Jan 202024
 
 January 20, 2024  Posted by at 9:40 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  52 Responses »


Jackson Pollock Man with knife 1938-40

 

Dems Have Resurrected Law as a Weapon that Serves Power (Paul Craig Roberts)
Fani Willis: Wife of Lover an Adulterer and Political Conspirator (Turley)
Atlanta DA Fani Willis Just Stepped on a Rake (CTH)
Georgia Prosecutors Should Go, But That Won’t End the Trump Case (Turley)
Trump’s Lawyers Warn Of Nationwide ‘Chaos’ (RT)
Trump Warns Of Years Of Trauma If Presidents Don’t Have Total Immunity (Hill)
Gaza Will Be The Grave Of The Western-Led World Order (Takahashi)
Houthis Declare Safe Passage For All Russian, Chinese Ships In Red Sea (ZH)
Russia and the US Are Set For A Long Confrontation (Sushentsov)
The Ukraine Charade, Revisited (Pepe Escobar)
Western Mercenaries Used To Fill Kiev’s Expertise Gaps – Larry Johnson (RT)
French Mercenaries Dying For A Nazi Regime – Russia’s Top MP (RT)
Americans Enslaved Themselves to the State When They Accepted Income Tax (PCR)
The Biden Laptop is Proven Authentic as Past Deniers Double Down (Turley)
The Goddess of the WEF (Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

Crooke
https://twitter.com/i/status/1748027526666965195

 

 

Heritage

 

 

Tucker Robbins

 

 

Orban

 

 

 

 

We may be in for a full year+ of this. Why would it stop on November 8?

Dems Have Resurrected Law as a Weapon that Serves Power (Paul Craig Roberts)

Fani Willis, the incompetent and apparently corrupt black female Atlanta district attorney reportedly put in office by George Soros’ billions, is in more hot water than Trump is in from her fabricated case against him. Fani appointed Nathan Wade, who is believed to be her lover, special prosecutor to aid in Trump’s kangaroo trial. According to county records reviewed by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Fulton County paid Wade $654,000 in tax payers’ money since January 2022. The money appears to be what financed the couple’s lavish vacations. The white liberal Democrats are disturbed that Willis was so stupid as to damage her case against Trump by destroying her credibility and public perception of her integrity. Fani’s defense is, of course, that the race card is being played against her as she and her lover are black. There are two ways you can look at her self-justification.

One is that blacks have learned from Jews that a claim of victimhood is a shield against being held accountable. The other is that she has no comprehension of acceptable behavior for public officials. We have an interesting situation in which the prosecutions at the state and county level against Trump are in the hands of black women put in office by George Soros. Why is Soros doing this? Some people think that Soros himself got away with stealing his billions from the Bank of England via his manipulation of the British currency. Where was James Bond when the British needed him? Criminal justice in America is in a serious situation when one billionaire can staff up state and local district attorneys with blacks taught to hate “white exploiters” who are sicced on Trump, his attorneys, and his supporters. The trials are unconstitutional, because a black jury consisting of people taught to hate “white racists” does not constitute a “jury of peers” for a white person.

What happened to the justice system that a president of the US finds himself the target of weaponized law used for racial, ideological, and political reasons, and there is not a peep from law schools, bar associations, judges, or media? How can citizens have confidence in the veracity of prosecutions, the veracity of judges, law schools, bar associations? “Fulton County Special Prosecutor Nathan Wade allegedly did not disclose payments he received from working on the racketeering case against former President Donald Trump to his wife, leaving her without financial support throughout their divorce proceedings, according to a court document obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Wade, who was appointed to work on Trump’s case by Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, is allegedly romantically involved with her and used the compensation he received from his position to take her on cruises and vacations, according to a motion filed Monday by a Trump co-defendant.

In separate filings for his divorce case obtained by the DCNF, Wade’s wife alleges he did not disclose to her over $700,000 in earnings from the county. “Wade’s wife alleges he has continued to draw from her bank account, leaving it “routinely overdrawn” despite “the clear inequity in financial circumstances.” His wife has been a stay-at-home mom for 20 years and relied on Wade for support during the course of their marriage, according to the filing. “Willis was subpoenaed earlier this week to testify in Wade’s divorce proceedings, according to CNN. “Wade filed for divorce on November 2, 2021, the day after his contract with Willis began, according to court filings. He had his divorce case sealed on February 10, 2022, according to the Monday motion filed by Trump co-defendant Michael Roman.

“Republican US Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene sent a criminal referral Wednesday to Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr asking for an investigation into Willis and expressing “serious concerns” about the allegations. Greene suggested Willis could have violated a number of Georgia statutes, including violations of public oath, bribery, improper influence of a government official and more.”

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A DA should not be throwing mud.

Fani Willis: Wife of Lover an Adulterer and Political Conspirator (Turley)

In an surprising filing, Fulton County’s district attorney Fani Willis has accused the estranged wife of her alleged lover of conspiring to undermine the Trump prosecution by seeking her deposition in the messy divorce case of Nathan Wade. Willis, again, does not deny having an affair with Wade, who she appointed lead prosecutor in the case. Instead, she accuses Joycelyn Wade of an affair that broke up the marriage and suggests that she is coordinating with Trump forces to interfere with the prosecution. Willis is accused of major ethical violations in appointing her alleged lover to the position as she went on lavish vacations with him. She previously denounced those raising obvious ethical concerns as being racist due to the fact that both Willis and Wade are black. She did not, however, deny the intimate relationship or the allegation that Wade paid for her vacation expenses.

At issue in the filing is the demand for a pretrial deposition in the divorce case of Nathan and Joycelyn Wade on January 23. Willis’ counsel leveled a full attack on the motivations and associations of Joycelyn Wade. She accused Joycelyn Wade of having an adulterous relationship with a longtime friend of Nathan Wade’s. Willis’ counsel Cinque Axam then added that Joycelyn Wade “has conspired with interested parties in the criminal election interference case to use the civil discovery process to annoy, embarrass and oppress District Attorney Willis.” The filing noted that the allegations against Willis were used by Trump codefendant Mike Roman to seek judicial review and remedy for the alleged conflict of interest. A hearing has now been set by the court for Feb. 28th.

Willis bases her conspiracy theory on the fact that, on January 8, Roman’s filing was made public and on the same day, she was served a subpoena and Merchant moved to unseal the Wades’ divorce case. That certainly makes this all a bit different from the usual “other woman” element in the divorce case. However, it is not a smart move. The level of animus and vexatious language in the filing only magnifies the concern over the Willis-Wade relationship. By attacking the estranged wife of her alleged lover, Willis only increases concerns over the professional separation between Willis and Wade in making decisions in the case. Accusing the estranged wife of your alleged lover of being a political conspirator is about as compelling at accusing people raising ethical concerns of being virulent racists.

For example, if Wade were to exceed his authority or act unprofessionally in the case, Willis would be forced to take action against not only an alleged lover but someone she has had to defend as the ideal choice for the position. Their personal relationship would presumably weigh in the balance in any supervisory review or decision. Likewise, if Willis was taken on vacations by Wade and their relationship is continuing, the termination of his contract could have an economic impact on Willis. In the end, the accusatory motion was a mistake in my view. Willis could have objected to the necessity of the deposition on factual and legal grounds (as she does) without escalating the rhetoric and recriminations.

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”The scale of Lawfare stupid, perhaps driven by hubris and/or an entitled sense of just being above the rules, is simply off-the-charts. Crazy stuff.”

Atlanta DA Fani Willis Just Stepped on a Rake (CTH)

Boy howdy… when things get interesting, they REALLY get interesting. In an effort to deflect attention from the gross corruption she initiated in the prosecution of Donald Trump, Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis stepped into the middle of a contentious divorce between Willis’s married lover and appointed Special Prosecutor, Nathan Wade, and his wife, Joycelyn Wade. After discovering details of the relationship between Nathan Wade and Fani Willis, lawyers representing Mrs. Joycelyn Wade wanted a deposition of Fani Willis. At issue are the finances in the marriage and Mrs. Wade’s discovery that her husband, Nathan Wade, and Fani Willis had been living a life of indulgence from the marital income received (more than $650, 000) as a result of DA Willis hiring Nathan Wade to prosecute Donald Trump.

In an over-the-top court filing trying to avoid the deposition, the Fulton County’s district attorney accused the estranged wife of conspiring to undermine the Trump prosecution by seeking her testimony. Fani Willis does not deny the affair; instead, she accuses Joycelyn Wade of coordinating with Trump people and co-defendants to interfere with the prosecution. (VIA AJC Politics) – “Fulton County’s district attorney on Thursday fired back at allegations she has engaged in an “improper” relationship with her top deputy, accusing his estranged wife of trying to obstruct her prosecution of Donald Trump and his allies.” That approach by Fani Willis opened up a can of worms the district attorney likely didn’t expect. Because Mrs. Jocelyn Wade has credit card statements and receipts showing how her husband booked and paid for lavish travel, expenses and indulgences using Fani Willis’s real name as his companion.

The details and credit card statements are attached to the filing, which substantiates and supports the originating court filing by one of the co-defendants who made the allegation against Fani Willis and Nathan Wade. (via AJC Politics) […] “The records have emerged as part of the Wades’ contentious divorce proceedings in Cobb County Superior Court and have rocked Fulton’s sweeping racketeering case against the former president and 14 remaining defendants. One defendant is seeking to disqualify Willis and her office because of her alleged “improper, clandestine personal relationship” with Wade.”

[..] Nathan Wade was a lawyer specializing in family matters prior to being appointed by District Attorney Fani Willis. Mr. Wade never prosecuted a single felony case in his legal career. Judge Scott McAfee ordered District Attorney Fani Willis to file a written response by Feb. 2. He said he will hold a hearing on the allegations on Feb. 15.

Additionally, according to White House visitor logs, Mr. Nathan Wade visited White House lawyers prior to the indictment of President Trump. Also, DA Willis met with staff (Mary McCord) from the January 6 Committee prior to the indictment. The Georgia prosecutor meeting with Biden lawyers, prior to the indictment against Biden’s political opposition, is a big issue that has yet to surface in front of Judge McAfee. Something is going to change in this case as a result of these explosive findings. I suspect by Monday of next week Ms. Fani Willis will have to remove herself from any involvement in the case. Something substantive is going to change in Atlanta as a result of the discovery of her grossly inappropriate/unethical conduct, and the now exposed financial and personal relationship with the prosecutor she hired, Nathan Wade. The scale of Lawfare stupid, perhaps driven by hubris and/or an entitled sense of just being above the rules, is simply off-the-charts. Crazy stuff.

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“If these allegations are true, Willis is not just outside of the ethical navigational beacons. She is off the map.”

Georgia Prosecutors Should Go, But That Won’t End the Trump Case (Turley)

Chris Christie once said that Donald Trump is often portrayed by legal counsel as “the unluckiest S.O.B. in the world.” Perhaps, but when it comes to his enemies, Trump sometimes seems to find advantages despite his worst efforts. Many of us have criticized Trump for his personal attacks on Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis as being racist and unethical; he even accused her of having an affair with a gang member, a claim that was widely contested as unfounded and denied by key figures. This month, however, Willis has seemingly imploded with an ethical scandal which, unlike Trump’s prior claims, appears perhaps to be more well-founded, as it appears in an official court filing. It involves reports of an intimate relationship with Nathan Wade, appointed by Willis as lead prosecutor in the Trump case.

While a recusal or removal of Willis may delay the case, it will not end the legal threat for Trump. Willis is accused of having a romantic relationship with Wade when she appointed him in this historic prosecution of a former president. Wade has no experience in racketeering law, yet he reportedly was paid more than an expert on Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) cases. Willis and Wade allegedly went on lavish vacations together, and the costs allegedly were covered by Wade, who has received nearly $654,000 in legal fees since January 2022 — approved, ultimately, by Willis. Wade has presented himself as the “only individual in the DA’s office who had authority to enter into agreements pertaining to the investigation.” Wade also has been held in contempt in his messy divorce.

The Georgia courts have established that a district attorney should be disqualified when there is a personal interest in the defendant’s conviction (Whitworth v. State, 275 Ga. App. 790, 793, 622 S.E.2d 21 [2005]). In this instance, Willis has staked much of her career on this case and appointed a prosecutor who’s alleged to be romantically involved with her; likewise, if the allegations are true, Willis may have an interest in furthering Wade’s career and benefits. Of course, Trump, the other defendants, and the public are entitled to disinterested prosecutors in this major case. Moreover, the Fulton County Code of Laws § 2-66 bars conflicts of interest “in fact and in appearance.” It expressly states that no “officer or employee shall, by his or her conduct, give reasonable basis for the impression that any person can improperly influence him or her, or unduly enjoy his or her favor, in the performance of any official acts or actions.”

These provisions are in addition to prohibitions on the receipt of gifts due to one’s office, such as possibly receiving alleged lavish vacations paid for by your subordinate. These are just some of the grounds supporting a motion by Michael Roman, one of the defendants in the massive racketeering case brought by Willis. If these allegations are true, Willis is not just outside of the ethical navigational beacons. She is off the map.

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“..if other states follow Colorado’s lead, it would “unleash chaos and bedlam.”

Trump’s Lawyers Warn Of Nationwide ‘Chaos’ (RT)

Donald Trump’s lawyers have warned that the entire entire US could be plunged into chaos if the country’s Supreme Court upholds the state of Colorado’s decision to remove the republican presidential frontrunner from its ballot. Last month, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled Trump ineligible to run for re-election and removed him from the ballot for the presidential primary on March 5. The court cited the 14th Amendment, which bans insurrectionists from holding public office. Trump’s lawyers argued again on Thursday that the former president had not instigated the riot on January 6, 2021. The Colorado ruling, which was the first of its kind, has been left in limbo pending a decision by the US Supreme Court, with the first oral arguments in the case set for February 8.

“The court should put a swift and decisive end to these ballot-disqualification efforts, which threaten to disenfranchise tens of millions of Americans,” Trump’s lawyers wrote. They added that, if other states follow Colorado’s lead, it would “unleash chaos and bedlam.” The former president’s legal team also noted that the piece of legislation invoked by the Colorado Supreme Court can only be applied to an “officer of the United States,” which Trump is not. The attorneys insisted that the Republican firebrand was not inciting insurrection when he called on his supporters to “fight like hell” on January 6, and was merely “raising concerns about the integrity of the recent federal election.”

According to Trump’s defense team, he used the phrase strictly metaphorically, not expecting his supporters to interpret it as a call for violence. They added that, as events began to unfold on Capitol Hill that day, Trump “repeatedly called for peace, patriotism, and law and order.” House Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and several other Republican lawmakers have also called on the US Supreme Court to void Colorado’s “insurrectionist ban.” A number of GOP secretaries of state also warned the judges that Trump’s potential removal from ballots would lead to a “foreseeable and unfortunate parade of horribles.” On January 6, the Maine secretary of state passed a tentative ballot ban similar to that in Colorado, with multiple lawsuits filed in other states as well. The final say, however, rests with the US Supreme Court.

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“..full immunity, without which it would be impossible for him/her to properly function. Any mistake, even if well intended, would be met with almost certain indictment by the opposing party at term end..”

Trump Warns Of Years Of Trauma If Presidents Don’t Have Total Immunity (Hill)

Former President Trump said there would be “years of trauma” if presidents are not awarded total immunity from prosecution for their actions in the White House — even if those actions “cross the line.” “A president of the United States must have full immunity, without which it would be impossible for him/her to properly function. Any mistake, even if well intended, would be met with almost certain indictment by the opposing party at term end,” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post early Thursday morning, writing in all capital letters. “Even events that ‘cross the line’ must fall under total immunity, or it will be years of trauma trying to determine good from bad,” he added. “There must be certainty.”

Trump compared the president to a police officer, who Trump argued should not be stopped from “doing the job of strong and effective crime prevention” simply because of a “bad apple,” adding, “Sometimes you just have to live with ‘great but slightly imperfect.’” Trump’s comments come one week after his attorney, John Sauer, made a similar case before a three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals for a motion from Trump’s team to toss his election interference federal charges. During the hearing, the judges appeared skeptical of the argument that presidents could only be prosecuted if they had already been impeached and convicted by the Senate.

When asked whether a president who directed SEAL Team Six to kill a political opponent would then be immune from prosecution for that action, Sauer answered with a “qualified yes,” unless the president was convicted by the Senate first. One judge on the panel noted that, under that framework, a president could take any action on his or her last day in office without fear of criminal prosecution or simply resign shortly thereafter — preventing Congress from impeaching and convicting in time.

The appeals court seems poised to reject Trump’s argument in the case, and Trump has signaled his intention to appeal an unsatisfactory ruling to the Supreme Court. Trump again hinted at his intention to appeal to the high court in his post Thursday. “All presidents must have complete & total presidential immunity, or the authority & decisiveness of a president of the United States will be stripped & gone forever,” Trump wrote. “Hopefully this will be an easy decision. God bless the Supreme Court!” he added.

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“..However, it is too little, too late. Western credibility has been shredded irrevocably..”

Gaza Will Be The Grave Of The Western-Led World Order (Takahashi)

No matter how it concludes, South Africa’s lawsuit in the International Court of Justice arguing Israel has violated the Genocide Convention will go down in history. It will either be remembered as the first step towards finally holding a rogue state accountable for repeated, longstanding violations of international law; or as the last, dying breath of a dysfunctional, Western-led international system. For the hypocrisy of Western governments (and the Western political elite as a whole) has finally brought the so-called “rules-based world order” they purport to lead to the point of no return. Full-throttled Western support for Israel’s genocidal rampage in Gaza has truly exposed the double standards of the West with regard to human rights and international law. There is no turning back, and the West has only its own arrogance to blame.

The litany of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel in Gaza are clear as the light of day for anybody who has access to a smartphone. Social media feeds are overflowing with videoclips of hospitals and schools being bombed, fathers pulling out the lifeless bodies of their children from under destroyed buildings, mothers crying over the corpses of their babies. And yet, the reaction of Western governments – besides seemingly limitless military and political support – has been to label any criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism and attempt to ban outright any expression of solidarity with the Palestinian people. Regardless of this oppression, tens of thousands of people are coming out on the streets day after day expressing their disgust at Israeli atrocities and Western complicity. Desperate to regain some semblance of credibility, Western governments (including the US) have recently started to be marginally critical of Israeli attacks. However, it is too little, too late. Western credibility has been shredded irrevocably.

Of course, Western hypocrisy is nothing new. According to Western governments, the world should be up in arms about Russian aggression but should be perfectly happy with Israeli brutality and flouting of international norms. Ukrainians who throw Molotov cocktails at Russian occupation forces are heroes and freedom fighters, while Palestinians (and others) who dare to speak out against Israeli apartheid are terrorists. White-skinned refugees from Ukraine are more than welcome, while black and brown-skinned refugees from conflicts in the Middle East, Asia and Africa (most of which the West are behind) can sink to the bottom of the Mediterranean. The Western attitude has truly been: rules for thee, not for me. The Western position towards China exhibits the same insincerity. China is virtually encircled by American and allied military bases, armed to the hilt. Yet it is China that is guilty of… what? Unable to point to any concrete infraction, Western governments and media can only accuse China of “increased assertiveness”, ie, not knowing its assigned subjugate place in the Western hegemonic order.

International justice has become a sick joke. Were the International Criminal Court (ICC) functioning effectively, Israeli leaders would be on trial even as we speak, and there would have been no need for South Africa to approach the ICJ. As it stands, though, the ICC only indicted Africans until 2022, when it announced an investigation into the Russian invasion of Ukraine less than a week after its start. The ICC issued indictments, including for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, in less than a year. Conversely, it took over six years for the ICC to open an investigation into the situation in Palestine, and even now, years later, meaningful action has yet to be taken. While Israel continued its orgy of violence against the people of Gaza, Karim Khan, the British Chief Prosecutor of the ICC, visited Israel and stressed the need for Hamas’s crimes to be prosecuted, while going soft on Israeli crimes. Little wonder many civil society organisations are calling for him to be fired.

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“It represented pressure on Israel only, it did not represent pressure on any country in the world.”

Houthis Declare Safe Passage For All Russian, Chinese Ships In Red Sea (ZH)

In a remarkable development, and at a moment European retailers and factories are beginning to bear the brunt of the global shipping chaos and soaring Red Sea transit risk, the Houthis have declared safe passage for Russia and China. A senior Houthi official, Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, mentioned these US rivals by name in an interview with the Russian outlet Izvestia on Friday. “As for all other countries, including Russia and China, their shipping in the region is not threatened,” he said, stipulating this will remain as long as they are not linked to Israel or its supporters. “Moreover, we are ready to ensure the safe passage of their ships in the Red Sea, because free navigation plays a significant role for our country,” he added, but then underscored that attacks on ships will continue if they are “in any way connected with Israel.”

The spokesman went on to blame the Red Sea crisis on Israel’s (and its backers) refusal to reverse course in Gaza, given its aerial and ground campaign as continued. “Ansar Allah [the group’s formal name] does not pursue the goal of capturing or sinking this or that sea vessel,” he claimed. “Our goal is to raise the economic costs for [Israel] in order to stop the carnage in Gaza.” Some of the vessels which have come under attack thus far actually have connection to dozens of countries, but ships with Russian or Chinese ownership, or deep ties, have yet to be attacked. Another Houthi official told Reuters separately that the group doesn’t seek to expand its campaign, after a fragile peace took effect with Saudi Arabia and the EUA concerning the Yemeni civil war:

Yemen’s Houthis have said they do not intend to expand their attacks on shipping in and around the Red Sea, beyond their stated aims of blockading Israel and retaliating against the US and Britain for airstrikes. In an interview with Reuters, spokesperson Mohammed Abdulsalam, who is also the chief Houthi negotiator in peace talks over Yemen’s decade-old civil war, said the group had no plans to target its longstanding foes Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. “We do not want the escalation to expand. This is not our demand. We imposed rules of engagement in which not a single drop of blood was shed or major material losses,” said Abdulsalam. “It represented pressure on Israel only, it did not represent pressure on any country in the world.”

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“.It was that the West would deal Russia a quick defeat, a lot of economic resources would be freed up, and relations with Moscow would be rebuilt on a different platform, more favorable to the EU..”

Russia and the US Are Set For A Long Confrontation (Sushentsov)

Relations between Russia and the United States have entered a prolonged phase that can be described as a “long confrontation.” If the interaction between Moscow and Washington were still the central process of international life, as was the case during the Cold War, this new phase might be considered temporary. But the Moscow-Washington confrontation is now one of many. More importantly, it is taking place in conditions that occur once every few centuries – a period of global redistribution of power and resource potential. This process affects our country and the US only in part. Within a few decades, the center of global production and consumption will finally shift to Asia, and the center of world economic gravity will be on the border of India and China. In this context, the long-standing Russian-American confrontation will remain one of the main fault-lines, but certainly not the only one.

Why do I think this confrontation will be protracted? Despite significant resource advantages and strong positions in key areas, the US finds itself in a situation where its pursuers are catching up fast. Washington is faced with an increasingly dense international environment that poses obstacles to previously unfettered American action. The four US strengths that underpin its offensive strategy are: first, its still-advanced military power; second, its central global financial system, which provides an international settlement infrastructure and a convertible currency; third, its strong position in a number of technological fields; and fourth, its ideology and values platform, which, together with the other three dimensions, provide what can be tentatively called a “pyramid of credibility” for American strategy in the world.

This pyramid exists in the economic and financial spheres as well as in foreign policy. Trust explains the irrational behavior of some European states. Incapable of a balanced analysis of the consequences of their decisions, for example on the Ukraine crisis, they are now forced to ask themselves, as the German magazine Der Spiegel does: “What if the United States has no permanent allies? Western Europeans trusted the logic offered by the United States, they literally ‘bought’ the proposal. It was that the West would deal Russia a quick defeat, a lot of economic resources would be freed up, and relations with Moscow would be rebuilt on a different platform, more favorable to the EU. The belief was that it would be an effective strategy.”

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“..There is no “Biden”. Just Team Biden: a corporate combo featuring low-rent messengers such as de facto neocon Little Blinkie..”

The Ukraine Charade, Revisited (Pepe Escobar)

Selected players scattered around the Beltway silos of power, diligently working as messengers for the people who really run the show in the Hegemon, have concluded that a no holds barred confrontation with Russia would lead to the collapse of all of NATO; undo decades of US iron grip on Europe; and ultimately cause the Empire’s downfall. Playing brinkmanship games sooner or later would meet the indestructible red lines inbuilt in the unmovable Russian object. US elites are smarter than that. They may excel on calculated risk. But when the stakes are this high, they know when to hedge and when to fold. The “loss” of Ukraine – now a graphic imperative – is not worth risking the loss of the whole Hegemonic ride. That would be too much for the Empire to lose.

So even as they get increasingly desperate with the accelerated imperial plunge into a geopolitical and geoeconomic abyss, they’re frantically changing the narrative – a domain in which they excel. And that explains why discombobulated European vassals in NATO-controlled EU are now in total panic. Davos this week offered bucketloads of Orwellian salad. The key, frantic messages: War is peace. Ukraine is not (italics mine) losing and Russia is not winning. Hence Ukraine needs way more weaponizing. Yet even Norwegian Wood Stoltenberg was told to toe the new line that matters: “NATO is not moving into Asia. It’s China that is coming close to us.” That certainly adds a new wacky meaning to the notion of moving tectonic plates. There is a total void of “leadership” in Washington.

There is no “Biden”. Just Team Biden: a corporate combo featuring low-rent messengers such as de facto neocon Little Blinkie. They do what they’re told by wealthy “donors” and the financial-military interests that really run the show, reciting the same old cliché-saturated lines day after day, bit players in a Theatre of the Absurd. Only one exhibit suffices. Reporter: “Are the airstrikes in Yemen working?” The President of the United States: “Well, when you say working, are they stopping the Houthis? No. Are they gonna continue? Yes.” The same in what passes for “strategic thinking” applies to Ukraine. The Hegemon is not being lured into fighting in West Asia – as much as the genocidal arrangement in Tel Aviv, in tandem with US Zio-cons, wants to drag it into a war on Iran.

Still, the imperial machine is being steered to keep the Forever Wars engine running, non-stop, at varying speeds. The elites in charge are way more clinical than the whole Team Biden. They know they will not win in what will soon be country 404. But the tactical victory, so far, is massive: enormous profits out of the frantic weaponizing; totally gutting European industry and sovereignty; reducing the EU to the sub-status of a lowly vassal; and from now on plenty of time to find new proxy warriors against Russia – from Polish and Baltic fanatics to the whole Takfiri-neo ISIS galaxy.

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“I think Russia sent a very clear message in killing these mercenaries: If you are going to send them over here, if you are going to send that materiel, we’re gonna kill you..”

Western Mercenaries Used To Fill Kiev’s Expertise Gaps – Larry Johnson (RT)

Ukraine is probably experiencing a shortage of soldiers who can handle complex Western weapons systems, former CIA analyst Larry Johnson has told RT. A Russian report this week about a strike on “French mercenaries” in Kharkov may be a warning to would-be clandestine arms technicians that Paris plans to supply, he believes. France has denied having mercenaries in Ukraine or anywhere else in the world, responding to the statement by the Defense Ministry of Russia. Moscow said some 60 foreign fighters, most of them French, died in the long-range attack. Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron has announced plans to supply additional air-launched SCALP cruise missiles to support Kiev’s fight.

“I strongly suspect that many of those French ‘mercenaries’ – and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brits and Americans scattered in there as well – are being brought in to help operate systems that they’ve been trained on previously in prior military careers,” Johnson said. He named the US-made long-range Patriot anti-aircraft missile and the Storm Shadow, the British counterpart to SCALP, as examples of donated arms that may require competent foreign staff to deploy. France is making itself a target by openly arming Kiev, Johnson told the broadcaster, contrasting current events with how the US acted in the past, when it sought to undermine the USSR. “When the US ran covert operations through the CIA to fund the mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviets, it was done with some measure of secrecy and at least keeping up a pretense that we were not directly in conflict,” he pointed out.

“I think Russia sent a very clear message in killing these mercenaries: If you are going to send them over here, if you are going to send that materiel, we’re gonna kill you,” the analyst added. Johnson believes that Moscow could have acted in a far bolder manner in targeting Ukraine’s foreign donors, and that its reluctance to do so has been taken in the West as a sign of weakness. “It’s not that, but the West has a track record of misinterpreting Russia on many points,” he commented.

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“There was a time when our grandfathers and great grandfathers fought together against fascism. Now, it turns out that French mercenaries are dying for the Nazi regime in Ukraine..”

French Mercenaries Dying For A Nazi Regime – Russia’s Top MP (RT)

The French public and lawmakers should be aware that their compatriots are fighting and dying as mercenaries in Ukraine, Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin said on Friday. The senior lawmaker was commenting on an announcement by the Defense Ministry in Moscow earlier this week, which said some 60 foreign fighters, most of them French citizens, were killed by a Russian long-range strike on the city of Kharkov on Tuesday. The Russian military described them as “mercenaries,” although the French Foreign Ministry disputed this description, insisting that Paris “has no ‘mercenaries’ either in Ukraine or anywhere else.”

In a post on social media, Volodin said the lower chamber of the Russian parliament will soon consider a formal request to French lawmakers about the incident. “There was a time when our grandfathers and great grandfathers fought together against fascism. Now, it turns out that French mercenaries are dying for the Nazi regime in Ukraine,” he stressed. On Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned French Ambassador to Moscow Pierre Levy in connection with the incident. Ukrainian officials have denied the veracity of the Russian military’s announcement and have claimed that Moscow’s forces only hit civilian targets in Kharkov on Tuesday.

Last summer, the Le Monde newspaper reported that French national intelligence estimated the number of its nationals fighting in Ukraine at 320. The overall pool of would-be recruits was put at 800, including 120 identified as far-right and 40 deemed ultra-left in terms of ideology. Overwhelmingly, they wanted to fight for Kiev rather than Moscow. The report followed the arrest in April of two men who had returned to Paris from Ukraine, illegally carrying assault rifle magazines and optical sights. The local press described them as far-right individuals who were previously known to the French General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI). Both were sentenced to 15 months in jail, nine of which were suspended.

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“A “free American” has ceased to exist. Such an American predates 1913..”

Americans Enslaved Themselves to the State When They Accepted Income Tax (PCR)

It was not until 1913, 137 years after the Declaration of Independence established a free people who are no longer free, that there was an income tax. Years ago I researched and wrote the story of how it happened. It exists somewhere in print. In the old analogue, library card file days, it would have been easy to find. The income tax required a Constitutional Amendment. I remember some of the story. What I remember is this: The threshold for being subject to income tax was high, and the first rate was 1%. The Georgia legislature voted to ratify the amendment because as one legislative leader concluded, “there’s no one in Georgia with an income high enough to be subject to the tax. Let the Yankees tax themselves. Why should we object.” There was no vision of the future. 1913 was also the year that the Federal Reserve, with its policy of depression, inflation, recession, and inflation, was established and unleashed on America, and it was also the year that World War I and its inflation was about to be launched by the French, Russian, and British Governments.

War and inflation quickly brought income tax home to insouciant Americans who thought they were exempt.In 1963 prior to the Kennedy tax rate reductions the top tax rate was 91% on incomes above $200,000. Kennedy left it at 70%. Reagan left it at 50%. Today it is 39.6%, or with rounding 40% The highest medieval tax rate on serfs was 30%. Anything higher and they revolted and killed the feudal lords. 50% was the highest tax rate on cotton plantation slaves. The other 50% of their work went for their food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. What is indisputable is that for more than a hundred years the tax rate on American citizens has been higher or equal to the tax rate on medieval serfs and 19th century plantation slaves. What does this mean? It means that Americans and the entirety of Europeans, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders are slaves in the same sense that blacks were slaves on southern cotton plantations.

The historical fact is that a free person is a person who owns his own labor. Just as a slave does not own his own labor, neither does any person who is subject to income tax. In the anti-South propaganda in the 19th century, such as the propagandistic “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” southern slave owners are portrayed unrealistically as demoralizing their work force and destroying their capital investments in human labor by demoralizing and alienating their slaves by separating families and whipping, beating, and raping their work force. A slave was expensive. To abuse him or her is the equivalent of abusing an expensive piece of machinery. It makes no sense for an owner to abuse his own resources. Yet southern planation owners are portrayed as people who ran torture prisons.

Neither the South nor the United States are responsible for black slaves in America. The slaves that came to the New World came from the Black Kingdom of Dahomey’s slave wars. The captured slaves were carried to the New World in ships often financed by Jews. The southern plantations were not responsible for the origin of their work force. Indeed, it was an inherited institution. For decades as April 15 approached, I pointed out that it is today’s white people who pay the income taxes who are the real victims of slavery. Even after the Reagan marginal tax rate reductions, Americans pay a higher rate of tax, that is, they are more enslaved, than medieval serfs and are almost exploited by “their government” to the same extent as 19th century black slaves. So what is “white privilege”? It is to be a slave owned by Washington, used to support privileged people of color, including millions of immigrant-invaders settled by Democrats on American slaves who pay for their upkeep?

A “free American” has ceased to exist. Such an American predates 1913. The American liberal-left doesn’t mind being enslaved to a good cause–the coercive use of American citizens to support causes that the people reject, such as the normalization of sexual perversion, the genocide of the Palestinians, the demonization of white people, the use of the “justice system” to destroy ideological and political opponents. Today the insouciant American people are enslaved for causes that are to their detriment, unlike the plantation’s agenda of growing cotton. The American people voluntarily accepted slavery, because they thought it would apply to others–the rich. But as multi-billionaire Warren Buffet has said, his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does.

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“I’m telling you, you’re wrong about these things, and you don’t listen.”

The Biden Laptop is Proven Authentic as Past Deniers Double Down (Turley)

After years of suppressing the story and casting doubts over its authenticity, many in the media in the last year have belatedly and reluctantly acknowledged that the Hunter Biden laptop is real. Some of us reached that conclusion years ago due to the self-authenticating emails confirmed by third parties. However, the denials and doubts have continued, including most recently by Rep. Dan Goldman (D., N.Y.) in hearings. The Justice Department has now again confirmed the authenticity and added details on why these denials are unsupported. This week, the Justice Department confirmed that the laptop was authenticated through forensic examination and a search warrant on Hunter’s Apple iCloud. Hunter’s electronic devices were backed up on the Cloud and “the results of the search were largely duplicative of information investigators had already obtained from Apple.”

That is only the latest such confirmation, but some have continued to desperately cast doubts the laptop, which Hunter himself said might be the product of Russian intelligence. Once again, the last dogs in this fruitless fight are the most partisan among us. Rep. Goldman, for example, recently lambasted witnesses who referenced the laptop and challenged the credibility of a journalist who cited the laptop. Goldman attacked Journalist Michael Shellenberger and declared “You have no idea, you know hard drives can be manipulated. Hard drives can be manipulated by Rudy Giuliani or Russia. There is actual evidence of it, but the point is it’s not the same thing.” Goldman has never revealed the “actual evidence” showing that the laptop is fake or why the Justice Department and FBI are making the same false claim in court if such evidence exists.

The same week that the Biden Administration again confirmed the authenticity of the laptop, one of the loudest laptop deniers wrote a telling column on why the public should avoid researching such questions on their own. The Washington Post’s Philip Bump has repeatedly pushed false stories from Lafayette Park to Russian collusion to the laptop. Even after many in the media admitted that the laptop was authentic, Bump was still declaring that it was a “conspiracy theory.” Recently, in response to a column on these false claims, the Post remarkably declared that Bump’s original claims on Lafayette Park, the Hunter Biden laptop, and Russian collusion were true and they stand by them. This week, Bump warned citizens that they needed to continue to get their news from the media and not try to learn the truth on their own.

In a column titled “Doing your own research is a good way to end up being wrong,” Bump states without an sense of self-awareness that citizens will often “embrace dubious information supporting their belief than information that corroborates the allegations” — precisely what critics have accused Bump of doing for years on the laptop and other false stories. Bump’s column is a must read for understanding the sense of entitlement of columnists in today’s age of “advocacy journalism.” It is consistent with what Bump said in an interview last year before he walked out after being confronted about false stories. In a podcast interview with Noam Dworman, Bump became exasperated and said “I’m gonna lose my mind” when Dworman offered facts contradicting his view. Ironically, when Dworman noted that half of the country does not believe his positions, Bump shot back “I know, because half the country doesn’t actually dig into the issues.”

However, Bump does not believe that they should actually dig into the issues but accept his view. He chastised Dworman and the public “because you don’t listen to the press. I’m sitting here and I’m telling you, you’re wrong about these things, and you don’t listen … you refuse to listen to what I’m saying to you. You asked me on to present evidence. I keep telling you.” Indeed, Bump and others kept telling people that the laptop was a “conspiracy theory” and possible Russian disinformation. Now, he is reminding people not to do their own research as the Post expressly declared that the prior false claims in his columns were actually true. This is why, at the start of our Republic, alternative media sprang up with pamphleteers like Thomas Paine. Citizens rejected the state-supporting media and searched for their own sources. Today citizen journalists can be found on the Internet in blogs and other sites that carry opposing views or accounts.

The media is already moving to be sure that the public is limited in what they are allowed to see or hear. After Donald Trump won the Iowa caucuses, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow explained to viewers that the network had decided that they should not hear Trump’s victory speech because he would only tell them “untrue things.” As noted by Bump, citizens are much safer to just accept what they are given and avoid the temptation to do their own research. Censorship is now actually proclaimed as a form of virtue signaling, assuring viewers that they will not have to hear certain opposing views or figures. There is little tolerance for those who insist on seeking out such news. After all, as the Post’s Bump explained, “I’m telling you, you’re wrong about these things, and you don’t listen.”

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“.. the loving smile of the life-giver caressing humanity like a spring zephyr wafting through the piney Schwarzwald on a June morning..”

The Goddess of the WEF (Kunstler)

Tell me: is there a fairer grandmotherly face than this in all of Western Civ? Does it not seem to radiate eons of aggregate wisdom, maternal kindness, bountiful nurture, caring, and healing, and even a hint of fun in the nursury. . . the rectified essence of Teutonic beauty, fertility, vitality, and virtue. . . the loving smile of the life-giver caressing humanity like a spring zephyr wafting through the piney Schwarzwald on a June morning? That is exactly why Ursula von der Leyen was (s)elected President of the European Commission, and why she was sent out to front the World Economic Forum (WEF) this week in her keynote speech to the assembled global grandees of Davos in the dead chill of January. It’s one thing when a cadaverous goblin such as Yuval Noah Harari tells you to eat bugs, and quite another thing when Oma Ursula tells you Keine Sorge, Kinder. Alles ist gut.

Ursula did offer us children-of-the-world one wee note of caution, though, as every good “grammy” might give to the global kindergarten: watch out for misinformation and disinformation on the internet! Like the evil imps of the Germanic Märchen, these wicked forces lurk and propagate on the internet — waiting to dash all of the WEF’s benevolent plans for our utopian future. That’s why, she explained, the European Commission has drawn up the Digital Services Act — because misinfo and disinfo can fluoresce into hate speech, the most dangerous thing in the world. It must be stomped out! Ground into the dirt under a boot heel! Misinfo and disinfo about what, exactly? Ursula omitted to specify, but we can guess, can’t we? For instance, about how more and more every year the WEF seems to operate like a global racketeering operation, seeking the levers of control in all the naughtiest sovereign nations of the earth overpopulated with “useless eaters” who are remorselessly busy wrecking the climate to enjoy, say, in the case of the USA, their loathsome motor-sports, mega-churches, gun shows, hot-tubs, and Golden Corral All-You-Can-Eat buffets!

The WEF, a racket? A cabal of haughty control freaks? What a hateful thing to say, after everything kindly onkel Schwabenklaus has done for mankind! It hurts our feelings to hear this! Yet, why do scores of billionaires flock to the yearly Davos meet-up and coordinate their funding streams into countless NGOs and shadowy activist organizations aimed at manipulating the activities of governments around the world? I assure you it’s hardly for the fabulous hors d’oeuvre platters or the even more fabulous on-call hookers. (The nabobs of finance must be satisfied with the services of their personal chefs and masseuses.) Ursula says the WEF notables meet annually “because our democracies and our businesses have interests that align: creating prosperity, wealth and security for people, creating a stable environment to unlock innovation and investment, and creating equal opportunity and freedom.”

I have some disappointing news for you: grandmother Ursula is lying (alas, we live in time of epic disappointments). If the WEF wanted “stability” you would not see Alex (and papa George) Soros pouring money into every county DA election from Maine to California to make sure that looting, car-jacking, and mayhem go unpunished. . . or that men of military age from every failed state on the planet get flown across the oceans to NGO-supported waystations in Central America so that the cartels of Mexico can take over the final leg of their illegal entry into the USA. . . or ditto the boats ferrying Africans and Arabs across the Mediterranean to overwhelm the societies of Europe — including especially Grammy Ursula’s Germany.

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Ruyi bridge

 

 

Elephant

 

 

 

 

Lynx


“One of the best examples of cryptic plumage and mimicry in Australian birds is seen in the tawny frogmouth, which perch low on tree branches during the day camouflaged as part of the tree”

Meet my mum
https://twitter.com/i/status/1748296319381176655

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 162024
 
 January 16, 2024  Posted by at 9:35 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  64 Responses »


Salvador Dalí The oecumenial council 1960

 

Trump Scores Major Election Victory (RT)
Lawfare Against Trump Is Running Out of Gas (Victor Davis Hanson)
Jan. 6 Committee Helped Guide Early Days Of Georgia Trump Probe (Pol.)
Prosecutors Are Charging Trump Using Laws Made To Fight The KKK (G.)
Ukraine Crisis Won’t End Until NATO Push Kiev to Negotiating Table (Sp.)
Zelensky Rejected Favorable Peace Deal With Russia – Arestovich (RT)
Moscow Slams Bild Report of Preparations for ‘NATO-Russia War’ (Sp.)
US Seeks Funds for Bioweapons Projects From Private Foundations (Sp.)
Israel and the U.S. Are Already Feeling the Weight of Houthi Justice (Dionisio)
US Lured Into Battlescape in Gaza, Yemen and Now Iraq (Alastair Crooke)
Red Sea Tensions May Become ‘Impossible To Contain’ – UN (RT)
UK To Send 20,000 Troops To NATO Exercise (RT)
Mega-Poll Predicts Disaster For Tories – But Reality Could Be Even Worse (G.)
Cheers to You, WEFers of Davos! (Kunstler)
‘Say it Nicer’: Hunter Makes a Familiar Last-Minute Offer to Congress (Turley)

 

 

 

 

Israel is finished- Macgregor

 

 


Mr. Fish

 

 

Elon Musk:
Destroying freedom of speech means destroying democracy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historic numbers.

Trump Scores Major Election Victory (RT)

Former President Donald Trump won a landslide victory in the first Republican primary of the 2024 presidential race, taking home three times more delegates than his closest opponent and over 50% of the popular vote. With more than 95% of the votes counted following Monday’s caucus in Iowa, Trump had 51% of the electorate and 19 delegates, far ahead of Republican rivals Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, who earned 21.3% and 19.1% respectively. DeSantis won eight delegates and remained in second place, while Haley scored seven. As the race came to a close late in the evening, Trump penned a social media post thanking his supporters in Iowa, writing “I LOVE YOU ALL!” The victory comes on the heels of favorable polling for the frontrunner, with an NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom survey giving him an almost 30-point advantage over the other candidates.

While the same poll put former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in second place, the number two spot went to DeSantis, Florida’s current governor. Before heading home, Haley hurled a veiled criticism at Trump, telling supporters “If you want to move forward with no more vendettas, if you want to move forward with a sense of hope, join us in this caucus.” GOP newcomer Vivek Ramaswamy, meanwhile, came in fourth with 7.7% of the vote, but won no delegates. Trump’s win in Iowa follows significant campaigning in the state, vastly outdoing his showing in the 2016 race, which Texas Senator Ted Cruz ultimately won. According to the Associated Press, Trump’s team “paid special attention to building a sophisticated digital and data operation to regularly engage with potential supporters.”

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“..Both have made a mockery of their indictment of an ex-president and, if the allegations are true, will be disbarred and prosecuted..”

Lawfare Against Trump Is Running Out of Gas (Victor Davis Hanson)

We should dispense with the tired narrative that four conscientious state and federal prosecutors—independently and without contact with the Biden White House or the radical Democrats in Congress—all came to the same disinterested conclusions that Donald Trump should be indicted for various crimes and put on trial during the campaign season of 2024. The prosecutors began accelerating their indictments only once Trump started to lead incumbent Joe Biden by sizable margins in head-to-head polls. Moreover, had Trump not run for the presidency, or had he been of the same party as most of the four prosecutors, he would have never been indicted by any of them. Yet now they are in a doom loop of discovering that the more they seek to rush to judgment before the election and gag Trump from speaking publicly about these star-chamber proceedings, the more he rises in the polls.

In truth, each succeeding cycle of corrupt leftwing lawfare that ends in failure—the Russian collusion hoax, the weaponized first impeachment, trying ex-president Trump in the Senate as a private citizen, the laptop disinformation set-up, the Alfa bank ping caper, the pathetic attempt to erase Trump from state ballots, and the unfolding Fani Willis moral debacle—does not return things to zero. Rather, they serve as force multipliers for each other. Each overreach geometrically increases the dangers to democracy, ever more turns the public off, and ironically cascades sympathy and poll numbers for the very target of their paranoias. Some of the prosecutors have colluded with White House lawyers and congressional liaisons. Some had run for office, offering campaign promises to get Trump convicted for something or other.

Now, after years of delays and deadends, all four are rushing to synchronize their trial dates to ensure that the front-running Trump is on the docket daily and not out on the 2024 campaign trail. Do we recall when leftist legal eagles claimed that of all the iffy Trump indictments, Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis had the best case against Trump? The phone call, we were told, was proof of “election interference.” It was Willis who got the first Trump “mug shot.” It was Willis, we were assured, who got Trump with the goods on tape, begging election officials to “find” the requisite missing votes that would prove his victory (note that he did not say “invent” the votes but to look for a supposedly existing trove of them). And now Willis’s signature case is in shambles.

We learn, allegedly, that 1) Willis hired her stealth boyfriend Nathan Wade as a special counsel, the day before he filed for divorce (whose records were then mysteriously sealed by the court); 2) that Wade so far has received over $650,000 as special counsel, reportedly including a miraculous ability to charge for 24 hours of continuous legal service in a single day; 3) that Willis and Wade allegedly have used her greenlighted windfall to him to go on a number of pricey junkets and cruises; 4) that to try an ex-president and the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election, Willis picked Wade who had never tried a single felony case and was previously a “personal injury/accident” lawyer; 5) that the supposedly apolitical Willis had consulted with the January 6 partisan congressional special committee, while Wade had met for marathon meetings with the Biden White House legal counsel (and apparently billed Georgia taxpayers for receiving such federal tutorials).

The legal community’s initial dismissal of this sordid prosecutor’s office is reminiscent of the immediate efforts to downplay Claudine Gay’s plagiarism. But the charade will eventually end the same way, in this case with the resignation and likely indictment of the prosecutor, along with her boyfriend, who concocted quite a scheme at the expense of the taxpayers. Both have made a mockery of their indictment of an ex-president and, if the allegations are true, will be disbarred and prosecuted.

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Politico acts like this is normal.

Jan. 6 Committee Helped Guide Early Days Of Georgia Trump Probe (Pol.)

Georgia prosecutors probing Donald Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election got an early boost in the spring of 2022. It came from another set of investigators who were way ahead of them: the House Jan. 6 select committee. Committee staff quietly met with lawyers and agents working for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in mid-April 2022, just as she prepared to convene a special grand jury investigation. In the previously unreported meeting, the Jan. 6 committee aides let the district attorney’s team review — but not keep — a limited set of evidence they had gathered. Over the next few months, committee staff also had a series of phone calls with Willis’ team. They answered the prosecutors’ questions and shared insight on matters like Trump’s false electors gambit and his efforts to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Both of those ploys ultimately featured prominently in the criminal charges that Willis brought against Trump and his allies last summer. The contacts between the committee and Willis’ team also helped prosecutors prepare for interviews with key witnesses. The content of the meetings and calls was described by two former committee officials familiar with the outreach, who were granted anonymity to speak candidly about the contacts. The timing was corroborated by exhibits attached to new court filings in Willis’ ongoing prosecution of Trump and 14 co-defendants for their efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The committee aided Willis’ nascent probe even as it rebuffed the Justice Department’s requests for material in the separate federal criminal probe of Trump’s election subversion.

At the time, one reason the committee was more inclined to cooperate with the Fulton County team than with the federal prosecutors was that federal prosecutors might have been required to disclose the evidence in ongoing criminal cases related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. When congressional Republicans recently pressed Willis to disclose her team’s contacts with the Jan. 6 committee, she refused, calling their inquiry an affront to “well-established principles of federalism and separation of powers.” “You cannot — and will not — be provided access to any non-public information about this,” she wrote to the House Judiciary Committee last month in a letter obtained by POLITICO. Jan. 6 committee chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) had previously described “staff-level contacts” between his panel and Fulton County prosecutors. In early April 2022 — nearly two weeks before the panel’s staff met with Willis’ team — Thompson told reporters he wasn’t aware of how extensive those contacts were. And on Wednesday, Thompson told POLITICO that he did not know about the in-person visit that spring.

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The Guardian provides a stage for Clinton tool Sidney Blumenthal.

Prosecutors Are Charging Trump Using Laws Made To Fight The KKK (G.)

On Tuesday, in response to the federal case brought by special prosecutor Jack Smith over Trump’s alleged role in the January 6 insurrection, Trump threatened a new round of violence – or “bedlam” – if he loses the election. In early February, the US supreme court will also rule on the Colorado supreme court’s decision to disqualify Trump from the state’s ballot for his part in the insurrection. The two cases might appear to be disconnected, but they are inseparable in law and history. They are united by Congress’s Reconstruction-era action to enforce the 14th amendment’s extension of constitutional rights against the former Confederates’ campaign of racial and political violence – the Ku Klux Klan Acts of 1870 and 1871.

Smith has indicted Trump under the KKK Act, which incorporates the 14th amendment, section 3, of the constitution. The Colorado court’s disqualification comes under the third section of the amendment, which disqualifies from office anyone who has engaged in insurrection against the United States. There are clear and compelling reasons why Trump has been indicted under the KKK Act and disqualified under the 14th amendment, section 3. Those reasons are stated in the indictments and court rulings. Trump has been charged on the same grounds that Klansmen were prosecuted, not only during Reconstruction but also during the civil rights era of the 1960s, and he has been removed from the ballot on the same basis as Confederate traitors were removed from elective office. Complacent commentators have dismissed the charges that Trump has brought on himself, hoping to calm the waters by vainly demonstrating their fair-mindedness. But the law is not somnambulant forever and the historical reality underlying it cannot be erased as it was in the aftermath of the dismantling of Reconstruction in a ‘lost cause’ of false conciliation.

[..] Striking at former Confederates who were commanding the Klan, the act then prescribed imprisonment of “any person who shall hereafter knowingly accept or hold any office under the United States, or any State to which he is ineligible under the third section of the fourteenth article of amendment of the Constitution of the United States … ” Under the KKK Act, Grant’s attorney general, Amos Akerman, successfully prosecuted more than 1,100 cases against members of the Klan, effectively breaking it up. In the 1872 campaign, a large faction of the national Republican party opposed the KKK Act and advocated reconciliation with the south. They called themselves the Liberal Republican party and aligned with the Democrats against Grant’s re-election. The Amnesty Act of 1872, lifting the disability of section 3, was a sop to outflank the Liberal Republicans and marked the beginning of the end of Reconstruction. Still, Grant was re-elected, winning eight southern states with a black-white coalition.

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“..they need to find a way to explain to their own population (and to NATO countries) why and how they will agree on a compromise..”

“..it will be interesting to see “how Ukrainian leaders will abandon their 10 points without saying that they are reneging on them.”

Ukraine Crisis Won’t End Until NATO Push Kiev to Negotiating Table (Sp.)

Sunday’s meeting of Western national security officials in Davos on Ukraine’s ‘peace proposal’ ended “with no clear path forward,” with British business media reporting that the only “achievement” of the talks was a “more diverse family photo than last time,” including representatives from countries with close relations with Russia such as Brazil and South Africa. “There was no progress on an actual peace deal. That would be impossible without Russia, and Russia wasn’t invited. But that’s not the point,” the Financial Times assured in a chirpy summary of the meeting, saying it was meant to “remind” other countries that “Ukraine, not Russia, is the one trying to talk about peace.”

Setting aside that this disingenuous claim ignores repeated attempts by Moscow to nip the Ukrainian crisis in the bud in 2014, prevent it from escalating into a full-fledged NATO-Russia proxy war in 2022, and to signal readiness to talk in the two years since, it’s important to recognize that the Zelensky ‘peace formula’ doesn’t even pretend to seek to include Russia in the conversation, going so far as to attempt to hold its meetings in secret. And perhaps with good reason. Zelensky’s formula demands that Russia give up Crimea, the Donbass, Zaporozhye and Kherson, pay Ukraine reparations, subject its officials and military personnel to war tribunals, and make other one-sided concessions which look less like a peace deal and more like demands against a capitulating power. Moscow has predictably dismissed the proposal, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently calling them a “figment of a sick imagination.”

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis admitted that a peace process could not be started without Russia’s participation. “One important point is to be highlighted here: Peace is no more an impossible or unspeakable word, and the idea of negotiation is again on the table. But it is important here to understand however that Ukraine’s position is still not realistic,” Jacques Sapir, director of studies at the Paris-based School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, told Sputnik. “In the mind of Kiev’s rulers, peace is to come through military victory and a reconquest by Ukrainian Armed Forces of the four oblasts (Kherson, Zaporozhye, Donetsk and Luhansk) and of Crimea. This is the content of the so-called ‘ten point plan’,” Sapir explained, highlighting the Zelensky proposal’s keystone demand.

The analyst likens Kiev’s poker face approach as an “opening move,” and believes the Zelensky regime may be willing to pursue more “realistic” options, including the idea of having Russia actually take part in talks, particularly “as the military situation is now deteriorating for Kiev.” “Ukraine’s leaders know very well that they are not in a position to aim at complete, or even partial, victory against Russia. But they have so much talked of a ‘victory’ that they need to find a way to explain to their own population (and to NATO countries) why and how they will agree on a compromise,” Sapir said. If and when talks proceed and Kiev’s position softens, Sapir suggested that it will be interesting to see “how Ukrainian leaders will abandon their 10 points without saying that they are reneging on them.”

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“..I think we face ten or 15 years of war in Europe,” Arestovich said..”

Zelensky Rejected Favorable Peace Deal With Russia – Arestovich (RT)

Ukraine had the chance to make peace at the 2022 Istanbul talks but something or someone changed President Vladimir Zelensky’s mind, according to an interview with his former aide, Aleksey Arestovich, published on Monday. Freddie Sayers, the editor in chief of the British outlet UnHerd, interviewed Arestovich almost a year after Ukraine’s top spin doctor left Zelensky’s service. He has since moved to the US, saying that Kiev wants him arrested on politically trumped-up charges. “I was a member of the Istanbul process, and it was the most profitable agreement we could have done,” Arestovich told Sayers. The Ukrainian delegation “opened the champagne bottle” when they came back to Kiev, believing the agreement was a done deal, he added.

The protocols were “90% prepared” for a direct meeting between Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Arestovich, when Zelensky called off the talks. His rejection of the talks has been widely attributed to the ‘Bucha massacre’, which Ukraine accused Russia of, but Arestovich said he did not know that for a fact. Something “absolutely” changed Zelensky’s mind and “historians will have to find an answer to what happened,” Arestovich said. “A lot of people say it was the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who came to Kiev and put a stop to this negotiation with Russia. I don’t know exactly if that is true or false. He came to Kiev, but nobody knows what they spoke about except, I think, Zelensky and Boris Johnson himself,” he told UnHerd.

Johnson’s role in scuttling the Istanbul peace talks was reported as early as May 2022 by the outlet Ukrainska Pravda. According to the outlet, he came to Kiev with “two simple messages,” that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “a war criminal” who should not be negotiated with, and that even if Ukraine was ready to sign some kind of agreement with Russia, the West was not. David Arakhamia, the leader of Zelensky’s party in the Ukrainian parliament, brought up the visit in a November 2023 interview, paraphrasing Johnson’s message as telling the Ukrainians “let’s just continue fighting.” The former British PM finally commented on the matter last week, saying he merely told Zelensky the UK would support Ukraine “a thousand percent” and that any potential agreement with Russia would be “pretty sordid.” He insisted he did not “order” anyone to do anything, however.

According to Arestovich, the conflict has now evolved beyond Russia and Ukraine, pitting the collective West against the ‘Global South’. “We have to negotiate for an all-new security system for Europe, taking into account all sides of this problem,” he told UnHerd, adding that NATO would need to discuss with Russia “what it would take to guarantee not to use military force in Europe to decide political questions.” “I should perhaps add that I am absolutely pessimistic that this will happen. I think we face ten or 15 years of war in Europe,” Arestovich said.

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“..I talked to many leaders and they tell me: ‘Why are they scaring us? We understand that Russia is not going to fight with Europe.’ Yes, we are not going to [fight] now.”

Moscow Slams Bild Report of Preparations for ‘NATO-Russia War’ (Sp.)

“Germany is gearing up for “war between NATO’s forces and Russia,” which could begin in the summer of 2025, Bild has written, citing a “secret” Bundeswehr document. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commenting on the publication said it is nothing but fake news. “I would not like to comment on the report of Bild, this news outlet does not hesitate to use fake news,” Peskov told reporters. According to the alleged “training scenario” of the German Ministry of Defense, “on ‘Day X,’ NATO’s commander-in-chief will give the order to move 300,000 troops to the eastern flank, including 30,000 Bundeswehr soldiers,” the tabloid states. The escalation could reportedly begin as early as February 2024 with the start of Russia’s active offensive against the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. By June of the same year, according to Bild, Russia will have forced Kiev’s military to retreat.

The Kiev regime’s much-hyped 2023 counteroffensive which began in June suffered a resounding defeat. The Ukrainian Armed Forces lost more than 125,000 people and 16,000 units of weapons over the six-month counteroffensive, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated in late December. Without offering any specific details, the publication noted that the most likely location for a “clash” will purportedly be the so-called “Suwalki Gap” or “Suwalki Corridor” (Przesmyk suwalski). This is a section about 100 km long near the city of Suwalki in the northeast of Poland, located between Belarus and Russia’s Kaliningrad region. In July, according to the “secret document,” Russia might allegedly launch “cyber attacks and other forms of hybrid warfare” against the Baltic countries.

Furthermore, “clashes” would occur which Moscow ostensibly could use as a pretext to begin large-scale exercises on its territory and in Belarus, as per the authors. By October Russia could allegedly transfer troops and medium-range missiles to its Kaliningrad region, and December might see a border conflict erupt in the Suwalki Corridor. According to Bild, the “secret document” also indicates that when Washington is temporarily left without a leader as a result of the presidential elections in the United States in 2014, “Russia, with the support of Belarus, will repeat the 2014 invasion of Ukraine on NATO territory.” No further clarification is offered to these wild scenarios and off-mark references.

[..] In effect, Russia has only been responding to NATO’s continuous expansion. Moscow’s determination to protect itself and its allies has been explicitly outlined in its new foreign policy doctrine, signed by Russian President Putin on March 31, 2023. “Recently, the activity of the NATO military bloc as a whole has sharply increased. Significant forces from the United States, including aircraft, have been deployed to our borders, and the number of alliance troops in Eastern and Central Europe has increased,” Russian President Vladimir Putin stated while presiding over a Russian Ministry of Defense meeting on December 19. As for the repeated attempt to portray Russia as the “bogeyman,” he clarified: “[The US] was very frightened by Russia’s rapprochement with Europe. It should be the masters there. It kept scaring … evil Russia is threatening you. But I talked to many leaders and they tell me: ‘Why are they scaring us? We understand that Russia is not going to fight with Europe.’ Yes, we are not going to [fight] now.”

Read more …

Madmen.

US Seeks Funds for Bioweapons Projects From Private Foundations (Sp.)

The United States government is actively searching for new sources of funding for military biological research from leading American ‘philanthropic’ institutions, including the Clinton, Soros, Rockefeller and Biden Foundations, RCBD Troops chief Igor Kirillov has announced. “Based on an analysis of documents received in the course of the special military operation, the structure of the system created by the US administration for the global management of biological risks has become clear,” Kirillov said in a briefing Monday, summarizing an analysis of US military-biological activities in Ukraine and globally over the course of 2023. “It consists of government agencies and private contractors, including representatives of Big Pharma. Through the organs of the executive branch, a legislative framework is being created to finance military-biological research directly from the federal budget. Guarantees provided by the state attract funds from non-governmental organizations controlled by the Democratic Party leadership, including the Clinton, Rockefeller, Soros and Biden Foundations,” Kirillov said.

According to the RCBD Troops’ chief’s information, the main private contractors involved in the Pentagon’s military-biological program include Metabiota, Black & Veatch and CH2M, with the companies tasked with the construction of facilities and the supply of equipment to labs around the globe. Their work is coordinated by the DoD’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency. On the Big Pharma front, Pfizer, Moderna, Gilead, Dynport Vaccine, AbbVie, Parexel, Eli Lilly & Co, Merck and Battelle are identified as key partners. Washington’s goals are multifold, Kirillov said, and include the study of the causative agents of “particularly dangerous infections in regions of the world that are strategically important for the United States,” and achieving “superiority” in biomanufacturing, including by using biological espionage against potential geopolitical adversaries.

“Materials received have confirmed that the US military was set the task of monitoring the biological situation in the Middle East and Central Asia, territories bordering China, Turkiye, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,” Kirillov said. “Over the past year, the Pentagon developed and adopted a number of conceptual documents involving the expansion of the foreign network of US-controlled biological laboratories, and continuing military biological research beyond America’s national jurisdiction.” Furthermore, the RCBD Troops chief said, 2023 saw the creation of new administrative and technical structures, including the Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy, and the State Department’s new Bureau of Global Health Security and Diplomacy, with their main aims assumed to be centered on securing the further expansion of America’s military-biological activities worldwide.

Read more …

“..without economic stability, wars can’t be won. Even against those who arm themselves with little more than stones and sticks and a few handmade rockets..”

Israel and the U.S. Are Already Feeling the Weight of Houthi Justice (Dionisio)

For better or worse, the Houthis are the only political and military force doing anything practical to demand that Israel pay for its acts. And despite the attack on their territory, we can already say with certainty, that the Ansar Allah movement and the pro-Palestinian resistance, in general, will be strengthened by this event. Were it not for a rebel movement, made up of poor people living in great hardship, no other country in the region would do anything to bring some moral justice, however little, to this whole process. As they say, whoever has a lot, has the most to lose. Only the poor give what they need and this is a good example of that. It is even curious that here and there, apart from a few diplomatic and commercial measures, the most serious diplomatic action for Israel has come from outside the continent and the Middle East: South Africa’s accusation at the International Court of Justice that the state of Israel should be tried for genocide.

Of course, the accusation was immediately branded with the very vulgar epithet of “anti-Semitic”. But the Houthis’ role in the Red Sea has produced absolutely unpredictable and — perhaps unexpected — results for the West. The Red Sea trade route accounts for 12% of global maritime trade and 12% of all oil trade. An important part of the commercial ships that travel between the Indian Ocean and Europe pass through the Red Sea. Moreover, the importance of this route for Israel is truly decisive. The Port of Eilat essentially lives off this sea route. Disconnecting the port of Eilat from the international routes to Asia not only means that many of the goods that Israel receives from Asia will become more expensive and risk perishing, with all the economic burdens that this entails. But it also means cutting tourism, since the city of Eilat is an important tourist destination in the Middle East, and losing the competitiveness of its exports to the Asian continent.

But in the end, the financial damage might even be surmountable. What would be difficult to overcome would be the fragility in which an effective blockade of the Red Sea crossing would leave Israel.Let’s imagine a likely scenario in which the war fronts multiply and the conflict spreads to other regions (Lebanon, Syria and Yemen). Just as Oman has closed its airspace to military planes to bomb Yemen, a country like Egypt could, in a situation of great pressure and popular pressure, consider closing the Suez Canal to boats that are linked to Israel. It wouldn’t be unheard of, as we know. Oman itself has prevented U.S. military aircraft from passing through, for various reasons. One of them has to do with a certain neutrality that the sultanate is assuming on the international stage. However, this “neutrality” is also due to the ethnic tensions it has in its territory, which borders Yemen.

In any case, leaving the port of Eilat open only to boats coming from the Suez Canal would be strategically fragile. So, while it cannot be denied that the Houthi naval blockade may be a burden for the other Arab nations that receive their ships at Red Sea ports, the fact is that for none of them the situation is as dramatic as it is for Israel. Since the goods that Israel receives by sea and from Asia can come from the Red Sea without having to go through the Suez Canal, the port of Eilat is absolutely strategic for the country’s economic stability. And without economic stability, wars can’t be won. Even against those who arm themselves with little more than stones and sticks and a few handmade rockets.

Read more …

“..The endgame is inevitable: An agreement to end the conflict on Russia’s terms..”

US Lured Into Battlescape in Gaza, Yemen and Now Iraq (Alastair Crooke)

China and Russia have been remarkably quiet, watching carefully the global tectonic plates shifting around in response to the ‘two wars’ (Ukraine and Israel’s ‘multiwar’). Really it is not surprising; both states can sit back to simply watch Biden and his team persist with their strategic mistakes in Ukraine and in Israel’s multiple wars. The interlacing of the two wars will, of course, shape the new era. There are substantive risks, but for now they can observe with comfort from afar as a climatic juncture in world politics unfolds, gradually raising the pace of the attrition to a circle of fire. The point here is that Biden, at the centre of the storm, is no cool-headed Sun-Tzu. His politics are personal and highly visceral: As Noah Lanard has written in his forensic analysis of How Joe Biden Became America’s Top Hawk, his own team say it plainly: Biden’s politics is seated in his ‘kishkes’ – his guts.

That can be seen in the disdainful and graphic way in which Biden sneers at President Putin as an ‘autocrat’, and the way he talks about victims of the Hamas attack being massacred, sexually assaulted, and taken hostage, whilst “Palestinian suffering is left vague – if mentioned at all”. “I don’t really think he sees the Palestinians at all”, says Rashid Khalidi, Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University. There is a long and reputable history of leaders making the right spur of the moment decision from their unconscious, without careful rational calculous. In the ancient world this was a highly prized quality. Odysseus exuded it. It was called mêtis. But this ability was contingent on having a dispassionate temperament and an ability to see things ‘in the round’; to grasp both sides to a coin, we would say.

But what happens if, as Professor Khalidi implies, the ‘kishkes’ are filled with anger and bile; instinctive sympathy for Israel, fuelled by an outdated view of the Israeli domestic scene. “He just does not seem to acknowledge the humanity of [others]”, as a former Team Biden member put it to Lanard. Well, mistakes – strategic mistakes – become inevitable. And these mistakes are luring the U.S. in – deeper and deeper (as the Resistance foresaw). Michael Knights, a scholar at the neo-con Washington Institute think-tank noted: “The Houthis are high on their successes and will not be easy to deter. They are having the time of their lives, standing up to a superpower who probably cannot deter them”. This comes on the back of an Ukraine war already reaching – or at – its foregone conclusion. Both in the U.S. and amongst its allies in Europe, it is recognised that Russia has prevailed overwhelmingly, and across all ‘domains of conflict’.

There is next to no chance that this situation can be recouped, irrespective of money or fresh western ‘support’. The Ukrainian military taste the bitter fruits of this fact daily. Many in Kiev’s ruling classes ‘get it’ too, but are frightened to speak out. The cadre of hardliners behind Zelensky however insist to press on with their delusion of mounting a new offensive. It would be a kindness to ‘those about to die’ in another futile mobilisation for the West to call a halt. The endgame is inevitable: An agreement to end the conflict on Russia’s terms.

Ahhh, but do not forget Biden’s ‘kishkes’: This outcome would mean Putin ‘winning’ and Biden’s hope of a victory garland turning to ashes. The war must be kept going, even if its only achievement be to fire long-range missiles directly into the civilian cities of Russia (a war crime). It is obvious where this is going. Biden is in hole that only can deepen. Can’t he stop digging? Some in America may wish he would, as the Democratic electoral prospects dim. But it seems probable that he can’t, for then his nemesis (Putin) would ‘win’.

Nap Crooke

Read more …

Yes.

Red Sea Tensions May Become ‘Impossible To Contain’ – UN (RT)

The current instability in the Middle East may soon spiral completely out of control, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at a press conference in New York on Monday. Guterres once again addressed the crisis triggered by the events of October 7, when Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israel, killing around 1,200 people and taking more than 200 hostages. The ensuing Israeli blockade, bombing, and ground assault of Gaza has since killed almost 24,000 people, according to local health officials. The civilian death toll in Gaza has resulted in widespread international condemnation of Israel’s actions, and has already drawn the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthis into the conflict.

“Tensions are also sky-high in the Red Sea and beyond – and may soon be impossible to contain,” Guterres said, adding that he is concerned that “daily exchanges of fire” risk “triggering a broader escalation between Israel and Lebanon and profoundly affecting regional stability.” While the secretary-general condemned the actions of Hamas, he also blasted the Israeli operation as “collective punishment of the Palestinian people,” saying it has caused an “unprecedented level of civilian casualties,” while noting that “the vast majority of those killed are women and children.” Last week, the Houthis pledged to continue targeting Israeli- and US-linked ships in the Red Sea “until the siege on Gaza is lifted.”

The Houthis have also targeted British and American warships operating in the area as part of an international maritime operation organized last month by the US to safeguard shipping in the region. The “heightening tensions” also led Iran to send one of their warships to the Red Sea earlier this month. US and UK warplanes attacked Houthi targets in Yemen with around 70 airstrikes last Thursday and Friday. While US National Security spokesman John Kirby stated that the strikes are having a “good effect,” a New York Times report claimed that around three-quarters of Houthi military assets remain intact. Moscow has condemned the strikes on Yemen, calling them “illegal” and saying they were carried out in violation of the UN Charter. The UN secretary-general has said that “the longer the conflict in Gaza continues, the greater the risk of escalation and miscalculation.”

Read more …

“.. the UK and its allies have found themselves “in a new era” and “must be prepared to deter our enemies..”

UK To Send 20,000 Troops To NATO Exercise (RT)

The UK is set to deploy around 20,000 service members – as well as modern warships and fighter jets – to take part in a major NATO exercise amid rising tensions with Russia, the Defence Ministry in London has announced. In a statement on Monday, the ministry, citing excerpts from a speech to be delivered by Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, said that some 16,000 army troops – along with tanks, artillery, and helicopters – will join other bloc members on the continent to participate in Exercise Steadfast Defender 24, scheduled to take place in the first half of this year. The effort will be supported by eight warships and submarines, as well as 2,000 Royal Navy sailors. The UK will also deploy a number of aircraft, including F35B Lightning fighters and Poseidon P8 surveillance aircraft, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, Shapps is expected to call the drill “one of NATO’s largest deployments since the end of the Cold War,” adding that the UK and its allies have found themselves “in a new era” and “must be prepared to deter our enemies,” according to the statement. The statement specifically referred to the threat from the Russian “menace.” NATO began reinforcing its military footprint in Europe first after a Western-backed coup in Kiev triggered hostilities in Donbass, which is now part of Russia. However, the most drastic build-up occurred after Russia launched its military campaign against Ukraine in February 2022. In June of the same year, the US-led military bloc agreed to put 300,000 troops on high alert, up from 40,000, to deter Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said that Moscow has no plans to attack NATO, arguing that there was “no geopolitical, economic … or military interest” in waging war against the bloc. Still, Moscow has also repeatedly warned that the alliance’s military activities close to its border warrant additional security measures. Putin has also said that Ukraine’s desire to join NATO was one of the key reasons for the current conflict.

Read more …

All they have left is two warmonger parties. A poor nation.

Mega-Poll Predicts Disaster For Tories – But Reality Could Be Even Worse (G.)

For Conservative MPs opening their Daily Telegraph on Monday morning it was a distinctly gloomy start to the week: a mega-poll suggesting they are heading for a crashing general election defeat. And this was arguably an optimistic take. For one thing, some pollsters believe the YouGov conclusion of a 120-seat Labour majority could be an underestimate. Additionally, the poll’s organisers seem intent on using its findings to push the party further to the right on immigration, a move that will dismay many centrist Tories, and seems unlikely to stop the rot. The notable aspects of the poll come in two main parts. The first is its findings: YouGov surveyed 14,000 people and extrapolated the results to constituencies using the multilevel regression and poststratification model, or MRP.

This predicted that the Conservatives would retain only 169 seats, 196 fewer than their 2019 total, while Labour would take 385, the Liberal Democrats 48 and the SNP 25. This would be a disaster for the Conservatives, resulting in 11 current cabinet ministers losing their seats, among them Jeremy Hunt, Grant Shapps and Gillian Keegan. But it could – and might – be worse. Rob Ford, a professor of politics at Manchester University, noted that the YouGov modelling appeared to play down the effect of tactical voting in many seats where Conservative MPs were at risk of challenge. “It doesn’t seem very credible to me that in a Tory-Lib Dem marginal, 10% of people would still support Green, and not care either way about the opportunity to get rid of a Conservative MP. It does suggest that things could be even worse for the Conservatives,” Ford said.

Another point of interest is the political backdrop to a large and very expensive polling operation. It was, the Telegraph said, commissioned by the Conservative Britain Alliance, a previously unknown organisation described only as a “group of Conservative donors”. YouGov, the Telegraph added, worked with the Tory peer David Frost, who contributed an opinion piece arguing that the only way back from the brink for the party was to go much harder on immigration, seeking to tempt former Tory voters who are backing the Nigel Farage-founded Reform UK. “The big problem is immigration, legal as well as illegal. That’s why this week’s vote on Rwanda is so important,” Frost writes.

The Telegraph runs its own analysis arguing that Reform votes would play a part in 96 losses for the Conservatives, making the difference between a catastrophic loss and a hung parliament. The combined message is clear: copy Reform, notably on small boats and on migration more generally.

Read more …

Article comes with free menu.

Wrote to Jim:
“On the very same day we got introduced to Disease X, Denmark – of Macbeth fame- announced its new king.
His name: Frederik X.”

Cheers to You, WEFers of Davos! (Kunstler)

The nabobs and panjandrums of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meet up at Davos, Switzerland, the next several days to lay plans for their latest assault on humanity. This year’s theme is “Rebuilding Trust.” Did you just blow your coffee through your nose? The outfit that coordinated the world-wide Covid-19 response (that perhaps birthed the very concept of Covid-19 itself), and especially pushed mRNA vaccines on the credulous global public — this gang of super-wealthy, super-connected, super-important celebrity punks, poohbahs, pricks, and predators wants a cuddle.

This Davos crowd — moiling around the opening soirée amid drool-worthy trays of crab puffs, asparagus gougères, lobster crostini, waygu morsels, Prosciutto-Fig bites, chickpea panisse, stuffed castelvetrano olives, wild boar and quinoa dolmas, fava bean puree toasts, pigeon pea fritters, and Nürnberger rostbratwurst pigs-in-a-blanket, all washed down by bottomless flutes of Roederer Cristal Millésime Brut— could not stop chattering about the debut of the latest viral confection, “Disease X”, said to be twenty times deadlier than Covid-19.

Imagine the opportunities this one will provide for the WEF’s Davos prom date, the World Health Organization (WHO). And just in time to create enough hysteria for the May vote on the new WHO treaty binding the world’s governments to its pandemic diktats. In that new disposition of things, whatever Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says, goes! Lockdowns. Quarantine camps. Mandatory (improved) safe-and-effective vaccines. Nevermind what the actual citizens of Countries A, B, or C might otherwise decide for themselves under the obsolete system of national sovereignty. Follow the science, useless eaters of the world! (And please quit carping about it!)

Any resemblance of “Disease X” to the remaining global free speech platform (Elon Musk’s X, formerly Twitter), is just another bothersome conspiracy theory. Of course, theories imply the discovery of proofs, and it so happens that the unelected European Commission, under its Digital Services Act (passed in Nov., 2022), has already threatened Mr. Musk’s X to remove so-called hate speech, illegal content, and disinformation or face a fine amounting to 6-percent of its annual global revenue. Hate speech and disinfo are whatever the EU says it is, including information that is true but disagreeable to the agenda of all supranational orgs such as the EU, the WEF, and the WHO. Reminds us of something Pete Hogwallop once said to Ulysses E. McGill:

Last time around, those mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna proved to be super-effective at one thing: disordering all the cells and organs in the human body so as to produce a severe auto-immune reaction resulting in death and disability. The artificial spike protein replication induced by the vaxxes has a special yen for heart tissue, the linings of blood vessels, and the reproductive organs — thus, all those world-class soccer players dropping dead in mid-kick, all the massive clots the size of shipworms discovered by the morticians, and all the spontaneously aborted babies over the past three years. By the way, having seen all this, the CDC Director, Mandy Cohen, is still pushing “updated” mRNA shots, down to six-month-old babies. No, I’m not making this up.

Read more …

“.. Indeed, in Washington, it was an open joke like when Hunter was put on the Amtrak board and later made its vice chair..”

‘Say it Nicer’: Hunter Makes a Familiar Last-Minute Offer to Congress (Turley)

This week, after weeks of Hunter mocking the House over its subpoena for a deposition, the House Oversight Committee voted to hold him in contempt. Now facing a referral for prosecution, Hunter declared that he might belatedly comply to avoid a prosecution. Hunter is nothing if not consistent. As with his taxes and other federal violations, Hunter is asking for a mulligan just before a possible indictment. For decades, Hunter has conveyed an attitude that laws do not apply to him or to other Biden family members. After all, as his father once said, “no one f**ks with a Biden.” Since he was a young man, Hunter seems to have been told that he lives a life of privilege that entitles him to considerations denied to others. Indeed, in Washington, it was an open joke like when Hunter was put on the Amtrak board and later made its vice chair.

When pressed on his lack of credentials for the position, Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware quipped that “Hunter Biden has spent a lot of time on Amtrak trains.” It appears that nothing is quite so funny as open nepotism in Washington. Not surprisingly, Hunter’s life of entitlement would lead to a life of excess and debauchery. He was one of Washington’s noble class, a scion of a political dynasty. In time, he would be brought into the family business of influence-peddling with his uncles. For decades, the Bidens have been accused of selling access and influence to Joe Biden. When things got legally difficult, Hunter could count on government guardians. When he lost his gun in 2018, Secret Service agents appeared at a gun shop to demand all records of his purchase. (Those records would later become the basis for the current gun charges against him.)

When Hunter lost his laptop, containing hundreds of incriminating files showing everything from influence peddling to alleged human trafficking, FBI agents showed up at the computer shop and reportedly conveyed an intimidating message to the owner not to speak to anyone. When years of news reports forced the Justice Department to investigate some of these crimes, the Justice Department sat on the case until the most serious tax violations from 2014 to 2015 expired under the statute of limitations. It did so despite internal objections that the period for prosecution could easily be extended. The Justice Department then sought a plea bargain so absurdly generous that it fell apart in open court, with a prosecutor admitting to the judge that he had never seen any deal like it. Notably, the cause for the collapse was an immunity agreement so obscene that no one other than a Biden would demand it, let alone get it.

Throughout this history, one thing has been consistent. Hunter has received and seems to feel entitled to legal mulligans that no other citizen could reasonably expect. It is the very meaning of “privilege” that many Democrats in Washington denounce on a weekly basis. We are not the only country with such a privileged class of scions. In China, the children of powerful leaders who live lavish lives are called the “red nobility” or “communist princelings.” Yet, even in Washington, many were floored by the display of absolute entitlement when Hunter appeared with his counsel Abbe Lowell outside of Congress at the time of his scheduled deposition. Hunter mocked the House and refused to go inside, insisting that he would only agree to give testimony on his own terms.

For those of us who have been writing about the Hunter and the Bidens for decades, it was not in the least surprising. His conduct on taxes showed the utter lack of concern over any obligations owed to the government. In a sense, his family is the government. As the Justice Department noted in its tax charges, Hunter spent his money on “drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature, in short, everything but his taxes.” When the IRS finally moved toward prosecution, a democratic donor named Kevin Morris reportedly gave him millions to cover his taxes and lavish lifestyle, even though he had only been introduced to Hunter at a Democratic fundraiser not long before.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Tucker Ladapo

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1746697773292962016

 

 

WEF water

 

 

Ray
https://twitter.com/i/status/1746980872102781223

 

 

Kitten
https://twitter.com/i/status/1746659297201926502

 

 

Guitar

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 132024
 
 January 13, 2024  Posted by at 10:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  49 Responses »


Salvador Dalí Living still life 1956

 

Poison Spiders at the Center of the Web (Kunstler)
Signs Of A New World Order Are Becoming Increasingly Obvious (Bordachev)
Fanigate Goes Full Jerry Springer (ZH)
Erdogan Accuses US, UK Of Trying To Turn Red Sea Into ‘Sea Of Blood’ (TASS)
Biden Admin Deployed Air Force Team To Israel To Assist With Targets (IC)
UK Pledges Largest Military Aid Package To Ukraine Yet (RT)
British Troops In Ukraine Would Be ‘Declaration Of War’ – Medvedev (RT)
Zelensky Plays ‘Pensioners Will Die’ Card In Bid To Unlock US Aid (RT)
Ukrainians Dying Trying To Escape The Country – The Times (RT)
Russian Books A ‘Huge Threat’ To Ukraine – Official (RT)
Bill to Seize Russian Assets Bound to Deepen De-Dollarization (Sp.)
Polish President Revolts Against New Government (RT)
Migrant Crisis Motive Revealed (Martin Armstrong)
Hunter Cracks, Will Sit For Closed-Door Deposition After All (ZH)
WEF Declares “Disinformation” to be the World’s Greatest Threat (Turley)
No, Democracy is Not on The Ballot in 2024 (Turley)

 

 

“Gonzalo Lira, Sr. says his son has died at 55 in a Ukrainian prison, where he was being held for the crime of criticizing the Zelensky and Biden governments. Gonzalo Lira was an American citizen, but the Biden administration clearly supported his imprisonment and torture. Several weeks ago we spoke to his father, who predicted his son would be killed.”
— Tucker Carlson

 

 

 

Senior living
https://twitter.com/i/status/1745671535036436852

Elon
https://twitter.com/i/status/1745612800884359413

 

 

Alina Habba

 

 

Ben Carson

 

 

Trump WWIII
https://twitter.com/i/status/1745761557387030975

 

 

Final battle

 

 


We aim to please

 

 


The Year of the Dragon promises action.

 

 

 

 

“Mary McCord is the best friend you never knew you didn’t have.”

Poison Spiders at the Center of the Web (Kunstler)

Okay, I’ll tell you the actual reason that Ray Epps got the VIP powder puff treatment: It was to give half of America a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. . . the old double-barreled middle finger. . . a thunderous fuck you, with the subtext: we can do anything we want to you and you can’t do anything about it. . . and we can rub your faces in it, too, ho ho. . . and then empty a bed pan over your head in case you’re not feeling sufficiently impotent and humiliated. And the purpose of all that is their hope to foment some act of genuine violent resistance against the blob to justify further lawless persecution of the blob’s enemies. They’re really hoping to set off a civil war to justify martial law in order to ensure a free and fair election.

The judge in the Ray Epps case is. . . wait for it. . . the fabulous judicial utility infielder, James Boasberg, now Chief Judge of the DC Federal District Court, a big cheese. Yes, the same rascal who sat on the FISA Court during the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” shenanigans, when they fed all manner of fake documents to that court to enable the FBI to conduct warrantless surveillance on Donald Trump’s campaign, and then afterwards on his presidency. It was Judge Boasberg who let FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith off the hook with probation when he was charged with doctoring an email to conceal the fact that FBI target Carter Page had been an active CIA informer in Russia over the years, not just some schlub swanning around the fringe of the Trump Campaign. Getting a FISA warrant on Carter Page was tremendously advantageous to the FBI, because it enabled them to use the “three-hop rule,” meaning they could also surveil anyone else in the Trump retinue who Mr. Page had communicated with by phone or email.

The disposition of Ray Epps’s case also means there will be no further official inquiries into his behavior that fateful day 1/6/21. The principle of double jeopardy means he can’t be tried for the same thing twice. There will be no further inquiries into what he did that day and on J-6 itself when he appeared at the barricades on the Capitol grounds, apparently goading protesters to bust through them. It’s a dead letter. Chalk up a “W” for the blob. But now, chalk up an “L” for the blob: Fani Willis., the Fulton County (GA) District Attorney, has been caught funneling more than half a million dollars to her love bunny, attorney Nathan Wade, after appointing him “special counsel” in the gigantic RICO case against Donald Trump and eighteen other defendants. Poor optics, as they say, and maybe a good deal more than that — such as prosecutorial misconduct. The fact that the lovestruck pair took Caribbean cruises together with that money may only be a minor part of the story. More will come out when Fani Willis answers the summons she has been served to give a deposition at the request of Joycelyn Wade’s lawyers in the Wades’ ongoing divorce proceeding.

More to the point, both Fani Willis and Nathan Wade (in her service) spent time consulting with lawyers at the White House before they filed charges against Mr. Trump. Mr. Wade was there on May 23 and November 19, 2022, talking to Joe Biden’s White House counsel for sixteen hours. Ms. Willis is shown by White House visitor logs to have been present for five hours a few months later, on February 18, 2023, a week after recommending charges to a Fulton County grand jury. The log states that she spent those five hours with veep Kamala Harris. I doubt that is who she came to visit. My guess is that Ms. Willis spent those hours being coached by Deputy US Attorney General Lisa Monaco, possibly joined by Mary McCord, a former head of the DOJ’s National Security division during the “Crossfire Hurricane” years, then “outside counsel” to the first House impeachment committee, then counsel to the House J-6 committee.

It was Ms. McCord, in Trump Impeachment # 1, who arranged for then DOJ Inspector General Michael Atkinson to change the whistleblower rules, allowing for hearsay evidence, which gave a green light to NSA mole Eric Ciaramella to report on the infamous Ukraine phone call that he had not personally witnessed (but was fed a story on by Col. Alexander Vindman.) Nice work there. In other words, these two gals, Lisa Monaco and Mary McCord, are the poison spiders in the DOJ web of veteran seditionists.

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“>.They did not aim to destroy the US-led world order, and have not yet come up with such an ambitious program..”

Signs Of A New World Order Are Becoming Increasingly Obvious (Bordachev)

The BRICS group emerged at a time when the dominance of the US and its closest European allies in world affairs was almost complete, when they could act as the main distributors of global benefits and, most importantly, when this situation was to some extent acceptable to other states. This is another phenomenon of the international order to which we are now saying goodbye, and of the way in which it is happening. Never before has the injustice shown to the interests of the majority of the world’s countries been so effectively offset by the benefits that have accrued to virtually everyone from globalization. One might even say that the state of affairs known to us as the liberal world order was, in its nature and content, a transitional phase between the absolute tyranny of the European empires of the 19th century and the new international order that is only now emerging.

And it is coming to pass precisely as a response to the inevitable process of the emergence of a multitude of sovereign states. The countries that formed BRICS in 2006 originally set out to increase their influence in world affairs and to shape global development in their own interests. They did not aim to destroy the US-led world order, and have not yet come up with such an ambitious program. The main feature of this association – the sovereign equality of its participants – initially distinguished it from the existing formal and informal coalitions of the West, which are centered on the unquestioned power of the US over the main actions of its allies in the sphere of foreign policy and security. Due to its composition, the BRICS group won’t be able to establish such a type of relations among its participants.

However, as the crisis of the liberal world order deepened, the influence and role of the BRICS group in world affairs gradually increased. First of all, the political significance of the group grew – precisely as a way of signaling an alternative to the Western approach to solving the problems of global development and the broader international agenda. At the same time, the countries of the group still do not formulate strategies that could be seen as a direct challenge to the West or that reflect a vision of an ‘ideal’ world order comparable in clarity to that of the West. This is an inevitable consequence of the lack of hegemony of a single power in the group, which does not prevent the emergence of common interests, but deprives it of the possibility of setting goals and objectives, the fulfillment of which requires the submission of all to the same leadership.

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“Wade’s wife has alleged in divorce documents that he failed to disclose over $700,000 in earnings from the county, and has continued to draw from her bank account..”

Fanigate Goes Full Jerry Springer (ZH)

Update (1523ET): House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) has launched an investigation into Nathan Wade, the special prosecutor in the Trump-Georgia case who has been accused of making more than $650,000 off the case – during which he and Willis took lavish vacations together. “According to a recent court filing, you have been paid more than $650,000—at the rate of $250 per hour—to serve as an ‘Attorney Consultant’ and later a ‘Special Assistant District Attorney’ in the unprecedented investigation and prosecution of the former President and other former federal officials,” wrote Jordan in a Friday letter reported by Just the News.

“This filing also alleges that while receiving a substantial amount of money from Fulton County, you spent extravagantly on lavish vacations with your boss, Ms. Willis.” “The Committee has information that the FCDAO [Fulton County District Attorney’s Office] received approximately $14.6 million in grant funds from the Department of Justice between 2020 and 2023 and, given the enormous legal fees you have billed to the FCDAO, there are open questions about whether federal funds were used by the FCDAO to finance your prosecution,” the letter continues. Wade has until January 26th to reply with documents related to the case.

[..] Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis – who has charged Donald Trump and 18 co-defendants with trying to change the outcome of the 2020 US election in Georgia – has become the main attraction in a major prong of the left’s 2024 election lawfare operation. On Tuesday we noted that Willis had hired Nathan Wade (without proper approval), a private attorney in the midst of a divorce who “has little to no experience trying felony cases, much less complex RICO actions,” according to the 127-page filing. Wade ended up pocketing nearly $700,000 from Fulton county taxpayers – with which he allegedly took Willis on lavish vacations.

Now, Wade’s wife has alleged in divorce documents that he failed to disclose over $700,000 in earnings from the county, and has continued to draw from her bank account, leaving it “routinely overdrawn” despite “the clear inequity in financial circumstances,” the Daily Caller reports. Wade filed to divorce his stay-at-home wife of 20 years on November 2nd, 2021, the day after Fani hired him as a Special Prosecutor in the Trump case. He had his divorce sealed on February 10th, 2022, according to the 127-page filing by Trump co-defendant Michael Roman.

Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene sent a criminal referral Wednesday to Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr asking for an investigation into Willis and expressing “serious concerns” about the allegations. Greene suggested Willis could have violated a number of Georgia statutes, including violations of public oath, bribery, improper influence of a government official and more. The Monday motion did not cite hard evidence that Willis and Wade were romantically involved but referenced “sources close to both the special prosecutor and the district attorney” who confirmed their ongoing relationship. -Daily Caller. Oh, and let’s not forget – Wade billed taxpayers $2,000 to talk to the Biden White House about prosecuting Biden’s political opponent.

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“..the US and UK have so far delivered 73 strikes on Yemen..”

Erdogan Accuses US, UK Of Trying To Turn Red Sea Into ‘Sea Of Blood’ (TASS)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the United States and Great Britain for a disproportionate use of force in their attacks on the Ansar Allah (Houthi) rebel movement in Yemen and for trying to turn the Red Sea into “a sea of blood.” “They used force disproportionately and they are trying to turn the Red Sea into a sea of blood. Israel is doing the same in Palestine,” the Turkish leader told reporters. “We are currently getting news through numerous channels. And through various channels we learn that the Houthis are mounting a successful response,” he added.

Sa’ada

Last night, the armed forces of the United States and the United Kingdom delivered air strikes on positions held by the Ansar Allah (Houthi) rebel movement in several Yemeni cities, using aircraft, warships and submarines. US President Joe Biden said the military action was ordered in response to “unprecedented Houthi attacks” on shipping in the Red Sea and that the strikes, targeting Houthi munitions depots, launching systems, production facilities, and air defense radar systems, were delivered in self-defense. The Yemeni capital Sanaa, as well as four provinces — Hodeidah, Taiz, Hajjah and Saada — were hit as the US and UK have so far delivered 73 strikes on Yemen, killing five Houthi fighters and leaving six others injured, the Houthi military spokesman, Yahya Saria, said.

After the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Gaza Strip, the Houthis warned that they would launch strikes on Israeli territory while barring ships associated with the Jewish state from passing through the waters of the Red Sea and the Bab el-Mandeb Strait until Tel Aviv ceased its military operation against Palestinian radical group Hamas in the embattled enclave. According to estimates by the US Defense Department’s Central Command (CENTCOM), the Yemeni rebel group has attacked more than 20 vessels and civilian ships in the Red Sea since mid-November.

Martyanov
https://twitter.com/i/status/1745777677548871714

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“U.S. Gen. Pat Ryder insisted that the special operations forces deployed to Israel to advise on hostage rescue were “not participating in [Israel Defense Forces] target development.”

Biden Admin Deployed Air Force Team To Israel To Assist With Targets (IC)

Targeting Intelligence — The information used to conduct airstrikes and fire long-range artillery weapons — has played a central role in Israel’s siege of Gaza. A document obtained through the Freedom of Information Act suggests that the U.S. Air Force sent officers specializing in this exact form of intelligence to Israel in late November. Since the start of Israel’s bombardment in retaliation for Hamas’s strike on October 7, Israel has dropped more than 29,000 bombs on the tiny Gaza Strip, according to a U.S. intelligence report last month. And for the first time in U.S. history, the Biden administration has been flying surveillance drone missions over Gaza since at least early November, ostensibly for hostage recovery by special forces.

At the time the drones were revealed, U.S. Gen. Pat Ryder insisted that the special operations forces deployed to Israel to advise on hostage rescue were “not participating in [Israel Defense Forces] target development.” “I’ve directed my team to share intelligence and deploy additional experts from across the United States government to consult with and advise the Israeli counterparts on hostage recovery efforts,” said President Joe Biden three days after the Hamas attack. But several weeks later, on November 21, the U.S. Air Force issued deployment guidelines for officers, including intelligence engagement officers, headed to Israel. Experts say that a team of targeting officers like this would be used to provide satellite intelligence to the Israelis for the purpose of offensive targeting.

“They’re probably targeting people, targeting officers,” Lawrence Cline, who served as an intelligence engagement officer in Iraq before retirement, told The Intercept. Targeting intelligence refers to the identification and characterization of enemy activities including missile and artillery launches, location of leadership and command and control centers, and key facilities. “What I can see is we’ve got a lot of global assets in terms of satellites and the like and the Israelis have a lot in terms of more localized radar coverage.” The deployment guidelines were issued by the Pentagon’s Air Force component command for the Middle East, Air Forces Central, on November 21. The document provides deployment instructions to air personnel sent to the country, including an “Air Defense Liaison Team” as well as “airmen assigned as the Intelligence Engagement Officer (IEO).”

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Taking over from the US. On the very day Ukraine murders an American citizen.

UK Pledges Largest Military Aid Package To Ukraine Yet (RT)

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak confirmed during a visit to Kiev on Friday that his government is to supply Ukraine with £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) in military assistance over the next financial year. It is to be the UK’s most significant annual aid commitment since the start of Russia’s offensive in February 2022. The aid package, which will begin in the next financial year in April, was confirmed in a statement by Downing Street earlier on Friday and comes amid rising concerns in Kiev about dwindling support from its backers in Washington and Brussels. Political in-fighting on either side of the Atlantic has threatened to legislatively curtail the torrent of Western financial assistance that has aided Ukraine in the conflict as dissent grows among some European and American lawmakers over failed efforts on the battlefield.

“I am here today with one message,” Sunak said in an address from the Ukrainian capital. “The UK will not falter. We will stand with Ukraine in their darkest hours and in the better times to come.” He added in a post to social media after arriving in Kiev: “To all Ukrainians, Britain is with you – for as long as it takes.” Downing Street said that the aid package is the first step in what it called a “totemic” security agreement with Ukraine, which it said will develop into an “unshakeable hundred-year partnership” between both countries. The bilateral accord detailed by Sunak’s government – the UK-Ukraine Agreement on Security Cooperation – includes a range of measures on UK security guarantees for Ukraine. The agreement also formalizes Britain’s “swift and sustained” defensive assistance for Ukraine “in the event that it is ever attacked by Russia again.”

“We recognize that their security is our security,” Sunak said. The aid package confirmed by London on Friday is about £200 million ($254 million) larger than those that came over the previous two years and will supply Ukraine with long-range missiles, air defense, and artillery ammunition. About £200 million of the military aid will be spent on drones – the largest such contribution of state-of-the-art military drone hardware since the onset of hostilities nearly two years ago. It also includes £18 million ($23 million) in humanitarian aid, as well as assistance to Ukraine’s energy infrastructure and funding for online English language training. The UK’s updated aid provision to Kiev will likely return the focus to legislators in Europe and the United States, where Congress has declined to advance a $50 billion (£39 billion) security package. The White House said on Thursday that its support for Ukraine has “ground to a halt” as a result.

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“.. the UK has been and will continue to provide for Ukraine’s security, including intelligence sharing, cyber security, medical and military training, and defense industrial cooperation..”

British Troops In Ukraine Would Be ‘Declaration Of War’ – Medvedev (RT)

Moscow would consider the open deployment of British troops to Ukraine as a “declaration of war,” former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned. He was responding to a visit to Kiev on Friday by UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is set to sign a security agreement with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. Sunak’s arrival in the Ukrainian capital is meant to “set out a major new package of support and reaffirm the close UK-Ukraine partnership,” his office said in a statement. The security document is a follow-up to agreements reached by G7 and NATO members last year, it noted. The statement did not mention any plans for a British military deployment in Ukraine.

“[The deal] formalizes a range of support the UK has been and will continue to provide for Ukraine’s security, including intelligence sharing, cyber security, medical and military training, and defense industrial cooperation,” Downing Street said. Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chair of the Russian Security Council, issued his warning in a social media post. The British government has pledged £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) in military aid to Ukraine over the next two years, including in the form of thousands of military drones, which London said will be the largest of their kind ever received by Kiev. Most of the UAVs will be made in the UK, the announcement added.

The UK has been a key supporter of Kiev’s war effort against Russia. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson reportedly played a significant role in derailing a nascent truce that Kiev and Moscow had negotiated in the early months of the hostilities in 2022, although he has denied ordering the Ukrainian government to keep fighting. Moscow has on several occasions accused the UK of helping Ukraine organize attacks against Russia, particularly in the Black Sea. The Russian Defense Ministry has claimed that British military personnel already have a presence in Ukraine.

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“..When DeSantis is older “and we have won this war, I will personally send financial aid to him as a gesture of gratitude for the US helping our pensioners..”

Zelensky Plays ‘Pensioners Will Die’ Card In Bid To Unlock US Aid (RT)

Ukrainian pensioners will die without social benefits financed by Western aid, President Vladimir Zelensky told journalists in Latvia on Thursday. The leader lashed out at US politicians who oppose continued assistance to Kiev, taking particular aim at Republican presidential hopeful Ron DeSantis. Zelensky addressed his government’s budget shortages, which he expects Western backers to cover, when asked how interruptions in aid deliveries could affect Ukraine. Kiev is obliged to pay pensions to around 11 million people, the president noted. “I am not exerting moral pressure here. But we simply must pay them. It’s impossible not to do that, because the elderly people will die [without government assistance],” Zelensky warned.

He claimed that the Ukrainian government covers much of its expenses with its own money, but that it also relies on Western funding. Money spent on pensions means less funding for weapons to fight Russia, Zelensky explained, suggesting that this means sacrificing the lives of troops in favor of the elderly. He was also asked about opposition to continued Ukraine aid among Republican politicians in the US. At a debate on Wednesday, Florida governor DeSantis, who is seeking the GOP nomination in this year’s presidential election, clashed with rival Nikki Haley on the issue of assistance to Kiev. While Haley, a former US ambassador to the UN, backs continued aid, DeSantis criticized the administration of President Joe Biden for providing “tens of billions of dollars” to pay pensions and “salaries for Ukrainian government bureaucrats.”

Zelensky claimed that DeSantis, who like the Ukrainian president is aged 45, is “still a young man” and does not fully understand the importance of paying pensions in a nation locked in a conflict. When DeSantis is older “and we have won this war, I will personally send financial aid to him as a gesture of gratitude for the US helping our pensioners,” Zelensky vowed. Republicans in the US Congress have blocked a White House request to appropriate over $60 billion in additional aid for Ukraine, demanding concessions on immigration policy and a clear plan on how Kiev could beat Russia.

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“..tens, hundreds of thousands of people” may have evaded military enlistment.”

Ukrainians Dying Trying To Escape The Country – The Times (RT)

More than 20 Ukrainians have died while trying to escape the country since the start of the conflict with Russia, The Times newspaper reported on Thursday, citing a Ukrainian border guard. The deaths were registered by a single guard unit, responsible for a 320km stretch of the border with Romania and Hungary. The unit is based in the western Ukrainian city of Mukachevo, which has become a popular destination for people trying to flee, given its proximity to four neighboring states – Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania. Since the outbreak of the hostilities in February 2022, the Mukachevo border guard unit has found 19 bodies in the River Tisza – of people believed to have drowned during botched attempts to cross into Romania. A further five were found frozen to death in the woods.

More Ukrainians are expected to flee the country given the government’s plan to mobilize an additional 500,000 to bolster its military ranks, the newspaper noted. A new mobilization bill was introduced in parliament late last year, seeking to lower the draft age from 27 to 25, and drop exemptions for some categories of disabled people, along with other measures. So far, parliament has failed to pass it into law, with the legislation shelved by MPs for amendments. Over the past year alone, nearly 11,000 military-eligible men have been caught at the border while trying to leave, Ukrainian border guard spokesman Andrey Demchenko said in late December. The total number caught on the frontier since the start of the conflict has surpassed 17,000.

The number of men prosecuted for evading the draft, however, remains relatively low. Ukraine has more than 9,000 active criminal proceedings against such individuals, with some 2,600 having made it to court, Interior Minister Igor Klimenko revealed last week. Deputy Defense Minister Natalya Kalmykova stated in October 2023 that “tens, hundreds of thousands of people” may have evaded military enlistment.

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“..Moscow claims that such laws violate the rights of Russian-speaking people, who make up around half of Ukraine’s population..”

Russian Books A ‘Huge Threat’ To Ukraine – Official (RT)

The illegal import of Russian literature poses a threat to Ukraine, the country’s language ombudsman claimed a post on his official Facebook page on Friday. While stressing the importance of promoting the Ukrainian language, Taras Kremen expressed regret at the lack of state-owned publishers and printers, which means the government has no control over book production. Kremen also argued that the “smuggling of Russian-language imports, including banned literature, is a huge threat to the national interest of Ukraine.” He stressed that although the market is not large, the government should do everything within its power to prevent it from growing. “The sooner we block this, the stronger our standing will be both domestically and internationally,” the ombudsman said.

He criticized Ukraine’s Ministry of Culture for “not having the opportunity or the time” to approve a state program to support the national language, which would include book printing – calling it an important source of revenue. In recent years, Kiev has adopted a number of laws making the use of the Ukrainian language obligatory in almost all spheres of public life, including in government, medicine, science, education and the media. Failure to comply with the laws can result in fines. Following the launch of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine in 2022, Kiev doubled down on its de-Russification campaign, with top officials calling for the complete removal of the Russian language nationwide, “as an element of hostile propaganda and brainwashing of the population.”

Lawmakers have since imposed complete bans on Russian-language works of art, performances, films, songs, and books, and have also outlawed the study of Russian in schools and universities. Kiev has banned the sale and distribution of all Russian-language books inside the country, along with the import of any literature printed in Russia and Belarus, with the exception of those that were written by former Russian and Belarusian citizens before 1991, subject to special government approval. Moscow claims that such laws violate the rights of Russian-speaking people, who make up around half of Ukraine’s population.

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“..the West seems to be escalating its financial warfare. “This suggests a deeper motive than just pressuring Russia..”

Bill to Seize Russian Assets Bound to Deepen De-Dollarization (Sp.)

The White House has indicated its “in principle” support for a bill that would potentially allow the US government to seize around $300 billion in frozen Russian assets and redirect them to Ukraine. While this measure seeks to penalize Russia, it brings up significant concerns surrounding the integrity and reliability of the US financial system. Critics are cautioning that these actions have the potential to erode global trust in the greenback. Consequently, international partners may reconsider their reliance on the dollar, driven by fears of possible future US sanctions.The declaration made by the Biden administration, expressing its support for legislation that permits the seizure of Russian assets, has triggered widespread tremors across the global financial sphere. While the motive behind this is to support Ukraine during the ongoing conflict, this move is teeming with serious risks.

Tom Luongo, financial and geopolitical analyst, sheds light on the potential ramifications of this decision. According to Luongo, the act of seizing Russian foreign exchange reserves already cast a shadow of doubt over the principles guiding global trade. “It was a clear statement by the West, signifying a deliberate rift between East and West, not a mere reaction,” Luongo explains. The analyst emphasizes that this isn’t just a US issue but a broader Western phenomenon. “The European Union, particularly, is at the forefront of this approach,” he adds. Luongo also points out that, nearly two years after the initial sanctions, which Russia has largely withstood, the West seems to be escalating its financial warfare. “This suggests a deeper motive than just pressuring Russia,” he observes.

Luongo, in his discussion of the precedent set by this situation, raises concerns about the message it sends to the world: if you defy the West, your assets might be in danger. As a result, there has been a movement away from Western banking systems, known as ‘de-dollarization.’ Furthermore, Luongo highlights the substantial decrease in the euro’s role in global trade in recent years. “The Biden administration’s actions are counterproductive to US interests,” Luongo asserts, suggesting that these moves align more with the interests of globalist entities, which he refers to as ‘Davos.’ As for why this issue has surfaced now, Luongo believes it aligns with broader strategic goals, including distancing the US from both Russia and Europe. He sees the bill as a potential catalyst for a shift in global financial dynamics, ultimately undermining the US banking system and changing the landscape of global trade.

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“..he has reportedly decided to use “total obstruction” against Tusk’s government, vowing not to approve a single bill proposed by the ruling coalition..”

Polish President Revolts Against New Government (RT)

Polish President Andrzej Duda is reportedly planning to launch an all-out offensive against the country’s new pro-EU government led by recently elected Prime Minister Donald Tusk, following the arrest of two former Law and Justice MPs. According to the Polish news outlet Onet, Duda intends to send formal letters regarding Tusk’s alleged violation of the law and constitution to the heads of all EU countries, US President Joe Biden, the European Commission, the European Parliament, the United Nations, and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission for Democracy through Law. While Duda has so far excluded pursuing the “nuclear option” of shortening the term of parliament and calling for early elections, he has reportedly decided to use “total obstruction” against Tusk’s government, vowing not to approve a single bill proposed by the ruling coalition, Onet reported citing anonymous sources.

Duda’s accusations stem from the recent arrest of former Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski and his deputy, Maciej Wonsik, both of whom were detained at the Presidential Palace on Tuesday despite having received a pardon back in 2015. Tusk’s new government has insisted that Duda did not have the right to grant amnesty to the two Law and Justice (PiS) MPs, who were being tried for abuse of power, and reopened the case against them. In December, that case was concluded when a court sentenced both men to two years behind bars. An order for their arrest was issued on Monday, triggering a standoff at the Presidential Palace, after which the two were arrested. Both have since announced they have begun a hunger strike in protest at their arrest.

Duda and other PiS members have strongly condemned the arrest of the two former officials, with party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski describing them as the country’s “first political prisoners since 1989.” The PiS has demanded the immediate release of the lawmakers, stating that their detention is a constitutional violation. Meanwhile, Kaminski himself has described his arrest as “political revenge” for his work in fighting corruption and has announced a hunger strike.

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“..Soon, they will be provided with the right to vote, and certainly, they will vote for the people who are enabling their new lives..”

Migrant Crisis Motive Revealed (Martin Armstrong)

Democratic Rep. Yvette Clarke is running for re-election this year in New York’s 9th District to FINISH THE JOB of utterly destroying New York. To achieve her goal of ruining a once great city, Clarke is demanding MORE illegal migrants. Clarke actually admitted that the Democrats need more migrants to overrun their cities and states for “redistricting purposes.” “I’m from Brooklyn, New York. We have a diaspora that can absorb a significant number of these migrants,” said Clarke, who has served on the House Committee on Homeland Security. “When I hear colleagues talk about, you know, the doors of the inn being closed — ah, no room at the inn — I’m saying I need more people in my district just for redistricting purposes.” Now, redrawing districts is a common tactic used by the right and left. However, dismantling the Constitution to allow non-citizens to enter the country and vote is not.

Did Clarke actually admit that the invasion of America under Joe Biden was a deliberate ploy for votes? Republican New York City councilwoman explained the situation in further detail. “Congressional seats are allocated by population. Higher population states get more congressional seats, and therefore more political power in Washington. “Blue states have been LOSING seats as people flee progressive policies,” continued Paladino. “We’re set to possibly lose THREE seats by 2030 in NY. These allocations are determined by census-calculated raw population, including illegals. See how it works?” Clarke is from Brooklyn, where children were just expelled from school to make room for illegal migrants. Clarke was responsible for passing the Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) legislation that provided 2.5 million illegal migrants, or dreamers, temporary residence in America and an easy path to citizenship.

The ploy to infiltrate America with illegal migrants began years ago. At first, they said those wishing to come here were simply “dreamers” looking for a better life, similar to most of our ancestors. However, they were not following the typical protocol to enter the country. Then left politicians told migrants that they were WELCOME in their cities and could declare sanctuary there. Naturally, countless people fled their socialistic hell holes for America, where the government then decided they were not going to issue work permits but force them to become dependent on government aid. Soon, they will be provided with the right to vote, and certainly, they will vote for the people who are enabling their new lives.

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“If you issue a new proper subpoena, now that there is a duly authorized impeachment inquiry, Mr. Biden will comply for a hearing or deposition..”

Hunter Cracks, Will Sit For Closed-Door Deposition After All (ZH)

Hunter Biden has reversed course, and will sit for a closed-door deposition with House GOP lawmakers. In a Friday letter to the House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, defense attorney Abbe Lowell said that Hunter would comply with a new subpoena to sit for a deposition, the Daily Caller reports. “Consequently, the November 8 and 9, 2023, deposition subpoenas to Mr. Biden and the contempt resolutions approved by your committees on January 10, 2024, based on those subpoenas were and are legally invalid. You have not explained why you are not interested in transparency and having the American people witness the full and complete testimony of Mr. Biden at a public hearing,” reads the letter.

“If you issue a new proper subpoena, now that there is a duly authorized impeachment inquiry, Mr. Biden will comply for a hearing or deposition. We will accept such a subpoena on Mr. Biden’s behalf.” On Friday, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise announced that the chamber will a floor vote to hold Hunter in contempt for dodging subpoenas to appear for a closed-door deposition on Dec. 13. Lowell previously offered to have Hunter testify publicly, suggesting that a closed-door session would result in biased leaks against his client (and of course, would limit the questions lawmakers can ask in regards to national security).

Hunter Biden made a surprise appearance Wednesday at the House Oversight Committee’s markup hearing on a resolution and accompanying report to hold him in contempt. He sat in the crowd with Lowell and his financier, Hollywood attorney Kevin Morris, for a few minutes before dashing out when Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene began her line of questioning. After he stormed the hearing, Hunter Biden flew back to Los Angeles, California, where he pleaded not guilty Thursday to nine federal tax related charges at an arraignment. He faces up to 17 years in prison for the tax charges. -Daily Caller

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“..we are now facing alarming drops in testing scores and alarming rises in medical illness among the young..”

WEF Declares “Disinformation” to be the World’s Greatest Threat (Turley)

The World Economic Forum has surveyed the world’s experts and issued its 2024 “Global Risks Report.” The international elite of experts have declared that the number one threat to humanity is not terrorism or pandemic or even climate change (which is second), but “misinformation and disinformation.” Of course, that means that the only hope for humanity is censorship and speech controls. The report shows just how engrained this anti-free speech movement has become among the world elite from media to business to politics. The absurd finding is consistent with the warning of other international figures and groups. We previously discussed how WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has supported censorship to combat what he calls the “infodemic.”

So “1,490 experts across academia, business, government, the international community and civil society” looked at all of the world’s military, economic, and environmental threats and concluded that the greatest threat to humanity is too much free speech. A “global risk” is defined as “the possibility of the occurrence of an event or condition which, if it occurs, would negatively impact a significant proportion of global GDP, population or natural resources.” We have seen how during the Covid crisis “experts” supported censorship and blacklisting when their views were challenged by colleagues and the public. Earlier positions treated as gospel in the press have been discredited. For example, a recent scientific review by 12 researchers from leading universities found little support for the claims that masks reduced Covid exposures.

The Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) initially rejected the use of a mask mandate. However, the issue became a political weapon as politicians and the press claimed that questioning masks was anti-science and even unhinged. In April 2020, the CDC reversed its position and called for the masking of the entire population, including children as young as 2 years old. The mask mandate and other pandemic measures like the closing of schools are now cited as fueling emotional and developmental problems in children. The closing of schools and businesses was also challenged by some critics as unnecessary. Many of those critics were also censored. It now appears that they may have been right. Many countries did not close schools and did not experience increases in Covid. However, we are now facing alarming drops in testing scores and alarming rises in medical illness among the young. Masks became a major social and political dividing line in politics and the media. Maskless people were chased from stores and denounced in Congress. Then-CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield said during a Senate hearing that “face masks are the most important powerful health tool we have.”

For years, scientists faced censorship for even raising the lab theory as a possible explanation for the virus. Their reputations and careers were shredded by a media flash mob. The Washington Post declared this a “debunked” coronavirus “conspiracy theory.” The New York Times’ Science and Health reporter Apoorva Mandavilli was calling any mention of the lab theory “racist.” When a Chinese researcher told Fox News that this was man-made, the network was attacked and the left-leaning PolitiFact slammed her with a “pants on fire rating.” The extensive censorship and blacklisting that has occurred over the last four years protected such experts from scrutiny and criticism. Many of those same experts are now listing what they deem disinformation to be the world’s greatest threat. The question is whether the public can be, again, spooked into surrendering this core human right by world elite.

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“..Democratic leaders in Florida, North Carolina and other states are refusing to allow other candidates to run against Biden in the primary..”

No, Democracy is Not on The Ballot in 2024 (Turley)

“It may well be the last real vote you ever get to cast.” Those words from former Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., capture the mantra of this election season from politicians and pundits. It is narrative that preys on the fear of Americans that our constitutional system is on the verge of collapse. Yet, it is untrue and ironically shows the lack of faith in our democratic systems that many of these figures ascribe to others. If one briefly surfs cable news, you would think that this election is the only thing that stands between democracy and tyranny. On MSNBC, hosts like Joe Scarborough have repeatedly told viewers that former President Donald Trump will “throw away” democracy if elected. President Joe Biden himself has taken up this claim. In his speech Friday near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Biden insisted that “democracy itself is on the ballot” and said that this election would determine if democracy can survive in the United States.

This campaign tactic holds obvious advantages for a candidate who has the lowest polling numbers of the past seven presidents at the same point in their first term in office. Biden and others are calling for citizens to vote not for Biden, but for democracy itself. The pitch would be more compelling if Democratic activists were not trying to remove Trump from 2024 ballots and Democratic leaders in Florida, North Carolina and other states are refusing to allow other candidates to run against Biden in the primary. In those states, the primary ballots themselves might not be very democratic. Trump helps to fuel such dire predictions with his reckless rhetoric. After the Supreme Court accepted review of his disqualification from the ballot in Colorado, he said at an Iowa rally, “I just hope we get fair treatment. Because if we don’t, our country’s in big, big trouble. Does everybody understand what I’m saying?”

The answer is that it depends on whom you ask. For Democrats, the comment seemed to threaten more violence like the kind we witnessed during the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, especially given Trump’s pledge to pardon rioters. For Republicans, it was a frank acknowledgement of the deepening anger and divisions in the country. Those divisions are manifest in a new Gallup poll showing that only 28% of U.S. adults are satisfied with the way democracy is working in the country. It’s down from 61% in 1984. Only 17% of Republicans and 38% of Democrats are satisfied with our current state of democracy.

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Yeadon

 

 


A waterspout, a type of tornado that occurs over water. Taken near Tampa Bay, Florida. -Joey Mole

 

 

Mommy baby
https://twitter.com/i/status/1745848346860834961

 

 


The San Francisco Garter Snake has been on the endangered list since 1967, and has been labeled the most beautiful snake in the U.S. Researchers estimate only 1-2 thousand remain

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 302023
 
 December 30, 2023  Posted by at 9:20 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  38 Responses »


Edward Hopper Two on the Aisle 1927

 

Putin ‘Tried Everything Possible’ To Make Peace – Ukrainian Diplomat (RT)
Is Talk of Peace in Ukraine a Washington ‘Deception’? (Sp.)
Beginning of the End of Ukraine Conflict Chance for Diplomacy, Negotiation (Sp.)
Ukraine ‘Thinks Like a Warmonger’ – Russian Foreign Ministry (Sp.)
EU States Knowingly ‘De-Industrializing’ – Gazprom (RT)
Russia Warns West On ‘Boomerang Effect’ Of Confiscating Assets (RT)
The Middle East on Fire (Sonja van den Ende)
US Allies Get Cold Feet on Red Sea Armada and Who Could Blame Them? (SCF)
Yemen Is Blocking US Hegemony In West Asia (Cradle)
Is Colorado Counting on a Mootness Escape Clause? (Turley)
Democrats Facing Election Wipeout Resort to Desperate Actions (PCR)
Judge Dismisses Attempt By Virginia Activists To Keep Trump Off Ballot (JTN)
Bud Light Sales Still Down 28% as Consumers Continue Boycott (Turley)
Do You Dare Even Look? – Forecast 2024 (Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

 

 


Since August, there are officially more ILLEGAL MIGRANTS arriving each month than there are children being born to American mothers. And these are just the official encounters — we don’t know how many avoided detection.

 

 

Palestine UN

 

 

DC Draino:
This is insane corruption
FTX snowplowed millions of dollars into Democrat campaign accounts
DOJ separated campaign finance charges from his fraud trial
Now after being convicted for fraud, they’re dropping the 2nd trial for campaign finance crimes
Would’ve implicated too many Dems and RINOs
I know our gov’t is corrupt but sometimes things like this surprise even me

 

 

Grayzone Israel

 

 

Milei

 

 

Tomorrow

 

 

Judge Nap Schaffer

 

 

South Africa has triggered the Genocide Convention and instituted proceedings against #Israel before the ICJ over #Palestine

 

 

 

 

“..Russia’s stated goals of demilitarization and “de-Nazification” of Ukraine would have been addressed under the pre-approved treaty. “Options remain to either achieve them through an agreement or by force,” Putin stressed.

Putin ‘Tried Everything Possible’ To Make Peace – Ukrainian Diplomat (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin personally sought a peace agreement with Ukraine in April 2022, according to Ambassador Aleksandr Chaly, a distinguished member of the Ukrainian delegation. Chaly expressed this perspective during an event at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP) in early December, where he dissected the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The ex-deputy foreign minister is an associate fellow at the Swiss government-funded foundation. His remarks drew media attention after a video of the event was released on YouTube last week. Chaly analyzed the roots of the ongoing conflict, which he described as “hard competition” for Ukraine that the US and the EU have with Russia, as well as Kiev’s intention to join the EU and NATO. He stressed that “Russian aggression” was not inevitable since the parties had sufficient tools to resolve their differences.

The diplomat called Putin’s decision to launch the special military operation against Ukraine in February 2022 “a crime” and “a mistake” and claimed that the Russian leader had been misled by “his own propaganda and his intelligence services.” Approximately a week into hostilities, Chaly believes Putin recognized the unrealistic nature of his expectations and actively pursued a negotiated resolution. He based his analysis on his personal involvement in the peace talks, which were first hosted by Minsk and culminated in Istanbul in late March with a draft truce approved by both sides. “Putin … tried to do everything possible to conclude [the] agreement with Ukraine,” the diplomat told the audience. The text made concessions to Kiev, compared to Russia’s initial position, and it was Putin’s “personal decision” to accept it, he claimed. We’ve managed to find a very real compromise. Putin really wanted to reach some peaceful agreement with Ukraine.

Chaly mused that “for some reason,” the Istanbul communique did not transform into an actual treaty. The Ukrainian delegation’s leader, MP David Arakhamia, said in late November that then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson advised Ukrainians to “just continue fighting” during his visit to Kiev after the conclusion of the talks. Remarks made by senior Russian officials, including Putin, partially back Chaly’s account. The president said during his year-end press conference this month that Russia’s stated goals of demilitarization and “de-Nazification” of Ukraine would have been addressed under the pre-approved treaty. “Options remain to either achieve them through an agreement or by force,” Putin stressed.

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“..a kind of a rolling offensive right now that at some point in my opinion would cause the Ukrainian army to crack and maybe the Ukrainian state to crumble.”

Is Talk of Peace in Ukraine a Washington ‘Deception’? (Sp.)

Analysis has emerged recently suggesting the conflict in Ukraine could be drawing to a close, presenting the opportunity for diplomacy. But former US diplomat Jim Jatras says Russia should be on guard against premature declarations that peace is at hand, warning that talk of negotiations could be a ruse by Washington to buy time for Kiev. The former senior foreign policy adviser to Senate Republicans made the claim Friday on Sputnik’s Political Misfits program. “If I were in the Russians’ shoes, that’s [negotiation] the last thing I would do,” said Jatras. “I would basically go forward with their military advantage and impose a settlement on Ukraine through military diktat.” “I think that these articles [that] are being floated – notably the one in the New York Times that the Russians are desperate for some kind of agreement – are designed… to trick the Russians into a kind of a phony deal like ‘Minsk 2’,” added the analyst.

“Where they get all sorts of promises [and] they forgo their military advantage in order to fall for another deception where they can put Ukraine on hold for a while while the United States and our allies focus on other things like Gaza or the Chinese or something like that.” The so-called Minsk accords were the culmination of internationally-mediated negotiations after Ukraine’s Euromaidan coup in 2014. The agreements were ostensibly designed to resolve tensions between Ukraine and Russia and respond to the demands of separatists in Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region. Although Ukrainian President Voloydymyr Zelensky ran on implementing the accords, he abandoned the effort once elected, under pressure from fascist and nationalist forces in the country.

It was later revealed that former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at the instruction of the United States, urged Ukraine to reject the agreement to increase the chance of military conflict between Ukraine and Russia. Former French President Francois Hollande confirmed the negotiations were merely a stalling tactic to allow Ukraine to strengthen its military, an account which was recently verified by former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. Jatras said recent Western discussion of renewed negotiation may also be insincere. “If you look at the latest posts on X from Dmitri Medvedev, he’s making it pretty clear that they’re not going to fall for that,” said the ex-diplomat. “Does that mean that’s true or not? I don’t know.”

“I think that’s part of what I described earlier as part of a deception,” he added, “part of an attempt by people in Washington to look reasonable, to get Russians engaged in the talks, get them to to slow down what seems to be a kind of a rolling offensive right now that at some point in my opinion would cause the Ukrainian army to crack and maybe the Ukrainian state to crumble.” Host John Kiriakou noted Russia’s missile attack on Ukraine Thursday night, in which the country fired some 120 rockets at Ukrainian cities and also utilized exploding drones. Kiriakou speculated the attack could be designed to allow Russia to negotiate from “a position of strength” in any upcoming peace talks. But Jatras insisted he doesn’t believe Washington is “genuine” about the idea, even as Republicans in Congress say they will not approve another round of military aid to Ukraine.

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“..Finland, in its entire history, never enjoyed greater peace, prosperity, or democracy than during the period of ‘Finlandization’.”

Beginning of the End of Ukraine Conflict Chance for Diplomacy, Negotiation (Sp.)

A wind down of fighting in Ukraine could provide the opportunity for compromise, ‘Finlandization’, and maybe even a role for China, according to investigative journalist Daniel Lazare. Lazare made the claim on the Sputnik’s Political Misfits Thursday in a wide-ranging discussion that also touched on US drug and immigration policy. Host John Kirakou noted that “Republicans have been remarkably unified in their opposition to more military aid to Ukraine, and Democrats have been unsuccessful in tying that aid to aid to Israel.” “Are we seeing the beginning of the end of this conflict?” asked Kiriakou. “I think so,” responded Lazare, noting that Russia has a population some three times as large as Ukraine’s and enjoys a significant advantage in access to resources. “They are just grinding the Ukraine down and without massive outside assistance its fate is really fixed.”

But Lazare blamed the United States for the outbreak of the conflict and warned America could still stand in the way of peace. “The US pushed the Ukraine into an extreme position of rejecting any kind of compromise whatsoever even though a compromise really made sense. Because it’s clear that the population in the eastern Ukraine and the Crimea just have lost faith in the Kiev government, which was taken over by extreme nationalists.” “This seems to me to be a case of just a completely ill thought out policy that sort of just flowed from years of neocon arrogance,” claimed Lazare. US President Barack Obama’s foreign policy circle was dominated by neoconservatives like Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland during Ukraine’s so-called Euromaidan coup in 2014. Western governments cheered on anti-government protests at that time even though polling showed most Ukrainians disagreed with the demands of protesters at Kiev’s Maidan Square.

After neo-Nazi groups forced elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to flee the country, leaked audio emerged of Nuland discussing the United States’ attempts to shape the interim government. Nuland boasted of sending $5 billion to promote so-called “democracy building programs” in Ukraine – code for activity designed to promote US interests in foreign governments. The term “color revolution” has been coined to describe US regime change efforts spurred by the funding of opposition forces, especially in Russia’s sphere of influence. US interference helped “tear the country in two,” according to Lazare, and made “outright war more or less inevitable.” “And now the US is facing the consequences. Or rather Zelensky is facing the consequences while the US kind of walks away,” the analyst stressed. Lazare noted “the US will not find it easy to back off” from its support for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, but he proposed a future wherein peace could be brought to Ukraine if the country agrees to demilitarize.

“What Russia is looking for is ‘Finlandization’,” said Lazare, using the term for Finland’s foreign policy position throughout the Cold War that saw the country adopt a neutral stance towards the Soviet Union. “’Finlandization’ is a dirty word. But bear in mind that Finland, in its entire history, never enjoyed greater peace, prosperity, or democracy than during the period of ‘Finlandization’.” “I actually visited Finland in 1972 during the period of ‘Finlandization’ and it was a glorious society,” said Lazare. “I mean prosperous, egalitarian, socialistic… That was the Russian posture for good reason. It could’ve been worse. I mean, Russia could have demanded the ‘Mexicanization’ of the Ukraine, which would mean inclined to get into poverty and crime. But Russia didn’t do that. And so the deal they offered this border country was really pretty good. It would have been satisfactory [in Ukraine] to a wide range of interests. But the US blocked it.”

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“”Kiev still thinks like a warmonger and intends to continue the conflict ‘until the victorious end,’ which obviously means ‘war to the last Ukrainian..”

Ukraine ‘Thinks Like a Warmonger’ – Russian Foreign Ministry (Sp.)

Moscow sees no political will for peace either in Kiev or in the West, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin told Sputnik. The official reiterated that “a comprehensive, sustainable, and fair settlement of the Ukraine conflict depends to a large extent on the elimination of its root causes.” “The West should stop pumping arms into the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and Kiev should stop fighting and withdraw its troops from Russian territory,” Galuzin stressed. According to the top diplomat, “Ukraine’s neutral, non-aligned, and nuclear-free status should be confirmed and its demilitarization and denazification should be carried out. New territorial realities should be recognized, and the rights of Russian-speaking citizens and national minorities living in this country should be ensured.”

“Unfortunately, today we see no political will for peace either in Kiev or in the West,” the deputy foreign minister said, recalling Zelensky’s decree banning negotiations with Russia “The Kiev regime rejects peace mediation initiatives presented by various countries over the past months,” the official emphasized. Meanwhile, he noted that “the so-called ‘peace formula’ proposed by the Ukrainian president last November and presented by him and his Western partners as almost a final settlement plan in fact has nothing to do with peace, but is a set of ultimatums to Russia justifying the continuation of hostilities.””Kiev still thinks like a warmonger and intends to continue the conflict ‘until the victorious end,’ which obviously means ‘war to the last Ukrainian,'” Galuzin said.

“Washington and its NATO subordinates eagerly support Kiev on this, satisfying the growing military appetites of Volodymyr Zelensky’s regime. All of this only delays the conflict settlement,” he added. The top diplomat stressed that Russia has never refused to negotiate with Ukraine and has always advocated for a political solution to the conflict. “But so far we’ve had no other choice but to carry out the special military operation until the full implementation of all the set goals,” the Russian deputy foreign minister concluded.

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“..the policy of eliminating one of the most environmentally friendly energy sources is forcing “some EU member states to de-industrialize.”

EU States Knowingly ‘De-Industrializing’ – Gazprom (RT)

The EU is intentionally destroying demand for natural gas, Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller stated at a company meeting to discuss the year’s preliminary results. “We are well aware of the situation in Europe, where they have taken an unprecedented step,” the chief executive said. “There, for the first time in history demand for natural gas, a primary energy source, is being artificially destroyed.” He insisted that the policy of eliminating one of the most environmentally friendly energy sources is forcing “some EU member states to de-industrialize.” Global demand for gas, however, is expected to increase by 43% in the next 25 years, Miller noted, adding that the energy giant is ready, as it has been developing cooperation with nations that are interested in reliable energy supplies.

He pointed out that Gazprom has been working with Asia for a long time. “The volume of gas supplies to China in 2023 will be over 22.5 billion cubic meters, exceeding the contractual obligations by 500 million cubic meters,” Miller stated, adding that Gazprom plans to deliver as much as 38 billion cubic meters of natural gas to East Asian nation. Gazprom supplies natural gas under a long-term contract sealed with the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC). The Power of Siberia pipeline is part of a $400 billion, 30-year agreement between Gazprom and the CNPC clinched in 2014. Russia’s gas exports to China are projected to reach 100 billion cubic meters annually, taking into account a transit pipeline through Mongolia. Russian gas exports to the EU have dwindled due to Ukraine-related sanctions and the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipelines last year, previously Russia’s key gas route to the region. However, Gazprom has successfully redirected its energy trade towards Asia, with China emerging as its largest importer.

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“..Moscow has a list of US, European, and other assets that would be seized if the G7 nations decided to confiscate the $300 billion in frozen reserves belonging to the Russian state.”

Russia Warns West On ‘Boomerang Effect’ Of Confiscating Assets (RT)

Russia will retaliate in kind to the potential confiscation of its assets by Western countries, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Friday.Russian authorities have assessed the unpredictability of the opposing side, as well as their tendency to violate international and other laws, Peskov stated, adding that, for now, confiscation of foreign assets in Russia can only be considered in theoretical terms.“When they [Western powers] started piling unprecedented economic sanctions on us, they did not think about the boomerang effect at all, but now it is obvious,” Peskov said, adding that a number of sanctions supporters are now wondering whether they did the right thing. According to the official, Moscow has a list of US, European, and other assets that would be seized if the G7 nations decided to confiscate the $300 billion in frozen reserves belonging to the Russian state.

“Of course, we analyzed possible retaliatory steps in advance. And we will do everything so that they best suit our interests. But in general, no theory can be legal; it can only be pseudo-legal,” Peskov explained. He emphasized that taking any step of the kind by the West would amount to “theft,” violate international law, and undermine reserve currencies, the global financial system, and the world economy. “This is fraught with serious consequences,” the Kremlin spokesman warned, adding that it would undermine other countries’ confidence in the US and the EU as economic guarantors. Earlier this month, the Financial Times reported that Washington had proposed that working groups from the G7 explore ways to confiscate $300 billion in frozen Russian assets on February 24, 2024, the second anniversary of the start of hostilities in Ukraine.

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“..they are silent and again they support the side of murderers and madmen. They never learn and this among others is also part of the downfall of so-called Western civilization.”

The Middle East on Fire (Sonja van den Ende)

A few weeks after the attack of October 7, I was in Lebanon and felt the coming war, but most Lebanese (including Syrians and others) do not want war. I have spent a few hours with Hezbollah and Amal fighters and everyone assured me that it is actually war already and Hassan Nasrallah’s speech in November in front of the Blue Mosque confirmed this. The war in Syria that started in 2011, according to the Western version, a revolution over the dissatisfaction of President Assad’s government. But the real version is of course that it was a coup d’etat by the U.S. and its client states NATO/EU. A proxy war as they call it. The West supported Islamic radical groups such as Al-Qaeda and later ISIS (Daesh). This war was the West’s first loss since Vietnam (thanks to the help of Russia) and has seen so much death and barbarism that the genie was out of the bottle and has caused large parts of the Middle East to want to fight the West with everything they have.

If the genie was already out of the bottle in the Syrian war, this latest murder on Sardar Sayyed Reza Mousavi is the last straw that further stimulates the resistance against Israel. The murders committed in recent years against senior Iranian generals and scientists from the Israeli Mossad in collaboration with the U.S. and its Western client states have also not been forgotten. In particular, the assassination of Haj Qassem Soleimani has not been forgotten and Sardar Sayyed Reza Mousavi was Soleimani’s most loyal and closest associate. After the most extremist government that Israel has ever known since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 took office, the occupation, hatred and violence have escalated even more, a situation that is no longer tenable for the Palestinian population and it simply had to escalate.

But the war is not only in Gaza, heavy fighting is also reported from Ramallah, Nablus, Jenin and the rest of the West Bank. In other words, all of Palestine is in revolt and as the military leader of Hamas recently explained. What was to be expected is that the West will continue to support Israel, after all the U.S. is the stronghold of AIPAC, the Israeli lobby that influences all political leaders (with money and bribery) and who in turn buys, or rather buys, the political leaders of Europe said dictation, because for many Europe has still been occupied by the U.S. since 1945. “Senior Hamas leader Osama Hamdan masterfully explains the reasons for the operation, lays out military and political strategies, and discusses the terms of the resistance. It’s about the liberation of Palestine and beyond, the Axis of Resistance is now involved as well, he said during an interview”.

For the first time, the world can see genocide being committed “live” on TV and social media. The West is silent for the second time in history, that is to say the politicians and media bought by the politicians and Zionist lobby. During the Holocaust of the Jews most Europeans were silent and now during the genocide of the Palestinians and previously the rest of the Middle East they are silent and again they support the side of murderers and madmen. They never learn and this among others is also part of the downfall of so-called Western civilization.

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“Going into the presidential election in less than 10 months with his poll numbers below the water line, Biden can’t afford any further fiasco.”

US Allies Get Cold Feet on Red Sea Armada and Who Could Blame Them? (SCF)

The United States-led naval coalition announced on December 20 for deployment to the Red Sea purportedly to protect international commercial shipping has quickly run into troubled political waters. European allies France, Spain and Italy are curbing their involvement. Australia has given it a miss. And so far, no major Arab countries have signaled their participation, apart from the tiny Gulf island nation of Bahrain which hosts the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet. The 10-nation flotilla was heralded with much fanfare by Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin with the stated objective of defending freedom of navigation through the Red Sea critical for cargo vessels and fuel tankers. That move followed numerous attacks on ships by Yemeni forces who said they would block the passage of Israeli-linked vessels as an act of solidarity with Palestinians suffering genocidal violence in Gaza.

Yemeni militants known as Ansar Allah (Houthis) in conjunction with Yemen’s armed forces say their embargo imposed on the Red Sea will continue until a ceasefire is called in Gaza and humanitarian aid is permitted entry to more than two million starving people. The decision by Washington to respond by further militarizing the Bab el-Mandeb Strait – the 30-kilometer-wide chokepoint largely controlled by the Yemenis – is a reckless escalation in what has now turned out to be a region-wide conflict. Yemen is an ally of Iran which has seen its other allies in the region attacked by the U.S. and Israel. The assassination of a top Iranian commander this week in an Israeli air strike on the Syrian capital Damascus is fueling an international conflagration. This danger could be easily averted if Washington abided by the democratic will of the vast majority of nations at the UN which has urged for an immediate ceasefire to the 80-day aggression by Israel on Gaza since October 7.

Washington has pointedly rejected several draft resolutions at the UN Security Council demanding a cessation of hostilities – the death toll of which has reached nearly 30,000 mainly women and children, according to the respected Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor. Deploying an armada to the Red Sea is almost an absurd and unnecessary complication. If the U.S. and Israel were to comply with basic international, humanitarian law, the interdiction on shipping would not be incurred. After all, Russian and Iranian oil and gas tankers are reportedly navigating unhindered through the Bab el-Mandeb en route to the Suez Canal further north in Egypt. So, the Yemenis appear to be honoring their word that only ships associated with Israel are being targeted. Nevertheless, other global cargo and tanker companies have opted to avoid the vital shipping lane, electing instead to route their vessels around Africa. That alternative route adds several days and significant transport costs.

The Red Sea accounts for the passage of 12 percent of global shipping. Already, the transits are down by one-third in volume. That will inevitably rebound badly on Europe’s hard-pressed economies from supply chain shortages and consumer price inflation. All this would dramatically deteriorate if the U.S.-led armada starts firing on Yemen. That will mean the naval coalition would been seen by the Yemenis (and other Arab nations) – if it is not clear already – as being deployed in support of Israel’s genocide of Palestinians. The Yemenis have defiantly warned that they are prepared to launch anti-ship ballistic missiles and a suspected arsenal of thousands of drones to sink U.S. and other warships. An interesting article by former CIA analyst Larry Johnson – now a respected independent commentator – contends that the U.S. Navy is not fit for purpose to take on the Yemeni threat. Western destroyers may fire million-dollar-missiles at $20,000 drones, but already the mathematics of that equation indicate the Yemenis have won.

If U.S. and European warships start to sink in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden all bets are off. We are then talking about a political crisis that compares with the Suez Emergency in 1956. That debacle ended in shame for the colonial powers Britain and France. Indeed, the 1956 Suez Crisis is cited as a watershed for the demise of these European powers and their pretensions of global power. Hence, the European members of the U.S.-led flotilla – dubbed Operation Prosperity Guardian – which tries a tad too much to sound justified – are peeling away from the misguided venture. If Washington decides to go it alone – which it probably won’t because of structural problems in its modern fleet, as Larry Johnson explains – then the political wrath for Biden among U.S. voters will be withering. Going into the presidential election in less than 10 months with his poll numbers below the water line, Biden can’t afford any further fiasco.

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Yemen surprised both Israel and US.

Yemen Is Blocking US Hegemony In West Asia (Cradle)

Given the renewed focus on Yemen’s de facto government led by Ansarallah and its armed forces, it is time to move beyond the simplistic and dismissive characterization of the Houthis as merely a ‘rebel’ group or a non-state actor. Since the start of the war by the Saudi-led coalition against Ansarallah in 2015, the Yemeni resistance movement has transformed into a formidable military force that has not only humbled Saudi Arabia but is also now challenging Israel’s genocidal actions in Gaza as well as the superior firepower and resources of the US Navy in the world’s most important waterway. In response to Israel unleashing unprecedented violence on Gaza, killing over 20,000 people, predominantly women and children, Yemen’s Ansarallah-led armed forces announced on 14 November their intent to target any Israeli-linked ship passing through the strategic Bab al-Mandab Strait in the Red Sea.

This crucial waterway serves as the gateway to the Suez Canal, through which approximately 10 percent of global trade and 8.8 million barrels of oil travel each day. On 9 December, Ansarallah announced it would expand its operations further to target any ship in the Red Sea on its way to Israel, regardless of its nationality. “If Gaza does not receive the food and medicine it needs, all ships in the Red Sea bound for Israeli ports, regardless of their nationality, will become a target for our armed forces,” an Ansarallah Armed Forces spokesperson said in a statement. To date, Ansarallah has successfully targeted nine ships using drones and missiles, and managed to seize one Israeli-affiliated ship in the Red Sea, according to their official statements. These operations have prompted the largest international shipping companies, including CMA CGM and MSC, and oil giants BP and Evergreen, to re-route their Europe bound ships around the horn of Africa, adding 13,000km and significant fuel costs to the journey.

Delays, transit times, and insurance fees for commercial shipping have skyrocketed, threatening to spark inflation worldwide. This is especially worrisome for Israel, which is already contending with the economic repercussions of its longest and deadliest conflict with the Palestinian resistance in history. Additionally, Ansarallah has launched multiple missile and drone attacks on Israel’s southern port city of Eilat, decreasing its commercial shipping traffic by 85 percent. The disruption in the Red Sea directly undermines a key element of the White House’s 2022 National Security Strategy, which unequivocally states that the US will not permit any nation “to jeopardize freedom of navigation through the Middle East’s waterways, including the Strait of Hormuz and the Bab al-Mandab.”

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“..It is hard to portray yourself as the defender of democracy by preventing citizens from voting for the current frontrunner for the presidency..”

Is Colorado Counting on a Mootness Escape Clause? (Turley)

The office of Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswald issued a statement that, since the appeal was filed with the Supreme Court, Trump’s name will remain on the ballot “unless the U.S. Supreme Court declines to take the case or otherwise affirms the Colorado Supreme Court ruling.” That clause or provision from the opinion may offer a welcomed escape option for both the Supreme Court and the state. mThe timing question could have an interesting impact on the case. It could avoid a review by the Supreme Court by effectively mooting the case if the Supreme Court simply lets the clock run past January 5, 2024. The question is whether the Court would see a need to review the matter if no change would occur to the ballot itself. The Colorado Secretary of State issued a press release that stated in part:

“The Colorado Republican Party has appealed the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision in Anderson v. Griswold to the U.S. Supreme Court. With the appeal filed, Donald Trump will be included as a candidate on Colorado’s 2024 Presidential Primary Ballot when certification occurs on Jan. 5, 2024, unless the U.S. Supreme Court declines to take the case or otherwise affirms the Colorado Supreme Court ruling.” The Supreme Court should still take the case and reject the Colorado decision. This issue will only repeat itself in the general election and challengers are seeking additional judges or courts to embrace this dangerous theory. Currently, Colorado is an outlier. However, the Secretary of State in Maine has been as outspoken as Griswald on what she views as an “insurrection” on January 6th.

It is clear why challengers saw Democrat Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows as the most likely to endorse their theory. Bellows has already declared that “The Jan 6 insurrection was an unlawful attempt to overthrow the results of a free and fair election… The insurrectionists failed, and democracy prevailed.” A year after the riot, Bellows was still denoucing what she called “the violent insurrection.” Colorado may prefer to wait for states like Maine to join the cause rather than leave the state as the outlier. Moreover, it is clear to many of us that Colorado will lose before the Supreme Court if push comes to shove. This would remove the shove if the Court simply allows for review to continue beyond the certification on January 5th.

While the four Colorado justices have been lionized by pundits and the media, the optics could take a bad turn if liberal justices joined conservatives in setting aside this decision. Even on an all Democratically-appointed court, the majority was only able to eek out a 4-3 decision with three justices rejecting this novel theory. It is hard to portray yourself as the defender of democracy by preventing citizens from voting for the current frontrunner for the presidency. It is even more difficult when various states, including Democratic jurists and justices, reject this radical effort.The Secretary of State could have sought to lift the limitation on a pending review as barring removal. There was no effort to get the justices to reconsider that part of the ruling. Yet, Griswald could have argued that, once Trump is found to be an insurrectionalist under the Fourteenth Amendment, her office should not be compelled to include his name.

After all, the office is not an intermediate court and it has a ruling that Trump is disqualified as a matter of law. It appears, however, that Griswald accepts this condition that Trump will remain on the ballot unless the Court declines review (which seems unlikely) or affirms the Colorado Supreme Court (which seems even more unlikely). The question is whether Griswald herself will seek to have the matter declared as moot after January 5th. She can argue that, while the same objections could be raised for the balloting for the general election, it is pure conjecture that Trump will win the primary despite every poll showing an overwhelming lead. She could then avoid a likely reversal but arguing that there is no change on the balloting and thus no injury to the Colorado GOP.

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“..why not simply point out that the Colorado supreme court’s ruling is total nonsense as Trump has not been convicted of insurrection?”

Democrats Facing Election Wipeout Resort to Desperate Actions (PCR)

Civil rights groups are suing under US law in behalf of immigrant-invaders who are not US citizens and have no protection of US civil right laws. The issue is a Texas state law that permits Texas authorities to arrest and deport illegal immigrants. The claim is that illegal immigrant-invaders are protected from Texas law by federal civil rights law, a nonsense claim that destroys the concept of citizenship. Remember the “Covid pandemic” when New York was restricting entry of US citizens into New York? How is it that New York can control the entry of US citizens into New York by such measures as imposing a two week quarantine on arrivals, but Texas can’t control the entry of non-US citizens into Texas? Under the 10th Amendment, Texas has the power to control entry just as northern states such as New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois passed laws designed to prevent free blacks from entering the states to settle.

Those who prefer federal over state power claim that the 10th Amendment is a dead-letter Amendment overturned by the federal government’s assumption of powers not granted to it by the Constitution. A more accurate way to describe this is to say that the federal government’s assumption of powers granted to the states is unconstitutional and must be overturned by the Supreme Court. The only constitutional way an Amendment can be overturned is by repeal. What has happened is a coup against the US Constitution by the federal government. The 10th Amendment has not been repealed. It is still a part of the Constitution. It is simply ignored as all other Amendments increasingly are.

Counts will decide the issue between Texas and the US Department of Justice (sic) on the basis of whether state or federal government has the power to control immigration. As the record shows, northern states prohibited black immigration from the South. Were free blacks considered in the North to be US citizens? The answer seems to be partly but not wholly. The knee-jerk response of almost every jurist is that the 10th Amendment is no longer part of the Constitution. The ruling is expected to go against Texas. But the question remains why the federal government insists on its unique responsibility for immigration laws that it refuses to enforce.The greater threat is the claim of some immigrant-invader advocates that the illegal non-citizens have the right under US civil rights laws to residency in the US.

The effort by Democrats in Colorado (and other states) to prevent Donald Trump from being on the ballot in the 2024 election shows a total absence of legal comprehension on the part of the non-diverse 100% Democrat Colorado state supreme court. One wonders where they get these “judges.” The legally illiterate Democrat judges ruled that Colorado could ban Trump from being on the ballot in Colorado in 2024 for the reason that he engaged in insurrection against the United States. The legally illiterate Colorado secretary of state said that “Donald Trump engaged in insurrection and was disqualified under the Constitution from the Colorado Ballot. The Colorado Supreme Court got it right.”Maine’s secretary of state Shenna Bellows has taken it upon herself alone to remove Trump from the ballot for insurrection.

Think about what this means. Trump has not been convicted of insurrection. Every member of the Colorado entirely Democrat supreme court and Colorado’s and Maine’s Democrat secretaries of state assumes that assertion alone is proof of guilt. Clearly, Democrat Colorado and Maine are not states whose officials and judges understand law or are capable of serving justice. Neither do the Colorado Republicans understand. In their appeal to the US Supreme Court for a ruling on the Colorado state court decision, the Republicans argue that the President is not an officer of the US under the meaning of the provision in the 14th Amendment, that only Congress has the power to apply the insurrection provision, and that Colorado’s ruling, if allowed to stand, would violate the people’s ability to select candidates in primaries. Little doubt this is correct, but why not simply point out that the Colorado supreme court’s ruling is total nonsense as Trump has not been convicted of insurrection?

The persecutions of Trump are not legitimate. They are weaponizations of law designed to keep power in the hands of the ruling establishment. That these persecutions are not denounced by bar associations, law schools, politicians, media and the American people indicates that the weaponization of law is generally accepted as a legitimate tool in the struggle for power. The Democrats who falsely accused Trump of election interference are now interfering themselves. With the public alerted, the Democrats are unable to steal a third election in a row, and have resorted to the desperate attempt to claim authority they do not have to prevent Trump from running for president. Democrats have proven that they are tyrants. The acceptance by the American establishment of the obvious use of weaponized law associated with Joseph Stalin indicates that the rule of law is dead in the United States. As time passes, Americans will understand that they are prisoners, and not a free people.

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“President Trump remains undefeated in 14th Amendment ballot challenges in federal courts..”

Judge Dismisses Attempt By Virginia Activists To Keep Trump Off Ballot (JTN)

A federal judge Friday dismissed a motion by two Virginia activists to keep former President Donald Trump off the ballot in the Old Dominion. Roy Perry-Bey and Carlos Howard, said in a statement announcing their complaint that, Trump’s “overt election interference undermine or deprive [sic] them of their right to participate equally in secure, free and fair elections, due to Trump’s filing his statement of candidacy to participate in the 2024 Presidential Primary election.” Judge Leonie Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia granted Trump his request to dismiss the plaintiff’s case.

“President Trump remains undefeated in 14th Amendment ballot challenges in federal courts with today’s ruling in the Eastern District of Virginia,” said Steven Cheung, Trump campaign spokesperson, in statement. Calling the suits “bad-faith, politically motivated attempts to steal the 2024 election by disqualifying” Trump from the ballot, Cheung pointed to dismissals in the federal courts of West Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida, Arizona, and Rhode Island, as well as state courts in Michigan and Minnesota. “President Trump has pulled significantly ahead in the polls and is poised to defeat failed president Crooked Joe Biden, or whomever the desperate Democrats put forth in 2024,” Cheung said.

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“..Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing for Bud Light, sought to dismantle Bud Light’s “fratty reputation.” She succeeded.”

Bud Light Sales Still Down 28% as Consumers Continue Boycott (Turley)

Beer analysts are saying that Bud Light is still struggling with the boycott that has reduced its sale by a whopping 28% over the four weeks leading up to Dec. 9 — and heading to the all-important New Year’s sale period. The tragic irony for the company is that Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing for Bud Light, sought to dismantle Bud Light’s “fratty reputation.” She succeeded. It is now the symbol of woke companies for many and consumers seem to be treating the company as a vehicle to express their opposition to the social and political campaigns of companies from Disney to Nike. Notably, U.S. beer shipments dropped by more than 5% over the first nine months of 2023, reflecting a trend among younger voters away from alcohol.

However, Bud Light appears to be off the charts as consumers continue to send a message by buying other brands. The timing is critical. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, a quarter of the $49-billion-a-year distilled spirits industry’s profits come between Thanksgiving and the New Year. The continued struggle of Bud Light during this period could magnify the losses and the message in the market. The message appears to be getting through. Corporate executives have long yielded to demands for greater political and social agendas despite indicators that these campaigns were driving away business.

That is changing as shareholders object to subsidizing campaigns unconnected to products. Most recently, Disney appeared to acknowledge that its own campaigns were undermining sales and alienating consumers. It is the invisible hand of Adam Smith at work. However, this is more of a backhand for Bud Light, which has tried to distance itself from the earlier campaign. The problem is that many consumers now view the company as a symbol of this struggle between companies and the public. Some are seeking to “hoist the wretch” to warn other companies. It seems that Bud Light is now that wretch.

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Long forecast from Jim.

Do You Dare Even Look? – Forecast 2024 (Kunstler)

It’s absurd to imagine that “Joe Biden” can actually run. The current charade, with the Biden / Harris email campaign and few other trappings, is just a game of pretend. The focus just now, even on some blob-captive news sites, is on his unmistakable mental decline. Come January of ’24, though, Mr. Comer, chair of the House Oversight Committee, will unload hard evidence of bribery and treason against the phantom of the White House, and that will really be the end of him. Let him pardon himself and his whole family five minutes before he signs his resignation and be gone. The USA has never endured such a perfect wretch at that level of politics, not even Aaron Burr was this bad. “Joe Biden” was elected in a massive fraud, and he proceeded to just about wreck the country.

The massive exertions of the Intel blob managed to induce a psychotic spell on half the country, mostly to evade prosecution for their own misdeeds, but millions of victims of that psy-op are about to snap out of it. The Democratic Party might not survive the dreadful unmasking of its seditious machinations. By November, the “Joe Biden” regime may even try to involve us in another foreign war as the last desperate distraction. Aside from the demons in the State Department and the Raytheon /Lockheed Martin nexus, the whole country has no appetite left for war, and probably little ability to prosecute one.

As a last gasp, the Party of Chaos may attempt to insert Hillary Clinton back into the picture. They have nothing and no one else; a hail Mary on the theory that they can rev up every angry “Karen” in the land, and their nose-ring daughters, and simply make the election about the oppression of women, leading with abortion. It won’t work. The party will also have to answer for the weaponization of law, the humiliating defeat of the ill-conceived Ukraine project, the millions-fold invasion of illegal aliens, the shattered economy, and the after-effects of the evil vaccine program. If the blob manages to remove Mr. Trump Kagan-style, and the traitorous Republicans run their donor’s favorite, Nikki Haley, I’d look to Bobby Kennedy winning that three-way race not unlike Abe Lincoln winning the fractious election of 1860.

I doubt that even the enmities of 1861 – 1865 between one group of Americans and another were as vicious as they are now. “Joe Biden” was right about one thing: this is a battle over the soul of the nation. The catch is, he and the party behind him are a gang of lost souls who sold out their country and their culture, and took something precious from all of us that will be very hard to get back. We will be wildly lucky if blood does not spill over it.

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Love it
https://twitter.com/i/status/1740418345965658117

 

 

Architects

 

 

Reindeer

 

 


India is the only country in the world that has both lions and tigers. Not only this: India is the only country in the world where all these animals can be found together in the wild. Why? Because India’s varied climate zones support about 65,000 animal species, including bears, elephants, pythons, river dolphins, and rhinos, and 12,000 types of flowering plants.

 

 

Octopus

 

 

Wild yak

 

 

FEAR

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 242023
 


Edward Hopper House on the shore 1924

 

2023 – The Year the World saw the US Emperor as Naked… and Grotesque (SCF)
US, Israel Face A Powerful New Enemy In The Middle East (Robert Inlakesh)
Houthi Red Sea Blockade Could ‘Starve’ Western War Machine of Oil (Sp.)
Pentagon’s Operation Prosperity Guardian “Falls Apart” (ZH)
Chinese, Iranian, Indian Warships Are In The Red Sea, Gulf Of Aden (Helmer)
‘Crazy’ Biden Idea Could Spark Global Financial Crisis – Russian Senator (RT)
Ukraine To See ‘Total Mobilization’ In 2024 – Officer (RT)
Finland To Pay Failed Asylum Seekers For Voluntary Return Home (RT)
Denmark Warns Ukrainian Refugees They Will Have to Go Home After Conflict Ends (Sp.)
Estonia Ready to Extradite Draft-Age Ukrainian Men (Sp.)
Trump Offers Biden ‘Ten Debates’ (RT)
Trump Responds To Hitler Comparisons (RT)
51 Days Later, Tucker Carlson Releases Interview With Julian Assange (CTH)
CIA Must Face Lawsuit for Violating Rights of Assange’s Visitors (LAP)
RFK Jr. Denied Secret Service Protection For 3rd Time (Deseret)

 

 

 

 

 

 


This new Banksy was stolen yesterday in London less than an hour after he announced it.

 

 

Santos
https://twitter.com/i/status/1738259872016404539

 

 

Watters blackmail

 

 

 

 

Chaplin

 

 

 

 

“Based on Nuremberg principles, Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu would be both in the dock, accompanied by Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, Lloyd Austin and their counterparts in Tel Aviv…”

2023 – The Year the World saw the US Emperor as Naked… and Grotesque (SCF)

American President Joe Biden likes to talk about “inflexion points” when he is lecturing about world affairs and the supposed superiority of the United States. This year is indeed an inflexion point. It was the year that the entire world saw the truly hideous and criminal nature of U.S. power. Washington’s fuelling of the futile conflict in Ukraine and the despicable slaughter in Gaza is a wake-up call for the entire world. The United States stands barefaced and grotesque as the primary purveyor of war. There can be no doubt about that. For many it is shocking, scandalous and frightening.Tragically, it seems, for the world, every year’s end is an occasion to witness and lament conflicts, wars and suffering over the preceding 12 months. Often the causes of wars and suffering are seemingly unfathomable.

However, this year seems to be unique. The year ends with a horrendous massacre in Gaza that is unprecedented and perpetrated by Israel with the full support of the United States. The scale of deliberate mass killing in Gaza makes it a genocide. The fact that this abomination is occurring at Christmas time when the world is supposed to celebrate the divine birth of Jesus Christ – the Prince of Peace – in the very place where he was born some 2,000 years ago makes the abomination all the more profane and damning. What is particularly wretched is that the heinous destruction of children is happening in full view of the world. There is no remorse or pretence. It is full-blown premeditated murder done with cruelty and sickening impunity. Virtually the whole world is horrified by the devastating, relentless violence and absolute violation of international law.

The butchery by the Israeli regime cannot in any way be rationalized by the previous attack on Israel by Palestinian militants on October 7. Those killings by Hamas have been cynically used as a pretext for the subsequent and ongoing annihilation of Palestinian civilians.This genocide could not happen without the crucial support of the United States for the Israeli regime. Financially, militarily and diplomatically, Washington is sponsoring the horror in Gaza as well as the Occupied West Bank. This week saw the U.S. once again obstructing calls at the United Nations for a ceasefire and the urgent supply of humanitarian aid to more than two million people. The World Food Program has declared a catastrophic famine in the coastal enclave after more than 70 days of bombing and blockade by the Israeli regime.

More than 20,000 people – mainly women and children – have been slaughtered with up to 7,000 more missing, presumably dead. Israeli troops are carrying out mass executions of terrified and traumatized human beings, according to UN rights monitors. The United States is arming Israel to the hilt and enabling it. U.S. President Joe Biden has pointedly refused to join international demands for a ceasefire. The United Nations has voted by an overwhelming majority for a cessation of the violence. Washington has repeatedly rejected the world’s pleas because the Biden administration is obscenely amplifying Israeli lies and distortions. “Unwavering, unshakable support” is how the White House arrogantly boasts about it without a hint of shame that it is self-indicting.

Tens of thousands of tonnes of munitions have been flown to Israel to carry out “indiscriminate bombing” (Biden’s own admission). One-tonne bunker-buster bombs have been dropped deliberately on refugee camps and hospitals. And still, the Pentagon shamelessly refuses to impose any red lines on the use of its munitions.This genocide has Israeli fingers on the triggers but it is ultimately an American-sponsored genocide. Based on Nuremberg principles, Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu would be both in the dock, accompanied by Antony Blinken, Jake Sullivan, Lloyd Austin and their counterparts in Tel Aviv.

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“The US attempted to help topple the current government in Sanaa, but ended up creating a battle-hardened group that has domestically developed capabilities well beyond those it possessed at the start of the conflict in 2015..”

US, Israel Face A Powerful New Enemy In The Middle East (Robert Inlakesh)

Under former US President Barack Obama, Washington backed the Saudi-led coalition’s intervention in Yemen back in 2015. Since then, some 377,000 people have died, largely as a result of the deadly blockade imposed on the majority of the country’s population, while some 15,000 civilians have died due to direct conflict. The objective of the Saudi-led intervention, which received the backing of the US and UK, was to remove Ansarallah from power in the nation’s capital, Sanaa. Although the group does not enjoy international recognition as Yemen’s governing force, it rules over more than 80% of the population, has the support of two-thirds of the nation’s armed forces, and operates a government out of Sanaa. Ansarallah came to power following a popular revolution against then-Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi in 2014. Months later, Hadi resigned and fled the country after Ansarallah militants had decided to take over by force.

In the midst of a seven-year war, the political, social and armed movement that is often referred to as “the Houthi rebels” operates as the de facto government of Yemen, but is yet to receive recognition at the UN, which instead recognises the ‘Presidential Leadership Council’ that was created in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2022. The context above is crucial for understanding the capabilities of Yemen’s Ansarallah, which was downplayed as a band of “Iran-backed rebels” in Western corporate media for years. While the governments of the collective West have tried to pretend that the Yemeni group is insignificant, Washington’s recent decision to form a multi-national naval coalition to confront the Houthis is an admission that they are a major regional actor. In fact, Ansarallah is the only Arab movement that controls state assets and a standing army that is participating in the ongoing war with Israel.

The reality that the US is now confronting is something that both Saudi Arabia and the UAE came to realize early last year. Following two separate drone and missile attacks on Abu Dhabi and Dubai in January of 2022, it became apparent that the West’s current level of support could not provide sufficient security for the UAE. Up until a nationwide ceasefire was brokered in April 2022, Ansarallah had also demonstrated its developed missile and drone capabilities, striking valuable economic targets inside Saudi Arabia too. Despite receiving a lot less attention than it deserved, Ansarallah forces strategically timed their second attack on the UAE to coincide with the arrival of Israeli President Isaac Herzog in the country.

This was a clear message to the Emirati and Saudi leaderships that Western support will not provide sufficient security. It’s likely because of this threat from Yemen that Riyadh sought a security pact with the US, in order to make a normalization agreement with Israel possible. Such a security pact would have stipulated that an attack on one is an attack on all, hence dragging the Americans into a direct war against Yemen in the event that the conflict was to flare up again. The US attempted to help topple the current government in Sanaa, but ended up creating a battle-hardened group that has domestically developed capabilities well beyond those it possessed at the start of the conflict in 2015. In his first foreign policy address after taking office in 2021, US President Joe Biden pledged to end the war in Yemen. However, instead of pursuing a Yemen-Saudi deal, the White House abandoned its pledge and sought to broker a Saudi-Israeli deal instead. That fatal decision is coming back to bite policymakers in Washington.

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“I don’t know if Saudi Arabia is going to be willing to jeopardize that, to stand with the United States in fighting the Houthis in this war, especially because it’s going to be perceived in the entire region as Saudi Arabia siding with Israel..”

Houthi Red Sea Blockade Could ‘Starve’ Western War Machine of Oil (Sp.)

US oil stockpiles are at their 40-year lows and the Houthi Red Sea blockage can make matters much worse for Washington, Maram Susli, better known as blogger Syrian Girl, told Sputnik’s New Rules podcast. Yemen’s armed forces stepped up attacks on trade vessels linked to Israel in the Red Sea in a bid to force Tel Aviv into halting its ground operation in the Gaza Strip. In response, the US brought together a 10-nation coalition against the government in Sana’a led by the Ansarallah movement — dubbed the Houthis by the West. However, the coalition includes only one Arab state, Bahrain, while Yemen’s other neighbors have so far hesitated to join the US-led Operation Prosperity Guardian. Could they jump on Washington’s bandwagon anytime soon?

“It’s very interesting to see what the surrounding states will do, because, of course, we have Saudi Arabia trying to defeat the Houthis since 2015, which resulted in a lot of economic suffering and instability from Saudi Arabia,” Susli told Sputnik. “And only now have they finally made some kind of a ceasefire or peace treaty with Iran and they both joined BRICS. I don’t know if Saudi Arabia is going to be willing to jeopardize that, to stand with the United States in fighting the Houthis in this war, especially because it’s going to be perceived in the entire region as Saudi Arabia siding with Israel, because what is happening right now is the Houthis are not attacking the vessels that are not related to Israel.” Observers say the US may resort to attacking Yemen launch sites, as they did previously in 2016.

So far the Biden administration has been reluctant to take direct military action against the Houthis, who its claims are backed by Iran. The Yemeni movement issued a stark warning to the US-led naval task force on December 20. “America’s announcement of the establishment of the Coalition of Shame will not prevent us from continuing our military operations… This is a moral and humanitarian position that we will not abandon, no matter the sacrifices it costs us,” Ansarallah spokesman Mohammed al-Bukhaiti tweeted on December 19. “It’s interesting to see the United States put itself in harm’s way in this way and try to launch a war already, because, you know, it’s quite blatant that they’re doing this for Israel and not for the United States,” Susli said. “And it’s going to open up their ranks in Syria and Iraq to even more massive attacks. They’re basically sitting ducks in the Middle East right now.”

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“France, Italy and Spain withdraw from Operation Prosperity Guardian, refusing to put their warships under U.S. command.”

Pentagon’s Operation Prosperity Guardian “Falls Apart” (ZH)

The Pentagon’s formation of Operation Prosperity Guardian, a new task force to protect shipping from Houthi drone and missile attacks in the Bab Al-Mandeb Strait and the Red Sea, requires increased warship patrols by the US and allies. This will create a security umbrella over commercial vessels to defend from attacks. Reuters said about twenty countries have signed up for the Pentagon’s new operation. However, several countries, including Australia, Spain, Italy, and France, have rejected the Pentagon’s request to participate in the operation. Spain’s Defence Ministry said it would only participate in NATO-led missions or European-coordinated operations – not ones commanded by the Pentagon: “We will not participate unilaterally in the Red Sea operation.”

Italy’s Defence Ministry voiced similar concerns, indicating it would send naval frigate Virginio Fasan to the Red Sea but only respond to requests by Italian shipowners. “Operation Prosperity Guardian in the Red Sea has practically Collapsed as France, Spain, and Italy have all announced their Withdrawal from the US Command Structure for the Operation, with the Three Nations stating they will only conduct further Maritime Operations under the Command of NATO and/or the European Union and not the United States,” X account OSINTdefender wrote. Another X user wrote: “France, Spain, and Italy aren’t withdrawing because they don’t want to escalate the conflict. On the contrary, they’re withdrawing because they don’t believe the operation coordinated by Biden regime will protect their vessels. This is the result of a weak ‘President’ / lack of leadership.”

[..] As of Saturday morning, the number of container ships in the Red Sea with destinations to Asia, Europe, and the US is less than five. This once-busy waterway that connects to the Suez Canal has seen a plunge in container ship activity this week. Remember, this critical waterway is responsible for 10-12% of the world’s maritime freight. Vessels are now being diverted around the Cape of Good Hope, adding 1-2 weeks in travel time. Plus, container rates are soaring. The fact that seven major shipping companies, including Taiwanese container shipping line Evergreen and Belgian tanker owner Euronav, have halted sails through the Red Sea shows their lack of confidence in the US protecting the critical waterway.

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Getting busy.

Chinese, Iranian, Indian Warships Are In The Red Sea, Gulf Of Aden (Helmer)

A Russian military blog post posted on Thursday, December 21 at 11:33 Moscow time, has revealed the hitherto secret positions of all warships in the area which the Pentagon has announced for its OPERATION PROSPERITY GUARDIAN. The fresh data and the open map (lead image) were not available when yesterday’s report was published at 09:32 Moscow time of Russia’s “two-track” strategy for opposing the US and NATO, and for protecting Russian oil shipments while the Houthi drone and missile operations are under way against Israel. No Russian Navy vessel is in the area at present although Russian crude oil cargoes are moving through the Red Sea with Iranian and Houthi agreement. Because these ship movements are defying US and NATO sanctions, it has been decided in Moscow to negotiate safe passage with Iran and Yemen rather than deploy the Russian Navy to protect them.
However, the new combined US and NATO operation, targeting the Houthis and their Iranian support and supply systems, increases the possibility of a direct American, allied, or false-flagged attack on a tanker carrying Russian oil.

In yesterday’s morning report, I indicated that “the current whereabouts of the [Chinese] warship group has not been reported in the open press.” The Russian source map is now reporting that the Chinese Navy’s 45th Escort Task Force, comprising the Type-052 destroyer Urumqi, the Type-547 frigate Linyi, and supply ship Dongpinghu were at berth at the Chinese base at Djibouti as of Wednesday, December 20. The Russian map also reveals that the Iranian vessel MV Behshad is in a standing position in the Red Sea. According to the Russian source, it is operating as an electronic surveillance, command and control centre to monitor friendly state ship movements – Russian, Chinese, Indian – and also hostile vessels of the US, British and French navies, tracking their positions; and relaying the data to Iran and probably to shore positions in Yemen. Although US media and Pentagon statements accuse the Ansar Allah government in Yemen and Houthi forces of acting as Iranian proxies in the war against Israel, there has been no disclosure before now of this vessel in the Red Sea.

According to the western vessel tracking service VesselFinder, the Behshad is a “general cargo ship” flagged by Iran. It reportedly sailed from the port of the Iran Shipbuilding and Offshore Industries Complex (ISOICO) to reach its current position, which VesselFinder confirms in the southern half of the Red Sea as of fifteen minutes ago. The western source reports the vessel is at anchor in 6.5 metres of water. In the Pentagon announcement of December 18, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin claimed that “Operation Prosperity Guardian is bringing together multiple countries to include the United Kingdom, Bahrain, Canada, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Seychelles and Spain, to jointly address security challenges in the southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, with the goal of ensuring freedom of navigation for all countries and bolstering regional security and prosperity.” The new Russian intelligence now makes clear that the UK, France and Spain are already in the region, with the US.

After Austin’s statement, his Italian counterpart announced that Italy is dispatching a frigate “to protect the prosperity of trade and guarantee freedom of navigation and international law…to increase the presence in the area in order to create the conditions for stabilization, avoid ecological disasters and also prevent a resumption of the inflationary push.” The Greek Defense Minister Nikos Dendias followed the Italian to say that Greece too is sending a frigate to join the US operation. Dendias is claiming the reason is that Greece is “the country with the largest ocean-going fleet [and so] has a primary interest in preserving the freedom of maritime zones and protecting the lives of seafarers.” What he means is that the involvement of Greek shipowners in the sanctions-busting Russian oil trade has been so profitable, Dendias wants to protect the Greek tankers and their owners; and at the same time avoid the embarrassment of being so disloyal to the US and European Union sanctions regime.

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“International judicial and arbitral practice confirms that it is impossible to impose seizure on funds belonging to central banks and sovereign wealth funds..”

‘Crazy’ Biden Idea Could Spark Global Financial Crisis – Russian Senator (RT)

A White House proposal to seize frozen Russian funds and use them to help Ukraine is not only illegal, but also incredibly dangerous, as it could shatter the entire global financial system, according to Konstantin Kosachev, the vice speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament. The senator’s comments come after the New York Times reported on Friday that the Biden administration had intensified talks with US allies to requisition over $300 billion in Russian foreign exchange reserves frozen after the start of the Ukraine conflict. Writing on Telegram on Friday, Kosachev called the initiative “crazy,” and said it did not have a single leg to stand on in legal terms.

He recalled that central banks’ sovereign funds are shielded by a special immunity under customary international law, and no jurisdiction is allowed to impose any coercive measures on them. Moreover, the senator continued, if the US were to seize Russian assets, it would violate not only international law, but also domestic legislation. He alluded to the 1976 Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act which protects the assets of foreign central banks, adding that many US allies have similar laws. “International judicial and arbitral practice confirms that it is impossible to impose seizure on funds belonging to central banks and sovereign wealth funds,”Kosachev stressed. By disregarding this practice, the US is setting a “very dangerous precedent” that will harm the entire global financial system, he stated.

A potential seizure would trigger swift retaliation from Moscow, with the requisition of Western assets frozen in Russia being on the table, Kosachev warned. He emphasized that Washington’s move would be interpreted as a “bad signal” in many countries like China and Saudi Arabia, which would doubt the wisdom of holding their funds in euros or dollars. As a result, everyone loses. There will be another global financial crisis. [It will be] another step towards (potentially) general chaos and destruction. Russian officials have repeatedly alleged that the West’s decision to freeze Moscow’s assets constitutes theft. On Friday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov also stated that if the US goes ahead with seizing the funds it could lead to a complete breakdown of relations with Moscow, which are already at an all-time low.

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To the last Ukrainian…

Ukraine To See ‘Total Mobilization’ In 2024 – Officer (RT)

Ukraine is likely to resort to “total mobilization” next year in a bid to contain Russia, Ukrainian officer Vasily Samovar, who commands the aviation and air defense forces of the 3rd Separate Storm Brigade, told a local Dnipro TV channel on Saturday. He reportedly admitted that Russia is superior in many aspects, ranging from economic might to personnel reserves. Kiev is still reeling from the failed summer counteroffensive that has failed to bring about any major changes to the front lines while costing tens of thousands of lives and hundreds of pieces of heavy equipment. In December, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimated that Ukraine had lost over 383,000 soldiers since the start of the conflict, adding that roughly half of the casualties were sustained during its much-hyped summer operation.

Ukraine’s Western backers have also seemingly begun to doubt Kiev’s prospects of winning the conflict in the wake of the failed offensive. In December, US lawmakers said that neither Washington nor Kiev had presented a clear winning strategy following a meeting with Zelensky. Both Washington and Brussels are also struggling to agree on the next aid packages for Ukraine. In his interview with the Dnipro station, Samovar said that “the Ukrainians should prepare for total mobilization and a cold winter.” The next year “will unfortunately be much harder than 2023 and 2022 combined,” he added. The officer explained that Russia is actively building up its forces and adapting its economy to the needs of its military.

If Moscow keeps up like this, it might prevail at some point, Samovar admitted, adding that Ukraine has neither such a “massive mobilization potential nor that much money and resources.” In December, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said that the nation’s military had proposed calling up an additional 450,000-500,000 people, and that the government wanted to allocate an additional 500 billion hryvnia ($13.3 billion) to the effort. Earlier, the nation’s defense minister, Rustem Umerov, told Germany’s Bild tabloid that all Ukrainian men of military age living abroad were to be summoned to recruitment centers. The Defense Ministry then rushed to deny such plans.

On Friday, it was reported that lawmakers in Kiev were actively working on a bill that would allow Ukrainians living abroad to be drafted. According to Vadim Ivchenko, an MP and member of the parliament’s Security and Defense Committee, the bill will be introduced in January. Zelensky’s administration also supported the measure. A senior presidential aide, Mikhail Podoliak, told Ukraine’s Channel 24 on Friday that Ukrainian men should return home to fight and that a set of punitive measures should be introduced if they don’t up to having their residency permits revoked in their current countries of stay. Estonia then expressed its readiness to extradite Ukrainians of military age at Kiev’s request. Germany, meanwhile, has said it would not send anyone back against their will.

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”..the surge in new arrivals was a “hybrid operation” aimed at “destabilizing our society..”

Finland To Pay Failed Asylum Seekers For Voluntary Return Home (RT)

Rejected asylum seekers in Finland might receive a heavy sum from Helsinki starting next year if they agree to return to their home countries, the Finnish Interior Ministry announced on Thursday as it unveiled the new “voluntary return assistance” program. Under the scheme, a refugee can apply for a grant for voluntary return and get €5,300 ($5,833) if they do so within 30 days after the first negative decision on their asylum application or withdraw the request themselves, the ministry’s statement said. If they do so later, the sum would drop to €2,000 ($2,201), it added. The program, which is to be launched on January 1, 2024, is designed to encourage “leaving the country as quickly as possible and refraining from appealing the asylum decision,” the statement said. An asylum seeker can apply for the grant regardless of their country of origin.

The money can then be spent to cover the travel costs or “commodity support,” according to the Finnish authorities. A returnee can also use the grant to “get education or start a small business” at home. “Returning to the home country must be a sustainable solution,” the statement said, adding that “return counseling” by the immigration authorities would be enhanced and measures to promote voluntary returns would be “intensified.” Victims of human trafficking who have no place of residence in Finland, as well as those who received such a residency permit because they had been prevented from leaving the country can also apply for a grant but the sum for them would be only €3,000 ($3,301) and would not scale, depending on the timing, the Interior Ministry said. Support would not be provided to those seeking to move to another EU or Schengen country or to a nation where citizens can enter Finland without visas, the ministry added.

The announcement comes as Finland struggles to stem the inflow of migrants and asylum seekers on its eastern border with Russia. The Nordic nation had to gradually shut down its border crossings with Russia last month, citing an increase in the number of migrants from third nations seeking to cross into its territory from Russia. Helsinki also repeatedly accused Moscow of being behind the influx, although the Kremlin rejected the claims as “completely baseless.” Interior Minister Mari Rantanen claimed in December that the surge in new arrivals was a “hybrid operation” aimed at “destabilizing our society,” which Helsinki must resist.

Poland, which also shares a border with Russia, said it had offered to deploy a team of “military advisers” to the Nordic nation to provide “on-site knowledge on border security, including in an operational sense.” Finland later denied any knowledge of Warsaw’s offer, while the Kremlin condemned it as an “an absolutely unprovoked, unjustified concentration of military units on the Russian border.” In December, the Council of Europe criticized Helsinki’s decision to close the border, pointing to concerns about effective access to legal entry for asylum seekers and “considerable risks for the health and life” of migrants. Later the same month, the Finnish authorities announced opening two of the eight border crossings with Russia but shut them down in just a day. “Illegal entry on the Finnish border has immediately resumed,” Rantanen said at that time.

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“We have nothing to be embarrassed about. I hope that the Ukrainians are interested in rebuilding their own country, which needs it..”

Denmark Warns Ukrainian Refugees They Will Have to Go Home After Conflict Ends (Sp.)

Denmark has said it is no longer happy to play host to thousands of Ukrainian refugees indefinitely. Once the Ukraine conflict is over, they must return home – that was the message from Minister for Immigration and Integration Kaare Dybvad Bek. “We have nothing to be embarrassed about. I hope that the Ukrainians are interested in rebuilding their own country, which needs it,” Dybvad told daily newspaper Berlingske. A total of 30,278 Ukrainians are currently registered as temporary residents in Denmark under the Danish Special Act — but that is set to expire in March 2025. The law grants them a residence permit, social benefits, access to school, work, health services, a national integration program and temporary accommodation in a Danish municipality — in stark contrast to refugees from other countries.

“We will not change that point of view. We work with temporary accommodation in the context of refugees, and it is regardless of where people come from,” said Dybvad.While insisting that Ukrainians were “culturally closer to us than people from the Middle East,” the minister stressed that they behaved in “completely different ways” than Danes. Dybvad also noted that the Kiev regime had said it wants its citizens to return — for conscription into the army, according to some officials. Denmark “will have to respect that,” he said. “If we go it alone and make our own legislation, which is out of step with the EU, then we risk having a very large influx of people who already have a safe place to be,” Dybvad warned. Some Ukrainians might be able to stay past the March 2025 deadline, Kaare Dybvad added, but only under certain conditions. Anyone able to earn over 375,000 Danish kroner ($55,400) per year could apply for a business permit.

“I think they have the opportunity to stay to a reasonable extent, but we are not going to make an independent opening where we say that everyone who comes from Ukraine can stay in Denmark,” the minister said. Currently there are nearly 6 million Ukrainian refugees in Europe, according to the UNHCR collation of statistics. The most popular destinations for the migrants have been Germany, the Czech Republic, and the Netherlands. The highest number of Ukrainian refugees per thousand inhabitants is recorded in the Czech Republic (33.7), Estonia (26.3), Poland (26.1), Bulgaria (26.1) and Lithuania (25.8), as per the latest Eurostat data. Many have expressed the desire to stay in these countries.

But many European countries that have already felt the blowback from self-harming anti-Russia sanctions over Ukraine are now mulling ways to send the refugees home. The “economic burden” of Ukrainian refugees against the backdrop of soaring inflation, higher global food prices, and other costs, is feeding into the overall “Ukraine fatigue.” Germany has also complained that unemployed Ukrainian refugees have become a drain on its finances. Less than 20 percent of the tens of thousands of Ukrainians who moved there have since found a job in their new host country, one local media outlet announced in November, noting that some 700,000 Ukrainian refugees in the country currently receive unemployment benefits.

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“..the Estonian authorities know where the Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in the country are and what they are doing..”

Estonia Ready to Extradite Draft-Age Ukrainian Men (Sp.)

Estonia is ready to locate and extradite Ukrainians of draft-age and those undergoing mobilization to Kiev, the country’s Interior Minister Lauri Laanemets told local media. “If Ukraine tells the state of Estonia that they want to mobilize these individuals and asks to send them home, then Estonia will certainly help Ukraine,” Laanemets explained. According to him, the Estonian authorities know where the Ukrainian refugees who have arrived in the country are and what they are doing. Laanemets noted, however, that no official request for the extradition of Ukrainians of military age has yet been received from Kiev.

The minister promised that in the coming days he will submit a written proposal for a corresponding agreement between the two countries. More than 7,000 Ukrainian men of mobilization age have so far applied for temporary protection in Estonia. Earlier, the German authorities refused to extradite Ukrainians who had left Ukraine country to Kiev for mobilization. According to the head of the German Ministry of Justice, Marco Buschmann, Berlin is primarily trying to employ people from Ukraine.

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“..he will focus on “the existential threat to democracy that Donald Trump represents.”

Trump Offers Biden ‘Ten Debates’ (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump said on Friday that he would be willing to debate current President Joe Biden multiple times if they both become the nominee of their respective parties. During an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, Trump responded to a question about whether he would face Biden if the opportunity arose. “Oh, I look forward to that. How about 10 debates? How about 10,” Trump said. He also argued that the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which is responsible for organizing the events, is “totally corrupt” and “Democrat-leaning.” Referring to a showdown between him and Biden that was scheduled for October 2020 and canceled by the CPD, Trump affirmed that he would “do 20 debates even if it was organized by them.”

“I’ll do as many debates as they want. I’d do a debate every night with this guy. But he’ll never show up to a debate,” he added. In November, Trump announced that he would run for office again in 2024. He did so despite finding himself at the center of multiple lawsuits in recent months, four of which have resulted in indictments. In total, he faces 91 criminal charges. He has pleaded not guilty to all of them.

At a rally in New Hampshire last week, Trump referred to his court cases by quoting Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Republican said he had been subjected to “Biden’s politically motivated persecution,” which showed “the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach others about democracy.” Biden announced in April that he would run for re-election. His campaign strategy memo for the 2024 race, shared by CNN on Thursday, declares he will focus on “the existential threat to democracy that Donald Trump represents.” A Morning Consult and Bloomberg poll released last week showed Trump leading the incumbent in seven swing states: North Carolina, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada, Michigan, Arizona and Pennsylvania.

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“..attempt to install himself as “president for life” if successful in 2024..”

Trump Responds To Hitler Comparisons (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has defended his assertion that illegal immigration is “poisoning the blood” of America, claiming that he had no idea Adolf Hitler used similar language in his book, Mein Kampf. Speaking at a campaign rally in New Hampshire last weekend, Trump declared that the flow of illegal immigrants into the US – which hit an all time record this fiscal year – was “poisoning the blood of our country,” adding that “they’re coming into our country from Africa, from Asia, all over the world.” He made similar statements at a rally in Iowa later in the week, and in a campaign video on Thursday. Trump was excoriated for the remark by liberal media outlets and by President Joe Biden’s campaign team, who accused him of “parroting Hitler.” The Nazi dictator wrote in Mein Kampf that “inferior races” were a “contamination of the blood” of Germany.

Asked by conservative talk show host Hugh Hewitt whether he used the term in the same way Hitler did, Trump said on Friday that he did not. “No, and I never knew that Hitler said it either, by the way,” Trump told Hewitt. “And I never read ‘Mein Kampf.’ They said I read ‘Mein Kampf.’ These are people that are disinformation, horrible people that we’re dealing with.” “I’m not a student of Hitler. I never read his works,” Trump continued. “They say that he said something about blood. He didn’t say it the way I said it either, by the way, it’s a very different kind of a statement.” Trump then repeated his argument against illegal immigration, declaring that “they’re destroying our country. They’re coming in from every continent, and we have no idea who they are, what they represent. Are they from jails? Are they from prisons? And I will tell you, a big percentage of the people coming in are from prisons and from mental institutions and are terrorists… and that is poisoning our country.”

With less than a year to go until the 2024 presidential election, Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee and is leading Biden in most polls. If elected, Trump has promised to use executive powers to close the US-Mexico border, reinstate his ‘Remain in Mexico’ asylum policy, and end the Biden administration’s practice of ‘Catch and Release’, under which illegal immigrants are released into the US after apprehension with orders to show up for court dates up to 10 years later. The furor over Trump’s “poison blood” remarks comes after several leading liberal pundits claimed that the former president would abandon NATO, sic the military on protesters, and attempt to install himself as “president for life” if successful in 2024. All of the articles’ authors were prominent critics of Trump during his presidency.

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Yeah, why the delay?

51 Days Later, Tucker Carlson Releases Interview With Julian Assange (CTH)

Using his Twitter/X platform to promote the 5-minute-long teaser, Tucker Carlson has finally released the interview with Julian Assange that took place on November 2, 2023. Why wait 51 days? Your guess is as good as mine. [..] As the Yahoo News article begins, they outline how those within the Trump administration viewed Assange as a risk in 2017. Here it is critical to accept that many people inside the Trump administration were there to control events, not to facilitate a policy agenda from a political outsider. In the example of Assange, the information he carried was a risk to those who attempted and failed to stop Trump from winning the 2016 election. Julian Assange was not a threat to Donald Trump, but he was a threat to those who attempted to stop Donald Trump. In 2017, the DC system was reacting to a presidency they did not control.

As an outcome, the Office of the President was being managed and influenced by some with ulterior motives. Yahoo, via Michael Isikoff, puts it this way: “Some senior officials inside the CIA and the Trump administration even discussed killing Assange, going so far as to request “sketches” or “options” for how to assassinate him. Discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred “at the highest levels” of the Trump administration, said a former senior counterintelligence official. “There seemed to be no boundaries.” As we overlay the timeline, it is prudent to pause and remember some hindsight details. According to reports in November of 2019, U.S. Attorney John Durham and U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr were spending time looking carefully at CIA activity in the 2016 presidential election. One quote from a media-voice increasingly sympathetic to a political deep-state noted:

“One British official with knowledge of Barr’s wish list presented to London commented that, “It is like nothing we have come across before, they are basically asking, in quite robust terms, for help in doing a hatchet job on their own intelligence services”“. It is interesting that quote came from a British intelligence official, as there was extensive pre-2016 election evidence of an FBI/CIA counterintelligence operation that also involved U.K. intelligence services. There was an aspect to the FBI/CIA operation that overlaps with both a U.S. and U.K. need to keep Wikileaks founder Julian Assange under tight control. To understand the risk that Julian Assange represented to FBI/CIA interests, and effectively the Mueller special counsel, it is important to understand just how extensive the operations of the FBI/CIA were in 2016.

It is within this network of foreign and domestic operations where FBI Agent Peter Strzok was clearly working as a bridge between the CIA and FBI operations. By now, people are familiar with the construct of CIA operations involving Joseph Mifsud, a Maltese professor generally identified as a western intelligence operative who was tasked by the FBI/CIA to run an operation against Trump campaign official George Papadopoulos in both Italy (Rome) and London. John Durham ignored him. In a similar fashion, the FBI tasked U.S. intelligence asset Stefan Halper to target another Trump campaign official, Carter Page. Under the auspices of being a Cambridge Professor, Stefan Halper also targeted General Michael Flynn. Additionally, using assistance from a female FBI agent, under the false name Azra Turk, Halper also targeted Papadopoulos. Again, John Durham ignored it.

The initial operations to target Flynn, Papadopoulos and Page were all based overseas. This seemingly makes the CIA exploitation of the assets and the targets legal and much easier. If Durham went into this intelligence rabbit hole, there would be a paper trail that leads back to Robert Mueller. Durham didn’t go there.

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“This important ruling sets the stage for the plaintiffs to gather documentary evidence and take depositions under oath exposing the details of the CIA’s alleged wrongdoing..”

CIA Must Face Lawsuit for Violating Rights of Assange’s Visitors (LAP)

In a stunning decision on December 19, a federal court in New York ruled that attorneys and journalists may pursue their civil complaint against the Central Intelligence Agency. The plaintiffs allege their constitutional rights were violated by illegal surveillance during their visits with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange between January 2017 and March 2018 at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he had been granted asylum. The 27-page decision in Kunstler v CIA, written by US District Judge John G. Koeltl, , denied the CIA’s motion to dismiss the case. This important ruling sets the stage for the plaintiffs to gather documentary evidence and take depositions under oath exposing the details of the CIA’s alleged wrongdoing. The result may be a public trial as early as next year. The case presents a rare opportunity for the clandestine operations of the CIA – an agency that prides itself on secrecy – to be subjected to public scrutiny and accountability.

Assange is a journalist and publisher and the founder of WikiLeaks, a multi-national media organization and library. The US indicted Assange for allegedly violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and other charges regarding computer intrusion. If extradited to the US, he faces 175 years in prison. Assange, fearing even before the indictment that he would be extradited and face charges, took refuge in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London until April 2019, when he was abruptly arrested by British authorities. He has been detained in HM Belmarch Prison ever since. In August 2022, Margaret Ratner Kunstler, Deborah Hrbek, John Goetz, and Charles Glass sued the CIA and former director Mike Pompeo, as well as David Morales Guillen and his professional security firm based in Spain, Undercover Global S.L. Kunstler and Hrbek are attorneys practicing law in New York, and Goetz and Glass are journalists who report on national security issues.

Their civil complaint alleges that in April 2017, Pompeo announced in one of his first speeches that “as CIA Director he would target whistleblowers who exposed clandestine and/or illegal efforts by the United States government aimed at countries perceived to be hostile to U.S. interests.” Pompeo specifically labeled WikiLeaks as “a nonstate hostile intelligence service.” He called Assange a “narcissist,” “fraud,” and a “coward,” and “pledged that his office would embark upon a ‘long term’ campaign against WikiLeaks.”

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“..part of this trend of our enforcement agencies being weaponized to serve a political agenda.”

RFK Jr. Denied Secret Service Protection For 3rd Time (Deseret)

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s third request for Secret Service protection has been denied, according to a letter obtained by the Deseret News. The letter, signed by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, says that USSS protection for Kennedy is “not warranted.” The letter’s veracity was confirmed Friday night by the Kennedy campaign. “I have consulted with an advisory committee composed of the Speaker of the House, the House Minority Leader, the Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Minority Leader, and the Senate Sergeant at Arms,” Mayorkas wrote. “Based on the facts and the recommendation of the advisory committee, I have determined that Secret Service protection for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is not warranted at this time.” Kennedy has submitted three requests for Secret Service protection since launching his campaign in April, each with the same result.

Federal law authorizes Secret Service protection for “major” presidential and vice presidential candidates. The DHS secretary is given authority to determine who qualifies as a “major” candidate, in consultation with the top congressional leaders in the House and Senate. In 2017, criteria were established to help guide the DHS’ decision making, including a threat assessment conducted by the Secret Service to determine whether the candidate is in danger, and whether the candidate meets specific polling thresholds. For independent candidates, the threshold is “polling at 20% or more of the Real Clear Politics National Average for 30 consecutive days.” Historically, Secret Service protection has been reserved for the two major-party nominees and their vice presidents, though others — like Herman Cain in 2012 and Ben Carson in 2016 — received protection just under one year before Election Day.

The Kennedy campaign has argued that Kennedy meets the criteria to receive protection. When it submitted its second request, Kennedy said he provided a 67-page report from Gavin de Becker and Associates, the security firm Kennedy hired, “detailing unique and well-established security and safety risks aside from commonplace death threats.” In an interview with the Deseret News in October, Kennedy said he’s spent almost $2 million on private security. He called DHS’ decision “political,” saying it is “part of this trend of our enforcement agencies being weaponized to serve a political agenda.” “I can’t look into the heads of the people who are making these decisions at the White House,” Kennedy continued. “But I think they’d probably rather me spend money on protection than spending it on field organization or advertising.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

GVB

 

 

 

 

Idle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1738610597921522052

 

 

Panther?

 

 

 

 

Bing and Bowie

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 202023
 
 December 20, 2023  Posted by at 9:25 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  53 Responses »


Edward Hopper Hotel by a railroad 1952

 

Colorado Supreme Court Disqualifies Trump From 2024 Ballot (ZH)
This Is What An *Actual* Attack On Democracy Looks Like (Ramaswamy)
The Colorado Supreme Court 4-3 Decision Is Pure Nonsense (CTH)
Trump Could Leave NATO – Reuters (RT)
Russia Is Counting On Donald Trump’s Return – Czech President (RT)
We Are Well Beyond Hypocrisy (Victor Davis Hanson)
US Escalation in the Red Sea – A Lose/Lose Proposition (Bentley)
Ukraine – Another Lost US/NATO War With No Regrets (Sp.)
Ukrainians Tell MP They Would Give Up Citizenship To Avoid Conscription (RT)
The Multifront Attack on Elon Musk (Jeffrey Tucker)
Media Matters Sues Texas AG In Federal Court (ET)
Giuliani Sued Again By Election Workers Over Latest False Claims (BBC)
The Terror Watchlist Prepared the Way to Tyranny (Paul Craig Roberts)
US National Debt Jumps $2.6 Trillion In Six Months (RT)
US Judge Orders More Than 170 Jeffrey Epstein Associates To Be Named (BBC)
Imran Khan Uses AI To Deliver Speech From Prison (RT)
Assange Appeal Hearing Set for February (Lauria)

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

Vigano
https://twitter.com/i/status/1735060540333113441

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And you thought things were crazy before…

Colorado Supreme Court Disqualifies Trump From 2024 Ballot (ZH)

The Colorado Supreme Court has disqualified Donald Trump from Colorado’s 2024 presidential election ballot, and in a 4-3 ruling has effectively blocked Trump from seeking the presidency because of his role in the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, citing the post-Civil War-era 14th Amendment to the US Constitution that bans insurrectionists from holding public office. The Colorado case was the first constitutional challenge to Trump’s 2024 run to go through a full trial. Voters, represented by the advocacy group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, had argued he should be barred from the ballot for inciting the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. Colorado’s highest court – whose seven-member bench was entirely appointed by Democratic governors – overturned a ruling from a district court judge who found that Trump incited an insurrection for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, but said he could not be barred from the ballot because it was unclear that the provision was intended to cover the presidency.

In its ruling, the Democrat-controlled court found that Trump engaged in insurrection by inflaming his supporters with false claims of election fraud and directing them to the Capitol. The state justices determined that the office of the president is covered under the insurrection clause, which specifically lists those who previously took oaths to support the Constitution as “a member of Congress,” “officer of the United States,” “member of any State legislature” or an “executive or judicial officer of any State.” The district court had previously ruled that the office of the president was not covered under the clause. The majority opinion was unsigned but joined by four of the seven justices. [..] Three justices dissented from Tuesday’s decision: Chief Justice Brian Boatright, Carlos Samour and Justice Maria Berkenkotter. Each wrote separate dissents taking issue with how the plaintiffs brought their 14th Amendment lawsuit using a provision of Colorado election law.

Berkenkotter wrote that “the majority construes the court’s authority too broadly.” “The questions presented here simply reach a magnitude of complexity not contemplated by the Colorado General Assembly for its election code enforcement statute,” wrote Boatright. “The proceedings below ran counter to the letter and spirit of the statutory timeframe because the Electors’ claim overwhelmed the process.” Samour similarly wrote that Colorado’s election law provides no “engine” for such a lawsuit, also noting that no federal legislation existed to enforce the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause. “Even if we are convinced that a candidate committed horrible acts in the past—dare I say, engaged in insurrection—there must be procedural due process before we can declare that individual disqualified from holding public office. Procedural due process is one of the aspects of America’s democracy that sets this country apart,” Samour wrote.

Ironically, all this ruling will do is further cement Trump’s status as leading presidential candidate as it not only affirms his status as target #1 of the Biden Department of Justice and liberal court system, but will test the Conservative-dominated Supreme Court appeal over its interpretation of the 14th Amendment, which according to many including a Colorado District court, does not apply to the Presidency. Indeed, as Vivek Ramaswami observed, the 14th Amendment was part of the “Reconstruction Amendments” that were ratified following the Civil War. “It was passed to prohibit former Confederate military and political leaders from holding high federal or state office. These men had clearly taken part in a rebellion against the United States: the Civil War. That makes it all the more absurd that a left-wing group in Colorado is asking a federal court to disqualify the 45th President on the same grounds, equating his speech to rebellion against the United States.”

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X thread.

This Is What An *Actual* Attack On Democracy Looks Like (Ramaswamy)

This is what an *actual* attack on democracy looks like: in an un-American, unconstitutional, and *unprecedented* decision, a cabal of Democrat judges are barring Trump from the ballot in Colorado. Having tried every trick in the book to eliminate President Trump from running in this election, the bipartisan Establishment is now deploying a new tactic to bar him from ever holding office again: the 14th Amendment. I pledge to *withdraw* from the Colorado GOP primary unless Trump is also allowed to be on the state’s ballot, and I demand that Ron DeSantis, Chris Christie, and Nikki Haley to do the same immediately – or else they are tacitly endorsing this illegal maneuver which will have disastrous consequences for our country.

Today’s decision is the latest election interference tactic to silence political opponents and swing the election for whatever puppet the Democrats put up this time by depriving Americans of the right to vote for their candidate of choice. The 14th Amendment was part of the “Reconstruction Amendments” that were ratified following the Civil War. It was passed to prohibit former Confederate military and political leaders from holding high federal or state office. These men had clearly taken part in a rebellion against the United States: the Civil War. That makes it all the more absurd that a left-wing group in Colorado is asking a federal court to disqualify the 45th President on the same grounds, equating his speech to rebellion against the United States.

And there’s another legal problem: Trump is not a former “officer of the United States,” as that term is used in the Constitution, meaning Section 3 does not apply. As the Supreme Court explained in Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (2010), an “officer of the United States” is someone appointed by the President to aid him in his duties under Article II, Section 2. The term does not apply to elected officials, and certainly not to the President himself. The Framers of the 14th Amendment would be appalled to see this narrow provision—intended to bar former U.S. officials who switched to the Confederacy from seeking public office—being weaponized by a sitting President and his political allies to prevent a former President from seeking reelection. Our country is becoming unrecognizable to our Founding Fathers.

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“..psychological lawfare stuff – intended for media consumption..”

The Colorado Supreme Court 4-3 Decision Is Pure Nonsense (CTH)

Three main points before getting to the substance.
#1) It was a 4-3 decision. Meaning it was the politics of the court, literally the political makeup and perspective therein, that determined the outcome of the decision. This is showcased in point #3, which is the funniest part.
#2) The entire framework of the case against Trump in the Colorado decision is predicated on this: “[the complainants] asserted that he was ineligible under Section Three because he engaged in insurrection on January 6, 2021, after swearing an oath as President to support the U.S. Constitution.” [pdf, page 6] REMINDER – President Donald Trump was not charged with “insurrection,” is not accused of “insurrection,” does not fit the complaint under the definitions of “insurrection,” and has never been found guilty of insurrection. The complaint is moot before the court. But hey, it’s Lawfare… and we all know Lawfare is created for public media consumption, so that takes us directly to the biggest point.
#3) Instead of me writing it, let me screengrab it so we can all laugh together.

Wait, what? Yes, that’s correct. As long as President Trump appeals the decision to the Supreme Court, the appeals court stays their own ruling – essentially indefinitely. The Colorado primary ballots printed, and the primary election will be over, before the Supreme Court puts this on their docket. In addition to the virtual guarantee the high court will overrule this political nonsense, SCOTUS can make the entire issue moot before them by following their own normal schedule for submissions, arguments, deliberation and opinions delivered by the court. The Colorado appellate court knows this, that’s why they put this self-stay into their 4-3 ruling. It’s a politically correct way of giving the optics of telling their tribe, ‘hey we’re with you,’ without the ramifications of the political backlash. In other words, psychological lawfare stuff – intended for media consumption.

Making the issue that much better for Donald Trump, the efforts of the Prescott-Bush clan (look it up – they live in CO) will backfire bigly. The public backlash against a judicial ruling that interferes with the right of the citizens to determine their own election candidates plays perfectly into the sunlight operation against the Lawfare left. This backlash will be epic, albeit hidden by MSNBC and the rest of the insufferable media. Why? Because it doesn’t fit the Lawfare narrative. I’m not even going to highlight the nonsense from the leftists who are in a frenzy over this one. Just smile, pretend it’s the end of the world, eat your favorite foods and live your best life while trying not to laugh. Seriously, this is just that level of goofy. Remember what I said about Ron DeSantis in 2022, and everyone looked at me funny. Well, this is way more predictable than me saying DeSantis will collapse in sunlight.

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“If he defeats Biden, he “would likely install loyalists in key positions in the Pentagon, State Department and CIA whose primary allegiance would be to him..”

Trump Could Leave NATO – Reuters (RT)

Donald Trump’s potential second term in the White House might see Washington stop funding Ukraine, withdraw from NATO, and further cut economic ties with China, Reuters reported on Monday, citing anonymous sources. During his 2017-2021 presidency, many of Trump’s policies ended up obstructed by unelected government officials and sometimes even his own appointees, according to numerous insider accounts. He seeks to get around that problem by appointing “loyalists” more amenable to his “isolationist policies and whims,” the outlet claimed. Reuters admitted that Trump himself has offered “few clues” about his intentions. The article was based on interviews with almost 20 current and former aides and diplomats, most of whom were not named.

According to eight European diplomats, there are “acute fears” that the second Trump administration would cut off aid to Ukraine and doubts whether it would honor the US commitment to “defend NATO allies.” “There are rumors that he wants to take the US away from NATO or withdraw from Europe, of course it sounds worrying but… we are not in a panic,” said a diplomat from one Baltic country. Another diplomat, representing a northern European NATO member state, outlined the options his and some other embassies have sent to their capitals about the November 2024 election. If the incumbent president, Democrat Joe Biden, is reelected, “Things might go rather well: the US keeps on rehabilitating herself,” he said.

A “mild” version of the second Trump presidency would be “a repetition of his first term with some aggressive overtones.” If he actually follows through on pledges to dismantle the ‘Deep State’ apparatus, that would be the “doomsday option,” according to the diplomat. Trump is currently the favorite for the Republican presidential nomination. If he defeats Biden, he “would likely install loyalists in key positions in the Pentagon, State Department and CIA whose primary allegiance would be to him,” the anonymous aides told Reuters. That would enable him to “advance his foreign policy priorities faster and more efficiently than he was able to when previously in office.”

Making political appointments is the constitutional prerogative of US presidents. However, Trump has hinted he might purge the lower ranks of the federal bureaucracy, on many occasions describing the “Washington swamp” as an impediment to genuine reforms. “President Trump came to realize that personnel is policy,” Robert O’Brien, Trump’s fourth national security advisor, told Reuters. “At the outset of his administration, there were a lot of people that were interested in implementing their own policies, not the president’s policies.” Four people who “converse” with the 45th president have said that he regularly gets advice from former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, Ambassador Richard Grenell, and his one-time deputy, Kash Patel. None of them responded to Reuters’ interview requests. Neither Trump nor his campaign commented on the story.

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“The Czech leader, who previously served as a senior NATO military official and is a staunch supporter of Kiev in its fight with Moscow..”

Russia Is Counting On Donald Trump’s Return – Czech President (RT)

The Ukraine conflict may experience a “significant shift” next year, and not “in the good sense of the word,” Czech President Petr Pavel told the news service of the web portal Seznam.cz in an interview published on Monday. The Czech leader, who previously served as a senior NATO military official and is a staunch supporter of Kiev in its fight with Moscow, pointed to the 2024 presidential election in the US as the key moment for the confrontation. He claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was counting on Donald Trump winning at the ballot box come November and then striking a deal with Russia on Ukraine, which would ignore the wishes of Kiev and other European nations. The outcome, according to Pavel, would be “some kind of compromise that would theoretically return Russia to the status of a key player, and the others would have to put up with it somehow.”

He described the scenario as “unfavorable” for EU nations, including his own. In his public statements, Putin previously rejected the analysis outlined by Pavel. He argued that the personality of the US president was largely irrelevant to the country’s policy vis-a-vis Moscow. “[Trump] was accused of having a special relationship with Russia, which is total nonsense and bulls**t. But he was the president who introduced the most sanctions against Russia,” Putin noted in September at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. The US elites perceive Russia as an existential enemy, he added. They suppress the voices of Americans, who want good relations with Moscow, the Russian leader claimed.

“We have no idea who will be elected, but whoever it is, the anti-Russian vector of US policy is unlikely to change,” Putin concluded. Kiev has recently suffered a series of setbacks in terms of securing Western aid on both sides of the Atlantic. In Washington, a partisan conflict over border security caused a White House request for over $60 billion in additional Ukraine assistance to be blocked. In Brussels, Hungary vetoed a European Commission proposal to allocate €50 billion ($54 billion) over four years to support Kiev. In his interview, Pavel also said Putin had “made it clear” that peace talks on Ukraine are only possible with the US, and not Kiev or any European nation. Moscow perceives the conflict to be part of a Washington-led proxy war against Russia and believes the US has the ultimate say on it.

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“Do we remember when, not long ago, whistleblowers were noble?”

We Are Well Beyond Hypocrisy (Victor Davis Hanson)

The Left is saturating the airwaves with outrage over the current House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry. They allege that formally investigating Joe Biden’s role in the family grifting operation is somehow a poor constitutional precedent, if not out-of-bounds entirely. So we hear further arguments that it will be unwise to impeach a first-term president when he loses his House majority, that there is no reason to “waste” congressional time and effort when Biden will be automatically acquitted in the Democratically controlled Senate, and that the impeachment is cynically timed to synchronize with president’s reelection efforts. All of these are the precise arguments many of us cited when Donald Trump was impeached in December 2019 (as his reelection campaign began, and immediately after being cleared of the 22-month, $40-million-special-counsel Russian-collusion hoax).

The Democrats tried to remove an elected president over a phone call without a special counsel’s report. So Trump was impeached only after the 2018 election led to a Democratic House majority, which went from eating up nearly two years of his administration in the Russian-collusion hoax straight into the impeachment farce. There was no concern about the cost to the nation of putting an elected government into a continual state of siege. There is one difference, though, between the Trump impeachment and the Biden impeachment inquiry. Donald Trump was impeached because he accurately accused the members of the Ukrainian government of paying Hunter Biden, with his zero fossil fuel expertise, an astronomical sum to serve on the Burisma board—as the costly quid that earned the lucrative quo from his dad Vice President Joe Biden.

No one now denies that Joe Biden got prosecutor Viktor Shokin fired by threatening to cancel legislatively-approved U.S. aid. Shokin knew about the skullduggery through which the Biden family eventually received $6.5 million from Ukraine—and so Biden ensured his firing, and publicly bragged about it in performance-art fashion. In sum, Trump had a perfect right as commander in chief to delay (he did not cancel) aid to Ukraine, to ensure that its government was not still paying off the Bidens for their lobbying efforts on its behalf. It is also now clear that Biden serially lied about his ignorance of Hunter’s shake-down operation. In fact, he was, as Devon Archer emphasized, “the brand” central to Hunter’s scheme to coerce money from foreign governments. Joe was proverbially, in Hunter’s words “the man sitting next to me” and thus able to either punish or reward foreign interests, depending on the size of the checks they wrote to his various fronting family members.

The left is now furious that Hunter has been subpoenaed by the House to testify in private about how he earned his multimillion-dollar income, whether he fully paid taxes on it, and to whom he distributed his winnings. Hunter has refused to testify. He is now being held in contempt of the U.S. Congress—to the silence of the usually self-righteous former senator Joe “pay your fair share” Biden. We hear sanctimonious harangues that Joe is guilty of loving “his only son” Hunter too much, or that it is way out of bounds for a Department of Justice prosecutor to hound Joe Biden by going “after his family,” or that Republican congressional subpoenas and contempt findings should be summarily ignored. Ask Peter Navarro or Steve Bannon whether one can simply ignore a House subpoena. Ask Ivanka Trump whether she was, or was not, subpoenaed to appear before the January 6 committee. Ask the Trump sons whether they could breezily say “no” to Letitia James’s subpoenas in her farcical real-estate-valuation suit against Trump.

Do we remember when, not long ago, whistleblowers were noble? The alleged whistleblower Eric Ciaramella, an Obama holdover who had burrowed inside the Trump administration, had zero firsthand knowledge of the Trump phone call to Ukrainian president Zelensky. Ukrainian expatriate Lt. Col Alexander Vindman was on the call, as a member of the Trump national security team. He broke the law and apparently disclosed the classified call—in outrage that Trump was apparently too hard on his native Ukraine— to Ciaramella, and then hid the latter’s identity. Both met privately with Rep. Adam Schiff (D—CA) to engineer an impeachment writ. Instead, both came forward as whistleblowers to testify before Congress about how the Biden Justice Department deliberately and carefully ensured that the mountain of evidence for the prosecution of Hunter Biden that they had presented had simply been ignored—at least long enough for the statute of limitations to run out on his most egregious crimes.

When they both made their case that facts proved the Biden family received huge sums for selling access to or action from Joe Biden, they were roundly trashed by Democrats in congress and pilloried as disgruntled politicos by a toady press.

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“The choice is between demanding an end to the Gaza humanitarian tragedy or escalating the conflict into a war that will have global consequences.”

US Escalation in the Red Sea – A Lose/Lose Proposition (Bentley)

The latest escalation in world military affairs, the situation in the Red Sea and Yemen, has the real potential to eclipse both the war in Ukraine and the invasion of Gaza, both in terms of military and economic impact, on a global scale. The hubris and abject idiocy of US plans to open yet another conflict that they cannot hope to win, and that cannot lead to anything but the destruction of the world economy can only be described as criminally insane. In a recent letter to “Dear America”, the Houthi leaders wrote, “A desperate plea for reflection. The consequences are dire, and the responsibility lies with the guardians of the American dream. Beware, for the path you tread upon carries weighty consequences, reverberating across oceans and continents. Choose wisely…” The choice is between demanding an end to the Gaza humanitarian tragedy or escalating the conflict into a war that will have global consequences. The US has already announced its intention to choose the latter. It is a choice for which the American people, if they allow it to happen, will suffer gravely.

The US and UK have moved at least 24 combat ships into the seas off the coast of Yemen, ostensibly “to protect global shipping lanes”. This is a lie. The Houthis have clearly stated that, one, that they are only targeting ships serving Israeli interests, and that all other shipping is under no threat, and two, that they are willing to cease all military operations against Israeli shipping as soon as Israel stops its attacks on Gaza and the West Bank. It is ONLY Israeli shipping that is under threat, and it is ONLY Israeli shipping that US and UK naval forces are deployed to protect. But by escalating the situation in the Red Sea, they are putting at risk ALL shipping passing through the Red Sea and Suez Canal, which accounts for 12% of all global trade and 30% of all container shipping, as well as about 8% of world trade in both oil and LNG, for a total annual value of over a trillion US dollars.

As things stand now, only Israel-linked shipping is at risk, and even that risk can be completely eliminated by the cessation of Israeli attacks on Gaza and the West Bank. But if the US attacks Yemen, the Houthis will respond, and they do have the capability to sink US Navy ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. And once that happens, the Red Sea becomes an active war zone, and then, all bets are off, along with all shipping in the Red Sea, and 12% of all global trade. Think about it… The economies of the EU nations are already in serious decline. The US national debt stands at over $33 TRILLION, and the era of the US dollar’s reserve currency status in global trade is closing fast. A 12% overnight decline in global trade would almost certainly lead these economies into economic depression equivalent to the Great Depression of almost 100 years ago.

As I have said many times before, economic war and military war are two sides of the same coin. The Houthis have a major economic advantage based on their geography to influence and even threaten global economic activity, and have proven their ability and willingness to use it. And it is by no means certain that the Western armada assembled along the Yemeni coast can even defeat the Houthis militarily without unacceptable and unsustainable losses. According to Fabian Hinz, a research fellow at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, the Houthis are known to possess two types of larger anti-ship ballistic missiles: The Asef, which has a ranger 450km range, and the Tankil,which has a range of 500km. These missiles can travel at speeds up to Mach 5, and carry warheads of between 300 to 500 kg. (By comparison, Chinese anti-ship missiles with 600 kg warheads have been dubbed “Aircraft Carrier Killers”.) The range of these missiles allows the Houthis to cover not only the southern third of the Red Sea, but all of the Gulf of Aden and much of the Arabian Sea as well.

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“No empires have lasted forever and that of the US/NATO world will be the last..”

Ukraine – Another Lost US/NATO War With No Regrets (Sp.)

One of the enigmatic aspects of international politics is that big and militarily superior countries have systematically lost wars in smaller countries over the last 50 years, from Vietnam to Ukraine. “Losing” here means military defeat, being forced out, losing the struggle for the hearts and minds of the people, and facing fiasco when it comes to achieving the professed noble motives like introducing human rights, democracy, freedom or liberating women. And given the tremendous human costs, particularly in the Middle East, the US’ “Global War on Terror” since September 11, 2001 is also an intellectual and moral disaster. The US – by far the world’s largest military spender, interventionist, warrior, occupier, global base-builder with the most militarized foreign policy – is in a class of its own. In losing wars too.

It is now rapidly losing legitimacy, relevance and credibility in the eyes of most of the world outside US/NATO/EU/ANPO/AUKUS. Firstly, all these imperial militarist adventures have been woefully anti-intellectual and imbued with the arrogance of power, elements of racism and hubris. Secondly, after quite predictable fiascos and defeats – such as in Iraq – there comes a time when propaganda, psychological operations (PSYOPS), media influencing, and psycho-political projection no longer do the trick. There comes a time, too, when even the biggest military spender and economy cannot finance its weapons addiction and its arsenals of weapons and ammunition dry up.

It’s called over-extension and diminishing legitimacy in the eyes of others, it’s called militarism to death and is transforming into imperial decline and eventual fall. No empires have lasted forever and that of the US/NATO world will be the last. No one is so foolish to believe that, in an incredibly diverse world, everybody else would accept one player to be the all-dominating system and shape others into its own image. Missionary times are a thing of the past. Enter Ukraine. NATO set itself up in Kiev immediately after it became independent and declared in 2008 that it would become a member of the alliance. It was a gross violation of the promises indisputably given to the last Soviet President, Michael Gorbachev, but such was the unipolar we-can-do-whatever-we-want sentiment.

In an autistic manner, NATO refused to listen to Russia’s legitimate security concerns and also did not bother about the fact that there was only a tiny minority among the Ukrainian people in favour of membership of NATO. Instead, a regime change in Kiev was all that was needed: installing a pro-Western leadership, paying it well and giving it an offer it could not refuse by wooing it step-by-step into the ever-expanding alliance. Russia then put its foot down, and insult had to be added to injury: We will help you, Ukraine, for as long as it takes for you to win “our” war against Russia and “weaken” it; you’ll be covered the whole way, just fight for us to the last Ukrainian.

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“..73% claiming that retaining their Ukrainian passport was not worth the risk..”

Ukrainians Tell MP They Would Give Up Citizenship To Avoid Conscription (RT)

A majority of Ukrainians responding to a Facebook poll by a leading lawmaker have said they would be willing to renounce their citizenship in order to avoid being drafted into the military. In a series of Facebook posts on Monday, Mariana Bezuglaya, an MP from President Vladimir Zelensky’s ruling party, initially asked female followers if they would give up their Ukrainian passports to avoid potential forced mobilization to “rear positions” in the military industry. Even though the lawmaker emphasized that frontline combat positions are currently out of the question for women, some 65% of the more than 3,800 respondents said they would renounce their citizenship rather than take the risk.

In two follow-up polls, the MP wondered if women would at least consider registering with the military authorities for potential mobilization in the future, in exchange for reopening the borders for men, or for the demobilization of those who have already served for two years. Only 17% and 22% of respondents agreed, respectively. In her last “experimental survey” on Monday, Bezuglaya addressed men with a similar question: “In order not to be mobilized, am I ready to renounce Ukrainian citizenship?” Over 4,300 users took part in the poll, with 73% claiming that retaining their Ukrainian passport was not worth the risk. Bezuglaya is currently deputy chair of the parliamentary committee on National Security, Defense and Intelligence, and is best known for proposing a bill in May 2022 that would have allowed Ukrainian officers to execute soldiers for insubordination without a trial.

Earlier this month, the lawmaker marked International Volunteer Day by thanking everyone who had already signed up to the military, but demanded more enlistment and urged women to join the ranks. The 35-year-old claimed she had undergone military training herself in 2015, when the government in Kiev was waging its “anti-terrorist operation” against the residents of Donbass. Kiev’s push to recruit more troops follows its underwhelming summer counteroffensive, which according to estimates by the Russian Defense Ministry has cost Ukraine over 125,000 troops. Last month, Zelensky promised a “comprehensive proposal” to reform the conscription system, which has yet to be announced. According to Russian intelligence, Ukraine’s backers in the West have demanded that the draft be expanded to teenagers, older men, and women.

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“The presumption here is preposterous: that Elon doesn’t care if his product is flawed and doesn’t desire improvement.”

The Multifront Attack on Elon Musk (Jeffrey Tucker)

[..] Musk bought the Twitter platform and purged 4 out of 5 employees, including the many government agents who had been hired to turn Twitter into a government propaganda machine. Since then he has upheld the First Amendment and innovated a series of tools that allow for internal and crowd-source fact-checking to make his renamed platform the most reliable source of news and opinion in the world. Since he took over, he has faced a barrage of state-generated attacks. The SEC has sued Musk over the purchase of the platform. According to the New York Times, “his takeover has been the subject of several lawsuits and investigations by the federal authorities. The Federal Trade Commission has probed whether X had the resources to protect users’ privacy after he laid off much of its staff and several senior executives responsible for privacy and security resigned. The agency has also sought to depose Mr. Musk. Former Twitter shareholders have also sued Mr. Musk for fraud in a case related to his belated disclosure of his stake in the company.”

The FTC has demanded internal X documents. Says The Hill: “the FTC has sent more than a dozen letters to Twitter since Musk completed his acquisition in October. It states that the agency has demanded Twitter provide internal communications “relating to Elon Musk” from any Twitter employee, information about the platform’s Twitter Blue verification subscription service and the names of journalists who were granted access to Twitter records.” The Biden Department of Justice has sued SpaceX…get this…for not hiring refugees for secret rocket technology. CNN says: “The suit claims that ‘from at least September 2018 to May 2022, SpaceX routinely discouraged asylees and refugees from applying and refused to hire or consider them, because of their citizenship status, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA),’ according to an August 24 DOJ news release.”

The Biden Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commision have sued Tesla over improper perks. Forbes says: “The widened investigation comes after federal prosecutors and the SEC began probing a secret Tesla project known as Project 42 that employees described as a glass house for Musk in the Austin, Texas, area near Tesla’s factory, the Journal reported in August.” The Biden Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation against Tesla over self-driving cars. Reuters reports: “The U.S. Department of Justice launched the previously undisclosed probe last year following more than a dozen crashes, some of them fatal, involving Tesla’s driver assistance system Autopilot, which was activated during the accidents, the people said.” The presumption here is preposterous: that Elon doesn’t care if his product is flawed and doesn’t desire improvement.

There is a federal investigation of Neuralink. Reuters again: “Elon Musk’s Neuralink, a medical device company, is under federal investigation for potential animal-welfare violations amid internal staff complaints that its animal testing is being rushed, causing needless suffering and deaths, according to documents reviewed by Reuters and sources familiar with the investigation and company operations.”Then there is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission investigation over harassment at Tesla. The EEOC says: “Since at least 2015 to the present, Black employees at Tesla’s Fremont, California manufacturing facilities have routinely endured racial abuse, pervasive stereotyping, and hostility as well as epithets… Slurs were used casually and openly in high-traffic areas and at worker hubs.

“Black employees regularly encountered graffiti, including variations of the N-word, swastikas, threats, and nooses, on desks and other equipment, in bathroom stalls, within elevators, and even on new vehicles rolling off the production line.” Finally, we have the aggressive advertising boycott on the part of major corporations, including Disney, CNBC, Comcast, Warner Bros, IBM, and the Financial Times, among many others. Musk has refused to be intimidated by these people. He has said that he refuses to be blackmailed by money and instead told the companies to “Go f*** yourself.” Which is rather remarkable and really does speak to a major problem in social media today, which is the extent to which so many platforms are willing to do the bidding of the corporatist system in order to serve the bottom line.

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“..radical left-wing organizations who would like nothing more than to limit freedom by reducing participation in the public square..”

Media Matters Sues Texas AG In Federal Court (ET)

Media Matters for America is suing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in federal court, arguing that reporting by its senior investigative reporter on Elon Musk’s X app is being “chilled” by the AG’s announced investigation. Media Matters, a progressive watchdog group, filed its lawsuit Tuesday. It had reported last month that, according to its analysis, X was a platform hosting bigots and that it had paid far-right extremists, warning advertisers that their content was running beside pro-Hitler and anti-Semitic content. The report was then cited by major companies, like Apple, Disney, Sony, and Fox Sports, who announced they were boycotting the platform from their advertising campaigns.

This triggered Mr. Paxton to announce on Nov. 21 an investigation into Media Matters “for potential fraudulent activity” in its report, after X responded to the allegations saying that the progressive group had manufactured its results. X has sued Media Matters for defamation over the report in a Texas federal court, citing advertising data showing that report author Eric Hananoki was among only two users to see an Apple ad next to the hateful content, while explaining that content follows the search history of users. “Attorney General Paxton was extremely troubled by the allegations that Media Matters, a radical anti-free speech organization, fraudulently manipulated data on X.com (formerly known as Twitter),” the Office of the Attorney General in Texas said in announcing its investigation following X’s comments.

Mr. Paxton argued that his case was to protect the First Amendment rights of Texans. X has come under attack from progressive groups after Mr. Musk’s takeover of Twitter and the release of internal communications that revealed the company censored speech in favor of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden in the run-up to the 2020 election. Mr. Paxton’s office explained in its statement that it was pursuing its investigation of Media Matters’s report under the Texas Business Organizations Code and the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which allows his office to “vigorously enforce against nonprofits who commit fraudulent acts in or affecting the state of Texas.” “We are examining the issue closely to ensure that the public has not been deceived by the schemes of radical left-wing organizations who would like nothing more than to limit freedom by reducing participation in the public square,” Mr. Paxton said of the negative publicity directed at X since Mr. Musk’s takeover and efforts to reform the platform in favor of free speech for all Americans, regardless of political view.

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“Of course I don’t regret it,” Mr Giuliani told reporters on 11 December. “I told the truth. They were engaged in changing votes.”

Giuliani Sued Again By Election Workers Over Latest False Claims (BBC)

Two Georgia poll workers have filed a new lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani, days after winning a $148m (£116m) defamation case against him. Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss allege that Mr Giuliani continued to lie when he repeated false claims mid-trial that “they were engaged in changing votes”. The mother-daughter pair are seeking an injunction to bar Mr Giuliani from making further false statements about them. “It must stop,” the lawsuit demands. An attorney for Mr Giuliani did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The new legal action says that Mr Giuliani “has engaged in, and is engaging in, a continuing course of repetitive false speech and harassment”.

They added in their filing that his “wrongful conduct was extreme and outrageous, and it was calculated to cause harm to Ms Freeman and Ms Moss”. The two women previously filed a defamation case against Mr Giuliani, who was found liable for spreading lies that the poll workers had tampered with votes during the 2020 election. A jury ultimately ordered Mr Giuliani to pay the women $148m (£116m) in damages.. During the trial, Mr Giuliani insisted numerous times that he told the truth about the women and reiterated falsehoods about them. These statements are the source of the new lawsuit. “Of course I don’t regret it,” Mr Giuliani told reporters on 11 December. “I told the truth. They were engaged in changing votes.”

In another instance on 15 December, he said his statements “were supportable and are supportable today”. The women’s new lawsuit notes several other instances where Mr Giuliani made allegedly defamatory statements during and after the trial, including in right-wing media appearances. Last week, a Washington DC jury heard hours of painful testimony from Ms Moss about the fallout of those claims. She testified that she and her mother were subjected to violent and racist threats that made them fear for their lives. Mr Giuliani did not testify during the trial, but Judge Beryl Howell, who presided over the case, warned his attorneys that his remarks could be defamatory.

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“..9/11, which was blamed without any evidence on Muslim terrorists when all evidence points to an inside job so that the US could remake the Middle East for Israel.”

The Terror Watchlist Prepared the Way to Tyranny (Paul Craig Roberts)

Did you know that there are 2,000,000 names on the Federal government’s terror watchlist? The National Security Council claims most are not Americans, but the Department of Homeland Security admits that there have been tens of thousands of Americans who have been treated like terrorists. It does not occur to the National Security council that there are no terrorist events corresponding to two million terrorists. If there truly were two million terrorists, the US would be in chaos. So what is the list for? It expands the security bureaucracy. The list has grown from 120,000 to two million, seventeen times larger than its original figure. Is this in response to terrorists events? You name the events.

The list enables the FBI to pressure people into becoming informants and false witnesses in frame ups by threatening to add them to the terror list, The list allows authorities to punish and to silence truth-tellers who expose the official narratives for the lies that they are. You can add your own explanations. Remember, the Nazi-sounding Department of Homeland Security and the terror watchlist were the creations of 9/11, which was blamed without any evidence on Muslim terrorists when all evidence points to an inside job so that the US could remake the Middle East for Israel.

In other words, a false flag attack was used to strip Americans of their rights to travel. It is unclear to me how the watchlist can continue to exist after Federal Judge Anthony Trenga declared the watchlist unconstitutional. Did the federal nazis appeal his decision and get it over-ruled? The watchlist is just a way of controlling people. Its other useful function is to acclimatize Americans to the warrantless invasion of their privacy and accustom them to obeying arbitrary orders. The watchlist is a way of preparing Americans for tyranny.

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“.. It is likely to grow by $5.2 billion daily for the next ten years..”

US National Debt Jumps $2.6 Trillion In Six Months (RT)

US national debt has continued to mount, jumping by $2.6 trillion in the six months through December to reach $33.8 trillion, according to the Treasury Department. The Treasury indicated that factors such as tax cuts, stimulus programs, increased government spending, and decreased tax revenues have been driving up debt. “The national debt just exceeded $100,000 per citizen,” Republican Congressman John James said last week. “This should send a message to the White House that this reckless federal spending is at a breaking point.” The latest fiscal data showed that as of November 2023, it cost $169 billion for the US to maintain the debt, which equates to 16% of total federal spending. Interest payments on the national debt are estimated to have surged above $1 trillion on an annualized basis as of the end of October, according to Bloomberg calculations based on US Treasury data.

According to Bank of America (BoA), public debt could surge by $20 trillion over the next decade. It is likely to grow by $5.2 billion daily for the next ten years, which would put it at around $54 trillion by 2033, BoA warned last month. The US exceeded its debt ceiling, which was legally set at $31.4 trillion, in January 2023. After months of warnings of a potentially disastrous default from the Treasury, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan debt bill in June that allowed the limit to be lifted until January 2025. This effectively permitted the government to continue unlimited borrowing through next year. Debt spiked to $32 trillion less than two weeks after the bill was approved, and has been piling up ever since. The situation has caused major international credit ratings agencies Fitch and Moody’s to cut their outlooks for the US this year.

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“..Judge Loretta Preska calls for Epstein’s connections to be “unsealed in full”.

US Judge Orders More Than 170 Jeffrey Epstein Associates To Be Named (BBC)

The names of more than 170 associates of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein could be made public next month after a ruling from a US judge. Prince Andrew is expected to be among them, if evidence is released from a woman who claims he groped her in 2001. The identities are being revealed under a settled lawsuit against sex trafficker and Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell. Anyone on the list has until 1 January to appeal to have their name removed. Epstein, a millionaire financier known to mix with high-profile figures like Prince Andrew, died in jail in 2019. His death, as he awaited federal sex-trafficking charges, was ruled to be a suicide by the New York medical examiner. The 51-page ruling issued on Monday by New York Judge Loretta Preska calls for Epstein’s connections to be “unsealed in full”.

It is the latest filing in the case brought by Ms Giuffre against Maxwell, a former British socialite who is serving a 20-year prison term for the crimes she committed with Epstein. Ms Giuffre’s defamation lawsuit was brought in 2015 and settled in 2017, leaving the names of scores of Epstein associates under a court-ordered seal. They include 40 documents of evidence from Johanna Sjoberg, who has claimed Prince Andrew groped her breast while sitting on a couch inside Epstein’s Manhattan apartment in 2001. Buckingham Palace has previously said the allegations are “categorically untrue”. Last year, the Duke of York paid millions to Ms Giuffre to settle a lawsuit she filed claiming that he sexually abused her when she was 17 years old.

Prince Andrew said he had never met Ms Giuffre and denied her allegations. In her ruling, Judge Preska noted that many of the individuals named in the lawsuit have already been publicly identified by the media or in Maxwell’s criminal trial. She added that many others “did not raise an objection” to the release of the documents. Some of the names on the list will remain sealed, including those belonging to child victims, the judge said in her ruling. US congressional Republicans are pushing to subpoena the flight logs for Epstein’s private plane. Convicted in 2008 for soliciting prostitution from a minor, Epstein had moved in social circles that included key figures in the world of business and politics.

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“The US officials allegedly hinted to the Pakistani diplomat that if the prime minister lost an impending no-confidence vote in parliament, “all will be forgiven in Washington.”

Imran Khan Uses AI To Deliver Speech From Prison (RT)

Former Pakistani Prime Minister, who is currently imprisoned, has used artificial intelligence to deliver a speech to his supporters. The four-minute address was broadcast during a ‘virtual rally’ attended by more than 4.5 million people across Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and YouTube. Pakistani authorities have clamped down on gatherings organized by Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party since he was briefly arrested for the first time in May. The former prime minister was sentenced to three years behind bars in August for illegally selling state gifts. The 71-year-old faces a slew of other charges, all of which he claims are politically motivated. According to PTI representatives, the cricket-star-turned-politician wrote a script for the speech and passed it on to his supporters through lawyers. It was then dubbed with the help of a tool developed by the AI firm ElevenLabs, which can create a ‘voice clone’ of a person based on speech samples.

In his message, Khan accused the Pakistani government of kidnapping and harassing activists from his party.He also stressed that his “determination for real freedom is very strong,” thanking the PTI social media team for “this historic attempt” to circumvent government restrictions. Meanwhile, the NetBlocks watchdog reported that it had detected disruptions in social media availability in Pakistan, starting late on Sunday. The group alleged that this may have been due to deliberate “internet censorship.” Khan was charged by a special court in October with breaching state secrecy laws over an alleged conspiracy to reveal what he characterized as proof of US interference in orchestrating his removal from power last year.

The diplomatic cable at the center of the case was sent by then-Pakistani Ambassador to the US Asad Majeed Khan after his meeting with two senior US State Department officials in March 2022. According to multiple media reports purportedly based on the document, Washington made clear that it was unhappy about Khan’s failure to toe the West’s line. The US officials allegedly hinted to the Pakistani diplomat that if the prime minister lost an impending no-confidence vote in parliament, “all will be forgiven in Washington.”Khan was ousted about a month after the meeting, and has since mounted a major protest campaign. While the US has denied exerting any pressure on Pakistan, the International Monetary Fund unexpectedly extended a $3 billion bailout for Islamabad in July – a decision that The Intercept has claimed was influenced by Washington.

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“..what will likely be his last appeal against being extradited..”

Assange Appeal Hearing Set for February (Lauria)

Imprisoned publisher Julian Assange will face two High Court judges over two days on Feb. 20-21, 2024 in London in what will likely be his last appeal against being extradited to the United States to face charges of violating the Espionage Act. Assange’s wife Stella Assange confirmed that the hearing will take place at the Royal Courts of Justice. Assange had had an earlier request to appeal rejected by High Court Judge Jonathan Swift on June 6. Assange then filed an application to appeal that decision and the dates have now been set. Assange is seeking to challenge both the home secretary’s decision to extradite him as well as to cross appeal the decision by the lower court judge, Vanessa Baraitser.

Baraitser had ruled in January 2021 to release Assange from Belmarsh Prison and deny the U.S. request for extradition based on Assange’s mental health, his propensity to commit suicide and conditions of U.S. prisons. On every point of law, however, Baraitser sided with the United States. The U.S. appealed her decision, issuing “diplomatic assurances” that Assange would not be mistreated in prison. The High Court, after a two-day hearing in March 2022, accepted those “assurances” and rejected Assange’s appeal. His application to the U.K. Supreme Court to hear the case was then denied. Assange then applied for a new appeal of Baraitser’s legal decisions and the home secretary’s extradition order.

Swift rejected Assange’s 150-page argument in a three-page ruling. The appeal of that decision will now take place in February. If convicted under the World War I-era Espionage Act, the WikiLeaks publisher and journalist is facing up to 175 years in a U.S. dungeon for publishing classified material revealing crimes by the U.S. state, including war crimes. Assange was also charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion, though the indictment against him does not accuse him of stealing U.S. documents or even of helping his source, Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, to do so.

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Kory

 

 


https://twitter.com/goddeketal/status/1737200419397414943

 

 

Impawsible
https://twitter.com/i/status/1737082852989440073

 

 

Basket star

 

 


The Cashew of Pirangi is the world’s largest cashew tree located in Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. It covers an area between 7,300 and 8,400 square meters. Having the size of 70 normally sized cashew trees, it has a circumference of 500 meters. The spread over a hectare of land was, unlike other trees, created by the tree’s outward growth. When bent towards the ground (because of their weight), the branches tend to take new roots where they touch the ground. The tree is said to have been planted in 1880s. However, based on its growth characteristics, the tree is estimated to be more than a thousand years old.

 

 

 

 

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