, though it is highly unlikely to pass Congress, let alone get signed by the president. Gird yourselves for November, folks. The fix might already be in.

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“That’s why libertarianism, and now anarchy, has become popular. The best we can hope for with these beloved statesmen (and stateswomen, and soon to be statetransgenders), is that they do nothing.”

Whistling Past the National Train Wreck (Jeffries)

Yesterday, Jason Whitlock reported on one Dexter Taylor, a software engineer who was just convicted and sentenced to ten years for constructing his own guns without a license. Shades of January 6. Taylor is Black, by the way, for those of you to whom that matters. I don’t expect to see former crack dealer turned FBI informant “Reverend” Al Sharpton leading a protest about this particular Black man being a victim of injustice. Our record-setting prisons are overflowing with people like Taylor, of all races. People who most decidedly don’t belong behind bars. Having watched enough of those Investigation Discovery shows, and cops gone wild videos, I often wonder just how many actual criminals are in prison. The system devotes so much effort to framing innocent people, that they may no longer be capable of convicting truly guilty ones.

I could have titled this Substack Whistling Past the American Graveyard. Maybe I should have. But America 2.0 isn’t literally dead yet. On life support? Yes. With an almost certain terminal prognosis? Yes. I used the train wreck analogy because everywhere we look, things are wrecked. A sad vestige of what they were even a decade ago. It’s fitting that we haven’t addressed our Third World infrastructure for over sixty years. What you see is what you get now. America is in critical condition, and it looks it. You can judge this book by its cover. Give me your obese, your tattooed, your weezing, chronically ill with oxygen tanks and walkers. Wretched refuse indeed. Your endless migrants, who don’t speak English and urinate and defecate in public. What’s not to love?

A society is reflected in its leaders. And what leaders America 2.0 has! Our political “representatives” are so dedicated to not representing us that every piece of legislation they pass is assumed to be yet another figurative drone strike to the population. I’ve been a political junkie for over fifty years, and I couldn’t tell you when the last law was passed that benefited the People in the slightest way. That’s why libertarianism, and now anarchy, has become popular. The best we can hope for with these beloved statesmen (and stateswomen, and soon to be statetransgenders), is that they do nothing. That we pay them their generous salaries, and give them the lucrative benefits very few of us get, to maybe rape an underage page, or be bribed by a special interest group. Just don’t pass any legislation. Pretty please.

As I wrote recently in depth about, Americans also have to contend with the occupying force of militarized police officers. They are the standing army Thomas Jefferson warned about. They serve no function other than to annoy, harass, and sometimes kill the befuddled citizens who pay them. They are never there when you need them, and are incapable of solving any real crime. They are good at beating people (as long as you are a vulnerable target who represents no danger to them), planting evidence, and lying on their police reports. But people love them. Jolly coppers on parade, as Randy Newman called them long ago. The best you can hope for is to completely avoid any interaction with them. They are upholding the systemic corruption. Doing the bidding of their masters. Guarding the train wreck.

Our government agencies are all worthless, providing no real services other than to begrudgingly pay us back the money they stole from us (Social Security, Medicare, and Unemployment Compensation), or provide the benefits they promised (military personnel). But, like savage beasts that are always hungry, they must be fed. Paid better than those who pay them, and with much better benefits. While conservatives bemoan “welfare,” which was altered significantly under Bill Clinton, so that fewer people receive less money, they fail to see the federal government itself for what it is: a gigantic, entitled welfare recipient. Think of Reagan’s mythical Welfare Queen. Living it up with house money. Taxpayer money.

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“New Yorkers are a curious breed. Yes, they overwhelmingly hate Trump, but they also universally hate being treated like chumps..”

The Demolition of Cohen on Cross Examination (Turley)

1. The Prosecutors
First, there are the prosecutors. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg originally (as did his predecessor) rejected this ridiculous legal theory and further stated that he could not imagine ever bringing a case where he would call former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen, let alone make him the entirety of a prosecution. Bragg’s suspension of the case led prosecutor Mark F. Pomerantz to resign. Pomerantz then wrote a book on the prosecution despite his colleagues objecting that he was undermining their work. Many of us viewed the book as unethical and unprofessional, but it worked. The pressure campaign forced Bragg to green-light the prosecution. Pomerantz also met with Cohen in pushing the case. Bragg then selected Matthew Colangelo to lead the case. Colangelo was third in command of the Justice Department and gave up that plum position to lead the case against Trump. Colangelo was also paid by the Democratic National Committee for “political consulting.” So a former high-ranking official in the Biden Justice Department and a past consultant to the DNC is leading the prosecution.

2. The Judge
Judge Juan Merchan has been criticized not only because he is a political donor to President Biden but his daughter is a high-ranking Democratic political operative who has raised millions in campaigns against Trump and the GOP. Merchan, however, was not randomly selected. He was specifically selected for the case due to his handling of an earlier Trump-related case.

3. The Star Witness
Michael Cohen’s checkered history as a convicted, disbarred serial perjurer is well known. Now, Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., is under fire after disclosing that “I have met with [Cohen] a number of times to prepare him.” Goldman in turn paid Merchan’s daughter, Loren Merchan, more than $157,000 dollars for political consulting. Outside the courtroom, there is little effort to avoid or hide such conflicts. While Democrats would be outraged if the situation were flipped in a prosecution of Biden, the cross-pollination between the DOJ, DNC, and Democratic operatives is dismissed as irrelevant by many in the media. Moreover, there is little outrage in New York that, in a presidential campaign where the weaponization of the legal system is a major issue, Trump is not allowed to discuss Cohen, Colangelo, or these conflicts.

A New York Supreme Court judge is literally controlling what Trump can say in a presidential campaign about the alleged lawfare being waged against him. The most striking aspect of these controversial associations is how little was done to avoid even the appearance of conflicts of interests. There were many judges available who were not donors or have children with such prominent political interests in the case. Bragg could have selected someone who was not imported by the Biden administration or someone who had not been paid by the DNC. There was no concern over the obvious appearance of a politically motivated and stacked criminal case. Whether or not these figures are conflicted or compromised, no effort was taken to assure citizens that any such controversies are avoided in the selection of the key players in this case.

What will be interesting is how the jury will react when, after casting its verdict, the members learn of these undisclosed associations. This entire production was constructed for their benefit to get them to convict Trump despite the absence of a clear crime or direct evidence. They were the marks and, like any good grift, the prosecutors were counting that their desire for a Trump conviction would blind them to the con. Bragg, Colangelo and others may be wrong. Putting aside the chance that Judge Merchan could summon up the courage to end this case before it goes to the jury, the grift may have been a bit too obvious. New Yorkers are a curious breed. Yes, they overwhelmingly hate Trump, but they also universally hate being treated like chumps. When they get this case, they just might look around the courtroom and decide that they are the suckers in a crooked game.

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“..covertly designed to kill as many people as possible over a long period of time by switching off the natural defenses of your immune system, guaranteeing bewilderment and compliance by the hoodwinked masses..”

An Urgent Matter (Kunstler)

While our country sleepwalks through the deadly aftermath of the evil Covid-19 operation, the World Health Organization (WHO) puts the final touches on a nice bit of fuckery called its Pandemic Treaty on International Health Regulations (IHR) or “One Health” initiative, a Globalist power grab disguised in the saintly white robes of public health medicine. The agreement, to be finalized at the end of this month, will cede what’s left of your liberty to this unelected bureaucracy for the sake of global “equity and inclusivity,” meaning more lockdowns, constant surveillance, forced “vaccinations,” restrictions on medications, and censorship of anyone who voices a contrary opinion of these actions. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s Covid-19 all over again, a second crack at controlling everything you do and every choice you might make by a cabal of governments and corporations, in other words, an international gang of fascists.

The WHO is an agency of the United Nations, run out of Switzerland. You might recall this is the same place where the World Economic Forum (the WEF, a.k.a. “Davos”) has its headquarters. For years, the WEF has been issuing blueprints for a techno-fascist global regime under which, they state baldly, “you will own nothing and be happy.” (And eat bugs.) These birds are not kidding around, though anyone can see the megalomania on display, the grandiose will-to-power that seeks to subjugate the plebes of the world — and radically decrease our numbers — so that a remaining tiny elite can enter into a post-modern, techno-transhuman utopia uncluttered with us “useless eaters.” The corporate money and organizational mojo out of Davos is behind what amounts to a homicidal racketeering scheme masquerading as disease prevention.

Of course, the pharmaceutical companies are front-and-center in the mix. They stand to make hundreds of billions of dollars distributing their mandated “vaccines” — which, you know by now, will not be properly tested, and, as currently being demonstrated by the Covid shots, are covertly designed to kill as many people as possible over a long period of time by switching off the natural defenses of your immune system, guaranteeing bewilderment and compliance by the hoodwinked masses. This might sound like a paranoid sci-fi movie, but, alas, the first phase has already happened starting in 2020. And since the pharma companies provide most of the advertising revenue for cable news media, you have been successfully mind-fucked into not seeing what is going on all around you: a whole lot of sickness and death.

Fortunately, it is the nature of megalomania that it always thinks too highly of its power and reaches too far. For one thing, this WHO “treaty” has to be signed by its member nations. Not all of them are eager to do that. One was Slovakia, whose prime minister, Robert Fico, was gunned down a few days after he announced his country would opt out. The coterie of the USA behind the senile and incompetent “Joe Biden,” is avid to sign us onto the treaty, largely because much of global Big Pharma operates out of our country, and rents so many members of Congress, especially most of the Democratic Party.

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Original title: “Stoltenberg Reveals Real Purpose Of NATO”. Changed to the present one during the day yesterday,

NATO Chief Allies With Gays (RT)

Standing up for the rights of LGBTQ people is one of the reasons for NATO’s existence, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg suggested on Friday. He was among hundreds of Western public officials, institutions and organizations to make a statement affirming the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). “NATO exists to defend 32 nations, and our peoples’ right to live freely & in peace,” Stoltenberg posted on X, formerly Twitter. “On the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia & Transphobia, and every day: all love is equal. LGBTQ+ people deserve respect & dignity, and I am proud to call myself your ally.” The overwhelming majority of responses to Stoltenberg’s posts were negative, however.

“And the relationship between a mutual defense military alliance with the rights of certain minorities is…?” one X user wondered. Others brought up the bloc’s offensive wars against Yugoslavia (1999) and Libya (2011), and the fact that it spent 20 years in Afghanistan helping the US to “replace the Taliban with the Taliban.” “You just made me support Russia a bit more,” read another response, while someone else wondered whether the Russians had somehow managed to hack Stoltenberg’s account. Another social media user accused him of “pinkwashing war crimes and warmongering,” using a term that describes individuals or organizations who embrace the LGBTQ agenda to deflect attention from their bad behavior.

IDAHOBIT was conceived in 2004 by a French gay activist. Organizations such as the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA), the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), the World Congress of LGBT Jews and the Coalition of African Lesbians endorsed the project, leading to the first celebration in 2005. May 17 was chosen as the date, commemorating the removal of homosexuality from the international classification of diseases by the WHO in 1990. “Transphobia” was added to the name in 2009, followed by “biphobia” in 2015, resulting in the acronym in its current form.

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“They are shelling the city center, in residential areas. And I said publicly that if this continues, we will be forced to create a buffer zone..”

Russia Won’t Accept Any Ultimatums on Ukraine – Putin (Sp.)

Russia wants to understand whom it can trust before engaging with partners on the Ukrainian conflict, President Vladimir Putin said during a trip to China on Friday. “We must understand with whom and how we can engage and whom and to what degree we can trust. We are of course analyzing everything that is going on,” Putin told a press conference in Harbin. The president pointed to China as a stakeholder that was sincerely trying to put an end to the conflict in Ukraine. “We believe that China is sincere about its efforts to solve this problem. It has suggested different options and has been very flexible about it,” Putin said. Commenting on the Swiss initiative on Ukrainian peace, the Russian president stressed that Moscow would not accept ultimatums. “It is clear what this event is all about: bringing together as many countries as possible to claim that they have everything agreed on and then giving Russia an ultimatum,” Putin said, adding he would not have it.

Russia is keeping tabs on the preparations for the Swiss conference on Ukraine, which is due on June 15-16, the president said. “We are of course analyzing everything happening in this regard. We are watching everything that has to do with the planned meeting in Switzerland,” he confirmed. Putin suggested that Ukraine and its donors were trying to force Kiev’s vision of a peace deal on Russia but warned that such attempts were doomed to fail. “First they tried to deal a strategic defeat but failed. Any attempt to force [Russia’s] hand will have the same result,” the president warned. Russia will accept an invitation to peace negotiations as agreed in Istanbul in 2022, Putin said “We have a framework for negotiating process, which is what we agreed on in Istanbul … The head of the Ukrainian delegation signed up to that long document. He initialed it. We have a document with his signature on it,” the president said.

[..] Russia is ready to participate in peace talks on Ukraine, but it is not invited to the conference in Switzerland, Putin added.”They do not invite us. Moreover, they say that they do not see us there,” Putin said at a press conference following his visit to China. Russia not going to discuss something it does not know about, but any attempts to impose on Russia its terms for settlement in Ukraine will end in same way as attempt to inflict strategic defeat, Putin said, adding that even Kiev sees that it is unable to inflict strategic defeat on Russia. Russia will be forced to create a buffer zone because of shelling by Ukrainian armed forces of residential neighborhoods in the the Russian city of Belgorod, Vladimir Putin stressed. “They are shelling the city center, in residential areas. And I said publicly that if this continues, we will be forced to create a buffer zone,” Putin said. Russia’s Belgorod Region, bordering Ukraine’s Sumy and Kharkov regions, has been targeted repeatedly by the Ukrainian military, including in drone attacks.

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A formal request for WWIII.

Ukraine Formally Asks NATO To Send Troops For First Time (ZH)

The continued inevitable and disastrous slide into a WW3 nuclear-armed confrontation between Russian and the West continues as The New York Times reports NATO appears to actually be seriously mulling sending troops to Ukraine to serve in the role as ‘trainers’ at a moment Kiev is desperate to tap and train up new manpower. And this would be closer to front line positions as well. “NATO allies are inching closer to sending troops into Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces, a move that would be another blurring of a previous red line and could draw the United States and Europe more directly into the war,” NY Times wrote Thursday. What has changed? The Zelensky government is now directly requesting it, apparently on a formal level for the first time of the conflict, according to officials. The Times confirms “Ukrainian officials have asked their American and NATO counterparts to help train 150,000 new recruits closer to the front line for faster deployment.”

The report assures that at this moment anyway, the US is still saying ‘no’; however chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr has said an eventual deployment of trainers inside Ukraine looks inevitable. “We’ll get there eventually, over time,” he said. The Joint Chiefs chairman said this while admitting in the next breath that US and NATO trainers positioned in Ukraine would essentially be sitting ducks under the bombs of superior Russian airpower: For now, he said, an effort inside Ukraine would put “a bunch of NATO trainers at risk” and would most likely mean deciding whether to use precious air defenses to protect the trainers instead of critical Ukrainian infrastructure near the battlefield. General Brown briefed reporters on his plane en route to a NATO meeting in Brussels.

The report was published the same day that Ukraine’s President Zelensky in his nightly address issued a desperate appeal to Western allies saying that “Russia is trying to expand the war” and that “we must force Russia to a real, just peace by all means.” Earlier in the week Zelensky abruptly announced that he has canceled all scheduled trips abroad as the crisis in Kharkiv is worsening due to Moscow’s expanded cross-border offensive which seeks to push front lines significantly deeper into Ukrainian territory, where the Kremlin wants to see a buffer zone in order to protect its Belgorod region from shelling. While there have long been indicators (including a leaked Pentagon file) that up to dozens of special forces troops from various Western countries are likely already on the ground in Ukraine, sending NATO trainers would certainly mark a colossal escalation. Already Russian forces have been actively targeting storehouses with Western weapons, and Putin himself has vowed to make West-supplied tanks and equipment “burn”.

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“..with less domestic refining capacity, Russia will be forced to export more of its crude oil, not less, pushing global prices down rather than up.”

Desperate Ukraine Launches Mass Kamikaze Drone Attack On Black Sea Coast (ZH)

In defiance of repeated warnings from the Biden administration, the Ukrainian military continues ramping up kamikaze drone attacks on the Russian energy complex, a move to crush the nation’s crude oil and crude product export revenues and curtail Moscow’s ability to fund President Putin’s ‘special operation’ in Ukraine. A fire broke out overnight at Rosneft PJSC’s large Tuapse refinery on the Black Sea. According to Bloomberg, this wave of overnight drone attacks is one of the largest by Ukraine in the multi-year war. The Tuapse refinery is the only refinery in Russia located on the Black Sea. It produces naphtha, fuel oil, vacuum gas oil, and high-sulfur diesel, which it exports to Turkey, China, Malaysia, and Singapore. The refinery has a capacity of about 240,000 barrels per day and was processing approximately 180,000 barrels per day shortly before the first drone attack in January took the plant offline.

With Ukraine losing ground with Russia, drone attacks by Kyiv’s military and or special operations personnel, likely with help from US intel operators, are stepping up attacks on Russia’s energy complex. Russia said it intercepted 51 drones over Crimea in the attack early Friday. Another four dozen above the southern Krasnodar region, six over the Belgorod region, and one in the Kursk region. The Defense Ministry in Moscow wrote on Telegram that Ukrainian naval drones were also destroyed. The regional government in Krasnodar Krai wrote on Telegram that the refinery fire was extinguished three hours after the strike.

[..] In mid-April, Reuters estimated that Russia’s refining capacity, which was offline due to drone attacks, was around 660,000 barrels per day, compared to 907,000 bpd offline at the end of March. Russia has stated it can repair damaged refineries over the next few months. Last week, Foreign Affairs magazine writer Sam Winter-Levy penned a note titled “Why Ukraine Should Keep Striking Russian Oil Refineries,” explaining that “with less domestic refining capacity, Russia will be forced to export more of its crude oil, not less, pushing global prices down rather than up.” In markets, Brent crude prices are marginally higher, above $83 a barrel. The Tuapse refinery attack, plus others in recent months, are reminders of the mounting geopolitical risks that could send oil prices much higher.

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“America is likely living her last years. Perhaps this is why Putin and Xi don’t bother to dispose of us.”

The West Has an Illiterate Financial Press (Paul Craig Roberts)

The entire financial press has zero understanding of basic economics. The financial “journalists” just print press releases. The US debt has never mattered, because the US dollar is the world reserve currency. That means US debt is the reserves of the world’s central banks. If US debt rises, so does the reserves of the world banking system. All central banks were delighted to accumulate more US Treasury debt as it meant the reserves of their banking system went up. The Federal Reserve can always redeem US Treasury debt by creating money with which to buy it. The debt is always redeemable because it is denominated in dollars. The problem arrives when the dollar is deserted as world reserve currency. The morons who comprise the Biden regime are scaring central banks away from the dollar as their reserves because of sanctions against Russia, Iran, China, Venezuela, and others.

The slow mental processes of central banks are beginning to understand that having your reserves in US Treasury dollar debt means they can be frozen, seized, denied to your use if you cross Washington. The threat to Washington is, whereas the Fed can print dollars to redeem the debt, the Fed cannot print foreign currencies to redeem the US dollar. So, if central banks shift their reserves out of dollars into gold, as Russia and China are doing, or into other currencies, the supply of dollars in foreign exchange markets have fewer and fewer takers. Consequently the dollar loses its value relative to gold, silver, and rising currencies, and the dollar’s value falls in foreign exchange markets. As America’s manufacturing is offshored and as America relies on imports of food, US inflation rises. Historically, the Fed’s response to inflation has been unemployment.

The Federal Reserve and the institutions used to suppress gold and silver prices use naked shorts to control the price by dumping shorts into the futures market. In other words, contracts unsupported by actual gold holdings can be used to increase the paper supply of gold in futures markets. As the futures market settles in cash, not in gold deliveries, a flood of paper contracts unsupported by actual physical gold can be used to suppress the price. In other words, the supply of paper gold can be printed just like the Fed can print paper money. Myself and Dave Krantzler have explained this over and over on my website.

This price control process fails when the demand for gold exceeds the physical supply at the suppressed price. We have recently witnessed a new outbreak in the gold price. Is this a sign that the controlled price can no longer hold against the demand for physical gold, or is there some other explanation? As the fools ruling the US continue their destruction of the country, the dollar and living standards will die with the country. America is likely living her last years. Perhaps this is why Putin and Xi don’t bother to dispose of us.

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“..Mr. President, just to be technical about it, it wasn’t at 9% when you assumed office, it was 1.4%..”

Chief Economic Adviser Refuses To Admit Biden Is LYING About Inflation (MN)

Joe Biden’s chief economic advisor refused to admit Thursday that the president keeps telling a huge lie by claiming that inflation was at 9 percent when he took office when it was really at 1.4 percent and shot up to 9 percent under Biden himself. During an interview on Fox Business, host Neil Cavuto grilled Jared Bernstein, and told him directly “you’re lying,” and “just as bad” as Biden when he tried to dodge the matter. After Biden took office inflation surged to rates unseen since the early 1980s, peaking at an annual rate of 9.1 percent in June 2022, a full 17 months after he became president. Yet, he keeps claiming it was ALREADY at 9 percent and that he inherited a weakened economy from Trump.

“Jared, why does he keep saying that?” Cavuto asked, following up “You’re the head of the Council of Economic Advisers. Do you ever whisper in his ear, ‘Mr. President, just to be technical about it, it wasn’t at 9% when you assumed office, it was 1.4%. It got as high as 9% in 2022, you brought it down from that, but it was never ever ever 9% when you came into office.’ So why does he keep saying it?” Bernstein responded “Well, first of all, let me point out that in that very quote you played, the president talked about how concerned he was, uh, for households struggling with prices that he consistently—” “That’s not what I asked you. That’s not what I asked you,” Cavuto interjected, again asking “Why does he keep misrepresenting this?” “He’s making the point, uh, that that factors that caused inflation to climb to 9% were in place when he took office,” Bernstein claimed. Credit to Cavuto, he was having none of it. “No, that’s not what he said! He said it was at 9%… So if I can’t trust him with quoting data in real-time, why should I believe what he’s talking about now?”

“No it wasn’t — it was not at that! You’re almost as bad as he is,” Cavuto further charged when Bernstein attempted to claim that the annual inflation in 2021 was “about 9 percent.” “Why can’t you just say, ‘It was high, it got as high as 9%’ — you’d be accurate in saying that — And we have now brought it down, or were struggling around the 3% area, but it’s better than it was,’” Cavuto continued. “But instead to hang it on his predecessor that you inherited something that was through the roof when we were in the middle of Covid, it just seems to the American people whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat — you’re lying!” The host concluded. Biden really seems to believe that he has rescued the economy, when in reality he’s overseen an unmitigated disaster.

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John Kiriakou is a former C.I.A. counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act — a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

The Heroism of David McBride (John Kiriakou)

Sometimes a whistleblower does everything right. He or she makes a revelation that is clearly in the public interest. The revelation is clearly a violation of the law. And then he or she is even more clearly abused by the government. It would be great if these stories always had happy endings. Unfortunately, they don’t. In this case, the whistleblower, the hero, Australian David McBride has been sentenced to five years and eight months in prison for telling the truth. He will not be eligible for parole for 27 months. David McBride is former British Army officer and a lawyer with the Australian Special Forces who blew the whistle on war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan, specifically the killing of 39 unarmed Afghan prisoners, farmers, and civilians in 2012. After failing to raise a response through official channels, McBride shared the information with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), which published a series of major reports based on the material.

The ABC broadcasts in 2017 led to a major inquiry that upheld many of the allegations. Despite this, the ABC and its journalists themselves came under threat of prosecution for their work on the story. The ABC offices in Sydney were raided by the national police, but in the end the government did not prosecute an ABC journalist because it was not in the public interest. McBride himself, however, was prosecuted for dissemination of official information. Let’s go back a few years. McBride at the time already was a seasoned attorney. After studying for a second law degree at Oxford University, he joined the British military and eventually moved back to Australia where he became a lawyer in the Australian Defence Forces (ADF). In that role he had two tours in Afghanistan in 2011 and 2013. While on deployment, McBride became critical of the terms of engagement and other regulations that soldiers were working under, which he felt were endangering military personnel for the sake of political imperatives determined elsewhere.

By 2014 McBride had compiled a dossier into profound command failings that saw examples of potential war crimes in Afghanistan overlooked and other soldiers wrongly accused. His internal complaints were suppressed and ignored. McBride’s reports also looked at other matters, including the military’s handling of sexual abuse allegations. After his use of internal channels had proven ineffective, McBride gave his report to the police. And eventually, he contacted journalists at ABC. ABC’s Afghan Files documented several incidents of Australian soldiers killing unarmed civilians, including children, and questioned the prevalent “warrior culture” in the special forces. Subsequent to McBride’s disclosures, the behavior of other Coalition Special Forces in Afghanistan also came under sustained investigation.

In many ways, McBride’s reports went further than the issues identified by ABC. Amid prevalent rumors that Australian troops were responsible for war crimes, questionable deaths in Afghanistan had led to calls for investigations. In November 2020, the Brereton report (formally called the Inspector General of the Australian Defence Force Afghan Inquiry report) was published, utterly vindicating McBride and the ABC. Judge Paul Brereton found evidence of multiple incidents involving Australian personnel that had led to 39 deaths. Among his recommendations were the investigation of these incidents for possible future criminal charges. There would be almost no criminal charges, however. At least, there would be only one eventual criminal charge against one single soldier in the murder of Afghan civilians. There have been no charges against the officers who covered up the war crimes. Instead, though, there would be serious charges against McBride for “theft of government property” (the information) and for “sharing with members of the press documents classified as secret.” He faced life in prison.

[..] First, just like in the United States, there are no protections for national security whistleblowers. McBride took his career — indeed, his life — into his hands when he decided to go public with his revelations. But what else could he do? Second, as in the United States, there is no affirmative defense. McBride, like Edward Snowden, Jeffrey Sterling, Daniel Hale and like me, was forbidden from standing up in court and saying, “Yes, I gave the information to the media because I witnessed a war crime or a crime against humanity. What I did was in the public interest.” Those words are never permitted to be spoken in a court in the United States or Australia.

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Not quite yet.

Vitalik Buterin Says OpenAI’s GPT-4 Has Passed The Turing Test (CT)

OpenAI’s GPT-4, a generative artificial intelligence (AI) model, has passed the Turing test, according to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin. The Turing test is a nebulous benchmark for AI systems purported to determine how human-like a conversational model is. The term was coined on account of famed mathematician Alan Turing who proposed the test in 1950. According to Turing, at the time, an AI system capable of generating text that fools humans into thinking they’re having a conversation with another human would demonstrate the capacity for “thought.” Nearly 75 years later, the person largely credited with conceiving the world’s second most popular cryptocurrency has interpreted recent preprint research out of the University of California San Diego as indicating that a production model has finally passed the Turing test. Researchers at the University of California San Diego recently published a preprint paper titled “People cannot distinguish GPT-4 from a human in a Turing test.”

In it, they had approximately 500 human test subjects interact with humans and AI models in a blind test to determine whether they could figure out which was which. According to the research, humans mistakenly determined that GPT-4 was a “human” 56% of the time. This means that a machine fooled humans into thinking it was one of them more often than not. According to Buterin, an AI system capable of fooling more than half of the humans it interacts with qualifies as passing the Turing test. Buterin added: “It means people’s ability to tell if it’s a human or a bot is basically a coin flip!” Buterin qualified his statement by saying, “Ok not quite, because humans get guessed as humans 66% of the time vs 54% for bots, but a 12% difference is tiny; in any real-world setting that basically counts as passing.”

He also later added, in response to commentary on his original cast, that the Turing test is “by far the single most famous socially accepted milestone for ‘AI is serious shit now’. So it’s good to remind ourselves that the milestone has now been crossed.” Artificial general intelligence (AGI) and the Turing test are not necessarily related, despite the two terminologies often being conflated. Turing formulated his test based on his mathematical acumen and predicted a scenario where AI could fool humans into thinking it was one of them through conversation. It bears mention that the Turing test is an ephemeral construct with no true benchmark or technical basis. There is no scientific consensus as to whether machines are capable of “thought” as living organisms are or as to how such a feat would be measured. Simply put, AGI or an AI’s ability to “think” isn’t currently measurable or defined by the scientific or engineering communities. Turing made his conceptual predictions long before the advent of token-based artificial intelligence systems and the onset of generative adversarial networks, the precursor to today’s generative AI systems.

Complicating matters further is the idea of AGI, which is often associated with the Turing test. In scientific parlance, a “general intelligence” is one that should be capable of any intelligence-based feat. This precludes humans, as no person has shown “general” capabilities across the spectrum of human intellectual endeavor. Thus, it follows that an “artificial general intelligence” would feature thought capabilities far beyond that of any known human.That being said, it’s clear that GPT-4 doesn’t fit the bill of true “general intelligence” in the strictly scientific sense. However, that hasn’t stopped denizens of the AI community from using the term “AGI” to indicate any AI system capable of fooling a significant number of humans. In the current culture, it’s typical to see terms and phrases such as “AGI,” “humanlike,” and “passes the Turing test” to refer to any AI system that outputs content comparable to the content produced by humans.

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Baby deer
https://twitter.com/i/status/1791466364151980517

 

 

Problem solving

 

 

 

 

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