Giuseppe Sanmartino The veiled Christ (Christo velato) 1753
Wherever Russia or the USSR came, plants and factories appeared, and the United States left behind people falling from planes and other troubles – Maria Zakharova. pic.twitter.com/xNhGDnQRKV
— DD Geopolitics (@DD_Geopolitics) July 27, 2023
Break the glass option. Sounds like a plan.
The collapse of the Hunter Biden plea bargain has left many in Washington shocked. After all, this is a city that knows how to fix a fight. After five years, the Biden corruption scandal was supposed to die with a vacuous plea bargain and no jail time. Most everyone was in on the fix, from members of Congress to the media to the prosecutors. The problem was the one notable omission: Judge Maryellen Noreika of the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware. The sentencing hearing was a moment that made the Hindenburg disaster look like a seamless landing. Noreika asked a basic question on the implications of the agreement, and the entire deal immediately collapsed.
Now the Justice Department is in a bind. It could not admit in the hearing that Hunter Biden could escape future liability for a host of uncharged crimes. Yet, when a defendant backs out of a generous plea deal, federal prosecutors ordinarily will pursue all of the available charges — and jail time. While President Joe Biden once declared, in more colorful terms, that no one messes with a Biden, the Justice Department may now find it has no choice. It could be forced to actually treat Hunter like an ordinary citizen. The debacle in Delaware still could result in a plea deal. The parties have a month to “work things out,” and most judges sign off on deals, given the discretion afforded to the executive branch on criminal charging decisions.
They just need to be clear about the terms, and clarity is something neither side seemed eager to establish publicly during Wednesday’s hearing. However, an agreement would require prosecutors either to fight to preserve a sweetheart deal — one without additional future charges — or to proceed, as they would in most cases, with a full prosecution. That would include obvious potential charges under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). Noreika forced the Justice Department to admit that it still could charge Biden as an unregistered foreign agent. That was the charge used against onetime Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and the similarities between the cases are striking. It took little time for the Justice Department to use the charge against Manafort. Yet, in the Hunter Biden investigation, five years have passed, and the Justice Department seemed mired in doubt over applying the same standard to the president’s son.
A FARA charge could further expose Hunter’s alleged influence-peddling operations, with what House GOP investigators say were millions in foreign payments from a virtual rogue’s gallery of foreign officials. The Justice Department also would face pressure to seek the same long jail sentence given to Manafort; he was sentenced to 73 months of imprisonment, which included the statutory maximum 60 months for a conspiracy to violate FARA. [..] If the Justice Department were to show the same aggressive effort toward Hunter Biden that was shown to figures like Manafort, Hunter could be looking at a real possibility of years in jail. There is, however, the ultimate “break-the-glass” option that I raised previously if the Bidens and their supporters could not rig the process: Joe Biden could pardon his son and then announce that he will not run for reelection.
Facing an impeachment inquiry, low public support, and a son in the legal dock, Biden could use the case to close out his political career. Of course, a pardon would be what I consider another abuse of the pardon power for personal benefit. President Bill Clinton waited until the end of his second term to pardon his half-brother. Biden could do the same by acknowledging that the pardoning of his son is a form of raw self-dealing. However, as he has said throughout the scandal, he loves his son and blames his crimes on his struggle with addiction and grieving.
All this is as bread for the sandwich. In the 29th paragraph of this story The Times reports on FD–1023–the New York Post having forced its hand. Referring to Grassley, Luke Broadwater writes, “On Thursday, he released a document obtained from a whistleblower containing unverified allegations that both Hunter and President Biden had accepted bribes. The F.B.I. accused Mr. Grassley of risking “the safety of a confidential source” by releasing the document.” That is it, readers. You will read no more of what is in FD–1023 unless and until The Times is forced—by new revelations, the findings of a House investigation, or another New York Post story—to indulge in another round of obfuscation. There are occasions when The Times delights, even when it is at its worst. These occur when the facts do not fit the thesis, and its reporters are left swinging in the wind as they report sheer nonsense.
So it is with this piece, as Broadwater tells his readers Empower Oversight is a cabal of Republicans ideologically driven to sabotage innocent Democrats, and then: Empower Oversight rejects the suggestion its work is partisan in nature. While its leaders are Republicans, they say their job is to offer legal advice and support to whistle-blowers who approach them. Tristan Leavitt, the group’s president and a former aide to Mr. Grassley and other Hill Republicans, said his organization’s “nonpartisan work stands for itself.” Mr. Leavitt has worked… under a Democratic staff member, given presentations to left-leaning groups, and earned praise from other whistle-blower rights advocates. Empower Oversight is also a member of the Make It Safe Coalition, a group of organizations representing whistle-blowers across the political spectrum.
One of the I.R.S. whistle-blowers the group represents said he is a Democrat. After this extraordinary passage, our Luke returns without pause to the theme that Empower Oversight is a cabal of Republicans driven by ideology to sabotage innocent Democrats. Luke, Luke, tell us what it is. You cannot report the case being “A,” then the case being “not–A,” and then return to reporting “A.” It causes us to wonder about the qualifications of your assignment editor—apart from your own, of course. Miranda Devine, a divinely dogged New York post columnist, published a commentary after the paper’s piece on the revelations in FD–1023 headlined, “The Joe Biden bribe allegations need a special counsel, now.” I’ll say.
“The story of the Biden family’s corrupt influence-peddling scheme, which netted tens of millions of dollars from Ukraine, China, Russia and beyond, is scandal enough,” Devine writes. “But the coverup—from Big Tech’s censorship of the Post’s reporting from Hunter’s abandoned laptop, and CIA lies that it was Russian disinformation, to the burying of this FD–1023—is bigger than Watergate.” Indeed, Miranda. Now tell me, does this seem to you a truth like any other—with no brand, no ideology attaching to it, being neither Republican nor Democratic?
The US president, Joe Biden, has for the first time publicly acknowledged his seventh grandchild, a four-year-old girl, Navy, fathered by his son Hunter with Arkansas woman Lunden Roberts in 2018. “Our son Hunter and Navy’s mother, Lunden, are working together to foster a relationship that is in the best interests of their daughter, preserving her privacy as much as possible going forward,” Biden said in a statement that was first reported by People magazine. “This is not a political issue, it’s a family matter,” he said. “Jill and I only want what is best for all of our grandchildren, including Navy.” Hunter Biden’s paternity was established by DNA testing after Roberts sued for child support. The two parties recently resolved outstanding child support issues.
The president’s son wrote about his encounter with Roberts in his 2021 memoir, saying it came while he was deep in addiction to alcohol and drugs, including crack cocaine. “I had no recollection of our encounter,” he wrote. “That’s how little connection I had with anyone. I was a mess, but a mess I’ve taken responsibility for.” An attorney for Roberts did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Associated Press. The president, who has made a commitment to family central to his public persona, has faced increasing criticism from political rivals and pundits for failing to acknowledge the granddaughter.
Hunter Biden has four other children, including a son, Beau, born by his wife, Melissa Cohen, in 2020. He was named after the president’s late son who died of cancer in 2015, leaving behind two children. Biden’s grandchildren have played a distinct role in his presidency, often accompanying the president or first lady on trips and making regular visits to the White House. The president has also credited his grandchildren with persuading him to challenge the then president Donald Trump for the White House in 2020.
“Monday is also the last day before the legislature’s summer recess, which means not much of anything may happen to advance any of these matters until early September..”
Anyway, after the Delaware courtroom fracas Wednesday, Hunter had to fall back on pleading not guilty as a place-holder while his lawyers and the Feds go back to square one negotiating something Judge Noreika might accept, which, conceivably, might be no plea deal at all, considering the insults already proffered to her by both sides in the case. In the meantime, would it amuse you to learn that part of Hunter Biden’s pretrial release agreement stipulates that the First Son must make an earnest effort to search for employment? Do you know of some position in the real world (assuming there is a real world) where a person can show up for work with six secret service agents in tow? I didn’t think so. He’ll also be subject to periodic drug tests and is forbidden to indulge in alcohol. Good luck with that!
The chance that Hunter would actually go to trial, even on these rinky-dink tax and firearm charges, is about equal to the chance that Xi Jinping will serve a dim sum breakfast to the Biden family at Rehobeth Beach on Labor Day morning. But its looking like Judge Noreika will not let Hunter off-the-hook on the gargantuan hairball of potential influence peddling matters, which are the actual meat of the Biden family’s legal problems — and that means “Joe Biden” is not off-the-hook either. Which means he might have to resort to pardoning Hunter and possibly himself for as-yet-unfiled charges of bribery, money-laundering and other extremely serious violations. If that happens, it is the end of the pretense that “Joe Biden” is a reelection candidate.
But, while all this melodrama unspools, there is also the creeping hazard of impeachment ahead. The Speaker of the House himself suggested it days ago. Rep. James Comer’s House Oversight Committee has already assembled an impressive stack of bank records tracing the journeys of various multi-million-dollar payments — for no particular services rendered — through an unholy host of shell companies and is now rumored to be compiling records of previously hidden Biden family offshore bank accounts in places such as the Cayman Islands and Panama.
Biden Family foot-soldier Devon Archer is scheduled for a deposition this coming Monday, and since he was thrown under the bus by Hunter on a federal bond fraud rap a few years back, there is every expectation that he will unload a dumpster of ripe trouble on his former intimates. However, Monday is also the last day before the legislature’s summer recess, which means not much of anything may happen to advance any of these matters until early September — and then it is possible that all hell busts loose for the republic as we enter the traditional season of hurricanes and financial fiascos, not to mention what looks like a mounting acknowledgement that our Ukraine proxy war project has utterly failed… and this overhanging threat of impeachment hearings.
It’s all they have…
When the current Ukrainian counteroffensive was first conceived, back in the fall of 2022, Ukraine was coming off a case study in persistence that had, in fact, paid off—a successful counteroffensive that had succeeded in pushing Russian forces out of the Kharkov region, and which recaptured the right bank of Kherson Oblast, including the city of Kherson. This success was facilitated by the provision by NATO of tens of billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment and training, along with operational planning support informed by NATO intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance resources. When the fall counteroffensive ran its course, the Ukrainian’s and their NATO masters turned to the task of building a new Ukrainian army to replace the one that had shed its blood in Kharkov and Kherson, a new Ukrainian army which would seek to resume offensive operations in the spring of 2023.
zone of operations and advance 84 kilometers to the city of Melitopol, control of which, Zaluzhny stated, “would give us a full fire control of the land corridor [connecting the Crimean peninsula to the Donbass and Russia], because from Melitopol we can already fire at the Crimean Isthmus.” Zaluzhny, expressing confidence derived from recent battlefield success, declared “I know that I can beat this enemy,” before adding a caveat: “But I need resources.” Zaluzhny said that “I can calculate, based on the task at hand, what kind of resource is needed to build combat capability,” before citing numbers: “I need 300 tanks, 600-700 infantry fighting vehicles, 500 Howitzers.” Zaluzhny was quick to note, “I’m not talking about F-16s right now.” But he did say he needed artillery ammunition—lots of it. And he stated that NATO was unable to meet this need.
Zaluzhny got the equipment he was looking for. His forces were dispatched to NATO nations for training, while his battleplans were closely coordinated with Ukraine’s NATO partners. Select Ukrainian units were dispatched to Grafenwoehr, Germany, where they were provided with a five-week course taught by US instructors that focused on how to effectively conduct company- and battalion-size combined-arms operations integrating artillery, armor and infantry forces.Zaluzhny’s objective was the city of Melitopol. To get there, the Ukrainian army needed to breach Russian defenses which had been prepared for months. Ukrainian commanders and their NATO partners believed that they key to victory was to pit well-trained, well-equipped, and highly motivated Ukrainian forces up against Russian troops whose training and moral were deemed inferior and who, it subjected to the full weight of the Ukrainian attack, would break and run.
In January 2023, Ukrainian forces began probing the Russian defenses, looking for the weakest point that would then be turned into the focal point of their assault. Near the village of Robotino, in Zaporozhye, they believed they found it—a seam between the 291stMotorized Rifle Regiment (MRR) and the 70th MRR of the 42ndGuard Motorized Rifle Division. NATO picked its two best-trained and best equipped Ukrainian brigades—the 33rd, which operated the US-made M-2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, and the 47th, which was equipped with German-made Leopard main battle tanks. Both brigades had been trained by the US in combined arms tactics, which they were tasked with employing with full force along the seam between the 291st MRR and the 70th MRR. The Ukrainian soldiers were led to believe that the Russian troops assigned to these tow units would run away or surrender at the first sign of serious fighting.
The Ukrainian attack began on June 8, 2023, striking towards the Russian defenses in and around the village of Robotino. Within hours it was clear to all involved that the expectations of the Ukrainian and NATO commanders did not match the reality on the ground—the Russian soldiers manning the Robotino defenses held fast, a by-product of good training, outstanding leadership, sound tactics, and adequate equipment.
Ukraine is not a fully sovereign country, since it depends on Western donations to fund government spending, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has argued. And it’s the US that determines whether that aid will continue, he believes. “The Americans can pull out a lot of money with all sorts of financial manipulations, but the euro is a different story, it’s not suited for that,” Orban said on Friday, in an interview with Kossuth radio. While it is true that Ukrainians have suffered most from the hostilities, the premier added, the country’s dependence means that the conflict cannot be called Ukrainian. A nation that cannot pay its expenses cedes sovereignty to donors, he stated. “The Ukrainians have run out of strength. The only thing keeping Ukraine alive is Western money,” the PM stated.
Brussels now cannot deliver on its obligations to its member states, including Hungary, the country’s leader claimed, calling the bloc’s support of Kiev one of the factors behind the financial shortfall. Orban expects that a shift in Washington may occur next year, amid the upcoming presidential election. In Europe, public opinion is putting pressure on politicians to seek peace, because “in a democracy the will of the people and the policies of the leadership cannot be that much at odds with each other in the long term.” He reiterated Budapest’s support for peace talks. The EU had lost an opportunity to “localize” the ongoing conflict the way former German Chancellor Angela Merkel did with the previous crisis in 2014, he claimed.
Members of the 27-nation bloc suffered economically after going along with the US-led campaign to punish Russia with sanctions over the Ukraine conflict, a fact that Budapest consistently raises. In 2014, a Western-backed armed coup in Kiev deposed Ukraine’s democratically elected government and empowered nationalist forces. People in Crimea then voted in a referendum to break away from Ukraine and rejoin Russia, while those living in Donbass demanded significant autonomy. Kiev reacted by sending its military to quash what it saw as a rebellion in the east, but failed. Merkel helped negotiate the so-called Minsk Agreements, which proposed a road to peaceful reintegration of Donbass into Ukraine. She has since admitted that the never-implemented deal was, in reality, meant to buy time for Ukraine to build up its armed forces with Western help.
“community of colonies.”
European nations used to be colonial overlords but now they’ve become colonial underlings of the US, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has claimed. The senior diplomat brought up Europe’s colonialist past, speaking exclusively to RT on Friday on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg. Colonialism, she stated, is in the bones of Western civilization. “For centuries the Western world formed around one simple and terrifying thought: that they are exceptional because they are strong,” she said. “They have no need to justify anything, they must simply reap the benefits of aggressive exploitation of the planet. That is their collective reasoning.” The US subjugation of North America and other lands followed the same colonialist pattern, the Russian official added.
However, the decolonization process has significantly progressed and now former European colonies in Africa, Asia and Latin America not only have formal attributes of statehood, but also have the strength and courage to pursue sovereign policies, Zakharova said. And African leaders came to the forum in Russia in defiance of Western pressure and threats, she pointed out. While former colonies are defending their independence, some of their former European overlords went in the opposite direction, Zakharova claimed. Members of the EU “have lost their sovereignty and subjected themselves to the will of Washington and, to some extent … London.”
“They truly became colonies, colonies of the US. This community of colonies is named NATO,” she said. And, according to Zakharova, the US is now willing to drive even more nations into this “community of colonies.” Western Europe is no longer enough for Washington, “they have already set their sights on Asia and other regions,” the diplomat added. “Everyone understands this very well.” Moscow has long perceived the bloc’s eastward expansion as a major threat to its national security. Senior officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have repeatedly cited Ukraine’s NATO aspirations as one of the factors that led to Russia’s escalation of a years-long conflict to military action against its neighbor.
Not sure “charismatic” is the best translation.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has claimed Western powers are seeing a decline in leadership standards, with politicians following selfish motives rather than serving the public good. “There are no more charismatic politicians who can lead the people and rally for creative goals, help them overcome difficulties and reach new levels,” the diplomat said in an exclusive interview with RT on Friday, referring to EU countries and the West in general. “Clowns” who impress the public with “eccentric, shocking, outrageous” acts have taken the place of the true leaders of the past, she argued, describing others as spokespeople for bureaucracies, with a low level of competence.
Modern Western politicians are propped up by media craftsmen, who promote an “image, that one puts on like a fancy costume” instead of highlighting a politician’s nature, while many elected officials have become pure lobbyists for the elites, with nothing to offer their people, she claimed. Zakharova believes that governance problems in the West are down to the selfish motives of those going into politics. “A person obsessed with becoming richer, more famous and powerful… loses what was given to them,” she argued.
Meanwhile in the East and the Global South, there are leaders with more selfless motivations, who are given more power as their nations grow stronger, Zakharova noted. She was speaking on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg. “One man from the Global South changed the course of the history of the entire world. His name was Jesus Christ,” Zakharova said, calling Jesus “the example one should follow, a man who was ready to totally change the world for the sake of creation, not destruction.” The Foreign Ministry spokewoman went on to predict that the ideology dominating the West will crumble, as selfish individuals can only enjoy temporary success.
Kiev becoming a member of NATO is an existential threat to Russian national security and will not be tolerated, Russian President Vladimir Putin told representatives of several African countries on Friday. In the document that ushered in Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union, “it is written in black and white that Ukraine is a neutral state,” Putin reminded the visiting African leaders, during the public part of their meeting in St. Petersburg. The president was referring to the 1990 declaration proclaiming Soviet Ukraine a sovereign state that would strive to become “a permanently neutral country.” “This is of fundamental importance. Why the West began to drag Ukraine into NATO is not very clear to us. But this created, in our opinion, a fundamental threat to our security,” Putin added.
“We cannot accept the advance towards our borders of military infrastructure of a bloc that is de facto hostile to us.” Putin and several members of the African Union peace mission met to discuss the Ukraine conflict, after the two-day Russia-Africa summit attended by representatives of 49 states from the continent. While Russia has always said it is ready to negotiate an end to hostilities, Kiev has passed a law prohibiting talks with Moscow and reneged on the agreement negotiated in March 2022 in Istanbul, Putin stated. According to Putin, during last year’s meeting in Türkiye, the Ukrainian delegation initially agreed to sign a neutrality pact that would also cap Ukraine’s heavy weapons and hardware. However, the preliminary deal had been “thrown out” shortly afterward, the Russian leader said earlier this year.
Ukrainian officials walked away from negotiations after accusing the Russian military of atrocities in Bucha and other areas around the country’s capital. Moscow had denied that its troops were killing civilians. Kiev later argued that meaningful negotiations cannot commence until Moscow surrenders Crimea and four other territories that voted to leave Ukraine and become parts of Russia. Moscow repeatedly stressed that it was impossible.Speaking on Friday, the Russian president repeated his long-standing position that the current crisis was caused by the 2014 “anti-constitutional, armed, bloody coup” in Kiev, carried out with “active support” of the US and other Western governments. Following the coup, Crimea organized a referendum to join Russia. Kiev sent the military and nationalist militias to crush dissent in Odessa and Kharkov regions, but ran into resistance in Donetsk and Lugansk, which would declare independence later that year.
The 2015 Minsk Agreements envisioned a process by which the two regions could return to Ukraine with guarantees of autonomy, but Kiev never implemented it. Former German leader Angela Merkel claimed last December that the Minsk process was only a play for time by the West to arm Ukraine for a war against Russia. Former president of France, Francois Hollande, seconded Merkel’s interpretation. As part of the African Peace Initiative, leaders of seven countries from the continent visited Ukraine and Russia in mid-June. Though Moscow expressed interest in exploring the African proposal further, Kiev has insisted that only its “peace formula” – a ten-point plan amounting to Russia’s unconditional surrender – would be acceptable to Ukraine.
The unipolar world is collapsing and a multipolar world is being formed with the participation of Africa, where a newly-minted middle-class will drive consumer demand in the near future, the head of the Coordinating Committee for Economic Cooperation with African Countries (AFROCOM), Igor Morozov told RT on Friday. Last year alone, 19 African countries applied for BRICS membership because they wanted completely new economic relations, Morozov revealed on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa summit. After the US and the EU seized Russia’s forex reserves, the world realized that it is not only a “political weapon,” but an instrument of financial pressure on the external and internal policy of any country and any continent, according to Morozov. The US dollar has been weaponized, which is why nations will gradually move away from using it in trade and the BRICS payment system will replace the SWIFT financial messaging network in a “new non-Western world.”
“African leaders are also concerned about further use of the dollar and euro. In this regard, the number of countries wishing to join BRICS is growing rapidly, because this is an alternative payment system that is due to emerge within half a year,” he said. BRICS is pushing towards trade in national currencies and has begun efforts to establish a joint payment network to cut off reliance on the Western financial system, particularly the dollar. Russian trade ties with African countries have been strengthening in recent years and there’s more room for growth, including through free-trade zones that are actively developing in African countries, Morozov noted.
“We are ready and we will supply annually through humanitarian aid everything that we have in the agro-industrial complex. Our tractors, aggregates, mineral fertilizers and technologies. We’ve achieved amazing results in ten years and we want to share this experience with our African partners,” he stated.He added that Russia would “do everything” to ensure the African economy has a future with access to innovative technologies.
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