Jul 142024
 
 July 14, 2024  Posted by at 9:31 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  93 Responses »


Salvador Dali Meditative rose 1958

 

Trump Hit By Bullet At Pennsylvania Rally (ZH)
Trump Suggests Simultaneous Mental Test With Biden (RT)
Take Away the Car Keys (Hamilton)
Tulsi Gabbard – The Ultimate Insurance Policy for Trump (Luongo)
Musk Enters 2024 Fight With ‘Sizable’ Gift To Trump Super PAC (ZH)
Trump’s Facebook, Instagram Restrictions Rolled Back (RT)
Democrats Plotting To Oust Biden From Race – Axios (RT)
Major Donors Blackmailing US Democrats Over Biden – NYT (RT)
Democratic Party Insiders Struggle to Force Biden Out (Miles)
Viktor Orbán Deserves The Nobel Peace Prize (RM)
Russia Initiates Call With Pentagon On Ukraine and NATO (ZH)
The Yemen–Russia Riddle (Pepe Escobar)
European Cities Prime Targets For Russian Missiles – Moscow (RT)
72% of Israelis Want Netanyahu To Resign – Poll (RT)
Israeli Newspaper Says Country ‘Collapsing’ as 46,000 Businesses Shutter (Sp.)
Africans Support Russia – EU’s Borrell (RT)
‘Borrell Views Africa As ‘Jungle Full Of Zombies’ (RT)
ChatGPT Maker Secretly Developing New Type Of AI – Reuters (RT)

 

 

So glad the man’s alive. The shooter was well over 100 yards away. Trump surviving was pure luck. Or fate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alex doesn’t see an incident, or a lone wolf

 

 

Costas

 

 

Rogan Dore

 

 

Sidney Powell

 

 

Biden 1994

 

 

T.S. Eliot from The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock:

There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;

 

 

 

 

They’ve been calling for it. Maybe that stops now. Don’t recall anyone asking for Biden to be shot.

Trump Hit By Bullet At Pennsylvania Rally (ZH)

• Shooter identified as 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks, NY Post
• Trump has responded, saying on Truth Social “I was shot with a bullet that pierced the upper part of my right ear.”
• Secret Service says one spectator was killed and two were critically injured.
• Former President Donald Trump was shot in the ear by a would-be assassin at a Butler, Pennsylvania rally on Saturday.
• Trump could be seen grabbing his ear and falling to the ground, before standing up and walking off stage.
• Approximately nine shots rang out.
• A member of the crowd, as well as the shooter, are dead following the assassination attempt.
• One Trump supporter says he alerted Secret Service before the shooting and was ignored.
• Trump’s team reportedly asked for ‘beefed up protection’ and was rebuffed over and over by Biden DHS.

According to The Federalist’s Sean Davis, “A source familiar with Trump’s security detail tells @FDRLST that the former and future president’s detail has been asking for beefed up protection and resources for weeks, but has been rebuffed time and again by Biden’s DHS. DHS, which oversees Secret Service protective detail “wasn’t responsive to those requests” for more resources, the source said.”

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“..For the first time we’ll be a team, and do it for the good of the Country..

Trump Suggests Simultaneous Mental Test With Biden (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has urged incumbent leader Joe Biden to immediately take a cognitive test to prove his fitness for office. Trump expressed his readiness to take the test together with Biden, stating the two would work for the first time as a “team.” Trump produced the call on Friday in a post on his social media platform, Truth Social. “Joe should immediately take a Cognitive Test, and I will go with him, and take one also. For the first time we’ll be a team, and do it for the good of the Country,” Trump wrote. Such tests should also be made mandatory for all presidential hopefuls in the future, he argued. “From now on, all Presidential candidates should be mandated to take a Cognitive Test and Aptitude Test, regardless of their age!!!” he added.

Concerns over Biden’s cognitive and physical capacities skyrocketed in the aftermath of the disastrous presidential debate held late last month. The subpar performance of the president has prompted growing dissent within the Democratic Party, with an increasing number of high-profile members and major donors urging him to quit the reelection race. Facing mounting criticism, Biden has repeatedly dismissed any possibility of dropping his campaign, insisting he is the only person capable of defeating Trump in November. He has also angrily reacted to speculation about his health, stating he did not need any cognitive tests, given his job.

“I have a cognitive test every single day. Every day, I have that test. Everything I do. You know, not only am I campaigning, but I’m running the world. Not – and that’s not hi – sounds like hyperbole, but we are the essential nation of the world,” Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos in an explosive interview last week. The effort to convince the nation he was still fit for office, however, appears to have yielded little and may have had the opposite result. According to a fresh survey by CBS News/YouGov in the wake of the debate, 72% of registered voters do not believe that Biden has the “mental and cognitive health necessary to serve as president.”

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Not sure what he tries to prove, but I get the main point.

Take Away the Car Keys (Hamilton)

One of the saddest moments of my life was the day I felt compelled to tell my father that he should give up his car and stop driving. He resisted, but only briefly. It was an example of the kind of man my father was. And it is an example for us today when we consider the peril our republic faces with President Biden clinging to his reelection bid. We all know the liberating feeling we had when we got our first driver’s license. The opposite feeling comes when it is time to turn it in. In my dad’s case, the problem was diminished eyesight. A resilient man, he had learned to live with many handicaps, including loss of a leg and use of an arm. He told me of a trick he successfully used at traffic intersections to compensate for his difficulty discerning red lights from green: He waited for other cars to move. Okay, I said, how will you feel if you end up hurting someone? That was all it took. He sold his car.

Such a moment has come now to Joseph Biden. The chances of him winning in November are virtually non-existent. Yet, he continues to make statements that defy reason in order to keep the keys to the White House. The president’s performance in his recent debate with Donald Trump was a shock to anyone with eyes and ears. His handlers have limited his unscripted interactions with journalists for precisely this reason. Yet he and his staff insist he is as intellectually vigorous as ever and trot out ludicrous excuses for why he stumbled. One of the excuses, jetlag from recent trips abroad, showed the opposite of what was intended – that is, that it takes the president 11 days to recover from travel.They argue that he is the best person to beat Donald Trump in November. After all, they say, he is the only one who has bested Trump at the ballot box. On close inspection, however, the statement is nearly meaningless. Trump has only been in two election races, and the one he won was fluky, to say the least.

His opponent, Hillary Clinton, ran a poor campaign – and still won the popular vote. Several Democrats have a better chance than Biden of beating Trump this time round. It is sad to hear Biden claim he is intellectually up to the job at the same time he says the polls are not all that bad. As the RealClearPolitics Poll Average shows, Trump is decidedly ahead of Biden. Moreover, Biden probably needs around 52% of the popular vote to win, given how the Electoral College functions. It might be comforting to think that there is still time to turn things around. But anyone can see that Biden is losing voters, not gaining them. The best that can be said is that the battle lines have been fixed in Trump’s favor. Biden has been lagging for months and that shows no signs of changing.

It is understandable that the president seeks supportive advice from staff as well as his wife, Jill, and his son, Hunter Biden. We all want reassurance. But we also need to seek out those who will give us a point of view that we do not want to hear. Contrary to what Biden is claiming, the elites are not out to get him. Taking on the mantle of victimhood only makes Biden seem unhinged – and more like Trump. Polls show that nearly three-quarters of Americans think Biden is not fit to serve, mainly as a result of the impacts of aging. The issue is not Biden’s age, per se. Donald Trump, 78, is not much younger than the president. The issue is that in recent years Biden’s acuity and physical presence have shown noticeable decline. Whatever one wants to say about Trump, he is vigorous.

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“Obama thought “…I sure don’t want to get shot, who could I pick for VP that would make even an assassin think twice? Oh, I know, Joe Biden. No one wants that dumbass in charge!”

Tulsi Gabbard – The Ultimate Insurance Policy for Trump (Luongo)

Having watched/listened to hundreds of hours of Tulsi Gabbard over the years, I’ve noticed a few things. First, she’s not a natural public speaker, nor is she really comfortable in front of the camera. So, she has worked very hard on crafting a public persona which is not easy for her to slip into but which is also authentically her. Because she is uncomfortable, that face begins to slip after a while…. about an hour. I always get the sense that there is a ‘macho military’ version of Gabbard lurking just below the surface, that swears like a mafia don and prays like a priest. And every once in a while it leaks out. But it will never do so in a six-minute segment on Fox News. You’ve got to get past that fatigue barrier. The reason I bring all of this up is because Gabbard was recently on the Keep Hammering Collective podcast with Cameron Hanes for nearly two hours.

She did that podcast after spending the day with him doing his triathalon he calls Lift, Run, Shoot which I suggest you watch the video of, especially if your name is Donald Trump. Why? You know why. I’ve already made my case for why I thought Gabbard is the ‘box-ticking’ favorite to be Trump’s running mate this fall. I think, however, in retrospect, that was a little unfair to Tulsi Gabbard. I, like the Davosians who tried to groom her into their perfect barista of globalism, made the mistake of not really getting past the character she plays, the boxes she ticks. There’s a fiery person underneath that calm face she wears in front of the camera. Her book, which I’ve read, makes this point ad infinitum. And the rounds she’s making supporting the book are showing us a Tulsi Gabbard hinted at, but she hasn’t really shown us before.

What’s, uh, the VP deal? Dexter White’s recent post reminded us about why Joe Biden was selected to be Barack Obama’s VP, “the life insurance policy for the first black president…” Obama thought “…I sure don’t want to get shot, who could I pick for VP that would make even an assassin think twice? Oh, I know, Joe Biden. No one wants that dumbass in charge!” Over the years, we’ve gotten so caught up in the political game that is choosing a Vice-President we forgot what the actual job description is… to be the person to step into the role should the President not be there, physically, mentally, or otherwise. I say this to remind the ghost of Al Haig that we still don’t want him in charge. It is precisely because Kamala Harris was picked to be Biden’s veep for every other reason than the job description that the Democrats and Davos are in the bind they are in as I write this.

It was never about Harris’ competence, capability, or commitment that landed her in the Naval Observatory. It was the boxes she ticked, the perception of her moral fluidity, and her solidification of the black female vote at a time when black men were drifting into Der Trumpenfuhrer’s orbit that made her the center of their Venn Diagram. Notice how she was never a person to them… just a series of attributes. For Trump, who has held back his choice for vice-president for months, the big question has been, if he wins the election will the blob/Deep State/Davos/etc. just kill him off before the inauguration? It’s a real conundrum.

So, I say, turn about is fair play. Biden was Obama’s insurance policy, make Gabbard Trump’s. Because, if there is one person of all the people on the short list to be Trump’s VP that Davos et.al. do not want to see on the ticket it is Tulsi Gabbard. Because she really is that person who walked away from power, has a strong moral center, and is authentically motivated by service. And that motivation, coupled with their previous shots against her, like they’ve done with Trump, should scare them maybe more than he does.

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“..Liz Peek said Musk and his companies were under investigation by the Department of Justice, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

Musk Enters 2024 Fight With ‘Sizable’ Gift To Trump Super PAC (ZH)

There’s been another major plot twist in the 2024 election saga, as Elon Musk has made a “sizable donation” to a super PAC working to return Donald Trump to the White House. Completing something of a Black Friday for Democrats, the story broke just hours after the New York Times reported that major donors had frozen $90 million pledged donations commitments to Biden’s top super PAC, having concluded that Biden is a dead man walking — politically if not otherwise. The news comes four months after Musk said he was staying on the sidelines: The world’s richest man clearly had a change of heart: Citing anonymous sources “close to the matter,” Bloomberg on Friday evening broke the potentially game-changing news that Musk had given money to America PAC, which is largely focused on “ground-game” initiatives, such as voter-canvassing and get-out-the-vote efforts. Among the constellation of Trump-backing groups, America PAC is spending the most money of any of them on direct voter outreach.

The amount of Musk’s donation wasn’t disclosed, but Bloomberg said sources “characterized the figure as a sizable amount.” Per Federal Election Commission rules, the PAC will provide its updated list of donors on Monday. While super PACs aren’t allowed to contribute directly to candidates or parties, or “coordinate” their efforts, they can collect unlimited contributions. With a Forbes-estimated net worth of $250 billion, Musk has obvious potential to fundamentally alter a fundraising war in which Democrats were already reeling from the mushrooming effects of President Biden’s disastrous performance in his June 27 debate with Trump, his poor interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos and gaffe-filled NATO summit press events on Thursday. The donation seemingly completes a political metamorphosis: Musk has said he voted for Barack Obama, gave money to and voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, and voted for Joe Biden in 2020.

However, Musk has displayed growing discontent with Democrats’ approach to a variety of issues. One of them is border control: Earlier this year, Musk told an audience that “unvetted immigration at large scale is a recipe for disaster.” He’s also called out Democrats’ opposition to photo-ID requirements for voting, saying the “far left” wants to make it “impossible to prove voter fraud.” Over the weekend, he expressed dismay at Biden’s commitment to veto a bill that would require proof of citizenship to vote. In 2022, Musk tweeted that he voted for a Republican for the first time, backing Texas Republican Mayra Flores in a special US House election. Last month, Musk told Tesla shareholders that he’s “had some conversations with [Trump], and he does call me, out of the blue, for no reason… I don’t know why, but he does.”

In what may be a more potent motivator than policy issues, Musk repeatedly finds himself in the crosshairs of Democrats’ weaponized government, with a federal target on his back since buying Twitter in 2022 with a goal of ridding it of its leftist, government-serving censorship regime. Within two weeks of Musk closing on the purchase, Biden told reporters that “Elon Musk’s cooperation and/or technical relationships with other countries is worthy of being looked at. Whether he is doing anything inappropriate, I’m not suggesting that. I’m suggesting they’re worth being looked at.” With an ominously whimsical tone, he concluded, “there’s a lot of ways…” Summarizing the breadth of the attacks at The Hill in December, Liz Peek said Musk and his companies were under investigation by the Department of Justice, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Labor Relations Board, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Musk has expressed concern over Trump’s own victimization via politically-motivated lawfare, as he did in May when the former president was convicted in New York on mindbendingly-contrived charges relating to his 2016 funding of hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels, who’d claimed the two had a one-night intimate encounter in 2006. The Trump campaign’s financial fortunes changed dramatically after that conviction, as irate sympathizers expressed their outrage with dollars, vaulting him into the lead. Musk’s entry into the game exacerbates Democrats’ dire situation, and is certain to accelerate efforts to jettison Biden from the top of the ticket…while exponentially increasing the anguish of leftists who thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse.

Biden Elon The dumbest brain in the US talks about the smartest one.

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“Restoring his access is like handing your car keys to someone you know will drive your car into a crowd and off a cliff..”

Trump’s Facebook, Instagram Restrictions Rolled Back (RT)

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, announced on Friday it would lift its restrictions on content posted by former US President Donald Trump. While the former US president’s accounts were unblocked 17 months ago, Meta had maintained limits on his ability to post. “Former President Trump, as the nominee of the Republican Party, will no longer be subject to the heightened suspension penalties”, the statement read. Meta claimed the penalties were imposed in response to “extreme and extraordinary circumstances.” Trump was booted from the platforms following the riot at the US Capitol in January 2021. Facebook’s parent company announced in January 2023 that it would reinstate Trump’s accounts but that he faced “heightened penalties for repeat offenses” as a way to “deter” a repeat of previous behavior.

“American people should be able to hear from the nominees for President on the same basis,” Meta’s president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, wrote in a blog post on Friday. Joe Biden’s reelection campaign has condemned Meta’s move. “Restoring his access is like handing your car keys to someone you know will drive your car into a crowd and off a cliff,” Biden campaign spokesperson Charles Lutvak told The Hill. “Without question, it is a direct attack on our safety and our democracy,” Lutvak slammed the decision, claiming it will allow Trump to reach Americans with “fundamentally undemocratic, un-American misinformation.”

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“..The group primarily includes veterans of the Obama and Clinton administrations..”

Democrats Plotting To Oust Biden From Race – Axios (RT)

A growing number of “very-connected” Democrats are scheming to get US President Joe Biden to withdraw from the election race, Axios reported on Friday, citing “members” of this committee. The group primarily includes veterans of the Obama and Clinton administrations, who are seeking to field a candidate they believe has a better chance of winning the November election. The two former presidents are apparently supporting the group by having kept mostly silent since they publicly offered support for Biden following his disastrous debate against Donald Trump last month. “Silence is a very loud form of speech. No one is saying ‘come hell or high water,’” said James Carville, a veteran political assistant and one of the key figures behind Bill Clinton’s campaign. The members of the clandestine group insist it has no actual leadership or benefactor behind it, describing it instead as a ‘network’ of like-minded individuals.

“No one is more than one person away from everyone else,” an unnamed member of the group described as a “central player” told Axios. So far, the public campaign to pressure Biden into dropping out, launched by prominent elected Democrats and major party donors, has flopped and apparently produced an opposite effect, making the incumbent president adamant about his desire to win reelection. “The Clinton diaspora is freaking the hell out. But all these people going on the record aren’t helping. All it seems to have done is cause the Bidens to dig in deeper,” an anonymous former official from the Clinton White House said.

Still, it remains unclear whether the covert approach to the Biden problem will work either, given that the president has an overwhelming majority of Democratic delegates backing him for the nomination in August, a “veteran operative” member of the group admitted. They added that a decision to withdraw his candidacy can be taken only by Biden himself. “You need a psychiatrist more than a spin doctor,” he told Axios. The push to oust Biden from the race was prompted by his subpar performance during the first presidential debate in late June. The US president and his campaign have provided various excuses for the debacle, including that he had a cold, dismissing concerns over the state of his health. Over the past two weeks, Biden has repeatedly said he will not drop out of the race, insisting that he is the only person fit to beat Trump in the upcoming election.

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Blackmailing? Is that the word you’re looking for?

Major Donors Blackmailing US Democrats Over Biden – NYT (RT)

An estimated $90 million in donations to a group key to US President Joe Biden’s campaign has been put on hold until the Democrats replace him, the New York Times reported on Friday. The Times cited two unnamed sources “briefed on the conversations” between major donors and Future Forward, a political action committee (PAC) that was expected to raise $700 million for Biden’s re-election. “Multiple eight-figure commitments” are currently frozen and the PAC is “in a defensive crouch” until it is clarified whom the Democrats will actually run in November, according to the Times. The Biden campaign tapped Future Forward as its main super PAC in the 2024 race, and the group has already announced it would spend $250 million on TV and digital advertising after the Democratic National Convention next month.

Following Biden’s catastrophic performance at the June 27 debate with Republican challenger and former president Donald Trump, however, the PAC tested potential alternatives. The poll was later leaked to the media and showed Biden with “a worse overall favorability rating than all the alternatives,” which included Vice President Kamala Harris, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. The current president has doubled down on staying in the White House. “I believe I’m the best qualified to govern. And I think I’m the best qualified to win,” Biden told reporters at a press conference on Thursday. While the White House and the campaign have held up the press event as proof that Biden was doing just fine, Democrats in Washington continued to lament the present situation.

“Candidates and campaigns are supposed to make you feel something – hope, optimism, courage – but instead most of us felt nothing after that presser. And feeling nothing is how you lose elections,” a veteran Democratic operative told Politico. A Democrat member of the US House of Representatives told the same outlet that a group of “super friends” is getting together, with the intent to make their case to the White House that Biden has to step aside because “we’re going to get our asses kicked if he doesn’t.” On Thursday, several Biden campaign aides told NBC that Biden will “never recover” and that they saw no path to victory, describing his chances in November as “zero.” Multiple Democrats have raised concerns that down-ballot races might be put at risk, costing the party seats in Congress.

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The “Unofficial Committee to Unelect the President”.

Democratic Party Insiders Struggle to Force Biden Out (Miles)

As concern mounts over the president’s political viability Biden is reportedly intent on proving his critics wrong. A loose alliance of donors, campaign advisors and other party leaders are working to convince Joe Biden to abandon his campaign for reelection without bruising the US president’s ego, according to reports in US media. But the “unofficial Committee to Unelect the President” is struggling to convince the famously stubborn head of state, according to insiders familiar with the matter, with Biden only becoming more determined as Democratic Party figures intensify their efforts. “It’s hard to deny that in the two weeks since the debate, it’s the arrogant and small Joe Biden we’ve seen most – hanging on, bragging, defensive, angry, weak,” wrote former Obama speechwriter Jon Lovett on X. “Who else but him? he wonders aloud. Only God could change his mind, he tells us.”

Lovett, who has disparaged the octogenarian president’s refusal to bow out on his Pod Save America podcast, has been among Biden’s most prominent liberal critics in recent days. But he is joined by several others. The editorial boards of The New York Times and the Washington Post have been unsparing in their admonishment since the president’s performance during a debate against former President Donald Trump last month sparked public concern over his mental acuity. Many media personalities have joined the chorus. “I think that Biden debated as well as Abraham Lincoln,” said late-night television host Stephen Colbert Monday. “If you dug him up right now.” Former Clinton and Obama operatives have also chimed in. “President Biden is a historic figure, and a lot of that is gonna be tainted if he persists and loses this race,” said Obama chief strategist David Axelrod. Clinton strategist James Carville said keeping Biden on as the Democratic Party’s nominee would be an “idiotic choice” that would lead to “disaster.”

“Silence is a very loud form of speech,” the political advisor added, noting that party leaders who voiced continued support for Biden immediately after last month’s debate have grown quiet in recent days. Beyond the relative few Democratic Party figures who have publicly called for Biden to drop out are dozens more who have privately voiced concerns and are working behind the scenes to convince the president, according to insiders.But Biden remains convinced he is the best candidate to defeat Trump, pointing to his victory in 2020 and the Democrats’ better-than-expected performance in the 2022 midterm elections. The president is reportedly motivated by an intense desire to prove his detractors wrong, something that has driven him since his early days in politics. “You need a psychiatrist more than a spin doctor,” one longtime campaign operative told the online outlet Axios.

Biden is one of the longest-tenured figures in national US politics, first being elected to the Senate in 1972. He is considered a conservative politician, historically taking right-wing positions on issues from segregation to drug policy and criminal justice. His previous attempts to seek the presidency flamed out after a plagiarism scandal and comments in 2007 that many people deemed racially offensive. “You got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” Biden said of then-candidate Barack Obama. He apologized for the remark and Obama later chose him as his running mate the following year, elevating him to the vice presidency when the ticket won the 2008 election.

Democratic Party leaders intervened heavily in 2020’s primary to ensure Biden won the presidential nomination after Senator Bernie Sanders’ insurgent candidacy seemed inevitable. Now those same insiders appear powerless to remove him from the pedestal they placed him on. One strategist claimed a “donor strike” is underway, with powerful financial backers of the party moving funds to congressional races and away from Biden’s presidential campaign. George Clooney, Netflix founder Reed Hastings and businessman Ari Emanuel are reportedly among the wealthy figures seeking a candidate to replace Biden. With last month’s House primary between George Latimer and Jamaal Bowman shaping up to be the most expensive in history, money is more important than ever in competitive US politics. If contributions to his campaign effort dry up, insiders say Biden’s hand could finally be forced, with billionaire donors casting the most powerful vote in America’s pay-to-play system.

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Second.

Viktor Orbán Deserves The Nobel Peace Prize (RM)

Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary, stands out for his audacity and persistence in the realm of contemporary politics. His tireless efforts in diplomacy and steadfast commitment to national and global stability merit serious consideration for the Nobel Peace Prize. His relentless pursuit of peace, even amidst widespread criticism, underscores the kind of leadership the world desperately needs today. The Nobel Peace Prize, despite its controversies, remains one of the highest accolades for contributions to global peace and reconciliation. Historical recipients, from the European Union in 2012 for turning Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace, to Henry Kissinger and Barack Obama for their diplomatic endeavors, have set a precedent for recognizing transformative efforts in international relations. While some decisions have sparked debate, the prize continues to honor those who genuinely strive for global harmony.

For over two decades Viktor Orban has been a central figure in Hungarian politics. His tenure has seen Hungary navigate through the 2008 financial crisis and emerge with strengthened national sovereignty and economic stability. Orban’s policies have focused on reducing national debt, increasing employment, and supporting families, thereby fostering a social cohesion that is essential for lasting peace. Economic stability, after all, is a cornerstone of societal tranquility. Recently, Orban’s diplomatic missions have further highlighted his unwavering commitment to peace. As the head of the rotating EU presidency, he has been at the forefront of international diplomacy, particularly concerning the Ukraine conflict. His proactive visits to key leaders—including Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev, Vladimir Putin in Moscow, Xi Jinping in Beijing, and next, Donald Trump in Florida—demonstrate his dedication to engaging with global leaders and promoting dialogue. These are not mere photo opportunities but substantive efforts to foster real change.

Orbán’s vigorous diplomatic activities have undoubtedly stirred the waters in Brussels. Critics argue that Orban’s methods sometimes breach diplomatic protocols, but his engagement with pivotal figures in the Ukraine conflict illustrates the kind of bravery and initiative that many modern politicians lack. Orban’s actions transcend superficial diplomacy; he is actively striving to move continents towards real solutions during a time of great division. Orban’s peace efforts have drawn significant criticism, especially from European and German political leaders. However, his bold and relentless pursuit of peace positions him as a modern-day Robin Hood, fighting for stability and harmony in Europe. While many leaders prefer the comfort of their offices, Orban is on the global stage, engaging with world leaders and taking decisive steps to bring about peace.

Many politicians focus on short-term gains and superficial gestures, but Orban stands out as a leader willing to take bold actions for the greater good. His approach to diplomacy—meeting with adversaries, challenging the status quo, and prioritizing long-term stability over fleeting popularity—lays the groundwork for meaningful peace talks and steps toward the de-escalation of the Ukraine conflict. These substantial contributions to peace warrant recognition. Viktor Orban embodies the spirit of a modern-day Robin Hood, daring to undertake actions that many politicians shy away from. For his relentless pursuit of peace and stability, Orban deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.

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“Ukraine has been attacked by- by Russia. So the most important thing we should do is to step up our support to Ukraine to ensure that Ukraine prevails,..

Russia Initiates Call With Pentagon On Ukraine and NATO (ZH)

In a rare positive development, the heads of the US and Russian militaries have held a rare phone call in an effort to deescalate tensions. But Moscow is livid at certain recent developments and pledges from the West. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday spoke by phone Russian Minister of Defense Andrey Belousov for the second time in less than a month. The call was initiated by Moscow just after the close of the NATO summit hosted by Biden in Washington this week. A Pentagon readout said Austin “emphasized the importance of maintaining lines of communication amid Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine,” deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh told a briefing. The two sides had been quiet since a call in March 2023, but communications have been picking up, after a June 25th call which reestablished communications.

But Russia likely registered its anger at the NATO summit committing to an “irreversible path” for Ukraine’s NATO membership. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg still admitted in will be a very long path, as much as ten years or more. He said in a CBS News interview days ago: “Well, no one has said exactly 10 years but- but- but it’s obvious that it is a very serious issue to bring in Ukraine. Because Ukraine is now a country at war.” “Ukraine has been attacked by- by Russia. So the most important thing we should do is to step up our support to Ukraine to ensure that Ukraine prevails,” he continued. “That’s a precondition for any future membership for Ukraine.” According to The Hill, another recent issue which has roiled Russia and was likely conveyed by Belousov to Austin, is seen in the following:

“What’s more, NATO has backed Ukraine’s push for more latitude in its use of Western-supplied weapons to strike inside Russia, with the United Kingdom announcing it would allow Kyiv to hit targets over Russian borders with British-provided long-range missiles.” There’s also the US decision to deploy long-range missiles to Europe in violation of the previously in place INF treaty, which the US pulled out of in 2019. The missiles are expected to be deployed to Germany soon. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has warned this could make Germany or other places in Europe a target: “There has always been a paradoxical situation: the United States has deployed a variety of missiles of different ranges in Europe, which are traditionally aimed at our country,” he said, and warned: “Accordingly, our country designated European locations as targets for our missiles.”

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“..support the Palestinian people and respond to the American and British airstrikes on Yemen.”

The Yemen–Russia Riddle (Pepe Escobar)

Yemen’s stellar strategic maneuvering in defense of Palestine from its dramatically ascendant role in West Asia’s Axis of Resistance is acquiring the contours of an epic odyssey – eagerly scrutinized by the Global Majority. As if the unprecedented humiliation of the US Navy in the Bab al-Mandab and the Red Sea was not enough, Ansarallah targeted an Israeli ship with a Hatem-2 hypersonic missile, a remarkable advancement in indigenous technological development. These prodigious strategic-military advances displayed by Ansarallah at the same time revived the always simmering, unfinished war and blockade launched against Yemen in 2015 by Saudi Arabia and the UAE with the usual US and UK backing.

Riyadh abhors the Yemeni resistance like the plague. Instead of Sanaa, Yemen’s recognized capital city, it supports an anti-Ansarallah’ government’ sitting in Aden, sort of recognized by the ‘rules-based international order.’ In truth, though, that government actually sits in a luxury Riyadh hotel. Ansarallah has tried hard to negotiate a prisoner exchange involving captured Saudi pilots traded for jailed Hamas members in Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has not only refused but threatened that bank transfers to and from Yemen would be blocked, and Sanaa’s international airport and sea ports would be shut down. Ansarallah’s response was stark: if Yemeni banking is blocked, the Saudi Arabian banking system would be destroyed. If Sanaa airport is targeted, the same would happen to Saudi airports.

So, the war that never ended is suddenly and ominously back on track. Ansarallah would have no problem targeting Saudi Arabia’s oil production as retaliation to a full blockade – considering its proven capability with brand-new missiles and naval drones. The consequences for global oil markets would be catastrophic. Yemen represents the classic case of a fierce resistance actor in the context of the emerging multipolar, multi-nodal world. So that begs the question of where multipolar/multi-nodal champion Russia stands when it comes to Yemen’s fight. Which brings us to the fascinating case of two Yemeni delegations that recently visited Moscow. One of them, led by a senior Ansarallah official, met in Moscow with the Russian President’s Special Envoy to the Middle East (West Asia) and Africa, Mikhail Bogdanov.

They discussed not only the ongoing Gaza genocide but also what Ansarallah describes as “the American–British aggression on Yemen,” a reference to ongoing western naval operations in the Red Sea that have – unsuccessfully – sought for months to thwart Yemeni ops against Israel-bound and Israel-associated shipping vessels. A retaliatory siege, if you will. The Yemenis reassured the Russians that their maritime operations “do not pose a threat to international navigation or target anyone, but rather support the Palestinian people and respond to the American and British airstrikes on Yemen.” Ansarallah praised Russia’s understanding and expressed gratitude for:

Russia’s position against the American–British aggression on Yemen and their support for the humanitarian and political process in our country. We also reviewed the outcomes of the de-escalation efforts between Yemen and the aggressor countries and highlighted the necessity of reaching a comprehensive solution that ensures Yemen’s unity and sovereignty.

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“..While Washington continues to “profit” from the escalation, the EU nations are only serving as targets in the standoff..”

European Cities Prime Targets For Russian Missiles – Moscow (RT)

Moscow has enough capabilities to counter such hostile moves by Washington as its just-announced deployment of new missiles to Europe, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. European nations, however, are only becoming victims of the standoff between the US and Russia. The spokesman made the remarks to Russian Journalist Pavel Zarubin, who published the excerpts of the interview on his social media on Saturday. “There has always been a paradoxical situation: the US deployed different types of missiles, of different ranges, but traditionally aimed at our country. Our country, accordingly, identified European locations as targets for our missiles,” Peskov stated. While Washington continues to “profit” from the escalation, the EU nations are only serving as targets in the standoff, Peskov explained.

“Our country is in the crosshairs of American missiles located in Europe. We’ve been through all this before. All this has already happened. We have enough potential to deter these missiles. But the potential victims are the capitals of these states,” he said. On Wednesday, Washington announced plans to start deploying long-range weapons in Germany in 2026, including SM-6 and Tomahawk systems, “as part of planning for enduring stationing of these capabilities in the future.” Moscow has already vowed to “calmly” prepare a military response to the hostile move, with Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov describing the plans as “one of the elements of intimidation that, today, is almost the main component of the NATO and US” approach towards Russia.

In late June, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Moscow could resume the production and global deployment of ground-based intermediate- and shorter-range missiles in response to the hostile actions of the US. “We now know that the US is not only producing these missile systems but has also brought them to Europe, Denmark, to use in exercises. Not long ago, it was reported that they were in the Philippines. It is unclear whether they have taken these missiles out of the Philippines or not,” Putin said at the time. The munitions of this type were restricted by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which collapsed in 2019. However, Moscow has abstained from producing and deploying them, as long as Washington also refrained from doing so.

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Democracy.

72% of Israelis Want Netanyahu To Resign – Poll (RT)

Nearly three quarters of Israelis want Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign over his government’s failures during the October 7 Hamas attack, according to a poll published by Channel 12 on Friday. Of the 72% of respondents who said that the prime minister should step down, 44% believe he should leave office immediately, while 28% suggested he should resign after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) conclude their military operation in Gaza. Israeli citizens have repeatedly organized protest rallies against Netanyahu since the war in Gaza erupted, with many calling for a ceasefire and urging the government to bring back the remaining hostages held by Hamas. On October 7 last year, Hamas and allied Palestinian militants carried out a surprise raid on Israeli military bases, villages and farming communities.

In many places, the IDF were seemingly caught off-guard and quickly overwhelmed, as civilians were forced to either defend themselves or flee. The Israeli media described the attack as a “devastating intelligence failure,” with Channel 12 reporting that the army failed to properly maintain a signal system at the border with Gaza. The York Times reported in November that Israeli intelligence and military officials obtained Hamas’s plan for the October 7 incursion more than a year before it occurred, but believed it was too unrealistic to pull off. On Thursday, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant urged the government to form a state commission that would investigate the failures in response to the October 7 raid. Netanyahu, however, has argued that such a probe can only be launched after the war ends.

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“Israel’s GDP fell by nearly 20% from October to December 2023..”

Israeli Newspaper Says Country ‘Collapsing’ as 46,000 Businesses Shutter (Sp.)

Israel’s GDP fell by nearly 20% from October to December 2023, though it rebounded with a 14% gain the next quarter, that was less than economists expected. Roughly 46,000 Israeli businesses have shut down since October 7, according to the Hebrew-language newspaper Maariv. The Israeli economy has been declining rapidly since it launched its campaign in Gaza,particularly after the Yemen Ansar Allah movement (aka Houthi) and the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon have been taking action in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza. The Houthis have blockaded the Red Sea from ships it says are connected with Israel or the United States. Because of their actions, the southern port of Eilat –the country’s busiest port before the war– has been virtually shut down since October 2023. Exacerbating the situation further, foreign tourism has also collapsed during the war, and as of December, nearly half a million Israelis have left the country and that was before tensions inflamed significantly between Iran and Israel.

Meanwhile, the Ansar Allah movement has been attacking Israel’s north, forcing tens of thousands of Israelis to evacuate the area, virtually wiping out businesses in the area. However, businesses around all of Israel are struggling, the paper said, with construction and ancillary industries being hurt the most but it noted that nearly every industry is being affected. Yoel Amir the CEO of Coface Bdi, a services and credit risk management firm, told the paper that they estimate 60,000 Israeli businesses could shut down by the end of the year. “This is a very high number that encompasses many sectors. About 77 percent of the businesses that have been closed since the beginning of the war, which make up about 35,000 businesses, are small businesses with up to five employees, and are the most vulnerable in the economy,” Amir said.

In December, South Africa brought a case against Israel in the International Court of Justice, accusing it of genocide. Since then, a dozen countries have joined it and many more have publicly welcomed the case. More than 38,300 Palestinians have been confirmed killed and another nearly 88,300 have been seriously injured in Gaza since Israel began its campaign, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. That number is largely assumed to be a massive undercount because of a lack of health services and thousands who remain missing are presumed to be buried under the rubble. A recent study by the British medical journal The Lancet estimates that more than 186,000 Palestinians have likely died as either a direct or indirect result of the Israeli campaign.

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“..successfully delivered 200,000 tons of wheat to six low-income African nations, free of charge, making it the biggest humanitarian initiative ever conducted by Russia.”

Africans Support Russia – EU’s Borrell (RT)

The EU’s chief diplomat has expressed surprise at the high level of backing for Russian President Vladimir Putin among people in Africa. “In Africa, people support Putin. They say Putin saved Donbass,” Josep Borrell said on Thursday, speaking at the NATO Public Forum. Borrell emphasized the need for a new approach to defense, focusing on information warfare rather than traditional military tactics. “We need a different army. We need people watching the network and people explaining what is going on, reprogramming the listeners, giving them correct information, in order to prevent an intervention in electoral processes,” the EU foreign policy chief stated.

“Don’t dismiss this kind of war. It’s not just sending bombs and tanks, it’s just sending news and occupying the cyberspace. And on that the European Union has a certain important contribution to do,” he claimed. In May, in an exclusive interview with RT, Chadian envoy Mahamoud Adam Bechir stated that Putin’s reelection was beneficial not only for the Russian people, but for the entire world, including Africa. Bechir said Putin had strengthened relations with Africa, adding that Russia is led by a “great president.” Meanwhile, during a meeting with the Russian President on February 20, Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev reported that Moscow had successfully delivered 200,000 tons of wheat to six low-income African nations, free of charge, making it the biggest humanitarian initiative ever conducted by Russia.

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“..there’s no way a responsible African will abandon Russia, China or the BRICS alliance in favor of NATO or Western interests..”

‘Borrell Views Africa As ‘Jungle Full Of Zombies’ (RT)

Western powers lack moral authority when they try to impose their interests on African nations, former Nigerian presidential contender Adamu Garba II has told RT. The politician was reacting to controversial ideas expressed by EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell earlier this week. While speaking about European influence internationally, he voiced surprise at the level of pro-Russia sentiment among African people, and argued that information warfare tools should be developed to counter “disinformation.” “Don’t dismiss this kind of war. It’s not just sending bombs and tanks, it’s just sending news and occupying the cyberspace,” Borrell warned. “We need people watching the network and people explaining what is going on, reprogramming the listeners, giving them correct information.” Adamu Garba II said that judging by Borrel’s statements, he appears to view Western Europe as a guardian for other parts of the world.

“Perhaps he sees Africa as a jungle full of zombies that can be programmed to do their interests,” the politician joked, in an apparent reference to another controversial idea from Borrel. In 2022, the diplomat declared that Europeans live in a “garden,” while most of the outside world is a “jungle.” He later apologized for his words, which drew a wave of condemnation. On relations with Moscow, Adamu Garba II said: “there’s no way a responsible African will abandon Russia, China or the BRICS alliance in favor of NATO or Western interests, who do everything possible to take our resources from us.” The BRICS group of non-Western economies, founded in 2006 by Brazil, Russia, India, and China, with South Africa joining in 2011, has become an attractive alliance for African nations, with some expressing their will to join. Speaking on the sidelines of the BRICS Parliamentary Forum in St. Petersburg this week, Ethiopian parliament speaker Agegnehu Teshager told RT that “most of the African countries have an appetite to be a member of BRICS.”

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AI for profit is dangerous.

ChatGPT Maker Secretly Developing New Type Of AI – Reuters (RT)

OpenAI, the creator of virtual assistant ChatGPT, is working on a novel approach to its artificial intelligence technology, Reuters has reported. As part of the project, code-named ‘Strawberry,’ the Microsoft-backed firm is trying to drastically improve the reasoning capabilities of its models, the agency said in an article on Friday. The way Strawberry works is “a tightly kept secret” even within OpenAI itself, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. The source said the project involves a “specialized way” of processing an AI model after it has been pre-trained on extensive datasets. Its aim is to enable artificial intelligence to not just generate answers to queries, but to plan ahead sufficiently to conduct so-called “deep research,” by navigating the internet autonomously and reliably, the source explained. Reuters said it had reviewed an internal OpenAI document, detailing a plan for how the US firm could deploy Strawberry to perform research.

However, the agency said it was not able not establish when the technology will become available to the public. The source described the project as a “work in progress.” When addressed on the issue, an OpenAI spokesperson told Reuters: “We want our AI models to see and understand the world more like we [humans] do. Continuous research into new AI capabilities is a common practice in the industry, with a shared belief that these systems will improve in reasoning over time.” The spokesperson did not address Strawberry directly in his response. Current AI large language models are capable of summarizing vast amounts of text and putting together coherent prose quicker than people do, but usually struggle with common sense solutions that are intuitive to humans. When this happens, the models often “hallucinate” by trying to represent false or misleading information as facts.

Researchers who talked to Reuters said that reasoning, which has so far eluded AI models, is key to artificial intelligence achieving human or super-human level. Last week, one of the world’s leading experts in artificial intelligence and a pioneer in deep learning, Yoshua Bengio, again warned of the “many risks,” including possible “extinction of humanity,” posed by private corporations racing to achieve AI of human-level and beyond. ”Entities that are smarter than humans and that have their own goals: are we sure they will act towards our well-being?” the Montreal University professor and scientific director of the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms (MILA) said in an article on his website. Bengio urged the scientific community and society as a whole to make “a massive collective effort” to figure out ways to keep advanced AI in check.

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Viv

 

 

Kate

 

 

Cora

 

 

Meonk

 

 

Mission

 

 

Mother’s love
https://twitter.com/i/status/1812075811857396034

 

 

Adopt don’t shop

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 132024
 


Henri Matisse Luxury, calm and pleasure 1904

 

Trump, Orban, Putin: Why Are All The ‘Dictators’ Hellbent On Peace? (Bridge)
Orban Meets Trump To Talk ‘Peace Mission’ (RT)
Biden Sees ‘No Reason’ To Talk To Putin (RT)
Zelensky Slams ‘Crazy’ Limits On Russia Strikes (RT)
UK Disputes Zelensky’s Long-range Strikes Claim – Telegraph (RT)
Ukrainian Strikes On Kremlin Would ‘Make No Sense’ – Biden (RT)
Scott Ritter: Ukraine an ‘Open Target for Russia to Take Apart’ (Sp.)
NATO’s Obsession Boosts Russia’s Role as Global Leader – Rasmussen (Sp.)
Why Is the West Preparing for War? (Paul Craig Roberts)
NATO Summit: Collectively Losing Their Mind (Lauria)
The Warhead Evidence, Medical And Autopsy Reports Are Missing (Helmer)
The Cover Your Ass Olympics (Kunstler)
“The First Amendment is Out of Control” (Turley)
EU Offered X Secret Censorship Deal – Musk (RT)

 

 

 

 

Roger Stone

 

 

Biden press

 

 

Fallon

 

 

Tucker Biden

 

 

Straight-faced no less.

 

 

PA

 

 

Jon Stewart fails painfully – for same reason they can’t meme

 

 

 

 

“The question remains, however, who will speak out on behalf of peace if not Trump, Putin, and Orban?”

Note: The others owe their careers to donations from the MIC.

Trump, Orban, Putin: Why Are All The ‘Dictators’ Hellbent On Peace? (Bridge)

One of the greatest farces of these modern times is that those who scream the loudest about democracy and human rights are the very same people who violate international norms at every opportunity. In the June issue of The New Republic, a left-leaning US political journal, a scowling Donald Trump was featured on the cover sporting a Hitler moustache above a caption that read: “American fascism, what it would look like.” [..]

There’s just one problem with the journal’s nervous handwringing: Trump has already served a four-year term as US leader and there was no visible sign of fascist goosestepping down Main Street during that period. In fact, just the opposite is true. While Adolf Hitler invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, thus triggering World War II, Trump went down in the history books as the first American commander-in-chief in modern times to avoid a military conflict. Now on the campaign trail for the second time, with the insatiable defense industry licking its chops for more profits, the Republican frontrunner has declared he would end the Ukraine-Russia conflict in 24 hours if reelected. When it is considered that ‘democracy’ today primarily works on behalf of the military industrial complex and other associated business interests, it is easier to understand how Trump is described in the corporate-owned media as an existential threat to the American republic. Peace is the last thing on Washington’s mind, and Russia understands that better than any country.

Back in 2008, the “dictator” Vladimir Putin delivered his now-famous speech at the Munich Security Conference where he warned his Western colleagues on the dangers of military expansion. “NATO expansion… represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended? And what happened to the assurances our Western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them.” Despite Putin’s explicit warning, NATO went on to add an additional six members to the alliance, bringing the total number to 32, with Ukraine, ignoring Moscow’s major red line, scheming to be number 33. For anybody who asserts this is only a “defense alliance” would do well to consider what America’s response would be if all of Latin America and the border state of Mexico were joining a military alliance led by Moscow. Needless to say, we would be knee-deep in bloodshed by now. Yet Russia is supposed to accept an endless military incursion smack up against its border.

This was certainly not the last time Russia attempted to broker a peace deal with Washington. Almost eight years after the 2014 Maidan Revolution, and months before Moscow kicked off its special military operation in Ukraine, the Kremlin released its plan for peace on the continent. Among other things, the draft treaty called for the US and Russia to refrain from deploying troops in regions where they could be perceived as a threat to each other’s national security, as well as a ban on sending their troops and military hardware into areas where they could strike each other’s territory. The treaty was also designed to ban the deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Europe. Had the Western powers consented to the plan – it barely made headlines in the NATO countries – it’s not difficult to imagine decades of peace between east and west, the very last thing that Washington wants.Instead, the US and its European puppets placed Russia in an impossible position with regards to the ongoing militarization and Nazification of Ukraine, forcing it to respond as any other country concerned about its national security would.

This leads us to the West’s third favorite bogeyman, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has dared to declare that his country is predominantly Christian and conservative and has every right to stay that way. Orban, whose country now holds the rotating EU Council presidency, went on a peace-making tour with stops in Moscow, Kiev, Beijing, and Washington (where he ruffled more than one hawk’s feathers by visiting Trump at Mar-a-Lago instead of Biden in DC). The frustration on the part of Brussels as it watched the Hungarian “tyrant” speak out in favor of reducing weapons sales was laughable if not downright pathetic. “Hungary has presented the trips as a ‘peace mission’ to help negotiate a ceasefire for the war in Ukraine. Orban may consider himself as one of the few who can speak to both sides – but in reality he has no mandate to do so,” wrote Armida van Rij, a senior research fellow at Chatham House, a European think tank. The question remains, however, who will speak out on behalf of peace if not Trump, Putin, and Orban? The answer thus far is nobody.While there are certainly other statesmen besides Trump, Putin, and Orban on the international stage who can make the case for peace, time is running out to hear those critical voices.

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“We discussed ways to make peace. The good news of the day: he’s going to solve it!”

“Thank you Viktor. There must be PEACE, and quickly. Too many people have died in a war that should never have started!”

Orban Meets Trump To Talk ‘Peace Mission’ (RT)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has met with GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump as part of the former’s effort to settle the Ukraine conflict. The Hungarian leader, who has repeatedly criticized the West’s approach to the hostilities and called for an immediate ceasefire, traveled to Russia, Ukraine, and China last week to discuss prospects for a peaceful settlement. He later attended NATO’s annual summit in Washington, but did not hold high-level talks with US President Joe Biden. Writing on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday, Orban said he visited Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida as part of what he called “peace mission 5.0.” “We discussed ways to make peace. The good news of the day: he’s going to solve it!” the Hungarian Prime Minister noted, posting a photo of him standing next to Trump, with both smiling.

The GOP presidential frontrunner responded to Orban, writing on the Truth Social network: “Thank you Viktor. There must be PEACE, and quickly. Too many people have died in a war that should never have started!” Orban previously hailed Trump as “a man of peace,” under whose watch the US “did not initiate a single war.” The Republican has repeatedly vowed to end the Ukraine conflict within 24 hours if elected. While the details of this plan remain sketchy, last week Politico reported, citing sources, that Trump could strike a deal under which “NATO commits to no further eastward expansion,” specifically into Ukraine and Georgia while holding talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin “over how much Ukrainian territory Moscow can keep.”

During his visit to Kiev, the Hungarian leader called on Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky to agree to a ceasefire with Russia, a proposal the latter rejected. Zelensky also suggested that Orban does not have the clout required to negotiate an end to the conflict, noting that only the US, EU, or China could fill that role. Orban also traveled to Russia and met with Putin in an attempt to find, as he put it, “the shortest way out” of the Ukraine conflict. Numerous media reports suggested that this trip outraged many Western officials. White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said that Ukraine was right to be concerned by attempts to negotiate peace without its participation. “Whatever adventurism is being undertaken without Ukraine’s consent or support is not something that’s consistent with our policy, the foreign policy of the United States,” he stressed.

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“..The last phone call between Biden and Putin took place in late December 2021..”

Biden Sees ‘No Reason’ To Talk To Putin (RT)

US President Joe Biden has said he has no reason to talk with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, including about the Ukraine conflict. However, he also said he would not refuse to engage with any world leader. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Biden was asked whether he would still be able to “deal” with Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping in a few years. “I’m ready to deal with them now,” he replied, noting that he maintains contact with Xi. However, when it comes to the Russian leader, Biden said he had “no good reason to talk to Putin” at the moment. “There’s not much that he is prepared to do in terms of accommodating any change in his behavior,” he added, referring to the hostilities between Moscow and Kiev. “I’m not ready to talk to Putin unless Putin is ready to change his behavior.”

However, Biden then said he was open to engagement with “any leader who wants to talk,” including Putin. He recalled that the last time the pair had a direct conversation, they were discussing an arms control agreement relating to nuclear weapons in space. “That didn’t go very far,” he added. The last phone call between Biden and Putin took place in late December 2021, several weeks before the start of Russia’s campaign in Ukraine, which resulted in bilateral relations plummeting to their lowest point since the Cold War.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last month that Russia was ready to hold talks with the US but only if such dialogue is “comprehensive” and includes not only arms control issues but also the Ukraine conflict. “It is impossible to take out any individual segments from the general complex of accumulated problems,” he said, acknowledging that both sides need to engage to address mounting problems in the global security architecture. On Thursday, Putin’s name was again mentioned by Biden during a joint event in Washington when he confused Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky for the Russian leader, exacerbating concerns about his mental state, which have been mounting since his disastrous debate performance against GOP rival Donald Trump last month.

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“..unlimited long-range strikes inside Russia is crucial for “having Ukraine on the map” and not allowing Moscow to “attack half of the planet.”

Zelensky Slams ‘Crazy’ Limits On Russia Strikes (RT)

Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky on Thursday lashed out at Kiev’s foreign backers for their reluctance to lift the remaining limitations on the use of Western-supplied weapons for long-range strikes inside Russia. Kiev already has the greenlight from several Western states to hit “legitimate” targets inside Russia with their weapons, as well as a concession from Washington to strike beyond Russia’s border near the city of Kharkov. However, Zelensky has been pushing for the strike range to be extended – a prospect Moscow has warned would constitute an escalation of the conflict. Speaking at a press conference at the NATO summit in Washington, Zelensky claimed that allowing Kiev to launch unlimited long-range strikes inside Russia is crucial for “having Ukraine on the map” and not allowing Moscow to “attack half of the planet.”

“If we want to win, if we want to prevail, if we want to save our country and to defend it, we need to lift all the limitations,” Zelensky stated. He cited week’s tragedy at the Okhmatdet children’s hospital in Kiev, which Ukraine has claimed was hit by a Russian missile. Moscow has insisted that the facility was hit by a Ukrainian air-defense missile. “That is a crazy question why we can’t answer and attack these… military bases from where these guided bombs from jets or missiles came, targeted us and killed our children,” Zelensky argued. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday that Kiev is deliberately using tragedies in its PR campaigns ahead of important international events to demand more support from the West. Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, claimed that Kiev’s Western supporters saw the hospital tragedy as a “perfect gift” to justify escalation of the conflict.

US President Joe Biden on Thursday reaffirmed the limits on how Ukraine can use American-supplied weapons, arguing that it “wouldn’t make sense” to allow Zelensky to strike deep inside Russia.“We have allowed Zelensky to use American weapons in the near border regions of Russia. If he had the opportunity to strike Moscow, strike the Kremlin, would that make sense? No, it wouldn’t,” Biden said at a press briefing in Washington. The UK, which has a ban on using its long-range Storm Shadow missiles to hit targets deep inside Russia, has also apparently distanced itself from earlier statements by Prime Minister Keir Starmer. The premier on Wednesday signaled he was loosening restrictions on how the missiles are used, saying “it is for Ukraine to decide how to deploy [them].” However, according to a report by The Telegraph citing Downing Street, UK government policy “had not changed” regarding the deployment of the long-range missiles, and the limitations remain in place.

Lavrov

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“..the Ukrainian leader announced that he had “learned about the permission to use Storm Shadow missiles against military targets in Russian territory.”

UK Disputes Zelensky’s Long-range Strikes Claim – Telegraph (RT)

Claims by Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky that the UK has cleared him to order attacks deep inside Russia with British-supplied weapons are not true, according to The Telegraph. After a meeting with Prime Minister Keir Starmer on Wednesday, the Ukrainian leader announced that he had “learned about the permission to use Storm Shadow missiles against military targets in Russian territory.” The two officials “had the opportunity to discuss the practical implementation of this decision” he added. The Telegraph reported on Thursday that the situation was “more nuanced,” according to a senior defense source. In fact, there has been no policy change regarding the weapons after the new Labour government came to power, the British newspaper explained.

The Ukrainian use of air-launched long-range cruise missiles produced jointly by the UK and France was the source of a diplomatic spat in May, when then-Foreign Secretary David Cameron expressed sympathy for Kiev’s desire to use them outside of what London recognizes as Ukrainian territory. Ukraine “has the right to defend itself,” he said at the time, which many observers as well as the Russian government interpreted as a permission to deliver such strikes. British officials later indicated that certain limitations remained in place for Storm Shadow systems. Starmer this week said it was “up for Ukraine to decide how to deploy” the missiles, prompting the Kremlin to call his remarks “irresponsible and escalatory.”

Sources told The Telegraph that Zelensky would have to “seek assurances elsewhere” before he could fire British weapons deep inside Russia. Three nations – presumably Ukraine, the UK, and France – would have to sign off on such attacks, and it was not a done deal that Kiev would get its way, the report suggested. A senior defense official told the newspaper: “It’s not going to happen.” Zelensky urged Western backers, particularly the US, to lift all limitations on how Kiev can use their arms, during this week’s NATO summit in Washington DC. US President Joe Biden indicated that there will be no policy change. “If he had the capacity to strike Moscow, strike the Kremlin, would that make sense?” Biden said of Zelensky at a joint press conference on Wednesday. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that should Western arms be used to strike targets deep inside Russia, Moscow could provide similar military capabilities to parties hostile to the US and its allies elsewhere in the world.

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About as much sense as strikes on the White House.

Ukrainian Strikes On Kremlin Would ‘Make No Sense’ – Biden (RT)

The US sees no reason to allow Ukrainian strikes deeper inside Russian territory despite pleas from Kiev for permission to launch such attacks, President Joe Biden has said. Washington approved Ukrainian cross-border attacks using US-supplied weapons against Russian targets in late May, arguing that the shift in policy would help repel Moscow’s offensive in the border Kharkov Region. Biden said at the time that the US was permitting strikes “only in proximity to the border [with Russia] when [Russian weapons] are being used on the other side of the border to attack specific targets in Ukraine.” Russia launched its offensive in Kharkov Region in a bid to establish a so-called “cordon sanitaire” to shield its border areas from recurring Ukrainian attacks targeting civilians.

According to the Washington Post, Ukraine is allowed to strike some 100km inside Russian territory as recognized by the West, with officials in Kiev complaining that they were not authorized to attack some key airfields. Pentagon officials later also confirmed that Ukraine was allowed to strike targets beyond Kharkov Region. Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky, however, has insisted that all restrictions be lifted, calling it “crazy” that Kiev was being prevented from retaliating in response to some Russian strikes. Speaking at a press conference in Washington, DC on Thursday, Biden signaled that the US had no plans to loosen restrictions further.

“We’ve allowed Zelensky to use American weapons in the near term and the near abroad into Russia… If he had the capacity to strike Moscow, strike the Kremlin, would that make sense? It wouldn’t.” He added that Kiev and the West should ask itself “What’s the best use of the weaponry [Zelensky] has and the weaponry we’re getting to him?” President Vladimir Putin has said Ukrainian attacks inside Russian territory using Western-supplied weapons are “close to aggression,” while warning of an asymmetrical response.

Meanwhile, the US has essentially given Kiev carte blanche to use American-made weapons in attacks on Russian territories claimed by Ukraine. In late June, Moscow accused Kiev of launching a strike using long-range ATACMS missiles on Crimea, which killed four civilians and injured more than 150 on a beach in Sevastopol. Russia claimed that Washington was complicit in the attack, saying it had enabled a “premeditated terrorist missile attack.” Commenting on the tragedy, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller dismissed the accusations as “ridiculous.” He said that, while the US “regret[s] any civilian loss of life in this war,” it supplies Kiev with weapons “so it can defend its sovereign territory against armed aggression.”

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“Indeed, no issue has been resolved in favor of Ukraine. That’s the reality of NATO today..”

Scott Ritter: Ukraine an ‘Open Target for Russia to Take Apart’ (Sp.)

No matter how many and what kind of air defense systems NATO plans to donate to the Kiev regime, Russia will continue to pursue its military objectives while grinding through those weapons, underscored Scott Ritter. Fueling the ongoing proxy war in Ukraine will leave the West facing depleted stocks of its own air defense systems. Russia is able to wipe out the military equipment provided to the Kiev regime, especially air defense, at a rate “far greater than the West can even replenish its own stocks,” former US marine intelligence officer Scott Ritter told Sputnik. “This is a losing equation. And without air defense, Ukraine is literally an open target for Russia to take apart as it best sees fit,” said Ritter. On the opening day of the recent NATO summit in Washington, US President Joe Biden pledged to provide Ukraine with five new strategic air defense systems and dozens of smaller, strategic anti-air batteries over the coming year.

In remarks delivered at the opening of the summit, Biden said that to donate the Patriot systems, the US would join forces with Germany, Romania, Italy, and the Netherlands. The announcement came two days after a missile strike hit a children’s hospital in Kiev, with the Zelensky-led neo-Nazi regime and its Western allies groundlessly accusing Russia of targeting the building. Indeed, the well-timed announcement from Washington comes as Ukraine seems to have “a particular desire” for the Patriot air defense system, noted Ritter, but “it’ll take whatever it can get.” According to the ex-marine intel officer, even after Ukraine gets the promised air defenses, it will face a big problem reconstructing an integrated air defense umbrella.

Back when Ukraine was initially provided with the NATO air defense systems such as the Patriots, NASAMs, IRIS-T, French (SAMP/T) Mamba – they had a Soviet era air defense umbrella that consisted primarily of the S-300 air defense system, the Buk, others, he explained. However, in the months of the proxy conflict this air defense umbrella became nonexistent, underscored Ritter, adding: “And when Ukraine brings in their air defense systems, they have to do so in a very makeshift, haphazard manner. They aren’t able to use them the way they were designed. This requires trickery, you know, turning on and off radars, firing missiles before radar lock is taking place. It’s a very inefficient way to use air defense systems. And because Russia is able to put an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance umbrella over Ukraine, anytime Ukraine uses air defense, it’s detected.”

Since Russia’s Armed Forces are able to in very short order locate and destroy the systems, Kiev is in “one of these vicious cycles where there simply isn’t enough weapon systems available to allow Ukraine to build the air defense umbrella it needs,” remarked the expert. “This is one of the detrimental consequences of the attritional warfare that’s being waged today in Ukraine… And it’s one of the issues that this NATO summit has not been able to resolve in favor of Ukraine. Indeed, no issue has been resolved in favor of Ukraine. That’s the reality of NATO today,” concluded Scott Ritter.

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“If anything Russia is acting more of a leader here and thus it may strengthen Russia’s hand..”

NATO’s Obsession Boosts Russia’s Role as Global Leader – Rasmussen (Sp.)

The latest NATO joint declaration condemning Russia appears to be backfiring and instead establishing Moscow more than ever as the leader of the global resistance against US hegemony, retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel and political consultant Earl Rasmussen, told Sputnik. “If anything Russia is acting more of a leader here and thus it may strengthen Russia’s hand,” former vice president of the Eurasia Foundation Rasmussen said. Russia was the central focus of the 32-nation Alliance declaration that was issued on Wednesday. The declaration stated that Russia remains the most significant and direct threat to the Allies’ security, and expressed profound concern over the deepening strategic partnership between Russia and China, which aims to undermine and reshape the rules-based international order. However, despite its hostile tone towards Russia and China, Rasmussen said he doubted the NATO summit had achieved any concrete results.

“I think in general the summit will accomplish very little. It will act as a cheerleader/pep-talk. Very little seems to have been accomplished thus far, with few exceptions.” he said. The declaration document itself showed a provocative mood towards Russia and China, Rasmussen observed.”It discusses expansion in Europe as well as stronger coordination in Asia and the Middle East in addition to funding contributions and weapon system modernization,” he added. NATO leaders in their declaration also displayed a clearly stated objective to increase the number of joint military exercises and to establish a security presence along their eastern borders with Russia, Rasmussen noted. The growing tensions expressed at the summit looked likely to endure, Rasmussen said, adding that China and Russia should react with patience but determination against the growing hostility they faced from the West.

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“European male ethnicities are so oppressed by their own governments and by immigrant-invaders favored by European governments, that the defense ministers of Europe are women. What does a white ethnic European male have to fight for?”

Why Is the West Preparing for War? (Paul Craig Roberts)

One result of the just concluded NATO Summit is Germany’s decision to host US intermediate-range missiles. Prior to 2019 when Washington cancelled the INF Treaty, the treaty prevented such deployment. The INF Treaty was signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev on December 8,1987, and the treaty was ratified on June 1, 1988. The treaty was part and parcel of ending the cold war. Reagan called the treaty a “step toward a safer world.” “The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty required the United States and the Soviet Union to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. The treaty marked the first time the superpowers had agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals, eliminate an entire category of nuclear weapons, and employ extensive on-site inspections for verification. As a result of the INF Treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union destroyed a total of 2,692 short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missiles by the treaty’s implementation deadline of June 1, 1991.”

Blaming Russia the Trump administration pulled out of the treaty. The consequence was to kill the nuclear disarmament that the INF Treaty began and to renew the arms race. If I had to bet I would say Washington’s withdrawal was a consequence of the US nuclear industry needing the source of profits that the arms race provided and the neoconservatives’ determination to revive US hegemony through the buildup of force. If Russia was truly out of compliance, Trump’s focus should have been to work to bring Russia into compliance, not terminate the treaty. The efforts of several American presidents and Soviet leaders in the 20th century to defuse tensions and to build trust were squandered by Washington in the 21st century. Regardless, what is clear is that Washington is pushing both Europe and Russia into preparing for war, and is itself preparing.

The US Senate has joined the House of Representatives in creating a draft registration system from which to field a conscripted army. The Senate’s version includes women in the draft, as equal treatment requires. Clearly, Washington sees the need for a larger army than a volunteer army can provide. Now that the Biden regime is supplying F-16s and long-range missiles to Ukraine, weapon systems that Biden said would never be given to the Ukrainians, along with targeting information, clearly Washington’s intent is to further widen the war by carrying it deep into civilian areas of Russia. Simultaneously, Washington is using its NGOs in Georgia to orchestrate a color revolution there in order to open a second front against Russia. Putin’s slow forever war in Ukraine has played directly into Washington’s hands.

China is the main focus of Washington’s strategy of isolating Russia. At the recent NATO Summit China was accused of being a “decisive enabler” of Russia’s conflict with Ukraine. By allegedly supplying armaments to Russia, China is accused of challenging “our interests, security and values.” I would have expected a different Chinese reply than was made. China should have said to Washington/NATO: “You started the conflict and your weapons systems and French troops are supporting and widening the conflict. You have blocked all efforts to end the conflict; yet you dare accuse us of responsibility for it.” Instead, the Chinese disavowed supplying Russia with any military support. This is an extremely weak response. It suggests that all the Russian-Chinese assurance of a “no-limits partnership” is just words. An appropriate response from China would have been: “We are considering sending 500,000 of our best soldiers to serve under Russian command in Ukraine and have called up another million men for military training.

A response such as this is what would end the conflict before the dumbshit hegemonic West puts us all in a war of annihilation. In recorded history one can find very few competent civilian and military leaders. Alexander the Great, Constantine, Charles Martel, Charlemagne, the Duke of Marlborough, Robert E. Lee. No such men exist today, but the weapons are far more terrible. Moreover, modern war targets civilians and civilian infrastructure, as the Israelis are doing in Gaza. The goal is less to defeat an opposing army than it is to foreclose an opponent’s ability to conduct war. In Europe a warrior class no longer exists. European male ethnicities are so oppressed by their own governments and by immigrant-invaders favored by European governments, that the defense ministers of Europe are women. What does a white ethnic European male have to fight for?

In the US the fighting force has always come from the southern states. But what have these traditional Americans, these military families, witnessed? They have seen all southern names struck from military bases. They have experienced their promotions on hold while homosexuals, black females, and transgendered people confused about their own gender are promoted. Taking orders from such people is not a southern man’s idea of the military. So recruitment has collapsed. There are so few people willing to fight for America that Congress entertains proposals to enroll immigrant-invaders, paid with citizenship for fighting for American hegemony. America has reached the point that Rome reached. Once the Roman military was German, the Germans became the emperors. The Germans did a fairly decent job compared to the decadent Romans, but the Empire was exhausted by its internal conflicts and collapsed. Perhaps it is the collapse of the West that Putin and XI are banking on. Why bother to fight people busy destroying themselves.

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“NATO’s aim is to regain control of Russian resources and finances as the West enjoyed in the 1990s, when it asset-stripped formerly state-owned industries, enriching themselves and a new class of oligarchs while impoverishing the Russian people. Putin is now standing in their way.”

NATO Summit: Collectively Losing Their Mind (Lauria)

On March 7, 2022, two weeks after Moscow entered the civil war in Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS News from Moldova that the U.S. would give Poland a “green light” to send Mig-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. Within days the Pentagon shot down the idea. Then U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also supported the Polish planes scheme, but the Pentagon rejected it because it “could result in significant Russian reaction that might increase the prospects of a military escalation with NATO,” according to then Pentagon spokesman John Kirby. But yesterday Blinken told a public policy forum at the NATO summit in Washington: “As we speak the transfer of F-16 jets is underway coming from Denmark, coming from the Netherlands and those jets will be flying in the skies of Ukraine this summer to make sure that Ukraine can continue to effectively defend itself against the Russian aggression.”

It is not quite NATO declaring a no-fly zone over Ukraine, which was dismissed by President Joe Biden in March 2022 because “that’s called World War III, okay? Let’s get it straight here, guys. We will not fight the third world war in Ukraine.” “President Biden’s been clear that … if you establish a no-fly zone, certainly in order to enforce that no-fly zone, you’ll have to engage Russian aircraft. And again, that would put us at war with Russia,” added Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the time. Though not declaring a no-fly zone, these are still NATO fighter jets leaving from NATO countries to operate with Ukrainian pilots against Russian aircraft in Ukrainian airspace. More dangerously, NATO is permitting Ukraine to fly the F-16s to attack inside Russian territory. So what changed since March 2022 to allow the U.S. and NATO to risk, in the previous words of Biden, “World War III?”

What’s changed is that back then the White House and the Pentagon still thought the strategy of economic and information warfare plus a proxy ground war would defeat Russia in Ukraine, and ultimately bring down Vladimir Putin in Moscow. But for more than a year now it’s been evident that the U.S. — and NATO — have lost the economic and information war, as well as the proxy fighting on the ground in Ukraine. One year into the war, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at a dinner in February 2023 that he had to face facts: Ukraine would lose the war and should negotiate a settlement with Moscow. The Wall Street Journal quoted Macron as telling Zelensky that “even mortal enemies like France and Germany had to make peace after World War II.” Macron told Zelensky “he had been a great war leader, but that he would eventually have to shift into political statesmanship and make difficult decisions,” the newspaper reported.

U.S.-led NATO could not launch its economic, information and proxy war against Russia without cause. That cause would be Russia invading Ukraine to defend ethnic Russians in a civil war that had raged since 2014, sparked when the U.S. helped to overthrow the democratically-elected government that year. The economic war, intended to spur Russians to overthrow their government, has failed spectacularly. The ruble did not collapse despite sanctions on the Russian central bank. Nor has the economy. Instead an alternative economic, commercial and financial system that excludes the West has arisen with China, India and Russia in the lead, and most of Asia, Africa and Latin America taking part in what appears to be the final chapter of Western colonialism. The sanctions instead backfired on the West, especially in Europe. The information war has failed across the world. Only the United States and Europe, which consider itself “the world,” believe their own “information.”

The proxy war is being lost on the ground, though more than $100 billion in U.S. aid to Ukraine has created a bloodbath. There will either be a negotiated settlement in which Ukraine loses territory; a total Russian victory; or potentially the final war. The U.S. pushed Russia to the brink to provoke its intervention. It began with a 30-year NATO expansion eastward with NATO exercises on Russia’s borders while calling for Ukraine to become a member, a call reiterated at the summit yesterday. In December 2021 the West rejected Russian treaty proposals to roll back NATO troop deployments and missile installations in Eastern Europe, creating a new security architecture in Europe. NATO’s aim is to regain control of Russian resources and finances as the West enjoyed in the 1990s, when it asset-stripped formerly state-owned industries, enriching themselves and a new class of oligarchs while impoverishing the Russian people. Putin is now standing in their way.

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“In her presentation for the UN, Bell omitted the medical evidence. Her military expert went unnamed, his evidence unexamined. This is called hearsay in a British or American court..”

The Warhead Evidence, Medical And Autopsy Reports Are Missing (Helmer)

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Maria Zakharova, the Okhmatdet hospital had been struck by a US-made, Norway-supplied NASAMS air defence missile, fired by a Ukrainian battery attempting to protect the Artyom (Artem) plant. “Many eyewitnesses and other sources have already confirmed that a Western-made NASAMS surface-to-air missile hit a building of the Okhmatdet Hospital for Children in Kiev. Officials on Bankovaya Street [Zelensky regime headquarters] immediately started blaming Russia for deliberately killing children. However, no one said that the Artyom Plant is located next to the affected clinic, and that Defense Ministry buildings and military warehouses are also located next door. Certainly, no one said that pro-Bandera supporters are deliberately deploying air defence systems in residential areas, using civilians as a human shield.

The Kiev junta has been using purely civilian enterprises for military purposes for a long time, either using them to assemble and repair military equipment or to store Western-made weapons and military equipment.” The Russian representative at the United Nations, Vasily Nebenzya, currently rotational president of the UN Security Council, told a special council session that the strike on the hospital had been a Ukrainian one, not a Russian one. He added: “The X-101 missile would have done a lot more damage to the building it hit [Min 6:52]…if it had been a Russian missile, there would have been nothing left of the building and the children and most of the adults would have been killed rather than wounded [Min 8:20]” Like Zakharova, Nebenzya identified military industrial targets. The two Russian officials have not identified the electric war targets.

They are not lying; they are telling less than the full truth. When that is understood from all the available evidence, there is no mens rea. No conviction in a western court of law. The prosecution’s case is dismissed. In war, especially in propaganda war, there is no such thing as independence. United Nations (UN) organizations from the UN Secretary-General and his office down the UN line, are not independent. In the current war they have taken the US-NATO side. In a briefing by Danielle Bell, a UN official in Kiev on Tuesday, the day after the air raid, she claimed “Analysis of the video footage and assessment made at the incident site indicates a high likelihood that the children’s hospital suffered a direct hit rather than receiving damages due to an intercepted weapons system. Of course, as was said earlier, this must be investigated. At the time of the attack, 670 child patients, mainly inpatients, were there together with more than a thousand medical staff.”

Bell, a Canadian national who has served beside US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, did not say what she meant by “direct hit” and did not distinguish between warhead detonation, shrapnel wounds, and blast impacts. When prompted for more evidence, Bell said: “We haven’t determined.” In a British or American courtroom, that is the end of proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt. The defence lawyer would then announce to judge and jury the prosecution has failed and move for summary dismissal. But the UN official announced differently, conclusively: “We’ve assessed the factors that suggest the likelihood that it was a direct hit of a KH-101 [X-101 is the Cyrillic acronym translated into English] missile launched by the Russian Federation. The factors suggesting that it was a direct hit are based on video footage, which shows the technical specification of the type of weapon that was used. It shows the weapon directly impacting the hospital rather than being intercepted in the air. And thirdly, my military, our military expert, visited the site yesterday and observed damages at the site that were consistent with a direct hit.”

To measure “consistent with a direct hit” in a homicide prosecution requires clinical and autopsy evidence of the cause of death or injury to individuals. In the Kiev hospital case, to date there is no evidence of fragmentation metal or cluster elements from the X-101 warhead causing either death or injury in the hospital. No comparison has been published openly by the Ukrainians of X-101 warhead fragmentation and NASAMS warhead fragmentation. The warhead payload of the X-101 has been reported at 400 kg of high explosive fragmentation of metal elements. The warhead of the NASAMS missile is 20 kg of explosive.

Physical wounding by flying glass or collapsing structures is consistent with blast from outside the hospital. Wounds by warhead shrapnel identified in the bodies of the casualties by X-ray or CT and MRI scans can be compared for the source of the metal to distinguish between the X-101 and the NASAMS. This has not been done by the Ukrainian side. Without such evidence – protected by chain of custody to prevent tampering, substitutions of metal, and fakery – the prosecution fails. In her presentation for the UN, Bell omitted the medical evidence. Her military expert went unnamed, his evidence unexamined. This is called hearsay in a British or American court. For proof of actus reus, the judge will direct the jury that without circumstantial corroboration and cross-examination, the expert’s testimony has next to no evidential value in a homicide prosecution.

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“..and direct a corporate looting operation of Russia’s oil and mineral riches. Ukraine was the doorway they had to go through to get that done.”

The Cover Your Ass Olympics (Kunstler)

You can’t deny that “Joe Biden” did his goodest last night facing down a half-dozen pre-selected reporters representing blob-adjacent news orgs such as Reuters and NPR at the post-NATO meetup damage-control event billed as a “news conference.” Only a week after he declared himself to be the “first black woman vice-president,” he pivoted to correct the record, telling the DC press corps that he’d “picked Vice-president Trump to be vice-president. . .” and everyone in the room saw that they were back in that mortifying scene in The Caine Mutiny when the confused and incompetent Captain Queeg reaches for the ball bearings in his pocket. At the end of the harrowing hour, he minced his way offstage, leaving his Party of Chaos evermore sore perplexed as to how they might lever this burnt-out old hack out of the nomination they foolishly secured for him months ago.

It ain’t gonna be easy, as “JB” repeatedly insisted he had no intention of stepping aside, despite the forces mustering against him in Congress, the media, and Hollywood. Even CNN is turning on him. Meanwhile, the #VeepTrump clip went viral on social media. So much for damage control. You understand, don’t you, what a fiasco the 75th Anniversary DC NATO meetup itself was? Everyone in the room, including the key prime ministers and presidents, could sense how flimsy the alliance now appears, as led by our maundering near-zombie president. Like “Joe Biden,” NATO’s raison d’être has been exposed as badly out-of-date and dangerously unhinged. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg kicked things off declaring that “Ukraine is on an ‘irreversible’ path to NATO.” This controverts what everybody in NATO knows is Mr. Putin’s clearest red line, and is therefore either a jape or a bit of recklessly provocative idiocy.

The truth of the matter is this: following its transition out of the failed Soviet experiment thirty years ago, Russia was never a threat to its European neighbors. All the talk of Vladimir Putin seeking to reassemble the old USSR empire was knowingly false, as is the chatter now about Russia looking to invade Europe. What Russia actually sought was to be regarded, once again, as a normal European nation able to conduct normal business with the rest of Europe. The USA wouldn’t allow it. Exactly why remains partially mysterious. Surely, post-1991, it was in the interest of US military contractors to maintain their Cold War revenue streams. To do that, a foreign hobgoblin had to be invoked — and perhaps China was not the best candidate, since it had begun manufacturing everything on sale in the Walmart — so Russia, with practically no export economy, was cast in that role.

And the politicians, too, surely liked creaming off their share of that military-industrial revenue stream, so they went along policy-wise, with figures like John McCain and Lindsay Graham leading the charge. But the US intel blob and State Department had darker motives, driven by an animus that has slowly revealed itself to be insane — just as the Democratic Party has turned obviously insane, adopting a playbook that could have been written by Franz Kafka. Being likewise insane, the intel blob and the neocons at State harbored an unappeasable hatred toward Russia that, since the Soviet collapse, allowed no accommodation and gelled into a naked avarice for seizing the resources of Russia with a long-term plan to subvert the Russian state, break it up the way they broke up Serbia in the 1990s, and direct a corporate looting operation of Russia’s oil and mineral riches. Ukraine was the doorway they had to go through to get that done.

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Too much free speech? What does the 1st Amendment say about that?

“The First Amendment is Out of Control” (Turley)

As I have laid out in testimony before Congress, Jen Easterly, who heads the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, extended her agency’s mandate over “critical infrastructure” to include “our cognitive infrastructure.” The resulting censorship efforts included combating “malinformation” – described as information “based on fact, but used out of context to mislead, harm, or manipulate.” So, you can cite true facts but still be censored for misleading others. The media has been running an unrelenting line of anti-free speech columns. Recently, the New York Times ran a column by former Biden official and Columbia University law professor Tim Wu describing how the First Amendment was “out of control” in protecting too much speech. Wu insists that the First Amendment is now “beginning to threaten many of the essential jobs of the state, such as protecting national security and the safety and privacy of its citizens.” He bizarrely claims that the First Amendment “now mostly protects corporate interests.”

So free speech not only threatens your life, your job, and your privacy, but serves corporate masters. Ready to sign your rights away? Wait, there is more. There is a movement afoot to rewrite the First Amendment through an amendment. George Washington University Law School Professor Mary Anne Franks believes that the First Amendment is “aggressively individualistic” and needs to be rewritten to “redo” the work of the Framers. Her new amendment suggestion replaces the clear statement in favor of a convoluted, ambiguous statement of free speech that will be “subject to responsibility for abuses.” It then adds that “all conflicts of such rights shall be resolved in accordance with the principle of equality and dignity of all persons.” Franks has also dismissed objections to the censorship on social media and insisted that “the Internet model of free speech is little more than cacophony, where the loudest, most provocative, or most unlikeable voice dominates . . . If we want to protect free speech, we should not only resist the attempt to remake college campuses in the image of the Internet but consider the benefits of remaking the Internet in the image of the university.”

Franks is certainly correct that those “unlikeable voices” are rarely heard in academia today. As discussed in my book, faculties have largely purged conservative, Republican, libertarian, and dissenting professors. The discussion on most campuses now runs from the left to far left without that pesky “cacophony” of opposing viewpoints. Experts at leading universities were fired or stripped of positions for questioning COVID claims. Conservative faculty have been hounded from schools and conservative sites have been targeted by government-funded programs. Thousands have been banned from social media. What is particularly maddening for many in the free speech community is how the left has responded to opposition to censorship and blacklisting. Some are claiming to be victims by those who criticize their work to target individuals and groups as disinformation.

Others, like comedian Jon Stewart mock those who object to the erosion of free speech by noting that conservatives are making these objections on television or online. So, according to Stewart, how can there be a problem if you are able to still object? The suggestion is that there can be no threat to free speech unless people are completely silenced. Stewart insists that “we are surrounded by and inundated with more speech than has ever existed in the history of communication.” In other words, because people can still speak, the well-documented systems of censorship and blacklisting must not be so bad. It is not clear what Stewart would accept as sufficient censorship. In universities, polls show both faculty and students afraid to speak openly. The government has funded a host of programs to pressure the source of revenue of conservative sites and to target dissenting voices.

Yet, because we are raising objections to these trends, Stewart laughs at the very notion that free speech is under fire. After all, he is doing just fine. What appears to be a punchline to Stewart is a bit more serious for others who have their livelihoods threatened by the anti-free speech movement. Stewart has the benefit of being a liberal comedian on a liberal network. Try being a conservative comedian today getting air time on most cable outlets or college campuses. Like so many academics, everything seems just fine to them. With the purging of opposition viewpoints, those who remain have little to complain about. The effort to assure citizens that “there is nothing to see here” is belied by a massive censorship system described by one federal court as “Orwellian.” Conservatives face cancel campaigns and blacklisting in academic and media forums.

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“Mike Benz, a former Trump administration official, highlighted this to suggest the EU’s real motivation is to “use the DSA to force X to restaff the censorship squad fired when Elon took over.”

EU Offered X Secret Censorship Deal – Musk (RT)

X (formerly Twitter) is facing persecution by the European Union because it rejected Brussels’ demand to secretly censor opinions on the platform, its owner Elon Musk has revealed. The EU announced on Friday that it considered X in violation of its Digital Services Act (DSA) and intended to levy massive fines against the company unless it changed its practices. “The European Commission offered X an illegal secret deal: if we quietly censored speech without telling anyone, they would not fine us,” Musk wrote in response. “The other platforms accepted that deal. X did not.” “We look forward to a very public battle in court, so that the people of Europe can know the truth,” he added. Musk bought Twitter in October 2022, after voicing displeasure over widespread censorship on the social media platform. He has since unbanned most blocked accounts, including that of former President Donald Trump.

When Musk announced “the bird is freed,” one of the responses came from Thierry Breton, the EU Commissioner for Internal Market. “In Europe, the bird will fly by our rules,” Breton said, with a reference to the DSA. On Friday, Breton explained the European Commission’s move against Musk by arguing that X violates the EU’s “transparency requirements” by denying access to “researchers,” among other things. “Back in the day, BlueChecks used to mean trustworthy sources of information. Now with X, our preliminary view is that they deceive users and infringe the DSA,” Breton said. According to the Commission, allowing anyone to obtain verification in exchange for a subscription fee “negatively affects users’ ability to make free and informed decisions about the authenticity of the accounts and the content they interact with.”

The Commission also objected that X does not maintain “a searchable and reliable advertisement repository” that would “allow for the required supervision and research into emerging risks.” What most bothered the EU body was that X does not allow scraping its public data by “researchers” or grant access to its application programming interface (API), as DSA mandates. Mike Benz, a former Trump administration official, highlighted this to suggest the EU’s real motivation is to “use the DSA to force X to restaff the censorship squad fired when Elon took over.” He further alleged that people who present themselves as researchers are actually “censorship activities & political operatives.” Musk reposted Benz’s analysis with just one word of comment: “Exactly.” X is now expected to respond to the Commission in writing. If the EU upholds Breton’s preliminary findings, X could be fined “up to 6% of the total worldwide annual turnover” and ordered to address its “breach” under “enhanced supervision,” the body said.

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Magnetics

 

 

France fags

 

 

Doggo dive
https://twitter.com/i/status/1811515980280926540

 

 

Honey

 

 

 

 

Handstand
https://twitter.com/i/status/1811744486516461940

 

 

Kitty

 

 

 

 

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Jul 112024
 


Henri Matisse Window at Tangiers 1912

 

Orban Is What Zelensky Should Have Been (Amar)
Merkel Would Have Prevented Ukraine Conflict – Orban (RT)
Trump Issues Fresh Challenge To Biden (RT)
Dem Senator Says Trump Could Beat Biden In “Landslide” (ZH)
MSM Launches ‘Muh Russia’ Election Narrative (ZH)
NATO Preparing For ‘Protracted Wars’ – Pentagon (RT)
EU Members Up Defense Spending by 30% Over Last 3 Years – Borrell (Sp.)
New UK Prime Minister Pledges Sharp Rise In Military Spending (RT)
‘Russia Will Not Prevail’ – Biden to NATO (RT)
Kiev Can ‘Never’ Get Enough Weapons – Zelensky (RT)
US Bodycount 35 KIA After Russian Missile Strike (Helmer)
Ukraine Timing Tragedies To Coincide With Important Events – Kremlin (RT)
West to Supply Ukraine With ‘Squadrons’ of F-16 Fighter Jets (Sp.)
High-Tech Western Weapons ‘Useless’ In Ukraine Conflict – WSJ (RT)
We Were “Deceived & Gaslit For Years” (Alastair Crooke)
NC Democrats Vote to Block 3rd-Party Candidates from Ballots (Turley)

 

 


Anti-Trump rally in New York City, June 3, 2017 © AFP / Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

 

 

Trump Kamala

 

 

 

 

Buffett

 

 

 

 

“..Hungary’s leader does not speak for the European Union, even if his country holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU. That is true, but to be frank, uninteresting. What is intriguing instead is the compulsive need to keep saying it.”

Orban Is What Zelensky Should Have Been (Amar)

When your enfant terrible is also (almost) the only adult in the room, then something is very wrong with your room. For “the room” read the EU – and the West more broadly – and, for both the enfant terrible and the adult in the room, Viktor Orbán, prime minister of Hungary, and there you have it: the shortest possible description of what the big brouhaha about his recent trips to first Kiev, then Moscow and Beijing is really all about. The EU, in reality, has no policy worthy of the name to address the single most urgent issue in Europe at this point, namely, how to end the war in and over Ukraine. As Orbán himself has correctly pointed out in an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt, all the EU does is copy America’s “policy of war.” In other words, Brussels, like Washington, has ruled out diplomacy and compromise to end the war.

Indeed, if the US and EU had engaged in genuine diplomacy, then the war could have been prevented or ended quickly, in spring 2022. Orbán may be putting too much weight on – and too much trust in – a single Western leader, but that is his larger point when he claims that the large-scale war would not have happened if Angela Merkel had still been in office as chancellor of Germany. Against this backdrop of EU non- or, really – anti-diplomacy, Orbán has dared stand out by going on what, using social media to great effect, he has loudly announced as his “peace mission.” That appeal to public opinion has, of course, angered his detractors even more: Not only has he dared speak to “the autocrats” out there, he has also addressed the masses at home in the West. Perish the “populism”!

Yet it is a traditional and legitimate move among politicians worth their salt: Before practicing the art of – back then – radio reach-out to perfection in World War II, no lesser a leader than young Charles de Gaulle, in his ‘The Edge of the Sword’, recognized the absolute need to “dominate opinion,” since “nothing is possible” without that true “sovereign.” Yet Orbán’s “populism” is not even the main problem this time. That rather has to do with the fact that he has turned his own initiative into a foil against which the EU’s mainstream’s lack of imagination, rigidity, and, last but not least, complete subservience to the US are glaringly obvious. In the EU it is now going “rogue” to do what is not only obvious but reasonable and urgently needed: seek at least dialogue instead of stonewalling. That reflects badly on the EU.

So does the fact that the Hungarian leader has a habit of realism where the EU establishment prefers fictions maintained by – aggressively enforced – group think. Orbán has no time for the silly idea that Russia is a threat to European states inside NATO, he observes – rightly – that Russian policy is rational, and he recognizes the fact that Russia cannot be defeated in Ukraine. All of this is true, and all of it is taboo in Brussels. To complete his register of sin and heresy, the Hungarian prime minister also has the temerity to cultivate a memory and a sense of history. In a Newsweek editorial, he has just reminded NATO of two essential facts: that the alliance was founded for defensive purposes (to which it has badly failed to stick) and that the recent habit of treating a future war with “the world’s other geopolitical power centers,” that is, Russia and China, as de facto inevitable can turn into a “self-fulfilling prophecy.”

When you are thin on substance, rely instead on formalities and, if need be, legalism. Much of the EU elites’ response to Orbán’s initiatives has taken that self-revealing form. As soon as Orbán dared go to Moscow, leading EU cadres, such as Josep Borrell, Ursula von der Leyen, and Charles Michel could hardly stop falling over themselves with denunciations and reminders that Hungary’s leader does not speak for the European Union, even if his country holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU. That is true, but to be frank, uninteresting. What is intriguing instead is the compulsive need to keep saying it.

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Likely.

Merkel Would Have Prevented Ukraine Conflict – Orban (RT)

The Ukraine conflict would not have escalated into an “international war” if former German Chancellor Angela Merkel were still in power, according to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. He accused current EU leaders of lacking vision in an interview with Die Welt published on Monday. A vocal proponent of a diplomatic solution for Ukraine, Orban last week embarked on a “peace mission” to some of the countries he says are the “five main actors” to the conflict – Ukraine, Russia, China, the EU, and the US.Orban’s first stop was Germany, where he spoke to Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The Hungarian leader said “there was hardly any agreement” between the pair regarding the resolution of the conflict, noting that he “always” misses Scholz’s predecessor, Merkel, due to her practical approach. According to Orban, if Merkel were still in power, the Russia-Ukraine conflict in its current form “would never have happened.”

“She had the ability, the understanding and the skills to isolate the conflicts that are bad for Europe. We made the mistake of allowing there to be a conflict, of allowing there to be a war. And instead of isolating it, we escalated it and made it international,” he stated. Orban recalled the failed Minsk peace accords, brokered by France and Germany, which ostensibly sought to resolve the dispute in Donbass in 2014 that preceded the current conflict. The path to peace would be much easier for all parties today if similar agreements were in place, the Hungarian prime minister argued. “If you believe that a political agreement like Minsk can solve all problems, then Minsk is of course a failure. But if you see that there is a situation that is bad and needs to be resolved somehow, then the only relevant reference point is not how can it be made better, but how it can be prevented from getting even worse,” Orban stated.

“Peace does not come by itself,” he added, stating that it has to be brokered by global leaders who want it, and claiming that “unfortunately we lack those.” Orban has often criticized the West’s approach to the Ukraine conflict, calling for a diplomatic settlement through negotiations. However, his ceasefire overture to Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky earlier this month was rejected, while his EU peers criticized him for his later visit to Russia. Several diplomatic sources told Politico earlier this week that the bloc could even revoke Hungary’s rotating EU presidency, which it assumed last month.

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“Trump said he wanted to give Biden a “chance to redeem himself.”

Trump Issues Fresh Challenge To Biden (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has challenged Joe Biden to a “no-holds-barred” debate and an 18-hole game of golf so that the incumbent leader can prove he is still fit for office. The 81-year-old Biden is facing growing calls from his fellow Democrats to drop out of the 2024 presidential race over concerns about his mental health, following his disastrous performance during a debate with Trump last month. Speaking at a rally in Miami on Tuesday, Trump said he wanted to give Biden a “chance to redeem himself.” “Let’s do another debate this week so ‘Sleepy’ Joe Biden can prove to everyone all over the world that he has what it takes to be president. But this time it will be man to man, no moderators, no holds barred,” Trump said, calling on Biden to “name the place, anytime, anywhere.”

Trump also recalled that during their CNN-hosted debate, Biden had declared that he would be willing to test his skills and stamina against his rival on the golf course. “Can you believe this? Did you ever see him swing?” Trump told his supporters, announcing that he is “officially challenging ‘Crooked Joe’ to an 18-hole golf match right here.” The presumptive Republican candidate promised that if Biden won, he would donate $1 million to any charity of his opponent’s choice. However, Trump doubted that Biden would accept his challenge “because he is all talk.” Biden campaign spokesman James Singer responded to the challenge on Wednesday by claiming that the US president “doesn’t have time for Donald Trump’s weird antics – he’s busy leading America and defending the free world.” He also dismissed Trump as a “liar, a convict, and a fraud only out for himself.”

Biden himself has unequivocally stressed that he is “firmly committed” to staying in the presidential race, while White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre has insisted that the incumbent is determined to serve out his full second term in office if reelected. At the same time, calls for Biden to drop out of the election have continued to grow, with many senior Democrats and party donors urging him to “do the right thing” and quit, fearing he would not be able to beat Trump. A survey conducted by CBS News/YouGov in the wake of last month’s presidential debate also found that 72% of registered voters do not believe that Biden has the “mental and cognitive health necessary to serve as president.”

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“The White House, in the time since that disastrous debate, I think, has done nothing to really demonstrate that they have a plan to win this election..”

Dem Senator Says Trump Could Beat Biden In “Landslide” (ZH)

Sen. Michael Bennett (D-CO) on Tuesday became the first Democratic senator to publicly cast doubt on President Joe Biden’s chances against Donald Trump in November. “Donald Trump is on track, I think, to win this election, and maybe win it by a landslide, and take with him the Senate and the House,” Bennett told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on Tuesday – after telling colleagues the same in private. “So for me, this isn’t a question about polling. It’s not a question about politics. It’s a moral question about the future of our country.” “The White House, in the time since that disastrous debate, I think, has done nothing to really demonstrate that they have a plan to win this election,” he continued.

Bennet’s comments echo those of a growing number of congressional Democrats who say Biden’s reelection bid could hurt the entire party in down-ballot races this fall. As CNN reports, “Democrats, including those inside the administration, view this week as critical to Biden’s political survival, and lawmakers on Capitol Hill gathered privately for their weekly meetings on Tuesday.” “The stakes could not be higher,” said Bennett, who says his voters have “deep concerns” over whether Biden can win. Punchbowl News had a sobering take on the state of affairs for Democrats in their Wednesday AM newsletter, saying Biden has “made a mess of the Democratic party.” Senate Democrats were far from united about whether Biden is the best person to defeat Trump. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told us that Biden needs to “continue to aggressively make his case” to his fellow Democratic senators in order to “earn full support.”

New Jersey Democratic Rep. Mikie Sherrill issued a statement Tuesday afternoon calling on Biden to step aside in favor of another Democratic candidate. “[B]ecause I know President Biden cares deeply about the future of our country, I am asking that he declare that he won’t run for reelection and will help lead us through a process toward a new nominee.” Fellow New Jersey Democratic Rep. Andy Kim — who’s running for Senate — walked right up the line of whether Biden should get out. “What steps can we actually take right now [to replace Biden.] That’s where some of the confusion is. Especially with all the talk of what are the actual deadlines. It’s hard to kind of make a decision without fully understanding that. We need to get a better grasp on it,” said Kim.

Meanwhile, House Democratic leaders met privately on Tuesday morning with some of their most vulnerable members, for a conversation that was “honest, brutal and intense,” and left some members crying, according to sources with knowledge of the meeting. ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, meanwhile, told TMZ that he doesn’t think Biden can serve another four years. The 63-year-old Stephanopoulos sat down for a closely-watched interview with Biden last week following the president’s disastrous debate performance last month against Donald Trump. “Do you think Biden should step down?” the TMZ journalist asked the “Good Morning America” co-host and moderator of “This Week.” “I don’t think he can serve four more years,” replied Stephanopoulos after a pause.

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Russiagate 3.0.

MSM Launches ‘Muh Russia’ Election Narrative (ZH)

While the Democratic party melts down over Joe Biden’s cognitive decline – an obvious risk to US national security, the 2024 election wouldn’t be complete without a Trump-Russia narrative. To that end, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Russian government has launched a ‘whole-of-government” effort to influence the US presidential election in favor of Donald Trump – who, for some reason, Russia held off on invading Ukraine while he was president (and ostensibly wouldn’t have sent $175 billion and counting in US aid to combat). Citing unnamed ‘senior US intelligence officials,’ the Journal writes: The officials didn’t mention Trump by name, but said that Russia’s current activity—described as covert social-media use and other online propaganda efforts—mirrored the 2020 and 2016 election cycles, when Moscow also favored Trump and sought to undermine Democratic candidates, according to U.S. intelligence agencies.

Of course, Russia’s 2016 ‘influence campaign’ amounted to roughly $100,000 in Facebook ads, which “didn’t reference any specific presidential candidate, or even the election itself,” largely targeting BLM members and ‘Pokemon Go’ aficionados. Insidious. That said, the officials say that the activity witnessed so far this election cycle “isn’t on the scale or scope seen in 2016, when Russia’s actions included a hack-and-leak of Democratic Party emails, rudimentary cyber-probing of some state election systems and other actions intended to undermine Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign.” Hacked emails, you say? Edit: And as ZeroHedge reader ‘The Wolverine’ notes in the comments below: ‘Remember that time Adam Schiff interviewed the President of CrowdStrike and refused to release the transcript for months and months?’

According to the new report, Russia is seeking to influence specific voting groups, including those in swing states, and promote divisive narratives while denigrating specific politicians, the anonymous US intelligence officials told reporters, without mentioning the specific voters or politicians who have been allegedly targeted. But wait, there’s more! The Kremlin “is also working to influence members of Congress and is broadly seeking to undermine U.S. support for Ukraine in its war with Russia,” according to the anonymous officials – one of whom said that Russia was the “pre-eminent threat” to the election, while Iran was a ‘lesser threat at the moment,’ and aims to be a ‘chaos agent’ by exacerbating social tensions. “We have observed actors tied to Iran’s government posing as activists online, seeking to encourage protests, and even providing financial support to protesters,” said Avril Haines, the director of national intelligence, in a separate Tuesday statement.

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Neverending. And we are all hostages.

NATO Preparing For ‘Protracted Wars’ – Pentagon (RT)

The US and its allies are planning to continue ramping up defense spending, which will ensure long-term demand for weapons, US Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks told a gathering of arms manufacturers during a NATO event on Tuesday. Speaking at the NATO Summit Defense Industry Forum, the official praised NATO members for boosting their military budgets since the initial flare-up of the Ukraine conflict in 2014, and particularly after the open hostilities between Ukraine and Russia erupted in 2022. Over the past decade, the average annual increase in spending was 72%, adjusted for inflation, she said. That reversed a period when “defense industries across the Atlantic were affected by decades of inconsistent funding and blinkered demand signals,” she said. She said the current thinking is: “Production matters. Production is deterrence.”

Western arms manufacturers have the ability “not just to compete, but to out-compete and prevail” over Russia and other nations that the US considers its rivals, including China, North Korea and Iran. “That includes ensuring we are prepared for the possibility of protracted war, which every ally must be prepared for – and not just in Europe, either,” Hicks warned. Developing the manufacturing base on both sides of the Atlantic in a way that combines “information-age ingenuity and industrial-era capacity” will benefit US allies in the Pacific, such as Australia, Japan and South Korea, the official said. She claimed that Western political systems are inherently beneficial for building “arsenals of democracy,” since they foster innovation and transnational cooperation. On the other hand, “autocracies,” according to her reasoning, can’t move beyond “just landing at each other’s airfields, or sailing ships alongside each other for a few days at a time.”

The Pentagon is looking for ways “to be a better customer,” Hicks said, by streamlining its internal processes, delivering targeted investments in the defense sector, and providing security services to weapons businesses. Russian officials have described NATO as a tool of US geopolitical ambition and a way to secure a permanent market for American weapons in Europe. Moscow has cited Washington’s pledge that Ukraine will eventually join the bloc together with NATO’s increased presence in Ukraine since 2014 as among the key triggers of the ongoing conflict. Beijing has accused the US of being stuck in a “Cold War mentality” and playing “zero-sum games” with non-Western nations, including China.

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Yay!

EU Members Up Defense Spending by 30% Over Last 3 Years – Borrell (Sp.)

EU member states have increased their joint defense spending by 30% in the last three years, while in 2024, the bloc’s defense spending is expected to reach approximately 2% of GDP, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Wednesday. “In the last three years, the total expenditure [in the defense sector] in Europe … has increased by 30% and this year we will be reaching almost an average all together of 2% [of GDP], it is not enough, but is much better and it is growing,” the high-ranked EU official said during his speech at the 75th NATO Anniversary Summit in Washington. The NATO summit kicked off in Washington on Tuesday and will run through July 11. In late June, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union needed to invest 500 billion euros ($535 billion) in defense in the next 10 years.

The European Union “regrets” that people are dying in Ukraine, but it will continue to supply weapons to Kiev to counter Russia’s actions, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Wednesday. “We certainly regret that people are dying, but Ukrainian soldiers are fighting and dying because they are defending their country,” Borrell said during a speech at the fifth NATO Anniversary Summit in Washington. The EU will continue to support Ukraine, Borrell added. “I am happy to have heard [US] President Biden a moment ago to say that Russia cannot prevail, for that we have to increase our [military] industrial capacity, putting more money on the table, more technological development,” Borrell said.

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“..not prepared to fight in an armed conflict of “any scale” and would run out of ammunition rapidly..”

New UK Prime Minister Pledges Sharp Rise In Military Spending (RT)

The UK is set to boost its military capabilities and plans to gradually increase defense spending to 2.5% of its GDP, new Prime Minister Keir Starmer said on Tuesday as he departed for a NATO summit in Washington. Starmer has pledged to publish a roadmap for defense expenditure following calls from both the UK military and NATO states to clarify his policy, his office has said. “I am committed to that 2.5% [of gross domestic product] within our fiscal rules, but that strategic review needs to come first,” he told Reuters ahead of the NATO summit. His predecessor Rishi Sunak had promised earlier this year that London would reach this target by 2030. According to Starmer’s office, the government will launch a strategic review next week to “determine the future defense posture” of the UK and the military capabilities it needs. The timeline for the review or when the spending goal might be achieved has not been specified, however.

Many NATO states have for years struggled to reach an agreed threshold of 2% of GDP for defense spending, but the push has gained momentum since the start of the Ukraine crisis in 2014 and especially after the launch of Russia’s military operation in 2022. Starmer, who became the UK prime minister after his party’s landslide victory in the general election last week, reiterated that London’s commitment to Kiev remains unchanged. Britain has been one of Ukraine’s biggest backers in the conflict with Russia, pledging £12.5 billion (around $16 billion) in support for Kiev, including £7.6 billion (around $9.7 billion) in military aid, since February 2022. Meanwhile, recent military research revealed that Britain’s armed forces are in such a poor state that they are barely able to defend the country, with deficiencies spread across its various branches. Rob Johnson, director of the Oxford Changing Character of War Center, told the FT last week that the UK was not prepared to fight in an armed conflict of “any scale” and would run out of ammunition rapidly.

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“According to Reuters, Biden delivered his remarks without a teleprompter in an explicit and clear-cut manner..”

‘Russia Will Not Prevail’ – Biden to NATO (RT)

US President Joe Biden has delivered a forceful speech to NATO members in a bid to reassure them that Ukraine can still prevail in its conflict against Russia. However, several Western diplomats told Reuters that the US leader’s better-than-expected stage performance failed to make up for his disastrous debate with Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. In the keynote speech at the opening of the NATO summit in Washington on Tuesday, Biden touted the bloc as “the bulwark of global security” and reiterated its intention to support Ukraine with military aid, including new deliveries of air defense systems. “We know [Russian President Vladimir] Putin won’t stop at Ukraine. But make no mistake, Ukraine can and will stop Putin… When this senseless war began, Ukraine was a free country. Today, it is still a free country, and the war will end with Ukraine remaining a free and independent country,” he declared. “Russia will not prevail. Ukraine will prevail.”

Russia has repeatedly condemned Western arms shipments to Ukraine, arguing they only prolong the conflict. It has also called NATO a “hostile” bloc directly involved in the conflict between Kiev and Moscow. According to Reuters, Biden delivered his remarks without a teleprompter in an explicit and clear-cut manner, in sharp contrast to his performance at the debate with Republican rival Trump last month. The 81-year-old president’s performance was described as “fumbling” and “incoherent,” with numerous media reports claiming that the debate disaster led to prominent Democrats urging him to drop out of the race. Several unnamed Western diplomats told Reuters that Biden’s NATO speech failed to erase the damage to his public image done by the recent debacle. “We don’t see how he can come back after the debate,” one European diplomat noted, adding that the president’s remarks were scripted and could not be seen as evidence of his endurance.

“I can’t imagine him being at helm of the US and NATO for four more years,” he remarked. Meanwhile, Biden has insisted he is “not going anywhere” and intends to beat Trump in the November election. On Tuesday, the GOP candidate challenged his rival to another face-off, calling it a “chance [for Biden] to redeem himself in front of the entire world,” and suggesting that the debate should be held without moderators. Biden and Trump are already scheduled to hold another debate, which will be moderated by ABC, on September 10.

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So why give him any?

Kiev Can ‘Never’ Get Enough Weapons – Zelensky (RT)

Virtually no quantity of weapons that the US and its allies supply to Kiev for its fight with Russia will be enough, Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky has said. The Ukrainian leader is visiting the US this week as the heads of NATO states hold a summit in Washington DC. Zelensky called for more arms deliveries at the Ronald Reagan Institute on Tuesday, where he participated in an event alongside US Senator Mitch McConnell. While he highlighted his determination to continue hostilities with Russia, he stressed on several occasions the disparity in military strength between the two sides in the conflict. ”It’s not enough. It’s never enough,” he said, referring to the five additional Patriot missile systems, which US President Joe Biden pledged the same day to Kiev on behalf of his nation, Germany, Romania and others.

Asked about the fate of the 31 Abrams main battle tanks supplied by the US last year, Zelensky said the number was too low to “change the situation on the battlefield.”He went on to say the number of F-16 fighter jets pledged by Western donors has been insufficient. Russia uses some 300 jets in the Ukraine conflict, while Kiev would only be able to field 10 to 20 F-16s anytime soon, he said. ”Even if we will have 50 it’s nothing. They have 300,” Zelensky said. Being on the defense, Ukraine would need a fleet of 128 F-16s for parity with Russia, he stated.

Zelensky urged the US to lift all restrictions on using American-provided weapons against targets deep inside Russia and to provide Kiev with better long-range strike capability. In late May, the Biden administration revised its policy restricting the use of American weapons inside what the US recognizes as Russian territory, but would not allow long-range strikes, according to media reports and statements by officials. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that his country may supply weapons similar to those that Ukraine gets from the West to parties hostile to the donors elsewhere in the world in case of further escalation. Moscow has described the Ukraine conflict as part of a US-led proxy war against Russia, in which NATO members take part in virtually every aspect except by sending their own troops to the battlefield.

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“Should Moscow conclude that it is now Washington policy to fight Russia, not just to the last Ukrainian, but to the last American?”

US Bodycount 35 KIA After Russian Missile Strike (Helmer)

The latest Russian Defense Ministry daily bulletin was issued on Tuesday afternoon, July 9. Since then the Pentagon and the White House have been as silent as the tomb. Make that thirty-five American tombs. “During the day [July 9],” said the Defense Ministry briefer in Moscow, “the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation carried out a group strike with high-precision weapons on American HIMARS multiple launch rocket systems prepared for strikes on the territory of Crimea, as well as the venue of an official meeting of the AFU [Armed Forces of the Ukraine] command staff. The objectives of the strike have been achieved. Four US-made HIMARS MLRS launchers were destroyed, as well as up to 35 foreign specialists who serviced them.” Several hours later, the Pentagon briefer, Major General Pat Ryder, announced “a great kickoff to NATO summit events this week.”

General Ryder wasn’t referring to the largest number of US battlefield deaths ever recorded under hostile Russian fire. He had nothing to say about the Ukraine battlefield action, and the reporters attending failed to ask him about it. At the White House briefing which followed the Pentagon, the lead announcement was President Joseph Biden’s telephone calls to officials in Texas dealing with Hurricane Beryl; his plan to meet on Thursday with Vladimir Zelensky; and an assurance that “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine poses a threat to transatlantic security. That’s what it does. And it shows how critical the NATO Alliance is and how important it is to continue to make sure that it is strong, and that’s what the president has been able to do.” Reporters did not ask about US combat deaths in the Ukraine.

The New York Times also blacked out the report of the Russian strike on the HIMARS batteries, focusing instead on the Kiev targets of the day, and on claims by anonymous US intelligence and other officials that “Russia is unlikely to make significant territorial gains in Ukraine in the coming months as its poorly trained forces struggle to break through Ukrainian defenses that are now reinforced with Western munitions.” “You’d think in an election year,” comments a NATO veteran with Afghanistan war service, “that dead American ‘specialists’ would be an issue. This tells that they [the Biden Administration] are as committed to ‘victory’, or hiding an American defeat, as their [Trump campaign] opponents are. They are also loath to get into the role they played in getting things to this point.” That said, what interpretation can President Vladimir Putin and the Russian General Staff give after the 35 US battlefield deaths have been concealed by US officials? Should Moscow conclude that it is now Washington policy to fight Russia, not just to the last Ukrainian, but to the last American?

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“..if a Russian missile had struck the hospital, there would be “nothing left of the building”

Ukraine Timing Tragedies To Coincide With Important Events – Kremlin (RT)

Kiev is deliberately using tragedies for publicity ahead of important international events, such as this week’s NATO summit in Washington, so that Vladimir Zelensky can push for more support from the West, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has claimed. In an interview with journalist Pavel Zarubin, Peskov suggested that Ukrainian authorities are effectively organizing PR campaigns “on blood,” referring to Monday’s deadly tragedy at the Okhmatdet children’s hospital in Kiev, where a missile killed two people and injured dozens more. Kiev and its backers have blamed Russia for the incident. Moscow has denied the allegations, insisting that it has never targeted civilian facilities. Instead, it claims that the hospital was struck by a Ukrainian air-defense missile. Peskov claimed that such tragedies in Ukraine often occur right before international events that are important for relations between Kiev and the West.

“I believe that there are no coincidences in this regard,” the spokesman said, suggesting that the Okhmatdet incident had been another “PR operation.” “This is truly a tragedy, but it is being deliberately used to create a backdrop that would accompany Zelensky’s participation in the NATO summit,” Peskov said, adding that Kiev’s methodology is “quite unclean, jesuitical, well-known, and has been repeated many times.” The Kremlin spokesman also noted that it was “very difficult” for Russia to get its point across to Western audiences regarding such incidents. “They do not want to hear anything,” Peskov said, adding that the “hysteria” in Western newspapers and TV channels “is likely due to the monopolistic dominance of Anglo-Saxon media there.” Nevertheless, Peskov said Russia would continue to “tell the truth about what has happened, both domestically and in countries where the audience is ready to hear us and where we have technical means to reach them.”

Meanwhile, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, has also insisted that Moscow had no involvement in the Okmatdet incident. Speaking at the UN Security Council on Tuesday, he suggested that if a Russian missile had struck the hospital, there would be “nothing left of the building” and that “children and adults would have died rather than being injured.” Nebenzia explained that Russia had, in fact, been targeting the Artemov missile plant in Kiev, which is located approximately 2km from the Okhmatdet hospital. “There is every reason to believe that the Ukrainian air-defense missile that hit it was intended for a Russian missile that hit the plant,” he said, noting that the tragedy could have been avoided if Ukraine hadn’t deployed air defense in residential areas.

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“..Russian pilots and air defense personnel “will have new stars on their fuselages and new medals on their chests.”

West to Supply Ukraine With ‘Squadrons’ of F-16 Fighter Jets (Sp.)

Western allies intend to supply Ukraine with entire “squadrons” of modern American-made F-16 fighter jets, according to a joint statement from the leaders of the US, Netherlands, and Denmark. They announced that the transfer of the first of these aircraft has already begun, allowing Ukrainian forces to start using them this summer. “We are committed to further enhancing Ukraine’s air capabilities, which will include squadrons of modern fourth generation F-16 multi-role aircraft,” US President Joe Biden said in a joint statement with Dutch Prime Minister Dick Schoof and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen at the NATO summit in Washington. The coalition, according to the leaders, intends to assist with the maintenance, armament, and pilot training for these jets. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in turn, announced that a transfer of F-16 fighter jets was currently underway from Europe to Ukraine.

“I’m also pleased to announce that as we speak, the transfer of F-16 jets is underway, coming from Denmark, coming from the Netherlands, and those jets will be flying in the skies of Ukraine this summer to make sure that Ukraine can continue to effectively defend itself against the Russian aggression,” Blinken said at the NATO Public Forum. Commenting on the development, Andrey Kartapolov, head of the State Duma Defense Committee told Sputnik that the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine will not affect the course of the special operation and will change nothing. “We have known for a long time that they would give them something by the end of the summer; they have nothing else left but the F-16. Now they will be giving them, perhaps a dozen or so, but it will not change anything at all. We have been expecting them for a long time, and we have been preparing. It will not affect the course of the special operation,” said Kartapolov. He noted that after the transfer of F-16s to Ukraine, Russian pilots and air defense personnel “will have new stars on their fuselages and new medals on their chests.”

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“The Russians have gotten really, really good” at interfering with guided munitions..”

High-Tech Western Weapons ‘Useless’ In Ukraine Conflict – WSJ (RT)

Russia’s electronic warfare capabilities have rendered precision-guided Western munitions “useless” in the Ukraine conflict, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. With their guidance systems scrambled, some of these weapons have reportedly been retired within weeks of hitting the battlefield. When the US announced the delivery of GPS-guided Excalibur artillery shells to Ukraine in 2022, pro-Kiev outlets predicted that the $100,000-per-shot projectiles would make “Ukrainian artillery a whole lot more accurate” and “cause Russia a world of pain.” However, the Russian military adapted within weeks, Ukrainian commanders told the Wall Street Journal. Russian signal-jamming equipment was used to feed false coordinates to the shells and interfere with their fuses, causing them to veer off course or fall to the ground as duds.

“By the middle of last year, the M982 Excalibur munitions, developed by RTX and BAE Systems, became essentially useless and are no longer employed,” the newspaper stated, paraphrasing the Ukrainian commanders. The Soviet Union invested heavily in electronic warfare (EW) during the 1980s, viewing jamming technology as a crucial bulwark against the guided missiles and shells that the US was beginning to develop at the time. While weapons such as the 1990s-era Excalibur shells were used by the US to devastating effect in Iraq and Afghanistan, officials and analysts in Washington have since concluded that they are far less effective against a peer-level opponent like Russia. “The Russians have gotten really, really good” at interfering with guided munitions, US Deputy Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment William LaPlante told the WSJ.

Retired US General Ben Hodges, who once predicted that Western weapons would help Ukraine seize Crimea by last winter, told the newspaper that “we probably made some bad assumptions because over the last 20 years we were launching precision weapons against people that could not do anything about it… and Russia and China do have these capabilities.” Some of NATO’s most advanced weapons systems have met a similar fate in Ukraine. The newly-developed Ground-Launched Small Diameter Bomb (GLSDB), a joint project of Boeing in the US and Saab in Sweden, was given to Ukraine earlier this year, with Kiev’s troops firing these GPS-guided munitions before their American counterparts. However, it has since been pulled from the battlefield after it proved completely ineffective against Russian EW.

Likewise, Russian EW has significantly blunted the accuracy of Ukraine’s Western-provided GMLRS missiles, which are fired from the HIMARS multiple-launch rocket system, Ukrainian soldiers told the WSJ. As with the Excalibur shells, GMLRS missiles were once described by pro-Kiev pundits and analysts as a “game changer” that would swing the conflict in Ukraine’s favor. Russia has long insisted that no amount of Western weapons systems will prevent it from achieving victory. Supplying these weapons is a “futile project” that will only encourage Kiev to “commit new crimes,” Moscow’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, warned last week.

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“Unelected advisers, party hacks, scheming family members and random hangers-on make the critical daily decisions..”

We Were “Deceived & Gaslit For Years” (Alastair Crooke)

Emmanuel Todd, the French anthropological historian, examines the longer dynamics to events unfolding in the present: The prime agent of change leading to the Decline of the West (La Défaite de l’Occident), he argues, was the implosion of ‘Anglo’ Protestantism in the U.S. (and England), with its entailed habits of work, individualism and industry – a creed whose qualities were held then to reflect God’s grace through material success, and, above all, to confirm membership of the divine ‘Elect’. Whereas traditional liberalism had its mores, the decline of traditional values triggered the slide towards managerial technocracy, and to nihilism. Religion lingers on in the West, though in a ‘zombie’ state, Todd avers. Such societies, he argues, flounder – absent some guiding metaphysical sphere that provides people with non-material sustenance.

However, the incoming doctrine that only a wealthy financial élite, tech experts, leaders of multinational corporations and banks possess the required foresight and technological understanding to manipulate a complex and increasingly controlled system changed politics completely. Mores were gone – and so was empathy. Many experienced the disconnect and the disregard of cold technocracy. So when a senior WSJ editor tells us that the ‘deception and ‘gaslighting’ collapsed with the CNN Biden-Trump debate, we should surely pay attention; He is saying the scales finally fell from peoples’ eyes. What was being gaslighted was the fiction of democracy and also that of America declaring itself – in its own scripture – to be the trailblazer and pathfinder of humanity: America as the exceptional nation: the singular, the pure-of-heart, the baptizer, and redeemer of all peoples despised and downtrodden; the “last, best hope of earth”.

The reality was very different. Of course, states can ‘live a lie’ for a long period. The underlying problem – the point Todd makes so compellingly – is that you can be successful in deceiving and manipulating public perceptions, but only up to a point. The reality was, it simply was not working. The same is true of ‘Europe’. The EU’s aspiration to become a global geo-political actor too, was contingent on gaslighting the public that France, Italy and Germany et al could continue to be real national entities – even as the EU scooped up all national decision-making prerogatives, by deceit. The mutiny at the recent European elections reflected this discontent. Of course, Biden’s condition has been long known. So who then has been running affairs; making critical daily decisions about war, peace, the composition of the judiciary and the boundaries of state authority? The WSJ piece gives one answer: “Unelected advisers, party hacks, scheming family members and random hangers-on make the critical daily decisions” on these issues.

Maybe we have to reconcile to the fact that Biden is an angry, senile man who yells at his staff: “During meetings with aides who are putting together formal briefings, some senior officials have at times gone to great lengths to curate the information in an effort to avoid provoking a negative reaction”.“It’s like, ‘You can’t include that, that will set him off’ or ‘Put that in, he likes that,’” said one senior administration official. “It’s very difficult and people are scared sh*tless of him.” The official added, “He doesn’t take advice from anyone other than those few top aides, and it becomes a perfect storm because he just gets more and more isolated from their efforts to control it”. Seymour Hersh, the well-known investigative journalist reports: “Biden’s drift into blankness has been ongoing for months, as he and his foreign policy aides have been urging a ceasefire that will not happen in Gaza whilst continuing to supply the weapons that make a ceasefire less likely.

There’s a similar paradox in Ukraine, where Biden has been financing a war that cannot be won – yet refusing to participate in negotiations that could end the slaughter”. “The reality behind all of this, as I’ve been told for months, is that Biden is simply ‘no longer there’ – in terms of understanding the contradictions of the policies he and his foreign policy advisers have been carrying out”. On the one hand, Politico tells us: “Biden’s insular senior team are well acquainted with the longtime aides who continue to have the president’s ear: Mike Donilon, Steve Ricchetti and Bruce Reed, as well as Ted Kaufman and Klain on the outside”. “It’s the same people — he has not changed those people for 40 years … The number of people who have access to the president has gotten smaller and smaller and smaller. They’ve been digging deeper into the bunker for months now.” And, the strategist said, “the more you get into the bunker, the less you listen to anyone”. In Todd’s words then, decisions are made by a small ‘Washington village’.

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“Democrats are seeking to bar third-party candidates from the general election . . . all in the name of perfecting democracy.”

NC Democrats Vote to Block 3rd-Party Candidates from Ballots (Turley)

Months ago, I wrote a column about how Democrats have continued to try to block voters from being able to vote for candidates while claiming the mantle of the defenders of Democracy. This effort not only included Democratic Secretaries of State attempting to remove former president Donald Trump from the ballots, but efforts in the primary from the ballot. Many of these Democrats now calling for a “blitz primary” previously said nothing as voters were barred from having a choice in the primary. Now, in North Carolina, Democrats are seeking to bar third-party candidates from the general election . . . all in the name of perfecting democracy. The Democratically controlled North Carolina’s Board of Elections voted against giving ballot access to new parties supporting presidential candidates Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Cornel West. All three Democrats (Alan Hirsch, Jefferson Carmon, and Siobhan Millen) voted to prevent voters from being able to vote for Kennedy and West, though the decision will have to be reconsidered.

Yet, even if reversed, they are preserving uncertainty as to whether they will be viable candidates in the minds of voters. The excuses for this action are superficial and manufactured. Chairman Alan Hirsch insisted that their organizations were “problematic” in how they gathered signatures and how Republicans may be supporting their efforts to allegedly “take away votes from Joe Biden.” They also said that they were concerned that the third-party candidates were using the new party rules to gain an easier path to ballots. That is a bizarre objection. They are opting for the best approach under the existing rules. It seems openly partisan for these three Democrats to suddenly raise concerns over the existing rules when it could harm Joe Biden or the Democratic Party. Yet, Democratic commissioner Siobhan Millen worked hard to rationalize what is a raw political muscle play to prevent voters from having a choice:

“If this board keeps rubber-stamping thinly veiled so-called parties, national operatives are going to continue to come in and keep manipulating our system. Allowing unaffiliated candidates to follow the more lenient new-party rules is allowing a blind eye to partisan mischief, potentially.” If Millen wants to see partisan mischief, she does not have to look far. She and her colleagues are engaging in precisely such mischief to deny voters choices this election to try to bolster the chances of Biden in a swing state. Democrats continue to claim to defend Democracy while resisting democratic choice and abusing the legal process. This glaring disconnect was evident when President Joe Biden spoke on the top of the Point-du-Hoc in Normandy on the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Biden again used the event to suggest that democracy was in danger in the United States with the upcoming election.

Yet, Biden has overseen widespread government censorship with federal agencies targeting those with opposing views on everything from elections and climate change to COVID-19 and transgender policies. As Democratic secretaries of state sought to bar Trump from ballots, Biden refused to oppose the efforts. When liberal law professors and members demanded to pack the Supreme Court to guarantee a liberal majority, Biden refused to denounce it during the last campaign. This is why some in the country may view Biden and the Democrats as existential threats not just to Democracy, but to themselves. They see a party that is engaged in efforts to cleanse ballots (of Republicans), censor dissenting voices and prosecute political opponents. The effort in North Carolina continues this hypocritical and cynical narrative. These three Democratic board members just voted to prevent their fellow citizens from being able to cast votes for third-party candidates who are attracting increasing support among disgruntled voters.

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Dog stairs

 

 

Malinois

 

 

Whales

 

 

Dance
https://twitter.com/i/status/1810755264343106007

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 102024
 


Pablo Picasso Family of Saltimbanques 1905

 

Trump Makes Biden Election Prediction (RT)
A Second Spousal Regency Is Now Underway (Stockman)
Paul Krugman Urges Biden To Drop Out (RT)
Senile, Drooling, but Mostly Fabulous (Luongo)
The Crowning of Kamala Harris? (Les Leopold)
Orban: “China Has A Peace Plan, America Has A War Policy” (SCF)
The Big Picture behind Viktor The Mediator’s Peace Shuttle (Pepe Escobar)
EU Might ‘End’ Hungary’s Presidency – Politico (RT)
Kremlin Responds To Kiev Hospital Attack Allegations (RT)
NATO Should Not Be Party To Ukraine Conflict – Erdogan (TASS)
Netanyahu Goes for Broke (Patrick Lawrence)
Israeli Gaza Campaign May Kill 186,000 or More – 8% of Population (Juan Cole)
UK Finances Worst Since 1945 – New Chancellor (RT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaker Johnson

 

 

MEP
https://twitter.com/i/status/1810450168866635813

 

 

Rogan Dr. Phil

 

 

Orban Soros

 

 

Populists

 

 

 

 

“He has the delegates, he doesn’t have to get out. There’s nothing they can do to get him out.”

Trump Makes Biden Election Prediction (RT)

US President Joe Biden “doesn’t want to quit” and “may very well stay” in the race for the White House, Republican rival Donald Trump has said. According to Trump, the Democratic Party will find it difficult to force Biden to quit. In the two weeks since he debated a visibly frail and confused Biden last month, Trump has stayed out of the public eye. Meanwhile, liberal media outlets have run articles questioning Biden’s mental health, as Democratic donors and lawmakers reportedly weigh their options for forcing the 81-year-old to suspend his reelection campaign. In a phone interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Monday night, Trump predicted that Biden will withstand the pressure to step down. “It looks to me like he may very well stay in,” Trump told Hannity.

“He’s got an ego and he doesn’t want to quit. This isn’t necessarily a very positive thing for our country, but I think he might very well stay in.” Biden himself has vowed to stay in the race, telling MSNBC on Monday that he is “not going anywhere.” In a letter to Democrats in Congress earlier that day, Biden insisted that he “wouldn’t be running again if I did not absolutely believe I was the best person to beat Donald Trump in 2024.” Biden won the support of nearly 99% of Democratic delegates during the party’s largely symbolic primary elections this year. This victory gives the president “a lot of power,” Trump told Hannity, adding that removing him from office via a constitutional amendment could be the only option available to the Democrats. “Unless they use the 25th Amendment… he has all the power,” Trump explained. “He has the delegates, he doesn’t have to get out. There’s nothing they can do to get him out.”

Should this come to pass, Trump said that he would expect to face Vice President Kamala Harris in November’s presidential election. “I think that [the Democrats] are very concerned about the vote if it’s not her,” he said. “They are gun-shy, they don’t want to do it any other way. It seems that if he gets out for whatever reason – and I don’t think he wants to get out – but if he gets out then it will be her.” Trump offered a cruder assessment of Biden’s chances in the days after the debate. In leaked footage filmed at one of his golf courses in late June, Trump could be heard telling a small group of supporters that Biden would surely be “quitting the race,” calling the president an “old, broken-down pile of crap.” Turning to Harris, Trump said that while she would be a better opponent, she is “so pathetic” and “so f**king bad.”

Trump on Biden

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“..why Kamala Harris and the timorous men and woman of the Biden cabinet have not activated the 25th Amendment: They are scared to death of Jill Giacoppo!”

A Second Spousal Regency Is Now Underway (Stockman)

As it turned out, the immobilization of the presidency during the last 18 months of Wilson’s term was one of history’s great serendipity’s. Absent Wilson’s tireless promotion, the abominable League of Nations Treaty died aborning. America was thus given one more chance to return to its ways as a peaceful Republic untroubled by the petty intrigues of nations beyond the great Atlantic and Pacific Ocean moats. Needless to say, that reprieve has long since been kicked away. America is now a dangerous Empire and its president is virtually the helmsman of the planet. So the fact that Jill Biden has apparently read and copied the entirety of professor Markel’s account of America’s first Spousal Regency is troubling indeed. It was evident beyond a shadow of a doubt last Thursday night that a second Spousal Regency is now underway.

“Joe Biden” would have received his gold watch from Washington’s grateful ruling apparatchiks long ago, save for the obvious fact that Jill Biden has said that absolutely “nyet means nyet”. At this point, of course, it would be helpful if Jill did speak a bit of Russian because the minions helping her conduct this unauthorized, unlawful and constitutionally- repugnant Regency have gotten her marooned in what amounts to an helacious Moscow Winter. Alas, however, it appears that her second language lies elsewhere. That is to say, Jill Jacobs Giacoppo’s tribal ferocity did not originate from the bucolic hills of Willow Grove Pennsylvania or the classrooms of Upper Moreland High School or even the instructors at Brandywine Junior College. Her father’s family had emigrated from the Sicilian village of Gesso, losing the “Giacoppo” part within days of passing Lady Liberty, but hanging on to the blood loyalty part even unto the present fraught hour.

That is to say, Edith Wilson Biden is a clear and present danger to the American Republic. She has spent the last 47 years marinating in the self-righteous hypocrisies, follies and evil-doings of the Washington ruling class—without ever once have been called to accountability by any kind of electorate at all. Like Edith Wilson, she was apparently an able spouse and hostess – who taught classes at Northern Virginia Community College on the side and was pleased to call herself “doctor” owing to a quasi-honorary degree from the Biden family’s political sinecure at the University of Delaware. And yet and yet. Jill Giacoppo is an utterly unqualified usurper, who has even less excuse for her blatant power grab than did Edith Wilson back in the day. At least in Edith’s time there was no 25th Amendment to regularize, organize and legitimize the transfer of power to the constitutionally prescribed role of Vice President.

To be specific, section 4 of the 25th Amendment addresses the precise case of a President unable to fulfill his constitutional role but who cannot or will not step aside. In that event, it provides both a decision-maker and a procedure. The deciding group is the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet. If this group declares a President “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” the Vice President immediately becomes Acting President; and he remains so unless a two-thirds majority of both chamber reinstate the former president. So why was “Joe Biden” still in the Oval Office last Thursday night making a spectacle of his very disabled self before a global audience of 51 million?

It’s plain as day that there is one reason and one reason alone as to why Kamala Harris and the timorous men and woman of the Biden cabinet have not activated the 25th Amendment: They are scared to death of Jill Giacoppo! Then again, this election is allegedly about saving constitutional democracy from the prospect of an illegal coup. And while the DNC and its megaphones in the MSM may resolutely deny it, that’s exactly what is now dangerously underway in their own backyard.

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Paul who?

Paul Krugman Urges Biden To Drop Out (RT)

US President Joe Biden should “do the right thing” and drop out of the election race in favor of Vice President Kamala Harris, Nobel Prize winner and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has said. Democrats and key party donors are growing increasingly concerned about their prospects for the vote in November after Biden’s disastrous performance in the June 27 debate against Republican rival Donald Trump. In a column on Monday, Krugman argued that Biden has been “ludicrously mistreated” by having his “every verbal or physical stumble” analyzed. Despite this, however, Krugman, the 2008 Nobel Prize winner in economics, said Biden should stand aside as his party’s candidate for president.

Harris should “probably” be the one to take his place, he added. The televised debate last month gave Biden a “golden opportunity” to “be calm and reassuring” in the face of Trump’s “bizarre and menacing” behavior, but he “utterly failed the test,” Krugman wrote. ‘During the CNN-hosted showdown, Biden appeared visibly confused, slurring his words and struggling to finish his sentences. While the White House blamed Biden’s poor performance on a cold and his busy travel schedule earlier in the month, some Democratic donors and liberal pundits have called on the 46th president to suspend his campaign. Some formerly friendly media outlets have also demanded that Biden step aside.

The 81-year-old has refused to withdraw from the race, admitting only that he does not debate “as well as [he] used to.” Speaking to MSNBC on Monday, Biden said he is “not going anywhere” and vowed to continue his reelection campaign, insisting he is “the best candidate to beat Donald Trump.” A survey conducted by CBS News/YouGov in the wake of the presidential debate found that 72% of registered voters do not believe that Biden has the “mental and cognitive health necessary to serve as president.”

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“..Doug Emhoff, you know the ‘second gentleman’ was at a debate watch party with Rob Reiner and Jane Fonda. What did he do to deserve that? Meathead and Hanoi Jane?”

Senile, Drooling, but Mostly Fabulous (Luongo)

Well, here we are. It’s a full blown panic. It is now obvious that President Biden lacks the mental faculties to carry on the office of the presidency. And the nervous mice are starting to tiptoe out on the ice and do the ‘noticing in public’ they have avoided the last three and a half years. The Democrats are now dividing themselves between the culpable and those with culpable deniability. Who knew? Who could have known? It’s time to call a lid on the whole damn thing, Jack. Now Republicans don’t want to hear that, they want to keep Biden in the race, for obvious reasons. That’s easy to understand and if he was just running as a candidate and not for reelection, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But, there is a country to run, every single day. And we do not know who is running it. That is beyond politics. And beyond unacceptable.

Democrats are nervous about Kamala. Who cares? She is the Vice President of the United States of America and her job is to step into the vacuum at moments like this. There will be plenty of time for a post-mortem later, but there can be no pretending that Biden is capable of finishing out his term. It’s nonsense and everyone knows it. But the Democrats have never met a rule or standard that they weren’t willing to politicize, and relativize, to their own ends. They can always screw over President Harris at the convention in six weeks, and give the nomination to someone else. They can fight the ballot issues at the state level. But I bet she winds up with the Senile Ice Cream Man’s superdelegates, so maybe everyone should stop worrying and learn to love the Kam…ala. How did we get here? According to some, it was because the right wing crankosphere has been too mean.

Calling out the obvious denied the establishment press their ability to do their jobs. They had to spend all their time doing counter-narrative against internet meanies, otherwise they would have noticed the president is unfit for office. Well, we’ve been calling him the Senile Ice Cream Man™ for over three years over here, so it must be our fault. We are deeply sorry about that. Sorry about being able to perceive reality. Meanwhile, the press is still getting their heads around the possibility of consequences. Give credit to the New York Times for being able to sniff a change in the zeitgeist and move quickly towards it. Even as they deserve heaps of scorn for carrying on the farce for so long, they’ve quickly put on their big girl pants and are out doing the journalism thing. It’s been cringeworthy to watch. So the press is doing the careful lane change. But we still have to watch all the Democrats pretend they didn’t know.

“Whip smart” Joe Biden is the best he’s ever been! That’s what they said on Morning Joe! You know the show where marriages, and credibility, goes to die. But, it wasn’t a lie, exactly. In some ways, Biden hasn’t changed at all. He was always an egotistical prick who said dumb stuff. Joe has always made up thinly believable lies based on his patronizing view of the world. He’s always been awkwardly sniffing people. Even if you believe “Corn Pop was a bad dude,” do you not remember Biden was the life insurance policy for the first black president? Obama thought “…I sure don’t want to get shot, who could I pick for VP that would make even an assassin think twice? Oh, I know, Joe Biden. No one wants that dumbass in charge!” Supposedly, poor Doug Emhoff, you know the ‘second gentleman’ was at a debate watch party with Rob Reiner and Jane Fonda. What did he do to deserve that? Meathead and Hanoi Jane?

In any case, five minutes in Reiner reportedly started screaming while Jane was crying. Awkward. Not as bad as listening to Kamala practice a speech, but pretty bad. Then you have the Hollywood elites, with their fake surprise and lamentations of betrayal. I can think of a lot of off-color compound words people might use to describe Ari Emmanuel. Dumbfuck is not on that list. He was so surprised to see Biden’s performance, shocked I tell you. Bitch, please.

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Dems are trying to turn disaster into a demonstration of democracy.

The Crowning of Kamala Harris? (Les Leopold)

While we await President Biden’s talk with the Lord Almighty, the Democratic Party lords are planning the coronation of Vice President Kamala Harris. Is she the best Democratic Party nominee? Many party leaders are eager to shut down that discussion. For them, it’s game over. They say that Harris should be the nominee and anyone who opposes her will greatly offend key Democratic constituencies, starting with the Black women who have been the backbone of the party in key states. How would it look, for example, if a white woman like Governor Gretchen Whitmore, were chosen instead? After all, Harris is literally “next in line.” Picking anyone else, therefore, would be like cutting ahead of the line. Not fair and an insult to people of color. But that argument is a stretch. It’s not automatic that vice presidents get a free ride to the nomination. Sometimes they have to fight for it, as Hubert Humphrey did in 1968.

And Biden himself, of course, was pushed aside for Hillary Clinton in 2016, even after serving two terms as Obama’s VP. Party elites also point to the fact that Harris is well known and therefore has a big edge over newer candidates who have not yet been vetted through the national political grinder. But that also cuts the other way. While Harris is well known, that’s not necessarily a plus. As of July 5, 51.2 percent disapprove of the job the Veep is doing, with only 37.1 percent approving, according to ABC News’ 538 poll averages. And currently, she is trailing Trump in the latest poll, 47 to 42 percent. Her supporters will correctly point out, however, that the other, lesser-known Democratic hopefuls are currently polling even more poorly against Trump. Harris also has a stellar electoral record to be considered in California, where she served as Attorney General and then U.S. Senator. And, of course, she won the vice presidency in 2020, but that vote was largely about Biden and Trump.

As a national candidate for president in 2020, however, she did not do well. After one good debate in June 2020, her campaign faltered, as her poll numbers crashed from 15 percent to 3 percent in December. She then withdrew even before the primaries began. Some will write that off as old news that doesn’t tell us much about the current situation, but really, why exactly doesn’t that history matter? What concrete evidence do we have that she would do better now as a presidential candidate? What counts most today is who the Democratic rank-and-file really want as their presidential candidate when Biden has his come-to-Jesus moment and stands down. The party’s candidate this year needs to inspire and draw the broadest possible turnout to defeat Donald Trump in the battleground states.

The Democrat mantra is that “democracy is on the line” this fall. That same concern should guide their candidate selection process. Are they willing to open it up, so the base of the party has a say in who is nominated? If so, then the Democrats should seriously consider a reasonable process outlined by Jonathan Alter in the New York Times:

• Only those with a certain threshold of support in polls may take part in Democratic debates scheduled before the convention.
• Each qualifying candidate will be granted a half-hour address on the opening night of the convention, with the winner expanding on it in his or her acceptance speech.
• Delegates should take into consideration—though not be bound by—state and national polls showing the relative strengths of the candidates.
• The candidates should identify possible running mates.

Representative James Clyburn (D-S.C.), a Biden campaign co-chair no less, is suggesting a mini-primary before the August nominating convention. And James Carville argues for holding four regional town halls for new candidates selected by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who also would chair the meetings. It’s possible that Kamala Harris would come out of this process as the strongest contender, igniting and mobilizing many of the key Democratic Party constituencies. But it would be a grave error to use that untested assumption to eliminate rank-and-file Democrats from having a real say in the process.

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“China has a peace plan. America has a war policy. And Europe, instead of having its own strategic approach, is simply copying the American position..”

Orban: “China Has A Peace Plan, America Has A War Policy” (SCF)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán continued his peace mission with a trip to China before moving on to the United States on Monday, July 8th. After visiting Kyiv and Moscow last week, he headed to the capitals of the two global powers, who—in the prime minister’s words—have the ability to influence the outcome of the Russo-Ukrainian war. Hungary assumed the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union on July 1st, and Orbán is using this role to promote his “peace mission,” an attempt to bring the war in Ukraine to an end. Though the prime minister made it clear that he is not mandated to hold talks on behalf of the other EU member states, he said he would like to find out how far Ukraine and Russia were willing to go—and update fellow EU member states on his findings.

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Hungary has been the only EU member state to call for a ceasefire and peace talks instead of prolonging the war by sending weapons to Ukraine. As we recently reported, Orbán visited both Kyiv and Moscow last week in an attempt to talk to both participants in the war that has now raged for almost two-and-a-half years. He was criticised by EU leaders for talking to Russian President Vladimir Putin, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stating that “appeasement will not stop Putin.” However, Balázs Orbán, the prime minister’s political advisor (not related to Viktor Orbán) said in an interview on Sunday that Hungary’s EU presidency provides a good opportunity to open the communication channels between the parties of the war. Unveiling the agenda of the presidency in June, Hungarian EU Affairs Minister János Bóka said “the EU has to guarantee the security and peace of Europe, and every one of our priorities will be interpreted within this framework.”

In a short video uploaded to his X account after his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, the prime minister said: “Of course, the warring parties have the last word in the war, but three world powers have a decisive influence: China, the United States and the European Union. They also influence when this war will end.” In Beijing, Orbán said he had discussed with Xi the Chinese peace plan, saying “China is the only world power that has been clearly committed to peace from the beginning.” China’s and Brazil’s road map states that “dialogue and negotiation are the only viable way out of the crisis.” China did not attend a Western-backed peace summit held in Switzerland last month, saying it is meaningless to hold such a conference without the participation of one of the warring factions, Russia. According to AP reporting, Xi followed his meeting with Orbán by calling on Russia and Ukraine to stop the fighting—and on other major powers to create an environment conducive to talks.

“China has a peace plan. America has a war policy. And Europe, instead of having its own strategic approach, is simply copying the American position,” Viktor Orbán told German daily Die Welt in an interview shortly before his trip to Beijing. After visiting Beijing, Orbán flew straight to Washington, D.C., where he is set to attend the summit of NATO leaders, which begins on Tuesday. Member states plan to pledge to keep pouring arms and ammunition into Ukraine at current levels for at least another year. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the alliance’s 32 member countries have been spending around €40 billion each year on military equipment for Ukraine since the war began and that this should be “a minimum baseline” going forward.

Before the summit, it was rumoured Orbán would meet former President Donald Trump who has claimed he could end the war within 24 hours of moving back into the White House. Orbán openly supports Trump’s presidential candidacy, and has stated that the former president would bring back peace to Ukraine. “Prime Minister Orbán, like my father, wants to see PEACE brought back to the world. Enough of the constant wars and the endless sums of money to fund them. … Peace must be the ultimate goal,” Donald Trump Jr.—Trump’s son, who recently visited Budapest—posted on X.

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“All negotiations with him, he is always in a good mood – this is the first thing. Secondly, he is more than 100% rational. When he negotiates, when he begins to explain, when he makes an offer, saying yes or no, he is super, super rational..”

“..it is a real challenge to negotiate with him and be prepared to match his intellectual and political level.”

The Big Picture behind Viktor The Mediator’s Peace Shuttle (Pepe Escobar)

Viktor Orban is on a roll. And that has set out a riotous roller coaster. Everyone has been gripped by the extraordinary spectacle of pre-historic specimens wallowing in the Western geopolitical swamp reaching the depths of Hysteriastan at the sight of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s peace shuttle moving from Ukraine and Russia to China. And to do that on the eve of the 75th anniversary of warmongering Global Robocop NATO has got to be the ultimate affront. The 3-hour long Putin-Viktor The Mediator meeting in Moscow was quite something. These are arguably Putin’s three main points: 1.Kiev cannot allow the idea of a ceasefire because that would remove the pretext for extending martial law. 2.If Kiev ends martial law, it will need to hold presidential elections. The chances of the current Ukrainian authorities winning are close to zero. 3.There should not be a truce for additional Kiev weaponizing: Moscow wants a complete and final endgame.

By comparison, these are arguably Orban’s three main points: 1.The positions of Russia and Ukraine are very far from each other, much needs to be done. 2.The war in Ukraine has begun to have an impact on the European economy and its competitiveness (as much as the EU “leadership” may deny it). 3.“I heard what Putin thinks about the existing peace initiatives, the ceasefire and negotiations, and the vision of Europe after the war.” Orban also made a point of emphasizing the airtight pre-meeting secrecy, as “means of communication are under total surveillance by the Big Boys”. He described the search for a solution in Ukraine as his “Christian duty”. And he said he asked three direct questions to Putin: whether peace talks are possible; whether a ceasefire before they begin is realistic; and what Europe’s security architecture could look like.

Putin, said Orban, answered all three. The clincher – not for the warmongers, but for the Global Majority – was Orban’s description of Putin: “All negotiations with him, he is always in a good mood – this is the first thing. Secondly, he is more than 100% rational. When he negotiates, when he begins to explain, when he makes an offer, saying yes or no, he is super, super rational. How else can you say it in Hungarian? Cool headed, reserved, careful and punctual. He has discipline. So it is a real challenge to negotiate with him and be prepared to match his intellectual and political level.” All of the above ties up with the concept of a new Eurasia security system proposed last month by Putin – and a key theme of discussion at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana last week. Putin has emphasized the central role of the SCO in the process, stating that a “decision was made to turn the SCO regional anti-terrorist structure into a universal center tasked with responding to the entire range of security threats.”

In a nutshell: the SCO will be arguably the key node in the new Eurasia-wide indivisibility of security arrangement. This is as huge as it gets. It all started with the concept of Greater Eurasian Partnership, proposed by Putin in 2015 and conceptualized by Sergey Karaganov in 2018. Putin took it to another level in his meeting with key Russian diplomats in June; it’s time to set up serious bilateral and multilateral guarantees for collective Eurasian security. That should be a security architecture, according to Putin, open to “all Eurasian countries that wish to participate,” including “European and NATO countries.” And it should lead to “gradually phasing out” the military presence of “external powers in Eurasia”, side by side with “establishing alternatives to Western-controlled economic mechanisms, expanding the use of national currencies in settlements, and establishing independent payment systems.” In a nutshell: a complete geopolitical and technical-military revamp, as well as geoeconomic (the importance of developing alternative international transport corridors such as the INSTC).

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“With such a meeting the presidency ends before it has really begun.”

EU Might ‘End’ Hungary’s Presidency – Politico (RT)

The European Union could revoke Hungary’s presidency of the bloc over Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s trip to Moscow, Politico EU has reported, citing diplomatic sources. Orban went to Ukraine last week, upon assuming the European Council presidency and vowing to “Make Europe great again.” He then went to Russia, triggering howls of outrage in Kiev and Brussels alike. “Member states were already irritated by the ‘MEGA’ motto. But a meeting with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will permanently overshadow the Hungarian presidency,” Politico reported on Monday evening, citing an unnamed EU diplomat. “With such a meeting the presidency ends before it has really begun.” Politico described Orban as having gone “rogue” and suggested the EU ambassadors “could move from public condemnations alone to concrete action to restrain” Budapest at their meeting on Wednesday.

There is “a very clear political disapproval” of Orban in Brussels, another anonymous diplomat said, adding that the ambassadors are “now discussing what exactly to do on Wednesday.” The bloc “can get rid of the Hungarian presidency within weeks,” argued Daniel Hegedus, a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund think-tank. He laid out a series of steps by which Brussels could move the start of Poland’s presidency to September 1, cutting Hungary’s term short, so as to “attach negative consequences to Orban’s behavior.” This would require a four-fifths majority in the European Council.

Orban has dismissed criticism that he does not have a mandate to represent the EU by saying that his peace missions are not classical negotiations and therefore do not require one. Bigger powers might be able to end the conflict, but Hungary can be “a good tool in the hands of God” to promote peace, the Hungarian leader said last Friday on national radio. Hungary has long been one of the few EU members critical of the bloc’s unqualified support for Ukraine, urging Brussels instead to push for peace. Budapest has blocked plans to finance Kiev’s weapons purchases, declined to participate in the program of training Ukrainian troops, and refused passage of weapons and equipment to Ukraine via its territory.

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“..used by the Ukrainian authorities to ensure continued funding and the continuation of the conflict.”

Kremlin Responds To Kiev Hospital Attack Allegations (RT)

Moscow has vehemently denied responsibility for the tragedy at the Okhmatdet children’s hospital in Kiev, after a missile hit the facility on Monday. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has insisted that the incident was caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile. Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Peskov stressed that Russia “does not strike civilian targets” and that all strikes carried out by the Russian military are exclusively aimed at “critical infrastructure facilities and military targets that are somehow related to the regime’s military potential.” Regarding Ukraine’s accusations that Moscow intentionally hit the hospital in Kiev, Peskov pointed to the official statement by the Russian Defense Ministry, which “absolutely rules out that there were strikes on any civilian targets. It states that we are talking about the fall of an anti-missile.”

The Russian Defense Ministry reported on Monday that it had conducted a large-scale attack using long-range high-precision weapons to strike Ukrainian military industry facilities and aviation bases. The attack was said to be in response to Kiev’s continued attempts to cause damage to Russian energy and economic facilities. The ministry stated that all the intended targets were hit and rejected Kiev’s claims of Russian missiles striking civilian facilities as “absolutely untrue.” “Numerous published photos and video footage from Kiev clearly confirm the fact of destruction due to the fall of a Ukrainian air defense missile launched from an anti-aircraft missile system within the city,” the ministry said. It also accused Kiev of attempting similar “hysterics” in the past, especially before large international summits, such as the NATO gathering in Washington that kicked off on Tuesday. The Russian Defense Ministry suggested that the incident at Okhmatdet is being used by the Ukrainian authorities to ensure continued funding and the continuation of the conflict.

Russia’s ambassador to the US, Anatoly Antonov, has also suggested that the hospital tragedy is seen by Kiev’s Western backers as a “perfect gift” to justify further escalation of the conflict and the continuation of hostilities. The Western press is “whipping up hysterics” and hiding relevant facts about the tragedy, Antonov claimed, including Moscow’s assessment that the incident was caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile. Pro-Kiev media outlets have claimed that the weapon that struck the hospital was a Russian air-launched Kh-101 cruise missile. However, others have argued that the projectile, which can apparently be seen in a video filmed from a distance by a witness, was probably an AIM120 fired by a NASAM missile system or an interceptor fired by the MIM-104 Patriot missile system. Western donors have provided Ukraine with this type of US-developed weapon.

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“They do not want to hear anything..”

West Doesn’t Want To Listen – Kremlin (RT)

Russia will continue to “speak the truth” to the world, despite Western governments and media refusing to allow their citizens to hear what Moscow has to say, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated on Tuesday. Peskov was asked by the VGTRK broadcaster about Ukraine’s claims that Russia struck a children’s hospital in Kiev. Moscow has insisted that its forces targeted a nearby missile plant and that the hospital was actually hit by a stray Ukrainian air defense missile. Ukraine’s version of events was quickly backed by its Western supporters. Moscow and Kiev further traded accusations during an emergency UN Security Council meeting on Tuesday. “It is very difficult to get our point across to the Western world right now. They do not want to hear anything,” Peskov said. “We see the hysteria in [Western] newspapers, TV channels,” the Kremlin spokesman added. “This is likely due to the monopolistic dominance of Anglo-Saxon media there.”

Nevertheless, Moscow will continue to “tell the truth about what has happened, both domestically and in countries where the audience is ready to hear us and where we have technical means to reach them,” Peskov stressed. Since 2022, the EU has banned several Russian news broadcasters, including RT, citing “systematic information manipulation and disinformation.” YouTube similarly began to crack down on Russian-linked content, removing more than 70,000 videos and 9,000 channels related to the Ukraine conflict, according to The Guardian. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has branded the sanctions “political censorship and a campaign to completely wipe out alternative viewpoints.”

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“..every day that weapons are being used [in Ukraine] confirms the rightness of Turkey’s position” on the issue..”

NATO Should Not Be Party To Ukraine Conflict – Erdogan (TASS)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that during his participation in the NATO summit in the United States he intends to bring up the issues of counterterrorism, Gaza, and Ukraine, especially the fact that the alliance should not become a party to the conflict. “We expect an outcome from this summit that takes into account our national security interests and strengthens solidarity within the alliance. During our meetings [in Washington], we will draw attention to the growing threat of terrorism in the world and emphasize the need to intensify NATO’s efforts here. We maintain a principled position on the conflict in Ukraine. We support its territorial integrity and consider it unacceptable for NATO to become a party to the war in Ukraine,” Erdogan told reporters before departing for the United States, according to his administration’s X page.

He added that “every day that weapons are being used [in Ukraine] confirms the rightness of Turkey’s position” on the issue. Erdogan also said that he intends to “put Israel’s ongoing massacre against the Palestinian people on the agenda” at the summit. “We have not been able to achieve what we wanted from NATO regarding Israel and Palestine. The efforts of the international community are not yet enough to stop Israel. We will put these issues back on the agenda of our meetings in the US and expect to obtain the results we hope for. Serious talks were held in Doha. The head of Mossad also visited Qatar. Certain steps have been taken, but they have not been finalized yet,” the Turkish leader pointed out.

He also recalled that Turkey “is among five NATO countries that make up the backbone of the organization,” which other alliance members agree with. He said he will have a meeting with new NATO Secretary General Mark Rutte during the summit. The new NATO summit, timed to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the organization, will be held in the US capital on July 9-11.

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Delusional.

Netanyahu Goes for Broke (Patrick Lawrence)

It is a matter of record that the Zionist project has had extensive territorial designs on the lands known as Palestine since at least the early 20th century. As others have argued, the Israelis’ openly racist assault on the Palestinians of Gaza is to be understood not as a sudden eruption of violence, a departure, but as an especially savage continuation of Zionist conduct for more than a century. When history is brought to bear in this fashion, it becomes increasingly apparent that the invasion of Gaza since the events of last Oct. 7 ought not be seen in isolation. The more pathologically disturbed members of Benjamin Netanyahu’s freak-show regime — notably, but not only, Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben–Givr, the finance and national security ministers — have never been shy on this point. They are entirely dedicated to the restoration of Eretz Yisrael, the mystical Land of Israel, which, variously interpreted through the ages, could extend at the extreme from the Red Sea all the way to the Euphrates Valley.

But the crazed ultras to whom Netanyahu owes his political survival have not yet got far enough to turn their visions into articulated policy. Is this changing? This is our question, along with another: Is the Biden regime — or at this point its successor — prepared to “stand with Israel,” as American leaders like to put it, if extremist dreams of violent conquest turn into real, live political and military plans?I have been convinced for some time, as I gather that many Palestinians are, that when the Israel Occupation Forces are done in Gaza they will next turn to the West Bank. On this point I now correct myself: In my interpretation the IOF, in close collaboration with brutish Israeli settlers, has already begun its assault in the West Bank. Of late the Israelis have also been openly threatening to launch a full-scale attack on Hezbollah, the political and military movement that controls southern Lebanon. This, too, bears interpretation.

Douglas Macgregor, the retired colonel and now an energetic commentator on politico- military affairs, has no trouble putting together the 2–and–2 of this moment. Here he is last week on “Judging Freedom,” Andrew Napolitano’s webcast program: “Whatever happened on the 7th of October, and I’m still not convinced that was not allowed to happen, … the decision then to attack had very little to do with what happened on the 7th of October and everything to do with a long-term strategic plan to begin the process of ethnically cleansing, expelling, or murdering, whatever you want to call it, the Arabs in Gaza and, ultimately, the Arabs on the West Bank.” This seems right but short of the emerging reality. A few minutes later in his exchange with Macgregor, Napolitano played a clip of Netanyahu addressing a table of officials, at least some of whom are American, last Friday:

“Iran is fighting us on a seven-front war. Obviously, Hamas and Hezbollah. The Houthis, militias in Iraq and Syria. Judea and Samaria on the West Bank. Iran itself. They’d like to topple Jordan. Their goal is to have a combined ground offensive from their various fronts, coupled with combined missile bombardments. We’ve been given the opportunity to scuttle it. And we will. The first requirement is to cut that hand [he gestures as if to cut through his right forearm], Hamas. People who do these things to us are not going to be there. We will have a long battle, I don’t think it’s that long, but we’ll get rid of them. We also have to deter the other elements of the Iran terror axis. We have to deal with the axis. The axis doesn’t threaten only us. It threatens you. It’s on the march to conquer the Middle East — conquer the Middle East — conquer. That means conquer Saudi Arabia, conquer the Arabian Peninsula, it’s just a question of time. And what’s standing in their way is a small Satan, that’s us, on the road to the middle-sized Satan, that’s the Europeans — they’re always offended when I tell them that — ‘You’re the great Satan!’ And we have to stop that.”

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“9 out of 10 children under 5 in Gaza are suffering from one or more infectious diseases. Levels of acute watery diarrhea are 20 times higher than typical.”

Israeli Gaza Campaign May Kill 186,000 or More – 8% of Population (Juan Cole)

Rasha Khatib, Martin McKee and Salim Yusuf, The Lancet calculate that 186,000 or more people may be killed* by the Israeli total war on Gaza, about 8% of the population. If you do not see this study reported on your cable “news” channel, you may conclude that the corporation that owns it is complicit in genocide. One of the paper’s authors, Martin McKee, “is a member of the editorial board of the Israel Journal of Health Policy Research and of the International Advisory Committee of the Israel National Institute for Health Policy Research.” Although McKee says he is writing solely in a personal capacity, I think we may conclude that some members of the professional Israeli public health community have their hair on fire about the prosecution of the Gaza War. The Gaza Ministry of Health now says that over 38,000 Palestinians have been killed by the Israelis. As The Lancet notes, the World Health Organization and even the Israeli intelligence services accept these figures.

Since the Israeli Air Force has dropped as many as five hundred two-thousand-pound bombs and by now has destroyed or damaged a majority of the buildings in the Gaza Strip, it is likely that at least 10,000 uncounted dead are under the rubble. The 38,000 dead are the result of what is called direct gathering of the figures. Initially the dead were identified and reported by hospitals. As Israel has reduced the ability of hospitals to function by its attacks on them, this direct reporting has continued, but hospitals began being unable in some cases to send along identification, though they could confirm the reception of the corpses. Some dishonest observers suggested that this inability to know the names of the dead somehow made the numbers less reliable, but the World Health Organization refuted this allegation. The dead are in makeshift morgues still gradually being identified.

Indirect counting of the dead attempts to calculate the missing people using statistical methods. Sometimes public health experts have attempted to interview people to collect data on dead family members and friends, and then projected totals based on these surveys. That method is not available in Gaza, where the Israeli authorities will not permit journalists and other observers, and where it is dangerous to be because there are no real safe zones, with those regions declared safe zones often having been bombed. Muhammad Jawad et al., in a survey of 118 unique armed conflicts affecting 102 countries from 1990 to 2017 found that they produced an average of 19.2 battle-related deaths per 100,000 population (54.7 for those in war as opposed to minor conflict). There were in addition an average of 311 excess deaths per 100,000 population from causes other than being immediately killed by a bomb or bullet. So, 16 civilians died of starvation, communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases and injuries, for every direct death in combat.

And this seems important, in the Jawad et al. study: “Effect estimates were disproportionately larger for children aged under 5 years, regardless of the cause of death. Gaza had some 350,000 children under 5. UNICEF reported in May, “9 out of 10 children under 5 in Gaza are suffering from one or more infectious diseases. Levels of acute watery diarrhea are 20 times higher than typical.” Already last March, 1 in 3 children under 2 were acutely malnourished, a condition that produces permanent cognitive and emotional damage. The Lancet authors used a much smaller multiplier, of four indirect deaths for each direct death. Based on the death toll known when the paper was written, they arrived at 186,000 dead for this war over the coming months. They admit that the estimate of four indirect deaths for every direct one is conservative, so the number could be substantially greater.

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“We face the legacy of 14 years of chaos and economic irresponsibility..”

UK Finances Worst Since 1945 – New Chancellor (RT)

The UK’s new Labour government has inherited the worst economy since the Second World War, the newly appointed chancellor of the exchequer, Rachel Reeves, has said. Reeves took charge of the country’s finances after Labour won 412 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons in last week’s general election, ending 14 years of Conservative Party rule. “I have repeatedly warned that whoever won the general election would inherit the worst set of circumstances since the Second World War,” Reeves said in a speech at the Treasury on Monday. “We face the legacy of 14 years of chaos and economic irresponsibility,” she added, accusing her Tory predecessors of acting out of “political self-interest” as part of a “government that put party first, country second.”

“New Treasury analysis that I requested over the weekend shows that, had the UK economy grown at the average rate of other OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development] economies this last 13 years, our economy would have been over £140 billion [$179 billion] larger,” Reeves said. She claimed that Tory policies effectively cost the UK budget £58 billion ($74 billion) in lost tax revenue in 2023 alone. “That’s money that could have revitalized our schools, our hospitals, and other public services,” the new chancellor said. “Growth requires difficult choices – choices that previous governments have shied away from.”

Reeves vowed to end “political timidity” in the UK’s “antiquated planning system,” and promised reform while staying committed not to “no increases in National Insurance, and the basic, higher, or additional rates of Income Tax, or VAT.” According to The Guardian, the UK’s deficit has reached the highest level since the 1960s under more than a decade of Conservative governments, while the country was badly affected by “shocks including Brexit, the Covid pandemic and the cost of living crisis.” The International Monetary Fund projected in early July that the UK’s GDP will grow by 0.5% this year.

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Liberals

 

 

Celine

 

 

Malhotra

 

 

Giant squid

 

 

Leopard and lion

 

 

Mommy otter

 

 

Pump it

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 082024
 


Jacques-Louis David Erasistratus Discovering the Cause of Antiochus’ Disease 1774

 

Democratic Party ‘Clans Clash’ in Wake of Biden’s Debate Performance (Sp.)
Get a Dog: The Political and Media Establishment Turns on Biden (Turley)
‘Blitz Primary’ Proposed as Democratic Insiders Dissatisfied With Biden (Sp.)
Biden Campaign Fed Questions For ‘I’m A Black Woman’ Interview (RT)
Biden Refuses To Believe Poll Numbers (RT)
President Biden Must Resign, or Be Impeached (Young)
Leftist Coalition Set For Shock Victory In French Election (ZH)
New French Governing Coalition Will Likely Be ‘Fragile’ (Sp.)
How ‘Putin Endorsed Le Pen’: Russiagate Comes To France (Amar)
A Nation In Pain: How Political Idealism Destroyed Ukraine (Glenn Diesen)
Orban’s Peace Mission Continues (Sp.)
Xi Jinping Welcomes Viktor Orban To Beijing (RT)
Israel Deliberately Killed Own Citizens on October 7 – Report (Sp.)
BRICS To Launch Independent Financial System – Moscow (RT)
Elon Musk Issues WhatsApp Safety Warning (RT)

 

 

 

 

Tuberville

 

 

Biden chip

 

 

Megyn

 

 

Obamagate

 

 

Pope

 

 

Biden ABC full interview

 

 

 

 

“..a lot of people don’t understand is that Barack Obama and the Clintons and Biden don’t have a great relationship..”

Democratic Party ‘Clans Clash’ in Wake of Biden’s Debate Performance (Sp.)

A Wall Street Journal poll conducted in the wake of Joe Biden’s debate against Trump – his first of the 2024 election cycle – showed that 80 percent of the nation’s voters think the Democrat is too old to run for a second term. Fissures are growing within the Democratic Party’s three leading clans as Joe Biden refuses to give in to demands to drop out of the 2024 race, the Financial Times has reported. An “already-fractured” Democratic Party is reportedly trying desperately to carry out damage control in the wake of the 81-year-old president’s debate against Trump. But the “historic crisis” that has led to increasing questions regarding his mental acuity has opened up “old wounds and rivalries,” noted the FT. The Democratic Party is described as witnessing a raging battle between “three leading clans,” while the Republican Party “has appeared ever more uniform” under Trump.

Some Democrats are ostensibly hoping Biden’s once boss, ex-president Barack Obama, could “usher Biden aside.” However, the outlet cites those from the inner Biden circle as warning that such a step would be “counterproductive.” The reason is that there is supposedly a lingering bitterness among the Bidens after Obama backed Hillary Clinton, and not vice-president Biden to be his successor in 2015. Clinton went on to lose that presidential bid to Trump in 2016. “I think the thing that a lot of people don’t understand is that Barack Obama and the Clintons and Biden don’t have a great relationship,” one Democratic lobbyist was cited as saying. As for Obama himself, during his debut stint as senator representing Illinois from 2005 to 2008 he inflamed the Clintons after he “had the audacity” to challenge Hillary Clinton for the party’s 2008 nomination, reminded the outlet. “There is no unity among Democrats because, basically, the Democratic coalition’s pieces do not share the same values,” party strategist Hank Sheinkopf was cited as saying.

The various degrees of resentment nursed overtly by the Bidens, Obamas and the Clintons come amid a flurry of Democratic politicians, donors, and other supporters calling for the removal of Biden as candidate. Biden – appearing to be confused and incoherent throughout his debate with the Republican frontrunner last Thursday – reinforced ongoing concerns about his cognitive abilities. The president has taken a defiant stance, claiming his debate performance was just a “bad episode.” But 80 percent of the nation’s voters insist that the Democrat is too old to run for a second term, according to a Wall Street Journal poll released on Wednesday. Amid a flurry of reports attempting to suggest possible replacements for Biden, a new campaign has been imploring him to “Pass the Torch.” Hours before Biden was interviewed by ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos, where he insisted that he will stay in the race, Democratic activists launched a grassroots campaign begging the president to step aside.

They urged him to act on a 2020 pledge to be a “transition” president. “Democrats need the strongest possible ticket to maximize our chances of winning in November. It has become very clear, based on both long-term polling and the recent debate, that Democrats’ current ticket is not the strongest one we can put forward,” said the campaign.

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“In a blink, he has gone from “the best Biden ever” to a type of “comatose but comfortable” defense. It is the political version of going from blue chip to junk bond status in a week.”

Get a Dog: The Political and Media Establishment Turns on Biden (Turley)

Fox host Shannon Bream reported this morning that her staff tried for an entire week to get a single Democrat to go on the show to defend President Joe Biden as the party’s nominee. Not a single Democrat was willing to do so. In the meantime, the New York Times is reporting that a senior White House official is calling for Biden to step down as the nominee due to his declining physical and mental condition. The media, which has long attacked those questioning Biden’s fitness, is now on board with the Democratic establishment in pushing the President to withdraw. The one constant in this ever-changing city is that self-interest alone drives policies and alliances. If you endanger the meal ticket of members of Congress, you are immediately persona non grata. Biden is now threatening Democratic control of both the White House and the Congress. The word is out that Biden has to go so the media is suddenly noticing what it long refused to see.

That goes for staffers too. For years, the staff has engaged in a dishonest effort to shield Biden from questions and to carefully script and choreograph his appearances. Figures like Karine Jean-Pierre and close political allies knowingly misled the public as to the President’s deteriorating condition. Even after telling the public to watch the President in interviews, it was revealed this weekend that the White House was feeding pre-written questions to favorable hosts. Indeed, the media is actually blaming conservatives for failing to reveal the President’s condition due to their effort to frame the news. The truth is now unavoidable. The President has continued to struggle with clarity, as when he recently declared “by the way, I’m proud to be, as I said, the first vice president, first black woman… to serve with a black president.”

In the case of this high-level White House staffer, he or she also said nothing for months, even as the White House attacked Fox News and other outlets for showing the President’s confusion at public events. They were denounced as “cheap fakes.” This staffer reportedly worked with Biden during his presidency, vice presidency and 2020 campaign. As with the media, however, the staffer now seems to have the green light to kick the President to the curb to strengthen Democratic chances in the upcoming election. The staffer revealed that Biden has repeatedly become confused and weakened in the course of the day. Somehow this is being portrayed as courageous despite the fact that the staffer remained silent as others were attacked for raising these issues and the White House actively hid the President’s declining condition.

As is often the case, everyone in Washington is jumping ship as the rats run for the poop deck. No one will be held responsible for months and months of misleading the public about the condition of the man who holds the nuclear launch codes. Just weeks ago, the media was heralding the brilliance and sharpness of the President. On MSNBC, Joe Scarborough stated “start your tape right now because I’m about to tell you the truth. And F— you if you can’t handle the truth. This version of Biden intellectually, analytically, is the best Biden ever. Not a close second. And I have known him for years…If it weren’t the truth I wouldn’t say it.” Now, the best that Biden can muster is MSNBC’s Joy Reid who declared “If it’s Biden in a coma, I’m going to vote for Biden in a coma. I don’t even really, in particular, like the guy. A lot of his policies? Don’t like them, [but] he’s not Donald Trump, right?”

Now there’s a roaring endorsement. The comatose POTUS pitch. Rep. Dan Goldman (D., N.Y.) threw in his own damning defense by saying that the public should just look at the people around the President, a type of figurehead rationale for keeping a possibly infirm president. As usual, it is the public that has been played as chumps by the establishment and the media. The public is expected to forget the years of shielding Biden and the many public testimonials of his wickedly sharp acumen. In a blink, he has gone from “the best Biden ever” to a type of “comatose but comfortable” defense. It is the political version of going from blue chip to junk bond status in a week.

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“..moderated by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Taylor Smith and Michelle Obama..”

“Democratic Party luminaries are likely to continue to stick with Biden, maintaining their influence within the organization even if it means defeat in November.”

‘Blitz Primary’ Proposed as Democratic Insiders Dissatisfied With Biden (Sp.)

Two Democratic insiders have proposed a novel idea to address the “malaise and crisis” within the party amid questions over US President Joe Biden’s age and mental acuity. Ted Dintersmith, a wealthy party donor, and Rosa Brooks, a law professor and veteran of former President Barack Obama’s Defense Department, have proposed a whirlwind “blitz primary” to rapidly choose a replacement for the elderly party leader. The plan suggests Democratic Party leaders could choose six candidates, who would run brief “positive-only” campaigns putting forward their case for why they should be the party’s nominee. Weekly events would be held where the candidates put forward their ideas and vision, moderated by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Taylor Smith and Michelle Obama in order to stir voter interest. After one month’s time the party leaders would vote to select a ticket from the group of contenders, making the decision before the start of the Democratic National Convention on August 19.

The insiders claim the ploy would reinvigorate interest in the party and revive its electoral chances, which suffered a steep decline after Biden’s widely-panned performance at June 27th’s televised debate. “We can limp to shameful, avoidable democracy-ending defeat,” Brooks and Dintersmith reason, “or Democrats can make this Our Finest Hour. While we hope for help from Lord Almighty, the Lord helps those who help themselves. We need to act. Now.” Observers suggest the idea is unlikely to gain traction as it would require the blessing of Biden, who has insisted he will continue his candidacy unless instructed otherwise by God himself. It would also require Kamala Harris to surrender her assumed right to top the ticket as the current Vice President. The appearance of the party passing over a Black and female presumptive nominee could cause lasting controversy among core Democratic Party constituencies, critics say.

What the plan has going for it, in the likely view of Democratic Party figures, is that it avoids the pesky issue of having to put the question to actual voters. Democratic Party delegates – the typically well-connected insiders chosen after state primaries or granted influence by virtue of their status in the party – would both choose the list of candidates and make the final decision once they are heard. Leaked emails published by Wikileaks after 2016’s contentious party primary revealed insiders intervened heavily to tilt the process in favor of former candidate Hillary Clinton and against Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. In 2020, when Sanders again appeared to be in a strong position to win the party’s nomination, former President Barack Obama reportedly intervened behind the scenes to encourage multiple candidates to drop out and throw their support behind Biden instead.

The sudden surge of publicity for Biden, and stern warnings over the consequences of choosing Sanders, convinced voters to turn towards the former Obama vice president after Sanders’ victories in the first three state primaries had made his victory appear inevitable. The heavy hand of insiders in the candidate selection process – and series of highly questionable excuses offered to supporters for Biden’s disastrous debate performance – suggest the Democratic Party hardly lives up to its name. If some DNC figures remain concerned over the electoral chances of Joe Biden, they are terrified of losing control of the party to its voters, who may choose to back a forbidden candidate. All of which suggests Democratic Party luminaries are likely to continue to stick with Biden, maintaining their influence within the organization even if it means defeat in November.

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“The US president’s team has claimed “it is not at all uncommon” for guests to share topics they would prefer to discuss with journalists..”

Biden Campaign Fed Questions For ‘I’m A Black Woman’ Interview (RT)

The first journalists to interview US president Joe Biden after his disastrous performance in the June 27 debate against Donald Trump have said that they were given lists of approved questions by his campaign staff. Biden made appearances on radio shows with largely black audiences in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania on Thursday, a week after his face-off with Trump, in which the 81-year-old president appeared frail and lost his train of thought on multiple occasions. The interviews were used to show Biden’s doubters, especially in his own Democratic Party, that he is mentally and physically able for a reelection campaign and capable of discussing his record and answering questions coherently. However, the radio appearances were marred with more gaffes, with the president, among other things, describing himself as a “black woman.” “By the way, I’m proud to be, as I said, the first vice president, first black woman… to serve with a black president. Proud to be involved of the first black woman on the Supreme Court.

There’s so much that we can do because… look, we’re the United States of America,” Biden said on The Earl Ingram Show on Wisconsin’s CivicMedia. Host Earl told AP on Saturday that the Biden campaign gave him five “exact questions to ask” ahead of the interview. “There was no back and forth,” he added. “I probably would never have accepted, it but this was an opportunity to talk to the president of the United States,” Ingram explained. A few hours earlier, Andrea Lawful-Sanders, the host of The Source, a program on WURD in Pennsylvania, told CNN that “the questions were sent to me for approval; I approved of them” ahead of the interview with Biden. The Biden campaign’s spokeswoman, Lauren Hitt, confirmed the radio hosts’ claims, saying in a statement that “it is not at all an uncommon practice for interviewees to share topics they would prefer. These questions were relevant to news of the day.”

“We do not condition interviews on acceptance of these questions, and hosts are always free to ask the questions they think will best inform their listeners,” Hitt stressed. A source within Biden’s team told CBS News that it “will refrain from offering suggested questions” to journalists in his future interviews. A poll by Reuters/Ipsos revealed that one in three Democrats believes that Biden should quit the race after his debate performance, while some key donors have reportedly demanded that the president be replaced on the party’s ticket. In his interview with ABC News on Friday, Biden rejected the possibility of stepping down, insisting that he was “the most qualified person” to defeat Trump.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1809619673748529338

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Everybody loves me!

Biden Refuses To Believe Poll Numbers (RT)

US President Joe Biden said he does not accept polling data showing a slump in support, speaking in a televised interview on Friday. During the sit-down, ABC host George Stephanopoulos said: Mr. President, I’ve never seen a president with 36% approval get reelected.” Biden replied: “Well, I don’t believe that’s my approval rating. That’s not what our polls show,” without specifying which polling data he was relying on. A New York Times/Siena College poll released on Monday found that 36% of likely voters approve of the way Biden is handling his job as president. On voter intentions, the same survey showed Trump leading Biden with 49% to 43%, widening the gap from a 3-point lead before the debate.

“Look, you know polling better than anybody. Do you think polling data is as accurate as it used to be?” the US leader parried when Stephanopoulos insisted that Biden was close but still behind Trump even before going into the debate. Biden insisted that there’s nobody “more qualified to be president or win this race than me” and said he would not drop out, even if top Democratic leaders asked him to, claiming that only “the Lord Almighty” could convince him to step aside. Biden is struggling to dispel concerns over whether he is mentally and physically capable of leading the country for another four years following his halting performance in a televised debate against Republican rival Donald Trump.

The oldest US president in history appeared so frail and confused throughout the encounter last week that a survey conducted by CBS News/YouGov shortly afterwards found that 72% of registered voters do not believe Biden has the “mental and cognitive health necessary to serve as president.” A Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll published on Tuesday found Trump beating Biden by 3 percentage points, while a survey conducted for CNN by SSRS put Trump 6 points in the lead. A separate Bloomberg News/Morning Consult tracking poll showed Biden narrowing the gap over the past week and now losing “by only 2 percentage points” in the critical swing states needed to win the November election. Overall, less than one in five respondents in those states thought the 81-year-old was the “more coherent, mentally fit or dominant participant” of the debate.

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“A president’s failure to use due care or be loyal is ground for impeachment..”

President Biden Must Resign, or Be Impeached (Young)

President Biden’s duty to the American people is to “faithfully execute” his office. As a public trustee, Biden took an oath to do what is right. He is a trustee of powers bestowed upon him by the Constitution in return for his promise to be dutiful. Like every agent and trustee, Biden owes fiduciary duties to those who are served by his decisions. He owes them two duties: the duty of always acting with due care; and the duty of giving them his absolute loyalty, always putting their interests above his own. A president’s failure to use due care or be loyal is ground for impeachment. Under our Constitution, impeachment for “high crimes and misdemeanors” is not a criminal proceeding. Rather, it is a civil proceeding to discharge from office one who has failed in his or her trusteeship.

John Locke put it this way: “Who shall be judge, whether the prince or legislative act contrary to their trust? … To this I reply, The people shall be judge; for who shall be judge whether his trustee or deputy acts well, and according to the trust reposed in him, but he who deputes him, and must, by having deputed him, have still a power to discard him, when he fails in his trust? If this be reasonable in particular cases of private men, why should it be otherwise in that of the greatest moment, where the welfare of millions is concerned, and also where the evil, if not prevented, is greater, and the redress very difficult, dear, and dangerous?”

More than 50 years ago, when the impeachment of Richard Nixon was under consideration in the House of Representatives, I researched the English parliamentary practice of impeaching high officers for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The lead special counsel in the impeachment proceeding, John Doar, incorporated my conclusions into the articles of impeachment of Richard Nixon in these words: In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. Wherefore Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.

The same standard of abuse of fiduciary duties was later included in the articles of impeachment of Donald Trump: “In all of this, President Trump has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice, and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.” As we saw last Thursday, President Biden is no longer capable of acting with due care as steward of the best interest of the American people. He appeared physically and cognitively inept. His answers to simple questions were nonsensical. Even Nancy Pelosi wondered aloud, “Is this an episode or is this a condition?”

For Biden to remain in office, he will not be faithfully executing it. Rather, he will be using the powers of the office for self-serving ends, depriving the American people of a vigorous defender of our rights and privileges. If Biden does not resign immediately, he has committed an impeachable offense by causing “manifest injury of the people of the United States.” Should Biden attempt to have his cake and eat it too, he might withdraw his candidacy for this year’s presidential election but not resign as president. If he affirms that he would not be qualified to execute the office of president in January 2025, then why is he qualified to serve in that office today? To withdraw from the presidential race but continue in office would be a violation of his duty of loyalty to the American people. Joe Biden made a choice when he took the oath of office to serve as our president. If he can no longer be loyal or serve with due care, then he must resign his office or be impeached.

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Very few saw that coming..

Leftist Coalition Set For Shock Victory In French Election (ZH)

Well, no one saw that coming… The last-minute-arranged broad left-wing coalition known as The New Popular Front (NFP), was leading a tight French legislative election Sunday, ahead of both President Emmanuel Macron’s centrists and Le Pen’s rightists, projections showed. Provisional estimates from four pollsters suggest the following seat projections: • Left Alliance Set for 170-215 Seats • Macron’s Group Set for 150-182 Seats • Le Pen’s Group Set for 110-158 Seats. It looks like the anti-National Rally front worked better than anyone expected, catching the polling companies by surprise. The projected results suggest that the co-ordinated anti-RN strategy, under which the left and center tactically withdrew their candidates from run-offs, had paid off. If confirmed in final voting tallies, the projections suggest that none of the three main blocs will be able easily to command a governing majority, potentially leaving France in a period of political gridlock.

There are some big barriers to that given that Macron himself has called France Unbowed – a big part of the left’s New Popular Front – an extremist party and some of his supports have called against voting for its candidates. AP reports that the French leftist leader,Jean-Luc Melenchon says elections are an “immense relief for a majority of people,” demands prime minister resign. Melenchon says the New Popular Front government would apply its program and nothing but the program as he refuses any negotiation with Macron’s party or any combination. As Bloomberg reports, that theoretically would mean some disruptive changes of economic policy, and by decree according to Melenchon: • Undoing the pension reform; • raising the minimum wage; • a 90% top marginal tax rate; • and freezing prices of some consumer staples. Not a pretty picture for French bonds either way.

Andrea Tueni, head of sales trading at Saxo Banque France: “This is a big surprise, it’s a real blow for the RN. That being said, it’s not necessarily good for markets: The Nouveau Front Populaire taking the lead could generate concerns due to their program which was the most poorly perceived by the markets.” French National Rally Leader Jordan Bardella warns this vote “has thrown France into the arms of the far-Left.” As @RUNews posted on X: “Macron now faces a total mess. He aimed to stop ‘Hitler’ party and mobilized Lenin (Mélenchon), but now he has both Lenin and Hitler, leaving him stuck in the middle.” Presumably all the globalist fear mongering over the so-called ‘Hitler-ite’ Le Pen pushed the French people back into the immigrant-loving arms of the Left? Or something else went down?

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If there is a coalition at all..

New French Governing Coalition Will Likely Be ‘Fragile’ (Sp.)

Assessing the results of the second round of the snap parliamentary elections in France, it can be assumed that the outcome will create a serious governance problem in the country. The future governing coalition will likely be fragile and society will be characterized by greater political polarization, chairman of Rome-based think tank Vision and Global Trends Tiberio Graziani told Sputnik. “Economic problems will worsen. It will be three years of political crisis,” he said. France is already going through a political crisis, both internally and within Europe. The elections show that the country is facing political, economic and social crises.

The same can be said about other European nations, like Germany, the expert added. Jean-Luc Melanchon’s left-wing New Popular Front coalition won the parliamentary elections, securing 182 seats (out of 577) in the French parliament. President Emmanuel Macron’s bloc gained 168 seats. Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardelle’s National Rally got 143 parliamentary seats.

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And then she loses…

How ‘Putin Endorsed Le Pen’: Russiagate Comes To France (Amar)

It is perfectly predictable and yet a sorry spectacle every time it happens: the great big bad Russia panic whenever, and that’s frequently nowadays, Western liberals and Centrists are losing their grip. This time it’s the turn of France. With the far-right/right-populist National Rally (RN) under Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella succeeding at the polls as never before, French and other Western mainstream media are serving up the same stale old dish of fearmongering and, most importantly, blame shifting.Russiagate, or really Russia Rage (as in Road Rage), and its many copies, have been with us since Hillary Clinton and her cult were incapable of facing the fact that she lost the 2016 US presidential election because she is a dreadful person with no redeeming graces – and unlike her naturally gifted if shifty and immoral husband, a catastrophically incompetent politician.

And like every good form of insanity, Russia Rage is absolutely immune to both falsification and its own record of failure, even as a piece of demagoguery. We know that the only real scandal about “Russiagate” was that it was a hoax, the result of massive exaggeration, outright lying, and all-round manipulation by Democratic party operatives and their media allies. We also know that it did not even work on its own dishonest terms. Russia Rage was, in American journalist Matt Taibbi’s words, an “epic disaster.” Indeed, if it had any political effect, then to ultimately help – not damage – its target, Donald Trump: Almost a decade after the inception of the “Russiagate” hoax, Trump is back, stronger than ever and set to capture the American presidency again. And this time, his organization and plans are much more elaborate and ambitious, and, just now, obliging conservative judges at the Supreme Court have also equipped him with almost perfect legal immunity.

The other thing that Russia Rage did accomplish is, of course, to massively damage the credibility of US mainstream media. Not that they ever deserved any (ask the Iraqis, for instance, owners of non-existent WMDs and victims of an absolutely illegal and devastating war of aggression based on a big fat lie eagerly supported by those media). But Russia Rage brought the lying home in a way that woke up many Americans. By 2022, US media credibility was the lowest “among 46 nations, according to a study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.” One year before, “83 percent of Americans saw ‘fake news’ as a ‘problem,’ and 56 percent – mostly Republicans and independents – agreed that the media were “truly the enemy of the American people.”

And yet, here we go again. In best Russia Rage style, the Washington Post, relying unquestioningly on French intelligence services and, of course, anonymous “sources,” is mapping out a whole “ecosystem” of Russian influence campaigns targeting, it maintains, the French election as well as the Olympics. And not only now but for about a year already. One wonders how those wicked Russians foresaw Macron’s bizarre decision to cap his EU Parliament election failure with a snap legislative election at home to make the fiasco complete. Or, perhaps, must we now assume that Macron is working for Russia as well? Who knows? The French paper of record Le Monde has been keeping up a steady, ominous drumbeat for months already, keeping its readers on edge with tales of Russian subversion and, always, of course, the National Rally as its tool. Perish the thought that this could have anything to do with the RN being the most popular and most dangerous challenger to the Macronist regime of extreme Centrism.

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” Idealists who seek to transcend power politics and create a more benign world thus find themselves intensifying the security competition and instigating wars.”

A Nation In Pain: How Political Idealism Destroyed Ukraine (Glenn Diesen)

Political realism is commonly and mistakenly portrayed as immoral because its principal focus is on an inescapable security competition, and it thus rejects idealist efforts to transcend power politics. Because states canot break away from security competition, morality for the realist entails acting in accordance with the balance of power logic as the foundation for stability and peace. Idealist efforts to break with power politics can then be defined as immoral, as they undermine the management of the security competition as the foundation of peace. As Raymond Aron expressed in 1966: “The idealist, believing he has broken with power politics exaggerates its crimes.”The most appealing and dangerous idealist argument that destroyed Ukraine is that it has the right to join any military alliance it desires.

It is a very attractive statement that can easily win support from the public, as it affirms the freedom and sovereignty of Ukraine, and the alternative is seemingly that Russia should be allowed to dictate Ukraine’s policies. However, arguing that Ukraine should be allowed to join any military alliance is an idealist argument, as it appeals to how we would like the world to be, not how the world actually works. The principle that peace is derived from the expansion of military alliances without taking into account the security interests of other great powers has never existed. States such as Ukraine that border a great power have every reason to express legitimate security concerns, but inviting a rival great power such as the US into its territory intensifies the security competition. Is it moral to insist on how the world ought to be when war is the consequence of ignoring how the world actually works? The alternative to expanding NATO is not to accept a Russian sphere of influence, which denotes a zone of exclusive influence.

Peace is derived from recognizing a Russian sphere of interests, which is an area where Russian security interests must be recognized and incorporated rather than excluded. It did not use to be controversial to argue that Russian security interests must be taken into account when operating on its borders. This is why Europe had a belt of neutral states as a buffer between East and West during the Cold War to mitigate the security competition. Mexico has plenty of freedoms in the international system, but it does not have the freedom to join a Chinese-led military alliance or to host Chinese military bases. The idealist argument that Mexico can do as it pleases implies ignoring US security concerns, and the result would likely be the US destruction of Mexico. If Scotland secedes from the UK and then joins a Russian-led military alliance and hosts Russian missiles, would the English still champion the principle of consent?

When we live in a realist world and recognize that security competition must be mitigated for peace, then we accept a security system based on mutual constraints. When we live in the idealist world of good states versus evil states, then the force for good should not be constrained. Peace is then ensured when good defeats evil, and compromise is mere appeasement. Idealists who seek to transcend power politics and create a more benign world thus find themselves intensifying the security competition and instigating wars.

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“Hungarian FM Warns EU Politicians Will Have to ‘Buckle Up”

Orban’s Peace Mission Continues (Sp.)

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto on Sunday suggested that European politicians “buckle up” ahead of Hungary’s further actions aimed at promoting peace. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban visited Russia on Friday to hold talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Orban described his visit as a continuation of his “peace mission” after a visit to Kiev, which took place on Tuesday. He has also announced more surprising meetings next week. Orban’s activity, however, sparked criticism from the EU authorities. “We are not deterred or discouraged by these attacks [by the EU officials]. The peace mission continues and even intensifies, so I suggest that European pro-war politicians buckle up and follow closely next week as well,” Szijjarto said in a video address on his social media.

The criticism Hungary faced during this week showed that the crisis in the European Union is being fueled by politicians who are supplying Ukraine with weapons, mulling sending troops there, and talking about nuclear weapons, he added. Hungary’s six-month presidency of the EU Council, which started on July 1, will be dedicated to the country’s peace mission, the top Hungarian diplomat said. Budapest will do everything it can to put an end to the Ukrainian conflict and to get Europe out of its “suffocating military crisis,” he added.

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Orban behaves like a true EU leader.

Xi Jinping Welcomes Viktor Orban To Beijing (RT)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has held a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who is in Beijing on what he has dubbed a “peacekeeping mission,” Xinhua reported on Monday morning. “China is a key power in creating the conditions for peace in the Russia-Ukraine war. This is why I came to meet with President Xi in Beijing, just two months after his official visit to Budapest,” Orban wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter). Details of the meeting have yet to be revealed, but it follows Orban’s trips to Kiev and Moscow last week. The Hungarian prime minister called the Beijing trip a “peace mission 3.0” upon his arrival.

Orban embarked on an unannounced trip to Kiev last Tuesday, where he proposed a “quick ceasefire” to Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky. Orban then traveled to Moscow to discuss the “shortest way out” of the conflict with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Moscow’s and Kiev’s positions remain very “far apart,” according to the Hungarian leader, who noted that Zelensky “didn’t like” his proposals. Meanwhile, Putin reiterated Moscow’s readiness to resolve the hostilities through negotiations, but said the Ukrainian leadership appears committed to waging war “until the end.” Orban’s meeting with Putin angered some fellow EU leaders, while Kiev expressed fury that the Hungarian leader had traveled to Russia “without approval or coordination with Ukraine.”

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Hannibal.

Israel Deliberately Killed Own Citizens on October 7 – Report (Sp.)

A report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz has claimed the IDF invoked the controversial Hannibal directive during Hamas’ October 7 attack last year, deliberately killing Israelis to prevent them from being taken hostage by Palestinian fighters. “Documents and testimonies obtained by Haaretz reveal the Hannibal operational order, which directs the use of force to prevent soldiers being taken into captivity, was employed at three army facilities infiltrated by Hamas, potentially endangering civilians as well,” read an article in the liberal paper’s Sunday edition. “‘Not a single vehicle can return to Gaza’ was the order,” writes journalist Yaniv Kubovich. “At this point, the IDF was not aware of the extent of kidnapping along the Gaza border, but it did know that many people were involved. Thus, it was entirely clear what that message meant, and what the fate of some of the kidnapped people would be.”

The newspaper notes the exact number of Israelis killed by IDF fire is unknown. The report cites testimony from servicemembers up and down the IDF chain of command, including soldiers and mid- and senior-level officers. Highly controversial within and outside of Israel, the so-called Hannibal directive was devised in response to the threat of armed groups gaining leverage over the Israeli state through the taking of hostages. Palestinian forces took several Israelis captive during the 1970s and 80s, successfully negotiating the release of Palestinian prisoners in return. The notion Israelis were “better dead than abducted” led to the creation of the protocol, which allowed the use of deadly force. Claims of the invocation of the Hannibal directive on October 7 were made months ago when it was revealed an IDF brigadier general instructed a tank to shell a house in Kibbutz Be’eri with a number of Israelis and Hamas fighters inside, killing 13 Israeli captives.

But Sunday’s report is the most complete accounting to date of accusations of friendly fire. The allegations add to claims Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has deliberately placed Israeli citizens in harm’s way in order to pursue the Likud party’s vision of territorial maximalism. The response to Hamas’ October 7 attack was reportedly delayed for hours because Netanyahu had redeployed soldiers to support Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank. Netanyahu’s government received urgent warnings from Egyptian authorities in the months leading up to Hamas’ attack that the Palestinian group was likely planning a significant armed operation, it has been revealed. Israeli reconnaissance of the Gaza Strip, broadly considered “one of the most heavily surveilled places in the world,” showed Palestinian fighters were training in the use of hang gliders that were used to breach the enclave’s border fence.

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And perhaps a currency.

BRICS To Launch Independent Financial System – Moscow (RT)

Countries of the BRICS economic bloc are currently working on the launch of a financial system that would be independent of the dominance of third parties, according to the Russian Ambassador to China Igor Morgulov. The volume of Russia’s transactions in national currencies with fellow BRICS nations is constantly growing, the envoy said on Saturday in Beijing, speaking at the 12th World Peace Forum (WPF). Morgulov highlighted that Russia-China trade turnover had reached $240 billion and that 92% of settlements were being conducted in rubles and yuans. “We are leaving the dollar-dominated space and developing the mechanism and tools for a truly independent financial system,” the ambassador said, as cited by RIA Novosti.

Morgulov also said that introducing a new single currency is still some way off but stressed that the group – which recently expanded and now comprises Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Ethiopia, Iran and Egypt – is “moving in this direction.” Last month, Russia’s Deputy Finance Minister Ivan Chebeskov told media that Russia was working on creating a settlement-and-payment infrastructure together with BRICS member states’ central banks. The senior state official specified that the economic bloc was working on launching the BRICS Bridge platform for settlements in national currencies. In addition, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told Russian daily Vedomosti that BRICS Bridge could provide member states an opportunity to make settlements using digital assets of central banks linked to national currencies

Russia has been promoting its own domestic payment system as a reliable alternative to SWIFT, after many of the country’s financial institutions were cut off from the Western financial network in 2022. The Russian SPFS interbank messaging system ensures the secure transfer of financial messages between banks both inside and outside the country. Moscow has also accelerated efforts to move away from SWIFT by trading with international partners using their respective national currencies. The trend has been increasingly supported by members of the BRICS group, which have shifted from using the dollar and euro for trade settlements. The share of national currencies in Russia’s settlements with BRICS countries jumped to 85% at the end of 2023, up from 26% two years ago.

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“WhatsApp exports your user data every night. Some people still think it is secure..”

Elon Musk Issues WhatsApp Safety Warning (RT)

Elon Musk, owner of X (formerly Twitter), has again attacked WhatsApp over its handling of personal data. On Saturday, Musk commented on a post on X; one of the users had asked: “If WhatsApp messages are end-to-end encrypted, why do we see ads related to the things we discussed in our chats?” The entrepreneur offered a short answer to the question, saying: “WhatsApp is not secure at all.” Musk had already engaged in an online spat with WhatsApp, which is owned by Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta conglomerate, this May. At the time, he responded to another post on X, which claimed that “WhatsApp exports user data nightly, which is analyzed and used for targeted advertising, making users the product, not the customer.” “WhatsApp exports your user data every night. Some people still think it is secure,” the Tesla and SpaceX CEO said, referring to longstanding concerns about data sharing between WhatsApp and Meta’s other platform, Facebook.

The exchange was noticed by WhatsApp’s head, Will Cathcart, who tried to defend his platform’s conduct. “Many have said this already, but worth repeating: this is not correct. We take security seriously and that’s why we end-to-end encrypt your messages. They don’t get sent to us every night or exported to us,” Cathcart said in his post on X. However, security researcher Tommy Mysk, who also joined the debate, clarified that while messages on WhatsApp might be end-to-end encrypted, “user data is not only about messages.” “The metadata such as user location, which contacts the user is communicating with, the patterns of when the user is online, etc. This metadata according to your privacy policy is indeed used for targeted ads across Meta services,” he said. “So, Elon Musk is right,” Mysk, who had previously uncovered data vulnerabilities in TikTok, Facebook and Apple’s products, wrote.

In 2022, when he was still in the process of purchasing Twitter, Musk argued that Zuckerberg had too much control over social media due to Meta owning Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. He called Meta’s CEO “Mark Zuckerberg XIV” in reference to France’s “Sun King” Louis XIV, who apocryphally claimed to be the state itself and was known for his wealth and authoritarian power. In 2023, the two tech billionaires were on the verge of holding a cage match against each other, but the bout never happened. Relations between Musk and Zuckerberg deteriorated even further after Meta launched Threads last summer, with the platform, which offers a space for real-time online conversations, being seen as a direct competitor to Twitter. Threads garnered 100 million users in the first days after launch, but the public’s interest in the app quickly subsided.

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Woody

 

 

Guns

 

 

Rescue

 

 

Koala

 

 


Dick Van Duijn captured the exact moment a squirrel stopped to smell a flower

 

 

Dog angry

 

 

The best

 

 

Alpaca

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jul 062024
 


Roy Lichtenstein Forget it! Forget me! 1962

 

Incoherence Day: Biden’s Fourth (ZH)
European Leaders ‘Stunned’ By Biden’s Accelerated Aging – WaPo (RT)
Biden Says Every Day Is A ‘Cognitive Test’ For Him (RT)
HuffPo Calls For Biden Campaign To Use AI To Make Him Appear Cogent (MN)
Trump Poses As Peacemaker For Ukraine After Stoking The War As President (SCF)
Republican Control In The States Could Give Trump Victory (Vasco)
Who Turned Off the Gaslight? (Kunstler)
Rep. Goldman Insists the Country is Safe in the Hands of Others (Turley)
Orban’s Surprise Visit To Moscow Sparks Fury In Brussels (RT)
I Don’t Need A Mandate To Promote Peace – Orban (RT)
Orban and Putin Discuss ‘Shortest Way Out’ Of Ukraine Conflict (RT)
NATO Members To Give Ukraine $43 Billion in Military Aid for 2025 (Antiwar)
Trusting the ‘Five Eyes’ Only (Michael Klare)
Why the SCO Summit in Kazakhstan Was a Game-Changer (Pepe Escobar)

 

 

 

 

Rogan Dore

 

 

Tucker

 

 

Vindman

 

 

 

 

Galloway Ritter

 

 

 

 

“..next week’s schedule: Biden will host a three-day NATO summit in Washington that starts on Tuesday. As part of that event, he will conduct a rare solo press conference..”

Incoherence Day: Biden’s Fourth (ZH)

Thursday’s dark comedy started with an appearance on Philadelphia’s WURD radio, which features a format categorized as “urban talk.” Having already boasted about appointing the first black woman to the Supreme Court and selecting the first black woman as vice president, Biden short-circuited and said, “I’m proud to be, as I said, the first vice president…the first black woman to serve with a black president.” In the same interview, Biden completely garbled his reminiscing about John F. Kennedy, Jr serving as a barrier-breaking inspiration to Biden’s younger self: “I remember, as a Catholic kid growing up up in an area where we didn’t like, Catholics didn’t get — I’m the first president to be elected statewide in the state of Delaware when I was a kid. Well, you know, I was, I looked at John Kennedy and said, ‘Well, he got elected. Why can’t I get elected?

Later, in remarks to military families at the White House, Biden twice showcased another of his chronic symptoms, as he started a train of thought, only to quickly abandon it. The first example came as he attempted to trot out the disputed allegation that then-President Trump called dead American soldiers in a French World War I cemetery “losers” and “suckers.” After his anecdote stalled, Biden tried recovering with one of his all-purpose rhetorical crutches, shouting, “We gotta just remember WHO IN THE HELL WE ARE…We’re the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!” Another dead-end sentence came as he seemed to be making an exaggerated claim about putting himself in danger alongside service members in foreign conflicts:

In another radio interview meant to reach black audiences, Biden appeared on the nationally syndicated Earl Ingram Show. “Despite the low-pressure nature of the interview, the president at times spoke haltingly as he delivered his rapid-fire answers,” the New York Times reported. “In the 17-minute interview, he sometimes stopped himself in the middle of an answer.” For example, in the middle of a sentence about Trump’s proposed tariffs, Biden abandoned the venture, saying, “…anyway, just, I don’t want to get too wrapped up in it, really.” With his flub-filled Fourth in the books, Biden’s next major opportunity to shore up voters’ perception of this mental soundness comes tonight, when appears in his first sit-down interview since last week’s debate disaster. The interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos will be recorded during the day amid Biden campaign stops in Wisconsin and then aired in an 8pm ET “primetime special.”

To counter suspicions that the network will edit the interview to Biden’s benefit, ABC has committed to releasing a transcript of the entire interview sometime today or this evening. As we noted yesterday: “Readers will naturally view the idea of a Stephanopoulos interview with justifiable wariness of soft-pitch questions and friendly editing. However, we’re in a different political world than last week… Given the debate-triggered earthquake that’s altered the leftist landscape, Stephanopoulos will likely feel significant pressure to act something like a real journalist, for once.” As Biden staggers from one risky public appearance to the next, a white-knuckled Team Biden is surely sweating next week’s schedule: Biden will host a three-day NATO summit in Washington that starts on Tuesday. As part of that event, he will conduct a rare solo press conference, which could well prove the most treacherous challenge he’s faced since last week’s debate — and perhaps even more so.

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“It’s very, very rare in a democracy that the person you run for an election is someone that you all know can’t lead the country for four more years..”

European Leaders ‘Stunned’ By Biden’s Accelerated Aging – WaPo (RT)

US President Joe Biden has been displaying worrying signs of “accelerated aging” in recent months and these changes shocked European leaders who met him at the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Italy last month, the Washington Post reported on Friday. The outlet cited 21 people who spoke on condition of anonymity. Longstanding concerns over Biden’s health came into focus following what was widely perceived as a disastrous performance in his first debate with Republican rival Donald Trump last week. While the Biden camp claimed the president had caught a cold, his performance reportedly panicked Democratic officials and donors, with some even suggesting he needed to be replaced as the party’s candidate for the November election. According to the Post, numerous aides, foreign officials, donors and members of Congress say the president has “slowed considerably.” They pointed to how he moves more slowly, speaks more softly and loses his train of thought more often.

During the G7 summit in Italy last month, “several” European leaders “came away stunned” by how much older Biden seemed since their last interactions with him, according to officials that spoke to the outlet. In some cases, they said it had been mere months since those people had previously seen the US leader.“People were worried about it,” one said. Another reported that leaders had come to the conclusion that Biden “cannot win in November.” Some officials admitted that, while they had brushed off concerns over Biden’s health before the debate with Trump, they are now questioning his abilities. Concerns were also raised after a recent immigration event in the White House, according to the report. Some pointed out Biden’s obvious frailty, with one describing his performance that day as “terrifying.” The Post said its sources “largely” did not question Biden’s mental acuity, with several White House officials insisting that he continues to be fully cognizant on complicated policy matters and can easily recall facts from previous meetings.

However, staffers said that most of Biden’s high-priority meetings and events were scheduled for midday, when he is at his best. On Thursday, the New York Times reported that Biden had admitted to Democratic donors that he needed more sleep and less work, preferring to avoid any events past 8pm. Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, told the Post that even if he won, European leaders don’t expect Biden to be able to run the country for another term. “It’s very, very rare in a democracy that the person you run for an election is someone that you all know can’t lead the country for four more years,” Bremmer said. A CBS News-YouGov poll following the face-off with Trump found 72% of respondents said they believe Biden does not have the mental and cognitive health to serve as president, while 49% said the same about Trump.

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“Not only am I campaigning, but I’m running the world, and that’s not hyperbole.”

Biden Says Every Day Is A ‘Cognitive Test’ For Him (RT)

US President Joe Biden tried to dispel concerns over his age and cognitive abilities after his lackluster performance during last week’s debate against Donald Trump, in an interview with ABC News on Friday. In the highly anticipated sit-down with George Stephanopoulos, the 81-year-old leader explained the debate fiasco as entirely “my fault, no one else’s fault,” insisting that it was simply a “bad episode” because he was “exhausted” and “sick” with a “bad cold” – and in no way an indication of any serious condition. Biden said he has “medical doctors trailing me everywhere I go” and after the debate they told him he was “exhausted,” but nothing more serious. “I have an ongoing assessment of what I’m doing. They don’t hesitate to tell me if something is wrong.” When asked directly whether he was ready to take a neurological test to prove to Americans that he is up to the job, Biden dodged the question by claiming, “I have a cognitive test every single day.”

“Every day I have that test,” Biden reiterated when pressed again. “Not only am I campaigning, but I’m running the world, and that’s not hyperbole.” The entire interview went in circles, with Stephanopoulos repeatedly asking whether Biden believes he is in good enough shape to beat Trump, while Biden kept citing his past record and defiantly rejecting the notion that he could leave the race amid worsening poll numbers. Biden said he did not believe the poll numbers that showed him trailing Trump in the popular vote, claiming that the race is a “toss-up” and that he is the “most qualified person to beat him.” Biden refused to speculate whether he would leave the race if Democratic Party leaders asked him to, noting that he would withdraw only if God told him to do so.

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Cheap fakes.

HuffPo Calls For Biden Campaign To Use AI To Make Him Appear Cogent (MN)

Leftist Biden mouthpiece the Huffington Post published an article Wednesday which literally calls for the Biden campaign to use AI to make fake videos of him looking and sounding normal in an effort to salvage his candidacy. The piece, titled ‘It’s Time For The Biden Campaign To Embrace AI‘ states “After the president’s dismal debate performance, he noted that he ‘might not walk as easily or talk as smoothly as I used to.’ AI could help with this.” “Given the president’s concerning performance last week, it’s time for the Biden campaign to consider leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to effectively reach the voting public,” it continues, with the author, one Kaivan Shroff, declaring that “the consequences of not taking this approach could be dire.” He goes on to state that Biden is old and can barely speak, suggesting that “AI augmentations and video renderings could serve to smooth out these bumps while allowing the Biden campaign to effectively disseminate true information.”

So, lets get this straight. Mr Shroff is suggesting the Biden team make fake videos where Biden speaks perfectly and looks more than half awake, and pass them off as real to encourage people to vote him in for a second term as President of the country, when in reality he cannot even form coherent thoughts or operate for 90 minutes per day. Incredible. “AI would be a cost-effective and efficient way to communicate his message personally and directly to voters,” Shroff continues, adding “How many times have we heard voters and pundits alike gripe that ‘Biden would be the perfect candidate if he were just 10 years younger?’ With modern technology, this exact deliverable is possible.” He goes on to argue that Biden’s campaign creating fake AI videos would be fine because the likes of The New York Post have shared “cheap fakes”of Biden wandering around looking lost and completely out of it “to make him appear confused or weak.”

The only issue here being, of course, that the so called ‘cheap fake’ videos in question were actually 100% real. No one needs to create fake videos to show Biden looking confused and weak, because he really is. You’ve just admitted that earlier in your extremely stupid article. Even more incredibly, the author then goes on to argue that if the Biden campaign created its own fake videos it would allow them “to respond rapidly to misinformation.” “In a world where misinformation and disinformation spreads virally, often through short-form video content, having the capability to produce polished, articulate responses in real-time could be a game-changer,” he ludicrously proclaims. To summarise, this guy thinks its totally acceptable that the Biden campaign knock up some cheap AI generated fake videos of him appearing fine in order to declare that any real videos of him looking and sounding old, tired and senile are ‘disinformation’. It doesn’t get any more backwards than this.

Incredibly, the article continues, “Until now, it has been almost taken as a given that using AI renderings of the president would violate some ethical baseline of campaigning. In an ideal world that may be so. Yet, what last week’s debate made clear is just how far from any such ideal our current reality is. The greatest moral and ethical imperative for those who care about American democracy should be keeping the man who tried to overthrow it as far away from the White House as possible.” So, your argument is that because Biden is mentally deficient and proved so during the debate, his campaign needs to forget about any remaining morals they have and create fake videos in order to keep Donald Trump from winning because it’ll be the end of democracy… or something. Hell, why not just go the whole hog and steal the election then? Use AI to fake some votes, rig some ballots, swing some states in Biden’s favour… in order to save democracy.

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“We can be sure that Trump did not personally initiate those provocative moves. He was obeying the deep state planners and their agenda of pushing confrontation with Russia..”

Trump Poses As Peacemaker For Ukraine After Stoking The War As President (SCF)

Asked about Trump’s peacemaking offer, President Putin responded politely this week, saying that he believed the American was sincere, but pointed out the lack of detail in Trump’s proposal. That’s the rub. Donald Trump is not known for coherent details. His style is bluster and braggadocio. Taken with a large pinch of salt. Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, was not convinced by Trump’s peace musings. Nebenzia indicated that the Republican candidate lacked the necessary understanding to resolve the conflict. That would involve an intelligent appreciation of history: the relentless expansionism of NATO, the treacherous backsliding by Washington over past security agreements, and the inherent workings of U.S. imperialism as an insatiable aggressor going back to the foundation of NATO 75 years ago. There is more than a suspicion that “the Donald” is merely motivated by superficial electioneering. The former real estate magnate has acumen for tapping popular sentiment.

The two American presidential contenders are neck and neck in the polls with less than four months until election day. Even after Biden’s disastrous TV debate performance last week, Trump has not capitalized on a decisive lead – which reflects how poorly both candidates are perceived by American voters. Polls show that a clear majority of American citizens want the conflict in Ukraine settled by diplomacy. There is widespread misgiving over the enormous amounts of taxpayer money thrown at a regime notorious for its corruption, as well as the visceral fear that the conflict could spiral out of control into a nuclear World War Three. Trump’s talk about brokering a peace deal before he is inaugurated on January 20, 2025, seems to be nothing more than an expedient bet that such a position might be enough to garner a winning edge among undecided voters and get him back to the White House. Nothing wrong with that, one might say. After all, surely some attempt at peaceful diplomacy is better than none, no matter how cack-handed that attempt might be.

The trouble is Trump has no credibility. The last time he was in the White House (2016-20), he proved useless at standing up to the deep state despite his promises to normalize relations with Russia. Admittedly, his presidency was assailed by the baseless Russia-gate hysteria promoted by the U.S. establishment and its servile media to undermine him. Nevertheless, on key issues, Trump showed himself to be a willing instrument for U.S. imperialist interests. A major sign of weakness was Trump’s approval of sending lethal weapons to the Kiev regime. He broke a crucial taboo. Even his predecessor, the Democrat President Barack Obama, had refused to go that far. Obama and his then Vice President Joe Biden oversaw the CIA-backed coup in Kiev in 2014 ushering in a NeoNazi Russia-hating regime. But the sending of lethal U.S. weaponry to that regime was off the cards – so provocative was it deemed. Trump broke that taboo in 2019 when he ordered the supply of $47 million worth of Javelin anti-tank missiles to the NeoNazis.

That move emboldened the Kiev regime to ramp up its aggression against the ethnic Russian population in the Donbass region. That genocidal offensive eventually led to Russia intervening in February 2022 and safeguarding the region as a new part of the Russian Federation. Moreover, it was Trump who scrapped two key arms control measures with Russia, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and the Open-Skies Treaty. We can be sure that Trump did not personally initiate those provocative moves. He was obeying the deep state planners and their agenda of pushing confrontation with Russia. By revoking the INF, the United States has found a legal way to supply medium-range ballistic missiles to Ukraine which are being used to strike Russia’s territory. In that way, arguably, Trump played a pivotal and baleful role in stoking the proxy war in Ukraine that was primed in 2014 under Obama and eventually erupted in 2022 under Biden.

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GOP 255 delegates for the electoral college, Dems 243.

Republican Control In The States Could Give Trump Victory (Vasco)

Among this year’s swing states, Republicans control the political machine in Georgia (government, legislature and history of two of the last three presidential elections), while Democrats control Nevada (with the exception of the government) and Michigan (where they did not win in only one of the last three presidential elections). The other three “swing states” are where control is much more balanced: Democrats hold the governorship and the House of Pennsylvania and have won two of the last three elections there, but Republicans have won one of the last three elections and control the Senate; Democrats govern Wisconsin and have won there in two of the last three presidential elections, but Republicans control both legislative houses and have won in one of the last three elections; and in Arizona, Democrats won one of three elections and hold the government, but Republicans won the other two elections and dominate the legislature.

All of this means that, taking into account control of the state political machine, Republicans are expected to win in all “red states” and in 17 other states, including the “swing state” of Georgia. They will thus be guaranteed 255 delegates for the electoral college, in addition to the total number of delegates that each of these states are entitled to. Democrats, on the other hand, tend to win in all the “blue states” and in 10 more states, including the “swing states” of Nevada and Michigan and the states of Minnesota and Maine, where, unlike all the others, the party that get the majority of popular votes in the state do not automatically elect all delegates, but have their own rules – our calculation takes into account that Democrats control the political machine in these two states, therefore they are able to manage the results of the elections. The Democrats will thus obtain 243 delegates to the electoral college.

For its candidate to be the winner of the presidential elections, a party must have at least 270 delegates in the electoral college. Hence the essential importance of “swing states” where political control is not defined (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Arizona). To be elected, it will be enough for Trump to win in just one of them (Pennsylvania), or, if he loses in Pennsylvania, if he wins in the other two. The Democratic candidate will be forced to win in Pennsylvania and in one of the other two key “swing states”. Considering, therefore, the control of the political machine in the states, added to the tendency of greater preference among voters in polls of voting intentions, Donald Trump has a greater chance of being elected president than the Democratic candidate.

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“..there’s still plenty of time left for them to destroy the country altogether. Just keep giving American missiles to Ukraine to fire into Russia and see what happens.”

Who Turned Off the Gaslight? (Kunstler)

Any reality-based thread that happened to leak into public view from independent alt-news reporters was branded by CNN, The New York Times, the WashPo, and many others as “misinformation” — a newish concept produced by a cadre of language Stasi skilled at inverting the meaning of anything to bamboozle the public. It appears that the news media became so invested psychologically in its own dishonest product that it began to believe its own bullshit. Or, at least, they wanted to pretend to believe it. One of the big problems was that absolutely everything they labeled “misinformation” or “conspiracy theory” turned out to be truthful, and that was becoming an inescapable embarrassment. And then the biggest blunder they made was going along with the Deep State’s selection of “Joe Biden” in the very sketchy Super Tuesday primary of 2020. The old grifter had next-to-zero support in all the preceding preliminaries and somehow (abracadabra !) he swept the field.

By then, the Democratic Party, and its public relations arm in the mainstream media, had descended into florid mental illness. Everything they stood for post-World War Two flipped to its opposite. Suddenly, they were against free speech. They weren’t coy about it. They just made-up some new bullshit about free speech being “hate speech.” Similarly, they were against a free press. They went along with all the misinfo / disinfo bullshit the government cooked up and supported its role in suppressing the news. They were no longer anti-war, the party-of-peace. They were now pro-segregation and pro-discrimination (white people need not apply) according to Critical Race Theory (a childishly sketchy doctrine). Most of all, they were no longer skeptical of anything that the leviathan establishment wanted to do, including abridging the liberties of American citizens.

Then there was the campaign to use the most powerful human instinct, sexuality, as a weapon to disorder the minds of American children, leading even to the mutilation of their bodies — a program that unmistakably tipped toward genuine evil, suggesting that actual psychosis lay behind the Cluster-B crypto-Marxism used to justify it. “Joe Biden” was fine with all of that, and the news media was fine with “Joe Biden” and whoever was using him as a front. Of course, it was evident during the 2020 campaign that “Joe Biden” was not up to a job as demanding as Chief Executive of the US government — and that was even apart from the dense criminal web of influence peddling discovered around him and his family, which the news media ignominiously ignored. But now the years have gone by and there’s no hiding “Joe Biden’s” rather gravely diminished mental abilities.

Last week’s debate gave away the game. It had the effect of finally turning off the gaslight that the news media has been shining over the republic lo these many years. They can no longer pretend that this president is anything close to okay in body and mind. They can’t annul the gaslighted public’s delayed realization that they’ve been subject to a concerted program of deliberate lying for a long long time. So now, inveterate pretenders and liars, such as Jake Tapper of CNN and Maggie Haberman of The New York Times — and many others — have to pretend that they were innocently duped into supporting all the turpitudes of the Democratic Party / Deep State axis-of-evil. It is really hard to imagine that they can successfully rehabilitate their reputations. They have done immense harm to our country. It’s hard to see how the Democratic Party might survive, too, no matter who they finally put up for election this year. Of course, there’s still plenty of time left for them to destroy the country altogether. Just keep giving American missiles to Ukraine to fire into Russia and see what happens.

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“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Government..”

Rep. Goldman Insists the Country is Safe in the Hands of Others (Turley)

Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, wrote “The President [of the Galaxy] in particular is very much a figurehead—he wields no real power whatsoever. […] His job is not to wield power but to draw attention away from it.” This week, Rep. Daniel Goldman (D-NY) seemed to be taking the Hitchhiker’s Guide as a guide for government. When asked about the alarming physical and mental decline of President Joe Biden, Goldman suggested that it really does not matter. In responding to a call for Biden’s removal under the 25th Amendment, Goldman suggested that the Republic is safe because it is safely in the hands of people around Biden. It is an argument that flips the 25th Amendment on its head and embraces the idea of a figurehead president. After the Hur report was released noting the diminishment of the President’s faculties, Goldman was one of the most vocal in shouting the Special Counsel down. He went public declaring that the President is “sharper than anyone I’ve spoken to” on public policy issues.

He has continued brushed away the growing calls for President Biden to step aside as incapable of serving another four years. Indeed, some are calling for an investigation into whether he can carry out the duties of his office until January 2025. “So, let’s not just focus on Joe Biden here. Let’s focus on the people around him, the administration, the policies, and most importantly, the appreciation and protection for the rule of law and our democracy that Donald Trump, every single day, has vowed to take down.” He added that Biden is “vibrant” and that “the reality is that Joe Biden has surrounded himself with an incredibly capable team with almost no turnover.” Other Democrats have attempted to avoid the manifest confusion and infirmity of the president. This includes Democrats who repeatedly called for formal action to remove former President Donald Trump under the 25th Amendment, including Reps. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.; Jamie Raskin, D-Md.; Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

However, it was Goldman who, as usual, came up with the most vertigo-triggering spin.The 25th Amendment was designed to specifically avoid a figurehead presidency where family or aides perform critical functions of the office. That was indeed the concern with presidents like Woodrow Wilson when a stroke left him incapable to function as president. His wife Edith hid the truth from the public and the Congress as she and others carried out his functions. He also had “an incredibly capable team” around him, but they were not elected president. In the meantime, the media is still struggling to explain to the public why they did not disclose the President’s condition earlier while promulgating the “cheap fake” narrative. For weeks heading into the debate, media outlets repeated the claim that videos showing Biden’s confusion were false and misleading. Some are now reportedly admitting that they did not want to confirm “right-wing media” accounts — an admission of shaping the news for political purposes.

The greatest threat to President Biden may ultimately be the political calculus. For most of these members, their loyalty to Biden ends at the point that he endangers their own hold on power. A couple dozen members are reportedly preparing a letter calling for possible removal in the hope that they can replace Biden with someone who has a better chance of beating Trump. It is no easy feat, but Democratic operatives are furiously working out the complications under federal election laws and state laws. In the meantime, the 25th Amendment process is looming. More citizens may become convinced by what Pelosi said about then President Donald Trump: “Congress has a constitutional duty to lay out the process by which a president’s incapacity and the president of any party is determined…A president’s fitness for office must be determined by science and facts.”

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Don’t you dare talk peace!

Orban’s Surprise Visit To Moscow Sparks Fury In Brussels (RT)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban unexpectedly visited Russia on Friday and met with President Vladimir Putin to discuss ways to resolve the Ukraine conflict. The surprise trip caused major outrage among Orban’s fellow EU leaders, as it came only days after the Hungarian premier made a similar unannounced trip to Ukraine. Hungary holds the rotating EU presidency for the remainder of this year. Orban, however, has claimed that he doesn’t require any sort of mandate from Brussels in order to promote peace, noting that his discussions cannot be considered official negotiations. Orban said his trip had been the first step to restoring dialogue. A critic of Western military aid to Ukraine, the Hungarian premier said he recognized he had no EU mandate for the trips but that peace could not be achieved “from a comfortable armchair in Brussels.” “We cannot sit back and wait for the war to miraculously end,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter) before meeting Putin.

Orban visited Kiev earlier in the week, where he urged Vladimir Zelensky to seek peace with Russia, arguing that a ceasefire could serve as a first step in the right direction. The Ukrainian leader didn’t take his proposal well, Orban said later. Kiev insists that only a military victory will result in a “just peace.” The Hungarian premier said he wanted to hear directly from Putin how Russia perceives various peace initiatives, calling it an important step, even though the frank discussion confirmed that there was a major rift between the conflicting sides. Putin and Orban discussed the “shortest way out” of the conflict, which the latter later revealed to journalists. Moscow’s and Kiev’s positions remain very “far apart,” the Hungarian admitted. “A lot of steps have to be taken to get closer to a resolution of the war. Still, we’ve already taken the most important step – establishing the contact, and I will continue to work on this in the future,” Orban stated. Putin has told Orban that he presented his vision of how the conflict can be resolved, in a keynote speech at the Foreign Ministry last month, and said he is prepared to discuss its nuances.

The proposal he was referring to was to suspend hostilities immediately after Kiev renounces its bid to join NATO and orders its troops to pull back from all territories claimed by Moscow. Then a comprehensive discussion of a new security architecture in Europe could be held, Putin suggested. The Ukrainian government has rejected the offer. The Russian president has reiterated Moscow’s readiness to resolve hostilities through negotiations. The Ukrainian leadership, however, appears to be still incapable of abandoning its idea of waging a war “until the end,” Putin noted. Moscow is seeking to reach lasting, sustainable peace rather than opting for a temporary ceasefire or a “frozen conflict” of any sort, the Russian president warned. There should not be a “ceasefire or some kind of pause that the Kiev regime could use to recover losses, regroup, and rearm. Russia is in favor of a complete and final end to the conflict,” Putin stressed.

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“But we can be a good tool in the hands of God, we can be a good tool in the hands of people who want peace..”

I Don’t Need A Mandate To Promote Peace – Orban (RT)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has defended his peacemaking efforts after a senior EU official criticized his purported plans to travel to Russia. Orban, who visited Kiev earlier this week and urged Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky to consider an immediate ceasefire, will pay a visit to the Russian capital on Friday, media reports have speculated. European Council President Charles Michel condemned the purported trip, claiming in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday that despite holding the rotating EU presidency, Hungary “has no mandate to engage with Russia on behalf of the EU.” “The European Council is clear: Russia is the aggressor, Ukraine is the victim. No discussions about Ukraine can take place without Ukraine,” the senior bureaucrat added.

During his weekly interview with Radio Kossuth on Friday morning, Orban rejected the notion that he should not vie for peace. “What I do looks like negotiations in format, because we sit at tables and discuss issues, but we don’t negotiate,” he explained. “That’s why I don’t even need a mandate, because I don’t represent any party.” Hungary is aware of its relatively limited political clout and expects larger powers to eventually hold peace talks to end the Ukraine conflict, he said. “But we can be a good tool in the hands of God, we can be a good tool in the hands of people who want peace,” the prime minister added.

The Hungarian leader said opinion polls showing support among EU citizens for continued backing of Kiev do not correctly reflect their attitudes. Everyday people are worried about the economic cost of the conflict because EU taxpayers’ money is being spent on Ukraine, he argued. Orban neither confirmed nor denied plans for a Moscow visit during the interview. Another pro-Kiev politician, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, previously expressed disbelief that the Hungarian leader could make the trip. “The rumours about your visit to Moscow cannot be true @PM_ViktorOrban, or can they?” he asked in an X post. Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered Kiev a ceasefire in exchange for Ukraine renouncing its bid for NATO membership and withdrawing its troops from Russian territory that it lays claim to. Kiev has insisted it will not accept any outcome in which it does not control all the land it considers Ukrainian.

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“Moscow is seeking to reach lasting, sustainable peace rather than opting for a temporary ceasefire or a “frozen conflict” of any sort..”

Orban and Putin Discuss ‘Shortest Way Out’ Of Ukraine Conflict (RT)

Talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Friday revolved around finding the “shortest way out” of the Ukraine conflict, the latter revealed during a joint press conference following the closed-doors negotiations. Moscow’s and Kiev’s positions remain very “far apart,” Hungary’s PM admitted, citing his recent trip to Kiev to meet the Ukrainian leadership. “A lot of steps have to be taken to get closer to a resolution of the war. Still, we’ve already taken the most important step—establishing the contact, and I will continue to work on this in the future,” Orban stated. The enduring conflict between Russia and Ukraine is affecting the broader European region, Orban noted, adding that the continent has enjoyed the most rapid and sustainable development only during peacetime.

“As I’ve already told Mr President, Europe needs peace. Yet this peace will not emerge by itself, we must work to reach it,” the visiting premier said. The Russian president has reiterated Moscow’s readiness to resolve the hostility through negotiations. The Ukrainian leadership, however, appears to be still incapable of abandoning its idea of waging a war “until the end,” Putin noted. Moscow is seeking to reach lasting, sustainable peace rather than opting for a temporary ceasefire or a “frozen conflict” of any sort, the Russian president warned. There should not be a “ceasefire or some kind of pause that the Kiev regime could use to recover losses, regroup, and rearm. Russia is in favor of a complete and final end to the conflict,” he stressed.

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While Orban talks peace…

NATO Members To Give Ukraine $43 Billion in Military Aid for 2025 (Antiwar)

NATO allies have agreed to pledge $43 billion in military aid for Ukraine, which will be provided next year, Reuters reported on Wednesday. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg was looking for the alliance to make a multi-year commitment to ensure long-term support for the proxy war, but the allies did not agree. Instead, they will re-evaluate military aid for Ukraine each year. The agreement says that NATO allies will “aim to meet this pledge through proportionate contributions.” If the $43 billion is funded based on how much each member contributes to NATO, most of the burden would be on the US since it pays for about two-thirds of the alliance’s budget. The $43 billion is part of a slew of measures NATO will announce at its summit next week in Washington. NATO is also expected to station a civilian official in Kyiv and establish a new command in Germany that will oversee military aid and training for Ukraine, taking over duties currently overseen by the US.

While planning to provide tens of billions in new military aid, NATO will also tell Ukraine that it’s too corrupt to join the alliance. The Telegraph reported this week that the alliance will release a communique calling on Ukraine to take more anti-corruption steps before talks on its NATO membership could progress. President Biden has frequently cited Ukraine’s corruption as a reason why the country couldn’t join NATO. But that hasn’t stopped him from providing over $100 billion in aid to Ukraine, which includes tens of billions in the form of direct budgetary aid that funds the government.

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“..the only countries the U.S. really trusts are the “Five Eyes.”

Trusting the ‘Five Eyes’ Only (Michael Klare)

Wherever he travels globally, President Biden has sought to project the United States as the rejuvenated leader of a broad coalition of democratic nations seeking to defend the “rules-based international order” against encroachments by hostile autocratic powers, especially China, Russia, and North Korea. “We established NATO, the greatest military alliance in the history of the world,” he told veterans of D-Day while at Normandy, France on June 6th. “Today… NATO is more united than ever and even more prepared to keep the peace, deter aggression, defend freedom all around the world.” In other venues, Biden has repeatedly highlighted Washington’s efforts to incorporate the “Global South” — the developing nations of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East — into just such a broad-based U.S.-led coalition. At the recent G7 summit of leading Western powers in southern Italy, for example, he backed measures supposedly designed to engage those countries “in a spirit of equitable and strategic partnership.”

But all of his soaring rhetoric on the subject scarcely conceals an inescapable reality: the United States is more isolated internationally than at any time since the Cold War ended in 1991. It has also increasingly come to rely on a tight-knit group of allies, all of whom are primarily English-speaking and are part of the Anglo-Saxon colonial diaspora. Rarely mentioned in the Western media, the Anglo-Saxonization of American foreign and military policy has become a distinctive — and provocative — feature of the Biden presidency. To get some appreciation for Washington’s isolation in international affairs, just consider the wider world’s reaction to the administration’s stance on the wars in Ukraine and Gaza.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Joe Biden sought to portray the conflict there as a heroic struggle between the forces of democracy and the brutal fist of autocracy. But while he was generally successful in rallying the NATO powers behind Kyiv — persuading them to provide arms and training to the beleaguered Ukrainian forces, while reducing their economic links with Russia — he largely failed to win over the Global South or enlist its support in boycotting Russian oil and natural gas.

Despite what should have been a foreboding lesson, Biden returned to the same universalist rhetoric in 2023 (and this year as well) to rally global support for Israel in its drive to extinguish Hamas after that group’s devastating October 7th rampage. But for most non-European leaders, his attempt to portray support for Israel as a noble response proved wholly untenable once that country launched its full-scale invasion of Gaza and the slaughter of Palestinian civilians commenced. For many of them, Biden’s words seemed like sheer hypocrisy given Israel’s history of violating U.N. resolutions concerning the legal rights of Palestinians in the West Bank and its indiscriminate destruction of homes, hospitals, mosques, schools, and aid centers in Gaza. In response to Washington’s continued support for Israel, many leaders of the Global South have voted against the United States on Gaza-related measures at the U.N. or, in the case of South Africa, have brought suit against Israel at the World Court for perceived violations of the 1948 Genocide Convention.

In the face of such adversity, the White House has worked tirelessly to bolster its existing alliances, while trying to establish new ones wherever possible. Pity poor Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has made seemingly endless trips to Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East trying to drum up support for Washington’s positions — with consistently meager results. Here, then, is the reality of this anything but all-American moment: as a global power, the United States possesses a diminishing number of close, reliable allies – most of which are members of NATO, or countries that rely on the United States for nuclear protection (Japan and South Korea), or are primarily English-speaking (Australia and New Zealand). And when you come right down to it, the only countries the U.S. really trusts are the “Five Eyes.”

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Next one to use the term Game-Changer will be drawn and quartered.

Why the SCO Summit in Kazakhstan Was a Game-Changer (Pepe Escobar)

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of the 2024 summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) this week in Astana, Kazakhstan. It can certainly be interpreted as the antechamber to the crucial BRICS annual summit, under the Russian presidency, next October in Kazan. Let’s start with the final declaration. As much as SCO members state “tectonic shifts are underway” in geopolitics and geoeconomics, as “the use of power methods is increasing, with norms of international law being systematically violated”, they are fully engaged to “increase the SCO’s role in the creation of a new democratic, fair, political and economic international order.” Well, there could not be a sharper contrast with the unilaterally-imposed “rules-based international order”. The SCO 10 – with new member Belarus – are explicitly in favor of “a fair solution to the Palestinian issue”. They “oppose unilateral sanctions”.

They want to create a SCO investment fund (Iran, via acting President Mohammad Mokhber, supports the creation of a SCO common bank, just like the NDB in BRICS). Additionally, members that “are parties to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty stand for compliance with its provisions”. And crucially, they agree that “interaction within the SCO may become the basis for building a new security architecture in Eurasia.” The last point is actually the heart of the matter. That’s proof that Putin’s proposal last month in front of key Russian diplomats was fully debated in Astana – following Russia’s strategic deal with the DPRK de facto linking security in Asia as indivisible with security in Europe. That is something that remains – and will continue to remain – incomprehensible for the collective West. A new Eurasia-wide security architecture is an upgrade of the Russian concept of Greater Eurasia Partnership – involving a series of bilateral and multilateral guarantees and, in Putin’s own words, open to “all Eurasian countries that wish to participate”, including NATO members.

The SCO should become one of the key drivers of this new security arrangement – in total contrast with the “rules-based order” – alongside the CSTO, the CIS and the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). The road map ahead of course includes socio-economic integration and the development of international transportation corridors – from the INSTC (Russia-Iran-India) to the China-supported “Middle Corridor”. But the two crucial points are military and financial: “To gradually phase out the military presence of external powers” in Eurasia; and to establish alternatives to “Western-controlled economic mechanisms, expanding the use of national currencies in settlements, and establishing independent payment systems.” Translation: the meticulous process conducted by Russia to deliver a fatal blow to Pax Americana is essentially shared by all SCO members.

President Putin laid down the basic tenets further on down the road when he confirmed the “commitment of all member states to forming a fair world order based on the central role of the UN and commitment of sovereign states to mutually beneficial partnership.” He added, “the long-term goals for further expansion of cooperation in politics, economy, energy, agriculture, high technologies and innovation are stated in the project of development strategy of SCO till 2035.” That’s a quite Chinese approach to long-term strategic planning: China’s five-year plans are already mapped out all the way to 2035. President Xi doubled down when it comes to the leading Russia-China strategic partnership: both should “strengthen comprehensive strategic coordination, oppose external interference and jointly maintain peace and stability” in Eurasia. Once again, that’s Russia-China as leaders of Eurasia integration and the drive towards a multi-nodal world (italics mine; nodal with an “n”).

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Etna
https://twitter.com/i/status/1809013270512058804

 

 

Sea lion
https://twitter.com/i/status/1809293898147102793

 

 

 

 

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Jul 042024
 


Félix Vallotton The balloon 1899

 

“No One Is Pushing Me Out” Biden Tells Staff (ZH)
Biden May Drop Out Of Presidential Race – NYT (RT)
Dozens of Democrat Lawmakers Want Biden Out – Bloomberg (RT)
Only Michelle Obama Can Beat Donald Trump – Poll (RT)
Jack Smith is Willing to Try Trump Up to Inauguration Day (Turley)
The Presidential Dilemma (Paul Craig Roberts)
Hillary Clinton Welcomes Ukraine ‘Attacking’ Trump (RT)
Will Putin Attack Poland & the Baltics? (Ray McGovern)
Western Talk of Ukraine Peace Just For Show – Zakharova (RT)
Orban Reveals Zelensky’s Reaction To Ceasefire Proposal (RT)
US Dissatisfied With Ukraine’s Mobilization Rate – Former PM (Sp.)
Tucker Carlson Announces Zelensky Interview (RT)
Ukraine To Be Warned It’s ‘Too Corrupt’ For NATO – Telegraph (RT)
‘Hamas Has Never Been Stronger’: Israel Is Stuck In A War It Can’t Win (Blade)
Houthis Vow USS Theodore Roosevelt Primary Target Once it Enters Red Sea (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kamala
https://twitter.com/i/status/1808504862386049227

 

 

Big Mike
https://twitter.com/i/status/1807996200966410600

 

 

 

 

 

 

Someone gave Hunter a security clearance? For real?

“No One Is Pushing Me Out” Biden Tells Staff (ZH)

Update (1355ET): According to AP, Biden told campaign staff “No one is pushing me out” during a Wednesday call. Would he even know though? Meanwhile, a new NYT/Siena poll reveals that Trump now leads Biden 49%-43% among likely voters.

* * *

Update (1055ET): With knives out and all eyes on Kamala, President Biden has reportedly ‘told a key ally that he knows he may not be able to salvage his candidacy’ if he can’t convince the public in the coming days that he’s up for the job, the NY Times reports. “He knows if he has two more events like that, we’re in a different place” by the end of the weekend said the ally, referring to last Thursday’s debacle of a debate. The conversation is the first indication to become public that the president is seriously considering whether he can recover after a devastating performance on the debate stage in Atlanta on Thursday. Concerns are mounting about his viability as a candidate and whether he could serve as president for another four years.

A top adviser to Mr. Biden, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the situation, said the president was “well aware of the political challenge he faces.” -NYT. We’re shocked Biden can ‘weigh’ anything given his condition, but the White House says the Times report is ‘absolutely false.’ As we noted earlier, odds of Kamala Harris facing off with Trump in November spiked overnight, and then accelerated even higher upon the NYT report, only to pull back shortly thereafter after the White House denied.

What a time to be alive!

* * *
While Former President Barack Obama has publicly supported sockpuppet president Joe Biden following last Thursday’s unprecedented debate, he has privately told allies that the path to victory ‘grew more challenging’ following an abject debacle for the Democrats. According to ‘several people familiar with his remarks,’ and perhaps most notably conveyed via the Washington Post, not only has Obama grown more concerned following the debate (and having to physically guide the 81-year-old off of a stage last month), the former president “has long harbored worries about his party defeating Donald Trump in November, repeatedly warning Biden in recent months about how challenging it will be to win reelection.” Not only that, “Just before the debate, Obama conveyed to allies his concerns about the state of the race.”

So Obama gets to save face, while adding to the growing chorus of Democrats who have expressed everything from quiet panic to public hints, to outright calls for Biden to drop out of the race. Meanwhile in the ivory tower, White House aides are reportedly freaked out that crack addict, China profiteer, Ukraine energy expert, convicted felon Hunter Biden is in the building helping to counsel his father in Jill’s time of crisis. According to NBC News’ Ken Deilanian, White House staff are asking “What the hell is happening,” after a report that Hunter has been sitting in on meetings.

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Comedy.

Biden May Drop Out Of Presidential Race – NYT (RT)

US President Joe Biden is seriously considering whether he can recover from his “disastrous” debate performance, the New York Times reported on Wednesday, citing a “key ally” who wished to remain anonymous. Biden struggled through last week’s exchange with challenger Donald Trump, hosted by CNN. The Times described his performance as “devastating,” even though Biden’s campaign had arranged the circumstances to be maximally favorable. “He knows if he has two more events like that, we’re in a different place” by the end of the Independence Day weekend, the unnamed ally told the newspaper. While the unnamed source insisted that Biden is “still deeply in the fight for re-election,” the 81-year-old is reportedly aware that the next several days must go well if he wishes to “salvage” his candidacy.

Biden is scheduled to record an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos – a Clinton White House veteran – on Friday and take part in campaign events in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. A meeting with Democratic governors is also on the schedule for Wednesday evening. White House spokesman Andrew Bates told the NYT that the anonymous ally’s claim was “absolutely false” and that he had not been given enough time to respond. According to the Times, Biden has told at least one person that he is open to the possibility that the plan to move on from the debate and shift the narrative to Trump “may not work.” The White House and the campaign have offered a range of excuses for what happened at the debate. Meanwhile, a CBS News poll on Wednesday showed Trump two points ahead of Biden nationally and three points in battleground states.

“Concerns are mounting about his viability as a candidate and whether he could serve as president for another four years,” the Times noted. Several other unnamed allies of Biden told the outlet that he was “clear-eyed” about the “uphill battle to convince voters, donors and the political class” that his debate performance was just a bad day. Media outlets that have been friendly to Biden for years, insisting just last month that he was “sharp as a tack” and that allegations of mental and physical infirmity were fake news, turned on the president practically overnight. Major party donors have reportedly done so as well, demanding a new candidate. Vice President Kamala Harris remains unpopular, however, and the Democrats did not allow a competitive primary, leaving them in a bind to name a possible replacement

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“..even among Democrats some 45% believe that he should withdraw from the race..”

Dozens of Democrat Lawmakers Want Biden Out – Bloomberg (RT)

Dozens of Democrats in the US Congress are considering signing a letter demanding that President Joe Biden suspend his reelection campaign, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. Calls for Biden to withdraw from the race and resign from office have intensified since his disastrous debate performance against Donald Trump last week. Bloomberg did not name any of the lawmakers involved, and attributed the news to an anonymous “senior party official.” According to this official, Democrats fear association with the unpopular and apparently senile president will harm their own reelection chances in November, leading to “a Republican sweep of Washington and an unchecked Donald Trump presidency.” Calls for Biden’s withdrawal have snowballed since last Thursday’s CNN-hosted debate, during which Biden appeared confused and struggled to finish sentences.

Speaking to MSNBC on Tuesday, influential Democrat Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Jim Clyburn both discussed the possibility that Biden may suffer from a mental condition, while Rep. Lloyd Doggett of Texas became the first sitting Democrat lawmaker to urge Biden to suspend his campaign. Liberal pundits have gone further, with The Atlantic and The Hill both publishing op-eds on Wednesday calling on Biden to leave office immediately, after the New York Times, Washington Post, and Chicago Tribune all called on him to step aside so the party can choose a more lucid candidate to take on Trump this November. The White House, meanwhile, insists that Biden does not suffer from dementia or any other degenerative condition, and that his lackluster performance was the result of tiredness and a “bad cold.”

On Wednesday, White House spokesman Andrew Bates dismissed a report in the New York Times suggesting that the president was considering whether to pull out of the race, calling the claim “absolutely false.”According to Politico reporter Elena Schneider, Biden told campaign staffers on Wednesday that “no one’s pushing me out. I’m not leaving. I’m in this race to the end and we’re going to win.” Biden spoke to Clyburn and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer by phone on Wednesday, Bloomberg reported. The president has a packed schedule of appearances over the coming days, including a meeting with Democratic governors on Wednesday evening, an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Friday, and campaign events in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin over the weekend.

“We really want to turn the page on this,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Tuesday, adding that Biden’s upcoming appearances will allow Americans to “see him for themselves.” According to multiple polls, however, Americans have already decided that Biden is not fit for office. A survey conducted by CBS News/YouGov in the wake of the debate found that 72% of registered voters do not believe that Biden has the “mental and cognitive health necessary to serve as president.” The poll indicated that even among Democrats some 45% believe that he should withdraw from the race.

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That poll is wrong. Because it will all be about Big Mike.

Only Michelle Obama Can Beat Donald Trump – Poll (RT)

Michelle Obama, the wife of former US President Barack Obama, is the only potential Democratic candidate who could beat Republican frontrunner Donald Trump in November’s election, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll. There is growing concern among Democratic voters over President Joe Biden’s ability to secure a second term in office this year, particularly after his debate with Trump, in which the 81-year-old incumbent appeared frail and confused, and struggled to finish his sentences. On July 1 and July 2, Ipsos market research company surveyed a representative sample of 1,070 US adults for Reuters, including 892 registered voters, 348 Democrats, 322 Republicans, and 303 independents.

According to the poll, if a vote were to be held now, Biden and Trump would both win an estimated 40% of the votes. However, around three in five voters, including nearly one-third of Democrats, believe Biden should drop out of the race altogether and that his party should put forward a new candidate, even at this late stage. Most of Biden’s potential replacements do not seem to have the public approval or recognition needed to beat Trump on November 5, according to the poll. In hypothetical matchups against Trump, Vice President Kamala Harris was one point behind the Republican candidate, while others, like California Governor Gavin Newsom and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, fared even worse. The only person who could beat Trump is Michelle Obama, the poll suggests. In her matchup against the former president, some 50% of registered voters said they would vote for her, compared to 39% who said they would vote for Trump.

The former first lady also appears to have a better public image than the other candidates. The survey showed that around 42% of voters have a favorable opinion of Trump, compared to the 38% who have a favorable opinion of Biden. But Obama had an approval rating of 55%, beating all other potential Democratic candidates. Meanwhile, Biden and his team have indicated that they have no plans to drop out of the race despite last week’s debate performance, which they have tried to play down as just a “bad night.” The Democratic Party has also publicly rallied behind the president. Privately, however, media reports suggest that many top Democratic donors want Biden gone from the November 5 ticket and even his public allies, including Barack Obama, have reportedly been “telling people Biden can’t win” in private.

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It’s called election interference. And SCOTUS should stop it.

“Smith’s appetite for a trial before the Inauguration may exceed his ability to force that expedited schedule…”

Jack Smith is Willing to Try Trump Up to Inauguration Day (Turley)

The Washington Post is reporting that Special Counsel Jack Smith may try to convict former president Donald Trump all the way through the election and up to 11:59 am on January 20th. After the oath, the Justice Department has long maintained that it will not prosecute a sitting president. There is also a long-standing policy of the Justice Department to abstain from criminal proceedings before an election to avoid the appearance of trying to influence the outcome. Smith has signaled that he will discard that policy and that he is prepared to try Trump not only up to the election but through the election. He is now reportedly willing to try Trump up to January 20th. Smith has made trying Trump before the election the overriding priority in his two cases against the former president. He failed repeatedly to force a shorter schedule on appeal before the Supreme Court.

His arguments were revealing. He suggested that the public should have a possible conviction before they cast their votes. It flipped the DOJ policy on its head in openly seeking to influence the election. The Supreme Court was not persuaded, though Smith did succeed in effectively cutting the appellate process a bit shorter. He then lost in spectacular fashion before the Court on presidential immunity. According to the Post, he is not giving up the ghost and is now committed to a trial running up to Inauguration Day: “Current officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, expressed … that if Trump wins the election, the clock on the two federal cases against him would keep ticking until Jan. 20, when he would be sworn in as the 47th president.” Even with Smith’s continued push to try Trump at all costs before the Inauguration, it could be a challenge. There is a 30-day period before the Supreme Court case is effectively returned to district court.

Judge Tanya Chutkan has been highly favorable for Smith and highly motivated in seeking a trial before the election. That led to problems highlighted in the recent opinion. Chutkan was so motivated that she failed to create an adequate record on these issues. That record will now have to be established. If Chutkan rules as she did earlier, she is expected to be hostile to Trump’s claims on his conduct falling within official functions. However, she will need to make the record and her decision could again be appealed. The Court left clear guidelines that will make it difficult for Chutkan to, again, dismiss such claims.

Moreover, the pre-trial motions were stopped with the latest appeal. They must now be addressed. Finally, she pledged to give the Trump team over 80 days for preparation after the appeal, which will be added to the 30 days, the period for the remand record, and the pre-trial motions. There is also the need for the court and Smith to deal with the Fischer decision limiting the use of the obstruction charges — impacting two of the four counts against Trump. As I have previously written, Smith has various options but could trigger a new reversal on appeal if he follows his signature inclination to resist legal limits. In other words, Smith’s appetite for a trial before the Inauguration may exceed his ability to force that expedited schedule.

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“All the people can do is to cast votes that might or might not be properly counted..”

The Presidential Dilemma (Paul Craig Roberts)

The dilemma is not limited to Trump and Biden. All of us face it. Biden cannot win despite all of the theft mechanisms the Democrats have institutionalized. A stolen election requires a close election in order to hide the theft. But the polls show no such close election. In order to use the fraudulent electoral means put in place, the Democrats need a candidate that the media can present as neck-in-neck with Trump. Even if Democrats had such a candidate, the Biden Crime Family cannot risk Trump taking office. In the event that Trump has learned not to appoint his most dangerous enemies to the highest offices, Biden out of power faces the risk of a real investigation of his and his son’s suspect business affairs, which appear to boil down to influence peddling.

So far the Biden family has reacted negatively to the pressure on Biden from fellow Democrats to stand down. But there is room for a deal if the Democrats can find a candidate for whom they can succeed in having a stolen election accepted. The deal would be that in exchange for standing down, the replacement candidate when “elected” will have the Justice (sic) Department investigate Joe and Hunter’s business dealings and clear them from all suspicions. One wonders why the corrupt merrick garland hasn’t already done this. For Trump the main problem is how does he form a loyal government committed to Trump’s and Trump’s supporters agenda? The Rino Republican establishment is almost as opposed to Trump as the Democrats. Where are there aware Republicans with brains and a willingness to fight the Establishment and the media which serves the Establishment? Supposing such people exist and that Trump finds them, how does he get them confirmed in office? Confirmation is up to the Senate. Is the Senate going to put in office people who intend to dismantle the Establishment that the Senate represents?

The most important question is who will sacrifice his chances for success in life by serving in a Trump administration and going against the Establishment. There are so many ways in which the Establishment can ruin you. When Trump, if elected, is confronted with his isolation, as he was during his first term with no reliable advisers having abandoned Bannon and Flynn, what does he do? Does he declare his re-election as vindication and make his peace with the Establishment, thereby surviving and recovering from his damaged business interests? Trump’s support is in the people, but the people are impotent. The media lies to them continually, but enough of them continue to support the media and partake of their indoctrination from CNN, NPR, the New York Times and the rest of the presstitutes for the media to continue its lies. The media’s lies sustain the official narratives.

The people have no influence on the cabinet departments that serve the private agendas of the Establishment. All the people can do is to cast votes that might or might not be properly counted. We already see an unpromising change in Trump. In place of analysis he blusters. If he had been in office Russia would have been too afraid to invade Ukraine and Hamas to attack Israel. In other words, he has bought into the Establishment explanations. We no longer hear that he is going to normalize relations with Russia. Instead, he is going to intimidate Russia. This is not what the world on the brink of World War III wants to hear. We want to see leadership that acknowledges Washington and NATO’s responsibility in the ever-widening conflict. As long as we are full of self-justification, we can’t see the Russian point of view. Unless we can bring ourselves to see the Russian point of view, we will continue on our path to a major war.

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Vovan and Lexus strike again.

Hillary Clinton Welcomes Ukraine ‘Attacking’ Trump (RT)

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has signaled her support if Ukraine attempted to dig up dirt on GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. She made the comment in a phone call with Russian prankster duo Vovan and Lexus, one of whom posed as ex-Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko. According to a recording of the conversation made public on Wednesday, Clinton and the man she believed to be Poroshenko discussed the political landscape in the US leading up to the November election, as well as the potential repercussions of a Trump victory for both Kiev and Washington. Trump has repeatedly criticized the way the administration of US President Joe Biden has handled the Ukraine conflict, saying he would end hostilities within 24 hours if elected and stop sending unconditional financial support to Kiev.

Clinton said that she is “doing everything” she can to secure Biden’s reelection, while acknowledging that those efforts come at “a very difficult time in this country.” Her comments followed a recent television debate between Biden and Trump, widely seen as a disaster for the incumbent. The former presidential candidate, who lost the 2016 election to Trump, described her former rival as “very dangerous,” adding that he “would be very bad for the United States as well as for… Ukraine,” and that Kiev was right to be concerned. Later in the conversation, ‘Poroshenko’ offered to “request a hearing in the [Ukrainian] parliament to find something on him [Trump] before the election,” recalling that the 45th president is already facing serious legal trouble in the US. “I think we can attack him from different sides,” the prankster suggested.

Clinton seemed to like the idea. “Good. Anything you could do, attack him, I’m all for it, because he is a very dangerous man,” she responded. ‘Poroshenko’ then followed up with a suggestion to “send my people in the US,” without clarifying what he meant, but the former secretary ignored this proposal. Biden and Trump faced-off on June 27, with the US president widely being perceived as incoherent and fumbling. According to several reports, many prominent Democrats and party donors are scrambling to find a replacement for Biden. Meanwhile, Trump is heading into the election as the only former or current US president to be convicted of a crime. In May, the GOP frontrunner was found guilty of falsifying business records stemming from an alleged ‘hush money’ payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, with whom Trump allegedly had an affair. The ex-president maintains his innocence and has denied being involved with Daniels.

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Fiona Hill.

Will Putin Attack Poland & the Baltics? (Ray McGovern)

At Thursday’s debate with Donald Trump, President Joe Biden, calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal,” claimed that he “wants all of Ukraine. … Do you think he’ll stop? … What do you think happens to Poland and other places?” Spoiler Alert: Official Ukrainian sources confirm that Putin did stop in March 2022, after Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky agreed to forswear membership in NATO. This was the key provision in the Ukraine-Russia deal initialed by Davyd Arakhamia, who at the time was Zelensky’s chief negotiator (and his party’s faction leader in the Rada) at the talks in Istanbul at the end of March, hardly a month into the war. The Russians lifted their objection to Ukraine joining the EU, as the Ukrainians agreed to neutrality. Security guarantees sought by Kyiv (short of NATO membership) would be worked out. The fighting would stop. Agreement on the status of Crimea would be put off to the future.

Putin and Zelensky reportedly were micromanaging the March 2022 negotiations, and at that early stage the Russians expressed readiness for the two to meet. At the same time that Biden and other Western leaders raise the alarm that Putin will attack other parts of Europe when he’s through with Ukraine, they claim Russia can’t even take the Ukrainian province of Kharkiv, has lost more than 500,000 men to just 30,000 Ukrainians and its economy is faltering (none of which is true.) But Cold War Western power was based on an exaggerated Soviet threat and the same is true today. In a November 2023 Kyiv Post report titled “Russia Offered to End War in 2022 If Ukraine Scrapped NATO Ambitions – Zelensky Party Chief,” Arakhamia confirmed that in the March 2022 negotiations Russia proposed ending the war on the condition that Ukraine abandon its NATO aspirations and adopt a neutral stance.

Arakhamia continued: “Neutrality was the biggest thing for them, they were ready to end the war if we took — as Finland once did — neutrality and made commitments that we would not join NATO. This was the key point. While negotiations continued in Istanbul, former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson unexpectedly arrived in Kyiv on April 9 and said that Ukraine shouldn’t sign anything with them at all – and ‘let’s just fight.’ ” Arakhamia’s candor was refreshing. But it came as no surprise to those of us following Ukraine in early 2022. On May 5, 2022 — a year and a half before Arakhamia spilled the beans to the Kyiv Post — Ukrainska Pravda ran a report under the title “Possibility of talks between Zelensky and Putin came to a halt after Johnson’s visit”: “According to sources close to Zelenskyy, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, who appeared in the capital almost without warning, brought two simple messages.

The first is that Putin is a war criminal, he should be pressured, not negotiated with. And the second is that even if Ukraine is ready to sign some agreements on guarantees with Putin, they [the West] are not. The collective West felt that Putin was not really as powerful as they had previously imagined, and that here was a chance to press him.” Three days after Johnson left Kyiv, Putin publicly stated that talks with Ukraine had “turned into a dead end.” Putin expressed confidence that Russia would ultimately prevail and added that it would “rhythmically and calmly” continue conducting the operation in Ukraine. In his major speech to the Russian Foreign Ministry on June 14, Putin said the Russian troops approaching Kyiv in February-March 2022 were there “to push the Ukrainian side to negotiations.” From Feb. 24 on, the Russians had expressed readiness for diplomacy. Interestingly, Zelensky appointed Arakhamia chief negotiator on Feb. 28.

Putin continued: “Surprisingly, as a result, agreements that satisfied both Moscow and Kyiv were indeed reached and initialed in Istanbul. … The document was titled ‘Agreement on Permanent Neutrality and Security Guarantees for Ukraine’. It was a compromise but resolved the problems that were stated as major ones even at the start of the special military operation. But the path to peace was rejected again. … The former UK prime minister said directly during his visit to Kyiv – no agreements. Russia must be defeated on the battlefield. … Thus they began to intensively pump Ukraine up with weapons and started talking about the need to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia.”

Who has been telling Biden that Putin “will not stop at Ukraine?” Exhibit A would be Fiona Hill, disciple of arch-Russophobe historian Richard Pipes, and national intelligence officer for Russia (2006-09). Her insights appeared in The New York Times exactly a month before Russia invaded Ukraine. On Jan. 24, 2022, the Times featured a guest essay by Hill titled “Putin has the U.S. Right Where He Wants It”: “This time, Mr. Putin’s aim is bigger than closing NATO’s ‘open door’ to Ukraine and taking more territory — he wants to evict the United States from Europe. As he might put it: ‘Goodbye, America. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.’”

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”What is happening to Europe is not just a crisis, or collapse, or loss of position. It truly is a disaster..”

Western Talk of Ukraine Peace Just For Show – Zakharova (RT)

Any Western talk of peace in the Ukraine conflict is merely a “decoy” as the US and its allies remain intent on inflicting a strategic defeat on Moscow, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has said. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban visited Kiev on Tuesday, where he urged Vladimir Zelensky to seek a ceasefire with Russia to facilitate peace talks. The Ukrainian leader rejected the proposal, saying he has a different way to end the conflict. Whatever discussions Ukraine and Western nations have about peace are mere “decoys, screens, tropes and memes,” said purely for their own sake, Zakharova said on her weekly radio show on Wednesday. The Ukraine conflict is dominated by the goal of inflicting a strategic defeat on Russia, which the US and its allies have declared “absolutely clearly and specifically,” the official explained.

In practical terms, the West seeks to dismantle Russia and to end its existence, she claimed. What did you expect from the people chosen by the US as their tools? Tools don’t have a say in what they do. Clear-eyed politicians in the EU can see the place allocated to their nations in the US grand plan, which is that of a sacrificial animal on the altar of victory against Russia, Zakharova added. Europe’s grim future is evident in the state of its economy, she said. ”What is happening to Europe is not just a crisis, or collapse, or loss of position. It truly is a disaster,” she argued. Western officials such as Hungary’s Orban, who publicly object to the course of action chosen in Washington, probably want to set the record straight for the future generations of Europeans, who will blame the leaders of today for their inaction, Zakharova said.

The Hungarian prime minister has repeatedly argued that Western sanctions imposed on Russia as punishment for the Ukraine conflict have failed to end hostilities and ended up hurting EU members more than they did Russia. Budapest has used its veto power in the bloc to stop proposed restrictions that would have undermined core Hungarian national interests, such as its cooperation with Russia on nuclear energy. Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged to order a ceasefire with Ukraine as soon as Kiev renounces its bid to join NATO and pulls its troops out of all territory which Moscow claims under its sovereignty.

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“..Ukraine is not interested in Orban’s proposal and claimed that a ceasefire “cannot be considered in isolation.”

Orban Reveals Zelensky’s Reaction To Ceasefire Proposal (RT)

Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky was not receptive to Budapest’s proposal to establish a temporary ceasefire with Russia, according to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who recently traveled to Kiev. During his surprise visit on Tuesday, which was his first trip to Ukraine in over a decade, Orban proposed that Zelensky think about “whether it would be possible to take a break. To reach a ceasefire and start negotiations [with Russia] since a quick ceasefire could speed up these negotiations.” Ahead of the trip, Orban stated that he hoped to explain to Zelensky that “time is running out and it is important to establish peace, as hundreds of soldiers are dying on the front every day and we do not see how a solution can be found on the battlefield.”

However, following his conversations with Zelensky, Orban told the Swiss Die Weltwoche news outlet, that the Ukrainian leader “had some doubts” about the ceasefire proposal and “didn’t like it very much.” He explained that Zelensky “had a bad experience in the past with ceasefires, which, in his opinion, did not benefit Ukraine” and because of this believed there were “limits” to what could be achieved. While Zelensky himself has not yet commented on Hungary’s proposal, his deputy chief of staff, Igor Zhovka has stated that Ukraine is not interested in Orban’s proposal and claimed that a ceasefire “cannot be considered in isolation.”

Instead, Zhovka said that Kiev will continue to seek a resolution to the conflict based on Zelensky’s own ‘peace formula’. The ten-point program, initially floated in late 2022, calls for a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from territories Kiev claims as its own, reparation payments and an international war crime tribunal for Russia’s leadership. Moscow has vehemently rejected Zelensky’s plan as a non-starter and has stressed that any peace talks with Kiev must be based on “realities on the ground.” Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has presented his own set of terms for starting ceasefire talks, which include a full Ukrainian withdrawal from the regions that voted to be part of Russia, as well as legally binding guarantees that ensure Ukraine will never become a member of NATO.

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‘You planned to mobilize this number of people, but mobilized that. We have provided you with funds for weapons and that number of troops, and you fail to hold your end of the bargain,..”

US Dissatisfied With Ukraine’s Mobilization Rate – Former PM (Sp.)

The United States expresses its dissatisfaction with the insufficient mobilization rate in Ukraine, causing trouble in Washington-Kiev relations, former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Wednesday. “After the adoption of the bill facilitating mobilization, the number of mobilized people increased, but the Kiev regime failed to achieve the numbers set by the Americans, failed by far. That is why they are having problems with their US masters who are openly saying: ‘You planned to mobilize this number of people, but mobilized that. We have provided you with funds for weapons and that number of troops, and you fail to hold your end of the bargain,'” Azarov said on Telegram. There is active agitation in Ukraine in favor of signing of the temporary ceasefire agreement, he added.

“They say, we should sit tight, gain strength and win [the lost territories] back. That is the idea of all that [agitation] talks. No one is promoting the idea of giving up these territories indefinitely, the idea of a permanent peace treaty, the idea of giving up on NATO membership. These ideas are mentioned nowhere,” the former prime minister added. Martial law was introduced in Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The next day, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on general mobilization. The martial law and mobilization have been continuously extended since then. On May 9, the Ukrainian president signed bills to extend mobilization and martial law in the country for another 90 days. Under martial law, Ukrainian citizens aged from 18 to 60 are prohibited from leaving the country.

Western countries have been providing massive military and financial aid to Kiev since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. The Kremlin has consistently warned against continued arms deliveries to Kiev, saying it would lead to further escalation of the conflict.

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“Stage [the interview] on neutral grounds or he might have you disappeared like Gonzalo Lira..”

Tucker Carlson Announces Zelensky Interview (RT)

Vladimir Zelensky has finally accepted a request to be interviewed by Tucker Carlson, the American journalist has revealed. A notorious Ukrainian government-linked website branded Carlson an enemy of the state, in particular for his interview with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year. Carlson used to host a highly-rated evening show on Fox News until he was fired last April for reasons never quite explained. He has since launched his own network, posting on X (formerly Twitter) and Telegram. “Looks like we’ve got the Zelenskyy interview,” Carlson said on Wednesday. “We’ve been trying for two years, and with particular intensity after interviewing Putin in February.” “The point is to bring Americans much-needed information about the conflict that’s completely reshaping their country’s position in the world. Coming soon we hope,” he added.

Following the Putin interview, Carlson revealed that he also reached out to Zelensky to give him a chance to “explain his position,” but said that the Ukrainian leader ignored his overtures. The influential American journalist has long been critical of the US policy to fund Kiev in the conflict against Moscow. “Ukraine can’t win. Everybody knows that around the world. People are very clear on that. There is not one informed person outside the United States who thinks that somehow Ukraine is going to beat Russia,” he said in April.Last month, during an interview with Donald Trump Jr, Carlson argued that Ukraine was being sold off to foreign corporate investors and that the Ukrainian nation would disappear within 50 years. “We betrayed them like no other country ever,” he said at the time.

Carlson’s announcement has caused some concern among his fans, given that he was placed on Ukraine’s notorious list of public enemies back in 2023, labeled as “an accomplice of Russian occupiers and terrorists.” “Stage [the interview] on neutral grounds or he might have you disappeared like Gonzalo Lira,” conservative blogger Ian Miles Cheong warned Carlson, referring to an American-Chilean journalist who was tortured to death in a Ukrainian jail earlier this year. The controversial Mirotvorets (Peacemaker) database was launched by Ukrainian government-linked activists in 2014. It has often been called Ukraine’s ‘kill list’, as a number of prominent journalists and other public figures featured on the website have been murdered over the years.

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Good topic for Tucker’s interview.

Ukraine To Be Warned It’s ‘Too Corrupt’ For NATO – Telegraph (RT)

NATO wants Ukraine to make more effort to crack down on endemic corruption as a condition for any progress towards joining the bloc, the Daily Telegraph reported on Tuesday, citing sources. According to the British paper, concerns that Ukraine is “too corrupt” to become a full-fledged NATO member will be highlighted in the communique at the bloc’s Washington summit on July 9-11. A senior US State Department official told The Telegraph that the West must “applaud everything that Ukraine has done in the name of reforms over the last two-plus years.” However, he added that “we want to talk about additional steps that need to be taken, particularly in the area of anti-corruption. It is a priority for many of us around the table.”

NATO members first agreed in 2008 that Ukraine would eventually join the bloc, without setting an exact timetable. After the Western-backed coup in Kiev in 2014, Ukraine made its NATO aspirations a strategic goal and formally applied to join the bloc in 2022. The move came after four of its former regions voted overwhelmingly to join Russia. However, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said Ukraine’s accession is out of the question while it is in conflict with Russia, insisting that membership can only be approved “when allies agree and conditions are met.” Moscow has said Ukraine’s plans to join NATO are among the key reasons for the conflict. Ukraine has been plagued by corruption for years. The hostilities with Russia have made the problem even more apparent, and the Ukrainian military has been rocked by several high-profile procurement scandals in recent months.

Graft is high on the list of concerns for Ukraine’s Western backers in the EU and US. Last month, the EU set up a special watchdog to combat the possible embezzlement of billions of dollars allocated to Kiev. In May, Robert Storch, the Pentagon’s inspector general, released a report stating that “endemic corruption persists” in Ukraine while calling its government “one of the least accountable” in Europe. An NBC report in June claimed that Kiev has been irritated by constant US demands to ramp up anti-corruption efforts. American and Ukrainian officials have acknowledged that it is one of the issues poisoning bilateral relations. According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, Ukraine is in the ‘red’ zone, ranking 104th out of 180 countries.

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“The stocks of their weapons have been depleting, many tunnels have been destroyed, infrastructure has been devastated. Their combatants must be exhausted as they have been fighting for a long time. But from the political point of view, Hamas has never been stronger..”

‘Hamas Has Never Been Stronger’: Israel Is Stuck In A War It Can’t Win (Blade)

Through April, the IDF had targeted more than 32,000 military sites belonging to Hamas and its allies. In June, Israel announced that 15,000 of the group’s militants had been eliminated. But experts are certain those measures won’t eradicate the Islamic group that has been in charge of Gaza since 2007. “We are advancing to the end of the stage of eliminating the Hamas terrorist army,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, addressing the cadets of Israel National Defense College. “I was very impressed by the achievements above ground and below ground, and by the commanders’ fighting spirit. With this spirit we will achieve our objectives: Returning our hostages, eliminating Hamas’ military and governing capabilities, ensuring that Gaza will not constitute a threat…” he added. Since October 7, 2023 – when hordes of Hamas militants attacked Israel and killed more than 1,500 people – Israel has eliminated dozens of Hamas tunnels.

It has seized weapons depots and cash, destroyed various military sites, killed operatives of Hamas and of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and captured thousands others. But almost nine months in, Israel’s victory over Hamas still seems remote. Before the deadly October 7 attack, the Islamic group that has been in control of the Strip since 2007, boasted five brigades or 25 battalions with a total number of active combatants standing at 30,000. In June, Israel admitted that it had only eliminated half of that original force, or 15,000 Hamas combatants. On Tuesday evening, the country’s chief of staff, Herzi Halevi, said Israeli forces had killed at least 900 militants in Rafah, south of the Strip. Reports suggest that Hamas is now actively recruiting new cadets, many of whom are 18 year-olds, to replenish its ranks, but even if they fail to reach their initial numbers, the existing battalions are more than enough to challenge Israel.

Just on Monday, Hamas militants fired twenty rockets from Khan Yunis at Israel’s southern communities, showing they are still capable of putting up a fight. Areas that had been vacant of Hamas before are now seeing a resurgence. Israeli soldiers continue to fall in the Strip, almost on a daily basis, with the total number already exceeding 670. “I don’t believe Israel can destroy Hamas completely,” said Shadi Abdelrahman, a political analyst and native of Gaza who left the Strip shortly before the war. “Hamas is not like any other group. They are not outsiders. They have an ideology connected to a cause, and that cause is to fight for their lands or to avenge the death of their loves ones,” he added.

Stemming from the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical Islamist organization that’s deemed terrorist by many regional and international players, Hamas was established in Gaza in late 1980s as a response to what they call Israeli occupation and the inability of other Palestinian factions, including Fatah, to confront it. But they were far more than just a group that wanted to resist Israel militarily. Just like their patrons, the Muslim Brotherhood, they were a social movement: they established schools and hospitals, they ran charities and served as mediators in family feuds, and that made them an indispensable part of the Gazan society.

“Socially speaking, Hamas of today doesn’t have that much power and cannot provide what it used to before, simply because they cannot move freely due to Israel’s heavy shelling,” explained Abdelrahman. “Militarily, their capabilities have also been damaged. The stocks of their weapons have been depleting, many tunnels have been destroyed, infrastructure has been devastated. Their combatants must be exhausted as they have been fighting for a long time. But from the political point of view, Hamas has never been stronger,” added the analyst.

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“If they want to take the risk, get themselves into trouble, and put themselves into the same predicament that Eisenhower was, let them come..”

Houthis Vow USS Theodore Roosevelt Primary Target Once it Enters Red Sea (Sp.)

The USS Theodore Roosevelt is set to take over duties in the region after Yemen’s Ansar Allah movement (Houthis) targeted the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Red Sea with missiles and UAVs in response to earlier bombings, leading the supercarrier to exit after an eight-month posting. Yemen’s Houthi militia has released a video promising to sink the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt once it arrives in Red Sea waters. The aircraft carrier is a “primary target for the Missile Forces of the Yemeni Army from now on, and will be subject to targeting upon its entry into the Red Sea,” Ansar Allah leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi stated in the video. “If they want to take the risk, get themselves into trouble, and put themselves into the same predicament that Eisenhower was, let them come,” al-Houthi warned.

The Houthis have vowed to stop all Israeli-owned or bound naval traffic through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden until Israel halts its assault on the Palestinian Gaza Strip. The armed forces have tried to strike the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower carrier on several occasions, but the US Navy insists that those attacks caused no damage to the supercarrier or its escorts. A missile and drone barrage targeted the vessel shortly before it departed the region in early June.

“In response to US and UK air strikes on some cities and civilian targets in Yemen, which killed and injured more than 58 people, most of whom were civilians, the USS Eisenhower aircraft carrier was attacked in the Red Sea with a large number of ballistic, cruise missiles and drones,” Ansar Allah political office member Hezam al-Asad told Sputnik in May. Yemeni forces hit a US aircraft carrier in the Red Sea with missiles and UAVs in response to the bombing of the country – Ansar Allah. Most of those killed and wounded in US and British strikes on Yemen were civilians, a member of the Ansar Allah political bureau told Sputnik. The Yemeni blockade of Israel prompted the United States to send warships to the Red Sea along with a handful of ships from a ‘coalition’ of NATO member states including the UK. Those forces have attacked targets in Yemen.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

FSD

 

 

Chicken
https://twitter.com/i/status/1808274583784403372

 

 

Snow leopard

 

 

Baby sleep

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 252024
 

 

Assange Leaves UK Prison To Finalize Plea Deal With US (RT)
US Escalated Ukraine Conflict to New Level in Sevastopol (Sp.)
Russia ‘Can’t Not Respond’ To Crimea Attack – Ron Paul (RT)
Between Kremlin Cup And General Staff Lip After Sunday Attacks (Helmer)
Putin’s “War” To Re-shape The American Zeitgeist (Alastair Crooke)
Article 5 Won’t Save Ukraine if It Joins NATO (Sp.)
Desperate Ukraine Needs Massive Debt Bailout (Miles)
Von der Leyen Must Go – Orban (RT)
EU To Bypass Hungarian Veto On Tapping Russian Assets – FT (RT)
The Land that Law Forgot: SCOTUS and the New York Legal Wasteland (Turley)
Boeing Faces Possible Criminal Indictment – Reuters (RT)
Death Of The Petrodollar: What Really Happened Between The US and Saudis? (RT)
Here It Comes (Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

Julian


https://twitter.com/i/status/1805485661102772656

 

 

CNN gag order

CNN apology
https://twitter.com/i/status/1805282114255892876

 

 

Kim

 

 

Orban

 

 

Stop it!
https://twitter.com/i/status/1805415390819824083

 

 

Disguise

 

 

 

 

“Julian Assange is free. He left Belmarsh maximum security prison on the morning of 24 June, after having spent 1901 days there..”

Assange Leaves UK Prison To Finalize Plea Deal With US (RT)

WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange was released from a UK prison on Tuesday morning, his team has said. He has spent five years in the Belmarsh Prison in London while fighting extradition to the US, where he was indicted on 18 counts of disseminating classified information. According to the newly filed court documents, Assange will soon strike a plea deal in order to avoid further time behind bars. “Julian Assange is free. He left Belmarsh maximum security prison on the morning of 24 June, after having spent 1901 days there,” WikiLeaks wrote on X (formerly Twitter). “He was granted bail by the High Court in London and was released at Stansted airport during the afternoon, where he boarded a plane and departed the UK.” WikiLeaks said that the international campaign to free Assange has created “the space for a long period of negotiations with the US Department of Justice, leading to a deal that has not yet been formally finalized.”

“As he returns to Australia, we thank all who stood by us, fought for us, and remained utterly committed in the fight for his freedom,” WikiLeaks wrote. According to a letter from the DOJ, Assange will appear in court in Saipan, in the Northern Mariana Islands, a US territory in the Pacific, at 9 am local time on Wednesday. “We anticipate that the defendant will plead guilty to the charge… of conspiring to unlawfully obtain and disseminate classified information relating to the national defense of the United States,” the letter said. The DOJ said it expects Assange to return to his home country of Australia after the proceedings. Under Assange’s helm, WikiLeaks published multiple top secret files, including documents related to the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well a trove of US diplomatic cables.

In 2010, the organization published a video of a US military helicopter attacking civilians in Baghdad in 2007 after mistaking them for insurgents. Fearing extradition to the US, Assange spent seven years hiding inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He was ejected from the premises in 2019, when Ecuador revoked his asylum status. The activist was immediately arrested by British police and subsequently spent five years in Belmarsh after being found guilty of jumping bail. Assange’s legal team, family and associates have repeatedly described the conditions in Belmarsh as “torture” and warned that his health had significantly deteriorated behind bars.

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“Both ATACMS variants have cluster warheads, prohibited by the international Convention on Cluster Munitions — which the US declined to sign.”

US Escalated Ukraine Conflict to New Level in Sevastopol (Sp.)

Washington’s involvement in the Ukrainian missile strike on Sevastopol is undeniable, given that it was conducted with the US-made ATACMS missiles programmed by American specialists, while a US RQ-4 Global Hawk reconnaissance drone was operating near Crimea that day, Russia’s Foreign Ministry stated on June 24. “The US is very complicit in this,” Earl Rasmussen, a retired US Army lieutenant colonel and international consultant, told Sputnik, commenting on the Ukrainian missile attack. “It had cluster bombs as munitions as well. Typically, for most countries it is not acceptable.” The expert said it was “highly likely the Global Hawk was providing reconnaissance, targeting information and potentially guidance information for the ATACMS itself. “ATACMS… essentially needs to coordinate with something. So, typically a lot of times drones’ or satellite information are used to help guide the target and guide the missile,” Rasmussen explained.

“ATACMS is pre-programed to some degree. But to ensure that it gets to its destination, there’s definitely communication of some type with an aerial drone system.” On Sunday at 12:15 pm local time, Ukraine attacked the Russian city of Sevastopol with five ATACMS missiles equipped with cluster bomblets. Russian air defenses intercepted four missiles, but the explosion of the fifth cluster warhead led to the death of four civilians with 153 more injured, according to local authroirties. The US government admitted in October 2023 that it had covertly provided Ukraine with a model of ATACMS with a range 165 kilometers. Longer-range ATACMS, capable of striking targets at a distance of up to 300 kilometers, were secretly included in the $300 million aid package and delivered to Ukraine in April. Both ATACMS variants have cluster warheads, prohibited by the international Convention on Cluster Munitions — which the US declined to sign.

In May, Politico reported that after Ukraine received ATACMS missiles, it also expressed interest in obtaining MQ-9 Reaper spy drones from the US, stressing that it needs new surveillance capabilities to strike Russian targets “deep behind the front lines.” EurasianTimes commentators suggested that “with the acquisition of the 300-kilometer-range variant of ATACMS, the thinking in Ukraine is that pairing it with an established unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) is the only way to attain some gains in the large artillery and ground systems-centric war.” The Defense Post also reported that US-made ATACMS and MQ-9 Reapers “could work in tandem in Ukraine, with the Reaper collecting target information and the ATACMS ensuring precision strikes.”

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“Are they going to twiddle their thumbs and walk away? They might – for a day or two – ponder it, but there will be something that they’re going to do.”

Russia ‘Can’t Not Respond’ To Crimea Attack – Ron Paul (RT)

There is tremendous popular pressure on Moscow to retaliate against the US over Sunday’s ATACMS missile strike on a beach near Sevastopol, former US Congressman Ron Paul has said. Five civilians were killed and over 150 injured by cluster munitions from a US-supplied missile launched by Ukrainian forces. Among the dead were at least two children. Paul, a retired lawmaker from Texas, described the strike as “a Ukrainian and American attack on Russia” on Monday’s Ron Paul Liberty Report. He added that some kind of escalation was inevitable after the US supplied long-range missiles to Ukraine and gave Kiev permission to use them for strikes deep inside Russia. “What’s Russia going to do about this?” Paul asked. “Are they going to twiddle their thumbs and walk away? They might – for a day or two – ponder it, but there will be something that they’re going to do.”

While Moscow might prefer a “minimal response,” Paul continued, “They can’t not respond.” The Russian public simply demands that something be done, he added. Russian Foreign Ministry officials summoned US Ambassador Lynne Tracy on Monday and told her that the “bloody atrocity” in Crimea would “not go unpunished.” According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Ukrainian military fired five ATACMS missiles at Crimea. While Russian air defense systems destroyed four of the projectiles mid-air, the fifth was damaged, veered off course, and exploded over a packed beach.

The Kremlin has described the beach bombing as an act of terrorism that the US was as responsible for as Ukraine. The attack happened while a US drone loitered over the Black Sea, and ATACMS launches rely on targeting and intelligence provided by the Americans, Moscow’s ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said. Paul and his co-host, Daniel McAdams, wondered if the missile attack was a deliberate escalation to justify further direct involvement of NATO inside Ukraine. They approvingly quoted Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, who on Monday condemned the attack as something the US military should not be doing. “The only border our American military should be defending is our own border,” Greene wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

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“..the Special Military Operation is not in fact a war, and that Russian war tactics and strategy should be limited to retaliation, not to the defeat and demilitarization of the US and NATO on the Ukrainian battlefield.”

Between Kremlin Cup And General Staff Lip After Sunday Attacks (Helmer)

A salvo of five ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) missiles was intercepted over the Uchkuevka beach at Sevastopol just after midday. In celebration of the 30-degree sunshine and the Orthodox Trinity holiday, there were a large number of people in the water and on the sand. The missiles were intercepted in the air, but shrapnel from the detonating warheads struck the beach. At latest count, four people were killed, two of them children; 151 people, including 27 children, were wounded; 82 were hospitalized, 13 of them in serious condition. Boris Rozhin, editor in chief of the Colonel Cassad military blog, was in Sevastopol and he reported from one of the hospitals to which the casualties were taken. His reports started at 12:23 local time and continued for almost twelve hours. Rozhin is one of the independent Russian war correspondents calling on the Kremlin to remove the limit which has been placed on attacking the US Air Force (USAF) drones and other NATO aircraft which operate over the Black Sea, in international waters off the Crimean shore, to provide flight course, evasion of Russian air defence units, and target coordinates to the American and Ukrainian ground crews operating the ATACMS batteries and executing the fire orders.

Russian reports indicate the launch point for the Sevastopol beach attack was Nikolaev on the Ukrainian mainland. If so, the range of the missiles was at least 300 kilometres – longer than the US has publicly admitted. This also means that to be effective in defence against the repetition of such attacks against civilians, the proposed Russian demilitarized zone for the Ukraine, or “sanitary zone” as Putin has called it, must stretch from Nikolaev westward to Kiev. Rozhin has blamed the US explicitly in language repeated by other military bloggers. They mean to say, as they have been repeating in recent weeks, that the USAF drones used in the Sevastopol attacks should be destroyed. Just after 1600 Moscow time on Sunday, the Russian Defense Ministry issued its bulletin. The text, auto- translated into English, reads:

Note that that the Ministry, and the General Staff behind it, target the US as directly engaged in the operation of the missile attack. However, they start by calling the attack a “terrorist” strike, not an act of war. The wording of the statement also avoids identifying the USAF drones and other airborne electronic warfare systems offshore from Crimea. Instead, it refers to “satellite intelligence”. These are ideological references, not military ones. The distinction between Ukrainian acts of terrorism and war is Kremlin policy. By terming such attacks, including the Crocus City Hall attack in Moscow in March, terrorism but not war, the policy follows that the Special Military Operation is not in fact a war, and that Russian war tactics and strategy should be limited to retaliation, not to the defeat and demilitarization of the US and NATO on the Ukrainian battlefield.

At 1715 the Kremlin followed with a communiqué headlined: “The President reached out to the Government’s social bloc and the military following the attack by the Ukrainian Armed Forces against Sevastopol.” The two-paragraph statement said: “Vladimir Putin has been in touch with senior officials from the Government’s social ministries and agencies and healthcare institutions on an ongoing basis considering the urgency of providing care to the attack victims. The President has also been interacting with the military. The Ukrainian Armed Forces targeted Sevastopol with an intentional missile strike in the afternoon of June 23, using five ATACMS US-made tactical missiles. The attack left at least 124 people wounded or injured, to a varying degree of severity, including 27 children.”

The president’s statement was issued from the Kremlin in Moscow. Putin, who had returned from his visit to North Korea and Vietnam on June 20, has remained in the Moscow area. As he prepared to leave Vietnam on June 20, Putin was asked by a Kremlin pool reporter from Kommersant what he has meant by his threats to attack the US and NATO sources of the Ukrainian missile and drone attacks on Russian targets in Crimea, the Donbass, and the hinterland regions. “Andrei Kolesnikov: Kommersant newspaper, Andrei Kolesnikov. Can the use of Western long-range weapons be viewed as an act of aggression? Overall, can the shelling of Belgorod and Russian territory in general be viewed as an act of aggression? Vladimir Putin: This matter requires further investigation, but it is close. We are looking into it. What are we dealing with in this case? Those who supply these weapons believe that they are not at war with us.

As I have already said, including in Pyongyang, we reserve the right to supply our weapons to other regions of the world. I would not rule out this possibility in terms of our agreements with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. We can also adopt the same position on the question of where these weapons end up. Take the West, for example. They supply weapons to Ukraine, saying: We are not in control here, so the way Ukraine uses them is none of our business. Why cannot we adopt the same position and say that we supply something to somebody but have no control over what happens afterwards? Let them think about it. Therefore, at this stage, our primary objective is to defend against these strikes.”

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“Putin dismisses devices such as ‘ceasefires’ or ‘freezes’. He is seeking something permanent..”

Putin’s “War” To Re-shape The American Zeitgeist (Alastair Crooke)

The G7 and the subsequent Swiss ‘Bürgenstock Conference’ can – in retrospect – be understood as preparation for a prolonged Ukraine war. The three centrepiece announcements emerging from the G7 – the 10 year Ukraine security pact; the $50 ‘billion Ukraine loan’; and the seizing of interest on Russian frozen funds – make the point. The war is about to escalate. These stances were intended as preparation of the western public ahead of events. And in case of any doubts, the blistering belligerency towards Russia emerging from the European election leaders was plain enough: They sought to convey a clear impression of Europe preparing for war. What then lies ahead? According to White House Spokesman John Kirby: “Washington’s position on Kiev is “absolutely clear”: “First, they’ve got to win this war”. “They gotta win the war first. So, number one: We’re doing everything we can to make sure they can do that. Then when the war’s over … Washington will assist in building up Ukraine’s military industrial base”.

If that was not plain, the U.S. intent to prolong and take the war deep into Russia was underlined by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan: “Authorization for Ukrainian use of American weapons for cross-border attacks extends to anywhere [from which] Russian forces are coming across the border”. He affirmed, too, that Ukraine can use F-16s to attack Russia and use U.S. supplied air defence systems “to take down Russian planes – even if in Russian airspace – if they’re about to fire into Ukrainian airspace”. Ukrainian pilots have the latitude to judge ‘the intent’ of Russian fighter aircraft? Expect the parameters of this ‘authorisation’ to widen quickly – deeper to air bases from which Russian fighter bombers launch. Understanding that the war is about to transform radically – and extremely dangerously – President Putin (in his speech to the Foreign Ministry Board) detailed just how the world had arrived at this pivotal juncture – one which could extend to nuclear exchanges.

The gravity of the situation itself demanded the making of one ‘last chance’ offer to the West, which Putin emphatically said was “no temporary ceasefire for Kiev to prepare a new offensive; nor was it about freezing the conflict”; but rather, his proposals were about the war’s final completion.= “If, as before, Kiev and western capitals refuse it – then at the end, that’s their business”, Putin said. Just to be clear, Putin almost certainly never expected the proposals to be received in the West other than by the scorn and derision with which they, in fact, were met. Nor would Putin trust – for a moment – the West not to renege on an agreement, were some arrangement to be reached on these lines. If so, why then did President Putin make such a proposal last weekend, if the West cannot be trusted and its reaction was so predictable?

Well, maybe we need to search for the nesting inner Matryoshka doll, rather than fix on the outer casing: Putin’s ‘final completion’ likely will not credibly be achieved through some itinerant peace broker. In his Foreign Ministry address, Putin dismisses devices such as ‘ceasefires’ or ‘freezes’. He is seeking something permanent: An arrangement that has ‘solid legs’; one that has durability. Such a solution – as Putin before has hinted – requires a new world security architecture to come into being; and were that to happen, then a complete solution for Ukraine would flow as an implicit part to a new world order. That is to say, with the microcosm of a Ukraine solution flowing implicitly from the macrocosm agreement between the U.S. and the ‘Heartland’ powers – settling the borders to their respective security interests.

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“..an attack on one is an attack on all” does not automatically trigger a US military response.”

Article 5 Won’t Save Ukraine if It Joins NATO (Sp.)

As NATO members prepare to celebrate the alliance’s 75th anniversary in Washington next month, the US and key allies including the UK and Germany are debating how strongly to commit to Ukraine’s NATO bid. Washington and Berlin rejected a European plan to provide Ukraine with an “irreversible” path to the organization earlier this week, instead offering a “lighter commitment” with no concrete timeline, according to British newspaper The Telegraph. The Kiev regime has repeatedly urged the West to accept it into NATO. However, even if Ukraine were admitted, it would not be guaranteed NATO boots on the ground or greater assistance than it already receives. It is widely believed that Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty unquestionably commits NATO members to provide military support should one of them be attacked. In reality it doesn’t, according to US academics, legal experts and lawmakers.

Article 5 reads: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them . . . shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defense recognized by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking . . . such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. But Article 11 further explains that the treaty’s “provisions [shall be] carried out by the Parties in accordance with their respective constitutional processes.” The treaty’s language actually means that it’s up to NATO member-states and their respective legislatures to determine whether and how to come to the rescue of their peers.

“It is possible for the US and other Western countries to stay out of a conflict that involves a NATO country without having to break their alliance commitments,” Dan Reiter, a professor of political science at Emory University, and Brian Greenhill, an associate professor of political science at the University at Albany of the State University of New York wrote for The Conversation earlier this week. “The NATO treaty’s language contains loopholes that let member countries remain out of other members’ wars in certain situations.” The political scientists draw attention to the fact that whereas the treaty envisions the possibility of using military force in the event of an external attack it “does not include a clear definition of what an ‘armed attack’ actually is.” Previously that allowed NATO to argue that a violent act against a member wasn’t necessarily “enough” to define it as an “armed attack,” the academics note. According to Reiter and Greenhill, NATO members “have only formally invoked Article 5 once” in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, helping Washington patrol its skies from mid-October 2001 to mid-May 2002.

Nonetheless most NATO member states chose not to send troops to Afghanistan when the US declared war on the Taliban*. The academics point out that NATO states who didn’t join Washington’s “war on terror” were neither seen as breaking the alliance’s treaty nor sanctioned or ejected from the alliance. Additionally, NATO members have also used the issue of geography to stay out of their peers’ conflicts, according to the academics. Thus when the UK and Argentina went to war over the Falkland Islands in 1982, the US and other NATO states referred to the fact that the treaty provides for restoring and maintaining security in “the North Atlantic area.” The Falkland Islands – also known as the Islas Malvinas – are a South Atlantic archipelago. Last June, Senator Rand Paul addressed the issue of Article 5’s common defense provision to underscore that “an attack on one is an attack on all” does not automatically trigger a US military response.

“The Constitution grants to Congress the sole authority to determine where and when we send our sons and daughters to fight. We cannot delegate that responsibility to the president, the courts, an international body, or our allies,” Paul said. The senator condemned those he claimed deceive the public about what America’s commitments under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty really are.

On December 6, 2023, US President Joe Biden urged American lawmakers to green-light a US aid package for Ukraine by claiming that otherwise “we’ll have something that we don’t seek and that we don’t have today: American troops fighting Russian troops — American troops fighting Russian troops if [Russia] moves into other parts of NATO.” “We’ve committed as a NATO member that we’d defend every inch of NATO territory,” Biden insisted. Moscow has resolutely rejected the idea of attacking any NATO member state as absurd. However, even if such a scenario occurred, it would be up to US lawmakers, not President Biden, to decide whether the US would put boots on the ground to protect its ally. “Any military confrontation between Russia and NATO would surely be of a substantial nature, scope, and duration — and would therefore require congressional authorization,” the Brennan Center for Justice (BCJ), a nonprofit law and public policy institute at New York University’s School of Law, explains.

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Bottomless.

Desperate Ukraine Needs Massive Debt Bailout (Miles)

With Kiev’s gloomy financial prospects showing no sign of improving, one British newspaper is insisting that Western bondholders must forgive a substantial portion of the country’s arrears. “Kiev was already in a complex debt situation going into the war, having restructured its private debt in 2015,” noted the Financial Times broadsheet in an editorial published Sunday. “The country must now balance borrowing to fund the war with managing old debt obligations.” “Doing so is a tricky juggling act,” the paper’s editorial board observed, claiming substantial Western investment would be needed as the country rebuilds. At stake in current negotiations is $20 billion owed to private bondholders, just a small portion of the government’s $152 billion in overall outstanding debt. Ukraine’s debt payments have been paused since the outbreak of the Russo-Ukraine conflict but are scheduled to resume in August.

A recent G7-backed deal to reduce the amount owed by 60% was rejected by investors last week, who counteroffered a 20% write-down. “The war has gone on longer than expected,” the paper noted. Multiple reports have revealed the United States intervened to quash peace talks between Moscow and Kiev early on in the conflict, with Volodymyr Zelensky eventually issuing an edict preventing the country from negotiating with Russia. Washington’s sabotage of efforts to end the war was finally acknowledged by The New York Times and other mainstream outlets earlier this month. The editorial proposes three options for Ukraine – a default, another pause of payments, and continued insistence on a more significant debt reduction. Another pause would see the interest on the debt continue to balloon, while a default would further damage the country’s reputation and distract from the country’s efforts on the battlefield as Moscow appears poised to deliver a knockout blow.

Kiev was widely acknowledged as a perilous environment for foreign investors for decades before the current conflagration, with British newspaper The Guardian calling Ukraine “the most corrupt nation in Europe.” Corruption has remained endemic among government officials since the country’s independence from the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Last year, defense minister Oleksii Reznikov was fired after millions of dollars of fraud was uncovered in procurement deals for the country’s armed forces. Ukraine has meanwhile relied on aid from Western countries merely to continue funding basic government services, a fact that has created controversy as increasing numbers of Americans tell pollsters they believe the US is spending too much money propping up the Kiev regime. Controversial investment firms like BlackRock and JPMorganChase are set to receive billions of dollars in profit from reconstruction efforts, with Ukraine’s indebtedness set to perpetuate Western influence in the country for years to come.

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“I’m not happy about the way things are going,” Orban said. “We have a structural problem.”

Von der Leyen Must Go – Orban (RT)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has called for Ursula von der Leyen to be replaced as president of the European Commission, describing the five years of her tenure as the “worst” in the history of the EU. He told reporters from the German media group Funke on Sunday that the EU’s green transition had gone against the economic and industrial interests of the bloc, while its migration package had also proven entirely unsuccessful. “The past five years have been perhaps the worst five years in the history of the EU. The successes of the European Commission and the Brussels elite are weak,” Orban said. The EU needs efficient leadership and there are “plenty” of talented politicians “capable of doing this job,” the Hungarian prime minister said. He claimed that the results of the recent European Parliament elections had also shown that people want change in Brussels.

Voters shifted significantly to the right in the elections earlier this month, with ruling coalitions in Germany and France being comprehensively trounced by right-wing parties. “But as it looks now, the same ruling coalition will remain in power. I’m not happy about the way things are going,” Orban said. “We have a structural problem.” Centrist parties retained a majority in the European Parliament, with von der Leyen’s European People’s Party (EPP) winning 190 seats. She is seeking a second term as European Commission president, declaring that her goal is to “build a broad majority for a strong Europe,” and to keep Brussels on a “pro-Ukraine path.”

Members of the European Parliament will have their say in confirming the next Commission president in a vote scheduled for 18 July. Von der Leyen will have to win a majority of MEPs’ votes. Orban also said that if Europeans want to “keep pace with the Americans,” they will have to “rise up again.” He lauded former US President Donald Trump, saying he has “101% confidence” in him, and described him a “man of peace” because he “didn’t start a single war.” Orban has long been a vocal critic of the West’s approach to the Ukraine conflict, particularly its arms shipments to Kiev.

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“..the bloc’s workaround was “sophisticated as every legal decision, but it flies.”

EU To Bypass Hungarian Veto On Tapping Russian Assets – FT (RT)

The European Union has developed a scheme to use profits from frozen Russian assets to secure a $50 billion loan for Ukraine, which will be used to purchase arms, the Financial Times reported on Monday, citing the bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell and other sources. The loophole effectively bypasses Hungary’s opposition to legislation that would have allowed the EU to hand over interest accrued on Russian funds to Ukraine. In an interview with the FT, Borrell said that since Budapest had opposed an EU agreement to transfer revenue to Ukraine, it “should not be part of the decision to use this money.” He added that the bloc’s workaround was “sophisticated as every legal decision, but it flies.” The West froze around $300 billion in Russian sovereign assets when the Ukraine conflict escalated, trapping around $280 billion in the EU.

Earlier this year, Brussels proposed seizing the interest earned on the assets to acquire weapons for Ukraine. The suggestion faced resistance from Hungary, a vocal critic of the West’s approach to the Ukraine conflict, particularly its arms shipments to Kiev. Under the US-led initiative, proceeds generated by Russia’s frozen assets from next year will be used to pay off the loan. The legal loophole allowing the EU to tap Russian assets is likely to suffice in guaranteeing the payout of the loan, the outlet said, citing officials familiar with the matter. However, Budapest can still block an EU decision to extend sanctions on Russian funds, which has to be renewed every six months by the bloc’s 27 members, the officials added.

To placate Hungary, the EU proposed a deal under which its share of the bloc’s funds would not be used to purchase weapons for Ukraine in exchange for not vetoing other members transferring the revenue to Kiev, according to Borrell. “We have offered Hungary: your money will not be used to support Ukraine in any means. Not just lethal, but on anything,” Borrell said. The proposal, however, has been rejected by Budapest. Moscow has denounced the decision to transfer profits from its assets to Ukraine as a blatant and illegal “expropriation.”

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Note the Pacific Ocean in the cover. And Canada.

The Land that Law Forgot: SCOTUS and the New York Legal Wasteland (Turley)

In 1976, Saul Steinburg’s hilarious “View of the World from 9th Avenue” was published on the cover of the New Yorker. The map showed Manhattan occupying most of the known world with wilderness on the other side of the Hudson River between New York and San Francisco. The cartoon captured the distorted view New Yorkers have of the rest of the country. Roughly 50 years later, the image has flipped for many. With the Trump trial, Manhattan has become a type of legal wilderness where prosecutors use the legal system to hunt down political rivals and thrill their own supporters. New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) ran on a pledge to bag former president Donald Trump. (She also sought to dissolve the National Rifle Association.) Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg also pledged to get Trump. Neither specified how they would do it, but both were elected and both were lionized for bringing controversial cases against Trump.

Just beyond the Hudson River, the response to these cases has been far less positive. James secured an obscene civil penalty of almost half a billion dollars without having to show there was a single victim or dollar lost from alleged overvaluation of assets. Through various contortions, Bragg converted a dead misdemeanor case into 34 felonies in an unprecedented prosecution. New Yorkers and the media insisted that such selective prosecution was in defense of the “rule of law.” This week in the Supreme Court, a glimpse of the legal landscape outside of Manhattan came more sharply into view. It looked very different as the Supreme Court, with a strong conservative majority, defended the rights of defendants and upheld core principles that are being systematically gutted in New York. In Gonzalez v. Trevino, the court held in favor of Sylvia Gonzalez, who had been arrested in Castle Hills, Texas in 2019 on a trumped-up charge of tampering with government records. She had briefly misplaced a petition on a table at a public meeting.

This was a blatant case of selective prosecution by officials whom Gonzalez had criticized. She was the only person charged in the last 10 years under the state’s records laws for temporarily misplacing a document. She argued that virtually every one of the prior 215 felony indictments involved the use or creation of fake government IDs. Although the charges were later dropped, the case reeked of political retaliation and selective prosecution. There is no evidence that anyone else has faced such a charge in similar circumstances. Yet when she sued, the appellate court threw her case out, requiring Gonzales to shoulder an overwhelming burden of proof to establish selective prosecution for her political speech. The justices, on the other hand, reduced that burden, allowing Gonzalez to go back and make the case for selective prosecution.

Unlike the Trump case, the criminal charges against Gonzales were thrown out before trial. For Trump, selective prosecution claims were summarily dismissed, even though no case like Bragg’s appears to have ever been brought before. The Bragg case is raw political prosecution. No one seriously argues that Bragg would have brought this case against anyone other than Trump. Indeed, his predecessor rejected the case. Yet people were literally dancing in the streets when I came out of the courthouse after the verdict against Trump. In fact, the selectivity of the prosecution was precisely why it was so thrilling for New Yorkers. [..] It all comes down to the legal map. As even CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig observed, this case of contorting the law for a selective prosecution would not have succeeded outside of an anti-Trump district. On the New Yorker map circa 2024, once you cross the Hudson River eastward, you enter a legal wilderness.

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“..FAA investigators found dozens of quality-control shortcomings, including the use of dish soap and a hotel key card as makeshift tools.”

Boeing Faces Possible Criminal Indictment – Reuters (RT)

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is reportedly considering a criminal indictment of aerospace giant Boeing for allegedly violating the terms of a 2021 settlement that shielded the company from charges over airliner crashes that killed 346 people. Prosecutors have recommended to senior DOJ officials that charges be filed against Boeing, Reuters reported on Sunday, citing unnamed people familiar with the department’s deliberations. A decision on whether to prosecute the company is due by July 7. The DOJ claimed in a court filing last month that Boeing had breached a 2021 agreement over allegations that the company defrauded federal aviation authorities in connection with fatal 737 MAX airliner crashes in 2018 and 2019. Under the settlement, the aircraft maker avoided prosecution by agreeing to pay a $2.5 billion fine and implement new compliance and ethics practices to prevent violations of US fraud laws.

Boeing responded by arguing that it had honored the terms of the 2021 agreement. However, the company has suffered a spate of safety incidents in recent months, including an inflight blowout of a door panel on a 737 MAX 9 operated by Alaska Airlines. The Alaska scare occurred just two days before the DOJ settlement was scheduled to expire. Prosecutors had previously agreed to seek formal dismissal of the deferred fraud charge as long as Boeing complied with the deal’s terms over a three-year period. Apart from the legal compliance issues, Boeing has reportedly failed a federal safety audit of its manufacturing processes in the wake of the midair door blowout. The New York Times reported in March that Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigators found dozens of quality-control shortcomings, including the use of dish soap and a hotel key card as makeshift tools.

The FAA also launched a probe of possible falsification of inspection records at a Boeing factory in South Carolina. No final decision has been made by the DOJ on indicting Boeing, and internal discussions remain ongoing, Reuters said. Potential charges could go beyond the scope of the 2021 fraud settlement. One of the sources said other options include extending the earlier settlement agreement or imposing stricter compliance terms on Boeing. While the manufacturer might accept having an outside compliance monitor or paying a financial penalty, facing criminal charges or being forced to enter a guilty plea could be “too damaging” to its business, Reuters said. Boeing is a major defense contractor, and its government revenue might be jeopardized by a criminal conviction.

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“..when its economic foundation has eroded, it can only be maintained for so long by bluster and smoke and mirrors.”

Death Of The Petrodollar: What Really Happened Between The US and Saudis? (RT)

It is said that works of fiction can often convey certain truths better than a newswire. That is perhaps the light in which to view reports circulating around the internet recently about the expiration of a 50-year ‘petrodollar’ treaty between the US and Saudi Arabia. The agreement is a piece of fiction. The spurious reports appear to have originated in India or in the murky tangle of websites aimed at crypto investors. There was an official agreement between the US and Saudi Arabia signed in June of 1974 and another, secret one reached later that year according to which the Saudis were promised military aid in exchange for recycling their oil proceeds into US Treasuries. The deal whereby Riyadh would sell its oil in dollars was informal, and there was no expiration date. The petrodollar system as we have come to known largely grew organically.

However, this fiction points to an underlying truth: the petrodollar has entered a long twilight from which there will be no return. No other economic arrangement has done more to ensure American preeminence over the last half-century. Yet in its essence it represented an implicit oil backing to the dollar that would be maintained. To borrow an idea originally expressed by financial analyst Luke Gromen, it is ultimately America’s inability and unwillingness to maintain this backing that is gradually dooming the system.

[..] We are now accustomed to the proliferation of unbacked currencies, so it’s hard to appreciate just how unusual the petrodollar arrangement was for a world long used to dealing with some form of gold standard. It’s one thing for a government to insist that a currency be accepted within its own borders, but to propose that another country part with real goods – such as oil – for money backed by absolutely nothing would have been a tough sell in past eras. Yet the US managed to do that and more. But such an arrangement would never have been sustainable for so long – longer than the gold-backed Bretton Woods lasted – based on military power and backroom dealings by cabals of diplomats alone. While Washington has always acted with a certain sense of impunity, believing there to be no viable alternative to the dollar, for the several-decade-long golden age of the petrodollar there was at least an economic justification for it. It worked well enough for the rest of the world that, until recently, no major bloc emerged to oppose it. There also was the long shadow of Paul Volcker to give it credibility.

However, just as the US reneged in 1971 on its obligation to convert dollars into gold, it later reneged on its implicit obligation to maintain the value of the dollar against oil. Since then, Washington has shed all semblances of fiscal restraint and any pretense of managing the dollar in the best interests of everyone. Instead, it now wields the greenback as a weapon in a desperate bid to roll back the very events it helped set in motion by not preserving the integrity of the currency in the first place.The US is now fighting to maintain all the benefits of this broken system, the responsibility for which it is neither equipped nor willing to take any longer. If the dollar isn’t pegged to gold and isn’t even implicitly backed by oil, and Washington won’t preserve its integrity, then it is hardly up to the task of facilitating trade in critical resources. A system as deeply entrenched as the petrodollar won’t disappear overnight, but when its economic foundation has eroded, it can only be maintained for so long by bluster and smoke and mirrors.

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“A decision against the government should lead to the release of many J-6 prisoners and perhaps lawsuits for malicious prosecution under the Federal Tort Claims Act..”

Here It Comes (Kunstler)

Did you entertain feelings of doom during last week’s brain-withering heat-wave? The sheer anxious waiting and wishing for it to end was a nice analog to the stifling psycho-political miasma oppressing this nation — alternately known as the republic (for which we stand) and “our democracy,” as “Joe Biden” likes to style his regime of lawfare, warfare, and garish state-sponsored depravity. Well, rejoice and ring them bells! The political weather is breaking. The week ahead looks like an all-you-can-eat, steam-table banquet of consequence. The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) teased last week with an opening round of lesser decisions on bump stocks for rifles, abortion pills for women inconvenienced by motherhood, and a few other interesting cases. The court’s term draws to a close with the end of June. Pending are several cases liable to rattle the windows and shake down the walls.

One is the question as to whether the government can use private company proxies to censor constitutionally protected free speech (Murthy v. Missouri). The case has been simmering for years, with lower court actions that took a dim view of the intel blob’s coercive intrusions into social media. Probably the most galling part of the story is that virtually every act of censorship and de-platforming was committed against those telling the truth about some vital public issue, whether it was the danger and ineffectiveness of the Covid vaccines, or the probity of the 2020 elections, or the existence of Hunter Biden’s laptop and its dastardly contents. That is, the government’s actions were entirely in the service of lying to the American people. This raises a greater question that redounds from the courts onto the November election: just why is the US government so deeply invested in all that lying?

The answer is obvious: it has been engaged in nefarious activities that it seeks to hide and deny. And all of that has served to wreck the country. Even worse, the government has gaslit half of the public into cheerleading and rolling over for all that dishonesty, so as to keep them “safe” from hobgoblins such as “misinformation.” Considering “Joe Biden’s” cratering poll numbers, it looks like the public is tired of this incessant lying and is fixing to vote his regime out of office. We begin to see evidence that even some hardcore regime hacks are breaking out of that consensus trance, for instance, the Cuomo brothers denouncing the lies around lawfare and Covid. Andrew, once the New York state AG himself, told the shocked studio audience on Bill Maher’s HBO gabfest, beloved by Wokesters, that the Alvin Bragg case never should have been brought to trial. His brother Chris has been telling his podcast followers that Covid policy was a fiasco and the vaccines were harmful, and he apologized for his prior shifty reporting on all that when he had a CNN show.

Also upcoming at SCOTUS: Fischer v the United States, as to whether the DOJ tortured a federal statute on shredding financial records to overcharge J-6 rioters. In 2015 the court limited the scope of that law (part of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act), but Attorney General Merrick Garland used it anyway as an all-purpose dragnet to prosecute hundreds of people who merely paraded through the US Capitol — which provided legal footing for the House J-6 committee to color that event dishonestly as “an insurrection.” A decision against the government should lead to the release of many J-6 prisoners and perhaps lawsuits for malicious prosecution under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA). It would also toss out the pertinent charges in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s DC case against Donald Trump for supposedly fomenting an “insurrection.”

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Lion
https://twitter.com/i/status/1805479152293708084

 

 

Hero
https://twitter.com/i/status/1805023820769550376

 

 

Newborn
https://twitter.com/i/status/1805227011545178183

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 222024
 


Henri Matisse Reading woman in violet dress 1898

 

Biden Haemorrhaging Voters In All Demographics (MN)
Trump Points To ‘Cause’ Of Ukraine Conflict (RT)
Trump Talks Ukraine, NATO And Hints At “The Next AI Trade” (ZH)
Trump Seeks Recusal of NY Civil Fraud Judge Who Fined Him $454 Million (ET)
Appeals Court Denies Steve Bannon’s Emergency Bid to Avoid Prison (ET)
Biden Regime Amnesties 350,000 Illegal Aliens (Paul Craig Roberts)
A Door Closes, A Window Opens (Kunstler)
Simon Says Freeze (Manley)
Putin’s Peace Initiative Is Russia’s Fourth Proposal On Ukraine – Lavrov (TASS)
Kiev Talking To EU About Extraditing Ukrainian Citizens (RT)
Medvedev Cites Facts Of Zelensky Usurping Power (TASS)
Hungary ‘Won’t Ride NATO War Train’ – Orban (RT)
Orban Says West’s Quest To Defeat Russia In Ukrainian Conflict Hopeless (TASS)
British PM Threatens Teens With Sanctions For Refusing National Service (RT)

 

 

 

 

Nap Doctorow

 

 

O’Leary
https://twitter.com/i/status/1804208288503890169

 

 

What does Marc Elias do in my Twitter feed?

 

 

And how about Jim Acosta? Never seen those people before on this platform. Did they buy their way in?

 

 

 

 

“The report also notes how Biden’s support among Black and Latino women is in free fall, calling it “especially striking.”

Biden Haemorrhaging Voters In All Demographics (MN)

Analysis By The New York Times reveals that support for Joe Biden among women is at a 20 year low for any Democrat. The polling shows that Donald Trump has an eight-point lead over Biden among women. The turnaround is once again insane. Four years ago, Biden led Trump by 13 points among women. Now, Trump has gained 21 points. The figures were gleaned from the Times’s average of more than 30 polls conducted since January. The Times notes “Overall, twice as many women say they were better off financially under Mr. Trump.”It adds that “Young women, a key constituency that Democrats are hoping to retain this cycle, were nearly three times as likely to say things were better for them financially under Mr. Trump than Mr. Biden.” The report also notes how Biden’s support among Black and Latino women is in free fall, calling it “especially striking.”

“He is winning among Black women in the KFF survey by 58 percentage points, but that represents a significant drop from his 86 percentage point margin among Black women in the approach to the 2020 election, according to an average of New York Times/Siena College polls from that election,” the report notes. It adds that “Biden’s lead with Hispanic women has also shrunk substantially, to about 12 points.”As we previously highlighted, Biden’s loss of support among Black voters as they shift allegiance to Trump is historic. CNN data reporter Harry Enten expressed shock at just how much support Biden has lost among the demographic, noting “We’re careening towards a historic performance for a Republican presidential candidate, the likes of which we have not seen in six decades.”

Meanwhile yet another poll, this one from Quinnipiac, shows that Biden’s support among young voters is plummeting. “Biden is out of step with young people on a number of key issues,” Aidan Kohn-Murphy, the founder of Gen-Z for Change, which was previously TikTok for Biden, told the Washington Post. He called “the frustrations of young progressive leaders a barometer of widespread dissatisfaction among Gen Z voters.” Pundits and Democratic insiders have suggested that the upcoming debate against Trump is Biden’s final chance to turn things around, and if he doesn’t he could be forced to stand down.

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“..Blinken told Moscow that Ukraine would join NATO and that Washington thought it was OK to put nuclear weapons there. “So no wonder the Russians hit the roof..”

Trump Points To ‘Cause’ Of Ukraine Conflict (RT)

Russia’s intervention in Ukraine was triggered by the irresponsible and provocative rhetoric of US President Joe Biden and his administration about Kiev joining NATO, Donald Trump has said. Trump, who is seeking a rematch with Biden for the presidency in November, made the comments during a conversation on foreign policy with ‘All-In’ podcast co-host David Sacks on Thursday. “For 20 years, I heard that if Ukraine goes into NATO, it’s a real problem for Russia. I’ve heard that for a long time. And I think that’s really why this war started,” Trump said. The Republican presidential candidate pointed out that there had been no talk about armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine when he was in the White House, but as soon as Biden replaced him, things began to deteriorate. “I thought that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin may be – well, look, he’s a good negotiator, I thought he was going to be doing that for negotiation purposes,” Trump said.

“Then all of a sudden, they attacked, and I said, ‘what’s going on here?’” According to the former president, one of the key issues was the rhetoric coming out of the White House. “Biden was saying all of the wrong things. And one of the wrong things he was saying [was] ‘no, Ukraine will go into NATO’,” Trump said. Sacks pointed out that in January 2022 or thereabouts, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Moscow that Ukraine would join NATO and that Washington thought it was OK to put nuclear weapons there. “So no wonder the Russians hit the roof,” he noted. “Well, let’s say you were running Russia. You wouldn’t be too happy,” Trump replied. “And that’s always been off the table. It’s always been understood that that was a no-no,” he added, addressing Kiev’s potential NATO membership.

Floating the idea of Ukraine in NATO was “very provocative,” Trump said. “And now it’s even more provocative. I hear routinely they’re now talking about Ukraine entering NATO. And now I hear France wants to go in and fight. Well, I wish them a lot of luck!” Putin has specifically pointed to Western statements about Ukraine’s possible membership in the US-led bloc as a security threat Moscow could not ignore. Ukraine’s neutrality has been one of the non-negotiable Russian conditions for the conflict to end. NATO has argued that its “open door” policy is essential and that no one had the right of veto over it, but also that its expansion eastward was not the cause of the conflict. In an interview with Time magazine earlier this month, Biden claimed that the US is “the strongest nation” because of NATO expansion, and that he told Putin he would get “NATOization of Finland” instead of “the Finlandization of NATO” during their June 2021 summit in Switzerland.

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“Ukraine would’ve never happened, the Israeli attack would’ve never happened, and inflation would’ve never happened – those are three big things..”

Trump Talks Ukraine, NATO And Hints At “The Next AI Trade” (ZH)

Just two weeks after Craft Ventures co-founder David Sacks hosted a high-profile fundraiser for former President Trump at his Silicon Valley mansion, filled with venture capitalists and tech elites, Trump made an appearance on Sacks’ podcast on Thursday, covering a wide range of topics from taxes and tariffs to energy to artificial intelligence to foreign policy decisions to Ukraine to China to Covid to immigration and many other issues the Biden administration seems to be failing on. The podcast features Sacks, entrepreneurs Chamath Palihapitiya, Jason Calacanis, and David Friedberg, who spoke with Trump for about 50 minutes – asking intelligent and clear questions. There were no ‘gotchas’ like you see with corporate media activists. Sacks began the interview by explaining how business leaders at his fundraiser expressed tremendous difficulty in today’s economy under the Biden administration.

“You got the crypto guys who just want a framework. They just want the government to tell them how to operate – and they can’t get that. You have no M&A happening right now in tech. The real estate guys can’t get loans because interest rates are through the roof, and there’s a credit crunch. So I think one of the common themes we just heard across that dinner was that it was just so hard to do business right now,” Sacks said. He then asked the former president: “What are the three things that you would do to kind of get things moving again, you know if you’re reelected?” Trump responded: “Regulation Regulation and Taxes – Okay. I gave the biggest tax cut in the history of our country a lot to the business,” adding, “As you know, companies were paying 40% 45% including state and city taxes in many cases, and we got it down to 21% – would like to get it down lower.”

Trump defended his tariff proposals against criticism that they would spark more inflation, asserting the policy was essential for maintaining the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. He stated he would penalize countries that abandoned their peg to the dollar by slapping them with tariffs on their products coming in the US, adding, “With tariffs, it gives you a tremendous power.” Trump then pivoted to energy, in which he said, “We have more liquid gold under our feet,” referring to fossil fuels. He focused on energy independence and the need for reliable power, not necessarily overloading the nation’s power grid with unreliable wind and solar. The former president appears to have been sold on ‘The Next AI’ trade and the importance of powering up America for the digital age. “To be a leader in AI, the amount of electricity that is like double what we have right now and even triple what we have right now,” he said, adding that “a windmill turning with its blade knocking out the birds and everything else is not going to be able to make us competitive.”

Trump also said, “Nuclear is okay with me … and you have to do it in a way that makes sense,” explaining that the future of America’s nuclear power plant revival is likely to be based on small, advanced reactors instead of massive plants. Sacks then shifts the conversation to foreign policy, asking Trump, “Can you guarantee that no matter what, you’re not going to put American boots on the ground in Ukraine?” Trump responded: “I wouldn’t do it. It’s different for France. You know they’re neighbors, and more or less, we have an ocean in between. It’s different for Germany, although Germany’s much less involved than it should be, and other countries, but uh, you know, we have a big ocean in between.” “Ukraine would’ve never happened, the Israeli attack would’ve never happened, and inflation would’ve never happened – those are three big things,” Trump continued.

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“..this Court may have engaged in actions fundamentally incompatible with the responsibilities attendant to donning the black robe and sitting in judgment,”

Trump Seeks Recusal of NY Civil Fraud Judge Who Fined Him $454 Million (ET)

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump demanded a recusal of a New York civil fraud trial judge over allegations that he discussed the case with a third party. “Allegations have surfaced revealing this Court may have engaged in actions fundamentally incompatible with the responsibilities attendant to donning the black robe and sitting in judgment,” Trump attorneys Alina Habba and Clifford Robert wrote in a motion on Thursday. In the motion, his attorneys cited public comments made by a real estate lawyer Adam Leitman Bailey to a local NBC affiliate that he had allegedly spoken with Judge Arthur Engoron several weeks before the judge fined the former president $454 million for falsely inflating his and his company’s assets. At the time, a spokesperson for the judge denied anything wrong occurred. “I actually had the ability to speak to him three weeks ago. I saw him in the corner [at the courthouse] and I told my client, ‘I need to go.’ And I walked over and we started talking. … I wanted him to know what I think and why … I really want him to get it right,” Mr. Bailey said in the interview.

Later, he said that the ”word Donald Trump” was never mentioned in their conversation. In his comments to NBC, Mr. Bailey claimed that the judge asked him “a lot of questions” and he “gave him everything I knew.” He added, “He had a lot of questions, you know about certain cases. We went over it.” The judge has not publicly responded to Mr. Bailey’s specific claims. No witnesses have confirmed the lawyer’s allegations about the conversation. Meanwhile, a New York State’s Office of Court Administration spokesman denied that the conversation took place about the Trump case, adding that Judge Engoron’s decision was not influenced by any outside forces. The Epoch Times contacted the court administration office for comment last month but received no reply. “No ex parte conversation concerning this matter occurred between Justice Engoron and Mr. Bailey or any other person,“ court spokesperson Al Baker told multiple news outlets.

”The decision Justice Engoron issued February 16 was his alone, was deeply considered, and was wholly uninfluenced by this individual.” But attorneys for the former president argued that the alleged conversation with Judge Engoron violated the New York Code of Judicial Conduct because it was not disclosed to the former president’s counsel. “Mr. Bailey has publicly stated that these communications with this court occurred mere weeks prior to issuance of the decision and final judgment in this case,” the Trump attorneys claimed. “The code flatly prohibits such communications.” The motion also took issue with the court’s statement last month that Judge Engoron wasn’t influenced, saying that it “does nothing to mitigate the perception of impropriety created by the fact of the ex parte communication.” Ex parte communication is a type of interaction by a judge with people interested in the outcome of a case, including a juror, witness, parties, attorneys, and law enforcement personnel. They are generally prohibited because they can influence the outcome of the case.

“The Code does not carve out an exception for short conversations or communications this Court subjectively or defensively deems insignificant. Rather, the Code seeks to prevent a judge from acting in a way that would undermine the integrity of the proceedings and the judiciary more broadly,” former President Trump’s attorneys added. The former president has appealed Judge Engoron’s judgment against him, saying that the fine was “in excess of its jurisdiction.” New York Attorney General Letitia James brought the civil lawsuit in 2022, seeking to penalize the Trump Organization and asking the judge to bar the former president from doing business in New York state. In his decision, Judge Engoron ruled that the “defendants submitted blatantly false financial data” as they attempted to borrow money at better loan rates, which resulted in ”fraudulent financial statements.” “Indeed, Donald Trump testified that, even today, he does not believe the Trump Organization needed to make any changes based on the facts that came out during this trial,” the judge wrote.

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“Bannon should not go to prison before the Supreme Court considers his forthcoming petition for certiorari,” or appeal..”

Appeals Court Denies Steve Bannon’s Emergency Bid to Avoid Prison (ET)

A federal appeals court late on June 20 denied Steve Bannon’s emergency request to delay his prison sentence. In a split ruling, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said that Mr. Bannon’s request “does not warrant a departure from the general rule that a defendant ’shall … be detained’ following conviction and imposition of a sentence of imprisonment.” Mr. Bannon, 70, who was an adviser to President Donald Trump, was convicted of contempt of Congress and sentenced to four months in prison. He had been allowed to remain free pending an appeal, but after the appeals court in May rejected his appeal, the judge recently ordered him to report to prison on July 1. Defendants can remain free if they raise a “substantial question of law or fact likely to result in reversal [or] an order for a new trial” and Mr. Bannon had done that, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols said previously. However, in light of the appeals court ruling, that was no longer the case, Judge Nichols said on June 6. He gave Mr. Bannon leave to seek a stay of his order, which, if granted, would delay the prison sentence.

Mr. Bannon has said he was relying on counsel when he declined to cooperate with congressional subpoenas. In an emergency motion to the appeals court, his lawyers said that there is a substantial question surrounding whether people who rely on the advice of counsel can be prosecuted under a law that bars “willfully” not complying with subpoenas from the U.S. House of Representatives or Senate. In Licavoli v. United States, a 1961 ruling, the appeals court concluded that deliberately refusing to abide by congressional subpoenas was a violation of the law. That a defendant did so “upon the advice of a lawyer is no defense,” the court said at the time. While both Judge Nichols and an appeals court panel cited Licavoli in denying Mr. Bannon’s arguments, Mr. Bannon’s lawyers said that the Supreme Court would likely reject the precedent if presented with the case. “As the panel acknowledged, the Supreme Court has since emphasized the ‘general’ rule‘ that ’willfully’ means a defendant must act with ‘knowledge that his conduct was unlawful,’ an interpretation that strongly favors Mr. Bannon,” they wrote.

“But the panel felt obligated to disregard the Supreme Court’s “‘general’ rule” because of the sixty-year-old decision in Licavoli. The Supreme Court itself is not so bound, however, and there is at least a fair chance that court would stick to its general rule—and adopt Mr. Bannon’s interpretation of §192—which necessarily makes the issue a ’substantial’ one.”Prosecutors, on the other hand, urged the court to deny Mr. Bannon’s motion, asserting he has failed to show that he’s raised a substantial question of law or fact as needed. U.S. Circuit Judges Cornelia Pillard, appointed under President Barack Obama, and Bradley Garcia, an appointee of President Joe Biden, sided with the government. Mr. Bannon “argues that the Supreme Court, or this court sitting en banc, is likely to overrule our squarely applicable decision in Licavoli v. United States,” they said. But the judges said that the nation’s top court “has treated the willfulness requirement of the contempt of Congress statute in ways that ‘firmly support … Licavoli’s holding.’”

They added later: “Bannon’s proposal—that to prove willful default the government must establish that the witness knew that his conduct was unlawful—cannot be reconciled with the Supreme Court’s approach to the statute. If an assertion of good-faith reliance on advice of counsel excused a witness’s wholesale noncompliance, even as it is plainly unavailable to a more cooperative witness who appears but refuses to answer certain questions, Congress’s power of inquiry would be ‘nulli[fied].’” In a dissent, U.S. Circuit Judge Justin Walker, an appointee of President Trump’s, wrote that the Supreme Court could very well end up ruling in favor of Mr. Bannon. “For a court unbound by Licavoli, like the Supreme Court, the proper interpretation of ‘willfully’ in Section 192” is “a ‘close’ question or one that very well could be decided the other way,” he said. Due to this, “Bannon should not go to prison before the Supreme Court considers his forthcoming petition for certiorari,” or appeal, the judge added.

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“The decision has been made to turn the US into a Tower of Babel..”

Biden Regime Amnesties 350,000 Illegal Aliens (Paul Craig Roberts)

The anti-American Biden Regime is fully intent on turning the once proud United States of America into a Tower of Babel. During Biden’s 3.5 years in the White House, his open, undefended border policy has allowed 3.6 million immigrant-invaders to occupy large areas of the US. California and Seattle, Washington, now hire immigrant-invaders to police American citizens. When citizens are policed by illegals, is it any longer their country? Various American cities in the hands of democrats want to legalize voting by immigrant-invaders. Democrat members of Congress want to hire immigrant-invaders as US soldiers. The question before us is: Does US citizenship any longer have any value and any meaning?

Polls show that Hispanic Americans themselves support the deportation of immigrant-invaders. Hispanic Democrats say they are going to vote for Trump. According to the report, they see the Biden regime’s open border policy “as a slap in the face when millions of people not only did not have to go through the process but on top of that, are getting resources that they don’t qualify for.” The Biden regime could not care less as the intention is to steal the election yet again, or imprison Trump, or assassinate him. The decision has been made to turn the US into a Tower of Babel. That train has left the station.

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“The roster of “Joe Biden’s” failures is so deep that all Mr. Trump has to do is remind the audience what they well-know adds up to an apparently deliberate effort to wreck the nation..”

A Door Closes, A Window Opens (Kunstler)

Now that the gunplay and colorful flash-mobbery of Juneteenth has concluded, it’s on to next week’s big debate between the two major party candidates — if debate is even the right description for what is more like a joint press conference conducted by one candidate’s PR firm. What does the reality-starved public think it will see? Probably anything but a fair fight. It’s hard to imagine what possessed “Joe Biden” to decide this was a good idea for him (unless he wasn’t the decider). Since we’re in an era of archetypal psychodrama, the event looks more like a ritual sacrifice. His recent public performances have been, shall we say, less than reassuring in both utterance and physical poise. He comes off as Captain Queeg meets Mr. Magoo. So, you have to wonder if some ancient tropism-of-the-mind steers him to certain destruction, egged on by those of his own faction who will benefit from his exit.

The sordid spectacle of the Alvin Bragg prosecution has backfired spectacularly as even the president’s own cheerleaders begin to perceive the frightful dishonesty of a politicized DOJ that could just as easily be turned on them. Rachel Maddow and Joy Behar rehearsed their persecution fantasies for all to see on air this week — and, of course, and as usual, it was a sheer psychological projection of what their own party has been up to for eight long years. One supposes that “Joe Biden” will follow exactly that script next Thursday, as he accuses Mr. Trump of being “a dictator,” Adolf Hitler 2.0, seeking to use the levers of power to terrorize the defenders of democracy. It’s hard to see how he might get away with that. All Mr. Trump has to do is aver to the long list of malicious prosecutions, including the ones aimed at himself, launched lately against “JB’s” opponents.

And he might throw in the regime’s lust to suppress free speech and truth itself — as in the Hunter Biden laptop monkey-business and hiding the facts around the Covid-19 fiasco. Speaking of which, this would be the best opportunity for Mr. Trump to come clean, if he can, about his role in the mRNA vaccine roll-out that has now morphed into what looks like the biggest disaster in modern medicine. It appears obvious that, as president, Mr. Trump was buffaloed by “the experts” in a culture that worships expertise. How exactly would he have opposed the White House Coronavirus Task Force headed by Dr. Anthony Fauci? And backed by the combined forces of the CDC, the FDA, the NIAID, the NIH, and every medical board from sea to shining sea? Should he have just said, Nah, we’re not gonna do that? I don’t think so. But there won’t be a better moment, or a bigger audience, to explain how all that actually worked, and went wrong.

Since Mr. Trump’s temperament has drawn the most intense objurgation from his detractors, the easiest thing he can do in this debate is just mind his manners, and not allow himself to be baited or taunted. The roster of “Joe Biden’s” failures is so deep that all Mr. Trump has to do is remind the audience what they well-know adds up to an apparently deliberate effort to wreck the nation: the open border and the growing record of atrocious crimes committed by illegal aliens plus the immense anxiety about the intentions of jihadists and other nefarious foreigners ushered in by Homeland Security; the idiocy of our role in the Ukraine War and how easily the conflict could be concluded by willing negotiation; the cratering on-the-ground economy of goods and services (minus government hand-outs, bail-outs, subsidies, and statistical shell games); the out-of-control Deep State intel blob that is eating away at our basic liberties; the insane race-and-gender hustles aimed at sowing hatred and disordering normal modes of human relations; and much more that has been done to insult and humiliate the people of this land.

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I wrote in the comments yesterday that I saw a huge increase in anti-Trump tweets on my X. When I see Mary Manley write “Trump has repeatedly forgotten who the current president is..”, that feels the same.

Simon Says Freeze (Manley)

The fundraiser appeared to be the second time that Biden had wandered away from the stage of a political event and needed to be guided back by another political leader. While critics of the president say his cognitive abilities are failing, the White House has shot back that Republicans are manipulating videos and spreading “disinformation”. A recent star-studded fundraiser in Los Angeles has sparked a debate about whether or not US President Joe Biden froze on stage and had to be snapped back to reality by former President Barack Obama, whom Biden was vice president to. The claim was first published by the New York Post on Sunday, who said the president had to be led off stage by Obama in an awkward moment. The sitting president, the former president, as well as the celebrity late-night host Jimmy Kimmel stood for applause following a 45-minute interview at the Peacock Theater. But while the men stood for applause, “Biden’s gaze seemed to become fixed on the crowd for a full 10 seconds until [Obama] took his wrist and led him offstage,” the New York Post claimed.

The Biden campaign reportedly raised more than $30 million at the event where Hollywood stars including George Clooney, Julia Robert and Barbara Streisand headlined. Tickets to the event ranged from $250 to $500,000. The Biden campaign is trying to fight back against the financial upswing of former President Donald Trump’s campaign which raised more than $50 million during an April fundraiser in Florida. Polling has also shown Biden falling behind Trump in key states including Arizona, Nevada and Florida. However, hundreds of anti-Israel protesters swarmed the event and attempted to block entry to the fundraiser. According to the Post, protesters shouted such chants including, “Biden, Biden you’re a liar, we demand a ceasefire.” Police were called in to keep the protesters away from the theater, but no arrests were made, the Post said, citing the Los Angeles Police Department. The White House hit back against the claims that Biden had froze, and accused right-wing critics of selectively editing videos in a “misinformation” campaign against the president.

The White House shared footage of what they say was the president pausing to take in the applause. “It tells you everything that we need to know about how desperate Republicans are here,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at Monday’s daily press briefing. She added that “the manipulated videos [are] done in bad faith”. Last week, the Post also shared a clip of the US leader apparently freezing during a skydiving demonstration in Italy on Thursday where he was meeting with other G7 leaders. Biden seemed to walk away from the group of leaders to speak to a parachuter when Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni had to reel him back in for the photo op. Both Biden and Trump have been criticized for their age and mental health. Trump is just three years younger than Biden who is 81-years-old. Biden has often stumbled over his words, fallen on a stairway and said hello during a White House event to a former congresswoman who had recently died.

Meanwhile, Trump has repeatedly forgotten who the current president is, and identified his former ambassador to the UN as the former speaker, has often mispronounced simple words and repeatedly rambled and followed tangents during his speeches, US News reported. The American psychologist Dr. John Gartner claimed that Trump – America’s apparent presidential frontrunner – first showed intermittent examples of mental collapse in 2017 and that “now, he is getting worse.” “He can’t get through a whole rally without revealing himself. And, because this is a progressive illness, he will continue to get worse. And if he is like most patients like this, at some point, he is literally going to fall off the cognitive cliff and he will be completely incapacitated,” Gartner told The Hill.

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And don’t expect a fifth.

Putin’s Peace Initiative Is Russia’s Fourth Proposal On Ukraine – Lavrov (TASS)

The peace initiative that Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined on June 14 is Moscow’s fourth proposal on settling the Ukraine conflict, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday. “Now we have come up with the next, actually fourth proposal from Russia [on Ukrainian settlement] in the form of an initiative by President Putin on June 14,” the top diplomat said at a press conference after a session of the CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization) Council of Foreign Ministers. Had the agreement on the political settlement not been disrupted in February 2014, Ukraine would have now been within the 1991 boundaries that “it dreams so sweetly now,” Lavrov said.

Ukraine itself “destroyed its territorial integrity with the hands of those who came to power through a bloody state coup and began to impose Russophobic and Neo-Nazi rules,” Russia’s top diplomat stressed. “Agreements were reached in Minsk in February 2015 and, had they been implemented, Ukraine would have restored its territorial integrity but, of course, already without Crimea. But Ukraine showed no desire to preserve its territorial integrity at the cost of providing elementary autonomous rights to Donbass, Lugansk and Donetsk, including the right to speak in their mother tongue,” he went on to say.

“The next stage, when a chance was missed again to keep Ukraine’s territorial integrity in some form involved the Istanbul accords of April 2022 that also guaranteed Ukraine its territorial integrity but based on the realities that had emerged on the ground by that time,” the Russian foreign minister said. “And again, as you know, Western handlers prohibited [Ukrainian President] Vladimir Zelensky to sign these agreements,” Lavrov said. “I have no doubts that serious politicians, and some have remained there somewhere, understand the need to use some intellectual and diplomatic skills and begin to think about realpolitik instead of concocted illusions,” Russia’s top diplomat said.

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“Some German politicians have since floated other “incentives” to entice Ukrainians to return home, including stripping them of welfare payments..”

Kiev Talking To EU About Extraditing Ukrainian Citizens (RT)

Kiev is holding negotiations with Brussels on the potential extradition of any Ukrainians who crossed into the bloc illegally, Interior Minister Igor Klimenko told the US-funded broadcaster RFE/RL. Ukraine’s border guards are struggling to stem the flow of men fleeing the country to evade military service amid continued mobilization efforts. “We are consulting with our colleagues from the European Union,” Klimenko said when asked if Kiev would like the EU to extradite those who have crossed illegally. “These negotiations will continue regarding the possible return of our citizens,” he added. Ukraine announced a general mobilization in February 2022, and barred most men aged between 18 and 60 from leaving the country. Kiev’s draft campaign has been marred by widespread corruption; thousands have attempted to depart illegally by either forging documents or attempting to bypass border controls.

Ukrainian authorities have repeatedly said they want individuals of military age to be returned from abroad. In October last year, Klimenko revealed that authorities were seeking ways to “justly” penalize citizens who had fled abroad to avoid conscription. Multiple EU states, including Germany, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, have refused to consider such extraditions, arguing that Ukrainians must be treated as refugees in the bloc. Some German politicians have since floated other “incentives” to entice Ukrainians to return home, including stripping them of welfare payments. In the interview published on Friday, Klimenko admitted that the EU was “mostly” unanimous in its rejection of extradition. He also confirmed that border guards are detaining “dozens of people every day” who seek to cross the border illegally, either by swimming across rivers, traversing forests and mountains or using fake documents at checkpoints.

In early June, the Ukrainian State Border Guard Service said that at least 45 men had died of drowning and other causes in attempts to depart. Klimenko also admitted it is “difficult” to man the nation’s western border because of a lack of personnel. “The border with Romania, with Slovakia, Poland, Moldova, Hungary is minimally protected on our side” he said. The minister refused to reveal the total number of border detentions since the start of the conflict between Kiev and Moscow, but said “tens of thousands” was an exaggeration. Some 12,700 men have illegally crossed from Ukraine into Romania alone since the start of the conflict, RFE/RL has reported, citing border police.

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“..the head of the now dying state has emphatically dashed the constitutional status of the Verkhovna Rada as the sole representative and legislative body..”

Medvedev Cites Facts Of Zelensky Usurping Power (TASS)

Vladimir Zelensky has been usurping power long before his presidential authority expired on May 21, 2024 by committing a number of political crimes, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said. “The talentless buffoon and his clique of gangsters had long before stopped giving a damn to the Constitution of their own state, and began joyfully, nostrils flared in drug-induced excitement, greedily grab the power,” Medvedev wrote on his VKontakte page. He explained that in 1999, the Constitutional Court of Ukraine stated that the aim of the functional division of state power into legislative, executive and judicial (see Article 6 of the Constitution of Ukraine) was to prevent any of the branches from fully assuming the state power. Article 75 of the Ukrainian Constitution says that the sole body of legislative power in Ukraine is the Parliament — the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

“Article 106 of the said Constitution states that the head of the state ‘signs laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine,’ and ‘has the right to veto laws adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine with their subsequent return for repeat consideration by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine,'” Medvedev noted, pointing out that, according to the Ukrainian Constitution, the president may not sign a law only when he used his veto right and returned it to the Parliament for reconsideration. “However, to the head thug of a criminal community zelensky the Base Law is null and void. As his country’s president, he neither signed nor ‘returned for repeat consideration’ (did not veto) as many as 32 laws, adopted by the Verkhovna Rada! Just think: he simply hid them in his drawer thus depriving the people of regulating a huge number of issues. He began doing it occasionally back in 2020, and then systematically, since February 2022, as Russia started fighting against the Bandera regime,” Medvedev stressed.

“In this way, the head of the now dying state has emphatically dashed the constitutional status of the Verkhovna Rada as the sole representative and legislative body,” the Russian Security Council deputy chairman noted. Medvedev pointed out that in 2019, Zelensky “assigned control over preparation of proposals on signing or vetoing laws – all on the sly and by an arbitrary edict – to the head of his so-called office, a weird character surnamed Yermak who de-facto became the second (or the first?) person of the country 404. To put it plainly, established a criminal conspiracy with him in order to usurp power.” “The conclusion is simple: these operetta characters turned into criminals back in 2020. Their goal is plain: to establish dictatorship of their own. The fact that their unlawful actions weren’t met with due response in Ukraine eventually led to the special military operation,” the Russian official said.

In his opinion, “hiding behind a sham declaration of presidential elections cancellation, the Kiev camarilla hopes to profit from the war till the very last day and fight till the very last Ukrainian.” “The only possible way to treat zelensky and his accomplices is as criminals who committed a felony under the Criminal Code of Ukraine (Article 109). The decrees they issue are illegitimate and cannot be executed. The officials they appoint are not authorities. They are impostors and have no right to issue edicts,” Medvedev concluded.

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“I can pull the emergency brake. The train will stop, and we Hungarians will get off this train..”

Hungary ‘Won’t Ride NATO War Train’ – Orban (RT)

The US appears intent on continuing to fight Russia in Ukraine and hopes to win, but Hungary is acting to counter this destructive policy, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said. The vocal opponent of the Western approach to the Ukraine conflict expressed fresh criticism during a weekly interview on Kossuth Radio on Friday. “It appears that the Western world, led by the Americans, wants to defeat Russia, with the Germans playing the role of extras,” Orban claimed. He described the strategy as “hopeless,” adding that it is disastrous for the Ukrainians and Russians dying on the battlefield and is potentially escalatory. The Hungarian leader claimed, however, that “we have already slowed the train to war,” citing the outcome of the recent European Parliament elections in which his party enjoyed success while some pro-Ukrainian groups suffered setbacks.

The Hungarian government has secured assurances from both outgoing NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and his presumed successor, Mark Rutte, that Budapest will not be dragged into a “mission” that the US-led bloc is establishing in Ukraine, the prime minister said. Hungary will not contribute troops, weapons, or money to the plan, Orban vowed. “I can pull the emergency brake. The train will stop, and we Hungarians will get off this train,” he said. “And if we become very strong and the stars are lucky, we will convince the driver not to go any further.” Moscow has described the Ukraine conflict as a US-initiated proxy war.

After several member states publicly said this month that they will allow Kiev to strike targets deep inside Russia with Western-supplied weapons, President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow could supply similar arms to enemies of the West. French President Emmanual Macron, who has called on NATO countries not to rule out troop deployments to Ukraine, was among the EU leaders to have suffered the biggest in the European Parliament elections. He subsequently dissolved the French parliament, and is facing the threat of becoming a lame duck for the rest of his term as his political alliance contemplates a potential wipeout in the national legislature. Supporters of the NATO involvement in the Ukraine conflict say its mission will be limited to training Ukrainian troops on the country’s soil.

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“..even if we succeed, which is not at all realistic, we will have to pay such a high price that it will not be worth it..”

Orban Says West’s Quest To Defeat Russia In Ukrainian Conflict Hopeless (TASS)

Western countries led by the United States and supported by Germany want to defeat Russia in Ukraine, but these plans are hopeless and will cost such a high price that they are simply not worth it, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told the Kossuth radio. “The situation looks like the Western world wants to defeat Russia with the help of Germany under the leadership of the United States,” the prime minister said. “I think it is hopeless. And even if we succeed, which is not at all realistic, we will have to pay such a high price that it will not be worth it,” Orban emphasized.

While blaming Russia for the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine, he pointed out that the main reason for the conflict was Kiev’s intention to join NATO. “In the end, the question is whether Ukraine will become a NATO member or not. This war is about Sevastopol, where there will be a NATO flag or a Russian flag at the exit to the Black Sea. The Russians say that the Russian flag is flying there now, and they don’t want to change it to a NATO flag, and they don’t want to border NATO countries,” the Hungarian prime minister said.

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A man leading his party into a historic defeat might want to tone it down a notch..

British PM Threatens Teens With Sanctions For Refusing National Service (RT)

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has followed up on his controversial election promise to introduce mandatory national service for UK teenagers with a warning that objectors could face significant restrictions. The scheme, which would see youngsters volunteer with community groups or join the armed forces, was announced by Sunak last month. He argued that the measure would help revive the “national spirit” and provide “life-changing opportunities for our young people.” National service in the UK, previously introduced during WWI and WWII, was ended in 1960. Speaking to the BBC on Friday, Sunak was asked about the possible consequences for people who decline to take part in the compulsory activity, which would extend to all 18-year-olds, male and female. The prime minister suggested that possible sanctions for those avoiding service could include restrictions on access to financial services and driving licenses.

Under the scheme, British youths will be required either to join the military full-time for one year or volunteer one weekend per month at community organizations such as the police or the National Health Service (NHS). Sunak has insisted that the program would provide young people with “life-changing opportunities” and “real world skills” and would help create a “shared sense of purpose among our young people and a renewed sense of pride in our country.” A pilot version of the program is planned to be launched in September of next year if the Conservatives remain in power, and is expected to cost British taxpayers around £2.5 billion ($3.19 billion) a year.

According to the Daily Mail, the plan to reintroduce national service was drawn up by Sunak and his team in secret. The authors behind the 40-page document have argued that it is necessary to expand the UK’s armed forces in the face of “growing international threats posed by countries such as Russia and China.” Sunak’s scheme has been heavily criticized by opposition parties. “This is not a plan – it’s a review which could cost billions and is only needed because the Tories hollowed out the armed forces to their smallest size since Napoleon,” a Labour spokesman stated last month. Other members of the opposition party have accused Sunak of trying to get 18-year-olds to fix the problems that the government has created.

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Neuralink

 

 

 

 

Cats
https://twitter.com/i/status/1804123146456326533

 

 

Francisco
https://twitter.com/i/status/1803965056423747911

 

 

Jaguarundi

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 092024
 


George Grosz Apocalyptic landscape 1936

 

EU Could Stop Ukraine Conflict In 24 Hours – Orban (RT)
Macron Building ‘Coalition’ To Send Troops Into Ukraine (RT)
Macron Faces Crushing Defeat In EU Elections (RMX)
NATO Chief Scraps €100 Billion Ukraine Fund Plan (RT)
European Union: From Peace To Bellicosity (Dionísio)
Russia Vows Immediate Countermeasures Should West Take Its Assets (TASS)
Scott Ritter: Another American Voice For Sanity And Peace Cancelled (SCF Op-ed)
Scott Ritter Silenced by Liberal Authoritarians (Patrick Lawrence)
2024 Hillary vs Trump – Not Biden? (Martin Armstrong)
Hillary Clinton Slammed For Using D-Day To Call Trump Hitler (MN)
Alex Jones to lose InfoWars (RT)
Will Hunter Take the Stand? (Turley)
New Texas GOP Platform Calls For Secession Vote, Resistance (ZH)
Israel Kills Over 200 Palestinians to Rescue 4 Captives (Mondoweiss)

 

 

 

 

No convicted felon

 

 

David Sacks

 

 

Putin diverse world
https://twitter.com/i/status/1799219256854261777

 

 

Pepe
https://twitter.com/i/status/1799450850102051172

 

 

Maher Bezos
https://twitter.com/i/status/1799284489207624195

 

 

Tucker Massie AIPAC
https://twitter.com/i/status/1799237579071770927

 

 


Dostoevsky

 

 

 

 

He keeps making sense. That’s why they want to bar him.

EU Could Stop Ukraine Conflict In 24 Hours – Orban (RT)

The West is “within centimeters of a direct conflict” with Russia, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has warned, noting that both the EU and US need pro-peace forces to replace those currently in power in order to avoid this scenario. In an interview with TV2 on Friday, just two days before the European Parliament elections, Orban said that with all the discussions regarding sending additional weapons and even troops to Ukraine, the West “is on a straight road to war.” The prime minister noted that when the conflict began in 2022, most EU countries, including Germany, vowed to only send non-lethal aid to Kiev, such as helmets – and “there was no question of supplying equipment suitable for killing human life to the Ukrainians.” Since then, however, the Western powers have supplied Kiev with a wide range of weaponry and ammunition.

“At the rate this is going, it is not an exaggeration to say that we are centimeters away from the final stop when Western European or American soldiers appear in the territory of Ukraine, we are within inches of a direct collision [with Russia] at this moment,” he warned, lamenting that most leaders currently in power in the West “don’t see it, they want war.” He added, however, that the point of no return has not been reached yet, and to prevent a war with Russia from breaking out, there needs to be a change in Western governments. “We are at the penultimate moment to reverse the outbreak of the war. For this we need to achieve change in Brussels and Washington… If the European leaders wanted peace today, within 24 hours there would be a ceasefire at the front line.

All they would have to do was to say: Dear Ukrainians, a ceasefire is necessary, we need to stop, we will not give more weapons and money until there is a ceasefire and peace negotiations,” Orban said. He added that there would be a greater chance of reaching a peace deal if Donald Trump wins the US presidential election in November and “ends this war within 24 hours,” as he has pledged to do. Orban has insisted that Hungary should refrain from taking part in any potential NATO action in Ukraine, arguing that the military bloc was created with the purpose of defending member states from aggressors, not waging war outside its territory. Hungary has consistently criticized the Western approach to the Ukraine conflict, and opposed NATO’s funding and arming of Ukraine, as well as the sweeping sanctions on Russia – instead calling for a ceasefire and diplomatic solution.

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Macron makes no sense. So he’s popular..

Macron Building ‘Coalition’ To Send Troops Into Ukraine (RT)

French President Emmanuel Macron has gone beyond merely talking about the possibility of deploying NATO troops to Ukraine, taking steps to form a coalition of military trainers who would work inside the former Soviet republic preparing Kiev’s soldiers to fight Russian forces. “We want to have a coalition for reasons of efficiency, and several of our partners have already given their agreement,” Macron told reporters on Friday in Paris. “We will use the coming days to finalize the largest possible coalition capable of responding to Ukraine’s request.” Macron did not identify the countries, other than France, that have committed to sending trainers to Ukraine. He argued that dispatching specialists to do training work inside Ukraine should not provoke a Russian response.

“We are not at war with Russia,” Macron said. “We do not want an escalation, but we want to do everything in our power to help Ukraine resist. Is it an escalation if Ukraine asks us to train mobilized soldiers on its soil? No, that does not mean deploying people – European or allied soldiers – on the front line.” Macron made the comments after hosting a visit by Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky. He announced on Thursday that France will send Mirage 2000 fighter jets to Kiev and train Ukrainian pilots. It will reportedly take until around the end of this year to have pilots ready to fly the warplanes. French forces have already trained around 10,000 Ukrainian troops in France and other NATO countries. Lithuania and Estonia have also publicly suggested that they would be willing to deploy instructors inside Ukraine. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said last month that NATO trainers were already operating in the battle-torn country.

Russian officials have warned that any foreign military personnel in Ukraine would be considered legitimate targets for attack, regardless of their duties and locations. The Russian Foreign Ministry said Macron’s “belligerent rhetoric” and provocative statements had escalated the Ukraine crisis. Macron began making public comments about the possibility of troop deployments to Ukraine in February, triggering pushback from some NATO allies and a Kremlin warning that this step would inevitably lead to a direct conflict with Russia. US President Joe Biden reportedly rejected Macron’s proposal to send instructors to Kiev, citing concerns that they could be in the line of fire and spark an escalation.

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..popular in Brussels, that is. But not at home..

“..unchanged at 15 percent. At the same time, Marine Le Pen’s party is polling at 33 percent..”

Macron Faces Crushing Defeat In EU Elections (RMX)

President Emmanuel Macron’s party will suffer a historic defeat in the European Union elections on Sunday, Hungarian news portal Origo writes. It is not hard to guess that after this huge defeat, he will take even more refuge in foreign policy. Having failed in his own country, he is trying to achieve unquantifiable and non-existent successes in the international world. According to Wednesday’s opinion poll by IFOP-Fiducial, Macron’s party has been unable to improve four days before the European Parliament elections, standing unchanged at 15 percent. At the same time, Marine Le Pen’s party is polling at 33 percent. No governing party in France has lost by such a humiliating margin since 1979, the first European Parliament elections on party lists. True, it is also rare for a governing party to win what can be considered a roughly midterm election; the last time this happened was in 2009 when then President Nicolas Sarkozy won the EU parliament election.

Six French parties are now in the running for the European Parliament. After Marine Le Pen (RN) and Macron (a coalition of four parties), the Socialist Party will be third, with 13.5 percent, but they could easily overtake Macron in the end. The communist, anti-Semitic, pro-Muslim Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s party could get 8 percent, the classic Gaullist, center-right party 7.5 percent and Éric Zemmour’s anti-immigration party, formed just two years ago and unrivaled among young people, 6 percent. IFOP’s seat estimates suggest that the far-left Green Party, still at 5 percent but in steady decline, will be eliminated. Voter turnout is now expected to slightly exceed 50 percent. Macron is currently midway through his second five-year term as president, and according to the French constitution, he cannot run for a third after his current term expires in 2027.

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“..since the aid was to be collected over five years, this meant NATO “expects the hostilities to continue for this period.”

NATO Chief Scraps €100 Billion Ukraine Fund Plan (RT)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has ditched a five-year plan to provide Ukraine with €100 billion ($108 billion) in military aid after pushback from members of the bloc, Bloomberg reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. In April, several Western media outlets reported, citing diplomatic sources, that Stoltenberg had presented a draft long-term military support plan for Ukraine, designed in part to guard against any cut in US support if former President Donald Trump returns to the White House. Earlier this year, Trump called for restricting aid to Ukraine to loans and insisted that European NATO members match Washington’s level of assistance to Kiev. The Stoltenberg plan was reportedly been questioned by several NATO members who sought clarification from the bloc’s secretary general on where and how the enormous sum of money involved would be obtained.

The unnamed officials told Politico last month that the plan was “confusing” and that the €100 million figure would be revised. Earlier this week, a NATO diplomat told the FT that Ukrainian authorities were “not super thrilled” with the idea either, pointing out that the package would in practice only duplicate bilateral and EU-managed commitments and not actually represent fresh cash. Instead, Stoltenberg is expected to submit an updated plan to provide Kiev with lethal and non-lethal aid of around €40 billion annually, the sources told Bloomberg. The new proposal will reportedly be discussed by NATO defense ministers next week. Under the new plan, which is aimed at providing more transparency about what Ukraine’s supporters contribute, the amount of assistance from each NATO member would be determined on the basis of a percentage of their GDP.

The US would reportedly account for nearly half of the aid, with the other 31 members providing the rest. The sources also told the news outlet that Türkiye has cautioned that any coordination of military assistance for Ukraine could create the perception of greater involvement of the bloc in the conflict. Last month, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that Budapest was opposed to the initial plan, explaining that since the aid was to be collected over five years, this meant NATO “expects the hostilities to continue for this period.” The diplomat added that Hungary does not plan to participate in arming Ukraine or training its soldiers. The country’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, has expressed the view that NATO is getting closer to war with Russia every week.

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“..a non-existent Europe will be sung, which, while celebrating “European values”, demands the fracture of continental Europe..”

European Union: From Peace To Bellicosity (Dionísio)

[..] this is what hurts to hear from Euroenthusiasts and Brussels fanboys. But, how is it that your favorite enchanting tale is nothing more than a deferred dream, whose assumptions indicate that, after all, this postponement is eternal, because, within the framework of the European division of labor, it is not up to the peripheral countries to develop high value added activities? And nothing highlights this reality more than the data regarding wage convergence: to the promise of future convergence, it was not just the Portuguese economy that did not live up to it, but all the peripheral economies of the European Union. Growing up, they were never able to converge, with the distances between those in the south and those in central and northern Europe almost always maintaining or increasing. The fact is that the only small and peripheral country that dared to break with this logic was Greece. Today, we all know where Greece ended up.

They accused the country of stealing, lying, falsifying, all because the respective government committed the “crime” of wanting to pay its people the same as workers in central and northern European countries earned. The largest European countries, which constantly exceed deficit limits, have never been subject to the “excessive deficit procedure” and austerity measures to correct it. Furthermore, in the Portuguese case, between funds received and the purchase of products and services provided by central and northern Europe, between 1996 and 2023, this country gave more than it received, explaining the real meaning of this European adventure. According to the Bank of Portugal, between what came in and what went out, the country had a negative balance of 61 billion euros. In conclusion, the carrot that attracts the donkey, European structural funds, are nothing more than disguised loans, disguised in the form of “investment”, but whose return is worth more to those who give them – the countries of northern and central Europe – than for those who receive them.

The “investment” in funds thus constitutes a double benefit: economic and political control over the beneficiaries of the subsidies; economic return in the medium and long term. The fact that these funds are allocated under strategies (Lisbon strategy; Strategy 2020 and 2030) designed in Brussels, determines that they do not aim to solve the real problems of peripheral countries. European funds aim to solve the problems that peripheral countries have so that they can be used as instruments to enrich central countries. The instrumentalization that the countries of central and northern Europe make of the eastern countries, with regard to the strategy of domination of Russian and Slavic lands, finds parallels in the countries of southern and Mediterranean Europe, namely by taking advantage of the intercontinental geographic links that such countries they mean, in addition to their significance as destination markets and as reserves of qualified and cheap labor, which is formed, satisfactorily, with the European Union’s own funds.

It is, therefore, imperative to dismantle and denounce this cycle of exploitation, whose benefits are not distributed equitably and which tends to maintain relative differences over time, a difference that aims to keep this cycle untouchable. Furthermore, coupled with this political-economic dimension, another one is added, which the conflict taking place in Ukraine unmasks. Peripheral and distant countries were suddenly elected as enemies of Russia, without their people being taken into account, who unconsciously watched the transfer of their funds to the war effort. The most tragic thing is that whoever denounces the failure of this European project is accused of being “anti-European”, as if this were the only possible formulation, as if human history did not have cemeteries full of inevitable stories. When this European Union enters its bellicose phase, it is more fundamental than ever to talk about a Europe of peace, cooperation and friendship between people. A Europe in which openness does not mean submission.

The upcoming elections for the European parliament will be yet another moment during which very little will be said about the European Union, its autocratic character, its macrocephalism. Instead, a non-existent Europe will be sung, which, while celebrating “European values”, demands the fracture of continental Europe. While celebrating “union”, it forces a country to give up it’s history and replace it with a whitewashing revisionism of their fascist past. While it demands the surrender of its economy, it replaces it with eternal dependence from the political power of monopolies, represented in Brussels. Belonging to the European Union begins to resemble those dreams that delight us while we sleep, but when we wake up, we realize that they are just that, dreams. The European project cannot survive even the light of day, much less when one wakes up.

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“..including in Europe. There is much more of their property and funds in Russia than America’s..”

Russia Vows Immediate Countermeasures Should West Take Its Assets (TASS)

Moscow will not wait to retaliate to the confiscation of its assets in the West, with a slew of political and economic countermeasures in its holster, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a briefing on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). “They are planning to pledge Russia’s virtual reserves without preliminary permission, with future revenues from them not only to be immediately pocketed by the West but also spent on some other military ventures aimed against Russia. We will naturally respond appropriately to such steps, as we have always done. We have a range of political, economic countermeasures against those attempting to get hold of Russian reserves,” she said. “One should think long and hard before deciding to go ahead with this as countermeasures will follow,” the diplomat added.

In May, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on compensation for damage caused to Russia and its Central Bank due to the US’ unfriendly actions, Zakharova noted. “A similar mechanism may be applied to other countries as well, including in Europe. There is much more of their property and funds in Russia than America’s. Moreover, the US and the EU have already proven that they can no longer be regarded as reliable jurisdictions for foreign investors, whose investment can at any time be confiscated or stolen,” she said, adding that “those actions have no legal basis behind them, being simply outright theft.”

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“In the laudable spirit of 1930s U.S. Marine Major General Smedley D Butler, they have shown how “war is a racket”.

Scott Ritter: Another American Voice For Sanity And Peace Cancelled (SCF Op-ed)

The sinister prevention of Scott Ritter travelling to speak and broadcast from Russia this week by United States authorities is a sure sign that the Western imperialist warmongers are afraid of the truth. Indeed, there is a dark shadow cast on their pretensions of “democracy and freedom” – ironically in a week that supposedly commemorates the D-Day landings and the historic fight against fascism. The former U.S. Marine and United Nations weapons inspector has gained worldwide respect as an independent political commentator and analyst. Ritter has become a powerful critic of the United States and NATO’s proxy war in Ukraine. He has staunchly appealed for dialogue and diplomacy, warning that the reckless provocations by Washington and its allies towards Russia are driving the world to a nuclear conflagration. This week, Ritter was due to fly from New York to Istanbul, on his way to attend the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia.

The annual forum is attended by thousands of delegates from all over the world. He was hauled off the flight by U.S. police officers and his passport was confiscated before being escorted from the airport. There was no official explanation for the draconian interdiction to his travel plans. The U.S. State Department refused to comment on the matter, saying it was a private matter. However, there is no doubt, whatsoever, that the humiliating move was politically organized by powerful people, as Ritter claims. It was aimed at preventing him from going to Russia simply because of his outspoken political views. That is an incredible infringement of democratic rights and a revelation of the dark forces at work, which are now increasingly public and blatant. The incident is a grave illustration of how legally protected free speech rights are being trampled on in the United States and other NATO countries. Numerous other instances of censorship and “cancelling” are testimony to the intensity of the information war that the Western states are waging, not just against supposed foreign adversaries but against their own citizens.

Millions of Western citizens are being denied access to important independent news and other media simply based on official designation by unaccountable Western authorities that said information is “Russian disinformation”. Russian news outlets such as RT and Sputnik are banned from being accessed through normal channels. Scott Ritter is one of several respected American voices of sanity and genuine intelligence who are banished from so-called mainstream Western media. Other figures include Professors John Mearsheimer and Jeffrey Sachs, former ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack Matlock, former CIA analysts Ray McGovern and Larry Johnson and former senior Pentagon experts Doug Macgregor and Earl Rasmussen. All of these figures are articulate and informed critics of the U.S.-led NATO proxy war in Ukraine. They have been eminently capable of explaining how the war was fomented through illicit intervention in Ukraine over many years and how the prospects for a diplomatic and peaceful settlement are deliberately being sabotaged by Washington and its NATO vassals.

In the laudable spirit of 1930s U.S. Marine Major General Smedley D Butler, they have shown how “war is a racket”. The war in Ukraine has been sold to the world based on a fetid pile of lies and Russophobic prejudices. A heinous fraud is taking place, putting the world’s future at imminent peril. Scott Ritter, like the other voices cited above, is never or rarely interviewed on the corporate-controlled Western media channels precisely for the reason that the critical analysis he and they articulate debunks the war propaganda emanating from the U.S. government and its NATO allies – propaganda that is pumped and laundered non-stop to the Western public and presented as “news”. No dissenting voices are permitted under the tyranny that is Western imperialist warmongering. Just ask Robert Fico, the Slovakian prime minister who was shot and seriously wounded by a gunman on May 15 because, as Fico believes, he opposes the NATO war against Russia.

As the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, assassination is just an extreme form of censorship. A demonstration of the nefarious propaganda system was seen this week during the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Normandy landings. U.S. President Joe Biden and other Western leaders used the commemorative event in France to issue doom-laden warnings that “democracy is under attack” and to portray the war in Ukraine as a re-run of the standing up to Nazi Germany in World War Two with Russia projected as the reincarnation of Hitler’s Third Reich. The whole D-Day pomp and ceremony was a travesty. And yet such nauseating distortion of history was relayed to Western audiences by the likes of CNN and BBC, to mention just two channels, as if it were a noble reflection. Democracy and freedom are under attack alright – from Biden and the rest of the Western ruling elite whose basis of oligarchic power is increasingly appearing as outright fascism – albeit with “liberal” sounding rhetoric.

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“..I sense things may get a great deal worse from here on out..”

Scott Ritter Silenced by Liberal Authoritarians (Patrick Lawrence)

It is not difficult to be astonished these days, given how many things going on around us warrant astonishment. To pull something out of a hat at random, the Democratic apparatus has openly, brazenly politicized the judicial system—weaponized it, if you prefer—in its determination to destroy Donald Trump and now has the temerity to warn in the gravest terms that a second Trump term would mean… the politicization of American justice. Again at random, in The Washington Post’s June 7 editions George Will tells us President Biden “has provided the most progressive governance in U.S. history.” Yes, he wrote that. Give in to your astonishment. It is interesting in this case to note that, during the reign of Ronald Reagan 40 years ago, our George thought big government was bad, bad, bad. Now it is a fine thing that Biden is “minimizing the market’s role by maximizing the government’s role in allocating society’s resources and opportunities.”

Apart from turning his own argument hourglass upside-down, this assessment of our swiftly declining president is preposterously, right-before-your-eyes false. You cannot tell the AC’s from the DC’s these days. But this is not the half of it in the way of astonishing events, things done, things said and such like. Last week, as many readers will have noticed, Scott Ritter, the former weapons inspector and now a widely followed commentator, was about to board a plane bound for Turkey when armed police officers stopped him, confiscated his passport and escorted him out of Kennedy International Airport. Ritter was booked to transit through Istanbul for St. Petersburg, where he planned to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, an annual gathering. Here is Ritter recounting this incident in an interview with RT International: “I was boarding the flight. Three officers pulled me aside. They took my passport. When asked why, they said, “Orders of the State Department.” They had no further information for me. They pulled my bags off the plane, then escorted me out of the airport. They kept my passport.”

No passport, no freedom to travel, no explanation. I have it on good authority that Ritter subsequently advised other Americans who were to attend the St. Petersburg events not to risk it. I have had countless conversations over many years in which the question considered has been “Is this as bad as the 1950s?” The matter has been especially vital since the Russiagate fiasco began during the Clinton–Trump campaign season in 2016. It was in the ensuing years that the authoritarianism implicit in American liberalism from the first burst upon us like some weird grotesque out of a Dr. Seuss book. I always urge caution when invoking comparisons between our corruptions and ideological extremes and those of the McCarthy era. Hyperbole and exaggeration never serve one’s understanding or one’s argument. But the confiscation of Scott Ritter’s passport on the instructions of Antony Blinken’s State Department seems to me a radical step too far.

The liberal authoritarians now in command of the nation’s major institutions, the House of Representatives among the only exceptions, have just signaled they are quite prepared to act at least as undemocratically as the House Un–American Activities crowd, the FBI and the rest of the national-security state did during the 1950s to preserve their political hegemony. When I think of confiscated passports I think of Paul Robeson, the gifted singer, the courageous political dissenter, the civil rights advocate—whose documents were seized in 1950 because he refused to indulge in the Cold War paranoia that was already prevalent. His performing career collapsed and he nearly went broke before a Supreme Court decision restored them in 1958. Or I think of all the screenwriters, novelists, poets, painters and activists whose papers were canceled while they were in Mexico—or in France or in Sweden or in England—to avoid HUAC and expatriation turned into exile.

And when I am finished thinking of these people, about whom there is a rich, inspiring literature, I think of how far America descended into a derangement we tend to look back upon in some combination of wonder, derision and contempt. We can no longer look back in this fashion. The revocation of Scott Ritter’s passport, along with the destruction of the judicial system, the myth-spinning about our purported leaders and all the rest pushes this in our faces. Let us give this a moment’s thought to see if we can determine what is likely to be in store. Why Scott Ritter, I have wondered these past few days. Of all the dissident commentators of too many stripes to count, why Scott?

I reply to myself, “Because Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer, a former U.N. arms monitor in Iraq and he enjoys big-time credibility as a patriotic American.” His voice, in short, is the sort that can carry weight in sectors of the voting public that may well prove key in determining the outcome in the Trump–Biden election this Nov. 5. Viewed in this context, I take the full-frontal suppression of Ritter’s rights last week as very likely tied to the liberals’ political prospects, other than brilliant as they are at this point. Censorship, suppression of various kinds taking various forms, “canceling”—these are nothing new, of course. But I sense things may get a great deal worse from here on out.

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“I still cannot see how the Neocons will allow Trump to win. There goes their dream of World War III..”

2024 Hillary vs Trump – Not Biden? (Martin Armstrong)

The press is starting to actually report that Biden is losing it. This is how they float a balloon to see if it will fly. The August Democratic Convention has been rumored for some time that they will DRAFT someone else to replace Biden. He swore he would never debate Trump. This may be setting the stage for him to step aside. The Neocons are delighted with Hillary, for she has been among the Neocons all along. She will have no problem nuking Russia. This will certainly make things interesting. Bill Clinton actually had cigar sex with an intern in the Oval Office when he was President! There was a phone call when he was getting into a Hummer, and he commented on the phone that he was sitting on the floor in the Oval Office on the seal of the USA at that moment. As the Washington story went, that is why the Republicans made a big deal out of his actions. Everyone had encounters with staff or lobbyists.

The staff of John McCain was very concerned about him and a lobbyist. However, Bill Clinton lied to the American people about it on national television. He paid off Paula Jones $850,000. That was far more than Trump paid Stormy Daniels, who was NOT even an intern as Monica and the famous blue dress. Clinton’s $850,000 payment to get rid of a sexual harassment claim while he’s President had NO criminal court charges for what was the same thing. Why was Clinton deemed exempt from what happened with Trump and Stormy?” The Democrats have been praying that the Criminal Convictions of Trump on these issues, which have nothing to do with his performance as President, are greatly disappointing. People are seeing through this onslaught against Trump, which the Neocons keep pushing for World War III ASAP. A vote for the Democrats is clearly a vote for World War III. If Hillary gets in, you better dig a bunker real deep under your house.

The polling averages haven’t budged in the direction that Democrats were hoping. At RealClearPolitics, Trump led Biden in head-to-head matchups by 0.8 percent on May 30, the day of the guilty verdict. Now, his lead is at 1.1 percent. In five-way surveys that include minor candidates, Trump’s lead at RCP has dropped from 2.2 percent on May 30 to 2.1 percent now. FiveThirtyEight’s average of polls that include Biden, Trump, and Kennedy show the Republican’s lead slipping marginally from 1.7 percent on May 30 to 1.4 percent now. Our computer has projected a Republican win on 4 out of 6 models. Two are quite dramatic. I still cannot see how the Neocons will allow Trump to win. There goes their dream of World War III. We are running our models on the likely outcome. This may end up being very surprising to many. We will let you know when it is ready.

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For decades, comparing someone to Hitler was taboo. Now it’s normal.

Hillary Clinton Slammed For Using D-Day To Call Trump Hitler (MN)

Two time presidential loser Hillary Clinton used the 80th anniversary of D-Day as a way of attacking Donald Trump and comparing him to Hitler. Hillary directly compared the fight against Nazi Germany during World War Two to voting against Trump in the upcoming election. Worse still, Clinton equated those who will vote against Trump to soldiers who put their lives on the line in the Normandy landings. Hillary disabled the comments on the post because the consensus among pretty much everyone who saw it is that it is disgusting and completely lacking in respect. As we highlighted earlier, Joe Biden couldn’t stay awake in France at the ceremony to mark the 80th year since the historic D-Day invasion of Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. Biden also used the occasion to attack Trump and also compare voting against him to fighting against Hitler.

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He’ll be around..

Alex Jones to lose InfoWars (RT)

Right-wing commentator Alex Jones has agreed to liquidate his assets in a bid to pay a court-imposed fine of $1.5 billion. Among Jones’ assets is the parent company of InfoWars, a platform used by the shock-jock to broadcast news, views, and conspiracy theories for more than two decades. Jones filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2022, after a Connecticut judge ordered him to pay the families of the Sandy Hook massacre victims $1.5 billion in damages. Jones had claimed on air that the mass shooting – in which a gunman killed 20 elementary school children and six adults – was staged by the US government in a plot to usher in draconian gun control laws. In filings made to a Texas bankruptcy court on Thursday, Jones’ lawyers requested that the Chapter 11 bankruptcy be converted into a Chapter 7 liquidation, as “there is no reasonable prospect of a successful reorganization” of his debts.

According to court documents, Jones’ assets will not be enough to cover the $1.5 billion fine. However, the Sandy Hook families agreed last year that Jones could liquidate his holdings in order to pay a minimum of $85 million over the next 10 years. In a motion filed earlier this week, the families stated that they want Jones to liquidate Free Speech Systems LLC, the parent company of the InfoWars platform, which has also sought bankruptcy protection. Jones founded InfoWars in 1999, and by 2017, the website was receiving around 10 million monthly visits – eclipsing many mainstream news sites. In his nightly broadcasts on InfoWars, Jones has launched tirades against Democrats, liberals, globalist politicians and NGOs, international financiers, and anyone else he accuses of helping usher in the ‘New World Order’ – a tyrannical system of global governance predicted by American conspiracy theorists since the 1980s.

In an interview with Jones earlier this year, American journalist Tucker Carlson noted that many of the Texan firebrand’s predictions – that the World Trade Center would be destroyed in 2001, that the federal government would introduce mask mandates during the Covid-19 pandemic, and that “a giant war” would break out in Ukraine in February 2022 – came true. Speaking on InfoWars last weekend, Jones claimed that the American “deep state” had orchestrated the legal campaign against him, adding that he was “out of options.” On Friday’s broadcast, Jones said that InfoWars would likely close down within several weeks, but that he may “relaunch” under a different brand.

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“The risk of testimony is that Hunter could burst into flames on the stand and torch any chance to nullify the crime..”

Will Hunter Take the Stand? (Turley)

This weekend, the Hunter Biden team is reportedly debating whether to have him take the stand on Monday, a move rife with risk. Most criminal defendants avoid such appearances given the potential damage of a withering cross examination. Those risks were evident in the recent testimony of Hunter’s daughter, Naomi, which backfired badly on key points. I have sometimes been in the minority among defense attorneys and legal commentators on this question. In celebrity trials, a jury can feel alienated or even disrespected by a defendant not taking the stand. That was the case, in my view, with Martha Stewart. When a defendant brings forth a host of others to speak for him or her, the refusal to testify can become more glaring and concerning. Hunter Biden is in that position. He has had a host of relatives testify, including his daughter Naomi. When you put your daughter on the stand and subject her to a tough cross examination, many jurors can wonder how you can stay safely behind the defendant’s table.

Yet, Naomi’s testimony is precisely why defense counsel are risk adverse on the question. She gave moving testimony on her love for her father and his struggle with addiction. However, her attempt to establish that Hunter was not using drugs at the time of his gun purchase fell apart on cross examination. She testified that she was thrilled during this period with how “healthy” and clean her father appeared: “He seemed like the clearest I had seen him since my uncle died…I told him I was so proud of him and I was proud to be able to introduce Peter to him.”

Prosecutors showed her text messages that told a different story. In some, Naomi appears alarmed by her father’s conduct and lack of responses. On October 18, for example, she texted “I’m sorry daddy, I can’t take this, I don’t know what to say.” That message coincides with messages from Hunter seeking to score drugs from a guy named Mookie and stating that he was doing crack in a car. In other messages, Naomi complains that he was not responding. She finally received a response when, at 2 a.m, Hunter asked her to have her boyfriend drop off keys to a truck for him in Manhattan. Naomi was asked if she saw the drug residue or paraphernalia in the truck. Any cross examination would focus less on Naomi than it would on Mookie.

Any decision to put Hunter on the stand is obviously dependent on your defense strategy. As I have previously written, all of the defenses suggested by Abby Lowell in his opening argument collapsed within two days. That includes the suggestion that someone else checked the box on the form denying that Hunter was using drugs. These claims seem so unbelievable and unsupported that they might insult a jury. However, the real strategy in this open-and-shut case appears to be simple jury nullification. The defense is trying to get one or more jurors to ignore the law and the evidence to acquit Biden. Nullification efforts in the case appear to be a combination of both political and social association. First and foremost, this is Bidentown. It is the hometown of President Joe Biden and voted overwhelmingly for him in past elections. It is the opposite of the Manhattan trial of former President Donald Trump. This is the best possible jury pool for a Biden.

Second, all of the jurors testified to knowing someone with drug problems. Hunter has written moving accounts of his struggle with addiction. Some jurors may resist convicting someone who has seemingly overcome the scourge of addiction. So, if this is a nullification strategy, does Hunter testifying help or hurt? The answer is that it could seal the deal or shatter it with jurors. Hunter will make a good witness on his struggle to overcome drugs and alcohol abuse. He can claim little or no memory of the gun store purchase. Hearing from him directly can establish a connection, even a bond, with jurors that could reinforce a nullification vote. However, it will also subject him to cross examination by prosecutors who have been lethal in their well-planned and well-executed case. They can delve into his texts and the later intervention by his family to deal with his self-destructive lifestyle. He also faces the potential of triggering new criminal offenses through perjury.

That latter concern is particularly real after the formal referral of three House committees to Attorney General Merrick Garland. Hunter is accused of lying to Congress in his recent testimony on key issues under investigation. While many expect Garland to ignore the referral to protect the President and his family, the allegations are compelling and the Justice Department has previously prosecuted individuals in cases with far less support. This would appear a relatively easy perjury prosecution, but the politics may be insurmountable for Garland. Most attorneys would advise Hunter to remain behind the defense table and not take the stand. After all, this is a great jury rendering a verdict on a Biden in Bidentown with the First Lady seated behind him for much of the trial. They just need one. The risk of testimony is that Hunter could burst into flames on the stand and torch any chance to nullify the crime. We will know soon. However, if Hunter checks this box and testifies, it is the one decision that he will not be able to blame on others.

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The Texas Stock Exchange intrigues me.

New Texas GOP Platform Calls For Secession Vote, Resistance (ZH)

Reflecting plummeting patience with overstepping federal overlords, the Texas Republican Party has adopted two platform planks that call for legislators to assert state sovereignty, and to schedule a secession referendum in the next general election after November’s. “This historic vote at the 2024 Republican Party of Texas Convention represents a substantial shift towards enhancing state sovereignty and exploring the potential for Texas to operate as an independent nation,” said the Texas Nationalist Movement (TNM) in a statement. “It reflects the growing sentiment among Texans for greater autonomy and the protection of our rights against federal overreach.” Fittingly, that historic vote took place in San Antonio — home of the Alamo, aka “the cradle of Texas liberty.” Though it represented a setback, the 1836 Battle of the Alamo was a key chapter in the fight for independence that culminated in Texas becoming a self-governing republic.

The first plank asserts that the US government is infringing on powers reserved to Texas and all other states, and calls for unwarranted federal laws to be thwarted by Texas government. It also affirms the right of Texas to secede: “Pursuant to Article 1, Section 1, of the Texas Constitution, the federal government has impaired our right of local self-government. Therefore, federally mandated legislation that infringes upon the 10th Amendment rights of Texas shall be ignored, opposed, refused, and nullified. Texas retains the right to secede from the United States, and the Texas Legislature should be called upon to pass a referendum consistent thereto and pass the Texas Sovereignty Act as filed in the 88th Legislative Regular Session as HB 384.”

The second plank is a pointed directive to put the question of secession to the people of Texas in the next general election: “The Texas Legislature should pass a bill in its next session requiring a referendum in the next General Election for the people of Texas to determine whether or not the State of Texas should reassert its status as an independent nation. This referendum should be a legislative priority.” From the San Antonio convention, here’s a brief but interesting clip of the Texas Nationalist Movement’s Nate Smith speaking in support of the independence-minded platform planks — and ably fielding a question from a delegate who suggests TNM is guilty of treason.

We’d have liked to hear Smith answer his critic’s attempted second question — as to whether Smith had recited the Pledge of Allegiance earlier that day as part of convention rituals. It’s likely the questioner would have next pointed to the pledge’s reference to “one nation…indivisible.” In making a case for why patriots shouldn’t pledge allegiance, Brian McGlinchey has argued that, of several objectionable components of the pledge, “‘indivisible’ should give greatest offense to American patriots. The very existence of the United States — created by secession from the British empire — is a testament to political divisibility as a foundational human right…By reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and proclaiming the United States of America ‘indivisible,’ Americans disclaim their human right of self-determination.”

The Texas Nationalist Movement’s GOP convention success comes on the heels of a state Republican Party controversy over the issue. Despite TNM having amassed more than 139,000 signatures requesting that a secession question be placed on the March 5 primary ballot, the Texas GOP’s leadership refused to include it. TNM appealed to the state supreme court, which refused to hear the controversy. The party chair who presided over that decision, Matt Rinaldi, is out. Now, party’s top two officials are both signers of the “Texas First Pledge.” In addition to promising to place the interest of Texans “before any other nation, state, political entity, organization, or individual,” signatories commit to bringing about a secession referendum and, if it is approved by a majority of Texans, to work for an expeditious exit from the union.

After seceding from Mexico, Texas was an independent country from 1836 to 1845 and, economically, is extraordinarily well-suited for independence today. It’s by far the largest oil producer of any US state, accounting for a whopping 42% of American production, with no other state exceeding even 10%. It has deep-water ports, abundant agriculture, and is a major high-tech hub. There’s fixin’ to be another feather in Texas’s hat. As we examined earlier this week, the booming Lone Star State economy — and rising aggravation over compliance costs and woke regulations — has spurred BlackRock, Citadel Securities and other investors to back a new challenger to the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq: the Texas Stock Exchange.

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“..there are 120 captives still held in the Gaza Strip, including 43 who have been killed since October, many reportedly by Israel’s own forces..”

Israel Kills Over 200 Palestinians to Rescue 4 Captives (Mondoweiss)

At least 210 Palestinians were killed and hundreds of others were injured on Saturday [June 8] in the central Gaza Strip, in what Israel is celebrating as a “heroic” military operation to rescue four Israeli captives that were being held in Gaza. Palestinian media reported intense bombardment in the early afternoon local time in various areas in the Nuseirat and Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip. Video footage from the main market in the Nuseirat refugee camp showed crowds of Palestinian civilians fleeing under the sound of heavy artillery fire. Al Jazeera reporter Anas al-Sharif reported that Israeli forces “infiltrated” the Nuseirat refugee camp in trucks disguised as humanitarian aid trucks. The Gaza government media office said in a statement that Israeli forces launched an “unprecedented brutal attack on the Nuseirat refugee camp” directly targeting civilians, and that ambulances and civil defense crews were unable to reach the area and evacuate the wounded due to the intensity of the bombing.

The media office added that according to its count, at least 210 Palestinians were killed and an estimated 400 others were injured during the Israeli operation. Video footage published on social media showed dozens of bodies of men, women and children lying in the streets in the Nuseirat area, as well as bloodied and injured civilians being rushed to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah. Al Jazeera quoted Dr Tanya Haj-Hassan with Doctors Without Borders as saying the emergency department at Al-Aqsa Hospital “is a complete bloodbath … It looks like a slaughterhouse.” “The images and videos that I’ve received show patients lying everywhere in pools of blood … their limbs have been blown off,” she told Al Jazeera, adding “That is what a massacre looks like.”

As the death toll from the central Gaza Strip continued to rise, Israeli reports emerged that four Israeli captives were rescued in the operation and transferred back to Israel. The four captives were identified as Noa Argamani, 26, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40. They were all reportedly taken on October 7th from the Nova Music festival in southern Israel close to the Gaza border. According to Israeli media, the four captives were found in good health, and were transferred to a hospital in Israel where they were reunited with their families. One member of the Israeli special forces was killed during the attack. Israeli newspaper Haaretz cited Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari as saying the captives were “rescued under fire, and that during the operation the IDF attacked from the air, sea, and land in the Nuseirat and Deir al-Balah areas in the center of the Gaza Strip.”

Haaretz added that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant approved the operation on Thursday evening. Netanyahu hailed the operation as “successful,” while Gallant reportedly described it as “one of the heroic operations he had seen in all his years in the defense establishment, according to Israeli media. The families of Israeli captives held a press conference on Saturday afternoon in reaction to the news. Relatives of the four captives rescued on Saturday praised both the Israeli military and the government. Some relatives of the remaining captives still being held in Gaza demanded an end to the war and a prisoner exchange in order to secure the release of those still being held in Gaza.

On Saturday evening local time, spokesman for the Qassam Brigades Abu Obeida said “the first to be harmed by [the Israeli army] are its prisoners”, saying that while some of the captives were freed in the operation, a number of other Israeli captives were reportedly killed. The Israeli government and military have not commented on the reports that Israeli captives were killed in the operation. It is reported that there are 120 captives still held in the Gaza Strip, including 43 who have been killed since October, many reportedly by Israel’s own forces.

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Pediatricians
https://twitter.com/i/status/1799281058170405320

 

 

Nightmare

 

 

 

 

Fauci whipping boy

 

 

Firedog
https://twitter.com/i/status/1799191649945587886

 

 

Hamster

 

 

Black deer
https://twitter.com/i/status/1799416082341728390

 

 

Breach
https://twitter.com/i/status/1799404757980983589

 

 

 

 

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