Jun 042024
 
 June 4, 2024  Posted by at 8:43 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  53 Responses »


Eugène Delacroix The Good Samaritan 1849

 

Which Movie Will It Be? (Jim Kunstler)
The Trump Conviction Presents a Target-Rich Environment for Appeal (Turley)
Of Course They’ll Put Trump in Jail (Victoria Taft)
Rand Paul Warns Of “War In The Streets” Coming From Trump Verdict (MN)
Top Judge Blocks Complaints Against Trump Judge Aileen Cannon (ET)
Biden Denies ‘Pulling the Strings’ in Trump’s Criminal Conviction (ET)
Dear American (Paul Craig Roberts)
Jury Selection Begins In Hunter Biden Gun Trial (ZH)
Germany Begins To Militarize: When Have We Seen This Before? (Amar)
US Close To ‘Fatal’ Miscalculation – Moscow (RT)
China Explains Snub Of Zelensky ‘Peace Summit’ (RT)
Ready Reckoner For Killing – The Raisi Assassination (Helmer)
US Force Scott Ritter Off Plane to Russia, Seize His Passport (Sp.)
Deaf and Blind: The Maladies of American Diplomats (Patrick Lawrence)

 

 


“..a gesture that is sure to live in infamy..”

 

 

Eastman

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1797274885925765432

 

 

 

 

Shellenberger

 

 

Eric T

 

 

Obama 1992

 

 

Greenwald

 

 

 

 

“..the next day in the White House when “Joe Biden” was asked to comment on it as he shuffled away from the podium, halted, turned, and smirked silently at the cameras, a gesture that is sure to live in infamy.”

Which Movie Will It Be? (Jim Kunstler)

The ninnies of Bidenworld seem to not understand that by subjecting Mr. Trump to a kangaroo court they’ve made him the kind of outlaw that Americans revere above every other archetypal hero. He’s the new American Robin Hood, the people’s outlaw — with “Joe Biden” relegated as the wicked Sir Guy of Gisbourne, master of foul play and servant of the evil regent Prince John (Barack Obama). The galvanizing moment in this melodrama was not the verdict in Judge Juan Merchan’s kangaroo corral of a court, but the next day in the White House when “Joe Biden” was asked to comment on it as he shuffled away from the podium, halted, turned, and smirked silently at the cameras, a gesture that is sure to live in infamy. The fun should really kick off when the judge gets to sentence Trump-the-Outlaw July 11, a few days before the Republican convention. Life in some New York state pen? A year on Rikers Island? House arrest? Who knows. But you can bet that just like Robin-of-Locksley, Donald-of-Mar-a-Lago will manage to slip out of his captors’ clutches and cleverly vanquish them.

In a sane world, of course, the US Supreme Court would be entreated to adjudicate this gross insult to due process as spelled out in Section 1 of the 14th Amendment. “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” But you might have noticed that this is not a sane world, at least not these days, and not a few supposedly sober analysts, such as Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, claim that a SCOTUS review is a long-shot — which only confirms the reigning insanity since it’s hard to imagine a more compelling moment for the SCOTUS to carry out its fundamental duty: to elucidate the meaning of our Constitution and resolve disputes arising therefrom.

Now, it looks like what we’re seeing after a few days for the shock to wear off, is a mighty righteous rage arising among the faction designated as “Red” — that is, the anti-Woke, anti-Globalist, anti-neoMarxist, anti-Deep State blob, anti-Lawfare, anti-Democratic Party chunk of the adult US population. It amounts to a recognition that we are already in some kind of civil war, and that the tactics of “Joe Biden’s” party must and will be opposed by all means. The SCOTUS is the last resort of legal means for redress in this matter, and they would punt this duty at great peril to the country. To clarify just what this matter is: “Joe Biden’s” White House and Department of Justice conspired with New York County (Manhattan) authorities to maliciously construct and execute a court case made of patently false charges against their principal political adversary, and with a cavalier disrespect to both state and federal law.

As such, the “Stormy Daniels Payoff Case,” as it’s known, is just the latest ploy in a long train of lawless gambits starting with RussiaGate in 2016 (the “Steele Dossier” and all) that have left hundreds of high appointed officials in the federal bureaucracy (plus many retired from it) liable to severe criminal charges ranging as far as sedition and treason. RussiaGate may have started its life as a typical campaign prank by doofuses in the Hillary Clinton organization, but it turned seriously sinister when it was adopted by the FBI and the CIA to execute a plan to harass and defenestrate the elected president, Mr. Trump.With each subsequent prank, to distract from and cover-up their crimes, the same group of officials has committed more crimes, to the point that the federal government now behaves like a gigantic mafia, dedicated to nothing but crime of one kind or another. The Democratic Party has become this mob’s protective order; the old mainstream media its mouthpiece; and the people of this country increasingly its victims.

Naturally, these criminals are now desperate to avoid having to account for their crimes, which is exactly and explicitly what Mr. Trump promises to make them do.So, there it is: a criminal regime versus the people defended by their outlaw hero. Does the SCOTUS want to aid and abet this gang of criminals — led by the way, and just so you know, by Barack Obama and his Kalorama coterie, John Brennan, Mary McCord and her Lawfare coterie, Hillary and Bill Clinton and their henchmen, and scores of additional DC lawyers, fixers, and judges — or, will the SCOTUS avert an epic crisis of legitimacy by stepping in to quash the ridiculously fake New York case just concluded? If they demur in some cowardly blur of excuses, then it’s onto the next truly nation-ending stage of this game.

The “Joe Biden” regime would like nothing more than an outbreak of civil violence they can blame on “right-wing extremists.” In fact, they could and probably will gin that up themselves, just as they transformed the Jan-6-21 mass protest against widespread ballot fraud into a “MAGA insurrection.” You are also certainly aware of the sinister millions, mainly young men from faraway lands, who “Joe Biden” imported across the border the past three years. And you might imagine how they could be put to use against American citizens, along with the Democratic Party shock troops known as BLM and Antifa. Summer’s here and the time is right for fighting in the streets. And, of course, even if the SCOTUS puts an end to this latest bit of Lawfare fuckery, the “Joe Biden” crew can always opt to just up and kill its opponent. Nothing is beneath them now. But when that happens, we’ll be in a very different kind of movie.

Read more …

“..if Biden wins the election before this conviction is overturned, history’s judgment will be deafening.”

The Trump Conviction Presents a Target-Rich Environment for Appeal (Turley)

The conviction of former President Donald Trump in Manhattan of 34 felonies produced citywide celebrations. This thrill-kill environment extended to the media, where former U.S. Attorney Harry Litman told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace that it was “majestic day” and “a day to celebrate.” When I left the courthouse after watching the verdict come in, I was floored by the celebrations outside by both the public and some of the media. The celebrants would be wise to think twice before mounting this trophy kill on the political wall. The Trump trial is a target-rich environment for an appeal, with multiple layers of reversible error, in my view. I am less convinced by suggestions that the case could be challenged on the inability of Trump receiving a fair trial in a district that voted roughly 90 percent against him. The problem was not the jury, but the prosecutors and the judge. Some of the most compelling problems can be divided into four groups.

The Judge – Acting Supreme Court justice Juan Merchan was handpicked for this case rather than randomly selected. This is only the latest in a litany of Trump cases where Merchan has meted out tough rulings against Trump and his organization. With any other defendant, there would likely be outrage over his selection. Merchan donated to President Biden. Even though the state bar cleared that violation based on the small size of the contribution, it later stressed that no such contributions were appropriate for a judge. We learned later that Merchan has contributed to a group to stop the GOP and Trump. Merchan’s daughter is also a Democratic organizer who has helped raise millions against Trump and the GOP and for the Democrats.

To his credit, CNN legal analyst Elie Honig has previously said that this case was legally dubious, uniquely targeted Trump and could not succeed outside of an anti-Trump district. On the judge, he recently challenged critics on the fairness of assigning a Biden donor who has earmarked donations for “resisting the Republican Party and Donald Trump’s radical right-wing legacy.” He asked “Would folks have been just fine with the judge staying on the case if he had donated a couple bucks to “Re-elect Donald Trump, MAGA forever!”? “Absolutely not.” What is equally disturbing is the failure of Merchan to protect the rights of the defendant and what even critics admit were distinctly pro-prosecution rulings in the trial. It is not just the appearance of a conflict with Judge Merchan but a record of highly biased decisions. In watching Merchan in the courtroom, I was shocked by his rulings as at times incomprehensible and conflicted.

The Charges – A leading threshold issue will be the decision to allow Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg to effectively try Trump for violations of federal law. The Justice Department declined any criminal charges against Trump under federal election law over the alleged “hush money” payments. The Federal Election Commission likewise found no basis for a civil fine. With no federal prosecution, Bragg decided to use an unprecedented criminal theory not only to zap a dead misdemeanor into life (after the expiration of the statute of limitation) but to allow him to try violations of not only federal election law but also federal taxation violations. In other words, the Justice Department would not prosecute federal violations, so Bragg effectively did it in state court.

Even when closing arguments were given, analysts on various networks admitted that they were unclear about what Bragg was alleging. The indictment claimed a violation under New York’s election law 17-152 that the falsification of business records were committed to further another crime as an unlawful means to influence the election. However, in a maddeningly circular theory, that other crime could be the falsification of business records. It could also be violations of federal election and taxation laws, which Trump was never charged with, let alone convicted of.

[..] The Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized that the requirement of unanimity in criminal convictions is sacrosanct in our system. While there was unanimity that the business records were falsified to hide or further a second crime, there was no express finding of what that crime may have been. In some ways, Trump may have been fortunate by Merchan’s cavalier approach. Given that the jury convicted Trump across the board, they might have found all of three secondary crimes. The verdict form never asked for such specificity. These are just a few of the appellate issues. There are other challenges, including but not limited to due process violations on the lack of specificity in the indictment, vagueness of the underlying state law and the lack of evidentiary foundation for key defenses like “the legitimate press function.” They are the reason why many of us view this case is likely to be reversed in either the state or federal systems. None of that is likely to dampen the thrill in this kill in Manhattan. But if Biden wins the election before this conviction is overturned, history’s judgment will be deafening.

Read more …

“Leftists currently going after Trump have pierced attorney-client privilege and destroyed lawyers for representing the wrong client. They will think nothing of putting Trump in jail. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not.”

Of Course They’ll Put Trump in Jail (Victoria Taft)

Why wouldn’t Judge Juan Merchan finish the job and add to the left’s glee in calling Donald Trump a “convicted felon” by sentencing him to jail? That fact that Trump’s sentencing is on July 11, mere days before the Republican National Convention, would not impede a judge who, according to Trump attorney Alina Habba, covered his mouth to laugh during his sentencing. It would be no impediment to the hand-picked jurist who allowed prosecutors to hide the underlying “crime” for the entire trial, hide witnesses, and overrule the majority of the defense objections in this goat rodeo. What would stop him from jailing Trump? The case has horrified believers in the rule of law, without which you cannot have a civil society. It has horrified people who barely paid attention to the trial but gave this judge the benefit of the doubt. Tens of millions of Americans know that this trumped-up case means prosecutors wouldn’t hesitate to do the same to them. Nobody is above the law, but Donald Trump is under it, as has been stated a lot recently with good reason.

Obama’s former Svengali, David Axelrod, told HBO’s Bill Maher that he didn’t think it was a wise idea to put Trump in jail because “it would be worrisome for our country” and “MAGA nation would go nuts.” “I think there is something about jailing a former president, especially on something like this [and] worrisome for our country,” he gamely said. “And I would really be shocked if this judge gave him a prison sentence for this.” We’ll wait for Axelrod’s look of surprise when Trump is sentenced to jail. But don’t be misled. Axelrod knows that Democrat cranks like Bennie Thompson, he of the January 6 Commission, and other dumb representatives introduced a bill to strip “convicted felon” presidential candidates sentenced to jail from getting Secret Service protection. So they want to kill him, too. In the same way the feds got Michael Cohen to plead guilty to elections violations to get a shorter sentence, on unrelated charges, they’ve teed up this case. They’ll send him to jail. I’d be glad to be wrong.

Would Hillary Clinton stand up for the rule of law for Donald Trump? Of course not. She made up stories about him being a Russian spy and then wrote them off as legal expenses. Clinton used campaign funds to pay for the Steele dossier, and used a Russian spy to make up a document calling Trump a spy! She used her campaign coffers to pay for this, calling them legal expenses, but was fined $8,000 for violating campaign finance laws. Trump used his own money to pay off Stormy Daniels through his attorney in 2017 to “influence” the 2016 election, then grossed up and plussed up the money to pay Michael Cohen for legal fees for his work, and he is probably going to jail. They had to make up stuff to smear Trump. There were hundreds of violent riots at which police officers and Secret Service were injured and hospitalized. Kamala Harris gave them bail money in the unlikely event it was needed. Antifa and BLM tried to attack the White House. And nobody who encouraged unrest – like Harris, Maxine Waters, and Chuck Schumer – was held to account. Trump called for a peaceful rally and made an alleged “bad” phone call and they impeached him.

Would people who tried to frame Donald Trump, a man running for president, as a Russian spy hesitate to throw him in jail? [..] Professors, court watchers, former federal prosecutors, former attorneys general, and people who deal in the legal space all the time blithely assure us with bromides. Sending him to jail is highly unlikely. Sending Trump to jail would be hard for a judge to justify. It would be very hard to send a former president to jail on a records offense. It would create a constitutional crisis. They haven’t noticed that the left has destroyed all norms. Leftists currently going after Trump have pierced attorney-client privilege and destroyed lawyers for representing the wrong client. They will think nothing of putting Trump in jail. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not.

Read more …

“I worry about strife. I worry about war in the streets. I worry about 50 percent of the public believing that the court system will be used against them..”

Rand Paul Warns Of “War In The Streets” Coming From Trump Verdict (MN)

GOP Senator Rand Paul has warned that the fallout of the weaponisation of the justice system against Donald Trump could lead to “war in the streets.” Appearing on Fox Business, Paul was asked “What is your reaction to the conviction?” The Senator responded that it is “a sad day in America,” adding “what I worry about is something even bigger than Donald Trump.” “I worry about strife. I worry about war in the streets. I worry about 50 percent of the public believing that the court system will be used against them,” Paul further urged. “I worry when half the country thinks they won’t be treated fairly, what happens and how people react,” the Senator continued. Paul also pointed out how Hillary Clinton was treated completely differently when she was charged over her email server. “If you look at records violations and you look at Hillary Clinton, $8 million expense, and they slapped her on the wrist cause she got an $8 thousand fine,” Paul asserted. “I think Donald Trump is the only person ever prosecuted for this particular crime,” Paul further suggested, stating that there are probably thousands of cases of records violations in New York that never go to court.

As we highlighted yesterday, Bill Maher has predicted that if Trump is sentenced to any prison time, there will be a civil war that will quickly evolve into a race war because of MAGA supporters. As we highlighted earlier this week, former US Attorney for the District of Utah Brett L. Tolman is adament that Judge Merchan will give Trump jail time. “This judge has considerable power now, on July 11th he has the power to take Trump forthwith, he can take him, put him in custody right then and he can do it for whatever period of time,” said Tolman, warning that despite there being a range of sentencing, “the rules are out the window, who knows what this judge will do.” “I predict he will give him some jail time, I think he will fine him, he’ll give him a stern lecture and then he’ll promptly plan his retirement and a book deal,” concluded Tolman.

Read more …

Oasis in the desert.

Top Judge Blocks Complaints Against Trump Judge Aileen Cannon (ET)

The chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit has blocked complaints against the judge overseeing one of former President Donald Trump’s criminal cases. Chief Judge William Pryor Jr., in a newly released order dated May 22, instructed the circuit court’s clerk to stop accepting new complaints against U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon after the clerk was flooded with complaints. “Since May 16, 2024, the clerk of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has received over 1,000 judicial complaints against Judge Cannon that raise allegations that are substantially similar to the allegations raised in previous complaints,” Judge Pryor, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, wrote in the order. “These complaints appear to be part of an orchestrated campaign.” Judiciary rules enable each judicial council to act when a series of “many essentially identical complaints” from different people flood into the circuit in which the council is based.

The council can instruct the circuit clerk “to accept only a certain number of such complaints for filing and to refuse to accept additional complaints. Judge Pryor recommended to the council that it instruct the clerk to stop taking additional complaints against Judge Cannon, and the council adopted the recommendation. Judge Pryor entered the new order on behalf of the council. Federal law lets people file complaints against federal judges over judicial misconduct, which includes treating litigants “in a demonstrably egregious and hostile manner” and “making inappropriately partisan statements.” Some activists and others have complained about Judge Cannon’s ruling against special counsel Jack Smith, who is prosecuting President Trump. The rulings have resulted in the trial against the former president being pushed back multiple times.

After Mr. Smith’s team on May 31 asked for an immediate gag order on President Trump, for example, Judge Cannon on June 2 directed President Trump to respond and said the government could issue a reply to that response on or before June 21. Misconduct can not include the correctness of a judge’s ruling or allegations about delays, “unless the allegation concerns an improper motive in delaying a particular decision or habitual delay in a significant number of unrelated cases,” according to judicial rules. The order does not apply to four of the complaints lodged against Judge Cannon, according to Judge Pryor. The judge said he reviewed those complaints and dismissed them because they “lack[ed] sufficient evidence to raise an inference that misconduct has occurred.”

Many of the complaints that flooded in are aimed at the rulings or other actions of Judge Cannon in the case against President Trump, which centers on his handling of documents containing sensitive information. President Trump was charged with Espionage Act violations and obstruction in the federal case. He has pleaded not guilty. “Although many of the complaints allege an improper motive in delaying the case, the allegations are speculative and unsupported by any evidence,” Judge Pryor said. “The complaints also do not establish that Judge Cannon was required to recuse herself from the case because she was appointed by then-President Trump.”

Read more …

True, it’s not him pulling the strings. He wouldn’t be able to find them.

Biden Denies ‘Pulling the Strings’ in Trump’s Criminal Conviction (ET)

President Joe Biden has dismissed the notion that he was “pulling the strings” in the criminal cases against former President Donald Trump, who had been found guilty of 34 felony counts. During an exchange with a Fox News reporter outside the White House on Friday, President Biden was asked if the criminal conviction helped his political rival in the election, to which he replied: “I have no idea.” Fox News reporter Peter Doocy followed up by asking President Biden if he is concerned about facing criminal charges once his presidential term ends. “Not at all,” the president answered. “I didn’t do anything wrong. The system still works.” When asked about President Trump’s assertion that he was “pulling the strings behind the scenes” to hurt him politically, President Biden laughed off the claim, saying: “I didn’t know I was that powerful.” President Trump was found guilty on May 30 in a case in which he was charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records to conceal non-disclosure payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels as part of a bid to influence the 2016 presidential election.

This marks the first criminal conviction of a U.S. president. The former president denounced the verdict outside the courthouse, calling it a “rigged trial” and an attempt by the Biden administration to hurt a political opponent. “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5, by the people,” President Trump said. “We’ll keep fighting, we’ll fight to the end, and we’ll win.” Minutes after the jury returned the verdict, an avalanche of donations to the Trump presidential campaign caused the donation page to temporarily become unavailable. The following day, the Trump campaign announced a record one-day fundraising haul of nearly $35 million. President Biden said Friday that it was “reckless” for the presumptive GOP presidential nominee to call the trial rigged, arguing that the case was heard by a jury of 12 Americans selected through a process in which President Trump’s attorney was part of.

“Donald Trump was given every opportunity to defend himself. It was a state case, not a federal case,” the president said in a May 31 address at the White House. “The jury heard five weeks of evidence. And after careful deliberation, the jury reached a unanimous verdict. They found Donald Trump guilty on all 34 felony counts,” he added. President Biden said that, like everyone else, the former president was afforded the opportunity to appeal the court’s decision. “That’s how the American system of justice works. And it’s reckless, it’s dangerous, and it’s irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don’t like the verdict,” President Biden said.

“The justice system should be respected, and we should never allow anyone to tear it down. It’s as simple as that,” he added. President Trump’s sentencing—which is set for July 11—will come just four days before the Republican National Convention where he will be formally designated as the Republican presidential nominee. His legal team has vowed to appeal the verdict, while House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) said the U.S. Supreme Court should get involved and overturn the conviction, arguing that the circumstances of the case have led to an erosion of public faith in America’s justice system. While there are no laws barring President Trump from running for the White House as a convicted felon, an overturned verdict before Election Day would likely boost his chances of victory.

Read more …

“..future historians will ask why the people did not protest their pending annihilation..”

Dear American (Paul Craig Roberts)

Dear American, Do you realize that the Republican Speaker of the House, the House Democrat minority Leader, the Senate Majority Leader and the Senate Republican minority leader, along with an almost unanimous Congress have committed you to the support of the Israeli Genocide of Palestine, both the people and the country? “Our” representatives told Netanyahu that “we (meaning the US) join the State of Israel in your struggle against terror.” For eight months Israel has been terror bombing and destroying everything in Gaza, and “our” leaders see the slaughter of women, children, hospitals, all infrastructure as a “struggle against terror” rather than as an exercise of terror.The Congress of the United States, supposedly our representatives, but in reality the representative of Zionist Israel, has invited Chief Genocide Leader of the World Netanyahu for whom arrest warrants are outstanding to address the United States Congress.

The US Congress is doing this because the US Congress, especially its “leaders,” are paid by Israel Lobby campaign donations to defend the indefensible–the Genocide of the Palestinians and the suppression of all criticism of Israel. This will be the fourth time that Netanyahu has addressed the US Congress. Only Senator Bernie Sanders objected: “Netanyahu is a war criminal. I certainly will not attend.” The rest of Congress is comfortable celebrating a war criminal for whom an arrest warrant is issued by the Hague-based International Criminal Court.

Dear American, Does it bother you that “our” government has put our approval on genocide and has endorsed in our name the Genocide of the remnant of a peaceful people who Israel has demonized in order to steal their country? Dear American, Are you aware that you are about to be taken into nuclear war over the borders of Ukraine while your own undefended, wide open borders are welcoming in 3.6 million immigrant-invaders each year? Dear American, Are you aware that President Trump has been convicted in a Democrat Joseph Stalin type show trial of a non-existent crime? Dear American, Are you aware that the New York justice (sic) system is the most corrupt of any on planet Earth? The New York justice (sic) system could not find justice if there was a quadrillion dollar reward. Dear American, Do you comprehend that you live in a country that is collapsing at light speed, morally, politically, economically, socially, militarily?

Dear American, Has it occurred to you to wonder why, while the streets of Budapest, Hungary, are filled with hundreds of thousands of people protesting the coming war with Russia that Biden is bringing us, there is no protest activity in America and elsewhere in Europe, and not a word in the media, and no opposition in Congress to the destruction of the Western world that war with Russia will bring? Dear American, My questions are for aware people, a status for which few Americans qualify. If Human history continues, which at this point of time seems doubtful, future historians will ask why the people did not protest their pending annihilation. How was it possible that entire populations could be so brainwashed that they were removed from the reality of their own destruction?

Read more …

“The prosecution does not plan to bring out the entire infamous laptop..”

Jury Selection Begins In Hunter Biden Gun Trial (ZH)

Of all the things Hunter Biden has been accused of, and recorded himself doing, he’ll be in a Delaware courthouse this week on three federal felony gun charges. Jury selection begins in the case brought against him by special counsel David Weiss, who has charged the First Son with making a false statement during the purchase of a firearm, making a false statement related to information required to be kept by a licensed firearm dealer, and one count of possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance. According to the indictment, Hunter bought a Colt Cobra revolver Oct. 12, 2018 – during which he “knowingly made a false and fictitious written statement, intended and likely to deceive that dealer with respect to a fact material to the lawfulness of the sale of the firearm … certifying he was not an unlawful user of, and addicted to, any stimulant, narcotic drug, and any other controlled substance, when in fact, as he knew, that statement was false and fictitious.”

Specifically, Hunter answered ‘no’ when asked if he was “an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance.” Eleven days after Hunter bought the gun, his brother’s widow, Hallie Biden, threw it in a dumpster behind a market near a school. An elderly man discovered the items and police later obtained them from him. Authorities placed the items into “an evidence vault” and no charges were brought. Searches of Mr. Biden’s account, undertaken as federal agents investigated him for tax crimes, uncovered evidence that led to the firearm charges. That included pictures showing drugs and texts relating to how Mr. Biden was using drugs. He later wrote in his memoir that he was addicted to drugs during the period he bought and owned the revolver. Maximum prison time on all charges could be up to 25 years (we’ll wait for you to catch your breath), and each count carries a maximum fine of $250,000 and three years of unsupervised release.

The trial begins almost a year after Judge Maryellen Noreika blew up a sweetheart plea deal, which would have conveyed broad immunity to Hunter on a wide swath of unrelated potential criminal charges. The deal sought to cap a five-year investigation into Hunter’s tax affairs and business dealings. After the plea deal unraveled, David Weiss requested and was granted “special counsel” status by Attorney General Merrick Garland.

During the trial, prosecutors will not be allowed to let the jury know about Hunter’s 2014 discharge from the Navy after testing positive for cocaine, nor his salacious child support case for his out-of-wedlock daughter in Arkansas. Judge Noreika also said that Weiss only has to show that Hunter was addicted to drugs, not that he was on them the day he purchased the gun. The prosecution does not plan to bring out the entire infamous laptop containing details of Hunter Biden’s life but will introduce certain portions. Noreika ruled that Hunter Biden’s team will be able to question aspects of the laptop in front of the jury. The laptop, which leaked in 2020 just before the presidential election, was decried as Russian disinformation by 51 former intelligence officials. Noreika also ruled that the special counsel cannot mention Hunter Biden’s pending federal tax trial in California during the trial in Delaware, which is also part of Weiss’s investigation and scheduled for a September trial. -Fox News

Read more …

“..We are in the long term now, and the contours of the new Germany are emerging.”

Germany Begins To Militarize: When Have We Seen This Before? (Amar)

Recent German history is marked by two dates – 1918 and 1945 – that stand for extraordinary, catastrophic failures of, among other things, militarism. Most countries have militaries, many have substantial ones. But militarism is, of course, something else: In essence, the term stands for a syndrome: a type of politics and culture – an integrated Zeitgeistpackage, if you wish – that harmfully exaggerate the public importance, social prestige, and political power of a country’s military. Both pre-World War I and pre-World War II Germany were clear cases of this political pathology, and both paid dearly for it, with massive defeats in wars started – first with significant input from others, then entirely on its own – by Berlin. History can be a harsh teacher, and in this case, the lessons that Germany brought on itself were not only painful, but they also got successively worse: 1918 was a severe setback that led to regime change, deep economic crisis, and lasting instability; 1945 was a total defeat that came with national partition and a robust geopolitical downgrading that was to last forever. Or so it seemed.

When the two Germanies that emerged after 1945 united in 1990, everyone with any sense of history knew that things would change again. It is true that in purely constitutional terms, the new Germany is merely a bigger version of the former West Germany; the former East Germany was simply absorbed. Yet in every other respect – including political culture, geopolitics, and, quite fundamentally, what it means to be German – that bigger version of old West Germany was on a timer: In the short term, post-unification Germany phase one (just a bigger West Germany) was bound to be transitory, just like, for instance, post-Soviet Russia phase one (the 1990s). And as with post-Soviet Russia, the really intriguing question has always been what phase two would look like, while those who thought they knew in advance risked being humbled by history. (Remember that once fashionable idea that Russia was “in transition” to becoming a geopolitically docile copy of an imaginary Western standard model? No? Don’t worry. No one else does either.)

Now, however, it’s 2024. Over a third of a century has passed since German unification. Gerhard Schroeder and Angela Merkel, the quintessential leaders of that deceptively abiding phase-one version of post-unification Germany are history. We are in the long term now, and the contours of the new Germany are emerging.

Read more …

“..Russia could react asymmetrically to a Ukrainian attack on its nuclear deterrence, as Moscow would hold the US responsible..”

US Close To ‘Fatal’ Miscalculation – Moscow (RT)

The US is close to making a “fatal” miscalculation in its attempts to deal with Russia and the Ukraine conflict, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has warned. The senior diplomat commented on Monday on the reported US decision to let Kiev use American weapons outside what Washington considers Ukrainian territory. The move is supposedly limited to a small piece of Russia’s Belgorod Region relevant to hostilities across the border in Ukraine’s Kharkov Region. ”I’d like to warn American actors against miscalculations that can lead to fatal consequences. For some unclear reason they underestimate how serious a response they could face,” Ryabkov told journalists. Up to then the stated US policy had been to ban such attacks, to prevent triggering “World War III.” Kiev has said it is disappointed by the change, as it wants permission to fire long-range American weapons deep inside Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned of “serious consequences” of potential long-range strikes “considering the [countries’] parity in strategic weapons.” Ryabkov urged American policymakers to “spend some of their time, which they probably waste on computer games, judging by their air-headed approach to serious issues” on considering Putin’s words.The official also warned that Russia could react asymmetrically to a Ukrainian attack on its nuclear deterrence, as Moscow would hold the US responsible. Officials in Washington “have given Kiev a permit for any crimes, any action, and do nothing to curb provocations by their clients… But the US does not get this for free and will feel consequences,” the deputy FM warned. Ukrainian sources have claimed to the media that Kiev targeted two early-warning radar stations in Russia last month, allegedly damaging one. The facilities in question are designed to detect intercontinental ballistic missile launches and provide a response window to the Russian leadership.

Read more …

Biden will be absent as well, sends Kamala.

China Explains Snub Of Zelensky ‘Peace Summit’ (RT)

The Chinese government has said it will not be taking part in an upcoming Swiss-hosted conference on the Ukraine conflict, as the conditions necessary for such an event have not been met. Beijing has repeatedly stressed that any summit on settling the fighting between Russia and Ukraine must include “three important elements,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said during a media briefing on Monday. Those terms are recognition of the event by both Moscow and Kiev, equal participation of all sides, and a fair discussion of all peace proposals. None of the three conditions are likely to be fulfilled at the gathering, Mao explained, and therefore it would be “problematic” for China to participate in the summit – due to take place at the Burgenstock Resort near Lucerne on June 15 and 16.

The spokeswoman stressed that Beijing’s absence from the Swiss event does not mean a lack of support for peace between Russia and Ukraine. Mao went on to suggest that some countries who are sending delegations to the conference are not actually interested in ending the fighting. China has never “fanned fire or fueled the flames” when it comes to the Ukraine hostilities, Mao stressed, while expressing hope that all sides can understand China’s stance regarding the conference. On Sunday Ukraine’s leader, Vladimir Zelensky, lashed out at Beijing over its reluctance to attend the gathering in Switzerland, claiming that China has become “an instrument in the hands of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin” as he tries to discredit the conference.

Russia has not been invited to the summit, which is expected to address Zelensky’s so-called ‘ten-point peace plan.’ The scheme, among other things, demands a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from all territories that Ukraine considers its own, for Moscow to pay reparations, and for Russian officials to present themselves to war crimes tribunals. Russia instantly rejected the proposal as “unacceptable” when it was first floated by Zelensky in late 2022. According to Moscow, the plan disregards the situation on the ground and is a sign of Kiev’s unwillingness to seek a diplomatic solution to the crisis. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told RT last week that it was “absurd” to hold a summit on settling the conflict without Moscow’s participation. “This conference is completely without prospects,” he stressed.

Read more …

Differents accounts.

Ready Reckoner For Killing – The Raisi Assassination (Helmer)

It was a frustrated Sherlock Holmes who told Dr Watson: “You will not apply my precept,” he said, shaking his head. “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” That was in 1890 in the Arthur Conan Doyle story, “The Sign of Four”. Application of this Holmes rule of detection and deduction to the circumstances of the crash of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s helicopter on May 19 is now producing the inescapable conclusion that Raisi, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, and the six others on board their aircraft were killed by the actions of one or both of the pilots, who intended their own suicide and the killing of their passengers. This appears not to have been the conclusion of the Iranian Air Force commanders who paid a condolence visit to the families of the pilots on May 21, two days after their deaths.

But with the release last week by the Iranian Army’s General Staff of its second report on the fatal crash, the elimination of weather, machine failure, external missile attack, on-board bomb, electronic sabotage, and pilot navigational error is now complete. Together with the first General Staff report, the detailed Teheran television interview of Raisi’s chief of staff, Gholam-Hossein Esmaeili, and the eyewitness testimony by telephone from the crash scene by the Tabriz ayatollah, Mohammad Ali Al-Hashem, the evidence remaining is that the highly experienced chief pilot, Colonel Seyed Taher Mostafavi made three mistakes — the first, to fly into the cloud bank after he ordered the others to climb above; the second, not to detect on his radar and other instruments the sharp mountain peaks in close proximity to his flight course at 2,200 metres; and the third, to crash in horizontal orientation, not vertically nose first. Hattricks are rare, but they are never mistakes, never accidental.

[..] This is how the eyewitness in the third helicopter, behind Raisi’s aircraft, described the altitude, cloud and weather conditions: “Esmaeili:..There was fog on the ground, but not in up the air where we were advancing with the helicopters. However, in one small compacted area, there was a small patch of clouds above a cliff. In terms of height, this cloud was at the same height as our flight’s height. It was there that the now-martyred helicopter pilot [Mostafavi], who was also the commander of the fleet, told the rest of the pilots to ascend above the clouds. We were third behind the president’s helicopter. We rose above the clouds and advanced for approximately 30 seconds. Our pilot suddenly realized that the main helicopter carrying the president was missing.” Esmaeili said the pilot of his aircraft estimated that 90 seconds had elapsed between the radio contact of Mostafavi giving the order to climb above the cloud bank and the “disappearance”. “…we also have no radio contact with it anymore. So I asked him when was the last time contact was made? The pilot answered, ‘A minute and 30 seconds ago when the pilot [Mostafavi] told us to ascend above the clouds.’”

Esmaeili is explicit. It had been Mostafavi who had been at the controls of Raisi’s aircraft and who gave the order to the others to climb above the cloud. Esmaeili also revealed the direct testimony of Al-Hashem, who was thrown clear of the helicopter fuselage at the crash and was not reached by the fire which consumed the other passengers in the cabin. “After some tries, calling the cellphone of the captain [Mostafavi] accompanying the president, someone picked up the phone. It was Ayatollah Hashem, the Friday Imam of Tabriz. He told us that he was not feeling well. He didn’t tell us anything special. I asked him what exactly had happened. He told us that he didn’t know what had happened, and when asked about his whereabouts, he said that he didn’t know. He only described what he could see, described to us what he saw, for example, how he was surrounded by trees. I asked him about the condition of the others, the Ayatollah replied that he’s alone and couldn’t see anyone else and he’s alone.”

Read more …

Next up: Doug Macgregor.

US Force Scott Ritter Off Plane to Russia, Seize His Passport (Sp.)

Ritter was slated to participate in the annual St.Petersburg International Economic Forum as a guest speaker. “As I was boarding my flight out of New York I was pulled aside by three CBP officers, who seized my passport. When asked why, they said orders of the State Department. No further information was provided. My bags were removed from the flight, and I was escorted out of the airport,” the former US Marine intelligence officer told Sputnik. Scott Ritter added that his passport was not given back. He said he will appeal the decision. Ritter believes US authorities are afraid of his participation in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF).

“Is this done under the First Amendment to the US Constitution or the Fourth?” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova asked sarcastically, commenting on Scott Ritter’s removal from his flight to Russia and the confiscation of his passport The First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees, among other things, non-interference with the freedoms of speech and assembly, while the Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and detentions. SPIEF is the largest annual Russian business event in the economic sphere, and is attended by dozens of politicians and entrepreneurs from around the world. This year, the forum will take place on June 5-8.

Read more …

A real life story.

“Mr. Kennedy’s thoughts on U.S. foreign policy,” as The Times’s obit explains, “were partly shaped by discussions with his captors.”

Deaf and Blind: The Maladies of American Diplomats (Patrick Lawrence)

Here is a modest proposal, nothing too radical, just good sense. Turn over Antony Blinken and Jake Sullivan to the Iranian authorities on the understanding the two statesmen, very loosely defined, would spend 444 days at the U.S. embassy compound in Tehran. Let’s think of it as a reenactment. Said premises, long a mess of barbed wire, weeds, brambles, mold and anti–American graffiti, is now a museum. The Den of Espionage, as it is called, is dedicated to the shameful history of U.S.–Iranian relations leading up to that fateful day, Jan. 16, 1979, when the shah was deposed by a nation that had had enough of him. Those unkind Iranians had to rub it in: The old graffiti is now covered over with mocking murals featuring Mickey Mouse and McDonald’s. All the better, I say. My theory is that the Biden regime’s secretary of state and national security adviser would return from their year and 79 days in the embassy—sitting on the floor, sleeping in the offices, washing their socks in bathroom sinks, the whole nine—transformed almost beatifically into… into statesmen of high purpose and deep insight, the two being devoid of both as we have them now.

I am inspired to these thoughts by a good obituary The New York Times ran in its May 18 editions on the death of a good man named Moorhead Kennedy. Moorhead Kennedy’s blood ran very blue: Upper East Side childhood, Groton, Princeton, Harvard Law, a career in the Foreign Service. Having learned Arabic, he was something of a Middle East man, his assignments over the years including Yemen and Lebanon. And then destiny placed its gentle hand on Kennedy’s shoulder: He was on a temporary assignment as economics attaché in Tehran when the fecal matter hit the fan. And so Kennedy was among those 52 Americans—diplomats, others in civil service jobs—who spent the famous 444 days captives of militant but nonviolent, I would say altogether righteous students who had broken down the embassy gates and climbed over its walls. They were of many stripes, secular and religious, but they were all repelled by the shah’s coercive insistence on Westernizing Iran in the worst kind of way—“Westoxicity,” as it came to be called.

Many of them spent their days poring through the embassy files and diplomatic cables to reconstruct just how, covertly and criminally, the U.S. had been attempting to overthrow the Iranian government for the second time in 26 years. I recall years later seeing black-and-white news footage of the hostages as they filed up the stairs to board an Air Algeria flight home on Jan. 20, 1981. One of the diplomats turned back a few steps short of the cabin door, shouted something the film did not record, and gave the Islamic Republic and all its citizens a great big middle finger. Ah, yes, I recall thinking, with what dignity are we represented to the world. nMoorhead Kennedy would have had as much reason to vent his anger as that vulgarian on the stairs. He was blindfolded and tied to a chair when students filed into his office. But something happened to Kennedy during the long months that followed. He began talking to those who had stormed the embassy. And most of all, he began listening to them.

I have long argued that the first signs that an imperium is in decline are when it goes blind and deaf; it can neither see others for who and what they are nor hear what they have to say. Kennedy proved to suffer from neither of these symptoms. As he later recounted his experience in an interview with a small public-affairs journal in Connecticut, Kennedy seemed to have brought a singularly open mind to what was supposed to be a brief assignment filling in for an absent colleague. “I was very interested in seeing a revolution in progress,” he told a reporter from CT Mirror in 2016. “It was a very fruitful time until, all of a sudden, I heard a shout from the Marines, ‘They’re coming over the wall!’ And then a whole new experience began.”

There is a wonderful photograph of Kennedy atop The Times’s obit, taken in the embassy during his captivity. It shows him sitting at his desk, calmly reading with his fingers to his chin. On the floor beside him are two colleagues whose beards make them look like they are among Kennedy’s captors. On his desk you see the paraphernalia of makeshift meals: a jar of mustard, a jar of Sanka repurposed as a sugar bowl, a box of Cocoa Krispies. I suspect Kennedy’s apparent composure had something to do with that unshakable aplomb you often find in American bluebloods. It is odd now to think you are looking at a man midway through a life-altering metamorphosis from which he had the integrity never to turn back. It was in the embassy that Kennedy began to reflect on what he was doing as an American foreign service officer and to conclude that what he was doing was emphatically not what he ought to have been doing because the nation he served had it all wrong. “Mr. Kennedy’s thoughts on U.S. foreign policy,” as The Times’s obit explains, “were partly shaped by discussions with his captors.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Musk Rogan

 

 

Flynn

 

 

Push

 

 

Beauty
https://twitter.com/i/status/1796969333786087812

 

 

Anaconda

 

 

Great Escape

 

 

Maldives
https://twitter.com/i/status/1797542542034313299

 

 

Baby elephant

 

 

Painter elephant

 

 

Dog+friends

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 302024
 


Ivan Aivazovsky The Ninth Wave 1849

 

This Is Insanity: Trump Case Judge Issues Unbelievable Jury Instructions (ZH)
Trump Tells Donors He’d Bomb Moscow and Beijing – WaPo (RT)
Et tu, Trump (Paul Craig Roberts)
‘Lightweight’ Biden Officials Lack Gravitas to Negotiate with Russia (Sp.)
Ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister: Zelensky is Nothing But Impostor Since May 21 (Sp.)
Zelensky is ‘An Outlaw’ – Russian State Duma Chairman (RT)
Western Experts Realizing NATO Expansion Was A Mistake – Lavrov (RT)
Lavrov: NATO Plans to Supply F-16s to Ukraine a Signal in Nuclear Sphere (Sp.)
Robert De Niro Court Presser Turns into a Sad Spectacle (Turley)
“Democracy is on the Ballot” (Turley)
Evidence That President Raisi, FM Amir-abdollahian Were Murdered (Helmer)
No Zone is Safe (Manley)
My Name Is Khan. I’m From The ICC and You’re Under Arrest (Jay)
Netherlands’ Ex-Intelligence Chief To Be Next Prime Minister (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

Kash Patel

 

 

Eric Trump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RFK
https://twitter.com/i/status/1796000745663156374

 

 

Larry Ellison

 

 

Trump& Musk

 

 

 

 

“..they could split 4-4-4 and he will still treat them as unanimous…”

This Is Insanity: Trump Case Judge Issues Unbelievable Jury Instructions (ZH)

Legal minds are beside themselves at how the judge in the Trump ‘hush money’ case has instructed jurors to rule – first in what constitutional law professor Jonathan Turley called “the coup de grace instruction,” Judge Juan Merchan said that there is no need to agree on what occurred – and can disagree on what the crime was among the charges. “Merchan just delivered the coup de grace instruction,” Turley wrote on X. “He said that there is no need to agree on what occurred. They can disagree on what the crime was among the three choices. Thus, this means that they could split 4-4-4 and he will still treat them as unanimous…” “This is absolute insanity,” posted Missouri Attorney General Andrew Baily, in response to another Turley observation – namely that the jury will not be given copies of their instructions, but can ask for them to be read again. What could be behind this activist judge?

* * *
With closing arguments in Donald Trump’s hush money trial having ended on Tuesday, jury deliberations have officially begun, putting the outcome of the case in the hands of a dozen New Yorkers. A jury of seven men and five women were instructed to begin deliberating just before 11:30 a.m., where they will weigh in on the first criminal trial of a former US president. While the jurors’ discussions will be in private, they can send Trump-hating Judge Juan Merchan notes asking to rehear testimony or review evidence. “It is not my responsibility to judge the evidence here. It is yours,” said Merchan. Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with an alleged scheme to shelve potentially embarrassing claims during the 2016 US election – similar to how the Clintons paid Paula Jones $850,000 to drop a sexual harassment lawsuit after more than four years of legal action. According to Merchan, “Your verdict on each count you consider, whether guilty or not, must be unanimous,” adding “That is, each and every juror must agree to it.”

That said, they do not need to be unanimous on what crime they think Trump is guilty of. “You should discuss the evidence and consult with each other, listen to each other, give each other’s views careful consideration. And when you deliberate, you should do so with a view to reaching agreement when that can be done without surrendering an individual juror,” Merchan continued. As the Epoch Times notes further, all the evidence from trial has been loaded onto a laptop, and Juror 4 and Juror 6 volunteered to operate it for the group. Merchan checked with defense attorney Todd Blanche about whether defense counsel explained to President Trump about evidence being on the laptop for jurors. Mr. Blanche affirmed that defense counsel reviewed the contents of the laptop and have no objections to this protocol. “I always watch the jurors. I watch to see who is paying attention and who is not,” said Merchan. “Justice Merchan said. “Each of you is very engaged in this case. But we’re not going to excuse [alternates].”

During closing arguments on Tuesday, Merchan criticized Blanche for telling the jury that the former president could go to prison if they convict – and reminded them that their decision would be based on the word of Michael Cohen, who Blanche described as a “liar” who “lied to” the jury. “You cannot send somebody to prison, you cannot convict somebody based upon the words of Michael Cohen,” said Blanche – to which prosecutors jumped in and objected. Merchan agreed, sustaining the objection. “That was outrageous, Mr. Blanche,” he said. “Someone who’s been a prosecutor as long as you have, someone who’s been an attorney as long as you have knows that it’s highly inappropriate.”

Vivek

https://twitter.com/i/status/1795968181057814904

Read more …

This “report” doesn’t smell quite right. Also:

“..The Trump campaign, however, has dismissed the WaPo report as “fake news.”

Trump Tells Donors He’d Bomb Moscow and Beijing – WaPo (RT)

Former US President and current Republican candidate Donald Trump has told campaign donors that he “would have bombed” Moscow and Beijing if they’d attacked Ukraine and Taiwan respectively on his watch, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday, citing sources. According to numerous donors, advisers and other people close to him, the former president has ramped up his fundraising campaign rhetoric ahead of his likely rematch with incumbent Joe Biden in the upcoming November election. Trump, who regularly addresses foreign policy topics at such events, reportedly claimed that he would have bombed the Russian capital in response to its Ukraine campaign, and prescribed the same response to a hypothetical Chinese move to assert its sovereignty over Taiwan. These remarks “surprised” his donors, according to the Washington Post.

Former President Trump is also said to have made a “series of audacious requests” to solicit significant campaign contributions at funding events, as he has reportedly promised tax cuts, approvals for oil infrastructure projects, and other policies that his donors might appreciate. Some legal experts interviewed by the Washington Post noted that such promises and requests are “testing the boundaries of federal campaign finance laws.” Trump is no stranger to hardline rhetoric, famously threatening North Korea with “fire and fury” when tensions over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs flared in 2017. On the Ukraine conflict, however, he had earlier promised to settle hostilities within just 24 hours if reelected by sitting down with both Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

An earlier Washington Post report suggested that Trump hoped to end the conflict by pressuring Ukraine to agree to recognize at least some of its territorial losses to Russia. In the fall of 2022, four former Ukrainian regions voted to join Russia, following in the footsteps of Crimea, which did so in 2014. The Trump campaign, however, has dismissed the WaPo report as “fake news.” In February, Bloomberg also reported, citing an adviser to the ex-president, that if Trump wins the election, he could pressure Ukraine to negotiate peace with Russia by threatening to cut massive US military assistance to the country. Russia maintains that it is open to talks over Ukraine; however, in the fall of 2022, Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree banning all negotiations with the current leadership in Moscow.

Read more …

“..Americans must stand up to the Democrats weaponization of law and show that such law is unacceptable by vindicating Trump in the November election..”

Et tu, Trump (Paul Craig Roberts)

No sooner do I finish an interview about the rapidity with which we are traveling the road to Armageddon than we pick up speed. Trump campaign donors report that Trump told them he would have bombed Moscow and Beijing if they’d attacked Ukraine and Taiwan on his watch. So the likely next US president tells the world that in the interest of Ukraine and Taiwan, two artificial states created by Washington, he is prepared to launch World War III. No more talk about normalizing relations with Russia. That talk brought him eight years of troubles and indictments. Trump now out-neocons the neocons. There is no doubt that Trump has been persecuted for eight years and faces a collection of civil and criminal indictments simply because he said he intended to normalize relations with Russia.

This was seen as an attack on the budget and power of the military/security complex. Trump was threatening their world by taking away their necessary enemy. The CIA director called Trump a traitor to America. My position has always been that Americans must stand up to the Democrats weaponization of law and show that such law is unacceptable by vindicating Trump in the November election. Otherwise, the result will be the institutionalization of weaponized law, which means tyranny. As important as law is as a shield of the people instead of a weapon in the hands of the state, it takes second place to avoiding nuclear Armageddon. I can no longer support Trump.

The situation could not be more dangerous. The entire leadership of the Western world is committed to war with Russia. European leaders are telling Europeans that Europe must be prepared for war with Russia. No one in Washington, and precious few among policy analysts, will admit to any US responsibility for the dangerous situation. The fact that Washington overthrew the government in Ukraine, installed a puppet, trained and equipped a large Ukrainian army to retake the independent Donbas republics, deceived Putin with the Minsk Agreement, mischaracterized Putin’s protection of Donbas as an invasion of Ukraine, and used every opportunity to widen the war is simply unspeakable in the Western world. Anyone who tells the truth is a Putin agent/dupe. The denial of the reality of the conflict is leading directly to a major war, perhaps humanity’s last war, and no Western leader is alarmed.

They are only alarmed that Washington is losing its proxy war. The determination is not to end the war but to expand it with long-range missiles and NATO troops to prevent Washington from losing the war. A few brave American students protest Israel’s slaughter of Palestinians, but no one protests the rapidity at which we are traveling the road to nuclear Armageddon. The American public is unaware of, or unconcerned with, the risk. Nowhere in any of the Western democracies do the people have a voice. The Western media is given over to war propaganda. Compared to the emphasis on reducing tensions that characterized the long Cold War, I can only conclude that the West has gone insane and is incapable of recognizing reality and behaving responsibly. Biden has refused the responsibility of his office to meet with Putin and resolve the dangerous situation. Instead, Biden insists on continuing an existential threat to Russia.

Read more …

“The West is playing poker and the Russians are not playing games..”

‘Lightweight’ Biden Officials Lack Gravitas to Negotiate with Russia (Sp.)

Which White House official has the clout to go toe to toe with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov? “That’s a trick question. Nobody.” So says Serbian-American journalist Nebojsa Malic, who joined Sputnik’s The Final Countdown program Tuesday to discuss how the Biden administration’s diplomatic deficit prevents Washington from dialing down tensions with one of the world’s foremost military powers. “The West is playing poker and the Russians are not playing games,” said the veteran columnist for AntiWar.com, who claimed the United States has consistently provoked Moscow. “The Ukrainians are losing badly on the operational and tactical level [and] the strategic level, arguably, as well,” he added, claiming that talk of Ukraine firing US weapons into Russia is intended “to present to their own population that they’re doing something.”

The issue has represented the latest controversy in the West’s ongoing proxy war against Moscow, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken publicly making the case to encourage Kiev to strike within Russian territory. “But you can say that that particular rubicon has been crossed months ago,” said Malic. “These long-range strikes – they’re hitting oil refiners, they’re hitting cities, they’re hitting civilians – they’re not striking military formations. Never did.” “This whole talk of, ‘oh, but we couldn’t disrupt the offensive because we weren’t allowed to strike Russian territory,’ is just an excuse from Zelensky and his command to justify their total and utter failure on the battlefield. And that’s why it’s arisen… ‘let’s do this because we’re going to blame the West for not letting us fight.’”

As Russia has consolidated their gains on the battlefield and pushed north towards Kharkov, Western media has begun to acknowledge the Kiev regime’s dire straits. With Ukrainian victory now more unlikely than ever, Russian President Vladimir Putin has reiterated that he is open to negotiating peace. But Moscow prefers to negotiate with “the people who make the decisions,” noted Malic, who reside not in Kiev, but in Washington. “Do you see a scenario where Antony Blinken and Sergey Lavrov sit down and have tea together?” asked host Angie Wong. “No,” the analyst replied bluntly. “Simply put, no. I don’t think Lavrov wants to negotiate with somebody who’s such a lightweight,” he claimed, apparently unimpressed with Blinken’s guitar playing abilities.

“[William] Burns actually might be the person,” said Malic, referring to Biden’s CIA director who has helped facilitate negotiations with Israel. “He used to be an ambassador to Russia, if I remember, and he might have the adequate gravitas to negotiate. Although does he have the authority? I don’t know. But yeah, Burns might actually be someone that the Russians might be willing to discuss things with.” The writer ran through the list of other top officials in the Biden White House, attempting to conjure someone who approaches the stature of Russia’s longtime top diplomat. “Sullivan: no. Harris: no. Biden, himself: don’t make me laugh. Blinken: no. Austin: no, also he’s indisposed. Yeah, I think Burns might be the guy.”

Read more …

“..[Zelensky] is not a specialist, not a patriot of his country, he is just a random person in power, a puppet.”

Ex-Ukrainian Prime Minister: Zelensky is Nothing But Impostor Since May 21 (Sp.)

Zelensky’s presidential powers expired on the night of May 20-21 and cannot be extended per the Ukrainian Constitution which limits the presidential tenure to five years. Despite calls from the West to secure a second term via a general election in Ukraine, he refused to do so – using the pretext of martial law to continue. “It is absolutely obvious to anyone who is familiar with electoral law and the Constitution of Ukraine that Zelensky has become an impostor since May 21,” Nikolay Azarov, prime minister from 2010 to 2014 and a veteran politician with over 20 years of experience in Ukrainian politics, told Sputnik. Azarov went on to trash Zelensky’s martial law pretext to justify canceling elections: “Zelensky did not declare war [against Russia]. He also did not announce any military operation. He simply introduced martial law. Why did you introduce martial law if you are not declaring war?”

The former Ukrainian president’s unwillingness to hold elections stems from his legitimate fear that he would have lost miserably, according to the former prime minister. “If there were a chance [of winning], he would have held elections,” he said. “Nothing prevented him from holding elections, because the entire administration, all the security forces, all the penal structures, everything is in the hands of his administration.” Azarov suggested that Zelensky could have held elections in the territories controlled by Kiev – akin to what his predecessor Petro Poroshenko did during his presidential tenure. But even under these conditions, Zelensky understood that he could not win and could be easily beaten by any other contender, like General Valery Zaluzhny, the ex-prime minister presumed.

“It is absolutely clear to everyone, with the possible exception of an extremely narrow circle of people, that [Zelensky] is not a specialist, not a patriot of his country, he is just a random person in power, a puppet. And therefore he would hardly have won if any [presidential] candidates had emerged,” Azarov said. As Zelensky’s tenure expired on May 20, the Verkhovna Rada (Ukrainian Parliament) and its speaker are now the only legitimate powers in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters on May 28, adding that the Ukrainian Constitution provides for the extension of the powers of the parliament, but not the president, under martial law.

Responding to Putin’s remark, Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk argued that the president of Ukraine exercises his powers until his successor assumes the post. However, the debate over Zelensky’s legitimacy is gaining pace regardless of Stefanchuk’s assertions. “The military conflict has been going on for three years now. It is still difficult to say how long it will last. Will [Zelensky] continue to usurp power all this time? This raises legitimate questions,” Azarov said.

Read more …

“..the Ukrainian constitution stipulates that presidential duties must be performed by the country’s speaker of parliament until an election is held..”

Zelensky is ‘An Outlaw’ – Russian State Duma Chairman (RT)

Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky has essentially committed a blatant power grab by deciding to keep his presidential post after his term officially expired, Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin has said. Writing on Telegram on Wednesday, Volodin proclaimed Zelensky – whose presidential term officially ended on May 20, an “outlaw,” adding that Ukraine has plunged into a “crisis of power.” The lawmaker recalled that the Ukrainian constitution stipulates that presidential duties must be performed by the country’s speaker of parliament until an election is held and a new president sworn in. However, Ruslan Stefanchuk, the parliament’s speaker, said that Zelensky must remain as president and denounced as “an enemy of Ukraine” anyone who questions his legitimacy.

He also argued that the nation’s constitution says that the president must perform his duties until a new leader is sworn in. Volodin disagrees, however, pointing out that the extension of the president’s term can only be done on the basis of an election, which Zelensky refused to greenlight, citing martial law imposed after the start of the Ukraine conflict. “Anything else is a state crime. And this is what Zelensky has committed,” the MP said. He went on to remark that foreign leaders found themselves in “a difficult position,” explaining that while they have the right to meet with Zelensky, “international agreements and treaties with him will have no legal force, because he has lost his powers.”

“This carries risks of non-return of funds and many other problems in the future,” Volodin added. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that the only legitimate authority in Ukraine is now the parliament, adding that “a deep legal analysis” of Zelensky’s current status should be carried out. The Russian president also suggested Zelensky is being kept in office by “overseas masters” so that he and his government would become scapegoats for all recent and future “unpopular decisions.” Meanwhile, Zelensky himself has claimed that he “is not really bothered” by talk of his perceived illegitimacy, adding that his fellow Ukrainians know the national law and can draw their own conclusions.

Read more …

“..‘don’t have a war over this. We don’t need NATO enlargement for US security. In fact it’s counter to US security’.”

Western Experts Realizing NATO Expansion Was A Mistake – Lavrov (RT)

Historians and political scientists in the West have finally grasped that NATO’s post-Cold War expansion led to conflict in Europe, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said, adding that this expansion was driven by Washington’s “irresistible desire” to dominate the continent. “Today, many historians and political scientists in the West express the point of view that their colleagues have been declaring for many, many years, maybe even decades. This is the fact that when the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist, when the Soviet Union extended its hand for unification with Europe, the US and the West as a whole on the basis of equality, mutual benefits and respect, no one dissolved NATO. And actually no one planned to,” Lavrov told a meeting of ambassadors in Moscow on Wednesday. “Just yesterday, a famous US economist, political scientist Jeffrey Sachs, cited this mistake in an interview with [US journalist] Tucker Carlson,” Lavrov noted.

Sachs on Lavrov
https://twitter.com/i/status/1795903854908711016

“Now, we can confidently say that the irresistible desire of the US to retain control of Europe through NATO was the reason.” In a video interview with Carlson published on Tuesday, Sachs condemned successive US administrations for breaking Washington’s promise to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev by expanding NATO to swallow up former Soviet satellite states in eastern Europe. “They got this idea that ‘we’ll expand NATO so that every country in the Black Sea around Russia is a NATO country. We’ll get Romania and Bulgaria, we’ll get Ukraine and we’ll get Georgia’,” Sachs explained. “And the reason was very clear. This is our way to basically dominate Eurasia. We are the sole superpower. We are unchallenged.” Among those who pushed back against Washignton’s expansionism were political scientist John Mearsheimer, Cold War strategist George Kennan – who called it ‘the most fateful error of American policy in the entire post-cold-war era” – and William Burns, the current director of the CIA who in 2008 described NATO’s offer of eventual membership to Ukraine as “the brightest of all red lines” for Moscow.

Speaking to reporters after NATO offered future membership to Ukraine and Georgia in Bucharest in 2008, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Moscow views “the appearance of a powerful military bloc on our borders… as a direct threat to the security of our country.” When Putin sent US President Joe Biden a draft security agreement in late 2021, Sachs contacted National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and urged him to treat the document as a basis for negotiations, he told Carlson. “The core of it was ‘stop the NATO enlargement’,” Sachs explained. “I called the White House myself at that point and said ‘don’t have a war over this. We don’t need NATO enlargement for US security. In fact it’s counter to US security’.”

“We should have disbanded NATO,” he concluded. “It’s doing huge damage to Europe, it’s destroying Ukraine…and almost nobody stands up and talks about it.” An economist and political analyst by trade, Sachs worked as an adviser to three UN secretaries general, and to the governments of Russia, Ukraine, and other post-Soviet countries during the 1990s. Since the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2022, he has consistently called on the US to stop financing the Ukrainian military and push for a ceasefire between Kiev and Moscow.

Read more …

“Russia will consider the supply of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine a deliberate signal action by NATO in the nuclear sphere.”

The F-16 CAN carry nuclear loads, so Russia must presume that is what they do. Can’t afford to wait and see.

Lavrov: NATO Plans to Supply F-16s to Ukraine a Signal in Nuclear Sphere (Sp.)

Russia considers the idea of a hypothetical convening of a peaceful international conference on the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict with the participation of both Moscow and Kiev as a possible continuation of China’s efforts to create conditions for resolving this crisis, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Sputnik. “As for the idea of convening an international peace conference in a timely manner, which would ensure the equal participation of Russia and Ukraine and the discussion of all available peace initiatives, we regard it as a continuation of Beijing’s efforts to create conditions for resolving the Ukrainian crisis. We share the position that, first of all, it is necessary to eliminate its root causes, ensure the legitimate interests of all parties,” Lavrov said. Future agreements on the settlement of the Ukrainian conflict must be based on the principle of equal and indivisible security, the minister added. Lavrov also noted that Russia believes the US has become an accomplice to Kiev’s crimes, when it comes to Ukraine’s missile strikes on Russian cities.

“In the US national security strategy, Russia is called an immediate threat. The US and NATO explicitly say that their goal is to inflict a ‘strategic defeat’ on our country. In this context, the fate of the civilian population of Russian cities is not of interest to the White House, which has become an accomplice to the crimes of the Kiev regime,” Lavrov said. The United States is actually exacerbating the conflict in the Middle East by publicly declaring its commitment to a just solution to the Palestinian problem, Russian Foreign Minister added. “The Americans continue to publicly speak about their commitment to a just solution to the Palestinian problem. At the same time, in practice, they plentifully add oil to the flame of the armed confrontation,” Lavrov stated. The Russian Foreign Minister further indicated that Russia will consider the supply of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine a deliberate signal action by NATO in the nuclear sphere.

“F-16 fighter jets have long been the main means of delivery in the framework of the so-called NATO joint nuclear missions. Therefore, we cannot but consider the supply of these systems to the Kiev regime as a deliberate signal action by NATO in the nuclear sphere. They are trying to make it clear to us that the US and NATO are ready for literally anything in Ukraine,” Lavrov said. At the same time, the supply of F-16 fighters would not change the situation on the line of contact in any way, the minister added. “These jets will be destroyed, as well as other types of weapons supplied by NATO countries to Ukraine,” Lavrov said. He also stated that the drills on the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons of Russian and Belarus should talk sense into western opponents about the consequences of escalation. “We hope that the Russian-Belarusian drills held these days to practice the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons will bring our opponents to reason, reminding them of the catastrophic consequences of further progress of nuclear escalation,” Lavrov said.

On Monday, the Belarusian Defense Ministry said that Belarusian and Russian air forces are conducting joint tactical flight drills on May 27-31. Russia and China agree on the importance of increasing defense cooperation, not only on a bilateral basis but also in multilateral formats, Sergey Lavrov said. “We share the opinion on the importance of increasing defense cooperation not only on a bilateral basis but also within the framework of multilateral formats. This understanding is set out in a joint statement signed following the visit of Russian President [Vladimir] Putin to China. Specifically, we are talking about expanding the scale of joint drills and combat training, conducting sea and air patrols, and developing the potential for joint response,” Lavrov said.

The cooperation between Beijing and Moscow is not aimed against any third country, the minister said. “Military cooperation with China is based on a high level of mutual trust. Russian-Chinese cooperation is aimed at strengthening international security and is carried out in accordance with the norms of international law. The combination of our efforts is not aimed against third countries. We and our Chinese friends are forced to take into account the negative military and political trends in the Asia-Pacific region and take measures to mitigate their consequences,” Lavrov said.

Read more …

“..reputations, you know, a lifetime to build, seconds to destroy.”

Robert De Niro Court Presser Turns into a Sad Spectacle (Turley)

In the movie A Bronx Tale, the character played by Robert De Niro tells his son that “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” Yesterday, the actor appears to have forgotten his own cinematic advice in a bizarre press conference organized by the Biden campaign in front of the Manhattan courthouse during the trial of former President Donald Trump. In a raving, disconnected press conference, De Niro predicted the end of democracy and then the world if Trump is not stopped in New York. De Niro offered a rambling monologue and exposed the danger of an actor speaking without a script:

“It’s a good time to reflect on how Americans fought and died so that we may enjoy the freedoms guaranteed to us by a democratic government, a government that as President Lincoln said of the people by the people for the people shall not perish from the earth. Under Trump this kind of government will perish from the earth. I don’t mean to scare you. No, no, wait, maybe I do mean to scare you. If Trump returns to the White House, you can kiss these freedoms goodbye that we all take for granted. And elections, forget about it. That’s over. That’s done if he gets in, I can tell you right now, he will never leave, he will never leave. You know that he will never leave.”

De Niro has gone full Travis Bickle. However, now 80, it came across as De Niro screaming at the courthouse for Trump to get off his lawn. The diatribe is consistent with the messaging of Democrats, including President Biden, that “democracy is on the ballot” and that this may be our last election. De Niro was not satisfied with that alarmist message and decided to take it to an apocalyptic level in predicting a global meltdown. As I have previously written, it is a narrative that ignores our history and our values. To suggest that this may be our last democratic election is to suggest that both branches (and the population at large) would stand idly by as a president assumed tyrannical powers. That did not occur, even when this country was united by wars and national emergencies. With the nation now divided right down the middle, it is even less likely.

That is why the “democracy is on the ballot” claims border on defamation against our Constitution. We have the most successful and stable democratic system in history. The success of that system is not measured by those who would riot or challenge our values. It is measured by how the system responds. Our system works because it was not only written for times of relative unity and calm, it also was written for times like these. What was particularly weird is that the Biden campaign succeeded in reinforcing the view of this case as lawfare, an effort to stop Trump at any cost.

That message was also reaffirmed by President Biden stating that he will hold a press conference on the verdict. After the third highest ranking official in the Biden Justice Department joined the prosecution to bring the case, the announcement only magnified the view of a case that is being used for political purposes. De Niro walked away pursued by hecklers and proceeded to exchange profanities. The question for the Biden campaign lingered as to what was achieved by the chaotic scene outside of the courthouse. I am a great fan of De Niro’s artistic work, a legacy of great movies that are now an indelible part of our culture. That is precisely why, as I watched from the Fox camera location near his presser, I was more sad than surprised by the spectacle. As another De Niro character said in the movie Stardust, “reputations, you know, a lifetime to build, seconds to destroy.”

Read more …

Popular slogan this year…

“Democracy is on the Ballot” (Turley)

“Democracy is on the ballot.” That mantra of President Joe Biden and other Democrats has suggested that “this may be our last election” if the Republicans win in 2024. A few of us have noted that the Democrats seem more keen on claiming the mantle of the defenders of democracy than actually practicing it. Democrats have sought to disqualify Donald Trump and dozens of Republicans from ballots; block third party candidates, censor and blacklist of those with opposing views; and weaponize the legal system against their opponents. Most recently, in California, democracy is truly on the ballot and the Democrats are on the wrong side.

California has always prided itself on the ability of citizens to vote on changes in the law directly through referenda and ballot measures. That is precisely what citizens are attempting to do with a measure that would require voter approval of any tax increase, including a two-thirds vote for some local taxes. It is called the Taxpayer Protection Act and it is a duly qualified statewide ballot measure slated for the November 2024 ballot. The state Democrats are apoplectic over the prospect of citizen control over revenue and taxes. What was a quaint element of democratic empowerment is now challenging a core vehicle of Democratic power. So Gov. Gavin Newsom and other Democratic leaders have taken the issue to the state Supreme Court to demand that citizens be denied the right to decide the issue. In oral arguments, the attorney supporting the challenge explained to the justices that citizens are simply not equipped to deal with the complexities of taxation and should not be allowed to render such a decision.

In a prior decision, Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar wrote that “Whether the context involves taxation or not, all of these cases underscore how courts preserve and liberally construe the public’s statewide and local initiative power. Indeed, we resolve doubts about the scope of the initiative power in its favor whenever possible and we narrowly construe provisions that would burden or limit the exercise of that power.” Half of the Court seemed to be inclined to deny the public the right to decide the question. The Court, however, may wait until after the election to render a decision on the limits of democracy in California.

Read more …

Not real evidence.

Evidence That President Raisi, FM Amir-abdollahian Were Murdered (Helmer)

The release of fresh details of the fatal helicopter flight on May 19 which killed Iran’s President, Ebrahim Raisi, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian is ruling out bad weather, machine failure, signals interference, on-board bomb or ground-fired missile as the cause of the crash. Iranian civilian, military and clerical officials are also excluding Israeli or US involvement. Instead, Raisi’s chief of staff, Gholam-Hossein Esmaeili, a civilian lawyer and Raisi loyalist for many years, has described a sequence of details, preceding and following the incident, which hint at suicide murder by one of the pilots of the presidential aircraft. Esmaeili made his remarks on Tehran television on the evening of May 21. He revealed that Raisi’s helicopter was flying second in a convoy of three aircraft, while Esmaeili was flying third, behind Raisi, when his helicopter “suddenly disappeared”. The pilot of the third helicopter then “decided to circle and return to search for the President’s helicopter”.

Esmaeili also said that attempted calls to Raisi, Amir-Abdollahian, and the pilot of their aircraft, Colonel Seyed Taher Mostafavi, all failed to produce a response. However, two calls were answered by Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Al-Hashem, the only passenger who appeared to survive the impact and fire of the crash, but died soon after. Al-Hashem represents the clerical power in East Azerbaijan province. According to Esmaeili, Al-Hashem said “our situation is not good, the copter has crashed into the valley”. Al-Hashem’s remark appears to rule out a missile strike or bomb explosion. Esmaeili’s statements rule out adverse weather conditions and the sight or sound of mid-air explosion. An Iranian Army General Staff statement, issued last Friday May 24, after investigation of radar, radio, other telecommunications, and the aircraft debris, has confirmed normal navigation and communications between the helicopter pilots and with ground controllers.

“Gunshot wounds or similar ones have not been seen in the remaining parts of the helicopter,” the report claims, “in the conversations of the control tower with the flight crew, no suspicious cases have been observed.” The implication is also that there were no sudden machine failures triggering loss of pilot control and indicated by either pilot or automatic instrument distress signals. Because the Raisi aircraft disappeared into clouds ahead of Esmaeili, and there was no heat burst from missile or bomb strike, satellite images by Russian, US, or Chinese satellites are unlikely to have recorded what happened. The signals intelligence collected by Russia and the US is also unlikely to have recorded more than Esmaeili has admitted.

That leaves the Russian hint published by Konstantin Malofeyev, owner and editor-in-chief of Tsargrad, citing a retired Russian Air Force general. According to Major General Vladimir Popov (retired), “the main threat to top officials during air travel comes from themselves”. The mainstream Russian press, the Moscow military bloggers, and RT, the state propaganda organ, have all avoided analysis of the incident forensics and speculation of motive; they have stuck to repeating official Iranian news releases. RT’s version of Esmaeili’s statements is significantly shorter and less comprehending than the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) report and the Times of India video. “Esmaeili’s statement points to Raisi’s pilot making the decision to crash,” comments a western military source. “Why order the other two aircraft to ascend and get above the clouds, and then not do so himself?”

Read more …

“..Israel had acted in defiance of the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), after the court ordered them to cease their military offensive in Rafah last week..”

No Zone is Safe (Manley)

The attack on what the IDF had designated as a “safe zone” came shortly after a barrage of Hamas rockets reached central Israel on Sunday; the group’s first long-range strikes in months. No deaths or injuries were reported following the strike. On Monday, an Israeli airstrike killed 45 people and as a result, has left the world shocked as more than half of those killed included women, children, and the elderly. Global condemnation followed the strike, with the most condemnatory of those coming from the Arab League nations and the Global South in general, Sputnik reported. Others stressed that Israel had acted in defiance of the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), after the court ordered them to cease their military offensive in Rafah last week. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Republic of Türkiye lambasted Tel-Aviv, saying: “We will do everything to hold these barbarians and murderers accountable.”

But while some Western countries spoke out against Israel’s atrocities, the US appeared to keep mum on their ally’s assault. “Israel has a right to go after Hamas, and we understand this strike killed two senior Hamas terrorists who are responsible for attacks against Israeli civilians,” a US National Security Council spokesperson said. “But as we’ve been clear, Israel must take every precaution possible to protect civilians.” According to witnesses, at least eight airstrikes struck the camp of displaced victims about 600 feet from a UN warehouse. A Palestinian Red Crescent spokesperson said the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had previously identified the camp as a “humanitarian area.” The IDF confirmed the strike as well, claiming that “significant Hamas terrorists were operating” there and said the strike’s “precise intelligence” had eliminated Hamas’ chief of staff for the West Bank.

Survivors said that the families were preparing to sleep when the strike hit the Tel Al-Sultan neighborhood, according to a Reuters report. A Palestinian mother described the strike as a “loud noise” followed by a fire that erupted around them. Palestinian authorities have reported that over 35,000 Palestinians have been killed since the conflict first broke out in October. A majority of those who have been killed are believed to be women and children. Cindy McCain, the head of the United Nations World Food Program has also warned that Gaza has now entered a “full-blown famine”. And yet, the Biden administration has said that they do not believe Israel is committing “genocide” in the Gaza Strip.

Read more …

“..We have to underline the equal worth of every child, every woman, every civilian in a world that is increasingly polarised and if we don’t do that, what’s the point of us?”

My Name Is Khan. I’m From The ICC and You’re Under Arrest (Jay)

There’s been nothing like it before. The arrest warrants for both Hamas leaders and Benjamin Netanyahu by the ICC create a new precedent for the so-called rules-based order of the West and its elites. With now countries like Norway, Ireland and Spain already declaring that Palestine could be recognised as a state, with at least 100 Global South countries ready to back such a bold move, the pressure on U.S. President Joe Biden is mounting, as he manages to back himself and his administration into a corner with America increasingly isolated now on the world stage. What happens when the Global South wakes up and realises that these international courts in the Hague are merely tools for any U.S. administration to arrest and detain any leaders around the world who they can’t assassinate or replace easily and that the ‘rules-based order’ is just an excuse for the U.S. and UK to break their own rules around the world when it suits them to support U.S. hegemony?

Karim Khan is the man who could shatter in one blow the credibility of these institutions and put America even farther behind in its declining power, struggling to adapt to the multipolar world. Khan is the chief ICC prosecutor who issues the warrants which are subject to approval by the ICC’s judges. If they are issued, they would immediately become a much more significant potential constraint on Israel’s leadership than a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a case brought by South Africa, which ordered Israel to suspend its military campaign in Rafah. If granted, it could be a game changer which could set the entire Gaza war and its endeavour to have its own state on a new path, crushing once and for all any hegemony the U.S. thinks it still wields in the Middle East.

Khan’s announcement accused Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, and his defence minister Yoav Gallant, along with three Hamas leaders, of crimes against humanity. It was the first time that a sitting western-backed leader had been targeted by the court and it prompted international outrage. It’s important to note that the ICC is not a court linked to the UN but formed by a treaty signed in Rome in 2002 and was largely backed by poor countries whose regimes were afraid of being victims of coup d’états from neighbouring countries. Broadly speaking, the difference between the ICC and the ICJ is that the former issues arrest warrants for dictators with pressure on the member states themselves to enact them. Neither Israel nor the U.S. are members.

Khan recently gave an exclusive interview to the London Times where he revealed how much he is hated by western leaders, in particular from his own country, like Rishi Sunak, who called the decision “deeply unhelpful”, and President Biden, who called it “outrageous”. “Our job is not to make friends,” he says. “It’s to do our job whether we are applauded or condemned. We have to underline the equal worth of every child, every woman, every civilian in a world that is increasingly polarised and if we don’t do that, what’s the point of us?”

Read more …

Geert Wilders’ Party for Freedom (PVV) won bigly in the elections. But he’s considered unacceptable as prime minister. Bring on the deep state!

Netherlands’ Ex-Intelligence Chief To Be Next Prime Minister (Sp.)

Former Dutch General Intelligence and Security Service Director-General Dick Schoof has acknowledged that he had been asked to be the next prime minister of the Netherlands, The NL Times has reported. Dutch media reported on Tuesday that the new Dutch coalition government, which includes the Party for Freedom (PVV), the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD), the New Social Contract party (NSC) and the Farmer-Citizen Movement party (BBB), planned to nominate Schoof as the next Dutch prime minister. The report said on Tuesday that Schoof, 67, is likely to take office on June 26. The newspaper cited the ex-intelligence chief as saying that he plans to be a leader for the entire country and remain “partyless” while in office. The prime minister is traditionally chosen as a member of the largest party in a coalition, which is currently the PVV led by Geert Wilders, the newspaper reported, adding that Schoof said he will not be “dragged to an extremist stance.”

“For me, this is a very intense moment. I never would have expected to be asked; to stand here is an honor. It’s very special, and I’m well-aware that the prime minister of the Netherlands is an intense job,” the report quoted Schoof as telling a press briefing. Dutch broadcaster RTL Nieuws reported in mid-May, citing sources, that former Dutch Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations Ronald Plasterk, who acted as a mediator at the beginning of negotiations on the current coalition, could be the most likely candidate for the post of prime minister. Plasterk was the minister of the interior and kingdom relations in the second cabinet of incumbent Prime Minister Mark Rutte from 2012 to 2017 and served as the minister of education, culture and science in the cabinet of then-Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende from 2007 to 2010. However, the official announced earlier in May that he was not ready to lead the new Dutch government.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1795648721247666339

 

 

Bruce Lee

 

 

Fetch

 

 

Wolfdog

 

 

Affection
https://twitter.com/i/status/1795557086786367998

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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


Edward Hopper Second Story Sunlight 1960

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

Elon Obama

 

 

SpaceX booster

 

 

 

 

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

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

Saving our Democracy This Memorial Day (Jim Kunstler)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

Trumpophobia Is Cresting With His Polls (Victor Davis Hanson)

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

Read more …

Switzerland just sold out its long lasting status of neutrality.

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more …

 

 

 

 

“Be Careful What You Eat”

 

 

Egbert

 

 

Mongoose

 

 

Steel

 

 

Fence

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 202024
 


Wassily Kandinsky Moscow II 1916

 

Iranian President Confirmed Dead In Helicopter Crash (RT)
The Trump Trial Could Be Over Sooner Than You Think – Unless He Testifies (Taft)
House GOP Want to Replace Speaker Despite Trump’s Support (Sp.)
Putin and Xi Are World Statesmen, Western Elites Threat To Global Peace (SCF)
Putin and Xi in Beijing: Steps into the 21st Century (Patrick Lawrence)
Russian Economic Growth Hits 5.4% (RT)
Closer to Nuclear War (Jacob G. Hornberger)
Old Genocide Joe Has Got To Go! (Philip Giraldi)
Profit-Generating and Woke Brainwashing: What Happened to US Military? (Sp.)
UN: Gaza Facing ‘Apocalyptic’ Famine (Sp.)
Professor Denounces Romance as a Creation of White Supremacy (Turley)

 

 

Much is said about the Putin-Xi hug. Both sitting here without a tie seems just as important.

 

 

I accept
https://twitter.com/i/status/1791971045114511463

 

 

6’9’”
https://twitter.com/i/status/1791728529782034886

 

 

Loomer

 

 

Mike Rowe

 

 

Khodorkovsky

 

 

 

 

The president is not the Supreme Leader, but still.. Between Damascus and this, they lost many leaders…

Iranian President Confirmed Dead In Helicopter Crash (RT)

Iranian state media have confirmed that President Ebrahim Raisi was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in the northwestern province of East Azerbaijan. His entire entourage, including Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Governor of East Azerbaijan Malek Rahmati, also perished. The head of state had traveled to the border region after joining Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev on Saturday to inaugurate a dam. Raisi had pledged to visit each of Iran’s 30 provinces at least once a year, and regularly traveled around the country. Reports of a “crash landing” began circulating on Sunday afternoon, with Iranian state media citing Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi. IRNA news agency reported dense fog in the mountainous area where the aircraft went down.

Raisi was traveling in a US-made Bell 212. Low visibility and the impassibility of the area made search operations difficult, IRNA wrote. Rescue teams finally managed to locate the crash site on Monday morning with the help of Turkish surveillance drones. The wreckage was discovered in a wooded area on a mountain slope. The aircraft was severely damaged and charred, and there were no signs of survivors, the Iranian Red Crescent Society said. With Raisi’s passing, First Vice President Mohammad Mokhber is expected to take office as interim leader. A representative of the republic’s conservative wing, Raisi, was elected in 2021. Before assuming the presidency, he had worked his way up from Prosecutor and Deputy Prosecutor in Tehran in the 1980s and 1990s all the way to attorney general, and later chief justice.

Raisi

Read more …

“The Democrats’ latest Get Trump campaign [..] is circling a crusty drain into a gutter of ignominy..”

The Trump Trial Could Be Over Sooner Than You Think – Unless He Testifies (Taft)

The Democrats’ latest Get Trump campaign to smear the former president and keep him off the campaign trail is circling a crusty drain into a gutter of ignominy. When the prosecution rests in this Manhattan bookkeeping trial, which may be late Monday or Tuesday, this Russia! Russia! Russia! redux could be mere hours—or days— away from jurors. The timing depends on at least three considerations: • Will the defense mount a defense? • If so, will the defense be able to get two key witnesses to testify? • Would Donald Trump testify? Whether it’s hours or days will depend upon how much rehabilitation the prosecution will need to do in its re-direct questioning of Michael Cohen. Cohen, who was annihilated by Trump attorney Todd Blanche on Thursday, will return to the stand on Monday for more questioning. Court was dark on Friday so that Trump could attend his son Barron’s high school graduation. The former president also shoe-horned in a fundraiser in Minnesota on Friday night. What, no family rager at Mar-a-Lago for Barron?

Regardless, don’t expect miracles in the final few days of the Trump trial. There’s only so much that judges are willing to do to stay in the good graces of a daughter fundraising off daddy’s job or to keep those squash game invitations coming. Granting a directed verdict isn’t likely on the “to-do” list. When star witness Cohen, a “serial perjurer,” is done punching the time clock for the prosecution, the defense will ask for a directed verdict of not guilty or make another motion for a mistrial for putting on a witness prosecutors knew would lie on the stand. Trump’s team members have spent hours cogitating over whether they should mount a defense. On one side there are those lawyers who say Trump needs to do his best to direct a JDAM into the heart of the prosecution for the benefit of the court of public opinion. The other side says Team Trump should do a mic drop, declare that the prosecution didn’t prove its still-unstated case, and ask for an acquittal.

As usual in criminal legal cases, fates favor the prosecution. Their case resembles a teetering Jenga game. The case’s uncharged crime resurrects zombie misdemeanor charges, the statute of limitations of which has run out, and transmogrifies them into 34 felonies based upon an action—paying an adult movie contortionist extortionist $130,000 to take her and her stories of having sex with Trump in 2006 and go away. The payments were paid by Trump attorney Michael Cohen. Regardless of the suspicious nature and derivation of the case, a New York jury could will likely find him guilty. The uncharged portion of the case is campaign finance violations. So far the people who have testified to the existence of campaign violations are Cohen and the adult mattress actress Stormy Daniels.

The judge has already shrink-wrapped the kind of testimony the actual campaign finance expert, former Federal Elections Commission chairman Brad Smith, can attest to when or if he testifies. Cohen has been the only person called to assess Trump’s state of mind on whether he believed payments to Cohen were written to skirt election law or simply as a retainer for legal services. The person who arranged the payments is sitting at Rikers Island prison. Former CFO Allen Weisselberg was jailed for perjury in Trump’s other New York case about the value of his real estate holdings. He was at a meeting with Cohen and Trump on the 34 payments to Cohen. Weisselberg hasn’t been called to testify because it won’t help DA Alvin Bragg’s case. In what former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy called “one of the sleaziest moves I’ve seen in a long time,” instead of calling Weisselberg to testify, Bragg introduced the former CFO’s separation agreement with the Trump organization into evidence to signal to the jury that the agreement wouldn’t let him testify, which is untrue.

“Bragg, who won’t prosecute anyone, prosecutes [Weisselberg] twice in two years…” McCarthy said incredulously. So it’s Cohen or nothing. Unless… Another possible witness is Cohen’s former attorney, Robert Costello, whose devastating evidence to the feds and the FEC about his former client’s lying is what convinced them to decline to bring campaign violations against Trump. Costello’s testimony before the Congressional Subcommittee on the Weaponization of Government was the first look many had at Costello’s story and why he could provide evidence that Cohen lied throughout the trial. At the behest of the feds, Cohen waived his attorney-client privilege, freeing Costello to tell his story. Go back and read that last sentence.

Alina
https://x.com/i/status/1791933868263518594

Read more …

MTG: “Everyone that’s gonna be voting for President Trump hates Mike Johnson..”

House GOP Want to Replace Speaker Despite Trump’s Support (Sp.)

The US Congress’ Republican Party members intend to replace incumbent House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson after the November elections to the lower chamber, despite the fact he has support from former President Donald Trump, the Axios news outlet reported on Saturday, citing sources. “Everyone that’s gonna be voting for President Trump hates Mike Johnson,” Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene was quoted as saying. Furthermore, Congressman Jim Jordan has been preparing the groundwork to promote his candidacy to replace the incumbent House speaker, the news outlet wrote, citing multiple sources.

At the same time, Trump and Johnson have talked over budget priorities, energy and tax policy among other things, the news outlet wrote, citing sources. The two have deepened their relationship since 2019 when Johnson defended Trump while on his impeachment defense team, the news outlet wrote. Overall, the former president sees the House speaker as a “good enough ally,” a top Trump ally told the news outlet, and Johnson “respects him [Trump] as the party leader,” the outlet added, citing a senior GOP source. “Loyalty is always going to be chief among the things that [Trump] cares about, and Johnson has never wavered on that,” a former White House official was quoted as saying.

Read more …

“There is no partnership or mutualism in such an “order” because the entire system is predicated on privilege and exploitation, underpinned by fascist notions of superiority and exceptionalism.”

Putin and Xi Are World Statesmen, Western Elites Threat To Global Peace (SCF)

This week, for those willing to perceive reality objectively, displayed two kinds of world order. The heartening news is that one will prevail over the other and thereby produce a better world for humanity, one of dignity and development for the common good. It was a momentous occasion this week when Russian President Vladimir Putin visited China where he was warmly greeted by Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Both leaders affirmed their friendship and their vision of a multipolar world based on partnership and mutual benefit. Putin and Xi signed numerous agreements on a wide range of trade and development projects covering energy, technology, engineering, construction, agriculture, infrastructure and military defense. The visit was Putin’s second to China since October last year. It was his first foreign trip since he was inaugurated earlier this month as president for a fifth term.

Both leaders have established a tradition of visiting each other’s countries as a first international stop upon their respective inaugurations. On beginning his third time as China’s president in 2023, Xi made Russia his first international destination. Over the past two decades, both men have met as leaders on at least 40 occasions. The personal warmth attests to genuine friendship and also a closely shared political vision of the world. Putin and Xi have ardently advocated for a multipolar world based on respect, equality and cooperation. During his reception in Beijing this week on a two-day visit, Putin and Xi hailed their nations’ growing alliance as a fundamental factor in maintaining world stability and peace. Putin stated: “We work in solidarity on forming a more just and democratic multipolar world order which should rely on the central role of the United Nations and its Security Council, international law and the cultural and civilizational diversity, a verified balance of interests of all participants of the world community.”

For his part, Xi remarked that Russia-China ties have “set a model of mutual respect, frankness, harmony and mutual benefit,” and he emphasized their commitment to “fairness and justice”. Both men underscored that their alliance and vision did not seek to threaten anyone. They appealed for diplomacy and reasonable dialogue in settling international conflicts, including in Ukraine and the Middle East. President Xi did not mention specific nations but it was patent that he was referring to the United States when he denounced “Cold War mentality…unilateralism, hegemonism, bloc confrontation and power politics” as threats to peace and international security. By contrast, from two world statesmen representing progressive humanism, we may turn to the other kind of world on display this week, the one that Xi alluded to with his denunciation of Cold War mentality.

The second vision is anachronistic, abject, and failing. It is the world order that dominated since the Second World War based on Western hegemony, or more euphemistically, called the “rules-based order”. The lead hegemon is the United States whose Western allies are vassals to service its order of privilege and exploitation of others in a neocolonial paradigm. Today, this Western-dictated order is a hyper-militarized disorder where illegal wars and clandestine conflicts are fomented to shore up hegemonic suzerainty and parasitism. As in antiquated times, the majority are treated like slaves who must pay tribute to their overlords or be put to the sword. Today, the tribute system is manifested by trade exploitation, unfair terms of exchange, and financial predation from the abuse of fiat currency, the U.S. dollar. There is no partnership or mutualism in such an “order” because the entire system is predicated on privilege and exploitation, underpinned by fascist notions of superiority and exceptionalism.

Read more …

“..consider the May 16 joint statement from a few steps back. Apart from what is in it, what is conspicuously absent? There is no mention of the West, is there? The tone is strikingly self-confident and entirely self-referential..”

Putin and Xi in Beijing: Steps into the 21st Century (Patrick Lawrence)

Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping added another to their count of 40–odd summit meetings when the Russian and Chinese presidents convened in Beijing, later proceeding to Harbin in Northeast China, for two days of talks that ended Friday. At 9:55 Thursday evening Beijing time, a day’s work done, the two sat behind a long table draped in green to address “members of the media,” as Xi put it. Western officials and the media that clerk for them have done their best, per usual, to dismiss this latest encounter of the Russian and Chinese leaders as of no account, just two authoritarians bound together by nothing more than their shared enmity toward the West. Pay no attention. We ought not miss the significance of what Putin and Xi had to say this week to one another and to the rest of humanity. The world just turned once again.

The Kremlin was first to publish a transcript of their “Media Statement Following Russia–China Talks.” The two presidents spoke in turn—Xi, the host, going first and Putin to follow. Here is a snippet drawn from Xi’s remarks: “We signed joint statements on enhancing the comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation for a new era…. China and Russia have served as a role model by showing others ways of building state-to-state ties of a new kind and working together as two major neighboring powers … based on the principles of respect and equality.” Xi spoke in this vein for several minutes. Here is a little of what Putin then contributed: “Our talks have reaffirmed that Russia and China have similar or identical views on many international and regional issues. Both countries have an independent and sovereign foreign policy. We are working together to create a fairer and more democratic multipolar world order based on the central role of the U.N. and its Security Council, international law, cultural and civilizational diversity, as well as a calibrated balance of interests of all members of the international community.”

There are two things to note about these remarks straight off the top. One, Western media have reported for months that there is a rift between Beijing and Moscow just below the surface. The Chinese do not approve of Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine, we have read. The bilateral relationship is radically unbalanced in Russia’s favor and of little use to China. Etc. This is nonsense, we can now see. In their brief presentation to the media and in other statements since, Xi and Putin have made it plain that there is virtually no air between the non–West’s two leading powers. As to the Ukraine question, to be noted right away, China has been studiously neutral while cognisant of the West’s provocations. Russia has never asked for more than this.

If Xi and Putin have made it a point to display their two nations’ closeness over the years—and their own as friends as well as statesmen, indeed—the two days they spent together this week mark an important public reaffirmation of their shared commitment to that “fairer and more democratic multipolar world” Putin mentioned Thursday. We have told you we have begun to build a new world order, they may as well have said. We’re on for this project. Together with others we will get this done. Two, and related to the above, consider the May 16 joint statement from a few steps back. Apart from what is in it, what is conspicuously absent? There is no mention of the West, is there? The tone is strikingly self-confident and entirely self-referential. In my read, the two leaders could not have more clearly if subtly demonstrated that the new world order of which they speak is to be an initiative the non–West will advance whether or not the Atlantic world approves or wishes to participate in its construction.

Read more …

“..exceeding the expected growth rates for the US (2.7%), the UK (0.5%), Germany (0.2%) and France (0.7%..”

Russian Economic Growth Hits 5.4% (RT)

Russia’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 5.4% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2024, the state statistics agency Rosstat said in a preliminary report published on Friday. According to the estimates, Russia saw robust growth in retail turnover (up 10.5%), manufacturing (up 8.8%) and construction (3.5%) in January-March. The Rosstat data aligns with an earlier estimate from the Economics Ministry, but exceeds that of the Bank of Russia (4.6% growth) and analysts’ expectations (5.3%). The agency is due to publish more detailed data on GDP in mid-June. According to an earlier forecast from the Bank of Russia, GDP growth is expected to slow in the second quarter due to tightening fiscal conditions. The regulator, however, expects consumer and investment demand to remain high and continue to drive economic growth.

The positive data comes despite multiple rounds of Western sanctions introduced since the start of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. The measures have ranged from blacklisting most Russian banks and cutting them from the SWIFT interbank messaging system, to freezing some $300 billion in Russian foreign exchange reserves. As a result, GDP suffered a downturn in 2022, contracting 1.2%. However, data for 2023 showed that the economy has recovered, posting growth of 3.6%. Many analysts have attributed this performance to Russia’s trade pivot to the East, and economic policies implemented to offset the effect of restrictions.

In April, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it expects the Russian economy to grow faster than all advanced economies in 2024. GDP is forecast to expand by 3.2%, exceeding the expected growth rates for the US (2.7%), the UK (0.5%), Germany (0.2%) and France (0.7%). Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov earlier said he expects GDP growth in 2024 to equal that of last year, while the Bank of Russia has been more cautious in its predictions, expecting growth of 2.5-3.5%.

Read more …

“If the day ever comes when mushroom clouds are suddenly and unexpectedly enveloping cities in Russia and the United States, those who are still alive can mull over whether Ukraine’s membership in NATO was worth it..”

Closer to Nuclear War (Jacob G. Hornberger)

I can’t help but wonder what proponents of America’s participation in the old Cold War dinosaur known as NATO are thinking about NATO officials who are contemplating sending NATO military personnel into Ukraine to train Ukrainian troops in their war against Russia. Those who relish the idea of nuclear war between the United States and Russia undoubtedly must be ecstatic over the possibility of such a move. It has been clear for some time that Ukraine is losing its war with Russia. Ukraine has lost countless young soldiers and their front-line troops are now largely composed of middle-aged men. Its production has plummeted. Its supply of weapons is low, which is why it continues to desperately seek replacement weapons from the United States. Ukrainian forces continue to retreat. And there is the increasing possibility that Russian forces will achieve a breakthrough in Ukrainian defense lines.

Obviously feeling desperate over the battlefield situation, European officials within NATO are contemplating sending military personnel into Ukraine to help train Ukrainian soldiers. But wouldn’t that put NATO and Russia into direct military conflict? After all, what happens if a Russian missile kills a bunch of NATO soldiers inside Ukraine? According to the New York Times, “So far the United States has said no, but Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said on Thursday that a NATO deployment of trainers appeared inevitable. ‘We’ll get there eventually, over time,’ he said.” Brown’s objection, for now, seems to be based more on military practicality rather than the possibility than the increased likelihood of nuclear war. “For now, he said, an effort inside Ukraine would put ‘a bunch of NATO trainers at risk’ and would most likely mean deciding whether to use precious air defenses to protect the trainers instead of critical Ukrainian infrastructure near the battlefield.”

The Times adds the important kicker in all this: “As a part of NATO, the United States would be obligated under the alliance’s treaty to aid in the defense of any attack on the trainers, potentially dragging America into the war.” It’s important that we keep in mind why the United States continues to move ever closer to the possibility of all-out nuclear war with Russia. The reason is so that Ukraine can be a member of NATO, something that Russia has long opposed. If the day ever comes when mushroom clouds are suddenly and unexpectedly enveloping cities in Russia and the United States, those who are still alive can mull over whether Ukraine’s membership in NATO was worth it. Indeed, they can also contemplate whether U.S. membership in that old Cold War dinosaur was worth it too.

Read more …

“..a group of top federal judges have signed a letter stating that they will strike back against the demonstrating students by refusing to hire any graduates of Columbia University Law School as law clerks.”

Old Genocide Joe Has Got To Go! (Philip Giraldi)

It is extremely difficult to discern what might be the thinking behind the clueless President Joe Biden and his Blinken-Austin-Mayorkas foreign-policy-plus national security team. Or rather, the problem is that there does not appear to be any thinking about it at all if one measures it by what benefits it brings to the American people. It all actually seems to derive from a desire to construct a narrative that will win the presidential election coming up in November, which will fortunately be run against a deeply flawed GOP candidate named Donald J. Trump. But look at what is on the Biden record: the country’s southern border with Mexico is a porous as a Swiss cheese, allowing literally millions of illegal immigrants into the USA since Biden took office; Washington is both de facto and de jure simultaneously fighting and losing two unnecessary wars involving nuclear powers which has cost a nearly bankrupt Treasury well into the hundreds of billions of dollars; and the White House is needlessly sanctioning non-hostile competitors like China while also making illegal popular social media sites like TikTok which have committed the sin of reporting and disseminating accurate narratives about good old “best friend and closest ally” Israel. Predictably, neither of the assertions about the value of the Jewish state is true, nor is it a democracy, but who cares when you’re having fun shooting people and spending someone else’s money?

Oh, and just try to exercise your first amendment free speech rights by demonstrating against Israel’s slaughter of upwards of 40,000 Palestinian civilians using US provided weapons and you will be hit on the head by a cop, possibly arrested, and even expelled from college! If you want to see where this is all going, check out reports of the recent FBI detention and interrogation of distinguished Israeli historian Ilan Pappe seeking to enter the US through the Detroit International Airport. Pappe is a critic of the Netanyahu government and of US policy so he was held, questioned in detailed about his contacts, and had his phone copied before being allowed to proceed. Meanwhile, a group of top federal judges have signed a letter stating that they will strike back against the demonstrating students by refusing to hire any graduates of Columbia University Law School as law clerks.

And there even is a bill currently before Congress that would empower the government to label the foreign protesters “antisemites and terrorism supporters” and deport them, with some going to Gaza with the expectation that they would be killed, possibly by the mighty Israel Defense Forces (IDF)! It would be a startling new development to punish those whose crime consists mostly of trespass even given the rather loose ethical boundaries established by the war on terror and the Antisemitism Awareness Act! Or indeed one might follow the Senatorial route led by a chirping Lindsey Graham who recommends dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza to kill everyone who has survived the Israeli onslaught. The area then might be developed after the radiation dies down for those splendid seaside villas for Jews only suggested by the esteemed Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Biden black vote
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792358959979901427

Read more …

No such thing as a woke army.

“Just goofy sh*t all across, up and down the chain of command.”

Profit-Generating and Woke Brainwashing: What Happened to US Military? (Sp.)

The third saturday of May is celebrated in the United States as Armed Forces Day, an observance honoring all members of the country’s military. But many experts are not joining the celebrations, raising concerns about the state of the US troops. This year’s Armed Forces Day in the United States takes place as Washington’s war machine appears to be but a shadow of its former self, its reputation tarnished by the de facto humiliating defeat in Afghanistan in 2021 and the inability to stop Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping lanes. The decline of the once-powerful US Armed Forces could be traced to the 1990s, the time right after the end of the Cold War, argued former US State Department counterterrorism analyst Scott Bennett. What started with reforms to those who could serve eventually “cascaded into an avalanche of social justice, acquainted theorems and attitudes towards the military,” he said. “Suddenly you saw a weakening of the military and that was the beginning of the end of the US military,” Bennett said.

Following that, the 9/11 terrorist attacks triggered a wave of US military interventionism across the world, ostensibly aimed at fighting terrorism but in reality serving as an “enrichment exercise for the military-industrial complex.” “So you’ve seen the military transform from a nationally-owned organization to an organization that was really being used to feed corporate entities like Raytheon, McDonnell Douglas, Booz Allen Hamilton, SAIC, a myriad of defense contractors, missile manufacturers, arms dealers, and that was another death blow to the military because suddenly it became a profit-generating organization,” Bennett remarked. According to him, the US military during the Obama administration suddenly lost interest in winning wars and resolving conflicts – instead, it became interested in perpetuating conflicts and “in using the military as a social re-engineering organization”.

“They [US authorities] completely corroded and decayed the military from within, causing a lot of the best soldiers, airmen, marines and sailors to depart, to not re-enlist,” he continued. “And as a result of all of the social pathologies and perversions that have been used and put into the military (…) You’re witnessing the United States military completely coming apart at the seams from a moral point of view, from a esprit de corps point of view.” He also noted that most Americans are reluctant to enlist because they do not want to join “a military that is at odds with their moral, traditional religious values.” “For the first time in the history of the United States, the American people, I believe, are looking at the military with a sense of disgust and a sense of fear and loathing because it has been used to ignite wars around the world and destroy the American reputation in Syria and Afghanistan, in Iraq and Libya and in Ukraine,” Bennett added.

“And now Europeans are also waking up and seeing the US military is one of the biggest threats to world peace.” Comparing the US military to the Russian military today, Bennett argued that the latter is clearly superior. “The Russian military is superior in technology and its manpower. Its technology is superior because the Russian people and the Russian government use their military development of weapons solely for the purpose of defending the country and the people, not to enrich companies that manufacture these weapons,” he elaborated. “Russia’s military manufacturing of weapons is solely and completely dedicated to the preservation of the nation, and to do it at a cost-effective rate.” Bennett also pointed out that the Russian military does not allow “homosexuality and transgenderism and all of these perversions that the West has allowed.”

Meanwhile, US Navy veteran Mike James – who served in Iraq in 2008 – observed that the United States’ military is surprisingly amateurish. “We’re surprisingly caught up in such an enormous sense of false superiority and security that there’s just really bad decisions made all up and down the chain of command, even at the highest levels. Yeah, just generally quite unprofessional and immature and goofy,” he told Sputnik. “Just goofy sh*t all across, up and down the chain of command.”

Read more …

Note: we have seen it coming. That carries guilt.

UN: Gaza Facing ‘Apocalyptic’ Famine (Sp.)

The UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, told the AFP that “apocalyptic” famine is coming to Gaza “If fuel runs out, aid doesn’t get to the people where they need it. That famine, which we have talked about for so long, and which is looming, will not be looming anymore. It will be present,” Griffiths said. “And I think our worry, as citizens of the international community, is that the consequence is going to be really, really hard. Hard, difficult and apocalyptic.” Griffiths claimed that 50 aid trucks can reach the people of North Gaza through the recently reopened Erez crossing, but that fighting in the south and central parts of Gaza, combined with other border closings, means very little aid can reach the Palestinians in the southern city of Rafah where Israel has been bombarding with tanks and warplanes and seized the border crossing with Egypt earlier this month.

“So aid getting through land routes to the south and for Rafah and the people dislodged by Rafah, is almost nil. And we all said that very clearly, that a Rafah operation is a disaster in humanitarian terms, a disaster for the people already displaced to Rafah. This is now their fourth or fifth displacement,” Griffiths said.= The floating pier off the Gazan coast constructed by the US opened days ago and some aid can travel through there, but Griffiths said that it cannot make up for land routes. Israel has repeatedly claimed to be doing all it can to facilitate humanitarian aid to Gaza but aid organizations have repeatedly said they have been hampered by Israeli authorities. For months, Israeli settlers have blocked aid going into Gaza, oftentimes as Israeli police and military forces stand by. Those incidents reached a fevered pitch last week with several violent incidents.

On Friday, Israelis reportedly attacked a commercial truck drive in Kochav Hashahar, an Israeli West Bank settlement that is considered illegal under international law. The Israelis attacked the driver, injuring him, according to the reports. Three IDF officers who arrived to treat the driver were also attacked and reportedly suffered minor injuries. Last week, a truck was set on fire after Israeli settlers stopped an aid convoy and destroyed the loads of several trucks. Videos on social media depicted Israelis ripping up bags of flour and dancing on the now-empty truck beds. Meanwhile, on Friday, the US State Department released a report on whether Israel was breaking humanitarian law by blocking aid or using US weapons in a way that is against humanitarian law. While the report noted “deep concerns” about Israel’s “actions and inactions” preventing humanitarian aid, it said that there was insufficient evidence to justify cutting off aid to Israel.

As of April, more than 250 aid workers have been killed in Gaza, including seven World Central Kitchen workers who were killed in what appeared to be a coordinated attack by Israel, hitting three identified aid vehicles while the organization was coordinating with Israel, providing their locations to the government, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). “This was not just a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place,” the organization’s founder, Chef José Andrés said after the attack. “Even if we were not in coordination with the [IDF], no democratic country and no military can be targeting civilians and humanitarians.”

Read more …

“..Strings “challeng[es]readers to accept the end of love as they know it and to embrace more queer and feminist ideas of love, equity and partnership.”

Professor Denounces Romance as a Creation of White Supremacy (Turley)

In higher education, there is a virtual cottage industry of academics declaring everything from math to meritocracy to be forms of white supremacy and racism. Now, it appears romance will be added to the list. University of California Santa Barbara Black Studies Professor Sabrina Strings has written how romance promotes white supremacy and “global pigmentocracy.” In The End of Love: Racism, Sexism, and the Death of Romance, Strings recounts having “endured” her own bad relationships and maintains that “Romance is an old white cultural institution that began in the Middle Ages.” In an interview with The Current, Strings explains that “I am only one of the millions of Gen X-to-Gen Z women who have endured a seemingly endless array of miserable relationships with men. ”In viewing romance through her own lens, Strings comes up with distinctly different views of literature and famous relationships.

For example, many people have read the story of Lancelot and Guinevere, a story of forbidden love that introduced disharmony and disaster to King Arthur’s Round Table. It is a story of love and eventual betrayal. It is both irresistible and irrational. Many accounts show Lancelot rescuing Guinevere and, torn by their mutual loyalty to King Arthur, the couple finally succumbs to the inexorable pull of love to each other. It is a tragedy of love and loyalty that leaves everyone in ruin. Arthur would die of wounds in the later battles, Guinevere would die in a convent, and Lancelot would, according to some accounts, die as a hermit. It is a powerful tale of how love can overwhelm all other considerations and shatter every other bond. That is not exactly how Professor Strings sees it. She says that the tale is really about how a man of lower status is trying to secure greater power and prestige by seducing a higher class European Christian woman: “Love is very much about generosity but romance is very much about what you can get from somebody, especially if you’re a man who is social climbing.”

Professor Strings zeros in on the beauty and whiteness of Guinevere. She notes that the queen was viewed as irresistibly attractive and pale in complexion: “We can easily recognize these features today as those representing the apex of whiteness, even though race did not exist at the time of Troyes’s writing. Nevertheless, to the extent that some of these representations occurred before the seventeenth century dawn of race science, they have what historians have called a ‘proto-racist’ bent. Indeed, scholars have shown that the preference for light skin, hair, and eyes existed prior to the advent of racism, and that these characteristics were co-opted by it and enlisted for the purpose of installing a global pigmentocracy.” The “whitenesss” could also simply reflect the racial makeup of the historical characters as opposed to any “global pigmentocracy.” Yet, according to Professor Strings, romance is about “women who are not peak white or are ‘insufficiently white’ are subject deservedly to deceit, manipulation, assault and rape.”

Professor Strings previously wrote a 2019 book about how “fatphobia” is rooted in racism. In today’s academic environment, there often seems a rush to racialize common practices, customs, or terminology. Publications clamor for such articles and discovering another hidden racist element in society can bring academic accolades. However, others have already staked out many areas such as mathematics, astrophysics, statistics, meritocracy, climate change, dieting, tipping, skiing, chess, and organized pantries. Most recently, the American Psychological Association declared that merit-based hiring may be racist. Even robots are now declared to be part of the supremacist menace because they are often made of white plastic.

Indeed, it now appears that both romance and marriage are vehicles for white supremacy. We previously discussed the writings of George Mason Professor Bethany Letiecq on how marriage advances “White, heteropatriarchal supremacy in America.”Nevertheless, the Strings book has met with acclaim and praise from many. Ms. Magazine praised the book as espousing the foundations of romance in “the white supremacist cishetallopatriarchy. Personal, historical, rigorous and readable, this is a fresh and essential feminist analysis on sexism, whiteness and toxic masculinity.” Other reviews note that Strings “challeng[es]readers to accept the end of love as they know it and to embrace more queer and feminist ideas of love, equity and partnership.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Cybertruck
https://twitter.com/i/status/1791676003015672305

 

 

Cheetah

 

 

Blood vessels

 

 

Dozen

 

 

Tiger fish

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 092023
 
 December 9, 2023  Posted by at 9:44 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  50 Responses »


Bernini The Vision of Constantine 1670

 

The Evil Israel Does is the Evil Israel Gets (Chris Hedges)
Iran’s Raisi Asks Putin To Support Gaza Action – Putin Is Evasive (Helmer)
Flooding Gaza Would Be War Crime – Russia (RT)
Dozens of Democrats Could Beat Trump – Biden (RT)
Zelensky Sees the Writing on the Wall – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
White House Touts ‘Year Of Suffering’ For Russian Troops (RT)
Medvedev Warns Of Direct Russia-NATO Clash (RT)
Hunter Indictment Designed Specifically To Avoid Joe Biden (Turley)
Hunter Is In A Lot Of Trouble (@willscharf)
Hunter Biden Claims GOP Is “Trying To Kill” Him (Sp.)
Hunter Biden is a Case Study of the Perils of Legal Gluttony (Turley)
Tucker Carlson Comments On Running As Trump’s VP (RT)
Is Truth Becoming Valueless? (Paul Craig Roberts)

 

 

 

 

 

The day before yesterday, Refaat received a phone call from the Israeli intelligence about locating him in the school where he took refuge. They informed him that they were going to kill him. He left the school not wanting to endanger the others, and at 6 p.m. his sister’s apartment was bombed, where he was killed, his sister and her four children

 

 

Cuomo RFK

 

 

 

 

Vivek

 

 

 

 

“The wars do not end. The suffering continues. The Palestinians die in the tens of thousands. This is by design.”

The Evil Israel Does is the Evil Israel Gets (Chris Hedges)

I knew Dr. Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, the co-founder of Hamas, along with Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Yassin. Al-Rantisi’s family were expelled to the Gaza Strip by Zionist militias from historic Palestine during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. He did not fit the demonized image of a Hamas leader. He was a soft spoken, articulate and highly educated pediatrician who had graduated first in his class at Egypt’s Alexandria University. As a nine-year-old boy, he witnessed executions in Khan Younis of 275 Palestinian men and boys, including his uncle, when Israel briefly occupied the Gaza Strip in 1956, the subject of Joe Sacco’s magisterial book Footnotes in Gaza. Scores of Palestinians were also executed by Israeli soldiers in the neighboring town of Rafah, where tens of thousands Palestinians are currently being forced to flee now that Khan Younis has come under attack.

“I still remember the wailing and the tears of my father over his brother,” al-Rantisi told Sacco and me when we visited him at his home. “I couldn’t sleep for many months after that…It left a wound in my heart that can never heal. I’m telling you a story and I’m almost crying. This sort of action can never be forgotten…[T]hey planted hatred in our hearts.” He knew he could never trust the Israelis. He knew that the goal of the Zionist state was the occupation of all of historic Palestine – Israel seized Gaza and the West Bank in 1967 along with Syria’s Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula – and the eternal subjugation or extermination of the Palestinian people. He knew he would avenge the killings.

Al-Rantisi and Yassin were assassinated in 2004 by Israel. Al-Rantisi’s widow, Jamila Abdallah Taha al-Shanti, had a doctorate in English and taught at the Islamic University in Gaza. The couple had six children, one of whom was killed along with his father. The family’s home was bombed and destroyed during the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza known as Operation Protective Edge. Jamila was killed by Israel on Oct. 19 of this year. Israel’s genocide in Gaza is rearing a new generation of enraged, traumatized and dispossessed Palestinians who have lost family members, friends, homes, communities and any hope of living ordinary lives. They, too, will seek retribution. Their small acts of terrorism will counter Israel’s ongoing state terror. They will hate as they have been hated. This lust for vengeance is universal. After World War Two, a clandestine unit of Jews who served in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army, called “Gmul,” – Hebrew for “Recompense” – hunted down former Nazis and executed them. “I and the public know/What all schoolchildren learn,” W.H. Auden wrote. “Those to whom evil is done/Do evil in return.”

[..] The Biden administration has little to gain from the leveling and depopulation of Gaza, indeed it is alienating huge segments of the Democratic Party, especially as it attacks protestors calling for a ceasefire as “pro-terrorist.” Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer led chants of “We stand with Israel” and “No ceasefire” at a pro-Israel rally on Nov. 4 in Washington D.C., despite a Reuters/Ipsos survey indicating 68 percent of respondents believed that Israel should implement a ceasefire and negotiate an end to the war. That number rises to 77 percent among Democrats. Biden has a dismal approval rating of 37 percent.

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council voted 13-1 for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and unconditional release of all hostages. The U.S. voted against the resolution. The U.K. abstained. The draft resolution was not adopted due to the U.S. veto. Biden’s real base is not disenchanted voters but the billionaire class, corporations, such as the weapons industry, which is making huge profits from the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, and groups such as the Israel lobby. They determine policy, even if it means Biden’s defeat in the next presidential election. If Biden loses, the oligarchs get Donald Trump, who serves their interests as doggedly as Biden. The wars do not end. The suffering continues. The Palestinians die in the tens of thousands. This is by design.

Read more …

“The war has to be economic and infrastructure suffocation [of Israel],” a Moscow source says. “Yes, that’s the only way to beat the beast.”

Iran’s Raisi Asks Putin To Support Gaza Action – Putin Is Evasive (Helmer)

An Iranian-Russian initiative on the Gaza War was tabled when Iranian President Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi met with President Vladimir Putin for several hours on Thursday. For the time being the Kremlin is doing its best to hide it. According to Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, speaking after Raisi had returned home, “a significant part of the negotiations focused on the Palestinian issue and Russia is thinking about an initiative on Gaza. The two sides stressed the need for an immediate cessation of the war and genocide in Gaza and the West Bank, he said, noting that the presidents of Iran and Russia also called for stopping the forced migration of Gazans and the immediate opening of the Rafah border to deliver massive humanitarian aid to Gazan people.”

There was a one-on-one session between Raisi and Putin at the commencement of the talks; a session of the two presidents with brief public statements; and then closed delegation presentations and a supper. Altogether, the talks lasted five hours. There were no press briefings at the conclusion. There has been a blackout on the talks by Russian Defense Ministry, the military bloggers, and Moscow media like Vzglyad which has been taking a pro-Israel line. No Russian official will clarify what Abdollahian meant by his claim that “Russia is thinking about an initiative on Gaza” – except to point out that Abdollahian’s wording does not mean that the “initiative” at this stage was initiated by the Russian side. Vedomosti reports that “Iran would like Russia to more actively express the pro-Palestinian position within the framework of public discourse, which would correspond to Iranian rhetoric. From the point of view of the North–South economy, of course, Tehran has a priority, it’s just that against the current background it, like any Muslim country, cannot demonstrate that it can have something more important than the situation in the Gaza Strip.”

According to the Kremlin communiqué, Raisi told Putin “the events unfolding in Gaza” are “surely genocide and a crime against humanity. It is lamentable that more than 6,000 children have been killed by the hands of the Zionist regime. Even sadder is the fact that all these crimes have been supported by the United States and Western countries. What is even more regrettable is that international organisations and the human rights organisations have lost their effectiveness… One of the issues that I would like to discuss with you, Mr Putin, is Palestine, as well as the challenges faced by the oppressed but strong Palestinian people. According to statistics, one child dies every ten minutes. Bombing must be stopped as soon as possible. This is not a regional issue, but a global issue, and a solution should be found promptly.”

Putin replied by changing the subject. “Mr President, I will definitely take you up on your invitation [to visit Iran]. And I should note that we will keep working almost through the end of the year. We have scheduled the signing of an agreement on creating a free trade area between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union in late December. It will create additional opportunities for expanding our interaction.” The Kremlin has published the names of the Russian delegation accompanying Putin at the talks but refuses to disclose the names of their Iranian counterparts. “Wait for additional materials on our website”, the spokesman said. Although Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was the second ranking member of the Russian side, Iranian sources confirm there was no military counterpart on their side.

Privately, Russian sources believe the two sides are discussing the protracted, long war strategy of Hamas and Hezbollah and the parallel engagement from Yemen and Iraq. They are also discussing ideas for breaking the Israeli blockade of Gaza with massive humanitarian aid in which the Arab states and China are also engaged in the planning. “The war has to be economic and infrastructure suffocation [of Israel],” a Moscow source says. “Yes, that’s the only way to beat the beast.”

Putin 2024

Read more …

I’m afraid they’re crazy enough to try.

Flooding Gaza Would Be War Crime – Russia (RT)

If Israel is truly considering flooding the “Hamas tunnels” under Gaza with seawater, this would be a clear-cut atrocity, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, said at the Security Council meeting on Friday. China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates called for the emergency session, given the deteriorating situation in the Palestinian enclave after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) resumed military operations at the start of December. “In recent days, shocking information has spread about Israeli plans to flood underground structures in the Gaza Strip with seawater,” Polyansky told the council. “According to publicly available information, the IDF has already built a system of pipes and pumps designed to pump seawater, and is currently discussing with the United States the practical possibility of such flooding: will there be enough water, will the ‘topography’ of the tunnels allow it, and so on.”

“Such a step, if taken, would constitute a clear war crime”. Polyansky explained that the flooding would be indiscriminate and the equivalent of ordering “take no prisoners,” while the sea water would contaminate the groundwater in Gaza and make the area uninhabitable. Documents published in mid-October suggest that the Israeli authorities would like to displace all of Gaza’s Palestinian population into Egypt. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas after the Gaza-based militant group raided nearby Israeli settlements on October 7, killing an estimated 1,200 people and taking scores hostage. Since then, more than 16,000 Palestinians have died in Israeli operations in Gaza.

After a week-long “humanitarian pause” at the end of November, Israel has launched a “more brutal and bloody phase” of its operation, Polyansky told the UN, with the scale of destruction indicating “indiscriminate” use of force and striking of targets considered protected by humanitarian law. “The brutal Hamas raid on October 7 cannot justify Israeli crimes against humanity,” the Russian diplomat argued. “Failure to respect humanitarian law by one side does not relieve the other from the same obligations.” Polyansky added that he doubted the International Criminal Court would do anything, as it will not act “against its Western masters.” The ICC is likely to “forgive” Israel just as it turned a blind eye to Western atrocities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, he added.

Read more …

But “I just have to run.”

Dozens of Democrats Could Beat Trump – Biden (RT)

President Joe Biden has claimed there are dozens of Democrats who could defeat Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential election, but has insisted he must be the one to do so. Some sections of the Democratic Party and the media are already treating Biden as the default nominee for next year’s presidential election. The party’s Florida branch has refused to place any other names on the ballot for its primary vote, while the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has refused to organize debates with other contenders. Biden was asked by the media on Wednesday whether he thought there were fellow Democrats who could defeat Trump. “Probably 50 of them,” the president responded, declining to offer any names. “I’m not the only one, but I will defeat him.”

Questions about Biden’s willingness to run for a second term were triggered by remarks he made at a campaign fundraiser in Boston on Tuesday. “If Trump wasn’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running,” said the incumbent leader. Again citing the challenge from his predecessor, Biden later told journalists outside the White House that “I just have to run.” Biden overcame Trump in the 2020 presidential election, and a likely rematch has been touted by the Democrats as an existential battle against the Republican frontrunner’s supposed authoritarianism. However, Biden’s approval ratings recently reached a low of just 37%, according to a CNN poll published on Wednesday. Last month, a New York Times survey predicted Biden would lose to Trump in five of six battleground states. Critics of the Democrats’ strategy claim that the party would rather risk losing to a man it has branded a unique threat to democracy, rather than make Biden contest the nomination fairly against potentially better candidates.

Read more …

“..the counter-counter offensive..”

Zelensky Sees the Writing on the Wall – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky must face the “writing on the wall” after the failure of his summer counter-offensive, says a former UN weapons inspector. In an interview with YouTube host Danny Haiphong, Scott Ritter, a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, Ritter gave a stark assessment of the notoriously botched Ukrainian counteroffensive that began in early summer of 2023. “The counteroffensive is over. It’s been a strategic defeat for the Ukrainians for the collective West. And what I think we’re going to see now is that the Russians, having absorbed the Ukrainian blow, are going to slowly go on the counter-counter offensive and begin to put pressure on the Ukrainians,” Ritter stressed. “The Russians will be on the initiative from now on. And eventually the Ukrainian line is going to collapse.”

Ukraine’s inability to secure any sort of tangible success on the battlefield will lead to political turmoil in Kiev, the pundit argued. Eventually, Zelensky will face the rage of his soldiers. “They feel betrayed by his incompetence. Especially when it becomes clear how corrupt he is, and how corrupt his government is. Everybody knows it,” Ritter pointed out. “There is a growing resentment over this. There are people who aren’t getting their pensions paid. People who aren’t getting the healthcare they need because of the corruption.” Ritter noted how the US is funding the entire country, paying salaries to civil servants, military personnel and healthcare workers — Washington completely disregards the same needs at home.

“As an American I take umbrage at this. If you’re going to do that there, first, do it here. Let’s take care of the immigration problem. Let’s take care of the dirty water up in Flint, Michigan. Let’s take care of the homeless problem. Let’s take care of all those junkies on the street of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Let’s take care of America before we start taking care of Ukraine,” he concluded. Recently, the Ukrainian media have given substantial coverage to rising tensions between President Zelensky and Ukraine’s top general Valery Zaluzhny. In the interview with British magazine the The Economist, the Commander-in-Chief admitted that the Ukrainian forces had reached an impasse. Zaluzhny came under fire for that statement, with Zelensky rushing to refute it.

Read more …

“He said he disagreed with the notion that the operation “not going as far as people wanted reflects some degree of Ukrainian failure.”

White House Touts ‘Year Of Suffering’ For Russian Troops (RT)

The White House wants to keep funding Ukraine in its conflict with Russia because it believes that in a year Moscow may be willing to concede to Kiev’s demands, an aide to Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, said in an interview on Tuesday. Jon Finer, Sullivan’s principal deputy, discussed the White House Ukraine strategy at an event hosted by the Aspen Institute, an influential US think-tank. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden’s request to allocate over $110 billion in foreign security aid, including for Ukraine, was blocked from a vote in the Senate. Finer made a case for releasing the funds despite Kiev’s inability to secure any major successes on the battlefield during its summer counteroffensive. He said he disagreed with the notion that the operation “not going as far as people wanted reflects some degree of Ukrainian failure.”

If Washington keeps bankrolling Kiev’s war effort for the next year, the Ukrainian government will maintain “a degree of parity” with Russia, he promised. “Another year of funding and another year in which Russia will have to suffer on the battlefield is fundamentally a better position than we are in today without that funding,” Finer said. “I think there is no way to dispute that.” By the end of 2024, Western nations will have ramped up arms production and be helping Ukraine do the same, the White House expects. Then Russia will have to either “come to the negotiating table on terms that would be acceptable to Ukraine” or face a stronger opponent, according to Finer’s expectations.

Kiev’s demands for peace include full control over pre-2014 Ukrainian territory, war reparations and a tribunal for the Russian leadership, as detailed last year by President Vladimir Zelensky. Moscow has dismissed it from the start as detached from reality. Moscow has cited NATO expansion in Europe and the promised inclusion of Ukraine into the US-led military bloc as a threat to its national security. Preventing that outcome is imperative, senior Russian officials have said. In the first weeks of hostilities, Ukraine and Russia came to a preliminary agreement on a truce, which would have seen Kiev drop its NATO aspirations and pledge neutrality. Then UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Kiev to “make war instead,” David Arakhamia, who led the Ukrainian delegation at the talks in Istanbul, confirmed in a recent interview.

Read more …

“..no American president has ever “extorted so much money for a minor country that is in the process of collapsing..”

Medvedev Warns Of Direct Russia-NATO Clash (RT)

Moscow and Washington are tiptoeing on the precipice of a hot war, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said, adding that the last similar crisis in relations dates back to the height of the Cold War in the early 1960s. Writing on Telegram on Friday, Medvedev, who now serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, weighed in on what he called US President Joe Biden’s “primitive blackmail” of Congress. He was referring to the American leader’s recent plea to lawmakers to approve a $111 billion security package, which included funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. To convince Republicans – who have been reluctant to support the measure due to a dispute over border security – Biden warned that Russia might not stop at Ukraine and go on to attack NATO countries, leading to a direct clash involving the US. His plea, however, failed to impress the Senate Republicans, who blocked the funding.

Medvedev said the Biden administration’s ploy “is nothing new.” According to the official, many US presidents in the past have said, “Give the money to our guy (fill in the name), or you will have to fight the Russians.” The difference, Medvedev added, is that no American president has ever “extorted so much money for a minor country that is in the process of collapsing,” which is also connected to a corruption controversy involving both the sitting US president and his family members – in reference to allegations that both Biden and his son Hunter accepted bribes from a Ukrainian gas executive. The former Russian president went on: “Never since the Cuban Missile Crisis has the threat of a direct clash between Russia and NATO leading to World War III been so real.”

The 1962 crisis brought the US and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war after Moscow responded to Washington’s deployment of missiles in Türkiye by placing its own atomic assets in allied Cuba. The two superpowers narrowly managed to defuse the tensions by withdrawing their missiles from both countries. Medvedev predicted that despite the gridlock in Congress, both the administration and its “cowering fosterling” in Kiev would get the money sooner or later, allowing all parties involved to continue profiting off the conflict. Russia has repeatedly warned the West against sending arms to Kiev, arguing that doing so will only prolong the conflict while making it a direct participant in the hostilities.

Read more …

How do you withdraw $1.6 million from an ATM?

Hunter Indictment Designed Specifically To Avoid Joe Biden (Turley)

The 56-page indictment of Hunter Biden for tax evasion makes for racy reading, with the special counsel describing a four-year criminal pattern directed at maintaining Biden’s “extravagant lifestyle.” That lifestyle included massive expenses for strippers, sex clubs, fast cars and other distractions. The steps taken by Hunter to evade taxes are impressive, but not nearly as impressive as the efforts of the Justice Department to evade any direct implications for his father, President Biden. In that sense, the indictment itself is a marvel of evasion. There are three glaring omissions in the indictment that tend to shield critical payments and conduct that implicate the president. First, the special counsel only indicts tax evasion that occurred in recent years. That’s because the long “investigation” into Hunter inexplicably allowed the statute of limitations to expire on the most controversial payments from Ukraine gas company Burisma.

Recent testimony from IRS whistleblowers suggests that wasn’t an accident. Investigators were stonewalled, they claimed, and the Justice Department was previously moving to reject any charges against Hunter Biden. Exploring those earlier Ukrainian payments opens up questions about Hunter’s influence peddling and would have highlighted the conflict in his father’s extraordinary move to force the Ukrainians to fire a prosecutor investigating Burisma by holding back a billion dollars in aid for the country. There is still no explanation why special counsel David Weiss would allow the statute of limitations to run out. But this recent indictment keeps the focus squarely on taxes not paid, not how the money was “earned” in the first place. Also missing in the indictment is any charge against Hunter Biden as an unregistered foreign agent.

Recently, the Justice Department added a charge to the indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) that he ran afoul of FARA, the Foreign Agents Registration Act. FARA also was used to go after Donald Trump associates such as Paul Manafort. The problem with charging Hunter with FARA is obvious. It opens up questions about the millions of dollars going to the Biden family from foreign sources, a topic that Attorney General Merrick Garland has spent years avoiding. In the second indictment, Weiss spends more time detailing the salacious use of this money rather than how and why it was given to the Bidens. He just matter-of-factly describes millions flowing through these accounts from China, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and other countries. By focusing on tax evasion alone, Weiss again avoids any direct reference to the focus of the influence-peddling used to raise these millions of dollars.

Even without mentioning the president, the implications of the indictment are devastating for the narrative and denials of Joe Biden. The president has continued to maintain that he had no knowledge or interaction with these dealings. Those statements are clearly and knowingly false. The president also maintained that his son has “never done anything wrong” and never accepted any money from China. That is also untrue, according to the Justice Department and Hunter himself. Yet Weiss continues to avoid any need to address the person who was the selling point of the influence peddling. It was the same person who repeatedly called in to dinners and meetings, repeatedly attended events, and held meetings and photo shots for these clients. Instead, Weiss indicts the failure to pay taxes on the proceeds of these dealings without addressing that underlying corruption. It is akin to arresting a bank robber for speeding away from the crime scene without mentioning the reason for his flight.

Read more …

X thread.

Hunter Is In A Lot Of Trouble (@willscharf)

I have reviewed the new Hunter Biden indictment. As a former federal prosecutor, and someone who has followed the Hunter saga quite closely for years, here are my initial reactions:

(1) Hunter is in a lot of trouble. With the sweetheart deal previously offered to him now off the table, Hunter is in an awful lot of trouble. He is facing four counts of willfully failing to pay his taxes for tax years 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, and two counts of failing to file a tax return for tax years 2017 and 2018, all in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7203. He is also charged with one count of tax evasion and two counts of filing false and fraudulent tax forms for tax year 2018, in violation of § 7201 and § 7206, for chalking up hundreds of thousands of dollars of fake business expenses. These fake expenses included payments for: hotel rooms that he turned into crack dens, payoffs for his girlfriends, strippers, escorts, luxury cars, a sex club membership, porn sites. He also tried to claim his daughter’s law school tuition as business-related legal expenses. He tried to hide income, and made numerous false statements under penalty of perjury. If he were to go to trial and be convicted of all of these counts, based on my calculations, the advisory federal sentencing guidelines range for him could easily reach 4–5 years’ imprisonment. Even if he were to plead guilty to these counts, his guidelines range sentence would likely be around 3 years. That is a lot of prison time for the son of a sitting president.

(2) Weiss appears to be playing this straight. I said after David Weiss’s appointment as special counsel that this was going to go in one of two directions: Either Weiss was going to continue the concerted effort to cover up and clean up Hunter’s long history of criminal activity to protect Joe Biden and the Biden family. Or Weiss was going rogue, and would hammer Hunter with the full force of the law. My assumption was cover up, but based on this indictment and the previous firearms indictment, I can’t find fault with his actions thus far. He is appropriately and vigorously prosecuting the tax and gun crimes that we already knew about. The real test will be what comes next. Will Hunter be offered a new sweetheart plea deal to sweep this all under the rug? Most importantly, will more indictments follow? Foreign money laundering? Failure to register as a foreign agent? Bribery? Only time will tell, but I am hopeful that maybe—just maybe—we will see some justice here.

(3) Joe Biden is a liar. If the facts in the indictment are proven, and based on Hunter’s previous abortive plea deal I believe they can be and will be, this indictment is further proof (as if we needed more) that Joe Biden lied repeatedly to the American people during the 2020 election. “My son has not made money in terms of this thing about, what are you talking about, China.” That was Joe Biden at the presidential debate on October 22, 2020. That was a lie. Biden denied that Hunter had made “a fortune in China, in Moscow and various other places” at the presidential debate on September 29, 2020. That was a lie. I could go on, but the point is made. Joe Biden needs to answer to the American people for his lies. They implicate him in criminal conspiracies abroad involving the shadiest of foreign actors, and cut to the heart of his fitness for office.

(4) More egg on the media’s face. As if mainstream media credibility could fall even lower . . . The mainstream media was an active participant in Joe Biden’s lies in 2020. The media actively ran cover, burying Hunter Biden stories, showing a startling lack of interest in the Biden family’s web of foreign business interests, and insisting — insisting! — that there was nothing to see here. The blackout on reporting about Hunter’s now-validated laptop was the pinnacle of this all hands on deck effort. I want to hear from the journalists who participated in burying these stories, who wrote fake “explainer” pieces on how the Republicans were conspiracy theorists, who lashed out at Trump for attacking Joe over the Hunter scandals. Who decided that getting Joe elected was more important than uncovering the truth. Is that what they taught you in journalism school?

Read more …

Playing the victim appears to be Hunter’s second nature.

Hunter Biden Claims GOP Is “Trying To Kill” Him (Sp.)

Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, sat down with the Grammy-nominated musician Moby for a podcast interview that was released on Friday, detailing that the GOP is harassing him as part of an effort to tank his father’s 2024 reelection bid. The 58-year-old musician explained at the beginning of the “Moby Pod” interview that he had previously met Biden at one of his art shows while the two had been recovering from an addiction. During the interview, Biden claimed right-wing attacks against him were not actually “about” him, but are instead part of a broader approach to attack his father’s presidency. “They are trying to, in their most illegitimate, but rational way, they’re trying to destroy a presidency,” Biden said on Friday. “And so it’s not about me, and [in] their most base way, what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to kill me, knowing that it will be a pain greater than my father could be able to handle.”

“They decided that the one way in which they would be able to certainly just undermine my dad’s confidence and ability to continue to campaign and move forward – particularly after the death of my brother – [was] to think that he could lose his son that he just had regained from an almost-death, through addiction,” said Biden. During the interview, Biden also lamented his challenges with drug and alcohol addiction following the death of his mother, sister and his brother, as well as his shame at feeling like the “f***-up” in his family. He acknowledged it’s difficult to maintain sobriety when he’s the focus of “a hatred and an intensity that is both specific and global.”This is the first time Biden has spoken publicly on the topic since his memoir was released in 2021. Since then, he has allowed public statements to come from his attorneys. During the podcast, he said he was speaking out (after being advised to keep a low profile) because he wanted to help others suffering from an addiction.

“One of the reasons why I’m gonna survive this – and I’m gonna survive it clean and sober – is because I am not gonna let these motherf****** use me as just another example of why people in recovery are never gonna be OK, never to be trusted, they’re all degenerates – I’m just not gonna let that happen.” He later described being doxxed by the New York Post, which he said led to Trump supporters wearing MAGA hats, shouting through bullhorns outside his house when his wife was eight months pregnant. During the podcast, Biden also mentioned feeling sorry for Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ), who he said are “not healthy people.” The two lawmakers have been some of Biden’s toughest credits, with Greene holding up posters displaying him in graphic and sexual photos during an Oversight Committee hearing in July. The photos had come from the infamous scandal-ridden laptop belonging to Biden.

“The second thing that I realized is that these people are just sad, very very sick people that have most likely just faced traumas in their lives that they’ve decided that they are going to turn into an evil that decides that they’re going to inflict on the rest of the world,” Biden said.

Read more …

“..why ask for a sweeping immunity deal? The answer was why not. That all came crashing down when Judge Noreika just cleared her throat in court.”

Hunter Biden is a Case Study of the Perils of Legal Gluttony (Turley)

Five months ago, exasperated Biden defense counsel Chris Clark snapped at federal prosecutors to “just rip it up” after a plea bargain hit a snag in a hearing before Judge Maryellen Noreika. They did and, for the first time, Hunter could be facing a real chance for jail time. The six misdemeanor charges and three felonies carry a potential sentence of 17 years for alleged tax evasion and filing a false return. It could have been worse. The Justice Department inexplicably allowed the statute of limitations to run on the most serious allegations involving payments from years going back to 2016. Those are mentioned in the narrative of the indictment but not charged as separate offenses. None of this would have happened if Judge Noreika did not ask a very simple question about the plea agreement and a sweeping immunity provision buried in its language.

Many judges would have likely flagged through the agreement and given Hunter the sweetest of sweetheart deals. Noreika noticed that the deal seemed to give Hunter immunity for any crime going forward and asked the prosecutor if he had ever seen any agreement like this one. He honestly answered “no.” It was later learned that there was a push within the Justice Department to have no charges at all brought against Hunter in an investigation that was heavily laden with special treatment, according to IRS whistleblowers. The investigation by the House has shown how Hunter and his counsel allowed their appetite for special treatment to turn into a raging disorder. The Justice Department reportedly gave Hunter a “heads up” about planned searches and interviews, scuttling those efforts. Even though the Justice Department had an agreement to “toll the statute” to prevent the early charges from expiring, the Special Counsel just let them die without any rational reason.

In this “all-you-can-eat” legal Smorgasbord, it is little surprise that the Biden team would demand an unprecedented immunity deal and just two misdemeanors after years of tax evasion covering millions from insider trading. After all, Attorney General Merrick Garland had refused the calls of many of us to appoint a Special Counsel to look into the corruption scandal. The scandal was capped off legally and the media was running cover for Hunter.The laptop was falsely denounced as Russian disinformation and the media largely dismissed influence peddling claims. Whenever new allegations surfaced, the President and the media would literally run to the nearest ice cream shop to discuss the President’s favorite flavors. In other words, why ask for a sweeping immunity deal? The answer was why not. That all came crashing down when Judge Noreika just cleared her throat in court.

As the prosecutors struggled to explain the absurd immunity provision, the Biden legal team was obviously shocked at the notion that they might have to exercise portion control. After all, the President himself has declared “no one f**ks with a Biden.” That is when they told the prosecutors to “just rip it up.” Those are the four most dangerous words that a criminal defendant could utter in a hearing on a plea deal. They could have immediately narrowed the immunity deal and even added a few misdemeanors to salvage the deal. Instead, they shredded their client. What followed was performative and frankly a tad pathetic. To the thrill of some in the media, the Biden team promised to get aggressive with witnesses and critics. They started to make demands as if they still controlled events, including saying that they would only comply with a congressional subpoena on their own terms.

It won’t work. A bill has come due. While Garland is still protecting President Biden from a Special Counsel, Hunter Biden is going to have to face these alleged crimes and corruption. Even the media is now admitting that he was influence peddling, though maintaining a final line of defense for the president. The last defense is that it was corrupt, but merely illusory because it did not actually influence Joe Biden. In other words, Hunter is rapidly becoming expendable.

Read more …

“To go from being, like, a well-paid street corner schizophrenic to, like, a politician – it’s just kind of hard to envision..”

Tucker Carlson Comments On Running As Trump’s VP (RT)

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson has stopped short of ruling out becoming former US President Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate in 2024, suggesting that he would need a directive from God to take the job if it’s offered to him. Carlson, who has attracted millions of viewers to his channel on X (formerly Twitter) since being fired by Fox in April, made his comments on Thursday night in response to a media report that he was the potential VP candidate favored by former First Lady Melania Trump. Asked about the report after he gave a speech at an event in Washington, Carlson said, “God would have to yell at me very loud” to accept such an offer. Independent media outlet Semafor was first to report on Carlson’s response. The political commentator noted that he doesn’t really know the first lady.

He has repeatedly insisted that he has no interest in running for elected office. “To go from being, like, a well-paid street corner schizophrenic to, like, a politician – it’s just kind of hard to envision,” he said on Thursday. However, Semafor reported, there were cheers from the audience when he didn’t fully rule out joining Trump’s 2024 ticket. Axios reported on Thursday that the former first lady was advocating for her husband to pick Carlson as his running mate. “She thinks Carlson would make a powerful onstage extension of her husband,” the outlet said, citing an unidentified person close to Trump. Trump is polling as, far and away, the leading Republican candidate to face Democrat incumbent Joe Biden in next year’s presidential election. He also faces 91 felony charges in four separate criminal cases filed by prosecutors in Washington, New York, Florida, and Georgia.

Carlson has said that he became an avid Trump supporter after the FBI raided the former president’s home in Florida last summer. He has vowed to vote for Trump and lead protests if the ex-president is convicted of a crime and jailed: “You cannot allow the regime, the president of the United States, the Justice Department, to knock the frontrunner out of the race. You can’t do that.” Other potential Trump VP candidates include Senator J.D. Vance, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Representative Byron Donalds, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene and Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake, according to the Axios report.

Read more …

“Many misinterpret 1984 as a warning against Stalinism and Nazism, but George Orwell was predicting the future of the Western world. That future is here.”

Is Truth Becoming Valueless? (Paul Craig Roberts)

In America and its Western puppet states, there is today no greater crime than to be a truth-teller. Despite habeas corpus and due process enshrined in British law and the US Constitution, Julian Assange has been illegally detained for a decade for telling the truth. Reiner Fuellmich, the Germany attorney, who was about to file charges against the pharmaceutical companies for deaths and injuries from the Covid “vaccine,” was kidnapped in Mexico by the German government and placed in solitary confinement in Germany on obviously false charges in order to prevent the lawsuit. Barry Young, the New Zealand Covid database administrator who released the official data showing that the alleged “vaccine” was a deadly killer, has been arrested for revealing the truth. Be sure you understand what I am telling you. Those who tell you the truth are being arrested and treated worst than mass murderers. Murder is not a threat to the corrupt ruling establishment, but Truth is.

All truth-tellers have a target on their backs, including me. For reporting accurately on Putin’s hopes for reconciliation with Washington, I was labeled a “Putin agent/dupe.” This was just the beginning. George Soros, who Elon Musk said “appears to want nothing less than the destruction of Western civilization,” finances “fact checkers” and “verification” sites, the purpose of which is to discredit those who tell the truth. The State Department, the FBI, CIA, Mossad, and any number of government agencies and official organizations in the West work overtime to discredit truth-tellers. Wikipedia labeled me an “anti-semite” for quoting WW II historian David Irving in a book review. A truth-suppression website–NewsGuard–financed by who?–describes my website, which is read in every country in the world, as “A Conspiracy-oriented website that regularly publishes falsehoods about US election, the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, and other issues.”

It is extraordinary that after describing me as a disinformation artist, NewsGuard accurately describes me as an Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury, a presidential appointment which requires confirmation by the US Senate in order to take office, as an editor of the Wall Street Journal, as an author of books published by Harvard University Press and Oxford University Press, highly prestigious publishers who required credibility on the part of their peer-reviewed authors. So here I stand, with numerous top secret security clearances over many years, confirmed in a presidential appointment by the US Senate, a Wall Street Journal editor, a Business Week columnist for a dozen or more years, an academic at Stanford University and occupant for a dozen years of the William E. Simon Chair for Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and all of these front line institutions appointed a “conspiracy theorist.”

I have the French Legion of Honor signed by French President Mitterrand, the US Treasury’s Meritorious Service Award, the US Treasury’s Silver Medal, the International Journalism Award from the Press Club of Mexico. I have been in Who’s Who In America and Who Who’s in the World for decades. I have Who’s Who in America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. I have been on boards of multi-billion dollar financial and manufacturing institutions. I have been an adviser to J.P. Morgan Guaranty Trust and other large money managers. I have endless endorsements from distinguished Americans. And a dismal unverified hired gun organization called NewsGuard declares the entire journalistic, academic, business, and political establishment to have appointed a “conspiracy theorist” to the highest positions in the society.

No, I am not bragging on myself. I am pointing out that NewsGuard has no shame. The organization declares a truth-teller who has the highest honors to be a liar. Every corrupt, evil, material interest has money to demonize the truth. NewsGuard is one of their operatives. These are people devoid of integrity, but these sorts of sites are plentiful online, and given the insouciance of the American people, these sites might have more influence than truth-tellers. It raises the questions: can truth prevail when endless money can shout truth down? Can truth survive when people show scant interest in supporting truth and those who tell it? If you look objectively with open eyes at the news and at the indoctrination that passes for education, you will see that you live in a world of lies constructed by official narratives. Throughout the Western world police powers are being used to enforce the official narratives–every one of which is a lie.

Think about what this means for science and scholarship when Big Pharma-paid shills can shout down and discredit honest independent scientists, when educators can turn fiction into fact and fact into lies, when we live in Orwell’s world where Newspeak and Doublethink prevail: “War is peace,” “Freedom is slavery,” “Ignorance is strength.” Many misinterpret 1984 as a warning against Stalinism and Nazism, but George Orwell was predicting the future of the Western world. That future is here. Stand with me or soon you will find that you cannot stand at all.

Read more …

 

 

 

 


JOHN LENNON was taken from us 43yrs ago today. Every year on the anniversary of his death, the National Trust leave the bedroom light on in John’s childhood home, all night.

 

 

 

 

Bronze doors

 

 

 

 

Dragon

 

 

 

 

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