May 022024
 
 May 2, 2024  Posted by at 8:58 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  47 Responses »


Edvard Munch Separation 1896

 

Student Protests Among ‘Biggest Things’ in US in Decades – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
‘All Because Columbia Refuses to Divest’ (CD)
The US Student Intifada: Palestine’s New Soft Power Leverage (Cradle)
Google Workers Fired Over Israel Protests File Federal Labor Complaint
Weissmann: “One Vote Away from … the End of Democracy” (Turley)
The Death of Ireland and Replacement of the Irish People (Paul Craig Roberts)
The Ukraine Conflict Is Spinning Out of Control (Paul Craig Roberts)
Ukraine Must Defeat Russia To Join NATO – Zelensky (RT)
China Humiliated Blinken But Blinken Kept Begging (Chang)
Trump Campaign Slams Commission’s Refusal to Hold Earlier Debates (ET)
Appeals Court Denies Trump’s Bid to Have Judge Merchan Recused (ET)
BRIC-O-Rama: On The Road In Brazil, With An Eye On Russia-China (Pepe Escobar)

 

 

 

 

Watters

 

 

KJP

 

 

Kash Patel
https://twitter.com/i/status/1785699469457023055

 

 

LA

 

 

Model 3

 

 

The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money. – Benjamin Franklin

 

 

 

 

Scott Ritter: “I think these student protests right now are some of the most important things to have happened in American society in many, many decades..”

I didn’t know. Let’s see.

Student Protests Among ‘Biggest Things’ in US in Decades – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video address that the protests against his country on American universities that had then only recently sprung up were “antisemitic mobs” that had “taken over” college campuses. He called on US authorities to do more to stop them. The growing student protest movement against the continued bombardment of Gazans by the Israeli government is among one of the most important things to happen in the US in “many, many decades,” former UN inspector and military expert Scott Ritter told Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Tuesday. “If you were an American like myself, who is not inclined to go out and protest and hold signs and disrupt things, man, we have to wake up,” he explained. “I have to wake up. We have to join these students one way or another and join their cause in letting the government know that we will not stand silent in the face of police oppression of the right of American citizens to speak out, to assemble, to hold their government [to] account.”

“I think these student protests right now are some of the most important things to have happened in American society in many, many decades,” Ritter emphasized. Tuesday night, what appeared to be hundreds of officers with the New York Police Department entered Columbia University in riot gear and military-grade vehicles, arresting approximately 300 people, according to New York City Mayor Eric Adams. That raid came after similar raids across the country, including in Texas, where 79 people, including some faculty members who joined students, were arrested. Meanwhile, a 65-year-old professor, Steve Tamari, was hospitalized after an officer at Washington University in St. Louis slammed him to the ground, breaking multiple ribs and his hand, according to a statement he put out from the hospital. More than 100 people were arrested in that protest. Colleges being a place for the free exchange of ideals is a critical part of our society, Ritter argued, adding that he believes the crackdown is designed to end this.

“As somebody who has taken an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States… I respect not only [the] students’ constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of assembly, I also recognize that college is one of the great zones of developing good citizens,” Ritter said. Over the weekend, presidential candidate Jill Stein was arrested at a protest. Stein says she was told she was being charged with assaulting an officer, but clarified in a later interview with journalist Glenn Greenwald that was not on her paperwork. Part of the purpose of colleges is “to create an incubator for the development of good citizenship, not compliant zombies,” Ritter explained, arguing that the US needs, “citizens who think, who empower themselves with knowledge and information and express that individually and collectively.”

At University of California, Los Angeles, a group of pro-Israeli protesters reportedly fired pepper spray and fireworks at student protesters during clashes. Witnesses claim that while the police were standing by, they did not intervene for hours. Ritter noted the US government is doing “just about everything possible wrong,” underscoring that the US “needs these students to come out and they’ve picked an issue, Gaza, which is the manifestation of the totality of all we do wrong as a government.” “When you go to university, we need you to become radical. We need you to think. We need you to exercise your brain and your spirit and your conscience. And [the government is] trying to suppress them because apparently we don’t want good citizens anymore,” the analyst concluded.

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Overkill.

‘All Because Columbia Refuses to Divest’ (CD)

Hundreds of New York City police officers descended on Columbia University Tuesday night to arrest dozens of pro-Palestinian student protesters and dismantle a Gaza solidarity encampment that inspired campus protests across the United States, with demonstrators calling on their schools to divest from companies profiting off Israel’s devastating war. Police, some wearing riot gear, entered Columbia’s campus at the request of the university’s president, Minouche Shafik, who authorized the NYPD to “clear all individuals from Hamilton Hall and all campus encampments.” Video footage shows officers entering a campus building that students occupied hours earlier, renaming it “Hind’s Hall” after a 6-year-old girl who was killed by Israeli forces earlier this year. The Columbia Daily Spectator, the university’s student newspaper, reported that “as they entered the building, officers threw down the metal and wooden tables barricading the doors and shattered the glass on the leftmost doors of Hamilton to enter with shields in hand.”

“Several officers drew their guns, according to footage posted by NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry,” the newspaper added. “At around 9:37 pm, officers led dozens of protesters out the entrance of Hamilton. The protesters’ hands were zip-tied behind their backs. The arrested individuals chanted, ‘Free, free Palestine’ as they were led away from the building.” Other footage shows NYPD officers forcing their way through students who locked arms in front of the occupied campus building. One cop is seen kneeing a student on the ground. Students reported that police used tear gas, which is banned in war, on demonstrators. “Tonight, my university called in a militarized police force—armed in riot gear, with guns drawn, deploying weapons banned under international law—to attack teenagers,” Lea Salim, a student member of Jewish Voice for Peace-Columbia/Barnard, said in a statement. “All because Columbia refuses to divest from the Israeli military and its genocidal campaign on the people of Gaza.”

As police set up barricades around the perimeter of the campus, onlookers gathered and chanted, “Let the students go!” in solidarity with the arrested demonstrators. Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) said he was “outraged” by the police presence at both Columbia and the City College of New York, writing on social media that the “militarization of college campuses, extensive police presence, and arrest of hundreds of students are in direct opposition to the role of education as a cornerstone of our democracy.” “I call upon the Columbia administration to stop this dangerous escalation before it leads to further harm,” Bowman added, “and allow the faculty back onto campus so that all parties can collectively come to a solution that centers humanity over hate.”

In a letter to the New York City Police Department on Tuesday, Shafik—who is facing mounting calls to resign—requested that officers maintain a presence on Columbia’s campus “through at least May 17, 2024 to maintain order and ensure encampments are not reestablished.” The police crackdown on Columbia students is part of a broader wave of repression against campus protests that have emerged across the country in recent weeks as Israel’s assault on and forced starvation of Gaza civilians continues with no end in sight. Police actions, approved by the leaders of some universities and cheered on by right-wing government officials, have drawn international rebukes. In a statement Tuesday, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said he is “concerned that some of law enforcement actions across a series of universities appear disproportionate in their impacts.”

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“..soft power can be more effective than hard power in achieving political outcomes, because it influences the preferences of others rather than forcing them to change through coercion.”

The US Student Intifada: Palestine’s New Soft Power Leverage (Cradle)

On 18 April, students at Columbia University in New York initiated a sit-in on the campus lawn, protesting the Ivy League institution’s ongoing financial links to companies connected to Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its brutal war on Gaza. The demonstrations quickly spread to other top US universities, including New York University, Yale, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the University of North Carolina, as demands intensified for an end to both the war and support for the occupation state. This growing wave of US and global student activism is of vital importance: it represents the soft power ripple effects of the resistance‘s Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, and as with other historic, mass US student movements against South African apartheid and the Vietnam war, will likely begin to fray at American support for Israeli aggressions. For decades, the US has portrayed Israel as a beacon of democracy in a region dominated by authoritarian regimes, often citing it as “the only democracy” in West Asia to justify its unwavering support.

However, recent shifts in public perception, particularly among western youth, now increasingly portray Israelis as “terrorists” and “colonizers.” This sea change in the discourse, driven by the global spread of information and activism, will have a significant impact on the Zionist entity. Israel’s global reputation had already been tarnished by the time South Africa filed genocide charges against the state in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) earlier this year, the first time Israel has faced such accusations at this level. In March, the ICJ demanded that Israel take immediate, effective measures to ensure the entry of essential food supplies to Gaza’s residents, emphasizing the severe famine conditions already present. “Soft power” is defined by Joseph Nye as “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or pressure.”

Joshua Kurlantzick, senior fellow for Southeast Asia at the influential Council on Foreign Relations, argues that “soft power can be more effective than hard power in achieving political outcomes, because it influences the preferences of others rather than forcing them to change through coercion.” This form of influence arises through culture, values, and policies that are universally attractive and morally legitimate – and, therefore, harder to contain. Decades of Tel Aviv’s “nation branding” or soft power initiatives in the west, geared at deeply entrenching the notion of Israel as “the only democracy” in West Asia that shared the occident’s “Judeo-Christian values,” aimed to justify Washington’s unconditional support for the occupation state. It took a show of Palestinian hard power, however, to unlock that narrative stranglehold in the west. Within weeks of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, western populations began for the first time to see the real face of Zionism – unleashed in an overwhelming military assault on Gaza’s hospitals, universities, infrastructure, and civilian populations.

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No Tech for Apartheid

Google Workers Fired Over Israel Protests File Federal Labor Complaint

Dozens of Google workers who were fired for protesting the tech giant’s cloud deal with the Israeli government filed a complaint on April 29 with the National Labor Relations Board over their termination. The complaint, obtained by The Washington Post, alleges that Google violated the workers’ rights by “terminating and/or placing them on administrative leave in response to their protected concerted activity, namely, participation (or perceived participation) in a peaceful, non-disruptive protest that was directly and explicitly connected to their terms and conditions of work.” The workers are seeking reinstatement of their jobs and back pay, alleging that Google “unlawfully retaliated” against them for engaging in “peaceful” protest, Jane Chung, a spokesperson for No Tech for Apartheid, was quoted as saying by the New York Post.

No Tech for Apartheid, the group organizing the protests, claimed that Google fired more than 20 workers on April 23, including bystanders who were not participating. This adds to the 30 workers fired last week for their involvement in sit-in protests at Google offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California, bringing the total number of terminated workers to more than 50. Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The protests targeted a $1.2 billion deal known as Project Nimbus that provides artificial intelligence (AI) technology to the Israeli government. The fired workers contend that the system is being lethally deployed in the Gaza war. “Google’s aims are clear: the corporation is attempting to quash dissent, silence its workers, and reassert its power over them,” the group said in an April 23 statement. “In its attempts to do so, Google has decided to unceremoniously, and without due process, upend the livelihoods of over 50 of its own workers.” The activist group has vowed to continue organizing until Google meets their demands: that it “drop Project Nimbus and stop powering Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza now.”

Project Nimbus was signed in 2021. It involves joint cloud computing and AI services provided by Google and Amazon to the Israeli government. Google has said that the program is not being used for military or intelligence purposes. Google has said that it fired the workers after gathering details from coworkers who were “physically disrupted” and it identified employees who used masks and didn’t carry their staff badges to hide their identities. Google didn’t specify how many were fired. In a blog post on April 18, Google CEO Sundar Pichai hinted that workers will be on a short leash as the company intensifies its efforts to improve its AI technology at a pivotal moment in the industry and, potentially, history. He did not openly refer to a specific incident. “But ultimately we are a workplace and our policies and expectations are clear: this is a business, and not a place to act in a way that disrupts coworkers or makes them feel unsafe, to attempt to use the company as a personal platform, or to fight over disruptive issues or debate politics,” Mr. Pichai wrote. “We have a duty to be an objective and trusted provider of information that serves all of our users globally.”

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Weissmann ran the Mueller probe.

Weissmann: “One Vote Away from … the End of Democracy” (Turley)

When Robert Mueller appointed Andrew Weissmann as one of his top advisers, many of us warned that it was a poor choice. Weissmann seemed intent to prove those objections correct in increasingly unhinged and partisan statements. This week, he ratcheted up the rhetoric even further in claiming that the nation is “one vote away” from the end of democracy if the Supreme Court does not embrace the sweeping claims of Special Counsel Jack Smith. At the time of his appointment, many Republicans objected to Weissmann’s status as a democratic donor, including his reported attendance of the election night party for Hillary Clinton in 2016. My objection was not to his political affiliations but to his professional history, which included extreme interpretations that were ultimately rejected by courts. Weissmann was responsible for the overextension of an obstruction provision in a jury instruction that led the Supreme Court to reverse the conviction in the Arthur Andersen case in 2005.

Weissmann then became a MSNBC analyst and a professor at New York University. In his book, he attacked prosecutors for refusing to take on his extreme views. Weissmann called on prosecutors to refuse to assist John Durham in his investigation. Now he is predicting the end of democracy if the Court remand the immunity case for further proceedings. Weissmann told MSNBC anchor Jen Psaki on Sunday: “I think that it’s important to remember that at the outset, the court had already given Donald Trump the win that he was seeking, which is the delay of the DC trial.” So going into this, this was all upside for him. I mean, I think he had to be thinking, I’m making this really outlandish argument, with ramifications that couldn’t possibly be squared with the text and history. The text of the Constitution or the history of the presidency? So it’s all upside if the court would actually bite on this.

And so what was surprising is that there were justices who actually were taking this seriously. And it just was, frankly, shocking. Remember, going into this, the given was that private conduct was certainly not, immunized from criminal liability. What everyone’s talking about now is, hey, maybe they think that some of this is private and they can go forward, but that was what was given going into this. And the reason people are thinking that is because there seem to be four justices who were really taking Donald Trump’s claim of criminal immunity seriously. And we are. I mean, I know it sounds like hyperbole, but I think your opening is so correct that we are essentially, as Neil put it, one vote away from sort of the end of democracy as we know it with checks and balances. And to say it’s an imperial presidency that would be created is, it’s frankly saying it would be a king, he would be criminally immune. And that that is what is so shocking is how close we are.

And we are really on the razor’s edge of that kind of result. But for the chief justice. Just for the record, it sounds less “like hyperbole” than hysteria. The justices were exploring the implications of the sweeping arguments on both sides of the immunity question. What they were not willing to do (as does Weissmann) is simply dismiss any arguments of official status on the part of the accused. That would establish a dangerous ambiguity for the future as prosecutors claim that political statements are private matters for the purpose of prosecution. Ironically, Weissmann’s lack of concern for the implications of such an interpretation is reminiscent of his prior sweeping arguments as a prosecutor that led to the stinging defeat in the Anderson case.

Of course, there is another possibility is that the justices were not seeking the end of democracy. The Court was honestly trying to get this standard correct not just for this case but future cases. To do so, it will require a record on the underlying actions rather than the categorical threshold judgment made by the district court. The argument showed justices exploring how to avoid a parade of horribles on either extreme with a more moderate approach. As I previously noted, it has been almost 50 years since the high court ruled presidents have absolute immunity from civil lawsuits in Nixon v. Fitzgerald. That protection applied to acts taken “within the ‘outer perimeter’ of his official responsibility.”

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The Conquest of Ireland and the UK Nears Completion

The Death of Ireland and Replacement of the Irish People (Paul Craig Roberts)

Gaza is not the only genocide. Genocide is taking place all over Europe and in the US. All over Europe and the US governments prefer immigrant-invaders over their own citizens.“The migrants are eligible for free accommodation, free social welfare, free medical care, food, clothes, and various other perks. Whilst at the same time that the Irish government is facilitating mass immigration there are 14,000 Irish homeless people on the streets.” And many more homeless Irish citizens are on the way. Migrants are given free accommodation in hotels and country estates throughout the land, while the Irish people are seriously struggling to make ends meet in a rigged inflationary system, with a never-ending story of sky-high rents, high taxes, inflation, and an ongoing extremely serious accommodation crisis. Many young Irish citizens are left with little option but to live with their parents or emigrate to countries such as Australia as they cannot afford to live in their own country.

This is an extremely important article. It shows that the West is being intentionally destroyed by its own governments. The threat that all citizens in the West face comes not from Russia, China, Iran, but from their own government. Irish citizens who peacefully protest their replacement by immigrant-invaders are brutally beaten–even mothers and children–by police, which emphasizes the second class status of Irish ethnicity. “Many of the Irish police in balaclavas that are enforcing these tactics against the Irish people are not Irish at all, but are more akin to non-Irish hired mercenaries, or more like an EU army.” “The stark reality is the Irish government is not really the Irish government it is just a puppet of the EU bureaucracy. Ireland has been a fully controlled vassal state of the banker-controlled EU, in particular since the controversial (and rerun) Lisbon referendum 14 years ago, which hammered a nail in the coffin of Irish sovereignty.”

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“..they are walking into Armageddon by betting that Washington is rational..”

The Ukraine Conflict Is Spinning Out of Control (Paul Craig Roberts)

In my effort to awake humanity to its extinction in the nuclear war that is advancing upon us, I have pointed my finger at Putin and Xi’s mistaken belief that the way to avoid it is to ignore provocations and wait for Washington to come to its senses. This shows diplomacy at its highest level, but it is mistaken. The ignored provocations encourage more and worst provocations. The Asia Times, if the story can be believed, reports that NATO has begun deploying troops in Ukraine’s defense. “NATO is starting to deploy combat troops to Ukraine. Soldiers from Poland, France, the UK, Finland and other NATO members are arriving in larger numbers.“ Although Russia says there are over 3,100 mercenaries in Ukraine, these newly arriving troops are not mercenaries. They are in uniform, home country proclaimed via insignia.

They mostly are concentrated in the western part of the country, although in some cases they are close to the actual fighting in the east. “NATO is putting out the word these are not combat soldiers but are in Ukraine to operate sophisticated western hardware. But if they are firing at the Russians the only proper way to interpret their presence is that they are playing an active part in the shooting war.” It is the same plan as Washington’s intervention in Vietnam. What will the sequel be? Putin and XI are diplomats. But they have no comprehension of Washington. Their naiveness has blinded them to reality. Consequently, they are walking into Armageddon by betting that Washington is rational.

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Cut it out.

Ukraine Must Defeat Russia To Join NATO – Zelensky (RT)

Ukraine needs to defeat Russia on the battlefield in order to be admitted to NATO, President Vladimir Zelensky has said. The US-led alliance has made it clear earlier that Kiev cannot become a member while the fighting is ongoing. “I believe that we will be in NATO only if we win. I don’t think that we will be admitted to NATO during the war,” Zelensky said on Tuesday during a meeting with a group of military officers in Kiev. He explained that the admission of Ukraine would require unanimous approval by the alliance’s 32 members. Some members are reluctant to admit Ukraine in the midst of an ongoing armed conflict because “they feel the risks, while others are simply skeptical,” Zelensky argued. “Therefore, for Ukraine to be accepted into the alliance, we need victory.” He went on to add that eventual membership would secure Ukraine’s security and independence.

Ukraine formally applied to join NATO in September 2022. While NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and individual members agree that Ukraine should someday become part of NATO, Kiev has not been presented with a concrete timetable. It is widely understood that the country will not be admitted until the conflict with Russia is resolved.v Stoltenberg, who visited Kiev on Monday, admitted to Reuters that the delays in promised weapons deliveries had “put a dent into the trust” between Ukraine and its foreign backers.

While the EU is struggling to find enough arms and ammunition for Ukraine’s wartime needs, the newest aid package from the US had been stuck for months in Congress due to political wrangling. The delays sparked worries in Kiev, with Zelensky openly warning that Ukraine would lose if ammunition shortages are not remedied. Ukrainian officials have blamed the slowdown of deliveries for last year’s failed counteroffensive, as well as more recent losses of cities in the east to the Russian army. Russia, for its part, has cited NATO’s continuing expansion eastward and the bloc’s military cooperation with Ukraine as one of the root causes of the conflict. Moscow considers NATO a threat to its national security and insists that Ukraine must become a neutral country.

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“In substance, therefore, Blinken in Beijing continued talking about talking.”

China Humiliated Blinken But Blinken Kept Begging (Chang)

It is not clear whether a Chinese official was at the Beijing airport to bid farewell to Secretary of State Antony Blinken as he ended his three-day visit to China on Friday, but the send-off was in any event low-key and Chinese leader Xi Jinping slighted America’s top diplomat at the end of his troubled stay. Also, China, literally and figuratively, did not roll out the red carpet for his arrival in Shanghai on Wednesday. Only a low-level official was on hand to greet Blinken as he stepped off the plane. “The Chinese government flouted international protocols at the airport on the secretary of state’s arrival in Shanghai and departure from Beijing,” Charles Burton of the Prague-based Sinopsis think tank told Gatestone. “It was petty.” “This was more than a slight,” Burton, a former Canadian diplomat who served in Beijing, said. “Aside from a calculated insult to the dignity of the United States, the move indicates Xi Jinping is making clear that the accepted norms of diplomacy will not be respected by China anymore.”

Blinken was in China to discuss the growing list of disagreements between Washington and Beijing. Not surprisingly, he did not accomplish anything there other than register America’s complaints on matters such as Beijing’s support for the Russian war effort in Ukraine and unfair treatment of U.S. companies. On every major issue, the U.S. and China take different sides, and the Chinese have clearly dug in. Blinken was reduced to begging. As a result, America is resorting to the dialogue-is-progress narrative. “I think it’s important to underscore the value—in fact, the necessity—of direct engagement, of sustained engagement, of speaking to each other, laying out our differences which are real, seeking to work through them, as also looking for ways to build cooperation where we can,” Blinken said to Chen Jining, Communist Party secretary of Shanghai, ahead of his talks in the Chinese capital.

After the end of fruitless sessions in Beijing—Blinken met with, among others, President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi—all the secretary of state could do is highlight new dialogue issues. “I’m pleased to announce that earlier today, we agreed to hold the first U.S.-PRC talks on artificial intelligence to be held in the coming weeks,” he said at a press availability on April 26, as he wrapped up his trip to China. “We’ll share our respective views on the risks and safety concerns around advanced AI and how best to manage them.” Blinken’s comments repeated those of President Joe Biden after his November 15 meeting with Xi Jinping in Woodside, California. In substance, therefore, Blinken in Beijing continued talking about talking.

There is no question that AI is an important topic, especially when it comes to the control of nuclear weapons. Yet this does not mean the U.S. should seek an agreement with China on that topic. “The latest shambolic display by the Biden administration comes in the form of Secretary of State Antony Blinken groveling before China’s Ruler-for-Life Xi Jinping for a new set of protocols for governing the development of artificial intelligence between America and China, the two nations contributing the most to both the advancement of AI and its weaponization,” Brandon Weichert, a national security analyst at The National Interest, told Gatestone. “Although creating such protocols may sound like a good idea, it seems like a bad idea for Washington to unilaterally agree to limit its own activities.”

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“..the first debate scheduled for Sept. 16 “will be the earliest televised general election debate ever held.”

Trump Campaign Slams Commission’s Refusal to Hold Earlier Debates (ET)

The Trump campaign on Tuesday issued a rebuke of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) refusal to move up its debate schedule until after millions of Americans have already cast their ballots, calling it “unacceptable” and a “grave disservice” to the electorate. In a statement, former President Donald Trump’s campaign representatives Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles intensified criticism of the body that sponsors all general election presidential debates. Previously, they had requested debates to be held “much earlier” than the commission’s planned first debate in mid-September. The Trump campaign repeated its argument that voters deserve to hear from both candidates before they begin casting their votes.

“The Presidential Debate Commission’s schedule does not begin until after millions of Americans will have already cast their ballots. This is unacceptable, and by refusing to move up the debates, they are doing a grave disservice to the American public who deserve to hear from both candidates before voting begins,” the statement read. The statement comes after the nonprofit commission told Fox News that it would stick with its debate schedule, which was released last November. Four debates are planned: three presidential and one vice presidential.The first presidential debate takes place on Sept. 16 at Texas State University in San Marcos; the second takes place on Oct. 1 at Virginia State University in Petersburg; and the third takes place on Oct. 9 at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

The commission said that it “is proceeding with production and broadcast plans at its four debate sites as also announced on November 20, 2023.” Responding to the criticism, the CPD issued a statement on Wednesday, clarifying its decision-making process regarding the schedule for the 2024 debates. The commission noted that the first debate scheduled for Sept. 16 “will be the earliest televised general election debate ever held.” The selection of debate dates aimed to ensure accessibility for the American public, taking into account factors such as religious and federal holidays, early voting, and state ballot closing dates, according to the CPD.

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“It’s a disgrace to our Country — They’ve taken away my Right to Free Speech.”

Appeals Court Denies Trump’s Bid to Have Judge Merchan Recused (ET)

A New York state appeals court denied a request from former President Donald Trump to have his so-called “hush-money” judge removed. Lawyers for the former president sought a stay in the proceedings and the recusal of Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing the trial that will likely last for at least another month. Both the application for his recusal and for a stay in the case were denied on Tuesday without explanation by the New York State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division for the First Department. His lawyers had argued that the trial judge should be removed because he had acted out of his jurisdiction by refusing to recuse himself and restricting the number of docket entries, among other matters. “Now, upon reading and filing the papers with respect to the motion, and due deliberation having been had thereon,” Tuesday’s court order stated. “It is ordered that the motion is denied.”

In April, before the jury selection process started, Judge Merchan himself denied a request from President Trump’s attorneys to step down. Several days before that, the former president’s lawyers said in a hearing that the trial should be delayed, which the court also denied. “The unconstitutional effects of Justice Merchan’s rulings are causing ongoing, irreparable constitutional harms to Petitioner and the voting public and, if not stopped, will prevent Petitioner from receiving a fair trial,” Trump attorney Todd Blanche wrote in an application to the court. A judge, Ellen Gesmer, denied the application. Also last month, the state appeals court rejected another bid to stay the trial while the defense tried to move the trial away from Manhattan, arguing that they were concerned that the jury pool would be tainted. The court also rejected an appeal to pause the trial while President Trump appealed a gag order that was handed down by Judge Merchan earlier this year.

On Tuesday morning, Judge Merchan fined President Trump $9,000 for nine separate posts he made online that he believes violated the gag order. He further warned President Trump that he could be incarcerated if he continues to make the posts. Previously, President Trump and his attorneys argued that the gag order, which prohibits the former president from commenting on most people connected to the case, is a violation of his First Amendment rights. In a social media statement after the fines were handed down, President Trump wrote: “This gag order is not only unique, it’s totally unconstitutional. I am the Republican Candidate for President of the United States.” “This is a total Witch Hunt. Hours of sitting down and listening to nothing except EXONERATION AND LIES,” he continued. “The Trial is going like a speeding bullet, because the Judge is working hard to make all of his friends happy. Merchan is Rigged, Crooked and above all, and without question, CONFLICTED. It’s a disgrace to our Country — They’ve taken away my Right to Free Speech.”

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Pepe left Asia.

BRIC-O-Rama: On The Road In Brazil, With An Eye On Russia-China (Pepe Escobar)

I have just been immersed in an extraordinary experience: a mini-tour of conferences in Brazil encompassing four key cities – Sao Paulo, Rio, Salvador, Belo Horizonte. Full houses, sharp questions, fabulously warm people, divine gastronomy – a deep dive into the 8th largest economy in the world and major BRICS+ node. As much as I was trying to impress the finer points of the long and winding road to multipolarity and the multiple instances of frontal clash between NATOstan and the Global Majority, I was learning non-stop from an array of generous Brazilians about the current inner contradictions of a society of astonishing complexity. It’s as if I was immersed in a psychedelic journey conducted by Os Mutantes, the iconic trio of the late 1960s Tropicalia movement: from the business front in Sao Paulo – with its world-class restaurants and frantic deal-making – to the blinding beauty of Rio; from Salvador – the capital of Brazilian Africa – to Belo Horizonte, the capital of the third-wealthiest state in the Federation, Minas Gerais, a powerhouse of iron ore, uranium and niobium exports.

I learned about how China chose the state of Bahia as arguably its key node in Brazil, where Chinese investment is everywhere – even if Brazil is not yet a formal member of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In Rio, I was presented with an astonishing work on Stoics Zeno and Cleanthes by essayist Ciro Moroni – delving among other issues into the equivalences between Stoic theogony/theology and the Hindu Vedanta – the tradition of culture, religion and sacred rituals in India up to the Buddha era.

And in a sort of psychedelic synchronicity, I felt like Zeno in the Agora as we debated the NATO proxy war against Russia in Ukraine at a lovely round pavillion – a mini-Agora – in fabled Liberty Square in Belo Horizonte, across the street from a fabulous exhibition of Treasures of Peruvian Art. Much to my astonishment, a Peruvian, Carlos Ledesma, flew in from Lima especially for my conference and the exhibition; and then he told me about the Chancay port being built south of Lima, owned 70% by COSCO and the rest by private Peruvian capital; that will be a sister port of Shanghai.

Chancay-Shanghai: APEC in action across the Pacific. Next November, there will be three nearly simultaneous key events in South America: the G20 in Rio, the APEC summit in Lima, and the inauguration of Chancay. Chancay will be boosted by no less than five rail corridors that may eventually be built – certainly with Chinese investment – from the agribusiness Valhalla in the Brazilian Center-West all the way to Peru. Yes, China is all over the place in its largest trade partner in Latin America – much to the despair of a Hegemon sending lowly functionary Little Blinken to Beijing to hear the letter of the new law by Xi Jinping himself: it’s cooperation or confrontation, a “downward spiral”. Your downward spiral.

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Markkula

 

 

Horse herd
https://twitter.com/i/status/1785657926448820571

 

 

Bugs
https://twitter.com/i/status/1785832474494279693

 

 

Rebel
https://twitter.com/i/status/1785599235297075474

 

 

Transform
https://twitter.com/i/status/1785594023543238942

 

 

 

 

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Aug 032023
 


Man Ray Le Violon d’Ingres 1924

 

No Peace Possible Where NATO Extends ‘Diabolical Paws’ – Chinese Envoy (RT)
Gonzalo Lira Missing After Attempt To Flee Ukraine (RT)
New Trump Charges Not ‘Solid’, Criminalize Constitutional Free Speech Right (Sp.)
Tucker’s Explosive Devon Archer Interview (ZH)
Calls Between Joe, Hunter Biden ‘Abuse of Soft Power’ – Devon Archer (Sp.)
Grain Deal Meaningless Without Fulfilling Obligations to Russia – Putin (Sp.)
EU: Russia Aims To Create New Dependencies With Cheap Grain (RT)
Reading the Mess the Democrats Have Made (Patrick Lawrence)
‘Special Services’ Control Western Media – Kremlin (RT)

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..it continues to thrive, sustaining itself by constantly instigating warfare and conflicts..”

No Peace Possible Where NATO Extends ‘Diabolical Paws’ – Chinese Envoy (RT)

NATO expansion in Europe has eroded the continent’s security and was the key reason for the Ukraine conflict, Zhang Hanhui, China’s ambassador to Moscow, said in an interview released on Thursday. Speaking to the TASS, Zhang stated that the US-led military bloc had been “fanning the flames everywhere, destroying stability and engaging in separatism,” with turmoil in Kosovo, Libya, and Afghanistan being prime examples. “The five [NATO] expansions to the east seriously affected the post-Cold War order and security in Europe and became the main reason for the escalation in the Ukraine crisis,” he said.The envoy went on to describe NATO “as a relic of the Cold War” which should have ceased to exist when it ended. “However, it continues to thrive, sustaining itself by constantly instigating warfare and conflicts… Wherever NATO stretches its diabolical paws, people will die and there will be no peace.”

Zhang stated that in recent years the alliance had set its sights on expansion in the Asia-Pacific under the guise of helping countries exercise their right to collective defense, a strategy that he said “causes great concern and strong objections from the regional countries.” He claimed that NATO “has long turned into a geopolitical tool of the US”, and that the bloc’s expansion to the east and into the Asia-Pacific, “is meant to support American hegemony.” Washington, according to Zhang, wants NATO to have more clout in the Asia-Pacific so that it “could suppress and deter China and Russia.” “The Cold War mentality and confrontation between the camps have long run counter to the demands of modern times,” he added, saying that NATO’s regional expansion “will only increase regional tensions, widen the trust gap… provoke a stand-off between different camps and even a new Cold War.”

Moscow has for many years viewed NATO’s creeping expansion as a threat to its national security while Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the possibility of Ukraine eventually joining the bloc was one of the key reasons for the military campaign in the neighboring country. Kiev formally outlined its NATO ambitions several years ago and applied to join the bloc last autumn after four of its regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in public referendums. However, the alliance has been reluctant to approve the application or set a timetable for Ukraine’s accession, citing the ongoing hostilities.

Read more …

Say a prayer. Call Washington.

Gonzalo Lira Missing After Attempt To Flee Ukraine (RT)

Chilean-American reporter Gonzalo Lira, who claimed he would attempt to flee Ukraine after being subjected to physical abuse and extortion in custody, has gone missing, a source has confirmed to RT. Lira, a vocal critic of the Ukrainian government, resurfaced this week, months after being arrested by the nation’s security service, the SBU. In a series of posts on Twitter and YouTube, he stated his intention to cross the border into Hungary and apply for political asylum. In a series of tweets yesterday he claimed he had been kept incommunicado in pre-trial detention since early May. He also claimed he had been deprived of sleep, beaten and tortured by other inmates, on instructions from prison authorities.

Lira apparently never made it across the border. Mark Sleboda, a political analyst and frequent guest on RT, confirmed to the channel that Lira was stopped by Ukrainian border guards and has not been heard from since. Lira had previously claimed that he had been released on bail after months in detention and ordered not to leave the city of Kharkov. However he added that he had his passport and was not wearing an electronic shackle, contrary to the terms of his release. “Maybe I’m being set up by them so they can justify putting me away in a labor camp – so no one will ever know about their sordid extortion scheme,” he said. “I simply don’t know.”

In the event that he would cross the border in to Hungary, Lira expected Ukraine to issue an international arrest warrant for him for skipping bail. He added that he hoped Hungary would be willing to defy Kiev and not hand him over, unlike other EU nations. “If you don’t hear from me in the next 12 hours—whelp! I’m on my way to a labor camp!” he concluded. There have been no further updates on his social media since. Lira has been accused by Ukraine of “publicly justifying” the Russian military operation and “disseminating fakes [false stories] about the war in Ukraine”.He claims the charges were bogus and that he did nothing but explain his opinions about Kiev’s policies and report what was happening in the country.

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“Whether his [Trump’s] belief in fraud was right or wrong, whether the legal theory of sending this back to the states was right or wrong, he had the right under our First Amendment to believe and advocate those positions..”

New Trump Charges Not ‘Solid’, Criminalize Constitutional Free Speech Right (Sp.)

Former US Justice Department prosecutor Ronald Sievert told Sputnik that the new indictment against former President Donald Trump is not solid and criminalizes his constitutional right of free speech. On Tuesday, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Trump with four criminal counts in connection to special counsel Jack Smith’s probe into his alleged role in trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. “As a DOJ [Justice Department] prosecutor for 25 years, I am very disturbed by this indictment,” Sievert said. “I thought there would be something solid in there, but as I read it, all I saw was that they were indicting Trump for taking a position in the election with which they, the prosecutor and Ds [Democrats], disagreed.”

Trump faces one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, one count of conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, one count of obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding and one count of conspiracy against rights”. Despite having lost, the Defendant was determined to remain in power. So for more than two months following Election Day on November 3, 2020, the Defendant spread lies that there had been outcome-determinative fraud in the election and that he had actually won. These claims were false, and the Defendant knew that they were false,” the indictment stated. However, Sievert, who noted he has not supported Trump for the Republican nomination, said the new indictment appears to be criminalizing free speech.

“Whether his [Trump’s] belief in fraud was right or wrong, whether the legal theory of sending this back to the states was right or wrong, he had the right under our First Amendment to believe and advocate those positions,” Sievert said.
The former prosecutor said he would expect an “objective” judge or judges would throw the case out. Federal judge Tanya Chutkan, who was nominated by then-President Barack Obama, is assigned to oversee Trump’s case. Chutkan is the only federal judge in Washington to issue sentences to convicted January 6 rioters that were longer than what prosecutors had requested, according to media reports. Trump is summoned to appear in federal court in the US capital on Thursday to face the new charges.

Trump has argued that the newly unveiled indictment against him is the latest attempt by the “Biden crime family” and the weaponized US Justice Department to interfere in the 2024 presidential election. The new indictment comes amid a number of other probes into potential misconduct by Trump, including his alleged mishandling of classified documents, which are all taking place in the middle of his presidential campaign for the 2024 presidential election. sTrump is by far the Republican Party’s leading candidate, according to the latest poll data from Real Clear Politics.

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“..Hunter’s ability to reach out during business meetings to the then-VP was the “pinnacle of power in DC”.

Tucker’s Explosive Devon Archer Interview (ZH)

Tucker Carlson dropped a shocking interview on Wednesday with Devon Archer, two days after the former Hunter Biden associate testified before Congress, where he admitted that he and Hunter Biden essentially traded on the Biden name, but also claimed that ‘the big guy’ wasn’t involved. Tucker begins by asking Archer if he thinks Hunter could have succeeded as well in his business endeavors if he was not the son of the vice president. Archer trod a little carefully at first, reflecting on Hunter’s law school background but then admitted: “The brand of Biden adds a lot of power when your dad’s the Vice President.”


Archer also confirmed “yes, I can definitely say that” then vice-president Biden knew there were officials in the room when he got on the speakerphone with Hunter Biden – the 20 or so times that Archer recalls. “So Joe Biden, who is very much a product of Washington, of course must have known that he was calling into effectively a business meeting,” Carlson said. “Something’s happening. He must have understood that that was kind of what his son was selling.” “Well that’s hard for me to speculate,” Archer answered. ” “But like, just to keep it to the facts, Joe Biden, then the sitting Vice President knew that there were Hunter’s business associates in the room,” Carlson pressed.

“Yeah, I think I can definitively say at particular dinners and meetings, he knew there were business associates and he, or if I was there, I was a business associate too. So I think, you know, any of the other colleagues from the DC office or New York were there,” Archer said. He also said that Hunter’s ability to reach out during business meetings to the then-VP was the “pinnacle of power in DC”. Understanding a regulatory environment means selling access… most people interpret it that way. …the power to have that access in that conversation, and it’s not in a scheduled conference call and it’s a part of your family, that’s like the Pinnacle of power in DC. -Devon Archer


“…if you’re sitting with a business associate and hear the vice president’s voice, that’s prize enough…that’s pretty impactful stuff,” Archer continued, adding that it was “an abuse of soft power.” Archer also admitted that he “flew too close to the sun” and “got burned” by the Biden family – and that it’s “disingenuous” to act unsure as to why Ukrainian energy giant Burisma hired Hunter, who served on its board from 2014 – 2019.

Read more …

“There is no way to know if the calls were orchestrated, but they were “powerful..”

Calls Between Joe, Hunter Biden ‘Abuse of Soft Power’ – Devon Archer (Sp.)

Devon Archer, a former associate of Hunter Biden, said on Wednesday that the calls between then-Vice President Joe Biden and his son during the latter’s foreign business calls constitute an “abuse of soft power.” Earlier this week, Archer provided testimony to lawmakers on Joe Biden’s connection to his son’s foreign business deals. Lawmakers provided split opinions on Archer’s testimony, with some claiming it exonerated Joe Biden while others claimed it was further evidence of wrongdoing. Archer testified that Joe Biden joined Hunter and his business associates at least 20 times either in person or via speakerphone.


“In the rearview, it’s an abuse of soft power,” Archer said during an interview with Tucker Carlson. Biden knew there were business associates at certain dinners and meetings, Archer said. Congressman Dan Goldman said following Archer’s testimony that Biden often did not know who was present during the interactions. There is no way to know if the calls were orchestrated, but they were “powerful,” Archer said. Archer’s testimony comes amid investigations by lawmakers into potential criminal activity by the Biden family, including bribery and influence peddling. Joe Biden has repeatedly denied discussing foreign business deals with his son.

Read more …

No deal.

Grain Deal Meaningless Without Fulfilling Obligations to Russia – Putin (Sp.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during a phone conversation on Wednesday that the Black Sea Grain Initiative lost its meaning due to a complete absence of progress on implementation of the agreement’s part that concerned Russia, the Kremlin said “Vladimir Putin outlined Russia’s principled position in connection with the termination of the ‘package’ agreements on the export of Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea ports and the unblocking of supplies of Russian food and fertilizers. It was noted that the agreement’s extension has lost its meaning in the conditions of a complete lack of progress in the implementation of the Russian part of the grain deal. The readiness to return to the Istanbul agreements was confirmed as soon as the West actually fulfills all the deal’s obligations towards Russia,” the Kremlin said in a statement.

The Russian president also told his Turkish counterpart that options for the supply of grain to countries in need are being worked out. “It was emphasized that, taking into account the needs of the countries most in need of food, reliable options for the supply of Russian grain, including on a free-of-charge basis, are being worked out. This issue was substantively discussed at the second Russia-Africa summit recently held in St. Petersburg. The readiness for cooperation in this area with Turkey and other interested states was expressed,” the Kremlin said. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said in late June that the United Nations admitted it can do nothing regarding three of the five key issues Russia wants resolved in order to extend the grain deal, including reconnecting the Rosselkhozbank to the SWIFT payment system.

On July 22, 2022, the United Nations and Turkey brokered the agreement with Russia and Ukraine to establish a humanitarian maritime corridor to transport grain and fertilizer from the Ukrainian Black Sea ports. Moscow has since agreed to extend the agreement several times despite criticizing the non-implementation of the portions of the agreement pertaining to Russia, but it then decided to let it expire on July 17.

Read more …

Saving lives with bad intentions.

EU: Russia Aims To Create New Dependencies With Cheap Grain (RT)

The European Union has warned developing countries that Russia is offering cheap grain “to create new dependencies by exacerbating economic vulnerabilities and global food insecurity,” according to a letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday, Report informs. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell wrote to developing and Group of 20 countries on Monday to urge them to speak “with a clear and unified voice” to push Moscow to return to a deal that allowed the safe Black Sea export of Ukraine grain and to stop targeting Ukraine’s agricultural infrastructure.


“As the world deals with disrupted supplies and higher prices, Russia is now approaching vulnerable countries with bilateral offers of grain shipments at discounted prices, pretending to solve a problem it created itself,” Borrell said. “This is a cynical policy of deliberately using food as a weapon to create new dependencies by exacerbating economic vulnerabilities and global food insecurity,” he added.

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“..the administration is a behind-closed-doors madhouse..”

Reading the Mess the Democrats Have Made (Patrick Lawrence)

At writing, we are 16 months and five days from the 2024 presidential election. If a week is a long time in politics, there is too strong a chance that the interim upon us will prove one of awful eventfulness. In my read, the risk of brazen lawlessness in the upper reaches of power and, in consequence, a constitutional crisis, is now greater than at any point in the postwar period. It is time to brace ourselves against this eventuality. Is there any other plausible conclusion as things now stand? I do not see one. Two reasons: One, the Democrats have emerged since Hillary Clinton’s defeat in 2016 as a party of liberal authoritarians intent on imposing their political hegemony on our republic by whatever means this project requires. Nothing is out of bounds, as these people have already demonstrated. Two, in what looks like one of the great political miscalculations in my lifetime, the Democrats are determined to stand a candidate in 2024 whose senility has been publicly on display for the past two years and change.

This is a combustible pair of realities. The second of these, President Biden’s failing mental condition, makes the first of these, the culture of authoritarian righteousness in the Democratic mainstream, very perilous. The party hierarchy has already declared Biden will not face any challenger in a primary debate—an openly antidemocratic regression without precedent since televised debates became essential to the political process during the Kennedy–Nixon contest in 1960. What else will come in this line, we have to ask. In my judgment, the Democrats’ willingness to let Biden run again is all too suggestive of what dangers and disorders may come between now and Tuesday, November 5, 2024. They appear determined, one way or another, to keep this man in the White House. This is not a thought with which one rests easily.

Things have gone very poorly for Joe Biden since he moved into the White House two and a half years ago. Yes, he continues to hide behind that carnival barker’s smile he plastered on as political equipment 50–odd years ago. But if the president and all the president’s men and women are not in the way of desperate at this point, they are in the way of insentient. In his Substack newsletter a few weeks ago, Seymour Hersh quoted one of his inside sources saying the administration is a behind-closed-doors madhouse. I see no reason to doubt this.

Read more …

Packaged media.

‘Special Services’ Control Western Media – Kremlin (RT)

The US and its allies have mobilized their media for a war with Russia and operate them under de-facto military censorship, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday. “There are a lot of serious media outlets [in the West], a lot of talented journalists, smart, professional, but now, since they unleashed this war against us, they absolutely live in a state of military censorship,” Peskov said. President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman was part of a panel discussion dubbed ‘Elements of social engineering’ at a youth forum in Solnechnogorsk, a town about 45 kilometers northwest of Moscow. According to Peskov, Western outlets “receive instructions and manuals from their special services, they get leaks of information – which are mostly, very often, specially and professionally prepared falsehoods – and do this round the clock.”

The most influential media outlets in the world are “unfortunately the Anglo-Saxon media, American and British,” Peskov said. Russia has set out to compete with them “very gingerly, but quite successfully,” he added.Peskov said something similar in May, telling a Bosnian Serb TV station that the West “immediately became hysterical” and shredded their official commitment to freedom of speech when Russia tried to compete with their media monopoly. “They tore off all masks right away and showed there is no freedom of the press over there,” he told ATV at the time. “The moment any outlets became ‘uncomfortable’ to them, the moment they started presenting viewpoints different from their mainstream, they were banned.”

He also noted that the Kremlin has refused to give interviews to any Western media since early 2022, considering it pointless until those outlets start showing “at least some interest in the truth. The EU and Canada have outright banned all branches of RT and Sputnik as “Kremlin propaganda” shortly after the Ukraine conflict escalated. Several US-based social media platforms have followed suit. At last year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, then-YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki argued that “information can be weaponized,” so her company decided to extend the EU ban on RT and Sputnik globally, while continuing to operate in Russia so that Russians can get “independent news” from the West.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

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