Apr 232024
 


Gustav Klimt The Park 1909

 

Alina Habba Rages As Judge Approves Trump’s $175 Million Bond (ET)
Will Trump Testify? (Victoria Taft)
Trump Urges “Peaceful Protest” As Day 1 In Hush-Money Case Ends (ZH)
Trump Sold-Out His Base to Shovel $95 Billion to Ukraine and Israel (Whitney)
Supreme Court Denies Bid to Expand No-Excuse Mail-In Ballots in Texas (ET)
Biden Targets Radical IDF Unit With Sanctions to Placate His Voters (Sp.)
US Forced Israel To Abandon Larger Attack On Iran – NYT (RT)
Will Zionism Self-Destruct? (Alastair Crooke)
US Goes ‘Slippery Slide’ With Sending Its Military Personnel to Ukraine (Sp.)
The Bad Faith Olympics (Kunstler)
Polish President Rejects Own PM’s ‘Pre-war’ Warning (RT)
Biden Fears RFK Jr. as He Gets on Another Ballot (Sp.)
Michael Brenner: The Moral Depravity of Western Imperialism (Sch.)
No, It Does Not Matter Why the Man Lit Himself on Fire (Turley)

 

 

Still trying to understand this.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1782508137582608427

 

 

Bannon
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782461540442263664

 

 

Something Amazing is Developing with this Presidential Immunity SCOTUS Case…

Mike Davis:
— Can the Trump 47 Justice Department charge Obama for Capital Murder for murdering 2 Americans in a drone strike?
— Can the Trump 47 Justice Department charge Biden for the illegals pouring into the US, and their resulting crimes?

What to do? What to do? Trump says he should have “ABSOLUTE Immunity” . “Absolute” is the key word here… As it stands, the Constitution does say a President has Absolute Immunity from many lawsuits (not all)… BUT…. Trumps case is under legal dispute to determine whether or not a President has immunity from CRIMINAL Liability or Prosecution. No President in history has ever been charged for a crime, as the Constitution currently stands. A major precedent will be set with this SCOTUS ruling this Thursday… I believe this ruling may be closing some loopholes to go after others.. The wordage is going to be very very important.

 

 

Tulsi Kamala 2019

 

 

Tucker Ukr

 

 

Zel

Zel 2006

 

 

Founding Fathers

 

 

 

 

“…in one hour, that judge and the attorney general realized they had no idea what they were talking about… and we came to an agreement that everything would be the same…”

Alina Habba Rages As Judge Approves Trump’s $175 Million Bond (ET)

Former President Donald Trump and New York Attorney General Letitia James reached an agreement on April 22 regarding his $175 million bond in his New York civil case, imposing additional restrictions while resolving concerns about the funds’ security. The attorney general argued that Knight Specialty Insurance Company (KSIC) lacked a “certificate of qualification” and that President Trump still had access to the Charles Schwab account pledged to the insurer as collateral. Judge Arthur Engoron accepted the April 22 agreement, which gave KSIC exclusive control over the account. The state made the offer after Chris Kise, President Trump’s attorney, provided oral argument. The attorney general established five bond conditions this morning that allow President Trump to use a non-New York company as a traditional license surety to cover the $175 million he was ordered to pay.

KSIC is unauthorized by the New York Department of Financial Services, which bond experts have said is a victory for President Trump. “[The company] is probably charging Trump less and they accepted a pledge rather than actually receiving $175 million in cash,” Bruce Lederman, a commercial and real estate litigator who has dealt in bonds for more than 40 years, said. All of President Trump’s attorneys agreed to the settlement stipulations, which are expected to be memorialized by the end of the week. The five bond conditions include retaining the collateral in a Schwab account and restricting KSIC from trading or withdrawing any of the funds for anything other than payment of the bond. “The state was not looking to be vindictive,” Mr. Lederman told The Epoch Times. “They are looking simply to be guaranteed that they are geting paid if they win the appeal, and they were sufficiently satisfied that if these five conditions were met, they would get paid.”

[..] President Trump defended the bond outside the courtroom at his criminal trial. “We put up cash and the number is 175,” President Trump said. “She shouldn’t be complaining about the bonding company. The bonding company would be good for it because I put up the money. I have plenty of money to put up.” After the hearing, President Trump’s lawyer in the case, Alina Habba, fumed at the judge’s incompetence, “he doesn’t even understand basic principles of finance,” and at AG James’ “this is where your taxpayer dollars are going America…witch hunt after witch hunt after witch hunt…” Habba continued to excoriate the whole farce: “…in one hour, that judge and the attorney general realized they had no idea what they were talking about… and we came to an agreement that everything would be the same…”

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“The media have called this case a “hush money” case, but one of our crafty commenters called it the Hush Trump case. Touche’.

Will Trump Testify? (Victoria Taft)

Will Donald Trump testify at his New York City at the Hush Trump bookkeeping trial? Testimony is underway in the trial of former President Trump, who is charged with a bookkeeping issue of misreporting payments in 2017 as legal fees instead of campaign expenses. His overarching crime, by the Manhattan district attorney’s lights, is a federal election crime, which boils down to Trump stealing the 2016 election. Hillary Clinton won New York in 2016 by a nearly two-to-one margin, so clearly this trial is on the up-and-up. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg dredged up this trial from the dead after federal elections officials and the previous DA as well as Bragg himself declined to bring this case years before. But after Biden’s DOJ parachuted in a Trump specialist attack dog to go after the former president, the Democrats decided to throw everything against the wall to prevent him from being reelected.

Former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr, who can’t stand the former president, calls this case an “abomination… obviously political …and a real threat to liberty.” Better late than never, Bill. He’ll be out with his 2020 observations by, hmmm, let’s say next year. The witness list is out, and the first person to take the stand in this non-televised drama will be the former publisher of the National Enquirer, who paid porn performer Stormy Daniels money for exclusive rights to her story and then killed it. That’s not a crime, but it will dovetail nicely with the prosecution’s index horribilis that they will use as distractive chaff from this “abomination.” The Enquirer paid Daniels $150,000 while Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, who will also testify, paid her $130,000. Trump personally paid Cohen for his legal activities by more than doubling the amount and giving him a $60K spiff for his legal services.

This is the “crime” for which Trump is dragged through the courts. Since it has been, as the lawyers like to say, “bootstrapped” to an unspecified federal elections crime (which the feds said wasn’t a federal elections crime) it has suddenly gone from a civil case to a criminal case. Robert Costello, Cohen’s former attorney, will testify for the defense, according to the witness list. Trump is not on the witness list, but a defendant can always decide if he wants to testify during the trial. Trump has told the world he will testify. “I don’t know, I’m testifying. I tell the truth. I mean, all I can do is tell the truth,” he said recently. “And the truth is,” he continued, “that there’s no case, they have no case.” Last week he answered “yes” when a reporter yelled the question as he entered the Manhattan courthouse. One of Trump’s appellate attorneys, Will Scharf, told CNN recently that he thinks if he decided to testify Trump would do well. “If the jury decides based on the facts and the law, there’s no way President Trump can be convicted,” he said. Scharf says Trump “would be a compelling witness” if he chooses to testify.

In the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial, Trump testified for less than four minutes. One can imagine the cross-examination of Trump by prosecutors using the list of bad acts that have nothing to do with his case, getting him flustered and angry and showing the jury what a bad guy he is. Trump can be cool and calm, but they’ll do everything they can to rattle him on the stand, obviously. The media have called this case a “hush money” case, but one of our crafty commenters called it the Hush Trump case. Touche’. When a judge shuts up the defendant but not the other trial participants you can’t help but wonder if the fix is in. Where else will you read that in this censorious media world that we’re living in?

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“His entire financial livelihood depends on President Trump’s destruction,” he said of Mr. Cohen. “You cannot make a serious decision about President Trump relying on the words of Michael Cohen.”

Trump Urges “Peaceful Protest” As Day 1 In Hush-Money Case Ends (ZH)

Day one of former President Donald Trump’s so-called “hush-money” trial concluded early on Monday after Judge Juan Merchan said that an alternate juror can visit a dentist appointment (despite previously telling Trump he would have attend every day without fail – missing his son’s graduation – or face jail). Judge Merchan had previously planned to adjourn the trial at 2 p.m. ET due to the Passover holiday. But he said Monday that it would adjourn at 12:30 p.m. He previously said he would end at 2 p.m. on Tuesday for the holiday. Jack Phillips reports, via The Epoch Times, that the early adjournment came after prosecutors and defense lawyers make their respective cases for why the former president should be convicted or acquitted. In the case, President Trump is accused of falsifying business payments during the 2016 campaign by allegedly paying a former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to bury negative stories.

At issue were claims from an adult film performer, Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, that she was engaged in a relationship with the former president. President Trump has denied her claims and has pled not guilty. An attorney for the former president spoke to the jury, asking them to “use your common sense” when they assess the case. “We’re New Yorkers. It’s why we’re here,” Todd Blanche said. “There will be a very swift not guilty verdict” if they decide based on the evidence involved, he said. “You told all of us, you told the court, you told me, you will put aside whatever views you have of President Trump,” Mr. Blanche told the jury as he wrapped up his arguments. “The 34 counts, ladies and gentlemen, are really just pieces of paper,” Mr. Blanche said of the indictment. “None of this was a crime.”

Mr. Blanche was critical of Ms. Clifford, saying that she has earned income and fame from her allegations about an alleged affair that occurred in 2006. “She also wrote a book. She was paid for a documentary,” Mr. Blanche says of Ms. Clifford, adding that courts have sided with President Trump’s legal disputes with Ms. Clifford. As for Mr. Cohen, Mr. Blanche accused him of profiting off his criticism of President Trump. “His entire financial livelihood depends on President Trump’s destruction,” he said of Mr. Cohen. “You cannot make a serious decision about President Trump relying on the words of Michael Cohen.” “He has a goal, an obsession with getting President Trump,” Mr. Blanche said of Mr. Cohen, who is expected to be a witness. “I submit to you that he cannot be trusted.”

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Mike Whitney. A different view.

Trump Sold-Out His Base to Shovel $95 Billion to Ukraine and Israel (Whitney)

The man who is most responsible for the $95 billion giveaway to Ukraine and Israel, is the same guy who pretends to oppose America’s “wasteful” foreign wars. Donald Trump. It was Trump who consulted with Speaker Mike Johnson about the contents of the Ukraine aid package, just as it was Trump who concocted the idea of issuing loans instead of dispersing the standard welfare handout. It was also Trump who said: “I stand with the Speaker, (Mike Johnson)” after which he added that Johnson is doing “a very good job.” A “good job”?? So, secretly collaborating with the Democrat leadership to push through a bill that “reauthorizes FISA to spy on the American people without a warrant, (bans Tik Tok) fully funds Joe Biden’s DOJ that has indicted President Trump 91 times, and giving Biden’s political gestapo a brand new FBI building bigger than the Pentagon,” while not providing a dime to protect the southern border from the swarms of people entering the country illegally, is doing a “good job”?

The question we should all be asking ourselves is why has Trump decided to participate in this scam? He keeps saying that if he was president, he’d end the war in Ukraine in a day. If he’s sincere about that, then why did he collaborate on a bill that will drag the war out for another year or two? This is from a Twitter post by political analyst Michael Tracey: “Mission Accomplished. It is done: Donald Trump and the House GOP just completed one of the most epic swindles in political history, with Trump personally effectuating the largest-ever dispersement of Ukraine funding through his emissary, “MAGA Mike Johnson” (as Trump lovingly calls him) The $61 billion passed this afternoon is likely enough to underwrite the brutal, pointless trench warfare for at least another year or two. This after the same old endless media screeching that Trump and MAGA Republicans were being brainwashed by Putin and would never fund Ukraine. That fundamental hoax continues — only this time Trump was in on it…. Michael Tracey, Twitter.

And the response from Luca Cabrilo: “Michael you’re 100% spot on. Trump could have at any point killed this monstrous bill if he wanted to, but he didn’t. He even let MAGA Mike go on TV and say that he and Trump are “100% agreed” on the Ukraine funding Trump screwed his base on this one, no other way about it.” Michael Tracey again: “He didn’t just “not kill it,” he personally facilitated its passage..” Here’s more background from Tracey: “The bill, designed after consultations between Mike Johnson and Trump, mysteriously gives the President the ability to forgive the purported “loan” to Ukraine — immediately after the November election…

And if that’s not brazen enough for you, here’s the catch: The funds eligible for “loan forgiveness” are the direct budgetary infusions to Ukraine — meaning the money that pays for the salaries of Ukrainian government workers and so forth — NOT the military “aid,” which comprises the vast majority of the package. So, only $8 billion of the $61 billion allocated to Ukraine is even *eligible* for “loan forgiveness” under the terms of this gargantuan bill. And even that was a fake “loan” to begin with — it never had to be paid back at all!

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“..in the long run, we need the French model: Everybody votes on the same day, everybody has a photo ID, everybody’s accounted as a person..”

Supreme Court Denies Bid to Expand No-Excuse Mail-In Ballots in Texas (ET)

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a legal challenge to a Texas law that requires voters under the age of 65 to provide justification to vote by mail, meaning that the Democrat-aligned attempt to sharply expand “no-excuse” mail-in ballots in the Lone Star state has failed, with implications for other states. According to an April 22 order list, the high court denied petition for a writ of cetriorari in a case that stems from a federal lawsuit filed in 2020 on behalf of the Texas Democratic Party and several voters who requested that Texas lift its age-based limitations on no-excuse mail-in voting. Texas law only allows individuals to vote by mail without a qualifying excuse, like sickness, if they are 65 years or older. In their original complaint, which made its way through a number of lower courts before ending up before the Supreme Court, the petitioners alleged that the Texas voting law violates the 26th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits denying the right to vote due to age.

The Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the appeal means that the Texas law stays in place, delivering a win to election integrity advocates who argue that no-excuse mail-in voting is prone to fraud and makes elections less secure. At the same time, the high court’s decision to deny certiorari is a setback for groups who see laws like Texas’s age-based limits on no-excuse mail-in ballots as “voter suppression” or an unfair attempt to impose barriers to voting for certain groups, in this case younger voters. The high court’s decision not to hear the appeal has broader implications, however, since six other states–Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee–have similar laws on the books that let older voters to request absentee ballot without having to provide any justification. Public opinion in Texas over the issue of no-excuse mail-in voting is split, according to some polls.

In their initial petition filed in 2020 on behalf of the Texas Democratic Party and a group of voters amids the COVID-19 pandemic, the plaintiffs requested that Texas lift its age-based restrictions to no-excuse mail-in voting, citing public health risks related to the outbreak. A district court judge sided with the plaintiffs in May 2020, temporarily blocking the Texas law. Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Texas officials then filed an appeal with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which paused the district court’s ruling while the appeal played out. The plaintiffs then asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reimpose the district court’s decision to freeze enforcement of the age-based limits to no-excuse mail-in voting, or to take the case up for review, but the high court rejected both requests.

Ultimately, the 5th Circuit voided the lower court’s May 2020 order in full. This led the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint in the district court, this time asserting other claims, including ones of racial discrimination under Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and arguing that the age limitations on mail-in ballots violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th and 26th Amendments. In a July 2022 order, the district court judge dismissed all of the plaintiffs’ claims, leading to another appeal before the 5th Circuit, which ultimately affirmed the district court’s decision to dismiss. The plaintiffs filed a petition for a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supreme Court in December 2023, asking the high court to declare Texas’s age-based voting law unconstitutional.

[..] The Supreme Court ruling comes amid a broader fight between those who see election integrity efforts as “voter suppression” and those who believe that the security of U.S. elections is too lax and should be tightened. According to a running tally by the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice, expansive voting laws far outpaced restrictive ones in 2023. At least 53 expansive voting laws were introduced last year in at least 23 states, compared to 17 restrictive laws being passed in 14 states, suggesting that the election integrity movement is falling behind. Amid concerns over voter fraud, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich recently suggested that to win the presidential election in November, Republicans need to outvote Democrats by a significant margin. “Everybody who wants an honest election should know that in the long run, we need the French model: Everybody votes on the same day, everybody has a photo ID, everybody’s accounted as a person,” Mr. Gingrich said in a February interview on Fox News.

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All else remaining equal…

Biden Targets Radical IDF Unit With Sanctions to Placate His Voters (Sp.)

Axios reported Saturday that Secretary of State Antony Blinken is planning to imminently announce sanctions against the IDF’s Netzah Yehuda battalion, with the measures expected to stop the battalion’s fighters from being able to receive US military assistance and training. Officials confirmed the looming sanctions to the Times of Israel, indicating on Monday that other Israeli military and police units accused of human rights abuses may also be targeted. However, one of Axios’s sources said others will not be affected after being probed and deemed to have “remedied their behavior” in unspecified ways. The US investigation into Netzah Yehuda goes back to before the current Palestinian-Israeli escalation, with the State Department starting a probe of the unit in December 2022 after troops were caught engaging in violence against Palestinian civilians. One such incident led to the death of a 78-year-old Palestinian-American man.

“Sanctions must not be imposed on the Israel Defense Forces,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Saturday, assuring that his government would “act by all means against these moves.” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant echoed Netanyahu’s sentiments, heaping praise on Netzah Yehuda and assuring that its soldiers operate “in accordance with the values of the IDF and in accordance with international law.” Gallant warned that even if the infantry unit was the only one targeted by sanctions, it would cast “a heavy shadow on the actions of the IDF” and affect “the entire defense establishment.” The Israeli military moved the Netzah Yehuda battalion – which consists mostly of ultra-Orthodox and hardcore Zionist forces, out of the West Bank and away from contact with the Palestinians in late 2022, but no actions were taken to punish members suspected of human rights abuses. Gallant said the unit has been used in Israel’s operation “to dismantle Hamas brigades in Gaza” after last fall’s escalation.

It’s not clear what impact the sanctions will have. The US has donated tens of billions of dollars in military equipment to Israel (including $26 billion in a tranche approved by the House of Representatives on Saturday), and it’s unclear how Washington plans to keep track of weaponry to assure that it doesn’t fall into the Netzah Yehuda battalion’s hands. Netzah Yehuda is a distinct unit within Israel’s armed forces in that it’s made up almost entirely by radical Zionists, Dr. Simon Tsipis, a Tel Aviv-based international relations expert, told Sputnik, commenting on the US plans These forces have “an aggressive attitude toward the Palestinians, and there have been many cases of the violation of the rules of war, aggression toward civilians who live around these Jewish settlements” in the West Bank, the observer explained, noting that this aggression stems from the fighters’ Zionist perspective that all Palestinians are “direct enemies.”

As far as the US administration’s sanctions plans, “this is an attempt to kill two birds with one stone,” Tsipas believes. In the first place, sanctions are designed “to create the appearance of punishing Israel,” he said, with Biden and the Democrats seeking desperately to regain “at least part of the Arab and Muslim vote” in the upcoming election amid the president’s plunge in the polls. The restrictions are not meant to weaken Israel’s military capabilities overall, Tsipis stressed, suggesting the decision to target Netzah Yehuda signals the Democrats’ displeasure with Netanyahu’s hard-right Zionist and religious right coalition. “This is a blow to Zionism as an ideology, not an attempt to influence Israel so that it stops, suspends or is otherwise unable to continue its military operations in the Gaza Strip, or even the [potential] upcoming war with Iran,” the observer said.

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“Israeli and American officials stressed that Washington wanted West Jerusalem to avoid provoking Iran into an escalating series of tit-for-tat strikes and counterstrikes..”

US Forced Israel To Abandon Larger Attack On Iran – NYT (RT)

Israeli leaders planned a “much more extensive counterstrike on Iran” after Tehran launched a drone and missile barrage on Israel last weekend, but were pressured to pare down the operation by the US and its allies, the New York Times reported on Monday. Israel targeted Iran with a handful of drones and air-launched missiles on Friday, according to US officials and anonymous Israeli sources who spoke to the newspaper. While Western officials believe that an Israeli missile hit an Iranian airbase, Tehran has only acknowledged being attacked with small quadcopter drones, with Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian describing the aircraft as “children’s toys” that were easily shot down. West Jerusalem initially intended a much wider wave of strikes targeting military sites across the country, including near Tehran, anonymous Israeli officials told the outlet.

However, the US, UK, and Germany exerted “concerted diplomatic pressure” on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and forced him to settle for a more limited response, the officials said. Such a response “avoided significant damage, diminishing the likelihood of an escalation,” the New York Times reported. The Israeli military has not commented on the report, and has stuck to its usual policy of refusing to confirm or deny strikes on foreign soil. The latest round of escalation between Israel and Iran began on April 1, when an Israeli airstrike allegedly hit the Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital of Damascus. The strike killed seven officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, including two high-ranking generals. Tehran warned that it would retaliate, and two weeks later launched multiple waves of missiles and kamikaze drones at Israel. Most of the Iranian projectiles were intercepted, but with more than 300 drones fired, air defenses were overwhelmed and multiple missiles reached their target, damaging an Israeli air base.

Netanyahu initially planned immediate retaliatory strikes, but was talked out of it during a phone call with US President Joe Biden, the New York Times reported last week. In both last week’s report and Monday’s, Israeli and American officials stressed that Washington wanted West Jerusalem to avoid provoking Iran into an escalating series of tit-for-tat strikes and counterstrikes. The plan appears to have succeeded. “As long as there is no new adventurism by Israel against our interests, then we are not going to have any new reactions,” Amirabdollahian stated on Saturday. With some of Netanyahu’s hardline political allies criticizing the supposedly “lame” response, the officials who spoke to the New York Times insisted that the strikes demonstrated “the breadth and sophistication of Israel’s military arsenal,” the paper paraphrased.

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“Iran’s missiles were able to penetrate directly into Israel’s two most sensitive and highly defended air bases and sites. Behind the whooping western rhetoric lies Israeli shock and fear. Their bases are no longer ‘untouchable’. ”

Will Zionism Self-Destruct? (Alastair Crooke)

In the summer following Israel’s 2006 (unsuccessful) war on Hizbullah, Dick Cheney sat in his office loudly bemoaning Hizbullah’s continuing strength; and worse still, that it seemed to him that Iran had been the primary beneficiary from the U.S. 2003 Iraq war. Cheney’s guest – the then Saudi Intelligence Chief, Prince Bandar – vigorously concurred (as chronicled by John Hannah, who participated in the meeting) and, to general surprise, Prince Bandar proclaimed that Iran yet could be cut to size: Syria was the ‘weak’ link between Iran and Hizbullah that could be collapsed via an Islamist insurgency, Bandar proposed. Cheney’s initial scepticism turned to elation as Bandar said that U.S. involvement would be unnecessary: He, Prince Bandar, would orchestrate and manage the project. ‘Leave it to me’, he said. Bandar separately told John Hannah: “The King knows that other than the collapse of the Islamic Republic itself, nothing would weaken Iran more than losing Syria”.

Thus began a new phase of attrition on Iran. The regional balance of power was to be decisively shifted towards Sunni Islam – and the region’s monarchies. That old balance from the Shah’s time in which Persia enjoyed regional primacy was to be ended: conclusively, the U.S., Israel and the Saudi King hoped. Iran – already badly bruised by the ‘imposed’ Iran-Iraq war – resolved never again to be so vulnerable. Iran aimed to find a path to strategic deterrence in the context of a region dominated by the overwhelming air dominance enjoyed by its adversaries. What occurred this Saturday 14 April – some 18 years later – therefore was of utmost importance. Despite the bruhaha and distraction following Iran’s attack, Israel and the U.S. know the truth: Iran’s missiles were able to penetrate directly into Israel’s two most sensitive and highly defended air bases and sites. Behind the whooping western rhetoric lies Israeli shock and fear. Their bases are no longer ‘untouchable’.

Israel also knows – but cannot admit – that the so-called ‘assault’ was no assault but an Iranian message to assert the new strategic equation: That any Israeli attack on Iran or its personnel will result in retribution from Iran into Israel. This act of setting the new ‘balance of power equation’ unites the diverse Fronts against the U.S.’ “connivance with Israeli actions in the Middle East, that are at the core of Washington’s policy – and in many ways the root-cause of new tragedies” – in the words of Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Ryabkov. The equation represents a key ‘Front’ – together with Russia’s war against NATO in Ukraine – for persuading the West that its exceptionalist and redemptive myth has proved to be a fatal conceit; that it must be discarded; and that deep cultural change in the West needs to happen. The roots to this wider cultural conflict are deep – but finally have been made explicit. Prince Bandar’s post-2006 playing of the Sunni ‘card’ was a flop (in no small part thanks to Russia’s intervention in Syria).

AndIran, has come in from the cold and is firmly anchored as a primary regional power. It is the strategic partner to Russia and China. And Gulf States today have switched focus instead to money, ‘business’ and Tech, rather than Salafist jurisprudence. Syria, then targeted by the West and ostracised, has not only survived all that the West could ‘throw at it’ but has been warmly embraced by the Arab League and rehabilitated. And Syria is now slowly finding its way to being itself again. Yet even during the Syrian crisis, unforeseen dynamics to Prince Bandar’s playing of Islamist identity versus Arab socialist secular identity were playing out:

I wrote then in 2012: “Over recent years we have heard the Israelis emphasise their demand for recognition of a specifically Jewish nation-state, rather than for an Israeli State, per se”; – a state that would enshrine Jewish political, legal, and military exceptional rights. “[At that time] … Muslim nations [were] seeking the ‘undoing’ of the last remnants of the colonial era. Will we see the struggle increasingly epitomised as a primordial struggle between Jewish and Islamic religious symbols – between al-Aqsa and the Temple Mount?” To be plain, what was apparent even then – in 2012 – was “that both Israel and its surrounding terrain are marching in step toward language which takes them far away from the underlying, largely secular concepts by which this conflict traditionally has been conceptualised. What [would] be the consequence – as the conflict, by its own logic, becomes a clash of religious poles?”

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“I’m not quite sure how big the US embassy is in Kiev, but I doubt it’s enough to set up a maintenance workshop for, I don’t know, Abrams tanks or something like that..”

US Goes ‘Slippery Slide’ With Sending Its Military Personnel to Ukraine (Sp.)

Troops from the US and other NATO countries will be in Ukraine fighting Russian troops within a year, security and international relations expert Mark Sleboda predicted on Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Monday. “We (The United States) were at trainers and advisers and CIA and special forces [in Ukraine], and now already, we’re at logistics and maintenance personnel. It’s quite clear where this is going,” Sleboda began. “US troops and [troops] from several other NATO member states will most likely be on the ground in Ukraine fighting the Russians within a year.” On Saturday, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that includes $61 billion earmarked to support Ukraine, however, Sleboda explains that it will not have a major effect on the battlefield. “It will, maybe, slow Russian forces down a little bit. That’s the extent of what the $61 billion [will do].

And, in another six months or perhaps a year, they’ll be back, demanding more from the US taxpayer to try to prop up the Kiev regime a little longer.” One underreported aspect of the bill is that a large portion of it is going towards replenishing US weapon stockpiles and not weapons that will end up on the battlefield in Ukraine. “I would say, that of the $61 billion, actually only $14 billion of that is going to go to Ukraine for direct military aid and weapons,” Sleboda explained. “It sounds like a lot of money, it’s really not considering that just one Patriot battery of 6 to 8 launchers costs more than $1 billion, and they’ve already lost several of them.” The Patriot surface-to-air missile system is considered the most advanced anti-aircraft system in Ukraine’s arsenal. However, the first confirmed Russian destruction of a Patriot system occurred back in May 2023. Since then, several more have been taken out, including two last month.

The reports of an increased US presence in Ukraine were presented as “they’re going to be working out of the US embassy,” in Kiev, Sleboda said, but that assertion is far from reality, he argued. “I’m not quite sure how big the US embassy is in Kiev, but I doubt it’s enough to set up a maintenance workshop for, I don’t know, Abrams tanks or something like that,” Sleboda jokes. “So it almost certainly means that these US troops will be out and about in Ukraine, probably not too far from the front line. And you can certainly see the slippery slide. While the aid shows that, despite some hype in the media, the US is not “giving up on Ukraine,” Sleboda notes that it doesn’t change the calculus for the Russian government, who expected the aid to pass last year after US President Joe Biden requested it in August. “You already have Ukrainian military commanders speaking anonymously, of course, to the Financial Times, saying that this isn’t actually going to change much,” Sleboda recounted.

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“Very soon, Ukraine will be reduced to medieval living conditions — no lights, no phones, no Internet, no shopping, no ability to conduct modern warfare. End. . . of. . . story.”

The Bad Faith Olympics (Kunstler)

Did it warm your heart to see all those blue and yellow Ukrainian flags waved by our elected officials in Congress Saturday night with the passage of the $60-plus-billion aid bill to the Palookaville of Europe? You realize, don’t you, that the tiny fraction of that hypothetical “money” — from our country’s empty treasury — that ever reaches Ukraine will rebound on the instant into Mr. Zelensky’s Cayman Islands bank account. The rest of the dough enters the recursive shell-game between US weapons-makers and the very hometown folks in Congress waving those blue and yellow flags, who will receive great greasy gobs of fresh “campaign donations” from the grateful bomb and missile producers. No wonder they’re cheering. What the $60-plus-billion won’t do is provide any fresh arms and equipment to Ukraine’s sad-sack army soon enough to prevent Russia from bringing this cruel, stupid, and unnecessary war, which we started, to a close.

Yes, we started it, not Russia, in 2014 with our Intel blob overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych in the so-called “Maidan Revolution of Dignity” (what Wikipedia calls it). And for what reason? To jam Ukraine into NATO as a prelude to “weakening” Russia sufficient to bust it up and gain control over Russian oil, ores, and grain. Yes, that was actually the neocon’s game, equal parts megalomania and hubris, a fiasco as strategically ill-fated as Hitler’s push to gain control of Russia’s oil fields via Stalingrad in 1942-3. With failure and humiliation looming in Ukraine, the blob’s objective for now, in theory, is the vain hope of prolonging the hostilities just long enough to get its hologram president, “Joe Biden” re-elected, so that said blob can continue its amoebic digestion of what’s left uneaten by it in our sore-beset republic. You’ve got to wonder, of course, what this blob thinks will remain to rule over when it’s done gobbling up everything and jailing everyone from sea to shining sea who objects.

You tell me what conceivable way Ukraine can prevail in this proxy war now without just tripping off the civilization-ending nuke exchange? America does not have enough tactical missiles and artillery shells at hand to send over there. What we did have is gone. NATO never had much to begin with. Ukraine has run out of available cannon-fodder to conscript from its dwindling population. Despite Mr. Macron’s recent bluster, NATO can’t raise a credible army, or even agree on which country would send what. Nobody is riding to the rescue. Instead, Russia is fortifying its home-grown armaments industry and its military while systematically turning off the electricity all over Ukraine by blowing up the power stations. Very soon, Ukraine will be reduced to medieval living conditions — no lights, no phones, no Internet, no shopping, no ability to conduct modern warfare. End. . . of. . . story.

This is apt to play out much faster than America’s blob-controlled news media will be able to lie about. I’d guess it can be functionally over before mid-summer. The result will be yet another humiliation on the “Joe Biden” scorecard. When it’s over, you can be sure the Russians will abstain from an end-zone dance so as not to provoke America’s genius-losers into some final petty grand act of requital. Russia will just soberly declare what is self-evident: that for centuries Ukraine has been in its sphere-of-influence, as Mexico is in ours, and that they have reestablished the natural order of things in that corner of the world.

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Tusk and Duda don’t belong together.

Polish President Rejects Own PM’s ‘Pre-war’ Warning (RT)

There is no imminent threat of a military conflict breaking out in Europe, Polish President Andrzej Duda has said, contradicting the country’s prime minister. Late last month, Donald Tusk claimed that the continent was in a “pre-war era.” The prime minister argued at the time that “literally any scenario is possible.” Tusk also warned that “no one in Europe will be able to feel safe” if the West fails to provide Ukraine with enough weapons, allowing Russia to prevail in the conflict. When asked whether he shared the prime minister’s grim outlook during an interview with Poland’s Fakt media outlet on Monday, Duda replied in the negative.

“If we act responsibly, and we are acting responsibly so far, there will never be a war, because we will always be powerful enough to not be worth attacking,” he said. According to the Polish president, credible deterrence helped the West to prevent the Cold War from turning into a military confrontation. He suggested that the West today should emulate this strategy by arming up. He also said his country was ready to host the nuclear weapons of NATO allies as part of a sharing scheme within the bloc if such a decision were made. Earlier this month, UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps echoed Tusk’s assessment, claiming that “we have moved from a post-war to a pre-war world.” He argued that the West needed to beef up its defense spending.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell also subsequently stated that the “possibility of a high-intensity conventional war in Europe is no longer a fantasy.” Moscow has repeatedly denied having any intention of attacking NATO member states. Russian President Vladimir Putin has dismissed such claims as “nonsense,” suggesting that Kiev’s backers were using the supposed threat of a Russian attack to “extract additional expenses from people, to make them bear this burden [of funding Ukraine] on their shoulders.”

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“RFK Jr. has been even more of a staunch supporter of Israel than Biden or Trump. In December, he said that Palestinians are arguably “the most pampered people by international aid organizations in the world.”

Biden Fears RFK Jr. as He Gets on Another Ballot (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden’s campaign and the DNC are upping their efforts to stop the presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., including opening up a department dedicated to stopping the independent’s campaign. On Friday, the Biden campaign released an ad featuring several members of the Kennedy family endorsing the President over their relative who is running for the same spot. Fifteen members of the Kennedy family have also publicly endorsed Biden. Additionally, according to US media, the Biden campaign has been dumping opposition research and claiming in press conferences that a vote for RFK Jr. is a vote for former President Donald Trump. They have also been challenging RFK Jr.’s ballot access, like in Hawaii where their efforts were shot down by a judge on Saturday.

Democrats have long blamed third-party candidates for their election failures. In 2000, Green candidate Ralph Nader was blamed for George W Bush’s victory over former Vice President Al Gore, despite more registered Democrats in Florida voting for Bush than Nader. Then in 2016, Green candidate Jill Stein was blamed by Democrats for Trump’s 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton, despite the Libertarian candidate (and former Republican governor) Gary Johnson far outperforming Stein. Nevertheless, Democrats are worried yet again about third-party candidates, particularly since Kennedy is already on the ballot in four swing states: Michigan, New Hampshire, Nevada and North Carolina. Kennedy has qualified for nine ballots so far. “There will be a clear choice facing voters this November and the more they learn about RFK Jr, the more they will recognize that a vote for him is a vote for Donald Trump,” Matt Corridoni, a spokesperson for the DNC, told US media.

But polling data and Kennedy’s donor list don’t seem to back that up. In a recent national poll, Trump leads Biden by 2% in a two-way race, 46% to 44%. But when the race is expanded to include Kennedy, Green candidate Jill Stein and former Bernie Sanders surrogate Cornel West, Trump’s lead flips, with Joe Biden leading 39% to 37%. Kennedy receives 13%, Stein grabs 3% and West pulls in 2%. The poll also notes that 15% of people who said they would vote for Trump in a two-way race say they would vote for Kennedy, compared to just 7% of Biden supporters who switched to Kennedy when given the chance. Meanwhile, an analysis of Kennedy’s donor list revealed that he has received roughly $224,000 in donations from donors who gave to Trump’s 2020 campaign, compared to $105,000 that came from supporters of Biden’s 2020 campaign.

Despite these metrics, Trump and his campaign have treated Kennedy with a lighter touch. Trump previously said he likes him personally. He also seems to be working on making Democrat fears that Kennedy will siphon off votes from Biden become a reality. In March, Trump called Kennedy the “most Radical Left Candidate by far” in the 2024 race and slammed his support of environmental issues. “I guess that would mean that RFK Jr. is going to be taking away votes from Crooked Joe Biden. And he should because he is actually better than Biden. He’s much better than Biden. If I were a Democrat, I’d vote for RFK Jr. every single time over Biden,” Trump said in the video.

However, one group of disaffected former-Biden voters who will likely not be voting for RFK Jr., are the ones upset with the Biden administration for its support of Israel and its campaign in Gaza Sixty-nine percent of young Democratic voters disapprove of Biden’s handling of the war, and RFK Jr. has had some good polling numbers among young voters in the past. However, RFK Jr. has been even more of a staunch supporter of Israel than Biden or Trump. In December, he said that Palestinians are arguably “the most pampered people by international aid organizations in the world.”

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“..mass psychosis of government leaders who consistently make global decisions through a distorted lens completely detached from reality..”

Michael Brenner: The Moral Depravity of Western Imperialism (Sch.)

Professor Michael Brenner joins this episode of Journalists for Sale to discuss the moral emptiness of Western empire, most visibly expressed through its unequivocal support of the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza. Brenner details how this depravity manifests not only in the form of mass slaughter and total disregard for human life, but also through mass psychosis of government leaders who consistently make global decisions through a distorted lens completely detached from reality. Only this can explain their escalations in Ukraine at every turn, their “acknowledgement” of Palestinian life yet total complicity in its destruction and the mass censorship being imposed upon dissidents by the ruling class, most recently at the University of Southern California. Brenner’s wealth of knowledge and impressive ability to articulate the philosophical implications of this ongoing lunacy form a unique analysis one can’t quite get anywhere else but from the man himself.

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“..as lay persons, most of us would hazard to say that it is not “normal” or “valid” to set oneself on fire in a protest..”

No, It Does Not Matter Why the Man Lit Himself on Fire (Turley)

The scene outside of the New York courthouse holding the Trump trial has become a microcosm of our deep political divisions and rage this month. Images of citizens screaming at each other from across security barriers have played out nightly on news programs. But few were prepared for what occurred Friday night, when a man threw flyers in the air, poured a flammable liquid on himself and lit himself on fire. Some immediately rushed to use the incident to fuel their own rage. On the far left, postings and comments declared MAGA supporters were lighting themselves and “MAGA Terrorist just set himself on fire.” For many, it seemed a fact too good to check. Even after the police and fire officials explained that the material distributed by the man did not seem to relate to the trial, journalists pushed for a connection to the pro-Trump protesters. Officials reported that the flyers concerned wacky conspiracy theories related to schools and other matters.

Max Azzarello, 37, of Florida worked briefly for Rep. Tom Suozzi (D., N.Y.), but has a criminal record of property offenses that included throwing a glass of wine on a photo of Bill Clinton. We know little of his political views beyond his conspiracy obsessions. However, does it really matter? What should be clear is that he was a deeply disturbed individual. Yet even self-immolation may no longer be treated as per se evidence of mental illness. In today’s politics, even setting yourself on fire can be rationalized. An event was held recently at UCLA in which two psychiatrists appeared to rationalize self-immolation in the cause of people in Gaza. Ragda Izar and Afaf Moustafa were reportedly discussing the self-immolation in front of Israel’s embassy of airman Aaron Bushnell in February to protest Israeli policies. It was referred to as a “revolutionary suicide” on the panel on “Depathologizing Resistance.”

UCLA’s Izar stated that Bushnell “carried a lot of distress…but does that mean that the actions he engaged in are any less valid?” She suggested that it is “normal to be distressed when you’re seeing this level of carnage [in Gaza].
Moustafa is quoted as saying that “Psychiatry pathologizes non-pathological…reactions to a pathological environment or pathological society. It’s considered illness to choose to die in protest of the violence of war but perfectly sane to choose to die in service of the violence of war.” There have been a few prominent historical self-immolations in protest, including the famous case of Thich Quang Duc, who burned himself alive to protest the Vietnam War in 1963. However, as lay persons, most of us would hazard to say that it is not “normal” or “valid” to set oneself on fire in a protest.

The dividing line between rage and reason has always been contextual. In my forthcoming book, “The Indispensable Right: Free Speech in an Age of Rage,” I discuss how we have faced regular periods of rage in our history. How one views rage depends largely on the underlying viewpoint. This country was born in rage with the Boston Tea Party, where a riot with massive property damage is celebrated as a moment of liberation. Yet even self-immolation may now be viewed as somehow valid when used to oppose Israeli policies or other “distressful” realities. If Azzarello was motivated by his view of a conspiracy among educators or Trump’s trial, would his self-immolation also be viewed as valid?

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Trump SNL

 

 

RFK Autism
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782611008713806295

 

 

David Martin

 

 

Wind

 

 

Kate
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782425377094455494

 

 

Dog is not impressed
https://twitter.com/i/status/1782645630227173683

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 172024
 


Daniel Garber Lambertville holiday 1941

 

Iran’s Strike On Israel Was Much More Successful Than It Seems (Juma)
Iran’s Retaliatory Attack Revealed Israel’s Military Weaknesses (Manley)
Loose Lips Don’t Sink Ships, Or Israel (Helmer)
The Gaza Genocide As Explicit Policy – Michael Hudson (Pepe Escobar)
Zelensky Green With Envy as West Comes to Aid of Israel (Miles)
Ukrainians ‘Beginning To Dislike’ US – Odessa University Boss (RT)
Ukraine Suddenly Walked Away From Black Sea Deal – Reuters (RT)
Xi Jinping Proposes Four Principles For Resolving Ukrainian Crisis (TASS)
Biden Refuses to Testify in GOP Impeachment Inquiry (ET)
RFK Jr Won’t Seek Libertarian Nomination, Says Team Trump Asked Him As VP (ZH)
Coalition of AG’s File Amicus Brief Defending Ken Paxton and His Top Deputy (ET)
Supreme Court Takes Up Obstruction Case Affecting J6 Defendants (Turley)
Dutch Gov’t Data Hack Reveals Startling Amount Of Covid Adverse Reactions (X)
A Generation Lost to Climate Anxiety (Zaruk)

 

 

 

 

Watch this: Chasing Trump

 

 

Kim Gaza

 

 

 

 

Florida 1982

 

 

 

 

Those hundreds of drones and missiles have fully exposed Israel’s defenses, including those provided by third countries.. At a low cost, and without starting a war. Pretty smart. Plus, Biden has refused US involvement in potential counter attacks.

Iran’s Strike On Israel Was Much More Successful Than It Seems (Juma)

On the night of April 14, Iran and its proxy forces launched a series of cruise missile and kamikaze drone strikes on Israeli territory. The attacks did not come as a surprise. Tehran had warned that it would respond to the Israeli airstrike on Iran’s consulate in Damascus, Syria, on April 1, which killed several high-ranking officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including two generals. The retaliatory strike was called Operation True Promise. There is still much debate on whether Iran’s retaliatory strike was successful. Most military experts agree that there was nothing unusual about Tehran’s actions, except that this was Iran’s first direct attack on Israel. From a technical point of view, the strategy was simple and correct: Iran first suppressed the enemy’s air defense systems with drones and then launched hypersonic missiles which the Israelis and Americans were not able to intercept. Incidentally, in light of this, Ukraine’s statements about shooting down Russian Kinzhal hypersonic missiles sound ridiculous.

Many experts were skeptical about Iran’s strike and hastened to say that the retaliation did not live up to expectations. Given the clip thinking of most commentators, this reaction is hardly surprising. Their reasoning resembles a Hollywood blockbuster stuffed with special effects, where the end of the world and its miraculous salvation fit into 90-120 minutes, with a love scene in the middle. In real life, things are different. As Sun Tzu wrote in ancient times, to fight 100 battles and win 100 battles is not the height of skill. The best way to win is not to fight at all. This is Iran’s strategy. Its strike against Israel was not so much a military response as a grandmaster’s move in a big chess game. And the game is not over yet. After the attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria’s capital, Tehran found itself in a tough situation. It had to respond in a way that would look convincing and would achieve specific military goals, but would not start World War III.

To achieve the first point, Iran had to carry out a direct strike without resorting exclusively to proxy forces – and that is indeed how it acted. Regarding the second point, even though most of the missiles and drones were indeed shot down, some managed to penetrate Israeli air space and hit military targets. The Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Mohammad Bagheri, said that the information center on the Israeli-Syrian border and Israel’s Nevatim air base were hit. And finally, as to the third point – war didn’t happen. This resembled the situation in 2020, when the Iranians hit US bases in Iraq in response to the assassination of General Soleimani. However, it is still too early to speculate as to whether Iran’s attack was a success or not. The big question now is how Israel will respond. It’s important to emphasize that Iran’s operation carried more political than military weight. In this sense, it was carried out subtly and was a success. Obviously, the Iranians did not want to start a war which would involve the US, even though that is what Netanyahu wanted. In other words, Israel didn’t manage to provoke Iran.

It is also obvious that the Islamic Republic possesses more powerful drones and missiles than those used in the attack on April 14. However, even the less advanced drones and missiles were able to penetrate Israeli air space and inflict economic damage, since Israel spent much more money on shooting down the missiles and drones than Iran spent on launching them. Tehran has once again demonstrated that Israel is not invulnerable, and it is possible to attack it. As for the degree of inflicted damage, which some commentators were unsatisfied with, it largely depends on the type of missiles and drones used in the attack – and Iran has a lot of military equipment.

Ritter Galloway: Stand Down
https://twitter.com/i/status/1780203527265976596

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“This was not a failure on Iran’s part. This was an action that has changed the game entirely..”

Iran’s Retaliatory Attack Revealed Israel’s Military Weaknesses (Manley)

An article published in Mondoweiss on Sunday suggested that Iran’s retaliatory attack against Israel was not a failure, after Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said that 99% of the launched missiles and drones were intercepted by Israeli air defense systems. The article notes that Iran declared its intentions to attack a week in advance and promised the US that its attack would be “under control” and conducted in a way that “avoids escalation”. On Tuesday, Sputnik’s The Critical Hour was joined by Dr. Jim Kavanagh, an independent journalist, to discuss Iran’s recent response to Israel’s attack over the weekend. “This was not a failure on Iran’s part. This was an action that has changed the game entirely,” said Kavanagh. “This is a new game now because what Iran demonstrated was that the Israelis were defended by the US. The US, Great Britain, France and Jordan – all of them acted in their defense and shot down [Iran’s] missiles.

They had a 72-hour notice. The Iranians did constrain themselves in the sense that they were targeting specific military installations. They didn’t pick a broad target against any civilian targets or urban targets,” he continued. “What Iran demonstrated was that it would act against Israel, it could do so effectively and intelligently,” he continued. “That was the best defended territory in the world, the best radar, the best air defense systems. Iran used seven missiles to target that and hit with five. So five or seven missiles struck the best defended and the best air defense territory in the world.” “What Iran demonstrated was that Israel is not safe,” said Kavanagh. Sputnik’s Garland Nixon suggested that Iran’s recent attack showed how Israel’s military is extremely dependent on its Western allies.

“Isn’t it strange that the US, Great Britain and France joined in a military attack? A military action with Israel. Where’s the justification for that?” Kavanagh responded. “But they’re not going to get 72 hours notice [again]. They’re not going to get time for the Americans and British and France if there’s a real attack. If it’s all-out warfare, Israel is not going to have time. They’re going to be hurt very badly. And, this is something they cannot stand.” “Israel knows all this. They know how weak they are,” he added. “Israel has an ace in the hole that they will use if there’s a general war with Iran, and that is nuclear weapons. And that’s what they have them for, and that’s what they will use to restore the intimidation over the world, over their regional adversaries at least.”

Israel 1948

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“..the best surveillance radar in the world, working in concert with the most sophisticated anti-missile defences in the world, were impotent in the face of the Iranian attack..”

Loose Lips Don’t Sink Ships, Or Israel (Helmer)

No Russian military source will publicly express the line that Iran’s attack on Israel of April 14 was a strategic success, despite the tactical shortcomings. This is first of all because Iran is a strategic ally of Russia in its war against the US and NATO in the Ukraine, in Syria, and in Yemen. It is also because of what may happen next. If Israel escalates by attacking Iran and striking at the country’s infrastructure, then Iran’s counter will be to take a page out of Russia’s book and commence the one line of attack which Israel, the US and their allies cannot withstand any better than Ukraine – that’s Electric War.

For the seven months which have elapsed since Hamas began its operation against Israel on October 7, and Israel commenced its genocide against the Palestinians, there has been no targeting by Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, or the Syrian and Iraqi groups of Israel’s highly vulnerable maritime gas platforms, gas pipelines, coal and oil-fired electricity generating plants, the coal and oil storages nearby, solar and wind power units, or the electricity grids keeping the country alight. The Arab inhibitions and calculations are understandable. Iran’s will disappear if Israel triggers a new round of attacks. If and when that happens, the Palestinian failure in the US and in Europe to counterattack and stop Israel financing its war through the $60 billion genocide bond issue won’t matter. Bond holders don’t invest in blackouts. On the published Israeli counts to date, Iran launched between 180 and 185 drones, 30 to 36 cruise missiles, and 110 to 120 ballistic missiles[..]

The outcome counted by Israel’s enemies is that Israel, the US, British, French and Jordanian forces intercepted almost all of the drones and other decoys fired from Iran. Nine missiles beat the Iron Dome, Arrow, and other ground–to-air defences, five of them hit Nevatim air base and four of them hit the Ramon base. Iranian officials confirm those target strikes. In a briefing on April 16, the Iranian ground force commander, Brigadier General Kioumars Haydari, added that “the attack targeted the most strategic base and surveillance site of the Israeli military at the Jabal al-Sheikh Heights on the border between the occupied Palestinian territories and Syria.” Haydari did not mention Ramon or a Mossad facility as targeted or hit.

The case is being made by a group of retired colonels, majors, and lieutenants publishing in the US alt-media that the 6% rate of penetration – that’s 9 divided by 140 or by 156 – make a tactical victory over the US radar and missile combinations protecting Nevatim and Ramon, and therefore a strategic success for Iran. The US protection is Site 512 in the Negev region of southern Israel. According to one American interpretation, “the best surveillance radar in the world, working in concert with the most sophisticated anti-missile defences in the world, were impotent in the face of the Iranian attack…Who has deterrence supremacy? It ain’t Israel.”

Another American assessment goes further strategically without going as far tactically. The point of the penetrations at Nevatim and Ramon, this argument runs, was not to destroy the bases but to prove that, having beaten the US-Israeli defences this time round, the next time will be much more destructive; also, that the Israeli-American combination cannot afford the cost attrition of $1 billion spent per night to defend against larger and cheaper Iranian swarms. A third American interpretation is that even as slight as the 6% penetration rate appears to be, the Iranians have demonstrated the military and technological expertise to defeat the US technology on which Israeli defences are based.

A Russian military source acknowledges that “yes, several people have made this point that at least some projectiles got through at the airstrips; that the Iranians have learned from the defences and might have spotted weaknesses to exploit.” He dismisses this strategic victory as wishful thinking. “In a class room, these calculations of the pundits make sense. But up to the 10th Grade.” A NATO veteran and expert in applying electrical engineering to war comments: “Honestly, I don’t believe the Iranian strikes were all that effective in terms of damage done. This being said, again, they weren’t meant to be. They mostly used drones and older missiles with a few of the newer models thrown in to test, and send a message.”

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“..the ideal is to kill the population passively, to minimize visible bombing. And the line of least resistance is to starve the population. That has been Israeli policy since 2008.”

The Gaza Genocide As Explicit Policy – Michael Hudson (Pepe Escobar)

In what can be considered the most crucial podcast of 2024 so far, Professor Michael Hudson – the author of seminal works such as Super-Imperialism and the recent The Collapse of Antiquity , among others – clinically lays down the essential background to understand the unthinkable: a 21st century genocide broadcast live 24/7 to the whole planet. [..] In an email exchange, Prof. Hudson detailed he’s now essentially “spilling the beans” about how, “50 years ago when I worked at the Hudson Institute with Herman Kahn [the model for Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove], Israeli Mossad members were being trained, including Uzi Arad. In our email exchange, Prof. Hudson remarked “this is basically what I said” in reference to the podcast with Ania K, drawing on his notes. Fasten your seat belts: unvarnished truth is more lethal than a hypersonic missile hit.

[..] On the Zionist military strategy in Gaza: “My background in the 1970s at Hudson Institute with Uzi Arad and other Mossad trainees. My field was BoP, but I sat in on many meetings discussing military strategy, and I flew to Asia twice with Uzi and got to know him. The U.S./Israeli strategy in Gaza is based in many ways on Herman Kahn’s plan that was carried out in Vietnam in the 1960s. Herman’s focus was systems analysis. Start by defining the overall aim and then, how do we achieve it? First, isolate them in Strategic Hamlets. Gaza has been carved up into districts, requiring electronic passes for entry from one sector to another, or into Jewish Israel to work. First thing: kill them. Ideally by bombing, because that minimizes domestic casualties for your army. The genocide that we are seeing today is the explicit policy of Israel’s founders: the idea of “a land without a people” means a land without non-Jewish people.

They were to be driven out – starting even before the official founding of Israel, in the first Nakba, the Arab holocaust. Two Israeli Prime Ministers were members of the Stern Gang of terrorists. They escaped from their British jail and joined to found Israel. What we are seeing today is the Final Solution to this plan. It also dovetails into U.S. desires to control the Middle East and its oil reserves. For U.S. diplomacy, the Middle East IS (in caps) oil. And ISIS is part of America’s foreign legion since it was first organized in Afghanistan to fight the Russians. That is why Israeli policy has been coordinated with the U.S.. Israel is the main U.S. client oligarchy in the Middle East. Mossad does most handling of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and wherever else the U.S. may send ISIS terrorists.

Terrorism and even the present genocide is central to U.S. geopolitics. But as the U.S. learned in the Vietnam War, populations protest and vote against the President who supervises this war. Lyndon Johnson couldn’t make a public appearance without crowds chanting. He had to sneak out the side entrance of hotels where he was speaking. To prevent an embarrassment such as Seymour Hersh describing the My Lai massacre, you block journalists from the battlefield. If they are there, you kill them. The Biden-Netanyahu team has targeted journalists in particular. So the ideal is to kill the population passively, to minimize visible bombing. And the line of least resistance is to starve the population. That has been Israeli policy since 2008.”

Prof. Hudson makes a direct reference to a Sara Roy piece in The New York Review of Books, citing a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to the Secretary of State on November 3rd, 2008. The cable reads, “As part of their overall embargo plan against Gaza, Israeli officials have confirmed to [embassy officials] on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.” That has led, according to Prof. Hudson, to Israel “destroying fishing boats and greenhouses of Gaza to deprive it from feeding itself. Next, it has joined with the United States to block United Nations food aid and that of other countries. The U.S. quickly withdrew from the UN relief agency as soon as hostilities began, doing so immediately after the ICJ finding of plausible genocide. It was the major funder of this agency. The hope was that this would set back its activities.

Israel simply stopped letting food aid in. It set up long, long lines of inspections, that is, an excuse to slow the trucks to just 20% of their pre-Oct. 7 rate – from a normal rate of 500 a day to just 112. In addition to blocking trucks, Israel has targeted aid workers – about one a day.

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“..the Kiev regime started out this conflict with a very formidable integrated Soviet legacy air defense network that took Russia about a year and a half to take apart..”

Zelensky Green With Envy as West Comes to Aid of Israel (Miles)

The United States rushed to the defense of Israel this weekend to help shoot down a volley of drones and missiles launched by Iran in a retaliatory strike for an attack on Tehran’s Syrian consulate earlier this month. The US was joined in their effort by the UK, flying out of their airbase in nearby Cyprus, and the Western-aligned regime in Jordan. Israeli media alleged that Saudi Arabia came to the aid of the country as well, although observers have questioned the veracity of those reports. The Gulf monarchy has walked a fine line in recent months, attempting to keep hopes of rapprochement with Tel Aviv alive while also acknowledging the pro-Palestinian sentiment of the country’s population. The dramatic (and reportedly highly expensive) show of force apparently led to some envy from another US ally, according to security analyst Mark Sleboda.

The international relations expert joined Sputnik’s Fault Lines program Tuesday to break down the Israel-Gaza conflict’s ramifications for the US’ relationship with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “I think that Zelensky has finally come to the realization as the new mistress that the United States is never going to leave its wife, despite all the promises that Joe Biden has given, all of the late-night dinners and the hotel rooms,” Sleboda mused. “It’s all gone wrong… there’s a bit of envy.” “There was even an… interview with a Ukrainian academic, quote-unquote, saying how Ukraine is being two-timed by the United States with Israel and the rock on Israel’s finger is much bigger or something like that, that they are souring on the United States. I mean if you didn’t realize you were a proxy for US geopolitical motives, that’s entirely your problem,” the analyst stressed.

Sleboda broke down some of the reasons he believes the United States was able to come to the aid of its Middle Eastern ally in a way it hasn’t for Ukraine, noting that Israel is a much smaller country with an extensive air defense system in the Iron Dome. The analyst called the network “probably the second best air defense system in the world after Russia’s, and very tailored to task.” “Ukraine is an enormous country with very far-flung assets and Russia is a nuclear power with very large conventional and air forces, and it makes a world of difference,” Sleboda added. “It has to be said that the Kiev regime started out this conflict with a very formidable integrated Soviet legacy air defense network that took Russia about a year and a half to take apart, which is why only now are you starting to see the fruits of real Russian air superiority.”

“Russian forces are apparently able to use SU-25 aircraft in an essentially close air support role because the Kiev regime has no air defense, certainly not on the front line, left,” he concluded. “Ultimately the envy is at the moment primarily over air defense… [Zelensky] realizes he’s going to get no more air defense, which is simply going to make the end of this conflict come faster than it would have otherwise.”

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“..the US “is not going to be involved in [the Ukraine conflict] in a combat role.”

Ukrainians ‘Beginning To Dislike’ US – Odessa University Boss (RT)

There is growing disenchantment with the US among Ukrainians over its perceived lack of commitment to their defense, the Wall Street Journal has reported, citing the director of the Center for International Studies at the Odessa National University. Vladimir Dubovyk told the newspaper in an article on Monday that the swift action from the US and its NATO allies to fend off a massive Iranian missile and drone strike on Israel at the weekend stands in stark contrast to their apparent reluctance to beef up Ukraine’s air defenses amid its conflict with Russia. Ukrainians are “beginning to sour on the US,” Dubovyk was quoted as saying. The scholar noted that Washington played a key role “in the first two years of the war [with Russia], but now of course there’s a huge slowdown,” apparently referring to President Joe Biden’s latest aid package, which has been deadlocked by Republicans in Congress for several months.

“Rather than helping Ukraine create the kind of air-defense network Israel has, the West has provided [Kiev] with a patchwork of equipment,” the WSJ noted, adding that these stockpiles have become significantly depleted as Moscow escalates its campaign of air bombardments. The situation in Ukraine was contrasted with that of Israel, after Iran launched several hundred missiles and kamikaze drones at the Jewish state late on Saturday. US, British, French and Jordanian fighter jets scrambled to intercept the projectiles, and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) later reported that the vast majority of Iranian rockets and UAVs had been shot down before they reached Israeli airspace. Tehran said the attack came in response to an Israeli airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Syria on April 1, and claimed that it had struck several Israeli military installations.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky noted that Israel is not a NATO member, meaning Western powers were not legally obliged to come to its defense. The Ukrainian leader added that the involvement of the US, the UK, and France did not result in a war breaking out in the region. “European skies could have received the same level of protection long ago if Ukraine had received similar full support from its partners,” Zelensky concluded. During a press conference on Monday, US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby made it clear that the situations in Israel and Ukraine cannot be compared, describing them as “different conflicts, different airspace, [and] different threat picture.” He also emphasized that the US “is not going to be involved in [the Ukraine conflict] in a combat role.”

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Ukraine cannot be trusted.

Ukraine Suddenly Walked Away From Black Sea Deal – Reuters (RT)

Russia and Ukraine had almost reached a new Black Sea shipping deal in March after two months of negotiations, only for Kiev to abruptly walk away, Reuters reported on Monday, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. The official agreement governing the freight route lapsed in July 2023, when Moscow declined to renew the original Türkiye- and UN-mediated Black Sea Grain Initiative. Russia said that the US and EU had not kept their part of the deal, blocking exports of Russian food and fertilizer. The most recent talks were brokered by Türkiye at the prompting of the United Nations, and a tentative agreement “to ensure the safety of merchant shipping in the Black Sea” was reached last month, according to Reuters’ sources.

They added that while Kiev did not formally sign, it agreed that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could announce the deal a day before Turkiye’s March 31 local elections, with the pact to take effect immediately upon being made public. “At the very last minute, Ukraine suddenly pulled out and the deal was scuttled.” According to the draft seen by Reuters, Ankara had mediated agreements between Moscow and Kiev “on ensuring free and safe navigation of merchant vessels in the Black Sea,” in compliance with maritime conventions. The guarantees would not apply to “warships, civilian vessels carrying military goods,” except when agreed upon by all parties, the copy of the document stated. Both Russia and Ukraine were to offer security guarantees to commercial vessels in the Black Sea, undertaking not to strike, seize or search them, provided they were unladen or had declared a non-military cargo, according to the draft agreement.

The reasons for Kiev pulling out are unclear, but President Vladimir Zelensky accused Russia of targeting grain export infrastructure during the original deal, thereby putting vulnerable countries at risk. Speaking to reporters earlier this year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denied that Moscow ever attacked Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea during the grain deal. One of the reasons Moscow did not return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative was Kiev’s misuse of the shipping passage during the agreement, he said. “The Ukrainians used these free secure passages to launch their weapons in the form of naval drones,” damaging Russian ships and ports, Lavrov stated. He added under the old agreement, only 3% of the shipped Ukrainian grain went to countries on the UN World Food Programme’s list of states in greatest need. Since then, Moscow has donated 200,000 tons of grain to six African nations, with the last shipments arriving in January of this year.

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At least Xi didn’t refuse to talk to him.

Xi Jinping Proposes Four Principles For Resolving Ukrainian Crisis (TASS)

Chinese President Xi Jinping has proposed four principles to restore peace in Ukraine as soon as possible and prevent the crisis from spiraling out of control. According to the Xinhua news agency, the Chinese leader had an in-depth exchange of views on the Ukrainian crisis with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who is on an official visit to Beijing. “First, we should give priority to maintaining peace and stability and refrain from seeking selfish gains. Second, we should cool down the situation instead of adding fuel to the fire. Third, we should create conditions for restoring peace and refrain from further escalating tensions. Fourth, we should reduce the negative impact on the global economy and refrain from undermining the stability of global industrial and supply chains,” the agency quoted the Chinese leader as saying.

Scholz is on an official visit to Beijing since April 12. This is his second trip to China as Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. Scholz is accompanied by three ministers of environment, agriculture and transport. The delegation includes representatives of leading German companies, in particular Siemens, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The visit focuses on bilateral trade and economic relations.

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Why not subpoena him?

Biden Refuses to Testify in GOP Impeachment Inquiry (ET)

President Joe Biden will not be testifying to U.S. House of Representatives members who are engaged in an impeachment inquiry against him, the White House said on April 15. Richard Sauber, special counsel to the president, told House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) that the president would not testify in the “partisan charade.” “Your committee’s purported ‘impeachment inquiry’ has succeeded only in turning up abundant evidence that, in fact, the president has done nothing wrong,” Mr. Sauber said in a letter to Mr. Comer. “Your insistence on peddling these false and unsupported allegations despite ample evidence to the contrary makes one thing about your investigation abundantly clear: The facts do not matter to you,” he added. Republicans in their investigation have found that millions of dollars flowed from businesses and individuals, including foreigners, to members of the Biden family while President Biden was vice president.

They’ve also identified payments from Hunter Biden’s business to the president, and from the president’s brother to him, as well as emails between President Biden and an associate of Hunter Biden. Several witnesses, meanwhile, testified that President Biden would get on the phone with Hunter Biden’s associates and that he attended multiple meals with them. President Biden and the White House have maintained that he was not involved with the business undertaken by his son and brother. Mr. Comer wrote to the president in March, saying the evidence “wholly contradicts your position.” “In light of the yawning gap between your public statements and the evidence assembled by the committee, as well as the White House’s obstruction, it is in the best interest of the American people for you to answer questions from members of Congress directly, and I hereby invite you to do so,” Mr. Comer wrote at the time.

“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Biden family. Like his son, Hunter Biden, President Biden is refusing to testify in public about the Bidens’ corrupt influence peddling,” Mr. Comer said Monday. “This comes as no surprise since President Biden continues to lie about his relationships with his son’s business partners, even denying they exist when his son said under oath during a deposition that they did,” he said. “It is unfortunate President Biden is unwilling to answer questions before the American people and refuses to answer the very simple, straightforward questions we included in the invitation. Why is it so difficult for the White House to answer those questions? The American people deserve transparency from President Biden, not more lies.” It’s not clear whether lawmakers are considering subpoenaing the president, and the White House did not respond when asked whether the president would comply with a subpoena.

Mr. Comer and other members have said they want answers to questions, including those about the source of the money for the payment from his brother. They’re also wondering whether President Biden ever interacted with Hunter Biden’s associates, such as Chinese businessmen Jonathan Li, Ye Jianming, and Henry Zhao. Lawmakers also want more details about the work done by Eric Schwerin, one of the associates, for President Biden. Mr. Schwerin told lawmakers that he often met with President Biden and provided him with free services, including tax preparation. Lawmakers have yet to outline the next steps in the inquiry. The November election is looming and, if President Biden loses his re-election bid, he would exit the presidency regardless in January 2025. Mr. Sauber, the special adviser to the president, is leaving the White House early next month. He was brought on in 2022 to oversee the White House’s response to congressional investigations as Democrats braced to lose their majorities on Capitol Hill that year.

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“..Trump’s co-campaign manager Chris LaCivita quickly fired back, denying Kennedy’s claim and calling him a “leftie loonie” to boot…”

RFK Jr Won’t Seek Libertarian Nomination, Says Team Trump Asked Him As VP (ZH)

After seriously considering the possibility, 2024 presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy, Jr has declared he will not seek the Libertarian Party nomination, saying he’s confident he’ll achieve ballot access across the country on his own. Meanwhile, in a social media skirmish with Team Trump, Kennedy said Trump associates asked him to consider becoming the former president’s running mate. In a political system with formidable ballot-access barriers that protect the Democrat-Republican duopoly, outsider presidential candidates are frequently attracted to the idea of running as a Libertarian — if only to access the party’s hard-earned, 50-state ballot qualification. “We’re not gonna have any problems getting on the ballot ourselves so we won’t be running Libertarian,” Kennedy tells ABC News. That declaration came as his team was celebrating their exploitation of a quirk in Iowa ballot-access law:

Rather than gathering 3,500 signatures, the Kennedy team held a convention in West Des Moines. Consistent with state requirements, it included at least 500 voters who represented at least 25 of the Hawkeye State’s 99 counties. Kennedy assured ABC that he’s “100% confident” he’ll manage the arduous process — which includes fending off Democrats’ lawfare — in all 50 states, saying “we’re going to add probably two to three states a week.” While Kennedy framed his decision solely in ballot-access terms, it was far from certain that he could have actually won the Libertarian nod. The nominee isn’t selected by party leadership, but by delegates at the group’s convention — all of whom show up fully free to vote for the candidate of their choice. [..] Kennedy has plenty of overlaps with libertarians, some of his stances could be seen as disqualifying:

His staunchly pro-Israel statements before and during the Gaza war devastated his standing with non-interventionist libertarians (and progressive leftists to boot). The damage hasn’t caused him to temper his remarks: On Saturday, he oddly referred to Israel as “our oldest ally” and said “the U.S. ought to be bending over backwards to protect Israel.” While he’s expressed skepticism about the effectiveness of gun control, he said he would sign an “assault weapon ban” if Congress sent him one. He’s also called for a $15 national minimum wage, more free childcare, and abolishing interest on all federal student loans. Meanwhile, responding to a series of Truth Social posts by Trump, in which the former president called Kennedy “the most radical liberal” in the race, Kennedy said Trump’s “emissaries” asked him to become his running mate. Trump’s co-campaign manager Chris LaCivita quickly fired back, denying Kennedy’s claim and calling him a “leftie loonie” to boot…

Politico reports that Trump had casually floated the idea in conversations, adding that “Trump is known to workshop ideas to a variety of aides and allies, even if they never come to fruition. As he does with many political rivals, Trump has directed a mixture of flattery and abuse at Kennedy — as he did last week: “He’s got some nice things about him. I happen to like him. Unfortunately he is about the ‘Green New Scam’ because he believes in that and a lot of people don’t. I guess that would mean that RFK Jr.’s going to be taking away votes from Crooked Joe Biden, and he should because he’s actually better than Biden. He’s much better than Biden. If I were a Democrat, I’d vote for RFK Jr. every single time over Biden.”

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“..a number of attorneys general, including me, are facing similar attacks from their political adversaries. just for doing their jobs.”

Coalition of AG’s File Amicus Brief Defending Ken Paxton and His Top Deputy (ET)

A national coalition of 18 state attorneys general filed an amicus brief to defend Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s First Assistant Attorney General Brent Webster in a lawsuit initiated by the State Bar of Texas. “The State Bar of Texas’s Commission for Lawyer Discipline attempted to censure Attorney General Paxton and First Assistant Attorney General Webster for taking action over genuine concerns of unconstitutional conduct by states during the 2020 election,” Mr. Paxton’s office wrote in a press release on Monday. The brief was filed on Friday in response to complaints against the state’s top attorney and his top deputy for their decision to file the “landmark” case known as Texas v. Pennsylvania. Mr. Webster authored the petition contesting the 2020 presidential election results to the U.S. Supreme Court. “Neither the State Bar nor this Court is an appropriate forum for what is ultimately a political fight,” the group of attorneys general wrote in the brief.

“And while it is, of course, true that the Attorney General is subject to general rules of professional conduct, those rules cannot be used to limit discretionary authority conferred by a State Constitution. Nor can they be weaponized to undermine the will of the voters who elected the Attorney General in the first place.” Montana AG Austin Knudsen, who led the coalition, said the commission’s complaint threatens the constitutional authority of elected officials. “The weaponization of the bar complaint process undermines the constitutional authority of elected officials and the will of the voters,” Mr. Knudsen told the Daily Caller. “I’m glad I could support Attorney General Ken Paxton in this instance as a number of attorneys general, including me, are facing similar attacks from their political adversaries. just for doing their jobs.” The coalition argues that the issue is not about the alleged misconduct but whether the court will allow state bars to take action against those with whom they disagree politically.

“The real question in this case is not whether the alleged misrepresentations amount to violation of the rules of professional conduct,” the court document reads. “Instead, it is whether courts will permit the politicization of the State Bars and weaponization of disciplinary rules against elected executive officers discharging their constitutional duties. “The Supreme Court of Texas will likely be the first to consider that question. It should be a resounding ‘No.’” The attorneys general argue that allowing the case to move forward will encourage further bar complaints made for the purpose of “obstructing the ability of attorneys general and their staff to carry out their constitutional responsibilities.” They are asking the Texas Supreme Court to reverse the decision of the appeals court. “The Court should grant the petition, reverse the court of appeals’ decision, and render judgment on behalf of the First Assistant,” the document states.

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1512(c)(2)

Supreme Court Takes Up Obstruction Case Affecting J6 Defendants (Turley)

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will take up Fischer v. United States, a case that could fundamentally change many cases of January 6th defendants, including the prosecution of former president Donald Trump. The case involves the interpretation of a federal statute prohibiting obstruction of congressional inquiries and investigations. The case concerns 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2), which provides: “Whoever corruptly—(1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or (2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.” Joseph Fischer was charged with various offenses, but U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols of the District of Columbia dismissed the 1512(c)2 charges. Judge Nichols found that the statute is exclusively directed to crimes related to documents, records, or other objects.

The D.C. Circuit reversed and held that Section 1512(c)(2) is a “catch all” provision that encompasses all forms of obstructive conduct. Circuit Judge Florence Pan ruled that the “natural, broad reading of the statute is consistent with prior interpretations of the words it uses and the structure it employs.” However, Judge Gregory Katsas dissented and rejected “the government’s all-encompassing reading.” The Court will now consider the question of whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit erred in construing 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c), which prohibits obstruction of congressional inquiries and investigations, to include acts unrelated to investigations and evidence. The law itself was not designed for this purpose. It was part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and has been described as “prompted by the exposure of Enron’s massive accounting fraud and revelations that the company’s outside auditor, Arthur Andersen LLP, had systematically destroyed potentially incriminating documents.”

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“..Members of parliament are being forced into court but would rather pay the fines imposed by the courts than release the information..”

Dutch Gov’t Data Hack Reveals Startling Amount Of Covid Adverse Reactions (X)

Exclusive Breaking: Dutch Government Data hacked and startling amount of Covid adverse reactions obtained. Astounding amount of data obtained. Millions of records now seen. There is a massive attempted coverup not only by the Government in Holland but in every nation that has been infiltrated by Globalists. Excess Deaths are exploding but there is a wall of silence from our respective Governments. I’m joined from Holland by Dutch Freedom Fighters and Truth Seekers, former Dutch Parliamentarian and business entrepreneur Wybren van Haga, Businessman and Data expert Wouter Aukema and Anne Merel Kloosterman who is representing many vaccine injured. The Dutch Minister of health has lied and needs to be brought to task. Members of parliament are being forced into court but would rather pay the fines imposed by the courts than release the information!!! Just what are they hiding?

A Great Awakening is taking place all around the world as people wake up and realise what has been done to them. Justice must be done and if any Government refuses to obey their own laws and constitution then they become illegitimate and those who form it and those who support them essentially become the enemy of the people they are supposed to be governing. The first order of any Government is to protect its own people. Not only have they failed to do this but they are attempting to hide their failings and perhaps more disturbingly hide a dark de-population agenda that they are involved in. They have essentially broken their contract with the people. Its time to get on board and join the quest for freedom and justice. Join us http://freedomtraininternational.org.

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“..people with “woke” beliefs have higher rates of depression..”

A Generation Lost to Climate Anxiety (Zaruk)

In a far-reaching new essay in The New Atlantis, the environmental researcher Ted Nordhaus makes a damning and authoritative case that while the basic science of CO2 and climate is solid, it has been abused by the activist class in service of a wildly irresponsible and unscientific climate catastrophism. This reckless alarmism, saturated across the mainstream media and endlessly amplified by it, has had profound societal consequences. It has both distorted public understanding of the massive benefits the carbon economy makes possible and grossly exaggerated the risks of extreme events it allegedly makes more likely. As a result it has rendered reasonable debate on climate policy impossible, even as it has given cynical politicians an easy scapegoat for every social ill, drawing attention away from regulatory and institutional failures and laying blame instead at the feet of fossil fuel companies and other evil “emitters.”

Perhaps most perniciously, as Nordhaus details, the doomsday prophesying of climate extremists has created hardened skeptics on one side who are increasingly suspicious of all public “expertise”, while at the same time infecting true believers on the other side with a crippling, pathological fatalism that has come to be referred to as “climate anxiety.” If there’s any flaw in Nordhaus’ damning and comprehensive analysis it’s that he undersells just how much damage the advent of “climate anxiety” has done already—and how much more it’s likely to do in years to come. Yes, there’s the obvious cases of obnoxious and lawbreaking behavior, from climate iconoclasts defacing priceless works of art, to interrupting Broadway shows and sporting events, to gluing themselves to buses and holding up traffic on major thoroughfares. But it runs much deeper than that.

Consider recent headlines: From Vox: “What to do when you’re completely overwhelmed by climate anxiety.” From The Guardian: “Climate anxiety adds to teenagers’ fears.” And the New York Times: “How Climate Change is Changing Therapy.” And perhaps most depressing of all, from the BBC: “Climate anxiety: ‘I don’t want to burden the world with my child.” The trend is so wide now that they have given it a name: birth strike. And the data backs up the headlines—like the recent Finnish study of 6,000 subjects that showed people with “woke” beliefs have higher rates of depression. Developed countries are already facing real increases in mental health issues, many of them human-made and bound up in everything from the opioid crisis to the COVID pandemic. The manufacture of climate anxiety as an issue allegedly on par with those others is a dangerous distraction that draws resources away from solving these other mental health challenges.

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Dore Kory

 

 

Pfizer batch

 

 

Elephants

 

 

Gibbon

 

 

Family
https://twitter.com/i/status/1780266693895266366

 

 

Slaps

 

 

Clipnosis

 

 

Sunscreen
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779962954617688422

 

 

Toll road

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 062024
 


Juan de la Corte (1597–1660) Lot And His Daughters Escaping From The Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah

 

The “Order” Based On Made-up Rules Is Descending Into Savagery (Pepe Escobar)
Putin’s Road to Armageddon (Paul Craig Roberts)
US and Germany Against Inviting Ukraine Into NATO – NYT (RT)
NATO Faces ‘Catastrophic Defeat’ In Ukraine – ex-Pentagon Adviser (RT)
Ukraine Plan Of Crocus Attack: Ethnic Pogroms, Civil War In Russia (Helmer)
MSM Reluctantly Admits Elon Musk’s Ukraine Takes Are Proving Correct (ZH)
Vectoring Dangerously (Kunstler)
Ukrainian Officials’ Wealth Surged During Conflict (RT)
Biden Was ‘Higher Than A Kite’ During SOTU Speech – Trump
US Intel Services Use Journalists As Their Agents – Zakharova (TASS)
Jan. 6 Defendant Video Raises Questions About Undercover Agents (ET)
Bidenomics and Its Discontents (Galbraith)
RFK Jr. Is Right About Joe Biden (ZH)
Judges Reject Trump’s Attempts To Quash Cases (RT)
Supreme Court Faces ‘High Stakes’ Decisions on Trump-Related Cases (ET)
How The West Lost Control Of The Gold Market (Henry Johnston)

 

 

The awful shadow of some unseen Power
Floats tho’ unseen amongst us, -visiting
This various world with as inconstant wing
As summer winds that creep from flower to flower.-
Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain shower,
It visits with inconstant glance
Each human heart and countenance;
Like hues and harmonies of evening,-
Like clouds in starlight widely spread,-
Like memory of music fled,-
Like aught that for its grace may be
Dear, and yet dearer for its mystery.

Shelley, Hymn to Intellectual Beauty

 

 

Drones

 

 

Biden

 

 

Save the world

 

 

 

 

Letitia
https://twitter.com/i/status/1775962785886974153

 

 

Democrat
https://twitter.com/i/status/1775901228419174414

 

 

 

 

WWIII is creeping up on us. It’s everywhere today.

“..that thick slab of Norwegian wood posing as Secretary-General came up with a merry “initiative” to create a 100 billion euro fund..”

The “Order” Based On Made-up Rules Is Descending Into Savagery (Pepe Escobar)

As the de facto North Atlantic Terror Organization celebrates its 75th birthday, taking Lord Ismay’s motto to ever soaring heights (“keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down”), that thick slab of Norwegian wood posing as Secretary-General came up with a merry “initiative” to create a 100 billion euro fund to weaponize Ukraine for the next five years. Translation, regarding the crucial money front in the NATO-Russia clash: partial exit of the Hegemon – already obsessing with The Next Forever War, against China; enter the motley crew of ragged, de-industrialized European chihuahuas, all in deep debt and most mired in recession. A few IQs over average room temperature at NATO’s HQ in Haren, in Brussels, had the temerity to wonder how to come up with such a fortune, as NATO has zero leverage to raise money among member states.

After all, the Europeans will never be able to replicate the time-tested Hegemon money laundering machine. For instance, assuming the White House-proposed $60 billion package to Ukraine would be approved by the U.S. Congress – and it won’t – no less than 64% of the total will never reach Kiev: it will be laundered within the industrial-military complex. Yet it gets even more dystopic: Norwegian Wood, robotic stare, arms flailing, actually believes his proposed move will not imply a direct NATO military presence in Ukraine – or country 404; something that is already a fact on the ground for quite a while, irrespective of the warmongering hissy fits by Le Petit Roi in Paris (Peskov: “Russia-NATO relations have descended into direct confrontation”). Now couple the Lethal Looney Tunes spectacle along the NATOstan front with the Hegemon’s aircraft carrier performance in West Asia, consistently taking its industrial-scale slaughter/starvation Genocide Project in Gaza to indescribable heights – the meticulously documented holocaust watched in contorted silence by the “leaders” of the Global North.

UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese correctly summed it all up: the biblical psychopathology entity “intentionally killed the WCK workers so that donors would pull out and civilians in Gaza could continue to be starved quietly. Israel knows Western countries and most Arab countries won’t move a finger for the Palestinians.” The “logic” behind the deliberate three tap strike on the clearly signed humanitarian convoy of famine-alleviating workers in Gaza was to eviscerate from the news an even more horrendous episode: the genocide-within-a-genocide of al-Shifa hospital, responsible for at least 30% of all health services in Gaza. Al-Shifa was bombed, incinerated and had over 400 civilians killed in cold blood, in several cases literally smashed by bulldozers, including medical doctors, patients and dozens of children.

Nearly simultaneously, the biblical psychopathology gang completely eviscerated the Vienna convention – something that even the historical Nazis never did – striking Iran’s consular mission/ambassador’s residence in Damascus. This was a missile attack on a diplomatic mission, enjoying immunity, on the territory of a third country, against which the gang is not at war. And on top of it, killing General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, commander of the IRGC’s Quds Force in Syria and Lebanon, his deputy Mohammad Hadi Hajizadeh, another five officers, and a total of 10 people. Translation: an act of terror, against two sovereign states, Syria and Iran. Equivalent to the recent terror attack on Crocus City Hall in Moscow. The inevitable question rings around all corners of the lands of the Global Majority: how can these de facto terrorists possibly get away with all this, over and over again?

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PCR keeps thinking he knows better then Putin.

Putin’s Road to Armageddon (Paul Craig Roberts)

The United States government, speaking through the mouth of Secretary of State Blinken, defied all of Russia’s warnings this week with this declaration: “Ukraine will become a member of NATO. Our purpose at the summit is to help build a bridge to that membership.” By Putin’s refusal to use the necessary force to deal with the dangerous situation and by continuing to insist that the conflict is nothing but a limited operation to clear Ukrainian forces out of the Russian provinces, not an invasion of Ukraine, Russia will soon find herself at war with NATO. I have warned consistently without effect, only to be denounced by idiots as “bloodthirsty,” that Putin’s unrealism about the conflict, like his previous unrealism about the Minsk Agreement and his unrealism about the overthrow of the Ukrainian government in the so-called Maidan Revolution, is a direct path to World War III.

The minute Ukraine becomes a member of NATO, Putin will find himself at war with NATO. Russia has only a short time to knock out Ukraine, destroy the government, occupy the country and build a wall around it. The ascension of Ukraine to Nato “is literally how the nuclear apocalypse movie starts,” says Elon Musk, one of the few remaining intelligent Americans. Putin’s “limited military operation” has achieved nothing but two new NATO members–Finland and Sweden–attacks on Russian civilians inside Russia, mounting deaths from Western weapon system after weapon system supplied to Ukraine along with NATO military personnel to operate them and Western intelligence to target them. All the while Putin has been unable to comprehend that Russia is at war. Putin’s lack of response to mounting provocations has convinced Washington that Putin’s warnings are meaningless. Putin’s failure to enforce his red lines has caused Washington to loose belief that Putin has any red lines.

Just as Putin was forced into his “limited military operation” by the insulting cold shoulder Washington gave his plea for a mutual security pact, Russia will be forced into wider war with NATO by Washington’s defiance of Putin’s warning that Russia will not allow NATO membership for Ukraine. Putin has a few months to end Ukraine’s existence, a country that never existed until Washington created it, before Putin’s inability to act brings on World War III. Despite the dire situation, Putin remains unable to come to terms with reality. The Russian government continues to demonstrate to Washington weakness and irresolution by repeating its willingness to negotiate. Here we see Putin’s failure as a war leader. It should be Washington and NATO pleading with Putin to negotiate.

We are traveling along the road to Armageddon exactly as I predicted. One ignored provocation leads to another and worst provocation, and then to another and another, and now we have reached the red line that Putin cannot ignore. At this point the only way Putin can avoid World War III is to surrender or to terminate the existence of Ukraine before Washington elevates Ukraine to NATO membership. There is no other choice.

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“..would draw it into the biggest land war in Europe since 1945..”

US and Germany Against Inviting Ukraine Into NATO – NYT (RT)

The US and Germany are reluctant to accept Ukraine into NATO despite fears of Kiev’s military collapse under Russian pressure, the New York Times reported on Thursday. Officials in the US-led bloc are worried that such a drastic move “would draw it into the biggest land war in Europe since 1945,” the paper said, adding that NATO is looking for a “middle ground” instead. These concerns are said to be shared by Berlin and Washington, which are opposed to opening membership talks with Ukraine at NATO’s summit in Washington in July. At the same time, they champion long-term security assistance commitments to Ukraine. On Wednesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged the bloc’s members to focus on providing Ukraine with “reliable and predictable security assistance” rather than voluntary donations.

The NATO chief has reportedly proposed a five-year €100 billion ($107 billion) package of military aid to Kiev, which would also see the bloc take on more responsibility – rather than the US – in terms of coordinating assistance. Several Western diplomats told the NYT, however, that this plan appears “elusive” at the moment. A former US ambassador to NATO, Ivo Daalder, said that Washington appears to be tacitly opposed to the initiative, which would diminish its role in coordinating the assistance. Hungary, another NATO member, has publicly spoken out against any moves that could make the bloc more involved in the conflict. It is also unclear how NATO could compel members to contribute to the €100 billion package over such a long period of time, the report says.

However, “none of these things may matter” by summer if Russia continues to push back Kiev’s troops, as Ukraine is “in danger of losing the war,” the NYT said. In recent weeks, Russia has liberated the key Donbass city of Avdeevka, while capturing several nearby settlements. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky warned last month that this would not be the last retreat unless the US renews its military assistance. An aid package has for months been stalled in the US Congress due to Republican opposition, as GOP members demand more efforts to enhance border security. Russia has condemned the Western arms shipments to Kiev, warning they will only prolong the conflict. Officials in Moscow have also accused the West of using Ukraine as a tool in order to inflict “a strategic defeat” on Russia.

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“..the Machiavelli of Maryland..”

NATO Faces ‘Catastrophic Defeat’ In Ukraine – ex-Pentagon Adviser (RT)

NATO nations can only forestall an inevitable loss to Russian forces in Ukraine by deploying their troops to the former Soviet republic, a former adviser to the US military has claimed. “The arithmetic of this is inescapable: NATO countries will soon have to send soldiers to Ukraine, or else accept catastrophic defeat,” military strategist Edward Luttwak wrote in an oped published on Thursday by the British online media outlet UnHerd. “The British and French, along with the Nordic countries, are already quietly preparing to send troops – both small elite units and logistics and support personnel – who can remain far from the front.” The conflict can’t be won without direct troop deployments because regardless of the quantity and quality of weapons sent to Kiev, Ukrainian forces are too outnumbered by the Russians, Luttwak argued. “This means that unless [Russian President Vladimir] Putin decides to end the war, Ukraine’s troops will be pushed back again and again, losing soldiers in the process who cannot be replaced.”

Luttwak’s comments follow weeks of battlefield advances by Russian forces in the Donbass region. Western leaders have insisted that they can ensure a Ukrainian victory by providing aid to Kiev, but French President Emmanuel Macron suggested in February that direct troop deployments by NATO members could not be ruled out. European NATO members face a “momentous decision” because with US forces facing a growing threat of a potential Chinese attack on Taiwan, it will be up to them to provide the manpower that Ukraine needs, Luttwak said. “If Europe cannot provide enough troops, Russia will prevail on the battlefield, and even if diplomacy successfully intervenes to avoid a complete debacle, Russian military power will have victoriously returned to central Europe,” he added. NATO-Russia relations have deteriorated so much amid the Ukraine crisis that the Western alliance is already in “direct confrontation” with Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday. Putin has warned that NATO would risk triggering a nuclear conflict if its members send troops to Ukraine.

Luttwak suggested that by providing support troops for such tasks as troop training and repairing damaged equipment, NATO nations could free up more Ukrainians to serve on the front lines. “These NATO soldiers might never see combat, but they don’t have to in order to help Ukraine make the most of its own scarce manpower,” he said. The Romanian-born Luttwak, who was raised and educated largely in the UK, has advised the Pentagon, the US State Department, and the White House National Security Council, among other entities in Washington. A December 2015 profile of Luttwak by The Guardian billed him as “the Machiavelli of Maryland.” Now 81, he has reportedly advised clients ranging from the Dalai Lama to the prime minister of Kazakhstan. Despite being a proponent of Western involvement in the conflict, Luttwak was put on a Ukrainian blacklist in 2022 for opining that Kiev cannot realistically hope to defeat Russia outright and depose Putin.

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“..The newspaper – in the 19th century nicknamed “The Thunderer”, now owned by Rupert Murdoch, nicknamed “The Dirty Digger”..

Ukraine Plan Of Crocus Attack: Ethnic Pogroms, Civil War In Russia (Helmer)

“The unity of Russia’s multiethnic society,” President Vladimir Putin told the Russian Trade Union Congress on Thursday, “is the main fundamental condition of our success. In this connection, and based on the initial results of the investigation, we have grounds to believe that the main goal of those who masterminded the bloody and heinous terrorist attack in Moscow was to damage our unity.” Putin is repeating the message – four times in two weeks: earlier on March 23, March 25, and April 2 — because it happens to be true. What also happens to be true is that during the Yeltsin period, when asked by Moscow university students what I thought of anti-semitism in Russia, I said: Russians are the most primitive white tribe in the world – they are hostile to the other tribes, the Jews, Chechens, Armenians, Chukchi, Uzbeks, Tajiks — each one of them equally. After this sociology was elaborated, invitations to lecture at Moscow universities stopped.

The sociological problem which Russia’s enemies have is that the foreign white tribes, like the Galicians of the Ukraine, the Anglo Saxons, and the Blin-Noodle gang ruling Washington, make the primitive sociological mistake of thinking they can trigger intercommunal warfare inside Russia, to weaken and break it up. The British Secret Service (MI6) made their first abortive attempts at this during the Bolshevik revolution and the civil war following. The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and MI6 have been plotting the same thing since 1945, increasing the resources and accelerating their efforts in the Caucasus during the Yeltsin administration of the 1990s.

It is therefore no surprise they have convinced their Ukrainian counterparts to implement the same scheme. On Tuesday of this week, The Times of London headlined this plan “Ukraine Stokes Anti-Immigrant Tensions in Russia”. The newspaper – in the 19th century nicknamed “The Thunderer”, now owned by Rupert Murdoch, nicknamed “The Dirty Digger” — reported an interview with Andrei Kovalenko, head of the Ukraine’s Centre for Countering Disinformation (CCD). By weaponizing local ethnic communities like the Tajiks in Russia, the operational objective, according to Kovalenko, is “to exploit divisions and distrust among the Russian public.”

Kovalenko is conceding the Ukraine strategy behind the Tajik gunmen’s attack on the Crocus City Hall on March 22. But the foreign tribesmen have misread the Russian sociology again. The attack has failed in its war objective. The theory of interethnic conflict in Russia was last tested in Moscow in January 2022 by the Levada Centre, a pollster registered as a foreign agent in 2016. Levada has been surveying ethnic Russian attitudes towards other ethnic groups since 2011, emphasizing for its own reasons what the Levada staff call anti-Semitism. The polling results over the years show that positive and negative Russian sentiment has been moving on several measures of social distance — acceptance as family members, friends, neighbours, citizens, temporary workers on visa – in different directions for different ethnic groups.

The improvement in the Russian perception of Ukrainians and Jews has been sharply reversed by the Kiev war on the Donbass and then the Israeli war against Gaza. By contrast, the political, economic, and media efforts of the Putin administration to cultivate strategic relations with China, the African states, and the Caucasus, including Chechnya, have accentuated the positive, diminished the negative.

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There are plenty people with such “takes”. But Musk gets MSM coverage.

MSM Reluctantly Admits Elon Musk’s Ukraine Takes Are Proving Correct (ZH)

“So, Musk may not be too wide of the mark after all”: Politico. Something which could hardly be imagined a year ago or even six months ago has happened this week: a Politico op-ed voices agreement with Elon Musk on Ukraine. Of course, the Wednesday piece still takes customary shots at the “wayward” billionaire and owner of X: “Wayward entrepreneur Elon Musk’s latest pronouncements regarding the war in Ukraine set teeth on edge, as he warned that even though Moscow has “no chance” of conquering all of Ukraine, “the longer the war goes on, the more territory Russia will gain until they hit the Dnipro, which is tough to overcome.” “However, if the war lasts long enough, Odesa will fall too,” he cautioned.

Statements like these, and Musk’s supposedly ‘alternative’ view of the crisis in general, have long invoked the wrath of mainstream media pundits. Yet publications like Politico now sing a different tune, but only after President Zelensky himself has signaled just how dire the battlefield situation actually is for his forces. Politico has previously featured headlines like ‘Elon Musk Is Transmitting a Message for Putin’. Musk in his recent Odesa commentary did no such thing, but merely urged the Ukrainians to find a way forward towards peace at the negotiating table before it’s too late. Again, lines such as the below coming out of the heart of the media establishment would have been impossible to come across a year ago… from Politico:

“With a history of urging Ukraine to agree to territorial concessions — and his opposition to the $60 billion U.S. military aid package snarled on Capitol Hill amid partisan wrangling — Musk isn’t Ukraine’s favorite commentator, to say the least. And his remarks received predictable pushback. But the billionaire entrepreneur’s forecast isn’t actually all that different from the dire warnings Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made in the last few days. According to Zelenskyy, unless the stalled multibillion-dollar package is approved soon, his forces will have to “go back, retreat, step by step, in small steps.” He also warned that some major cities could be at risk of falling.”

But we should point out that Musk has been a realist from the start, more in line with analysts such as John Mearsheimer, voicing positions which have proven right time and again, despite contradicting the bandwagon mainstream consensus at every turn. And here’s the kicker in the conclusion, from the Politico op-ed… “We don’t only have a military crisis — we have a political one,” one of the officers said. While Ukraine shies away from a big draft, “Russia is now gathering resources and will be ready to launch a big attack around August, and maybe sooner.” So, Musk may not be too wide of the mark after all.

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“..and the whole shootin’ match ends up twenty minutes later a smoldering, civilization-ending mess..”

Vectoring Dangerously (Kunstler)

If your situational awareness is well-tuned, you can put together a political weather report from the swirl of events that otherwise seem to confound the degenerate simps who pretend to report the news. Events are tending in the direction of self-reinforcing, ramifying chaos, and the people running the show are obviously insane as they do everything possible to hurry chaos along. Case in point: Antony Blinken, our Secretary of State, who announced yesterday that Ukraine will get rushed into NATO ASAP. Do you understand that would mean a direct, automatic, peremptory declaration of war against Russia, requiring all of NATO — that is, their combined militaries — to go kinetic inside Ukraine and theoretically inside Russia, too, (a move that has not worked out well for anyone in all of history), because Article Five of the NATO charter states that an armed attack against one is an attack against all, and must be answered with counter-attack? Thus, you see, Mr. Blinken just announced World War Three.

You might also consider that NATO does not have the capacity to fight that war. The European members don’t have sufficient troops and equipment, or financial reserves for that matter. And there is, of course, America’s under-recruited DEI army of transsexuals and video-gamers, with equipment that has already proven inadequate on-the-ground in Ukraine, and a logistical route for delivery of all that which runs 5,000 miles across an ocean and then another continent. . . whereas our opponent (Russia) is right next door to the battlefield and churning out munitions like there is no tomorrow (which there might well not be for all concerned). Even Adolf Hitler, the last fool to attempt a conquest of Russia, wouldn’t like those odds. And why would Russia desist from firing hypersonic missiles at Berlin, Paris, London, New York and. . . ? You get the idea. In which case the USA, backstopping NATO, would lob swarms of our nuclear missiles into Russia. . . and the whole shootin’ match ends up twenty minutes later a smoldering, civilization-ending mess.

Smooth move, Tony Blinken. In political weather terms, this is like an arctic shear cutting across the northern hemisphere. At the same time, you might notice a financial la Nina forming out over the salty sea. Gold chugged up above $2,300-an-ounce the past ten days, a record. That’s a coded message from Reality Central. My de-coder ring says it means the bond market is about to fall on its ass, taking the dollar down with it, which would swiftly domino into the way-overpriced equity markets, and Gawd knows what kind of maelstrom all the derivatives flotsam would get sucked into. Notice, too that Bitcoin goes up $3,000 one day and down $2,000 the next. Kind of sketchy. But that’s just my take. If you have one, I’d like to hear it. In any case, it looks like stormy financial weather which, if nothing else, is not exactly an advantageous accompaniment to a world war. In fact, it could beat a path quickly to something like empty supermarket shelves — and you know what they say about a population being a few missed meals away from anarchy.

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I had to sit down for half a hour. Didn’t expect this at all. /sarc off. It’s called money laudering.

Ukrainian Officials’ Wealth Surged During Conflict (RT)

Senior Ukrainian officials have significantly increased their personal wealth over the past two years despite the conflict with Russia, an analysis of self-reported income and assets has revealed. The study was conducted by the Ukrainian business news site Ekonomicheskaya Pravda based on mandatory disclosures required from officials concerning themselves and their family members. The deadline for reporting on the previous year expired on March 31, meaning that a complete dataset is now available to the public. A third of the senior officials picked by the newspaper for their sample reported new major assets, such as vehicles or real estate, the outlet reported on Wednesday. For their study, the journalists picked 2,200 top-tier members of various branches of the Ukrainian government, prioritizing those whose family names are most common in the country.

They tracked the changes in the holdings of these individuals by examining disclosures from this past year and previous years. The open hostilities with Russia started in February 2022. The officials chosen by the outlet reported 721 cars, 268 apartments, and 90 homes newly owned by their households over that period of time. The second half of 2022 saw the highest numbe of acquisitions in all three categories, but there has been only a relatively small drop in the rate of purchases since. The public servants also managed to boost their ownership of liquid assets in the form of cash and bank deposits by roughly a quarter. The US dollar was the most popular currency among Ukrainian officials, with a $6 million increase reported by the 2,200 people studied.

The outlet stressed that it likely underestimated the increase in wealth among officials since “not all of them follow their duty” and disclose their assets accurately. For instance, a former regional head is currently being investigated after failing to mention property worth some $1.8 million, which a news outlet had linked to members of his family. Some of the changes were due to changes in marital status, the report said. One MP, who married a wealthy businessman in 2023, consequently reported dozens of land plots owned by her new family, according to the article. The Ukrainian government relies heavily on foreign credit and aid to remain operational. Its central bank reported last month that in January and February a shortfall of financial support from other nations forced it to shift to borrowing domestically and depleting reserves to cover the budget deficit.

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“I watched the State of the Union, he was all jacked up at the beginning, by the end he was fading fast, there’s something going on there..”

Biden Was ‘Higher Than A Kite’ During SOTU Speech – Trump

Former US President Donald Trump has accused his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, of using drugs to get through his State of the Union address last month, and has insisted that he should be tested for drugs before any potential debates. Speaking with radio broadcaster Hugh Hewitt on Thursday, Trump claimed that Biden “was higher than a kite” during his speech, and described it as “the worst address I’ve ever seen.” He went on to recall last year’s scandal in which the Secret Service discovered a bag of cocaine at the White House, suggesting that Biden may have been “helped some way” to get through the annual address. “I watched the State of the Union, he was all jacked up at the beginning, by the end he was fading fast, there’s something going on there,” Trump said.

A plastic bag containing cocaine was discovered in a phone locker in the West Wing of the White House on July 2, 2023. After launching an investigation, the Secret Service dropped the case after only a few weeks, concluding that it was impossible to determine the owner of the drugs. The move sparked outrage among Biden’s critics, with many suggesting the cocaine may have belonged to the president’s son, Hunter, who has admitted to struggling with substance abuse. The White House officially denied any involvement of the Biden family in the case and praised the Secret Service’s “thorough investigation.”

Nevertheless, Trump has insisted that Biden should be tested for drugs before the two engage in debates ahead of November’s presidential election. The billionaire has previously called on the president to debate him “anywhere anytime.” Biden has not yet agreed to any debates with his rival, but said last month that it would depend on Trump’s “behavior.” Recent surveys have found that a majority of voters are concerned with the mental capabilities of both Trump and Biden, who are set to face off in the presidential election on November 5. A poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research last month found that 63% of American voters do not believe Biden has the mental capacity to serve effectively as president; 57% said the same thing about Trump.

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“..no newspaper in the United States has ever published a similar black square” in support of American journalist Gonzalo Lira..”

US Intel Services Use Journalists As Their Agents – Zakharova (TASS)

US special services use journalists as their agents in violation of US laws, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. Commenting on how the United States “celebrated” a year since the arrest of Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal journalist, accused of espionage in Russia, the diplomat drew attention to the way one of the latest March issues of The Wall Street Journal looks – almost the entire front page is blank. “And only the black and white face of Evan Gershkovich, a US citizen detained on suspicion of espionage, caught in the act, with the phrase ‘His story should be here,'” she wrote on her Telegram channel. “Evan Gershkovich could have written about the terrorist bombing of Russian cities by the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev in recent months. The militants are also shelling journalists, including American journalists – it could be a report from a hot spot that the Americans themselves created by pumping weapons and intelligence into the militants,” she pointed out.

“He could have written a great article about all the fellow journalists killed by the Kiev regime: Oles Buzina, Pavel Sheremet, Andrey Stenin, Anatoly Klein, Igor Kornelyuk, Anton Voloshin, and many others. He could have, but for some reason he didn’t write [about it] all those years he had worked in Russia. He could have, if he had been practicing journalism and not spying,” the spokeswoman emphasized. “By the way, I do not exclude that the American media was expressing its indignation at the American secret services, which continue to use journalists as their agents in violation of US law,” she said. Zakharova pointed to the fact that “no newspaper in the United States has ever published a similar black square” in support of American journalist Gonzalo Lira, “who spent eight months in the torture chambers of a Ukrainian prison and was finally killed by the Ukrainian Security Service in January.”

“By the way, has a criminal case been opened in the US for his murder? I haven’t heard of it,” she added. Gershkovich, a correspondent for the US newspaper The Wall Street Journal, was arrested in Russia in an espionage case. According to the Center for Public Relations of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Gershkovich, “acting as an agent for the American side, collected top-secret data about the activity of an enterprise of the Russian military-industrial complex.” In this connection, the journalist was detained in Yekaterinburg at the end of March 2023; criminal proceedings were initiated against him under Article 276 of the Russian Criminal Code (“Espionage”). Gershkovich faces up to 20 years in prison. He has not pleaded guilty.

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“The DOJ has filed opposition to Mr. Pope’s motion, saying it has “no obligation to investigate”..”

Jan. 6 Defendant Video Raises Questions About Undercover Agents (ET)

Recently released Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol Police security video shows a suspected FBI special agent clapping and cheering as crowds surged up steps to the Columbus Doors and another meeting with an FBI tactical team just before it entered the Capitol after the fatal shooting of Ashli Babbitt. The videos were first identified by defendant William Pope of Topeka, Kansas, in court filings in his own Jan. 6 criminal case. Exhibits Mr. Pope originally filed under seal have become public since the release of thousands of hours of Jan. 6 security video by the Committee on House Administration Subcommittee on Oversight. Two possible FBI special agents and a third unknown colleague were with John D. Guandolo, the FBI’s former liaison with U.S. Capitol Police, at the Women for a Great America event on the East Front of the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, according to Mr. Pope.

In sworn testimony in a December 2022 Alaska civil court trial and in numerous media appearances, Mr. Guandolo said he was with two FBI special agents and a colleague with whom he traveled to Washington on Jan. 6. Mr. Guandolo has indicated that he was also introduced to other FBI personnel at the Capitol that day. Mr. Pope is seeking to compel federal prosecutors to identify them all. He said even if the men were at the Capitol on personal time, their free movement around the grounds shows they did not believe the Capitol was off limits to the public. Mr. Guandolo, who handled counterterrorism and criminal investigations for nearly 13 years—from 1996 to 2008—as an FBI special agent, has said he was at the Capitol in a personal capacity and went primarily to pray. He was interviewed by the FBI about his Jan. 6 visit on July 6, 2022. A heavily redacted copy of the FBI 302 interview summary has been made public.

Security video shows that as the crowd broke through the police line on the East Plaza and surged up the steps to the Columbus Doors, one of Mr. Guandolo’s colleagues clapped enthusiastically. “Oh, oh, oh man, this is huge,” the man said, heard on Mr. Guandolo’s cell phone video that showed the crowd ascending the east steps. On Capitol Police security Camera 7231, which looks out at the House Egg on the East Front, Mr. Guandolo was seen filming while standing on a chair just before 2:05 p.m. The clapping man, wearing a grey knit cap and dark coat, is identified in Mr. Pope’s court filing as “the Clapper” and “Colleague 2.” While Colleague 2 cheered the protesters’ advance on the Capitol, a man on Mr. Guandolo’s left, “Colleague 1,” had his phone raised, presumably capturing his own video of the advancing crowd. He wore a brown knit cap and blue jacket, and carried a backpack, video showed.

Mr. Pope asked U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras to compel the Department of Justice to identify all FBI agents “who were material witnesses at the Capitol.” Mr. Pope wants the FBI “to produce all photographs, videos, and records related to their presence.” The DOJ has filed opposition to Mr. Pope’s motion, saying it has “no obligation to investigate” who the men in the videos are. Some of the exhibits in Mr. Pope’s Feb. 12 motion were redacted, but the recent release of thousands of hours of Jan. 6 security video by the Subcommittee on Oversight allows them to be released publicly, Mr. Pope said.

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“The Federal Reserve then did the only thing it knows how to do: It hiked interest rates.”

Bidenomics and Its Discontents (Galbraith)

Unemployment is low. Inflation has fallen. Real earnings are rising. GDP growth has held up—so far. The economists are happy, but for some reason the voters are not! It must be their own ignorance and obtuseness—so says Paul Krugman, house economist of The New York Times. The other possibility—however horrible to contemplate—is that perhaps the voters are sensible and the economists are obtuse. And perhaps the indicators on which economists rely no longer mean what economists suppose them to mean. Take the unemployment rate. It is a ratio of those seeking work to the whole active labor force. In past times, most households depended on a single earner, for whom holding a job was a make-or-break proposition. If unemployment was rising or high—say 7 percent, typical in recessions—then, even though 93 percent of the labor force was still working, fear of unemployment amplified the woes of those actually out of work.

Conversely, if unemployment was low or falling, most workers felt reasonably secure. The unemployment rate, back then, was a reasonable indicator of distress or well-being. Those days are long gone. Today’s typical American working household has several earners, sometimes in multiple jobs. If one earner loses a job while the others keep theirs, she may leave the workforce for a time; there is the option of making do with less, and for some there is early retirement. She will not, in that case, count as unemployed—however difficult her life. A low jobless rate can mask a great deal of stress in such households. The employment-to-population ratio is still a bit below where it was in 2020, and far below where it was in 2000; average weekly hours are still falling. Next, consider inflation, which is the rate of price change measured month-to-month or year-to-year. But what matters to consumers is prices in relation to household incomes over several years.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan famously asked, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” Today, millions of American households are worse off than they were in 2020. Basic living costs, such as gasoline, utilities, food, and housing, have risen more than their incomes have. Real median household income peaked in 2019 and fell at least through 2022. Yes, but didn’t real wages go up sharply in 2023? According to the Biden-friendly Center for American Progress, real wages (for those continuously employed) have indeed now recovered roughly to where they would have been had no pandemic occurred. But there is a great distinction between steady progress and a sawtooth down-and-up. The former breeds confidence; the latter does not. Then there is the ending of Covid-19 relief. Pandemic programs gave millions of Americans a financial cushion for a time; early on, the payments were often larger than previous paychecks and, while they lasted, poverty and food insecurity went down. (By 2021 Covid tax credits and relief payments brought child poverty down to a record low of 5.2 percent.)

Most Americans were prudent with the support, but they often used it, not unwisely, to achieve a touch of independence from dreary jobs. With that support gone, the cushions erode, savings decline, debt rises–and families feel the pressure to go back to work on whatever terms that employers offer. They don’t like that very much. As people return to work, how secure are their jobs? In the golden years during which today’s older generation of economists learned their textbook tools, a worker’s job was often a lifetime affair. Autoworkers (and their associates in rubber and glass) might suffer periodic layoffs, but they could expect to be called back; their skills and experience remained useful. That was all over by the 1980s.

Since then, factories close and do not return, and practically all new jobs have been in routine services, with mediocre wages and high turnover. The pandemic drove home the fragility of these jobs to everyone—even those who had never lost a job before. Interest rates are another problem. Long ago, Joe Biden kicked the can of “fighting inflation” over to the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve then did the only thing it knows how to do: It hiked interest rates. Mortgage rates were around 3 percent in 2021; today they are at least twice that. High interest rates hit young families looking for their first house, and they hit established households, often older, looking to sell their homes. And high interest on consumer debt eats away at disposable incomes. The capital wealth of the middle class falls, to the benefit of those with cash to spare. The second group is much smaller and far richer than the first.

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“..RFK is right that the Biden administration engaged in censorship through agencies, but it wasn’t exactly a secret..”

RFK Jr. Is Right About Joe Biden (ZH)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. can be an unhinged leftist and crackpot, but he also happens to be correct about President Joe Biden’s attacks on constitutional order, particularly free expression. Speaking to an incredulous Erin Burnett on CNN this week, Kennedy argued that Biden was a bigger threat to “democracy” than Donald Trump, a position that clashes with the media’s entire 2024 campaign messaging. In a more decent world, we’d be debating which presidential candidate was better at upholding the constitutional order, rather than which one was worse. That is not our fate. And yet, the unique thing about the 2024 presidential contest is that voters are given a chance to compare existing presidential records. Kennedy contends that Biden “is the first candidate in history, the first president in history that has used the federal agencies to censor political speech or censor his opponent.”

One suspects Eugene Debs might quibble with this characterization, though not since the Committee on Public Information has there been a White House that has shown such disdain for free expression and debate. Biden is the first president to openly and secretly pressure major communication companies to take direction and work in conjunction with state agencies to censor debate. The same left-wingers who do not believe in any limiting principles while regulating economic life will lecture us about how so-called platforms are free to work with anyone they please, including the White House. OK, but tech companies also spend tens of millions each year in Washington rent-seeking and lobbying for favorable regulations. They are highly susceptible to state intimidation. When Biden deputizes massive communication companies to act as censors, he’s merely taking a shortcut in the suppression of speech that undercuts, at the very minimum, the spirit and purpose of the First Amendment.

One might even call this brand of state-corporate relationship “semi-fascist.” RFK is right that the Biden administration engaged in censorship through agencies, but it wasn’t exactly a secret. Recall Jen Psaki informing us that the White House was “flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.” Biden claimed that allowing unfettered speech on Facebook during COVID was “killing people.” Just contemplate the media’s reaction if Trump’s White House had been keeping lists of “problematic” posts. Remember, as well, White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield warning that social media companies “should be held accountable” for the ideas of those who use their websites. Was she talking about the ideas that spurred the 2020 Black Lives Matter riots, the most expensive in history? Was she talking about those who spread conspiracy theories about Russian collusion? Probably not. Though Trump never did anything to inhibit the spread of criticism or conspiracy theories.

Luntz

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Judge McAfee: “Jack Smith had made “no reference to the Presidential Records Act” in his indictment of Trump, giving the former president’s lawyers no legal grounds to invoke it..”

The prosecutor can bring it up, but the defense can’t.

Judges Reject Trump’s Attempts To Quash Cases (RT)

Judges in Florida and Georgia have shot down attempts by former US President Donald Trump to have two criminal cases against him thrown out of court. The cases pertain to his alleged mishandling of classified documents and efforts to interfere with the 2020 election. Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee ruled on Thursday that the former president cannot use his constitutional right to free speech to dodge election interference charges in Georgia. Trump has been charged with state-level racketeering offenses for instructing his campaign staff to find evidence of election fraud by the Democratic Party, and for a taped phone call made to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in which he asked Raffensperger to “find 1,780 votes,” which would have guaranteed him a razor-thin victory in the state.

McAfee ruled that this statement was made “in furtherance of criminal activity,” and is therefore not protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Trump’s lawyer, Steve Sadow, said in a statement that “President Trump and other defendants respectfully disagree with Judge McAfee’s order and will continue to evaluate their options regarding the First Amendment challenges.” While the ruling is a setback for Trump, McAfee handed Trump a minor victory last month when he dismissed three out of 13 charges against the former president and multiple counts against his senior aides and lawyers. Trump has also appealed a decision by McAfee to allow Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to continue prosecuting the case, after it emerged that she benefited financially from her intimate relationship with a lawyer she hired to lead the prosecution.

Trump is facing three other criminal cases: two federal litigations concerning his alleged mishandling of classified documents and his alleged incitement of the January 6, 2021 riot on Capitol Hill, and a state-level case in New York concerning his ‘hush money’ payments to porn star Stormy Daniels. Later on Thursday, the Florida judge overseeing the classified documents case declined a request by Trump to dismiss the charges based on his claim that the Presidential Records Act authorized him to take the documents from the White House to his Mar-a-Lago estate.

The judge did not rule Trump’s claim true or false, but noted that government prosecutor Jack Smith had made “no reference to the Presidential Records Act” in his indictment of Trump, giving the former president’s lawyers no legal grounds to invoke it. Trump views all four cases as part of an overarching conspiracy by Democrats and their allies to prevent him from contesting this year’s election. In a post to his Truth Social platform on Easter Sunday, Trump condemned the “crooked and corrupt prosecutors and judges that are doing everything possible to interfere with the presidential election of 2024 and put me in prison,” including “deranged Jack Smith” and “sick Fani Willis.”

Mike Davis

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The Supreme Court must be much more assertive.

Supreme Court Faces ‘High Stakes’ Decisions on Trump-Related Cases (ET)

The combination of several Trump-related cases, the potential for landmark changes to legal precedent, the vigorous calls for reform, and the coming elections have made 2024 a year of high impact decisions for the court. One decision has already impacted the course of the 2024 presidential campaign. In March, the justices rejected an effort that could have resulted in millions of President Trump’s supporters not having their preferred candidate on the ballot. During oral argument, Justice Amy Coney Barrett referenced the “very high stakes” surrounding the case, which has been described as the court’s most influential election-related matter since Bush v. Gore. Its landmark opinion in Trump v. Anderson foreclosed the possibility that states like Colorado could, under their existing authority, remove federal candidates from ballots. The majority opinion, however, has been criticized for lacking clarity around how Congress should act.

The decision emphasized the role of Congress in enforcing the 14th Amendment, while the three liberal justices and Justice Barrett favored a more limited approach that overruled state authority over federal candidates for office. President Trump’s immunity appeal, scheduled for oral argument on April 25, could impact his Florida documents case and hush money trial, wherein he has requested a delay pending the Supreme Court’s decision on his D.C. immunity claims. The stinging criticism that followed the court’s unanimous opinion in Trump v. Anderson indicates no matter how united the justices are, they will continue to face heavy scrutiny—especially when it comes to President Trump. President Trump’s appeal, like Mr. Navarro’s, questions the separation of powers as well as the authority of the legislative and judiciary branches in challenging the executive.

In Trump v. Anderson, the court avoided wading into the specifics of President Trump’s alleged wrongdoing on Jan. 6 and will likely try to do the same with his immunity appeal. But their decisions in two other cases might impact the indictment in President Trump’s federal election case. A challenge brought by Jan. 6 defendants against the DOJ’s use of an Enron-era obstruction charge in prosecutions will be heard before the high court on April 16. In the federal election case, two of those charges were brought against President Trump. If the court rules in the defendants’ favor, as some legal experts predict, that could lessen the burden for President Trump in D.C. while also provoking scrutiny of the justices’ approach to Jan. 6. The court’s decision in the presidential immunity appeal could similarly either upend or affirm the prosecution—likely sparking backlash from either side depending on the outcome.

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Disconnect.

How The West Lost Control Of The Gold Market (Henry Johnston)

What is important to understand here is that the creation of a derivative market satisfies demand for gold that would otherwise go to the physical market. Only a limited amount of gold exists and can be mined but an unlimited amount of gold derivatives can be underwritten. As Gromen explains, when monetary expansion drives demand for gold (due to the inflation this brings), there are two ways this demand can be dealt with: let the price of gold rise as more dollars chase the same amount of gold; or permit more paper claims to be created on the same amount of gold, which allows the pace of gold’s rise to be managed. There are several important implications of this. The rise of the paper market has clearly played an important role in defanging gold in its role as exerting a hard limit on expansionary policy, thus implicitly reinforcing the credibility of the dollar. But it has also meant that the gold price has largely been determined by investment flows rather than physical demand.

And when we’re talking about investment flows, we mean first and foremost Western institutional investors. Given that gold trades essentially as a cyclical asset, institutional investors have primarily traded gold based on movements in real US interest rates – meaning interest rates adjusted for inflation. Gold is bought when real rates fall and vice versa. The logic is that when interest rates rise, money managers can earn more by switching to bonds or cash, thus increasing the opportunity cost of holding non-interest-bearing assets such as gold. By the same token, lower rates make gold – seen as a hedge against inflation – more attractive. This correlation has been particularly strong over the last 15 years or so and many analysts date it back further than that. So let’s go a step further and pose the following question: If Western institutional money has been driving the price, who has been on the other side of the trade when actual gold does change hands?

To oversimplify a bit, the model worked roughly as follows, as has been explained by gold analyst Jan Nieuwenhuijs: Western institutions essentially controlled the price of gold and bought from the East in bull markets and sold to the East in bear markets. This makes sense, because the Western side of this trade essentially consisted of investors who in any asset class tend to chase the price higher. The East, meanwhile, was characterized more by consumer demand. Because consumers are price-sensitive, they tend to buy when the price is low and are happy to sell into a rising market. So gold flowed from East to West in bull markets and from West to East in bear markets. But, as we mentioned above, it was the Western institutional investors who were in the driver’s seat in this trade. This was the well-established state of affairs up until 2022, which happens to be when the Ukraine proxy war began and the US took the bold step of freezing some $300 billion in Russian central bank assets.

A coincidence or not, what happened that year was that the correlation between US real rates and gold broke down and has not been restored. The first sign of an impending shift was that, in first few months after the Fed embarked on a sharp rate-hike cycle in March 2022, gold did drop but proved much more resilient to the rising rates than correlation models would have suggested. But the real breakdown in the correlation started around September of that year, when gold prices actually started climbing even as real rates remained flat. In fact, from late October 2022 through June 2023, the gold price rose 17%. Meanwhile, over 2023, US real yields rose (despite quite a bit of volatility), which, according to the old correlation, should have meant a decline in gold prices as higher yields elsewhere would make non-yielding gold less attractive. However, gold rose 15% for the year.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Vodka
https://twitter.com/i/status/1775995652951978353

 

 

Live forever

 

 

Matrix
https://twitter.com/i/status/1776221960416157920

 

 

Jaguar

Kingfisher
https://twitter.com/i/status/1776014518650618272

 

 

Elephants

 

 

Ostrich

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 032024
 
 April 3, 2024  Posted by at 8:51 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  38 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Field with Irises near Arles 1888

 

Moscow Condemns Assassination Of Iranian Generals (RT)
Israel Attack on Iranian Consulate And Netanyahu’s Pending Defeat in Gaza (Sp.)
Shia Army: How Iran Formed A Ring Of Enemies Around Israel (Juma)
Trump Posts $175 Million, Preventing Seizure of Buildings in Civil Fraud Case (ET)
It’s This Election That’s The Referendum On Democracy (Tucker Carlson)
Just 8% of Ukrainians Ready To Take Up Arms Against Russia (RT)
Kiev Has Lost More Than 80,000 Troops Since January – Russian MoD (RT)
West to Use Hypothetical Russia-Ukraine Talks to Supply Arms to Zelensky (Sp.)
Ukraine’s Defeat May Help EU Establishment (RT)
Stop Covering Up Kiev Role In Bucha Events – Zakharova (TASS)
Why ISIS Is Now Targeting Geopolitical Enemies Of The West (Ma Xiaolin)
Biden a ‘Threat To Democracy’ – RFK Jr (RT)
Biden Sinks To New Lows Over Moscow Bombing And RussiaGate Fake News (Jay)
Judge Denies Hunter Biden Motions to Dismiss Tax Charges (Turley)
“#arrestme”: JK Rowling Dares Scotland to Enforce Anti-Free Speech Law (Turley)

 

 


Trump post on Truth Social April 1

 

 

Lies about Trump

 

 

 

 

J6
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774734557998162397

 

 

 

 

Netflix
https://twitter.com/i/status/1775194637377974655

 

 

 

 

Targeting consulates and embassies is a road to nowhere good.

Moscow Condemns Assassination Of Iranian Generals (RT)

Russia has rebuked Israel after an airstrike that demolished the Iranian consulate in Damascus on Monday evening. The attack reportedly killed several Iranian diplomats as well as seven officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including two generals – Mohammad Reza Zahedi and Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi. Tehran has vowed to avenge their deaths. The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday that Moscow views as unacceptable any attack on diplomatic missions, which are protected under the Vienna conventions on diplomatic and consular relations. It noted that bombing of the building, located in a residential area, posed a high risk to Syrian civilians.

“We consider it necessary for all responsible members of the international community to declare their positions clearly and give their legal assessments of this action,” the statement said. It warned that Israel could trigger a major regional escalation with its attacks in Syria and other nations in the region. Israel has not commented on the strike, which its usual practice with such operations. Israeli officials have previously acknowledged targeting Iran-linked forces in Syria, with dozens of such raids attributed to the Jewish state over the years. The White House did not immediately comment on the incident. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday that Washington was “looking into it”. A national security spokesperson quoted by Axios said the US “had no involvement in the strike and we did not know about it ahead of time.” A senior US official told the news outlet that Washington “has communicated this directly to Iran”.

Israel notified its key ally minutes before the strike took place, when its fighter jets were already in the air, the Axios article said. The Israelis allegedly said they were going to kill General Zahedi, but did not offer details of their operation, such as his location at the Iranian consulate. General Zahedi was a senior commander with the Quds Force, the IRGC unit responsible for operations on foreign soil, while General Rahimi was his deputy. Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated in a US drone strike during a visit to Iraq in January 2020, was the commander of the same division.

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“So I think Iran’s response would be two-fold in a manner that is not satisfying the Israeli aim of widening the war..”

Israel Attack on Iranian Consulate And Netanyahu’s Pending Defeat in Gaza (Sp.)

Israel’s attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria suggests that it is trying to “widen” the ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip by drawing Iran into it, said Foad Izadi, an associate professor at the University of Tehran’s Department of American Studies. “They have been trying to start a military confrontation between the United States and Iran for many years. And they think that they have an opportunity to have this done fighting Iran using American soldiers,” he told Sputnik, apparently suggesting that the US would be quick to leap to Israel’s defense if the latter were threatened by Tehran. Izadi also remarked that Israel displayed a blatant disregard for international law by attacking a diplomatic compound, which is a violation of the Vienna Convention. “That is what Israelis are trying to do. Netanyahu realizes that he has lost the war in Gaza. He has managed to kill more than 30,000, mostly women and children, without achieving any goals except killing these people and ruining their homes,” Izadi said.

“They say that they want to destroy Hamas, but that’s not a goal they can achieve. Obviously, they would have done that if they could. That’s why criminal acts and genocide in Gaza continue. And Netanyahu realizes that sooner or later this war needs to end. And that would be the end of his prime ministership. And so he’s trying to prolong the war, he’s trying to widen the war,” Izadi added. Noting that Iran’s attempt to seek justice via the UN Security Council may be unsuccessful due to the likelihood of the US vetoing a resolution critical of Israel, Izadi suggested that Tehran may opt to “cause pain for the Israelis so that these types of actions are not repeated.” “Because Iranian officials realize that if there is no pain in engaging in this type of activity, then they will continue,” he elaborated. “So I think Iran’s response would be two-fold in a manner that is not satisfying the Israeli aim of widening the war. I think that’s what Iranian leaders will do.”

WCK
https://twitter.com/i/status/1775063630494720093

Gaza

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Did they form it or was it already there?

Shia Army: How Iran Formed A Ring Of Enemies Around Israel (Juma)

On Monday, the Israeli Air Force struck a building near the Iranian embassy in the Syrian capital. As a result of the attack, the consulate building was destroyed and the commanders of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) unit, Generals Mohammad Reza Zahedi and Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, were killed. President Ebrahim Raisi has already warned that “this unfair crime won’t go unanswered.” “Zionists must know that they will never achieve their sinister goals with such inhumane actions and, day by day, the resistance front and the disgust and hatred of free nations against their illegitimate nature are being strengthened, and this cowardly crime will also not go unanswered,” he said. What the answer will be is still unknown. However, in recent years, Tehran has managed to become a full-fledged superpower in the region, with support in many countries in the Middle East.

The escalation of the conflict in Gaza, which started with the Hamas-led invasion of Israel last October (“Operation Al-Aqsa Flood”) and the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) subsequent military operation that claimed tens of thousands of lives, gave rise to much speculation about the weakness and short-sightedness of the Israeli leadership and the exceptional military training of Israel’s opponents. And it’s not just Hamas that we’re talking about, but Iran. Iran was immediately accused of being involved in the Hamas attack. The WSJ reported that Iran had trained the Palestinians and instructed them on how to break through the Israeli border. Moreover, it was said that Tehran had green-lighted the attack. The detailed coordination of the operation allegedly took place during a meeting between senior members of Hamas, Hezbollah, and two other Iran-backed militant groups in Beirut shortly before October 7. Officers of the IRGC also attended the meeting.

Later, the IRGC stated that the Hamas attack had been planned as revenge for the 2020 murder of the head of the Quds Force (part of the IRGC), General Qassem Soleimani. However, rumors about Iran’s direct involvement in the anti-Israeli operation haven’t been verified. On November 3, 2023, the secretary general of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah, Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah, publicly stated that Iran had not been involved in operation Al-Aqsa Flood. “The decision behind this operation was 100% Palestinian, and its implementation was 100% Palestinian. [It was launched] in order to draw the attention of the whole world to this problem. Its planners hid it from everyone, even from the movements of the Axis of Resistance,“ he said. “Absolute secrecy is what ensured the brilliant success of the operation through the element of astonishing surprise. The Islamic Republic of Iran publicly supports the resistance movements but it does not exercise any guardianship over them [or] over their leaders.”

Ritter
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774948467191767045

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“..the judge and attorney general had access to his finances because of the monitorship requirement, saw a figure close to $464 million cash, and decided that was what they were going to make him pay..”

Trump Posts $175 Million, Preventing Seizure of Buildings in Civil Fraud Case (ET)

Former President Donald Trump has posted $175 million in his New York civil fraud case, meeting the 10-day deadline given on March 25 and staying execution of judgment in the case. The payment prevents any seizure of President Trump’s assets as his appeal of the case is heard. “As promised, President Trump has posted bond. He looks forward to vindicating his rights on appeal and overturning this unjust verdict,” the president’s attorney Alina Habba said in a statement. New York Attorney General Letitia James sued the 45th president in 2022, accusing him of inflating his net worth and defrauding insurers and banks, and therefore the public, in Trump Organization annual statements of financial condition. Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and comptroller Jeffrey McConney, and several Trump Organization holding companies were named codefendants in the case presided over by New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron in a three-month bench trial.

The judge ultimately ordered $363 million disgorgement with 9 percent backdated interest, totaling $464 million, with the lion’s share to be paid by President Trump; as well as prohibiting the defendants from holding director positions in any business or legal entity in New York for a period of time, and a minimum three-year monitorship of Trump Organization after which there may be additional penalties. The posting of the judgment amount was not required in order for President Trump to appeal the case, but had been a requirement to stay enforcement of the judgment in the meantime. “I’ll fight this all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary,” President Trump told Fox News days before the deadline. “They can’t take away your property before you’ve had a chance to appeal the decision of a Trump-hating, incompetent judge who has been overturned more than any judge in the state.”

Days before President Trump posted bond, he said on social media that he had nearly $500 million in cash but intended to use much of it on his presidential campaign. He accused his political opponents of trying to make him spend that cash fund on legal battles rather than on his campaign for president. State law would have required President Trump to post the full judgment amount within 30 days in order to stay the execution of judgment, but the appellate court lowered the $454 million requirement to $175 million on the last day of the deadline. It gave him a 10-day window to post the new amount, and did not comment on the underlying reasons for the change. President Trump said the appellate division’s ruling was further evidence that the original bond requirement was unreasonable.

“This is a confrontation between a Judge and those that rule above him – A very bad situation in which to place New York State and the Rule of Law!” President Trump stated of the appellate decision. “This is the 5th time in this case that he has been overturned, a record. His credibility, and that of Letitia James, has been shattered.” Justice Engoron, who presided over the bench trial and issued the massive disgorgement figure. The attorney general had asked for $250 million in disgorgement before trial, and changed that number to $370 million near the end of the trial. President Trump claimed in a press conference that the judge and attorney general had access to his finances because of the monitorship requirement, saw a figure close to $464 million cash, and decided that was what they were going to make him pay. He told reporters he did have the cash necessary to stay judgment, but wanted to use it to campaign and not satisfy who he described as “crooked” officials.

Putting all his cash into an escrow account where neither he nor the state could touch it for the duration of the appeal was one option to stay judgment. A bond was another, and would not have required President Trump to move his cash reserves, but would have required him to have higher amounts of cash to serve as collateral—$577 million, by his attorneys’ estimates, after negotiations with 30-plus surety companies fell through. For weeks, defense attorneys argued in the appellate division that securing a $464 million bond was “impossible.” Surety companies just don’t issue bonds that big, they argued. A second problem was that for them to consider doing so they would have needed 120 percent in cash as collateral plus a high premium or two. This came out to be far more cash than Trump Organization had, as a real estate company.

Watters

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X thread. “If Joe Biden gets reelected, democracy is a freaking joke..”

It’s This Election That’s The Referendum On Democracy (Tucker Carlson)

Lex Fridman: You said some degree the election was rigged. Was it stolen?
Tucker Carlson: It was a hundred percent stolen. Are you joking?
Lex Fridman: It was rigged to that large of a degree?
Tucker Carlson: Yeah. They completely change the way people vote right before the election on the basis of COVID, which had nothing to do with-
Lex Fridman: So in that way it was rigged, meaning manipulated.

Tucker Carlson: One hundred percent. Then you censor the information people are allowed to get, anyone who complains about COVID… Which is like, by the way, it might’ve hurt Trump. But I mean it’s like whatever. I mean you could play it many different ways. You can’t have censorship in a democracy by definition. Here’s how it works. The people rule. They vote for representatives to carry their agenda to the capitol city and get it enacted. That’s how they’re in charge. And then every few years they get to reassess the performance of those people in an election. In order to do that, they need access, unfettered access to information. And no one, particularly not people who are already in power, is allowed to tell them what information they can have.

They have to have all information that they want, whether the people in charge want it or don’t want it or think it’s true or think it’s false, it doesn’t matter. And the second you don’t have that, you don’t have a democracy. It’s not a free election, period. And that’s very clear in other countries, I guess. But it’s not clear here. But I would say it’s this election that… It took me a while to come to this, but it’s this election that’s the referendum on democracy. Biden is senile. He’s literally senile. He can’t talk, he can’t walk. The whole world knows that, leave our borders. Everybody in the world knows it. A senile man is not going to get elected in the most powerful country in the world unless there’s fraud, period. Who would vote for a senile man? He literally can’t talk. And nobody I’ve ever met thinks he’s running the US government because he’s not. And so I think the world is looking on at this coming election and saying… And a lot of the world hates Trump. Okay, it’s not an endorsement of Trump, but it’s just true. If Joe Biden gets reelected, democracy is a freaking joke. That’s just true.

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“The Institute “has been trying to avoid surveys directly related to the military action” because mobilization is a “sensitive issue” of state policy..”

Just 8% of Ukrainians Ready To Take Up Arms Against Russia (RT)

Most Ukrainians expect their country to win in the armed conflict with Russia, but just 8% are willing to fight to further their cause, the head of a leading Kiev-based polling agency has claimed, in an interview published on Tuesday. The Ukrainian leadership has said that it is seeking to boost the military’s ranks by up to 500,000. Additional troops are required to relieve forces on the frontline, some of which have not been properly rotated in years, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry has claimed. Vladimir Paniotto of the International Institute of Sociology discussed how the Ukrainian people’s worldview is reflected in research conducted by his organization with local news outlet Ukrainskaya Pravda.

They tend to “wish for conflicting things,” he mused, such as capitalist liberalization alongside robust social support by the state, or democracy as well as the “strong arm” of the government. The conundrum is present in what Ukrainians are willing to do to defeat Russia – an outcome that they overwhelmingly believe will end the ongoing hostilities. ”Certainly, many people are willing to act, to send donations or work as volunteers,” Paniotto said. “But facing a direct risk to life and taking part in military action – that is much harder… We estimate that the share of those willing to take arms is roughly 8% across all categories.” The figure may be overestimated, since the pollster takes the responses at face value without conducting follow-up studies to confirm the respondents’ true intentions. The Institute “has been trying to avoid surveys directly related to the military action” because mobilization is a “sensitive issue” of state policy, he explained.

The Ukrainian parliament is considering a major reform of the military system, which would facilitate the draft, including by imposing serious penalties for evasion. Fighting-age Ukrainian men residing in foreign nations, for example, would not be able to replace their expired passports without the consent of a conscription officer after the bill goes into force, MP Fyodor Venislavsky told the media last week. The lawmaker is a member of the parliamentary Committee for National Security, Defense and Intelligence. The Russian military said on Tuesday that Ukrainian frontline losses since January have surpassed 80,000.

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No wonder there are few volunteers.

Kiev Has Lost More Than 80,000 Troops Since January – Russian MoD (RT)

Ukrainian forces have lost more than 80,000 troops since the beginning of the year, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday, adding that the Russian military is continuing to reduce “the enemy’s combat potential.” More than 14,000 units of military hardware have also been destroyed by Russian forces since January, including 1,200 tanks and other armored combat vehicles. During the same period, Moscow has liberated some 403 square kilometers of Russia’s new territories, Shoigu said. Despite Kiev’s lack of success on the battlefield, the Ukrainian leadership “is still trying to convince its Western sponsors of its ability to resist the Russian Army,” he said. To do so, Kiev has resorted to terrorism and long-range strikes on Russian territories, targeting the civilian population, the minister added.

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Not the first time..

West to Use Hypothetical Russia-Ukraine Talks to Supply Arms to Zelensky (Sp.)

The West will use hypothetical negotiations between Moscow and Kiev to supply weapons to Ukraine and to regroup its forces, Konstantin Gavrilov, the head of the Russian delegation at the talks in Vienna on military security and arms control, told Sputnik. “Even if we imagine the hypothetical possibility of resuming negotiations, it is clear that the [Kiev] regime’s curators will use them to give the Ukrainian armed forces time to rest, pump them up with weapons, and complete a regrouping of troops,” Gavrilov said in an interview dedicated to the 75th anniversary of NATO marked on April 4. The North Atlantic Treaty was signed in Washington, D.C. on April 4, 1949.

A repeat of a scenario that emerged after the March 2022 talks in Istanbul when the Ukrainian armed forces received time to rest is unacceptable for Russia, Gavrilov added. Gavrilov also said that the West will use hypothetical negotiations between Moscow and Kiev to supply weapons to Ukraine and to help Kiev regroup its forces. “We have been through this before after the Istanbul talks in the spring of 2022, and the repetition of such a scenario is unacceptable to us. Therefore, at the moment, the future of the Ukrainian conflict is being decided on the battlefield, where our troops hold the initiative along the entire front line,” Gavrilov said in an interview dedicated to the 75th anniversary of NATO marked on April 4.

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“If Ukraine’s position weakens, there may be a ‘rallying behind the flag effect’ more favorable to the forces in place..”

Ukraine’s Defeat May Help EU Establishment (RT)

With polls showing ‘nationalist’ parties surging in popularity ahead of the upcoming European Parliament election, Kiev’s worsening situation could prove useful to the bloc’s powers that be, according to a new book by French investigative journalist Charles Sapin. Most of the EU has been outspoken in supporting the Ukrainian government in the conflict with Russia, sending an estimated €77 billion ($83 billion) worth of weapons, equipment, ammunition and even cash to Kiev. Sapin’s analysis, however, implies that bad news from the battlefield could bolster the European People’s Party (EPP) and the second-largest group, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (S&D) in upcoming elections. “If Ukraine’s position weakens, there may be a ‘rallying behind the flag effect’ more favorable to the forces in place,” he was quoted as saying by Politico EU on Monday.

Sapin is a reporter for the weekly Le Point who spent six years researching what he calls the “nationalist” parties that form the Identity and Democracy (ID) bloc in the European parliament – such as Hungary’s Fidesz, Portugal’s Chega, Spain’s Vox, France’s National Rally, Brothers of Italy and the Sweden Democrats. The final result was the book called ‘Les Moissons de la Colere’ (The Harvests of Wrath), presented as a deep dive into “nationalist Europe.” One major weakness of the parties in the ID grouping, according to Sapin, is that they have different opinions on the Ukraine conflict. Nationalists’ numbers might be rising but they are “isolated” in Brussels because of their particularism, he contends. Their victories in the upcoming election would move the needle to the right, but to the benefit of the EPP, currently the majority group. This may help explain why French President Emmanuel Macron brought up Ukraine at a recent brainstorming session about the upcoming elections.

Amid the strategy discussions the French leader suddenly voiced a concern that Ukraine “could fall very quickly,” according to sources that spoke with Politico. He then set up a ‘New Europeans’ coalition, an alliance of liberal parties from France, Denmark, Poland, Romania and Slovenia. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban – long the sole dissenter when it came to aiding Kiev – doubled down on calls for a ceasefire in Ukraine and a negotiated peace. According to Sapin, parties like Orban’s have gained power thanks to semantic tricks and ideological acrobatics, converting “old bourgeois” voters by talking about immigration, identity and the environment and abandoning calls for leaving the EU. His book includes insights from both the closest political advisers to Orban, from Italian PM Giorgia Meloni and French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen – and from their political enemies.

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“Bucha” has become a curious narrative.

Stop Covering Up Kiev Role In Bucha Events – Zakharova (TASS)

Russia is calling upon international organizations to stop covering up for the Kiev regime and its role in perpetrating the events almost two years ago in the Kiev suburb of Bucha, and instead to push for a thorough investigation, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a comment ahead of the second anniversary of what she called the staged incident in Bucha. “Once again, we demand that international organizations stop covering up for the Kiev regime and instead work toward conducting a thoroughgoing investigation that will, at long last, disclose the names of those killed, the time and cause of their deaths <…> as well as of those responsible for that terrible crime committed by the Kiev regime,” Zakharova said.

Meanwhile, numerous previous calls by Russia for international organizations, including agencies of the United Nations, to conduct a serious investigation of precisely what transpired in Bucha two years ago have to date remained unanswered, the Russian diplomat added. “Multiple Russian calls on international organizations, including appeals to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk, to investigate every detail of what happened <…> in Bucha or [reveal] other information remain unanswered,” Zakharova lamented. “It shows that the organizers of that deadly operation have something to conceal,” she said. According to Zakharova, this year, Ukrainian officials will be pursuing the goal of preventing the international community from focusing too much on the dire situation in Ukraine and along the line of engagement.

Russian Investigative Committee Chairman Alexander Bastrykin said in April 2022 that a criminal investigation had been launched under Article 207.3 of the Russian Criminal Code (“Public Dissemination of False Information about the Use of the Russian Armed Forces”) following a Ukrainian false flag operation in Bucha, a suburb of Kiev. He noted that the Ukrainian Defense Ministry had provided video footage purportedly taken in Bucha to Western media outlets, describing it as proof of mass killings of civilians, in a bid to discredit the Russian Armed Forces. However, statements made by the mayor of Bucha on March 31, 2022, combined with other reports, have substantiated the fact that the Russian Army pulled out of the town on March 30. Moreover, a video filmed by Ukrainians that surfaced on social media immediately after the withdrawal of Russian troops made no mention at all of the alleged killing of civilians in the town.

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X thread by Arnaud Bertrand.

Why ISIS Is Now Targeting Geopolitical Enemies Of The West (Ma Xiaolin)

[..] a top Chinese international relations scholar (Ma Xiaolin, director of the Institute for Mediterranean Studies at Zhejiang International Studies University) shares his view on why ISIS is now targeting geopolitical enemies of the West. I translated his article in full (original in Chinese here: https://tidenews.com.cn/news.html?id=2754250) below:

“On March 26th, a commuter vehicle for the Dasu Hydropower Project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan, was attacked by terrorists, resulting in the deaths of five Chinese personnel and one Pakistani staff member. This was the second such suicide bombing attack on the project in three years, with “Islamic State Khorasan Province” (ISKP) being a major suspect. Prior to this, on March 22nd, a serious terrorist attack occurred near Moscow, killing 143 people and injuring nearly 200, with ISKP claiming responsibility. On January 3rd, a series of suicide bombings in Kerman, Iran, killed nearly a hundred people, with ISKP also claiming responsibility. Within three months, Iran, Russia, and China became targets of terrorist attacks, indicating that the Islamic State, which had long considered the US and Europe as enemies, is changing its attack direction, increasingly targeting countries considered adversaries by the US and Europe.

This represents a new trend of turning enemies into friends and shifting disaster eastward, along with submitting a declaration of intent to traditional foes. Following the Moscow attack, Russian security agencies arrested eight suspects, confirming them to be Tajikistan nationals hired for the attack. This atypical “Islamic State” terrorist attack, which involved fleeing instead of a suicide mission, was immediately claimed by ISKP, which also released on-site video evidence. Before the end of 2017, the Islamic State was essentially defeated as a territorial entity, suffering a fatal blow and being forced to disband and go underground, with its focus shifting from West Asia to Central Asia. The Khorasan branch, active in Afghanistan and Pakistan, became the main force, taking up the banner of terrorism and frequently acting, gradually adjusting its survival rules and strategic direction.

Over the years, there have been signs that the Islamic State’s targets for revenge have clearly shifted to Eastern countries, no longer viewing the US and Europe as primary enemies, and completely deviating from its original goals of ending US global dominance and “liberating Palestine”. In the past six months, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has caused heavy casualties. The Iran-led “Axis of Resistance” has pressured Israel in various ways, with China and Russia also actively promoting a ceasefire. However, the Islamic State has launched attacks on Iran, Russia, and even China, leading some to speculate that it may have aligned with the United States or even come under control of Israel’s Mossad.

Despite the US indirectly or directly warning Iran and Russia of Islamic State attacks, suspicions remain. The defeat of the Islamic State in the Middle East was a collective achievement of the international anti-terrorism alliance, credited to both the US-led 62-nation coalition’s continuous airstrikes and the close cooperation of the “Shia Crescent” led by Russia and Iran, especially in ground combat and siege warfare. However, the continuous attacks by Islamic State remnants on Iran and Russia, ignoring the reality of “Israel killing people with American knives,” indicate their use of complex geopolitical conflicts to adjust policies and directions, seeking survival by allying with former enemies.

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“President Biden is the first candidate in history – the first president in history that has used the federal agencies to censor political speech, so to censor his opponent.”

Biden a ‘Threat To Democracy’ – RFK Jr (RT)

President Joe Biden could be a bigger danger to US democracy than former president and presumptive 2024 election rival Donald Trump, another presidential candidate, Robert F Kennedy Jr, has said. Biden is the first president in US history to mobilize federal agencies to silence his political opponents, the politician stated. Speaking on CNN on Monday, Kennedy Jr pointed to his being blocked on various social media platforms during Biden’s term in office and branded this as an effort to “censor political speech” that violated the First Amendment of America’s constitution. He also attributed the ‘censorship’ to pressure from the White House. Pressed by CNN’s Erin Burnett on who he believes poses a bigger threat to democracy, Kennedy stated that he still views Biden as a bigger danger, even though Trump played a role in the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.

“The question was, who is a worse threat to democracy? And what I would say is … I’m not going to answer that question. But I can argue that President Biden is, because the First Amendment, Erin, is the most important,” the candidate told presenter Erin Burnett. “I can make the argument that President Biden is the much worse threat to democracy, and the reason for that is President Biden is the first candidate in history – the first president in history that has used the federal agencies to censor political speech, so to censor his opponent.” The politician’s Instagram page was suspended in 2021 over what its parent company, Meta, described as “repeatedly sharing debunked claims about the coronavirus or vaccines.” The account was reinstated in 2022, shortly after Kennedy announced his election campaign. In December, the Supreme Court barred him from joining a challenge to a case dealing with the Biden administration’s communication with social media platforms over posts the government considered disinformation. The politician also had a similar case pending in a lower court.

Last year, Kennedy testified before the House Judiciary’s subcommittee on the weaponization of the federal government, where he spoke as part of a House Republicans’ inquiry into alleged social media censorship against conservatives. The politician also made freedom of speech a focus of his presidential campaign. Kennedy, 70, is the son of former US Attorney General Robert Kennedy and the nephew of former US President John F Kennedy, each of whom was assassinated during the 1960s. He has gained notoriety recently for being a prominent critic of vaccines, in addition to calling for an end to “proxy wars” conducted by the US – but some of his critics have dismissed many of his positions as being conspiratorial in nature. The former Democratic Party candidate is now campaigning as an independent ahead of the November vote.

RFK
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774977436561670316
https://twitter.com/i/status/1775338106398372288

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“The crafted fake news narrative of everything starting from the day of the Russian invasion will no longer wash once Russian forces overthrow the Zelensky government and the West will be humiliated beyond its wildest nightmares..”

Biden Sinks To New Lows Over Moscow Bombing And RussiaGate Fake News (Jay)

Are we all preparing for the inevitable? Trump returning to the White House? It would seem that certainly the Biden administration is doing just that given recent events. Moscow’s terror attack has taken centre stage of world news in recent days yet not one western journalist seems able to call out the ISIS warning from the U.S. for what it was: sham. And not only the warning was disingenuous but the sheer bad taste vitriol of Washington which was on a level only matched by the suspicious outright and swift rejection that Kiev had no part in the attack. Bad taste seems to be the hallmark of the Biden administration with a failed foreign policy which trails in second place. If Americans didn’t know before that the U.S. could not control two proxy wars on two separate fronts, now they know. As the aid parcels which drop onto Palestinians – sometimes even killing them – makes a statement in itself, it’s interesting to see how Biden is always looking in the past in almost everything he does.

Even RussiaGate has been dragged out of its dank grave and had new life breathed into by Biden’s press people who are now preparing the American public for a Biden failure in December. The biggest fear for Biden is the “hack and leak” attack which pushed many democrats over a line with Hillary Clinton when her emails revealed what an utterly morose political figure she is. Who could forget that “there are terrorists there [in Syria] but they’re on our side” comment when talking about the early days of the Syrian crisis which started in 2011? For Biden, there must be many troves for the Russians to leak at the given moment, with corruption in Ukraine being at the top of the list. But one salient question might be, does Putin even need to worry about “election interference”? This comical expression, coined by the Americans and slung at Moscow is done in such a fashion as to trick the humble observer that it was a dirty Russian invention despite the Americans practically inventing the practice and using it to their own means for the last 70 years in Latin America.

The reality is that Putin doesn’t need to interfere. He’s on a win-win ticket as, if Biden is re-elected the then senile U.S. president will be defeated in Ukraine and the American people will not only see all of the corruption stories emerge from that country but also the link between the Obama administration’s election meddling in 2014 to overthrow a Russian-aligned leader and today’s war. The crafted fake news narrative of everything starting from the day of the Russian invasion will no longer wash once Russian forces overthrow the Zelensky government and the West will be humiliated beyond its wildest nightmares into signing whatever is handed to them. This, in part, explains how the NATO press machine – and most European governments – are going into overdrive on the subject of the need to beef up Europe’s military capabilities. This is entirely a ruse to act as a distraction for when Kiev falls and western elites are ready with their soundbites. The Russians are coming. We told you so.

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“As the Court stated at the hearing, Defendant filed his motion without any evidence..”

Judge Denies Hunter Biden Motions to Dismiss Tax Charges (Turley)

Despite hours of argument by the counsel for Hunter Biden, U.S. District Court Judge Mark Scarsi denied his eight motions to dismiss tax charges with a stringing rebuke that the defense omits one thing from its argument: actual evidence. Hunter Biden has been arguing that he is the victim of selective prosecution despite a documented history of receiving special treatment as the son of the President. However, he has proven a key witness against himself in swatting down defenses raised by his counsel and publishing self-incriminating facts in his book. The filings also did not address the fact that the Justice Department not only allowed the statute of limitations to run on major crimes, but sought to finalize an obscene plea agreement with no jail time for Hunter. It only fell apart when a judge decided to ask a couple of cursory questions of the prosecutor, who admitted that he had never seen an agreement this generous for a defendant.

Special Counsel David Weiss noted in his filing that they filed new charges only after Hunter’s legal counsel refused to change the agreement and insisted that it remained fully enforceable. One only has to look at the series of superseding indictments against Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., to see how Hunter continues to receive special treatment. Rather than the four original counts, Menendez now faces 18 counts with his wife, Nadine Arslanian Menendez, and alleged co-conspirators Wael Hana and Fred Daibes. What is most notable is not the proliferation of counts but the lack of comparative charges in the pending case against Hunter Biden. Some of us have long raised concerns over the striking similarity in the alleged conduct in both cases, but the absence of similar charges against the president’s son. Judge Scarsi made fast work of the Biden filings as entirely insufficient to dismiss these charges. Abby Lowell and the defense team seem to be doubling down on the same claims despite the uniform rejection by courts.

The judge noted: “As the Court stated at the hearing, Defendant filed his motion without any evidence. The motion is remarkable in that it fails to include a single declaration, exhibit, or request for judicial notice. Instead, Defendant cites portions of various Internet news sources, social media posts, and legal blogs. These citations, however, are not evidence.” Lowell disagreed with the court’s order and pledged “to vigorously pursue Mr. Biden’s challenges to the abnormal way the Special Counsel handled this investigation and charged the case.” In truth, the “abnormal” treatment of Hunter was giving him advance notice of attempts to interview him and searches of Biden property. It was allowing the statute of limitations to run despite having an agreement on the table to keep potential felonies alive. It was trying to secure a plea agreement that even the prosecutor admitted in court was like nothing he had ever seen in his career.

The court even makes reference to Schrödinger’s cat, a paradox suggested by physicist Erwin Schrödinger in 1935 that a cat in a thought experiment could be viewed simultaneously both alive and dead: “The Court understands that its decision rests on an interpretation of the agreement neither party advocated—that the Diversion Agreement is a binding contract but performance of its terms is not yet required. The Court, therefore, invites the parties to stipulate to further pretrial motion practice to the extent there are additional disputes that arise from the Court’s Schrödinger’s cat-esque construction of Defendant’s immunity under the Diversion Agreement.”

Bobulinski

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“April Fools! Only kidding. Obviously, the people mentioned in the above tweets aren’t women at all, but men, every last one of them.”

“#arrestme”: JK Rowling Dares Scotland to Enforce Anti-Free Speech Law (Turley)

We have previously discussed the growing anti-free speech movement in Scotland with the expanding criminalization of political and religious speech. The new Scottish law is a perfect nightmare for free speech, expanding the potential of a jail sentence for merely insulting language. In response, author JK Rowling has taken a stand and dared the Scottish police to come and arrest her for criticizing transgender status. The Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 illustrates how these laws create a slippery slope of speech criminalization as more and more speech is banned. We previously discussed the law when it was first introduced. The new crime covers “stirring up hatred” relating to age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or being intersex. That crime covers insulting comments and anything reasonably “that a reasonable person would consider to be threatening or abusive.”

It is enough that a person is found to have likely understood that the comments would be abusive or insulting as opposed to intending to be abusive or insulting. For that ill-defined crime, you can be sent to jail for seven years. Police officers are currently being given a two-hour training program to enforcing the law. Rowling has been the target of a global campaign due to her rejection of transgender laws and policies. Many on the left have unleashed book bans and burnings. I have been critical of that campaign. Even third parties who have supported Rowling’s right to free speech have been targeted in cancel campaigns. On April 1, Rowling posted a reference to various trans campaigners and other individuals as women. She then ended the thread with “April Fools! Only kidding. Obviously, the people mentioned in the above tweets aren’t women at all, but men, every last one of them.”

She stated “Freedom of speech and belief are at an end in Scotland if the accurate description of biological sex is deemed criminal.” Even if meant as a joke, Scottish censorship laws have never been a laughing matter with comedians raising objections. That could clearly fall within the law. The law is so broad that it allows arbitrary enforcement. To that end, Rowling made it plain: “I’m currently out of the country, but if what I’ve written here qualifies as an offence under the terms of the new act, I look forward to being arrested when I return to the birthplace of the Scottish Enlightenment.#arrestme.” The law is a disgrace, but hardly new. Free speech has been in a free fall in the United Kingdom as well as other Western countries. I discuss this trend in my new book, The Indispensable Right: Free Speech in an Age of Rage.

The decline of free speech in the United Kingdom has long been a concern for free speech advocates. A man was convicted for sending a tweet while drunk referring to dead soldiers. Another was arrested for an anti-police t-shirt. Another was arrested for calling the Irish boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend a “leprechaun.” Yet another was arrested for singing “Kung Fu Fighting.” A teenager was arrested for protesting outside of a Scientology center with a sign calling the religion a “cult.” We also discussed the arrest of a woman who was praying to herself near an abortion clinic. English courts have seen criminalized “toxic ideologies” as part of this crackdown on free speech. Scotland has now pulled ahead in the race to the bottom of speech criminalization. The home of David Hume and Adam Smith is now imposing laws as stringent as those founds in Iran, Russia, and China. It is a shocking denial of a right that once defined Western Civilization

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Legend

 

 

Hitchens

 

 

VdB
https://twitter.com/i/status/1775285512426660206

 

 

1903

 

 

 

 

Baby owl

 

 

Alien

 

 

Catfish

 

 

Baby elephant

 

 

Faa Sai
https://twitter.com/i/status/1775051957352235364

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 022024
 


Keith Haring Pop Shop II 1988

 

This Is Not an April Fool’s Gag (Jim Kunstler)
Biden Denies Proclaiming Transgender Day of Visibility on Easter Sunday (RT)
The Electric War Is Redrawing The Ukraine Map – In Black (Helmer)
Ukraine Counteroffensive ‘Biggest Debacle In Modern Warfare’ – David Sacks (RT)
Every NATO Member Has Military Personnel In Ukraine – Estonia (RT)
‘Too Old and in Poor Health’: Ukrainian Conscripts Unmotivated to Fight (Sp.)
Israel’s War, Netanyahu’s Gamble (Alastair Crooke)
The Sahel’s ‘Axis of Resistance’ (Pepe Escobar)
EU Can No Longer Expect US To Defend It – Rheinmetall CEO (RT)
How Private Interests Seized Control of America (Paul Craig Roberts)
Disney’s Litigation Against Florida Collapses as the Media Shrugs (Turley)
Weaponization of the Secret Service Has Put RFK Jr’s Life at Risk (Fleetwood)
Left Livid Over Trump Ally Efforts To Eliminate Anti-White Policies (ZH)
JK Rowling Could Be Imprisoned For “Misgendering” Trans People (MN)
Imran Khan’s Jail Sentence Suspended (RT)
Judge Orders Release Of ‘Border Riot’ Migrants Who Overwhelmed National Guard (ZH)

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1774949562504855745

 

 

Tucker sobriety

 

 

Trump

 

 

Matteo

 

 

Joan Rivers

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geert Vanden Bossche predicts the collapse of society. And the rise of ivermectin. Not sure how the two can be combined.

This Is Not an April Fool’s Gag (Jim Kunstler)

Did you have a fabulous Transgender Visibility Day, uncluttered with any loose talk about one Jesus Christ and his travails in the Roman Levant some 2000 years ago? The Easter Bunny desisted from twerking on the White House lawn this time around, but the Party of Chaos still nailed down the vote of the .000429 percent of the population that identifies as opposite the clerical error made upon their sexual assignment at birth. All in all, this may be the last grotesque frivolity the political class indulges in for a long time to come, and I’ll tell you why.

I had the honor of interviewing the Belgian virologist Geert Vanden Bossche on Friday for my podcast, and he had quite a sobering message. “What I am predicting,” he said, “is a massive, massive tsunami” of illness and death among highly-vaccinated populations with dysregulated immune systems.

“You commit errors or even crimes at the very small scale, you can hide them,” he said (at around 47:00 minutes into the hour-long discussion). “I have seen this happen with the Ebola vaccination with Africa a number of years ago. . . . However, if you do this at the very large scale, like what has happened with this mass [Covid] vaccination campaign, the truth will surface. And those who have committed these crimes who have been lying to the people, who have not been taking care of the health and safety of the people, will be severely, severely punished. . . . If these people would now go out and say, ‘Yeah, wait a minute, we have been making some mistakes, it wasn’t all right, we have to correct them, we have to revise our opinion,’ these people will be stoned in the streets. . . . They can only hope that something will happen that will distract from this issue, but it won’t. . . . The truth will surface: this has been a large-scale experiment of gain-of-function on the very human population. This will be something that will be reported in history for many many generations to come.”

A bit further on (around 55:20 minutes) he says, “You will see what will happen, for example, in the next coming weeks. . . is more and more cases of more serious long Covid. . . . They will start to replace the surge of the cancers. . . now we have a more chronic phase. It will end with a hyper-acute phase, a huge, huge wave. . . I’ve been studying this now for four years. I know what I’m talking about. I’m probably the only person, in all modesty, who understands the immunology behind this. . . . (At 1:00:12) The thing I want your audience to understand, what we will be facing in the hyper-acute Covid crisis that is imminent, is that we will have to build a completely new world. . . . It is very very clear that when this starts, our hospitals will collapse. And that means the chaos in all kinds of layers of society — financial, economic, social, you name it — will be complete. And that is what I’m very clearly predicting. . . . It’s very strange for me to make such statements, but I’m not hiding it because I’m two hundred percent convinced that it will happen.”

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The kind old man with memory issues.

Biden Denies Proclaiming Transgender Day of Visibility on Easter Sunday (RT)

US President Joe Biden has rejected criticism over his annual proclamation of March 31 as Transgender Visibility Day, which this year coincided with Easter Sunday. The president’s ambiguous remarks on the matter, however, were perceived by his critics as a flat denial of the move he had made just a day before. Biden was pressed on the matter by reporters and asked about the criticism, voiced by Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson, who called the step “outrageous and abhorrent’ tradition-busting moves.” The president stated the speaker was “thoroughly uninformed” on the matter, producing what appeared to be a flat denial to a follow-up question on how exactly Johnson was “uninformed.” “I didn’t do that.”

The remarks re-ignited the criticism, with Johnson taking to X (formerly Twitter) to poke fun at the president and posting a screenshot of Biden’s proclamation of March 31 as the Transgender Day of Visibility. “This you, Joe Biden?” the speaker wrote. Some, however, translated the president’s remarks as an attempt to explain that he was not the one to introduce the tradition in the first place, rather than a denial of his own move. The proclamation dates back to 2009, when then-President Barak Obama introduced it shortly after assuming office, marking March 31 as Transgender Visibility Day. The date will not coincide with Easter Sunday for decades to come. The White House appeared to back this position as well, with Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisting any backlash over the president’s move was “misinformation.”

“So surprised by the misinformation that’s been out there around this and I want to be very clear: every year for the past several years on March 31, Transgender Day of Visibility is marked,” she stated, adding that the nature of the situation was evident “for folks who understand the calendar and how it works.”“Easter falls on different Sundays, right, every year, and this year it happened to coincide with Transgender Visibility Day. And so that is the simple fact. That is what has happened. That is where we are,” she explained.Still, the affair has triggered a storm of criticism from prominent Christians and conservatives alike, getting further aggravated by the fact that the Biden administration has opted to ban children participating in the Easter Egg design contest from using religiously themed designs.

Watters

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The next phase of the war? The end phase?

“If the current Russian plan of attack is causing swings of 300+ volts, it’s not even safe to plug in a cell phone..”

“Who knows what’s happening there. It must be chaos, and if it isn’t, it will be soon.”

The Electric War Is Redrawing The Ukraine Map – In Black (Helmer)

The electric war, which in its first phase commenced last October and November, has now entered its second and final phase – final, that is, for the Ukraine. This is strategic; war has never been fought like this in Europe. The US and NATO general staffs and politicians have been taken by complete surprise. “The Ukrainians are building Maginot and Siegfried lines according to the instructions of their foreign advisers,” according to a Moscow analyst, “as if the Russian offensive will be men, artillery and tanks running across the landscape towards Kiev. But they won’t have to. The offensive against Ukrainian electricity cannot be stopped at these lines.” Without effective defence for its power generating plants, distribution hubs, and grid lines, the Kiev regime’s power is being stopped across the country; the major Novorussian cities in the east – Odessa, Kharkov, Dniepropetrovsk – are being blacked out and their populations forced to evacuate; the warmaking resupplies of the NATO allies are being cut off at borders which are now exposed to reversal of electricity surges threatening the plants and grids of southern Poland, Romania and Moldova.

Even European and American money for President Vladimir Zelensky’s regime needs electricity to move. “The Russian General Staff is thinking electrically,” comments a NATO veteran and expert in applying electrical engineering to war. “The way the strikes are unfolding causes the Ukrainians to perform at lot of switching. Anyone who knows anything about high-voltage switching understands that the more it’s done, the greater the likelihood there is of some kind of fault occurring, including surges or transients. So, leaving enough power on today so the Ukrainians can throw switches tomorrow may be part of the plan.” “Even if the French/NATO plan a deployment in the Ukraine, what will they be deploying to?” the military engineer adds. “If the current Russian plan of attack is causing swings of 300+ volts, it’s not even safe to plug in a cell phone.


MAP OF RUSSIAN STRIKES AGAINST UKRAINE POWER PLANT TARGETS, MARCH 30

We can safely assume that all manner of appliances and other expensive electrical or electronic equipment has been destroyed in the affected areas. Indeed, even if the power engineers manage to get the power back on, millions of light fixtures, especially the electronic/LED variety, are burned out. Diagnostic equipment (medical and technical), process instruments, programmable logic controllers, power supplies, inverters, frequency drives, bank machines, computerized checkout, refrigeration equipment, are burned up” “Who knows what’s happening there. It must be chaos, and if it isn’t, it will be soon.” The Russian General Staff doesn’t telegraph its punches. The daily Ministry of Defense operations briefing – blocked for many US and allied audiences – concentrates on the five combat groups, Western, Southern, Eastern, Centre, and Dniepr; and their operational directions along the Donbass line of contact; at present, they are Kupyansk, Donetsk, Avdeyevka, South Donetsk, and Kherson.

Last Friday, for example, the briefing began almost nonchalantly: “Tonight [March 29], the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation launched a group strike with high-precision long-range air, sea and land-based weapons, including aeroballistic hypersonic Kinzhal missiles, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles, at energy facilities and air defence of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The objectives of the strike have been achieved. All objects are affected.” [..] “Ukraine is moving towards a truly definitive energy crisis”, Militarist reported on March 30. “In the east and west, thermal power plants are being eliminated one by one by completely demolishing the main turbine and generator sections. Dams also began to collapse from south to north. It is expected that all dams and thermal power plants will be put out of operation in the near future. The Ukrainian military industry will be destroyed both by direct attacks and by the energy crisis. The possibility of NATO-supported domestic production and maintenance will also be excluded. Thus, the logistics infrastructure in the rear may not be able to cope with events at the front.”

Macgregor

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“These people are fools who should have no credibility left. But of course the MSM never holds them accountable so we will get more of the same until Ukraine finally collapses..”

Ukraine Counteroffensive ‘Biggest Debacle In Modern Warfare’ – David Sacks (RT)

The failure of Ukraine’s 2023 summer counteroffensive against Russia was “easily predictable,” according to US tech entrepreneur and venture capitalist David Sacks, who has suggested that the Washington elite should be held accountable for talking up the doomed operation. Sacks’ comments came in response to a post on Saturday by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, who condemned the unnecessary loss of life suffered by Kiev’s forces as they attempted to “attack a larger army” that had superior defenses. The failed Ukrainian counteroffensive was “one of the biggest debacles in the history of modern warfare,” Sacks said in agreement, adding that Kiev’s soldiers and tanks had effectively run “headlong into minefields while Russian artillery rained down on them from heavily fortified positions.” “This should have been easily predictable,” the former PayPal COO and founder of the Yammer corporate social network stressed.

According to estimates released in March by the Russian Defense Ministry, the Ukrainian military saw over 166,000 casualties during last year’s failed counteroffensive. Kiev’s overall casualties since the outbreak of the conflict with Russia stand at 444,000, the ministry has claimed. Sacks went on to suggest that US officials such as ex-CIA chief David Petraeus, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and current US Secretary of State Antony Blinken should all be held responsible for encouraging the doomed operation. “These people are fools who should have no credibility left. But of course the MSM never holds them accountable so we will get more of the same until Ukraine finally collapses,” Sacks surmised. Musk, meanwhile, has called the counteroffensive “a tragic waste of life for Ukraine,” suggesting that Kiev should not have attacked Russian forces – which had deployed vast minefields and had stronger artillery – while Ukrainian forces lacked armor or air superiority.

“Any fool could have predicted that,” the billionaire said, recalling that one year ago he had recommended that Kiev’s forces entrench and apply all resources to defense. Musk stated that Kiev would continue to have difficulty holding on to territory, but suggested that Russia was unlikely try to take over the entire country, arguing that it would face “extreme” local resistance in western regions of Ukraine. He also warned that if the conflict “lasts long enough, Odessa will fall,” and advised Kiev to reach a negotiated settlement with Moscow as soon as possible, before Russia gains more territory and Ukraine loses all access to the Black Sea. Moscow has stressed that it remains open to meaningful talks with Kiev, and has blamed the lack of a diplomatic breakthrough on the Ukrainian authorities, who refuse to accept the “reality on the ground.”

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Russia knows where they all are. Sitting ducks.

Every NATO Member Has Military Personnel In Ukraine – Estonia (RT)

Every NATO member already has military personnel in Ukraine, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur claimed on Monday. Under no circumstances, however, will forces from the US-led bloc take part in the hostilities against Russia, the minister insisted in an interview with Austrian media outlet Die Presse. NATO servicemen are operating in the embattled country as advisers and are involved in training Ukrainian soldiers in Poland, the UK, and Estonia, Pevkur told the outlet. Western defense officials are currently planning to set up training camps in Ukraine in a bid to avoid issues with border crossings and to speed up the preparation process, he added.

At the same time, Pevkur insisted there is no talk of NATO soldiers fighting directly in the conflict, stating that “this has already been ruled out.” “The reality is that every NATO member country already has military personnel in Ukraine, such as military attaches or people who travel to Ukraine from time to time,” the official said. “What [French] President [Emmanuel] Macron said mainly related to personnel training,” he added. Macron openly raised the possibility of putting NATO troops on the ground in Ukraine in February, saying that “we cannot exclude anything” and that the West “will do everything necessary to prevent Russia from winning this war.”

The remarks, which Macron later described as having been “weighed, thought through, and measured,” prompted a wave of denials from a vast majority of NATO states and the bloc’s leadership. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg publicly refuted the idea shortly after Macron’s initial statement, saying that no plans existed to deploy troops to Ukraine. Numerous Western leaders, including US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, have also denied any such plans. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said any NATO troop deployments in Ukraine would not change the situation on the battlefield, given that Western soldiers are already active in the country as military advisers and mercenaries. He nonetheless warned that the ramifications of such a move would be “tragic.”

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“..deep divisions in Ukraine’s parliament and more broadly in Ukrainian society.”

‘Too Old and in Poor Health’: Ukrainian Conscripts Unmotivated to Fight (Sp.)

Quite a few Ukrainian conscripts recruited by the “dysfunctional” and “unwieldy” drafting system are “often too old, in poor health and unmotivated,” The New York Times has cited brigade officers as saying. Alina Mykhailova, an officer in the Ukrainian Army’s Da Vinci Wolves battalion, told the newspaper that of the 200 conscripts they had received, only 25 showed a desire to fight. According to her, the goal is to “recruit volunteers faster, so that we get fewer of those people who are absolutely unmotivated.” “It’s like a market. You must try to find people with marketing methods,” another Ukrainian officer, Myroslav Hai, said, referring to public relations recruitment campaigns that aim to lure more people into joining the army. The remarks come after The Washington Post reported that the Kiev regime’s lack of any clear mobilization strategy aimed at plugging the gaping holes in the ranks of its armed forces is fueling “deep divisions in Ukraine’s parliament and more broadly in Ukrainian society.”

The Financial Times, in turn, suggested that Ukraine’s plans to mobilize half a million additional troops via a controversial new mobilization law have little hope of panning out if new Western assistance doesn’t arrive. The draft legislation, expected see a vote in Ukraine’s parliament in mid-April, looks to lower the draft age to 25, commit recruits to three years of service, and force eligible men to register via a digital portal, among other measures. Shortly after Russia started its special military operation, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced martial law and general draft in Ukraine. Under martial law, men aged between 18 and 60 are banned from leaving the country, and men aged 27 and older are eligible to be drafted, with some exceptions. In a sign that the problems of draft dodgers show no sign of being solved, draft cards are handed out not only in recruitment offices, but also on the streets, at gas stations, or in cafes.

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Mass protests against Netanyahu.

Israel’s War, Netanyahu’s Gamble (Alastair Crooke)

U.S. Democratic Party support for Israel is fast fissuring – an “ideological tremor”, Peter Beinart (editor of Jewish Currents) calls it. Since 7 Oct “it has become an earthquake” – a “Great Rupture”. This concerns the fusion of Liberalism to Zionism that long has defined the Democratic Party: “Israel’s war in Gaza has supercharged a transformation on the American Left. Solidarity with Palestinians is becoming as essential to leftist politics – as is support for abortion rights or opposition to fossil fuels. And, as happened during the Vietnam War and the struggle against South African apartheid – leftist fervour is reshaping the liberal mainstream”. Put plainly, in tandem to Israel moving to the far Right, pro-Palestinian support in the U.S. has hardened. By November 2023, 49 percent of American Jewish voters ages 18 to 35 opposed Biden’s request for additional military aid to Israel.

That is one vector; one direction of travel within the American polity. On the other path, American Jews – those most committed to Zionism; the ones who run establishment institutions – see that liberal America is becoming less ideologically hospitable. They are responding to this shift by forging common cause with the American Right. Netayanhu had made the observation that Israel and a wokish Democratic Party were on divergent paths some ten years earlier – shifting the Likud and the Israel Right away from the Democrats to the American Evangelicals (and thus, broadly in the direction of the Republican Party). As a former senior Israeli diplomat, Alon Pinkas, wrote in 2022: “With Netanyahu it was always transactional. So in the last decade or so he developed his own vile version of “replacement theory”: The majority of evangelical Christians will replace the vast majority of American Jews. Since it’s all about numbers, the evangelicals are the preferred ally”.

Beinart writes: “Supporters of Israel remain not only welcome in the Democratic Party but are also dominant. But the leaders of those institutions no longer represent much of their base”. “Senator Schumer, the highest Jewish representative in public life, acknowledged this divide in his speech earlier this month, when he said – the speech’s most remarkable line – that he “can understand the idealism that inspires so many young people in particular, to support a one-state solution”. A solution – to say it bluntly – that does not involve a ‘Zionist State’: “Those are the words of a politician who understands that his party is undergoing profound change”. Numbers of younger ‘changelings’ are larger than many recognize, especially among millennials and Gen Z; and the latter are joining a Palestine solidarity movement that is growing larger, but also more radical.

“That growing radicalism has produced a paradox: It is a movement that welcomes more and more American Jews – but correspondingly finds it harder to explain where Israeli Jews fit into its vision of Palestinian liberation”, Beinart worries. It was to bridge this Gulf that the Biden Administration confected its awkward stance at the UN Security Council this week, when the U.S. abstained on a ‘Ceasefire and Hostage Release Resolution’. The resolution was intended by the White House to ‘face both ways’, appealing to (older) American Jews who still identify as both progressive and Zionist, and – facing the other way – appealing to those who view the growing alliance between leading Zionist institutions and the Republican Party as uncomfortable, even unforgivable (and want the Gaza massacres to stop now). The Resolution ploy however, was not well thought-through (the latter lacuna becoming something of a White House habit). The content was badly mis-represented by the U.S., which stated that the resolution was ‘non-binding’. The New York Times actually mis-stated the resolution, saying that it ‘calls for’ a ceasefire. It did not.

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“The African Sahel is revolting against western neocolonialism – ejecting foreign troops and bases, devising alternative currencies, and challenging the old multinationals. Multipolarity, after all, cannot flower without resistance paving its path.”

The Sahel’s ‘Axis of Resistance’ (Pepe Escobar)

The emergence of Axes of Resistance in various geographies is an inextricable byproduct of the long and winding process leading us toward a multipolar world. These two things – resistance to the Hegemon and the emergence of multipolarity – are absolutely complementary. The Axis of Resistance in West Asia – across Arab and Muslim states – now finds as its soul sister the Axis of Resistance spanning the Sahel in Africa, west to east, from Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger to Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea. Unlike Niger, where the change in power against neocolonialism was associated with a military coup, in Senegal, the power change comes straight from the polls. Senegal plunged itself into a new era with the landslide victory of Bassirou Diomaye Faye, 44, in nationwide elections on 24 March. A former tax inspector who had just spent a fortnight stint in jail, Faye emerged with the profile of an underdog pan-African leader to turn the ‘most stable democracy in Africa,’ under French puppet incumbent Macky Sall, upside down.

The incoming Senegalese president now joins Ibrahim Traore, 36, in Burkina Faso, Aby Ahmed, 46, in Ethiopia, Andry Rajoelina, 48, in Madagascar, as well as future superstar Julius Malema, 44, in South Africa as part of the new, young pan-African generation focused on sovereignty. In his election manifesto, Faye pledged to reclaim Senegal’s sovereignty no less than eighteen times. Geoeconomics is key to these shifts. As Senegal becomes a substantial oil and gas producer, Faye will aim to renegotiate mining and energy contracts, including the largest ones with British Petroleum (BP) and UK gold mine operator, Endeavor Mining. Crucially, he plans to ditch the exploitative CFA franc – the French-controlled currency system used in 14 African states – even setting up a new currency as part of reshaping relations with neocolonial power France, Senegal’s top trading partner. Faye, echoing Comrade Xi Jinping, wants a “win-win” partnership.

Faye has not yet been clear on whether he intends to kick the French military out of Senegal. Were that to happen, the blow to Paris would be unprecedented, as embattled Petit Roi Emmanuel Macron and the French establishment consider Senegal the key player when it comes to blockading landlocked Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, which have already left Paris in the (Sahel) dust. The three latter states, which have just formed an Alliance of the Sahel States (Alliance des Etats du Sahel, AES, in the original French), are not only a major Paris nightmare after serial humiliations but also a big American headache – epitomized in the spectacular breakdown of military cooperation between Washington and Nigerien capital Niamey.

The culprit, according to the US Deep State, is, of course, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Obviously, no one in the US Beltway has been paying due attention to the Russia–Africa diplomatic flurry since last year, involving all key players from the Sahel to the new African BRICS members Egypt and Ethiopia. In sharp contrast to its prior regard of Niger as a staunch ally in the Sahel, Washington is now forced to present a calendar date to get its troops out of Niger – after a military cooperation deal was annulled. The Pentagon cannot be involved in military training in Nigerien territory anymore.

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Those are dollar signs in his eyes.

EU Can No Longer Expect US To Defend It – Rheinmetall CEO (RT)

Washington has sent a clear message to European NATO members that they can no longer rely on its military protection, the head of German defense giant Rheinmetall has argued. For decades, the EU has been taking for granted that the US would come to its rescue in case of war, but “that will no longer happen,” CEO Armin Papperger told The Financial Times. He cited the failure of the US Congress to approve continued military assistance to Ukraine as a signal to Europe that the Americans are not willing to pay for its security. The US is treaty-obligated to consider an attack on any NATO member as an attack on itself. The commitment has been put into question by former President Donald Trump, who has argued that US protection should be conditional on the other nations meeting their military spending obligations, and claimed he said as much to a European leader while in office.

President Joe Biden has denounced the remarks as “dangerous” and “un-American”. If Trump is elected president again in November, “the pressure will be higher” on Germany, Papperger said, but the risk will still be there regardless of who wins the presidency. ”The US focuses more on the Asia-Pacific area than on Europe,” he said. If a full-blown armed conflict erupts in the region, “the US will focus on Asia, and then Europe will be totally alone.” Papperger said his warning to European nations stems from his enduring perception of the world as “dangerous.” It has also shaped his response to the Ukraine crisis and the EU’s intention to ramp up arms production. Unlike people at the helm of other major producers, he did not hesitate to invest in expansion, the Financial Times report noted.

Since the Russia-Ukraine hostilities erupted in 2022, the Dusseldorf-based company’s share price has surged fivefold. Rheinmetall has announced plans to open armor and munitions factories in Ukraine, despite the risk of them being targeted by Russian forces. Kiev and its Western backers have claimed that a Russian victory in the conflict would expose NATO members in Europe to a future attack by Moscow. Russian President Vladimir Putin called this argument “simply delirious” last week, considering the vast advantage in military spending that the US-led military bloc has.

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“Social power is when people have power. Then you have government. State power is when the state has power. Then you have tyranny.”

How Private Interests Seized Control of America (Paul Craig Roberts)

One thing that we know with certainty about our time is that no Western government represents the people it rules. Western governments represent the interests of those whose campaign contributions elect the government. The government is simply purchased by campaign contributors. It is not a government in the sense of the word used by Thomas Jefferson and Albert Jay Nock. In the United States, the Supreme Court has legalized the purchase of the government by special interests who use government for their agendas. The Supreme Court actually ruled that it is a First Amendment right to purchase the government. Elsewhere in the Western world it is even worse, because the governments must first represent Washington’s interest. As representing Washington seldom conforms to their interests, no Western government has the support of the people.

I recently posted the approval ratings of the German chancellor, the British prime minister, and the French president, and they were even lower than Biden’s. The German chancellor has an approval rating of 17% In other words, 83% of Germans disapproved. Yet he rules them. Everywhere in Europe approval ratings are disapproval ratings with European leaders disapproved by 65 to 70% of the populations. How can this be called democracy? It can’t. Albert Jay Nock told us the truth of our situation in 1935 in the most important book describing the American political system that has ever been written. If you read and understand Nock’s book and read a couple of Charles Beard’s political histories of the US, you will have a very clear understanding why freedom in America is being extinguished. Albert Jay Nock distinguishes between social power and state power. Social power is when people have power. Then you have government. State power is when the state has power. Then you have tyranny.

This situation is one in which government becomes privatized by powerful interests, including government agencies, to serve their agendas and is transformed into an unaccountable state. Thomas Jefferson intended for the new nation to be governed by social power, that is, by the people. But other of the founding fathers wanted state power that they could enlist to privilege their pursuit of their own interest. Nock provides examples of this by the original founders. In my opinion, perhaps the best example of this was 60-70 years later with Abe Lincoln’s service to the railroads and support of the northern manufacturers for a tariff that would serve their interest at the expense of higher prices for the population. It was Lincoln’s support of the tariff that caused the secession of the Southern states and Lincoln’s invasion of the Confederacy. To cover up the fact that Lincoln was nothing but a shill for economic interests, historians invented a false account of Lincoln’s war against the Confederacy.

In the Western world democracy is merely an exercise used to convince the people that they are in control. I am not going to explicate Nock’s explanation of how we were doomed from the start. It began with the replacement of popular sovereignty with the state. Today unthinking patriots support the state at the expense of country and popular sovereignty. Originally, state power grew by handing out special favors to support the interests of those who gained control of the state. Today the situation has greatly worsened. The state is used to suppress those who object to the special interest agendas. For example, consider the massive repression of popular sovereignty. ( Websites, such as vDare.com, that point out the adverse consequences of the state turning a nation into a tower of babel are being suppressed by the state. vDare.com has been explaining that massive immigration of unassimilable people into a country in the name of diversity and multiculturalism actually means the destruction of the nation. The ultimate effect is to eliminate diversity.

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“DeSantis wrestled control away from Disney’s handpicked board and now Disney has dropped its challenge after suffering a series of losses in court..”

Disney’s Litigation Against Florida Collapses as the Media Shrugs (Turley)

It is a familiar pattern. Media outlets pick sides in a legal dispute and then distort the merits of the claims in favor of that party. In the fight between Disney and Florida, the media not only misrepresented a popular Florida parental rights bill (including falsely calling it the “Don’t Say Gay” law) but heralded Disney’s decision to enter the political fray to oppose the law. It then portrayed Disney’s legal moves to block state efforts to regain regulatory control over the company as brilliant and overwhelming. Some of us disagreed on all of those points, including the prospects of Disney’s ill-considered litigation strategy. Last week, that strategy collapsed with a settlement in which Disney decided to just “Let it go” and these same media outlets simply shrugged and moved on.

In a raw muscle play, Disney had its hand-picked board (the Reedy Creek Improvement District) effectively transfer authority to the company just before it was disbanded. Many in the media were thrilled by the move despite the unlikelihood of its being sustained legally. As I wrote at the time, it would be ridiculous for a court to rule that a company could stop a state from removing special treatment for a corporation like Disney. Even as the company racked up losses in court, the media and legal experts heralded its brilliance and toughness. In the meantime, as Disney itself admitted that it was losing money due to its political agenda, the media heaped praise on the corporation.

When it came to the lawsuits, the media portrayed the moves as brilliant and mocked Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., as outgunned as some of us struggled with how Disney could possibly prevail in the long term. NBC News chief political analyst Chuck Todd insisted that Republicans had “better be careful going after Disney.” MSNBC host and former 2020 Biden campaign aide Symone Sanders-Townsend agreed and said “Oh, my money’s on the Disney lobbyists, honey. My money is on the Disney lobbyists.” On a “Morning Joe,” co-host Joe Scarborough insisted “you can’t beat Disney.” MSNBC contributor Donny Deutsch agreed: DeSantis is “fighting a fight he can’t win, and this, to me, is a precursor of him on a bigger national stage. And he’s just stupid. It’s a stupid, stupid play.”

Vox wrote that “Disney is proving to be the foe that will not die.” Another Vox headline read “How Disney just beat Ron DeSantis.” The problem is that Disney was never winning, but viewers were not told that. The company was gushing money while losing in court. In the end, the Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act continued to garner overwhelming support in the state. DeSantis wrestled control away from Disney’s handpicked board and now Disney has dropped its challenge after suffering a series of losses in court. The response from the media? Crickets. For Disney’s part, it spent millions of dollars, alienated millions of customers, and created precedent against itself. It literally achieved nothing material from its litigation against the state beyond driving up its own costs and reinforcing the regulatory authority against the company. It then walked away.

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“For 55 years, every presidential administration has granted early protection to major candidates who requested it. The Biden administration is the sole outlier..”

Weaponization of the Secret Service Has Put RFK Jr’s Life at Risk (Fleetwood)

Secret Service records recently revealed the agency’s conclusions that Kennedy is at “elevated risk for adverse attention,” and after reviewing credible armed threats against Kennedy, the agency assembled a group of eight teams ready to step in quickly after they get the go-ahead. But they never got it. The threat to Kennedy is particularly acute because of his controversial politics and his family history—his father, RFK, Sr., a U.S. senator and presidential candidate, and his uncle, John F., a U.S. president, were both assassinated. RFK Jr. has provoked and challenged some of the most powerful forces in our country, especially concerning the military-industrial complex, the CIA, and endless foreign wars that so enrich defense contractors. The perils to Kennedy arise not only because of his name but also because of the mainstream media’s relentless demonization of him.

Kennedy’s wife, Cheryl Hines, the lead actress in the popular TV series Curb Your Enthusiasm, accused Biden of “playing politics” with her and RFK Jr.’s safety. “Yesterday, an intruder climbed the fence at my home and was arrested,” Kennedy tweeted a few months ago. “After being released from police custody later in the day, he immediately returned to my home and was arrested again.” In September, a heavily armed man impersonating a U.S. marshal and the CIA, with loaded concealed firearms and an accomplice, was arrested after infiltrating a private event. No wonder Hines is scared and worried. The Kennedy name is a lightning rod, a bright target for disturbed and demented individuals. Judicial Watch, a conservative foundation, filed a Freedom of Information request and lawsuit to determine why Kennedy’s multiple requests for Secret Service protection were not answered. Finally, they obtained a trove of previously hidden emails.

“These documents confirm the bureaucratic and political runaround the Biden administration went through to ultimately deny Robert F. Kennedy Jr. the requested Secret Service protection,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. “The Biden administration’s refusal to provide Secret Service protection to Mr. Kennedy is dangerous and vindictive.” According to the reports, higher-ups ordered the Secret Service not to talk to Kennedy’s private security. Seventy percent of voters do not want Biden or Trump. According to a January 9, 2024, Gallup poll, Kennedy’s favorability rating of 52% is higher than Biden’s (41%) and Trump’s (42%). According to an earlier Gallup poll, 63% of U.S. adults think that the major parties do “such a poor job” of representing the American people that “a third major party is needed.”

This is a 7% increase from a year ago. Biden’s choice to deny Kennedy protection reflects insecurity, fearing Kennedy’s popularity and radical, transformative message have the potential to endanger his reelection. He might also worry that Secret Service protection will elevate Kennedy’s stature and give him a certain presidential aura as a credible contender among the media and voters. For 55 years, every presidential administration has granted early protection to major candidates who requested it. The Biden administration is the sole outlier. If another Kennedy is killed while campaigning for president, it will be a long-lasting, traumatic stain on the American psyche that will scar the soul of our democracy for decades to come. Unfortunately, we live in violent, polarized times. The United States has surpassed 400 mass shootings in 2023, a record-breaking year in gun violence.

RFK
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774977436561670316

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“..it’s only natural to assume that a revived effort to paint him as a racist would follow..”

Left Livid Over Trump Ally Efforts To Eliminate Anti-White Policies (ZH)

With Donald Trump’s popularity growing among black and latino voters, it’s only natural to assume that a revived effort to paint him as a racist would follow. In a Monday ‘exclusive’ report, Axios is absolutely beside themselves, writing “Trump allies plot anti-racism protections — for white people” There’s a plot afoot!nTrump’s Justice Department would push to eliminate or upend programs in government and corporate America that are designed to counter racism that has favored whites. Does racism still favor whites? Last we checked, white people, particularly white men – who ‘toxically mansplain’ everything, are the scourge of the universe. Anyhow, Axios has presented quite the narrative; the Trump campaign’s longstanding promise to eliminate Biden DEI initatives + efforts by Trump allies to legally combat anti-white racism “with the Supreme Court’s turn to the right” = racism. First, here’s what Trump said last year:

“Every institution in America is under attack from this Marxist concept of ‘equity,'” adding “I will get this extremism out of the White House, out of the military, out of the Justice Department, and out of our government.” Trump campaign spox Steven Cheung told Axios: “As President Trump has said, all staff, offices, and initiatives connected to Biden’s un-American policy will be immediately terminated,” adding “President Trump is committed to weeding out discriminatory programs and racist ideology across the federal government.” This is apparently a very bad thing. “Longtime aides and allies preparing for a potential second Trump administration have been laying legal groundwork with a flurry of lawsuits and legal complaints — some of which have been successful. A central vehicle for the effort has been America First Legal, founded by former Trump aide Stephen Miller, who has called the group conservatives’ “long-awaited answer to the ACLU.”

“America First cited the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in February in a lawsuit against CBS and Paramount Global for what the group argued was discrimination against a white, straight man who was a writer for the show “Seal Team” in 2017.” -Axios. Axios then picks what we can assume they consider to be the most racist example – the February filing of a civil rights complaint against the NFL over the “Rooney Rule,” which America First says violates “Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and engaging in race and sex discrimination,” as the purpose of the 2003 rule was “increas[ing] the number of minorities hired in head coach, general manager, and executive positions,” to address “the historically low number of minorities in head coaching positions.”

The Rooney Rule has been amended several times since its adoption and now requires teams to interview at least two external minority candidates for head coach and general manager vacancies, at least one external minority for a coordinator job, and at least one minority and/or female candidate for senior level positions, such as club president and senior executives. Effectively, in the twenty years that the Rooney Rule has been in existence, all it has done – according to minority interviewees for head coaching positions and the former head of the NFL Players Association DeMaurice Smith – is result in member clubs engaging in sham interviews with minority candidates solely to check the Rooney Rule box. Given the limited timeframe to hire executives and coaches after the season, this results in fewer opportunities for similarly situated, well-qualified candidates who are not minorities.” -America First Legal.

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For saying a woman is a woman..

JK Rowling Could Be Imprisoned For “Misgendering” Trans People (MN)

Author JK Rowling could be prosecuted for “misgendering” trans people under Scotland’s odious new hate crime law that comes into force today, an SNP minister has admitted. Senior police officers are expecting a deluge of complaints over online posts after the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act 2021 created a new crime of “stirring up hatred” relating to age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender identity or being intersex. A person could now be imprisoned for up to seven years if they engage in “insulting” behaviour towards ‘protected’ groups, and the prosecution only needs to prove that the hatred was “likely” rather than “intended”. Siobhian Brown, the SNP’s community safety minister, initially stated that calling a “trans woman” (a man) “he” would not be a crime. However, after the law came into force, Brown stated, “It could be reported and it could be investigated. Whether or not the police would think it was criminal is up to Police Scotland for that.”

Rowling has vowed to continue calling biological males men and says she will now be targeted for telling the truth. During their training program on enforcing the new law, police officers were taught that even the content of plays and comedy gigs should be considered as potential hate crimes. Many have asserted that merely retweeting a Ricky Gervais joke about transgender people could amount to a hate crime in Scotland. As we previously highlighted, authorities admit that dealing with the expected flood of hate crime reports would prevent them from investigating real crimes. A Police Scotland pilot in Aberdeen which was deemed a “success” and is expected to be implemented means “more than 24,000 offences a year will no longer be allocated to a front-line officer.” Been a victim of burglary? Tough, the police are too busy clamping down on tweets that offend transgender activists.

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“Despite the suspension, 71-year-old Khan will remain in jail on multiple other sentences..”

Imran Khan’s Jail Sentence Suspended (RT)

A Pakistani court on Monday granted the country’s former prime minister Imran Khan leave to appeal his conviction for graft and suspended his 14-year jail sentence, according to Reuters, citing his lawyer. Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi were each handed a 14-year sentence on January 31 – just a week ahead of Pakistan’s February 8 elections, which Khan’s party alleges were rigged. Khan has been in prison since August last year on several charges. According to his lawyer, Barrister Ali Zafar, the Islamabad High Court said the couple’s sentences for corruption will remain suspended until a final decision on the convictions. “No evidence backs up this conviction,” he told reporters, claiming that was the reason why the court suspended the sentence on first hearing of the appeal.

Khan and his wife were charged with unlawfully selling state gifts, worth more than 140 million rupees ($500,000), while Khan was prime minister from 2018 to 2022. A list of these gifts reportedly included perfumes, diamond jewelry, dinner sets, and seven watches, mostly Rolexes. Despite the suspension, 71-year-old Khan will remain in jail on multiple other sentences imposed on the politician ahead of the polls, and which also disqualified him from holding any public office for ten years. In another such prosecution, the former PM was given ten years in prison for leaking state secrets. Khan claimed that the cable he released contained evidence of collusion between the Pakistani military and US officials to have him removed from power in April 2022. A former cricketer-turned-politician, Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote in 2022, with the opposition accusing him of mismanaging the economy and foreign policy.

Since then, the former leader has fought dozens of legal battles. Khan repeatedly denied the allegations and claimed that he was overthrown as a result of a conspiracy. His Tehreek-e-Insaf party (PTI) also maintained that the cases were based on made-up charges to keep him out of politics. The PTI was barred from the election, forcing its candidates to run as independents. On March 3, Pakistan’s newly formed government elected Shehbaz Sharif, who heads the country’s Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, as prime minister, following a general election. The vote took place amid protests by Khan’s supporters, who insist the election was a sham. This is the second term for Sharif, who was first elected prime minister in April 2022, after Khan was ousted in the no-confidence vote.

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“So if the DA’s office is telling me that they are not ready to go, what we’re going to do is we’re going to release all these individuals on their own recognizance..”

Judge Orders Release Of ‘Border Riot’ Migrants Who Overwhelmed National Guard (ZH)

A group of migrants involved in a riot at the southern US border have been ordered to be released by an El Paso magistrate judge. The swarm of migrants overwhelmed Texas National Guard soldiers who were trying to organize them into groups to be taken into custody by Customs and Border Protection (CBP). At one point, a migrant attempted to grab a soldier’s firearm, one National Guard source told the NY Post. Following the riot, authorities confiscated knives and shanks from some of the migrants. “These people were willing to assault military,” said the Post’s source. “They were willing to assault law enforcement. They have complete disregard for our laws.” In an Easter Sunday decision, presiding Magistrate Judge Humberto Acosta ordered the rioters released after accusing the El Paso DA’s Office of being unprepared to proceed with detention hearings for each defendant, so they should be released, the El Paso Times reports.

“It is the ruling of the court is that all the rioting participation cases will be released on their own recognizance,” Acosta ordered, noting that they will only remain jailed if there’s a federal immigration hold blocking their release. The arrests were made by the Texas Department of Public Safety in connection with a March 21 stampede of asylum-seeking migrants — mostly men from Venezuela — who torn down razor wire along the Rio Grande and rushed the border fence at Border Safety Initiative Marker No. 36 in the Riverside area of El Paso’s Lower Valley. Some migrants face charges of assault of a public servant for knocking down National Guard troops before order was regained. The migrants had sought to surrender themselves to U.S. Border Patrol in bids for asylum.

It was unclear if Acosta’s decision applied only to the “riot participation” charge, or the assault and criminal mischief charges related to the border incident. It is unknown how many migrants were booked on the charge of “riot participation,” a Class B misdemeanor – though Acosta referred to “hundreds of arrestees,” who he says are entitled to individual detention hearings within 48 hours. The DA’s office requested a continuance to have the hearings at a later date, however Acosta rejected the request. “So if the DA’s office is telling me that they are not ready to go, what we’re going to do is we’re going to release all these individuals on their own recognizance,” Acosta said at the hearing.

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Pouch

 

 

Pet cat
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774594071472038207

 

 

Family
https://twitter.com/i/status/1774811222216507506

 

 

7 baby ducks

 

 

Parakat

 

 

Buffalo

 

 

 

 

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Mar 272024
 
 March 27, 2024  Posted by at 10:32 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  60 Responses »


John La Farge Girls Carrying a Canoe, Vaiala in Samoa 1891

 

US, UK and Ukraine Could Be Behind Moscow Terror Attack – FSB Chief (RT)
US Backs Itself Into Corner By Blaming IS For Crocus Hall – Zakharova (TASS)
The Evidence On The Crocus Gang Attack In Moscow (Helmer)
Crocus City Hall Terror Attack Cast Slur Upon West (Sp.)
EU Leaders Have Decided To Militarize, So What Now? (Drize)
‘Day May Come’ For EU Troops In Ukraine – Kiev (RT)
Trump: Israel Has To Finish the War, It’s Losing a Lot of Support (Antiwar)
‘Serious Concerns’ Raised About NY Judge’s Trump Judgment (ET)
Pelosi, Accused of Insider Trading, Makes Major Stock Move (Sp.)
The DNC Moves To Block Third Party Candidates (Turley)
RFK Jr Picks Nicole Shanahan As VP, May Seek Libertarian Nomination (ZH)
‘Literally Anybody Else’ Announces US Presidential Campaign (RT)
‘Triumph’ for Assange But Battle Far From Over (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1772696421675774006

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1772661091128004874

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

Simonyan

 

 

Shellenberger

 

 

 

 

“When asked whether the US, Britain and Ukraine could be behind the terrorist attack, the FSB chief responded: “We think that this is so..”

US, UK and Ukraine Could Be Behind Moscow Terror Attack – FSB Chief (RT)

The US, UK and Ukraine may have been behind last Friday’s terrorist attack on a concert venue in a suburb of Moscow, which claimed lives of 139 people and left around 200 injured, according to the head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB). Aleksandr Bortnikov told reporters on Tuesday that the authorities are currently trying to establish the identity of everyone involved in the attack, both inside and outside Russia. When asked whether the US, Britain and Ukraine could be behind the terrorist attack, the FSB chief responded: “We think that this is so. In any case, we are now talking about the information that we have. This is general information, but they [investigators] also have concrete results.” Bortnikov’s statement to the media follows a meeting of the expanded board of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia. The FSB director told reporters that the intelligence service will do everything necessary to identify the direct organizers and sponsors of the terrorist attack.

On the evening of March 22, a group of men armed with assault rifles attacked the Crocus City Hall music venue in the Moscow suburb of Krasnogorsk, just before a concert by the rock band Picnic was due to start. The 7,500-capacity venue was almost full at the time of the attack. The terrorists killed guards, shot concert-goers on sight, then started a fire that quickly spread throughout the building. At least 139 people, including three children, were killed in the attack, the chair of the Russian Investigative Committee, Aleksandr Bastrykin, reported on Monday. Around 200 people were injured, according to the latest data. After the attack, Russian security services detained 11 people connected to the incident, including those believed to be the gunmen who carried out the attack. Moscow’s Basmanny Court has since arrested seven other suspects who are accused of helping organize the terrorist attack.

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“It took them only a few hours to get to a microphone, turn on the lights, summon the press and draw a conclusion about who is to blame..”

US Backs Itself Into Corner By Blaming IS For Crocus Hall – Zakharova (TASS)

The US has backed itself into a corner by jumping the gun to lay blame on the Islamic State terrorist group (IS, outlawed in Russia) for the terrorist attack on Crocus City Hall even as the incident was still in progress, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. “The very fact that within the first 24 hours [after the attack], even before the fire was put out, the Americans started screaming that it wasn’t Ukraine, I think, is a piece of incriminating evidence. I can’t classify it otherwise; it is evidence in and of itself,” the diplomat said on air during a Sputnik radio broadcast. “The second fact to note concerns the clamor by the US that this assuredly was the work of ISIS (former name of IS – TASS),” the spokeswoman pointed out.

“Of course, the speed with which they were able to [come to such forthright conclusions] is astonishing. It took them only a few hours to get to a microphone, turn on the lights, summon the press and draw a conclusion about who is to blame for this horribly bloody terrorist attack,” Zakharova said. “I think they’ve boxed themselves into a corner, because as soon as they started screaming that it was ISIS, all those people who work in international relations, who are political scientists and experts, recalled and reminded everyone else what ISIS really is,” the diplomat said. “You are behind all those ISIS-type structures, you – the United States, Great Britain – yourselves brought them into being,” she concluded.

Biden ISIS-K 2021

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“..the men drove due south and on the highway near Khatsun, they were about 100 kms from the Ukraine border..”

The Evidence On The Crocus Gang Attack In Moscow (Helmer)

For the time being, the only evidence connecting the four shooters to the Ukraine is the direction they were taking when their vehicle was stopped by the security forces. In a shootout the car overturned, and three of the gunmen fled into the forest beside the road, leaving one man injured in the car. The head of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Alexander Khinshtein, is the source for press reporting on the site of the interception. That was on Highway E101 about seven kilometres south of the P-120 intersection east of Bryansk city. From Bastrykin’s report, and from an award ceremony in Bryansk on Monday for the forces who made the capture – Federal Security Service (FSB), Interior Ministry, National Guard, and border forces of the Defense Ministry — the getaway was being tracked for some time before it reached the P-120 intersection.

At that point, if the four men planned to head for Belarus, they would have turned right, followed the south circular road around Bryansk, and then turned left on to the A-240 towards the Belarus border, about 100 kms to the southwest. Instead, the men drove due south and on the highway near Khatsun, they were about 100 kms from the Ukraine border. There have been reports they were expecting to make a rendezvous with accomplices they believed would guide them to safety over the Ukraine border, and to payday. Or, as Moscow sources speculate, to their execution by the Ukrainians. Speculation, however, including analysis of the cui bono, who gains type, the sequence of statements from Washington, and the history of association between the US, British and Ukrainian secret services and Tajik mercenaries, creates a balance of probabilities, but not an explanation beyond reasonable doubt.

“Of course, we must also answer the question of why the terrorists, after committing their crime, attempted to flee specifically to Ukraine,” the president said at his meeting with security officials on Monday. “Who was waiting for them there? It is clear that those supporting the Kiev regime do not wish to be implicated in acts of terrorism and be seen as sponsors of terrorism. But there are indeed numerous questions.” Public comments to reporters on Tuesday by the FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov and Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev have answered with emphasis on the Ukrainians, backed by the US and UK. Boris Rozhin (Colonel Cassad) has followed their remarks with a detailed statement of the history of the intelligence service operations before the Crocus attack, and a circumstantial detail of Ukrainian border drone operations in the area and on the night the getaway car was headed through Bryansk region.

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“Joe Biden, the Biden family, the Clinton family, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and George Soros (directly or indirectly) apparently have deep, unexplained ties to oligarchs and individuals inside Ukraine..”

Crocus City Hall Terror Attack Cast Slur Upon West (Sp.)

The Crocus City Hall, a music venue located in the Moscow region, was still burning when White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby asserted to the press that “there is no indication” that Ukraine was involved in the shooting. The US State Department doubled down on Ukraine’s supposed non-involvement on March 23, despite Russia’s investigation being far from over. A social media account allegedly belonging to ISIS* released a statement of responsibility hours after the attack. As if that were not enough, an additional statement by the group popped up later, accompanied by what appeared to be bodycam footage of the attack. The repeated statements have only triggered skepticism among netizens and international observers, especially given that the Russian Security Service (FSB) announced that four suspects with contacts in Ukraine had been arrested while en route to the Eastern European state on Saturday. New evidence suggested the case is far more complicated than Team Biden imagined.

“The Biden Administration has scant credibility left whether in official statements or in off-the-record communications, particularly when it comes to matters outside America’s nominal ‘borders’,” Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel told Sputnik. “The real question is what shadowy actors acquired the resources and training to perpetrate these vile acts and who are the ultimate paymasters, masterminds and ‘beneficiaries’.” According to Washington, the perpetrators belonged to ISIS-Khorasan, the terror group’s affiliate that is active in Afghanistan and the surrounding region. However, there are at least two reasons why international commentators reacted to Team Biden’s assertions with disbelief, according to Ortel.

“Joe Biden, the Biden family, the Clinton family, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and George Soros (directly or indirectly) apparently have deep, unexplained ties to oligarchs and individuals inside Ukraine who have funneled money into and outside Ukraine, for which there has never been an honest and rigorous accounting,” the analyst said, referring to Washington policymakers’ motif to divert any possible suspicions from Ukraine. Team Biden’s finger-pointing at Islamists does not make matters any easier for the West, the analyst continued. The attack spells reputational damage to the West given its intelligence operatives’ decades-long hand-in-glove cooperation with jihadist elements, involving using them as proxies.

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They have no army. Can’t build one overnight either.

EU Leaders Have Decided To Militarize, So What Now? (Drize)

The EU does not intend to die for the Donbass. This was stated by its foreign policy commissioner Josep Borrell last week. The leaders of the countries of the Western European bloc will discuss increasing defense spending and decide on the fate of frozen Russian assets at their next summit. Borrell urged his colleagues not to inflame the situation and frighten ordinary people for nothing. The senior official was referring to recent comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron, who has spoken of possibly sending troops into Ukraine. From the Kremlin’s standpoint, the behavior of Western leaders so far seems indecisive, but serious changes could be afoot. The next EU summit could be described as historic. The main issue is not even the fate of Russia’s frozen assets, but the fact that, perhaps for the first time, the bloc is discussing the transition to a military economy.

As European Council President Charles Michel put it, the time has come to change the paradigm of defense and security relations. The essence of this is that Western Europe was totally unprepared for war. Nobody expected it, and nobody even thought it was possible. What were their priorities? Climate – they wrote guidelines for farmers on how much carbon monoxide their cows should emit so that they don’t spoil the environment. What else? Gender neutrality, multiculturalism, gender equality – against such a happy, rosy background, they forgot about the military threat. Now they have to catch up. They will have to trade in not only their economic but also their political yardsticks so that the electorate really and seriously believes in a Russian threat. That, too, will require considerable investment.

There are no details yet, but the extreme poles have been outlined. The tone has been set by Macron. The French president has not ruled out sending troops to Ukraine. Some of his allies have expressed alarm at this and are denying the possibility in every possible way. However, the reality is that nothing can be ruled out, including this scenario, especially if the Ukrainian front line falls. To avoid all this, they need to find the means to help Kiev more actively. Incidentally, Donald Trump spoke about this when he was in office – they did not listen. But he was right. Now, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has said that the policy of increasing military spending is political suicide for her, but there is no other choice.

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Imagine the protests.

‘Day May Come’ For EU Troops In Ukraine – Kiev (RT)

The conflict between Moscow and Kiev could reach a stage where EU countries have to deploy combat troops to Ukraine in order to counter Russian advances, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba has warned. In an interview with Politico on Monday, Kuleba complained about the decline in Western military aid for Kiev in recent months. “Give us the damn Patriots,” he said, referring to the US-made air-defense missile systems, which, he insisted, Kiev needs to target Russian jets that launch aerial guided bombs. Moscow’s increased reliance on these upgraded munitions is why “Ukrainian troops are losing positions,” the foreign minister claimed. Kuleba once again expressed regret over the resistance of Republican lawmakers to attempts by the administration of US President Joe Biden to push through another $60 billion in assistance for Ukraine.

He also dismissed a question about Germany’s reluctance to supply long-range Taurus missiles, saying he is “tired of answering this. Sorry.” However, French President Emmanuel Macron, who said last month that he “cannot exclude” the possibility of soldiers from NATO countries being sent to Ukraine, avoided Kuleba’s criticism. “We were pleased to see President Macron evolve in that direction,” the foreign minister said. The French leader’s remarks led to a wave of denials from the leaders of other NATO member states, who insisted there are no such plans to send Western troops to Ukraine. Kiev never asked for “European combat troops’ boots on the ground,” but EU leaders need to get used to the idea that “the day may come,” Kuleba stressed.

“I’m perfectly aware that Europeans are not used to the idea of war. But this is a carelessness Europeans simply cannot afford – neither for themselves nor their children,” because “if Ukraine loses, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will not stop,” he said. Putin said earlier that claims by Kiev and its foreign backers that Russia will target NATO states are “nonsense.” However, in another interview, the president stressed that Moscow will treat Western troops as “interventionists” if they are deployed to Ukraine, and would respond accordingly. The deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma, Pyotr Tolstoy, warned Macron last week against directly engaging Russia on the battlefield. “We will kill all French soldiers who set foot on Ukrainian soil. Every single one that comes,” Tolstoy said in an interview with French broadcaster BFMTV.

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“It’s a very bad picture for the world. The world is seeing this…every night, I would watch buildings pour down on people..”

Trump: Israel Has To Finish the War, It’s Losing a Lot of Support (Antiwar)

Former President Trump said in an interview with Israel Hayom over the weekend that Israel made a “big mistake” by broadcasting images and videos of the destruction in the Gaza Strip, saying it’s losing Israel “a lot of support.” Trump said he would have done the same thing as Israel in response to the October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel but said it was time to “finish your war” as global opinion is turning on Israel. “You gotta get it done. And, I am sure you will do that. And we gotta get to peace, we can’t have this going on. And I will say, Israel has to be very careful, because you’re losing a lot of the world, you’re losing a lot of support, you have to finish up, you have to get the job done,” Trump said. When asked by the interviewer about how he would respond to the “wave of anti-Semitism” since October 7, Trump replied, “Well, that’s because you fought back. And I think Israel made a very big mistake. I wanted to call [Israel] and say don’t do it.

These photos and shots. I mean, moving shots of bombs being dropped into buildings in Gaza. And I said, oh, that’s a terrible portrait. It’s a very bad picture for the world. The world is seeing this…every night, I would watch buildings pour down on people,” Trump said. The interviewer then claimed that “terrorists” were hiding in the buildings. Trump replied, “Go and do what you have to do. But you don’t do that. And I think that’s one of the reasons that there has been a lot of kickback. If people didn’t see that, every single night I’ve watched every single one of those. And I think Israel wanted to show that it’s tough, but sometimes you shouldn’t be doing that.” Trump also took shots at Democrats for the growing criticism of Israel from within the party.

“Some 15 years ago, Israel had the strongest lobby. If you were a politician, you couldn’t say anything bad about Israel, that would be like the end of your political career. Today, it’s almost the opposite. I’ve never seen you have AOC plus three, these lunatics, frankly. But you have AOC plus three plus plenty of others. And all they do is talk badly about Israel, and they hate Israel, and they hate the Jewish people,” he said. Trump said the Hamas attack on Israel wouldn’t have happened if he was still president, something he has repeatedly claimed in recent interviews. “It was an attack that I blame on Biden because they [Hamas] have no respect for him. He can’t put two sentences together. He can’t talk. He’s a very dumb person,” he said.

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Only SCOTUS can stop this.

‘Serious Concerns’ Raised About NY Judge’s Trump Judgment (ET)

After a New York court reduced former President Donald Trump’s bond to appeal his civil fraud case, several legal analysts weighed in on the decision. On Monday, a state appeals court agreed to hold off collection of the former president’s more than $454 million civil fraud judgment if he puts up $175 million within 10 days. If he does, it will stop the clock on collection and prevent the state from seizing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee’s assets while he appeals. Greg Germain, a law professor at Syracuse University in New York, said that President Trump may have a strong case to challenge Judge Arthur Engoron’s ruling in February that he must pay $455 million in his civil fraud case. “I think the $175 million reduction … shows that the appellate division has serious concerns about the validity of Judge Engoron’s decision,” Mr. Germain told Newsweek.

While he believes the judgment was “seriously flawed,” the professor said that President Trump will have a difficult time overturning the judge’s “findings that his financial statement was grossly overstated.” “The standard for the appeals court to review factual findings is ‘clearly erroneous,’ which means that there was no evidence in the record to support the judge’s findings. Engoron was very careful to cite to the record for his factual findings, which were very solid,” Mr. Germain said. But the judge, he added, “made no attempt to determine what portion of the profit was solely due to the financial statement as opposed to other factors” before handing down his ruling. The former president “has some strong legal arguments to make on appeal,” Mr. Germain added. “Unfortunately for him, I think he’s so focused on denying that he did anything wrong that the strong legal arguments may be lost in his unwinnable arguments on the facts.”

The former president has said he did nothing wrong, adding that he actually undervalued his net worth when communicating with banks and insurers at the center of the civil fraud lawsuit. He said that the case is politically motivated, and that both the New York attorney general and Judge Engoron are biased against him. Meanwhile, a constitutional scholar said that the bond for an appeal should be been reduced to basically nothing. “The Court of Appeals may have felt that they can’t prejudge the evidence, and so to reduce the bond further would have been heavy-handed,” George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley told Fox News on Monday. “I actually think they could have reduced this bond to virtually nothing, because the amount set by [Judge Arthur] Engoron was absurd.” In a post on social media, Mr. Turley wrote that the New York appellate court may “restore a degree of objectivity and restraint missing on the trial level,” referring to the Engoron decision. “Both Engoron and [New York Attorney General Letitia] James would have gained greater credibility if they recognized the obvious unreasonableness of the original demand,” he continued.

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“Her net worth is thought to be over $100 million, although her current salary as a US congresswoman is just over $220,000..”

Pelosi, Accused of Insider Trading, Makes Major Stock Move (Sp.)

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) raised eyebrows recently with the revelation the former US House Speaker placed a big bet on a little-known San Francisco tech startup. A disclosure made last week showed the powerful Democratic Party politician purchased $5 million in stock of the privately-held company Databricks, a cloud data company. The stake is one of dozens Pelosi holds in US tech companies, some obscure and some well-known such as Tesla and Microsoft. The lawmaker has reportedly invested more than $120 million in stock purchases since entering federal government in 1987. Her net worth is thought to be over $100 million, although her current salary as a US congresswoman is just over $220,000. Pelosi has never been convicted of criminal wrongdoing in her investment activity, although her portfolio’s impressive return of 65% last year might suggest the legislator is more informed than average traders. US stock indices grew an average of 26% in 2023.

“From an ethical perspective, I believe it is extremely harmful for politicians to trade individual stocks,” said Chris Josephs, the founder of a stock trading service, to US media. “There are numerous jobs out there that don’t allow employees [to conduct] trading, yet our most powerful Americans can.” Pelosi opposed attempts to ban lawmakers from buying and selling stocks in 2021 under the claim such activity could be viewed as insider trading. “We are a free-market economy,” she said at the time. “They [Congress members] should be able to participate in that.” Former director of the US Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub slammed the argument as “ridiculous.” “She might as well have said ‘let them eat cake,’” said Shaub, referring to famous comments by the French queen Marie Antoinette. “Sure, it’s a free-market economy. But your average schmuck doesn’t get confidential briefings from government experts chock full of nonpublic information directly related to the price of stocks.”

Late last week it was announced that an activist involved in pro-Palestine protests at the California lawmaker’s home had been arrested on felony vandalism charges. Cynthia Papermaster, 77, is reportedly being held on a $50,000 bond. “We want to see a permanent and immediate ceasefire,” said Papermaster in an interview recently. “We can’t control what the Israelis do, but we can control what our own government does, or at least that’s the aspiration.” Pelosi called for the anti-war activists to be investigated by the FBI in an appearance on US television after the incident earlier this year. Pelosi first claimed the demonstrators were being paid by China, then later clarified she believed Russia was behind the act of civil disobedience. The former House speaker joins the ranks of opponents of US civil rights with her comments; detractors frequently claimed racial justice protests in the 1960s and 70s were fomented by Russia to sow discord in the United States.

Tucker Tulsi
https://twitter.com/i/status/1772516274418880932

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“That can only work reliably if there is no other choice for citizens tired of the duopoly and the political (and media) establishment..”

The DNC Moves To Block Third Party Candidates (Turley)

The last time that the Chicago Democratic Convention was held in Chicago in 1968, the resulting riots led to one of the greatest Freudian slips in American politics. Mayor Richard Daley declared “the policeman isn’t there to create disorder; the policeman is there to preserve disorder.” The Democratic National Committee has now added its own gem: the Democratic Party is not here to preserve democracy, it is here to prevent democracy. That’s because the DNC is seeking to block third party candidates from ballots — Robert Kennedy Jr., Cornell West, and Jill Stein. All three are liberal and are considered a threat to Joe Biden. This effort will likely include any ticket put forward by the No Labels group, seeking a moderate alternative to the two parties. Mary Beth Cahill, the former interim DNC CEO, and long-time DNC staffer Ramsey Reid will lead this effort. According to media reports, former Buttigieg campaign aide Lis Smith will lead the effort with another Buttigieg alumni, Matt Corridoni.

This effort includes not just a public campaign against Kennedy and Stein as spoilers, but “legal action” to solve the problem by denying voters a choice. The media does not appear at all alarmed or critical of the effort to limit democratic choice. The Washington Post stated clinically “Democrats are taking third-party threats seriously this time.” Taking it seriously appears to mean using legal means to keep them from the ballots. It is true that the main political parties have challenged qualification signatures and paperwork in the past. However, the reports indicate a systemic effort geared toward reducing the choices for voters. What is striking is that this is coming from democratic groups and the DNC, which are raising money on the “save democracy” narrative. The contradiction is spellbinding. On the same sites promising to oppose the third party candidates, the DNC and other groups push the narrative that only the Democrats are working to protect the right to vote.

The Post reports that Democrats have studied the Hillary Clinton campaign and vowed not to allow third party candidates to drain away millions of voters as they did in 2016. Of course, the comparison is particularly telling because in both 2016 and 2024, the DNC chose the least popular Democratic candidates. Polls showed that Clinton was the worst possible candidate for the party, but the Clintons had control over the DNC and state party organizations. Of particular concern is the fact that Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan by only 67,000 votes. In just those states, Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Stein received more than half a million votes. Rather than actually pick a candidate that most citizens want, the DNC wants to replay the 2016 strategy of forcing the choice between two evils in a Biden-Trump choice. That can only work reliably if there is no other choice for citizens tired of the duopoly and the political (and media) establishment. So Kennedy, Cornell, and Stein just have to go.

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Imploding?

RFK Jr Picks Nicole Shanahan As VP, May Seek Libertarian Nomination (ZH)

The Wall Street Journal reports that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has picked Nicole Shanahan, a California-based attorney who was previously married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin, as his running mate for his long-shot presidential bid, according to people familiar with the decision. Shanahan, 38, also runs a foundation focused on reproductive rights, criminal justice and the environment. Before backing Kennedy’s independent bid, Shanahan had previously been a donor to Democratic campaigns, including supporting Joe Biden’s election in 2020. Kennedy was slated to announce his choice Tuesday in Oakland, Calif., where Shanahan grew up. Shanahan, a political novice, was thrust into the spotlight over her public split with Brin amid a brief alleged affair she had with Elon Musk in 2021 that ruptured the billionaires’ long friendship, The Wall Street Journal reported. After the article published, Musk denied the allegations and Shanahan later followed suit.

It isn’t clear yet whether Shanahan plans to assist by tapping into her own wealth. Ahead of the announcement, Kennedy’s campaign manager confirmed on X that Shanahan was under consideration, along with several others including New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Mike Rowe, host of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs. Meanwhile, lured by the promise of turnkey ballot access across the country, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr is seriously considering a run to win the Libertarian Party presidential nomination. However, his stance on the Israel-Gaza war and other issues could make his candidacy a tough sell with non-interventionist libertarians. Navigating the varied and complex patchwork of state ballot-access qualifying rules is one of the most grueling and expensive impediments to anyone seeking to challenge America’s two-party duopoly — to say nothing of the legal challenges filed by the Republican and Democratic parties along the way. So far, reports Politico, Kennedy’s backers say they’ve cleared the key hurdles in just eight states.

Meanwhile, it’s already pretty much a given that the Libertarian Party will be on the ballot in all 50. The top ticket will be selected by delegates at the party’s national convention in Washington DC over Memorial Day weekend. Selected by state conventions, those delegates are free to vote for whomever they like at the national convention. Kennedy’s flirtation with Libertarian Party members has been simmering since last year, and has included appearances on libertarian podcasts and an interview with Reason magazine. His most direct outreach came with a February appearance at the party’s California state convention, which has been credited for helping set a new California Libertarian convention attendance record. “I’ve always been aligned with libertarians on most issues,” Kennedy told Reason last summer. “I mean, there’s tweaks that I have.”

Some of those tweaks are doozies. For example, Kennedy said if Congress passed a so-called assault weapon ban, “I would sign it.” (On the other hand, he also said, “Anybody who tells you that they’re going to be able to reduce gun violence through gun control at this point, I don’t think is being realistic.”) He’s also called for a $15 national minimum wage, more free childcare, and abolishing interest on all federal student loans. However, it’s Kennedy’s statements on Israel-Palestine that seem to have caused the most damage to his prospects with staunchly non-interventionist libertarians — which is to say, most libertarians — who oppose entangling alliances, foreign aid, and US-enabled warfare. Kennedy has called for the United States to arm the “moral nation” of Israel, has expressed skepticism about a ceasefire in Gaza, and said “the Palestinian people are arguably the most pampered people by international aid organizations in the world.” Some libertarians are also put off by Kennedy’s embrace of controversial Israel advocate Shmuley Boteach.

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And why not… ‘Mickey Mouse’, ‘Jesus Christ’, and ‘Batman’..

‘Literally Anybody Else’ Announces US Presidential Campaign (RT)

Texas voters could get the chance to cast their ballots for a man named ‘Literally Anybody Else’ this November, if his long-shot scheme to protest the US’ two-party system is successful. Math teacher and military veteran Dustin Ebey formally changed his name to ‘Literally Anybody Else’ earlier this month, and is now scrambling to gather the 113,151 signatures required to appear on Texas ballots as an independent candidate, WFAA News reported on Friday. “I’m not delusional,” Else told the outlet. “This will be very hard to do, but it’s not impossible. My hope is to have Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and then Literally Anybody Else right underneath,” he continued, explaining that “I really want there to be an outlet for folks like me who are just so fed up with this constant power grab between two parties that has no benefit for the common person.”

“This isn’t about me… more so as it is an idea,” Else told WFAA. “We can do better out of 300 million people for president.” Else is far from the only American dismayed at a Trump/Biden rematch. A NewsNation poll conducted in January found that 59% of registered voters were ‘not too enthusiastic’ or ‘not at all enthusiastic’ about seeing the pair compete for the presidency again. However, despite majorities in both parties calling for fresh faces, Trump easily defeated all of his Republican rivals during the last three months’ primaries, while Biden faced no competition from any high-profile Democrats. Else faces an uphill struggle to even enter the race. First, he has until May 13 to collect 113,151 signatures from registered voters who did not vote in either the Republican or Democratic primaries in Texas.

Having achieved this, he must replicate the feat in every other US state and territory, all of which have similar rules for independent candidates. Failing this, he could register as a write-in candidate. However, he would then have to build up a national profile and convince voters to actually write in ‘Literally Anybody Else’ on election day. No write-in candidate has ever come close to being elected president of the US, although two US senators have won office this way since the 1950s. Voters often write in undeclared candidates as a means of prank or protest, with ‘Mickey Mouse’, ‘Jesus Christ’, and ‘Batman’ all picking up a handful of votes in 2020.

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“..this again gives him an opportunity to prevent spending the rest of his life in a US prison. So that is always welcome..”

‘Triumph’ for Assange But Battle Far From Over (Sp.)

Julian Assange will not be extradited immediately to the US, a London High Court has ruled. Likewise, Washington has been given three weeks to provide “satisfactory assurances” that the WikiLeaks founder will face a fair trial, could rely on the First Amendment, and will not be subject to the death penalty. The Tuesday ruling by the London court grants the WikiLeaks founder an opportunity to continue his fight against extradition to the US where he faces a whopping 18 charges, all bar one under the Espionage Act, Sputnik interlocutors have explained. “The court decision is a great triumph for freedom of speech and journalism conduct,” Andy Vermaut, a Belgian human rights activist and the president of the World Council for Public Diplomacy and Community Dialogue, told Sputnik. “This ruling illuminates the enduring struggle for freedom of the press and the rights of individuals to uncover truths that are in the public’s best interest.”

While the court’s ruling spells a victory for the Assange legal team, the WikiLeaks founder is being granted permission to appeal on only three of the nine grounds, remarked Taylor Hudak, an independent investigative journalist. She noted that people “do feel that this was somewhat of an injustice.” “The court has given the United States government three weeks to issue satisfactory assurances on those three grounds of appeal,” Hudak told Sputnik. “[Assange] is permitted to appeal on the First Amendment issue, that is whether or not he will be given First Amendment protections in the United States, that he is not prejudiced at trial due to his nationality, and that the death penalty not be imposed.”

“Another point to make is that he will not be immediately extradited, obviously, and this again gives him an opportunity to prevent spending the rest of his life in a US prison. So that is always welcome,” the independent journalist continued. The battle is far from over, pointed out Dr. David William Norris, a political commentator and former teaching fellow at a college in Birmingham. “The United States authorities will not relinquish their efforts to get hold of Assange and see him imprisoned for the 175 years they have promised him. It would be, as we all recognize, a death sentence,” Norris warned while speaking to Sputnik.

Stella

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Cheese rennet

 

 

China one side
https://twitter.com/i/status/1772607719716868526

 

 

Facetime
https://twitter.com/i/status/1772633886092054827

 

 

Blend in
https://twitter.com/i/status/1772538115564904585

 

 

Owl
https://twitter.com/i/status/1772613727306543352

 

 

Golf bird
https://twitter.com/i/status/1772631686552879521

 

 

Elephant


https://twitter.com/i/status/1772644817488531916

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 212024
 
 March 21, 2024  Posted by at 9:15 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  44 Responses »


Govert Flinck Landscape With An Obelisk 1638
Stolen from Gardner Museum March 18 1990, the single largest art theft in the world. Never recovered.

 

The Silver Bullet Against the Barbarian Invasions of the West (Metri)
Why Western Media ‘Coverage’ Of Russia Is Incredibly Dangerous (Diesen)
Ukraine Lost Over 71,000 Troops Since Start of 2024 – Shoigu (Sp.)
Putin Won’t Be Allowed To ‘Dictate Peace Terms’ In Ukraine – Germany (RT)
German Children ‘Must Be Prepared For War’ – Minister (RT)
Slovakia’s PM Fico in EU’s Crosshairs as New ‘Headache’ (Sp.)
Split Over Ukraine Aid Prompts ‘Unprecedented’ Czech-Slovak Rupture (Sp.)
Donetsk, Avdeyevka, Mariupol – on the Road in Electoral Donbass (Pepe Escobar)
Boeing Mulls Sale Of Defense Assets – Bloomberg (RT)
House May Refer January 6 Committee Members for Obstruction (ET)
Can you Slam Wall Street and Still Win an Election? Ask Sherrod Brown (Leopold)
Mexico to Deny Entry to Migrants Deported From Texas Under New SB4 Law (Sp.)
RFK Jr. Destroys His Candidacy With VP Pick? (Roger Simon)
DOJ Mulling Plea Deal For Assange: He Could Finally Walk Free (ZH)

 

 

 

 

Makers and takers

 

 

US Corp
https://twitter.com/i/status/1770234212379193618

 

 

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1770459916366442864

 

 

Big guy

 

 

Rapporteur

 

 

 

 

“This new development represented a revolution in the art of war, and an essential part of the West has not yet understood it completely..”

The Silver Bullet Against the Barbarian Invasions of the West (Metri)

On February 13, 2024, the United States Senate approved a U.S. $95 billion aid package for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel. According to IMF Data, this package represents a higher value than the international reserves of 165 countries. In other words, out of 194 countries with reserves recorded in dollars, only 29 have volumes more significant than the value of the U.S. Senate package. This fact gives an idea of the extravagance of this contribution.

This news, passed on almost ordinarily, reveals two important facts. First, one mentions the extraordinary and disproportionate financing and spending capacity of the United States, used, among other objectives, for the increasing armament of its allies on strategic boards, the promotion of proxy conflicts in regions marked by geopolitical fractures, and, from a longer perspective, the execution of an uninterrupted chronology of wars and military interventions since 1991. Furthermore, this financing and spending capacity also support a broad military structure of global reach with approximately 750 military bases outside its national territory [1].

Regarding this disproportionate financing and spending capacity of the United States, below are some brief observations discussed in depth on other occasions [2]. The position of the U.S. dollar in the international monetary hierarchy and how the world economy began to function after the Cold War have allowed The United States to impose the burden of its violence on the world, mainly due to the role that its public debt plays in the global economic game. It is a system of extortion because, while the world accumulates, with no apparent limit, U.S. Treasuries, Washington carries out a broad agenda of wars and military actions. The current level of indebtedness of the United States federal government is only comparable to that of periods marked by significant war efforts since its federal public debt, measured as a percentage of GDP, has already reached, for example, levels similar to those of the Second World War.

These advantages occur because the absorption of securities issued by the United States has become a necessary policy for other states to act in the exchange markets in defense of their currencies and, thus, protect, at the limit, their autonomy over economic policy instruments. Everything is quite the same for private agents, as having U.S. Treasuries in their portfolios is imperative to deal with the high risks of an intrinsically unstable system. This situation is the core of the United States’ monetary power, much more strategic than the power of financial sanctions itself, whose bases are also the dollar’s position in the international system and widely used by Washington against the targets of its foreign policy.

The second fact related to the news about an aid package for Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel concerns the objectives of the United States. The priority is not exactly Kyiv, Taipei, or Tel Aviv per se but the role they play for Washington in the regions where they are. The extraordinary contribution of resources reveals, in practice, the White House’s priority targets, namely Moscow, Beijing, and Tehran. These have long been present in different formulations of the National Security Strategy and Washington’s foreign policy documents.

The central point is that the North Atlantic, particularly the United States, has already been surpassed by Russia in developing strategic weapons, especially hypersonic ones. This new development represented a revolution in the art of war, and an essential part of the West has not yet understood it completely. On the other hand, from an economic point of view, China is already the largest economy in the world, corresponding, in 2023, to 18.82% of world GDP based on purchasing power parity (PPP), while the United States, 15.42%. To make matters worse for the West, for more than two decades, Beijing and Moscow have been developing and deepening strategic partnerships in several sensitive fields of international relations: weapons, technology, energy, currency, finance, etc.

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“..it should not be difficult to understand the popularity of Putin. While the 1990s was a golden period for the West, it was a nightmare for Russians. The economy collapsed and society disintegrated with truly horrific consequences..”

Why Western Media ‘Coverage’ Of Russia Is Incredibly Dangerous (Diesen)

Over tens of thousands of years, we have developed the instinct to organise in groups as a source of security. This is the result of evolutionary biology as survival demands that we organise into “us” versus “them”. In-group loyalty is augmented by assigning contrasting identities of the virtuous “us” versus the evil “other”, which helps stop an individual from straying too far from the pack. Yet, human beings are also equipped with reason and thus the ability to assess objective reality independent of their immediate circle. In international relations, it’s imperative to place yourself in the shoes of the opponent. The rationality required to see the world through the perspective of the “other” is vital for reaching mutual understanding, reducing tensions, and pursuing a workable peace. Every successful peace process and reconciliation in history – from Northern Ireland to negotiations to end apartheid in South Africa – has been based on this.

We expect journalists to be objective in their reporting of reality, which is especially important during war. But this seems to be almost impossible, especially during conflicts. When human beings experience external threats, their herd instincts are triggered as society demands group loyalty and we punish those who deviate. The political obedience demanded during war time usually results in the weakening of freedom of speech, the role of journalism, and democracy. So, how can we understand the reasons for President Vladimir Putin’s immense popularity in Russia and his landslide victory? If we use our reason and resist our tribal instincts, it should not be difficult to understand the popularity of Putin. While the 1990s was a golden period for the West, it was a nightmare for Russians. The economy collapsed and society disintegrated with truly horrific consequences.

The country’s security also collapsed, as NATO expansion meant there was no chance to agree an inclusive European security architecture. This had been outlined in the Charter of Paris for a New Europe in 1990 and the OSCE founding documents. A weakened Russia meant that its interests could be ignored, and NATO was able to invade Moscow’s ally Yugoslavia, in violation of international law. When Putin took over the presidency on 31 December 1999, it was commonplace in the West to predict that Russia would share the fate of the Soviet Union. That is eventual collapse. However, Russia has instead become the largest economy in Europe (by PPP), its society has healed from the disastrous 1990s, its military might has been restored, and new international partners have been found in the East and Global South, as evidenced by the growing role of BRICS.

Furthermore, most Russians believe it’s not a good idea to have major disruptions to leadership in the middle of a NATO-Russia proxy war in Ukraine that is deemed an existential threat. Don’t change horses in midstream as the American proverb, often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, advises. Speaking of the US, the late Mikhail Gorbachev – who was immensely popular there – did not shy away from criticising Putin, when he was still with us. However, he nevertheless argued that Putin “saved Russia from the beginning of a collapse”. Today, any Western journalist repeating this would be immediately branded as a “Putinist” – implying a betrayal of the “us”. Western journalists cannot acknowledge the immense achievements of Russia since 1999 as it could be interpreted as lending legitimacy and signalling support for the “bad” side.

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“..This is almost three times higher than the same period last year..”

Ukraine Lost Over 71,000 Troops Since Start of 2024 – Shoigu (Sp.)

Ukraine has lost more than 71,000 soldiers and over 11,000 units of various weapons since the start of the year, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday. “In general, the losses of the Ukrainian armed forces during this period, that is, since the beginning of this year, exceeded 71,000 people and 11,000 units of various weapons. This is almost three times higher than the same period last year,” Shoigu said at a meeting with senior military. Ukraine has also lost four Abrams tanks, five Leopard tanks, six HIMARS multiple rocket launcher systems and five Patriot complexes, the minister added. The Ukrainian forces have lost 3,501 soldiers killed and injured during the attacks on Russian border settlements in Belgorod and Kursk regions, Shoigu added.

“The most active fighting was conducted in the area of the settlement of Kozinka. All enemy attacks were successfully repelled, it was thrown back outside the Russian territory. At the same time, the losses of the Ukrainian armed forces in the direction of the actions of the groups covering the state border for eight days of hostilities amounted to more than 3,500, or rather 3,501 people, of which 790 were killed,” Shoigu said at the board ministerial meeting. The United States is extremely concerned about the achievements of the Russian armed forces in the special operation zone, the minister said. The United States and its satellites are extremely concerned about the success of the Russian armed forces. It is becoming increasingly difficult for them to justify to the Western community the need for further funding and supplies of weapons and ammunition to the armed forces of Ukraine,” Shoigu said.

Russian air defenses struck down 419 drones and 67 missiles that were launched by Ukrainian troops against Russian targets during the three days of presidential voting, Shoigu said. “The Russian forces strengthened security around government and social infrastructure assets, ramping up air defense capabilities to prevent acts of terrorism. During the election, 419 UAVs and 67 missiles were downed,” Shoigu told a ministerial meeting. The Ukrainian armed forces targeted polling places across Russia during last week’s presidential election with tacit approval of their Western military advisers, Sergei Shoigu said. “They intentionally targeted polling places and government institutions while civilians were present there. Both the command of the Ukrainian armed forces and their Western advisers knew it,” Shoigu told a ministerial meeting in Moscow.

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Well, he sure won’t let YOU dictate them..

Putin Won’t Be Allowed To ‘Dictate Peace Terms’ In Ukraine – Germany (RT)

Germany will not let Russian President Vladimir Putin forcibly alter Ukraine’s borders or impose the terms of peace, Chancellor Olaf Scholz has vowed. “We will not accept a dictated peace at the expense of Ukraine,” Scholz told German lawmakers on Wednesday in Berlin. “Law is stronger than violence.” He added that Putin sought to violate that principle with the launch of Russia’s military operation against Ukraine in February 2022. “We will not let him get away with this,” he said. Scholz insisted that Germany’s backing of Ukraine in the conflict with Moscow will not decrease and that expecting otherwise would be a “miscalculation.”

He reiterated his criticism of Putin’s reelection last weekend for a fifth term as president, saying it showed that “Russia is not strong.” However, as EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell acknowledged in an interview on Wednesday, European allies will be hard-pressed to fill the funding gap if Kiev’s biggest backer, Washington, reduces its support. US President Joe Biden’s administration ran out of funding for Ukraine in January and has struggled to secure congressional approval for over $60 billion in additional military and financial aid. Scholz made his comments as he prepared for an EU summit that is scheduled to begin on Thursday in Brussels.

Major topics of discussion will include efforts to ramp up aid to Ukraine, as well as the bloc’s response to the Israel-Hamas war. Russian forces have made battlefield gains in recent weeks, and US defense chief Lloyd Austin warned on Tuesday that Ukraine’s very survival will be at risk if the West fails to provide more weapons to Kiev. Even as he lobbies allies for more Ukraine aid, Scholz has resisted political pressure to provide Kiev with long-range Taurus missiles, saying that such an escalation could draw Germany into a direct conflict with Russia. Speaking at the Bundestag on Wednesday, he told lawmakers that debate within Germany over the Taurus issue is “nothing short of ridiculous.” He added that the controversy isn’t well understood outside of Germany, saying, “This is embarrassing for us as a country.”

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“We call this Kriegstuchtigkeit – being ready, capable and willing to fight. We are on the right track..”

German Children ‘Must Be Prepared For War’ – Minister (RT)

German children should be made to prepare for war to boost “resilience,” Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger stated on Saturday. She said kids should be taught what to do in the event of conflict and suggested introducing “civil defense” drills in schools so that youngsters will be prepared for the years ahead. “Society as a whole must prepare well for crises, from a pandemic to natural disasters to war. Civil defense is immensely important, and it also belongs in schools. The goal must be to strengthen our resilience,” Stark-Watzinger said in an interview with the Funke media group. She also called for a “relaxed relationship” to be fostered between schoolchildren and the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr), suggesting that military officers should visit schools to explain what “the Bundeswehr does for our security.” President of the German Teachers’ Association, Stefan Dull, told Bild last week that the minister’s proposal “makes sense.”

“I expect the federal minister to now seek discussions with the education ministers in the federal states,” he said, adding that a “declaration of intent is not enough – politics lessons now have to teach about the war in Ukraine and the pan-European, even global threat situation.” Stark-Watzinger’s initiative reflects the German government’s policy aimed at making the country “war ready” in the face of a potential Russia-NATO conflict, which could happen within a few years, according to senior German defense officials. In February, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius claimed in an interview with Bloomberg that Russia may attack NATO “in five to eight years.” German chief of defense, General Carsten Breuer, also highlighted the “paramount” importance of making the country’s military ready within the next five years. “We call this Kriegstuchtigkeit – being ready, capable and willing to fight. We are on the right track,” he declared.

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“..opposes sending more arms to Kiev along with Ukrainian membership of NATO. He has called for rebuilding relations with Russia..”

Slovakia’s PM Fico in EU’s Crosshairs as New ‘Headache’ (Sp.)

Ukraine’s patrons in Brussels have Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico in their crosshairs for a host of reasons. Brussels has accused him of taking a page out of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s book, reported POLITICO. Just as Hungary was repeatedly the victim of ‘rule-of-law’ disciplinary proceedings brought by Brussels, there are now calls to treat Slovakia “seriously.” Bratislava might risk losing access to European Union (EU) funds, European Parliament Vice President Martin Hojsík (PS) was cited as saying. The EU withheld over €30 billion in cohesion and recovery funds in December 2022 over alleged violations. Orban insisted in 2023 that Hungary had met all the EU’s requirements and that the funds were being diverted to the Kiev regime. s”It is possible that some of it [the money] is already in Ukraine,” he stated at the time. Budapest’s block on EU funding of Ukrainian war efforts forced Brussels to unlock €10 billion ($11 billion) of the funds to Hungary in December.

But Slovakia’s ruling coalition is the new thorn in Brussels’ side. Officials have suggested resorting to EU fund-freezing, this time with respect to Bratislava. The reported pretext is the shutting-down of the Slovak Special Prosecutor’s Office as part of criminal justice reforms Fico said on Wednesday that officials at the office had abused their authority. According to the publication, Slovak MEP and vice-president of the European Parliament Martin Hojsík urged swift measures from the EU if Fico’s government continues on an “illiberal path.” The rhetoric around Fico echoes Brussels’ narrative against Orban. Like Orban, Fico, who returned to government for the fourth time in 2023, opposes sending more arms to Kiev along with Ukrainian membership of NATO. He has called for rebuilding relations with Russia. Last December Orban vetoed an increase in the EU budget for 2024-2027, including 50 billion euros ($55 billion) in macro-financial aid to Kiev.

While Orban did not veto EU accession talks with Ukraine at the time, he warned that Budapest would have “75 more opportunities” to block this process. The Slovak PM has adopted a similarly adamant position on Ukraine. Fico’s Smer party-led government, elected in September 2023, reversed the country’s stance on the Ukraine crisis in favor of halting military aid to Kiev. Fico, dubbed the “Slovak Orban,” stressed that aiding the Kiev regime only prolongs a conflict that Ukraine has no chance of winning. He has repeatedly warned that Western countries could opt for the “worst solution” in the Ukraine crisis, and reiterated his stance of keeping Slovak troops out of the conflict. Fico was highly critical of recent comments by French President Emmanuel Macron suggesting sending European NATO troops to Ukraine. The proposal was rejected by leaders across the continent, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

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“Earlier in March, Robert Fico stressed that he was “not convinced of the sincerity of the West to achieve peace in Ukraine.”

Split Over Ukraine Aid Prompts ‘Unprecedented’ Czech-Slovak Rupture (Sp.)

Robert Fico rode to his fourth term as prime minister in Slovakia in 2023 on a wave of discontent over EU support for Ukraine in the NATO proxy conflict against Russia. Like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Fico has been against sending weapons to Kiev, and urged for maintaining good relations with Russia. Waning desire to continue propping up the Kiev regime is increasingly becoming a deal breaker in relations between states, government, and politicians. Disagreements over further support for Ukraine have caused an “unprecedented rupture” between the Czech and Slovak governments, The Washington Post has underscored. While the two countries, which emerged after the bifurcation of Czechoslovakia, have maintained warm relations until now, the past month has witnessed a growing split between them, the publication pointed out.

The government in Prague, led by Prime Minister Petr Fiala, is fervidly pro-Kiev, while Slovakia’s PM Robert Fico has been adamantly against sending weapons to Ukraine, Kiev’s potential NATO membership, and sanctions on Russia. There had never been “open rhetorical confrontation” between the two governments until NATO’s proxy conflict against Russia in Ukraine, it was stressed. Prague, which has been overly zealous in its eagerness to provide Ukraine with ammunition, opted for an unprecedented snub earlier in March. It suspended intergovernmental consultations with Bratislava in the wake of a meeting between the Slovak Foreign Minister Juraj Blanar and his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. Fiala noted at the time that, “it is impossible to conceal the fact that there are significant differences of opinion on some key foreign policy issues.”

In response, Robert Fico openly addressed Fiala in a video posted on social media, where he warned Prague against putting Slovak-Czech relations “in danger.” “We note that the Czech government has decided to jeopardize them because it has an interest in supporting the war in Ukraine, while the Slovak government talks about peace. Your decision will not affect our sovereign policy,” the Slovak prime minister said. Robert Fico’s Smer party-led government, elected in the September 2023 general election, reversed the country’s stance on the Ukraine crisis in favor of stopping military supplies to Kiev. Fico, dubbed the “Slovak Orban” after his Hungarian counterpart, who also opposes confrontation with Russia, stressed that aiding the Kiev regime weakens the Slovak Armed Forces and only prolongs a conflict that Ukraine has no chance of winning.

Earlier in March, Robert Fico stressed that he was “not convinced of the sincerity of the West to achieve peace in Ukraine.” He added in a social media post that “the Western strategy of using the war in Ukraine to weaken Russia economically, militarily and politically is not working.” Fico was also sharply critical of recent comments by French President Emmanuel Macron suggesting the possibility of European troops being sent to Ukraine. The proposal was broadly rejected by leaders throughout the continent, including Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Fico’s sovereign foreign policy, undeterred by pressure from the West, is similar to the stance adopted by Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Budapest has since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict been consistently calling for a ceasefire and peace negotiations between Moscow and Kiev, and opposed sanctions on Russian energy. In March 2022, Hungary’s parliament banned the delivery of weapons to Ukraine from the country’s soil.

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“Then, it’s on the road to Avdeyevka. Nothing, absolutely nothing prepares us to confront total devastation. In my nearly 40 years as a foreign correspondent, I’ve never seen anything like it – even Iraq..”

Donetsk, Avdeyevka, Mariupol – on the Road in Electoral Donbass (Pepe Escobar)

They have waited 10 long, suffering years to vote in this election. And vote they did, in massive numbers, certifying a landslide reelection for the political leader who brought them back to Mother Russia. VVP may now be widely referred to as Mr. 87%. In Donetsk, turnout was even higher: 88,17%. And no less than 95% voted for him. To follow the Russian electoral process at work in Donbass was a humbling – and illuminating – experience. Graphically, in front of us, the full weight of the collective West’s relentless denigration campaign was instantly gobbled up by the rich black soil of Novorossiya. The impeccable organization, the full transparency of the voting, the enthusiasm by polling station workers and voters alike punctuated the historical gravity of the political moment: at the same time everything was enveloped in an impalpable feeling of silent jubilation.

This was of course a referendum. Donbass represents a microcosm of the solid internal cohesion of Russian citizens around the policies of Team Putin – while at the same time sharing a feeling experienced by the overwhelming majority of the Global South. VVP’s victory was a victory of the Global Majority. And that’s what’s making the puny Global Minority even more apoplectic. With their highest turnout since 1991, Russian voters inflicted a massive strategic defeat to the intellectual pigmies who pass for Western “leadership” – arguably the most mediocre political class of the past 100 years. They voted for a fairer, stable system of international relations; for multipolarity; and for true leadership by civilization-states such as Russia. VVP’s 87% score was followed, by a long shot, by the Communists, with 3.9%. That is quite significant, because these 91% represent a total rejection of the globalist Davos/Great Reset plutocratic “future” envisioned by the 0.001%.

On Election Day Two, at section 198 in downtown Donetsk, not far from Government House, it was possible to fully measure the fluidity and transparency of the system – even as Donetsk was not spared from shelling, in the late afternoon and early evening in the final day of voting. Afterwards, a strategic pit stop in a neighborhood mini-market. Yuri, an activist, was buying a full load of fresh eggs to be transported to the nearly starving civilians who still remain in Avdeyevka. Ten eggs cost the equivalent of a dollar and forty cents. At Yasinovata, very close to Avdeyevka, we visit the MBOU, or school number 7, impeccably rebuilt after non-stop shelling. The director, Ludmilla Leonova, an extraordinary strong woman, takes me on a guide tour of the school and its brand new classrooms for chemistry and biology, a quaint Soviet alphabet decorating the classroom for Russian language. Classes, hopefully, will resume in the Fall.

Close to the school a refugee center for those who have been brought from Avdeyevka has been set up. Everything is spotlessly clean. People are processed, entered into the system, then wait for proper papers. Everyone wants to obtain a Russian passport as soon as possible. For the moment, they stay in dormitories, around 10 people in each room. Some came from Avdeyevka, miraculously, in their own cars: there are a few Ukrainian license plates around. Invariably, the overall expectation is to return to Avdeyevka, when reconstruction starts, to rebuild their lives in their own town. Then, it’s on the road to Avdeyevka. Nothing, absolutely nothing prepares us to confront total devastation. In my nearly 40 years as a foreign correspondent, I’ve never seen anything like it – even Iraq. At the unofficial entry to Avdeyevka, beside the skeleton of a bombed building and the remains of a tank turret, the flags of all military batallions which took part in the liberation flutter in the wind.

Each building in every street is at least partially destroyed. A few remaining residents congregate in a flat to organize the distribution of essential supplies. I find a miraculously preserved icon behind the window of a bombed-out ground floor apartment.

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Aka: Boeing’s in really big trouble.

Boeing Mulls Sale Of Defense Assets – Bloomberg (RT)

Boeing might sell at least two of its defense unit businesses to improve its finances amid mounting safety concerns, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing unnamed sources familiar with the discussions. The world’s second largest aircraft manufacturer by market capitalization recently hit severe turbulence, with its shares plummeting amid a series of quality control scandals that have resulted in grounded planes and numerous safety checks. Boeing has engaged financial advisers to gauge interest in several of its smaller units, including Digital Receiver Technology and unspecified defense programs under the corporation’s global services division, sources told Bloomberg, adding that efforts have been underway for about a year. The aerospace giant is also reportedly mulling options for divesting its stake in United Launch Alliance (ULA), the rocket-launch joint venture co-owned with Lockheed Martin.

Earlier this year, media reports emerged that ULA had attracted interest from Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. Any defense sale by Boeing, one of the Pentagon’s prime contractors, would face scrutiny from US regulators as concerns about consolidation among the biggest suppliers are increasing, Bloomberg said. Moreover, antitrust regulators such as Lina Khan, chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission, have reportedly been critical of Boeing’s monopoly over US civil aircraft production. The plane maker is now facing a wave of safety audits of its 737 MAX 9 in the wake of a near-catastrophic accident on January 5, when an Alaska Airlines flight bound for California from Portland, Oregon, had to turn back after a door panel blew off at 16,000 feet, injuring several of the 171 passengers aboard.

Boeing shares have lost more than 30% since the accident. On Tuesday, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) head Mike Whitaker told Reuters that the manufacturer needed to improve safety culture and address quality control issues before it would be allowed to boost production of the 737 MAX, previously labelled by Boeing as “the safest airplane” on the market. A US safety audit of the manufacturing process of the troubled jet reportedly found dozens of shortcomings, including the use of dish soap and a hotel key card as makeshift tools. It had been previously reported that the FAA identified 97 “non-compliance” issues at Boeing and failed the aircraft maker on 33 out of 89 product audits. The regulator temporarily grounded all 737 MAX 9 jets in the US for safety inspections.

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“..now new information we’re getting is that Liz Cheney ran that committee.”

House May Refer January 6 Committee Members for Obstruction (ET)

The chair of a House subcommittee warned that some members of a controversial Jan. 6 investigatory subcommittee could face charges of hiding and destroying documents Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) said in an interview last week that he may refer former members of the committee to the Department of Justice for prosecution after a report that he commissioned found that its members allegedly hid information from the public. “As far as holding people accountable, yes, they should be,” Mr. Loudermilk told Just the News last week after the report was released, referring to the possibility that committee members will face punishment. “But I think that’s going to be a little ways down the road, because there is so much more information that we need to get. “And we need to build not only this, to get the truth out to the American people, but see just how big this case potentially is for obstructing.”

However, the Georgia lawmaker suggested that there are “other options,” including censuring and ethics referrals. “But also consider there are members of that Select Committee who are no longer members of Congress. So they may fall under a different scenario,” Mr. Loudermilk told the media outlet. “So we do have the tools of members of Congress, but also, active members of Congress have certain protections. So we’ll have to work on that. Because as you talked about earlier, we’re in uncharted territory right now. And so we’re going to have to work through this.” He also said that he believes that Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the now-disbanded Jan. 6 select committee, allowed then-Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) to make decisions for the panel. “There’s still documents that we need to get hold of. We still don’t have passwords for the encrypted documents,” Mr. Loudermilk said. “It’s amazing that you know, when I asked the former Chairman Bennie Thompson, ‘All I want you to do is give me the passwords.’ He said, ‘I don’t even know what you’re talking about.’

“Well, I think it’s coming down to he probably didn’t, because now new information we’re getting is that Liz Cheney ran that committee.” On March 12, a previously undisclosed transcript of the House Jan. 6 Select Committee’s interview with an unnamed Secret Service officer who drove the presidential SUV on Jan. 6 provided new information about outgoing President Donald Trump’s actions that day. That transcript of the driver contradicted key witness Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony—namely her claim that President Trump tried to grab the wheel of his presidential car. President Trump “never grabbed the steering wheel,” the Secret Service agent said, according to a transcript reviewed by The Epoch Times last week. “I didn’t see him lunge to try to get into the front seat at all.”

The testimony was given to the Democrat-dominated select committee convened to investigate the events of Jan. 6, 2021, in the previous Congress, but the transcript wasn’t released by the committee. House Republicans said in the new report that Ms. Hutchinson’s version of the story was false, according to the driver’s testimony. “Despite the driver of the president’s SUV testifying under oath that the Hutchinson story was false, the select committee chose to validate and promote Hutchinson’s version of the story as fact,“ they stated in the report. ”The select committee hid the driver’s full testimony and only favorably mentioned his testimony in its final report, it did not release the full transcript.”

Mr. Thompson said in a statement that his panel explained in 2022 that it had to send some transcripts to the executive branch for review “to protect sensitive information as well as the privacy of witnesses.” He said the panel’s final report “took into account the testimony of all witnesses” and that “all the evidence points to the same conclusion: Donald Trump wanted to join his violent mob as it marched on the Capitol.” In response to the report last week, Ms. Cheney, who lost her Wyoming Republican primary by more than 40 percentage points, suggested on social media platform X that Mr. Loudermilk and others are lying and trying to “cover up what [President Trump] did” on Jan. 6. She also recently wrote that people should instead read her committee’s report.

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“..working people of all shades and colors are much more interested in maintaining their livelihoods than railing against wokeism..”

Can you Slam Wall Street and Still Win an Election? Ask Sherrod Brown (Leopold)

When I recently learned that Senator Sherrod Brown (D, OH) had reissued his 2019 essay, called “Wall Street’s War on Workers: Stock Buybacks,” I was shocked. My new book is called Wall Street’s War on Workers, and also focuses in part on the job-destructive impact of stock buybacks. Who stole what from whom? Senator Brown didn’t know about my book, his essay was written before I started my book, and despite deep research I did not see his essay until two weeks ago. So, I was surprised, but I immediately understood why we both adopted the same big picture framework to understand the economy, and similar language to share our understanding with working people. As a labor educator, I’ve found that the big-picture framework is as important, maybe even more important, than facts and figures.

In our complex world, problems hit working people from all angles — job insecurity, job loss, the high costs of housing, discrimination, kids who can’t afford to move out, and on and on. To make sense of this mosaic, a framework helps hold the pieces together. In our educational program we see clearly that working people are hungry for a coherent explanation that connects the dots. And without a compelling alternative, the pressing need for frameworks can lead towards conspiracy theories. Brown and I are using the Wall Street War on Workers big picture framework for four reasons.

1/ It’s flat out true. Wall Street’s insatiable desire to extract wealth via stock buybacks, leveraged buyouts, hostile takeovers, and the like, are destroying the livelihoods and the well-being of thousands of working people each day in every sector of the economy.
2/ The framework rings true to working people. It’s understandable. It makes sense of their reality. It explains why they, and so many others around them, have gone from one mass layoff to the other. And it explains why they feel so strongly that the system is rigged against them.
3/ The framework breaks through fatalism. The dominant media explanation is that mass layoffs can’t be helped because technological change and globalization are unstoppable forces akin to natural laws. Wall Street’s War on Workers highlights human agency. Laws and regulations were changed to enable Wall Street to kill jobs at will for reasons that have nothing to do with new technology or trade. In the high-tech sector, for example, more than 260,000 workers experienced mass layoffs last year, and another 50,000 are gone so far this year. Almost none of those jobs were lost either due to globalization or new technologies, AI or otherwise.
4/ It’s good politics. Senator Brown wouldn’t be pushing this framework in the middle of a tight reelection campaign unless he believed it could help him deepen his base of support among working people, especially in areas that became increasingly Republican over the past two presidential elections. It’s one thing for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to take on Wall Street in their very liberal states. No one will defeat them. But Brown is using the anti-Wall Street frame to get reelected in Ohio, which has become solidly red. In our labor education courses, working people of all political persuasions find the anti-Wall Street framework very compelling.

Clearly, Brown does not believe that Ohio working people are fixated on anti-wokeness and blinded by racism, homophobia, xenophobia. He understands that working people of all shades and colors are much more interested in maintaining their livelihoods than railing against wokeism. My book provides compelling data that also shows increasing working-class liberalism, not illiberalism, on hot-button issues like immigration, gay rights, and racism. Ohio’s embrace of a constitutional amendment in 2023 that wrote abortion access into the state’s constitution confirms Brown’s intuitions and my findings. It’s one thing, however, for a labor educator to use the “Wall Street’s War on Workers” framework. To keep my job, I don’t have to run against Wall Street’s cash. But Sherrod Brown is taking a risk, maybe a big risk. And he’s not running away from the challenge or being mealy-mouthed about how Wall Street is ripping off the working class.

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A federal appeals court overruled the Supreme Court?!

Mexico to Deny Entry to Migrants Deported From Texas Under New SB4 Law (Sp.)

The Mexican government does not intend to accept its citizens who will undergo repatriation from Texas under the US state’s new SB4 legislation, the Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretariat said on Wednesday. “Mexico reiterates its legitimate right to protect the rights of its nationals in the United States and to determine its own policies regarding entry into its territory. Mexico recognizes the importance of a uniform migration policy and the bilateral efforts with the United States to ensure that migration is safe, orderly and respectful of human rights, and is not affected by state or local legislative decisions. In this regard, Mexico will not accept, under any circumstances, repatriations by the State of Texas,” the ministry said in a statement published while the law was briefly in effect. The foreign ministry condemned the SB4 law, saying that the legislation is aimed at disrupting migration flow by “criminalizing” the migrants, the ministry said.

“Mexico categorically rejects any measure that allows state or local authorities to exercise immigration control, and to arrest and return nationals or foreigners to Mexican territory. Mexico also questions legal provisions that affect the human rights of the more than 10 million people of Mexican origin who live in Texas, and give rise to hostile environments in which the migrant community is exposed to hate speech, discrimination and racial profiling,” the statement read. Close to 8 million migrants have illegally entered the United States via the southern border since Joe Biden became president in 2021. On Tuesday, the US Supreme Court temporarily granted the state of Texas authority to carry out a state law known as SB4 that allows local authorities to arrest migrants suspected of entering the United States illegally from the southern border and return them to Mexico regardless of their country of origin. Hours after, a federal appeals court froze the law.

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“..if you’re trying to run an honest broker campaign against corrupt traditional parties, it’s not the best approach. It’s actually a turn-off.”

RFK Jr. Destroys His Candidacy With VP Pick? (Roger Simon)

I interviewed Robert F. Kennedy Jr. for Epoch TV’s “Roller Coaster” series and also attended one of his birthday parties. In both instances, I liked the man, found him to be intelligent and personable, and also unafraid to take stands against the über-conformist Democratic Party, notably on health care and, to some degree, on the dangers of the Central Intelligence Agency. Although I have been an unabashed Donald Trump supporter since he came down the escalator and continue to be so, I would not have been disappointed, even pleased, had former President Trump chosen Mr. Kennedy as his vice-presidential candidate. Unlikely as it may have been, it could have helped bring our fractured country together. No longer.

If reports are true—and, in that regard, the website name www.kennedyshanahan.com was reportedly registered by one of his campaign operatives on March 13—Mr. Kennedy has chosen attorney Nicole Shanahan as his running mate. I find this bizarre, to say the least, not to mention disappointing. Whatever his intentions, such a ticket would drive this country even further apart because Ms. Shanahan is a self-described “progressive.” But that’s only the tip of a disturbing iceberg I will get to in a minute. Let’s start with this. Mr. Kennedy, of all people, should know that the basic requirement for a vice presidential candidate, now more than ever, is that a person be qualified to assume the presidency at a moment’s notice. We have had disasters in that regard, dodging several bullets, including vice presidents Spiro Agnew, Mike Pence, and (for now, holding one’s breath) Kamala Harris. Mr. Trump has made clear that qualification for the presidency is now his first consideration, as it should be.

What do we know of Ms. Shanahan? Not much, except that she is a philanthropist to largely progressive causes and that she is very rich. She reportedly helped pay for Mr. Kennedy’s Super Bowl ad to the tune of $4 million via a Super PAC. The ad got mixed reviews and ended up with the candidate apologizing to his family. How rich Ms. Shanahan really is is unclear, but it is clear the bulk of her money comes from her divorce from Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google and, depending on the source, the ninth richest man on the planet. RFK Jr.’s campaign had been luffing and needed a boost. He looked to the financial. It’s hard to blame him, because that’s the putrid state of American politics. But if you’re trying to run an honest broker campaign against corrupt traditional parties, it’s not the best approach. It’s actually a turn-off. This is rather sad because of the optimism and excitement he initially engendered.

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Let’s see it first.

DOJ Mulling Plea Deal For Assange: He Could Finally Walk Free (ZH)

The Biden administration might be looking for a way to bring the 14-year long legal drama centered on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to an end. Britain’s High Court will at some point in the next weeks finally decide whether to extradite him to the United States, but a surprise breaking story from The Wall Street Journal says the US is exploring other alternatives. The Wednesday WSJ report says, “The U.S. Justice Department is considering whether to allow Julian Assange to plead guilty to a reduced charge of mishandling classified information, according to people familiar with the matter, opening the possibility of a deal that would end a lengthy legal saga triggered by one of the biggest classified intelligence leaks in American history.” Ever since Metropolitan Police officers were allowed into the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on April 11, 2019 – where he had been holed up for years, Assange has been in the legal fight of his life while incarcerated at Belmarsh prison. If he’s extradited he’ll likely spend life in prison at the infamous ADX Florence supermax prison in Colorado.

A plea deal means the whole crisis for him and his family could finally come to an acceptable and peaceful end after all of these years. “Justice Department officials and Assange’s lawyers have had preliminary discussions in recent months about what a plea deal could look like, according to people familiar with the matter, a potential softening in a standoff filled with political and legal complexities,” according to details in the WSJ report. “The talks come as Assange has spent some five years behind bars and U.S. prosecutors face diminishing odds that he would serve much more time even if he were convicted stateside.” In February of this year, Assange’s cause received a big boost when his native Australia issued formal request to the US and UK that charges against Julian Assange be dropped. The motion adopted by Australian parliament at that time emphasized “the importance of the UK and USA bringing the matter to a close so that Mr. Assange can return home to his family in Australia.”

Given Australia is a close US ally and member of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence group, this was a huge win for Assange. It’s very possible that this act alone may have pushed the Biden administration to take a more conciliatory stance. However, the US deep state is still without doubt seeking revenge after years of humiliation and tens of thousands of leaked documents revealed by WikiLeaks which exposed US state secrets and sometimes war crimes. There are still many obstacles to overcome if such a plea deal were to ever become reality, and the clock is ticking, notes WSJ further: The discussions remain in flux and the talks could fizzle. Any deal would require approval at the highest levels of the Justice Department. Barry Pollack, a lawyer for Assange, said he has been given no indication that the department will take a deal. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.

The report details, “If prosecutors allow Assange to plead to a U.S. charge of mishandling classified documents—something his lawyers have floated as a possibility—it would be a misdemeanor offense.” And this would be the ideal outcome for Assange and his legal team: “Under such a deal, Assange potentially could enter that plea remotely, without setting foot in the U.S. The time he has spent behind bars in London would count toward any U.S. sentence and he would likely be free to leave prison shortly after any deal was concluded.” Let’s hope that the celebratory day comes soon where Assange can actually walk out of Belmarsh a free man.

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Is this where John Cleese got the idea for the Silly Walks department?

 

 

Dubai-New York
https://twitter.com/i/status/1770453666446602547

 

 

 

 

Hippo bite
https://twitter.com/i/status/1770426704382554591

 

 

Turtle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1770524511156253129

 

 

Mates
https://twitter.com/i/status/1770569627879247907

 

 

Zaouli

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jan 222024
 
 January 22, 2024  Posted by at 9:34 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  31 Responses »


Leonardo da Vinci Salvator Mundi 1513

 

Supreme Court Action Alters Course of Jan. 6 Defendant Sentencings (ET)
Russia Must Give Up Its Nuclear Weapons – Ukrainian Officials (RT)
Frontline Situation ‘Dramatic’ For Ukraine – German Reporter (RT)
EU Mulls $21 Billion Military Aid to Ukraine Bypassing Hungary’s Veto (Sp.)
Scale of NATO Drills Marks Return to Cold War-Era Patterns (Sp.)
NATO Drills Raise Risks of Inadvertent Escalation – Moscow (Sp.)
US Preparing For ‘Sustained’ Yemen Bombing Campaign – WaPo (RT)
Mexico And Chile Call On ICC To Investigate Crimes In Gaza (Singh)
Iran and US Use Saudi Arabia to Swap Messages and Cool Gaza Tensions (MEE)
American Democracy ‘In Danger’ – Trump (RT)
RFK Seeks Path to Victory by Forcing House to Elect President (ET)
WSJ Editor-in-Chief Admits To Davos Elites ‘We No Longer Own The News’ (ZH)
John Kerry Wants To Remove 1.6 Trillion Tons Of CO2 From The Atmosphere (X)

 

 

 

 

Paxton

 

 

 

 

Arabella
https://twitter.com/i/status/1748916334178558434

 

 

Tucker Dore

 

 

But she’s white! Next thing you tell me she’s straight too!

 

 

Optics

 

 

 

 

SCOTUS is late.

Supreme Court Action Alters Course of Jan. 6 Defendant Sentencings (ET)

A recent Supreme Court decision to review a case called Fischer v. United States, which experts say could weaken prosecutors’ hand in hundreds of Jan. 6 cases, including former President Donald Trump’s, is already upending some defendant cases and sentencing proceedings. In December, the Supreme Court decided it would take up the appeal by Jan. 6 defendant Joseph W. Fisher of the Biden administration’s novel use of an Enron-era evidence-tampering law to prosecute hundreds of defendants for obstruction of Congress during the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol breach. The obstruction of Congress charge—which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison—is the most widely charged felony in Jan. 6 cases, including against President Trump.

Mr. Fischer was indicted for various alleged offenses for his role in the Jan. 6 incident, including obstruction of law enforcement during a civil disorder, violent entry, and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds—and obstruction of Congress based on 18 U.S. Code Section 1512(c)(2), or “Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant.” That’s an evidence-tampering provision that’s part of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act, which experts say was conceived largely to curb wrongdoing on Wall Street—but is now used by the Justice Department (DOJ) to prosecute Jan. 6 cases. Mr. Fischer challenged the obstruction charge, claiming that 1512(c)(2) doesn’t prohibit his alleged conduct on Jan. 6. A district court agreed but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit reversed that decision, siding with a broader reading of the provision, namely that it applies other forms of obstructive conduct, not just ones related to investigations and evidence.

While it’s unclear when the Supreme Court will hold the first hearings in Mr. Fischer’s appeal, several legal experts told The Epoch Times in earlier interviews that the high court is likely to find that 1512(c)(2) is being improperly used against Jan. 6 defendants. If the challenge proves successful, the Supreme Court’s decision could have far-reaching consequences, potentially erasing some charges against President Trump and overturning felony convictions for numerous Jan. 6 defendants. The implications extend beyond individual cases to the core strategy employed by the DOJ in securing convictions. Meanwhile, the fact that the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Mr. Fischer’s challenge to the provision is already having an effect on some Jan. 6 cases.

Since the Supreme Court agreed in mid-December to take up the Fischer appeal, a number of Jan. 6 defendants have asked judges to pause their trials and sentencing proceedings pending the outcome of the case. One of these is John Strand, a former underwear model convicted of obstructing Congress on the basis of 1512(c)(2), who describes himself as a “political prisoner.” He was sentenced to 32 months in prison. On Jan. 19, Mr. Strand’s attorneys filed a motion for release pending the Fischer appeal and a motion for reduction of sentence based on the zero-point offender guideline, which gives defendants with no criminal history an extra two points off their sentencing calculations, court filings show. The DOJ has taken the position that Jan. 6 defendants are ineligible for sentence reduction on the basis of the zero-point offender guideline, which has some exceptions, including for violent crimes.

Noteworthy in Mr. Strand’s filing is the singling out of the obstruction charge, which in his case is the only felony he’s been found guilty of. “In particular, a substantial question exists as to whether the statute underlying Strand’s sole felony conviction, 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2), applies to his conduct on January 6, 2021, in light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to grant certiorari in United States v. Fischer,” it reads. While it’s too early to know whether the judge in Mr. Strand’s case will side with his request to reduce his sentence, several other Jan. 6 defendants have won early release based on the Supreme Court’s decision to review the Fischer case.

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How Ukraine prolongs the war:
– Bombing civilians (Donetsk most recently)
– Grossly exaggerate number of Russian victims.
– Make preposterous demands (re: Zelensky “peace plan”, this zinger.)

Russia Must Give Up Its Nuclear Weapons – Ukrainian Officials (RT)

As President Vladimir Zelensky pushes forward with his so-called “peace formula,” which was already dismissed by the Kremlin as “absurd,” Ukrainian officials continue to come up with additional terms and conditions. The conflict in Ukraine can only end with a “complete liberation” and “restoration of its 1991 borders,” Kiev’s deputy defense minister Ivan Gavrilyuk told the newspaper Der Tagesspiegel last week. Only then Moscow and the pro-Kiev “coalition” will be able to sign a document to “create preventive mechanisms so that Russia will never think about another war against Ukraine or any country in the future.” “This document must include Russia’s renunciation of nuclear weapons, because it poses a threat to the world,” Gavrilyuk claimed. A senior adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, Mikhail Podoliak, voiced a similar idea, claiming that the negotiation should take place only when Moscow “suffers a global defeat,” or at the very least a series of “tactical defeats,” and “internal riots” that would threaten political stability in Russia and force it to “voluntarily give up nuclear weapons.”

“What is a global defeat? The Russian Federation will no longer be able to dominate… will not be able to use its veto right in the UN Security Council,” Podoliak explained. “Then conditions are possible for nuclear weapons, and for the number of carriers of nuclear weapons, including missiles of a certain range, and for cross-border buffer zones, etc.” During the World Economic Forum in Davos, Zelensky once again attempted to promote his so-called ‘peace formula’, which among other things proposes that Russia pay reparations, surrender its officials to face war crimes tribunals, and restore Ukraine’s 1991 borders. It has previously been rejected by the Kremlin as “absurd,” with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov referring to it as a publicity stunt and “a figment of a sick imagination.”

Moscow insists it never closed the door to talks but Kiev itself did, and now bears full responsibility for the situation in which it finds itself, Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week. Putin noted that the head of Ukraine’s negotiation team had recently admitted that Kiev was at one point ready to reach an agreement with Moscow – before then-British prime minister Boris Johnson convinced them to continue fighting. “Are they not idiots?” Putin asked, adding that if Ukraine had simply ignored Johnson, then the violence could be long over by now. “This just proves yet again that they are not independent people.” Even Ukraine’s former top spin doctor, Aleksey Arestovich, recently admitted that Kiev’ had the chance to make peace at the 2022 Istanbul talks but “something” changed Zelensky’s mind, and Moscow is unlikely to offer Kiev such favorable conditions ever again.

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“..mobilization isn’t working.”

Frontline Situation ‘Dramatic’ For Ukraine – German Reporter (RT)

The situation on the front lines is becoming increasingly disadvantageous for Ukraine, a Kiev-based correspondent with German daily Die Welt reported this week. Ukrainian troops severely lack ammunition and personnel to fend off Russian attacks, according to Paul Ronzheimer, citing “generals and soldiers” whom he has “constantly been in contact with.” Kiev’s troops have largely gone on the defensive following the failure of their much-hyped summer counteroffensive. The operation, which began in early June 2023, failed to gain much ground or bring about significant changes to the front lines, despite heavy personnel and equipment losses. Russia’s Defense Ministry has previously estimated Ukraine’s losses during the failed counteroffensive at 160,000.

Moscow also described Kiev’s total losses throughout the conflict as catastrophic, estimating that nearly 400,000 soldiers have been killed or wounded since February 2022. Late last year, Kiev intensified its mobilization efforts in a bid to replenish the troop pool. President Vladimir Zelensky stated earlier that the military wanted up to 500,000 new recruits. According to Ronzheimer, “mobilization isn’t working.” Ukraine has also been flooded with reports about difficult situations at the front lines, the reporter said, without mentioning any particular news pieces. Kiev’s forces were also about to run out of ammunition for its Western-made air defense systems, such as America’s Patriot, he noted, characterizing the situation as a “major concern” for the local population.

Ukrainian “generals and …soldiers” also told the correspondent that the frontline situation “is extremely tense,” particularly near the Donbass city of Avdeevka, a strategic location north of Donetsk that’s seen heavy fighting over the past months. The Ukrainian generals want “more mobilization” efforts, Ronzheimer wrote, adding that they want to “send more soldiers” into the fray. In another report earlier this week, the correspondent noted that Ukrainian troops had taken to the defensive along the entire front line in the East and the South, and were still struggling to hold ground. Moscow’s troops launched “massive attacks” in 80 areas “along several hundred kilometers of the front,” he added.

“We keep hearing the messages from the soldiers, which become more dramatic,” Ronzheimer reported, adding that Kiev’s troops had warned they would hardly be able to defend their current positions with whatever they had in stock as of that moment. It will be “very difficult” for Ukrainian troops to hold Avdeevka in the long term, since Moscow’s forces were making steady progress in that area, Ronzheimer said. “The Russians are on the offensive there and are making progress meter by meter,” he added, while noting that such advances are still quite costly for Moscow.

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“..the assets of the extra-budgetary European Peace Facility ..”

EU Mulls $21 Billion Military Aid to Ukraine Bypassing Hungary’s Veto (Sp.)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced last month that Budapest had vetoed 50 billion euros in the EU macro-financial aid for Ukraine. The European External Action Service (EEAS) is developing a new plan to provide military assistance to Ukraine that will allow EU members to override Hungary’s veto of the bloc’s aid to Kiev, according to The Wall Street Journal. Under the plan, a draft of which was seen by the newspaper, EU members will provide Ukraine with more than 20 billion euros ($21.8 billion) in military aid over the next four years. The EEAS, for its part, is proposing the creation of a special military fund for Ukraine, which would include some 6.5 billion euros ($7 billion) from the assets of the extra-budgetary European Peace Facility (EPF) and provide up to 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) per year from 2024 to 2027.

The purpose of the project is to reimburse several member states for the joint purchase of military equipment, including ammunition and air defense missiles, to be transferred to Ukraine. The remaining funds will be used to cover the costs of the EU military training program for Ukrainian soldiers. In 2024, the project will offer EU countries around 7.5 billion euros ($8.1 billion) in compensation for military aid. The structure of the new fund will reportedly make it possible to avoid ditches, which are regularly blocked by Hungary or used by Budapest as “leverage” to demand something in return. The proposal will reportedly be discussed by EU leaders at their summit scheduled for February 1, with a final decision likely to take weeks. Brussels has not yet commented on the WSJ report.

In mid-December, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced that his country had vetoed an expansion of the EU’s 2024-2027 budget to include 50 billion euros ($54.5 billion) in macro-financial assistance to Ukraine. “Summary of the nightshift: veto for the extra money to Ukraine, veto for the MFF [Multiannual Financial Framework] review. We will come back to the issue next year in the #EUCO [European Council] after proper preparation,” Orban wrote at the time on X, formerly known as Twitter. Last month, when asked whether Budapest would support a 50 billion euro financing plan for Kiev ahead of the forthcoming summit, Orban told reporters that Budapest supports the provision of more funds to Ukraine by the EU “outside” the bloc’s budget.

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“..90,000 servicepeople with the participation of 31 countries..”

Scale of NATO Drills Marks Return to Cold War-Era Patterns (Sp.)

The scale of NATO exercises Steadfast Defender-2024 marks the final and irrevocable return of the alliance to the Cold War schemes to oppose Russia, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told Sputnik. On Thursday, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe Gen. Christopher Cavoli said that the alliance would begin Steadfast Defender-2024, “the largest NATO exercise in decades,” next week. About 90,000 servicepeople will be involved in the drills, he added. “These exercises are another element of the hybrid war unleashed by the West against Russia. The exercises of such scale – 90,000 servicepeople with the participation of 31 countries – mark the final and irrevocable return of NATO to the Cold War support schemes, when the military planning process, resources and infrastructure are being prepared for confrontation with Russia,” Grushko said.

He also noted that the preparation for the exercises “takes place in an artificially heated atmosphere of military psychosis.” “Irresponsible statements about a possible war with Russia, for which European citizens ‘should prepare,’ were made by the German defense minister, the Swedish commander-in-chief and the chairman of the NATO Military Committee. The goal is clear: by demonizing Russia, intimidating the average person, to justify the unbridled increase in military spending and the completely failed policy of supporting the Kiev regime with the aim of inflicting a strategic defeat on Russia. And at the same time, force the Europeans to join the arms race even more energetically, to the delight of the American military-industrial complex,” Grushko said.

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“..European security is of little concern to the top NATO command, which is too busy trying to keep this tool of US influence relevant in the already lost war for the West’s global dominance..”

NATO Drills Raise Risks of Inadvertent Escalation – Moscow (Sp.)

NATO’s upcoming military exercise, Steadfast Defender 2024, raises the risk of unintended military confrontation and undermines security in Europe, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told Sputnik on Sunday. NATO announced Thursday that it would kick off exercise Steadfast Defender 2024 next week. The US-led alliance bills it as the largest NATO exercise in decades, with participation from some 90,000 troops from 31 allies and Sweden. “Any event of this scale significantly increases the risk of military incidents and further destabilizes security. But European security is of little concern to the top NATO command, which is too busy trying to keep this tool of US influence relevant in the already lost war for the West’s global dominance,” Grushko said.

The senior diplomat added that Russia would not be intimidated by what he described as a provocative show of force. He said his country had everything it needed to ensure its security and defense capabilities. The NATO exercise will run through May. NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, Gen. Christopher Cavoli, told reporters on Thursday that the allies planned to test out a conflict scenario against a “near-peer adversary.”

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“..Washington is “not trying to defeat the Houthis. There’s no appetite for invading Yemen..”

US Preparing For ‘Sustained’ Yemen Bombing Campaign – WaPo (RT)

The US is preparing for a “sustained” bombing campaign in Yemen after ten days of airstrikes failed to undermine the ability of Houthi fighters to target ships in the Red Sea, the Washington Post has reported, citing unnamed officials. The administration of President Joe Biden does not expect a protracted operation such as the US campaigns in Iraq or Afghanistan, but at the same time it cannot provide a timeframe for when Houthi military capabilities will be adequately diminished, the newspaper reported on Saturday. Washington’s strategy is to curb the ability of the Shiite militant group to target ships off the coast of Yemen, or at least create safe conditions for shipping companies to resume sending vessels through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, sources added.

The Houthis have launched dozens of drone and missile attacks on commercial ships in the area in recent months, declaring support for Gaza amid Israel’s military operation in the Palestinian enclave. The militants have also vowed revenge against the US and the UK, who have been carrying out strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen for more than a week. “We are clear-eyed about who the Houthis are, and their worldview. So we’re not sure that they’re going to stop immediately, but we are certainly trying to degrade and destroy their capabilities,” one US official told the Post. Washington is “not trying to defeat the Houthis. There’s no appetite for invading Yemen,” a diplomat familiar with the situation explained.

Instead, the US wants “to degrade their ability to launch these kind of attacks going forward, and that involves hitting the infrastructure that enables these kind of attacks, and targeting their higher-level capabilities,” he added. President Biden ordered the strikes on Yemen for ideological reasons, rather than economic, as the US seeks to maintain its status as the world’s “indispensable nation,” officials claimed. The Washington Post expressed concern that the bombing campaign against the Houthis would become a “setback” for Biden’s goal of preventing the spread of the Israel-Hamas conflict to other parts of the Middle East. It could also end up “undermining his attempt to refocus US foreign policy on Russia and China,” the newspaper argued.

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“..believed to be responsible for perpetrating, ordering, planning, and instigating international crimes, including genocide, committed over the past 100 days as well as since 13 June, 2014.”

Mexico And Chile Call On ICC To Investigate Crimes In Gaza (Singh)

Chile and Mexico have called upon the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the crimes being committed amid Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza. In the past 105 days, Israel has killed over 24,600 Palestinians in Gaza, with more than 7,000 people missing and presumed dead under the rubble. In a statement released on January 18, Mexico and Chile stated that their referral to the ICC was “due to growing concern about the latest escalation of violence, particularly against civilian targets, and the alleged continued commission of crimes under the jurisdiction of the Court, specifically since the attack on October 7, 2023, carried out by Hamas militants and the subsequent hostilities in Gaza.” The ICC is based at The Hague alongside the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which is the chief judicial organ of the United Nations that adjudicates disputes between states.

Meanwhile, the ICC is a separate legal entity that has been established under the Rome Statute, and is authorized to prosecute individuals. It has jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, and crimes of aggression. The referral filed on Thursday follows after Bolivia, South Africa, Djibouti, and the Comoros approached the court in November, calling on chief prosecutor Karim Khan to investigate the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Palestine. While Israel is not a State Party to the Rome Statute and does not recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC, Palestine was accepted as a member state of the ICC in 2015. In February 2021, a pre-trial chamber of the court ruled that it had jurisdiction over the “territories occupied by Israel since 1967, namely Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem”.

The following month, the ICC, under former chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, opened an investigation into the “situation in Palestine” covering the period starting from June 13, 2014. This was after Bensouda concluded that there was a “reasonable basis to believe that war crimes “have been or are being committed” in the occupied Palestinian territories. In November, Bensouda’s successor, Karim Khan had stated that the investigation would cover “the escalation of hostilities and violence” since October 7. However, Palestinian human rights organizations and legal representatives of victims have denounced delays and double standards in the investigation under Khan. In early December, Khan visited Israel, however he did not go to the Gaza strip despite the fact that Israel had already killed over 15,000 people by that time. Even prior to the ongoing attacks on Gaza which began on October 7, Palestinian human rights organizations had repeatedly called on Khan to issue preventive statements “to deter the commission of more crimes” by the Occupation. These calls, along with calls to expedite the investigation, were ignored.

These organizations have since urged the Court to issue arrest warrants for Israeli political, security and military officials “believed to be responsible for perpetrating, ordering, planning, and instigating international crimes, including genocide, committed over the past 100 days as well as since 13 June, 2014.” In its statement on Thursday, the Mexican foreign ministry emphasized “the importance of guaranteeing the independence of the ICC prosecutor to investigate crimes committed in the context of the conflict in Gaza.” The submission to the ICC was welcomed by the Palestinian foreign ministry, stating that the move “confirmed the urgent need for the Court to fulfill its mandate, to deter, investigate, and prosecute the most serious crimes of concern for the international community.” “Israeli officials are not deterred as they continue their genocidal war.”

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Saudis sitting on the fence.

Iran and US Use Saudi Arabia to Swap Messages and Cool Gaza Tensions (MEE)

Nine months since Riyadh and Tehran restored ties after years of animosity, Saudi Arabia has assumed a new role as an intermediary between Iran and the United States, three sources in Iran told Middle East Eye. High-ranking officials in Riyadh have been instrumental in relaying messages between the countries and reducing tensions over Israel’s war on Gaza. The process began in November, when Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian attended an emergency summit in Riyadh on the Gaza war attended by leaders from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and Arab League countries. An Iranian insider familiar with the matter told MEE that Amirabdollahian carried with him a message for the US to give to Saudi officials. It was a response to one recently received from Washington.

The Saudis then conveyed this message to senior officials in Washington, the source said. Another source in Iran’s foreign ministry told MEE that Saudi Arabia has been used as a conduit between the two sides alongside Oman, Qatar and Switzerland, which occasionally represents the US diplomatically in Tehran. The four countries have had to work as go-betweens repeatedly since the 7 October Hamas-led attack on Israel and the war on Gaza. Iran is the Palestinian group’s strongest backer, and other Iranian-associated groups such as Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthi movement in Yemen have attacked Israel and Israeli- and US-linked targets as Israel’s assault on Gaza has escalated. According to the foreign ministry source, the communications passed between Iran and the US have primarily focused on curbing tensions and avoiding greater escalation in the region.

The source said Tehran had warned the US about the potential consequences if Israel’s war on Gaza, which has already killed 24,000 people, brings regional tensions to an uncontrollable level. These included Israel being defeated in a broader regional war and increased security pressure on the US military. The first source said Saudi Arabia has been used as a conduit when tensions have ramped up following Israel’s assassination of senior commanders from the “Axis of Resistance”, the Iran-backed group of countries and armed groups in the region. After Israel killed Razi Mousavi, a general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s elite Quds force, on 25 December, a Saudi delegation visited Tehran with a message from Washington that said the US wanted to contain the conflict in Gaza.

According to the first source, the US suggested potential concessions from Israel. One was that the US would not give backing or support to hard-right Israeli officials, which dominate Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. This, the source said, would be contingent on Iran not trying to derail efforts to establish full ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia, a process that was interrupted by the outbreak of the Gaza war. On 8 January, Hossein Akbari, the Iranian ambassador to Syria, said that Iran had received a message from “one of the Persian Gulf countries”. According to Akbari, this country sent a delegation to Iran with a message from the Americans, offering a plan to resolve conflicts for the entire region, rather than solely addressing the Gaza war. MEE understands this Gulf country was Saudi Arabia.

Another Iranian insider told MEE that Washington used Saudi channels to inform Tehran that it was about to strike Yemen’s Houthis, who have been staging attacks on commercial ships in the Red Sea to disrupt Israeli supplies and commerce. The message urged Iran to restrain its allied groups during the US strike. It also indicated that the strikes on the Houthis would not initially be too strong, but if Tehran reacted forcefully then a fierce US response would follow.

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“..a “deadly combination” of Biden’s “incompetence, radicalism, and weakness.”

American Democracy ‘In Danger’ – Trump (RT)

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump has countered claims that his possible reelection to the White House poses an existential risk to the American way of life, telling supporters in the US state of New Hampshire on Saturday that it is Joe Biden’s ‘incompetence’ that represents the real threat to democracy. Trump was speaking in Manchester ahead of primary elections beginning on Tuesday that could further cement his status as the likely GOP candidate to challenge presumptive Democratic nominee Biden in November. But after being accused earlier this month by Biden of being “willing to sacrifice democracy,” the former US president turned the tables on his political rival, saying that Biden’s incapacity for the job is a clear and present danger to the United States. “He is a threat to democracy,” Trump said, his comments delivered under a giant sign reading: ‘Biden attacks democracy.’

He added: “We have to get him out. You know why he is a threat to democracy? A couple of reasons, but you know the first reason? He’s grossly incompetent.” It is an accusation that Trump has repeated on several occasions throughout his bid to return to the White House. In October, he blamed the Hamas attack on Israel on a “deadly combination” of Biden’s “incompetence, radicalism, and weakness.” Trump, who faces 91 charges in a range of criminal cases as he campaigns for the nation’s highest office, also accused Biden’s administration of “weaponizing” the justice system against him. He added that Biden’s efforts to do so are being enabled by his “protectors” in the “fake news” media. The comments appeared to be a reference to claims made by Biden in Pennsylvania earlier this month in which he said that Trump intends to uproot democracy to ensure he wins the election.

“Whether democracy is still America’s sacred cause is what the 2024 election is all about,” Biden said on January 5. “Donald Trump’s campaign is all about him, not America, not you. Donald Trump’s campaign is obsessed with the past, not the future. He’s willing to sacrifice our democracy to put himself in power.” Meanwhile, GOP-nomination candidate Nikki Haley, whom polling suggests trails Trump by around ten percentage points in New Hampshire, openly questioned her Republican opponent’s mental fitness, following comments in recent days in which Trump appeared to mistake her for former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “When you’re dealing with the pressures of a presidency, we can’t have someone else that we question whether they’re mentally fit to do it,” Haley said on Saturday.

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“..contingent election..” We touched on this before.

RFK Seeks Path to Victory by Forcing House to Elect President (ET)

To win the 2024 election as an independent, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is firstly hoping for an outright win, but the second path to victory is to make sure no other candidate wins 270 electoral votes. If no candidate reaches 270 electoral votes in a presidential election, the winner is decided in a contingent election by the House of Representatives, where each state votes as a bloc. The House has picked the president twice in American history. In 1800, Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson were deadlocked after the electoral votes were counted. The House cast their ballots to elect President Jefferson, who received 61 percent of the popular vote. When none of the four presidential candidates received an electoral vote majority in 1824, the House elected John Quincy Adams on Feb. 9 the following year.

“People are starting to realize that Bobby can win, with where he is in the polls,” Amaryllis Fox Kennedy, the campaign manager of Mr. Kennedy, told The Epoch Times. “They are starting to see that, for the first time in their lifetime, the two-party system can be broken and they can vote for somebody who excites them rather than having to vote for the lesser of two evils,” she said. Ms. Kennedy is also the candidate’s daughter-in-law. Ms. Kennedy said Mr. Kennedy could be considered a preferred candidate over former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, the likely Republican and Democrat nominees.

The prospect of Mr. Kennedy winning as a compromise candidate is relatively slim because a contingent United States election is decided by state delegations. Republicans currently hold a four-vote delegation lead, according to a tally maintained by ProPublica. The next House of Representatives, composed of lawmakers elected in 2024, would vote in a contingent election. A consensus forecast by 270toWin based on an aggregate of forecasts by five major analytics firms sees Republicans keeping their delegation majority in the House in 2024.

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“..We were the gatekeepers, and we very much owned the facts as well.”

WSJ Editor-in-Chief Admits To Davos Elites ‘We No Longer Own The News’ (ZH)

Thanks to the internet and (shrinking) press freedoms, legacy media outlets no longer have a monopoly on information and narratives. Case in point, during a WEF discussion at Davos entitled “Defending Truth,” Wall St. Journal EIC Emma Tucker lamented this loss of control over ‘the facts,’ as Modernity.news reports. “I think there’s a very specific challenge for the legacy brands, like the New York Times and like the Wall Street Journal,” Tucker said, adding “If you go back really not that long ago, as I say, we owned the news. We were the gatekeepers, and we very much owned the facts as well.” “If it said it in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, then that was a fact,” she continued, adding “Nowadays, people can go to all sorts of different sources for the news and they’re much more questioning about what we’re saying. “Russia, Russia, Russia!

European Commission VP Vera Jourova also piped up during the same discussion, calling the rise of “disinformation” a “security threat,” and suggesting that “It was part of the Russian military doctrine that they will start information war, and we are in it now.” Like when the Hillary Clinton campaign used a former (?) British spook’s Russian source to fabricate a hoax against Donald Trump, which was peddled through the Wall Street Journal and every single other legacy media outlet? That kind of information war? Or when 51 former US intelligence officials used disinformation to influence the 2020 election, suggesting the NY Post’s Hunter Biden laptop bombshell was Russian meddling? “Disinformation is a very powerful tool,” Jourová continued, adding that “In the EU we are focusing on improving of the system where the people will get the facts right. We don’t speak about opinions. We are not correcting anyone’s opinions or language. This is about the facts.” Bitch please.

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X thread from Wall Street Apes.

“Estimated Cost For Tax Payers: $1.6 Quadrillion Dollars..”

John Kerry Wants To Remove 1.6 Trillion Tons Of CO2 From The Atmosphere (X)

John Kerry Told The Washington Post He Wants To Remove 1.6 Trillion Tons Of Carbon Dioxide From The Atmosphere Via Direct Air Capture. Estimated Cost For Tax Payers: $1.6 Quadrillion Dollars That’s $1,600,000,000,000,000 (This isn’t a joke, he’s serious). “The lowest periods of carbon in the atmosphere and not only recorded history, in the history of life existing on the planet. In December of 2022, you told the Washington Post we need to remove 1,600,000,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via direct air capture. The cost for that is about $1,000 per ton or 1.6 quadrillion dollars. Now I said you said you didn’t know, But since 2015, since the last El Nino, about 500,000,000,000 tons have been have been emitted into the atmosphere. During that same period of time, 2015, if you look at the temperature graph, this is from NOAA.

The temperature has gone down. Show the next slide. This is from NASA satellite data. Temperature has gone down. You wanna have the Have the American taxpayers, my constituents that are having a hard time afford their groceries, pay for a car, buy a new home, Spend 1.6 quadrillion dollars to fix a problem that, a, doesn’t exist. And as a matter of fact, You might be exacerbating because it’s unknown. It is unknown at this time the low level that of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that might actually destroy life, because plant life all depends. As you know, secretary, Plant life all depends on CO2. And when we kill it, then we’re done too. I yield the ballots.”

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Eagle

 

 

Python

 

 

Lions

 

 

 

 

Peacock

 

 

Murmuration
https://twitter.com/i/status/1749313443151376779

 

 

Bears

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 262023
 
 November 26, 2023  Posted by at 9:57 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  25 Responses »


Giorgio de Chirico Piazza d’Italia 1913

 

The Gaza Truce Is A Sign That Hamas Can’t Be Defeated (Inlakesh)
Hamas ‘Remains Strong’ After 49 Day Fight: Israeli Media (Cradle)
Biden Endorses Israel’s War To Eliminate Gaza (Aaron Maté)
The Thanksgiving Truce (Lauria)
Second Nakba; Same Israeli Lies; Same Western Narrative (Cook)
Israel Receives Third List Of Hostages To Be Released From Gaza (Az.)
US-German ‘Peace Talks Plot’ Shows West on Brink of Losing Ukraine (Sp.)
Ukraine Will ‘Strengthen EU’ – Baerbock (RT)
Germany Today Could Do What Hitler Did But Faster – Hungary’s Top MP (RT)
The Mind-Bending Politics of RFK Jr.’s Spoiler Campaign (NYMag)
The Invisible Hand Just Slapped Disney (Turley)
Bill Gates, Jeffrey Epstein and a Global Health Investment Fund (BB)
Jeffrey Sachs Says COVID About ‘Massive Government Lying’ (NM)

 

 


Some pictures do not need a caption.
– Banksy

 

 

Saudi Arabia Leaders Warns U.S To Stop Israel Or Face Its Wrath

 

 

 

 

 

 

“The Middle East Will Cause WW3! Iran will ENTER Israel!!

 

 

Inevitable victory for Russia | Ukraine is crushed – Douglas Macgregor

 

 

Fed

 

 


2005. Not guilty.

 

 

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.”
– Kurt Vonnegut

 

 

 

 

“At this time, it appears that the idea that “Hamas must go” is no more than a pipe dream.”

The Gaza Truce Is A Sign That Hamas Can’t Be Defeated (Inlakesh)

After repeatedly rejecting a truce with Hamas and labeling the idea “ridiculous”, Israel agreed to a four-day cessation of hostilities in Gaza and a prisoner exchange. Six weeks of death and destruction, which Israeli and Western leaders declared should have led to the destruction of Hamas, have now bolstered the Palestinian movement’s image throughout the Arab world and beyond.The four-day truce that was implemented this Friday provided a sigh of relief for those most affected by the war in the Gaza Strip, but has in many ways spelled disaster for the Israeli government. As women and children, held captive by both Hamas and Israel, are being reunited with their families, the threat of further warfare looms. Although the loved ones of those released are now celebrating, the next steps will be crucial in determining the final outcomes of the 46-day battle that has now been placed on pause. At this time, it appears that the idea that “Hamas must go” is no more than a pipe dream.

On October 27, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution to the sound of overwhelming applause, calling for a truce to stop the fighting in the Gaza Strip. Although the non-binding resolution passed with a majority of 120 votes in favour, Israel and the United States outright rejected it. Tabled by Arab nations, the call for a truce was labeled as a “defense of Nazi terrorists” by Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the UN. This came after Hamas released four Israeli civilian hostages without conditions, for what the group said were humanitarian reasons.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and others in his emergency war government, have repeatedly stated their goal of crushing Hamas and allied Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, refusing to negotiate with them. The six-week-long aerial bombardment of densely populated civilian areas in the besieged Palestinian enclave, which also morphed into a ground war, has claimed over 20,000 lives according to some estimates, but failed to eliminate Hamas. In fact, Israeli forces have not been able to show a single significant military achievement against the Palestinian armed groups. While Hamas claim to have struck 355 Israeli military vehicles during the past two weeks of fighting, publishing video evidence of dozens of attacks, Israeli forces have failed to assassinate senior leaders of Hamas, to free hostages by force, uncover major tunnel networks, or even publish proof that they have killed a significant number of Hamas fighters on the battlefield.

According to the Calcalist financial newspaper, the Gaza war was estimated early on to cost around $50 billion, roughly 10% of Israel’s GDP. In addition to this, the Israeli military has reportedly suffered losses in intelligence and monitoring equipment along their northern border, due to attacks carried out by the Lebanese group Hezbollah. Yemen’s Ansarallah also seized a ship in the Red Sea, owned by an Israeli businessman, which has severely impacted trade through the southern port city of Eilat. This is not factoring in the inevitable long-term effects on things like Israel’s tourism sector or investment in its high-tech industry.

Palestinian Ambassador to UK

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“..the Military Oversight Authority is refusing to allow Israeli media to show an action map of its progress in Gaza, fearing that it will show how little the army has achieved..”

Hamas ‘Remains Strong’ After 49 Day Fight: Israeli Media (Cradle)

Following the implementation of a four-day truce in Gaza, the Israeli media is flush with reports that Hamas remains strong after 49 days of fighting, and that the Israeli military is losing the war. Following the 7 October Hamas attack on Israeli settlements surrounding the Gaza strip, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to eliminate Hamas. But despite Israel’s horrific bombing campaign and ground operation in Gaza that has killed some 15,000 Palestinians, the majority women and children, the Israeli media is reporting that Hamas remains in control of the conflict. Following the release of the first batch of Israelis held captive by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Hebrew language Channel 12 said that on 25 November, “Whoever is in a hurry to mourn Hamas should look at this day to understand that this is not the reality.

“After 49 days of fighting, Hamas has proven that it is still strong, and that it still controls the Gaza Strip.” The channel noted that Hamas successfully completed the exchange of captives, including one held by another Palestinian faction, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, despite claims it had lost control over its fighters and cells. “After all this, the scene of Hamas kneeling is still a long way off,” the channel added. The Israeli channel’s military affairs correspondent, Nir Dvory, said that the Hamas movement “has not collapsed yet,” noting that the Israeli army “failed to liquidate the movement’s officials” whom it declared targets of its operations. Hours after the temporary truce took effect between the Israeli occupation and the resistance in Gaza on Friday, criticism began to appear for not achieving the declared goals of the war on the Gaza Strip.

According to Channel 12, the Military Oversight Authority is refusing to allow Israeli media to show an action map of its progress in Gaza, fearing that it will show how little the army has achieved. Israeli media reported as well that Reserve Major General Israel Ziv stated that if Hamas currently succeeds in stopping the continuation of the fighting, “it has emerged victorious.” At the same time, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported the intelligence capabilities of the Palestinian resistance are much more sophisticated than previously known. The newspaper’s military affairs analyst, Yossi Yehoshua, revealed the Israeli army found documents in a Hamas base in Gaza that included details of the structure and social composition of Israel’s Paratroopers Brigade, as well as pictures of the former brigade commander and other officers who had ended their service.

The extent and complexity of Hamas’ tunnel system also surprised Israel’s military,Yedioth Ahronoth reported. An officer admitted that the resistance tunnels in the northern Gaza Strip, those closest to the border with Israel, were “deep, long, and operational in a way that was fundamentally different from what Israeli intelligence estimated.” The Israeli officer said, “No one imagined that this is what we would find there.”

Tapper

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“.. it will be difficult to continue with a ground maneuver in the southern Gaza Strip should public anger over what will be perceived as abandoning women and children increase.”

Biden Endorses Israel’s War To Eliminate Gaza (Aaron Maté)

In rationalizing his continued support for Israeli aggression, Biden echoed the Netanyahu government’s claim that its attacks have forced Hamas to negotiate the captives’ release. “I don’t trust Hamas to do anything right,” Biden told reporters during his Thanksgiving vacation. “I only trust Hamas to respond to pressure.” The available evidence shows otherwise. As Mohammad Alsaafin notes, the thousands of Palestinians – and an unknown numbers of Israeli and other foreign captives — killed by Israeli bombings “did not have to die—not just because Israel could have refrained from targeting civilians, which it has clearly refused to do, but because the contours of the deal announced Wednesday have been on the table for weeks.” On Oct. 26th, Hamas official Ali Barakeh laid out the terms for a proposed hostage exchange similar to those reached this week.

“We are ready to let them all leave,” Barakeh told the Washington Post. That same day, senior Qatari negotiator Mohmmed al Khulaifi said that he believed “all civilian hostages” could be freed if Israel would pause its bombardment of Gaza. Rather than engage with these overtures, Israel launched a ground invasion the following day. According to Western and Arab officials interviewed by the New York Times, Israel’s Oct. 27th ground invasion thwarted the release of up to 50 captives in exchange for a bombing pause. The talks were additionally “stymied” by Israel’s decision to cut off Gaza’s telecommunications network, which meant Qatari officials and Hamas “struggled to make quick, consistent contact.” Another obstacle was Israel’s initial refusal of Hamas’ demand to free Palestinian “women and minors held without charge” from Israeli prisons — the captives that Western audiences are not supposed to care about.

After undermining a hostage deal with its ground invasion of Gaza, Israel thwarted another opportunity with last week’s attack on Al-Shifa hospital. On Nov. 14th, Israel relayed its acceptance of a similar offer to Hamas’ original. But hours later, after Israeli forces stormed Al-Shifa, Hamas made clear that “[t]he deal was off,” according to the Times. “It had looked like towards the end of that day … that we were closing in and [then] everything stalled,” a senior US official told the Washington Post. According to one source familiar with the talks, Hamas was “concerned about the evacuations of patients, including premature babies, and attacks on other hospitals.”

According to Israeli military correspondent Amos Harel of Haaretz, Israel’s decision to accept a deal this week stemmed from “not only… the terms of the deal,” which “improved somewhat,” but a more important imperative: sustaining the Gaza assault over the long-term. The Israeli “security establishment,” Harel writes, has developed the “understanding that the outcry of the hostages’ families is arousing broad public support, and that it will be difficult to continue with a ground maneuver in the southern Gaza Strip should public anger over what will be perceived as abandoning women and children increase.” In other words, to keep killing Palestinian women and children caged in Gaza, Israel decided that it must finally stop abandoning the Israeli women and children held hostage in Gaza.

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“..ultimately, both Israel and U.S. politicians depend on the support of the American people..”

The Thanksgiving Truce (Lauria)

Israel has long depended on American military aid and diplomatic support to pursue its interests in the Middle East. Without such backing, especially in a time of open warfare, it is doubtful that Israel could for long pursue its goals in Gaza. American politicians likewise depend on support from Israel and its lobby in the United States to pursue their political careers. But ultimately, both Israel and U.S. politicians depend on the support of the American people. There was already a trend, especially among young Americans, many of them Jews, to no longer lend unconditional support to Israel. This became evident with the growing popularity of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement among American youth, causing individual states to pass laws outlawing the movement.

The trend towards rejecting the mainstream media’s whitewashed history of Israel and Palestine, and the growing understanding that Israel was established in 1948 largely through the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their ancestral homes and land, has only intensified with Israel’s current onslaught against Gaza.Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Joe Biden know that if they lose the American people they are both in serious trouble. Biden is already feeling the heat from American voters because of his handling of Gaza. He can pretty much kiss the swing state of Michigan goodbye with its large Arab population. But polls show many Democrats across the entire country also strongly disapprove.

Palestinian Americans sued in federal court on Nov. 16 to immediately force Biden, Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to stop providing additional weapons, money and military and diplomatic support to Israel. A motion from the Center for Constitutional Rights’ for preliminary injunction charges that: “Defendants have been on notice of the risk of genocide since at least October 9, if not already on October 7, through the public and widely circulated statements and actions by Israeli officials with whom they were in close, regular contact and consultation, as well as by warnings of indicators of genocide from United Nations officials and other sources that have only increased since then.”

Israel understands that to maintain U.S. government support, without which it cannot continue its genocidal goals, it needs to keep the U.S. public on side, lest it bring pressure on Biden and Congress to finally cut off aid to stop the massacres. Right now Netanyahu sees Americans dangerously turning against Israel and the Biden administration. Weekly protests and American Jews taking over Grand Central Station (which the New York governor called “a major incident”) are clearly alarming Washington and Tel Aviv, (not to mention London, Berlin and Paris where it’s illegal to support the Palestinians.) Is it therefore a coincidence that a 4-day ceasefire allowing cameras to show food trucks delivering aid to Gazans coincides with the 4-day U.S. Thanksgiving holiday?

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“The final destination is clearly in view, as, in truth, it has been for more than seven decades..”

Second Nakba; Same Israeli Lies; Same Western Narrative (Cook)

After its mass ethnic cleansing operations of 1948 and 1967, Israel tried to manage the remaining Palestinian population through the traditional apartheid model of herding the natives into reservations, as its predecessors did with the remnants of the “locals” who survived their efforts at extermination. Any caution on Israel’s part derived from the different political climate it had to operate in: international law became more central after World War II, with clear definitions of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The West wilfully mischaracterises Israel’s process of dispossessing and ghettoising these remaining Palestinians as a “conflict” because they refuse to submit quietly to the apartheid, ghettoisation model. Now, Israel’s management approach to the Palestinians has broken down completely — for two main reasons.

First, the Palestinians, aided by new technologies that have made it more difficult to keep them out of view, have attracted ever widening popular support – and most problematically, among Western publics. The Palestinians have also managed to bring their cause to international forums, even gaining recognition as a state by a majority of members of the United Nations. Potentially, they even have redress in the West’s international legal institutions, like the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. As a result, subduing the Palestinians — or maintaining “calm”, as Western establishments prefer to call it — has become more and more difficult and expensive. And second, on Oct. 7, Hamas proved that Palestinian resistance cannot be contained even under a siege enforced by drones, and an Iron Dome interception system protecting Israel from retaliatory rockets. In such circumstances, Palestinians have shown they will seek surprising and creative ways to break out of their confinement and bring their oppression into the spotlight.

In fact, given the West’s dulled sensitivities to Palestinian suffering, militant factions are likely to deduce that headline-grabbing atrocities — mirroring Israel’s own historic approach to the Palestinians — are the only way to gain attention. Israel understands that the Palestinians are going to continue being a thorn in its side, a reminder that Israel is not a normal state. And the struggle to correct Israel’s decades of dispossessing and brutalising Palestinians will become ever more a defining moral cause among Western publics, as the fight against apartheid South Africa once was. So Israel is taking advantage of this moment to “finish the job”. The final destination is clearly in view, as, in truth, it has been for more than seven decades. The crime is unfolding step by step, the pace quickening. And yet senior politicians and journalists in the West, like their predecessors, continue to be blind to it all.

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Qatar is trying hard to extend the truce.

Israel Receives Third List Of Hostages To Be Released From Gaza (Az.)

Israel has received a list of hostages to be released in the third stage of the implementation of a ceasefire agreement, the Kan radio station noted, Report informs referring to TASS. According to the Times of Israel newspaper, the Israeli prime minister’s office has notified the families of those on the list handed over by Qatar. The third group of hostages may be released on Sunday. The Palestinian movement Hamas announced on November 22 that an agreement on a four-day humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip had been reached through the mediation of Qatar and Egypt. The agreement stipulates the release of 50 women and children under the age of 19 who are held in Gaza in exchange for the release of 150 women and children under the age of 19 from Israeli prisons.

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“..Kiev now faces the last moment when it can lay claim to more or less acceptable terms of a truce with Moscow…”

US-German ‘Peace Talks Plot’ Shows West on Brink of Losing Ukraine (Sp.)

Washington and Berlin have reportedly kicked off a plot to push Ukraine for negotiations with Russia by slashing military supplies to Kiev and leaving Volodymyr Zelensky with little if any options, according to the German publication [Bild]. According to Bild, there is also a plan B envisaging a frozen conflict that would solidify a new quasi-border between Ukraine and Russia along the contact line. “First, [this report] should be seen in a specific temporal context,” Dmitry Evstafiev, a political scientist and High School of Economics (HSE) University professor, told Sputnik. “This is not a statement, of course, this is a publicity stunt. It appeared in the media almost immediately after the end of the meeting of the notorious Ramstein group that has made an essential decision to create the [Ground Based] Air Defense coalition to strengthen air defense.

“Moreover, it is quite obvious that they will strengthen not so much the air defense of Ukraine, but the air defense of the countries bordering Ukraine. Therefore, this is a kind of first proposal that it is necessary to take certain political steps that would indicate that Ukraine is ready for negotiations.” The second aspect is an interview given by the leader of the Servant of the People faction, Davyd Arakhamia, which is “clearly synchronized with the West.” According to Evstafiev, it is “even more indicative against the backdrop of problems at the front.” Speaking to Western journalists, Arakhamia noted that Russia’s main condition during the March 2022 peace talks with Kiev was Ukraine’s neutrality and guarantees that the Eastern European country wouldn’t join NATO. (It was Arakhamia who headed the Ukrainian delegation during the negotiations with Russians in Belarus and Türkiye in 2022.)

In addition, he debunked the Western media narrative that Russia does not want to negotiate peace with Ukraine by saying that Moscow is open to talks and it may start them when Kiev is ready. “At the moment, [Western] support to Kiev is becoming more and more politically expensive/costly, or whatever you want to call it, for the key countries that provide assistance, these are, first of all: Germany and the United States,” said Evstafiev. “The United States has already almost halted aid [to Ukraine]. Of course, there will still be a revaluation through the Pentagon, but one can no longer expect large packages.”

“Assistance from the European Union will be largely aimed at maintaining the functionality of the public administration system and some kind of social support, but not so much for military support. Therefore, the first point is that support for Kiev has become toxic in terms of politics. “The second point, which is absolutely clearly visible from the statements of Western sources, is that Kiev now faces the last moment when it can lay claim to more or less acceptable terms of a truce with Moscow. (…) The third point – which Westerners do not conceal – is that Russia will agree to any starting conditions for these negotiations. Arakhamia speaks about this directly, openly and without hesitation.”

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What a drama that woman is.

Ukraine Will ‘Strengthen EU’ – Baerbock (RT)

The EU and NATO will continue to back Ukraine because they view such support as geopolitically critical, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said. Speaking at the Green Party Conference in Karlsruhe on Saturday, Baerbock argued that the European Union has to accept Kiev, as it can no longer afford any gray areas in Europe. “It’s in our own geopolitical interest that Ukraine joins the European Union, which is why we will not only continue our support for Ukraine, but also strengthen it in the EU and NATO,” she said, stressing that “Europe is our life insurance and that’s what is important and geostrategically crucial.” “Today it is clear that Ukraine will strengthen the EU in the foreseeable future,” she stressed.

Last month, Baerbock said that Ukraine’s future “lies in” the EU, including regions that were incorporated by Russia in 2022 but are still claimed by Kiev. “[The EU] will soon stretch from Lisbon to Lugansk,” Baerbock told journalists on the sidelines of the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in the Ukrainian capital. Reiterating Berlin’s stance that Ukraine should join the EU, Baerbock said the same applies to Moldova, Georgia and potentially the Western Balkans, so as to leave no “gray areas” in Europe. However, earlier in November, she admitted that the bloc itself would have to undergo “tedious” reforms to properly function with so many members. Germany is Ukraine’s second-largest donor of military aid behind the US, and Baerbock has become one of the most vocal advocates of Kiev since the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Berlin recently pledged to “expand and increase” its support for Kiev in the coming years. Berlin is planning to provide another air-defense system and electricity generators as part of the so-called “winter protection umbrella” scheme.Having spent some $18.2 billion providing military assistance to Kiev, Germany still trails far behind the US, which has spent around $45 billion, according to Germany’s Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Russia has stated that Western arms supplies to Ukraine have failed to have a significant impact on the frontline. In early November, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that “despite the supply of new kinds of NATO weapons, the Kiev regime is losing.” The Russian military has also regularly published photos and videos of destroyed Ukrainian heavy armor, including German-made Leopard tanks.

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Sink Germany, that is.

Germany Today Could Do What Hitler Did But Faster – Hungary’s Top MP (RT)

Germany is destroying itself faster than under Adolf Hitler’s rule, while the UN is nothing but a front company for propaganda, Hungarian parliamentary speaker Laszlo Kover has said. The senior MP, well-known for repeatedly making various controversial statements, produced a flurry of inflammatory remarks on Thursday when he spoke at a sovereignty-protection forum held in the central Hungarian town of Jaszapati. The speaker launched a bitter attack on Germany, comparing its current leadership to that of the Hitler era.“We have no reason to be happy that the Germans are destroying themselves and are doing so with a whirlwind speed, perhaps faster than Hitler did,” Kover asserted.

Hitler needed 12 years to accomplish this, those who are now [in Berlin] do not even need 12 years to send Germany to the ground in every sense, economically and socially. Apart from obliterating German leadership, the top MP was also highly critical of the EU, as well as the UN. He blasted the United Nations as a mere “front company” without any weight and being used only for propaganda purposes. Kover, who is a co-founder of Hungary’s Fidesz party, compared the European Union to the Warsaw Pact, a long-defunct Cold War-era security system established by the USSR and its Eastern European satellites, including Hungary. Nowadays, Brussels effectively plays the same role as Moscow used to play at the time, the MP suggested, insisting that Budapest was at war only with the Eurobureaucracy rather than with the EU itself. “The Union is us,” he stressed.

Kover’s speech at the forum also included a personal touch, as he launched a bitter attack on the US ambassador to Hungary, David Pressman, stating the top diplomat actually meant that little to him, he literally considered Washington’s envoy in Budapest a “non-existent” person. “He is not persona non-grata, but rather a non-person,” the speaker stated. “For me, for example, he’s a non-existent person who sometimes appears. I don’t know who he is, what he wants, he’s supposed to be an ambassador, but he doesn’t act like one.” It “doesn’t matter” what the US diplomat relays to the Hungarian government – and otherwise – given that Pressman apparently came to the country with a firm belief he was actually sent to govern it, Kover explained.

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“Theoretically, any of these candidates earning just a small percentage in one key state could be enough to fuck up the whole map for the major parties — much less all of them..”

The Mind-Bending Politics of RFK Jr.’s Spoiler Campaign (NYMag)

“Kennedy” and “Democrat” had become practically synonymous since the family landed in America in 1848. “I have a strong emotional connection to the party,” he said. He didn’t want to leave. “I was very resistant to it.” But it was the way forward: “Life is a series of separations … I feel like I didn’t really have a choice.” The choice he did make landed like a Big Bang, its impact immediately redefining the contours of presidential politics. The general election is now projected to be a three-way race between Biden, Trump, and their mutual, Kennedy, with a cluster of less popular third-party candidates filling out the constellation. Deep polarization to a near evenly divided electorate means major-party candidates are super-vulnerable to external threats.

Much was made of a recent New York Times–Siena College poll that showed Trump beating Biden in several key swing states. The reality is more like, in a reliably unreliable estimate of how people will behave on Election Day a year from now, you have two likely nominees so unlikable that they are tied for historic unlikableness with the 2016 nominees (only one candidate has been a historically unlikable constant across elections). Then factor in the margin of error of 1.8-to-4.8 points across the dataset. Then rerun the poll with Kennedy in the mix, as Times–Siena did, and you get a chaotic and scarcely recognizable race with Kennedy in striking distance at 24 percent. As CNN polling savant Harry Enten put it, “A clear Trump polling lead became a jumbled mess with no clear favorite to win in the Electoral College thanks to Kennedy. Both Biden (34 percent) and Trump (36 percent) were south of 40 percent in an aggregate across the six states.”

It’s true that in the 1992 election, Ross Perot was often outright beating Bush and Clinton in the polls, and he didn’t become president. But Kennedy doesn’t have to win to sabotage Biden or Trump. He doesn’t even have to come close. In 2000, when Democrats won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College, Ralph Nader scored 97,488 votes in Florida, where Al Gore lost by 537 votes. In 2016, when Democrats again won the popular vote and lost the Electoral College, Libertarian Gary Johnson got 172,136 votes in Michigan, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein got 51,463. Clinton lost by 10,704 votes. Johnson got 106,674 votes in Wisconsin and Stein 31,072. Clinton lost by 22,748. Not only is Kennedy polling more competitively now than any independent since Perot, but he has backup. Celebrity academic Cornel West is also running as an independent. Stein has risen from the dead to haunt the Dems once more on a Green Party ticket.

From retirement, Senator Joe Manchin threatens to run with No Labels, which has already secured ballot access in the swing state of Arizona. Theoretically, any of these candidates earning just a small percentage in one key state could be enough to fuck up the whole map for the major parties — much less all of them. In the face of this reality, Biden plans to argue that Kennedy is a closet conservative. Trump is already arguing that Kennedy is a closet liberal. (If either likely nominee has more sophisticated messaging planned to fight off Kennedy, it is not yet apparent.) That both claims are sort of true and sort of not true in equal measure is, sort of, the basis of Kennedy’s appeal. According to the Times, Democratic lawyers across the country are mobilizing to suppress third-party challenges through initiatives to further limit ballot access, the central obstacle for an independent candidate. “We’ll get on the ballot in every state,” Kennedy told me.

RFK

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Go woke go broke.

The Invisible Hand Just Slapped Disney (Turley)

This year marks the 300th anniversary of Adam Smith, the iconic figure behind the theory of free markets, or of what we have since come to call “capitalism.” Born in June 1723, Smith went on to explain how the “invisible hand” of the market worked as people exercised their choices between certain products. It can shape economies and challenge whole governments. One company in particular appears to be learning that lesson. In recent filings, Disney appears to acknowledge that Smith’s invisible hand is giving the “House of Mouse” the middle finger. In a new corporate disclosure, Disney acknowledges that its controversial political and social agenda is costing the company and shareholders.In its annual SEC report, Disney acknowledges that “we face risks relating to misalignment with public and consumer tastes and preferences for entertainment, travel and consumer products.”

In an implied nod to Smith, the company observes that “the success of our businesses depends on our ability to consistently create compelling content,” and that “Generally, our revenues and profitability are adversely impacted when our entertainment offerings and products, as well as our methods to make our offerings and products available to consumers, do not achieve sufficient consumer acceptance. Further, consumers’ perceptions of our position on matters of public interest, including our efforts to achieve certain of our environmental and social goals, often differ widely and present risks to our reputation and brands.” Disney and other companies have previously ignored consumer backlash over corporate campaigns such as Disney’s opposition to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law. Corporate officials once avoided political controversies and focused on selling their products and services rather than viewpoints.

Disney has reportedly lost a billion dollars just on four of its recent “woke” movie flops, productions denounced by critics as pushing political agendas or storylines. Yet until now, the company has continued to roll out underperforming movies as revenue has dropped. What’s more, Disney stars persist in bad-mouthing its fabled storylines and undermining its new productions. The company admits that it has suffered a continued slide in “impressions” (that is, viewership) by 14 percent. For shareholders, it may seem counterintuitive that corporate executives would trade off profits for political or social agendas. However, it does serve as a rationale for individual corporate executives who are professionally advanced when they champion such causes.

For example, when Alissa Heinerscheid, vice president of marketing for Bud Light, pledged to drop Bud Light’s “fratty reputation and embrace inclusivity,” she was heralded by colleagues, even though her move went on to tank that brand as a whole. Indeed, Bud Light has still not recovered from the loss of billions in profits, market share, and overall market value. The same trend is playing out in the media. Public trust in journalists has fallen to a record low. Yet media executives continue to push advocacy journalism, abandoning objectivity. As former New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones declared, “all journalism is activism.”

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“..Epstein worried that saving lives by curing diseases would not lower population growth rates..”

Bill Gates, Jeffrey Epstein and a Global Health Investment Fund (BB)

Over time, Gates and JPMorgan established an investment fund that sought to profit from the development of vaccines and other health technologies. Epstein wanted a piece of the action, and Staley brought Epstein into the Gates partnership. The Gates-JPMorgan partnership was called the Global Health Investment Fund (GHIF) and was created circa 2011. At the time, Staley managed the Epstein relationship for the bank, and Epstein was a valuable client who brought JPMorgan a lot of business. Epstein was an adviser to billionaires like Victoria’s Secret mogul Leslie Wexner and Wall Street legend Leon Black and the “family offices” which manage their fortunes. Wexner and Black deny any involvement in Epstein’s criminal activities.

The GHIF partnership brought in a host of other powerful investors, including The Pfizer Foundation, Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, as well as entities funded by the governments of Sweden, Canada, and Germany. There would also be private support from “qualified individuals and family offices.”The GHIF’s purpose was to give “individual and institutional investors the opportunity to finance late-stage global health technologies that have the potential to save millions of lives in low-income countries.” The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency committed to help offset any potential GHIF losses. As the GHIF was getting started, Epstein began pitching other business ideas to Gates and his foundation staff. They met “many times,” according to the New York Times, and Gates flew on Epstein’s Gulfstream plane from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Palm Beach, Florida, according to a March 2013 flight manifest.

It turned out that Gates and Epstein had mutual interests in the areas of global health and funding scientific breakthroughs. Both men also had a deep interest in genetic tinkering projects. Epstein reportedly wanted to “seed the human race” with his own DNA by impregnating scores of women. Ironically (or perhaps hypocritically), Epstein was concerned about overpopulation. Likewise, Gates has long been worried about overpopulation and has stated repeatedly that he wants to mass vaccinate the third world, specifically for the purpose of curbing population growth. In a 2010 TED Talk, Gates succinctly explained his rationale for funding vaccines and birth control to curtail population growth worldwide.

“The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about 9 billion,” Gates warned. “Now, if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by, perhaps, ten or fifteen percent.” But Epstein worried that saving lives by curing diseases would not lower population growth rates. He “criticized efforts to reduce starvation and provide health care to the poor because doing so increased the risk of overpopulation,” the New York Times reported. Bill and Melinda Gates apparently do not see curing diseases in the same way.

Meet Bill Gates

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And I began to really see close up that there was so much lying coming out of NIH [National Institutes of Health], coming out of Fauci, coming out of, unfortunately, the government protecting all of this and now it’s spilling out..”

Jeffrey Sachs Says COVID About ‘Massive Government Lying’ (NM)

A prominent “lifelong Democrat” scholar and economist who chaired a COVID-19 commission blasted Dr. Anthony Fauci and others for promoting “massive government lying” regarding the coronavirus, and accused Senate Democrats of refusing to investigate the virus’ origins. Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University professor who chaired a COVID-19 commission set up by “The Lancet” medical journal, said he has since left the Democratic Party after seeing how government officials have behaved around the origins of the virus. “The sad part of this, not with respect to the vaccine per se, but with respect to the origin of the virus, is that it’s yet another case of massive government lying,” Sachs said during an appearance on The Hill’s “Rising” show. “We have since discovered from the start that what the government told us about ‘natural origins’ of this virus were hokey, and really amounting to scientific fraud.”

Sachs said that even the scientists who wrote “The proximal origin of SARS-CoV-2” in the spring of 2020 “didn’t even believe that as they were writing it because they knew that there were so many hints that this could well have come out of a U.S. lab, or out of Chinese lab, or out of a U.S.-China partnership in the research.” Sachs admitted he, too, bought into the mainstream media’s COVID-19 reporting at the beginning of the pandemic, especially after a major scientific journal, “Nature,” said there was overwhelming evidence the origin was natural.He then credited reporting by The Intercept, U.S. Right to Know, and whistleblowers for helping to change his thinking.”[They] started letting us in on what was really said inside, was shocking,” said Sachs, who added that after requesting a certain document he had been refused by a fellow commission member.

Rancourt

“I said, ‘Well, you can’t be on the commission. We’re a transparent commission,” Sachs said. “And I began to really see close up that there was so much lying coming out of NIH [National Institutes of Health], coming out of Fauci, coming out of, unfortunately, the government protecting all of this and now it’s spilling out.” Sachs insists his desire to investigate COVID-19’s origin has more to do with present-day and future research. He credited Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., for focusing on gain-of-function research and for trying to persuade Democrat colleagues to probe the issue. “It’s shocking to me that Democratic senators can’t understand this is not a partisan issue,” Sachs said. “This is a life and death issue. What kind of research is going on? What kind of laboratory manipulation’s going on? What is going on under what we euphemistically … call our biodefense research? Because who knows what it really is?

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X files

 

 


First, Estonia, then New Zealand. Now, Slovenia?

 

 

Grocery shopping

 

 

 

 

Starlings

 

 

Sleep dog

 

 

Impossible

 

 

 

 

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