Jun 162024

Edward Hopper Summer interior 1909


Americans Must Criticize Our Corrupt Courts (Holloway)
Connecticut Bar Association Warns Critics of Trump Prosecutions (Turley)
The Corruption of Attorney General Merrick Garland (Turley)
DOJ Won’t Pursue Criminal Contempt Charges Against Garland (ET)
US Supreme Court Could Be Key Election Issue: ‘They’ve Grown Too Powerful’ (G.)
Jeffrey Sachs Blames US ‘Irresponsibility’ For Ukraine Crisis (RT)
Putin’s Peace Offer ‘Not Serious’ – Scholz (RT)
Rejection of Putin’s Peace Offer ‘Exposes’ NATO’s Proxy War in Ukraine (Sp.)
‘We Must Go After Everything Russian’ – UK’s Cameron (RT)
G7 Countries Could Lose $83 Billion If Russia’s Assets Confiscated (Sp.)
G7 Demands $486 Billion From Russia (RT)
Two Summits… Elitist Warmongering G7 And Peacemaking Multipolar BRICS (SCF)
Russian Wine Boom Follows The War (Helmer)
Putin On Seized Assets: “Despite All The Trickery, Theft Is Still Theft” (ZH)
Trump Vows To End ‘Gender Insanity’ In Schools (RT)





Trump votes









Trump 1980






Putin Eurasia






Tucker Alex





“Prosecutors Got Trump, But They Contorted the Law.”

Americans Must Criticize Our Corrupt Courts (Holloway)

In the wake of his conviction in a New York court, President Trump has complained that the process was rigged against him, that the whole proceeding was a corrupt effort to persecute him with a view to influencing the 2024 presidential election. In response, many of his opponents have criticized him for undermining public confidence in our system of criminal justice and thus harming our democracy—a criticism that has been magnified by many in the media. These critics, however, are missing the point and undermining a principle that is in fact essential to preserving our republic: namely, that criticism of the justice system when it errs or overreaches is necessary to preserving freedom under the rule of law. Those who founded our nation were aware of this necessity. Alexander Hamilton, representing the defendant in the famous libel case People v. Croswell, warned that “the most dangerous, the most sure, the most fatal of tyrannies” operated “by selecting and sacrificing single individuals, under the mask and forms of law, by dependent and partial tribunals.”

“Against such measures,” Hamilton continued, “we ought to keep a vigilant eye and take a manly stand. Whenever they arise, we ought to resist, and resist till we have hurled the demagogues and tyrants from their imagined thrones.” No sensible American would look back on these remarks and think that, by them, Hamilton was undermining democracy. Hamilton’s great rival, Thomas Jefferson, acted on a similar view. As president, Jefferson pardoned publishers who had been convicted under the Sedition Act of 1798. Jefferson’s course of action here was inseparable from his belief that the Act was unconstitutional and that the courts of the United States had made themselves party to serious injustices by convicting defendants under it. Indeed, the pardoning power is included in the United States Constitution, and in many state constitutions, and is used routinely, precisely because prosecutors and courts can make mistakes and sometimes even willfully abuse their power over the lives and liberties of citizens.

These dangers are also recognized in federal law. Title 18 of the United States Code prohibits and punishes “deprivation of rights under color of law.” By its very terms this provision acknowledges that sometimes those entrusted with the administration of justice are themselves guilty of behaving lawlessly and abusively. The United States Department of Justice’s website observes that this provision may be applied not only against “police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and prison guards” but also, as appropriate, against “judges, district attorneys,” and “other public officials.” This important provision is itself an acknowledgment by the government that all the proceedings of our justice system are not entitled to uncritical acceptance.

Everyone conversant with American history knows that the problem of politicized and corrupt abuses of the justice system has not disappeared in the modern era, that it continues to rear its ugly head precisely when political passions run high and communities are inflamed against leaders for whom they harbor deep animosities. In the 1960s, Alabama state authorities brought Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to trial on charges that he had committed perjury in relation to his tax filings. This prosecution was a transparently cynical attempt to deprive an important American political and social movement of its most effective leader. In that case, however, even the Alabama jury, composed exclusively of white men, perceived the abusive character of the case and returned an acquittal. Afterwards, Dr. King thanked the jury for their “fair, honest, and just verdict” and commended the Alabama judge for the “high and noble manner” in which he had conducted the case.

If criticism of prosecutors and courts is permissible and necessary in certain circumstances, the only important question at present is whether such criticism is justified in the case of President Trump’s New York conviction. Would it be reasonable for impartial Americans today to echo Dr. King’s words and congratulate the Manhattan jury for a “fair” verdict and commend Judge Merchan for his “high and noble” handling of the case?For an answer to that question, we need not rely on Trump or his aggrieved supporters. We need only look to the evaluation of respected CNN legal analyst and former federal prosecutor Elie Honig, writing in New York Magazine: “Prosecutors Got Trump, But They Contorted the Law.”

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“Americans must criticize our corrupt courts“ vs are not allowed to.

Connecticut Bar Association Warns Critics of Trump Prosecutions (Turley)

I have previously denounced overheated rhetoric and share the concern over how such rage rhetoric can encourage violence. After the verdict, I immediately encouraged people not to yield to their anger, but to trust our legal system. I believe that the verdict in New York may ultimately be overturned. I also noted that I do not blame the jury but rather the judge and the prosecutors for an unfounded and unfair trial. Of course, the concern over rage rhetoric runs across our political spectrum. While rarely criticized in the media, we have seen an escalation of reckless rhetoric from the left. For example, Georgetown Law Professor Josh Chafetz declared that “when the mob is right, some (but not all!) more aggressive tactics are justified.” My concern is not with the plea for lawyers to take care that their comments do not encourage such “aggressive tactics.” The problem is the suggestion that lawyers are acting somehow unprofessionally in denouncing what many view as a two-tier system of justice and the politicalization of our legal system.

Like many, I believe that the Manhattan case was a flagrant example of such weaponization of the legal system and should be denounced by all lawyers. It is a return, in my view, to the type of political prosecution once common in this country. For those lawyers who view such prosecutions as political, they are speaking out in defense of what they believe is the essence of blind justice in America. What is “reckless” to the Connecticut Bar is righteous to others. Notably, the bar officials did not write to denounce attacks on figures like Bill Barr or claims that the Justice Department was rigging justice during the Trump years. Likewise, the letter focuses on critics of the Trump prosecutions and not the continued attacks on conservative jurists like Justice Samuel Alito. It has never published warnings about those calling conservative justices profanities, attacking their religion, or labeling them “partisan hacks” or other even “insurrectionist sympathizers.” Liberal activists have been calling for stopping conservative jurists “by any means necessary.”

In Connecticut, Sen. Richard Blumenthal has warned conservative justices to rule correctly over face “seismic changes.” That did not appear to worry the bar. Likewise, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also declared in front of the Supreme Court “I want to tell you, Gorsuch, I want to tell you, Kavanaugh, you have released the whirlwind, and you will pay the price.” The letter goes further and suggests that lawyers should speak publicly in support of trials like the one in Manhattan, a view that ignores the deep misgivings over the motivations and means used in New York to target an unpopular figure in this city. You have the top bar officials calling on lawyers to take a public position that is opposed by many lawyers and citizens in defending the integrity of these prosecutions. Imagine the response if the Idaho bar called on its lawyers to speak out against these cases and declared that it is reckless or unprofessional to defend them.

I expect that, in the very liberal bar of Connecticut, the letter is hardly needed. Indeed, this letter is likely to be quite popular. Yet, I would have thought that bar officials would have taken greater care to respect the divergent opinions on these trials and the need to avoid any statements that might chill the exercise of free speech. Ironically, the letter only reinforced the view of a legal system that is maintaining a political orthodoxy and agenda. These officials declare that it is now unprofessional or reckless for lawyers to draw historical comparisons to show trials or to question the motives or ethics underlying these cases. They warn lawyers not to “sow distrust in the public for the courts where it does not belong.” Yet, many believe that there is an alarming threat to our legal system and that distrust is warranted in light of prosecution like the one in Manhattan.

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“Garland’s tenure as attorney general has shown a pronounced reluctance to take steps that would threaten President Biden..”

The Corruption of Attorney General Merrick Garland (Turley)

Garland’s tenure as attorney general has shown a pronounced reluctance to take steps that would threaten President Biden. He slow-walked the appointment of a special counsel investigating any Biden, and then excluded from the counsel’s scope any investigation of the massive influence peddling operation by Hunter Biden, his uncle and others. However, it is what has occurred in the last six months that has left some of us shaken, given our early faith in Garland. I have long been a critic of Garland’s failure to order a special counsel to look into the extensive evidence of corruption surrounding the Bidens. As I stated in my testimony in the Biden impeachment hearing, there is ample evidence that Biden lied repeatedly about his knowledge of this corruption and his interaction with these foreign clients. However, a more worrisome concern is the lack of consistency in these investigations.

First, Special Counsel Robert Hur found that Biden knowingly retained and mishandled classified material. However, he concluded that Biden’s age and diminished faculties would make him too sympathetic to a jury. It was less sympathetic than pathetic, given that this is the same man who is running for re-election to lead the most powerful nation on Earth. More importantly, Garland has not made obvious efforts to reach a consistent approach in the two cases by dropping charges based on the same crimes by Trump in Florida. Second, Garland has allowed Special Counsel Jack Smith to maintain positions that seem diametrically at odds with past Justice Department policies. This includes Smith’s statement that he will try Trump up to (and even through) the next election.

It also includes a sweeping gag order which would have eviscerated free speech protections by gagging Trump from criticizing the Justice Department. While Garland has said that he wants to give the special counsels their independence, it falls to him to protect the consistency and values of his department. Garland’s most brazenly political act has been the laughable executive privilege claim used to withhold the audiotape of the Hur-Biden interviews. The Justice Department has not claimed that the transcript is privileged, but only that the audiotape of Biden’s comments is privileged. This is so logically disconnected that even CNN hosts have mocked it.

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“..DOJ policy not to prosecute officials for contempt of Congress when they don’t comply with subpoenas due to a presidential claim of executive privilege..”

DOJ Won’t Pursue Criminal Contempt Charges Against Garland (ET)

An official from the Department of Justice (DOJ) told House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) in a letter that Attorney General Merrick Garland will not be prosecuted for contempt of Congress because his refusal to hand over audio recordings of President Joe Biden’s interview with a prosecutor did not amount to a crime. In the letter, which was obtained by several media outlets, the DOJ official said that Mr. Garland’s refusal to comply with a subpoena demanding audio records of an interview that special counsel Robert Hur conducted with President Biden in his investigation into the president’s alleged mishandling of classified documents “did not constitute a crime.”

“Consistent with this longstanding position and uniform practice, the Department has determined that the responses by Attorney General Garland to the subpoenas issued by the Committees did not constitute a crime, and accordingly the Department will not bring the congressional contempt citation before a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute the Attorney General,” Carlos Felipe Uriarte, an assistant attorney general, wrote in the letter. The letter also cited DOJ policy not to prosecute officials for contempt of Congress when they don’t comply with subpoenas due to a presidential claim of executive privilege.

[..] The refusal to pursue contempt charges against Mr. Garland comes after the House voted on June 12 to hold him in contempt for failing to comply with the subpoena to turn over the tapes.The House resolution, which passed in a mostly party-line 216–207 vote, came amid a months-long standoff between Republicans and the DOJ over the production of the audio recordings of President Biden’s two-day interview with the special counsel. House Republicans have said that they want to obtain the recordings to verify Mr. Hur’s assertions that President Biden couldn’t recollect certain facts during the interview. They have alleged that a two-tiered justice system exists because Mr. Hur opted to not charge President Biden while former President Donald Trump faces multiple charges in connection with his own classified documents probe.

Mr. Hur, who faced criticism from Democrats and the White House for remarks on the president’s cognitive capacity in his report, didn’t recommend charges against President Biden, in part because of his ailing memory. “At trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” the special counsel wrote in his 388-page report, which found that President Biden “willfully retained and disclosed classified materials” when he was a private citizen after the end of his term as vice president during the Obama administration.

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Uber-left Guardian leads the anti-SCOTUS chorus. They’re not too powerful, they’re just not left-wing enough.

US Supreme Court Could Be Key Election Issue: ‘They’ve Grown Too Powerful’ (G.)

Look at me, look at me,” said Martha-Ann Alito. “I’m German, from Germany. My heritage is German. You come after me, I’m gonna give it back to you.” It was a bizarre outburst from the wife of a justice on America’s highest court. Secretly recorded by a liberal activist, Martha-Ann Alito complained about a neighbour’s gay pride flag and expressed a desire to fly a Sacred Heart of Jesus flag in protest. This, along with audio clips of Justice Samuel Alito himself and a stream of ethics violations, have deepened public concerns that the supreme court is playing by its own rules. The Democratic representative Jamie Raskin has described a “national clamour over this crisis of legitimacy” at the court. A poll last month for the progressive advocacy organisation Stand Up America suggests that the supreme court will now play a crucial role in voters’ choices in the 2024 election. Nearly three in four voters said the selection and confirmation of justices will be an important consideration for them in voting for both president and senator in November.

Reed Galen, a co-founder of the Lincoln Project, a pro-democracy group, said: “The idea that these guys act as if they are kings ruling from above, to me, should absolutely be an issue. It was always Republicans who said we hate unelected judges legislating from the bench and we hate judicial activism. That’s all this stuff is.” Public trust in the court is at an all-time low amid concerns over bias and corruption. Alito has rejected demands that he recuse himself from a case considering presidential immunity after flags similar to those carried by 6 January 2021 rioters flew over his homes in Virginia and New Jersey. Justice Clarence Thomas has ignored calls to step aside because of the role his wife, Ginni, played in supporting efforts to overturn Donald Trump’s loss to Joe Biden in 2020.

Ethical standards have been under scrutiny following revelations that some justices failed to report luxury trips, including on private jets, and property deals. Last week Thomas, who has come under criticism for failing to disclose gifts from the businessman and Republican donor Harlan Crow, revised his 2019 form to acknowledge he accepted “food and lodging” at a Bali hotel and at a California club.These controversies have been compounded by historic and hugely divisive decisions. The fall of Roe v Wade, ending the nationwide right to abortion after half a century, was seen by many Democrats as a gamechanger in terms of people making a connection between the court and their everyday lives.There are further signs of the debate moving beyond the Washington bubble. Last week, the editorial board of the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper argued that, since the court’s own ethics code proved toothless, Congress should enact legislation that holds supreme court justices to higher ethical standards.

The paper called for the local senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, who is chair of the Senate judiciary committee, to hold a hearing on the issue. Maggie Jo Buchanan, managing director of the pressure group Demand Justice, said: “It’s important to keep in mind that, even though debate among members of Congress would lead you to believe that court reform is a polarising issue, it really isn’t. For years we have seen broad bipartisan support for basic supreme court reforms such as ethics. “A broad bipartisan consensus exists that they’ve grown too powerful, that they have too much power over laws and regulations. That’s shared among nearly three-fourths of Americans, including 80% of independents, so the demand is there and this isn’t something where it’s Democrats versus Republicans in the sense of real people. The American people want change and want to check the judiciary.”

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“This isn’t rocket science… Leave a little space in-between the major powers.”

Jeffrey Sachs Blames US ‘Irresponsibility’ For Ukraine Crisis (RT)

The West could have easily prevented the catastrophic Ukraine conflict, which had been brewing for many years, by abandoning its many escalatory policies including NATO expansion, according to Jeffrey Sachs, the president of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. In an interview with Going Underground host Afshin Rattansi on Saturday, Sachs, a prominent expert on post-Soviet economies who served for more than a decade as Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General, claimed that the Ukraine conflict represented the “utter failure” of US diplomacy. He said that G7 countries, particularly the US, “grew into a lot of arrogance,” in believing that they could do whatever they wanted. This approach, Sachs argued, has drawn the world into three major geopolitical crises, including the Ukraine and Gaza conflicts, while fueling Sino-US tensions over Taiwan.

”The US is… an irresponsible actor in all three of those events. When it comes to Ukraine, the irresponsibility is that this war could have been easily avoided… by NATO by declaring clearly [that it] will not expand into Ukraine,” he said. He also chided Western politicians and media for claiming that the Russian military operation in Ukraine was “unprovoked.” Sachs recalled that it had been preceded by numerous “provocations,” including several waves of NATO expansion, the Western-backed coup in Kiev, and the West’s failure to pressure Ukraine to implement the Minsk agreements. The now-defunct deal sought to end the bloodshed in the two Donbass republics by giving them a special status within the Ukrainian state.

The economist also suggested that the West could have easily ended the conflict early on, as Moscow and Kiev had largely worked out a preliminary peace deal during talks in Türkiye, which revolved around Ukraine’s neutrality. However, according to Sachs, then UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson “swooped in” and advised Kiev against the agreement, a claim denied by Johnson. “This was a terrible piece of advice… and a dreadful, awful miscalculation,” Sachs said, adding that it had resulted in hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian deaths. He alleged that the US wants Kiev to “fight to the last Ukrainian” instead of helping to negotiate “the basic point” of Ukraine’s neutrality. “This isn’t rocket science… Leave a little space in-between the major powers.”

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Scholz says “not serious”; Stoltenberg says “not a proposal made in good faith.” But it is, and they know it. Moreover, Russia is tired of coming up with these proposals.

Putin’s Peace Offer ‘Not Serious’ – Scholz (RT)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has dismissed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s new proposal to achieve a lasting peace between Moscow and Kiev, branding the overture a ploy to distract the global community from the Swiss-hosted Ukraine ‘peace summit.’ Speaking to the country’s top diplomats on Friday, Putin signaled that Russia “will order a ceasefire and start negotiations” as soon as Kiev completely withdraws its troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions. The four regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in referendums in the fall of 2022. Neither the West nor Kiev recognized the votes. Other conditions for a lasting peace, according to Putin, include Ukraine’s neutral status, a pledge not to seek to acquire nuclear weapons, “demilitarization” and “denazification,” and respect for the rights of the Russian-speaking population.

All of those points should be fundamentally recognized at the international level, followed by the removal of Western sanctions against Russia, the president said. However, in an interview with the broadcaster ZDF on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy on Saturday, Scholz stated that “everyone knows that it is not a serious proposal,” suggesting that “it has something to do with the peace conference taking place in Switzerland.” He also claimed that the initiative revealed that Putin was after “the classic, realistic conquest of land.” In similar remarks, the proposal was dismissed by Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky, who branded it “nothing different than other ultimatums that he has made before.” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also claimed that “this is not a proposal made in good faith,” adding that it would require Kiev to “give up significantly more land” than Russia currently controls.

Putin’s new peace overture comes ahead of the Swiss-hosted conference on Ukraine this weekend. The event is expected to revolve around Zelensky’s ten-point ‘peace formula,’ which demands that Russia, among other things, withdraw from all territories claimed by Kiev. Moscow has rejected the initiative as detached from reality. According to Zelensky, the ‘peace summit’ will focus only on three points of Kiev’s plan: prisoner exchanges, and nuclear and food security. Putin has dismissed the conference as a Western trick to create the illusion of a global anti-Russian coalition, distract attention from the roots of the conflict, and boost Zelensky’s claim to legitimacy after his presidential term expired last month.

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“Trump may come in there and say, ‘hey, Putin offered a deal.’ People want a deal. Now the mainstream media will call him a Russian bot, but 94% of Americans want it.”

Rejection of Putin’s Peace Offer ‘Exposes’ NATO’s Proxy War in Ukraine (Sp.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated the country’s conditions for an end to the Ukraine conflict during a lengthy address at the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Friday. Moscow’s central demands are the same as those put forth during previous rounds of negotiations sabotaged by the United States: Ukraine must become a neutral state not aligned with Western powers’ crusade against the Russian nation. Additionally, Kiev must be demilitarized and de-Nazified, Putin stated, and the country must formally renounce plans to join NATO. The offer was rejected almost as soon as it was extended, leading Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova to jokingly ask whether it had even yet been translated into Ukrainian. “With such statements they want to deprive the citizens of Ukraine of a real chance for peace,” said the Russian official. But a deeper analysis of the conflict and its history reveals why a peaceful resolution remains so elusive.

Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program hosted a series of guests to discuss the Russian president’s proposal, breaking down the context of the Ukraine crisis and Western elites’ deep-seated interest in its continuation. Anti-Russian sentiment has been on the rise in the West for a number of years, with the emergence of the Russiagate narrative alleging Moscow’s influence in the 2016 US presidential election representing a key acceleration of this trend. The conspiracy theory, widely promulgated by Western intelligence agencies in mainstream media, laid the groundwork for the Cold War-esque narrative that Russia once again represents an existential threat to the West’s purported democratic values and, by extension, to the West itself. Former President Barack Obama had announced a “pivot to Asia” just a few years prior, stressing the importance of responding to China’s ascendance as a major world power.

Meanwhile, the strengthening of Sino-Russian relations under Chinese President Xi Jinping helped solidify the formation of a geopolitical bloc countering US hegemony, a dynamic that has intensified with the growth of the BRICS economic alliance. The United States has become increasingly intent on challenging this counter-hegemonic force and undermining Russia in particular. The launch of Russia’s special military operation in the Donbass finally gave the US an excuse to confront Moscow militarily, with Western media portraying Russia as a belligerent imperialist power. But the claim bore little resemblance to reality. “We need to remember that Russia did not want to have to invade Ukraine,” noted Margaret Flowers, a peace activist and editor at the website Popular Resistance. “They tried and tried and tried to warn and say, ‘look, here’s what you need to do. Stop killing the ethnic Russians. Stop threatening to join NATO and take our security interests seriously, and the West refused to do that over and over again.”

Former Washington Post bureau chief Jon Jeter argued that Western elites still oppose any lowering of tensions between Russia and Ukraine as they remain intent on denying Moscow a victory. “I would be surprised to see any real discussion of this in the mainstream United States news media, or certainly at the White House itself,” Jeter said of Putin’s peace proposal. Independent journalist Caleb Maupin agreed that Western media would continue to help undermine any rapprochement with Moscow. “A recent poll showed 94% of Americans want exactly what Putin just offered, which is a diplomatic end,” he noted. “Trump may come in there and say, ‘hey, Putin offered a deal.’ People want a deal. Now the mainstream media will call him a Russian bot, but 94% of Americans want it.”

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UK gov’t is about to fall.

‘We Must Go After Everything Russian’ – UK’s Cameron (RT)

The West must show Moscow that it stands “completely” behind Ukraine by sanctioning everything Russian, Britain’s foreign secretary David Cameron has said. Cameron spoke at a press conference in London as British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s government announced new sanctions against Russia. His remarks were published on Friday, by the Italian daily Corriere della Sera.“We will show [Russian President Vladimir] Putin that we are completely behind Ukraine: we will chase the money and the oil, we will stop the gas, we will stop the ships, we will do everything we can to stop the Russian war machine and show Putin the folly of his actions,” Cameron told the Italian outlet The UK is “hunting” companies that do business with Russia “all over the world,” he said. “We will sanction companies in China, in Türkiye, in Kyrgyzstan, even in Israel, that we believe are supplying dual-use material” to Russia, he added.

Of special concern to Cameron was the so-called shadow fleet of tankers delivering Russian oil in defiance of the G7 “price cap” and the Western embargo. The UK has used its dominance in the global shipping insurance industry to blacklist all Russian vessels, hindering the deliveries of everything from oil to food – but blaming Moscow for it. Faced with Ukrainian setbacks on the battlefield, the US and the UK launched another wave of sanctions against Russia this week, expanding their definition of Moscow’s war effort to target individuals and companies around the world allegedly helping it. The US Treasury Department openly stated that its objective was to raise “the risk of secondary sanctions for foreign financial institutions” that deal with Russia, threatening to deprive them of access to Western finance.

China has responded by condemning “illegal unilateral sanctions” and vowing to protect its citizens and companies from American “abuse.” Beijing also denounced Washington for fueling the Ukraine conflict by sending weapons and ammunition to Kiev. The US “has totally undermined trust in the dollar as a global reserve currency by imposing illegal sanctions” against Russian banks, said the chairman of the Russian State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin. “The dollar has become toxic,” he added, predicting that the sanctions will result in more and more countries moving away from US securities. Cameron was prime minister from 2010-2016 but resigned after UK voters surprisingly voted to leave the EU. He returned to the government in November 2023 as Sunak’s foreign secretary. The UK is headed for a general election in July, which the ruling Conservatives are widely expected to lose.

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“..Moscow also has the option of not returning funds that Western countries have kept in Russia..”

G7 Countries Could Lose $83 Billion If Russia’s Assets Confiscated (Sp.)

The confiscation of Russian assets by G7 countries could cost them almost $83 billion in the amount of their investments in the Russian economy, Sputnik has calculated based on data from national statistical services. According to the calculations, the volume of direct investments of G7 members in the Russian economy by the end of 2022 (there is currently no more recent data available) amounted to $82.8 billion. The largest investor in the Russian economy was the United Kingdom, according to the latest available data, with assets estimated at $18.9 billion. Next was Germany ($17.3 billion), France ($16.6 billion), and Italy ($12.9 billion). Investments of American companies in the Russian economy amounted to $9.6 billion; Japan and Canada invested $4.6 billion and $2.9 billion, respectively.

In a statement following the first day of their summit in Italy on Friday, the G7 countries formally confirmed their intention to provide Ukraine with about $50 billion in loans by the end of the year, to be repaid from the proceeds of frozen Russian assets. The EU and G7 countries have frozen almost half of Russia’s foreign currency reserves, about 300 billion euros, since the start of Russia’s special military operation. Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the seizure of Russian state assets by Western countries would not go unpunished. The Russian Foreign Ministry called the freezing of assets in Europe theft. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that Russia would respond if its reserves were confiscated. According to him, Moscow also has the option of not returning funds that Western countries have kept in Russia.

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“..the G7 will launch ‘Extraordinary Revenue Acceleration (ERA) Loans’ for Kiev..”

G7 Demands $486 Billion From Russia (RT)

The leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations have demanded that Russia pay $486 billion to Ukraine in damage allegedly inflicted by the ongoing conflict, according to a joint statement issued on Friday. The US and its G7 allies – the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan – indicated that Russian assets will remain frozen until Moscow ends the conflict and pays compensation. The West has frozen roughly $300 billion in Russian sovereign funds since the start of the Ukraine conflict. “Russia must end its illegal war of aggression and pay for the damage it has caused to Ukraine. These damages now exceed $486 billion, according to the World Bank,” the G7 statement, published by the White House, reads. The group declared that “with a view to supporting Ukraine’s current and future needs in the face of a prolonged defense against Russia,” the G7 will launch ‘Extraordinary Revenue Acceleration (ERA) Loans’ for Kiev. This will make available “approximately $50 billion in additional funding to Ukraine by the end of the year,” it said.

The G7 said it intends to provide financing that will be serviced and repaid by future flows of “extraordinary revenues stemming from the immobilization of Russian Sovereign Assets” held in the European Union and other relevant jurisdictions. “To enable this, we will work to obtain approval in these jurisdictions to use future flows of these extraordinary revenues to service and repay the loans,” the statement reads. The G7 intends to disburse the financing through multiple channels that direct the funds to Ukraine’s military, budget, and to its reconstruction needs, it added. The US has been pushing its allies to embrace a loan backed by income from the frozen Russian assets that could provide Ukraine with billions of dollars in near-term funding. Most of the frozen assets are being held in the EU. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said recently that the flow of windfall profits earned on the immobilized Russian assets amounts to around $3-$5 billion per year.

Russia has repeatedly stated that any actions taken against its assets would amount to “theft” and would violate international law. Moscow has warned it would respond in kind if the West went through with threats to confiscate Russian assets. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday outlined conditions for Ukraine peace talks, insisting that Ukraine should first of all remove its troops from Russia’s new regions. Putin also condemned Kiev’s Western backers for allegedly preventing it from holding peace talks with Moscow while also accusing Russia of rejecting negotiations. Accepting the terms would allow everyone involved to turn the page and gradually rebuild damaged relations, the Russian president said. Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky has rejected Russia’s terms for ending the conflict, describing the peace conditions as an “ultimatum.”

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“..despite Russia winning decisively in that two-and-half-year conflict and the Kiev regime facing oblivion from corruption and alienation from a war-sickened population.”

Two Summits… Elitist Warmongering G7 And Peacemaking Multipolar BRICS (SCF)

This week provided an instructive juxtaposition of summits. In Italy, the United States and its Western allies convened the Group of Seven (G7) talking shop, while in Russia the BRICS nations held a workmanlike summit for their foreign ministers. The G7 has become a shorthand term for elitist Western dominance over the world economy. On the other hand, the relatively new group known as BRICS can be seen as a progressive forum and voice for the global majority. While the former is shrivelling with irrelevance, the latter is steadily growing in importance for authentic international development. There was a time when the U.S. and a clique of Western capitalist nations (including Japan) were viewed with respectability and an aura of global leadership. The heyday of Western economic and political power has waned in line with the systemic failing of U.S.-led capitalism as a model for the rest of the world to emulate.

The presumed moral authority of these nations has also diminished as their reputation for hypocrisy and insufferable arrogance has burgeoned. Indeed, the G7 has become a caricature of power. The United States, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan are seen as being ruled by self-serving extortionists, contributing little to global development. Their presumed superiority is untenable and looks ridiculous. The group represents a neocolonialist clique whose exploitation of finance and natural resources of other nations is an obscenity and shackle on the abundant potential for world development. By contrast, the BRICS coalition of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa plus a growing number of other nations, collectively known as the Global South, is a living harbinger of a more just and equitable international order. The multipolar world that the BRICS represent and advocate has become the practical roadmap for proper international development.

It is based on cooperation, partnership, and mutual respect grounded in a genuine commitment to the principles of the United Nations Charter. The BRICS summit this week held in the beautiful city of Nizhny Novgorod on the Volga River was a convening of foreign ministers. In October, the national leaders of the BRICS will gather in the Russian city of Kazan. The list of nations seeking to join the group has reached 50, representing every continent. In terms of combined economic power and population, the BRICS Plus has far surpassed the G7. At the G7 confab, the leaders of that motley crew look like yesterday’s men. U.S. President Joe Biden is languishing in record-low poll numbers among his citizens while Britain’s Sunak, France’s Macron, and Germany’s Scholz are clinging onto power by their fingernails. European Union elections this week showed a cratering in voter support for Macron and Scholz.

No doubt their slavish pandering to Uncle Sam’s warmongering in Ukraine while their citizens endure hardship and poverty rightly took a toll. The G7 has dispensed with any pretense of standing for international economic development. The entire summit in Italy can be summed up as a gathering for warmongering and theft. The disreputable clique could henceforth be labeled the “economic wing of NATO”. Guest of honor was the corrupt dictator of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, wearing his pantomime military fatigues and being ladled with tens of billions more dollars. His G7 patrons pledged $50 billion a year for the NeoNazi Kiev regime to buy more weapons “until it prevails” in the proxy war against Russia. This is despite Russia winning decisively in that two-and-half-year conflict and the Kiev regime facing oblivion from corruption and alienation from a war-sickened population.

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“..real wages grew by a record 13.3% in May 2023..”

Russian Wine Boom Follows The War (Helmer)

Wine, and the money to spend on drinking it, are growing at an unprecedented pace in Russia. For a country at war in Europe this has not happened in modern times, and probably not since the ancient Roman emperors and medieval English kings arranged for their city fountains to flow with wine in celebration of military victories and coronations. The surge in wine consumption signals the growing confidence of Russian consumers in their future. A parallel surge in wine imports since April is also a signal that the Russian Finance Ministry aims to raise taxes on this good cheer. In 2023, 320 million litres of still and fortified wine were imported to Russia, which was 4.4% more than in 2022, according to a study by the large Moscow importer, distributor, and retailer, the Luding group.

According to other market reports, by the end of last year the largest supermarket groups had increased their imports of wine by 7% compared to the year before. The X5 group, for example, which operates the Pyaterochka and Perekrestok stores, reported an 18% annual increase; the Magnit chain was up 83%. This year the rate of increase in wine imports has been accelerating. Through April, the Russian Customs figures show a 20% rate of increase in the volume of wine imports compared to the first four months of 2023. The most noticeable surge was observed in April, when twice as much wine was imported as a year ago. Part of the reason is that the Russian war economy is now generating significantly faster growth in consumer income than the rate of inflation. Adjusted for that, real wages grew 0.3% between March 2022 and March 2023. This is after a prolonged decline in real wages between 2013 and 2021.

In the first quarter of this year, January through March, real disposable income – a slightly different metric measured by the state statistics agency Rosstat — jumped 5.8% compared to the year before. This was a relative slowdown compared to the last quarter of 2023, when real disposable income was up 7% year on year. Rosstat is reporting also that real wages grew by a record 13.3% in May 2023. The agency’s measurement reflected the jump in war-related civilian sector wages and in payments to military personnel. Pensions, by contrast, were shrinking slightly in real terms. The government is now estimating the full-year 2023 rate of real income growth at 5.4%; in 2024 at 2.8%, and next year at 2.8%. Consumer demand is predicted to rise in step. Despite Russian casualties at the front already running ahead of the ten-year Soviet Afghanistan War, the Russian war economy, and the impact of the NATO sanctions war, are paying a large domestic dividend – and not only at the wine shop.

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“In the West, the thesis that Russia started the war within the framework of a special military operation, that it is the aggressor, is constantly being repeated..”

Putin On Seized Assets: “Despite All The Trickery, Theft Is Still Theft” (ZH)

After on Thursday Group of Seven leaders agreed at a summit in Italy to give Ukraine $50 billion utilizing interest from frozen Russian Central Bank assets, President Putin has addressed the move during a speech before his Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He once again denounced this as brazen ‘threft’ and described that Western leaders are trying to come up with “some kind of legal basis” for the asset freezes, “but despite all the trickery, theft is still theft and will not go unpunished.” European Council President Charles Michel had announced the day prior, “Russia has to pay.” And President Biden had said, “I’m very pleased to share that this week the G7 signed a plan to finalize and unlock $50 billion from the proceeds of those frozen [Russian] assets, to put that money to work for Ukraine, [in] another reminder to Putin that we’re not backing down.’ Putin also warned that if the West steals Russia’s sovereign assets, then it is proof that “anyone” could be next.

Additionally, following up on Putin’s words Alexander Bespalov, co-chair of the Investment Russia public organization, addressed the G7 plan: “The idea of issuing any loans to Ukraine is inherently hopeless because only a person who is extremely detached from life and reality can suppose that it may win a conflict with Russia. Ukraine is already in a losing position. This is clear to everyone, and from an economic point of view there will be no growth or the capability to return loans in the next decades. So what we see is yet another attempt to establish some formal economic foundation to provide money for Ukraine’s military needs,” he told Izvestia. In Putin’s remarks before diplomats, he at one point asserted that Moscow did not start the war. Instead, “In the West, the thesis that Russia started the war within the framework of a special military operation, that it is the aggressor, is constantly being repeated,” he explained.

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“The left-wing gender insanity being pushed at our children is an act of child abuse. Very simple..”

Trump Vows To End ‘Gender Insanity’ In Schools (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has promised that if reelected this November, he will defund schools that promote “inappropriate” content to children such as gender identity and critical race theory. He also pledged to strip federal funding from schools mandating vaccines and masks, as well as banning men from participating in women’s sports. “On day one, I will sign a new executive order to cut federal funding for any school pushing critical race theory, transgender insanity, and other inappropriate racial, sexual, or political content onto the lives of our children,” the presumptive Republican nominee for the White House told a cheering crowd at Turning Point Action’s ‘The People’s Convention’ in the state of Michigan on Saturday.

“And I will not give one penny to any school that has a vaccine mandate or a mask mandate,” he continued, adding that he will also “keep men out of women’s sports” and fully uphold the Second Amendment, which protects the right of Americans to keep and bear arms. “We will protect innocent lives and we will restore a thing called free speech, as it is being taken away from us by these radical thugs,” Trump vowed after announcing that he had received a full endorsement from the National Rifle Association gun rights advocacy group. Trump has said education is one of the main priorities of his presidential campaign, arguing that the system needs to be overhauled. He previously outlined plans to “break up” the Department of Education, change the school curriculum, and allow school principals to be elected.

Accusing the Democrats of forcing the “liberal indoctrination of America’s youth,” he vowed to reverse a new expansion by President Joe Biden’s administration of Title IX – which restricts federally funded schools from preventing transgender students from using bathrooms, locker rooms, and pronouns aligned with their identities. He also pledged to block doctors who provide gender-affirming care, as well as forbidding federal agencies from promoting “the concept of sex and gender transition at any age.” “The left-wing gender insanity being pushed at our children is an act of child abuse. Very simple. Here’s my plan to stop the chemical, physical, and emotional mutilation of our youth,” Trump said in a video address in January, in which he detailed a range of policies designed to curb the promotion of the LGBTQ agenda.

Read more …








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Oct 062022
 October 6, 2022  Posted by at 5:34 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  17 Responses »

Ivan Aivazovsky Palace rains in Venice by moonlight 1878



Vladimir Putin has just about finalized the accession of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR), plus the Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, into the Russian state. This is a peace offer, even if precious few will recognize it as such. Putin was never eager to make this move, it took him 8 years to recognize the independence of DPR and LPR, but it was the only solution left.

As State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin put it this week: “..accession to Russia is the only way to save the people living in the four former Ukrainian territories from shelling by Ukrainian troops. “The only way to end this is reunification [with Russia].” Obviously, Ukraine and the west label the accession, and the referendums that “solidified” it, illegal, but it’s not under Russian law, and that is what counts for Putin.

After the votes, the situation was scrutinized by Russian Constitutional Court, the Duma, every institution that Russian law requires. Not perhaps international law, whatever that is, but why would Russia bother with that? How, for instance, does “international law” view the killing of 14,000+ Russians living in Ukraine since 2014, by Ukrainian forces?

The US-driven Maidan coup, where an elected president was ousted, in violation of “international law”, is a place to start. The ill-begotten hodge-podge patchwork state of Ukraine was always an accident waiting to happen. Cramming people together into a state who don’t like each other historically, has never been a bright idea. But since for 70 years or so, Ukraine was just a piece of the Soviet Union, there was a kind of peace for that time.

That changed when the wall came down and the Soviet Union dissolved. In the first decade or so after that, everyone was too busy taking care of themselves -especially the oligarchs and CIA agents in the country. But when the dust was settled, Putin was leader of Russia, and he prevented the US from taking over Ukraine -and much more.

This map that Elon Musk reposted a few days ago shows what we already know, that Ukraine as a country was a crazy idea. You can’t have that kind of division and expect a very long time to thrive. In 2012, Yanukovich was democratically elected, he had more votes, and in 2014, Nuland, McCain et al decided they did not like that.



Here’s a video of Petro Poroshenko, the chocolate prince who became the 2nd president, talking about the Russian speaking people in the east. For western Ukraine, they were little more than cattle. But there were more of them than of western Ukrainians, so a coup was needed. No problem for Nuland, but a problem for Putin. Russia protects Russians, wherever they live. Watch the English subtitles.


This is why Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 2022, that and the increasing threat of NATO-allied troops and equipment on the border. And said: no nukes, no NATO, no nazis. Of course, the nazis still have Zelensky under control, reneging on his campaign promise to seek peace, NATO moved close than ever, and boy, would they love to get their hands on some nukes.

And that is why Putin decided to take over the 4 regions. It was the only way he saw to protect the Russian people living there. He was, and is, probably right.

Now, Ukraine and Zelensky claim there is a history that makes all of present day Ukraine a state with solid borders, culture, language etc., but it was only in 1922, 100 years ago, that the borders were drawn, under Soviet leadership, and, as I said, it was just a patchwork thing. There is a Ukrainian history, but it’s on a much smaller piece of land than what is today touted as Ukraine.



So, sorry, but there’s not much there. Russia, and Putin, were happy to have Ukraine as a friendly neighbor, they’re all Russians in a broad sense anyway, but not as a country that hosts nazis, NATO and perhaps nukes.

Now that the 4 regions have been declared part of Russia, there is no way back. Zelensky may have big words about taking lost territory back, including Crimea, but to do that, he would have to beat the no. 1 nuclear power in the world. And that is Putin’s peace offer: we’ve taken those parts of your country where you were shelling Russians, and you can have the rest of it, provided you don’t use it to threaten us, and “us” also means the 4 regions.

You may today have troops in a region that is considered Ukrainian, but it is now no longer that. It is Russian. And that is completely different from shelling people on your own territory. Add to that, that Europe is getting de-industrialized, and frozen, and hungry, and you should all ask yourselves if perhaps somewhere in this process you went off the rails. You can apply another 10 rounds of sanctions, but those also will hurt you more than us.

Russia is betting a safe bet: that the people currently in charge in the west, no longer will be when the winter is over. There will be some, but most will be thrown out by the people they failed when they bet on beating Russia with untold billions of funds provided to those in charge of the most corrupt country in Europe. Instead of their own citizens.

And as for the recent advances of the Ukraine/NATO army in the 4 regions: all those troops now find themselves on Russian territory. Which is exactly what everyone tried to prevent. Russia let them go for a while, and withdrew its troops, waiting for the territory to become Russian. And now it is.

Basically, Putin’s peace offer is: we have what we needed, now leave us alone. You know very well you can’t beat us, so let’s sit down and talk.




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