May 142024
 
 May 14, 2024  Posted by at 9:18 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  48 Responses »


Vittorio Matteo Corcos Sogni 1896

 

Scott Ritter: The Russians Advance and Ukrainians Can’t Stop Them (Sp.)
One of Russia’s Top Economists is Being Appointed as Minister of Defense (Sp.)
Belousov May Create Problems for Russia’s Adversaries as Defense Minister (Sp.)
Biden Is ‘Surrounded By Fascists’ In Oval Office – Trump (RT)
Biden ‘Doing It All Wrong’ – Ex-Clinton Adviser (RT)
‘Unusually Aggressive’ Anti-Trump Grand Jury Went Rogue With Indictments (ZH)
“I See Dead People”: Bragg’s Case Against Trump Goes Paranormal (Turley)
A Massive Transformation Is Taking Place In Russia (Trenin)
Elon Musk Wins Court Battle Against Australia (RT)
The Coming of BRICS+ Decentralized Monetary Ecosystem (Pepe Escobar)
Putin to Visit China at Invitation of Xi Jinping on May 16-17 – Kremlin (Sp.)
Latest Polls Show Biden Will Need Twice As Many Fake Ballots This Year (BBee)

 

 


“In a society of spectacle, of propaganda and of the totalitarian nature of Western systems, doubt is a fundamental stepping-stone to get out of the cave.”

Daria Dugina

 

 

Watters Cohen

 

 

Turley Trump

 

 

Fitton

 

 

Ed Dowd: “The Only Way Biden Wins Is If They CHEAT”

“We’ve never seen approval numbers like this. So if he wins, if he’s still actually alive, it’ll be theft.” Official reports suggest that Biden’s approval ratings are hovering around 36%. But Biden’s real approval rating is only about 8%, according to economic forecaster Martin Armstrong and an anonymous Big Tech source. Ed Dowd revealed that he has “seen numbers” to suggest that 30% of black men and 15% of black women will vote for Trump in 2024.

“That’s way above the numbers that Trump was getting in 2016 … These numbers just immediately turf the chances of Biden. Just those numbers alone.” When it comes to increasing Biden’s chances, Dowd says, “[War] is the only way to improve his approval rating.”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1790055748312986006

 

 

Seinfeld

 

 

 

 

Kharkiv.

Scott Ritter: The Russians Advance and Ukrainians Can’t Stop Them (Sp.)

Russian forces have launched a large-scale offensive towards Kharkov, revealing apparent gaps in Ukraine’s previously proclaimed fortified defenses along the northern border. According to military analyst Scott Ritter, the Ukrainian military, expecting robust defenses including anti-tank obstacles and minefields, was significantly outmaneuvered. As Russian troops continue to push south from the Belgorod area, Ritter notes that the situation exposes a broader vulnerability within the Ukrainian defense strategy. “The Ukrainians are now in a panic, pulling forces from critical fronts elsewhere,” Ritter explained. This reallocation of troops to the north leaves other strategic areas, such as Kherson and Odessa, potentially exposed to new Russian attacks.

Simultaneously, Russia’s military seems to be capitalizing on a lack of Ukrainian reserves, with simultaneous pressures in the Zaporozhye and Donetsk regions contributing to what Ritter describes as “the collapse of Ukraine as a cohesive combat force.” In the midst of these battlefield developments, Russia has appointed a new Minister of Defense, Andrei Belousov, a move that has sparked discussions and speculation both within Russia and internationally. Belousov, an economist with extensive governmental experience but no military background, steps into a role that seems more focused on managing the defense industry’s growth and sustainability amid the conflict.

Some question the timing and suitability of appointing an economist as defense minister during wartime. However, supporters argue that his economic acumen is crucial for maintaining the efficiency and integrity of the defense sector’s expansion. “This is exactly the kind of person Russia needs,” Ritter states, asserting that the strategic appointment aims to strengthen Russia’s military capabilities indirectly through economic stability and reduced corruption. Meanwhile, General Gennady Gerasimov will continue to oversee the military operations, ensuring continuity in leadership. According to Ritter, this combination of economic and military leadership is far from a sign of Russian weakness. “By bringing in Andrei Belousov, we’re talking about Putin creating tempered steel,” he remarked, suggesting that the West may underestimate Russia’s strategic positioning.

Read more …

“..the new minister’s duties might involve issues related to weapon procurement and defense contracts..”

One of Russia’s Top Economists is Being Appointed as Minister of Defense (Sp.)

If economist Andrei Belousov does get appointed as Russia’s newest minister of defense, it would not be the first time a civilian got put into that office, retired Russian naval officer (Captain 1st Rank) and military analyst Vasily Dandykin told Sputnik. “I believe that, first and foremost, he’s a man from the president’s team,” Dandykin commented on Belousov’s candidacy. “He was the first deputy prime minister and he actually knows very well the problems that [Russian] military-industrial complex faces. As always, our supreme commander-in-chief, the President of Russia, supervises all decisions.” Russian military expert and military intelligence veteran Ret. Col. Rustem Klupov pointed out that Belousov is an accomplished economist of a very high caliber who advised prominent Russian statesmen “If he is being appointed as the defense minister, it means that there will be goals of economic nature to complete,” Klupov suggested.

According to him, the new minister’s duties might involve issues related to weapon procurement and defense contracts. “Gerasimov (Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Russian Armed Forces’ Chief of General Staff) will conduct military operations and the defense minister will handle his own matters,” Klupov added. Soviet and Russian Army veteran and military journalist Viktor Litovkin also highlighted Belousov’s impressive reputation as a scholar and an economist, noting that the latter also paid considerable attention to the military-industrial sphere and military matters during his career as a government official. “So far, there is no reason to question his expertise. He’s a distinguished man who paid a lot of attention while working in the government to the military-industrial complex and to the connection between the military and the industry.”

Read more …

War economy.

Belousov May Create Problems for Russia’s Adversaries as Defense Minister (Sp.)

While Russian President Vladimir Putin’s proposal to replace Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu with veteran economist Andrei Belousov may come as a surprise to some, there seems to be a good motive behind his move. Andrei Belousov’s appointment as Russia’s newest minister of defense may help take Russia’s military-industrial complex and the entire weapon procurement system to a whole new level, argues Russian political analyst Sergei Poletaev. According to him, a de facto grassroots “technological revolution” has happened in Russia over the past two years when groups of enthusiasts supplied the armed forces with repurposed civilian drones worth no more than $300 apiece that could be used to take out enemy military hardware worth millions of dollars. Being a talented economist, Belousov can combine the pros of the two approaches in weapon procurement – the “planned, government” method and the “spontaneous grassroots” method – and weed out their cons, Poletayev suggests.

Many Russian soldiers in the field come up with technological and tactical solutions that could become a boon for the Russian Armed Forces, but there is no streamlined way for them to share their ideas with the higher-ups, he notes. “If Belousov can create a system, a platform to convert this experience into orders that could then be sent to weapon manufacturers who would thus be allowed to better understand what is required and to better react to this input, and then to mass produce the most successful solutions – that would generate a tremendous impulse,” Poletaev muses. He also points out that Russia’s military spending has been steadily growing in recent months, and while the situation is far from critical, it would be prudent for Moscow to ensure that this money does not go to waste. Last weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed the candidacy of Andrei Belousov for the position of Russia’s defense minister.

Belousov is a veteran Russian economist who started off as a researcher at the Soviet Academy of Sciences’ Central Economic Mathematical Institute and later with the Institute of Economic Forecasting of the Russian Academy of Sciences. After being appointed deputy minister of economic development and trade in 2006, Belousov served in several prominent positions in the Russian government before becoming first deputy prime minister in 2020 – an office he held until now.

Read more …

”Russia and China we can handle, but these lunatics within our government that are going to destroy our country and probably want to..”

Biden Is ‘Surrounded By Fascists’ In Oval Office – Trump (RT)

The White House has been infiltrated by “enemies from within,” former US President Donald Trump has claimed in a campaign speech, while lashing out at “crooked” Joe Biden. “Joe is weak. He’s only good at cheating on elections – but it’s not him, he’s surrounded by fascists around the Oval Office,” Trump told a crowd of supporters in Wildwood, New Jersey, on Saturday. ”The Democrat Party is becoming radicalized. It’s becoming radical left and they’re going to lose our country,” he predicted. Without naming names, Trump said administration’s “enemies from within” are more dangerous for America than foreign adversaries. ”Russia and China we can handle, but these lunatics within our government that are going to destroy our country and probably want to,” he claimed.

The “fascist” label has also been used by high-profile Biden supporters against Trump, with some Democrats suggesting that if he returns to the White House he could push the country toward dictatorship. Hillary Clinton, Trump’s opponent in the 2016 presidential election, claimed on The View program last year that her former rival was showing “dictatorial” tendencies, remarking that Adolf Hitler “was duly elected” before transforming Germany. “Trump is telling us what he intends to do. Take him at his word. The man means to throw people in jail who disagree with him, shut down legitimate press outlets, do what he can to literally undermine the rule of law and our country’s values,” she said.

Trump’s New Jersey rally served as a change of scenery for Trump, who has been spending much of his time attending court hearings in New York, on charges of using campaign funds to pay hush money to former porn actress Stormy Daniels. The Republican is facing dozens of charges in four separate criminal cases against him. He told supporters that “radical left Democrats, Marxists Communists and fascists” were behind the indictments, calling his New York hush money case “a Biden show trial.” Trump has repeatedly claimed that the 2020 election was “stolen.” One of the cases against him relates to his alleged attempt to subvert the election. Hearings are currently on hold pending a Supreme Court decision on whether the former president should be immune to prosecution.

Read more …

|”..his campaign is too focused on courting his left-leaning base, while neglecting swing voters..”

Biden ‘Doing It All Wrong’ – Ex-Clinton Adviser (RT)

US President Joe Biden risks losing a potential election rematch with Donald Trump because his campaign is too focused on courting his left-leaning base, while neglecting swing voters whose support could prove decisive, a former adviser to Bill Clinton has warned. In an opinion piece for the New York Times published on Sunday, Mark Penn, who advised the former US leader and his wife, ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, from 1995 to 2008, suggested that “Biden is doing it all wrong” when it comes to his reelection campaign. According to Penn, many believe that a high turnout should be a priority for any candidate, because swing voters are fewer in number. In the current US political landscape, Biden and Republican frontrunner Trump each enjoy solid support from about 40% of the nation’s population, with only 20% on the fence, the adviser noted.

However, in a highly polarized political environment, those 20% “have disproportionate power because of their potential to switch,” Penn believes. Despite this, candidates are often convinced that they must feed their bases with “what they want to hear” to get them to the polling stations, the article said. While this may be true in some cases, the Democratic base is highly unlikely to sit idly by at the thought of a Trump victory in November, Penn wrote. At the same time, swing voters in battleground states who are concerned about immigration, inflation, and other major issues “are likely to put Mr. Trump back in office if they are not blunted,” according to the former adviser. “If Mr. Biden wants to serve another four years, he has to stop being dragged to the left and chart a different course closer to the center that appeals to those voters who favor bipartisan compromises to our core issues, fiscal discipline and a strong America,” he added.

Penn believes that most of the 101,000 “uncommitted” voters who refused to back Biden over his policy on the Israel-Hamas war would eventually return to the fold because they have nowhere else to go. At the same time, Biden could potentially seek the support of hundreds of thousands of moderate Republicans who chose to vote for former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley over Trump in the GOP primary. According to a Wall Street Journal poll last month, Trump retains a lead over Biden in six of seven battleground states. Meanwhile, a recent poll by the Financial Times found that Biden’s reelection prospects are being threatened by inflation concerns, with 58% of respondents disapproving of his handling of the economy.

Read more …

Does not smell squeaky clean.

‘Unusually Aggressive’ Anti-Trump Grand Jury Went Rogue With Indictments (ZH)

The Arizona grand jury that recently indicted 18 people for allegedly trying to help former President Donald Trump overturn the results of the 2020 election with so-called ‘fake electors’ went completely rogue and took ‘aggressive steps to haul in witnesses,’ to the point where they ‘even brought charges against some’ who were told by prosecutors that they weren’t under investigation, Politico reports. Their efforts ultimately resulted in a 58-page indictment which has ensnared various national and state Republicans – including one of Trump’s current top advisers, and several individuals who were previously in his orbit – with felony charges. Trump himself was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator.

“Documents reviewed by POLITICO reveal that at least two of the 18 people charged — former Trump lawyers Jenna Ellis and Christina Bobb — were assured by prosecutors that they were not targets of the probe, only to learn that the grand jury indicted them anyway. In fact, a letter that a prosecutor sent to Ellis just days before the indictment appeared to significantly understate her legal jeopardy. One witness who testified before the grand jury said a faction of the panel drove intense questioning that exceeded the limited scope that prosecutors had publicly acknowledged. The probe was led by the office of Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes.” -Politico.

Mayes, a Democrat who replaced a Republican in January 2023, has been accused of politically motivated lawfare – however Politico’s sources say that the grand jury was ‘surprisingly independent’ of her prosecutors – and ‘sometimes even hard for them to predict.’ “The State Grand Jury was given leeway to conduct an independent investigation, as it is entitled to do by law,” said Mayes’ spox, Richie Taylor. “I cannot confirm or deny the specifics of grand jury proceedings, and I will note that the investigation remains open and ongoing. I will have to decline to comment further.” Grand juries are empowered to conduct their own lines of questioning in order to reach conclusions which may not necessarily align with the wishes of prosecutors – though they typically defer.

That said, in high-profile cases, they’ve been known to take on more independence. “Every high-profile case that I’ve ever had, which is cases that have necessarily attendant publicity, or a public corruption case, or anything else, grand jurors become interested,” according to former Arizona prosecutor, Paul Charlton. “Ultimately, the Arizona grand jury investigating the 2020 election indicted former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, lawyers Rudy Giuliani and John Eastman, and close Trump adviser Boris Epshteyn. It also indicted the 11 Arizona Republicans who falsely claimed to be the state’s rightful presidential electors. Arizona is the fourth state — after Georgia, Michigan and Nevada — to bring criminal charges stemming from the efforts of Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 results in states that Biden won. At the federal level, special counsel Jack Smith has also charged Trump himself for the scheme.” -Politico.

“Not a target” (just kidding!)

Read more …

“Trump will be allowed to testify. He would be insane to do so..”

“I See Dead People”: Bragg’s Case Against Trump Goes Paranormal (Turley)

“I see dead people.” Before this week, that claim was most associated with the nine-year-old character Cole Sear from the 1999 film “The Sixth Sense.” But now it is one of the talents claimed by former adult film actress Stormy Daniels in her bizarre testimony in Manhattan during former President Donald Trump’s trial. It turns out that speaking to the dead was one of the few relevant things Daniels had to offer in the case, which is now on a collision course with a motion for acquittal before the case even goes to the jury. The Daniels testimony will live in infamy in the annals of criminal justice. For two days, she offered lurid and completely irrelevant details whose only possible purpose was to humiliate Trump. Admitting that she was coached by the prosecution in her testimony, it was clear that she was there not to win a case but to win an election.

Judge Juan Merchan allowed this legal burlesque to unfold in his courtroom, later blaming defense counsel who had vociferously objected to her appearance and the scope of the examination. The cross examination was devastating. It shattered her laughable claim that she had not really been seeking money in shaking Trump down for a non-disclosure agreement, a claim contradicted by her own former lawyer. Daniels also revealed that she had spoken with the dead, and that a ghost had once held her boyfriend under water in a bathtub. She also said that she lived in a haunted house, only to discover later that the spirit haunting it was actually a large possum. In a case based on a dead misdemeanor and a rapidly falling heart rate on the manufactured felony, one can understand the appeal of witnesses who can speak for the dead. Indeed, Daniels’s graphic testimony may prove the moral high point of this trial, since serial perjurer and disbarred attorney Michael Cohen is scheduled to testify Monday.

Cohen recently broke his pledge, midway through the trial, to stop attacking and taunting Trump. Cohen has insisted that he deserves the protection of the gag order by Judge Merchan as a witness, despite serious constitutional concerns. Merchan continues to threaten Trump with jail if he responds to Cohen’s unrelenting attacks. Merchan waited for the weekend before his testimony to suggest that the prosecutors tell Cohen to stop the public antics. But it remains unclear what the order is protecting Cohen from. Not only is he trolling for money on social media with reference to the trial, but he is also widely being attacked by others. It is only Trump who cannot address his attacks, including political opposition to his campaign.

Cohen’s testimony will be the culmination of this travesty of a trial. But Bragg already jumped the shark with Daniels. After three weeks, legal experts are still debating what the crime was that Trump was seeking to conceal by recording payments for a standard non-disclosure agreement as a legal expense. (That is the same characterization used by Hillary Clinton’s campaign for its funding for the infamous Steele dossier.) It is still unclear that Trump even knew how the payments were characterized, and the alleged false record was not even created until after the election was over. Yet he stands accused of using the “false business records” to somehow steal or rig an election that was already over.

After this circus with Cohen is complete, Trump will be allowed to testify. He would be insane to do so. Merchan has already said that he will allow a broad scope to cross-examination, making any appearance unlikely. That is when Merchan will face a key test of judicial ethics. He has failed to protect the rights of the defendant from a baseless, politically motivated prosecution. He could insist that he simply felt Bragg had a right to present his case. He will soon be done and, as expected, it is entirely based on Cohen, a disbarred perjurer who will ask for his former client to be sent to prison for following his own legal advice. After Bragg closes the prosecution’s case, the defense will make a standard motion for dismissal. Merchan should grant that motion.

Read more …

“Russian political culture is returning to its fundamentals. Unlike that of the West, but somewhat similar to the East – it is based on the model of a family..”

A Massive Transformation Is Taking Place In Russia (Trenin)

Two and a half years into its war against the West in Ukraine, Russia certainly finds itself on a course toward a new sense of itself. This trend actually predated the military operation but has been powerfully intensified as a result. Since February 2022, Russians have lived in a wholly new reality. For the first time since 1945, the country is really at war, with bitter fighting ongoing along a 2,000-kilometer front line, and not too far from Moscow. Belgorod, a provincial center near the Ukrainian border, is continuously subjected to deadly missile and drone attacks from Kiev’s forces. Occasionally, Ukrainian drones reach far deeper inland. Yet, Moscow and other big cities continue as if there were no war, and (almost) no Western sanctions either. Streets are full of people and shopping malls and supermarkets offer the usual abundance of goods and food items. One could conclude that Moscow and Belgorod are a tale of two countries, that Russians have managed to live simultaneously both in wartime and peacetime.

This would be a wrong conclusion. Even the part of the country that ostensibly lives ‘in peace’ is markedly different from what it was before the Ukraine conflict began. The central focus of post-Soviet Russia – money – has not been eliminated, of course, but has certainly lost its unquestionable dominance. When many people – not only soldiers but civilians, too – are getting killed, other, non-material values are coming back. Patriotism, reviled and derided in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, is re-emerging in force. In the absence of fresh mobilization, hundreds of thousands of those who sign contracts with the military are motivated by a desire to help the country. Not just by what they can get from it. Russian popular culture is shedding – slowly, perhaps, but steadily – the habit of imitating what’s hot in the West. Instead, the traditions of Russian literature, including poetry, film, music are being revived and developed.

A spike in domestic tourism has opened to ordinary Russians the treasures of their own country – until recently neglected, as a thirst for travel abroad was quenched. (Foreign travel is still available, but difficult logistics make reaching other parts of Europe far less easy than before).Politically, there is no opposition to speak of against the current system. Almost all of its former figureheads are abroad, and Alexey Navalny has died in prison. A lot of former cultural icons who, after February 2022, decided to emigrate to Israel, Western Europe, or elsewhere, are fast becoming yesterday’s celebrities, as the country moves on. Those Russian journalists and activists who criticize Russia from afar are increasingly losing touch with their previous audiences, and are saddled with accusations of serving the interests of countries fighting Russia in the proxy war in Ukraine.

By contrast, nearly two-thirds of young men who left Russia in 2022 for fear of being mobilized have returned, some of them quite embittered by their experience abroad. Putin’s statement about the need for a new national elite, and his promotion of war veterans as the core of that elite, is more of an intention than a real plan at this stage, but the Russian elite is definitely going through a massive turnover. Many liberal tycoons essentially no longer belong to Russia; their desire to keep their assets in the West has ended up separating them from their native country. Those who stayed in Russia know that yachts in the Med, villas on the Cote d’Azur, and mansions in London are no longer available to them, or at least no longer safe to keep. Within Russia, a new model of a mid-level businessperson is emerging: one who combines money with social engagement (not the ESG model), and who builds his/her future inside the country.

Russian political culture is returning to its fundamentals. Unlike that of the West, but somewhat similar to the East – it is based on the model of a family. There is order, and there is a hierarchy; rights are balanced by responsibilities; the state is not a necessary evil but the principal public good and the top societal value. Politics, in the Western sense of a constant, often no-holds-barred competition, is viewed as self-serving and destructive; instead, those who are entrusted with being at the helm of the state are expected to arbitrate, to ensure harmony of various interests, etc. Of course, this is an ideal rather than reality. In reality things are more complex and complicated, but the traditional political culture, at its core, is alive and well, and the last 30 to 40 years, while hugely instructive and impactful, have not overturned it.

Russian attitudes to the West are also complex. There is appreciation of Western classical and modern (but not so much post-modern) culture, the arts and technology, and of living standards to an extent. Recently, the previously unadulterated positive image of the West as a society has been spoiled by the aggressive promotion of LGBTQ values, of cancel culture, and the like. What has also changed is the view of Western policies, politics and especially politicians, which have lost the respect most Russians once had for them. The view of the West as Russia’s hereditary adversary has again gained prominence – not primarily because of Kremlin propaganda, but as a function of the West’s own policies, from providing Ukraine with weapons that kill Russian soldiers and civilians, to sanctions which in many ways are indiscriminate, to attempts to cancel Russian culture or to bar Russians from world sports. This hasn’t resulted in Russians viewing individual Westerners as enemies, but the political/media West is widely seen here as a house of adversaries.

There is a clear need for a set of guiding ideas about “who we are,” “where we are in this world” and “where we are going.” However, the word ‘ideology’ is too closely linked in many people’s mind with the rigidity of Soviet Marxism-Leninism. Whatever finally emerges will probably be built on the values-led foundation of traditional religions, starting with Russian Orthodoxy, and will include elements from our past, including the pre-Petrine, imperial, and Soviet periods. The current confrontation with the West makes it imperative that some kind of a new ideological concept finally emerges, in which sovereignty and patriotism, law and justice take a central role. Western propaganda pejoratively refers to it as “Putinism” but, for most Russians, it may be simply described as “Russia’s way.”

Read more …

Civil servants blinded by power. Ugly.

Elon Musk Wins Court Battle Against Australia (RT)

Australian Federal Court judge has decided not to extend an order banning Elon Musk’s X (formerly Twitter) platform from displaying a video of a stabbing attack in a church in Sydney. On Monday, Justice Geoffrey Kennett denied an application by the country’s eSafety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, to extend restrictions on the clip, which she had deemed to be “class 1” material relating to high-impact violence. The judge hasn’t yet provided explanations for his ruling. The initial ban on the video, which was imposed by the Federal Court in Melbourne on April 22, expired on Monday. X had refused to comply with the order, which would have made the clip inaccessible to users worldwide. The platform only agreed to block the content in Australia. Musk insisted back then that one country should not have the power to censor the whole internet. The eSafety commissioner argued that a blanket ban was needed as Australians could still access the video through a VPN.

The clip in question showed a stabbing that took place during a live-streamed sermon at an Assyrian Christian church in the suburbs of Sydney on April 15. Four people, including Bishop Mar Mari Emmanuel, were injured in what the Australian authorities described as a “terrorist incident.” The footage of the attack was widely shared online and allegedly prompted heated protests near the crime scene. During the hearing on Friday, lawyer for the eSafety Commissioner, Tim Begbie, argued that the refusal to comply with the order by X amounted to mockery of the Federal Court. “What that says about the authority of the court is pretty striking,” he said.

X’s lawyer Bret Walker argued that the platform did not implement the ban on the stabbing video because the commissioner’s initial take-down notice was invalid and “manifestly inadequate” due to the absence of a detailed description of the reasons for the ban. The social media company believes that “global removal is reasonable when X does it because X wants to do it, but it becomes unreasonable when it is told to do it by the laws of Australia,” Walker told the judge. In late April, Bishop Emmanuel supported Musk during a sermon, saying that he wanted the video of the attack against him to remain online because it is “our God-given right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”

Read more …

Sounds too much like a promo.

The Coming of BRICS+ Decentralized Monetary Ecosystem (Pepe Escobar)

Get ready for what may well be the geoeconomic bombshell of 2024: the coming of a decentralized monetary ecosystem. Welcome to The Unit – a concept that has already been discussed by the financial services and investments working group set up by the BRICS+ Business Council and has a serious shot at becoming official BRICS+ policy as early as in 2025. According to Alexey Subbotin, founder of Arkhangelsk Capital Management and one of the Unit’s conceptualizers, this is a new problem-solving system that addresses the key geoeconomic issue of these troubled times: a global crisis of trust. He knows all about it first-hand: a seasoned financial professional with experience in investment banking, asset management and corporate matters, Subbotin leads the Unit project under the auspices of IRIAS, an international intergovernmental organization set up in 1976 in accordance with the UN statute.

The Global Majority has had enough of the centrally controlled monetary framework put in place 80 years ago in Bretton Woods and its endemic flaws: chronic deficits fueling irresponsible military spending; speculative bubbles; politically motivated sanctions and secondary sanctions; abuse of settlement and payment infrastructure; protectionism; and the lack of fair arbitration. In contrast, the Unit proposes a reliable, quick and economically efficient solution for cross-border payments. The – transactional – Unit is a game-changer as a new form of international currency that can be issued in a de-centralized way, and then recognized and regulated at national level.The Unit offers a unique solution for bottlenecks in global financial infrastructure: it is eligible for traditional banking operations as well as for the newest forms of digital banking.

The Unit can also help to upend unfair pricing in commodity trading, by means of setting up a new – fair and efficient – Eurasian Mercantile Exchange where trading and settlement can be done in a new currency bridging trade flows and capital, thus paving the way to the development of new financial products for foreign direct investment (FDI). The strength of the Unit, conceptually, is to remove direct dependency on the currency of other nations, and to offer especially to the Global Majority a new form of apolitical money – with huge potential for anchoring fair trade and investments. It is indeed a new concept in terms of an international currency – anchored in gold (40%) and BRICS+ currencies (60%). [..] The Global Majority will instantly grasp the primary purpose of the Unit: to harmonize trade and financial flows by keeping them outside of political pressure or “rules” that can be twisted at will. The inevitable consequence translates as financial sovereignty. What matters in the whole process are independent monetary policies focused on economic growth.

That’s the key appeal for the Global Majority: a full ecosystem offering independent, complementary monetary infrastructure. And that surely can be extended to willing Unit partners in the collective West.

Read more …

Friends.

Putin to Visit China at Invitation of Xi Jinping on May 16-17 – Kremlin (Sp.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit China at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, the Kremlin press service said. “At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin will pay a state visit to the People’s Republic of China on May 16-17 as his first foreign trip after taking office,” the statement said. Following the talks, it is planned to sign a joint statement by the heads of state and a number of bilateral documents, the statement read, adding that the leaders will determine the directions for further development of cooperation and discuss most pressing issues. “The program of the visit of the Russian president provides for his meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang, during which it is expected to discuss issues of bilateral cooperation in the trade, economic and humanitarian spheres,” the Kremlin said.

Additionally, Putin will visit Harbin, where he will take part in the opening ceremony of the eighth Russian-Chinese EXPO, meet with students and teachers of Harbin Institute of Technology. Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping will attend a gala evening to mark the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the opening of the Russian-Chinese Years of Culture. “During the visit, Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin will exchange views on bilateral relations and cooperation in various fields, as well as on international and regional issues of common interest, in the context of the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

Read more …

“..this year, we’ve got to increase our production of hijinx and substantially raise the output of malarky.”

Latest Polls Show Biden Will Need Twice As Many Fake Ballots This Year (BBee)

As former President Donald Trump continued to build a sizeable lead in a majority of swing states, the latest polls suggest President Joe Biden would need twice as many fake ballots to win the election this year. The startling poll results presented the Biden campaign with a sobering reminder that the standard number of fake ballots used in previous election years needed to be increased significantly for him to win again in November. “We’ve got to double our target number of fake votes this year,” said a Biden campaign insider under the condition of anonymity. “In previous years, we could just coast by with the standard quota of shenanigans, but this year, we’ve got to increase our production of hijinx and substantially raise the output of malarky.”

The polls also led White House insiders to express concern that there may not even be enough dead people casting votes to overcome the deficit. “We need more dead voters,” another insider said. “We’ve always done a good job of turning out the dead vote, but this year it will be even more crucial to get as many deceased people to the polls as possible.” Democrat ballot production centers across the country have reportedly already been notified to ramp up production to have any chance of meeting the demand in November. At publishing time, the Biden campaign was rumored to be in negotiations with foreign countries for permission to use large quantities of the dead voters they use to rig their elections.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

CO2 history

 

 

Stairway to Heaven

 

 

Optimus

 

 

Ashley Biden
https://twitter.com/i/status/1790028497584259097

 

 

Dragonfly
https://twitter.com/i/status/1789665835604406444

 

 

Labrador vs. Border Collie

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 122024
 


Pablo Picasso Le repos 1932
This painting has a story. It’s very funny.

 

2024 Election Likely The Last To Be Decided By US Citizens – Musk (RT)
James Carville Rages at Trump’s Success (MN)
Bill Maher Upends Stormy Daniels’ Testimony With 2018 Footage (ZH)
Nuland Explains Why US Never Pushed Ukraine Into Talks With Russia (RT)
Ukrainian Government Warns Citizens Of Possible Full Mobilization (RT)
Trump Sees Biden Willing To Stop All Aid To Israel Soon (TASS)
Revisionism Erasing Russia’s Lead Role in WWII Akin to Holocaust Denial (Sp.)
Judge Trashes Election Lawsuit by the Elias Law Firm (Turley)
Macron ‘Hopes’ France Won’t Go To War With Russia (RT)
Xi’s Grand Chess Game: How China Outplays US in Europe (Sp.)
Will Xi Pry Europe From US? (Sp.)

 

 

Maher
https://twitter.com/i/status/1789128345478717768

 

 

Benz DARPA

 

 

Falcon booster

 

 

Ritter Egypt

 

 

Eurovision

 

 

 

 

“..disenfranchise US citizens by importing as many illegal immigrants as possible.”

2024 Election Likely The Last To Be Decided By US Citizens – Musk (RT)

The continuing influx of illegal immigrants into the US could mean that American citizens could cease to decide the outcome of elections in the country in the not-too-distant future, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has predicted. The South African-born billionaire claimed that the Democrats are wittingly refusing to address the issue in the hope of skewing the balance in their favor going forward. Musk’s recent comment came in response to Republican lawmakers passing the Equal Representation Act in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, which would require the Census Bureau to ask respondents about their citizenship in its 10-year surveys. GOP representatives want only US citizens to be counted when determining the number of congressional seats in each state. Speaker Mike Johnson argued that “we should not reward states and cities that violate federal immigration laws and maintain sanctuary policies with increased Congressional representation.”

“Common sense dictates that only American citizens should be counted for electoral apportionment,” he insisted. Democratic Representative Grace Meng described the initiative as “reckless, cynical, and frankly, illegal.” President Joe Biden’s office was quick to state that it “strongly opposes” the measure, “which would preclude the Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau from performing its constitutionally mandated responsibility.” In a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday, Musk wrote that “Unanimous Democrat opposition to requiring citizenship for apportionment of House seats and Presidential electoral college votes says it all.” According to the entrepreneur, “the Democratic Party goal is to disenfranchise US citizens by importing as many illegal immigrants as possible.” “Given the massive influx of illegals from every country on Earth, 2024 will probably be the last election actually decided by US citizens,” Musk concluded.

Last month, he warned that a terrorist attack on the scale of September 11, 2001 on US soil was “only a matter of time,” considering the number of people who have entered the country illegally. In February, the billionaire alleged that the Biden administration is seeking to import as many illegal immigrants as possible, legalize them, and “create a permanent majority – a one-party state.” According to some estimates, there could be as many as 16 million illegal migrants in the US at this point, including over 7.2 million who entered during Biden’s tenure. The issue of lax security at the US-Mexican border has dominated domestic politics in America for months, with Republicans advocating tougher controls and Democrats arguing in favor of a more liberal approach to the issue.

Read more …

“You know this guy’s gonna win by the way, this guy’s gonna win,” said Cuomo.”

James Carville Rages at Trump’s Success (MN)

Veteran political strategist James Carville says “Trump’s more ahead than he’s ever been” as he urged Democrats to try something different because everything they do is “not working.” Trump’s more ahead than he’s ever been,” said Carville, lamenting how fewer Americans than ever are concerned about what happened on January 6. “It’s going the wrong way. It’s not working. Everything we’re that throwing is spaghetti at a wall, and none of it is sticking, me included,” said Carville. “We gotta try to think of something different. Because what we’re doing is really, really not working,” he emphasized.

The former lead strategist in Bill Clinton’s winning 1992 Presidential campaign expressed frustration at his own inability to effect the outcome, lamenting, “The opinion I’ve come to is that I don’t matter.” “It doesn’t matter. You can prepare and you can be on TV, you can write pieces, you can have a YouTube channel, you can have a podcast and nothing, nothing!” Carville complained. “We’ve got to try to think of something different because what we’re doing in really really not working,” he asserted. MSNBC talking heads expressed similar frustration that Americans are no longer buying their hysterical narratives when they were dumbfounded by a new PBS Newshour/NPR/Marist poll that found more Americans believe Joe Biden is a threat to Democracy than Donald Trump.

The sentiment that Trump is on course to win and there’s little Democrats can do about it now they’ve chosen to run a borderline dementia patient in Joe Biden is widely shared. Back in January, top pollster Frank Lunzt said he thought Trump was “done” after January 6 and impeachment but can now barely bring himself to admit that Trump is likely to win the presidency. Former CNN host Chris Cuomo also recently said Trump will win the election and that he’s never seen as much energy behind a candidate, even more so than Obama in 2008. “You know this guy’s gonna win by the way, this guy’s gonna win,” said Cuomo.

Read more …

“..So I just think she’s not a good witness.”

Bill Maher Upends Stormy Daniels’ Testimony With 2018 Footage (ZH)

Comedian Bill Maher just used footage from a 2018 interview with Stormy Daniels to reveal that she completely contradicted her own testimony in the Trump ‘hush-money’ trial last week. After laying out how the Democrats have fumbled the ball on virtually every case against Trump, Maher turned his attention to Daniels, who he called a “bad witness.” “Because, let me show you a little video. This is when I had Stormy on in 2018, and first I asked her why she had sex with Trump… listen to that, and then listen to what she says after that.”

Maher, in 2018, asked her: “Why did you fuck Donald Trump?” saying moments later “but you say it’s not a ‘me-too’ case,” referring to the flood of rape accusations against various men in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. To which Daniels replies: “It is not a ‘me-too’ case. I mean I wasn’t assaulted, I wasn’t attacked or raped or coerced or blackmailed. They tried to shove me in the ‘me-too’ box as part of their own agenda, and first of all I didn’t want to be part of that because it’s not the truth and I’m not a victim in that regard.” Maher then contrasts that statement with Daniels’ testimony last week, saying “she’s talking about he was ‘bigger and blocking the way,’ – it’s all the me-too buzzwords.

During her testimony last week, Daniels claimed “There was an imbalance of power, for sure. He was bigger and blocking the way, but I was not threatened either verbally or physically,” she said, also claiming that she ‘blacked out.’ “She said there was an imbalance of power, for sure. My hands were shaking so hard. She said she blacked out. Blacked out? She’s a porn star. You really think she blacked out? A porn star is used to having sex with people she does not know. That’s the job. It’s kinda like ‘stormy, Bob, Bob, stormy, fuck!’ So I just think she’s not a good witness.”

Maher

Read more …

They weren’t strong enough to talk. So we made them fight instead.

Nuland Explains Why US Never Pushed Ukraine Into Talks With Russia (RT)

Ukraine has never been in a position to get a favorable settlement to end the enduring conflict with Russia and so Washington has never actually encouraged Kiev to negotiate with Moscow, former US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and former acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has claimed. The ex-official and one of the key proponents of supporting Ukraine through military means made the remark in an interview with Politico published on Saturday. A vast part of the interview revolved around the Ukrainian conflict, with Nuland producing a typical mainstream American assessment of it. “Let’s start with the fact that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has already failed in his objective. He wanted to flatten Ukraine. He wanted to ensure that they had no sovereignty, independence, agency, no democratic future – because a democratic Ukraine, a European Ukraine, is a threat to his model for Russia, among other things, and because it’s the first building block for his larger territorial ambitions,” Nuland asserted, without providing any supporting evidence.

The official insisted that Kiev can still “succeed” in the conflict, though she dodged the question of whether she believes Ukraine could seize its former territories from Russia, including the Crimean Peninsula, which broke away from Kiev in the aftermath of the 2014 Maidan coup and joined Moscow after a referendum. “It can definitely get to a place where it’s strong enough, I believe, and where Putin is stymied enough to go to the negotiating table from a position of strength. It’ll be up to the Ukrainian people what their territorial ambitions should be,” she said, adding that “whatever is decided on Crimea, it can’t be remilitarized such that it’s a dagger at the heart of the center of Ukraine.”The former official revealed Washington has never actually pressed Kiev into negotiations with Moscow, claiming its “negotiating position” was never actually strong enough, including in late 2022.

“They were not in a strong enough position then. They’re not in a strong enough position now. The only deal Putin would have cut then, the only deal that he would cut today, at least before he sees what happens in our election, is a deal in which he says, ‘What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is negotiable.’ And that’s not sustainable,” she claimed. Victoria Nuland has been widely perceived as one of the key figures behind the whole Ukrainian crisis that started with the Maidan events, which ultimately brought down Ukraine’s democratically-elected president, Viktor Yanukovich, in 2014. The diplomat, who at the time was Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, infamously showed up among Maidan activists, handing out pastries. The affair became widely known as “Nuland’s cookies,” serving as a textbook example of direct US involvement in the coup.

Read more …

The end of Zelensky.

Ukrainian Government Warns Citizens Of Possible Full Mobilization (RT)

The entire Ukrainian society would need to make sacrifices and forget about their peaceful lives to defeat such an enemy as Russia, Defense Ministry spokesman Dmitry Lazutkin has argued. Kiev is overhauling its military service system to boost conscription numbers following a series of setbacks in its conflict with Moscow, with harsh reforms set to come into force next week. “Globally speaking, starting on May 18, when the mobilization law comes into force, first of all, the approach to this war will change,” Lazutkin told Espresso TV on Saturday. “Because this situation, when some people are fighting at the front lines, while others are living their quiet lives, is obviously coming to an end.” Life in Kiev is “strikingly different” from the situation in the east of the country, which is “abnormal,” according to the official.

“It would be normal if our enemy was weak. But with such an enemy, the whole country and the whole society need to mobilize,” Lazutkin added. Ukraine has been desperate to replace nearly half a million casualties – by Moscow’s estimates – since the outbreak of hostilities with Russia in February 2022. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said last week that Ukraine has lost more than 111,000 soldiers in 2024 alone. Last month, President Vladimir Zelensky enacted amendments to the conscription rules, lowering the draft age to 25, automating summons and greatly expanding the powers of enlistment officers while introducing assorted restrictions for draft dodgers.

The country’s foreign ministry has suspended consular services for military-eligible Ukrainians abroad. Under the legislation, the fines for violations of the military registration rules will also increase up to $520, with Ukrainian authorities threatening to block bank accounts and impose penalties on the property of those trying to avoid military service. In response to the changes, there has been a surge in Ukrainians men seeking to flee the country. Border Service spokesman Andrey Demchenko recently said that around 120-150 people are caught trying to flee Ukraine every day, while some end up dying while trying to cross the border.

Read more …

Costs too many votes.

Trump Sees Biden Willing To Stop All Aid To Israel Soon (TASS)

Former US President Donald Trump believes that the incumbent US leader, Joe Biden, will soon stop providing Israel with any aid. “Biden wants to immediately stop all aid to Israel,” Trump wrote on his page on Truth Social on Friday. Earlier, he said that the Democratic Party, of which Biden is a member, actually hates Israel. US President Joe Biden said in an interview with CNN on May 8 that Washington will stop providing some weapons to Israel if its forces enter Rafah. Later on Wednesday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin explained that the US was reviewing some short-term military aid to Israel over the situation around the Gaza city. On May 5, Axios reported, citing two Israeli officials, that the US administration had put a hold on an ammunition shipment to Israel for the first time since October 7, 2023. On May 7, Politico quoted people familiar with the deliberations as saying that the United States was holding shipments of precision bombs to send a political message to Israel.

Read more …

Yes.

Revisionism Erasing Russia’s Lead Role in WWII Akin to Holocaust Denial (Sp.)

The push by the West to minimize and erase the contributions of Soviet Russia in defeating Nazism and fascism in WWII is a deplorable act of historical revisionism that should be condemned, just as Holocaust denial is condemned by most of society In recent years, there has been an attempt to minimize Russia’s contributions to the war effort against the Nazis, despite the long historical consensus that they did more to defeat the German army than any other country and sacrificed more to accomplish that, some 25 to 27 million Russians, than any other country. Worse yet, some have even gone as far as to equate the Soviets with the Nazis or even paint Nazism as an unfortunate response to the true danger: communism.

“There has also been a decades-long push to equate communism in the USSR with Nazism in Germany,” writes Conor Gallagher in Naked Capitalism. “While originally more of a fringe view, it started to go mainstream back in 2008 when the European Parliament adopted a resolution establishing August 23 as the ‘European Day of Remembrance for the victims of Stalinism and Nazism.’ Also called Black Ribbon Day, the US in 2019 also adopted a resolution to observe the date.”

Also in 2019, Gallagher points out, the European Parliament adopted a resolution blaming the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact for the Second World War, implying that the Soviets were as responsible as the Nazis for the war. “What the Soviet Union did was astronomical, and they paid a very tremendous cost. 27 million lives lost. And, the fact that there is an attempt to tamper with that narrative by Western leaders is really outrageous,” analyst and journalist Caleb Maupin told Sputnik’s The Critical Hour.“ All around the world, people understand that what they call Holocaust revisionism is unacceptable… There are European countries that have laws against that, will put people in jail for doing that. Well, if you try to denigrate the heroic efforts of the Soviet people or the great sacrifices they made with 27 million of their people dying in that war, how is that any different?”

In February, former US President Donald Trump reminded Americans that it was the Russians who were primarily responsible for Adolf Hitler’s defeat. “You’re really up against a war machine in Russia. Russia, what [did] they do? They defeated Hitler, they defeated Napoleon. They are a war machine,” Trump said, leading CNN commentator Jim Sciutto to call those historically factual remarks “a favorite Putin talking point.” Considering that Russian President Vladimir Putin is famously known for his ability to quickly recall historical facts, Sciutto might be right, but not in the way he is portraying. Those with the truth on their side often use historical facts as talking points. “World War II was one of the most devastating wars in history, and the fact that America stood with Britain and France and the Soviet people and the Chinese people to defeat the menace of fascism, that is a very, very important moment in world history, and, seeing that narrative denigrated is outrageous,” Maupin argued.

Read more …

Confusing article.

Judge Trashes Election Lawsuit by the Elias Law Firm (Turley)

The firm of former Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias has lost another election case in a spectacular fashion. The Chief Judge of the Western District of Wisconsin, James Peterson (an Obama appointee), did not just reject but ridiculed the Elias Law Group challenge to a witness requirement for absentee voting. Elias has been previously sanctioned in court and accused of lying in the Steele dossier scandal by journalists and others. U.S. District Judge James Peterson ruled against the lawsuit brought by the Elias Law Group, arguing that the witness requirement violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Civil Rights Act of 1964. The state statute under § 6.87(2) describes what the witness must certify. The statute first sets forth in two sentences what the voter must certify on the ballot envelope. The first requirement concerns the voter certifying that he or she meets the requirements for voting generally and for voting absentee in Wisconsin.

The second requirement is certification that the voter followed the process for preparing the absentee ballot. These are the called the “first voter certification” and the “witness certification.” The witness certification refers to a witness certifying “all of the above,” which is obviously referring to the language on preparing the absentee ballot. Elias argued that it requires certification of everything that preceded it on the details of the voter’s record etc. In the court’s opinion, Judge Peterson expresses disbelief at the lunacy of the Elias argument, writing: “Normally, the court would begin by searching for other textual clues in the statute. But in this case, the most obvious problem with plaintiffs’ interpretation is that it simply does not make any sense.”

The court then notes that: “Under plaintiffs’ interpretation, every witness would have to determine the voter’s age, residence, citizenship, criminal history, whether the voter is unable or unwilling to vote in person, whether the voter has voted at another location or is planning to do so, whether the voter is capable of understanding the objective of the voting process, whether the voter is under a guardianship, and, if so, whether a court has determined that the voter is competent. See Wis. Stat. §§ 6.02 and 6.03. Many witnesses would be unable to independently verify much of the required information. The statute allows any adult U.S. citizen to serve as a witness, suggesting that a wide variety of people should be able to do the job…It makes no sense to interpret § 6.87 in a way that would make compliance virtually impossible.

If plaintiffs’ interpretation were correct, it would mean that countless absentee ballots over decades were invalid because the witness certified that the voter was qualified to vote and met the other requirements in the first voter certification, even though the witness had no basis for such a certification.” However, it gets even wackier. They argued that a simple witness requirement constituted a type of illegal vouching under the Voting Rights Act. This is a reference to the Jim Crow era when a registered voter had to vouch for a new voter, a system meant to prevent African Americans from voting.

The case adds to a long litany of losses and controversies for Elias. That record includes allegations of lying to reporters and subverting voters. Elias featured prominently in the filings of Special Counsel John Durham. It was Elias who made the key funding available to Fusion GPS, which in turn enlisted Steele to produce his now discredited dossier on Trump and his campaign. During the campaign, reporters did ask about the possible connection to the campaign, but Clinton campaign officials denied any involvement. Weeks after the election, journalists discovered that the Clinton campaign hid payments for the Steele dossier as “legal fees” among the $5.6 million paid to Perkins Coie.

Read more …

“..the French president may be using Russophobia and scaremongering tactics to satisfy his ambition of leading the European Union.”

Macron ‘Hopes’ France Won’t Go To War With Russia (RT)

French President Emmanuel Macron has said Paris seeks to avoid direct involvement in the Ukraine conflict, but that an intervention may be necessary to deter Russia from advancing too far. The European Union “would lose all credibility and security” if Russia were to prevail, Macron said in a video posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Saturday, responding to a question on whether France is “going to go to war.” “Our own future and our security is at stake in Ukraine,” the French leader argued, stressing that in addition to delivering more military equipment to Kiev, EU nations must be “ready to act” if “the Russians are going too far.”

“So no, I hope with all my might that we won’t have to go to war,” he said, insisting that France is a “peace power.” However, Paris needs to continue to arm itself in order to “protect peace,” Macron continued, stressing that intervention must remain an option if the country’s interests are threatened. “We have to be dissuasive and credible towards our adversaries sometimes by telling them: ‘If you go too far and if you threaten our interests, my own security, then I do not rule out intervening’,” he said. Macron’s comments echoed his previous non-committal statements on a potential deployment of troops in Ukraine. In February, the French President refused to rule out the prospect of NATO boots on the ground, claiming that the EU’s credibility “will be reduced to zero” if Ukraine is defeated.

A few months later he urged EU nations to boost their military spending and arms production to reduce dependence on Washington. The French president doubled down in an interview with the Economist earlier this month, calling the Kremlin the main threat to EU security and saying that keeping the option of deploying troops in Ukraine is necessary as a “wake-up call,” while defending his “strategic ambiguity” approach. Moscow has criticized Macron’s “dangerous talk,” with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claiming that the French president may be using Russophobia and scaremongering tactics to satisfy his ambition of leading the European Union.

Read more …

“.. Ursula von der Leyen was also present at the meeting “to wag her finger in Xi’s face..”

Xi’s Grand Chess Game: How China Outplays US in Europe (Sp.)

Xi Jinping’s recent European tour was largely perceived as a PR success by China, highlighting the EU’s interest in Chinese investments and market access despite its tough rhetoric, according to Jeff J. Brown. Brown is the author of The China Trilogy, presents blogs and podcasts at China Rising Radio Sinoland, is the producer of China Tech News Flash!, is co-founder and curator of the Bioweapon Truth Commission Global Online Library, and is the founder of Seek Truth From Facts Foundation. “[French President Emmanuel] Macron and Xi signed 18 agreements on technology, agriculture, aviation, green development, SME [small and medium enterprise] cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges, which is good PR for both countries,” Brown told Sputnik, commenting on the first leg of Xi’s trip.

“Xi and Macron will play to their citizens’ hope for deeper Sino-European cooperation and the Old Continent’s industrial sector will continue to quietly invest billions in China, behind the back of Uncle Sam.” France has a much better reputation among the Chinese than the Five Eyes, continued Brown, referring to the Anglophone intelligence alliance encompassing the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. However, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was also present at the meeting “to wag her finger in Xi’s face to remind him of how awful China is towards Europe and if it wasn’t for Beijing’s endless support for Russia, NATO would not be losing the war in Ukraine,” remarked the expert.

The EU’s relationship with China is going downhill, mostly due to US pressure, even though the trend contradicts the bloc’s economic interests, according to Brown. His views were shared by veteran Asia-Pacific affairs expert Thomas Pauken II. “We’re going to see probably improved relations between China and France,” Pauken told Sputnik, explaining that the talks likely included some “key factors in how France and China, their trade and investment ties, [evolve]. But, this will not lead to an improvement between China and the EU Commission.”

Read more …

There is no grand scheme. There are small steps.

Will Xi Pry Europe From US? (Sp.)

Chinese President Xi Jinping concluded his five-day tour of Europe on Friday, having visited three countries: France, Hungary and Serbia. During the visit, Xi promoted China’s vision of a multipolar world and discussed economics and its relationship with Russia. The visit to Europe by Xi, his first in five years, was designed to increase its global reach and give Europe an alternative to a US-led foreign policy that has dominated the continent for decades. One could even say he is trying to pry Europe away from the United States, as the rising power of China and the waning power of the United States seem destined to remain on a collision course. “[Xi] doesn’t really want to face a united front of the Us and the EU in the way Russia has faced on Ukraine. So he’s trying his best to [pry] the Europeans away,” Dr. George Szamuely, a senior research fellow at the Global Policy Institute told Sputnik’s Fault Lines.

The selection of the three countries Xi picked was intentional, partially because each of them has significant historic anniversaries with China, but more importantly, Xi likely sees a chance to make more inroads in each of them. Serbia was the easiest case for Xi to make inroads, Serbia and China have been growing their economic ties recently and when Xi arrived at the Presidential palace, he was greeted by crowds waving Chinese flags and chanting “China, China, China.” Xi’s trip coincided with the 25th anniversary of the NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Serbia, and the Chinese president visited the site of the bombing, which killed three Chinese journalists. “Serbia is still very resentful about NATO’s bombing in 1999, and that’s formed the bond with China because, of course, the Chinese embassy was destroyed during the NATO bombing,” Szamuely explained. “So that kind of creates this bond between China and Serbia as victims of NATO.”

Hungary, likewise, has a strong relationship with China and is quickly becoming China’s entry point for the EU market. It was the 75th anniversary of Hungary and China opening relations, and both countries seemed eager to continue developing their economic ties. “[Xi] went to Serbia and Hungary, two fairly small countries that don’t really carry that much weight, but will nonetheless represent a certain independent way of thinking in Europe. The kind of thinking that Xi Jinping would like to encourage,” Szamuely said. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has distanced his country from other EU members on several issues in recent years, including Ukraine. Last year, Orban held up an EU aid package to Ukraine for months, angering others in the bloc. Hungary’s relationship with China may also allow Xi to circumvent EU tariffs on Chinese EVs, another issue sure to anger Brussels.

During his visits, Xi and his counterparts pledged to continue growing their economic ties and said that a $2.1 billion high-speed rail project that will connect the capitals of Hungary and Serbia will move forward, largely financed with Chinese loans. Both Hungary and Serbia are participants in China’s Belt and Road initiative. But it was Xi’s trip to France that could really change the geopolitical landscape if the two countries start to move closer. The two countries also shared an anniversary during Xi’s visit, it being 60 years since the two countries opened diplomatic relations. More importantly, France is still one of the most powerful countries in the EU and, along with Germany, tends to direct the union’s policies. While in practice, France has been virtually tied to the United States’ foreign policy, French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed a desire to step out from Washington’s shadow.

“Last year, when Macron visited China, on his way back, he talked a lot about Europe needing to carve out strategic autonomy, Europe needing to pursue an independent foreign policy, and, above all, he said we should not blindly follow the United States. Now, Macron didn’t really pursue that,” Szamuely stated. “But probably, Xi Jinping thought, well, that’s a good sign, you know, maybe there’s still some hope in Europe.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Saudi parasols

 

 

Slam dunk

 

 

Shepherd
https://twitter.com/i/status/1789291891558916343

 

 

Baby cheetah

 

 

Belgian
https://twitter.com/i/status/1789382149663027519

 

 

Bat

 

 

Sheer power
https://twitter.com/i/status/1789319688100454745

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 092024
 
 May 9, 2024  Posted by at 9:17 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  56 Responses »


Pieter Bruegel the Elder Dulle Griet, also known as Mad Meg 1563

 

How May 9th Became The Chief National Holiday In Modern Russia (RT)
Stormy Daniels Day: Alvin Bragg Lights Dumpster Fire in Manhattan
Keeping Fani On RICO Trial Under Scrutiny By Appeals Court (ZH)
RFK Jr. Had ‘Dead Worm’ In Brain in 2010– NYT (RT)
Von der Leyen Facing Growing Discontent In EU Capitals – Media (RT)
A tale of Two Sovereigns, a Lackey and a Nanny (Pepe Escobar)
Being An US “Ally” Means Silently Watching Your Own Destruction (Dionísio)
Zuckerberg Considered Buying Associated Press (RT)
MTG Initiates Ouster of US House Speaker (RT)
Hapless President Biden Caught Between Unhappy Base, Unrepentant Israel (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

Stormy
https://twitter.com/i/status/1788059772513619972

 

 

CNN Stormy
https://twitter.com/i/status/1788062188688580682

 

 

Supercharger

 

 

 

 

It’s been 79 years.

How May 9th Became The Chief National Holiday In Modern Russia (RT)

WWII Victory Day, celebrated in Russia on May 9, has become a special holiday. The war was both the greatest trial and the greatest triumph in Russia’s modern history. However, the celebrations acquired their current shape and form not so long ago, and some important traditions were established quite recently. The Act of Unconditional Surrender of the German Third Reich was signed by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel on May 8, 1945, at 22:43 Central European Time. In Moscow, it was already the early hours of May 9th. That very morning, Russians found out that the war, which had claimed 27 million Soviet lives, was finally over and the enemy had surrendered. The first celebration of victory in WWII – or the Great Patriotic War, as it is known in Russia – took place that very day.

Army reports instantly dropped their official tone and described how the residents of Prague pulled the troops off their armored vehicles to dance and drink together. In the provinces, people ran out on the streets and congratulated each other. Indeed, some fanatical Nazis continued to put up resistance, Europe was full of mines, and reports stated that there were many losses throughout the month of May. But the big war was over, and to the sound of fireworks, people returned home. No one doubted that victory in WWII was an incredibly important event. However, people were grieving the deaths of their relatives and friends, and their pain was great. May 9 was immediately designated a national holiday. However, lavish celebrations seemed out of place as the country was in ruins, and mentally and physically crippled soldiers, concentration camp prisoners, ‘ostarbeiters’ and refugees returned home.

In Western Ukraine and the Baltic States, battles against nationalist partisans continued. In those years, the Victory Day Parade was held only once, in the summer of 1945. During this grand spectacle, Wehrmacht and SS banners seized in Germany were thrown in front of the Kremlin. But in the following years, the celebrations became more modest. Every year on May 9th there was a fireworks display, but otherwise, from 1947 it was a regular workday (even though a festive one), and veterans usually celebrated it with friends. Things changed in 1965. By that time, 20 years had passed since the end of the war. New Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, himself a WWII veteran, decided to once again make May 9 a day off. From then on, military parades were held on Victory Day jubilees, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier memorial was opened by the Kremlin wall, and the tradition of laying wreaths at the memorials was established. In short, the holiday acquired a grand scale and became quite solemn after the nation’s pain had somewhat subsided.

The country is gone, but the memory remains . The annual large-scale celebration of Victory Day, with parades held across the country and a military parade on Moscow’s Red Square, is a fairly new tradition. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, an obvious question arose – what should be done with the country’s communist legacy and symbology? For example, the Day of the 1917 Revolution was observed on November 7. It was replaced by another holiday, associated with Russian national heroes Minin and Pozharsky, who lived in the 17th century. But no one ever considered revising May 9th as Victory Day.

However, the authorities wanted to separate the holiday from socialist ideology. In the Soviet Union, ideology and victory were inseparable. But in the 90s, a new era had dawned. The USSR had collapsed. Moreover, many war heroes fell prey to new conflicts. For example, Vladimir Bochkovsky, a hero of the battles in Ukraine and Germany, became a citizen of the unrecognized Republic of Transnistria, which started a bloody uprising against the former Soviet Republic of Moldova. Meliton Kantaria – the standard-bearer who had hoisted the Soviet flag over the Reichstag – was forced to flee from Abkhazia when an ethnic conflict broke out between the Abkhazians and Georgians, even though by that time, he was a very old man. At that time, a question arose – what does Victory Day mean for the new republics?

Opinions differed. In the Baltic states, national elites believed that in the 40s their countries had been held hostage by two totalitarian regimes. Moreover, unofficially, the Nazis were preferred over the communists – for example, in Latvia, the memorial day of the Latvian SS Legion was officially celebrated for some time. In many other former USSR republics, Victory Day is celebrated in one way or another. In Russia, Victory Day has remained one of the most important national holidays, and a key moment in Russian history. However, the holiday has lost some of its political meaning. For example, Lenin’s Mausoleum is draped on May 9 in order to avoid ideological ties, and a new symbol has been added to the celebrations – the black and orange St. George ribbon, which resembles both the ribbon of the Order of St. George (the highest military decoration in Imperial Russia) and the ribbon of the Order of Glory – a WWII soldier’s award.

Russian communists and leftists didn’t like the fact that the Soviet symbols were replaced. However, for the majority of Russian people, other aspects turned out to be more important. WWII impacted almost every family in Russia, and most people consider the Soviet era as simply one period in the country’s history. Therefore, national motives are considered more important than Soviet symbology.

Read more …

“The court was told that this would happen, it happened, and now the court wants to ask the jury to pretend that it did not happen..”

Stormy Daniels Day: Alvin Bragg Lights Dumpster Fire in Manhattan

Before the start of the Manhattan prosecution of former president Donald Trump, I characterized the case of District Attorney Alvin Bragg as based on a type of obscenity standard. In a 1984 pornography case, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart wrote “I shall not today attempt further to define [obscenity]. . . . But I know it when I see it.” Bragg has refused to clearly define the crime that Trump was seeking to conceal when payments for a non-disclosure agreement were listed as a legal expense. We would just know it when we saw it at trial. We are still waiting, but this week, Bragg seems to be prosecuting an actual obscenity case. The prosecution fought with Trump’s defense counsel to not only call porn star Stormy Daniels to the stand, but to ask her for lurid details on her alleged tryst with Trump. The only assurance that they would make to Judge Juan Merchan was that they would “not go into details of genitalia.”

For Merchan, who has largely ruled against Trump on such motions, that was enough. He allowed the prosecutors to get into the details of the affair despite the immateriality of the evidence to any criminal theory. Neither the NDA nor the payment to Daniels is being contested. It is also uncontested that Trump wanted to pay to get the story (and other stories, including untrue allegations) from being published. The value of the testimony was entirely sensational and gratuitous, yet Merchan was fine with humiliating Trump. Daniels’ testimony was a dumpster fire in the courtroom. The most maddening moment for the defense came at the lunch break when Merchan stated, “I agree that it would have been better if some of these things had been left unsaid.” He then denied a motion for a mistrial based on the testimony and blamed the defense for not objecting more.

That, of course, ignores the standing objection of the defense to Daniels even appearing, and specific objections to the broad scope allowed by the court. This is precisely what the defense said would happen when the prosecutors only agreed to avoid “genitalia.” There was no reason for Daniels to appear at all in the trial. Even if he was adamant in allowing her, Merchan could have imposed a much more limited scope for her testimony. He could also have enforced the limits that he did place on the testimony when it was being ignored by both the prosecutors and the witness. Merchan said that he is considering a limiting instruction for the jury to ignore aspects of the testimony.

But that is little comfort for the defendant. The court was told that this would happen, it happened, and now the court wants to ask the jury to pretend that it did not happen. Merchan knows that there is no way for the jury to unhear the testimony. More importantly, the prosecution knew that from the outset. Daniels appeared eager to share the stories for the same reason that she was eager to sell her story. While she said that she “hates” Trump and wants him “held accountable,” Daniels is no victim.

Read more …

“..Trump and other defendants argued that McAfee was wrong not to remove both WIllis and Wade, writing that “providing DA Willis with the option to simply remove Wade confounds logic and is contrary to Georgia law.”

Keeping Fani On RICO Trial Under Scrutiny By Appeals Court (ZH)

One day after former President Donald Trump’s classified documents trial was postponed indefinitely after we learned that the DOJ mishandled evidence in the case (with Judge Aileen M. Cannon citing a mountain of ‘outstanding’ pre-trial matters that would make a May 20 trial ‘imprudent’), another Trump case appears to have no chance of going to trial before the 2024 election. On Wednesday, a Georgia appeals court agreed to review a lower court ruling which allowed Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to remain on the Trump RICO prosecution despite being highly conflicted. To review, Atlanta Judge Scott McAfee of Fulton Superior Court, who donated to Fani Willis when she was running for office, ruled in March that the Fani simply had to kick her lover, Nathan Wade, off the case after she paid him more than $600,000. The two notoriously took several lavish vacations together on Wade’s dime (which Fani swears she repaid in cash).

According to McAfee, while he found the “appearance of impropriety,” no “disqualification of a constitutional officer necessary when a less drastic and sufficiently remedial option is available,” adding “that the prosecution of this case cannot proceed until the State selects one of two options.” And now, the Atlanta Court of Appeals has agreed to hear an appeal from the defendants over whether McAfee erred in his decision. Willis indicted Trump and 18 other defendants last August, accusing them of a wide-ranging scheme to attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state. All of the defendants were charged under Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or RICO, law. Trump and most of the other defendants have pleaded not guilty. In their appeal application, Trump and other defendants argued that McAfee was wrong not to remove both WIllis and Wade, writing that “providing DA Willis with the option to simply remove Wade confounds logic and is contrary to Georgia law.”

Most recently, Willis has defiantly refused to appear before a Georgia Senate Investigative Committee, telling reporters earlier this week (via RedState): REPORTER: Would you appear before a Georgia Senate committee without a subpoena? WILLIS: Well first of all I don’t even think they have the authority to subpoena me, but they didn’t learn the law. REPORTER: Will you appear, yes or no? WILLIS: I will not appear to anything that is unlawful. I have not broken the law in any way. I’ve said it, you know, I’ll say it amongst these leaders—I’m sorry folks get p***ed off that everybody gets treated even. FAITH LEADER STANDING NEXT TO HER: I think she answered that very well.

Read more …

Is it still there?

RFK Jr. Had ‘Dead Worm’ In Brain in 2010– NYT (RT)

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. once thought he had a brain tumor but the dark spot on the scans turned out to be a dead parasitic worm, the New York Times has reported citing legal documents. President John Kennedy’s nephew, who is currently running an independent presidential campaign, has argued that he is both younger and healthier than incumbent President Joe Biden and his chief rival Donald Trump. In 2010, however, RFK Jr. was experiencing “brain fog” and memory loss so severe, he turned to top neurologists for advice about a possible tumor, according to the Times. One New York doctor gave him a different opinion, however: a dead parasite. The anomaly seen on the scans “was caused by a worm that got into my brain and ate a portion of it and then died,” Kennedy said in a 2012 deposition.

In the same legal interview, Kennedy said he “clearly” had cognitive problems, including short-term and longer-term memory loss. In a subsequent interview with the Times, however, he attributed those to mercury poisoning, caused by his fish-heavy diet at the time. Blood tests found mercury levels 10 times higher than the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers safe, Kennedy said, adding that he fully recovered after undergoing chelation therapy to remove the heavy metal from his body. According to the Times article, the cyst containing the dead worm remained in Kennedy’s brain and did not require treatment, nor did he have any aftereffects from it. He said he did not know what type of parasite it may have been or how he contracted it, though he suspected it was on a trip to South Asia.

The 2012 document was related to divorce proceedings from Mary Richardson Kennedy, RFK Jr’s second wife. Kennedy argued at the time that his earnings potential had been diminished by cognitive struggles. Kennedy has been outspoken about another obvious mental condition, a neurological disorder called spasmodic dysphonia that causes his voice to become hoarse and strained. RFK Jr. initially launched a primary challenge to Biden within the Democratic Party, but switched to an independent bid after several months of stonewalling from the party apparatus. Biden, 81, is widely believed to suffer from several cognitive impairments due to his age and prior medical conditions – though his doctors have insisted that the oldest US president ever to be inaugurated was just fine.

Read more …

Another dead worm.

Von der Leyen Facing Growing Discontent In EU Capitals – Media (RT)

EU elites are growing increasingly disenchanted with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Swiss newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung has claimed. Bloomberg reported last month that French President Emmanuel Macron, widely regarded as a key backer in von der Leyen’s rise, is eyeing a replacement for her. Although she is unelected, von der Leyen’s fate still indirectly depends on the outcome of the European parliamentary elections scheduled for next month. She remains the main candidate for the center-right European People’s Party (EPP), which has the most seats in the European Parliament. Despite an expected right wing surge in the upcoming votes, it is expected to reinforce its dominant position in June. Any EPP nominee would still require the backing from an absolute majority of MEPs and von der Leyen has refused to rule out a coalition with right wing groups in order to secure another five-year term.

In an article on Wednesday, Neue Zurcher Zeitung claimed that “in the capitals, many are dissatisfied with [von der Leyen’s] record, with her excessive climate policy [and] the weakening economy.” The media outlet added that “accusations of nepotism and non-transparency” have also cast a shadow on her prospects. According to the Swiss newspaper, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, along with French President Macron, are considering alternatives to von der Leyen, including former European Central Bank president Mario Draghi. Citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg also claimed in April that Macron was discussing potential replacements with other EU leaders. The media outlet likewise named Draghi as a possible candidate.

Macron has taken several thinly veiled swipes at von der Leyen in recent months. In March, he complained that while the “commission presidency is there to defend the general interest,” it has become “over-politicized.” Von der Leyen’s standing has also been shaken by several high-profile scandals. Last month, the commission president found herself in hot water after giving fellow German MEP Markus Pieper the lucrative job of “special adviser” on a reported salary of €17,000 ($18,000) a month. EU heavyweights such as the bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, and Commissioner Thierry Breton have sounded the alarm over “questions about the transparency and impartiality of the nomination process.”The commission, however, insisted that the “process [to appoint Pieper] took place in full compliance with procedures.”

Read more …

“..it’s idle to dwell on what can only be described as suicidal stupidity..”

A tale of Two Sovereigns, a Lackey and a Nanny (Pepe Escobar)

Startling mirror images swirl around two major developments this week directly inbuilt in the Grand Narrative that shapes my latest book, Eurasia v. NATOstan, recently published in the U.S.: Xi Jinping’s visit to Paris and the inauguration of Vladimir Putin’s new term in Moscow. Inevitably, this is a contrasting tale of Sovereigns – the comprehensive Russia-China strategic partnership – and lackeys: the NATOstan/EU vassals. Xi, the quintessential hermetic guest, is quite sharp at reading a table – and we’re not talking about Gallic gastronomic finesse. The minute he sat at the Paris table he got the Big Picture. This was not a tete-a-tete with Le Petit Roi, Emmanuel Macron. This was a threesome because Toxic Medusa Ursula von der Leyen, more appropriately defined as Pustula von der Lugen, had inserted herself in the plot.

Nothing was lost in translation for Xi: this was graphic illustration that Le Petit Roi, the leader of a third-rate former Western colonial power, enjoys zero “strategic autonomy”. The decisions that matter come from the Kafkaesque Eurocracy of the European Commission (EC), led by his Nanny, the Medusa, and directly relayed by the Hegemon. Le Petit Roi spent the whole of Xi’s Gallic time babbling like an infant on Putin’s “destabilizations” and trying to “engage China, which objectively enjoys sufficient levers to change Moscow’s calculus in its war in Ukraine”. Obviously no pubescent adviser at the Elysee Palace – and there’s quite a crowd – dared to break the news to Le Petit Roi about the strength, depth and reach of the Russia-China strategic partnership.

So it was up to his Nanny to volunteer out loud the fine print on the “Monsieur Xi comes to France” adventure. Faithfully parroting Treasure Secretary Janet Yellen in her recent, disastrous Beijing incursion, the Nanny directly threatened the superpowered hermetic guest: you are exceeding in “over-capacity”, you are over-producing; and if you don’t stop it, we will sanction you to death. So much for European “strategic autonomy”. Moreover, it’s idle to dwell on what can only be described as suicidal stupidity.

Read more …

“..if anything is falling, it’s American hegemony, whose containment strategies have so far only resulted in even stronger and more capable opponents..”

Being An US “Ally” Means Silently Watching Your Own Destruction (Dionísio)

The Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, once said that the formula used by the European Union to manage its relations with China is “impractical”, “it’s like driving a car to an intersection and looking at the traffic light and seeing the yellow, green and red lights on at the same time”. I would say more… In addition to the confusion with the traffic light indications, the driver — for the Chinese only — still has to watch out for nails, oil and potholes in the road, which can lead to a crash or damage to the vehicle.

And who would cause such dangers along the way? Given the desperation of the actors involved and the unidirectional nature of the actions… Consequently, the exasperated and catastrophic tone that we find in the Western press, as opposed to a more triumphalist tone that was still in force six months ago (maybe even less than that), tells us everything we need to know. It’s incredible how Western emotions run riot, going from one extreme to the other in very short periods of time. From certain victory in Ukraine against Russia, we move on to widespread panic, in which Sullivan, Biden, Borrell or Macron, who as recently as September were already bathing in the good waters of Crimea, have now moved on to the certainty that Russian troops will not stop at the Dnepr and perhaps not even at the Danube, Rhine or Elbe.

During 2023 we all watched the unstoppable succession of predictions of the fall of the Chinese economy — remember, the Russian one was already “in taters — only now to be panicked by the flood of high-quality, low-cost products that the lazy West can’t even dream of competing with. It’s happening in cars, as well as semiconductors and agricultural machinery, and we’re gradually discovering, from the hysterical tone of Janet Yellen and Blinken, that if anything is falling, it’s American hegemony, whose containment strategies have so far only resulted in even stronger and more capable opponents. After all, it’s hard work that shapes character. The rentier capitalist elite of the West is too used to the easy money of royalties to be able to compete with those who have never abandoned industry, agriculture and truly productive activities.

The fact is that, in the Washington Post, David Ignatius, a researcher linked to the U.S.’s largest think thank, based on work by the Rand Corporation itself, says that analysts say the U.S. is entering a decline from which few powers have recovered; it is also RAND that provides us with an article entitled “U.S.-China rivalry in a new middle age”, pointing to the need for decision-makers to develop a neo-medieval mentality, namely by having to wage war in the knowledge that the “public” doesn’t want it; Borrell says that the U.S. is no longer hegemonic and that China has already become a superpower, something that Brzezinski had promised would never happen again; or the statistics on the U.S. economy, which say that it grew by only 1.6% in the first quarter of 2024, which shows a slowdown compared to the forecast. A big slowdown, considering the 2.7% predicted by U.S. broadcasting networks such as the IMF.

Read more …

To speed up its demise?!

Zuckerberg Considered Buying Associated Press (RT)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg considered acquiring or taking a major stake in the Associated Press news agency, Business Insider reported on Tuesday, citing sources. The potential deal was mooted after the social media giant faced accusations of influencing the 2016 US presidential election. Now known as Meta, the company’s role in the election, in which Donald Trump was voted into power, faced intense scrutiny from Washington amid claims that the platform had helped spread fake news. The moral panic worsened after Facebook disclosed that a Russian agency had spent $100,000 on social network ads that allegedly attempted to incite divisions during the presidential campaign.

Moscow has denied any attempt to interfere in the US election, while Facebook’s vice president for advertising, Rob Goldman, later revealed that the Russian spending had in fact come after the election. Zuckerberg, however, was still forced to make significant changes to Facebook’s services and privacy policies, and even officially apologized to the US Congress in 2018 for his management of the platform. According to Business Insider, the CEO had the idea of acquiring a news outlet around the same time. Sources said Zuckerberg had planned to use it as a reliable source of information to create high-quality news posts and tackle controversy over the platform’s content. The billionaire reportedly discussed the idea extensively within Facebook. While Zuckerberg is said to have considered several media outlets for acquisition, he eventually focused on the Associated Press (AP), the major international news agency based in New York.

The AP is a news cooperative, which made an outright acquisition difficult, sources claimed. Instead, Zuckerberg reportedly focused on the potential permanent subsidization of the agency. According to the report, the tech boss was set on acquiring the AP and even involved Facebook’s mergers and acquisitions team in his plans. He ultimately dropped the idea, however, supposedly fearing even more regulatory scrutiny over the move. Later, Zuckerberg reportedly mulled the idea of launching Facebook’s own news organization to produce original content, and considered luring top journalists from other outlets with financial incentives. This idea was also said to have been abandoned amid concerns about the lack of public trust in the social media giant at the time.

Read more …

Too late now.

MTG Initiates Ouster of US House Speaker (RT)

Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has filed a motion to vacate the chair of the US House of Representatives, accusing Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana of betraying his party. According to the text of the resolution, made public by fellow Republican Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Johnson “has not lived up to a single one” of the seven tenets he announced when he was elected speaker last October. Johnson’s tenure “is defined by one self-serving characteristic: When given a choice between advancing Republican priorities or allying with Democrats to preserve his own personal power, Johnson regularly chooses to ally himself with Democrats,” Greene said. The House leadership responded to Greene’s proposal with a motion to dismiss the resolution. The final vote was 359 in favor (196 Republicans and 163 Democrats) to 43 opposed, saving Johnson’s speakership.

Only 11 Republicans and 32 Democrats voted to support Greene’s resolution, indirectly proving Greene’s point that the speaker is aligned with the “uniparty” in Washington. Among the things Greene and Massie – who backed her proposal – blamed Johnson for was the expulsion of Congressman George Santos in December. His seat was taken over by a Democrat in a special election. Johnson counted on Democrats to pass the omnibus government funding bill in March and the $61 billion funding package for Ukraine in April; on both occasions, the majority of House Republicans voted against. “By passing the Democrats’ agenda and handcuffing Republicans’ ability to influence legislation, our elected Republican Speaker Mike Johnson has aided and abetted the Democrats and the Biden administration in destroying our country,” Greene added.

Bills that Johnson worked to pass funded all of President Joe Biden and the Democrats’ agenda, Greene argued, including the “deadly border invasion,” the “energy-killing Green New Deal climate agenda,” the “weaponized” FBI and the Department of Justice, the “trans agenda on kids,” continued full term abortions, and the “fueling of foreign forever wars.” Greene’s resolution called Johnson’s excuses for these actions “pathetic, weak, and unacceptable,” noting that even with a razor-thin majority in the House, the GOP still has the power of the purse. Johnson also trampled his previous record as a defender of civil liberties to vote against requiring a warrant for FISA spying on Americans, Greene said, and funded the Democrats’ “witch hunt” against the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump.

Read more …

They never expected the blowback.

Hapless President Biden Caught Between Unhappy Base, Unrepentant Israel (Sp.)

Six months out from November’s election, US President Joe Biden continues to flounder on a key foreign policy issue. “We’ve made clear our views about operations in Rafah that could potentially put more than a million innocent people at greater risk,” said White House spokesman John Kirby Monday. “[Biden] also made clear that we continue to believe that the hostage deal was the best way to avoid that sort of an outcome while securing the release of those hostages.” Days later, the IDF’s operation in the southern Gazan city of Rafah continues with no apparent progress on a deal to bring it to an end. The incident is characteristic of the White House’s relationship with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claimed analyst Hasan Unal, which leaves the US president with the impossible task of attempting to please both pro-Palestine elements in his party and Israel’s far-right leadership. The professor of political science and international relations at Bashkent University joined Sputnik’s Fault Lines program Wednesday to discuss these latest developments and their strategic and humanitarian implications.

“I think Israel would’ve wanted to see Hamas rejecting any deal on that,” said Unal after reports emerged the Palestinian group had accepted a proposal negotiated with the help of the US, Egypt and Qatar. “That would have cleared the way for Israel, particularly the Netanyahu government, to undertake that awful military operation in Rafah… It has certainly placed Israel in a very difficult corner in that sense. So Hamas has won the tactical game.” “That doesn’t mean that that is going to stop Israel,” he explained. “Don’t forget, the United States is the only country perhaps in the world that has so much leverage over Israel. On the one hand, yes, there is the Israeli lobby, which is very powerful in the United States. But at the same time the United States has enormous influence and leverage over Israel.”

Unal recounted the United States’ efforts to rein in Israel in the past, such as during 1956’s Suez Crisis in which the US, the Soviet Union, and international authorities ordered Israel to end its occupation of Egyptian territory in the Sinai Desert. The US again forced Israel into a compromise during the 1978 signing of the Camp David Accords and once again when former President Ronald Reagan ordered the country to end its bombing of Beirut in 1982. In 1991 US Secretary of State James Baker succeeded in delaying US loan guarantees to Israel until it agreed to pause illegal settlement building in Gaza and the West Bank. Baker and former President George H.W. Bush faced strident opposition for the move from AIPAC and other pro-Israel interests. Bush lost reelection the following year, and US leaders have shown little willingness to challenge Israel ever since.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

How we do
https://twitter.com/i/status/1787808759756341374

 

 

Sequoia
https://twitter.com/i/status/1787854399894687981

 

 

Big cat belly

 

 

Shark
https://twitter.com/i/status/1787935687821369683

 

 

Empires
https://twitter.com/i/status/1788209987740639713

 

 

Ghost
https://twitter.com/i/status/1787949929907851646

 

 

Pet shower

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 042024
 


John Collier Lady Godiva c1897

 

Trump Pays Fine For Gag Order Violations (RT)
Trump Urges Dismissal of Mar-a-Lago Case (ET)
Stormy Daniels Lawyer Says Payment Wasn’t ‘Hush Money’ (ZH)
Trump Develops Plan On Peaceful Resolution In Ukraine — Telegraph (TASS)
Kiev Has Lost Over 111,000 Troops This Year – Moscow (RT)
Ukraine Can’t Beat Russia On The Battlefield – Senior General (RT)
Freedom Of The Press Dying In West, Any Dissent Snuffed Out – MFA (TASS)
Aggression Against Crimea To Be Met With Crushing Retaliation – Russia (TASS)
This Is Not The EU That Hungary Joined – Orban (RT)
EU Leaders Talking ‘War in Europe’ Shows Their Real Intentions – Orban (Sp.)
Saudi Arabia and Indonesia Lobby EU to Halt Russian Asset Confiscation (Sp.)
The Russia–Iran–China Search For A New Global Security Order (Pepe Escobar)

 

 

MMT?

 

 

Tesla China

 

 

Elon

 

 

“There is no crime. I have a crooked judge..”

Trump Pays Fine For Gag Order Violations (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has paid a $9,000 fine for violating a gag order imposed during his hush money trial in New York, news outlets reported on Thursday, citing a court official. Judge Juan Merchant fined Trump on Tuesday for violating the gag order nine times and instructed him to take down seven “offending posts” from Truth Social and two more posts from his campaign website. Trump is being accused of falsifying business records in an effort to conceal his sexual relationship with former adult film star Stormy Daniels. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and insisted he never had an affair with Daniels. He further slammed the gag order as “unconstitutional,” and argued that the trial is a plot to derail his re-election campaign. During the 11th day of hearings on Friday, the jurors heard the testimony of Hope Hicks, Trump’s former campaign press secretary and White House communications director.

Describing her former boss’s reaction to a Wall Street Journal story about Trump’s alleged affairs with Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, she told the court that Trump was “concerned how it would be viewed by his wife and he wanted me to make sure that the newspapers weren’t delivered to their residence that morning.” Trump and President Joe Biden are neck-and-neck in most polls, with just six months left until election day. Trump continued to insist on his innocence during a rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Wednesday. “There is no crime. I have a crooked judge,” the former president told supporters. According to an NPR/PBS NewHours/Marist poll released on Wednesday, 55% of Americans say that they are not closely watching the hush money trial or not watching it at all. At the same time, 54% of Americans said they believe the investigations into Trump are fair, while 45% view them as unfair.

Read more …

“..selective and vindictive prosecution”

Trump Urges Dismissal of Mar-a-Lago Case (ET)

Former President Donald Trump docketed a brief to support his motion to dismiss the classified documents indictment against him in Florida, citing “selective and vindictive prosecution” on Thursday. The 43-page filing contends that special counsel Jack Smith’s case against the former president “has been motivated by improper political animus.” It cites “targeted leaks and public statements” by President Joe Biden, “urging others to prosecute President Trump.” This refers to a New York Times report from April 2, 2022, reporting that President Biden told his “inner circle that he believed former President Donald J. Trump was a threat to democracy and should be prosecuted.” President Trump’s lawyers contend that the article amounted to presidential pressure on Attorney General Merrick Garland to “act … more like a prosecutor who is willing to take decisive action.”

The motion details a series of events to support the former president’s arguments of a concerted effort by the Biden administration and federal agencies to target him. It points to statements from officials at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which is responsible for the preservation of presidential records, that the Biden administration’s “current business” was investigating the 45th president. Among other events, it cites a text message from a NARA official dated Feb. 9, 2022, stating that the classified documents have “consumed all of our discussions” with the Biden White House. “There is evidence of vindictive political animosity focused on election interference in these proceedings, which is part of the reason why the Special Counsel’s Office is wrong in the claim that President Trump ‘does not contend that the Special Counsel himself was motivated by improper considerations,’” President Trump’s lawyers argue.

In a March 7 filing, Mr. Smith argues against President Trump’s claims that the prosecution team, influenced by political bias, is selectively targeting him for prosecution. Prosecutors from the special counsel’s office argue that the former president hadn’t identified anyone in his motion who was engaging in similar conduct without being prosecuted and failed to provide evidence that his indictment was solely retaliatory. “Trump contends … that he has been subject to selective and vindictive prosecution,” the prosecution wrote. “But he has not identified anyone who has engaged in a remotely similar battery of criminal conduct and not been prosecuted as a result.

Read more …

“..he said it was a “Consideration”,..

Stormy Daniels Lawyer Says Payment Wasn’t ‘Hush Money’ (ZH)

A lawyer who was involved in negotiations between former President Donald Trump and two women denied that payments made to them constituted “hush-money,” and instead used the word “consideration.” Keith Davidson, who negotiated deals with both Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) and model Karen McDougal, disputed Manhattan prosecutor Joshua Steinglass’s language during a May 2 court appearance. “It wasn’t a ‘payout’ and it wasn’t ‘hush money.’ It was consideration in a civil settlement,” said Davidson. “Would you use the phrase hush money to describe the money that was paid to your client by Donald Trump?” Steinglass shot back. “I would never use that word,” Davidson replied. When asked what he would call it, he said it was a “Consideration,” comparing it to a contract in which one pays to have one’s lawn mowed.

Trump attorney Emil Bove pressed Mr. Davidson on his understanding of extortion law, grilling him about previous instances in which he solicited money to suppress embarrassing stories, including one involving wrestler Hulk Hogan. Mr. Bove suggested to the witness that by the time he negotiated the payments for Ms. McDougal and Ms. Clifford, he would have been “pretty well versed in coming right up to the line without committing extortion.” “I had familiarized myself with the law,” Mr. Davison replied. -Epoch Times. Davidson also told Steinglass that he worked out the “consideration” deal with former Trump attorney Michael Cohen just days before the 2016 election, but that Trump never signed it.

Read more …

“Trump will focus on a simple message that he would end the war in an attempt to win over US voters..”

Trump Develops Plan On Peaceful Resolution In Ukraine — Telegraph (TASS)

Former US President Donald Trump has developed a detailed plan on resolving the Ukrainian conflict peacefully, but will not reveal it until the election, the Daily Telegraph reported, citing an anonymous source close to the politician. “There is a plan, but he’s not going to debate it with cable news networks because then you lose all leverage,” the source said. Instead, according to the source, Trump will focus on a simple message that he would end the war in an attempt to win over US voters. At the end of April, Trump said in an interview with Time that he would not provide aid to Ukraine if elected unless Europe chips in. Russia has repeatedly voiced its position regarding the situation around Ukraine at various levels. Previously, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova noted that Moscow has always been and remains open to a diplomatic settlement of the crisis, and it is ready to respond to truly serious proposals, while the Kiev regime interrupted and prohibited further negotiations with Russia.

Read more …

Not much fighting going on?!

Kiev Has Lost Over 111,000 Troops This Year – Moscow (RT)

Ukrainian military losses since the beginning of the year have surpassed 111,000 troops, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Friday, as he shared Moscow’s latest estimates from the conflict. Russian forces “continue to break up” Ukrainian defensive positions along the entire front line, preventing their attempts to stall advances by Moscow’s troops, the senior official reported during a ministerial meeting. Russia’s territorial gains this year have amounted to 547 sq km, he added. Shoigu accused the US and its allies of pressuring Kiev into disregarding the cost of continued fighting. As a result, Ukraine suffered 1,000 casualties daily throughout April, the minister claimed.

Kiev has ramped up its mobilization efforts due to high attrition, Shoigu added, claiming that Ukrainians unwilling to fight “are being forced to the front line” and certain death. The Russian defense chief accused the leadership in Kiev of sacrificing citizens for the sake of continued Western financial and military assistance. In addition to inflicting significant casualties, Russian forces have also destroyed some 21,000 heavy weapons operated by Ukrainian forces, Shoigu stated. In April, Shoigu estimated Ukrainian casualties as approaching 500,000 since the hostilities with Russia started in February 2022.

Earlier this year, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signed into law a radical reform of military service, which includes harsher punishments for draft dodgers and facilitates the work of conscription officers. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has since suspended consular services for military-age men residing in foreign countries, stating that anyone avoiding mobilization does not deserve them. Kiev is also seeking assistance from Western nations in its attempts to force potential conscripts to return. The country’s border service said last month that since February 2022, some 30 Ukrainian citizens have died while trying to illegally flee to other nations.

Read more …

“Our problem is very simple: we have no weapons..”

Ukraine Can’t Beat Russia On The Battlefield – Senior General (RT)

A Ukrainian military victory over Russia is unfeasible, a senior military intelligence official in Kiev has predicted. Peace talks with Moscow are nonetheless unlikely before 2025, he claimed. Vadim Skibitsky, the deputy head of Ukraine’s GUR military intelligence agency, shared his grim perception of the frontline situation in an interview with The Economist published on Thursday. He expects Russia to launch a major offensive by the end of May or the beginning of June, with Kiev’s forces badly positioned to prevent it. “Our problem is very simple: we have no weapons,” Skibitsky explained. Kiev’s armament woes will not be addressed anytime soon, even after the US approved an additional $60 billion in Ukraine-related spending, the British magazine reported, saying it will be weeks before new aid filters through to the front line.

A lack of willing draftees is also undermining Kiev’s war effort, including those recruited under draconian new rules, the report stated. Skibitsky reiterated Kiev’s claims that Moscow intends to capture the Donbass city of Chasov Yar by May 9, when Russia celebrates victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. The Ukrainian military leadership announced the purported deadline in mid-April, and has recently boasted about depriving Moscow of its supposed wish. Russia will eventually take Chasov Yar anyway, Skibitsky told The Economist. The general added that he does not see a way for Ukraine to win on the battlefield alone, describing the continuing hostilities as an attempt by both sides to gain a stronger position in future peace talks. Skibitsky believes that no meaningful negotiations will happen before 2025.

Moscow has repeatedly said that, unlike Kiev, it is willing to negotiate peace as long as “realities on the ground” are acknowledged. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky intends to promote his “peace formula” – a list of demands to Russia – to neutral nations during an international event in Switzerland in mid-June. Russia has said it will not participate in the process, which it sees as irrelevant, even if invited. The event organizers “do not intend to seek a road to peace let alone analyze the roots of the Ukraine conflict,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday. The West is seeking to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia, rather than an end to the bloodshed, she claimed.

Read more …

“In Ukraine, the criminal regime of [President Vladimir] Zelensky has annihilated freedom of speech once and for all..”

Freedom Of The Press Dying In West, Any Dissent Snuffed Out – MFA (TASS)

Freedom of the press is under attack in the West, where the authorities stamp out any dissent and repress journalists, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement dedicated to World Press Freedom Day on May 3. “Unfortunately, World [Press Freedom] Day, which was conceived as a global celebration, is gradually degenerating into a meaningless date. This situation can change only if there is an honest assessment of the situation surrounding freedom of the press and journalist safety that is not distorted by Western propaganda,” the ministry pointed out. “We once again draw attention to the deplorable situation regarding freedom of expression and equal access to information in the countries of the collective West,” the ministry noted, adding that “the so-called democratic countries continue destroying every pocket of dissent in violation of all international obligations.”

“Investigative journalist Julian Assange and other prisoners of conscience continue to languish in London’s dungeons,” the report said. “So far there has been no reaction from international human rights organizations on the death of journalist Gonzalo Lira in a Ukrainian prison this January. He was rejected by both of his countries of citizenship, the United States and Chile,” it added. The Russian Foreign Ministry also pointed to the “incessant arbitrariness committed by the Western authorities against the Russian media and journalists, who have fully felt the repressive machine of the neoliberal West.” “Special attention should be paid to the appalling situation regarding freedom of the media in the Baltic republics and Moldova. Their authorities, under the pretext of combating ‘Russian propaganda,’ with the silent consent of their Western curators, have organized persecutions against representatives of Russian-language media,” the ministry explained.

“In Ukraine, the criminal regime of [President Vladimir] Zelensky has annihilated freedom of speech once and for all by banning all opposition media outlets and closing access to thousands of Internet resources,” the Russian Foreign Ministry continued. “The indulgence of Kiev by its overseas masters has also led to the continuation of brutal massacres against Russian journalists. The list of national media representatives who were killed by Ukrainian militants was recently expanded to include Semyon Yeremin, a military correspondent for Izvestia, who was murdered by neo-Nazis using a UAV while performing his professional duties,” the ministry noted. “UNESCO Director General Audrey Azule has not yet condemned the cold-blooded murder of Semyon Yeremin, as well as other Russian journalists (Daria Dugina (Platonova), Vladlen Tatarsky (Maxim Fomin), Oleg Klokov, Rostislav Zhuravlev, Boris Maksudov),” the ministry added.

Read more …

“In recent days, Maria Zakharova continued, Ukrainian forces “have been seen using several US-made ATACMS long-range missiles, which were secretly received a month ago, against Crimea”

Aggression Against Crimea To Be Met With Crushing Retaliation – Russia (TASS)

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned Washington, London and Brussels that any aggressive actions against Crimea and the Crimean Bridge are doomed to fail and will be met with crushing retaliation. “I would like again to warn Washington, London, Brussels that any aggressive actions against Crimea are not only doomed to fail, but will also be met with a blow of retaliation that will be crushing,” the diplomat said at a news conference. In recent days, Zakharova continued, Ukrainian forces “have been seen using several US-made ATACMS long-range missiles, which were secretly received a month ago, against Crimea.”

“According to the Russian Defense Ministry, all the missiles that were fired were destroyed,” she said. “After Easter, Kiev expects to receive the first F-16 aircraft, which, according to the UK plan, can also be used in the operation to destroy the Crimean bridge.” The diplomat warned that “Russian law enforcement agencies thoroughly record the crimes of Ukrainian neo-Nazis.” “Not a single atrocity of the Kiev regime remains unnoticed. Those involved are being identified and brought to justice,” she said.

Read more …

“He still believes that being part of the union is in the national interest..”

This Is Not The EU That Hungary Joined – Orban (RT)

Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban has decried the state of the European Union, claiming it is almost unrecognisable from the bloc the Budapest joined 20 years ago. Orban was a strong proponent of the move in 2003, when Hungarians overwhelmingly voted for their country to become an EU member. The country’s accession was finalized on May 1 of the following year. However, the policies of the bloc have significantly changed since then, the Hungarian leader noted during his regular Friday appearance on Kossuth Radio. He still believes that being part of the union is in the national interest, but listed several points on which he disagrees with Brussels. When Budapest joined the bloc, it did not expect to be forced to take in immigrants from other parts of the world or pressured over its constitutional protection of the family, defined as being based on a marriage between a man and a woman, Orban said.

Accession “wasn’t about the European leaders maneuvering the continent into a war instead of peace,” he added, referring to the arming of Ukraine against Russia. The prime minister urged EU citizens to vote in the upcoming European Parliament elections for parties that support a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine conflict, including the Orban-led Fidesz Party in Hungary. If a significant number of pro-peace candidates become MEPs, “we can have a European Parliament that does not push European leaders towards war, but pulls Europe back from the edge of the abyss,” he argued. Earlier this week, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Budapest would oppose a plan proposed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to establish a €100-billion ($107 billion) five-year aid scheme for Kiev. Hungary has been a member of the US-led military bloc since 1999. In March, American Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman accused Orban’s government of undermining NATO’s commitment to Kiev and of “standing with Russia.”

Read more …

“..Europe is playing with fire at this moment, we are balancing on the edge of war and peace..”

EU Leaders Talking ‘War in Europe’ Shows Their Real Intentions – Orban (Sp.)

EU leaders talking about “a war in Europe” shows their real intentions, but they are playing with fire, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday. In an interview with the Kossuth radio broadcaster, the official recalled the recent statement by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell that the spread of war to Europe is no longer a fantasy and the words of Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski that the conflict has no diplomatic solution, and it can only be resolved by military force. “These are not communication bubbles, but the implementation of real political intentions and reflections. Europe is playing with fire at this moment, we are balancing on the edge of war and peace,” Orban said.

Read more …

Odd couple..

Saudi Arabia and Indonesia Lobby EU to Halt Russian Asset Confiscation (Sp.)

Saudi Arabia and Indonesia are trying to persuade EU countries to abandon the confiscation of Russian assets. The countries have been lobbying EU capitals not to seize the assets, fearing for the future of their own reserves held in the West, the Financial Times reports, citing officials. While the US and Canada continue to push for the confiscation of Russian assets, the EU “remains highly cautious, resulting in a stalemate,” the outlet said. Confiscating Russian assets could trigger a wave of reparations claims stemming from long-standing disputes, such as those against Germany after the two world wars, as well as former colonies making claims against former imperialist powers, the FT noted, citing EU officials.

“Moving from freezing the assets, to confiscating them, to disposing of them [could carry the risk of] breaking the international order that you want to protect,” European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said. While Ukraine insists on the complete seizure of Russia’s assets, G7 officials privately declare that such a step is “no longer on the table.” The Russian Foreign Ministry has called the freezing of Russian assets theft, noting that such an attempt violates international law.

Read more …

SCO.

The Russia–Iran–China Search For A New Global Security Order (Pepe Escobar)

The Hegemon has no idea what awaits the Exceptionalist mindset: China has started to decisively stir the civilizational cauldron without bothering about an inevitable array of sanctions coming by early 2025 and/or a possible collapse of the international financial system. Last week, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his list of delusional US demands was welcomed in Beijing by Foreign Minister Wang Yi and President Xi Jinping as little more than an annoying gnat. Wang, on the record, stressed that Tehran was justified in defending itself against Israel’s shredding of the Vienna Convention when it attacked the Iranian consulate in Damascus. At the UN Security Council, China now openly questions not only the state terror attack on the Nord Streams but also the US–Israel combo’s blocking of Palestinian statehood.

Moreover, Beijing, just like Moscow recently, hosts Palestine’s political factions together in a conference aiming to unify their positions. Next Tuesday, only two days before Moscow celebrates Victory Day, the end of the Great Patriotic War, Xi will land in Belgrade to remind the whole world about the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Chinese embassy by the US, UK, and NATO. Russia, meanwhile, provided a platform for the UNRWA – the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees, which Israel has sought to defund – to explain to high representatives of BRICS-10 the cataclysmic humanitarian situation in Gaza, as described by UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini. In short, serious political business is already being conducted outside of the corrupted UN system, as the United Nations disintegrates into a corporate shell with the US dictating all terms as the largest shareholder.

Yet another key example of BRICS as the new UN: Russian Security Council chairman Nikolai Patrushev met in St. Petersburg with his Chinese counterpart Chen Wenqing on the sidelines of the 12th International Security Summit, congregating over 100 nations, including the security heads of BRICS-10 members Iran, India, Brazil, and South Africa, as well as Iraq. But the key crossroads these past few days was the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) defense summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. For the first time, the new Chinese Defense Minister, Dong Jun, met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, to emphasize their comprehensive strategic partnership. Dong, significantly, stressed the “dynamic” nature of China–Russia military interaction, while Shoigu doubled down, saying it “sets a model for interstate relations” based on mutual respect and shared strategic interests.

Addressing the full SCO assembly, Shoigu emphatically refuted the massive western propaganda drive about a Russian “threat” to NATO. Everybody was at the SCO defense ministers’ meeting – including, at the same table, India, Iran, Pakistan, and Belarus as an observer. Minsk is eager to join the SCO. The interlocking Russia–Iran–China strategic partnerships were totally in sync. Apart from Dong meeting Shoigu, he also met Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, who lavishly praised Beijing’s condemnation of the Israeli terror air strike in Damascus. What is happening now between Beijing and Tehran is a replay of what started last year between Moscow and Tehran, when a member of the Iranian delegation on a visit to Russia remarked that both parties had agreed on a mutual, high-level “anything you need” relationship.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Rogan UFO
https://twitter.com/i/status/1786653336269115699

 

 

Seed oil

 

 

Raccoon
https://twitter.com/i/status/1786418202731282523

 

 

Winston

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 152024
 


Charles Sprague Pearce Lamentations over the Death of the First-Born of Egypt 1877

 

Trump Set For Monday ‘Fake Biden Trial’ With ‘Highly Conflicted’ Judge (ZH)
19 Retired Generals, Admirals File SCOTUS Brief Against Trump Immunity Bid (ET)
Judge Upholds Georgia’s Voter Citizenship Verification Requirements (ET)
Low IQ (Michael Tracey)
Will the American Oligarchy Accept Limits or Choose World War Three? (NC)
America Has a Problem With Love and Fear (Suchkov)
A Tempering of American-Israeli Aggression? (Paul Craig Roberts)
Scott Ritter: Iran’s Retaliatory Attack ‘Reestablished Deterrence’ (Sp.)
Netanyahu Called Off Retaliation Strikes After Speaking To Biden – NYT (RT)
Russia Slams UNSC for Ignoring Attack on Iranian Consulate (Sp.)
Zelensky Takes Advantage of Iran-Israel Crisis to Plead for More Money (Miles)
Ukrainian FM Publicly Blackmails West Over Oil Prices (RT)
Germany Escalates Donbass Conflict, Kiev Says Frontline is Deteriorating (Sp.)
Germany Joins Israel In Dock For Genocide (SCF)
Royal Marines To Lead ‘Dunkirk-style’ Evacuation Of Britons In Middle East (DM)

 

 

 

 

Scholz
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779509472391495791

 

 

Coastguy

 

 

 

 

Constanza
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779280505852060066

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thought we established that Michael Cohen had an affair with Stormy Daniels, paid for with Trump’s money. Anyhoo, it should be a spectacle.

Trump Set For Monday ‘Fake Biden Trial’ With ‘Highly Conflicted’ Judge (ZH)

Former President Trump will take his 2024 campaign to New York on Monday, where he’ll be sitting in a Manhattan courtroom for what he decried as a “Fake Biden Trial” to face 34 counts of falsifying business records in connection with the Stormy Daniels ‘hush money’ embroglio. The trial comes after an unsuccessful bid to adjourn the case due to overwhelming pretrial publicity, which Judge Juan Merchan denied, calling adjournment “not tenable.” Trump has taken to Truth Social in recent days, suggesting on Sunday that Merchan is “perhaps the most highly conflicted Judge in New York State history,” who gave Trump’s legal team insufficient time to analyze “hundreds of thousands of pages of documents that D.A. Alvin Bragg illegally hid, disguised, and held back from us.” As the WSJ notes, “The 34 felony counts in the indictment are all tied to records that prosecutors said Trump falsified as he reimbursed Cohen for the Daniels deal. They include 11 invoices, 12 general ledger entries and 11 checks.”

As Mike Shedlock of Mishtalk notes, expect a media circus. “A Recording Crime. District Attorney Alvin Bragg took each receipt, invoice, and ledger receipt and made a separate felony charge out of each of them. Then Bragg twisted those charges into an intent to commit other crimes. Yet Trump is not charged with other crimes, only falsifying records. And it’s plausible that Trump had no direct knowledge of the mess. This story goes back to Michael Cohen, a former attorney of Donald Trump, who landed in prison for by paying adult-film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 in 2016 to keep quiet about an alleged sexual encounter she had with Trump a decade earlier. The Journal notes that Falsifying business records is a misdemeanor under New York state law, but it can be elevated to a felony if records were falsified to conceal or commit another crime. What other crime? Trump is charged with none.”

Meanwhile as Politico reports, in addition to taking a “wrecking ball to Michael Cohen,” with nearly half of the respondents in a recent Politico/Ipsos poll saying that Cohen is not honest… Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s “Star Witness, Trump could try “asking the judge to give the jury the option of convicting him on lesser, misdemeanor offenses instead of the felony counts that have actually been brought by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and his team of prosecutors.” Journalist Laura Loomer, a Trump supporter, has posted several receipts over the past several weeks showing Merchan’s various conflicts – including the fact that his daughter professionally brags about “doing ground-breaking, historical work for clients” including “Kamala Harris, Adam Schiff, and others.” Loomer also noted that Andrew Laufer, the lawyer for Michael Cohen (DA Alan Bragg’s “Star witness”), is tight with NY Attorney General Letitia James – who Merchan’s wife worked for in what Loomer describes as a “major conflict of interest.”

Read more …

“The threat of future prosecution and imprisonment would become a political cudgel to influence the most sensitive and controversial presidential decisions..”

19 Retired Generals, Admirals File SCOTUS Brief Against Trump Immunity Bid (ET)

More than a dozen former Defense Department officials, generals, and admirals filed a brief with the Supreme Court arguing against former President Donald Trump’s presidential immunity arguments. It comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on the former president’s assertions that he should enjoy immunity from prosecution for activity that he carried out while he was president. The former president invoked that argument after he was accused by federal prosecutors of attempting to illegally overturn the 2020 election results. The amicus brief’s signatories include former CIA Director Michael Hayden, retired Admiral Thad Allen, retired Gen. George Casey, retired Gen. Charles Krulak, and more. They claimed that granting President Trump immunity against criminal claims could lead to activity that put U.S. national security at risk.

“The notion of such immunity, both as a general matter, and also specifically in the context of the potential negation of election results, threatens to jeopardize our nation’s security and international leadership,” their brief stated. “Particularly in times like the present, when anti-democratic, authoritarian regimes are on the rise worldwide, such a threat is intolerable and dangerous.” The arguments submitted by President Trump will “risk jeopardizing America’s standing as a guardian of democracy in the world and further feeding the spread of authoritarianism, thereby threatening the national security of the United States and democracies around the world,” the group added. The former secretary of Defense under President Trump, Mark Esper, was critical of their submission to the Supreme Court, arguing during a CNN interview that he “would prefer to see retired admirals and generals not get involved.”

But President Trump’s lawyers have contended that the president’s office cannot function without immunity from the threat of prosecution because it could “incapacitate every future president with de facto blackmail and extortion while in office and condemn him to years of post-office trauma at the hands of political opponents,” arguing that such a phenomenon is playing out right now after the former president was indicted multiple times last year. The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had earlier issued a ruling against President Trump’s arguments that he should be declared immune from prosecution. The appeals process, meanwhile, has put on hold the former president’s trial in Washington. “A denial of criminal immunity would incapacitate every future president with de facto blackmail and extortion while in office, and condemn him to years of post-office trauma at the hands of political opponents. The threat of future prosecution and imprisonment would become a political cudgel to influence the most sensitive and controversial presidential decisions, taking away the strength, authority and decisiveness of the presidency,” according to President Trump’s filing issued last month.

Read more …

They want every Democrat to be able to cast 1,000 votes.

Judge Upholds Georgia’s Voter Citizenship Verification Requirements (ET)

A federal judge has dismissed a legal challenge to Georgia’s voter citizenship verification requirements, keeping in place the state’s process of cross-checking citizenship status to determine voter eligibility and handing a win to election integrity advocates. Judge Eleanor Ross of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia issued a ruling on April 11 that dismisses a lawsuit brought by a coalition of advocacy groups nearly six years ago that claimed Georgia’s voter citizenship verification requirements unfairly discriminated against naturalized citizens, who are more likely to be people of color. Following a three-day trial, the judge ruled that all four of the plaintiffs’ claims—including that the protocols violated multiple federal laws, the U.S. Constitution, and unfairly burdened the right to vote—are dismissed.

In so doing, the judge sided with a motion for summary judgment made in 2021 by the defendant, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who argued that the state’s protocols for matching naturalized citizens’ voter registrations with the state’s citizenship records were “entirely reasonable” and placed a “minimum burden” on applicants. Mr. Raffensperger argued that, in almost every case, the requirement was fulfilled by matching driver’s licence or state identification numbers submitted for voter registration with corresponding records at the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) to confirm citizenship status. When a naturalized citizen registers to vote in Georgia, their county registrar verifies proof of citizenship using DDS data. If that voter’s citizenship cannot be verified through that database, the onus is on the voter to submit proof of citizenship within 26 months or their voter registration application will be canceled.

The plaintiffs have alleged that DDS data is often outdated, leading many naturalized citizens’ voter registrations to be flagged and canceled unfairly. Mr. Raffensperger disputed the claim that this issue affected many people, arguing in his motion that “any arguable burden on this small group of people to demonstrate they are now citizens is minimal and does not go beyond the ‘usual burdens of voting’ because it can be resolved as simply as showing the same photo identification that every Georgia voter is required to show in order to vote in person in Georgia.” He also argued that the citizenship process serves a “compelling interest” in ensuring that only eligible voters are allowed to cast a vote, an argument raised by election integrity advocates across the country amid various disputes over voting rules.

The plaintiffs sued Mr. Raffensperger in 2018, arguing that the state’s protocols for matching naturalized citizens’ voter registrations with the state’s citizenship records violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA) and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. They also claimed that these protocols put an unfair burden on the right to vote, in violation of 1st and 14th Amendment protections, while also claiming that the requirements ran counter to the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) by delaying or denying qualified voters from registering to cast ballots.

The coalition of groups asked the court to rule that the citizenship matching protocols were illegal, and to permanently block their enforcement. The case eventually went to trial on April 8, 2024, leading to a favorable ruling for Mr. Raffensperger and delivering a win to election integrity advocates more generally. “Ensuring that only U.S. citizens vote in our elections is critically important to secure and accurate elections,” Mr. Raffensperger said in a statement praising the ruling. “Georgia’s citizenship verification process is common sense and it works. With this ruling, we are able to continue ensuring that only U.S. citizens are voting in our elections,” he added.

Read more …

X thread.

Low IQ (Michael Tracey)

The self-serving Low IQ history of how Trump’s assassination of Iranian general Soleimani supposedly unleashed an era of peace and tranquility across the Middle East is so painfully idiotic. In one of the most brutishly stupid acts of Trump’s entire presidency, he and his rabidly interventionist Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, manufactured a fake pretext to launch the brazen, region-destabilizing attack. Trump fabricated what his administration claimed was a “self-defense” rationale for the assassination — arguably the most severe instance of direct state-on-state warfare between the US and Iran since the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Trump and the hardcore interventionists and regime change fanatics with which he filled his administration actually tried to invoke the 2002 AUMF in Iraq — yes, the Iraq War resolution that Joe Biden infamously voted for — as justification for the Soleimani strike.

They lied and claimed there was an “imminent threat” to the US, parroting the Bush Administration’s language used to sell the Iraq invasion. They even absurdly claimed that part of the rationale for the assassination was that Iran had provided material support to the 9/11 hijackers. No argument was too preposterous. The drone-bombing of one of the most prominent figures in Iranian society effectively destroyed any prospect of future diplomatic engagement between the US and Iran. Millions flooded the streets in protest, including in Iraq, where the drone strike took place. US embassies and other installations were hit with rockets and ransacked.

The Iraqi parliament demanded the immediate expulsion of all US troops from the country, but rather than take this opportunity to finally extricate US forces, Trump refused and kept them there. Reprisal attacks were launched against US troops and continued for months, with 62 soldiers receiving Purple Hearts for the traumatic brain injuries they endured from Iran’s retaliatory missile strikes. Trump loaded up his administration with anti-Iran regime change obsessives like Pompeo, Mike Pence, John Bolton, Nikki Haley, among others, deferred to the fanatically “pro-Israel” prerogatives of his chief financial patron Sheldon Adelson, and was heralded by Bibi Netanyahu for carrying out the most hardcore pro-Israel and “anti-Iran” policy agenda of any President in US history.

This was all part of the so-called “maximum pressure” strategy against Iran favored by Netanyahu and the fanatically pro-Israel “GOP establishment” to whom Trump essentially handed over control of his administration. As with many issues, there’s been more continuity between the Trump and Biden administrations than either like to let on, with the cratering of US-Iran relations continuing to this day. Trump still brags about how much pointless suffering his “crippling sanctions” (a term borrowed from Obama) inflicted on ordinary Iranian citizens. On the one hand, MAGA will brag about how un-warlike Trump allegedly was, but on the other, they’ll brag about how awesome it was that he drone-assassinated Iran’s top military official and hurtled the region into chaos — the consequences of which still reverberate today. This pro-Trump argument is idiotically schizophrenic, but that’s nothing new for Low IQ partisans.

Read more …

“The entire post-WWII elite American mindset is built on the foundation of worldwide profit expansion via silicon and fire..”

Will the American Oligarchy Accept Limits or Choose World War Three? (NC)

The US is a market state that is dominated by and run for transnational capital. Its foreign policy and the military are a tool of the American oligarchy. Therefore, any serious policy discussion needs to deal with the fact that national interests as they’re expressed today are not in any real sense national but representative of the interests of a small cohort of the super wealthy. When US officials go on about spreading “freedom,” they’re not lying. It’s just their idea of freedom is a state devoted to high profits – free from the political whims of local populations that could degrade an investment’s expected return. Let’s remember there likely wouldn’t be any problem with Russia had Putin not put an end to the 1990s shock therapy administered by the Western finance capitalists who were making a killing by pillaging Russian resources. Like Bert Hoover, they’re haunted by that opportunity snatched away from them, and they’ve been trying to get it back for a quarter century now.

The question is will American capital ever voluntarily give up? Will it ever say “okay, we’re satisfied with what we’ve got here, you do your thing in your sphere of influence”? It’s not like Moscow and Beijing haven’t tried. Russia for example floated the idea of joining NATO or working out some other security arrangement. For decades after the end of the USSR, Russia tried to be accepted into the West’s club to no avail. China, too, constantly repeats the refrain that the world is big enough for both Beijing and Washington. It invited the US to join it in its Belt and Road Initiative. The US could have helped steer projects that would have benefited both countries. While such cooperation between the two big powers wouldn’t be a panacea for all the world’s problems, it would likely mean a lot better spot than current one. Instead the US wanted the whole pie and instead we got the TPP, sanctions, export bans, a new Cold War, a spy balloon scandal, the disastrous effort to weaken Russia before taking on China, the successful effort to sever Europe from Eurasia to disastrous effect for Europe, and the desire to see a Ukraine sequel in Taiwan and/or the South China Sea.

There is a lot of confusion over why the West keeps escalating in a losing effort. Why, for example, are Western governments going around begging for shells to send Ukraine rather than accepting the L? The desperation seems to stem from the creeping realization that their system is coming undone. The entire post-WWII elite American mindset is built on the foundation of worldwide profit expansion via silicon and fire, and if they throw everything at Russia and lose, well a whole new domino theory could come into play – one where parasitic Western finance capital is driven back. (Granted it might in most cases be replaced by a more local form, but it’s nonetheless frightening for the Western honchos.) Just look at what’s happening to France in Françafrique! And the US in the Middle East!

Read more …

Machiavelli: “..a prince should make himself feared in such a way that if he does not gain love, he at any rate avoids hatred.”

America Has a Problem With Love and Fear (Suchkov)

In the early 1990s, when Washington was celebrating victory over the USSR, proclaiming “the end of history” and believing that the whole world would now rise up under the banner of liberal democracy and the market economy, Gates became head of the CIA. The main task at the time was to make the most of the “unipolar moment” – to widen the gap between the US and its competitors, to turn yesterday’s enemies into friends, friends into allies, and them make them all vassals. Another fashionable concept of the time – which still occupies the minds of many internationalists – was “soft power”. This justified America’s global dominance by virtue of the appeal of its culture (music, cinema, education). No one wanted to argue with this, especially when videotapes of action films like Rambo and Terminator, and later the queues at the first Moscow McDonald’s, clearly proved the validity of such an ideology. American pop culture made the world extremely permeable to American ideas and interests. The task of various structures, including the one headed by Gates, was to make as many ordinary people (and politicians, of course) around the world fall in love with America, believe in the myth of the “American Dream” and adopt it as their way of life.

As the “unipolar moment” faded and the international environment became more difficult for the US, it became more and more difficult to get others to feel the love. Especially after the bombing of Yugoslavia. A brief period of global sympathy for the Americans after the attacks of 11 September 2001 was replaced by outrage over the invasion of Iraq. Even some of the closest NATO allies did not approve of the illegal intervention. In the post-Soviet space, attempts at “colour revolutions” – to replace rulers who did not love America fervently enough – were somewhat effective in the short-term, but exacerbated disagreements with Moscow. Vladimir Putin’s manifesto speech at the Munich Conference in 2007 signalled the end of the romance with the US, not only for Russia but for many other countries as well. Most states were still open to American cultural and educational products, but Washington’s policies were increasingly perceived critically. In acute situations, dissatisfaction with America as a power was projected onto cultural images associated with it – images of windows broken at McDonald’s, Stars and Stripes set on fire, etc.

Gradually, American soft power collided with its use of hard power. Washington used NGOs to invest billions in public diplomacy and educational exchange programmes, in the manipulation of “civil society” and the media. However, Washington’s coercive actions undermined efforts to win the sympathy of the world’s peoples. Meanwhile, Gates returned to Washington as head of the Pentagon to rescue the Bush Jr. administration from the fiasco in Afghanistan and Iraq. Led by Vice President Dick Cheney, the team was less concerned with winning the love of the rest of the world than with Theodore Roosevelt’s principle: ‘If you’ve got them by the balls, their hearts and minds will follow.” The term “neoconservatives” is associated more with Republicans. In fact, it is a large and influential bipartisan, ideologically charged, group in the establishment for whom the primacy of “make them afraid of us” over “encourage them to love us” is unquestioned.

Barack Obama’s 2008 election victory swung the ideological pendulum in the opposite direction, favouring love over fear. Administrators from the Clinton presidency returned to the White House, and Obama himself spoke of ‘inclusion’, a new globalisation and hopes for a democratic revival. Gates was the only secretary of state to retain his post under the new Democratic president. Even during the election campaign, Obama had promised to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus, a pragmatic, cross-party Secretary of Defence seemed the best solution. The aforementioned Roosevelt had an apt saying for this case: “Speak softly, but carry a big stick”. Obama was responsible for the former, Gates for the latter. “However, the “big stick” did not help much: by the end of the 2010s, pro-Iranian forces were ruling a fragmented Iraq, and in Afghanistan, attempts to put an end to the Taliban (an organisation banned in the Russian Federation) by increasing the US contingent and allocating astronomical sums of money to the authorities in Kabul did not yield results.

[..] Interestingly, the US has stopped loving itself and is actively reaching for nostalgia in own identity and the recent past – especially in culture and politics. The resulting yearning for a time when America was “great” calls for efforts to regain that greatness by any means necessary. Whether leadership should be based on fear or love is one of the key questions in the theory and practice of leadership. In his sixteenth-century treatise The Prince, the Florentine thinker and politician Niccolo Machiavelli argued: “The answer is that one would like to be both the one and the other; but because it is difficult to combine them, it is far safer to be feared than loved if you cannot be both.” This maxim has been adopted by many rulers in different historical periods. But problems began for those who forgot that Machiavelli went on to warn:“a prince should make himself feared in such a way that if he does not gain love, he at any rate avoids hatred.”

Read more …

“It is the absence of countervailing power in the Middle East that has made the region a tinderbox..”

A Tempering of American-Israeli Aggression? (Paul Craig Roberts)

It has taken a long time for Zionist Israel to discredit itself. It did so with Israel’s declared policy of genocide of the Palestinians. As it was our bombs, missiles, and money that Israel used, America was also discredited. The self-inflicted diminution of American prestige and its isolation as the supporter of Israel’s attempted genocide of Palestine has altered the balance of power and influence in the world. With the impoverished Houthis standing up to mighty America and Israel, and with Iran finally standing up to Israel, it is possible that the American-Israeli aggression leading to nuclear war has been tempered. The recent firing of Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland is another possible indication.

Haaretz, the only objective Israeli newspaper, says Netanyahu should accept that the Iranian response was a limited attack provoked by Israel’s attack that murdered Iranian officials in Damascus and refrain from further military action. US bases throughout the Middle East and Israel’s Dimona nuclear arsenal are easy targets for a heavy Iranian attack. If Israel pushes further, a major war will erupt. Perhaps it will dawn on Putin and Xi to stabilize the Middle East with announcement of a Russian-Chinese-Iranian mutual defense treaty. It is the absence of countervailing power in the Middle East that has made the region a tinderbox.

Read more …

Scott Ritter @RealScottRitter: “I spent one decade protecting Israel from Iraqi missiles. I spent another decade trying to protect Israel from Iranian missiles. All Israel had to do was try to live in peace and harmony with its neighbors. Israel proved not to be up to the task. Israel deserves everything it has coming to it.”

Scott Ritter: Iran’s Retaliatory Attack ‘Reestablished Deterrence’ (Sp.)

Iran’s mission to the United Nations stated earlier that Tehran’s retaliatory drone and missile attack against Israel had “concluded.” The “military action” was a response to Israel’s “aggression against our diplomatic premises in Damascus,” it said, adding that the strike “hit designated targets.” By launching its retaliatory drone and missile attack on Israel, Iran “reestablished deterrence,” former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter told Sputnik. “Israel believed that it could launch a strike against Iran and suffer no consequence. That is no longer the case,” Ritter noted. As Israeli military officials survey the damage done to their bases, “they understand the following: that Iran deliberately chose not to inflict extremely lethal action against Israel,” the analyst remarked. bIran launched a massive drone and missile attack against Israel overnight, assisted by Hezbollah and the Yemeni Houthis.

Over 300 projectiles were fired at Israeli territory from Iran, with Iran’s mission to the United Nations stating that its retaliatory attack on Israel had “concluded,” and that the strike “hit designated targets.” Israel’s military has claimed that 99% of the projectiles were intercepted.nbIran’s strike was designed to send a signal to Israel and the United States, “that it could do what it did in Nevatim, at Ramona, anywhere in Israel, anywhere in the Middle East, and there was nothing the United States or Israel could do in response.” “This is deterrence. This means that in the future, if either Israel or the United States plan on carrying out an action against Iran, they have to weigh in the consequences of their actions knowing that Iran has the capacity to reach out and touch any place, any spot, any target in the region in Israel or out of Israel, and there’s nothing anybody could do to stop that,” the retired US Marine Corps intelligence officer said.

US President Joe Biden issued a statement on Iran’s attack against Israel after he spoke on the phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The POTUS condemned the strike “in the strongest possible terms.” He also reaffirmed Washington’s “ironclad commitment” to help support Israel, and added that there were no attacks on US forces or facilities on Saturday, but that the US “will remain vigilant to all threats.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US does “not seek escalation,” but will “continue to support” Israel’s defense. “I will be consulting with allies and partners in the region and around the world in the hours and days ahead,” he added. Weighing in on the flurry of talks between US and Israeli leaders, Scott Ritter said: “This is why President Biden has been on the phone with Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of Israel, telling him, ‘Do not retaliate.’ The United States will not be a partner in any offensive action against Iran. Not because the United States is friendly to Iran, but the United States understands the consequences that will accrue, should such an attack take place. The United States has been deterred against further action against Iran.”

Read more …

It cost Israel $1 billion to defend against Iran’s $100 million worth of -mostly old- projectiles.

Netanyahu Called Off Retaliation Strikes After Speaking To Biden – NYT (RT)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled a plan to launch immediate retaliatory strikes against Iran after speaking to US President Joe Biden by phone on Saturday night, Israeli officials have told the New York Times. According to two anonymous officials, Netanyahu’s war cabinet presented him with a list of responses to a massive drone and missile attack by Iran on Saturday evening. While some members of the cabinet reportedly pushed for an immediate military response, Netanyahu ultimately chose not to follow their advice at Biden’s request, the sources said. The full details of Biden’s conversation with Netanyahu were not revealed by the White House. According to a report on Sunday by Axios, however, Biden told Netanyahu that Israel had essentially prevailed in this clash with Iran and advised him to “take the win.”

It was also made clear during the call that any retaliatory action by Israel would not be supported by Washington, the American outlet reported. Netanyahu’s war cabinet met on Sunday afternoon to discuss Israel’s response to the Iranian attack, while Iran’s top military commander declared that the “Zionist regime” had been adequately “punished,” and that Tehran would not pursue further military action unless Israel struck again. Iran launched multiple waves of missiles and kamikaze drones at Israel on Saturday, with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stating that at least 300 projectiles were fired. While the IDF claimed to have shot down 99% of the incoming drones and missiles, video footage showed numerous impacts on Israeli soil.

Iranian officials insisted that they had “more success than expected” with the barrage, and claimed that two Israeli bases had been destroyed. The IDF acknowledged only minor damage to one military facility. The attack came two weeks after an alleged Israeli airstrike hit an Iranian consulate in the Syrian capital of Damascus. The strike killed seven officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, including two high-ranking generals. Tehran telegraphed its response, with Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warning for over a week that Israel could expect a “slap in the face.”

Read more …

“Iran’s attack on Israel did not happen in a vacuum – it was a response to the shameful inaction of the UN Security Council..”

Russia Slams UNSC for Ignoring Attack on Iranian Consulate (Sp.)

Russia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzia criticized the UN Security Council for failing to act on the Israeli attack on the Iranian consulate in Syria as he urged an end to bloodshed in the Middle East during an emergency UNSC meeting on Sunday. “It is regrettable that unlike the meeting today, you did not propose to bring it to brief the Council on the 2nd of April,” he said, adding that Russia called an emergency briefing to discuss the Israeli strike against the consular premises in Damascus. Nebenzia criticized Israel for not complying with the UN Security Council resolutions, which he said was “an obvious disrespect shown to the Council, to all of you who are here in the members seats, and a complete disregard to the decisions made by the Security Council.” “This high level confrontation and bloodshed must be stopped. We think it’s urgent for the entire international community to undertake all the efforts necessary to de-escalate the situation,” Nebenzia said.

Iran’s attack on Israel did not happen in a vacuum – it was a response to the shameful inaction of the UN Security Council, the Russian ambassador stressed. “What happened on the night of April 14 did not happen ‘in a vacuum.’ Iran’s steps were a response to the shameful inaction of the United Nations Security Council [and] a response to Israel’s blatant attack on Damascus… by no means the first. Syria is constantly being bombed by Israel,” Nebenzia said. On April 3, the US and UK refused to discuss Russia’s proposed draft UN Security Council statement on the Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus. London and Washington then cited the fact that there was no unity in the meeting’s assessment of what happened. On Sunday, an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council is taking place in connection with the retaliatory strike that Iran carried out on the territory of Israel.

Meanwhile, shortly before that, Iran’s mission to the UN said that if the Security Council had condemned the Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate and brought the perpetrators to justice, the need for Iran to punish the Israeli side “could have been eliminated.” Russia calls for restraint on all sides involved in the incident with Iran’s attack on Israel, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN highlighted. Russia calls on Israel to follow the example of Iran, which has said it does not want further escalation, Nebenzia said. “We note Tehran’s signal of unwillingness to further escalate hostilities with Israel. We urge West Jerusalem to follow its example and abandon the practice of provocative forceful actions in the Middle East, fraught with extremely dangerous risks and consequences on the scale of the entire region, already destabilized as a result of the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli confrontation,” Nebenzia emphasized.

Read more …

“..suggesting Ukraine would drive up global oil prices with attacks on Russian refineries if US aid were not forthcoming..”

Zelensky Takes Advantage of Iran-Israel Crisis to Plead for More Money (Miles)

President Volodymyr Zelensky took to the X (formerly Twitter) social media platform Sunday to remind Western lawmakers not to forget about Ukraine as the world responds to Iran’s retaliatory strike against Israel. “Ukraine condemns Iran’s attack on Israel using ‘Shahed’ drones and missiles,” the leader wrote, claiming Moscow and Tehran utilize the same kinds of armaments. “The world cannot wait for discussions to go on,” he added. “Words do not stop drones and do not intercept missiles. Only tangible assistance does. The assistance we are anticipating… It is critical that the United States Congress make the necessary decisions to strengthen America’s allies at this critical time.” Former Ukrainian minister Volodymyr Omelyan was even more forceful, slamming former US President Donald Trump whose “America First” brand of conservatism has questioned US military spending.

“I hope that Iran’s attack on Israel will send a powerful message to Republicans, namely to Mr. Trump – you cannot wait aside any more and think that those are small separate regional conflicts happening somewhere in Europe, Middle East, [or] Asia,” Omelyan said in an interview with a US-based tabloid media outlet. “China, Russia, Iran and North Korea persistently attack the West,” he said, without clarifying when they have done so. China, Iran and North Korea have historically been subject to deadly US-backed economic sanctions. The United States invaded Russia in 1918 in an attempt to thwart the country’s unfolding revolution, and invaded China to help put down the Boxer Rebellion. Zelensky has occasionally compared Ukraine’s plight to that of Israel. In 2022 the Ukrainian leader claimed he saw the country as a model for Ukraine’s future, saying Ukraine should become a “big Israel.”

The president said he was referring to Israel’s model of hardened internal security, but critics may instead draw comparisons between the two countries’ strident nationalism and treatment of minorities. The Kiev regime has launched attacks on its Russian-speaking eastern regions for more than a decade, often killing civilians. A 2014 massacre of trade unionists in Odessa drew particular condemnation. Paramilitary groups attacked a peaceful rally in the coastal city, forcing people to take refuge in the Odessa Trade Union House. The neo-Nazi gangs then set fire to the building, killing some 50 people and bludgeoning to death those who attempted to escape. Anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalists have continued to constitute an important faction of the country’s armed forces, with Kiev officially integrating the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion into its military later that year.

Israel has also received criticism for its increasingly extremist trajectory in recent years. Neo-Nazi activist Richard Spencer publicly praised the country’s so-called “Jewish Nation State” law in 2018, viewing it as a model for his desired white ethnostate. Israeli human rights group B’tselem has called Israel an “apartheid” and ethnic supremacist regime. Ukraine has become more coercive in recent months as US aid has been stalled amidst political infighting. “Give us the damn Patriots,” demanded the country’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba last month, referring to the US-developed surface-to-air missile system Ukraine sees as crucial to its fight against Russia. Kuleba appeared to economically blackmail Western countries in recent comments, suggesting Ukraine would drive up global oil prices with attacks on Russian refineries if US aid were not forthcoming.

Read more …

“Everyone survives as best they can..”

Ukrainian FM Publicly Blackmails West Over Oil Prices (RT)

Kiev would be more receptive to appeals from the US and other Western allies to quit attacking Russian oil infrastructure if those benefactors would boost their military aid, Ukraine’s top diplomat has revealed. Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba offered his suggestion for how the West can earn Ukraine’s cooperation in a local broadcast interview on Sunday. His comments came after US defense chief Lloyd Austin expressed concern earlier this month that Ukrainian drone strikes against Russian refineries and oil storage facilities could trigger a jump in international energy prices. “You need to think in your own interests,” Kuleba told Rada TV. “If your partners are saying: ‘We are giving you seven Patriot batteries, but we have a request for you, please don’t do this and that’ – then there is something to talk about.”

On the other hand, if “no batteries, no aid package” are being offered in connection with the entreaty – then there is nothing to talk about. “Everyone survives as best they can,” he added. Weapons shipments from Washington, the biggest sponsor of Kiev’s war effort against Russia, have slowed in recent months amid struggles by US President Joe Biden to secure congressional approval for more Ukraine aid. Republican lawmakers have balked at Biden’s request for more than $60 billion in additional spending after his administration burned through $113 billion in previously approved funding. Kiev’s donors had previously expressed worries that Ukrainian strikes deep into Russian territory with weapons that NATO members provided could trigger a wider conflict. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said earlier this month that Washington does not support Ukrainian attacks on Russian soil.

Austin later suggested that Kiev could focus on military targets because hitting petroleum infrastructure could roil international markets. Kuleba said he listened to Austin, but he sees no “cause-and-effect relationship in this matter.” When a refinery in Russia “explodes,” the resulting problems are confined to the Russian energy market, he claimed, and in any case, Ukraine has to prioritize its own interests. Ukrainian drone attacks have targeted several Russian refineries since early March. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu suggested that Kiev has resorted to terrorism and long-range strikes against Russia’s civilian population in an attempt to “convince its Western sponsors of its ability to resist the Russian Army.” That’s despite the fact that Kiev has not had any actual success on the battlefield, the minister added.

Read more …

“The country faces a particular shortage of young men and women..”

Germany Escalates Donbass Conflict, Kiev Says Frontline is Deteriorating (Sp.)

Germany offered to provide Kiev with another US Patriot air defense system Saturday as Ukraine’s military chief admitted the country’s position on its eastern front is rapidly deteriorating. “The situation on the eastern front has significantly worsened in recent days,” said Ukraine armed forces commander-in-chief Oleksandr Syrsky, confirming recent media reports. Syrsky made the assessment in a post on Telegram after a visit to a part of territory of the Donetsk People’s Republic under Ukrainian control, which is now a Russian territory. “The enemy is actively attacking our positions in the Lyman [and] Bakhmut [Artemovsk] directions with assault groups and the support of armored vehicles,” he added. “In the Pokrovsk direction, it is trying to break through our defenses using dozens of tanks.”

Syrsky attributed Ukraine’s struggles to Russia’s greater supply of weapons and military technology. Russia’s defense industry has risen to the occasion during the conflict by churning out significant supplies of ammunition. Observers have praised the quality of Russian armaments, particularly its well-respected tank building tradition. Material support for the Kiev regime has meanwhile stalled as Europe’s defense industry fails to meet demand and US backing is stymied by domestic politics. Syrsky also acknowledged a lack of effective manpower. Ukraine’s population, less than a third of Russia’s, has declined by some 30% amidst a demographic crisis after the country’s independence. The country faces a particular shortage of young men and women; the age of the average Ukrainian soldier is estimated to be 43 years old.

“The second serious problem is to improve the quality of training of military personnel, primarily infantry units, so that they can make maximum use of all the capabilities of military equipment and western weapons,” said the military chief. Reports have emerged of Ukrainian troops being provided with only a few weeks of instruction after often being forcibly conscripted. Dry weather has granted Russian tanks easy passage over Ukraine’s terrain according to Syrsky. From the air, Moscow has made extensive use of retrofitted glide bombs and drone strikes. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has pleaded with Western partners to help augment the country’s air defense capacity.

Germany obliged Saturday, promising to provide Kiev with a third US Patriot surface-to-air missile system after previously having rejected the request. The pledge follows a familiar pattern of Western countries eventually conceding to Ukrainian requests for armaments after publicly agonizing over the threat of escalation. “We are supporting Ukraine as much as our own operational readiness will allow,” said German Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius Saturday. Observers have questioned the consequences of Western countries depleting their weapons stocks after more than two years of arming Kiev.

Read more …

“Western imperialism and fascism have come full circle in a staggeringly short span of history..”

Germany Joins Israel In Dock For Genocide (SCF)

Eight decades ago, Nazi Germany deployed Ukrainian fascists to exterminate Jews and Slavs with a death toll of up to 30 million Soviet citizens. The contemporary Ukrainian regime glorifies these Nazi collaborators. The United States deployed the same Ukrainian fascists after the Second World War to wage covert war against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Thus, Germany and the United States along with other Western powers are continuing deep-seated historical crimes by way of their proxy war against Russia. The same imperialist rogue states are enabling Israeli aggression against Iran, Syria and Lebanon. Israel’s deadly bombing of the Iranian embassy in Damascus earlier this month was a particularly brazen violation of international law. The barbarity of the Israeli fascist regime is fully enabled and incentivized by its Western patrons.

The bitter irony is Washington and Berlin remonstrating with Iran to exercise “maximum restraint” while Israel openly attacks its sovereignty and assassinates its citizens. Meanwhile, the United States, Australia and Britain are cajoling Japan to join their military alliance to provoke China. Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida was feted in Washington this week where he signed bellicose new military measures aimed at China and Russia. Kishida linked Ukraine with Asia, claiming that if Russia were to win the war in Ukraine, then China would take over East Asia. The Japanese minion gets its half right. The regions are indeed linked, not by alleged Russian and Chinese misconduct, but by the U.S.-led imperialism that Japan is cravenly serving.

Western imperialism and fascism have come full circle in a staggeringly short span of history. Nearly 80 years after Japan was defeated in the Pacific War in which it was responsible for up to 20 million deaths in China, Tokyo is at the forefront of new plans to wage a potential nuclear war on China. The perversion of Japan joining with the United States in this venture after the latter dropped two atomic bombs on its people in 1945 is yet another sickening twist in history. The monstrous crimes of Nazi Germany and fascist Japan are today rehabilitated because the same forces serve the imperialist geopolitical interests of today. The twists and contradictions of history are, however, crystallized in one historical force. All the crimes, barbarity, bloodshed and danger of catastrophic world war are the cause of imperialist powers – chief among them the United States and its insatiable quest for hegemonic domination.

Historic failure and systemic collapse of Western capitalism is the motive engine driving the world to war again, as it was in previous periods of the modern age. Colonialist genocide, World War One, World War Two, and now the abyss of World War Three. Germany in the dock for genocide with Israel is not as incongruous as it might seem. Because imperialism and fascism are on the rampage again across the world. Both Germany and Israel are gang members in the crime syndicate, each with their specific justifying myths and alibis. Russia and China are arguably the two nations that suffered the most in history from fascism. It is entirely consistent – if not lamentable – that Russia and China today are once again confronted by the same forces. Germany is once again on the wrong side of history. And so too are the United States and all its Western vassals. Eternal shame on them.

Read more …

“The evacuation plans, codenamed Operation Meteoric..”

Royal Marines To Lead ‘Dunkirk-style’ Evacuation Of Britons In Middle East (DM)

Royal Marines are poised to lead a ‘Dunkirk-style’ evacuation of thousands of UK nationals from the Middle East after Iran launched a huge drone and missile attack against Israel last night. Commandos have already conducted reconnaissance along the Lebanese coastline ahead of a potential maritime rescue mission. The daring mission – reminiscent of the huge effort to evacuate 338,000 British troops stranded in France by the Germans during the opening salvo of the Second World War in 1940 – was exclusively revealed by the Mail on Friday. It came a day before Tehran launched a huge aerial bombardment on Saturday evening, which was in retaliation of a deadly consul blast an an Iranian embassy in Syria that killed 13 people Speaking exclusively to the Mail earlier this week, Defence Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed he ‘stands ready’ to assist any Britons trapped in the region. The Foreign Office has already advised all UK citizens to leave Lebanon.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said there remained a ‘serious threat’ of attack while it was reported that Iran had sent a message to Washington warning them against the involvement of US troops in the region. The evacuation plans, codenamed Operation Meteoric, will be spearheaded by the UK’s ‘Green Berets’ and supported by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. The Mail has been told a party of Marines from 30 Commando arrived in the region in recent days. Operation Meteoric has been likened to Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of allied soldiers from Dunkirk in 1940 when they were surrounded by German forces. Israel and its allies remain braced for a huge Iranian response to the attack on its Syrian consulate earlier this month, which left 13 dead, including a senior Iranian commander.

While Israel has not claimed responsibility for the blast it is widely considered to have been behind it. Iran’s response may also involve the heavily armed military group Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon. Tonight, intelligence reports suggested the retaliation could include more than 100 drones, dozens of cruise missiles and ballistic missiles. Such a scenario would likely lead to civilian ‘air bridges’ shutting down – hence the need for a maritime solution. The Mail has been told how the preparatory work behind Operation Meteoric was conducted by the Royal Marines’ Surveillance and Reconnaissance Squadron (SRS). They studied stretches of the Lebanese coastline and selected potential locations for such a rescue mission.

Stranded civilians would be ferried from beaches in raiding craft to Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) ships in the eastern Mediterranean. While it is understood Iran is eager to avoid direct engagement with UK forces, RAF Typhoon jets based in Cyprus could provide ‘top cover’. Earlier this week, Mr Shapps told the Mail: ‘UK nationals in the region will be concerned by what Iran is threatening to do. So we stand ready to assist them. ‘There are plans, but they cannot be discussed for security reasons.’

Read more …

 

 

 

 

McCullough childhood vaccines

 

 

Elephant mom

 

 

Baby elephant

 

 

Elephant transport

 

 

Movement Act

 

 

Kittens

 

 

 

 

Shark
https://twitter.com/i/status/1779423124829667343

 

 

10,000 ducks

 

 

Horse friend

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 292024
 


Rembrandt van Rijn Christ and St Mary Magdalene at the Tomb 1638

 

Washington Crossed a Fatal Red Line with the Crocus Attack (Paul Craig Roberts)
Statements By Alexander Bortnikov, Director of FSB (Doctorow)
FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison (ZH)
Avenatti: Michael Cohen Was Having Affair With Stormy Daniels Since 2006 (GP)
Putin Friendship Could Help End Ukraine Conflict – Ex-German Chancellor (RT)
Ukraine Needs Air Defense To Boost Birth Rate – Zelensky (RT)
‘Russia for Russians’ Slogans Alarming – Putin (RT)
China Opposes US Practice of Creating Enemies Out of Thin Air (Sp.)
Who’s Running the EU? Big Global Corporations Which Aren’t Even European! (Jay)
UN Court Orders Israel To Let Food Into Gaza (RT)
UK Won’t Extradite Assange While Risk of Death Penalty Remains – Tory (Sp.)
The Crucifixion of Julian Assange (Chris Hedges)
Biden To Host Star-studded NYC Fundraiser With Obama And Clinton (BBC)
Maori King Calls For Recognizing Whales As People (RT)

 

 

 

 

Trump stocks

 

 

Trump Bragg
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773034485077921940

 

 

Watters Diddy

 

 


Life is the art of drawing without an eraser. – John W. Gardner

 

 

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773336445173829641

 

 

Scott Ritter

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Television talk is suddenly very violent with talk of flattening Kharkiv and Kiev and bringing a quick end to the conflict..”

Washington Crossed a Fatal Red Line with the Crocus Attack (Paul Craig Roberts)

Gilbert Doctorow Now Confirms with his own analysis my prediction that Putin’s toleration of provocations is spinning the Ukraine conflict out of control. Doctorow is a careful analyst never overstating a situation. In this interview he says that the FSB statement implicating the US and UK governments in the Crocus attack had to have been approved by Putin and that implicating the US and UK in the Crocus attack has brought us to the level of danger of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Doctorow reports that Russian television has undergone a massive change following the Crocus attack. Commentators are unwilling to accept any longer Putin’s nonresponse to attacks on Russians. Television talk is suddenly very violent with talk of flattening Kharkiv and Kiev and bringing a quick end to the conflict that has been permitted to endure for far too long. It seems that a fatal red line has been crossed.

Read more …

“..Russian state security on 8 March was too tight for the terrorist mission to succeed and the United States decided to pull the plug on that operation..”

Statements By Alexander Bortnikov, Director of FSB (Doctorow)

To the uninitiated, I explain first that the FSB is the successor organization to the Soviet Union’s well-known and much feared KGB. However, the FSB today might be better compared with the FBI in the United States. It deals with domestic criminality of all kinds and with threats to Russian civilians such as terrorism. The agency and its head are rarely in the news. In this respect, the FSB is less visible both at home and abroad than the Foreign Intelligence Service headed by Sergei Naryshkin, a state figure who spent five years of this millennium as chairman of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of the legislature, and also three years as head of the Presidential Administration. In both positions Naryshkin was very often seen on television performing his duties.

By contrast, Bortnikov spent the past 15 years in his FSB offices out of sight. However, the spectacular attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue has propelled him to center stage and yesterday he met with the Russian state television journalist Pavel Zarubin for an interview and then allowed himself to be questioned further by a gaggle of other journalists on his way out along a corridor. This spontaneous Q&A was later broadcast on the television news. What Bortnikov had to say was extraordinary and bears directly on whether you and I should now be looking for bomb shelters. Regrettably you will not find any of it in the lead stories of today’s mainstream media. The Financial Times, for example, features an account of Xi’s meeting with CEOs of American businesses to mend ties: interesting, but not very relevant if we are at the cusp of WWIII.

*****
Bortnikov is by definition a member of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle of advisors. He, Putin and Naryshkin are all roughly the same age. At 72, Bortnikov is just several years older. I was struck in particular by his poise and prudent, carefully weighed choice of words while setting out where the investigation is heading with transparency and a ‘let the chips fall where they may’ unaffected demeanor. The journalists were all probing the question of who stood behind the terror attack. Bortnikov told them…and us: standing behind the terror act committed by Islamist extremists are the United States, Great Britain and Ukraine.

Bortnikov said that the preliminary findings indicate that the four perpetrators of the slaughter were headed by car to the border with Ukraine where they were awaited on the other side. He very calmly explained that the involvement of foreign powers is being clarified and that he will say nothing out of pure emotion now but will wait for the facts to be solidly collected before being presented. Nonetheless, it was entirely newsworthy that he named the United States, Great Britain and Ukraine as the likely puppet masters of the terror act. Let us remember that following the bombing of the Nord Stream pipelines, the most significant attack on critical civilian infrastructure globally in the last 50 years, Russian officials did not point the finger directly at any country. There was innuendo but no direct accusations such as we heard from Bortnikov yesterday.

*****
Meanwhile, quite apart from Mr. Bortnikov’s chat with journalists, a lot of new elements to the terror attack at Crocus City Hall were posted yesterday on the Russian state television news and analysis program Sixty Minutes. In particular, we learned that in the last days of February and first couple of days of March two of the four attackers were in Istanbul. The departure and arrival of one at a Moscow airport was recorded on video. We were told which hotels they stayed in, and the selfies and other photos taken by one in Istanbul were put up on the screen. It is still not clear with whom they met in Turkey. However, the timing itself is very important, because the point was made that they returned to Moscow to carry out a terror attack on 8 March, International Women’s Day, a sacred date on the Russian calendar. Had they done so on that day, the effect would have been catastrophic for the presidential elections in Russia one week later.

However, per Sixty Minutes, it was determined that Russian state security on 8 March was too tight for the terrorist mission to succeed and the United States decided to pull the plug on that operation. Note that this is approximately the time when Victoria Nuland tendered her resignation at the State Department (5 March). The possible causal link here surely deserves attention by my peers in the U.S. ‘dissident’ community. In any case, the scenario which was explored later in the day on the Evening with Vladimir Solovyov talk show is that the Ukrainians decided to proceed with the terror attack a week after the Russian presidential elections, when it lost most of its rationale. They did so over the objections of Washington.

Read more …

SBF donated many millions to the Democrats. His victims would like that money back, please.

FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison (ZH)

And there it is – Bankman-Fried sentenced to 25 years in prison – more than Elizabeth Holmes, less than Bernie Madoff, same as Bernie Ebbers. SBF will also have to forfeit more than $11 billion. Judge Kaplan did not hold back during his sentencing: “When not lying, he was evasive, hair splitting, trying to get the prosecutors to rephrase questions for him. I’ve been doing this job for close for 30 years. I’ve never seen a performance like that.”

Update (1105ET): Just before the federal judge was about to sentence Bankman-Fried in his fraud case, the former FTX founder said that he was “sorry.” “I know a lot of people feel really let down,” he said at his sentencing hearing Thursday morning in lower Manhattan. “I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry about what happened at every stage.” “All of the company followed me across the earth, across continents, burning the midnight oil working until 2 a.m., 4 a.m., dedicated to FTX,” he said in a plea for leniency. “I remember so many of them.” He said the staff “all built something really beautiful. They threw themselves into it and then I threw that all away. It haunts me every day. I made a series of bad decisions. They weren’t selfish decisions, they were bad decisions.” Bad decisions indeed Sam.

[..] in November 2023, as Michael Washburn reports via The Epoch Times, jurors decided to convict Mr. Bankman-Fried on all seven of counts of conspiracy and fraud with which government lawyers charged him. Mr. Bankman-Fried and his attorneys have repeatedly argued that he didn’t intentionally do anything wrong and that he deserves no more than 6 1/2 years in jail. In his trial testimony in October 2023, Mr. Bankman-Fried insisted he used sophisticated analytics to try to keep track of the state of FTX’s finances and suggested that subordinates acting without his knowledge or imprimatur made costly mistakes. But prosecutors, citing testimony from Alameda Research head Caroline Ellison, who was at times romantically involved with Mr. Bankman-Fried, vehemently disagreed with the more charitable view and are pressing for a sentence of half a century or longer.

The government’s tough stance has found support from the current CEO of FTX, John Ray III, the former chair of the recovery corporation in another high-profile insolvency: that of Enron, which imploded in December 2001. In a letter to Judge Kaplan, Mr. Ray denounced the “categorically, callously, and demonstrably false” claims that Mr. Bankman-Fried and his lawyers have put forth in the hope of getting a lighter sentence. [..]

[..]The verdict in November 2023 came exactly one year after a Nov. 2, 2022, report in the cryptocurrency publication Coindesk began to stoke wide concern about the state of FTX’s finances. The report cited a leaked balance sheet of FTX’s hedge fund trading affiliate, Alameda Research. According to Coindesk’s analysis, a bulk of Alameda’s $14.6 billion of assets was in the form of FTX’s own crypto token, FTT, rather than a fiat currency. This not only suggested that Alameda’s wealth was potentially less fungible than many had assumed but also pointed to extensive commingling of FTX customer deposits with the hedge fund affiliate. Whether or not Coindesk was correct to impute instability and weakness to FTX on the basis of its position in FTT, the reaction in the market was swift. On Nov. 6, 2022, Changpeng Zhao, then-CEO of Binance, one of the other leading cryptocurrency exchanges, sent out a sharply worded post on Twitter.

Mr. Zhao alluded to the fact that Binance had been distancing itself from FTX over the past year and had received the equivalent of about $2.1 billion in U.S. dollars in the form of both cash and the FTT token. “Due to recent revelations that have come to light, we have decided to liquidate any remaining FTT on our books. We will try to do so in a way that minimizes market impact,” Mr. Zhao wrote.Despite that assurance, Binance’s move, and forthright public announcement, immediately helped fuel a run on the bank during which customers pulled $6 billion from FTX in three days. The exchange would never recover; some $9 billion of customer funds are still lost through the commingling of funds and Bankman-Fried’s lavish spending.

Read more …

Avenatti and Michael Cohen. What a pair.

Avenatti: Michael Cohen Was Having Affair With Stormy Daniels Since 2006 (GP)

Tony Seruga is a very popular commentator on Twitter. In his profile, the conservative commentator with over 77K followers, Mr. Seruga, states that he’s an Intel Ops CIA/NSA Contractor/Whistleblower. This afternoon, Mr. Seruga dropped a bombshell, and if true, it could blow up the whole Stormy Daniels affair with Trump lie that the mainstream media and Democrats have been clinging to since 2015. Tony Seruga claims he used to share office space with the convicted felon and former attorney, Michael Avenatti, who represented porn star Stormy Daniels in her case alleging that then-presidential candidate Donald J. Trump paid her hush money to keep their alleged “affair” out of the public. [..] Here’s where Seruga’s story gets to be very interesting as it relates to Stormy Daniels and former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, “In any case, Avenatti shared details of his client Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, case and the fact that her and Michael Cohen were actually having an affair since 2006.”

And then, Seruga drops a bombshell: “The whole hush money scheme was cooked up by Michael Cohen to extort the Trump Organization before the 2016 election. Avenatti seemed pleased at how deviant Michael Cohen was.” Seruga followed up his first tweet by explaining how the shady lawyer Michael Avenatti bragged about the scheme more than once and even bragged about it to former NBA star Dennis Rodman on the patio in Corona Del Mar, CA. In addition to being one of the all-time best defensive players in the NBA, Dennis Rodman is known for his relationship with Madonna and his unusual friendship with North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un. So, it’s pretty easy to believe Rodman could be friends with the flamboyant CA lawyer Michael Avenatti.

“Understand, Michael Avenatti is a serial liar, but he did speak about his client (that he would later steal from) and Michael Cohen’s affair touching on their scheme to bilk the Trump Organization out of money. He spoke about it on more than one occasion. He was very passionate that Trump had not signed the NDA making it null and void. One time, in fact, he was bragging about it to Dennis Rodman at the Port Restaurant out on the patio, in Corona Del Mar, CA. I was only half listening as I had heard it all before, but Dennis Rodman seemed engaged in the conversation.” Another popular Twitter personality from California, who goes by “SL,” had this to say about the Dennis Rodman and Michael Avenatti conversation that allegedly occurred at the Port Restaurant in California.

“Interesting. I know Dennis Rodman visits Port Restaurant on occasion since I had a conversion [conversation] [with] him there around 2015/2016. Likely to be a true story.” On Monday, when asked by reporters, President Trump said that he would testify in the alleged hush money payment to Stormy Daniels’ trial in NYC that was brought against him by the rabidly anti-Trump,] but soft-on-actual criminals DA Alvin Bragg. “I would have no problem testifying,” Trump said. “I didn’t do anything wrong.” Trump also suggested that he’s planning to appeal the trial date set for April 15 and said he’s unsure if there will even be a trial following his appeals.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1773436810229694731

Read more …

Schroeder persists.

Putin Friendship Could Help End Ukraine Conflict – Ex-German Chancellor (RT)

Talking to Moscow is the only way to end the hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder told the press agency dpa in an interview published on Thursday. His personal friendship with President Vladimir Putin could play a role in stopping the bloodshed, Schroeder said. The former chancellor and Russian leader are known to have close ties that stretch back to when Schroeder headed the German government in the late 1990s. In 2014, Putin attended Schroeder’s birthday party in St. Petersburg. Later, Schroeder joined the boards of directors of the Russian operator of the Nord Stream gas pipeline and energy giant Rosneft. He faced a backlash over his ties to Moscow after the conflict between Russia and Ukraine erupted in February 2022 – and resigned from the Rosneft board in May of that year. Asked about maintaining his friendship with Putin amid the Ukraine conflict, the former chancellor insisted the two matters were entirely distinct.

“I think it would be completely wrong to forget all the positive things that have happened between us in politics in the past,” he told the German news agency, adding that breaking relationships with friends was “not his style.” Contacts with the Russian leadership could still prove crucial in the future peace talks, Schroeder believes. “We have worked together sensibly for many years. Perhaps that can still help to find a negotiated solution,” he said, telling dpa that he saw “no other way” to end the conflict. “It is obvious that the war cannot end with the total defeat of one side or the other,” Schroeder said. The former chancellor has repeatedly called for a negotiated solution to the conflict and accused the US of forcing Kiev to reject a peace deal with Moscow. In October 2023, he also said that Western Europe had “failed” to seize the opportunity to push for peace in March 2022.

Schroeder himself traveled to Istanbul and Moscow on a “peace mission” in the spring of 2022 and also met Putin in July of the same year. His efforts yielded no results at that time. In Germany, Schroeder was ostracized by his own party, which deprived him of his parliamentary privileges, but failed in an effort to expel him over his ties to Russia. In 2023, he relinquished his honorary citizenship of Hannover before the city could strip him of it. Moscow has repeatedly said it is ready for peace talks as long as the situation on the ground is taken into account. Ukraine has insisted on Russian troops withdrawing from all the territories it claims as its own, including Crimea and the four former Ukrainian territories that joined Russian following a series of referendums in autumn 2022. Russia has dismissed such demands as “absurd.”

Read more …

No. It needs peace.

Ukraine Needs Air Defense To Boost Birth Rate – Zelensky (RT)

Kiev needs more air defense systems to help Ukrainians have more children, President Vladimir Zelensky said on Thursday. Ukraine currently has the lowest fertility rate in the world. The issue of demographics came up during Zelensky’s meeting with students in Sumy, a city near the border with Russia, when someone asked him if there were plans to financially support new parents. “We need not only financial incentives, because in my opinion, finances help, but they do not stimulate birth itself during war,” Zelensky said. “Help, yes. But as for births, it seems to me that it’s mainly a matter of security.” The government should put air-raid shelters in schools and kindergartens, he added, as well as getting “the latest technologies when it comes to air defense” from foreign partners, manufacture them domestically, and “inform the society about this.”

Zelensky further argued that there would be a “baby boom” after the conflict is over and millions of Ukrainians who left the country return from abroad “confident in a better tomorrow and the future of Ukraine.” Ukraine’s total fertility rate – the average number of babies per woman of child-bearing age – is currently 0.7, the lowest in the world. The country’s demographics have been further affected by a mass exodus to the West and significant casualties on the battlefield, to the point where the very survival of the nation is in question, a government-funded think tank told The Times earlier this year.

“Male life expectancy has decreased from 66-67 before the war to 57-58,” said Ella Libanova, head of the Institute for Demography and Social Studies at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. Only four African countries – Chad, Nigeria, Lesotho and the Central African Republic – have lower life expectancies. Last June, the Ukrainian Institute for the Future (UIF) estimated that only 29 million people remained in the country – down from 52 million in 1991, when Ukraine declared independence. These estimates also included residents of the regions that joined Russia. The number of Ukrainian refugees abroad has been estimated by the government at over six million. While Kiev has been hopeful that most of them would come back eventually, the UIF estimated that the majority had no interest in returning.

Read more …

“And they treat both their small Motherland and our common big Motherland in a way that, I think, no one in other parts of the world treats their homeland..”

‘Russia for Russians’ Slogans Alarming – Putin (RT)

Nationalist ideas are concerning for a multicultural country like Russia, President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday during a visit to Tver Region. He was referring to the slogan, “Russia for Russians,” which promotes the idea that the ethnic majority deserves more rights than other nationalities in the country. Russia is a multinational and a multi-confessional state, and the violation of rights of any citizens will only lead to a collapse of the country, the president warned, adding that all religions are treated with respect in teh country. He noted that 190 ethnic groups currently live in Russia, with some nationalities comprising millions of people. “When I listen to hurrah-patriots – and there are such people everywhere, in any society, including those who say that ‘Russia is only for Russians,’ you know, I get a feeling of anxiety,” Putin said.

He emphasized the importance of persevering with the multinational Russian state and warned that “destructive thoughts such as everyone else is a foreigner here” would ruin the country. Representatives of all religious denominations, all peoples of Russia, are “showing their best side on the battlefield today,” Putin said. “And they treat both their small Motherland and our common big Motherland in a way that, I think, no one in other parts of the world treats their homeland,” he concluded. Putin made the comments during a visit to Torzhok air force base in Tver Region, home of the 344th Training Center for Russian combat pilots, where personnel are being trained to take part in the Ukraine military operation.

Read more …

“The US practice of artificially creating enemies out of thin air for the sake of boosting its military budget..”

China Opposes US Practice of Creating Enemies Out of Thin Air (Sp.)

The US practice of artificially creating enemies out of thin air for the sake of boosting its military budget is strategically extremely dangerous, and China firmly opposes it, Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian said on Thursday. The United States had repeatedly used China as a pretext for increasing its military budget, inflating a non-existent “Chinese military threat,” Wu said at a briefing. “This practice of artificially creating enemies out of thin air is extremely dangerous from a strategic point of view, and China is firmly opposed to it,” the spokesman added. He also said that China did not wish to threaten anyone, but it was also not afraid of anyone’s threats, and no amount of force can stop the development of the Chinese army.

On Saturday, US President Joe Biden signed into law an appropriations package that includes the $825 billion defense spending bill for fiscal year 2024. The act doubles security cooperation funding for Taiwan. The United States would counter China by maximizing its production of critical munitions and by spending more than $66 billion for the US Indo-Pacific Command capabilities, including $42 million to bolster its military capabilities in the region, the House Appropriations Committee said in a summary of the package.

Read more …

“..the elitist payroll which you might be fooled into thinking was the EU itself. Oh you thought he was talking about the West in general and its population? Is it April 1st yet?”

Who’s Running the EU? Big Global Corporations Which Aren’t Even European! (Jay)

If you can get your head around the Moscow attacks or the British foreign minister’s recent video monologue where he explains how the UK is sanctioning a number of Chinese officials, have a thought about the European Union, a Rubik’s Cube which has all its faces painted one colour as its real identity is so opaque. With just weeks away from its own elections – yes, the most undemocratic organisation in the world even organises elections for its own fake parliament – the EU itself is about to redefine itself. Already there are signs that even EU leaders are growing tired of its foibles and delusional dreams about its identity on the international circuit as a geopolitical contender, but people, humble voters, will soon deliver a message to the elites which run the EU soon: reform or crumble. Just recently, EU nerds in Brussels noticed that when all of the EU’s leaders descend on the grey, depressing Belgian capital – a city many associate with industrial scale paedophilia, graft, chocolate and a pissing urchin – that they show anyone who’s paying attention who ultimately runs the EU: member states.

Or at least that’s the theory. In the last few days EU leaders attended a meeting at the European Council of Ministers building and voted to “condemn” illegal West Bank settlers in Israel. Most editors of UK newspapers didn’t even understand what was happening. It was reported as “EU slams Israel’s West bank settlers” or “EU mulls sanctions against violent settlers” in a number of exclusive, European high-brow journals but completely unreported in the UK or US. Perhaps the British press didn’t understand the significance of EU leaders – rather than the European Commission or the parliament – taking this initiative? EU leaders themselves, in theory, have the power. They hold the aces. And when they decide on a line or a certain policy, the European Commission has no choice but to go along with it – affirming the old hacks’ dinner party circuit rambling that “the EU Council of Ministers is the most powerful institution in Brussels”. Perhaps it is. Or was. But what were EU leaders really trying to say with the stunt?

Simply that they object to Ursula von der Leyen’s repulsive, uncompromising support for the genocide in Gaza and send a signal that Jewish settlers’ violence when they steal Palestinians’ land is unacceptable. Just keep on stealing and looting as much as you can, but please do it peacefully, seems to be the message. This in itself is a clear message who really runs the so-called EU “foreign policy” rather than the Spanish gimp in Brussels otherwise known as Josep Borrell. EU member states own this domain and every now and again need to remind the elite in Brussels that they, member states, humour the EU hierarchy with this fantasy of being a geopolitical dick swinger with its own hegemony. But even being the guardian of such a dossier, where does it get the EU or its “members” when both are so impotent, hesitant and ultimately cowardly on the international stage? Ultimately, all the EU can do is make statements. That’s it. It has proven over and over again that it is powerless against anything that Israel does, regardless of that old chestnut often known as “international law”.

And the call from EU leaders for violence in the West Bank to stop is also an indicator to who are the super elites around the world who really control David Cameron or pay for Boris Johnson to fly out to Kiev recently and bang on the “let’s never give peace a chance” drum: Jewish money and power. And that Jewish money – American Jewish money – which controls the UN banking system, the federal exchange, World Bank, IMF, Hollywood, both houses in U.S. politics and most of big business in America is worried about anti-Semitism growing in the West. And so they inform their servants to go to the garden and find the lost jewels of the lady in the house while the rest of the world burns. Priorities. EU leaders didn’t meet in Brussels to thrash out a peace plan as they don’t have the instructions to do so. Hatred towards Jews in the West is the most important issue as it could be the thin end of the wedge which removes power from the elites who own Sunak, Scholz, Macron et al not to mention the European Union project which serves their global interests most admirably.

And you can always tell when these powerful hidden elites are fretting over their power base being slightly shaken. Their surfs start whining. Just listen to Josep Borrell recently talk about the Ukraine war and Russia. “We cannot afford for Russia to win this war. Otherwise the U.S. and European interests will be very damaged” he gushed. “It is not a matter of generosity alone … of supporting Ukraine because we love Ukrainian people. It is in our own interest”. Of course, when he spoke of “our own interest” he literally meant his own interest and a few of his cronies on the elitist payroll which you might be fooled into thinking was the EU itself. Oh you thought he was talking about the West in general and its population? Is it April 1st yet?

Read more …

Binding.

UN Court Orders Israel To Let Food Into Gaza (RT)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Israel to allow uninterrupted shipments of food into Gaza. Before issuing the legally-binding order, the Hague-based court warned that “famine is setting in” in the besieged enclave. Issued on Thursday, the order commands Israel to take “all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay, in full cooperation with the United Nations, the unhindered provision…of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance,” including food, water, and medicine. The ruling comes two months after the court ruled that “the state of Israel shall take all measures to prevent the commission of genocide in Gaza,” including by blocking humanitarian aid shipments.

“The court observes that Palestinians in Gaza are no longer facing only a risk of famine … but that famine is setting in,” the judges wrote in Thursday’s ruling. Israel can help alleviate this looming famine “by increasing the capacity and number of land crossing points and maintaining them open for as long as necessary,” they noted. The Israeli military controls all entry and exit points to Gaza except the Rafah crossing between the enclave and Egypt. However, Cairo allows Israel to determine when the crossing can be opened, and Israeli troops inspect every truck that passes. Every other crossing has been shut since Israel imposed a siege on Gaza immediately after Hamas militants attacked the Jewish state on October 7, and aid groups say that the trickle of supplies passing the Rafah crossing is insufficient to feed Gaza’s starving population.

A UN-backed report warned last week that more than 70% of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents are facing “catastrophic hunger,” and that famine conditions now exist in the northern part of the enclave. At least 27 children have already starved to death, the ICJ judges noted on Thursday. Thursday’s order was requested by South Africa, which filed a legal action last year accusing Israel of committing “systematic” war crimes and genocide in Gaza. Israel denies that it is committing genocide and insists that its military campaign against Hamas – which has killed more than 32,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children – is legitimate self defense.

Read more …

“..their judgment is about the law as it stands not as some might like it to be..”

UK Won’t Extradite Assange While Risk of Death Penalty Remains – Tory (Sp.)

The government of the United Kingdom will not want to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States as long as he could still face the death penalty there, Lord Richard Balfe, a Conservative member of the UK Parliament’s House of Lords, told Sputnik. On Tuesday, the High Court of Justice in London ruled that Assange has a real prospect of success on three of the nine grounds of appeal. The court asked the US government to provide assurances that the WikiLeaks founder would be able to claim the First Amendment of the US Constitution, which guarantees freedoms related to religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition. The court also asked to ensure that Assange would not be prejudiced at his trial due to his nationality, and that he would not face the death penalty. The next hearing is scheduled for May 20 if the parties submit the necessary documents.

“I am sure that the lawyers of Julian Assange will pursue appeals for as long as they can. It is my belief that the UK Government will be unwilling to extradite without a clear undertaking that the death penalty will not be imposed,” Balfe said. When asked about the High Court’s decision, Balfe stated that the UK-US extradition treaty signed by the Blair government has a reputation of being flawed and placing uneven responsibilities on the UK as opposed to the US. “The job of the High Court is to interpret the existing law, not to invent new laws. As such their judgment is about the law as it stands not as some might like it to be,” Balfe said.

The lawmaker stated that he in no way supports the past actions of Assange, stressing the importance of passage of confidential information between governments for conducting international diplomacy and that “sometimes difficult decisions need to be taken and examples need to be made.” Assange, an Australian citizen, was transferred to London’s high-security Belmarsh prison in April 2019 on bail breach charges. In the US, he faces prosecution under the Espionage Act for obtaining and disclosing classified information that shed light on war crimes and human rights violations committed by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. If convicted, the WikiLeaks founder could face up to 175 years in prison. One of the last means of preventing his transfer to the US may be an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Assange lost his previous appeal at the UK High Court last June.

Read more …

“..the British court could order Julian’s immediate extradition prior to a Rule 39 instruction, or decide to ignore a request from the ECtHR to allow Julian to have his case heard there.”

The Crucifixion of Julian Assange (Chris Hedges)

Prosecutors representing the United States, whether by design or incompetence, refused — in the two-day hearing I attended in London in February — to provide guarantees that Julian Assange would be afforded First Amendment rights and would be spared the death penalty if extradited to the U.S. The inability to give these assurances all but guaranteed that the High Court — as it did on Tuesday — would allow Julian’s lawyers to appeal. Was this done to stall for time so that Julian would not be extradited until after the U.S. presidential election? Was it a delaying tactic to work out a plea deal? Julian’s lawyers and U.S. prosecutors are discussing this possibility. Was it careless legal work? Or was it to keep Julian locked in a high security prison until he collapses mentally and physically? If Julian is extradited, he will stand trial for allegedly violating 17 counts of the 1917 Espionage Act, with a potential sentence of 170 years, along with another charge for “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” carrying an additional five years.

The court will permit Julian to appeal minor technical points — his basic free speech rights must be honored, he cannot be discriminated against on the basis of his nationality and he cannot be under threat of the death penalty. No new hearing will allow his lawyers to focus on the war crimes and corruption that WikiLeaks exposed. No new hearing will permit Julian to mount a public-interest defense. No new hearing will discuss the political persecution of a publisher who has not committed a crime. The court, by asking the U.S. for assurances that Julian would be granted First Amendment rights in the U.S. courts and not be subject to the death penalty, offered the U.S. an easy out — give the guarantees and the appeal is rejected.

It is hard to see how the U.S. can refuse the two-judge panel, composed of Dame Victoria Sharp and Justice Jeremy Johnson, which issued on Tuesday a 66-page judgment accompanied by a three-page court order and a four-page media briefing. The hearing in February was Julian’s last chance to request an appeal of the extradition decision made in 2022 by the then British home secretary, Priti Patel, and many of the rulings of District Judge Vanessa Baraitser in 2021. If Julian is denied an appeal, he can request an emergency stay of execution from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) under Rule 39, which is given in “exceptional circumstances” and “only where there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm.” But it is possible the British court could order Julian’s immediate extradition prior to a Rule 39 instruction, or decide to ignore a request from the ECtHR to allow Julian to have his case heard there.

[..] Julian did not, unlike Daniel Ellsberg, leak the documents. He published documents leaked by U.S. Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Three of the nine legal grounds were accepted by the judges as potential points for appeal. The other six were denied. The two-judge panel also rejected the request by Julian’s lawyers to present new evidence. Julian’s legal team asked the court to introduce into the case the Yahoo! News report that revealed, after the release of the documents known as Vault 7, that the then-director of the CIA Mike Pompeo, considered assassinating Julian. Julian’s lawyers also hoped to introduce a statement from Joshua Dratel, a U.S. attorney, who said that Pompeo’s use of the terms “non-state hostile intelligence service” and “enemy combatant” were phrases designed to give legal cover for an assassination.

Read more …

“Hundreds of deranged Hollywood liberals will be in attendance, and they will open their wallets to fund the destruction of country!”

“Mr Trump is also in the New York area on Thursday, attending the wake of a police officer, Jonathan Diller, who was shot and killed in the line of duty..”

While there, Trump offered to pay off the mortgage for his widow.

Biden To Host Star-studded NYC Fundraiser With Obama And Clinton (BBC)

US President Joe Biden is set to host a record-breaking fundraiser in New York City, alongside his predecessors Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. The event is projected to raise over $25m (£20m) for the Democrat’s re-election campaign – the most ever for a single political event, says his team. The event looks set to extend a growing cash gap between Mr Biden and his Republican challenger Donald Trump. The Biden campaign recently declared it had $155m cash to hand. Mr Trump is also in the New York area on Thursday, attending the wake of a police officer, Jonathan Diller, who was shot and killed in the line of duty. Despite the Republican’s lower cash pile and legal troubles, a number of national polls indicate he could still beat Mr Biden in their November rematch. Over 5,000 people are expected to attend the star-studded Democratic fundraiser on Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall, with many more watching online.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1773401980355944563

Late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert will moderate a conversation with the three presidents. The event will be hosted by actress Mindy Kaling and feature musical performances from Lizzo, Queen Latifah and Lea Michele. First Lady Jill Biden will host an after-party for 500 guests. The president’s son, Hunter Biden, and his family are also attending. The tickets are priced between $225 and half-a-million dollars. For $100,000, guests can get a picture with all three presidents, with star photographer Annie Leibovitz taking the snaps. President Biden was joined on the Air Force One flight to New York by Mr Obama, whom he served as vice-president from 2009-2017. Mr Obama, wearing a casual dress shirt, briefly came back for an off-the-record chat with reporters on the presidential jet. New York ground to a halt for their arrival as the two men’s huge motorcade cut across Manhattan in the pouring rain. Hundreds of onlookers jostled to take pictures.

Mr Biden’s previous best single-day fundraising effort was the $10m he raised in 24 hours after his State of the Union address this month. His fundraising has also been boosted by the advantage of incumbency. “Biden raising a lot of money is probably a function of him not having any real primary challengers,” Joseph Campbell, a communications professor at American University, told the BBC. “There’s no competition for Democratic donor money.” The $155m million in cash his campaign has is the most of any Democratic candidate in history at this point in an election cycle, according to his campaign. Mr Trump and his political action committees reported having $74m.

The Republican candidate raised $20m in the whole of February, less than what President Biden expects to receive just from Thursday’s event.In addition to Mr Trump’s fundraising challenges, his campaign and committees have spent millions of dollars in legal fees fighting four criminal cases against him. Mr Trump, 77, blasted the Democratic fundraising event in a fundraising email of his own, sent out by his campaign on Thursday morning. “Hundreds of deranged Hollywood liberals will be in attendance, and they will open their wallets to fund the destruction of country!” the message said.

Read more …

“The sound of our ancestor’s song has grown weaker..”

Maori King Calls For Recognizing Whales As People (RT)

The king of New Zealand’s indigenous Maori people has signed a ‘Declaration for the Ocean’ that calls for whales to be granted legal personhood as part of a plan to protect them, AFP reported on Thursday. The declaration reportedly recognizes the mammals as legal persons with the inherent right to freedom of movement, natural behavior, and expression of their unique cultures. The declaration has been made with the intent of helping whales recover their depleted population. “The sound of our ancestor’s song has grown weaker, and her habitat is under threat, which is why we must act now,” King Tuheitia Potatau te Wherowhero VII was quoted as saying. He was echoed by high chief Travel Tou Ariki, who said: “We can no longer turn a blind eye. Whales play a vital role in the health of our entire ocean ecosystem … We must act with urgency to protect these magnificent creatures before it’s too late.”

Whales have traditionally had cultural significance for the Maori as supernatural beings and as harbingers of spiritual growth. Some tribes see the mammals as the descendants of Tangaroa, the god of the ocean. Whales are some of the largest mammals on earth, with blue whales reaching up to 30.5 meters (100 feet) in length and weighing up to 200 tons. Many of the species are endangered. The move to grant whales personhood would not be without precedent. In 2017, New Zealand passed a groundbreaking law granting personhood status to the Whanganui River and Mount Taranaki volcano, both of which are important to the Maori people. The Maori are the second-largest ethnic group in New Zealand and currently make up about 17% of the country’s total population, or about 900,000 people.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Cancer: A Food-Borne Illness
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773126285633507786

 

 

Camelemon

 

 

Cats

 

 

Swan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773217153363181623

 

 

 

 

Shoal

 

 

Puppy
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773473225487389036

 

 

Moose
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773228532237214034

 

 

Boji
https://twitter.com/i/status/1773417411372597563

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Mar 252024
 


Pablo Picasso Don Quixote 1955

 

Trump Falsified Business Records Case May Be Delayed On Monday (Sp.)
Trump In Final Countdown To Post $464 Million Bond By Monday (ZH)
Fani Willis Goes Head to Head with Her Prior Self in Trump Case (Turley)
TIME To Panic: Joe Biden’s Campaign “In Trouble” Despite Obama Warning (ZH)
Ukraine Likely Had Prior Knowledge of Moscow Terrorist Threat (Sp.)
US Bails Ukraine Out, Covering Zelensky With ISIS – Zakharova (TASS)
Militaristic Revolution in the EU Paves Legal Way for Warmongering (Babich)
Western Banks Warn Against EU Plans to Give Russian Funds to Ukraine (Antiwar)
Mob Rule Versus Survival of the West (Susan D. Harris)
Macron Obsessing Over Personal Security Amid Ukrainian Conflict (RT)
Guterres, the UN, Might, Wise Guys’ ‘Wisdom’, and Right (Graça)
‘U-Turn Over Atlantic’ (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

Far right
https://twitter.com/i/status/1771934645380100570

 

 

Mike Rowe

 

 

RFK

 

 

Tucker Roseanne
https://twitter.com/i/status/1771622982630211703

 

 

 

 

Stormy Daniels. Star witness: Michael Cohen.

Trump Falsified Business Records Case May Be Delayed On Monday (Sp.)

Former US President Donald Trump is facing four separate criminal cases, two at the federal level and two brought by the States of New York and Georgia. Trump also leads US President Joe Biden in national polls and most swing states. Judge Juan Merchan will hold a pre-trial hearing in New York on Monday to determine if there should be further delays in former US President Donald Trump’s falsified business documents case, one of four criminal cases he is facing. The case was initially scheduled to begin on Monday but was delayed to at least April 25 after prosecutors released more than 100,000 pages of documents to Trump’s defense team. Prosecutor Alvin Bragg did not oppose the 30-day delay but argued that no further delays should be placed on the trial.

Of the criminal cases Trump is facing, this case was the most likely to conclude before the Presidential election in November, but a significant delay could push it past election day. Trump’s legal team is arguing that the prosecution intentionally held the documents back and included exculpatory evidence favorable to the defense. If Merchan agrees, he could throw the case out and possibly sanction Bragg for potential Brady violations, but he could also issue a delay in the case or keep the trial date, scheduled for March 25, as-is.

“The People have engaged in widespread misconduct as part of a desperate effort to improve their position at the potential trial on the false and unsupported charges in the Indictment,” Trump’s legal team argued in court filings. “[R]eports relating to statements by Cohen that are exculpatory and favorable to the defense.” Most legal experts quoted in US media predicted that a delay could happen but they doubt that the judge will throw out the case. The documents relate to federal investigations into Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer who is expected to be the prosecution’s star witness. The documents were not in Bragg’s office and were instead in different offices around the country. Bragg argues that the Trump team intentionally waited until January to ask for the documents to cause a delay in the trial.

“[T]he belated nature of the recent USAO productions is entirely the result of the defendant’s own inexplicable and strategic delay in identifying perceived deficiencies,” the prosecution argued. Prosecutors also claim that less than 300 of the documents are both new to the defense and related to Trump’s trial. Trump has been charged with 34 counts of falsifying business documents related to repayments he made to Cohen for hush money payments Cohen paid to adult film star Stormy Daniels who claimed she had an affair with then-candidate Trump in 2016. Trump pleaded not guilty but admits to making the payments. He also denies that the affair took place. Cohen was sentenced to three years in prison in 2018 after being convicted of campaign finance violations related to those payments and for lying to Congress about how long discussions about a potential Trump Tower in Moscow continued.

Read more …

Trump OAN

“What he’s talking about is the money reported on his campaign disclosure forms that he’s built up through years of owning and managing successful businesses,..

Trump In Final Countdown To Post $464 Million Bond By Monday (ZH)

Donald Trump has until Monday to come up with more than $450 million to stop his properties from being seized by authorities following the results of his New York civil fraud trial. According to the ruling by Judge Arthur Engoron, Trump and executives at the Trump Organization inflated his assets. Initially, NY Attorney General Letitia James sought $250 million in damages – but later increased it to $370 million plus interest. Trump has been seeking a bond of $464 million ($454 million plus $10 million to cover his sons’ fines) in order to post bond and appeal the case. Last week, Trump said he had “almost $500 million” in cash, however his attorney Chris Kise told CNN that Trump wasn’t referring to cash he has on hand. “What he’s talking about is the money reported on his campaign disclosure forms that he’s built up through years of owning and managing successful businesses,” he said, which the outlet noted is “the very cash that Letitia James and the Democrats are targeting.”

Assets including buildings, houses, cars, helicopters and even Trump’s plane are on the chopping block if Trump can’t come up with the money. The former president has asked a state appeals court to allow him to post a smaller bond, or none at all, claiming that irreparable harm would be done if he was forced to sell properties in a ‘fire sale’ that can’t be undone if he wins his appeal against the amount due. The court has not come back yet with a ruling. If Trump can’t secure the bond, New York state officials can begin the arduous process of taking his assets. According to experts cited by a very giddy CNN, the first action should be seizing Trump’s bank accounts. “The banks are the easiest part, they’ll receive the judgment from the Attorney General – the court order – then the banks will enforce,” said former federal prosecutor Peter Katz, who has handled fraud cases. “They take the funds from the account and put it in the attorney general’s accounts. The other stuff is a little more challenging.”

According to debt collection expert Alden B. Smith, New York officials are “trying to get their ducks in a row,” adding “They want to find the most liquid of the assets they can restrain immediately. A bank account is the most effective way to do it.” Seizing Trump’s buildings and businesses is far more complicated. Once state prosecutors figure out which properties they want to take from Joe Biden’s chief political rival, they will give the sheriff an execution order, a $350 fee, and then the sheriff will post notice for the property in three places. The AG’s office must then advertise it four times, after which the property will be sold at public auction 63 days after the sheriff is given the execution order. According to Newsweek, the following Trump-owned properties had “fraudulent” and “misleading” values, and could be on the list (with New York properties taking priority, and those in other states being more complicated to seize).
Trump Park Avenue, New York, N.Y.
Trump Tower, New York City.
40 Wall Street, New York City.
Trump Seven Springs, Westchester County, N.Y.
Trump International Hotel, Las Vegas.
Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida.
Trump National Golf Club Westchester, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.
Trump National Golf Club Charlotte, Mooresville, North Carolina.
Trump National Golf Club Colts Neck, Colts Neck, New Jersey.
Trump National Golf Club, Washington D.C., Sterling, Virginia.
Trump National Golf Club Hudson Valley, Hopewell Junction, N.Y.
Trump National Golf Club Jupiter, Jupiter, Florida.
Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles, Rancho Palos Verdes, California.
Trump National Golf Club Philadelphia, Pine Hill, New Jersey.
Trump International Golf Links Scotland, Aberdeen.
Trump International Golf Links Scotland, Turnberry.
Trump has roughly $200 million in cumulative loans on his properties.

Read more …

“I will certainly not be choosing to date people that work under me.”

Fani Willis Goes Head to Head with Her Prior Self in Trump Case (Turley)

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis has finally broken her silence with CNN. Willis insisted that she has done nothing wrong while declaring that “the train is coming” for Donald Trump. On this occasion, CNN can be excused for not having an opposing view. Willis circa 2020 denounced Willis circa 2024. Willis told a CNN reporter “I don’t feel like my reputation needs to be reclaimed. I guess my greatest crime is I had a relationship with a man, that’s not something I find embarrassing in any way. And I know that I have not done anything that’s illegal.” The most obvious person to interview in rebuttal of that statement is Willis’s 2020 self. After all, she repeatedly declared that she would not have any romantic relationship with those in her office. Willis ran against her former boss Paul Howard, who was embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal involving his relationship with women in his office.

Willis offered both experience and ethical leadership, including pledging repeatedly that “I will certainly not be choosing to date people that work under me.” When confronted with this repeated campaign promise on the stand, Willis came up with a perfectly bizarre spin about Nathan Wade being literally “special” as a special prosecutor. While she hired him, supervised him, and controlled his continued employment with the office, she tried to suggest that he was not really part of the office in the same sense. Willis notably stressed that she did nothing “illegal.” She did not address whether she acted unethically. The court itself denounced her for unprofessional conduct in this controversy, including her speech at a church suggesting that racism was behind these allegations.

Moreover, it may be too early to tell if she is entirely free of criminal allegations. Many believe that both she and Wade gave knowingly false or misleading testimony. That is a problem not just for them as individuals but for the office in this case. Willis and Wade were both prosecuting people for the very same conduct of filing false statements with courts and making false statements. The two lawyers testified in tandem but only one was disqualified. While the Court casts doubt on Wade’s testimony on the relationship, it ignored that Willis effectively ratified those claims in her own testimony. Putting aside the pledge of a train coming for Trump, there is the problem that there are usually two tracks and another train may be coming for Willis as the state (and potentially the bar) looks into these allegations.

Bosi

Read more …

“In 2020, Biden carried 87% of the black vote. Now, he’s polling at just 63%, a sharp decline. Meanwhile four years ago he won hispanic votes by a ratio of 2 to 1. He now trails Trump in that bloc..”

TIME To Panic: Joe Biden’s Campaign “In Trouble” Despite Obama Warning (ZH)

“Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to fuck things up.” -Barack Obama.

With less than eight months before the 2024 election, the Biden re-election campaign is in big trouble. Not only is Biden lagging in the polls vs. Donald Trump, the border crisis he created by shredding all of Trump’s Executive Orders on immigration has resulted in 10 million illegals flooding into the United States – which has left even Democrats livid. What’s more, Biden is quickly losing the support of young Americans, and the latino vote. Things are so bad that TIME magazine has just devoted 3,700 words to let us know that Barack Obama ‘warned’ the Biden campaign last June that defeating Trump would be harder in 2024 (because no pandemic or hoax dossier to set him up?). Six months later, Obama ‘saw few signs of improvement.’

Obama returned to the White House in December, with a ‘more urgent’ message: the re-election campaign was behind schedule in building out field operations, and that an ‘insular group of advisers’ in the West Wing was hamstringing the effort. Now, it’s really bad… “Three months later, the 2024 general election is under way, and Biden is indeed in trouble. His stubbornly low approval ratings have sunk into the high 30s, worse than those of any other recent President seeking re-election. He’s trailed or tied Trump in most head-to-head matchups for months. Voters express concerns about his policies, his leadership, his age, and his competency. The coalition that carried Biden to victory in 2020 has splintered; the Democrats’ historic advantage with Black, Latino, and Asian American voters has dwindled to lows not seen since the civil rights movement. -TIME

Meanwhile, Biden’s inner circle is “defiantly sanguine” as a “fog of dread” descends on Democrats. The rest of the TIME article is full of anecdotes of dissatisfied Democrats, particularly young voters such as 20-year-old Aidan Kohn-Murphy. It has nothing to do, as many assume, with the President’s age. With palpable frustration, Kohn-Murphy enumerates the list of perceived policy “betrayals” as though they were “tattooed on the back of my hand.” According to the report, GenZ voters “don’t understand why they should be compelled to cast their ballot for a candidate who has done so many things that are against their values,” said Kohn-Murphy.

In 2020, Biden carried 87% of the black vote. Now, he’s polling at just 63%, a sharp decline. Meanwhile four years ago he won hispanic votes by a ratio of 2 to 1. He now trails Trump in that bloc. Biden’s support of Israel amid the Gaza war has “tanked his standing with Muslim and Arab voters,” particularly in “must-win Michigan.” Overall, Biden’s advantage over Trump among nonwhite Americans has shrunk from almost 50 points in 2020 to 12, according to the latest Times/Siena poll. “It boils down to voters of color, and those voters are pissed,” said one former Biden campaign and White House official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I think it’s very likely he’ll lose.”

Read more …

“..they have all these specific details, but they were unable to give anything specific to the Russians. This all makes one think that something is very wrong.”

Ukraine Likely Had Prior Knowledge of Moscow Terrorist Threat (Sp.)

A group of gunmen opened fire at a concert venue in Moscow on the evening of March 22, killing over 100 people and setting fire to the building. Eleven suspects have been detained by Russian security services in relation to the terrorist attack, including the four suspected perpetrators who were apprehended as they were trying to flee the country across the border with Ukraine. During an interview with Sputnik, political and military analyst Sergey Poletaev pointed out that the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officially announced that the suspected terrorists had contacts in Ukraine. According to Poletaev, even if the reports about the perpetrators being Tajikistani citizens are true, the attack in Moscow could have been masterminded either by some kind of Islamist terrorist organization that has ties with Ukraine, or even by Ukraine directly. In any case, he noted, it appears that the Ukrainian leadership had prior knowledge of this act of terror, “which makes them accomplices, at the very least.”

Poletaev also argued that while the attack was likely planned by professionals, it does not necessarily mean that the perpetrators were equally skilled, with the analyst observing how high school students sometimes kill dozens of people during shooting sprees. Commenting on the attempts by both Washington and Kiev to hastily deny Ukraine’s trace in this terrorist attack, Poletaev suggested that the West is going to insist that ISIS* alone was responsible. Thus, he postulated, there will be two narratives – the Russian and the Western – and it all comes down to whose side the “global majority” is going to take. “It is in our best interests to collate a convincing body of evidence for our case. It would greatly help us with diplomacy,” Poletaev remarked. “We’re talking about the ‘third countries,’ of course, as the West will most likely dismiss any talk of Ukraine’s involvement.”

Seyed Mohammad Marandi, a political analyst and professor at Tehran University, also found it curious that, even when “no real details” about the attack were known, the United States started insisting that Ukraine was not involved. “It is also very strange that the United States was able to give such a detailed travel advisory or warning about a terror attack naming concerts and giving specifics about an attack in Moscow and large gatherings and all that [previous to the attack],” he added. “So, they have all these specific details, but they were unable to give anything specific to the Russians. This all makes one think that something is very wrong.” Referring to claims about ISIS being responsible for the attack, Marandi argued that this theory does not necessarily rule out “cooperation between Ukraine and ISIS or the potential role of the United States.”

“The very fact that the United States, from the start, said that Ukraine wasn’t involved and the very fact that they gave such a detailed warning to their citizens is raising serious questions. But ISIS and the Ukrainian regime both have very strong connections with the West,” he elaborated. “ISIS has cooperated with NATO countries, it has cooperated with Israel, and it has cooperated with other American allies in Syria for years. And Ukraine is also deeply dependent on NATO countries. Marandi also pointed out that ISIS “has always been focused on the enemies of the United States” whereas the terrorist organization’s attacks on NATO countries or the Middle Eastern powers aligned with the West have been “very rare.”

Cactus City hall
https://twitter.com/i/status/1771960366140178439
https://twitter.com/i/status/1771954788789305698

Read more …

“Attention, a question for the White House: are you sure it was ISIS, won’t you change your mind later?”

US Bails Ukraine Out, Covering Zelensky With ISIS – Zakharova (TASS)

After the Crocus City Hall attack, the US tries to bail Ukraine out by mentioning the Islamic State (IS, ISIS) terror group, outlawed in Russia, and to cover itself and the Zelensky regime it created, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in an article for kp.ru. “The American political engineers cornered themselves with their tales that the Crocus City Hall attack was carried out by the ISIS terror group,” the diplomat noted. “Hence Washington’s daily bailing out of its wards in Kiev, and the attempt to cover itself and the Zelensky regime they created with the scarecrow of the outlawed ISIS.” Zakharova noted that a number of factors directly and indirectly indicate the US authorities’ involvement in sponsoring the Ukrainian terrorism.

“Billions of dollar and an unprecedented amount of weapons, invested without accountability and with use of corruption schemes into the Kiev regime, the aggressive rhetoric regarding Russia, the rabid nationalism, the ban for peace talks on Ukraine, the endless calls for a force resolution of the conflict, the refusal to condemn the years-long terror attacks, carried out by the Kiev regime, and the massive informational and political support of any, even the most atrocious actions of Zelensky,” she listed. The spokeswoman also noted that previously, the US intervention in Middle Eastern affairs has led to the emergence, strengthening and institutionalization of a number of radical and terrorist groups that remain active in the region even today. “What is the logic, you may ask? Money and power. And, considering the international legal ban on direct interventions, it is also about sowing a ‘controlled chaos’ and reshaping the world order by the hands of terrorists,” she continued. “Attention, a question for the White House: are you sure it was ISIS, won’t you change your mind later?”

Read more …

“..the European Union, which was conceived as an entirely peaceful organization, becomes one of the world’s most implacable warring empires..”

“Later, these weapons will be used against “undemocratic” countries, whose leaders happen to be at odds with the EU and the US.”

An EU army is idiotic. Who will be in command? France or Germany? How about Hungary?

Militaristic Revolution in the EU Paves Legal Way for Warmongering (Babich)

During the last few days, the European Union went through a real militaristic revolution. A special “legal task force” is working on allowing the use of EU funds for war. The so-called European Peace Facility (EPF), officially stewarded by Josep Borrell, will get its money from the EU funds (and not individual states) after reporting the transfer of thousands of weapons systems to Kiev. EPF also reported having trained more than 40,000 Ukrainian military to use them. The Financial Times chose a somewhat routinely sounding lead for its story on the EU’s decision to legally stop being an “oasis of peace”: “Brussels proposes ‘legal task force’ to explore ways to use the common budget for defense. The headline, however, was more disturbing: “EU looks to bypass treaty ban on buying arms to support Ukraine.”

The reality described in the FT’s story, however, is more dramatic than the headline and the lead taken together: the European Union, which was conceived as an entirely peaceful organization, becomes one of the world’s most implacable warring empires – by law. Very soon the EU’s Union Treaty will no longer have a provision prohibiting “any expenditure arising from operations having military or defense implications.” (Article 41, point 2 of the Treaty on European Union.) Or, at best, this provision will be made devoid of legal force by some new additions to the EU’s legislation. FT reports, confirming its story by eyewitness accounts, that the European Commission is creating a “legal task force,” that would allow the EU to finance wars and military production by European money. In all likelihood, the first “beneficiary” of this financing will be NATO’s proxies in Ukraine, waging a war against Russia and Russians since 2014. At a recent conference of the EU’s 27 members in mid-March, 2024, it was decided to create within the framework of the so-called European Peace Facility (EPF) a special fund for financing Ukrainian armed forces (Ukraine Assistance Fund).

What the relation is between the word “peace” and the system of buying and transporting weapons to the zone of conflict, remains unclear. Ukraine Assistance Fund (UAF) will be financed by donations from EU member states to the tune of €5 billion a year. At least €500 million from that sum will be spent on training Ukrainian servicemen to use the EPF-provided weapons. The weapons will mostly be European-made (such was the requirement of France), but not only. Weapons from “third countries” can be bought and sold, creating opportunities for the spread of dangerous weapons around the world. Judging by the recent EU summit on Thursday, which discussed the ways of stealing “immobilized” Russia’s foreign assets and pouring its money into the UAF “for military support to Ukraine,” no law is an obstacle for the EU’s “legal task forces.” Was such an evolution of the EU unexpected? Not entirely.

The EU’s quasi-pacifist image started to crumble not now, but back in the 1990s. It transpired back then that the real European Union went a long way from the lofty ideas of the EU’s founders. Only naïve people can trust the EU’s claims, that it is a purely “soft power-based institution.” In 1995-1999 the EU’s member countries participated in military interventions against the former Yugoslav republics, later almost all EU members made their “military contributions” to the occupations of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. However, as more and more “crusades” by individual Western countries or American-British alliances ended in defeats (one can cite Afghanistan in 2001-2021 or the French intervention in West Africa after the coup in Libya in 2011), the dreams about a “collective war chest” of the EU started to take shape In 2020 the so-called European Defense Fund (EDF) and later, in March 2021, the European Peace Facility (EPF) started operating at the EU level. Their aim was clear from the start: to collect money from member countries and to buy arms for this money.

Later, these weapons will be used against “undemocratic” countries, whose leaders happen to be at odds with the EU and the US. Real European pacifists immediately smelt the rat and protested both against EDF and especially against EPF, which after the escalation of the Ukrainian conflict became one of the main sponsors of Zelensky’s military machine. Back in 2021, 40 pro-peace NGOs, headed by the German group Brot für die Welt (Bread for the World) came out with a statement denouncing the EPF as an instrument “which brings arms into wrong hands” and “allows to use the EU money to train the military cadres for dictatorial regimes.” Now, however, Brussels uses widespread anti-Russian prejudice in the EU, as well as constant reminders about the “threat from Putin” to justify the final destruction of the dream of “peaceful Europe,” which once inspired the pioneers of European integration. In comparison to 2021 critics are fewer and quieter. In this way, Russophobia was spiritually destructive for Europe, stealing its dream of “world peace.”

Read more …

“..once sanctions on Russia are eased or lifted, they could face decades of legal action.”

Western Banks Warn Against EU Plans to Give Russian Funds to Ukraine (Antiwar)

Some Western banks are lobbying against an EU plan to use profits made by Russian central bank funds that are frozen in Europe to arm Ukraine, Reuters reported on Thursday. The European Commission has proposed sending up to 3 billion euros to Ukraine per year using the revenue. About 90% would go to a fund called the “European Peace Facility” that can be used to buy weapons for Ukraine, and the remaining funds would go to the EU’s central budget for other types of aid. Russia has slammed the plan and has vowed to respond. “This is outright banditry and theft. These actions are a gross and unprecedented violation of basic international norms. We said that we would respond, and so we shall,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday. Sources told Reuters that banks fear they could be held liable by Russia in the future for being involved in the transaction. The report said once sanctions on Russia are eased or lifted, they could face decades of legal action.

The banks also worry the move would erode trust in the Western banking system. One source said it would set a bad precedent and that stealing the funds would amount to the “weaponization of foreign-held reserves and assets.” The US is looking to take an even more extreme measure by giving all of the Russian funds to Ukraine, not just the profit and interest. Last month, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen came out strongly in favor of the idea. “It is necessary and urgent for our coalition to find a way to unlock the value of these immobilized assets to support Ukraine’s continued resistance and long-term reconstruction,” Yellen said. Legislation to give the Russian money to Ukraine has been introduced in Congress and has received bipartisan support, but the bills have yet to be voted on. About $67 billion in Russian central bank funds are held in the US, while over $200 billion is held in Europe.

Read more …

“..it is taking you to the point where I truly believe they will only stop when they find that you will swing from a tree.”

Mob Rule Versus Survival of the West (Susan D. Harris)

It’s been hard to watch the effects of forced diversity, multiculturalism, and mass immigration on the tiny island of Great Britain—the most densely populated nation in Europe. At least in America we still have so much land area that most people are not yet feeling the effects of large-scale population displacement stemming from all forms of immigration. In the UK, however, every day feels like an episode of “Survivor” as people who are being crammed in like sardines are increasingly made to fear that they’ll be voted off the island. Recently, protests surrounding the Israel–Hamas war have exposed the fragility of a British culture—and nation—on the verge of capsizing from the weight of immigration and cultural divides. Well-known British YouTuber Paul Joseph Watson has been covering events there, addressing the British prime minister’s remarks that his country is descending into “mob rule” and that the situation is urgent. The prime minister was referring to pro-Palestinian protesters currently flooding the streets of Britain.

Mr. Watson shared a genius chart from a user on social media platform X supposedly detailing the rise of mob rule in London. The user commented, “HOW DID WE GET HERE? After importing millions of people from countries with a culture of mob rule into London, mob rule has taken over London. Experts are crunching the numbers to figure out if systematically undermining basic law and order could have affected basic law and order.” Meanwhile, Pro-Palestinian protesters across Britain vowed more marches, ostensibly to protest Israeli attacks in Gaza. Mr. Watson has also been covering reactions to another member of parliament recently claiming there were “no-go zones” in Birmingham. To support the existence of “no-go zones,” Mr. Watson cited the Birmingham Mail newspaper, which reported that “due to soaring crime being committed by ‘urban youths,’ parts of the city center are no-go zones and the areas immediately surrounding Birmingham are no-go areas for the same reason,” according to Mr. Watson.

All of this comes after a huge blow-up about a comment made by a Conservative member of parliament on conservative-leaning GB News. Lee Anderson told the news outlet (where he also hosts his own show) that “I don’t actually believe that the Islamists have got control of our country, but what I do believe is they’ve got control of [Mayor of London Sadiq] Khan and they’ve got control of London. … He’s actually given our capital city away to his mates.”
Mayor Khan then responded with three strikes against Mr. Anderson, saying his remarks were “Islamophobic, anti-Muslim and racist” and poured “fuel on the fire of anti-Muslim hatred.” It was all downhill from there. Mr. Anderson was suspended from the Conservative Party after refusing to apologize and later defected to the Reform UK party. After that, a GB News guest said Mayor Khan was “not British. He doesn’t support Britain.” Which led to calls for GB News to be investigated by Ofcom, Britain’s communications regulator, similar to our FCC. And it won’t be the first time; Ofcom seems to be targeting GB News for investigations quite a lot lately.

Another British YouTuber who’s been weighing in on the ongoing cancel culture wars in her country is Katie Hopkins. In a video titled, “How cancel culture (evisceration) REALLY works,” Ms. Hopkins outlines what she believes is “currently being done to GB News by those that want to see it done away with.” She also claims that “Ofcom is the weapon wielded in a war of attrition against GB News.” And she should know. The controversial celebrity, journalist, and comedian has done her share of shocking the public and angering many over these last many years, but she’s also become quite the conservative hero. She’s been re-tweeted by President Donald Trump multiple times, banned from Twitter, reinstated on Twitter (now X), and thrown out of Australia for mocking quarantine lockdowns. She’s called Islam the “single biggest threat” to Europe and was named as a target in a planned terror attack by ISIS supporters. Most recently, she’s done a hilarious must-see YouTube short dedicated to all the people who “pushed the jab.” It currently has over 1 million views.

In 2020, Ms. Hopkins told conservative host Candace Owens that her situation in Britain was so much more than the cancel culture that was overtaking America. She explained that in the UK it had become “acceptable” to think that a targeted physical attack against her would be “welcomed and applauded.” She continued to explain to Ms. Owens that she lost her jobs, her home (which she said had to be sold due to litigation), and even experienced having her children reported to social services with the intent to have them taken away. She concluded by saying that, in the UK, “[T]he darkness is that when they come, it’s not something flippant that is cancel culture, it is taking you to the point where I truly believe they will only stop when they find that you will swing from a tree.” Her fundamental commitment, she added, was to not allow that to happen.

Read more …

“As soon as we arrived at the Elysee, the staff responsible for the president’s security were immediately doubled..”

Macron Obsessing Over Personal Security Amid Ukrainian Conflict (RT)

French president Emmanuel Macron’s concerns for his own personal safety are being amplified by his public statements and tough stance on the Ukraine conflict, Marianne magazine reported on Sunday. The magazine spoke to multiple sources within Macron’s security detail, the country’s Interior Ministry, and to his notorious ex-bodyguard Alexandre Benalla. During his time with Macron’s security team, Benalla became embroiled in multiple scandals, including beating up demonstrators alongside riot police during the Yellow Vest protests. Macron has always been concerned with his personal security, Benalla claimed, revealing the president had bolstered the ranks of his guard right after assuming office. “As soon as we arrived at the Elysee, the staff responsible for the president’s security were immediately doubled compared to those responsible for that of [predecessor] Francois Hollande,” the disgraced bodyguard explained.

The Yellow Vests protests, which have plagued Macron’s presidency throughout his first term and beyond, have left a dent. Macron’s spouse Brigitte has been particularly concerned that her husband would ultimately end up assassinated, Benalla claims. “She was always very worried about him. At home, there is the fear of ‘Kennedy syndrome,’ that he will end up assassinated,” the insider reportedly claimed. The situation has deteriorated further as a result of Macron’s determination to present himself as a hawk on the conflict between Moscow and Kiev. The president’s security team has been working in “red” mode since at least last summer, an unnamed source “at the heart” of Macron’s guard system told the magazine.

“Recently, he is provoking so much that he is afraid,” a source at the heart of the Macron security system confided. “Since last summer, he has taken on some big guys to accompany him. They are more visible and also more effective in intervening in the event of a crowd movement.” The French president is apparently not afraid of facing off angry citizens as is, but rather fears the alleged Russian “hybrid threat,” the report suggested. He has repeatedly voiced concerns over “state-level” threats emanating from abroad, while in private blaming the alleged threat exclusively on Moscow, and creating a special taskforce to tackle it. “Macron is totally freaked out by the Russians. One morning, he arrived at the intelligence services and requested the creation of a special task force on Russian interference overnight. Colleagues have to hold a meeting daily, it doesn’t excite them much,” a senior official with the Interior Ministry told Marianne.

Read more …

25 years ago NATO bombed Yugoslavia. Guterres was Portugal PM.

Guterres, the UN, Might, Wise Guys’ ‘Wisdom’, and Right (Graça)

António Guterres, according to what I have read somewhere, has formally and publicly protested the fact that the people of the newly incorporated regions of Russia participate in the latter’s presidential elections. The reason, he claimed, was that it had been an illegal incorporation, based on an also illegal invasion. Russia would thus have in this case the might, Guterres argued, but she would not have on her side the right. Does this sit well with a UN Secretary-General? It certainly does, the unaware reader will likely say. That’s precisely what the UN exists for: to show everyone that, beyond might, irreducible to it, there is always (and there will be) the right. The problem with this – formally impeccable – argument resides, however, elsewhere. Do you remember Kosovo? It was occupied by NATO in 1999, after this alliance bombed the then Yugoslavia, on various pretexts that later were revealed to be false, forcing it (without a UN mandate, by sheer military might) to withdraw from that territory.

Yugoslavia held out for almost three months of relentless bombardment, but eventually withdrew, albeit grudgingly and only against written assurances that Kosovo would remain Yugoslav territory, only provisionally occupied: “we didn’t give away Kosovo, we don’t give away Kosovo”, Slobodan Milosevic then declared publicly. Kosovo was part of a Yugoslav republic, Serbia, and remained so even when this and the other remaining Yugoslav republic, Montenegro, later legally ‘divorced’, thus ending the very existence of the ‘once upon a time’ Country of the South Slavs. Serbia does not recognize the right to secession of her provinces, and so she did not recognize the secession of Kosovo when this territory subsequently (in 2008, still under NATO occupation and without holding a referendum with that purpose) proclaimed its independence.

She complained about this to the International Court of Justice, but the ICJ did not grant the Serbian complaint, arguing that, while it was true that on the latter’s side was the UN’s principle of protection of the integrity of states’ borders, on the side of Kosovar independence was the also UN’s principle of the defense of peoples right to self-determination. That being the case, and although admittedly in a situation of mon coeur balance, the august Court decided by a majority to give the right to Kosovo’s independence, and the wrong to Serbia. The rejection of a region’s independence could be valid internally, but not internationally. Was the secession of Kosovo illegal from the point of view of Serbian law? Perhaps. But not, the ICJ declared, from the point of view of international law.

Now, with things admittedly at this point, the obvious question is: have Crimea, the Donbass, plus the other two provinces of Novorossiya, legally seceded from Ukraine? From Kiev’s point of view, of course not. But from the point of view of international law? When faced with the problem of the secession of countries de facto in a colonial situation, but formally only provinces of another (as was the case with the then Portuguese overseas provinces in Africa), the UN had already decided, in 1970, that the decisive criterion was the existence or not of negative discrimination against certain groups. If the Portuguese state practiced negative discrimination against African ‘indigenous’ people, this would be an irrefutable indication of colonialism, even if the Portuguese Constitution of the time did not openly proclaim it. Therefore, Angola and Mozambique would have the right to secede.

If, on the other hand, it was a question of territories where the populations enjoyed the same rights as the ‘normal’ nationals of their respective countries, such as the Corsicans vis-à-vis the other French, or the Sardinians in relation to the other Italians, there would be no right of secession. Corsica and Sardinia would therefore not have the right to secede from France and Italy, respectively. The point is that, precisely, Kosovo was not the target of any derogatory treatment by Serbia. On the contrary, there was positive discrimination, with the right to use Albanian as a regional co-official language, just as it is today in Spain with Basque, Galician and Catalan in the Basque Country, Galicia and Catalonia, respectively. And yet, the ICJ ruled against Serbia’s claim! That is, giving an additional right to the centrifugal political tendencies, when compared to the position of the UN General Assembly back in 1970…

Given this, the question inevitably arises: have the inhabitants of the Donbass, who revolted and organized secessionist referendums as early as 2014, and since then saw the Russian language banned, and were the target of indiscriminate bombardment by Kiev’s troops and paramilitary, and suffered all kinds of other atrocities, not much more right to secession than the Kosovars – to whom, for example, the use of Albanian had never been forbidden by Belgrade? On the contrary, the entire Albanian cultural legacy was always carefully protected by Yugoslavia’s emphatically multi-ethnic Constitution, and the ethnic Albanian population benefited from various forms of positive discrimination. And yet, the ICJ rejected Serbia’s complaint!

Read more …

What led to Putin. “If I had accepted Gore’s terms, I would have been a real traitor..”

‘U-Turn Over Atlantic’ (Sp.)

Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of then-Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov’s famous “U-turn” over the Atlantic, an event that grabbed global headlines at the time. On March 24, 1999, Primakov was on a flight to the United States to negotiate a $5 billion IMF loan for Russia. But after then-US Vice President Al Gore informed Primakov that NATO had launched a bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, Primakov decided to turn his plane around and return to Moscow. Witnessing the Primakov-Gore conversation was the now-deputy head of Russia’s upper chamber of parliament, Konstantin Kosachev, who served as an assistant for international affairs to the prime minister in the late 1990s. Kosachev was among the members of a Russian government delegation on board Primakov’s plane when the incident took place. The Federal Council deputy head later recalled that Gore told Primakov about the beginning of NATO’s military operation and the alliance’s decision to start bombing Yugoslavia “in these very minutes.”

According to Kosachev, Primakov reacted by telling Gore that such a development means that the Russian delegation’s visit to the US “becomes impossible.” The lawmaker added that the plane turned around after Primakov received the go-ahead from then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin. When asked by reporters why Primakov’s move was so significant for history, Kosachev stressed that “it was the first sign of Russia’s disagreement as a state with the policies that the US and its NATO allies were pursuing in a world which seemed to have changed since the end of the Cold War, but in fact which had not changed at all.” “As I see it, the decision proved to be a turning point both literally and figuratively in relations between Russia and the West, something that reflected our country’s utter disagreement with the West’s line on building a unipolar world,” Kosachev underscored.

It predetermined the entire course of subsequent events, the lawmaker went on, noting that Russia and the West “could have come out of all this by preserving partnership in those issues that unite both sides.” “The two, however, continued to move in opposite directions because the West refused to reconsider its policy line with regard to the outside world and Russia. What’s more, the West in many situations further aggravated the situation,” Kosachev pointed out. As for Primakov, needless to say he was shocked after hearing the news about a European country being bombed for the first time since the end of the Second World War. Despite Gore’s desperate attempts to persuade Primakov to backtrack on his decision and come to Washington, the Russian prime minister was undeterred. “If I had accepted Gore’s terms, I would have been a real traitor,” Primakov later said.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Bhakdi
https://twitter.com/i/status/1771608859221619053

 

 

Parakeet

 

 

Tiger

 

 

China 2019-24
https://twitter.com/i/status/1771858094030565756

 

 

Bird dog
https://twitter.com/i/status/1771934010643451957

 

 

Giraffe
https://twitter.com/i/status/1771923520995340738

 

 

 

 

Whales
https://twitter.com/i/status/1772141576900214974

 

 

Love

 

 

Gravity

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 162024
 


J.J. Grandville ‘A Comet’s Journey’, Illustration from ‘Un Autre Monde’ 1844

 

Prosecutors Reportedly Met with Biden Admin Before 3 Trump Indictments (BB)
Judge Denies Trump Motion To Dismiss Stormy Daniels ‘Hush Money’ Case (ZH)
Obama CIA Colluded with Foreign Powers in Massive Spy Op Against Trump (Miles)
US Intel Asked Foreign Countries to Surveil Trump Associates (Turley)
US Intel Fabricated Claim Putin Preferred Trump Over Clinton in 2016 (Sp.)
Will Bobulinski’s Testimony End Joe Biden’s 2024 Presidential Bid? (Sp.)
A Kamala Harris Presidency Would Be The Death Of The Democrats (Bridge)
Trump Could Force Ukraine To Make Peace – Bloomberg (RT)
Texas Should Be Renamed ‘Ukraine’ – Rep. Chip Roy (RT)
Kremlin Responds To Rumors Of Russian Space Nukes (RT)
Epstein Victims Sue FBI (RT)
Over a Million Palestinians to be Forced Into Egypt at Gunpoint (Mike Whitney)
Soros Could Take Control Of Hundreds Of US Radio Stations (RT)
Europe ‘In For Very Rocky Times’ After Failed Sanctions on Russia (Miles)
Defusing the Derivatives Time Bomb (Ellen Brown)

 

 

 

 

Fani
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758242279196672503

Yeartie
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758162535197376793

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tucker radicalized


https://twitter.com/i/status/1758104468971769856

 

 

Mastery

 

 

 

 

The levels of collusion are out of this world. And still, “Stormy Daniels” is the only case left that still seems alive.

Prosecutors Reportedly Met with Biden Admin Before 3 Trump Indictments (BB)

Three separate prosecutors reportedly met with White House aides before indicting former President Donald Trump, President Joe Biden’s political opponent. The reported meetings suggest a coordinated attack against Biden’s 2024 rival. If coordination occurred, it lends credence to Trump’s belief that the indictments are election interference. The timing of the indictments are peculiar. After Trump announced a reelection bid against Biden, four indictments hit Trump in four separate jurisdictions, each following revelations about the Biden family business. In three cases, prosecutors reportedly met with the Biden administration before indicting Trump:
Alvin Bragg: New York – “Stormy Daniels” Case (state)
Jack Smith: Miami – “Documents” Case (federal)
Fani Willis: Fulton County, Georgia (state)

First Case: “Stormy Daniels”
The first indictment occurred on April 4, 2023, the same day that former Biden aide Kathy Chung testified about Joe Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, contradicting Biden’s version of events. On March 17, 2023, Bragg asked for a meeting with federal law enforcement ahead of the Trump indictment Trump, a court source told Fox News. A year earlier, Bragg’s office hired a former senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official Matthew Colangelo, who spent years targeting Trump at the Justice Department. He also attacked Trump in his role in the New York Attorney General’s office. “Bragg has been very discredited by the indictment because the people that read it, even Democrats—they’re saying this is not an indictment,” Trump exclusively told Breitbart News after the indictment: Some are saying this is unconstitutional because there’s no crime. He’s been absolutely discredited. It’s a shame. They’re willing to destroy our country. This is all run by the White House, by the way, just in case you have any questions. In fact, they put a man from the White House into one of the top White House/DOJ officials is right there—Matthew Colangelo. He’s the one that’s leading it. He was sitting in the front row in the court during the whole thing. He was in the front row. This is all done by the White House because they don’t want to run against us.

Second Case: “Documents”
Smith filed the second indictment on June 8, 2023, the same day an FBI 10-23 form surfaced alleging Joe Biden was bribed $5 million. Later in June, Smith filed a superseding indictment in the case the day after Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea deal in Delaware fell apart. Months prior, in March, a member of Biden’s counsel’s office met with a top member of Smith’s team, just nine weeks before he indicted Trump in the classified document case, Breitbart News reported. The meeting “raises obvious concerns about visits to the White House after [Bratt] began his work with the special counsel,” George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley told the Post. “There is no reason why the Justice Department should not be able to confirm whether this meeting was related to the ongoing investigation or concerns some other matter.” Trump slammed the indictment as election interference. Biden does not want to “run” against him, Trump exclusively told Breitbart News in July. “They didn’t want to run against me. That’s why they did it,” he said. “They did this so I wouldn’t get the nomination… They don’t want to run against me, that’s why they did it.”

Third Case: Georgia Case
Willis filed the third indictment against Trump on August 14, 2023. The official court website of Fulton County, Georgia, published what appeared to be an indictment against Trump before deleting it. Months before the indictment, Willis’ top county prosecutor met twice with Biden’s White House counsel on May 23 and November 18, 2022, a year before Trump’s August indictment, Breitbart News reported. Willis’ prosecutor reportedly charged Fulton County taxpayers $2,000 for each meeting, billing $250 an hour for eight hours. Neither Willis nor the prosecutor dispute the allegations, but a spokesperson for Willis’s office told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution she would later respond in court filings. “[T]he district attorney was totally compromised. The case has to be dropped,” Trump told reporters in Washington, DC. “They say she’s in far more criminal liability than any of the people she’s looking at.” Once again, the timing of the indictment was suspect. Willis indicted Trump on the same day former FBI supervisory special agent confirmed Biden’s 2020 transition team was tipped off about its plan to interview Hunter Biden.

Read more …

“He has since been indicted in Florida, Georgia, and Washington D.C. – which has only propelled him to new heights in the polls.”

Judge Denies Trump Motion To Dismiss Stormy Daniels ‘Hush Money’ Case (ZH)

The judge in former President Donald Trump’s New York hush-money trial says the case will go forward as scheduled, with jury selection beginning on March 25. The decision by Judge Juan Manuel Merchan was made after consulting with the judge in Trump’s now-delayed federal election interference case in Washington DC. Trump was in attendance on Thursday for the hearing to determine whether Trump is guilty of 34 counts of falsifying business records in an alleged scheme to conceal stories about alleged extramarital affairs which former porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal sprung on the billionaire during the 2016 election. Thursday marked Trump’s first return to the court in the New York criminal case since he became the first ex-president indicted in US history. He has since been indicted in Florida, Georgia, and Washington D.C. – which has only propelled him to new heights in the polls.

Sparks flew in the coutroom, as Trump’s attorneys blasted the decision to keep the March date – arguing that Trump will have to stand trial in New York while simultaneously attempting to seal the Republican nomination. “It is completely election interference to say ‘you are going to sit in this courtroom in Manhattan,” said defense attorney Todd Blanche. Merchan at one point told Blanche “Stop interrupting me.” In recent weeks, Merchan has taken steps to prepare for the trial – which would be the first for Trump of his several cases, AP reports. Over the past year, Trump has lashed out at Merchan as a “Trump-hating judge,” asked him to step down from the case and sought to move the case from state court to federal court, all to no avail. Merchan has acknowledged making several small donations to Democrats, including $15 to Trump’s rival Joe Biden, but said he’s certain of his “ability to be fair and impartial.”

Thursday’s proceeding is part of a busy, overlapping stretch of legal activity for the Republican presidential front-runner, who has increasingly made his court involvement part of his political campaign. The recent postponement of a March 4 trial date in Trump’s Washington, D.C. election interference case removed a major hurdle to starting the New York case on time. -AP. Trump has denied any of the alleged sexual encounters. At the time, Trump’s lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen paid Daniels $130,000, and arranged for the publisher of the National Enquirer tabloid to pay McDougal $150,000 in a practiced coined “catch-and-kill.” Trump’s company then paid Cohen $420,000 and marked the payments as legal expenses vs. reimbursements, according to prosecutors.

Read more …

Why the Five Eyes? “..the US was not able to spy on Trump legally [through] the intelligence community,” McAdams said. “So they asked their allies, ‘Hey, spy on someone and tell us what’s going on.’”

Obama CIA Colluded with Foreign Powers in Massive Spy Op Against Trump (Miles)

New reporting suggests the lengths the US deep state went to to undermine former US President Donald Trump. Since 2016, Democratic Party officials have accused former US President Donald Trump of illegally colluding with the Russian government as part of the discredited “Russiagate” narrative. Now, it appears such claims may represent a case of projection on the part of Trump’s critics. That’s the takeaway from a bombshell report by “Twitter Files” journalists Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger this week that suggests that CIA officials under former US President Barack Obama worked through English-speaking intelligence partners to spy on Trump’s presidential campaign. The report alleges that the CIA under intelligence chief John Brennan worked with Five Eyes intelligence partners to circumvent legal restrictions against domestic spying by the agency. Five Eyes is an alliance of intelligence agencies in the United States, the UK, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Brennan’s CIA allegedly colluded with these foreign intelligence agencies to conduct surveillance on the Trump campaign. The spy agency also reportedly targeted prominent people associated with the campaign, operating from a list of 26 figures that intelligence assets could attempt to extract information from. Attorney Steve Gill and analyst Daniel McAdams joined Sputnik’s Fault Lines program on Thursday to discuss the shocking revelations. “It’s now becoming clear that despite all the claims that Trump didn’t know what he was talking about when he said that his campaign operatives were being spied on by the federal government – they were,” noted Gill. “It is deplorable that we have a federal government that is spying on our citizens, not because of a legitimate national security interest, but because the deep state is trying to protect their interests rather than the interests of fair and free elections,” he added.

“You know, they’re targeting their political opponent. This is the stuff that you see in third-world countries and allegedly in Russia, and it is despicable that it’s not getting the backlash from the public and the media that it deserves.” Host Jamarl Thomas then cut to a clip of a 2020 appearance by Trump on the 60 Minutes television program. “The biggest scandal was when they spied on my campaign,” said Trump to reporter Leslie Stahl. “They spied on my campaign.” An argument then ensued between Trump and Stahl over whether the alleged spying actually took place. “He was right,” Thomas observed after playing the clip. “Leslie Stahl should be fired by 60 Minutes today,” said Gill.

“All these people that have collected their Emmys and their awards for their journalistic integrity and their successes, including those that denied that the Russia hoax was being pushed by Hillary Clinton… at the very least they should be turning in their awards as they exit their positions of power in the media.” Daniel McAdams, the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, also commented on the bombshell report during the final hour of the program Thursday. “The revelations about the spying on the Trump campaign now that have come out thanks to Matt Taibbi and Michael Shellenberger… [are] astonishing because it tells you that the US was not able to spy on Trump legally [through] the intelligence community,” McAdams said. “So they asked their allies, ‘Hey, spy on someone and tell us what’s going on.’”

Read more …

“Congress should be interested in whether the origins for the Russian investigation began with nudges from American intelligence in 2016 to the “Five Eyes.”

US Intel Asked Foreign Countries to Surveil Trump Associates (Turley)

There is a disturbing report published on Michael Shellenberger’s Public Substack detailing how the U.S. intelligence community called upon foreign governments to target associates of Donald Trump before the 2016 election. The request to the “Five Eyes” agencies (the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) appears to have come from Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan. According to Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag, foreign intelligence agencies were asked to conduct the surveillance, including “bumping” the associates — a term for making contact with or casually engaging a target to generate intelligence. These encounters may also have been used to generate intelligence reports used to support further intelligence efforts by the United States in the Russian investigation. The journalists reported that Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters intelligence apparatus, or GCHQ, went ahead in contacting the Trump’s associates as early as March 2016.

Keep in mind that this was the same month that George Papadopoulos joined the Trump campaign as an adviser. It was also when Papadopoulos met a London-based professor, Josef Mifsud, who Papadopoulos was led to believe had “substantial connections to Russian government officials.” On March 21, 2016, Trump identified Papadopoulos and Carter Page as members of his foreign policy team. If true, the question is the basis for such surveillance of U.S. citizens associated with the opposing political party and a presidential campaign. The role of Brennan is intriguing. Brennan was the one who briefed President Barack Obama on Hillary Clinton’s alleged “plan” to tie then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.”

It was also Brennan who later declared during the Trump Administration that a press conference with Vladimir Putin was “nothing short of treason.” He later said that he did not mean real treason when he said it was nothing short of treason. Brennan also signed the infamous letter warning that the Hunter Biden laptop had all of the markings of Russian intelligence, a letter that he later admitted was “political.” Now these sources are claiming that agents from the Five Eyes “were making contacts and bumping Trump people going back to March 2016.” Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was sentenced to probation in 2021 after admitting that he falsified evidence to renew a wiretap against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Shellenberger and Taibbi have a record of investigating in areas long avoided by other journalists, particularly in exposing the massive censorship system funded and coordinated by the government. There is much to learn about these allegations and their underlying support. If proven, it would appear that neither the Inspector General nor John Durham were given the full picture of the origins of the Russian investigation. Moreover, there are intriguing questions over a referenced binder that sources said contained much of this intelligence and analysis. That binder or binders allegedly disappeared from the CIA. Once again, this is still the early reporting and we need to have more confirmation on these facts. However, Congress should be interested in whether the origins for the Russian investigation began with nudges from American intelligence in 2016 to the “Five Eyes.”

Read more …

“..intelligence indicates that Russians viewed Clinton as manageable and likely to continue existing US policies, the report said..”

US Intel Fabricated Claim Putin Preferred Trump Over Clinton in 2016 (Sp.)

The US intelligence community fabricated claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin preferred Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election, journalists Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag reported on Thursday. An Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) published by the US Director of National Intelligence in January 2017 purported that Putin wanted Trump to win the election. However, the assessment’s authors fabricated the intelligence on the claim, the report said, citing sources close to a House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia scandal. The findings of the HPSCI investigation are being blocked from release, according to the report. Evidence indicates that Putin actually preferred Clinton, the report said.

The House investigators found that US intelligence analysts had information about Russians calling Trump unreliable and unsteady, the report said. In contrast, intelligence indicates that Russians viewed Clinton as manageable and likely to continue existing US policies, the report said. Former CIA Director John Brennan led the attempt to frame Trump as Putin’s preferred candidate in the ICA, the report said. The HPSCI investigation determined that the intelligence community conducted the assessment for political purposes, the report said. On Wednesday, Putin said in an interview with Russian media that it would be better for Russia for current US President Joe Biden to remain in office because he is more predictable. Trump called Putin’s remarks a “great compliment” and said that Biden would give up everything to Russia.

Russia will work with any president elected by US citizens, Putin added. In the wake of the 2016 election campaign, former President Trump was investigated by federal agencies for possible ties between his aides and Russia. Both Trump and Russia denied allegations of collusion. A four-year investigation by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller into the allegations found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy. A subsequent investigation by US Special Counsel John Durham concluded that the FBI should have never launched the probe into the collusion allegations.

Read more …

“..why are authorities finally giving Bobulinski an audience only now?”

Will Bobulinski’s Testimony End Joe Biden’s 2024 Presidential Bid? (Sp.)

Former head of the Sinohawk company Tony Bobulinski testified behind closed doors before US lawmakers in the House impeachment inquiry on February 13. Commenting on the testimony, House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer told Just the News on Wednesday that Bobulinski had revealed that “Joe Biden knew [Tony] was going in business with Hunter and with [Joe’s brother] Jim Biden, and he knew that the business was selling the Biden brand.” In an explosive opening statement, Bobulinski alleged that Joe Biden could be probed in relation to the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity statutes, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). “From publicly available information alone, it seems clear that the Biden family monetized Joe’s public offices for decades, just as the Clinton family seems to have done, albeit on a much smaller scale than the Clintons,” Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel told Sputnik.

“We also know from [Joe Biden’s] tax returns that he declared very low incomes for decades. Miraculously after he left the vice presidential mansion on January 20, 2017, his declared income soared. But the murky ventures that may have paid him millions of dollars have never accurately been explained. Like other corrupt, dynastic families in both political parties, the Bidens, until now, have never been forced to explain how they obtained their mansions and other assets, and whether they have paid all required income and other taxes on these cash flows.” Ortel drew attention to the fact that Bobulinski has been trying to make his case against the Biden family “business” for years; and yet over the same period, the FBI, Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service have refused to prosecute many Biden family members and associates for corruption, influence peddling, money-laundering and income tax evasion.

“The really damning questions here include why did government officials protect so many potential, high-level defendants and who has been involved in this decision-making process?” the Wall Street analyst asked. “As in my case in December 2018, when I tried to persuade the FBI to investigate Clinton Foundation crimes unsuccessfully, I think the real timing question is why are authorities finally giving Bobulinski an audience only now?” There are crucial questions concerning Bobulinski’s interaction with the Biden family and Chinese business tycoons which require answers, according to Jason Goodman, a US investigative journalist and founder of CrowdSource the Truth. “Bobulinski was in business with an individual who was addicted [Hunter Biden] to crack which is obviously illegal and dangerous,” Goodman told Sputnik. “Either he didn’t notice this, or he knew and didn’t think it was a concern. Either reflects poorly on his judgment.

Even without the crack, a reasonable person might have questions about getting into business with a bunch of Chinese nationals and the vice president’s moron son who clearly was doing exactly nothing for the business. It really is a very strange circumstance and hard to understand how a legitimate businessperson could find themselves in such a situation.” Charles Ortel also wonders “why [Bobulinski] agreed, initially, to get anywhere near the Biden family in these ‘ventures’. “Having stepped forward with his explosive allegations, Bobulinski runs the risk of being hunted by the Biden administration’s “justice machine”, according to Sputnik interlocutors. “One hopes Bobulinski is safe, but I believe another Biden accuser who deserves a fair hearing – Tara Reade – fled to Russia in fear of being attacked,” Ortel remarked. “Bobulinski will be repeatedly audited and harassed by the IRS. Also, given personal experience, his computer will be hacked by government operatives,” suggested retired certified public accountant Robert Bishop in an interview with Sputnik.

Read more …

“..Harris was polling at 1% when she dropped out of the presidential nominee race in 2019..”

A Kamala Harris Presidency Would Be The Death Of The Democrats (Bridge)

With President Joe Biden’s advanced age and cognitive decline taking central stage just months before the presidential election, Democrats need to discuss ‘the Kamala problem.’ As the US speeds towards the 2024 presidential election, the Democrats find themselves in a rather untenable position. Not only is the incumbent US President Joe Biden suffering visibly on the mental front – reminiscing aloud over meetings he’s never had with long-dead world leaders – but his second in command lacks the essential support of the Democratic base. While Biden’s approval rating sits in the basement at 39%, Vice President Kamala Harris has managed to outdo him with 37.5%. This should come as no surprise considering that Harris was polling at 1% when she dropped out of the presidential nominee race in 2019. How did she manage to alienate so many people within her own party?

Earlier in her career as California’s district attorney, Harris, the child of immigrants from Jamaica and India, had a reputation as a ‘top cop’ who worked against the interests of victims. She frequently failed, for example, to exercise her authority to investigate charges of misconduct and abuse by police and prosecutors. At the same time, she often kept people – many of them poor black people – behind bars even when there was ample evidence of wrongful convictions, while opposing legislation that would have demanded her office to investigate fatal police shootings. During the 2019 Democratic presidential debate, Representative Tulsi Gabbard called out Harris over her record. “She put over 1,500 people in jail for marijuana violations, and then laughed about it when she was asked if she ever smoked marijuana,” Gabbard said. “She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so. She kept people beyond their sentences to use them as cheap labor for the state of California. And she fought to keep cash bail systems in place that impacts poor people in the worst possible way.”

Harris never denied the charges, only saying that she was responsible for “reforming California’s justice system.” More recently, Harris’ popularity has taken a hit because she has failed to show any real accomplishments in the past four years on the VP job. On the most important issue that Biden tasked Harris with, which was to investigate what was driving waves of illegal immigrants to America, she dropped the ball, neglecting to even visit the US-Mexico border. A former Biden administration senior official told Axios: “She’s been at best ineffective, and at worst sporadically engaged and not seeing [the border] was her responsibility. It’s an opportunity for her, and she didn’t fill the breach.” This is what happens when you elect a candidate based on their identity, not their competence – it’s nearly impossible to relieve them of their duties.

Should the Democratic Party take the decision to replace Harris, 59, at this particular juncture, the fallout would be fierce and swift. Anyone who dares criticize Harris, the first woman and first Black American to hold the office of vice president, will be accused of holding her to a higher standard than past (male, white) politicians. As far as Harris is concerned, she firmly believes that she can lead the nation should something untoward happen to Joe Biden. “I am ready to serve. There’s no question about that,” Harris told the Wall Street Journal in an interview last week, just days before the release of a damning report emphasizing her boss’ failing memory. The report, penned by Special Counsel Robert Hur after an investigation into Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, said Biden displayed “diminished faculties” in interviews and derided him as an “elderly man with a poor memory.”

The public relations fallout has become so critical for the White House that there are rumors of invoking the 25th Amendment, which outlines presidential succession. This empowers the vice president and cabinet to remove the president from office through a majority vote in the event it’s determined he or she is no longer fit to hold office. The amendment has never been invoked in US history, and it probably won’t be invoked now since the specter of a Harris presidency is even less attractive than sitting through a Biden speech. Whatever the case may be, Donald Trump will not miss an opportunity to throw a spotlight on Harris and her inglorious stint as vice president, nor should he, considering that chances are high that Biden won’t serve out his term through age 86. In other words, Trump would be reminding Americans that a vote for Joe Biden is essentially a vote for Kamala Harris. Such a strategy will likely attract many swing voters into the Trump camp.

Read more …

And peace is of course bad.

Trump Could Force Ukraine To Make Peace – Bloomberg (RT)

Republican presidential frontrunner and ex-US leader Donald Trump is planning to pressure Ukraine to negotiate peace with Russia if he wins an expected rematch against incumbent Joe Biden for the White House, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing sources. Should Trump become president, he may also retract a number of defense commitments to some NATO allies, according to reports. People familiar with the matter said Trump advisers had talked about ways of bringing Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and his Russian counterpart to the negotiating table shortly after the potential inauguration. One adviser, according to Bloomberg, suggested that Washington could push Kiev to engage with Moscow by threatening to cut massive military assistance, adding that Russia could be swayed by the threat of increasing that aid instead.

Bloomberg sources also stressed that Trump aides had not discussed the matter with Russian officials, as it would be illegal for private US entities to negotiate with foreign governments on behalf of the administration. Russian officials have repeatedly said they are open to talks with Ukraine, but noted that any dialogue would take place only after Zelensky cancels his decree banning negotiations with the current leadership in Moscow. The Ukrainian leader introduced the ban last autumn after four of Kiev’s former regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia. Another facet of Trump’s presumed foreign policy appears to be a concept of “a two-tiered NATO alliance” in which a common defense clause would be applied only to those nations that had reached a certain defense-spending threshold, Bloomberg reported, adding that no final decision had been made on the matter.

Still, the agency noted that such an approach could “upend decades of US policy” while risking “fracturing” the defense alliance. During his term as president, Trump repeatedly pushed NATO countries to increase military spending to 2% of GDP, a threshold many have struggled to reach. As of July, only 11 NATO members had met or exceeded that level. Bloomberg’s report came after Trump claimed last week that, while in office, he had threatened not to defend those ‘delinquent’ NATO members that did not pay their fair share of defense spending if they were attacked by Russia. His remarks triggered condemnation both from the White House and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Moscow has repeatedly said it has no plans or interest in attacking the US-led military bloc.

Read more …

“I’ve never seen the nursing home known as the United States Senate work harder than when it comes to spending the American people’s money for foreign wars..”

Texas Should Be Renamed ‘Ukraine’ – Rep. Chip Roy (RT)

Republican congressman Chip Roy from Texas has slammed the US Senate for passing a $95 billion bill for Ukraine and Israel without including provisions for securing the southern border, calling the bill an “abomination.” The Democratic-led upper house passed the international security assistance package on Tuesday with a 70-29 vote after a group of Republican lawmakers broke ranks to back the measure – but it has yet to be approved by the House of Representatives. Speaking to Fox News on Tuesday, Roy proposed submitting a bill to rename the state of Texas as Ukraine, quipping that “then, maybe this administration and senators will work on securing the border of the United States.” “I’ve never seen the nursing home known as the United States Senate work harder than when it comes to spending the American people’s money for foreign wars,” the Republican lawmaker said.

Roy went on to call out GOP senators who supported the Senate bill, and who argued that much of the $60 billion for Ukraine would in fact support the US defense-industrial base and help American business. “Since when do we have economic development that is being driven by funding war overseas?” the congressman asked, insisting that “anybody that’s sane and sees what’s happening at our southern border would know that you cannot fund foreign wars, while our border is wide open and exposed to criminals and lawlessness and terrorists.” Roy stated that border security remains a priority for the American people as well as for Republicans in Congress, and vowed to block the Senate-approved bill when it gets to the House.

House speaker Mike Johnson has strongly opposed further funding for Ukraine unless it is tied to border security and tougher immigration laws. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has been urging Congress to speed up approval of the aid for Ukraine, arguing that stalling the funds plays into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin and increases the likelihood of a direct confrontation with Moscow in the future. Biden has claimed the Russia could attack a NATO state if it manages to defeat Ukraine, which would require Washington to intervene, in line with the bloc’s mutual defense guarantee. Moscow, in turn, has repeatedly denied having any intention to attack NATO – with Putin stressing that Russia has “no interest… geopolitically, economically or militarily” in doing so, and would only engage in hostilities if attacked first.

Read more …

“It’s clear that the White House is trying, by hook or by crook, to push Congress to vote on a bill to approve funding [for Ukraine]. We’ll see what tricks the White House will use..”

Kremlin Responds To Rumors Of Russian Space Nukes (RT)

Western media reports claiming that Russia could place nuclear weapons in space are nothing more than a ploy by the White House to convince US lawmakers to approve further military aid to Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said. Citing sources, several US media outlets reported this week that American intelligence had obtained information on purported Russian plans to deploy a nuclear anti-satellite system in orbit, although the idea supposedly remains at the developmental stage. ABC News claimed that while the system would not be used to attack targets on Earth, US officials still consider it “very concerning and very sensitive.” Responding on Thursday, Peskov suggested that the administration of US President Joe Biden is using the issue to force a vote to approve Ukraine aid. Moscow, however, will wait and see what comes from an upcoming White House briefing on the topic, Peskov added.

“It’s clear that the White House is trying, by hook or by crook, to push Congress to vote on a bill to approve funding [for Ukraine]. We’ll see what tricks the White House will use,” he said. Nuclear weapons in space are banned under the Outer Space Treaty, which was opened for signature by the US, Soviet Union, and the UK in 1967, as Moscow and Washington sought to ease tensions during the Cold War. More than 100 countries have since joined the treaty. On Wednesday, Republican congressman Mike Turner, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, claimed to have shared information “concerning a serious national security threat” with US lawmakers, while urging Biden to declassify the relevant materials. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is scheduled to brief congressional leaders on security issues on Thursday.

When pressed on whether he would address Turner’s concerns, he declined to respond, noting he was “surprised” by the statement, given the upcoming meeting on the matter. His comments came after the New York Times suggested, citing sources, that Turner – whom it described as the administration’s ally on Ukraine aid – had pushed the nuclear issue into the spotlight, to “perhaps to create pressure” on lawmakers to approve $60 billion in supplemental funding for Kiev. The Biden administration has been urging Congress to approve more aid for Ukraine since the autumn. Its efforts have been met with opposition from Republicans, who have demanded that the White House do more to improve security on the southern US border in return.

Read more …

“..Wray promised to conduct an internal investigation to “figure out if there is more information we can provide.”

Epstein Victims Sue FBI (RT)

A dozen victims of Jeffrey Epstein have sued the FBI, alleging that the agency failed to properly investigate the notorious sex offender. They claim that the FBI sat on reports about Epstein’s activities for two decades, allowing the victims to be “trafficked, abused, raped, tortured and threatened.” The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in New York on Wednesday by 12 women, all of whom are referred to in the document as anonymous Jane Does. “For over two decades, the Federal Bureau of Investigation permitted Jeffrey Epstein to sex traffic and sexually abuse scores of children and young women by failing to do the job the American people expected of it,” the complaint alleges. “As a result of the continued failures of the FBI, Jane Does 1-12 bring this lawsuit to get to the bottom – once and for all – of the FBI’s role in Epstein’s criminal sex trafficking ring.”

According to the lawsuit, the FBI began receiving tips, reports, and complaints about Epstein’s alleged trafficking and abuse of minors in 1996, but failed to open a case or share this information with other law enforcement agencies. The FBI eventually opened a case in 2006, two years before Epstein pleaded guilty to a child prostitution charge in Florida. A controversial plea deal saw Epstein register as a sex offender and serve 13 months on supervised release in lieu of a possible life sentence. Despite the fact that he had been convicted for one offense and dodged a litany of other sex-trafficking charges, the FBI continued to ignore tips that flowed in over the next decade, the lawsuit claims. “As a direct and proximate cause of the FBI’s negligence, plaintiffs would not have been continued to be sex trafficked, abused, raped, tortured and threatened,” the complaint said. Epstein was eventually arrested in 2019 and charged with the trafficking of dozens of minors. He died awaiting trial in a Manhattan jail cell a month later, with his death officially ruled a suicide.

Epstein’s girlfriend and “madam,” Ghislaine Maxwell, was sentenced to 20 years behind bars for child sex trafficking in 2022. According to testimony from victims, Epstein and Maxwell recruited girls to perform sexual acts on themselves and their rich and powerful associates, and instructed these girls to recruit additional victims. Among the powerful men accused of abusing the girls was Britain’s Prince Andrew, who settled out of court with an accuser in 2022. The plaintiffs behind the latest lawsuit are seeking an unspecified amount in compensation and damages from the US government. The FBI has already been accused of negligence in its handling of the Epstein case. In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in December, agency Director Christopher Wray was asked why the FBI didn’t do more to stop the notorious pedophile. Wray promised to conduct an internal investigation to “figure out if there is more information we can provide.”

Read more …

Egypt has started building refugee camps.

Over a Million Palestinians to be Forced Into Egypt at Gunpoint (Mike Whitney)

Here’s a blurb from Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion who said: “You are no doubt aware of the [Jewish National Fund’s] activity in this respect. Now a transfer of a completely different scope will have to be carried out. In many parts of the country new settlement will not be possible without transferring the Arab fellahin.” He concluded: “Jewish power [in Palestine], which grows steadily, will also increase our possibilities to carry out this transfer on a large scale.” (1948) This same line of reasoning has persisted through the decades although today’s Zionists tend to express themselves more brashly and with less restraint. Take, for example, popular conservative pundit Ben Shapiro who presented his views in an article titled “Transfer is Not a Dirty Word”. Here’s what he said:

“If you believe that the Jewish state has a right to exist, then you must allow Israel to transfer the Palestinians and the Israeli-Arabs from Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Israel proper. It’s an ugly solution, but it is the only solution. And it is far less ugly than the prospect of bloody conflict ad infinitum…. The Jews don’t realize that expelling a hostile population is a commonly used and generally effective way of preventing violent entanglements. There are no gas chambers here. It’s not genocide; it’s transfer…. It’s time to stop being squeamish. Jews are not Nazis. Transfer is not genocide. And anything else isn’t a solution”. Transfer is Not a Dirty Word, Narkive “Squeamish”? Shapiro thinks that anyone who recognizes the appalling moral horror of driving people off their land and forcing them into refugee camps is squeamish?

This is the essence of political Zionism and it dates back to the very beginning of the Jewish state. So, when critics claim that Netanyahu has assembled the “most right-wing government in Israel’s history”, don’t believe them. Netanyahu is no better or worse than his predecessors. The only Prime Minister who veered even slightly from this ‘iron law’ of Zionism, was Yitzhak Rabin who was (predictably) assassinated by an opponent of Oslo. What does that tell you?It tells you there was never going to be a “two-state” solution; it was a charade from the get-go. And (as Netanyahu intimated recently) Israeli leaders merely played along with the hoax in order to buy-time to prepare for the solution that is being imposed today. Have you ever wondered why so many Israelis support Netanyahu’s murderous rampage in Gaza?

(Hint) It’s not because Israeli Jews are homicidal maniacs. No. It’s because they know what he is doing. They’re not taken-in by the “Hamas” diversion, that is merely propaganda pablum for the West. They know that Netanyahu is implementing a plan to seize all the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. And, in doing so, he is achieving the territorial ambitions of his Zionist ancestors. So, even though the majority of Israelis despise Netanyahu and think he should be prosecuted for corruption, they are willing to look the other way while he does their bidding. What onlookers need to realize is that the current strategy is not new at all, in fact, it has a 75 year-long pedigree that aligns with the demographic objectives of the Zionist leadership. None of this of course has anything to do with Hamas which is merely the pretext for the eradication of the indigenous people. What we are seeing is the actualization of the Zionist dream, the modern version of Plan Dalet, the original roadmap for ethnic cleaning that was drawn up in 1948.

Read more …

“He was the largest donor of the 2022 US midterm election season, funneling $128 million to Democratic candidates and organizations..”

Soros Could Take Control Of Hundreds Of US Radio Stations (RT)

Liberal financier George Soros has bought a major stake in the US’ second-largest radio company and could gain “effective control” of more than 220 stations across the country, the New York Post reported on Wednesday. Soros Fund Management purchased around $400 million of debt owed by the Audacy media group during its bankruptcy process, the newspaper reported, citing court filings. The billionaire bought the debt at roughly 50 cents on the dollar from hedge fund HG Vora, the report continued, noting that once the deal is approved by a bankruptcy court, Soros will own about 40% of Audacy’s overall debt. While 40% is not a majority stake, a source told the New York Post that Soros could nevertheless gain “effective control of the media giant when it emerges from bankruptcy.”

Audacy owns 227 music, sports, and talk radio stations in 45 US states. The company also owns CBS Radio, which operates 11 news stations including San Francisco’s KCBS and New York’s WCBS. After years of declining revenue, Audacy filed for bankruptcy early last month with $1.9 billion in debt. Should the deal go ahead as reported, Audacy will be the latest addition to Soros’ growing media empire. Soros Fund Management joined a consortium of creditors to purchase Vice Media last summer, paying $350 million to acquire a former media juggernaut once valued at $5.7 billion. An “insider source” cited by the New York Post described the Audacy deal as “scary,” saying he believed that Soros intended to use his stake to influence public opinion ahead of this year’s presidential election.

A hedge fund manager who shot to infamy for crashing the British pound in 1992, Soros is among the wealthiest men on earth, with an estimated net worth of around $7 billion. That’s on top of the $32 billion he’s donated to a web of NGOs, charities and political campaigns through his Open Society Foundations. Soros is an advocate for mass immigration to Western countries, European federalism, and economic and political liberalism. He was the largest donor of the 2022 US midterm election season, funneling $128 million to Democratic candidates and organizations. As well as direct donations to candidates and activist groups, Soros reportedly gave $300,000 to a group of TikTok influencers who collaborated with the White House to promote President Joe Biden’s policies. The Open Society Foundations announced last year that Soros, who is 93 years old, would step down from the helm of the organization and hand control to his 38-year-old son, Alex.

Read more …

“..“no one is buying European or German products,” he claimed, contributing to “a really critically-wounded Europe.” “We are in for very rocky times..”

Europe ‘In For Very Rocky Times’ After Failed Sanctions on Russia (Miles)

Beijing reacted angrily Wednesday to reports that the European Union plans to target three Chinese companies as part of the bloc’s 13th round of sanctions against Russia. The move by the EU follows claims that Chinese and Indian businesses have helped Russia “circumvent” European sanctions by providing them with electronic components used in the manufacturing of drones and other military equipment. The EU has imposed sanctions on Russia since the intensification of the Donbass conflict in early 2022. Beijing blasted the EU restrictions as “illegal” and criticized the “long-arm jurisdiction” against Chinese companies. China has benefited in recent months as Western sanctions against Russian energy have hampered European competitiveness, forcing companies in Germany and other EU nations to raise prices as they rely on more expensive American liquified natural gas.

Seen in this light, the EU’s attempts to punish Chinese businesses may be viewed as a desperate attempt to hobble the competition as Europe increasingly faces economic crisis and deindustrialization. Economist Richard Wolff joined Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program on Wednesday to discuss the grim economic outlook for the continent. “Europe, which has been kind of a dominant player in the whole world for a couple of thousand of years, is in what I believe to be – and I’m far from the only one – a crisis so profound it may be what we look back on and call the terminal crisis, the last one, because it literally cannot survive,” Wolff speculated. “On the one hand, it is being outcompeted by the United States, which has dominated it for the last 75 years anyway,” he noted. “But now the new player in the world economy, the People’s Republic of China and its allies, known generally as the BRICS, competing and challenging Europe, from the other side of the planet, if you like, means that Europe is caught between them.”

Wolff claimed the cultural, historical, and linguistic differences between EU countries have undermined the continent’s attempts to unify in recent decades. Now, Europe is a “junior partner” Wolff claimed, caught between the US-led G7 economic bloc and the China-led BRICS countries. While Europe previously benefited from its relationship with Russia in the form of cheap natural gas, Russia has now turned towards China and the other nations of the BRICS bloc after being “betrayed by the rest of Europe.” If the solidifying of new alliances has economically harmed Europe, it has benefitted Russia, Wolff claimed, which has been able to sell its oil and gas to India and China. “The Russian ruble is in fine shape. The Russian economy is growing faster than last year, [faster] than the United States is and is in no way falling apart,” the economist insisted. Meanwhile “no one is buying European or German products,” he claimed, contributing to “a really critically-wounded Europe.” “We are in for very rocky times,” Wolff warned ominously.

Read more …

“.. in the event of the bankruptcy of a major financial institution, derivative claimants are put first in line to grab the assets — not just the deposits of customers but their stocks and bonds..”

Defusing the Derivatives Time Bomb (Ellen Brown)

This is a sequel to a Jan. 15 article titled “Casino Capitalism and the Derivatives Market: Time for Another ‘Lehman Moment’?”, discussing the threat of a 2024 “black swan” event that could pop the derivatives bubble. That bubble is now over ten times the GDP of the world and is so interconnected and fragile that an unanticipated crisis could trigger the collapse not just of the bubble but of the economy. To avoid that result, in the event of the bankruptcy of a major financial institution, derivative claimants are put first in line to grab the assets — not just the deposits of customers but their stocks and bonds. This is made possible by the Uniform Commercial Code, under which all assets held by brokers, banks and “central clearing parties” have been “dematerialized” into fungible pools and are held in “street name.”

This article will consider several proposed alternatives for diffusing what Warren Buffett called a time bomb waiting to go off. That sort of bomb just detonated in the Chinese stock market, contributing to its fall; and the result could be much worse in the U.S., where the stock market plays a much larger role in the economy. A Jan.30 article on Bloomberg News notes that “Chinese stocks’ brutal start to the year is being at least partly blamed on the impact of a relatively new financial derivative known as a snowball. The products are tied to indexes, and a key feature is that when the gauges fall below built-in levels, brokerages will sell their related futures positions.” Further details are in a Jan. 23rd article titled “’Snowball’ Derivatives Feed China’s Stock Market Avalanche.” It states, “China’s plunging stock market is leading to losses on billions of dollars worth of derivatives linked to the country’s equity indexes, fuelling further selling as retail investors offload their positions…. Snowball products are similar to the index-linked products sold in the 2008 financial crisis, with investors betting that U.S. equities would not fall more than 25% or 30%,” which they did.

The Chinese stock market is much younger and smaller than that in the U.S., with a much smaller role in the economy. Thus China’s economy remains relatively protected from disruptive ups and downs in the stock market. Not so in the U.S., where speculating in the derivatives casino brought down international insurer AIG and investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, triggering the global financial crisis of 2008-09. AIG had to be bailed out by the taxpayers to prevent collapse of the too-big-to-fail derivative banks, and Lehman Brothers went through a messy bankruptcy that took years to resolve. In a December 2010 article on Seeking Alpha titled “Derivatives: The Big Banks’ Quadrillion-Dollar Financial Casino,” attorney Michael Snyder wrote, “derivatives were at the heart of the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, and whenever the next financial crisis happens, derivatives will undoubtedly play a huge role once again…. Today, the world financial system has been turned into a giant casino where bets are made on just about anything you can possibly imagine, and the major Wall Street banks make a ton of money from it. The system … is totally dominated by the big international banks.”

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Ron Paul Assange

 

 

 

 

Baby rhino

 

 

Bear and Moose

 

 

 

 

Lion turtle
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758108922764804147

 

 

Dinosaur
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758103418093064324

 

 

India and Pakistan
https://twitter.com/i/status/1758122937905820057

 

 

Bach

 

 

Legend

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 282019
 


Leonardo da Vinci Ginevra de’ Benci 1474-78

 

Perhaps against better judgment, I just can’t keep silent about the Michael Cohen’s in da House show performed on February 27. I was watching it and increasingly fearing for the future of America. We had all been able to read his prepared statement before he opened the party with it, and therefore we all knew there was nothing there. So why did this thing take place, and why were all the cameras and reporters there? Do we live in split realities these days?

Both before and after the gruelling -for the viewer- session, words like ‘explosive’ and bombshell’ were all over, so I thought I’d watch, since I might have missed something, but no, there was nothing, there wasn’t even a there there. Apparently, US House members are by now immune to being revealed as nutcases frantically phishing for evidence of accusations they formerly made but could never prove.

A phishing expedition with a willing whale in the center who sort of volunteered to be harpooned, and still came up with absolutely nothing but blubber. And then like 4 hours of that. There’s never been a more convincing picture of what US politics and media have become. But they’re all entirely impervious to it. They’re discussing nothing for hours on end with millions watching, and they see it as normal.

Now, I’ve been following the decay of the American press ever since Trump entered politics stage right, and I’ve written a hundred thousand words about it, but it really hit home during the Cohen session. Tellingly, the Republican House members were exclusively focusing on Cohen credibility, since he had been caught lying to Congress before, and the Supreme Court just days ago disbarred him.

But this was not about the man’s credibility, and sure, I felt sorry for him too, it was about the fact that he had nothing at all to say, but Republicans had nothing on that. They instead joined the Dems in questioning him about nothing, pretending it was big and explosive and stuff. If anything has ever resembled the Emperor’s new clothes, it was that charade there yesterday.

 

If you insist, we can walk through a few of the topics. A nice example that was not in the prepared statement was that Cohen claimed he had never wanted a White House job, but even the CNN pundits were saying he had wanted one for a long time, and was very insulted when he didn’t get it. Poof! went the last shred of his credibility. Well, not for the House members, they have shorter memories even than CNN talking heads.

Second, the issue of a Trump Tower in Moscow, about which Cohen allegedly lied earlier on, in that the plans were shelved later than he had claimed. But the only thing that really interests the House, because even they understand that wanting to build a hotel in the city is not some criminal thing, is Russiagate, invented out of thin air but still popular stateside.

The one thing related to this that collusion ‘experts’ emphasize time and again, and it came up again in the Cohen thing, is that Trump supposedly planned to gift a penthouse apartment in a potential Trump hotel on Red Square to Vladimir Putin. Conveniently, not a single American appears to have wondered whether Putin would be interested in such a gift.

And I can assure you he wouldn’t. Putin can get -just about- any piece of real estate he wants on Red Square, besides he already has the Kremlin, and he can get anything built there which he might desire. Accepting a free dwelling from a US builder makes no sense. Why should he? Still, this is one of the main items Russiagaters keep coming up with. It makes no sense, and that’s fitting, because neither do they.

Second, pornstar pay-offs. Male politicians worldwide and through the ages have had affairs, and in modern times (re: JFK) there’s been an understanding that the media leave these things alone. On the one hand, it’s proof of virility, something voters like in their candidates, and on the other it shows infidelity, something they don’t. A battle no-one can win, hence the understanding.

In France, this all plays out a bit more openly, though never in the open, but in the US you can break the pact if you want. And since the initial story was that campaign funds had been used to pay Stormy Daniels, there was a potential criminal angle. But we now know that that angle was fake, so no there there either. Trump paid so it (true or not) didn’t become a big campaign story, and that he did so just before an election is irrelevant, because the whole topic is irrelevant. Unless you want to exhume JFK.

 

Third and what pisses me off more than anything, is that Cohen both volunteered, and was coaxed into, talking about Roger Stone’s alleged contacts with Julian Assange. Cohen talked about a conversation between Stone and Trump on July 18-19 2016, in which Stone allegedly said he had talked to Assange who told him WikiLeaks was going to release a big batch of Hillary-related mails.

The DNC convention was July 25-28, the WikiLeaks release July 22. Looks like a slam-dunk collusion story, right? Except that Assange had said 5 weeks earlier, on June 12 2016, that such a batch would be released. So even if Stone had talked to him, there was no news there. Moreover, both Assange and WikiLeaks have repeatedly denied the conversation ever took place. And of course Assange can’t defend himself against anything anyone says anymore.

And we can keep going: the assertion that the DNC mails were hacked has been refuted many times, and if they were stolen it was by someone inside the DNC. No story, no collusion, no there there. Only hour after tedious hour of Michael Cohen House testimony about nothing at all.

It felt a lot like a new low point in US political history, but you need to be careful with such classifications these days, since competition’s stiff and still picking up. I liked the following lines from an article in the Guardian this morning to appropriately describe the goings-on:

Trump’s former fixer cautioned that he could not prove the “collusion” with Moscow that the president vehemently denies. Still there was, Cohen said, “something odd” about the affectionate back-and-forth Trump had with Vladimir Putin in public remarks over the years.

Here’s the best thing Cohen could do in the entire time wasted on the topic:

“There are just so many dots that seem to lead in the same direction,” he said.”

How does that not make you want to scream? No collusion, only “something odd”, and “so many dots”. A thorough analysis out of the mouth of an at least questionable character who worked closely with Trump for a decade. That’s all the US House of Representatives had to show for the show it put on. And that’s a really big problem, but there’s no-one in sight to address, let alone rectify, it.

There are a thousand things wrong with Donald Trump, but even though that would not necessarily disqualify him for the presidency, the Democrats and the mainstream press have opted to go all-in on the Russia collusion theme, which even two years and change of Mueller hasn’t been able to prove.

Whether this will be the winning ticket for the Democrats in a next election is very doubtful, and what the press hope to get other than a few more readers and viewers addicted to scandals is anyone’s guess. But more importantly: why do they do it? Why focus on all the made-up stories instead of going out and finding the real ones?

Even if the Cohen show not constitute a new low, it was certainly scraping the gutter of American political reality, and someone better do something, or entirely new and thus far unimaginable lows will be attained. Not a single national political system can survive on entirely trumped-up accusations for long, let alone that of the globe’s most powerful nation. Does anyone ever wonder what the Dems will do if Trump wins again in 2020? Where can they flee to?

I’ll leave you with a few Twitter voices who also see no there there. Note: the first one is dated July 7 2016, some two weeks before Stone -unverifiably- said he talked to Assange (who always denied it, but it wouldn’t matter even if he had) :

 

 

 

 

Oct 012018
 
 October 1, 2018  Posted by at 1:16 pm Primers Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  4 Responses »


John French Sloan Election night 1907 1907

 

Remember Stormy Daniels? Bet you do. And lucky you, you’ll be hearing and seeing a lot more about her -again- as her already classic tome “Full Disclosure” is due out tomorrow -wouldn’t Full Frontal have been a better title?-.

Poor Stormy though has to compete with 2 other anti-Trump books coming out om the same day, “The Fifth Risk” by Michael Lewis, which could actually be good, and “The Apprentice” by Greg Miller, who’s a journo at the WaPo, so that will definitely not be any good. Hope for Miller that he’s got some sex in his book.

That all these books come out now is no coincidence; it’s because Trump sells better than sex in America these days, and the combination of the two is a can’t miss. AFP writes about the books about Trump, of which “Fire and Fury,” “A Higher Loyalty” “and “Fear” have already sold over a million copies each.

The article quotes a certain David Corn, co-author of “Russian Roulette,” a book about Russian interference in the American presidential campaign (YAWN, not enough sex!), as saying: “There is deep desire on the part of many Americans for an understanding of what happened in this country” during the 2016 presidential campaign”, and also of “what’s going on now within the Trump White House.”

C’mon, no, Americans simply have grown addicted to reading stories bashing Trump every single day, and as behooves addicts, they want more every day. The coverage of the Kavanaugh hearings has only enhanced their lust for dirt, sex and sensationalism. And the media stand ready to give them more.

Corn again: “One potential problem is that people get too accustomed to the outrages of the Trump administration, and therefore become less interested in books like these. “But I don’t see that happening any time soon.” He’s right on that last bit. But forgets to mention -or simply doesn’t understand- that the ‘outrages’ are largely made up by the media who ‘report’ on them.

 

Why do they do this? Because it sells. No mystery there. Anything Trump sells. The Donald is the Golden Eggs Goose. That is the no. 1 business model for not just the US media, but for its entire society. Everything Trump touches turns into gold for someone. The media are making a killing, and they’re going to keep doing the same 24/7 scandal stories.

Yes, Brett Kavanaugh is undoubtedly a prick. So first thought: he’ll fit right in. But his accusers so far have not been very convincing. Nice performance from Blasey Ford, but the memory loss is weak. Still, it doesn’t matter, the story sells. It has Trump, it has sex, it has drama, abuse, the promise of more to come. Ideal set-up for the media.

Still, somewhere along the line one issue emerges: for many people in the anti-Trump crowd, this whole campaign is supposed to be based on working towards the impeachment of Donald Trump. The ultimate prize. But does anyone think that the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC really would want to see him impeached right now?

Think again. Where and how would they make money? Why would they kill the Goose That Lays the Golden Eggs? It makes no sense at all from a business point of view. The ideal world for the MSM is to let things continue just the way they have: bash Trump and anyone associated with him, but never run the risk that anyone would actually think of getting rid of him.

What would they do, the journalists, the TV presenters, the book writers, if Trump would leave, and Mike Pence were to live in the White House? They would all be back to grave financial problems. In a heartbeat, because digital media are inexorably taking over from them, even if Trump temporarily saved them. They need Trump much more than he needs them.

All this puts the old media in an interesting -potential?- conflict with the party they’re so enthusiastically supporting, the Democrats. And it’s good to ponder, too, that the MSM didn’t see this coming, at all. They were just going after Trump with all they got and then some because their owners and sponsors wanted Hillary and certainly not him.

 

When Trump raised their reader and viewer numbers through the roof because of all the Russia and corruption and, yes, sex, stories, they were taken by surprise, but they adapted fast, egged on forcefully by their financial departments: Look at the numbers, keep this up no matter what you do!

It works for them for now, and they don’t look much further; they can’t afford to. But the next problem is already on their horizons. That is, their editorial policies have alienated them from half the entire American population: Trump voters. And they will have a hard time ever getting any of those back, if ever.

There’ll be a time when the Donald is no longer the president and the attention magnet he is today. That will make much less people want to read and view the MSM. It’s all about entertainment, after all, and they can’t make up the kind of entertainment Trump provides. They can distort and exaggerate what he gives him, but they can’t invent him.

Like it or not, like him or not, Trump is a unique phenomenon not only in America, but globally. Perhaps most interesting is that he was never all that special, just a business guy surrounded by -too- many questions, and a reality TV person, who got some attention but in a limited way.

Once he entered politics that all changed. And it did through a very particular kind of cross-breeding. The media all lined up against him, and he fed off that, and then they fed off of that. It’s quite the symbiosis. The one big difference is that he never needed them as much as they did him, he built his victory, found his voters, on new -social?- media.

 

The MSM tried to destroy him and instead they built him up. And perhaps that’s not so surprising if your worldview and business model is based on polarization and antagonism, on excluding entire segments of a population and fulminate against them 24/7. But then again, if you’re a business and you’re making big profits, it’s easy to lose sight of longer term issues.

From my point of view, I’d say America needs to come together a lot more than it is right now; the present chasm is extremely volatile and can lead to really bad outcomes. But how can you do this if your media depend on keeping that chasm alive, and widening it, to make money?

Kavanaugh is an ordinary prick who’d fit right in in DC and so shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near it. . Blasey Ford is a sympathetic person who forgot more than she should have if she wants to accuse anyone of anything 35 years later. In a normal world many people would agree with both statements. But today it’s “I believe her no matter what” or “confirm him tomorrow”.

Today the media realize if they don’t antagonize and set people up against each other, they’re done. Maybe it was inevitable that Trump would bring that out, that he would reveal what was waiting under the surface all along. No matter how you see this, it’s obvious that it’s poison for the nation. It’s toxic and dangerous.

However, isn’t all of America by now based on profit first and nothing second? And isn’t some form of civil war then the only possible outcome?