Jun 142024
 


René Magritte Mysteries of the horizon (a.k.a. The Masterpiece) 1955

 

 

 

 

 

West Has Declared ‘War Without Rules’ On Russia – Medvedev (RT)
Medvedev Urges To Turn Life In West Into ‘Permanent Nightmare’ (TASS)
Use of F-16s On Russian Territory ‘Not Escalation’ – NATO Chief (RT)
Biden, Zelensky To Sign 10-Year ‘Arm & Train’ Defense Deal at G7 (ZH)
Biden Needs More Bloodshed In Europe To Stay In Power – Zakharova (TASS)
Do The New US Sanctions Mark Russia’s Final Divorce From The Dollar? (Johston)
Will Average Citizens Pay the Price for G7’s Theft of Russian Funds? (Miles)
EU Now at a Crossroads: Reform or Self-Destruction (Jay)
Macron’s Coalition Sees Him as Liability Ahead of Feared Snap Election (Sp.)
Fine, Penalty For Hungary: 1 Million A Day For Detaining Asylum Seekers (RTL)
Joe Biden Vows Not To Pardon Hunter (RT)
WaPo Makes Last Plea to Keep Laptop “Conspiracy Theory” Alive (Turley)
Musk Wants Ukrainian NGO Designated As Terrorist Group (RT)

 

 

 

 

Alex Tucker Elon

 

 

 

 

AOC SCOTUS

 

 

RFK Trump

 

 

Massie Bragg

 

 

Hoax

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

“Moscow should “obliterate their energy infrastructure, industry, transport, banking and social services. Instil fear over an imminent collapse of all critical infrastructure..”

West Has Declared ‘War Without Rules’ On Russia – Medvedev (RT)

Moscow should use every opportunity to inflict “maximum damage” on Western nations that have declared a “war without rules” on Russia, former president Dmitry Medvedev has argued.Every weakness of the US and its allies should be exploited to undermine them and obstruct life for their citizens, the Russian official said on Thursday, reacting to the latest round of sanctions announced by Washington earlier this week. ”Are they afraid that we would transfer our arms to the enemies of the Western world? We should send every kind of weapon, except nuclear (for now)!” Medvedev wrote on social media. “Are they afraid of anarchy and crime waves in large cities? We should help disrupt their municipal authorities!”

Russia could trigger a war in space, wage a psychological warfare campaign against Western citizens so that they “tremble under blankets in their cozy homes” and unleash a tsunami of fake news “to turn their life into a never-ending nightmare, in which they cannot distinguish reality from the wildest fiction.” Moscow should “obliterate their energy infrastructure, industry, transport, banking and social services. Instil fear over an imminent collapse of all critical infrastructure,” according to Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy chair of the Russian Security Council.

The latest round of American restrictions against Russian entities targets energy, metals and mining as well as the financial sector. Among other things, it has forced the Moscow Stock Exchange to suspend all trade in the US dollar and the euro. The package is one of the biggest since the Ukraine conflict escalated into open hostilities in February 2022, impacting over $100 million in trade between Russia and its foreign partners, according to estimate from the US Department of the Treasury. Medvedev claimed that a campaign of “maximum damage” as outlined in his post was preferable to simply ignoring the Western pressure, and urged Russian citizens to act accordingly.

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“We should try every day to do as much damage as possible to those countries that have imposed these restrictions..“

Medvedev Urges To Turn Life In West Into ‘Permanent Nightmare’ (TASS)

Russia should get biblical with its response to Western sanctions by turning life in the West into a “permanent nightmare” and inflicting maximum damage on unfriendly countries, Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev said. “We should try every day to do as much damage as possible to those countries that have imposed these restrictions on our country and all our citizens. Hit them where it hurts,” the official wrote on his Telegram channel. “Do damage everywhere, paralyze the operation of their companies and government agencies. Find vulnerabilities in their critical technologies and attack them mercilessly. Literally destroy their energy, industry, transportation, banking and social services,” he said. “Let’s turn their lives into an ongoing permanent nightmare,” Medvedev concluded, referencing the Old Testament principle of “an eye for an eye.”

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Says who?

Use of F-16s On Russian Territory ‘Not Escalation’ – NATO Chief (RT)

Ukrainian strikes anywhere inside Russia using Western-donated F-16 aircraft would not be an escalation of the conflict and would not make NATO member states parties to it, according to the military bloc’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He was asked on Thursday whether restrictions should be imposed on how Kiev can use the US-designed fighter jets. Several European nations intend to provide dozens of the warplanes once Ukraine has pilots and ground infrastructure to fly them. Speaking ahead of a NATO defense ministers’ gathering in Brussels, Stoltenberg said “different allies have different types of restrictions on the use of their weapons,” and welcomed the recent relaxation of these rules by some member states.

Washington reportedly gave Kiev the green light to fire American weapons at targets outside of what the two nations consider Ukrainian territory, allowing strikes inside Russia’s Belgorod Region as part of the fight for the neighboring Kharkov Region. Some other Western nations have also said their weapons can be used in similar ways. Ukraine has the right to defend itself, and this includes “striking legitimate military targets” on the territory of Russia, Stoltenberg declared. “Self-defense is not escalation,” he added. “And we have the right to help Ukraine,” he continued. “By doing that, NATO allies don’t become party to the conflict.” Moscow perceives the entire conflict as part of a US-initiated proxy war against Russia. It considers NATO’s increasing military presence in Ukraine and its intention to eventually bring the nation into the fold as major national security risks.

NATO member states arming Ukraine, providing “mercenaries” to bolster its troops, and helping Kiev to plan and deliver attacks against Russia are de facto participants in the hostilities, senior Russian officials have claimed. Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that any attacks using Western weapons deep inside Russia will be retaliated against. Moscow could supply long-range weapons from its own arsenal to third parties, who would then use them against Western military assets, he suggested. Such tit-for-tat escalation could lead to a major disaster for all parties involved, Putin has warned.Andrey Kartapolov, the chairman of the Russian State Duma Defense Committee, said last week that Moscow would consider any bases used by Kiev to fly donated F-16s as legitimate military targets regardless of what country they are located in.

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“..given the pledge is an “executive agreement” and not a formal treaty, it can be undone by future American administrations..”

Biden, Zelensky To Sign 10-Year ‘Arm & Train’ Defense Deal at G7 (ZH)

As they meet on the sidelines of the Group of Seven summit in Italy, President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are planning to sign a deal for long-term US military assistance for Ukraine. The deal commits Washington to ten years of arming and training the Ukrainian military, and which bolsters the military-industrial complex toward producing more of its own needs for the nation’s armed forces. However, given the pledge is an “executive agreement” and not a formal treaty, it can be undone by future American administrations. CNN previewed of the expected soon to be announced deal, “The US-Ukraine agreement does not make a specific monetary pledge to support Ukraine’s defense, two of the sources familiar with the agreement said.”

“An annex in the agreement will lay out how the Biden administration plans to work with Congress on the implementation of the security commitments, one of the sources said, specifically the long-term funding that will be needed to support Ukraine’s defense,” the report added. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby had further previewed Tuesday that the US “will continue to be right up front and clear” at the G7, and that Washington “will take bold steps to show Mr. Putin that time is not on his side and that he cannot outlast us, as we support Ukraine fight for freedom.”

While the big decade-long security pact will provide “consultations” for Kiev in the event of another future Russian attack on Ukraine, there’s nothing in it that legally binds the United States to direct intervention in its behalf in the future. Despite the continued talk out of Brussels of future Ukrainian membership in NATO, European powers continue to line up their own separate defense pacts with Ukraine. NATO still wants to “Trump-proof” its future commitments to Ukraine… “The pledge the US and Ukraine are expected to sign will be similar to the 14 other bilateral agreements Ukraine has already reached with other allies, including the UK, France and Germany,” CNN writes. “The US-Ukraine agreement will be the 15th such deal signed, one of the sources said, and 17 other countries have committed to negotiating similar bilateral security pacts with Ukraine,” the report underscores.

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“..arms supplies to Kiev will become obligatory for all NATO member states and will be coordinated by US Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli..”

Biden Needs More Bloodshed In Europe To Stay In Power – Zakharova (TASS)

The administration of US President Joe Biden needs “to make Europe bleed even harder” to remain in power, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s official spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, wrote on her Telegram channel.”Do European Union countries realize that Washington is embroiling them into a direct confrontation with Russia under the NATO flag?” she wrote, commenting on NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s plans to make arms supplies to Kiev obligatory for all NATO members. “The West is hysterically feeding its public with claims of Russia’s alleged imminent aggression against Western countries, and it means only one thing – the Biden administration needs to make Europe bleed even harder to prevent the collapse of its own government and of the US economy.” Earlier, Stoltenberg said that arms supplies to Kiev will become obligatory for all NATO member states and will be coordinated by US Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander of US European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe.

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“..once a Russian entity falls under US sanctions it is seen as radioactive elsewhere and other institutions steer clear..”

Do The New US Sanctions Mark Russia’s Final Divorce From The Dollar? (Johston)

The endless parade of Western sanctions on Russia barely makes the news anymore. But this week the US Treasury did manage to conjure up something that has generated attention. In what may be the most ambitious package since the initial wave back in February 2022, the American authorities greatly increased the scope for applying secondary penalties on foreign financial institutions found working with restricted Russian entities, and placed the Moscow Exchange and its clearing house under blocking sanctions, among other measures. The exchange subsequently announced that it was suspending all settlements in dollars and euros. It’s the latter that is the most interesting and has elicited the most chatter. But, before pursuing this train of thought, let’s dig into the nitty-gritty a little bit and sort out what is actually going to happen to currency trading in Russia.

To trade currencies on the Moscow Exchange, banks and other players send ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ bids to the exchange throughout the day. These buyers and sellers do not trade with each other directly but rather though the exchange’s clearing house, the National Settlement Center (NSC). In the evening, these trades would be settled by the clearing center, which had correspondent accounts in foreign banks for each currency. In other words, currency trading on the exchange involved the participation of foreign banks. It was not an enclosed system such as trading in Russian stocks (where the shares of Russian companies are bought and sold in rubles by investors without the involvement of any foreign entity). It is exactly this ability to clear currency trades that has been taken away by the new sanctions. American correspondent banks will now be barred from carrying out settlements with the NSC. From a technical standpoint, it is actually the sanctions against the NSC – rather than the exchange itself – that are most sensitive.

The Russian central bank has stated that currency trading will henceforth take place over-the-counter (OTC), meaning in decentralized fashion. But what is important to understand is that this is hardly a radical move – currency markets across the globe are conducted OTC, so this will in a sense merely bring Russia in line with standard practice. Russia was unusual in that currency trading primarily took place on a centralized exchange, whereas generally currencies are traded through a decentralized network of banks, a system much more flexible than relying on an exchange. The New York Stock Exchange, for example, does not host currency trading. Moving to OTC doesn’t mean that currency trading in Russia is going to resemble every other currency market. But it does provide a bit of a context to understand that this shift itself isn’t particularly radical. In fact, Russia is already essentially halfway there. According to the latest report from the Bank of Russia, 58% of currency trading in the country takes place off-exchange.

The central bank will use as its official rate some sort of average based on information obtained each day from banks. The new arrangement will almost certainly be a bit messy, especially at first: spreads will be wider, liquidity lower, transparency reduced, and price discovery in general harder. Transactional costs will be higher, a sensitive point for importers, for example. The market will be more prone to manipulation, and some analysts have posited that different exchange rates could emerge: an official central bank rate, the rates offered by various banks and a black-market, ‘street’ rate. However, on Thursday the Bank of Russia provided assurances that the exchange rate would remain market-driven and unified.

What exactly will happen to the ruble exchange rate remains to be seen, but there are strong grounds to believe that it will not move significantly from current levels. After all, the fundamental supply-demand structure of the market will not change in any dramatic way. The ruble’s exchange rate is determined by supply and demand from foreign trade and not on which platform trading takes place. Early indications are the market will largely shrug off the closure of dollar and euro exchange trading. There is another important angle to consider here. Formally, only American correspondent banks have been barred from working with the NSC. But experience has shown that once a Russian entity falls under US sanctions it is seen as radioactive elsewhere and other institutions steer clear. The increasingly bellicose rhetoric about secondary sanctions emanating from Washington will surely only exacerbate this tendency.

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“[Dedollarization] means the demise of American power, because American power is based on the ability to pay bills by printing money..”

Will Average Citizens Pay the Price for G7’s Theft of Russian Funds? (Miles)

News of the development emerged Thursday, although the group of Western economies has yet to formally approve the action. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni confirmed the reports, drawing a distinction between the expropriation of earned interest and the outright seizure of Russian savings held in European banks. “We are certainly not talking about confiscating these assets,” Meloni claimed at the G7 meeting in Fasano. But the move is nonetheless highly controversial in the precedent it sets, claims analyst Dr. George Szamuely, and may be seen as a prelude to the wholesale theft of the funds. The analyst at the London-based Global Policy Institute joined Sputnik’s The Final Countdown program on Thursday to discuss how the development will harm financially strained Western citizens. “It doesn’t in any way conform to international law,” said Szamuely of the G7’s plan, “and let’s keep in mind this has never been done before.”

“It is customary to freeze accounts of your adversaries during wartime,” the author continued. “It is not customary to then help yourself to that money and put it to whatever uses you want and, in this case, the uses it’s being put to are for Ukraine to buy weapons in order to kill Russians. So Russian money is being used to kill Russians. That is just so beyond outrageous.” The majority of frozen Russian assets at play are held in European banks, noted Szamuely. Leaders across the continent have urged restraint as plans involving Russian funds have been discussed in recent months, fearing repercussions and reputational damage to European financial institutions. Yet, in a striking demonstration of the United States’ power over its NATO allies, Washington eventually prevailed and forced through the plan. The move carries significant risks in its weaponization of the Western financial system, with observers claiming the confiscation will likely convince global financial interests to further decouple out of fear of the safety of their own assets.

“China has a lot of American assets and European assets, and assets around the world,” noted host Angie Wong. “That could be seized at any moment. And the same treatment could be made of them if they don’t play the way the G7 wants them to play.” “Isn’t this going to backfire on the US and some of the G7 leaders?” Wong asked. “Because ultimately that just means you’re not going to get the foreign investments from Russia or China, maybe Saudi Arabia, whoever their next target is going to be.” “I would’ve thought so and I would’ve thought that it would elevate pressure on China, Russia, India, and other countries to set up their own alternative financial systems,” said Szamuely, referring to efforts that are already under way within the BRICS economic bloc.

But the consequences of the loss of dollar hegemony could prove even more disastrous. Observers point out that the trend is already well underway with Russia, China, India and other countries increasingly inking deals to pursue trade denominated in their own currencies. The BRICS bloc has also investigated the possibility of creating its own currency. The dollar’s role as the de facto global reserve currency is so crucial that it has helped drive US foreign policy, with analysts claiming Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s plans to create a gold-backed African currency provided impetus for his Western-backed overthrow.

“[Dedollarization] means the demise of American power, because American power is based on the ability to pay bills by printing money,” noted US economist Paul Craig Roberts. “That would mean a massive US inflation. It’d be a kind of inflation that results from currency collapse. There’s nothing monetary authorities can do about that. Those kinds of inflations are the real inflations, the real deadly ones.”

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“..Ursula von der Leyen represents the old guard and everything which is wrong with the EU: deluded, outdated views run by elitists who believe the only solution to the EU’s power problem is to take more..”

EU Now at a Crossroads: Reform or Self-Destruction (Jay)

Ursula von der Leyen represents the old guard and everything which is wrong with the EU: deluded, outdated views run by elitists who believe the only solution to the EU’s power problem is to take more

The EU has just experienced a monumental change, following years of failed immigration policies, which has ushered in a massive number of far-right MEPs in the more powerful EU member states. It’s too early to say whether this will make too much of a change to policy decisions at the highest echelons of the European Union but certainly the European Parliament itself is, possibly for the first time ever, going to be an interesting place with now a quarter of all of the 720 MEPs coming from far-right groups. Traditionally most people who voted in EU elections were stalwart supporters of the project and the ethos of one Europe united by a policy of free movement of goods, services and people and, for many, a single currency. The few who voted against the mainstream parties – the main bloc made up of Christian democrats and socialists – were those who wanted to use their vote as a throw-away gesture to send a signal to their own elites that they want change. That protest vote in the past was always very small as the EU elite in Brussels always benefited from a voting system which was tilted in their favour. But no more.

The European Parliament, which most sceptics considered to be a fake assembly whose only real role is to rubber stamp draft legislation from either the powerful European Commission or member states (via the European Council), could now become suddenly relevant to the whole project. For the last five years, there has only been two Irish MEPs to take the floor and tackle the European Commission head on, on its genocide in Gaza or its phoney war in Ukraine. But now something like 180 MEPs will use their two minutes speaking time to tackle the commission on its failed foreign policy, immigration and trade deals with China, for example. The Ukraine war could be a central theme which will probably be a thorn in the side of the European Commission and its chief – whoever that might be as, despite supporting statements from the Christian Democratic group in the European parliament, it is not a certainty that Ursula von der Leyen will return as Commission chief.

If she succeeds and stays on as EU Commission president, she will have a tough time in parliamentary plenary sessions as Europe’s biggest countries – who pay the most into the EU budget – have picked up the most far-right seats. Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National scored the most decisive victory, winning 30 of the country’s 81 seats, and more than double the votes of President Emmanuel Macron’s Renew party. That political slaughter pushed Macron to call a snap election. Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy won 24 seats and increased her share of the national vote, and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) came second in Germany and snapped up 15 seats. Presently the AfD doesn’t have a pan-European group to align itself to and, under EU rules, benefit from huge amounts of cash from the EU parliament as it was kicked out of one of the two ‘groups’, prompting fears that it will create one itself and invite others to join it.

In the European parliament both France’s and Italy’s far-right MEPs are in different groups, but in reality, when it comes to voting, for sure there will be a unified policy on most issues which will give them leverage with the European Commission that we have never seen in the short history of the EU. It’s important to note that far-right parties topped the polls in Austria and Hungary, too, with important gains in Spain and Cyprus. All of these countries have one thing in common: real immigration problems which neither the mainstream political groups nor the EU has addressed. But the real issue is the identity and survival of the European Union itself as this shake-up is certainly going to threaten the traditional power structure.. Unlike President Macron who wisely stated to the press that the far-right votes were a message which he is listening to, von der Leyen’s statements were more about fighting the new threat.

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“You won’t see Macron’s face on my campaign posters, I can tell you that..”

Macron’s Coalition Sees Him as Liability Ahead of Feared Snap Election (Sp.)

French President Emmanuel Macron’s coalition fears that he could drag it down in the polls ahead of the snap legislative election that is itself seen as a disaster in the making, Politico reported on Wednesday, citing lawmakers and party staffers. Macron’s five-party Besoin d’Europe coalition was dealt a staggering blow in the European Parliament elections last week where it won 14.6% of the vote, against the far-right National Rally’s 31.37%. Macron called a snap parliamentary vote in the hope of wresting the initiative back from the right, but his party and coalition members now fear they will be the ones to pay for this mistake. “We are being thrown under the bus for a mistake that belongs to him,” an adviser in Macron’s own Renaissance party told the Politico online newspaper on condition of anonymity. “The more he talks, the more we lose points,” another adviser to a member of the French parliament from Macron’s party said.

Heavyweights in Macron’s coalition have been reportedly urging the president to take a step away from the campaign trail to give them a fighting chance of winning. Francois Bayrou, Macron’s key ally and leader of the Renaissance-allied Modem party, came to the presidential palace on Monday to tell Macron that he “mustn’t get too involved in the campaign,” the news site quoted a centrist lawmaker as saying. Other coalition lawmakers have been reportedly distancing themselves from Macron as they gear up for the first round of the legislative polls, due June 30 “You won’t see Macron’s face on my campaign posters, I can tell you that,” a member of parliament from the president’s coalition told Politico. An official with Macron’s Renaissance parliamentary group accused the 46-year-old of being oblivious to France’s “anti-president” mood.

The news outlet said that polls show that Macron is being perceived as aloof and out of touch. An Elysee staffer was quoted as saying that Macron was so “intoxicated by his own presence” during D-Day celebrations last week that the results of the European elections “hit him hard.” Despite calls from his friends and allies, Macron plans to get heavily involved in the campaign, which his coalition partners reportedly see as a huge risk. He is said to be planning to saturate the media with three appearances per week, starting with a major speech on Wednesday.

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Google translate from Dutch.

Fine, Penalty For Hungary: 1 Million A Day For Detaining Asylum Seekers (RTL)

Hungary must pay a high fine and a penalty because the EU country continues to lock up asylum seekers, in violation of European rules. The country is ‘deliberately’ evading the right to asylum and that is an ‘unprecedented and extremely serious violation’ of European legislation, the European Court of Justice ruled. The court ruled three and a half years ago that Hungary, which has been pursuing a very strict migration policy for years, is not adhering to the rules. For example, the country does not give rejected asylum seekers the time to await an appeal against their rejection in Hungary. The government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has not adjusted that policy, the highest European court confirmed after a complaint from the European Commission.

Hungary must therefore pay a fine of 200 million euros. For every day that the government in Budapest continues with the contested policy, it must pay an additional penalty of 1 million. Such a high penalty is rarely imposed by the European Court of Justice. Poland was punished with a penalty of half a million euros three years ago. When that country refused to pay, the European Commission withheld the amount from EU subsidies for Poland.

Hungary is shifting its responsibility to the other EU member states, the court in Luxembourg ruled. “Including its financial responsibility.” The country is ‘seriously undermining the principle of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility.’ Hungary has improved its life on one point after the 2020 verdict. The detention camps on the border with Serbia where the country locked up asylum seekers have been dismantled. Orbán finds the fine and penalty payment ‘scandalous and unacceptable’. Hungary is only defending the borders of the European Union, he says on X. “It seems that illegal migrants are more important to Brussels bureaucrats than their own European citizens.”

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Sacrificing Hunter to claim the system works for Trump, too?!

Joe Biden Vows Not To Pardon Hunter (RT)

US President Joe Biden has promised not to pardon his troubled son Hunter Biden, who was recently found guilty of violating federal gun laws. A Delaware jury announced their verdict on Tuesday, several months before the 2024 presidential election where Joe Biden will face former President Donald Trump. “I am satisfied that I’m not going to do anything – I said I’d abide by the jury’s decision. I will do that. And I will not pardon him,” Biden said at a news conference during a G7 meeting in southern Italy. Asked by reporters whether he would commute his son’s sentence, he replied, “No.” The president reaffirmed his support for his son. “I’m extremely proud of my son Hunter. He has overcome an addiction. He is one of the brightest, the most decent men I know,” he said.

According to the prosecution, Hunter Biden violated gun laws by failing to disclose his addiction to crack cocaine when he bought a revolver in 2018. Hunter Biden has admitted to struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. His defense team, however, argued that he did not consider himself an addict at the time of purchasing the weapon. Hunter Biden could face up to 25 years in prison and a fine of up to $750,000, according to CNN. The sentencing date has not been set yet. Last year, the prosecution attempted to reach a plea deal with the younger Biden. The potential deal fell apart, however, after it was criticized by the judge. Republicans and conservative figures have accused Hunter Biden of corruption and influence peddling on his father’s behalf. The Bidens have denied any wrongdoing.

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“We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren’t.”

WaPo Makes Last Plea to Keep Laptop “Conspiracy Theory” Alive (Turley)

Across the media, journalists have recognized that the Hunter Biden laptop is authentic and, as established early by American intelligence agencies, not “Russian disinformation.” With the authentication of the laptop in the Delaware trial as “real” and untampered, most media has chosen to walk away with a slightly embarrassed shrug. Not the Washington Post. Its columnist, Philip Bump, was one of the most prominent purveyors of what the U.S. government now calls a “conspiracy theory.” This week, Bump ran another column to assure liberals that they were right all along about the laptop story.In 2021, when media organizations were finally admitting that the laptop was authentic, Bump was still declaring that it was a “conspiracy theory.” Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Bump continued to suggest that “the laptop was seeded by Russian intelligence.”

After Bump had a meltdown in an interview when confronted over past false claims, I wrote a column about the litany of such false claims, including the laptop conspiracy theory. The Post surprised many of us by issuing a statement that they stood by all of Bump’s reporting, including the laptop conspiracy theory. That was in August 2023. Well, Bump is back. In his column, Bump takes after various people calling the media to account for burying this story before and after the election, including myself. In hitting Sean Hannity for a recent segment, Bump makes a common evasion among laptop deniers: “One is that he is conflating the laptop presented as evidence at the trial, the one obtained by the FBI in 2019, with the ‘laptop’ that was the source of the New York Post story.” For those of us who have covered the laptop since the story ran at the New York Post, it is as maddening as it is mendacious.

At the time of the story, some of us noted that the contents of the laptop could be confirmed since these emails and messages involved third parties. Some quickly confirmed the contents as authentic. The Bidens had long been accused of influence peddling and special dealing off of Joe Biden’s positions as senator, vice president, and president. Moreover, as the media was referencing the debunked letter of former intelligence officials on this possible likely Russian disinformation, American intelligence quickly confirmed that there was no such evidence to support that claim.The media ignored the actual intelligence agencies in favor of former intelligence officials who were organized by Biden campaign operatives to release the letter. Biden then cited the letter to refuse to answer questions about his son’s influence peddling and unlawful conduct.

Bump and others used the question over whether the laptop was an authentic copy or a tampered copy to avoid any serious investigation into the underlying emails. Many simply threw up their hands and said “oh well, what can we do.” To this day, the media has shown little interest in the influence peddling operation. Few people seriously argue that the media would have shown the same limited response if these emails tied Trump children to millions in foreign influence peddling schemes. But Bump was not done: “After Hannity lamented the media’s silence on the so-called “critical development,” Turley offered a theory for why that silence had ensued.‘If the laptop is authentic, if those files are real,’ he said, “then you have these detailed accounts of a multimillion-dollar influence-peddling operation run by the Biden family. Those would also be authentic. But the media just simply doesn’t want to go there.’ Except that we already know that many of those files were real, because we got access to them and verified them.

The reason the media ‘doesn’t want to go there’ on breathless claims about a ‘Biden family’ influence-peddling operation is that the material doesn’t prove any such operation. It shows — as has by now been exhaustively explained — work done by Hunter Biden and his Uncle James that involved lots of money but did not demonstrably involve President Biden. The entire point of the House Republican impeachment effort has been to prove Joe Biden’s involvement; they have been unable to do so.” Once again, Bump makes it sound like the Post vigorously and quickly verified the laptop. The belated acknowledgement did not come much later. It was not until March 2022 that the Post finally admitted that the laptop was real, but then did comparably little to pursue the corruption and other unlawful conduct detailed on the laptop.Washington Post columnist Thomas Rid probably was the most honest when he wrote the quiet part out loud by telling the media: “We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren’t.”

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“..a supposed “ecosystem” of citizens and organizations in the US, whose narratives “echo key messages of Russian propaganda..”

Musk Wants Ukrainian NGO Designated As Terrorist Group (RT)

A Ukrainian NGO has compiled a database of influential American citizens, who it claims hold positions that ‘mirror’ those of Moscow. One of the blacklisted individuals is billionaire Elon Musk, who has called for the organization to be designated as a terrorist group. The NGO, Texty.org.ua, produced a lengthy report last week, which detailed a supposed “ecosystem” of citizens and organizations in the US, whose narratives “echo key messages of Russian propaganda” regarding the Ukraine conflict. On Wednesday, Republican members of the House Appropriations Committee added a provision to the markup of the State Department’s 2025 budget that bans Texty from receiving US funding. “It’s a good first step. They should be added to the list of sanctioned terrorist organizations,” Musk said on X (formerly Twitter) in reaction to the news.

The prohibition was championed by Representative Jim Banks, who was also targeted by the Ukrainian NGO. He told fellow Republicans that “federal bureaucrats should not support or partner with foreign groups that attempt to intimidate and silence US citizens and lawmakers.” His message alluded to a link between the department and Anatoly Bondarenko, a co-founder of Texty. He is also an instructor for the ‘TechCamp’ program, which provides training to foreign journalists, NGOs, and activists, according to the Conservative Thinker. The group has said its report was a piece of “data journalism,” and described itself as the victim of “an attack on freedom of speech and a display of chauvinism against the citizens of Ukraine. “Our critics believe that we do not have the right to investigate the streams of false information they produce about our country and us, simply because they are US citizens and we are not,” it claimed.

The original report described people on its list as “forces in the US impeding aid to Ukraine,” ranging “from Trumpists to Communists.” Highlighted in the report was the renowned anti-war group CODEPINK, organizations funded by billionaire Charles Koch, popular conservative speaker Jordan Peterson, and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Texty targeted Musk for supposedly allowing “Russian propaganda” on X, which he owns, and sharing with his followers a “highly skeptical view of the United States’ financial support for Ukraine.” Meanwhile, businessman Peter Thiel was accused of investing in Rumble, a free speech video sharing website. Unlike major platforms operated by US tech giants, it allows RT content. The report acknowledged that both entrepreneurs had contributed to Kiev’s war effort against Russia via Musk’s Starlink satellite internet system and Thiel’s Palantir big-data analysis platform, but placed them on its blacklist nevertheless.

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Bhakdi

 

 

Hancock

 

 

Duckcat
https://twitter.com/i/status/1801293466665947209

 

 

Ice puppy

 

 

Dog touch

 

 

Tooth

 

 

 

 

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Dec 282023
 


Edward Hopper Funnel of Trawler 1924

 

 

Good thing India didn’t join the sanctions, explains Andrew Korybko. Maybe there’s a lesson in there for more people and countries. Also, maybe it’s too late for some. Even if the deindustralization of Germany has barely started.

 

 

Andrew Korybko:

A representative of India’s Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry told a department-related parliamentary standing committee that their country’s Russian oil imports helped stabilize the global energy market and prevent havoc from breaking out according to a recent report from The Indian Express. What follows are the excerpts that they cited from that event, which will then be analyzed so that the reader can fully appreciate India’s latest contribution to the world:

“If they (Indian refiners) had not imported Russian oil into India, which may be a big number of 1.95 million barrels per day, that deficiency would have created a havoc in the crude oil market and the prices would have shot up by about $30-40.

The crude oil market is such that in the market of 100 million barrels per day, if the OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) says that they are going to reduce it by one or two million barrels per day, prices increase by 10 to 20 per cent and reach up to $125-130.

If India does not absorb–I would call it absorption–1.95 million barrels per day, these prices would have reached $120-130. It would have created a havoc. Diplomatically, we are a sovereign country and could say that we have been doing what is good for the country as well as the world.”

This insight aligns with what was earlier shared in these five analyses from June 2022-March 2023:

* 14 June 2022: “Russian-Indian Energy Diplomacy Helps Delhi Balance Washington

* 30 November 2022: “Russia’s Energy Geopolitics With China & India

* 16 January 2023: “The US Discredited Its Own Sanctions By Buying Refined Russian Oil Products Via India

* 8 February 2023: “The West’s Anti-Russian Sanctions Made India Indispensable To The Global Energy Market

* 1 March 2023: “Russia Will Keep Up The Pace Of Oil Exports To India Despite Increased Chinese Demand

If India hadn’t resisted Western pressure, then the whole international community would have suffered.

To explain, many Global South states were already struggling to deal with COVID-connected debt problems prior to the West’s anti-Russian sanctions worsening their food insecurity, so an energy price crisis on top of that could have pushed them over the edge into an uncontrollable polycrisis. Not only could this have led to spiraling unrest that could have spread throughout this swath of the world, but the security and humanitarian consequences would have also destabilized the West as well.  

Those countries among that New Cold War bloc that are dependent on resources and markets there might have felt compelled to launch unilateral military interventions, while large-scale refugee flows could have crashed into their societies with all that entails for exacerbating preexisting tensions. This worst-case scenario was averted through India’s principled neutrality towards the Ukrainian Conflict, which saw this globally significant Great Power resist Western pressure to boycott Russian energy.

If Delhi had capitulated to their demands, then the abrupt removal of so much energy from the market would have plunged it into chaos. The remaining producers couldn’t have replaced Russia’s lost share, thus leading to a competition among the wealthiest countries (namely China and the EU) to purchase their remaining resources. All the while, the debt-beleaguered and newly food-insecure Global South would have been unable to maintain its minimum energy needs, thus setting the polycrisis into motion.

As the unnamed Indian official told parliament, “we have been doing what is good for the country as well as the world”, which highlighted the growing convergence between India’s national interests and those of the international community. This South Asian Great Power practices what can be described as a hyper-realist grand strategy wherein India not only prioritizes its national interests as policymakers conceive them to be, but candidly acknowledges this approach and also details those same interests.

By doing so, India removes all ambiguity about its interests, which therefore makes it the most predictable partner that anyone can have. This policy is premised on the trust that India has cultivated with everyone since they don’t have any reason to question its representatives’ sincerity whenever they speak about their national interests. Some might have different views and even dislike India’s policies, but nobody can credibly claim that those representatives are lying about what that they want and why.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov praised this approach and the multialignment that it naturally led to during a press conference with his Indian counterpart on Wednesday when saying that “I believe this policy is not just important for Russia and all other countries around the world, but it is the only policy worth conducting that will ensure respect and reputation and be beneficial in India’s cooperation with other countries that show similar respect to all members of the international community.”

The West will never appreciate what India did for the world, but the Global South is beginning to realize that the polycrisis that many of their officials feared would unfold shortly after the anti-Russian sanctions were promulgated was largely averted through India’s drastically scaled imports of that country’s oil. This stabilized the market, which made it easier for them to manage their debt and food security problems, thus preventing this part of the world from slipping into full-scale instability to everyone’s detriment.

 

 

 

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Dec 122023
 
 December 12, 2023  Posted by at 9:20 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  59 Responses »


Edward Hopper Night windows 1928

 

SCOTUS Agrees To Expedite Decision On Trump 2020 Election Case (ZH)
Biden Is The Real Threat To Democracy – Trump (RT)
US House To Vote On Biden Impeachment Inquiry On December 13 (TASS)
Hillary Clinton Seeking To Open Hearts And Pockets For Biden – NBC (RT)
Italy, France, Germany Call For Ad Hoc EU Sanctions On Hamas (R.)
“One War, One Election At A Time” (Helmer)
High Time For Peace Talks – Arestovich (RT)
Western Masters To Kick Kiev Puppets To Curb – Russian Intel Chief (TASS)
Strategic Reflections From Moscow (Alastair Crooke)
West’s ‘500-Year Dominance’ Ending – Lavrov (RT)
Elon Musk Says Would Rather “Go To Prison” Than Restrict Free Speech On X (MN)
What Were Romans Thinking As They Watched Rome Collapse? (PCR)
Global Economy May Lose Up to 7% of GDP Due to Ukraine Conflict – IMF (Sp.)
Many Americans Are Unable to Afford Food, Even as Unemployment Remains Low (Sp.)
Millions Of Brits Will Choose Between Eating, Staying Warm This Christmas (RT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elon
https://twitter.com/i/status/1733960832571122115

 

 

Volodymyr

 

 

 

 

Kid Rock

 

 

Taibbi

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..”this is *not* the Court agreeing to take up the case now. It is just the Court agreeing to move *very* quickly in deciding *whether* to take up the case..”

SCOTUS Agrees To Expedite Decision On Trump 2020 Election Case (ZH)

Update: That didn’t take long… After petitioning the US Supreme Court to weigh in on former President Trump’s federal 2020 election case – specifically Trump’s presidential immunity defense, Special Counsel Jack Smith had his answer by end-of-day, after the Supreme Court granted his request to “expedite consideration of the petition.” Attorney Steve Vladeck called the response “lightning-fast by the Supreme Court’s standards.” Vladeck further clarified that “this is *not* the Court agreeing to take up the case now. It is just the Court agreeing to move *very* quickly in deciding *whether* to take up the case at this juncture (i.e., before the court of appeals).” The Court gave Trump’s team until Dec. 20th to respond.

[..] Special Counsel Jack Smith has asked the Supreme Court to immediately weigh in on former President Trump’s federal 2020 election case. In a Monday filing, Smith asked the justices to weigh in on Trump’s immunity defense, by which Trump has cited presidential immunity to try and have the case tossed. The former president is accused of entering multiple criminal conspiracies to change the results of the 2020 US election. The move comes after Trump appealed an appeals court judge’s rejection of that argument. In the Monday filing, Smith cited Trump’s fast-approaching March 4 trial date. “It is of imperative public importance that respondent’s claims of immunity be resolved by this Court and that respondent’s trial proceed as promptly as possible if his claim of immunity is rejected,” reads the filing.

Smith has also requested that the Supreme Court expedite its decision on whether it will take up the issue, period. If they do, he wants them to prioritize it over all other cases. “This case presents a fundamental question at the heart of our democracy: whether a former President is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office or is constitutionally protected from federal prosecution when he has been impeached but not convicted before the criminal proceedings begin,” reads the filing. “In his Supreme Court brief, Mr. Smith conceded that the trial would most likely have to be paused because of the appeal of the immunity issue. That position reversed the one his prosecutors took over the weekend in court papers, in which they argued that Judge Chutkan should not have to stay the case pending appeal. Winning the appeal of the immunity decision was only one of Mr. Trump’s goals in challenging the decision. All along, he and his lawyers have had an alterative strategy: to delay the election interference trial for as long as possible.” -NY Times

The filing comes after Judge Tanya S. Chutkan – who worked at the law firm which repped Fusion GPS, the company that helped orchestrate the Russia collusion hoax – rejected Trump’s sweeping claims of “absolute immunity” from an election interference indictment because it was based on actions taken while in office. In her ruling, Chukan condemned attempts to “usurp the reins of government,” and said that nothing in the Constitution or US history supports the notion that a former president is immune. As the Times further suggests, “If the trial were to be put off until after the 2024 election and Mr. Trump were to win, he could have his attorney general simply dismiss the charges. Holding a trial after the presidential race would also mean that voters would never hear any of the evidence that prosecutors have collected about Mr. Trump’s expansive efforts to reverse the results of the last election before weighing in on whether to re-elect him.”

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“But no, I’m not a threat. I will save democracy..”

Biden Is The Real Threat To Democracy – Trump (RT)

Former US president Donald Trump has brushed aside warnings by Democrats over his potential return to the White House and claimed that it’s actually his successor Joe Biden who poses a danger to the country’s democracy. Trump made the comments ahead of a possible rematch between the two at the polls next year. Trump, who remains entangled in a series of federal and state charges related to allegations that he attempted to overturn the results of the 2020 election, has nudged ahead of Biden in polling for a potential presidential race in 2024, according to the Wall Street Journal. Despite the fact that his campaign is likely to be conducted in the shadow of mounting legal issues, the presumptive GOP candidate has dismissed Democratic Party warnings, that a Trump win represents a threat to the US, as a “hoax” and “misinformation.”

“Can you believe it? This is their new line, you know,” Trump said on Saturday at an event hosted by the New York Young Republican Club. “Here we go again – ‘Russia, Russia, Russia,’ ‘Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine.’ One hoax after another.” Trump added: “But no, I’m not a threat. I will save democracy. The threat is Crooked Joe Biden.” The former president has claimed that the myriad legal cases he faces are politically motivated, and has vowed to prosecute Biden if he returns to office. His comments come soon after he was criticized by Democratic rivals for saying that he intended to briefly be a dictator if he is reelected, in order to install more border fortifications and introduce domestic oil-production policies. “I said I want to be a dictator for one day,” Trump added on Saturday in New York, in reference to his comments days before. “And you know why I want to be a dictator? Because I want a wall … and I want to drill, drill, drill.”

Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor and candidate for the Republican nomination for president in 2024, said during the party’s fourth primary debate last week that Trump’s comments reveal him to be “an angry, bitter man who now wants to be back as president because he wants to exact retribution on anyone who has disagreed with him.” Biden, meanwhile, recently cast a dire warning about the potential outcome of a second Trump presidency. Speaking at a fundraising event in Los Angeles on Saturday, Biden said that “the greatest threat Trump poses is to the democracy.” The president also said at an earlier campaign event last month in San Francisco that some of Trump’s rhetoric has its roots in authoritarianism, in particular his vowing to be his supporters’ “retribution” and his describing of political opponents as “vermin.”

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You’d think they have the votes..

US House To Vote On Biden Impeachment Inquiry On December 13 (TASS)

The US House of Representatives will vote on a resolution to formalize an impeachment inquiry of US President Joe Biden on Wednesday, December 13, a Republican lawmaker told Reuters. Thus, he refuted a previous statement by Representative Lisa McClain who said that the vote would take place on Thursday, December 14. The resolution introduced by Republican Representative Kelly Armstrong would instruct three House committees to authorize a probe into the incumbent US leader’s business dealings. On December 2, House Speaker Mike Johnson said they were being stalled by the White House which was preventing at least two to three witnesses from coming forward. Republicans have repeatedly claimed that the Bidens received funds from companies, including foreign businesses, for using political influence for business gain.

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“..you know you are in deep, deep trouble if you are picking up the bat phone and calling Hillary Clinton to come help you out..”

Hillary Clinton Seeking To Open Hearts And Pockets For Biden – NBC (RT)

The US Democratic Party establishment believes that figures like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama could help President Joe Biden secure reelection next November, NBC News reported on Sunday. The former secretary of state and failed 2016 candidate has recently emerged as a key Biden surrogate, the outlet noted. NBC News cited several instances in recent months, when Clinton has advocated on behalf of Biden. On November 27, for instance, she hosted a fundraiser at Whitehaven, her family mansion in Washington DC, at which the group Women’s Leadership Forum added almost a million dollars to the campaign coffers. The same month, she penned an op-ed in The Atlantic defending Biden’s refusal to support a ceasefire in Gaza, a position on which she later doubled down, speaking on The View program.

In October, she touted the “formal deprogramming” of supporters of Donald Trump, her opponent in the 2016 election and Biden’s most likely challenger from the Republican side next year. Hillary Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, are loyal to the party and will “do whatever is asked of them,” a person close to her told NBC News. She is expected to lend Biden her popularity with women and ensure that his campaign does not run out of money, the thinking behind her involvement goes. But ultimately she is “filling a space that at a later point in the campaign season former President Barack Obama will join,” the report said. Obama’s intervention helped Biden get the Democratic nomination in 2020, as centrist candidates coalesced around him to defeat progressive firebrand Bernie Sanders in the primaries.

Fox News, the pro-Republican news network, took the report as highlighting the weakness of the Biden bid. Its contributor Charles Hurt mused that “you know you are in deep, deep trouble if you are picking up the bat phone and calling Hillary Clinton to come help you out”. Biden’s approval ratings are at a low point at the moment, with several recent polls making him the least favored president since Harry Truman, when measured at the same point in their respective terms, according to the political analysis resource FiveThirtyEight. A Wall Street Journal poll released on Saturday showed the incumbent losing to Trump 47% to 43% in a hypothetical race between two candidates. If Trump were convicted on one of the four prosecutions against him, Biden would only have a 1% point advantage over him.

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A bit of Gaza relief today. It is certain to return. But this is so crazy, it must be included.

Italy, France, Germany Call For Ad Hoc EU Sanctions On Hamas (R.)

Italy, France and Germany called on the European Union to impose ad hoc sanctions against Hamas and its supporters, the foreign ministers of the three nations wrote in a joint letter to the EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. “We express our full support for the … proposal to create an ad hoc sanctions regime against Hamas and its supporters,” said the letter seen by Reuters. “The swift adoption of this sanctions regime will enable us to send a strong political message about the European Union’s commitment against Hamas and our solidarity with Israel,” the letter said.

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Putin refuses to let Russia become overstretched..

“One War, One Election At A Time” (Helmer)

Not even in revolutionary times have Russian elections been waged on the issue President Vladimir Putin proposed a few days ago of what it means, what it costs, what it risks for Russia to lead the national liberation of the world. Nor has Putin revealed after two days of intensive talks with Emirati, Saudi, and Iranian leaders, and then a telephone call with the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, what plan of action for the Gaza war they discussed. “Russia is thinking about an initiative on Gaza,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has announced after the talks concluded. El-Sisi was so negative about this, the Kremlin record of his Saturday morning telephone call reveals no more than that he and Putin talked over “a number of issues related to Russian-Egyptian cooperation, which has been developing very successfully.

Both parties expressed their interest in further expanding cooperation in various areas in a traditionally friendly manner based on the principles of strategic partnership.” The two presidents then wished each other good luck for their re-elections. The Egyptian presidential vote is running for three days from Sunday with the result to be declared on December 18; the Russian poll will be held on March 15-17. The outcome is certain for both. Two hours after Putin put down the phone with el-Sisi, he picked it up again to call Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Kremlin communiqué has omitted to report what Netanyahu said. Instead, Putin gave the Israeli his personal assurance there will be no Russian participation in a Gaza blockade-busting plan to deliver humanitarian aid to the Palestinians by sea, or across the Egyptian land border. Nor will the Russian military intervene to threaten Israeli aircraft if they commence bombing Beirut and southern Lebanese targets in the war against Hezbollah.

A Russian source on military strategy believes the Russian objective is to protract the Palestine war on all fronts simultaneously, and exhaust the US and Israel by threatening Israeli ports and shipping, Israel’s offshore gas supplies, and the economy’s principal sources of income. Exhausting the US in the Middle East helps exhaust the US and NATO in the Ukraine, the source adds.Tactically, the source said, this should mean an international humanitarian operation to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza in order to deliver as much aid as the besieged Palestinians need; action at the international level to deter the Israelis using uranium radiation warheads, poison gas, and other weapons to attack the Hamas tunnel network; and a no-fly zone to cover Lebanon and Syria from Israeli bombing and missile attacks. Military action, the source cautions, should be indirect and confined to proxy forces like Hezbollah on the northern front; Iraqi groups in the east; the Houthis in the south; and support for the Palestinians fighting in the West Bank.

The Israeli reaction – “what we can do in Gaza we can do in Beirut” — is to deter Russia, Iran, and the Arab states from allowing their “initiative” to adopt any of these tactics; and to deter an expanded operation by Hezbollah. “If Hezbollah chooses to start an all-out war,” Netanyahu declared publicly just before he spoke to Putin, “then it will, by its own hand, turn Beirut and southern Lebanon, not far from here, into Gaza and Khan Younis.” Russian sources acknowledge the blackout on debate of these options in the Russian media, including the military bloggers who have become the most outspoken journalists in the country. “One war at a time, one election at a time”, according to one source. “That’s how Putin is thinking right now. How can the General Staff argue with that?”

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“Arestovich recently announced that he would stand against Zelensky for the presidency, and would campaign on a platform of peace..”

High Time For Peace Talks – Arestovich (RT)

Now is the time to start thinking about negotiating peace with Russia, with the situation looking more hopeless on the front line, a former adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said. Aleksey Arestovich told Inews that Zelensky has become a hostage to his own propaganda due to his propensity to “play the hero in parliaments around the world.” The former presidential adviser and spokesman, who has fallen out of favor with Kiev, said Zelensky currently “thinks not about the national interest but about his own position.” Arestovich recently announced that he would stand against Zelensky for the presidency, and would campaign on a platform of peace. With the cost of the war mounting and Kiev’s death toll rising to around 300,000, the former adviser said it was past time to start discussing terms for peace.

“For Russia, it’s for Ukraine not to join NATO, and for us it is to stop this war. These are great conditions to start a real discussion – not only between Ukraine and Russia – about a new system of collective security in Europe,” he said. Arestovich said that Ukraine was in a far stronger position to negotiate in spring 2022, after Russia’s troops were closer to Kiev, and suggested that then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson may have undermined the peace talks. At that time, Russia was seeking protection for the Russian language, the reduction of Kiev’s army, and a turn away from NATO, Arestovich revealed to the news outlet, claiming to have detailed knowledge of the negotiations that took place in Istanbul. After Johnson’s visit to Kiev in April, he said talks were swiftly terminated.

David Arakhamia, a Ukrainian MP who headed Kiev’s delegation in the spring 2022 negotiations with Russia, said back in November that Moscow had been ready to end the war if Ukraine promised not to join NATO. “When we returned from Istanbul, Boris Johnson came to Kiev and said that we wouldn’t sign anything with them at all, and that we should just fight,” he told Ukrainian media. A spokesperson for Johnson has dismissed this, saying the decision to fight was made because of the “iron resolve of President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine,” wrote Inews. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has reaffirmed that Russia would prefer to reach its goals in Ukraine via “political and diplomatic means.” Commenting on Tuesday, he said “we are still ready for negotiations.” President Zelensky signed a formal decree early in October stating that any negotiations with Russia under President Vladimir Putin are “impossible.”

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“..the only historical purpose of Ukrainian nationalism is to turn Ukraine into a weapon against Russia..”

Western Masters To Kick Kiev Puppets To Curb – Russian Intel Chief (TASS)

The puppet regime in Kiev will inevitably be abandoned by its overseas masters in the end, Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Sergey Naryshkin said. “The puppet regime in Kiev, which is alien to the majority of Ukrainians, and which has perpetrated bloody massacres in Donbass, in Odessa and in many other towns and villages of Ukraine, will eventually and inevitably be abandoned by its overseas masters,” he said at a roundtable discussion devoted to the study of Ukrainian propaganda and efforts to fight against it. The intelligence chief also emphasized that Russians and Ukrainians are two parts of a single nation composed of three peoples, which also include Belarusians. “Despite the seriously changed circumstances, I mean the aggression of the Western bloc against Russia, in which Ukraine is involved, I hold to the same positions on this issue, namely that Russians and Ukrainians are two parts of a triune nation, the history of which goes back centuries,” Naryshkin emphasized.

Looking back into the past, he said, it can be said that, “the only historical purpose of Ukrainian nationalism is to turn Ukraine into a weapon against” Russia. Naryshkin also noted that historians are well aware that “many former Nazi criminals found safe haven in the United States and Canada” after the war. “The Congress of Ukrainian Nationalists established there became a direct successor of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN, banned in Russia – TASS) of the followers of [Stepan] Bandera and the founder of the notorious extremist organizations ‘Stepan Bandera Trident’ and ‘Right Sector’ (both banned in Russia – TASS),” he added. “Systematic work for shaping the ideological basis for a future neo-Nazi revenge has been going on for decades.

For example, the first attempt to label the famine in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s as a deliberate genocide of the Ukrainian people was made in 1985 by a specially created commission of the US Congress,” he pointed out. Naryshkin, who also serves as chairman of the Russian Historical Society, stressed that today Russia has gained significant experience in countering this pernicious lie. “A lot of work is being done by the Russian Culture Ministry’s museum group, created at the initiative of the Russian Historical Society. And in the first months of the special military operation, employees of museums and higher educational institutions collected trophy materials, on the basis of which they organized exhibitions throughout the country,” he added.

Naryshkin noted that work for the formal study of the history of the special military operation was commenced on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Prior to the roundtable event, Naryshkin toured an exhibition of Ukrainian propaganda publications, school textbooks and children’s encyclopedias, which was opened in the Russian Historical Society House as part of the event. According to the Russian Historical Society, the publications were collected in the zone of the special military operation. The exhibition included books glorifying infamous Nazi collaborators Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevich, as well as the crimes of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists-Ukrainian Insurgent Army (organizations banned in Russia).

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“The hostility shown by Europeans towards the Russian people (and not just to its governance) has pushed Russia to ‘be itself’ again, which has been to its great benefit..”

Strategic Reflections From Moscow (Alastair Crooke)

U.S.-Russia relations have touched rock-bottom; it is worse even than imagined. In discourse with senior Russian officials, it is evident that the U.S. treats the former as clear enemies. To gain a flavour, it is as if a senior Russian official were to ask: “What is it you want from me?”. The answer might come: “I wish you’d die”. The inherent tension and lack of genuine exchange is worse than during the Cold War when channels of communication did stay open. This lacuna is compounded by the absence of political nous amongst European political leaders, with whom grounded discussion has not proved possible. Russian officials recognise the risks to this situation. They are at a loss however on how to correct it.

The tenor of discourse too, has slid from outright hostility toward pettiness: The U.S., for example, might block workers from entering the Russian mission at the UN to repair broken windows. Moscow then — reluctantly — finds itself with little alternative but to respond in a similarly petty vein — and so the relationship spirals down. There is an acknowledgement that the deliberately vituperative ‘information war’ is wholly dominated by the western MSM — further souring the atmospherics. And though the scattered western alternative media exists and is gaining in scale and significance, it is not easily engaged (being both diverse, and individualist). The tag of ‘Putin Apologist’ too, remains toxic to any autonomous news providers, and can destroy credibility at a stroke.

It is understood in Russia that the West presently exists in ‘phony normality’ — an interlude within its own cultural war (in the run-up to 2024). Russians, however, do perceive some obvious parallels with their own experience of radical civil polarisation — when the Soviet Nomenklatura demanded conformity to the Party ‘line’, or suffer sanction. Moscow is open to dialogue with the West, but interlocutors so far have represented only themselves and have no mandate. This experience points to a conclusion that there is little point to ‘banging one’s head’ against a brick wall of an ideologically driven western leadership — Russian values being as a red rag to the western ideological ‘bull’. Yet, it is not clear when the time comes, if an empowered interlocutor (able to commit) will be present in Washington to pick up the phone.

Nevertheless, the enmity projected in the West towards Russia is perceived as having positive aspects as well as grave risks (the absence of treaties on the use and deployment of weapons). Interlocutors underline how western disdain towards Russians — plus its explicit enmity — finally has allowed Russia to move beyond Peter the Great’s Europeanisation. That latter episode is seen now as a diversion from Russia’s true destiny (albeit one that must be seen in the context of the rise and rise of the post-Westphalian European nation-state). The hostility shown by Europeans towards the Russian people (and not just to its governance) has pushed Russia to ‘be itself’ again, which has been to its great benefit. Nonetheless, the shift gives rise to a certain tension: It is evident that western ‘hawks’ are always scanning the Russian scene in order to locate a host within the body politic in which to insert the spores of their weaponised New Moral Order — their purpose being to wedge into, and fragment, Russian society.

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“..the objective course of history… is the evolution of a multipolar world..”

West’s ‘500-Year Dominance’ Ending – Lavrov (RT)

The 500-year-long dominance of the West is coming to an end, being replaced by “a new polycentric world,” Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said Sunday in a video address to the Doha Forum. The minister expressed regret that certain “circumstances” prevented him from coming to the Qatari capital in person and hearing the discussions at the annual high-profile event. “But I assume that you were discussing the multipolar world, which is emerging after 500 years of domination of what we call the ‘collective West,’” Lavrov said. This hegemony of the US and its allies had been “based on a diverse history, including ruthless exploitation of peoples and territories of other countries,” he said. According to the minister, the West suggested that it could use the model of globalization, which it had been building for centuries, to maintain its dominance.

“However, other countries, using exactly the principles and instruments of the Western globalization, managed to beat the West on its own turf, building the economies on the basis of national sovereignty, on the basis of balance of interests with other countries.” New centers of economic growth and political influence have been emerging, “changing the balance of power in the world, and not to the West’s liking,” he said. “In order to suppress this kind of development,” the US and its allies have in recent years “sacrificed” globalization in favor of the so-called ‘rules-based world order,’ Lavrov continued. “The rules were never published, were never even announced by anyone to anyone, and they are being applied depending on what exactly the West needs at a particular moment of modern history,” he added.

The FM said that such an approach is most seen “in various conflicts, which the West ignites all over the world,” including the one in Ukraine. “Everything goes to keep the hegemony. Intervention in domestic affairs, sanctions against all the principles of competition, regime change, and of course direct military interventions, like we have seen in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and elsewhere.” “Is there a single place where the US intervened with military force, where life has become better? I think you know the answer,” Lavrov told the forum participants. According to the diplomat, new formats like BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, ASEAN, African Union, and others will become “the bricks of the new polycentric world.” It should be recognized, including by those in the West, that “the objective course of history… is the evolution of a multipolar world,” Lavrov insisted.

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“Basically we will see everything that is happening on the system and nothing will be hidden, that is the goal.”

Elon Musk Says Would Rather “Go To Prison” Than Restrict Free Speech On X (MN)

X owner Elon Musk declared during a Spaces discussion that he will never restrict free speech on the platform, no matter what entities pressure him to do so, and asserted that he would rather “go to prison” than allow it to happen. Musk’s comments came during a Spaces discussion, also featuring Alex Jones who Musk reinstated on the platform Sunday. Human Events editor Jack Posobiec asked Musk what would happen if the FBI or DHS “come to X and say ‘these posts need to be censored , this information needs to be censored.”

Musk responded that the platform will remain “as transparent as possible,” adding “Basically we will see everything that is happening on the system and nothing will be hidden, that is the goal.” Musk added that “frankly if I think a government agency is breaking the law in their demands in the platform I would be prepared to go to prison personally if I think they are the ones breaking the law.” Elsewhere during the discussion, Musk explained that he reinstated Alex Jones because as a free speech absolutist he will not censor anyone on X if they have not broken the law. Here it is in its entirety:

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“When truth is punished, a country dies.”

What Were Romans Thinking As They Watched Rome Collapse? (PCR)

I have often wondered what Roman citizens thought as they watched the Roman Empire fall apart culturally, politically, morally, and militarily. Cicero, quaestor, praetor and Counsel of Rome, tried to save the Roman Republic. For his efforts he was chased down and murdered. As Cicero was, perhaps, the most famous Roman, his murder stopped efforts to prevent Rome’s descent into tyranny. The same thing is happening today to those who attempt to arouse us to our danger. Julian Assange, for example, has been imprisoned contrary to every known US and UK law for a decade without conviction for simply doing his duty as a journalist and reporting the crimes of our rulers, the crimes of the corrupt vermin we continue to return to office and power over us. No one has done anything about it, not even his fellow journalists. When truth is punished, a country dies.

Rome survived for centuries after its essence had departed, because her enemies were weak in comparison. Rome destroyed itself. As many or more Romans died in civil wars fighting one another than died repelling barbarian invasions, Roman military might ended in self-destruction. The enemies Washington has created for America are not weak. Russia alone, China alone, perhaps even Iran alone, is a match or more for America. The three together constitute a vast over-match of US military capability. Yet Washington continues to increase hostilities with these countries. The mindlessness of my government is unbearable. Such utter stupidity. Once the moronic Biden regime’s economic sanctions and the US loss of the reserve currency role finish off the US dollar, America is finished. We will be a third world country, and the rest of the world will punish us for the sins of our government. Try to tell this to an American.

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A world split in half…

Global Economy May Lose Up to 7% of GDP Due to Ukraine Conflict – IMF (Sp.)

The losses in the global economy as a result of the fragmentation into two blocs from the conflict in Ukraine are estimated to be up to 7% of GDP, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Monday. “If the global economy were to fragment into two blocs based on UN voting on the 2022 Ukraine Resolution and trade between the two blocs were eliminated, global losses are estimated to be about 2.5 percent of GDP. But depending on economies’ ability to adjust, the losses could reach as high as 7 percent of GDP,” IMF First Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath said.

Gopinath pointed out that the losses may be extremely pronounced in lower-income countries and emerging markets. “Foreign direct investment (FDI) fragmentation in a world divided into two blocs centered around the United States and China – with some countries remaining non-aligned – could result in long-term global losses of around 2% of GDP,” she said. Gopinath noted that there are “clear signs” global FDI is segmenting along geopolitical lines. “Announced FDI projects between blocs declined more than those within blocs after the onset of the war in Ukraine, while FDI to non-aligned countries sharply increased,” Gopinath added.

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“Hunger is an issue in America across every demographic group, and now, growingly, across more and more levels of income.”

Many Americans Are Unable to Afford Food, Even as Unemployment Remains Low (Sp.)

Despite being the wealthiest country in the world by net worth (according to 2022 data), the United States continues to struggle with hunger. A report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) found more than 44 million Americans facing hunger last year, including 1 in 5 children. Programs which provide food to those in need are crippling under demand, as prices at the grocery store don’t appear to be dropping anytime soon. Today, it appears as though more Americans are saying their standard of living is worse than their parents’ was, a majority of which include millennials and Gen-Xers who are people in their prime working years. According to a poll released on Sunday, 51% of those aged 30 to 64 believe their standard of living is worse than their parents’ was, as well as 39% of those aged 18 to 29 and 40% of those ages 65 and older. “Hunger is an issue in America across every demographic group, and now, growingly, across more and more levels of income,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, the head of Feeding America.

And when asked to answer when the “most difficult economic time” for the US was, many Americans pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns. At least 51% of those aged 65 and older said the pandemic shutdowns created the worst economic hardship, with 39% of all ages saying the same. Both groups believe the pandemic was vastly worse than the “Great Recession” of 2008 to 2009, as well as a period of major gas shortages and inflation in the 1970s. But at the same time, figures show job growth, rising wages, and a healthy economy of consumers who are purchasing record amounts of summer travel, concert tickets and holiday shopping. As he runs for reelection, President Joe Biden has even touted this economic recovery as the result of “Bidenomics”, and has been desperately urging Americans to adopt this notion. But Americans, many of whom are struggling to pay for basic necessities, don’t care to hear these figures.

According to the poll, 85% of Americans pay more attention to their own experiences than those who pay attention to national data (66%). At least 72% are paying attention to people they know personally, and 70% are watching businesses in their community to gauge the economy’s “strength”. A separate poll from November also found 81% of registered voters viewed the economy as either “fair” or “poor”. And a staggering 76% of Americans said their income is not keeping up with inflation. As a result, the “American Dream” has stumbled: 64% of Americans now believe that only the upper class has a chance to “get ahead”. And many Americans are uninterested in hearing about positive news as it relates to the job market. In October, a US broadcaster found that positive news about the job market in the US made “many Americans feel worse”.

And those on the frontline of food hunger in America are seeing staggering numbers reach out to them. In June, the nonprofit group Feeding America found that they had given out 5.3 billion meals in the past year, while an additional 1 million people applied for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) over the past year. Other programs are seeing a record increase in their levels of enrollments as well, with some administrators concerned that they won’t have adequate funding to keep up with demand “The demand is higher now than it ever was during the pandemic,” said Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, head of Feeding America. “This is not just one group’s issue, it’s an American issue. Hunger is an issue in America across every demographic group, and now, growingly, across more and more levels of income.”

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“Household debt in the UK is projected to balloon from the current level of £73 billion ($92 billion) to £151 billion ($190 billion) in 2026..”

Millions Of Brits Will Choose Between Eating, Staying Warm This Christmas (RT)

The worsening cost-of-living crisis will force UK families to tighten their belts this Christmas, cutting back on presents or food, The Guardian reported last week, citing new research by National Debtline. Data shows that around 6.5 million people will struggle to heat their homes sufficiently during the holiday season, while 2.7 million will have to choose between buying food or presents. According to the report, over 14 million consumers are planning to limit the number of presents they intend to buy this year, while 6 million have said they can only afford to buy gifts for children. “This Christmas, the cost-of-living crisis is set to be felt more than ever with millions of people struggling to heat their homes and many experiencing money worries,” said David Cheadle, the acting chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, which runs National Debtline.

The study showed that more than 24 million UK adults plan to use credit to pay for Christmas presents this year. Of those, 12 million intend to use credit cards, while 4.7 million will use a ‘buy now, pay later’ loan to pay for purchases over time. “We remain deeply concerned about the long-term impact that rising arrears will have on household finances going into 2024 and beyond,” Cheadle said, as quoted by The Guardian. “After missing the opportunity to help people in debt in the autumn statement, we are continuing to press the government to introduce a ‘help to repay’ scheme for energy arrears, and extend the household support fund which is providing crucial local support,” he added.

Household debt in the UK is projected to balloon from the current level of £73 billion ($92 billion) to £151 billion ($190 billion) in 2026. According to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), British households are suffering the biggest five-year drop in living standards to have hit the country since it started compiling records in the 1950s. Real household disposable income per head is estimated to be 3.5% lower than its pre-pandemic level.

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Boxfish
https://twitter.com/i/status/1734484946654281769

 

 

 

 

Agility
https://twitter.com/i/status/1734258869256298936

 

 

 

 

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May 092023
 
 May 9, 2023  Posted by at 9:17 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  34 Responses »


Willem de Kooning Woman 1969

 

West Must Be Ready For Unfavorable Outcome In Ukraine – Czech President (RT)
Ukraine To Celebrate Europe Day Instead Of Victory Day (TASS)
Ukraine Cancels Traditional Holiday Celebrating Defeat Of Nazis (RT)
Kremlin Calls Ukraine’s Words On Readiness To Kill Russians “Monstrous” (TASS)
EU Plans To Punish China For Trade With Russia – FT (RT)
China Threatens EU With Countermeasures Over Possible Sanctions (TASS)
Türkiye Reiterates Stance On Russia Sanctions (RT)
Russia’s Deal With West Is Key To Ukraine Conflict End – Erdogan Aide (RT)
The EU’s ‘New’ Eastern Members Have Taken Control Of The Bloc (Sushentsov)
Eastern Europe’s Grain Producers Face A Perfect Storm (Az.)
New Weapon ‘Changing Course’ Of Ukraine Conflict – Telegraph (RT)
Something Is Rotten in Schmutzig Switzerland (Wright)
The Next Big Thing (Jim Kunstler)
Joe Biden Bribery Allegations First Brought To DOJ In 2018 (Devine)
‘Crazy thing’ – Lula Criticizes Imprisonment Of Assange (RT)

 

 

“Anyone who loves freedom owes such a debt to the Red Army that it can never be repaid”
-Ernest Hemingway, 1942

 

 

 

Tucker

 

 

 

 

CNN mask

 

 

 

 

Brownsville TX

 

 

 

 

Italy society
https://twitter.com/i/status/1655594159955234822

 

 

 

 

“..chairman of the NATO Military Committee between 2015 and 2018..“

West Must Be Ready For Unfavorable Outcome In Ukraine – Czech President (RT)

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine may not end in victory for Kiev, and its Western backers should prepare for such an outcome, Czech President Petr Pavel has told The Guardian newspaper. “I think we should do anything… at our disposal to encourage Ukrainians and to support them to be successful. But internally, we should also be ready for other contingencies,” said Pavel, who was in London for the coronation of King Charles III. A lot will depend on the outcome of Ukraine’s planned spring counteroffensive, explained the Czech leader, who has a background in intelligence and served as chairman of the NATO Military Committee between 2015 and 2018. Kiev shouldn’t “underestimate the Russians because they have enough manpower, they still have enough equipment,” he added.

“And of course, being in defense makes it easier for them because Ukraine will have suffered terrible losses, even if they are well prepared. So attacking an enemy like Russia will be difficult and Russians will not be caught by surprise.” The Czech president, who visited Kiev with his Slovak counterpart Zuzana Caputova in late April, said Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky had been asking them for ammunition. Those in Kiev believe they still don’t have everything they need to launch the counteroffensive, he added. There “might be a temptation to push them, for some, to demonstrate some results,” but the Ukrainians must be allowed to fully prepare for the assault on Russian lines, Pavel warned. “It will be extremely harmful to Ukraine if this counteroffensive fails, because they will not have another chance, at least not this year,” he stated.

In late April, Zelensky assured foreign journalists that the “counteroffensive will happen” and expressed hope that it would be successful. Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov also said Kiev’s troops were “generally ready for the push” and were only awaiting orders from senior officials. However, a report by Politico a few weeks ago claimed that Ukraine’s prime backer, the US, had concerns that the impact of the counteroffensive could fall short of expectations. Russia, which has been building fortifications along the frontline for the past six months, has been saying that it’s ready to repel the attack. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin warned last week that the counteroffensive would have “deplorable consequences” for Kiev.

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Shameful because:

• Russia liberated Ukraine too.

1.6 million Jews were executed in Ukraine

Ukraine To Celebrate Europe Day Instead Of Victory Day (TASS)

On Monday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree on celebrating Europe Day on May 9 in the country. “[Hereby to] establish Europe Day in Ukraine, which is celebrated annually on May 9 together with the states of the European Union,” the text of the decree, published on the website of the Ukrainian head of state, says. In Zelensky’s video message, published on his Telegram channel, he also indicated that from tomorrow, Europe Day will be celebrated annually in Ukraine. On May 8, Zelensky proposes to celebrate the Day of Remembrance and victory over Nazism in World War II. For many years, the Ukrainian authorities have tried to eradicate the celebration of Victory Day.


Until today, on May 9, Ukraine celebrated the Day of Victory over Nazism in World War II, which replaced the Day of Victory over fascism in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, and on May 8, Ukraine celebrates the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation. These changes were approved by the Verkhovna Rada in 2015 as part of the implementation of the decommunization policy. Since that time, the red poppy has become a symbol of victory for the Ukrainians in the European manner. Although May 9 remains a day off, the Ukrainian authorities do their best to prevent the celebration of Victory Day. For the St. George ribbon, citizens face criminal or administrative liability. Last year, Zelensky and the Ukrainian Defense Ministry published a congratulation on May 9, attaching to it a photograph of a Ukrainian soldier with an emblem similar to the symbol of the SS Totenkopf division.

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“..Maria Zakharova branding Zelensky a “traitor” and the “new incarnation of Judas in the 21st century.”

Ukraine Cancels Traditional Holiday Celebrating Defeat Of Nazis (RT)

Ukraine may break the Soviet tradition of celebrating Victory Day on May 9 after President Vladimir Zelensky suggested holding commemorative ceremonies on May 8 instead. The idea was quickly slammed by officials in Moscow. In a message on his Telegram channel on Monday, Zelensky explained that his proposal was based on the fact that it was “on May 8 that most nations of the world remember the greatness of the victory over the Nazis.” He added that the German Third Reich’s unconditional surrender was signed on that day. Zelensky said he had submitted a bill to the country’s parliament which, if passed, would officially designate May 8 as the ‘Day of Remembrance and Victory over Nazism in the Second World War of 1939-1945’.

As for May 9, which is when Victory Day was traditionally celebrated in the Soviet Union, Zelensky declared this would now be observed as Europe Day, as it is in the European Union. He expressed confidence that the changes would help align Ukraine with Europe and return to “honest history without ideological admixtures to our state.” According to the proposed bill, May 9 would cease to be a public holiday, while May 8 would become one. The Ukrainian President also compared modern day Russia to Nazi Germany, saying it represented a “similar evil” and insisting Ukraine would prevail in its conflict against Moscow in the end. Lawmakers in the Verkhovna Rada have already indicated their readiness to quickly adopt the new piece of legislation promptly.

The head of the ruling party’s parliamentary group, David Arakhamia, wrote on his Telegram channel on Monday that he and his colleagues would begin working to “speedily adopt” the bill. The move has been condemned in Russia, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova branding Zelensky a “traitor” and the “new incarnation of Judas in the 21st century.” In a post on her Telegram channel, the official argued that the Ukrainian president had “forever betrayed his ancestors,” who fought against the Nazis. “Fascist collaborator 80 years later,” she concluded. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, said he believed May 9 would remain a sacred day for many Ukrainians no matter what.

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“This statement by Mr. Budanov once again confirms the correctness of President Putin’s decision to launch a special military operation..”

Kremlin Calls Ukraine’s Words On Readiness To Kill Russians “Monstrous” (TASS)

Statements by the Ukrainian authorities about their readiness to “kill Russians around the world” indicate that Kiev has become not just a sponsor, but an immediate organizer of terrorist acts, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday. He was commenting on the corresponding statement of the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine Kirill Budanov. “This is a truly monstrous statement. This statement, and what Mr. Budanov said, is a direct confirmation that the Kiev regime is not just sponsoring terrorist activity, but is an immediate organizer of this activity. This statement gives another very important characteristic of the Kiev regime,” the Kremlin spokesman said.


He stressed that Russia strongly condemns such statements. “We have special services that will do everything they must amid such statements. No one should have any doubts about this,” the Kremlin spokesman warned. Kremlin believes that the West should not disregard such statements. “Today we will closely monitor the reaction of European capitals, as well as Washington – especially Washington – because it is very difficult to imagine that such terrorist statements from Kiev can remain without condemnation. Therefore, today we will wait for these condemnations,” Peskov said. “This statement by Mr. Budanov once again confirms the correctness of President Putin’s decision to launch a special military operation,” he added.

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More sanctions. They haven’t learned a thing.

EU Plans To Punish China For Trade With Russia – FT (RT)

The European Union is seeking to tighten the economic screws on Russia by sanctioning Chinese companies that conduct trade with Moscow, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. Seven Chinese businesses have been named in a new package of restrictions that the EU member states will discuss this week, the report says, citing a copy of the sanctions list seen by the paper. According to the FT, the list includes two mainland Chinese companies, 3HC Semiconductors and King-Pai Technology, and five from Hong Kong, including Sinno Electronics, Sigma Technology, Asia Pacific Links, Tordan Industry, and Alpha Trading Investments.

The businesses have reportedly been accused of selling equipment that could be used by Moscow in weapons manufacturing. Some of these companies have already been placed under sanctions by the US. The European Commission believes it is “appropriate” to target certain entities “in third countries involved in the circumvention of trade restrictions” against Russia, the FT quoted the sanctions proposal as saying. To take effect, the new sanctions need to be unanimously approved by all 27 EU member states. Until now, the FT noted, the EU has avoided targeting China, saying there was no evidence that Beijing was directly providing weapons to Moscow. The EU has so far imposed 10 rounds of economic sanctions against Russia over its military operation in Ukraine.

The EU’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, admitted last month that the bloc had nearly exhausted its options for punitive measures against Moscow. Since then, it has been reported that EU lawmakers are considering targeting third countries that re-export goods to Russia, thus helping Moscow to circumvent trade restrictions. China is insisting on a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict, and proposed a 12-point peace plan in February, calling for the security concerns of each side to be addressed. Josep Borrell dismissed Beijing’s proposals last week as “wishful thinking” and insisted that any peace plan must be based on Kiev’s demands.

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“..Beijing will be forced to resolutely protect its rationally justified legal rights.”

China Threatens EU With Countermeasures Over Possible Sanctions (TASS)

China will protect its interests in the event of EU sanctions against seven Chinese technology companies due to their supply of equipment to Russia, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Wang Wenbin announced on Monday. “If media reports turn out to be true, <…> such actions by the European side will seriously undermine mutual trust and cooperation between the EU and China,” he stressed at a briefing. When asked to comment on the information that seven Chinese companies could soon come under EU sanctions due to the supply of equipment to Russia he replied: “The European side should not make a mistake, otherwise Beijing will be forced to resolutely protect its rationally justified legal rights.”.

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“We are not going to join the unilateral sanctions imposed against Russia by the US and the EU. Our own benefit and prosperity come first..”

Türkiye Reiterates Stance On Russia Sanctions (RT)

Ankara has no plans to support the Western economic restrictions against Russia, foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview on Monday. Türkiye’s top diplomat made the comments to the Lider Haber TV channel in the run-up to the country’s presidential and parliamentary elections, due to take place on Sunday. “We are not going to join the unilateral sanctions imposed against Russia by the US and the EU. Our own benefit and prosperity come first,” Cavusoglu explained, as quoted by the TASS news agency. The minister also criticized the opposition presidential candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who has said he would give priority to developing ties with the West. According to Cavusoglu, the rival to incumbent president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shown himself to be inconsistent in his statements; at one rally, Kilicdaroglu reportedly said that nothing would endanger the relationship between Türkiye and Russia.

Reports emerged in March of Türkiye blocking some transit shipments destined for Russia, in response to recent pledges by Brussels and Washington to enforce anti-Russian sanctions and to stop the supply of sanctioned products via third parties. Türkiye’s Ministry of Trade provided no official confirmation of the move. It was later reported that Ankara had resumed the transit to Russia of some sanctioned goods of European origin. The EU has repeatedly voiced concern about the country’s refusal to participate in Western sanctions against Russia, and accused the Middle Eastern state of becoming a ‘transit hub’ for Russia, thus enabling the economic blockade to be circumvented.

Ankara is one of Moscow’s main trading partners, with both sides having pledged to deepen economic cooperation and expand bilateral trade. Last year, Türkiye and Russia signed a roadmap for economic cooperation that envisages bringing bilateral trade turnover to $100 billion a year. The two have also agreed to introduce the Russian ruble as a settlement currency for bilateral trade, including for Russian natural-gas supply. Data shows that, around this time last year, Türkiye became one of the top five exporters to Russia. In 2021, it ranked 11th, ahead of the US, France, Japan, Poland and Italy.

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“This war will not end with positional gains, but with a new security agreement between the two global blocs..”

“This war is not between Russia and Ukraine, but between Russia and the Western bloc. Cold War 2.0..”

Russia’s Deal With West Is Key To Ukraine Conflict End – Erdogan Aide (RT)

The conflict between Moscow and Kiev is effectively a conflict between Russia and the collective West and so it can be resolved only by reaching a “strategic agreement,” Ibrahim Kalin, a top Turkish presidential adviser on foreign policy, believes. “This war will not end with positional gains, but with a new security agreement between the two global blocs,” Kalin said during an interview with Haberturk TV on Sunday. The official said he discussed the issue and Moscow’s stance on it with Russian President Vladimir Putin during his recent visit to Russia. While Türkiye itself has been working towards reaching the “perspective” of such an agreement, the current “international climate is in favor of war rather than peace,” Kalin admitted. “The great powers want this war to continue,” he added, without naming the purported pro-war actors.

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has become a “hot” episode of a broader conflict between Moscow and the collective West, Kalin explained, describing the standoff as the“Cold War 2.0.” While Russia apparently tried to avoid hostilities when it tabled a comprehensive security agreement shortly before the conflict broke out, the West rejected it, Kalin noted. “This war is not between Russia and Ukraine, but between Russia and the Western bloc. Cold War 2.0,” he stressed. The position voiced by Kalin appeared to be reminiscent of statements repeatedly made by Russia’s top officials, who repeatedly described the ongoing hostilities as a proxy war between Russia and the West, merely waged at the hands of Ukrainians.

The stance was reiterated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Friday, with the top diplomat stating that any negotiations would not be held “with [Ukrainian President Vladimir] Zelensky, who is a puppet in the hands of the West, but directly with his masters.” Amid the broader conflict between Russia and the West, Türkiye has asserted itself as a mediator, with Ankara hosting peace talks between Russia and Ukraine early into the ongoing hostilities. While the diplomatic effort ultimately flopped, Türkiye continued its efforts, repeatedly urging both sides to return to negotiations, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stating that “even the worst peace will be better than war.”

Turkey S-400

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One member: Poland.

The EU’s ‘New’ Eastern Members Have Taken Control Of The Bloc (Sushentsov)

The Ukrainian crisis is giving rise to new strategic shifts. Alongside the shift away from a US-dominated world order, the conflict shows the emergence of a new balance of power in Europe that eludes the comprehension of Western analysts. At the heart of the new strategic situation in Europe is an “inflation of the influence” of Eastern European states that was unimaginable thirty years ago. In its current form, the European Union, whose development – both economic and political – has been driven for almost eighty years by the countries of Western Europe, has essentially lost its sovereignty. At the beginning of the 1990s, at the height of post-Cold War integration plans, there was a real possibility of forming a full European confederation: Western European countries were thinking about their own defense policy, separate from the US, and were planning to go down the road of creating some form of United States of Europe.

This would have greatly strengthened Western European autonomy, not only vis-à-vis the Americans but also in regards to Russia and China. This unique opportunity was never seized. On the contrary, Western Europe was tempted to expand virtually to the borders of Russia. And when this expansion took place, it suddenly became clear that the old European core had been eroded. In this context, the situation of Germany, one of the strategic drivers of Europe in the outgoing era, is revealing. Berlin has lost the initiative in foreign policy. German industry and German citizens have been condemned to spend three times more on energy than before. And this is combined with the fact that the Germans have long delayed real-wage growth in their economy. In reality, it was cheap Russian energy that made the German economy the main beneficiary of EU integration.

Now these foundations are under threat, because it’s no longer available. And so, soon it will no longer be possible to keep wages down. They will have to be raised to avoid a massive rise in social discontent. And this calls into question the viability of the German economic model. The Ukrainian crisis has led to a situation where the voice of Eastern European countries, and Poland in particular, is beginning to define Western European foreign-policy priorities. This situation is unique in modern history. Many historians have defined Eastern Europe as ‘Europe’s crossroads,’ making it a permanent battleground for competing empires. Today, the countries of Eastern Europe are not only gaining strategic influence but are moving to the forefront of European politics. Warsaw’s current priority is to transform itself into the EU’s largest military and to create a major counterweight to Russia on Polish territory in the event of Ukraine’s defeat.

Poland is creating points of tension for Russia all along its borders: military exercises on the border with the Kaliningrad region and maneuvers near the border with Belarus. All this shows that Warsaw wants to take the strategic initiative in the EU and could potentially become its main actor if the conflict goes beyond the territory of Ukraine. The deployment of tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus is a joint move by Moscow and Minsk that has a deterrent character and is intended to dispel illusions in Warsaw that Russia is not determined to maintain a balance of threats. It is possible that in the future the current crisis with the West will begin to resemble the mature years of the Cold War, with its system of mutual military deterrence.

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“If the grain corridor due to expire this month were to collapse, Ukrainian farmers would have little option but to send all their grain exports through eastern Europe.”

Eastern Europe’s Grain Producers Face A Perfect Storm (Az.)

When global grain prices started falling last year after a spike in the first months of the war in Ukraine, Poland’s then agriculture minister urged farmers to hang onto their harvests in the hope of a rebound and better returns.
The bet backfired badly for some. Nearly a year later, Polish farmer Artur Konarski still has about 150 tonnes of grain stuck in storage and he says some of his competitors in the European Union’s third-biggest wheat producer have even bigger stocks of crops languishing in silos. Farmers in Poland and other eastern European countries who held out for higher prices have been hit by a perfect storm. A jump in exports from Brazil and Russia helped to drive global grain prices lower while the EU opened its borders to tariff-free Ukrainian grain imports in a show of solidarity after Russia blocked the country’s Black Sea ports.

While the EU’s aim was to give Ukrainian farmers an outlet to ship grain and oilseeds to their traditional markets in Africa, the Middle East and Asia – and help ease a global food crisis – much has remained in Eastern Europe. With a dearth of local produce in Poland, millers and livestock producers desperate for grain turned instead to a flood of imports from Ukraine ferried into the EU by trucks and trains, grain traders and farmers said. Eastern Europe’s governments have pointed the finger of blame for its farmers’ woes at Ukraine, but Adrian Wawrzyniak, spokesman for the Polish Trade Union of Individual Farmers, said some of the region’s troubles were self-inflicted because farmers, encouraged by politicians, had hoarded crops. “This led to lower sales during the harvest and storage of cereals by farmers, the consequence of which they are paying for today with a reduction in income from the sale of cereals,” he said.

Local buyers had plenty of alternative supplies. After opening its borders to Ukrainian grain, Poland imported 2.08 million tonnes of maize and 579,315 tonnes of wheat last year, up from just 6,269 tonnes of maize and 3,033 tonnes of wheat in 2021. “Since the farmers did not sell, (feed and flour mills) just bought Ukrainian grain to have raw materials for current production,” said a Polish grain trader who declined to be named because he is not authorised to talk to the media. Despite being a staunch ally of Ukraine, Poland banned Ukrainian grain imports in April in response to furious complaints from farmers in its rural heartlands where support for the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) Party is strong. Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria quickly followed Poland’s lead, sparking a row with Brussels over trade policy and demands for compensation for their angry farmers from EU funds.

The unilateral import bans were lifted last week but only after the European Commission agreed to block sales of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seed within those four member states and Romania from May 2 until June 5. But the issue is unlikely to go away. Negotiations with Russia to extend a deal allowing some grain exports through three of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports to alleviate a global food crisis are hanging in the balance. If the grain corridor due to expire this month were to collapse, Ukrainian farmers would have little option but to send all their grain exports through eastern Europe.

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“..bombs fitted with wings..”

New Weapon ‘Changing Course’ Of Ukraine Conflict – Telegraph (RT)

Russia is using bombs fitted with wings to bypass Ukraine’s air defenses and pummel forces assembling for the much-heralded spring offensive, The Telegraph reported on Sunday. Kiev is citing this new development to once again demand F-16 fighters from the West. “Russia’s newest weapon is changing the course of Ukraine war,” the Telegraph headline proclaimed, referring to glide bombs such as the FAB-500. Kiev officials have estimated that the Russian Air Force is using at least 20 such bombs per day. Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Yury Ignat said the weapon has been used “intensely” for the past month, and described it as a “serious threat.” According to Ignat, the use of glide bombs means Moscow is “running low” on cruise missiles after “failing to take control of the skies over Ukraine.”

The Telegraph explained that the bombs outrange Ukrainian tactical air defenses, which have been moved to the frontline to support the much-anticipated offensive. Ignat told reporters last week that Kiev was powerless to stop the bombs and pleaded for the US and its allies to send F-16 fighters. He repeated that plea to The Telegraph on Sunday. “Just one or two would be enough to deter them, because the Russians would see that a couple of these things are in the air and they would avoid approaching,” he said. For several days in a row now, Russia has used cruise missiles and drones in waves of strikes on Ukrainian railheads, fuel and ammunition depots, and troop concentration areas for several days. Tactical drones have also been reported picking off Ukrainian air defenses along the frontline. Several US military experts have also noted the increased use of glide bombs recently, predicting increased Russian aerial superiority as Ukraine’s air defenses continue to deteriorate.

This poses a challenge to Kiev’s plans for a spring offensive, according to Justin Crump of the British intelligence consultancy company Sibylline. The troops and tanks brought up to the front line for the anticipated attack need to be scattered to avoid damage from the airstrikes, but would have to assemble very quickly once it is time to advance. “Dispersion and rapid concentration of force is vital in this environment,” Crump told the Telegraph. According to Western officials, Ukraine has put together at least nine NATO-trained brigades and several hundred armored vehicles provided by the US, UK, Germany and France, in preparation for a massive attack, speculated to be aimed at Crimea. Kiev has repeatedly postponed the offensive, however, citing weather concerns and equipment shortages, while Western governments have sought to manage expectations in case of its failure.

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“..had more than $100 billions in its assets so its financial balance was rather sound and particularly because it had more than $500 billion in passive capital such as real estate. Yet, recently it was sold for an obscenely low amount at about $3.7 billion..”

Something Is Rotten in Schmutzig Switzerland (Wright)

In a ‘business deal of the century’ brokered by the Swiss government, Switzerland’s largest bank and its financial pride and joy was acquired by its smaller rival USB for a meagre $3.2 billion. The current affairs sections of the leading news agencies have recently been populated by the breaking news that Credit Suisse had to be sold but to the lowest bidder this time or so it seems. Though this takeover deal, brokered in such a frantic haste over the course of just a few days by the Swiss government stands in silent testimony of this colossal collapse, there is a question hovering in mid air, why did Credit Suisse have to be sold so suddenly ‘at such short (banking) notice’, given that the giant bank has existed for 166 years with a superb banking tradition among other cutting-edge world banks?

If we want to answer this question, we need to bear in mind that the bank at the moment of its acquisition had more than $100 billions in its assets so its financial balance was rather sound and particularly because it had more than $500 billion in passive capital such as real estate. Yet, recently it was sold for an obscenely low amount at about $3,7 billion. But the real reason appears to have been the heavy pressure that the U.S. government exerted on the government of Switzerland that Credit Suisse, this steam engine of credit and paragon of superb banking reputation, had to be sold inexplicably urgently, sending shockwaves across the financial sector. A direct cause for this seemingly sudden decision was the previous collapse of two other banks: Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank (oddly enough, not many ordinary people had heard of those before their collapse) and an additional reason: a financial turmoil in the U.S. stock exchange.

Suddenly, a saying comes to my mind: ‘for everything there is a good reason and a real reason’. The real reason for the Credit Suisse collapse was found out a few weeks ago. Namely, the U.S. Senate Budget Committee was in session recently and one of the topics was Credit Suisse Bank. A layperson may wonder how come Credit Suisse has been (was?) targeted by the Budget Committee in the U.S. Senate? And why one part of the report adopted at the Senate Committee which the media managed to get hold of was literally blurred on the verge of illegibility. Apparently, the reason was the obstruction of the Credit Suisse Bank surrounding the investigation of the financial funds which had been deposited by the Nazis (yes, you’ve heard well, the ‘bad’ old Nazis) after the Second World War into the bank accounts of Credit Suisse and its legal predecessors: die Schweizerische Kreditanstalt and a number of other banks or smaller scale financial institutions.

However, this unyielding search for the Nazi money, the part of which originates from the property and gold which belonged to the Jews brutally murdered in the concentration camps during the Second World War, has lasted for quite a while. The investigation in question was first conducted by Volzker’s Commission, and then Bergier’s Commission and then from March 2020 by the already well known Simon Wiesenthal Centre, famous for hunting down the Nazis. Namely, only now have the broader public found out that in 2020 a full-blown administrative war of small proportions was waged behind the proverbial curtains between the Simon Wiesenthal Centre on one side and Credit Suisse Bank on the other, mediated by the independent ombudsperson and an independent advisor. The ombudsperson and the independent advisor were both appointed upon the insistence on the part of the Credit Suisse Bank.

The position of ombudsperson was given to Neil Barofsky, the former public prosecutor of the State of New York. Ira Forman, a special U.S. government envoy for monitoring and combating anti-Semitism was appointed to be the investigation advisor. The agreement between these two sides was kept in absolute secrecy related to the thorough and complete investigation of the Nazi funds allegedly deposited in Credit Suisse. But on the 21st November 2022, Credit Suisse flatly refused to cooperate further and definitely ceased collaboration with the Investigative Committee. In response to that decision, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre determined to come out into the public and expose the nefarious activities by Credit Suisse. Shortly afterwards, in April this year both the ombudsperson and the advisor submitted a report to the U.S. Senate Budget Committee.

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“..the president personally empathizes and identifies with the dead, encourages more Americans to become dead, offers cash incentives to hospitals that expedite death, and makes pharmaceuticals available — both legal and illegal — for inducing efficient transitions to the bliss of non-being.”

The Next Big Thing (Jim Kunstler)

Now that the charm has worn off the transsexual craze — the idea that a person’s emotional distress can be cured by identifying as the opposite sex — we await the next ploy out of the Woke Transhumanist game-plan to destabilize the human project on earth. People-of-color, brown, indigenous, Pacific Islander, gay, lesbian, plus-size, differently-abled, all women (of course), have taken their turn in the batting order of intersectional oppressed minority groups, and each has walked off with a participation trophy. Who’s left now? The dead! Their needs have not received sufficient attention. Inclusion has not come to them… yet. They are systematically kept out of all current activities and ceremonies. They are segregated in ghettos of grass and granite. The legal system stigmatizes them. Numerically, through human history, they are by far the largest demographic. Yet, they are routinely ignored, overlooked, disrespected. If anyone deserves to be Woked-up from the sleep of oppression, it’s them.

Don’t despair, a great grooming is underway. The next new thing will be for most of us to transition into the dead. Do you think it’s an accident that Hollywood has churned out zombie movies by morgue-full in recent years? Obviously, more and more Americans have come to identify as the walking dead. (And, judging by the behavior in our land, a lot of people’s brains have been eaten.) Even our businesses and banks have a walking dead kind of look to them. Our project in Ukraine has been a tremendous grooming aid in preparing people to become dead. But that experiment is nearly complete now. Hence, we must seek a much bigger global project for transitioning humanity into the satisfactions of being dead. A war with China would be the ideal grooming opportunity. They outnumber us about ten to one. They’ve developed hypersonic missiles that can deliver nuclear payloads anywhere in our country, with the potential of transitioning millions of Americans at a time.

And when they’re done with that, they can send an army over here to work the luckless survivors to death out in the soybean fields and the corn rows. Perhaps in anticipation of this, America elected (so they say) a president in mid-transition to being dead. “Joe Biden” is celebrated for staying mostly out-of-sight, underground, for speaking a dead language that resembles 20th century American vernacular English, for lurching one way and another, zombie-like, on his way off-stage in fleeting public appearances, and for taking large sums of money from Chinese officials who support America’s transitioning program. Best of all, the president personally empathizes and identifies with the dead, encourages more Americans to become dead, offers cash incentives to hospitals that expedite death, and makes pharmaceuticals available — both legal and illegal — for inducing efficient transitions to the bliss of non-being.

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“perverse that you report an allegation of a pretty serious crime and they don’t investigate [it] but they were investigating you.”

Joe Biden Bribery Allegations First Brought To DOJ In 2018 (Devine)

Explosive bribery allegations involving Joe Biden and foreign nationals were brought to the Department of Justice as early as 2018, two years before similar allegations against the president were made by the whistleblower now talking to the House Oversight Committee. Bud Cummins, a former federal prosecutor, first reported the bribery allegations to then-New York US Attorney Geoff Berman on Oct. 4, 2018, in an email claiming he had evidence that Joe Biden had “exercised influence to protect” his son’s Ukrainian employer “in exchange for payments to Hunter Biden, Devon Archer, and Joe Biden.” In the email obtained by John Solomon’s Just The News, Cummins said that Ukraine’s then-Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko wanted to travel to the United States to meet Berman, and could produce two “John Doe” witnesses to corroborate his claims about the Bidens.

But Berman never responded to the email. Instead, in a move Cummins says seemed like “retaliation,” on Dec. 9, 2019, in the middle of impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump, federal prosecutors secretly obtained data from Cummins’ iPhone with a grand jury subpoena to Apple. “I can’t really imagine a legitimate reason for the DOJ not to follow up on an offer like that. I felt like it was stonewalled,” said Cummins, formerly Arkansas’ chief federal prosecutor under President George W. Bush. “It doesn’t make much sense to investigate the guy who brings you the allegation rather than the allegation,” he said. When he received a notice from Apple last October telling him that his data had been accessed three years earlier, he said he found it “perverse that you report an allegation of a pretty serious crime and they don’t investigate [it] but they were investigating you.”

Cummins’ report was just one of a number of red flags raised with the DOJ between 2016 and 2020 about the Biden family influence-peddling scheme. The FBI has had Hunter’s abandoned laptop in its possession since December 2019, and Hunter’s former business partner Tony Bobulinski handed over the contents of his three devices and provided evidence of then-candidate Biden’s involvement in his son’s overseas business deals during a five-hour interview with the FBI days before the 2020 election.

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“It is an embarrassment that a journalist who denounced trickery by one state against another is arrested, condemned to die in jail and we do nothing to free him. It’s a crazy thing..”

‘Crazy thing’ – Lula Criticizes Imprisonment Of Assange (RT)

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has criticized the UK for its treatment of Julian Assange. He said the WikiLeaks founder has been imprisoned for his professional activities as a journalist and called on the government to release him. “It is an embarrassment that a journalist who denounced trickery by one state against another is arrested, condemned to die in jail and we do nothing to free him. It’s a crazy thing,” Lula told journalists after attending the coronation of King Charles III in London on Saturday. He also told reporters that Assange’s is a case of freedom of expression, adding that the Australian national is behind bars merely “because he denounced wrongdoing.” Lula also lambasted the media for failing to back their colleague.

Meanwhile, speaking to Australia’s ABC broadcaster from London on Thursday, the country’s prime minister, Anthony Albanese, argued that “there is nothing to be served” by keeping Assange behind bars. “This needs to be brought to a conclusion,” he stated, adding that Canberra is “working through diplomatic channels, we’re making very clear what our position is on Mr. Assange’s case.” Albanese, who has previously denounced Assange’s imprisonment on several occasions, acknowledged that the process is “frustrating.” On Friday, the WikiLeaks founder, who has been languishing in London’s Belmarsh high security prison since 2019, wrote a letter to King Charles III. Among other things, he invited the monarch to visit the facility. “As a political prisoner, held at Your Majesty’s pleasure on behalf of an embarrassed foreign sovereign, I am honored to reside within the walls of this world-class institution,” the journalist wrote.

Assange was arrested by British authorities after Ecuador revoked his asylum status and allowed the UK police to remove him from the country’s embassy in London. The WikiLeaks founder had been sheltering in the diplomatic mission’s premises since 2012. On the day of his arrest, the US Department of Justice served Assange with 17 charges under the Espionage Act, which could potentially put him behind bars for 175 years. His defense team is currently fighting a US extradition request. The charges stem from his publication of classified material obtained by whistleblowers, including classified documents alleging US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. Although Assange did not personally hack these materials, he was still charged for his role in publishing them.

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Breton

 

 


For 250 million years, pollinators have been the planet’s secret agents for sustaining terrestrial life on Earth and many people ignore that over 500 plant species rely on bats to pollinate their flowers. This is a lesser long-nosed bat after a busy night

 

 


This is an entirely flat floor. The 16th century optical illusion of Florence Cathedral’s marble tiles.

 

 


20 million year old winged ant trapped in amber resin captured by Dr. Yuan Ji

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 062023
 


Vincent van Gogh Memory of the Garden at Etten (Ladies of Arles) 1888

 

Iraq Was The Graveyard Of American Ambition (Lukyanov)
Gonzalo Lira Arrested In Ukraine (RT)
Russia and US On Verge Of ‘Open Armed Conflict’ – Moscow (RT)
China’s Peace Plan For Ukraine ‘Wishful Thinking’ – Borrell (RT)
Zakharova Accuses Borrell Of ‘Colonialist Mindset’ (RT)
Zelensky Is A ‘Puppet’ – Lavrov (RT)
Poland Has Designs On Remnants Of Ukraine – Zakharova (TASS)
Prigozhin Warns Wagner Forces To Exit Bakhmut By May 10 (ZH)
Ukraine Brings 400-600 Troops To Bakhmut Every Day – Prigozhin (TASS)
Pretend to the End (Kunstler)
Nearly A Third Of The World Economy Is Now Subject To Sanctions (MoA)
Russian Car Sales Triple (RT)
Russia Oil Floods Global Markets Via Major Asian Intermediaries (Shakil)
New Disinformation Office To Oversee All The Other Ones (IC)
A Kingly Proposal: Letter From Julian Assange To King Charles III

 

 

 

 

End Covid

 

 

 

 

Meatball

 

 

Tulsi Tucker

 

 

 

 

Sen. Kennedy

 

 

 

 

“The American invasion of Iraq was both the apotheosis of post-Cold War American expansionism and a testament to its downfall. It is certainly not only a lesson for Washington, but also an illustration of the changes in the world. The era of superpowers is over. The world will be organized differently.”

Iraq Was The Graveyard Of American Ambition (Lukyanov)

Twenty years ago, in May 2003, then-US President George W. Bush landed on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf and declared “mission accomplished.” The Texan announced the liberation of Iraq and the end of active combat, in effect a military victory. This was technically true. Baghdad was under American control, and although Iraqi President Saddam Hussein had escaped, he would be captured six months later. In fact, the invasion by Washington and its coalition had destroyed Iraqi statehood, led to a bloody civil war, the disintegration of the country, a dramatic shift in the balance of power in the region (not in the Americans’ favor, by the way), and was the root cause of the series of upheavals that engulfed the Middle East in the 2000s and 2010s.

Much has already been said about the war in Iraq, and we will not repeat it. We will simply note that only the most stubborn neo-conservatives now defend it, justifying the expediency of the action under what is now well known to have been a false pretext. Even their like-minded but less radical supporters admit that the intervention was unsuccessful and unnecessary. Nevertheless, most of the initiators of the campaign – former President Bush himself, his inner circle of Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle – are comfortably retired, and Donald Rumsfeld left this world, without facing any repercussions, two years ago. Looking back at the events of that time, it is important to assess the role of the invasion in modern history. Iraq was the culmination of US efforts to assert complete and unchallenged hegemony.

Whatever the motives for the decision to go to war (and they ranged from the utterly mercenary to the personal and dogmatically idealistic), the political expediencies could not be concealed. The events of September 11, 2001, when America was attacked by a strange and seemingly unknown enemy, caused a shock. It was necessary to show that Washington was still capable of doing whatever it deemed necessary – even if it did not have the support of much of the world and of its key allies. And so it did. Bush’s aircraft carrier appearance was intended to shore up the status quo. What happened next, however, was that Iraq actually experienced the opposite: the limits of American capabilities and an eventual withdrawal in the face of an almost uncontrollable sectarian-political conflict.

It was not immediate, but it was already irreversible. Bush’s second term, which he won despite widespread dissatisfaction with the situation in Iraq in particular, was a period in which Washington’s ambitions were slowly relaxed. It should be remembered that the first term, in addition to Iraq and Afghanistan, included ‘color revolutions’ in countries bordering Russia (Georgia and Ukraine), which were also part of the general desire for domination. America’s continued presence in the Middle East has become increasingly reactive rather than proactive, with Washington increasingly having to deal with the consequences of its own policies. ‘The Arab Spring’ initially generated enthusiasm and even revived an instinct for interventionism, but quickly became bogged down in confusing realities. The emergence of Islamic State potentially threatened immediate American interests and forced Washington into firefighting. In the end, however, it was put out by everyone, not just those who started it.

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God speed.

Gonzalo Lira Arrested In Ukraine (RT)

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on Friday confirmed the arrest of Gonzalo Lira, a Chilean national living in Kharkov, suspecting him of pro-Russian sympathies. Lira had been previously detained in April 2022, but released after a week and ordered not to leave the city. According to a SBU statement quoted by Ukrainian media, Lira “publicly justified the armed aggression” of Russia, denied or glorified alleged Russian war crimes, and “engaged in discrediting the top military and political leadership and the Defense Forces of our state.” The SBU filmed Lira’s arrest by heavily armed agents, blurring out the faces of everyone involved. He is suspected of “producing and distributing materials justifying the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, committed repeatedly.”

A court ordered him jailed pending the outcome of the investigation. The SBU has reportedly seized Lira’s computer and multiple cell phones as evidence. Lira, 55, is a writer and filmmaker who used to work in the US. Several years ago, he moved to Kharkov, where he got married and began blogging as ‘Coach Red Pill’. This is the second time he has been detained by the SBU. He was first arrested in April 2022, but was released after a week. No charges were pressed at the time, and Lira would not discuss the details of what happened, saying only that he was not allowed to leave Kharkov.

He blamed the US outlet Daily Beast for directing Kiev’s attention to his work, accusing the outlet of trying to get him killed. The tabloid had reported on Lira’s activities in March 2022, calling him “sleazy”and a “pro-Putin shill,” and noting its reporters had reached out to Ukrainian authorities. While Lira kept a low profile for several weeks after his release, he eventually returned to social media and continued voicing criticism of Kiev’s policies. Since then, Ukraine has enacted laws criminalizing dissent and allowing President Vladimir Zelensky to ban opposition political parties, nationalize the media and even persecute the Ukrainian Orthodox Church for being in canonical communion with Moscow.

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“The anger and hatred towards Russia with which Washington acts in a situation in which it frankly should think of its own safety, is inexplicable..”

Russia and US On Verge Of ‘Open Armed Conflict’ – Moscow (RT)

After the recent drone incident at the Kremlin, which Moscow has called a US-backed attempt by Ukraine to assassinate President Vladimir Putin, the US and Russia are on the verge of a shooting war with each other, a senior Russian diplomat has said. “We are working on preventing a fall of our relations with the US into the abyss of an open armed conflict,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in a TV interview on Friday. “We are already on the verge of this abyss.” Ryabkov described officials in Washington as “opponents” and “enemies” of Russia due to what he called Russophobic policies which are being pursued in spite of the risks.

“The anger and hatred towards Russia with which Washington acts in a situation in which it frankly should think of its own safety, is inexplicable,” he said. At the moment, “no real diplomacy” regarding the Ukraine conflict is possible between the two nations, because the US “has bet on further escalation,”according to Ryabkov. The US has long been a direct participant in the conflict and has long been waging an open hybrid war against my nation. The deputy foreign minister said Washington tends to dismiss the statements of Russian officials, citing remarks made by Secretary of State Antony Blinken regarding Russia’s claim that Ukraine was behind the drone attack on the Kremlin. “I would take anything coming out of the Kremlin with a very large shaker of salt,” Blinken told the Washington Post.

“We leave it to Ukraine to decide how it is going to defend itself,” he added. Kiev denies having any involvement in the attack on the Kremlin. The US government is treating “any signals coming from Moscow as an element of a disinformation campaign,” Ryabkov said. Meanwhile, Russia is “literally ready to use any means at its disposal” to deter threats to its security and the safety of its leadership, he added. He also reiterated the Russian claims that Washington shares responsibility with Kiev for the incident, which the US denies. Their statements of non-involvement are “not convincing anyone,” and are reminiscent of “how they attempted to pretty much blame us for the bombing of the Nord Stream,” Ryabkov said.

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I’ve said it before: Borrell is not a diplomat. Diplomacy is alien to him. “If you want peace, push Russia to withdraw..” Not going to happen. So why bring it up? Because you don’t want peace.

China’s Peace Plan For Ukraine ‘Wishful Thinking’ – Borrell (RT)

China’s proposal to end the conflict in Ukraine is “not a peace plan,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has claimed. The diplomat insisted that demands made by Kiev are the only viable solution to the crisis, despite Russia making clear it will not accept them. Speaking at an event hosted by the European University Institute in Florence on Friday, Borrell explained why the EU should continue to arm Kiev and argued that certain peace plans for Ukraine were undesirable. “The only thing that can be called a peace plan is [Vladimir] Zelensky’s proposal,” he stated, referring to the Ukrainian president. “The Chinese peace plan, well, it’s not a peace plan. It’s a set of wishful considerations, wishful thinking, but it’s not a peace plan.” “If you want peace, push Russia to withdraw,” Borrell added. “Don’t tell me to stop supporting Ukraine.”

Zelensky’s peace plan demands that Russia withdrawal from all territories that Kiev claims as its own, including Crimea, as well as calling for war reparations and NATO-like security guarantees, among other measures. The government in Kiev has repeatedly said it would not compromise and would continue to fight for as long as it takes. Borrell acknowledged that the Russian government would not accept Ukrainian demands, and blamed Moscow for continued hostilities. “If you have someone who says: ‘I have military objectives, and I will continue bombing, I will continue fighting until I get them’ – well, what kind of peace talk do you want to do?” he said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin. If Kiev surrenders, Borrel claimed that Russian troops would be “on the Polish border” and Ukraine would become a “second Belarus”. Without Western support, this would happen “in a matter of days,” he predicted.

Russia launched its military operation against Ukraine in February 2022, citing Kiev’s continued attacks in Donbass and growing involvement with NATO. Beijing’s peace proposal, released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry in February, urges the security concerns of each party to be addressed. The Chinese government has criticized NATO’s expansion in Europe, calling it the root of the conflict in Ukraine. Borrell suggested that China could have a role in resolving the crisis by pushing Russia towards accepting Kiev’s conditions, although he expressed concern about closer ties between Moscow and Beijing. The diplomat insisted that the EU was more united than ever in the face of an “enemy,” joking that he felt like the “defense minister” of the bloc.

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“If the EU were in a position to have its own opinion, it would not be in the situation it is in today..”

Zakharova Accuses Borrell Of ‘Colonialist Mindset’ (RT)

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell betrayed a colonial mindset and a lack of geopolitical understanding when he dismissed a Chinese peace plan for Ukraine as “wishful thinking,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has claimed. The Russian diplomat criticized Borrell on Friday for remarks he made earlier in the day at an event in the Italian city of Florence. The EU official had claimed that conditions set out by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky were the only viable path to resolving the conflict with Russia, and rejected a Chinese proposal unveiled in February as “not a peace plan.” “Not taking seriously proposals formulated on behalf of one fifth of the planet’s population and the leading world economy – that can only come from either a person who knows nothing about geopolitics, or someone with a colonial mentality who doesn’t respect people they consider beneath themself,” Zakharova insisted, referring to Borrell.


The Russian diplomat described Zelensky’s conditions for peace as “an American guidebook for inciting conflict in Europe,” suggesting that Borrell was advocating Kiev’s position under pressure from Washington. “If the EU were in a position to have its own opinion, it would not be in the situation it is in today,” she remarked. Moscow considers the conflict with Ukraine to be part of a proxy war waged against it by Washington. The EU, which followed the US lead in imposing sanctions on Russia and sending weapons to Kiev, does not decide its own foreign policy and has consequently sacrificed the national interests of member states, Russian officials have argued. Borrell faced accusations of racism last year after describing Europe as a “garden” and most other parts of the world as a “jungle.” He denied that the metaphor was intended to have colonialist connotations, but nonetheless apologized.

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Lavrov IS a diplomat.

“All this has to be discussed, of course, not with Zelensky, who is a puppet in the hands of the West, but directly with his masters..”

Zelensky Is A ‘Puppet’ – Lavrov (RT)

The West and Russia will eventually sit down to discuss their differences, but this dialogue should be held not with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky but with those using him as a stooge, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday. Speaking to reporters after a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Goa, India, Lavrov reiterated that Moscow had “never refused to settle issues arising from the actions of the US and their satellites to pump Ukraine with weapons” so that it could fight Russia. The minister noted that many countries around the world are growing increasingly aware that these tensions cannot be defused solely by freezing the Ukraine conflict. “Everyone understands that the ongoing events are geopolitical in nature,” he said.

“Without solving the main geopolitical problem – that of the West aspiring to hold onto its hegemony and impose its own will on all the others, – it is impossible to resolve crises in Ukraine and elsewhere in the world,” Lavrov added. The Russian diplomat pointed to China’s 12-point plan for a political settlement in Ukraine, which was released in late February. Lavrov said that while the plan does seek to settle the conflict itself, it also focuses on much more global and comprehensive issues. “All this has to be discussed, of course, not with Zelensky, who is a puppet in the hands of the West, but directly with his masters,” Lavrov said, noting that such talks would take place “sooner or later.”

In early April, amid speculation about an imminent Ukrainian spring counteroffensive, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken ruled out any peace negotiations between Kiev and Moscow, suggesting that such talks would only help Russia to “ratify” its territorial gains. Moscow has repeatedly said it is open to talks with Kiev if the latter recognizes “the reality on the ground,” including the new status of four former Ukrainian regions that overwhelmingly voted to join Russia last autumn. However, around the same time as the referendums, Zelensky signed a decree prohibiting negotiations with the current Russian leadership.

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“..this is the clearest signal Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky will ever receive on [his] country’s NATO bid..”

Poland Has Designs On Remnants Of Ukraine – Zakharova (TASS)

Polish authorities have designs on the remnants of Ukraine, and this is the clearest signal Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky will ever receive on country’s NATO bid, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday. The diplomat drew attention to Zelensky’s words, who said on Thursday that Ukraine understood that it could not join NATO during the conflict, but wanted a “clear signal” that it would be accepted later. “Poland has designs on the remnants of Ukraine. There are no clearer signals,” Zakharova wrote on her Telegram channel.

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Prigozhin feels disrespected. But not by Putin. You can bet they are still close. At least part of this is an act.

Wagner is an attack force, not a defense one. And the attacking work is done.

Prigozhin Warns Wagner Forces To Exit Bakhmut By May 10 (ZH)

The infighting between Wagner Group mercenary firm and Russia’s defense ministry has come to a head, as on Friday Wagner chiefYevgeny Prigozhin declared he’s withdrawing his forces from Bakhmut on May 10 for lack of ammunition. He’s issued fierce complaints for weeks that ammunition is being withheld from the military chain of command as internal tensions have exploded into public view. “I declare on behalf of the Wagner fighters, on behalf of the Wagner command, that on May 10, 2023, we are obliged to transfer positions in the settlement of Bakhmut to units of the Defense Ministry and withdraw the remains of Wagner to logistics camps to lick our wounds,” Prigozhin said.

“I’m withdrawing Wagner PMC units because without ammunition, they are doomed to a senseless death,” Prigozhin continued, asserting that his firm had fallen “out of favor with envious near-military bureaucrats.” The day prior to this he issued a separate dramatic battlefield video on Telegram declaring “We are lacking 70% of the needed ammunition!” The clip is dramatic and disturbing as it shows Prigozhin standing over dozens of his fighters killed on the Ukrainian battlefield, while blaming their deaths on lack of adequate support. In the video, he expressly calls out the defense minister and chief of the armed forces: “Shoigu, Gerasimov, where … is the ammunition?” says Prigozhin. “The blood is still fresh,” he says of bodies around him. “They came here as volunteers and are dying so you can sit like fat cats in your luxury offices.”

It is by far the most scathing attack on the regular chain of command as well as unsupportive politicians at home launched by the Wagner chief, following weeks of public verbal denunciations and even warnings to take the matter directly to Putin, who is no doubt fully aware of the spat. The Thursday social media message included the following moment: “These are someone’s f**king fathers and someone’s sons. And you f**kers who aren’t giving [us] ammunition, you b*tches, will have your guts eaten out in hell!” yelled Prigozhin in Thursday’s video.

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“The enemy is well equipped, well trained, acts as one and resists with dignity, so we move on..”

Ukraine Brings 400-600 Troops To Bakhmut Every Day – Prigozhin (TASS)

Ukraine’s armed forces bring from 400 to 600 people to Artemovsk (the Ukrainian name is Bakhmut) every day and lose the same number every day. This was stated by the founder of PMC Wagner Yevgeny Prigozhin. The corresponding video was posted on Saturday in the Telegram channel of his press service. “Behind us is Bakhmut, it remains approximately 2.5 km to take – and the city will be taken,” he said. “The enemy pulls up daily from 400 to 600 people, they lose approximately the same number daily. The units of PMC Wagner work in lockstep. The enemy does not spare artillery ammunition. A sufficient number of various foreign-made armored vehicles have appeared, a large number of drones. The enemy is well equipped, well trained, acts as one and resists with dignity, so we move on,” he said.

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“My guess is that the nominal leader of this underworld in the USA — more like a master-of-ceremonies than an actual director — is Barack Obama..”

Pretend to the End (Kunstler)

The creatures of the underworld running our country must think the public is awfully stupid. You are expected to take at face value the claim that “Joe Biden” is actually up for re-election. Could it be more obvious that he’s pretending? (Just as he’s been pretending to serve as CEO of our government.) Meanwhile, we are not supposed to notice that the entities behind him are scrambling to dismantle, demolish, and asset-strip what remains of the USA in body and spirit. But enough of us are noticing to make it a problem for them. First, who are these entities? They are exactly who you think they are. What you see around you is not just a complex system (Western Civ) unwinding and breaking apart — though that is part of the story. It is also the appearance of a controlled demolition by desperate, frightened, and crazy people who want to be the ones left standing when the demolition is complete. The catch is, they are pretending, too. They are control-freaks who cannot keep things under control.

This power underworld is a coalition of large public and private organizations, here and out there in the world, and the folks in charge of them, and they are all out of control, too, pretending that their operations are coherent and efficacious. For instance, the vast consortium of intelligence agencies in our country, the CIA, DIA, ad nauseam, their multitudinous spin-offs, and their international partners (e.g., MI6, Mossad, the World Health Organization). If you want to see how they actually work, watch the Coen Brothers’ movie Burn After Reading. You will see a bustle of perfectly hapless, frantic, and insanely self-destructive activity performed by clueless clowns in nice business suits. There is also the matrix of banking, including the international regulatory agencies such as the IMF, the World Bank, the Fed, the European Central Bank, and the banks themselves. And the bankers — Powell, LeGarde, Dimon, et. al — and the money managers, Fink, Soros, and their nefarious activities. They are all pretending to be in charge of a money system so burdened with fakery and legerdemain that it’s in the process of flying up the cosmic wazoo and vanishing, leaving Western Civ, functionally, broke.

My guess is that the nominal leader of this underworld in the USA — more like a master-of-ceremonies than an actual director — is Barack Obama. He has been running “Joe Biden” since the 2020 coup against Mr. Trump. The Clintons wanted to be in the mix somewhere, but it appears they’ve lost the fight for dominance — what with Bill in a perpetual doghouse and Hillary wearing that “loser” sign plastered on her back. For now, “Joe B” is a place-holder for the Party of Chaos. Who else have they got? Gavin Newsom? I’m sure. Hair and teeth only get you so far. Just wait until they roll the footage of San Francisco. Kamala Harris? Discussion unnecessary. Elizabeth Warren? (Grandma Oatmeal, we call her.) A bunch of governors no one has ever heard of? For now, they’ll just try ignoring RFK, Jr., since he wants to turn the Democratic Party upside-down and inside-out while rinsing it with Drano.

Who will they slot in when “Joe B” gets the hook? Michelle Obama, of course. Seems ridiculous, I know. (Actually, it’s completely ridiculous.) But our country has become so marinated in recycled products, celebrities, and narratives that Mr. Barack Obama (and cohorts) might just be bold enough to try it. Michelle is just another product at this point, like a can of Bud Lite, or a Hostess Ho-Ho, and that’s how they will try to sell her. The public’s collective mind has been successfully disordered to the degree that unreality no longer registers. If they pull this off, it will be Mr. Obama’s fourth term — and the coup-de-grace for the nation.

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Has anything ever failed this badly?

Nearly A Third Of The World Economy Is Now Subject To Sanctions (MoA)

The Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) just published a study about: The Human Consequences of Economic Sanctions. The results are as any observer of such acts would expect. Sanctions are used too broadly. They hardly ever serve their supposed original purpose and do not reach their aims. They hurt the poor more than the supposedly targeted leaders of this or that country. These numbers though are astonishing: “Over the past six decades, there has been significant growth in the use of economic sanctions by Western powers and international organizations. Less than 4 percent of countries were subject to sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union, or United Nations in the early 1960s; today, that share has risen to 27 percent. The magnitudes are similar when we consider their impact on the global economy: the share of world GDP produced in sanctioned countries rose from less than 4 percent to 29 percent in the same period. In other words, more than one fourth of countries and nearly a third of the world economy is now subject to sanctions by the UN or Western nations.”

Under international law only sanction imposed by the United Nations’ Security Council have legal standing. Sanctions by the U.S. or EU are under international law an illegal use of state instruments. The U.S. is using sanctions constantly to press under nations to do its bidding. Until the recent war in Ukraine the EU has used sanctions mostly to ‘do something’ because it had run out of ideas or diplomatic abilities. The recent sanctions on Russia proved to be hurting the Russians much less than they are hurting the people living in the European Union. It was a catastrophic mistake by EU leaders to preemptively agree to the sanctions the U.S. had been pushing for before Russia entered the civil war in Ukraine on the side of its Ukrainian brethren. The consequences had obviously not been gamed out and thought through.

When nearly one third of the world economy is under sanctions the other two-third are losing out too. It would therefore make sense for everyone to abolish all sanctions that have not been issued by the UNSC. Even UNSC sanctions should only be used sparsely and in a very narrowly targeted manner. Sanctions that hit the whole economy of a country are inhuman and should be prohibited.

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Sanctions at work. Devastating.

Russian Car Sales Triple (RT)

Sales of new passenger cars in Russia jumped 2.7 times in April compared to the same period in 2022, data from analytical agency Avtostat showed on Thursday. According to the report, more than 75,000 new vehicles were sold last month in total, which is 8% more than in March. Avtostat said that 44% of the cars sold were Chinese brands, while another 35% were Russian made. The combined share of South Korean, Japanese, European, and American automobiles fell to just over 20%. The top-selling brand in the country was Russian LADA (33.4%), and the most popular model was the Lada Granta (24.3%). Among foreign automakers, Chery was the best-selling Chinese brand, and the Geely Coolray crossover was the top selling model. The exit of Western and Japanese companies from the Russian auto market has provided an opportunity to rising industry players such as China and Iran.


Chinese automakers have embarked on a major expansion in the Russian market and are expected to reach a 60% share of total sales this year, according to car dealer chain Autodom. China exported over 160,000 cars to Russia last year, more than doubling its share of the country’s auto market. Iranian auto makers are also expected to launch sales in Russia this year. Experts say the situation could also boost the Russian auto industry. Car manufacturer AvtoVAZ revealed earlier that it plans to double production this year to more than 400,000 cars. According to the company’s press service, it has the capacity to produce up to 500,000 vehicles a year.

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“..with the expansion of BRICS (to BRICS+), there will be a decline in the value of the dollar and the collapse of the IMF..”

Russia Oil Floods Global Markets Via Major Asian Intermediaries (Shakil)

Despite western sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine conflict, some Asian and specifically West Asian economies are importing significant amounts of Russian gasoline at discounted prices, and reselling it with windfall profits to the EU under their brand names. Western sanctions have forced Moscow to actively diversify its energy exports – oil and gas exports accounted for 45 percent of the Russian government’s 2022 budget – and it has rapidly filled the gap left by its diminished oil exports to Europe with new customers in China, India, and the Persian Gulf nations. Despite the EU’s prohibition on seaborne exports, during the initial quarter of the current year, Russian seaborne crude oil exports amounted to 3.5 million barrels per day (bpd), surpassing the 3.35 million bpd recorded at the onset of the Ukrainian conflict a year ago.

According to industry analysts and oil executives, this has transpired despite western sanctions that led to the severance of several active trading partnerships for Russian oil in the EU markets. Dubai-based oil tycoon Hakam Valliani tells The Cradle that, in general, sanctions did not significantly impact the Russian gasoline supply line as new buyers filled the gap left by the EU market. Washington, he says, had enforced these limitations to force the EU to buy expensive US gasoline rather than cheaper Russian oil. When compared to Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG), the price of US LNG is nearly $1,000 per ton more expensive, so “the European Union is paying a disproportionately huge amount for the US stuff,” Valliani explains. “Sanctions or no sanctions, individuals will find a way around by devising cunning strategies to bypass restrictions,” he says, adding:

“This is scary to see that the entire American-based price benchmark and the SWIFT system are collapsing, and a new benchmark will be needed within the next five years. Russia now accepts a variety of currencies when transacting fuel sales, including Indian rupees, Chinese renminbi, and other regional currencies.” Valliani predicts that with the expansion of BRICS (to BRICS+), there will be a decline in the value of the dollar and the collapse of the International Monetary Fund (IMF): “The world’s future source of gold and oil will come from BRICS+.” This has allowed countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, China, India, and Iran to import the majority of Russian oil, not for domestic consumption, but to transport it to third parties in energy-deficient markets in Europe and Asia.

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Theater of the absurd.

New Disinformation Office To Oversee All The Other Ones (IC)

Within the federal government, offices dedicated to fighting foreign disinformation are springing up like daisies, from the Pentagon’s new Influence and Perception Management Office to at least four organizations inside the Department of Homeland Security alone, as well as ones inside the FBI and State Department. To oversee the growing efforts — which arose in response to concerns about the impact of Russian meddling in the 2016 election but have now expanded — the director of national intelligence has created a new office. In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines for the first time mentioned the creation of the Foreign Malign Influence Center, or FMIC.

“Congress put into law that we should establish a Foreign Malign Influence Center in the intelligence community; we have stood that up,” Haines said, referring to legislation passed last year. “It encompasses our election threat work, essentially looking at foreign influence and interference in elections, but it also deals with disinformation more generally.” The FMIC was established on September 23 of last year after Congress approved funding, but its creation was announced publicly only after The Intercept’s inquiry. Because it is situated within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, or ODNI, it enjoys the unique authority to marshal support from all elements of the U.S. intelligence community to monitor and combat foreign influence efforts such as disinformation campaigns.

The FMIC is authorized to counter foreign disinformation targeting not just U.S. elections, but also “the public opinion within the United States” generally, according to the law. Haines also made clear that the effort to counter disinformation has expanded beyond not just elections and Russia, but also to other foreign adversaries: “What we have been doing is effectively trying to support the Global Engagement Center and others throughout the U.S. government in helping them to understand what are the plans and intentions of the key actors in this space: China, Russia, Iran, etc.” The GEC is a State Department entity tasked with countering foreign disinformation by amplifying America’s own propaganda.

Creation of the FMIC was debated in Congress for months, with senators questioning how its mission would differ from the bevy of entities that already exist. “We want to be sure that this center enhances those efforts rather than duplicating them or miring them in unnecessary bureaucracy,” Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in January 2022, adding that there were “legitimate questions about how large such an organization should be and even about where it would fit.” Reached for comment, Warner’s office said the senator’s position hasn’t changed.

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“The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath.”

A Kingly Proposal: Letter From Julian Assange To King Charles III

To His Majesty King Charles III,

On the coronation of my liege, I thought it only fitting to extend a heartfelt invitation to you to commemorate this momentous occasion by visiting your very own kingdom within a kingdom: His Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh. You will no doubt recall the wise words of a renowned playwright: “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath.” Ah, but what would that bard know of mercy faced with the reckoning at the dawn of your historic reign? After all, one can truly know the measure of a society by how it treats its prisoners, and your kingdom has surely excelled in that regard. Your Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh is located at the prestigious address of One Western Way, London, just a short foxhunt from the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. How delightful it must be to have such an esteemed establishment bear your name.

“One can truly know the measure of a society by how it treats its prisoners”. It is here that 687 of your loyal subjects are held, supporting the United Kingdom’s record as the nation with the largest prison population in Western Europe. As your noble government has recently declared, your kingdom is currently undergoing “the biggest expansion of prison places in over a century”, with its ambitious projections showing an increase of the prison population from 82,000 to 106,000 within the next four years. Quite the legacy, indeed. As a political prisoner, held at Your Majesty’s pleasure on behalf of an embarrassed foreign sovereign, I am honoured to reside within the walls of this world class institution. Truly, your kingdom knows no bounds.

During your visit, you will have the opportunity to feast upon the culinary delights prepared for your loyal subjects on a generous budget of two pounds per day. Savour the blended tuna heads and the ubiquitous reconstituted forms that are purportedly made from chicken. And worry not, for unlike lesser institutions such as Alcatraz or San Quentin, there is no communal dining in a mess hall. At Belmarsh, prisoners dine alone in their cells, ensuring the utmost intimacy with their meal. Beyond the gustatory pleasures, I can assure you that Belmarsh provides ample educational opportunities for your subjects. As Proverbs 22:6 has it: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Observe the shuffling queues at the medicine hatch, where inmates gather their prescriptions, not for daily use, but for the horizon-expanding experience of a “big day out”—all at once.

You will also have the opportunity to pay your respects to my late friend Manoel Santos, a gay man facing deportation to Bolsonaro’s Brazil, who took his own life just eight yards from my cell using a crude rope fashioned from his bedsheets. His exquisite tenor voice now silenced forever. Venture further into the depths of Belmarsh and you will find the most isolated place within its walls: Healthcare, or “Hellcare” as its inhabitants lovingly call it. Here, you will marvel at sensible rules designed for everyone’s safety, such as the prohibition of chess, whilst permitting the far less dangerous game of checkers.

Deep within Hellcare lies the most gloriously uplifting place in all of Belmarsh, nay, the whole of the United Kingdom: the sublimely named Belmarsh End of Life Suite. Listen closely, and you may hear the prisoners’ cries of “Brother, I’m going to die in here”, a testament to the quality of both life and death within your prison. But fear not, for there is beauty to be found within these walls. Feast your eyes upon the picturesque crows nesting in the razor wire and the hundreds of hungry rats that call Belmarsh home. And if you come in the spring, you may even catch a glimpse of the ducklings laid by wayward mallards within the prison grounds. But don’t delay, for the ravenous rats ensure their lives are fleeting.

I implore you, King Charles, to visit His Majesty’s Prison Belmarsh, for it is an honour befitting a king. As you embark upon your reign, may you always remember the words of the King James Bible: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). And may mercy be the guiding light of your kingdom, both within and without the walls of Belmarsh.

Your most devoted subject,

Julian Assange

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Ice core

 

 


This ceiling is entirely flat. Made 3D by the extraordinary genius of Andrea Pozzo.

 

 

Sea of Milk
https://twitter.com/i/status/1654521006046822400

 

 

 

 

Maculatus

 

 


A pelican befriended a stray dog who was often spotted hanging out all alone along the boat docks. The man who photographed this has adopted him but brings him back every day to see his friend, Petey the Pelican.

 

 

Panama

 

 

Tortoise

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 252023
 


Piet Mondriaan Composition No. 10 1939-42

 

Western Minority’s Place In a Multilateral World (Sputnik)
No One Authorised The West To Speak On Behalf Of All Mankind – Lavrov (Pravda)
Biden Prepares For Ukraine Failure – Politico (RT)
Ukrainian Commander Laments State Of Army – El Pais (RT)
Ukraine Gets Afghan-Style Warning From US – Politico (RT)
US Had Secret Plan To Kill Wagner PMC Commanders – WaPo (RT)
US Talked Ukraine Out Of Attacking Russia – WaPo (RT)
The Green Party Has Turned Germany Eastern European (Lukyanov)
Germany’s Green Energy Delusion And Its Environmental, Economic Price Tag (RMX)
Warsaw Slams German Stance On Ukraine’s NATO Bid (RT)
Russia And Ukraine Still Trading With Each Other Is Crazy – Seymour Hersh (RT)
Elderly Politicians Threaten US System’s Ability To Perform (Blankenship)
The United States of Paralysis (Chris Hedges)
Protesters to be Prosecuted for Flipping Off the French President (Turley)
Big Lies and Bigger Lies (Kunstler)
The Sanctions Boomerang: Why Trade Bans Backfire (Kneissl)
Antony Blinken and the ‘Made Men’ of the Biden Administration (Turley)

 

 

 

 

Tucker

Greenwald Tucker

Tucker pizza

 

 

 

 

Tucker media

Tucker 2020

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Washington and its allies have abandoned diplomacy and demanded a battlefield showdown within the halls of the UN, created to prevent the horrors of war..”

Western Minority’s Place In a Multilateral World (Sputnik)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov chaired Monday’s session of the UN Security Council, dedicated to “effective multilateralism.” In his opening remarks, he outlined the nature of the current conflict, which he said was really between the UN Charter and the “rules-based order” of the collective West. Lavrov also noted that the US had effectively denied visas to his accredited media pool, a move to which Moscow has vowed to respond in such a way “to make Americans remember that things should not be done in such a fashion.” The UN-centric system is going through a deep crisis caused by some members’ desire to replace international law with their “rules-based order,” Lavrov said. Such “rules” are invented ad hoc and applied to stop independent development. They are enforced through means ranging from military force to embargoes, financial sanctions, confiscation of property, “destruction of critical infrastructure” – likely a reference to Nord Stream sabotage – and “manipulation of universally agreed norms and procedures.” The WTO has been paralyzed, market mechanisms have collapsed, and the IMF has been turned into “an instrument for achieving the objectives of the US and its allies.”

“In a desperate attempt to assert its dominance by punishing the disobedient, the US has moved to destroy globalization, which for many years it extolled as the greatest good of all mankind,” said the Russian foreign minister. Now the US and its allies blacklist anyone who dissents from their “golden billion” and tell the rest of the world, “those who are not with us are against us.” Yet the “Western minority” has no right to speak for the entire world, Lavrov said. Its “rules-based order” amounts to rejection of sovereign equality, the key principle of the UN Charter, as evidenced by EU commissioner Josep Borrell’s infamous statement about the European “garden” and the “jungle” outside it. In addition to the string of US military “adventures” from Yugoslavia and Iraq to Libya, the worst violation of the UN Charter was its meddling in the affairs of post-Soviet states, Lavrov said. As examples, he brought up the “color revolutions” in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan and the 2014 coup in Kiev. When the UN sought to stop the ensuing war by endorsing the Minsk Agreements, they were “trampled by Kiev and its Western masters, who recently cynically and even proudly admitted that they never intended to fulfill them, but only wanted to buy time to pump Ukraine with weapons against Russia,” the Russian foreign minister added.

Today “it is clear to everyone” that the Ukraine conflict isn’t about Ukraine at all, but “about how international relations will be built: through crafting a stable consensus based on a balance of interests, or through aggressive and explosive promotion of hegemony,” Lavrov said. Russia has “honestly said what we are fighting for” in Ukraine, he added. The goals of its military operation are to eliminate the threat to its security posed by NATO, and protect the people whose rights recognized by international conventions have been systematically violated, by a regime that seeks to “expel and exterminate” them. The West has made a “brazen attempt to subjugate” the UN by taking over its secretariats and other international institutions, Lavrov told the Security Council. Washington and its allies have abandoned diplomacy and demanded a battlefield showdown within the halls of the UN, created to prevent the horrors of war. Genuine multilateralism “requires the UN to adapt to objective trends” of emerging multipolarity in international relations, the Russian foreign minister argued. The Security Council should be reformed to increase the representation of Africa, Asia and Latin America, as the current “exorbitant overrepresentation” of the West “undermines the principle of multilateralism.”

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“The Western minority should respect other members of the world community..”

No One Authorised The West To Speak On Behalf Of All Mankind – Lavrov (Pravda)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Kyiv could not represent residents of the Donbass after the 2014 coup. “Obviously, the Nazi Kiev regime cannot in any way be considered as a regime to represent residents of the territories who refused to accept the results of the bloody coup in February 2014 and against whom the putschists unleashed a war for that,” the minister said. Lavrov drew a comparison between Donbass residents and Kosovo Serbs, whom current Kosovo authorities can not represent. According to Lavrov, the European Union promised autonomy to the Serbs similarly to how Berlin and Paris promised a special status to the Donbass. The Western minority should respect other members of the world community, Sergei Lavrov also said speaking at a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York.


“I want to address all the journalists who are now covering the meeting. Your colleagues from the Russian media were not allowed here, as the US Embassy in Moscow mockingly announced its readiness to issue them passports with visas at the time when our plane took off,” Lavrov said. The US Embassy in Moscow announced that visas for Russian journalists were ready after the plane of the Russian delegation took off. No one authorised the West to speak on behalf of all mankind, Lavrov said. Lavrov also said that the activities of the OSCE and the UN were a threat to USA’s global ambitions. “As then US Secretary of State Jim Baker told [President] George W. Bush: “The main threat to NATO is the OSCE,” Lavrov said. The Russian Foreign Minister arrived in New York on Monday, April 24. For the next two days, he will chair the meetings of the UN Security Council. Most of the Russian delegation received US visas to participate in the events, while some members were denied permits.

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Narrative shift.

Biden Prepares For Ukraine Failure – Politico (RT)

US President Joe Biden’s administration is “quietly preparing for the possibility” that Ukraine’s much-heralded offensive doesn’t deliver the “total victory” Kiev wanted, Politico reported on Monday, citing several anonymous officials. While the US government’s public support for Ukraine is “unwavering,” officials have expressed fears in private that the White House could be caught in a crossfire of criticism should the attack fall short of expectations, the outlet said. The ‘hawks’ would claim the US and its allies had not given Ukraine enough weapons and ammunition, while the ‘doves’ would see it as proof that Kiev can’t win. “If Ukraine can’t gain dramatically on the battlefield, the question inevitably arises as to whether it is time for a negotiated stop to the fighting,” Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, told Politico.

“It’s expensive, we’re running low on munitions, we’ve got other contingencies around the world to prepare for.” One official, who requested anonymity, said the US had “surged” weapons and equipment to Ukraine and “nearly completed” all that Kiev had asked for. But behind closed doors, the US is “worried about what Ukraine can accomplish.” The US military believes the conflict has bogged down in a trench war, with neither side able to advance very far or very fast. Politico originally reported that Ukraine had suffered 100,000 troops killed, but later changed that to refer to total casualties, including the wounded. The outlet also noted that Kiev’s forces have gone through “historic amounts of ammunition and weaponry,” and that “even the West’s prodigious output” has been unable to meet their needs.

The Pentagon now doubts that Ukraine can achieve its objective of reaching Crimea, though the US military still hopes it could “hamper” the Russian supply lines. A negotiated truce would be sold to both the Western and Ukrainian public as a temporary ceasefire, “leaving the door open for Ukraine to regain more of its territory at a future date,” some US officials told Politico. This has been done before, with the 2015 Minsk Agreement – according to recent admissions by the German and French leaders at the time – though the outlet did not bring that up. US officials also proposed to sweeten the deal with “NATO-like security guarantees” to Kiev, more money from the EU, and even more weapons for the Ukrainian military, while “re-engaging China” to push Russia into negotiating.

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“Professional soldiers… are already exhausted, injured or recovering. Or… dead..”

Ukrainian Commander Laments State Of Army – El Pais (RT)

Kiev needs more troops, ammunition and equipment to continue its military conflict with Moscow, Ukrainian Brigadier General Sergey Melnik told Spain’s El Pais in an interview published on Monday. Ukraine has already lost most of its professional soldiers as the conflict drags on, he admitted. “The problem is that we have a lack of people and equipment,” said the general, who commands troops near the Russian border in Kharkov Region. “Professional soldiers… are already exhausted, injured or recovering. Or… dead,” he added. Melnik said Kiev is now relying on “people without military experience,” who first need to be trained and have an “adequate [level of] preparation to face the enemy.”

According to El Pais, the general also “stressed several times during the interview” that Ukraine needs more air-defense systems, citing the threat posed by Russian aircraft. He also admitted that Kiev’s forces would need to gain massive superiority in manpower and firepower if they are to have any hope of succeeding with a planned counteroffensive. Ukraine will need “four to six times” as many troops as Moscow has fielded in its ongoing military campaign if it is to break through the defenses built by the Russian forces in their current positions, he told El Pais. He claimed that Ukraine has “enough weapons” to launch the expected offensive but said the more weapons Kiev’s troops get from the West, the better.

Earlier in April, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmigal told The Hill that the much-touted Ukrainian counteroffensive may not get underway until summer. He also called on Kiev’s Western backers to provide it with more weapons, including fighter jets. He also said Ukraine needed “more artillery, ammunition” and missiles. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times reported that the US and other Western nations are struggling to meet Ukraine’s demands and are “falling short” of supplying Kiev with enough military equipment and ammunition. A retired US Army colonel and former Pentagon adviser, Douglas Macgregor, also said this month that Russia was “winning” the fight in Ukraine as Kiev does not have enough resources for a successful offensive.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1650421370273030144

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“The warning came in the context of US fears that the “ever-imminent counteroffensive” by Kiev’s forces might fall far short of expectations..”

Ukraine Gets Afghan-Style Warning From US – Politico (RT)

The White House has given Ukraine the same warning delivered to the US-backed regime in Afghanistan in 2021, Politico reported on Monday citing anonymous sources in President Joe Biden’s administration. According to the outlet, Washington has urged Kiev not to spread its troops too thin or overextend its ambitions. This is what Biden reportedly told Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at some point, before the US pulled out of Afghanistan and the Taliban took over the country. The warning came in the context of US fears that the “ever-imminent counteroffensive” by Kiev’s forces might fall far short of expectations, leaving Biden open to criticism from both hawks and doves, at home and in Europe. Politico originally reported that Ukraine had suffered 100,000 troops killed over the past 14 months, later editing that to refer to total casualties, including the wounded and missing.

Many of Kiev’s top soldiers were “either sidelined or exhausted,” the outlet said, having gone through “historic amounts” of weapons and ammunition even the West’s “prodigious output” could not keep pace with. Some US officials have reportedly pitched the idea of a negotiated ceasefire, leaving the door open for Kiev to resume hostilities after rearming and recovering. The US was supposed to leave Afghanistan by May 2021, according to a peace deal Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump had reached with the Taliban. Biden unilaterally delayed the departure by several months. As US troops began to withdraw, both Biden and his aides repeatedly told reporters that the Afghan government’s forces were capable of holding off the Taliban for at least several months.

Earlier this month, the White House released a report tacitly admitting a lot of things had gone wrong with the withdrawal, but blaming it all on Trump and the Afghans themselves. “No agency predicted a Taliban takeover in nine days,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters. “No agency predicted the rapid fleeing of President [Ashraf] Ghani … And no agency predicted that the more than 300,000 trained and equipped Afghan national security and defense forces would fail to fight for their country, especially after 20 years of American support.” The US-armed and -funded Afghan army had surrendered to the Taliban without much of a fight, and Kabul fell on August 15, before the US managed to finish the evacuation.

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In Africa.

US Had Secret Plan To Kill Wagner PMC Commanders – WaPo (RT)

US officials considered killing military leaders of the Russian private military company Wagner in an attempt to curb its allegedly growing influence in Africa, The Washington Post reported on Sunday. A document allegedly leaked by a US guardsman on a Discord server mentions dozens of options for “coordinated US and allied disruption efforts” against Wagner, including “kinetic” ones, the newspaper reported. The US also thought about providing information to help Ukraine kill commanders of the group in Africa, the document claims. The trove of documents showed little evidence that the CIA, the Pentagon and other US agencies have caused any major setbacks for Wagner in the past six years, according to the Post. They did mention a single “successful unattributed attack in Libya” that “destroyed a Wagner logistics aircraft,” but the newspaper didn’t provide details about the operation.

Western nations have long accused the Wagner group of spreading malign influence in Africa. Its head, businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, has described the services provided by his employees as furthering the anti-colonialist aspirations of African nations. Anas El Gomati, a Libya-based commentator interviewed by the Post for its story, claimed that Wagner was “probably the most destabilizing actor” currently operating in the country. Libya was one of the most prosperous nations on the continent, before a NATO-backed uprising against Muammar Gaddafi resulted in his brutal death in 2011. The country has since been fractured among warring factions. Another leaks-based story published by the Post on Monday pointed the finger at Ukraine’s military intelligence service GUR and its head, Kirill Budanov, as the would-be attackers against Wagner in Africa. The Ukrainian agency planned such an operation in Mali, an NSA document reportedly said.

The Post described Budanov as “an ambitious 37-year-old general and rising star in the Ukrainian military,” for whom US and European officials privately express “admiration” and whose “audacity sometimes makes them nervous.” Russia accused GUR of masterminding the attack on the Crimean Bridge last October. The powerful explosion killed the seemingly unwitting driver of a truck – carrying a disguised bomb as well as a couple in a car – which happened to be nearby when the device went off. Moscow has also blamed Ukrainian special services for the bomb assassinations of journalist Darya Dugina in August 2022 and military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky earlier this month. Behind closed doors, Washington is holding Kiev responsible for the first crime, according to US media outlets.

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“..the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate (HUR), Kirill Budanov, had instructed subordinates to “get ready for mass strikes on 24 February..”

US Talked Ukraine Out Of Attacking Russia – WaPo (RT)

Ukraine was planning a series of strikes on targets deep inside Russia, including Moscow, to mark the anniversary of the start of the conflict earlier this year but was talked out of the idea after late intervention by the US, the Washington Post has claimed. The outlet also cited unnamed Ukrainian officials as acknowledging that Washington has the final say in at least some of Kiev’s military operations. The Post alleged on Monday, citing leaked Pentagon documents, that the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate (HUR), Kirill Budanov, had instructed subordinates to “get ready for mass strikes on 24 February” on several Russian cities. However, US officials were“secretly monitoring” Kiev’s plans and were concerned that Russia could unleash a devastating response, potentially including the use of tactical nuclear weapons, the paper claimed.

According to the Post, the CIA issued a classified report on February 22 stating that the Ukrainian intelligence agency “had agreed, at Washington’s request, to postpone strikes.” “Ukrainian officials have long privately said that the United States has de facto control over some military operations,” the paper added. One example is said to be that Kiev’s forces will not use advanced US-provided rocket systems without first confirming their targets with “US military personnel from a base in Europe.” The newspaper stated it was unclear which US officials exactly had intervened to stop the planned anniversary attacks, but noted that Washington had ordered its citizens to leave Russia in mid-February, indicating that the US was taking Ukraine’s alleged plans seriously.

Earlier this month, the FBI arrested 21-year-old US Air National Guard Jack Teixeira, who is suspected of posting classified Pentagon materials on at least one closed group on the Discord social media platform. While the Pentagon has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the leaked documents, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby has said that the materials had “no business” being “on the front pages of newspapers or on television.” On Sunday, an explosives-laden drone was found some 30km to the east of Moscow after apparently crashing. Several Russian media outlets claimed that the UAV was of Ukrainian design, and was carrying Canadian-made block demolition charges.

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“Add to this the fact that Berlin is becoming the main center of the Russian anti-Kremlin diaspora, for both objective and subjective reasons, and you have a perfect picture of a 180-degree turn. Or, to use the Greens Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock’s own terminology, 360 degrees.”

The Green Party Has Turned Germany Eastern European (Lukyanov)

For decades, Germany has been an example of pragmatism within a common system, where Berlin (and previously Bonn) didn’t set the rules, but was left with an undeniable niche, in which it could pursue its own interests. That meant that despite being an ally of the US, it could maintain friendly relations with Moscow. The country is now moving into a qualitatively different area – that of Russia’s main opponent. As a chronicler of such processes, it is interesting to observe how quickly a transition can take place from one type of “special relationship” to another, diametrically opposed, stance.= The general tone in the political atmosphere is now set by the Greens, and this party has, from the outset, been a collection of more or less lofty like-minded moralists.

Therefore, in the spectrum of positions on Russia in NATO Europe, which are almost entirely negative but vary in intensity, Germany has now moved as much towards a conventional Eastern European stance as it had previously been a pillar of the normal Western European positioning. The guarantee that relations with Russia will not return to any kind of normalcy after the Ukraine war means that there will not be even the minimum conditions for a return to the old economic model, i.e. there won’t be any reverse in the “energy transition.” The general Western system remains intact, but there is a fundamental difference from earlier times. In the past, in return for ceding all security rights and privileges to its senior partner, the US, Germany was allowed to operate its own commercial sphere of influence and it had permission to pursue economic expansion to the East.

Now, in exchange for Washington’s promise to maintain the security umbrella, Berlin is prepared to abandon its previous understanding of pragmatism, radically change its economic system in a direction that suits the US, and take on a greater share of the military burden. As a result, efforts to educate the German elite in the principles of unconditional Atlanticism, in which enormous effort has been invested for decades, are now paying off 200%. Add to this the fact that Berlin is becoming the main center of the Russian anti-Kremlin diaspora, for both objective and subjective reasons, and you have a perfect picture of a 180-degree turn. Or, to use the Greens Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock’s own terminology, 360 degrees.

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“..it is impossible to supply the economy with gas or oil, or even to heat houses and apartments, with ideology or political statements instead of actual supply chains.”

Germany’s Green Energy Delusion And Its Environmental, Economic Price Tag (RMX)

For a long time, nuclear energy has been one of the most divisive areas of energy policy in the EU’s supply. The technology offers stable energy supplies and has positive environmental and economic indicators, but the radical Green parties of Europe have worked hard to convince many that these plants should be closed. This has been achieved mainly in Germany and Austria. Downsizing has begun and further investment has become impossible. Reality, however, has shown that this ideology-driven energy policy comes at a heavy price. It was not by chance that energy policy expert Oliver Hortay recently recalled an estimate by a Berkeley University researcher that the social cost of German nuclear plant closures had already reached $12 billion a year. The threat of energy shortages in Europe has led to a change in the perception of nuclear power among EU citizens. In Germany, for example, the percentage of people who oppose nuclear power has fallen from 65 to 20 percent. But it seems that the will of the electorate does not matter.

“It’s a black day for climate protection in Germany,” Jens Spahn, a conservative member of the CDU, told RTL television the other day. It is hard to talk about a green transition when carbon emissions are rising. The huge expansion of solar and wind capacity in Germany is no guarantee of security of supply. The country is increasingly using coal instead of Russian gas. In fact, mines that had previously been closed down have had to be reopened, and a German energy company has even started to dismantle a wind farm to allow for the expansion of a neighboring coal mine. On average, 30,000 tons of coal are transported daily by trains from North Sea ports to large power stations across Germany. Last year, the war caused the country to increase its coal imports by 8 percent to 44.4 million tons. These are the hard facts.

The Greens went after gas boilers, too. They will now be banned in German homes from 2024. Greens say they cannot meet their climate commitments otherwise. However, it is coal-fired power stations, not residential gas boilers, that threaten climate targets. Péter Szijjártó, the Hungarian minister of foreign affairs and trade, often warns that it is impossible to supply the economy with gas or oil, or even to heat houses and apartments, with ideology or political statements instead of actual supply chains. In other words, the Hungarian government continues to treat energy security as a physical and not an ideological issue. That means it is not willing to give up working, proven and reliable sources. An ideology-driven energy policy is very expensive, has harmful consequences, and in the future, could even end with us freezing in our homes if an especially cold winter hits Europe.

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“..The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine could have been avoided altogether if Germany hadn’t tried to delay Kiev’s membership of NATO..”

Warsaw Slams German Stance On Ukraine’s NATO Bid (RT)

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine could have been avoided altogether if Germany hadn’t tried to delay Kiev’s membership of NATO, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Piotr Wawrzyk has claimed. “It’s known that France, Germany, and countries in Western Europe, in general, have always been against Ukraine joining either the EU or NATO,” Wawrzyk told Polskie Radio on Sunday. Recent comments by German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius were a sign that Berlin’s opinion is unlikely to change, the diplomat insisted. Pistorius suggested on Thursday that “this is not the time to decide”about Ukraine’s place in NATO. The bloc’s members should consider this issue “with a cool head and a hot heart. Not the other way around,” he said.

“The question is when will the time for those ‘cool heads’ arrive? Five, ten or 30 years after the war [in Ukraine]?” Wawrzyk asked. “If Germany… had not tried to delay Ukraine’s accession into NATO, if Ukraine had received an invitation to join the alliance many years ago in Munich, there wouldn’t have been a war in Ukraine today,” he claimed. Warsaw, which has been among Kiev’s main backers in the EU during the conflict, is “constantly trying to convince the Western partners to change their minds and for Ukraine to join the alliance as soon as possible,” the deputy foreign minister said. “In our opinion, the sooner this happens, the better, because it’ll be a guarantee of security not only for Ukraine and Poland, but also for the entire region,” he said.

Russia, which considers NATO’s eastward expansion a major security threat, had singled out the need to prevent Ukraine from joining the US-led bloc among the main reasons for its military operation in its neighboring country more than a year ago. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg claimed during his visit to Kiev last week that “all NATO allies have agreed that Ukraine will become a member,” but didn’t specify when exactly it would happen. Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov reacted to Stoltenberg’s statement by saying “NATO’s continued line of absorbing and drawing Ukraine” into the bloc was further proof that Moscow’s decision to launch its military operation was the right one.

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“I don’t know [whether] I should be giggling about it because it’s really quite a crazy situation..”

Russia And Ukraine Still Trading With Each Other Is Crazy – Seymour Hersh (RT)

Russia and Ukraine, despite being locked in an armed conflict, continue to trade products and services with each other, a situation that journalist Seymour Hersh described as “quite crazy” in an interview with the TV show ‘Going Underground.’ “Oil and money transcends any sort of rationality, I guess,” Hersh said in the interview aired by RT on Monday. He added that it wasn’t too hard to find tell-tale signs of Ukrainian corruption. Hersh elaborated on his recent allegations of rampant graft in the Ukrainian government. The reporter has claimed that the CIA estimated that President Vladimir Zelensky and his entourage embezzled at least $400 million last year from the money provided by the US to buy diesel for the Ukrainian army. Overpriced fuel bought by Kiev allegedly came via the black market from Russia.

“All you have to do is look at the high life in Kiev today,” he said. “There is a really good high life: the fancy restaurants are going, you can find liquor stores with everything in it, there is a lot of money being pushed around.” Ukrainian officials have a long history of skimming from procurement contracts, and the conflict with Russia has not changed that, Hersh alleged. “Everybody is going to brokers. Everybody is now getting third parties involved, because it increases the chance for money on the side. And the corruption there is beyond belief,” he said. CIA Director William Burns raised the issue of corruption during his visit to Kiev in January, Hersh said, citing information he had been given by a source about the meeting. In addition to briefing Zelensky on complaints from Ukrainian generals about the president’s own alleged greed, the US spy chief listed 35 other alleged embezzlers.

The Ukrainian leader later fired 10 of the “most ostentatious” individuals, but others were “left untouched”, Hersh said, describing the crackdown on officials which the Ukrainian government conducted after Burns’ visit. Meanwhile, Russia continues to pay to Ukraine transit fees for oil and gas, pumped to Eastern Europe via pipelines through Ukrainian territory. The infrastructure was built during the Soviet era to supply consumers in the Warsaw Pact. Washington has described such trade as Moscow “weaponizing” its abundance of energy, Hersh noted. “I don’t know [whether] I should be giggling about it because it’s really quite a crazy situation,” he concluded.

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“..President Biden cannot confirm any federal judges without all Democratic Party Senators present on the Judiciary Committee including Feinstein..” “She has missed 58 votes, as of writing this piece, in the Senate over the last month..”

Elderly Politicians Threaten US System’s Ability To Perform (Blankenship)

In October of 1984, former US President Ronald Reagan, who was then an incumbent 73-year-old commander-in-chief, participated in the second presidential debate against his Democratic Party opponent Walter Mondale. The president was asked about his age and mental fitness for office by the moderator, given that he was then the oldest president in history, and responded famously: “I want you to know that also I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponent’s youth and inexperience.” This witty line, according to the Reagan Foundation, boosted his polls and helped cement his second term in office. It also helped normalize the fact that an American president could indeed be an elderly person, though, of course, it was revealed later that President Reagan suffered from Alzheimer’s disease during his presidency.

Donald Trump, and current President Joe Biden were both respectively the oldest presidents in American history. In fact, Biden is the first president to be 80 years old – and he recently stated that he would seek reelection in 2024, which would make him 86 by the time he completes his second term, if he wins that bid. However, the issue of an aging and perhaps out-of-touch president has not been simply an issue with the executive branch of government. In fact, the last Congress convened, the 117th Congress, was the oldest in American history with an average age of 59 and close to a quarter over 70. It was led by former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who was 82 years old by the time she left office in January 2023. The current 118th Congress is the third-oldest since 1789 with an average of 58 years old.

While the 117th Congress broke the trend of an increasingly greater share of members over the age of 70 years old, still, the 118th Congress is older than the average American – the median age of the country’s population is 38. This is even with the election of the first Gen Z member of congress, 26-year-old Florida Congressman Maxwell Frost, who won his seat last November. All this raises questions over whether or not Congress can actually understand and tackle issues that are relevant to the typical American, i.e. people in their early middle age, and younger generations. There are also questions of whether there should be some age limit for members to actually be in Congress. After all, many argue, if there is a limit on young people and children participating in politics – shouldn’t there be an upper-age ceiling too?

It has been reported by Congressional insiders, including pharmacists, that the public would be surprised if they knew just how many of their representatives are prescribed medicine for dementia, which implies they are obviously not able to perform their mandate. The example of 89-year-old California Senator Dianne Feinstein is salient. She has missed 58 votes, as of writing this piece, in the Senate over the last month because of illness and her advanced age. Because of the current composition of the Senate, President Biden cannot confirm any federal judges without all Democratic Party Senators present on the Judiciary Committee including Feinstein, which is jeopardizing the function of the judiciary branch. She has not given any indication of when she will return – but has stated she will not seek reelection.

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“Those cast aside can participate in society, he writes, only through sadness.”..

The United States of Paralysis (Chris Hedges)

Democracies are slain with false promises and hollow platitudes. Biden told us as a candidate he would raise the minimum wage to $15 and hand out $2,000 stimulus checks. He told us his American Jobs Plan would create “millions of good jobs.” He told us he would strengthen collective bargaining and ensure universal pre-kindergarten, universal paid family and medical leave, and free community college. He promised a publicly funded option for healthcare. He promised not to drill on federal lands and to promote a “green energy revolution and environmental justice.” None of that happened. But, by now, most people have figured out the game. Why not vote for Trump and his grandiose, fantasy-driven promises? Are they any less real than those peddled by Biden and the Democrats? Why pay homage to a political system that is about betrayal?

Why not sever yourself from the rational world that has only brought misery? Why pay fealty to old truths that have become hypocritical banalities? Why not blow the whole thing up? As research by professors Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page underscores, our political system has turned the consent of the governed into a cruel joke. “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence,” they write. The French sociologist Emile Durkheim in his book “On Suicide” called our state of hopelessness and despair, anomie, which he defined as “rulelessness.”

Rulelessness means the rules that govern a society and create a sense of organic solidarity no longer function. It means that the rules we are taught — hard work and honesty will assure us a place in society; we live in a meritocracy; we are free; our opinions and votes matter; our government protects our interests — are a lie. Of course, if you are poor, or a person of color, these rules were always a myth, but a majority of the American public was once able to find a secure place in society, which is the bulwark of any democracy, as numerous political theorists going back to Aristotle point out. Tens of millions of Americans, cast adrift by deindustrialization, understand that their lives will not improve, nor will the lives of their children. Society, as Durkheim writes, is no longer “sufficiently present” for them. Those cast aside can participate in society, he writes, only through sadness.

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I can totally see Napoleon do that.

Protesters to be Prosecuted for Flipping Off the French President (Turley)

Five years ago, I wrote a column criticizing Democratic and Republican members of Congress who joined the media in gushing over an address from French President Emmanuel Macron as he called for European style censorship. Free speech has been in a virtual free fall in France for decades and Macron is a major voice in that movement. This week, the French added another outrage to Macron’s legacy by promising to prosecute three citizens who protested the President by flipping him off at an event. The use of “Le Doigt” could now land them in “La Prison.” The three will be prosecuted under France’s abusive criminal code that allows for the arrest of those who engage in speech that “affect the personal dignity or the respect owed to a public official.” It is a breathtaking denial of political speech and invites selective prosecution.

If convicted, they could face a fine of 15,000 euros and potentially up to one year in prison, according to La Chaîne Info. Macron has hit a record low in polling, but his government will now enforce respect for him through threats of incarceration. France has been a leader in the rollback on free speech in the West with ever widening laws curtailing free speech. These laws criminalize speech under vague standards referring to “inciting” or “intimidating” others based on race or religion. For example, fashion designer John Galliano has been found guilty in a French court on charges of making anti-Semitic comments against at least three people in a Paris bar. At his sentencing, Judge Anne Marie Sauteraud read out a list of the bad words used by Galliano to Geraldine Bloch and Philippe Virgitti, including using ‘dirty whore” in criticism.

In another case, the father of French conservative presidential candidate Marine Le Pen was fined because he had called people from the Roma minority “smelly.” A French mother was prosecuted because her son went to school with a shirt reading “I am a bomb.” A French teenager was charged for criticizing Islam as a “religion of hate.” Yet, our leaders (and many in the media) were ecstatic when Macron came to the Congress and called for a joint war against “fake news,” declaring, “Democracy is about true choices and rational decisions. The corruption of information is an attempt to corrode the very spirit of our democracies.” Nothing says Democracy like jailing those who do not show you respect.

The anti-free speech wave has now reached our own shores and many like Hillary Clinton have even called on Europeans to censor Americans on social media if Twitter or other companies fail to do so. Many have argued (falsely) that hate speech is not protected under our Constitution, including members of Congress. In France, the middle finger is not free speech when directed at a public official. Likewise, speech considered harmful or disrespectful to particular groups is barred. It is all about instilling good virtue but punishing the wicked. After all, as Maximilien Robespierre taught the French, “Terror is only justice: prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue.”

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“Joe Biden” will either be impeached for real high crimes and misdemeanors, or he will be bum-rushed out of the White House on some medical pretext before Independence Day..”

Big Lies and Bigger Lies (Kunstler)

“If you’re going to lie,” Joseph Goebbels used to say (in German of course), “make it a whopper.” How did that work out for the Third Reich? Today, The New York Times says “Joe Biden” is revving up to run for president again in 2024. Is that so? One DNC strategist, Maria Cardona, was quoted saying, “Democrats complain that he might be too old. But then, when they’re asked, ‘Well, who?’ There is no one else.” There you have the sucking chest wound at the center of the Democratic Party, a malodorous vacuum where, as they like to say, democracy dies in darkness. You understand, this is exactly what you get when all you do is tell lies, always and everywhere, about everything. Now I will tell you the truth: “Joe Biden” will not be running for president ever again.

“Joe Biden” will either be impeached for real high crimes and misdemeanors, or he will be bum-rushed out of the White House on some medical pretext before Independence Day. “Joe Biden’s” crimes have finally caught up with him. He sold out his country. The facts have been out in plain sight since before a coalition of rogues and frauds stuffed him into the Oval Office, January, 2021. As vice-president under Mr. Obama, “JB” was allowed to run a global grifting operation that netted his family tens of millions. (Mr. Obama received plenty of his own sanitized grift in the form of absurdly large book deals and TV contracts, enough swag to lead the deluxe life of a senior panjandrum. His job, post-presidency, was to feed the Woke hustle with an occasional speech and otherwise shut up.)

The coalition of rogues and frauds, a.k.a. the permanent bureaucracy or the Deep State, had committed so many crimes since 2016 that its sole agenda turned to driving the one-man wrecking-crew called Donald Trump out of office and making sure he never got close to a lever of power again, by any means necessary. That is still all that animates this gang. They managed to roll enough of the American public in the process to maintain power and influence over them via control of the news, censorship, and use of their captive legal system to harass and punish their enemies. And now it’s all falling apart.

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Karin Kneissl is an Austrian former Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“..every government from Riyadh to Beijing understood that such sanctions can happen to them as well..”

The Sanctions Boomerang: Why Trade Bans Backfire (Kneissl)

Although sanctions rarely perform as intended, the west’s weaponization of currencies, financial services, and insurance coverage continues to grow unabated, with the EU now proposing its eleventh package of sanctions against Russia. With every sanctions ruling, loopholes and circumvention remain an issue, invariably leading to the constant upgrading of further sanctions. Despite Washington’s extreme belligerence on this front, many US companies have remained in Russia to hedge their bets and observe the local market, including analytical services such as Platts, which provides data on the energy market. British Petroleum remains a shareholder in Russian energy giant Rosneft – albeit without exercising its vote – and spare parts for German cars in Russia are still traded via third states.

As seen in the recent Moscow visit of China’s new Defense Minister Li Shangfu to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, sanctions often boomerang on those who create them. In this case, they have brought two major US adversary states into an effective alliance. Economists Patricia Adams and Lawrence Adams recently penned an article for the American Thinker in which they define the west’s sweeping sanctions on Russia as “the most monumental miscalculation in modern history.” The IMF has raised its forecast for Russia’s economy substantially for the third time in a row – despite sanctions and a slew of other western ‘punishments,’ Russia is expected to see positive growth in both 2023 and 2024. In addition, an unprecedented global trend toward de-dollarization is having a significant impact on energy trades that have long been conducted in the petrodollar, with geopolitical ramifications across West Asia and beyond.

Instead, the petro-yuan is gradually shifting into sight – witnessed this year with the French multinational TotalEnergies’ sale of an Emirati liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargo to China National Offshore Oil Corp, with payment settled in yuan through the Shanghai Petroleum & Gas Exchange (SHPGX). When the US and its allies blocked access by most Russian banks to the Belgium-based global financial messaging system, SWIFT, and froze some $300 billion in Russian foreign exchange reserves, every government from Riyadh to Beijing understood that such sanctions can happen to them as well. This realization has prompted many countries to take action to decrease their vulnerability to sanctions, with China creating a new financial infrastructure outside US control and pushing for commodity suppliers to short-circuit the dollar. The establishment of a BRICS bank as a counterweight to the IMF is just one more step in that direction.

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“..many people are less interested in what Blinken is doing as secretary of state than in what he did to become secretary of state..”

Antony Blinken and the ‘Made Men’ of the Biden Administration (Turley)

Secretary of State Antony Blinken would really, really prefer to talk about grain in Ukraine this week. But many people are less interested in what Blinken is doing as secretary of state than in what he did to become secretary of state. This week, Blinken was implicated in a political coverup that could well have made the difference in the 2020 election. According to the sworn testimony of former acting CIA Director Michael Morrell, Blinken – then a high-ranking Biden campaign official – was “the impetus” of the false claim that the Hunter Biden laptop story was really Russian disinformation. Morrell then organized dozens of ex-national security officials to sign the letter claiming that the Hunter laptop story had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” Morrell further admitted that the Biden campaign “helped to strategize about the public release of the statement.”

Finally, he admitted that one of his goals was not just to warn about Russian influence but “to help then-Vice President Biden in the debate and to assist him in winning the election.” Help it did. Biden claimed in a presidential debate that the laptop story was “garbage” and part of a “Russian plan.” Biden used the letter to say “nobody believes” that the laptop is real. In reality, the letter was part of a political plan with the direct involvement of his campaign, but Biden never revealed their involvement. Indeed, over years of controversy surrounding this debunked letter, no one in the Biden campaign or White House (including Blinken) revealed their involvement. Of course, the letter was all the media needed. Discussion of the laptop was blocked on social media, and virtually every major media outlet dismissed the story before the election.

That was also all Biden needed to win a close election. The allegations that the Biden family had cashed in millions through influence peddling could have made the difference. It never happened, in part because of Blinken’s work. Once in power, Blinken was given one of the top Cabinet positions. He was now one of the “made” men of the administration. He was not alone. The 2016 election was marred by false allegations of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Unlike the influence peddling allegations made against Biden, the media ran with those stories for years. It later turned out that the funding and distribution of the infamous Steele dossier originated with the Clinton campaign. The campaign, however, reportedly lied in denying any such funding until after the election. It was later sanctioned for hiding the funding as legal expenses.

Those involved in spreading this false story were rewarded handsomely. For example, the second collusion story planted in the media by the campaign concerned the Russian Alfa Bank. The campaign used key Clinton aide Jake Sullivan, who went public with the entirely false claim of a secret back channel between Moscow and the Trump campaign. Sullivan was also a “made” man who was later made Biden’s national security adviser. Others who were implicated in either the Steele dossier or Alfa Bank hoaxes also later found jobs in the administration. The Brookings Institution proved a virtual turnstile for these political operatives.

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Escher

 

 

Escher’s Rubik’s cube
https://twitter.com/i/status/1650505621437857792

 

 

Naked bird
https://twitter.com/i/status/1650575337020076033

 

 

Kulning
https://twitter.com/i/status/1650563147084750849

 

 

 

 

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Apr 092023
 
 April 9, 2023  Posted by at 8:57 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  24 Responses »


Rembrandt van Rijn Abraham and the angels 1646

 

Why Will Ukraine Disappear? Because Nobody Needs It (Medvedev)
Human Destiny In Ukraine (Eve Ottenberg)
BRICS Carries Greater Economic Weight Than G7 – Study (RT)
US Ready For War With China – Congressman (RT)
‘Peace In The Middle East? That’s A Threat.’ (MoA)
US Will Threaten Europe To Implement Sanctions on Russia (Antiwar)
Details Of Kiev’s Botched Assault On Nuclear Plant Emerge – The Times (RT)
Hidden Sanctions On Russian Grain Could Spark Global Famine – Official (RT)
Poland Suspends Imports Of Ukrainian Grain (Pol.eu)
Finland May Come To Regret Joining NATO When Everyone Sobers Up (Lukyanov)
Italy’s Birth Rate At Historic Low (RT)
RFK Jr. Strongly Disapproves Of CBDCs And Digital IDs (IP)
When Trump Sucks All The Oxygen In The Race – Katty Kay (BBC)
The Case Against the Case Against Julian Assange (Rohde)
Biden Admin Has No Plans To Drop Charges Against Assange (Maynard)

 

 

 

 

Ritter: “[Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery] Zaluzhny, in a conversation with Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Pentagon, said that 250,000 Ukrainian soldiers were killed. About 83,000 are missing, of which about 60,000 are most likely dead. This gives an approximate number of 315,000 dead.”

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

Just start in 1950

 

 

Ukr batallion
https://twitter.com/i/status/1644650854702538758

 

 

Odessa 2014

 

 

MAGS

 

 

 

 

Country 404.

“..those who stayed want to leave for any place: the hated Poland, EU, NATO, to be America’s 51nd state. Joining the Antarctic with its pinguins will also be fine.”

Why Will Ukraine Disappear? Because Nobody Needs It (Medvedev)

1. Europe doesn’t need Ukraine. The forced support of the Nazi regime, by the American mentor’s order, has put Europeans into a financial and political inferno. All for the sake of bandera’s unterukraine, that even the snobby, insolent Polacks don’t take for a valid country, and time and again toss in the issue of its western areas anschluss. There’s a nice perspective ahead: to permanently put the nouveau-Ukrainian blood-sucking parasites on the decrepit EU’s arthritis-crippled neck. That’ll be the final fall of Europe, once majestic, but robbed off by degeneration.

2. The US doesn’t need Ukraine. True, the military and sanction campaigns are attempted for PR by political blabbermouths, who long ago attested to their impotence and imbecility. Average Americans don’t understand what “Ukraine” is, and where “it” is. Most of them won’t show this “power” on the map on the first take. Why won’t the US establishment focus on inflation and job issues, or emergencies in their home States, instead of a country 404, unbeknownst to them? Why does so much dough go across the ocean? Sooner or later, they’ll ask for that. Then, storming of the Capitol in January 2021 would seem like scout games.

3. Africa and Latin America don’t need Ukraine. The hundreds of millions spent by US on pointless fights in Ukraine, could finance many development programmes for Latin American and African states. Latin America is gringos’ backyard – that’s what they’ve been rubbing in for decades. Africa’s had its share of suffering from the genocide, and colonial dependence, imposed by former western slave traders. That’s why the people of African huts and Latin American favelas ask a very reasonable question: for their former suffering and present-day loyalty, why is somebody else rewarded – very, very far away?

4. Asia doesn’t need Ukraine. By Russia’s example, they see “colour” technologies at work to eradicate the largest competing powers. They understand what scenario the America-led collective West has for them if they disobey. “Help us to overcome Russia, and we’ll soon come to you”, the utterly brazen Western leaders tell them. Such gigantic countries as India, China, and other Asia-Pacific states face the big enough challenge of post-pandemic economic recovery, let aside the drugged clowns, with their whining for aid. “We are not interested in you”, Asia tells their messengers, responding to the calls to support Ukraine and confine Russia. The country, geopolitically many times closer to Asian powers, the one that historically has proven itself a reliable strategic partner. Do Asian giants need such headache coming from former colonisers?

5. Russia doesn’t need Ukraine. A threadbare quilt, torn, shaggy, and greasy. The new Malorossiya of 1991 is made up of the artificially cut territories, many of which are indigenously Russian, separated by accident in the 20th century. Millions of our compatriots live there, harassed for years by the Nazi Kiev regime. It is them who we defend in our special military operation, relentlessly eradicating the enemy. We don’t need unterukraine. We need Big Great Russia.

6. Finally, its own citizens don’t need the Nazi-headed Ukraine. That’s why out of 45 million people there’re only some 20 million remaining. That’s why those who stayed want to leave for any place: the hated Poland, EU, NATO, to be America’s 51nd state. Joining the Antarctic with its pinguins will also be fine. As long as it’s quiet, and the food’s good. The ruling junta’s criminal ambitions forced Ukrainians to beg and roam around the countries and continents, searching for a better life. All that is for an obscure European perspective. Or rather, to let the harlequin in a khaki tricot and his band of thievish Nazi clowns to put the money stolen from the West into their offshore accounts. Would ordinary Ukrainians need that? Nobody on this planet needs such a Ukraine. That’s why it will disappear

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“The strengthening of [Ukraine’s] military power alongside powerful fortifications erected near Donbass indicates the U.S. intention to initiate a conflict in the region.”

Human Destiny In Ukraine (Eve Ottenberg)

The deficiencies in the American character have rotted the world. And that’s without discussion of the abyss of human wickedness of senators who, like Lindsay Graham or Tom Cotton, call for war which would end in nuclear winter and five billion starving, then dead humans, or Joe Manchin, who wanted a no-fly zone – with, of course, the same radioactive results. But these character deficiencies at the top also have had unintended consequences that could spell a swerve off the U.S.-caused fatal trajectory of human destiny. American bullying and relentless aggression has created problems for itself, namely the tremendous Russia/China alliance and the eagerness and support that union receives from the Global South. Washington elites would like nothing better than to splinter that alliance, and thus perhaps succeed at destroying first Russia then China, separately. But Beijing and Moscow have caught on. So has the Global South, whose members pile as fast as they can into Russian and Chinese-led groups like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and BRICS, which has now outstripped the G-7 in how much wealth – and certainly population – it represents.


Humanity stands at a crossroads. The American Empire’s hubris has brought our fate to a point where the two most heavily nuclear-armed nations could get into a shooting war. If nuclear war erupts, we’re not just talking about the incineration of American and Russian cities, but more – to repeat, those five billion people who starve to death due to nuclear winter. But this was the atrocious risk American elites were prepared to take when they provoked Russia. As John Ross writes in a new book, Waging the New Cold War, coauthored with Deborah Veneziale and John Bellamy Foster, since the U.S.-backed coup in Kiev in 2014, Washington has prepared for war against Russia in Ukraine, thrusting the human future into a crucible for superpower conflict centered on Kiev. “The strengthening of [Ukraine’s] military power alongside powerful fortifications erected near Donbass indicates the U.S. intention to initiate a conflict in the region.”

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That’s nothing yet. Pepe Escobar talks of BRIICSS, adding Iran and Saudi Arabia. And then there’s Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Egypt, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Türkiye, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela, all of whom want in.

BRICS Carries Greater Economic Weight Than G7 – Study (RT)

The BRICS group, comprising the world’s five major developing economies, has overtaken the Group of Seven (G7) by making up a larger share of the global gross domestic product (GDP) based on purchasing power parity, data compiled by Acorn Macro Consulting, a UK-based macroeconomic research firm, shows. According to the findings, the bloc of BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, contributes 31.5% of the world’s GDP. Meanwhile, the G7, consisting of the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK, and considered the most advanced economic bloc of countries on the planet, add up to 30.7%. The gap between the two groups is expected to continue to grow, analysts say, as China and India are experiencing robust economic growth, and more countries are interested in joining BRICS.


Earlier this year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that “more than a dozen” nations have expressed an interest in joining BRICS, including Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Egypt, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Türkiye, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bangladesh have acquired equity in the New Development Bank, BRICS’ funding organization. Last year, BRICS countries proposed creating their own currency in order to move away from the US dollar and the euro in mutual transactions. International settlements in those currencies were made difficult for Russia, a BRICS founding member, by Ukraine-related sanctions. More recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested the use of the Chinese yuan in transactions with BRICS allies and other international partners in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Malaysia
https://twitter.com/i/status/1644672070117097472

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McCaul is the quintessential American idiot.

US Ready For War With China – Congressman (RT)

US Congress would authorize a direct military confrontation with China if Beijing launched an attack against Taiwan, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul told Fox News on Friday evening. The Texas Republican representative was talking from Taipei during a three-day bipartisan delegation visit to the self-governing island. American lawmakers would consent to putting boots on the ground if people in the US support the measure, McCaul said, without elaborating on how exactly such support would be measured. “If communist China invaded Taiwan, it would certainly be on the table and something that would be discussed by Congress and with the American people,” he said, adding that “if the American people support this, the Congress will follow.”

However, McCaul insisted that a “conflict is always a last resort” and described the US delegation’s visit as a way to “provide deterrence to China.” US-Chinese relations have previously been strained by the visits of American delegations to Taiwan, which China considers an inalienable part of its sovereign territory. The representative also maintained that discussions about a potential use of force by America in the Indo-Pacific region serve as a “deterrent for peace” since “you don’t have NATO in the Pacific.” Doing otherwise would mean inviting “aggression and war,” McCaul claimed. Beijing has repeatedly opposed Taiwan’s contacts with the US. The Chinese Foreign Ministry warned on Wednesday that the Taiwan issue is “the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations.” Washington formally adheres to the One China policy, by which Taiwan is considered an integral part of China. At the same time, the US enjoys close informal relations with the self-governing island and supplies it with weapons.

Washington has ramped up military support for Taiwan in recent months. In the Wall Street Journal, it was reported that the US was planning to increase its troop presence on the island from 30 to between 100 and 200 soldiers as it seeks to help Taiwan make the island “harder to assault.” In early March, the US State Department also announced that it was approving arms sales to Taipei, including $619 million worth of munitions for F-16 fighter jets. On Saturday, the Chinese military announced the launch of three days of exercises in the Taiwan Strait. The drills, held at the same time as McCaul’s visit to Taipei and just a day after Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen returned from the US, was designed as a warning to Taiwan and “external forces,” the Chinese military said.

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“Brazilian journalist Jamil Chade reports that China and Brazil have already begun working on a joint peace proposal for the Russia/Ukraine conflict, which will be finalized and presented to the public during Lula’s visit to China (April 11-15).”

“The Saudis have had enough of U.S. interference in their region. They are looking for development and development requires peace.”

Ending the war on Yemen is the deal clincher.

‘Peace In The Middle East? That’s A Threat.’ (MoA)

Thanks to China’s and Russia’s mediation peace is breaking out in the Middle East. Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai – 4:14 UTC · Apr 8, 2023 #BreakingNews: “The United Arab Emirates has begun withdrawing its forces from #Yemen. The Saudi-Emirati-Yemenite agreement will be announced soon.” The Middle East is solving its conflicts without the #US negative impact. Elijah J. Magnier @ejmalrai · Apr 7 Great news: “#SaudiArabia will announce the end of the war in #Yemen after the Eid al-Fitr. Saudi is ending all its (high/low) conflicts in the Middle East with #Iran, #Syria, #Iraq, #Yemen & #Lebanon (not interested in the country for now) to turn towards its own development. …” Peace will also come to Syria. The foreign minister of Saudi Arabia will soon visit Damascus. He will invite Syria to rejoin the Arab League. An Arab League summit will be held next month in Saudi Arabia and the Syrian president Bashar al Assad is expected to be there.

This comes after agreements between Iran and Saudi Arabia to bury the hatchet and after agreements between Iraq and Iran to reign in a Kurdish uprising in Iran that was controlled by Kurdish forces in Iraq. ‘We can’t have that’, says U.S. president Joe Biden. He sent CIA director Bill Burns to Saudi Arabia to threaten consequences: “CIA Director Bill Burns made an unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia this week where he reportedly aired Washington’s frustrations over Riyadh’s opening to Iran and Syria through mediation brokered by US rivals China and Russia. Speaking on condition of anonymity, a US official confirmed the trip to Al-Monitor. “Director Burns traveled to Saudi Arabia where he met with intelligence counterparts and country leaders on issues of shared interest,” the US official said.”


The official did not disclose the exact day of the trip but said that Burns discussed intelligence cooperation, especially in the area of counterterrorism. The CIA director met the country’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday. Burns likely threatened to withhold U.S. intelligence on terrorist groups from the Saudis. The CIA could additionally push some of its ISIS assets to make some nasty appearances in Saudi Arabia to then offer ‘help’ to ‘fight terrorism’. I do not think that this will work. The Saudis have had enough of U.S. interference in their region. They are looking for development and development requires peace.

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It is simple: “..the more countries the US sanctions, the more these targeted nations may cooperate as trading partners..”

US Will Threaten Europe To Implement Sanctions on Russia (Antiwar)

The White House plans to send a clear message to its European partners in the economic war against Russia, “you are either with us or against us.” Two US Treasury officials will visit European and Central Asian partners next month to demand all sanctions on Russia be implemented. Treasury officials Liz Rosenberg and Brian Nelson will meet with leaders of financial institutions in Switzerland, Italy and Germany. The AP reports the officials will have a simple message, “1. Continue to provide Moscow with material support or 2. Keep doing business with countries that represent 50 percent of the global economy.” Rosenberg and Nelson will provide their European counterparts with intelligence on alleged sanctions evaders. If those countries fail to crack down on those still doing business with Russia, then Washington is threatening to issue “penalties.”

It is unclear how far the Joe Biden administration is willing to punish NATO allies for violating sanctions. The policy echoes President George W. Bush’s doctrine that countries must either actively align with Washington in its Middle East wars, or else be judged as working “with the terrorists.” It is unclear how Europe will respond to the Joe Biden administration’s threats. Some EU members were in favor of a plan that would lift sanctions on the Belarusian fertilizer industry. Additionally, stricter sanctions implementation could threaten the Black Sea grain export agreement. The deal, brokered by Turkey and the UN, allows Ukraine’s heavily mined Black Sea ports to export agricultural products. Moscow has been willing to extend the agreement several times but is threatening to terminate it over Western sanctions preventing Russia from reaping the agreement’s benefits. After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, the White House unleashed a series of sanctions that it considered an economic nuclear weapon.

However, the attempt to isolate Moscow’s economy has largely floundered. While the Russian rouble has dipped in recent days, throughout most of the war Moscow has weathered the sanctions by increasing trade with Asia. Washington has only rallied its NATO allies and other close partners to adopt the sanctions. Meanwhile, China has added more countries to its Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and Saudi Arabia and Turkey are two of the latest prospective members. Upon becoming a member of the SCO, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi observed that the more countries the US sanctions, the more these targeted nations may cooperate as trading partners.”The relationship between countries that are sanctioned by the US, such as Iran, Russia or other countries, can overcome many problems and issues and make them stronger,” he said. “The Americans think whichever country they impose sanctions on, it will be stopped, their perception is a wrong one.”

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“..the attack involved some 600 elite Ukrainian soldiers who tried to cross the Dnieper River on October 19 by boat..”

Details Of Kiev’s Botched Assault On Nuclear Plant Emerge – The Times (RT)

Ukraine’s “highly dangerous”operation to capture the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant last year ended in failure due to heavy Russian resistance, The Times reported on Friday, citing its sources. According to Kiev’s military personnel interviewed by the British newspaper, the attack involved some 600 elite Ukrainian soldiers who tried to cross the Dnieper River on October 19 by boat. The operation hinged on the presumption that Moscow’s troops would not be able to fire artillery so close to the nuclear power plant, which is the largest in Europe, one officer told The Times. However, the paper’s sources said the team met unexpected resistance. Moscow’s forces had “mined everything” and “even pulled up tanks and artillery” to fire on Kiev’s forces while they were on the water, the officer added.

The assault was supported by Ukrainian artillery, including US-made HIMARS systems, but Russian resistance resulted in only a fraction of the Ukrainian force coming ashore. After a three-hour firefight on the outskirts of Energodar, the town hosting the plant, the Ukrainian soldiers were forced to retreat, the report says. Some senior Ukrainian officials viewed the offensive as controversial, with the president of Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom, Pyotr Kotin, telling The Times: “it is very dangerous to do such things near nuclear material. Any damage will bring radiation to the people and to the whole world.” The report appears to echo the Russian Defense Ministry’s statement at the time. On October 19, it said Kiev’s forces attempted – without success – to mount an amphibious operation in the area, involving up to two Ukrainian companies and a total of 37 boats.

The military claimed Ukraine lost over 90 soldiers and 14 boats. Russia and Ukraine have repeatedly accused each other of shelling the Zaporozhye NPP, which has been under Moscow’s control since last February. Russian officials have on numerous occasions warned that Kiev’s attacks could trigger a nuclear disaster. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has called on both parties to create a safe zone around the facility, but the negotiations on the matter have failed to achieve a breakthrough. In late March, Rafael Grossi, the nuclear watchdog’s chief, said the idea was no longer being considered. Instead of establishing a safe zone, the IAEA now wants Kiev and Moscow to promise not to target the plant, or use it for staging attacks.

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Short: you can buy it, but you cannot pay for it.

Hidden Sanctions On Russian Grain Could Spark Global Famine – Official (RT)

Russian grain exporters have been hit by indirect sanctions, as Western businesses were unable to provide services critical to the industry, the head of the Russian Union of Grain Exporters has said in an interview with RT. Eduard Zernin explained that even though grain is exempt from anti-Russia sanctions imposed by Western powers, firms located or registered in those countries were systemically refusing to work with Russian suppliers. “Among them are banking institutions of this or that country that have been rejecting payments, or vessels flying the flag of this or that country that suddenly stopped entering Russian ports despite all the valid licenses,” Zernin said. “We have seen a wave of individual initiatives, the scale of which was massive.”

Russia accounts for more than 20% of the world’s grain shipments, the official noted, adding that the latest attempts “to erase or cancel Russian produce from global markets has failed,” as the elimination of such a prodigious amount of supplies would inevitably trigger a global food crisis. “Direct pressure is impossible, but if we face another upsurge in disguised sanctions targeting shipments of Russian grain, famine may be inevitable,” he warned. According to Zernin, the hidden sanctions applied to Russian exporters last year sent prices for wheat surging from $300 to $450 per ton. He added that prices began declining only when those restrictions were eased, after the Russian Union of Grain Exporters raised concerns on the international level, having alerted the United Nations to the issue.

“We have faced and are still facing challenges related to banking operations,” Zerin said. “We managed to resolve nearly all the issues relating to fleets, partly arising from increased freight tariffs.” According to the head of the union, Russian grain exporters have also been cut off from the legal regulation platform as part of Western restrictions. “As a result, we are not able to resolve any legal disputes at specialised arbitration platforms,” he said. Zernin noted that the Russian Union of Grain Exporters has had to establish direct contacts with major importers of agricultural produce, to reduce the impact of sanctions. “We have defined our focus markets, such as the Middle East and North African countries, the world’s biggest grain consumers, we have established direct ties with them, and developed new strategies for trading with every nation separately,” he explained. According to the official, Russian exporters now work either under Russian legislation or follow the requirements of domestic laws of partners, staying out of global legislative framework.

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“Romania and Bulgaria have seen similar waves of unrest, with farmers staging demonstrations in the capitals and blocking border crossings.”

Poland Suspends Imports Of Ukrainian Grain (Pol.eu)

Poland will temporarily stop all imports of grain from Ukraine, the two countries’ governments announced Friday. The measure comes after a meeting earlier in the day between Poland’s new Agriculture Minister Robert Telus, who took office Thursday, with his Ukrainian counterpart Mykola Solskyi at a border crossing between the two countries. “The Ukrainian side has proposed to severely restrict, and for the moment even stop completely, grain arrivals to Poland,” Telus said during a joint press conference after the meeting. He added that restrictions would not extend to the transit of grain intended for other countries. Following Russia’s invasion, Ukraine was forced to divert around half of its exports from the blocked Black Sea ports into Poland, Hungary, Romania and other border countries.

The move, facilitated by the European Commission and EU countries, was meant to throw an economic lifeline to Ukraine, one of the world’s largest agricultural producers, and ensure its exports could reach global markets. But, instead of leaving the EU’s eastern member countries, much of the produce has instead flooded local markets. Earlier this week, Telus’ predecessor, Henryk Kowalczyk, resigned amid mass farmers’ protests over the issue. Romania and Bulgaria have seen similar waves of unrest, with farmers staging demonstrations in the capitals and blocking border crossings.

“The situation is difficult for both Ukrainian and Polish farmers. We all understand who is to blame, but we have to solve this problem. The Ukrainian side will refrain from exporting wheat, corn, rapeseed and sunflower to Poland until the new season,” Solskyi said, referring to this summer’s harvest. Solskyi added that the two sides would meet again in the coming days to ensure smooth transit of grain intended for other countries. “We are counting on the most constructive position of the Polish side regarding the transit of Ukrainian grain to Polish ports and ports of other EU countries,” he said.

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“..the desire for a sense of security (belonging to a powerful community) overrides the practical considerations of avoiding danger (the prospect of becoming a target or a battlefield)”

Finland May Come To Regret Joining NATO When Everyone Sobers Up (Lukyanov)

The idea of abandoning the policy of non-alignment has always been present in Finland, as has a public and political consensus that it was inadvisable. Indeed, for 30 years the idea of a new military confrontation in Europe was solely the preserve of the most indomitable ‘Cold Warriors,’ and even the enlargement of NATO was presented primarily in political and ideological, not military, terms. The return of the reality of war has shaken all of Europe. In Sweden and Finland, the decision to abandon non-alignment and join NATO was taken immediately, and public opinion was turned on its head. Remarkably, there was almost no discussion of whether neutral status was a more reliable way of ensuring national security; membership of the military bloc was seen as the only option. Before that, non-participation had long been considered the most sensible approach. So, why the sudden change?

There are several reasons for this, but one is worth highlighting. There is a term known as ‘securitization’ – where a security dimension is given to everything: economic, cultural and even humanitarian processes. There is now a counter-experience, with the issue of classical security taking on a value-based form. That is, belonging to a particular ideological and ethical group, and being openly opposed to others, is seen as a more effective way of protecting oneself than remaining aloof from confrontation. This is a psychological rather than a military-technical phenomenon. Put simply, the desire for a sense of security (belonging to a powerful community) overrides the practical considerations of avoiding danger (the prospect of becoming a target or a battlefield).

This in itself is a result of the radicalization of values that took place in the West, as part of the wave of euphoria following the Cold War, when the “right side of history” prevailed. Hence the rejection of neutrality and the need to take into consideration the concerns of the “wrong” side, on the basis that those who aren’t in the same moral and ethical boat can’t be trusted. The current attitude to neutrality is the product of two simultaneous concepts: ’the long peace’ and ’the end of history.’ The first is because it has become obvious that delicate balances and safeguards are simply no longer relevant. The second is down to the belief that it’s clear whose side the historical truth is on (the West), so there is no need to flirt with representatives of the “doomed” opponent. Both perspectives are already things of the past. A rethink is inevitable.

Ritter Finland

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” Italy had 12 deaths for every seven births last year..”

Italy’s Birth Rate At Historic Low (RT)

Fewer than 400,000 babies were born in Italy in 2022, deepening what has been referred to as a “national emergency” as the country’s population declines to historically low levels, according to figures released by the EU nation’s National Institute of Statistics. The total number of newborns dropped about 1.8% from the 400,249 births recorded in Italy in 2021, the lowest such figure since 1861. The newly tallied statistics, released on Friday by Italy’s statistics bureau, mean that Italy had 12 deaths for every seven births last year as the country’s overall population dropped by 179,000. “It’s a demographic crisis,” said Maria Rita Testa, a demographer at Luiss University in Rome, via the Financial Times. “We are going to lose a lot of people in the future,” she said of a situation attributable simply to the fact that “women are just having fewer children.”

The population decline follows the introduction of a financial incentive scheme in 2021 by the former government led by Mario Draghi, which would provide families with monthly financial incentives for each child born, ranging between €50 to €175 ($55 to $192) depending on the family’s income. The leader of Italy’s current right-wing government, Giorgia Meloni, made addressing the population decline a key element of her election campaign last year. This policy pledge came amid concerns that the dwindling populace would put increasing strain on various key public sectors such as the funding of healthcare systems. Italy already has one of the highest debt-to-GDP levels in Europe at 135%.

“Having a low fertility rate is an issue that doesn’t belong to the right or the left-wing political side, it’s a national emergency,” Senator Lavinia Mennuni of the ruling Brothers of Italy party said last year. “We have to put working mothers back at the center of any political decision.” Italy’s population has been falling since 2014, with a total drop of around 1.36 million people during that time – roughly equivalent to the population of Milan, Italy’s second-largest city. However, these numbers have been partially offset by immigration as immigrants exceeded emigrants by 229,000 in 2022.

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“The central bank will have the power to enforce dollar limits on our transactions restricting where you can send money, where you can spend it, and when money expires.”

RFK Jr. Strongly Disapproves Of CBDCs And Digital IDs (IP)

Presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is resisting the notion of centralized control and recently blasted CBDCs and digital IDs. Kennedy, who is an environmental lawyer, has announced his plan to run for the US presidency as a Democrat in 2024. He made this announcement after filing the necessary paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on April 5th. In a separate event, Kennedy shared his views on CBDCs on Twitter. “The Fed just announced it will introduce its ‘FedNow’ Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) in July,” he said.

This statement is not entirely accurate. Although the Federal Reserve has revealed its plans to launch the FedNow payment system in July, it is not considered a CBDC. Nevertheless, the implementation of this system could potentially aid in the development of a future CBDC, which the Biden Administration has expressed interest in supporting. “While cash transactions are anonymous, a #CBDC will allow the government to surveil all our private financial affairs,” the environmental lawyer warned. “The central bank will have the power to enforce dollar limits on our transactions restricting where you can send money, where you can spend it, and when money expires.” Kennedy also warned about the possible risks of such technology.


“A CBDC tied to digital ID and social credit score will allow the government to freeze your assets or limit your spending to approved vendors if you fail to comply with arbitrary diktats, i.e. vaccine mandates. “The Fed will initially limit its CBDC to interbank transactions but we should not be blind to the obvious danger that this is the first step in banning and seizing bitcoin as the Treasury did with gold 90 years ago today in 1933. “Watch as governments, which never let a good crisis go to waste, use Covid-19 and the banking crisis to usher in a new wave of CBDCs as a safe haven from germ-laden paper currencies or as protection against bank runs.” His tweet had 7.3 million views at the time of writing this article.

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“Trump still makes news and boosts ratings in a way that no other US political candidate ever has. Which is a problem for anyone running against him.”

When Trump Sucks All The Oxygen In The Race – Katty Kay (BBC)

“Down in Mar-a-Lago, they’re calling it total dominance,” the Trump associate chuckled as he slid his phone across the desk to show me a photo. The image was of a dozen different TV channels all tuned to Trump’s speech hours after the former president’s historic arrest. It was taken by one of Trump’s aides who was with him down in Florida and then sent around as bragging rights to show how much coverage Trump can still command. “They just give us free airtime,” the associate added, almost perplexed. If American election campaigns are a war, TV is the battlefield and this week team Trump blew all his opponents off the map. [..] The arrest was a big deal and it will change American politics. But hours of coverage of an uneventful journey from Palm Beach to Manhattan gave Mr Trump a lot of TV time that he didn’t have to pay for out of campaign funds.

Back in 2016 the US press was criticised for covering the ever colourful Mr Trump more extensively than his Republican rivals for the presidential nomination. He would famously call into cable news TV shows on his cell phone and get 20 minutes of airtime (full disclosure, I took part in some of those interviews. He once told me I was too negative about his campaign, but added that I shouldn’t worry about it.) Afterwards there was some hand wringing among Democrats who accused the media of helping Mr Trump win the White House just by covering him so much – which is ironic since the American media is often accused of skewing left. But at least when Mr Trump called into TV shows he was talking and saying something and being interviewed by reporters who had often tough questions and he got a lot of push back.

This week he got airtime by just sitting on the tarmac. Total dominance. This is not 2016, and most newsrooms have thought hard about their Trump coverage. On Tuesday night several TV stations, including the BBC, dipped out of Trump’s speech after a couple of minutes in order not to relay what was effectively a campaign rally. MSNBC didn’t run the speech at all. But nearly all stations were glued to his flight up to New York the day before his court appearance – I even saw a tweet that an Italian TV channel was running it live. And of course the reason is clear. Trump still makes news and boosts ratings in a way that no other US political candidate ever has. Which is a problem for anyone running against him. Did you know that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was in the swing state of Michigan this week, talking to a packed convention hall of Republican voters?

Or that Nikki Haley, one of only three Republicans actually officially running for the presidency, announced this week that she’s raised $11 million in campaign funds? Maybe you missed that news because you were glued instead to President Joe Biden’s speech in Minnesota, touting the benefits of his administration’s manufacturing policy. No? Don’t feel bad, we’re all in the same Trump-powered boat. It is too soon to say whether this week’s arrest is good news for Donald Trump’s candidacy or not. But it did teach us one thing for sure – Mr Trump still dominates headlines. Which means the other Republican candidates, as well as the current president himself, will have to find a way to get media coverage of their own. And the American TV networks will have to decide what is newsworthy in the Trump campaign, and what isn’t. None of that is easy.

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Book review.

The Case Against the Case Against Julian Assange (Rohde)

Like the Trump administration that preceded it, the Biden administration is seeking the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to stand trial on an indictment under the infamous Espionage Act of 1917. As the unprecedented U.S. prosecution of Assange reaches a critical stage, a growing number of elite media outlets, human rights advocates and press freedom organizations around the world are demanding his release. All have expressed basic agreement with Nils Melzer, former UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, who describes the case against Assange as a scandal that “represents the failure of Western rule of law.”

Time is running out to correct this failure. Last August, Assange filed an appeal before the U.K. High Court of Justice Administrative Court arguing that his extradition would violate U.K. law because he is being prosecuted for his political opinions and protected speech; that the request itself violates the U.S.-UK Extradition Treaty and international law because it is based on “political offenses;” that the U.S. government has misrepresented the core facts of the case to the British courts; and that the extradition request and its surrounding circumstances constitute an abuse of process. If Assange loses this appeal, his last resort is the European Court of Human Rights.

No one has covered the Assange case more tenaciously, as well as the broader attack on whistleblowers, than journalist Kevin Gosztola. In “Guilty of Journalism: The Political Case Against Julian Assange,” Gosztola expands upon his reports of Assange’s extradition hearings in London during September and October 2020, and in a clear and compelling style, recounts the key events in the case. But he also does more than that. “Guilty of Journalism” offers revelations of egregious conduct by the U.S., including the use of knowingly false testimony, illegal surveillance of Assange and his lawyers and CIA plans to kidnap and assassinate him. These disclosures compound an already shocking tale of injustice at the hands of the U.S. government.

Opening his first chapter with the unequivocal declaration, “Julian Assange is a journalist,” Kosztola never loses sight of the extraordinary contributions WikiLeaks has made through its public disclosures since its founding in 2006. He includes an informative Appendix entitled, “Thirty WikiLeaks Files the Government Doesn’t Want You to Read,” covering climate change and the environment, corporate power, human rights abuses, regime change, foreign policy and U.S. politics. These files, he writes, “reflect the positive impact that WikiLeaks has had by boosting our shared knowledge of a government that rules the most powerful country in the world.”

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“I can confirm we are continuing our efforts to seek the extradition of Julian Assange..”

Biden Admin Has No Plans To Drop Charges Against Assange (Maynard)

In a week when the Biden administration worked to free a truth teller arrested in Russia, it doubled down on its commitment to punish another truth teller arrested in Western Europe. “I can confirm we are continuing our efforts to seek the extradition of Julian Assange,” Justice Department spokesperson Nicole Navas Oxman told Poynter on Monday. The statement was released in a period when pressure to release the WikiLeaks founder has come from many directions, with members of Congress, the British press and a Russian state official all chiming in on Assange’s continued detention in Britain at the behest of American authorities.

[..] The U.S. government’s push to punish Assange is a matter of the public’s right to know, Morinière said, with his case setting “a dangerous precedent that any member of the media, in any country, can now be targeted by governments, anywhere in the world, to answer for publishing information in the public interest.” “Debating whether he is a journalist is a distraction from the indisputable fact that he’s being (prosecuted) for committing acts of journalism,” said Seth Stern, director of advocacy for the Freedom of the Press Foundation, in an email. “The First Amendment doesn’t limit itself to protecting card-carrying journalists,” he said. “It says ‘Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.’ Assange is being prosecuted under a law that not only abridges freedom of the press but criminalizes essentially the dictionary definition of investigative journalism. If that’s permitted by the First Amendment then the First Amendment does not mean much.”

[..] Much of the debate over WikiLeaks during the Obama administration — which used the constitutionally dubious Espionage Act of 1917 more than all past administrations combined, but still restrained itself when it came to prosecuting Assange — hinged on what was at the time called the “New York Times problem.” That debate postulated that if the prosecution of Assange set a marker, there would be little to prevent future administrations from prosecuting reporters from The New York Times, as most Times reporters who wrote military and national security stories regularly did most of the actions Assange was accused of doing. Prosecuting such a publication “would obviously be undesirable,” said a representative for Britain’s National Union of Journalists via email. That’s both because the Times is North America’s most established and trusted news organization, the spokesperson said, and also because “when it was tried in 1971 (USA v. NYT) over publication of the Pentagon Papers, the Supreme Court upheld the NYT’s rights under the First Amendment.”

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O’Looney funeral director
https://twitter.com/i/status/1644656316173160449
https://twitter.com/i/status/1641600075531968512

 

 

Makis
https://twitter.com/i/status/1644670228008239106

 

 

Food vaccines


https://twitter.com/i/status/1642910169230381056

 

 


Yareta is an evergreen perennial plant with tens of thousands of flowering buds. It is estimated to grow approximately 1.5 centimeters per year and many yaretas are estimated to be over 3,000 years old.

 

 


Grandala are deeply sexually dimorphic and this is the difference. While females are brown with white streaks all over the head, males are almost eye-searing blue. This picture captured by Rajesh Panwar in North Sikkim, India

 

 

Orca
https://twitter.com/i/status/1644743191596285952

 

 

 

 

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Mar 112023
 


Henri Matisse Young Woman at the Window, Sunset 1921

Andrew Korybko:

Reuters reported on Wednesday that “India’s Oil Deals With Russia Dent Decades-Old Dollar Dominance”, which informed their audience that the growing trend of those two using national or third-party currencies like the UAE’s is something significant for everyone to pay attention to. To that outlet’s credit, it also reminded readers that IMF Deputy Managing Director Gita Gopinath foresaw in the month after Russia’s special operation began that the West’s sanctions “could erode the dollar’s dominance”.

Lo and behold, that’s precisely what happened, with India of all countries accelerating de-dollarization through its non-dollar-denominated energy deals with Russia. About them, Russia has since become India’s largest supplier over the past year and now provides a whopping 35% of that country’s needs, which is also the world’s third-largest oil importer and fifth-largest economy. Their new energy ties, and particularly the growing de-dollarization dimension of their deals, are thus globally important.

None of what was just described is driven by any anti-American animus on India’s part since everything is purely motivated by the pursuit of that country’s objective national interests. Delhi had no choice but to gradually diversify away from dollar-denominated energy deals with Moscow due to Washington’s illegal sanctions. Its multipolar leadership wasn’t going to let the world’s most populous country slip into an economic crisis just to please the US by eschewing the import of discounted oil from Russia.

By defying American pressure upon it to unilaterally concede on those aforementioned objective national interests, India’s economy ended up growing at twice the pace of China’s, which contributed to catapulting that country to the forefront of the global systemic transition to multipolarity. Amidst the impending trifurcation of International Relations, India is now poised to de facto lead the Global South in helping fellow developing countries balance between the Golden Billion and the Sino-Russo Entente.

Had India complied with the US’ illegal sanctions, then the New York Times wouldn’t have recently admitted that those restrictions failed just like the West’s efforts to “isolate” Russia did as well. It was largely due to that South Asian Great Power’s truly independent grand strategy that this latest phase of the New Cold War didn’t decisively end in the Golden Billion’s victory over Russia and the restoration of unipolarity, which would have been detrimental to India and every other developing country’s interests.

India therefore changed the course of history by remaining committed to the pursuit of its objective national interests, which to remind everyone, aren’t driven by any desire to harm the interests of third parties like the US. Its leading role in de-dollarization via its increasing number of non-dollar-denominated energy deals with Russia is also reshaping the global financial system by reducing that currency’s prior dominance and thus leading to a more multipolar state of affairs for everyone.

Even the US itself seems to have finally accepted that it can’t reverse this trend, which is evidenced by former Indian Ambassador to Russia Kanwal Sibal recently telling TASS that “Lately, the discourse from Washington has changed and India is no longer being asked to stop buying oil from Russia. In a recent visit to India, the US Treasury Secretary actually said that India can buy discounted oil from Russia as much as it wants so long as western tankers and insurance companies are not used.”

Nevertheless, radical liberalglobalist ideologues like Color Revolution mastermind George Soros are still desperately clinging to the dream of restoring the US’ rapidly declining unipolar hegemony, hence why he de facto declared Hybrid War against India during the Munich Security Conference last month. It remains unclear whether he and his network have enough support in the Western Establishment to advance that regime change agenda, but his threat is still worrisome and should be taken seriously.

Reuters’ latest report about India’s role in accelerating de-dollarization might fuel interest among likeminded “Western Exceptionalists” in supporting his de facto Hybrid War against that country so observers should closely monitor related developments in order to assess whether this happens. In any case, those who sincerely support multipolarity should loudly applaud India for its indispensable role in comprehensively facilitating this process, especially its financial dimension as described in this analysis.

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Mar 032023
 


Edvard Munch Summer Night’s Dream. The Voice 1893

 

What Sparked D.C.’s Sudden, Dramatic Anti-China Shift? (Schachtel)
US Army Secretary: US Preparing to Win a War With China Over Taiwan (Antiwar)
Beijing To Fast-Track Taiwan ‘Reunification’ Plans After “Extraordinary” Year Of Tensions
US Rallying Allies For New China Sanctions (RT)
Ride Across the River (Schryver)
Europe Needs ‘NATO’ Without US – Orban (RT)
Orban Says Understands Putin’s Arguments, Rejects His Actions On Ukraine (TASS)
US Blocking Russia From Participating In Nord Stream Explosion Probe (TASS)
Putin Calls Attack By Ukrainian Militants In Bryansk Region ‘Act Of Terror’ (TASS)
Top FBI Officials Opposed Mar-a-Lago Raid – WaPo (Turley)
House Overwhelmingly Votes to Keep Syria Sanctions After Earthquake (Antiwar)
Twitter Received ‘State Sponsored Blacklists’ From US – Matt Taibbi (RT)
Musk’s Human Brain Experiments Rejected By US Regulator (RT)

 

 

 

 

40%

 

 

 

 

Candace Tucker
https://twitter.com/i/status/1630965039401238530

 

 

Jan 6
https://twitter.com/i/status/1631501213232513027

 

 

 

 

Rogan Brand

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..Sensing an imperial power in decline, China is increasingly challenging America’s status as the global hegemon..”

What Sparked D.C.’s Sudden, Dramatic Anti-China Shift? (Schachtel)

In recent days, select US government agencies have claimed, behind the shadow of classified reports, that they now believe a lab leak is to blame for the Covid-19 outbreak. It’s fascinating to observe this radical narrative departure from the not so distant past, when these very same people declared that blaming China for Covid was racist, xenophobic, and whatnot. On top of that, it seems that the new Congress is positioning itself only to investigate the gain of function versus lab leak scenarios, but not the origin of the information operations and very oddly timed coincidences that resulted in full blown Covid hysteria. They’re signaling that people like Fauci, Bill Gates, and Big Pharma are going to be let entirely off the hook, which is quite unfortunate.

Unsurprisingly, this is a signal that Congress is not very serious about the real origin story of Covid, and never will be. So what’s going on with all the China bashing? Previously, the Uniparty Standard was to do everything possible not to offend the Chinese Communist Party, and to even engage them as a potential partner on the climate hoax and other power grab campaigns. Now, suddenly, everyone in D.C. seems to agree that China can do no right. So what changed? Why take this action now, several years after the first reported outbreak in Wuhan, China? One possible explanation is China’s behavior concerning the war in Ukraine. Take into account that the D.C. Uniparty has already “invested” well over $100 billion in taxpayer funds into the Slava Slush Fund. Despite these “investments,” the regime in Kiev continues to find itself on increasing shaky ground, losing battle after battle in the conflict.

Ukraine is about to retreat from Bakhmut, once declared a “stronghold” city by Ukraine’s President Zelensky. When Zelensky went to Congress in December, he presented them with a flag from soldiers he said were fighting in Bakhmut. “The fight for Bakhmut will change the trajectory of our war for independence & freedom,” Zelensky said. Now, the fall of Bakhmut will serve as a massive strategic and moral failure for Kiev. Making matters exponentially worse for Ukraine is the possibility that China will take a more active role in this conflict. China is increasingly considering arming Russian forces, and it’s noticeably setting off alarm bells in Washington. China’s economy is ten times bigger than Russia’s, and counteracting the support coming in from D.C. would serve as a significant boost for an already progressing Russian military campaign.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Tony Blinken demanded that China take this idea off the table. “We did very clearly warn China about the implications and consequences of going through with providing such support,” he said. “We will not hesitate, for example, to target Chinese companies or individuals that violate our sanctions, or otherwise engaged in supporting the Russian war effort.” And earlier Wednesday, the White House press secretary labeled TikTok a “potential national security risk,” opening the door to a ban of the social media platform. More broadly, the China quarrel is about much more than the D.C. Globalist American Empire’s once-unchecked campaigns concerning Ukraine. Sensing an imperial power in decline, China is increasingly challenging America’s status as the global hegemon, and they’re doing so on multiple fronts. Beijing is also turning up the heat on Taiwan, which is not very committed to its own self-defense.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1631461008492597250

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The crazies dug up a new hero from behind the woodwork: Christine Wormuth.

US Army Secretary: US Preparing to Win a War With China Over Taiwan (Antiwar)

sUS Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said this week that the US must prepare to win a future war with China over Taiwan by beefing up its military deployments in the region. “I personally am not of the view that an amphibious invasion of Taiwan is imminent,” Wormuth said at an American Enterprise Institute event, according to Voice of America. “But we obviously have to prepare, to be prepared to fight and win that war.” Wormuth’s plan would involve sending more troops and advanced weapons into the region, including hypersonic missiles. She said the buildup would be an effort to deter war with China, although Beijing has been increasing its military activity in the region in response to US actions. Wormuth laid out three ways the US Army would work to build up forces in the region.

First, by increasing cooperation with allies, which she said would “complicate” Beijing’s decision-making. Second, the Army will establish “theater distribution centers” to pre-position weapons and other supplies in the region. She listed Australia and Japan as two places where weapons could be staged and said non-lethal equipment might be stored in the Philippines and Singapore. The third aspect of the plan would be to place more visible combat forces in the region. “Our goal is to have Army forces in the Indo-Pacific seven to eight months out of the year,” Wormuth said. When war breaks out in the region, Wormuth said the Army’s role would be to establish “staging bases for the Navy, for the Marines, for the Air Force” and to “provide intra-theater sustainment” using the weapons stockpiles and watercraft. She said the US Army would also have a role to play in the American homeland.

“If we got into a major war with China, the United States homeland would be at risk as well, with both kinetic attacks and non-kinetic attacks. Whether it’s cyberattacks on the power grids, or on pipelines, the United States Army, I have no doubt, will be called to provide defense support to civil authorities,” she said. When asked if the American public could sustain the level of casualties that would come with a war with China, she said they could, just “like we did in World War II.” But both the US and China possess nuclear weapons, meaning a potential war could be catastrophic for the entire world. Wormuth is the latest US official to openly discuss the fact that the US is preparing for war with China. Earlier this year, a four-star Air Force general predicted the US will be at war with China within two years and ordered his forces to be prepared. “I hope I am wrong. My gut tells me will fight in 2025,” Gen. Mike Minihan, the head of Air Mobility Command, said of war with China in a leaked memo.

Wormuth
https://twitter.com/i/status/1631183835864891392

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US never recognized independent Taiwan.

Beijing To Fast-Track Taiwan ‘Reunification’ Plans After “Extraordinary” Year Of Tensions

Increased military interactions with the US, including ramped-up American naval sail-throughs and flyovers of the contested Taiwan Strait, appear to have hastened Beijing’s timeline for Taiwan “reunification”. A top Chinese lawmaker and adviser, National People’s Congress deputy Li Yihu, announced this week, “The [Communist] Party’s overall strategy for resolving the Taiwan issue in the new era has basically taken shape, and the strategic goals and focus of the future reunification cause have also become very clear.” He specified the process will be sped up, saying ahead of the annual National People’s Congress meeting which kicks off March 5 that “The mainland will promote national reunification on a fast development track.”

Notably this also comes after then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ultra-provocative visit to the self-ruled island in August, and further after multiple weapons packages have been announced by the Biden administration. Current Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is also said to be planning a Taiwan visit in the near future. Li Yihu specifically cited an “extraordinary” year for tensions in the region, as well as heightening global events and rivalries: “A series of new policies, including on Taiwan, are expected to be unveiled during the gathering, along with the defense budget and a government reshuffle. Comments made by NPC deputies such as Li can provide some insight into Beijing’s policymaking, which remains largely secretive. In the interview, Li – who is also dean of the Taiwan Research Institute at Peking University – said 2022 was an “extraordinary” year for cross-strait ties and that its major events would “have a certain impact on the future direction” of the relationship.”

Without doubt he also had in mind the Russia-Ukraine war, and the comparisons which some US officials as well has pundits have increasingly made between the Ukraine and Taiwan situations. Beijing has consistently rejected such comparisons, stressing that Taiwan is under Chinese sovereignty, also finding the idea that the situations are parallel to be an offensive. President Xi Jinping and his officials have long emphasized a Chinese plan of peaceful unification via political processes, also as the mainland has deep involvement with opposition movements and parties in Taipei. But it’s unclear whether Washington’s pushing past “red lines” have changed the calculus. Certainly we are witnessing the beginnings of a more assertive and aggressive Chinese posture vis-a-vis the Taiwan question.

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Two can play that game.

US Rallying Allies For New China Sanctions (RT)

The US is coordinating with its close allies to impose new sanctions on China should it decide to support the Russian campaign in Ukraine, according to Reuters. Beijing has rejected claims that it intends to offer military aid to Moscow, and recently unveiled a plan seeking a peaceful settlement to the conflict. Washington is in “consultations” with foreign partners, namely those from the G7 nations, regarding new economic penalties, several unnamed US officials told the outlet on Wednesday. They declined to provide details about the potential sanctions, only confirming that discussions are “laying the groundwork for potential action.” The report follows repeated warnings toward China from the US and other Western nations, which claim Beijing intends to supply weapons to Russian forces for the campaign against Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg echoed the charges during a recent interview with the Associated Press, saying “we have seen some signs that they may be planning for that,” but without offering evidence. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that Washington would “not hesitate” to target Chinese firms with sanctions in the event that Beijing supplies lethal aid to Moscow, saying the move would carry “implications and consequences.” Blinken added that he raised the issue with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi when they met at the Munich Security Conference last month. China has dismissed the charges as “groundless speculation,” arguing that it does not intend to provide weapons to Russian troops while accusing Washington of hypocrisy.

“The US has no right to dictate China-Russia relations, and we will never accept coercion and pressure from the US,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Monday. She went on to observe that it is Washington, not Beijing, that has been “pouring lethal weapons into the battlefield in Ukraine.” While Western nations have long pressured China to sever ties with Russia, accusations toward Beijing have only grown louder since it unveiled a 12-point roadmap for a diplomatic settlement for the conflict in Ukraine last month. Moscow has signaled willingness to “carefully analyze” the details of the proposal, though US officials quickly rejected the plan, claiming Beijing has adopted “Russia’s false narrative about the war” and is not “serious” about ending hostilities.

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“Ukrainian tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery pieces have been reduced to a minute fraction of what they had a year ago plus what they have received..”

Ride Across the River (Schryver)

The following is a speculation; a flight of fancy, if you will. Beginning no later than the waning autumn of 2022, observers of the ongoing war in Ukraine have been anticipating a major Russian offensive to be launched. The extremely costly late summer Ukrainian “counter-offensives” in the Kharkov and Kherson regions had ground to a halt against impenetrable Russian defensive lines east of the Oskol River in the north and along the Dnieper River in the south. Meanwhile, the Russians executed a substantial mobilization which has added upwards of 400,000 thousand effectives to their forces. Contrary to almost-universal predictions that Russian armaments would have long-since been exhausted, and their economy crumbled under the weight of western sanctions, neither has occurred.

From a military standpoint, the Russians have adopted a resolute strategy of attrition, most exemplified by the relentless meat-grinder of Bakhmut, which has become not only the single largest battle of this war, but the bloodiest battle seen on the European continent since the Second World War. The Armed Forces of Ukraine are now a depleted shell. The tally of soldiers killed in action is almost certainly at least 150,000 – and very arguably in excess of 200,000, with the irretrievably wounded likely double the number of killed. The Ukrainian Air Force is a non-factor. Ukrainian tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery pieces have been reduced to a minute fraction of what they had a year ago plus what they have received from NATO since then. Ammunition shortages have become acute. The Ukrainians are quite literally groveling for more of everything from their NATO handlers. But the NATO armaments cupboard is now bare. And despite grandiose pledges of large new shipments of NATO equipment, the reality is proving to be a pale shadow of the promises.

Even so, the AFU manages to supply still-formidable garrisons of the “fortress cities” they constructed over the course of the years preceding the war. Despite the impending fall of the key strategic fortress of Bakhmut, several strongly fortified towns stand in the way of a successful Russian liberation of the remaining Ukrainian-occupied areas of Donetsk, Zaporozhye, and Kherson oblasts. I have previously considered that the logical Russian solution was to mass forces to launch “big arrow” offensives south from the general direction of Belgorod and north from the general direction of Zaporozhye; cut off Ukrainian supply lines, and then simply starve the Ukrainian fortress cities into submission. Something along those lines could very well still be the Russian plan. But these would be inherently risk-laden maneuvers. Big arrow moves necessarily mean exposed flanks and very long and highly vulnerable lines of communication.

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“.. the EU is serving the interests of the US at the expense of its own..”

Europe Needs ‘NATO’ Without US – Orban (RT)

Europe needs its own military bloc, one that’s free of American influence, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told the Swiss Weltwoche weekly on Thursday. The US is dragging Europe into a conflict that cannot be won and risks a global war, he believes. “The solution would be a European NATO,” Orban said, adding that the US’ desire for further expansion of its influence is what has led to the tensions between the West and Russia. Moscow is concerned about NATO expanding further east into Ukraine and Georgia, Orban claimed, referring to his conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin just weeks before the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev broke out in late February 2022.

“Putin told me his problem was with the American missile bases in Poland and Romania and possible NATO expansion in Ukraine and Georgia,” Orban told the Swiss media, noting that the Russian leader was concerned about the US potentially deploying its weapons to these nations as well. According to Orban, that was one of the underlying reasons behind the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. “I understand what Putin said. I do not accept what he did,” the Hungarian prime minister explained, referring to the Russian military operation in Ukraine. Orban insisted that Hungary should stay out of this conflict. He also said that Budapest was subjected to “constant pressure” as other Western nations “want to drag us into the war through every possible means.”

Orban believes that is because the EU is serving the interests of the US at the expense of its own. “Decisions made by Brussels reflect American interests more often than European ones,” he said. In his opinion, Western nations need to demonstrate a true “desire” and “will” for peace if they want it to be achieved in Ukraine. “That will is what is lacking today, at least in the West,” he said. Hungary has repeatedly called for peace amid the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, as well as criticized the Western sanctions imposed against Russia and arms deliveries to Ukraine. Earlier this week, Orban said that the ongoing hostilities benefitted no one in the world. Hungary was also the only NATO nation that supported China’s peace plan for Ukraine.

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“I understand what Putin said, but I reject what he did..”

Orban Says Understands Putin’s Arguments, Rejects His Actions On Ukraine (TASS)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that he understands Russian President Vladimir Putin’s arguments, but rejects his actions regarding Ukraine. Speaking in an interview for Switzerland’s Die Weltwoche, the Prime Minister also stated that the West must find a way to coexist with Russia peacefully regardless. Orban disclosed that he discussed international security issues, including the expansion of NATO, during a meeting with Putin in February, 2022. According to the Prime Minister, the Russian leader told him back then that “Hungary’s membership in NATO is not a problem, only Ukraine’s and Georgia’s.”


“Putin’s problem is the US missile bases, already created in Romania and Poland, as well as the potential expansion of NATO to Ukraine and Georgia, with subsequent deployment of weapons there. In addition, the Americans cancelled important disarmament treaties. This is why Putin could no longer sleep well at night,” Orban believes. “I understand what Putin said, but I reject what he did,” he added. He also opined that Russia views thing differently from the West, because “this is a different civilization.” However, “it matters not if the West likes it or not,” he said. He underscored that Western power must find a way to coexist peacefully with such a strong power as Russia.

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Well, obviously…

US Blocking Russia From Participating In Nord Stream Explosion Probe (TASS)

Moscow has no doubt that the United States is preventing Russia from participating in the probe into the explosions at the Nord Stream and Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told a press conference on Thursday. “We were not allowed to involve our experts in the investigation. Neither as participants in the probe, nor as experts, including from Gazprom. Undoubtedly, the United States is behind this,” he said. He also called on the US and its allies to stop obstructing negotiations on this topic. “We want to resolve this situation from a legal point of view. As far as I understand, there have been certain negotiations on this issue, and they will continue. I hope that all participants understand the need for such negotiations,” he added.


Ryabkov noted that those who are now investigating the explosions did not share any details with Moscow. “For months since the Nord Stream’s undermining, we have been trying to get some kind of explanation or reliable information from those who continue to conduct the probe. They have not shared the tiniest piece of information with us,” he said, stressing that Moscow continues to insist on an international investigation into the incidents. [..] At a meeting of G20 Foreign Ministers on March 2, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow will continue to seek a prompt and impartial investigation of sabotage at the gas pipelines. Moscow insists on its participation in this probe, he added. He noted that the call of the Russian Federation to reflect the need for a fair investigation into Nord Stream in the G20 declaration was ignored.

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“set out to deprive the Russian people of their historical memory, deprive us of our history, our traditions, and language..”

Putin Calls Attack By Ukrainian Militants In Bryansk Region ‘Act Of Terror’ (TASS)

The attack by Ukrainian saboteurs in the Bryansk Region bordering Ukraine is a terrorist act, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with participants of the pilot educational program Mentor School. Soldiers and officers of the Russian Armed Forces are now courageously carrying out their duty, protecting Russia, Putin stressed. “Protecting against neo-Nazis and against terrorists such as those who were torturing and killing people in Donbass for eight years, such as those who murdered Darya Dugina in Moscow, such as those who today carried out another act of terror, committed another crime, infiltrated the border area and opened fire on civilians,” the president stressed.


The saboteurs were well aware that they were attacking a civilian car. “They saw it was a civilian car, saw that civilians and children were inside, that it was just a Niva car, but no, they opened fire on them,” Putin said. It is people like this who “set out to deprive the Russian people of their historical memory, deprive us of our history, our traditions, and language,” President Putin stressed.”This is violence, real crime, committed exactly by the neo-Nazis I’ve just mentioned, and by their masters. I’m sure that these very masters won’t remember today’s crime. No one will even pay heed to it,” Putin went on to say. “They won’t succeed, we will put the squeeze on them,” he vowed.

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It was personal.

Top FBI Officials Opposed Mar-a-Lago Raid – WaPo (Turley)

The Washington Post is reporting that there was a heated debate in the Justice Department over the decision to raid Mar-a-Lago in July 2022. The senior FBI agents objected that they believe that a consensual search was possible without the necessity of a raid. It was main Justice officials who overruled them and insisted on the raid. What is most striking about the account is that FBI agents were raising the very concerns that some of us voiced after the unprecedented raid on the home of a former president. The Post describes a “tense showdown” a week before the raid. Jay Bratt, Chief of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section (CES) of the National Security Division, joined other Justice officials to demand a raid. He was accompanied to the FBI by Assistant Attorney General Matt Olsen as well as two counterintelligence officials, George Toscas and Alan E. Kohler Jr.

Toscas previously worked on the Crossfire Hurricane and Clinton email investigations. He reportedly pushed for a raid. The FBI pushed back hard, according to the Post. Steven M. D’Antuono, then the head of the FBI Washington field office was running the investigation and said that he considered the raid to be unnecessary and overkill. He wanted to arrange a consensual search. He reportedly even refused to conduct the raid without a direct order. D’Antuono wanted to reach out to Trump’s lawyer, Evan Corcoran, who is a former Justice Department prosecutor to arrange the search. Reportedly, the objections angered Bratt and the meeting became loud and heated. Notably, the article reports that D’Antuono “also questioned why the search would target presidential records as well as classified records, particularly because the May subpoena had only sought the latter.”

It quotes him as objecting “we are not the presidential records police.” Finally, D’Antuono reportedly demanded to know if Trump was officially the subject of the criminal investigation. As head of the FBI investigation, that was a telling question. Bratt reportedly replied “What does that matter?”[..] What is striking about the report is the preference, yet again, for the Justice Department to take the DEFCON 1 option over other alternatives in a matter involving Trump. If D’Antuono was allowed to seek a consensual search, any refusal would have largely blunted any later objections. Yet, the FBI General Counsel Jason Jones (who replaced the controversial James Baker at the Bureau) followed his predecessor’s more aggressive approach.

The report will only deepen the unease over how the Justice Department will handle the classified document controversy. Since the raid, President Joe Biden and former Vice President Michael Pence were both found to have classified material in their private homes. In the case of Biden, some of these documents go back over a decade to his time as a senator and were found in multiple locations from a university center office to his personal library to his garage. While special counsels are investigating Trump and Biden on the matters, the ultimate decision will rest with Attorney General Merrick Garland who must decide if prosecution is in the public interest. Few people want to see Biden, Pence, and Trump indicted. Indeed, the Justice Department maintains that it cannot indict a sitting president like Biden. To prosecute only Trump for such unlawful possession would cause a public uproar.

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“Only Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) voted against the measure..”

House Overwhelmingly Votes to Keep Syria Sanctions After Earthquake (Antiwar)

The House this week voted overwhelmingly in favor of a resolution to maintain sanctions on Syria following a devastating earthquake that has killed at least 5,900 people in the country, The Cradle reported on Wednesday. The resolution was introduced by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and received 51 cosponsors. It passed in a vote of 414-2. Only Reps. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) voted against the measure. The resolution calls for the Biden administration to remain committed to “implementing the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019,” a law that imposed crippling sanctions on Syria that are designed to prevent the country from rebuilding after years of war.

The resolution said that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was “falsely claiming” US sanctions impeded the aid response to the earthquake. But it’s a fact that US sanctions hurt the relief effort, something that has been detailed by the head of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and UN experts. After initially claiming sanctions wouldn’t hurt the relief effort, the Biden administration issued a 180-day sanctions exemption for transactions related to earthquake relief. UN experts responded by welcoming the move but said it wasn’t enough and called for the sanctions to be fully lifted.

The House resolution said it “mourned” the victims of the earthquake and portrayed enforcing the Caesar Act as a way to “protect” the Syrian people. But even before the earthquake, US sanctions on Syria were having a devastating impact on the civilian population. Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged in 2021 that it was US policy to “oppose the reconstruction of Syria,” and the policy hasn’t changed. Business Insider covered Greene and Massie voting against the resolution but completely mischaracterized the bill. The report said they voted against “mourning the 50,000 people killed in the deadly earthquakes in Turkey and Syria” and made no mention of the fact that it supported maintaining crushing sanctions on Syria.

The Biden administration has said it’s against regional countries upgrading ties with the Assad government, even if it’s part of an effort to aid in earthquake relief. On top of the sanctions and opposing Syria’s engagement with its neighbors, the US maintains an occupation force of about 900 troops in eastern Syria and backs the Kurdish-led SDF in the region, allowing the US to control about one-third of Syrian territory. The area the US controls is where most of the country’s oil resources are, keeping the vital resource out of the hands of Damascus.

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“..Yoel Roth, was approached in 2021 and given a list of 40,000 accounts suspected of engaging in “inauthentic behavior” in support of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party.”

Twitter Received ‘State Sponsored Blacklists’ From US – Matt Taibbi (RT)

The US State Department, both directly and through third-party organizations, pressed Twitter to censor American users for their non-existent connections to Russia, China, and Hindu nationalism, according to internal documents. Published by journalist Matt Taibbi on Thursday, the latest ‘Twitter Files’ reveal that Twitter’s former trust and safety chief, Yoel Roth, was approached in 2021 and given a list of 40,000 accounts suspected of engaging in “inauthentic behavior” in support of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party. The list was provided by the ‘Digital Forensics Research Lab’ at the Atlantic Council, a think tank funded by the US State Department’s ‘Global Engagement Center’ (GEC), as well as a host of NATO governments and weapons manufacturers.

According to the files, Roth investigated the list and found that “virtually all appear to be real people” rather than Indian bots, while Taibbi contacted several and learned that they were “ordinary Americans” with no connection whatsoever to Indian politics. Created in the final year of the Obama administration, the GEC is a State Department entity that works with multiple US intelligence agencies to “counter foreign disinformation.” It is forbidden from operating within the United States, and recently had to cut its ties with a George Soros-backed NGO that was using its funding to target American conservative news sites.

While the list of supposed Hindu nationalists was given to Twitter via the Atlantic Council, the GEC directly passed other lists to the social media platform, including 500 accounts that were allegedly spreading Iranian “disinformation,” and 5,500 “Chinese accounts” engaged in “state-backed coordinated manipulation,” despite the fact that this latter list included multiple Western government accounts and at least three CNN employees. Roth described the Chinese list as “a total crock,” while fellow employee Aaron Rodericks said it provided “more entertainment value than anything.” The GEC and its organizations tangentially connected to the State Department – such as the infamous ‘Alliance for Securing Democracy’ that published the ‘Hamilton68’ dashboard of “Russian bots” – had long pressed Twitter to crack down on allegedly Kremlin-connected accounts, but Roth told staff that it was impossible to detect “Russian fingerprints” on any of the accounts.

Instead, accounts that retweeted “news sources linked to Russia” were considered Kremlin-sponsored. One list handed to Twitter by the GEC considered membership in France’s anti-government ‘Yellow Vests’ movement as “being Russia-aligned.” While Twitter’s executives may have been skeptical of the GEC’s ‘blacklists’, the US media was not. Emails show that multiple news outlets and agencies – including the Associated Press – would receive reports from the organization, and then press Twitter to take action and ban the listed accounts. “Reauthorization for GEC’s funding is up for a vote this year,” Taibbi wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “Can we at least stop paying to blacklist ourselves?”

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Would you volunteer?

Musk’s Human Brain Experiments Rejected By US Regulator (RT)

The US Food and Drug Administration has rejected clinical trials of billionaire Elon Musk’s Neuralink brain implant, seven current and former employees told Reuters on Thursday. The regulator cited multiple safety concerns the company must address before human testing can begin – a milestone they had hoped to reach this month. The FDA cited dozens of “deficiencies” barring the way to human trials when it rejected Neuralink last year, the employees explained. Dozens of pigs have already been pressed into experimental service in order to address the agency’s concern that the tiny threads that interface with the wearer’s brain could migrate, altering brain and implant functionality, causing inflammation, rupturing blood vessels and otherwise damaging the fragile tissue, employees said.

The FDA is also reportedly concerned about whether Neuralink can be removed without causing damage – an issue the employees claimed has not been adequately addressed, despite the company’s assurances. Just like the lithium-ion batteries that power Musk’s Tesla electric vehicles, which burn for hours at 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit if hit the wrong way, Neuralink’s lithium batteries could cause brain damage if they so much as overheat, experts told Reuters. The FDA wants Neuralink to prove with animal studies that the remotely-chargeable battery is “very unlikely” to fail. Displeased with the regulatory red-light, Musk has reportedly rushed the animal experiments in an attempt to address the FDA’s safety concerns. As a result, the Department of Agriculture is looking into potential violations of the Animal Welfare Act after alarms have been raised about the treatment of the animals.

Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation is investigating whether Neuralink correctly followed safety procedures when disposing of chips removed from animal brains. The Tesla tycoon has previously boasted that Neuralink is so safe he’d implant it in his own children, claimed it would restore total mobility to the paralyzed, and bragged that users would eventually “be able to save and replay memories.” However, Neuralink’s Vice President of engineering Dongjin Seo told a conference last month that its “primary short-term goal” was merely to help paralyzed patients use computerized text to communicate. Anything else, he said, was “long-term.” Despite the company’s recent projection of March 7, 2023 as the day the FDA would approve human trials, employees told Reuters there were no regulatory approvals looming on the horizon.

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Yes, the sphinx has a tail. A large one.

 

 

When it is in repose the Pterochroza ocellata (or peacock katydid) camouflage resembles a dead leaf. But in its startle display, it shows false eye spots on its normally hidden hind wings

 

 

Toucans

 

 


Seals have nails. They are not called fingernails, or toenails, or even flipper nails. Just nails

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 022023
 


Camille Pissarro Plum Trees in Blossom, Éragny 1894

 

Zelensky, Cronies In Major Corruption Scandal In Ukraine – And US? (Lavrenin)
Zelensky Floats ‘Strategic Pullback’ From Bakhmut (ZH)
Germany’s Scholz: Russia Must Take First Steps Towards Peace In Ukraine (TASS)
UK Ex-Foreign Secretary: US Makes Decisions On Arms Supplies To Ukraine (TASS)
Ready to Die for Ukraine? Russia Warns of Nuclear Annihilation (Celente)
Deep State Absolutely Wants to Kill You – Alex Newman (USAW)
EU Is Threatening Serbia – Vucic (RT)
Pentagon Says It Struggles To Track US Weapons In Ukraine (RT)
Deadly Balancing Act For Region With US Hell Bent On China War (Lo)
US Rallying Allies For New China Sanctions (RT)
Russiagate Spells Journalism’s Death (Chris Hedges)
Greek Consumers Pay Up To 45% More This Year For Basic Food Items (K.)
Ghislaine Maxwell Reportedly In Solitary After Saying Epstein Was Murdered (GP)

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

Penn Blitzer

 

 

 

 

Bukele
https://twitter.com/i/status/1630958207530065927

 

 

Keir Simmons
https://twitter.com/i/status/1631096391488471042

 

 

 

 

“..we can be certain that the inspectors won’t disclose any serious abuses following the audit, since this would deal a blow to President Joe Biden..”

Zelensky, Cronies In Major Corruption Scandal In Ukraine – And US? (Lavrenin)

The corruption scandals in Ukraine are being actively publicized by the media and are linked not only to the government’s political opponents, but also to Ukraine’s partners, primarily the United States. For example, Bihus.Info published an investigation into Yermak’s ties with former deputies from the now banned “Opposition Platform – For Life” party. This was Ukraine’s second largest political faction, until it was prohibited by Zelensky, as part of his crackdown on political opponents. Many experts have viewed the saga as an attempt by the American government to solve its own pressing issue of Republican demands that the White House establishes control over US aid to Ukraine. Having gained a majority in the House of Representatives, the Republican Party wants stricter controls over the expenditure of multibillion-dollar tranches allocated to Kiev. In Ukraine, the political consequences may also be significant.

On January 29, several inspectors arrived in Kiev from the US. The commission included Inspectors General Diana Shaw, Robert Storch, and Nicole Angarella from the US Department of State, the Pentagon, and the Agency for International Development (USAID), respectively. According to the US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink, the purpose of their visit was “to advance independent oversight of US assistance to Ukraine”. The offices of all three inspectors have established an interdepartmental working group that includes similar services in other departments and several government auditing services – 17 in total. The group will be responsible for holding meetings with “key American and Ukrainian officials, colleagues in various government agencies and non-governmental organizations implementing programs funded by the United States.” The inspectors are clearly trying to work with the civilian population, bypassing the Ukrainian authorities.

Among the inspectors, Robert Storch is closely familiar with Ukraine’s internal affairs. From 2007 to 2009, he worked in Ukraine as a consultant on anti-corruption issues, and in 2014, he returned to Kiev to help develop anti-corruption legislation. He also advised the authorities on the creation of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU). Storch has already been active in Ukraine. He met with Vitaliy Shabunin, director of the Anti-Corruption Centre (ACC), who recently criticized the Ukrainian Presidential Office and raised issues of graft in the higher echelons of power, and who was in turn criticized by Reznikov. After the meeting with Storch, however, the anti-corruption activist wrote in his Telegram channel that “all three inspectors-general are deeply aware both of corruption in food purchases and other problems in the Ministry of Defence (which will soon become public)”.

Storch also made time to hold a meeting with Reznikov directly. What’s next? It remains unclear whether the increased interest in policing corruption is an initiative by Ukraine’s pro-Western structures or is part of a new strategy from Washington. Nevertheless, the US inspectors’ main goal was to investigate the misuse of allocated funds. Given that the aid accounts for about half of Ukraine’s budget, the US reasonably expects the funds to be used for achieving set goals and not enriching officials. Consequently, we can be certain that the inspectors won’t disclose any serious abuses following the audit, since this would deal a blow to President Joe Biden and would also reflect negatively on American officials.

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PR dep. working overtime.

Zelensky Floats ‘Strategic Pullback’ From Bakhmut (ZH)

Zelensky officials are now openly talking about a possible ‘strategic pullback’ from the besieged eastern city of Bakhmut. This comes after Zelensky himself said he’s not ready to order a continued defense of the city at all costs. By all accounts both sides are suffering huge casualties, but Russia has the superior artillery fire, which has been sustained around the clock, also as Kremlin forces have the city almost completely surrounded. According to The Hill: “A Ukrainian presidential adviser on Tuesday said troops may “strategically pull back” from the town of Bakhmut, the focus of intense and brutal fighting for the past few months. Alexander Rodnyansky told CNN the Ukrainian army has not yet pulled out of the city, but Kyiv may soon decide the cost of holding Bakhmut “outweighs the benefits.”


“Our military is obviously going to weigh all of the options,” the Zelensky aide told CNN. “So far they’ve held the city, but if need be, they will strategically pull back because we’re not going to sacrifice all of our people just for nothing.” President Zelensky has also admitted defense of the town has proven “most difficult” for his forces. However, in rare comments, Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin said Ukrainian forces continue putting up a fierce resistance on Wednesday. So far they’ve been throwing an immense amount of manpower into Bakhmut, he said. “The Ukrainian army is throwing extra reserves into Artyomovsk and trying to hold the town with all their strength,” Prigozhin said, using the Russian name for Bakhmut, in an audio message published by Wagner’s press service. “Tens of thousands of Ukrainian army fighters are putting up furious resistance. The bloodiness of the battles is growing by the day.”


Russia just took Khromove

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“He would like to see the withdrawal of Russian troops in the first place..”

Germany’s Scholz: Russia Must Take First Steps Towards Peace In Ukraine (TASS)

The German government thinks that Russia should be the first to take a step towards achieving peace in Ukraine, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said at a joint press conference with Latvian Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins in Berlin on Wednesday. Scholz argued it was “clear” to him that Russia had attacked Ukraine, and that Russia was the country that “must do something” to make peace possible. He would like to see the withdrawal of Russian troops in the first place. Scholz stated that attention should now be paid to what he described as “the security policy situation on NATO’s eastern flank.” “In the event of an attack, we will together defend every centimeter of the alliance’s territory,” Scholz argued. He assured that the West would continue to “support Ukraine as much as necessary.”

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UK=Perfect Puppets.

UK Ex-Foreign Secretary: US Makes Decisions On Arms Supplies To Ukraine (TASS)

Britain will not be able to independently expand the supply of arms to Ukraine, since the main decisions in this regard are still being made in Washington, former British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a conversation with Russian pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov (Vovan) and Alexei Stolyarov (Lexus), published on Wednesday. Hague served as Britain’s Foreign Secretary from 2010 to 2014. In a conversation with pranksters who called him on behalf of Ukraine’s former president, Pyotr Poroshenko, he said that he remained in touch with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, advised him on the need to increase arms supplies to Ukraine and was sort of a mentor for the head of the British Cabinet. “Great Britain will not change its policy without the United States, without coordinating it with the United States. In other words, the main decisions are still made in Washington,” Hague said.


He noted that if Britain had free reign to make a decision to supply long-range weapons to Ukraine, there would be no doubt on that score. He added that the process of Ukraine’s accession to NATO, in his opinion, would last for years. Hague speculated that the scheme that existed between the United States and Israel might serve as a solution for such a transition period. This is not an agreement or a defensive alliance, he said, but political certainty that Israel will always have the most advanced systems for defense. Ukraine, too, can have such relations with Britain, the US and many other Western states. “As for NATO, you can only imagine how long all this coordination will take in the alliance,” Hague said.

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“If the issue of the very existence of Russia is raised seriously, it won’t be decided on the Ukrainian front. [It’ll be decided] together with the issue of the further existence of the entire human civilization.”

Ready to Die for Ukraine? Russia Warns of Nuclear Annihilation (Celente)

Last week, in an article published in Izvestia newspaper, the former president of Russia Dmitry Medvedev warned of a nuclear ‘apocalypse’ if NATO and the U.S. continued to ramp up the Ukraine War. Noting that the West and its “satellites” represent only 15 percent of the world’s population, he wrote it is “delusional” if they think that, “after putting the Soviet Union to rest, it’ll be able to also bury modern Russia without significant problems for itself, by throwing the lives of thousands of people involved in the conflict [in Ukraine] into the furnace,” and that those are “extremely dangerous misconceptions.”

The now deputy chair of the Russian Security Council also noted that “If the issue of the very existence of Russia is raised seriously, it won’t be decided on the Ukrainian front. [It’ll be decided] together with the issue of the further existence of the entire human civilization.” He warned the more weapons the U.S., NATO and its allies send to Ukraine while failing to discuss peace, the more it’s “…bound to lead to a total fiasco; the defeat for everyone; a collapse. An apocalypse when the former life would have to be forgotten for centuries, until the smoky debris ceases to emit radiation.” Echoing Medvedev’s nuclear warning, on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow must take into account NATO’s nuclear capabilities as he claimed that the West wants to destroy Russia.

“Where the leading NATO countries have proclaimed their main goal to be the strategic defeat of Russia, in order for our people ‘to suffer’ as they put it, how, in these conditions, could we not take into account their nuclear potential?” he asked. Putin said the West is complicit in “crimes” being committed by Ukraine by supplying the country with weapons and that the end goal is to destroy and divide Russia. Resonating that sentiment on Monday, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said America and its allies want to “isolate, and even dismember” Russia and the future world order is being formed.

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Mengele, Rockefeller, Schwab.

Deep State Absolutely Wants to Kill You – Alex Newman (USAW)

Award-winning journalist Alex Newman, author of the popular books “Deep State” and “Crimes of the Educators,” predicted at the beginning is this year that the Deep State demons will have one crisis after another to keep people confused and afraid. The latest crisis is the economic and ecological disaster in East Palestine, Ohio. Newman says expect many more disasters and explains, “All across the country we are seeing very bizarre things happen. Factories and chemical plants going up in flames, food processing facilities blowing up, airplanes crashing in mysterious ways, and I think we are heading into an era of really serious crisis. Last summer, I was putting together the wave of crises that the Deep State was preparing for us, and one of the terms I used was ‘polycrisis.’ Then, right before the World Economic Forum meeting this year, they actually put on their website is 2023 the year of the polycrisis? Of course, it will be the year of the polycrisis.

I think we are prepared and being groomed for cyber-attacks, currency crisis, economic crisis and, of course, Russia/Ukraine and China/Taiwan. I think all of this is going to be used for a series of never-ending crises until we are ready to give up our freedoms, give up our national sovereignty and self-government, and move towards this crazy totalitarian, technocratic system they want.” Newman says it’s not going to be a kind transition for most people. Newman says, “The thing that is so hard for people to understand is that there are very powerful people that are working together, and they absolutely want to kill you. That is not speculation. These people have been openly saying for a century that they believe there are too many people on this planet. . . . The eugenics movement never died. Margaret Sanger, the Rockefellers, Dr. Joseph Mengele was funded by the Rockefeller dynasty. These people are very much still around. Bill Gates is the perfect example. His dad was on the board of Planned Parenthood, the largest butcher of unborn babies in America. . . . Bill Gates says openly and frequently that there are too many people on this planet. He wants to use vaccines and healthcare to reduce the number of people on the planet.”

Newman has a dark warning for America and explains, “Now that they are done with America and we are no longer useful and an obstacle to this global agenda, they need to knock us out. They may not want to resort to nuclear bombs, but if they did, it would not surprise me. . . . America is founded on very important ideals, and these are, once again, making a resurgence. Our self-evident truths that are enshrined in our Constitution, that God created us equally, that God gave us the right to property. God gave us our right to life. Government exists to protect these rights. These are Biblical ideas distilled into a political document. . . . These are ideals that are fundamental to liberty, and as long as the United States exists in its present form . . . . America is a major threat to this agenda. I don’t think we should put it past them that they would use nuclear bombs against us. I also think there is a fifth column in Washington that would be more than happy to collaborate.

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“Vucic vowed that he would never sign any “formal or informal recognition of Kosovo” as long as he is Serbia’s president..”

EU Is Threatening Serbia – Vucic (RT)

Serbia has not agreed to the EU’s “normalization” proposal on its relations with the breakaway province of Kosovo, President Aleksandar Vucic said on Tuesday while appearing on national TV. He added that Belgrade was facing threats from Brussels, but still refused to discuss the recognition of Kosovo and its accession to the UN. His words came a day after the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said on Twitter that both Belgrade and Pristina supported the Franco-German proposal for a “path to normalization” of relations between Serbia and Kosovo. Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti then said he had offered to sign the plan, but that Vucic refused to do so, even though he had apparently “agreed to” it. On Tuesday, however, Vucic said that the sides “did not agree,” but simply agreed on continuing the talks. He added that “nothing has been signed in Brussels.”

Serbia is “ready to work on the implementation of many [points of] this plan,” Vucic said, but Belgrade still does not want to discuss “mutual recognition” as well as Kosovo’s accession to the UN. Serbia has not struck any “secret agreements,” the president said, adding that “not a single agreement is hidden” and he has “nothing to hide.” Vucic also called Borrell’s statement “very vague” and said that he was ready to discuss the “concept” of normalization. Vucic vowed that he would never sign any “formal or informal recognition of Kosovo” as long as he is Serbia’s president. He also admitted that Belgrade was facing pressure from Brussels and that the consequences of rejecting the plan would be a halting of Serbia’s integration into the European Union and a withdrawal of EU investments.

“We currently have 80,000 people working in German-owned factories alone. They threatened a number of other measures, including that Serbia would become a pariah isolated from the [rest of the] world,” Vucic said. An EU plan published by the bloc’s External Action Service says that Serbia and Kosovo would “develop normal, good-neighborly relations with each other on the basis of equal rights” and their dialogue would be guided by UN principles, including “those of the sovereign equality of all States.” The EU has insisted on Serbia recognizing Kosovo’s independence as a precondition for joining the bloc, even though five member countries – Spain, Slovakia, Cyprus, Greece, and Romania – do not recognize it either.

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“..refused to say whether his team had encountered any such corruption in Ukraine..”

Pentagon Says It Struggles To Track US Weapons In Ukraine (RT)

A classified report last year found that the Pentagon was unable to keep tabs on tens of billions of dollars worth of weapons sent to Ukraine. Details of the report were revealed – apparently inadvertently – by a Republican lawmaker during a hearing on Tuesday. Speaking at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee in Washington on Tuesday, Pentagon Inspector General Robert Storch noted that the US has allocated $113 billion in aid to Ukraine since the conflict there began last February, around 60% of which went to the country’s military. Storch – who is tasked with ensuring that this money is accounted for and not lost to waste, fraud, or abuse – refused to say whether his team had encountered any such corruption in Ukraine. However, Republican Rep. Mike Johnson stated that a report from Storch’s office last October found that the Pentagon was unable to carry out monitoring of weapons deliveries to Ukraine in line with its own policies.

Storch responded that the report in question was supposed to remain classified, but admitted that it was “accurate” in acknowledging “challenges” faced by the US in Ukraine. Monitoring of such arms deliveries is governed by the 1996 Arms Export Control Act. Questioned by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz – a vocal opponent of military aid to Ukraine – Storch would not confirm or deny under oath whether the Pentagon was complying with this act. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby claimed in January that the Biden administration has “not seen any signs” that military or economic aid “has fallen prey to any kind of corruption in Ukraine.” However, the classified document mentioned by Johnson appears to back up a slew of reports suggesting that weapons often disappear once delivered. Reports from last year – backed up by Amnesty International – claimed that as little as 30% of Western weapons sent to Ukraine were actually making it to the front lines.

American and Canadian officials admitted at the time that they had no idea where most of these weapons were ending up, with one US intelligence source telling CNN that they vanish “into a big black hole” once they enter Ukraine. The Kremlin has claimed that up to $1 billion worth of these weapons are funneled from Ukraine to criminals and terror groups in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia every month, while Europol and Interpol both warned that weapons have likely been transferred from Ukraine to criminal organizations in Europe. Pressed by Gaetz on Tuesday, Storch admitted that “there’s a long history of issues with corruption in Ukraine.” Earlier on Tuesday, a former American soldier who fought for Ukraine’s foreign legion before defecting to Russia told RT that he had personally seen commanders selling off Western missile launchers and rifles.

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“Why talk when you can just pull out a gun? That’s America’s style..”

Deadly Balancing Act For Region With US Hell Bent On China War (Lo)

In one respect, Antony Blinken’s latest claim about Taiwan is right. The US secretary of state said any cross-strait crisis is “a matter of concern to quite literally the entire world”. That’s true because Washington has made it so by deliberately escalating what are already high tensions into a powder keg. When arsonists like Blinken are threatening to torch a house, which is Taiwan, to save it, it’s no wonder the whole neighbourhood is alarmed. It doesn’t help when top US military men just keep on predicting a war with China, any time now, and up to 2027 at the latest. It also doesn’t help when the United States keeps selling more weapons to the island, and is now increasing its military presence with actual boots on Taiwanese ground. If that’s not provocation, I don’t know what is.

There is an easier and sensible way to ease tensions with China, and that’s by trying to reach an understanding with Beijing over the island, as both the US and the mainland have managed to do in the past 40 years, until now. But then the US decides it must openly confront and contain a rising China. And what’s more convenient than playing the Taiwan card, Asia’s peace and security be damned? After all, if the whole region goes up in smoke, that’s someone else’s neighbourhood, not America’s. It’s déjà vu. How many times have we seen this film before? Why talk when you can just pull out a gun? That’s America’s style. It’s apparently even written into its constitution. Washington plans to significantly increase its presence of troops on Taiwan, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, by quadrupling the number to 200 military personnel in the coming months.

Meanwhile, separate reports also say Taiwanese troops will be sent to the US for combat training. Until recently, there were not supposed to be any US troops on Taiwan; and even up to the start of 2021, no more than two dozen were reported. The military exchange will be a real escalation. Such moves are usually between the militaries of two sovereign countries. It’s clear while the Joe Biden White House claims to uphold the one-China principle, its actions say otherwise. For a while, President Tsai Ing-wen tried to put a lid on the rising US presence of troops, but now she doesn’t even bother. Washington keeps arguing for increasingly assertive and overt support, especially with frequent US naval operations across the strait. It’s the only way to help deter “Chinese aggression”. That’s a matter of perspective. For Beijing, it just looks like deliberate provocation.

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All these economies are overflowing with Chinese imports.

US Rallying Allies For New China Sanctions (RT)

The US is coordinating with its close allies to impose new sanctions on China should it decide to support the Russian campaign in Ukraine, according to Reuters. Beijing has rejected claims that it intends to offer military aid to Moscow, and recently unveiled a plan seeking a peaceful settlement to the conflict. Washington is in “consultations” with foreign partners, namely those from the G7 nations, regarding new economic penalties, several unnamed US officials told the outlet on Wednesday. They declined to provide details about the potential sanctions, only confirming that discussions are “laying the groundwork for potential action.” The report follows repeated warnings toward China from the US and other Western nations, which claim Beijing intends to supply weapons to Russian forces for the campaign against Ukraine.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg echoed the charges during a recent interview with the Associated Press, saying “we have seen some signs that they may be planning for that,” but without offering evidence. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that Washington would “not hesitate” to target Chinese firms with sanctions in the event that Beijing supplies lethal aid to Moscow, saying the move would carry “implications and consequences.” Blinken added that he raised the issue with top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi when they met at the Munich Security Conference last month. China has dismissed the charges as “groundless speculation,” arguing that it does not intend to provide weapons to Russian troops while accusing Washington of hypocrisy.

“The US has no right to dictate China-Russia relations, and we will never accept coercion and pressure from the US,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Monday. She went on to observe that it is Washington, not Beijing, that has been “pouring lethal weapons into the battlefield in Ukraine.” While Western nations have long pressured China to sever ties with Russia, accusations toward Beijing have only grown louder since it unveiled a 12-point roadmap for a diplomatic settlement for the conflict in Ukraine last month. Moscow has signaled willingness to “carefully analyze” the details of the proposal, though US officials quickly rejected the plan, claiming Beijing has adopted “Russia’s false narrative about the war” and is not “serious” about ending hostilities.

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Russiagate to Covid to Ukraine. Who could have predicted?

Russiagate Spells Journalism’s Death (Chris Hedges)

Gerth, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who worked at The New York Times from 1976 until 2005, spent the last two years writing an exhaustive look at the systemic failure of the press during the Trump-Russia story, authoring a four-part series of 24,000 words that has been published by The Columbia Journalism Review. It is an important, if depressing, read. News organizations repeatedly seized on any story, he documents, no matter how unverified, to discredit Trump and routinely ignored reports that cast doubt on the rumors they presented as fact. You can see my interview with Gerth here. The New York Times, for example, in January 2018, ignored a publicly available document showing that the F.B.I.’s lead investigator, after a 10-month inquiry, did not find evidence of collusion between Trump and Moscow.

The lie of omission was combined with reliance on sources that peddled fictions designed to cater to Trump-haters, as well as a failure to interview those being accused of collaborating with Russia. The Washington Post and NPR reported, incorrectly, that Trump had weakened the GOP’s stance on Ukraine in the party platform because he opposed language calling for arming Ukraine with “lethal defensive weapons” — a position identical to that of his predecessor President Barack Obama. These outlets ignored the platform’s support for sanctions against Russia as well its call for “appropriate assistance to the armed forces of Ukraine and greater coordination with NATO defense planning.” News organizations amplified this charge. In a New York Times column that called Trump the “Siberian candidate,” Paul Krugman wrote that the platform was “watered down to blandness” by the Republican president.

Jeffrey Goldberg, editor of The Atlantic, described Trump as a “de facto agent” of Vladimir Putin. Those who tried to call out this shoddy reporting, including Russian-American journalist and Putin critic Masha Gessen were ignored. After Trump’s first meeting as president with Putin, he was attacked as if the meeting itself proved he was a Russian stooge. Then New York Times columnist Roger Cohen wrote of the “disgusting spectacle of the American president kowtowing in Helsinki to Vladimir Putin.” Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s most popular host, said that the meeting between Trump and Putin validated her covering the Trump-Russia allegations “more than anyone else in the national press” and strongly implied — and her show’s Twitter account and YouTube page explicitly stated — that Americans were now “coming to grips with a worst-case scenario that the U.S. president is compromised by a hostile foreign power.”

The anti-Trump reporting, Gerth notes, hid behind the wall of anonymous sources, frequently identified as “people (or person) familiar with” — The New York Times used it over a thousand times in stories involving Trump and Russia, between October 2016 and the end of his presidency, Gerth found. Any rumor or smear was picked up in the news cycle with the sources often unidentified and the information unverified. A routine soon took shape in the Trump-Russia saga. “First, a federal agency like the CIA or FBI secretly briefs Congress,” Gerth writes. “Then Democrats or Republicans selectively leak snippets. Finally, the story comes out, using vague attribution.” These cherry-picked pieces of information largely distorted the conclusions of the briefings.

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Great! Now go run a homeless kitchen…

Greek Consumers Pay Up To 45% More This Year For Basic Food Items (K.)

Greek consumers are paying up to 45% more this year for basic food items compared to a year ago, as estimates of temporary price appreciation, which started before the war in Ukraine and intensified later on, turned out to be false hopes, Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) data show. Although there were eventually no food shortages and the market caps imposed on some products in the first weeks after the Russian military invaded Ukraine, such as flour, sunflower oil, sugar and chicken, did not have to last for long, the price increases have not only not been contained since then, but are continuing in 2023. Despite the significant de-escalation in recent months, the prices of electricity and natural gas also remain high, having been up to four times higher in the past year than in 2021, even after the government subsidies for household consumers’ bills.

Increased spending on food and other household essentials, as well as inflated energy bills, despite subsidies, resulted in more than half of households reporting that their monthly income was sufficient up to the 18th of each month. Out of a total of 62 food items, only in one case was there a price reduction in January 2023 compared to a year earlier and that was negligible (-0.02% for fresh fish). All other products saw prices increase from 0.29% (fresh fruit) to 44.96% (sugar). In fact, the increase is over 20% in 14 types of food, which includes the most basic ones, such as milk (24.29% for fresh milk with even greater increases in other types), bread (25.55%), flour (26.89%), eggs (26.27%), cheeses (26.61), yogurt (21.65%), olive oil (22.37%), beef (20.15 %), lamb and goat (21.35%).

For a “basket” with 25 basic products – food and household items – on March 1, 2022 Greeks paid 76.26 euros, while the exact same products (same brand and code) now cost €91 – i.e. 19.33% more money. In some cases the increases even reach 60%, such as in branded toilet paper or detergents and shower gels, where price hikes of over 50% are recorded.

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“I probably wish I had stayed in England.”

Ghislaine Maxwell Reportedly In Solitary After Saying Epstein Was Murdered (GP)

Convicted sex trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell was reportedly punished by authorities at the Federal Correctional Institute Tallahassee over a recorded jailhouse interview that aired in January. The onetime British socialite, who was accused of procuring underage girls for convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, “was handcuffed and slung into solitary confinement for 48 hours after prison authorities accused her of profiting from a media interview,” the Daily Mail reported Monday. “She protested her innocence but was marched off to the Special Housing Unit (SHU) — a ‘prison within a prison’ comprising tiny, grim cells where inmates are locked up for 23 hours at a time and fed through slits in the door.”

The news outlet quoted unnamed “insiders” as saying that the inmate they know as “Max” “was just minding her own business when they came in, turned her around and handcuffed her.” “She got really upset, she was crying, she was yelling that she hadn’t received any money, but nobody saw her again for three days.” The Mail’s source said, “The SHU is not a nice place.” “It’s like a little box and you’re only allowed out to shower once a day. There’s no contact from anyone, no privileges, they slide your meals through a slot.” According to the report, Maxwell’s interview, which was aired Jan. 23 on TalkTV, would have violated the terms of her 20-year federal prison sentence if she received payment for the appearance.

Also in question was how the interview was obtained. As federal prisoner number 02879-509, she is permitted video calls with only those family members and friends on a list approved by the federal prison, according to the report. She apparently conducted the interviews during phone calls with her friend, filmmaker Daphne Barak. Maxwell made headlines for several remarks made during those interviews. One much-publicized comment was that she believed Epstein, contrary to the official narrative, did not commit suicide in his jail cell in 2019. “I believe that he was murdered,” Maxwell said.

When she heard the news of his death, “I was shocked,” she said. “And I wondered how it had happened. Because as far as I was concerned, he was going to … I was sure he was going to appeal. And I was sure that he was covered under the non-prosecution agreement.” She also expressed regret for her association with Epstein during the interview. “I honestly wish I’d never met him, you know, looking back now,” she told the interviewer. “I probably wish I had stayed in England.”

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Fingers don’t have muscles, apart from the arrector pili, which are completely unrelated to motion. The 34 muscles that actually move human fingers are all located in the palm and forearm

 

 

AI sign language

 

 


Chand Baori is the deepest and probably the oldest stairwell in the world

 

 

Silent flight

 

 


The tufted ground squirrel is noted for having the largest known tail to body size ratio of any mammal, with the volume of its tail including the air included in the fluff being 130% of the volume of its body

 

 

 

 

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