May 102024
 


Carl Spitzweg The raven 1845

 

Jack Smith Has Few Options in Trump Case, Say Former Prosecutors (ET)
Trump Announces ‘Major Motion’ Filed in New York Appeals Court (ET)
Democrats Attack Judge for Delaying Trump Florida Trial (Turley)
Putin Doesn’t Bluff (Jim Rickards)
US Defenseless Against Russian Hypersonic Missiles, Iranian Drones – DoD (Sp.)
Boeing’s Setbacks Show Why US Industries Lose Competitive Edge (Sp.)
Aging US Fleet and Drained Stockpiles No Match for China and Russia (Sp.)
Biden Denies Economic Reality In Car Crash CNN Interview (MN)
Tucker Carlson Interviews Biden Accuser Tara Reade (RT)
Whole West Is Working To Supply Ukraine – Putin (RT)
West ‘Trying To Distort’ History Of WWII – Putin (RT)

 

 

 

 

Fani more

 

 

Larry Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evidence tampering. Throw out the whole case. Not salvageable.

Jack Smith Has Few Options in Trump Case, Say Former Prosecutors (ET)

A federal judge’s ruling this week that postponed former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case represents a significant legal win for the former president, legal analysts say. A former federal prosecutor, Renato Mariotti, wrote that there is virtually “nothing” special counsel Jack Smith can do to speed the process up. “Realistically there is nothing Jack Smith can do to move the Mar-a-Lago case forward to trial before the election. Judges have extremely broad discretion over their trial calendar, which is what gives Judge Cannon the ability to avoid setting a trial date at this time,” Mr. Mariotti wrote on social media. Another former federal prosecutor, Brandon Van Grack, wrote that Mr. Smith’s team will have “a bumpy ride” ahead of them because of Judge Cannon’s “numerous other scheduled hearings on pretrial motions” from President Trump and two co-defendants, which he indicates that Judge Cannon believes “have merit.”

Harry P. Litman, a law professor and a former U.S. attorney, echoed those claims, saying that the case is now in a “deep freeze” after the latest order. Meanwhile, multiple television legal analysts claimed that with her latest order, Judge Cannon is intentionally trying to delay the case. The Epoch Times contacted the court for comment. “This is news but it’s hardly unexpected. Judge Cannon seems desperate to avoid trying this case. This isn’t justice. defendants aren’t the only ones with speedy trial act rights, we the people have them too,” wrote former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance, who currently works for MSNBC, on Tuesday afternoon. But Tim Fitton, the head of the Judicial Watch legal group, wrote that complaints about Judge Cannon’s decisions are unwarranted, arguing that such a timeline “is normal and not surprising.”

“But the Left’s election riggers and civil rights abusers believe that Trump has no rights and will attack Judge Cannon for proceeding normally in this case and for not violating Trump’s constitutional rights,” he wrote on X, formerly known Twitter. In that post, he pointed out that Mr. Smith’s team last week submitted court papers to Judge Cannon essentially saying that his team misled the court because the contents of a box of documents were re-arranged. Prosecutors did not disclose the exact reason why the materials may have been shifted. “There are some boxes where the order of items within that box is not the same as in the associated scans,” Mr. Smith’s team wrote, adding that the update contrasts with what they told the judge several weeks ago during a hearing.

The boxes in question have “items smaller than standard paper such as index cards, books, and stationary, which shift easily when the boxes are carried, especially because many of the boxes are not full,” they added. After the disclosure, President Trump wrote his Truth Social platform that he believes Mr. Smith should be arrested before calling for the case to be immediately dropped.

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“‘I’ve been doing this for 60 years, and I don’t understand what crime he’s been charged with. Nobody understands this. I just don’t get the crime. There’s no evidence of any crime whatsoever..”

Trump Announces ‘Major Motion’ Filed in New York Appeals Court (ET)

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday confirmed that his lawyers asked a New York state appellate court to issue a ruling on a judge’s gag order that prohibits him from speaking about certain individuals connected to his ongoing trial. His team filed a motion on Wednesday, which has been sealed and is inaccessible, according to the court docket. The Manhattan district attorney’s office filed a response to the motion, but it was also sealed. While speaking with reporters outside the courthouse on Thursday morning, President Trump confirmed the move. Anonymously sourced reports published Wednesday said that it was a motion to expedite the ruling. “I just want to let you know that we’ve just filed a major motion in the appellate division concerning the absolutely unconstitutional gag order, where I’m essentially not allowed to talk to you about anything meaningful that’s going on in the case. And many good things are going on with the case. It shouldn’t have been filed,” he said. During his comments to reporters, he did not go into specifics about the motion.

The former president is under a gag order that prohibits him from making public statements about potential witnesses, court staff, prosecutors’ staff, or family members. Judge Juan Merchan, who issued the order and later expanded it, ruled that President Trump violated his directive 10 times before threatening to jail the former president if he makes future comments that he believes violate that order. Previously, the New York Court of Appeals rejected the former president’s bid to pause the trial while he battles the gag order. They also rejected an attempt to pause the enforcement of the order, which was issued in March after prosecutors requested it. His lawyers have argued that the gag order violates the former president’s First Amendment right to free speech, noting that he is currently the leading Republican presidential candidate. But earlier this week, Judge Merchan fined the former president for a 10th time for an April remark that he made to a media outlet about the Manhattan jury pool, which he said was “95 percent” Democratic.

The judge then said that a $1,000 fine isn’t enough and that he might have to jail the former president, although he did not go into specifics about how that would look like. “Your continued willful violations of this court’s orders threaten to interfere with the … administration of justice,” Judge Merchan said before issuing a warning about possible jail time. The former president, in response, criticized the judge and wrote on Truth Social that he is now not allowed to respond publicly to “lies and false statements” made about him during the New York trial. It came after witness Stormy Daniels made salacious allegations about President Trump during her first trial appearance, which President Trump has denied. According to emails reviewed by The Epoch Times, the Trump campaign also used the judge’s threat as a means to fundraise for his presidential campaign. “The liberal judge in New York just threatened to THROW ME IN JAIL,” read one of the emails, adding that they want him “in HANDCUFFS.”

During his remarks to reporters on Thursday, the former president also quoted multiple legal analysts’ commentary on the case to say that it should never have been brought against him. Those analysts, which President Trump read aloud from a piece of paper, stated prosecutors revived the case after more than seven years in a politicized attempt to harm his 2024 reelection campaign. “‘I’ve been doing this for 60 years, and I don’t understand what crime he’s been charged with. Nobody understands this. I just don’t get the crime. There’s no evidence of any crime whatsoever. This is a sham,’” President Trump said, quoting retired Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz. The trial is expected to last another two weeks. On Thursday, Ms. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, again took the witness stand and was grilled by defense attorneys about whether she was using her allegations against President Trump to make money for herself and bolster her name recognition.

President Trump is charged with 34 counts of falsifying business records to cover up his former lawyer Michael Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Ms. Daniels for her silence ahead of the 2016 election about the alleged encounter. President Trump has pleaded not guilty and denies Ms. Daniels’ claims. The case is seen by some as the least consequential of the four criminal prosecutions President Trump faces. But the chances of the other three, going to trial before the election are growing more distant. He has pleaded not guilty in all the cases. The former president’s cases in Georgia and Washington were paused by the respective judges overseeing them. Meanwhile, in a major legal win, a Florida federal judge suspended his classified documents case indefinitely after prosecutors revealed that the contents of an evidence box were inexplicably rearranged.

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” this is a case where justice delayed is justice.”

Democrats Attack Judge for Delaying Trump Florida Trial (Turley)

While pundits, politicians and the press have long expressed outrage over attacks on judges by former President Donald Trump, many are now attacking any judge who delays any trial of Trump before the election. Democrats have accused Judge Aileen Cannon of being politically compromised, if not conspiratorial, in her delay of the Florida trial over the mishandling of classified documents. Yet, there is ample reason for the delay that many of us anticipated in this type of case when it was filed. For months, many of us have said that we doubt that this type of trial could be held on the rapid schedule demanded by Special Counsel Jake Smith. Smith has repeatedly sought to curtail trial review and even appellate rights of Trump to advance his schedule. His office has made convicting Trump before the election the overriding objective of its motion — a sharp departure from past Justice Department efforts to avoid trials to influence elections.

As a criminal defense counsel, I have handled classified material cases and they are notoriously slow. Smith could have prosecuted this case in the shorter time frame if he simply charge obstruction. That would have also eliminated the glaring contrast with the handling of the Biden investigation into the current president’s retention and mishandling of classified material. Smith decided to charge an array of document charges related to classified material. The defense must have access, review, and can appeal issue related to the classified procedures. Yet, Smith wanted both the array of document charges and a fast track to trial. The Supreme Court has agreed with Cannon that Smith desire to secure a conviction before the election is not the overriding consideration. Judge Cannon is faced with recent admissions that the government mixed up files in the boxes and staged the famous photos of document strewn over a floor with classified jackets. Most importantly, disputes over the relevant documents continue as expected in the case. Nevertheless, leading democrats are denouncing Cannon as a partisan hack.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on federal courts and oversight subcommittee, said accused Cannon of “deliberately slow-walking the case.” Ignoring the fact that similar cases have taken much longer to go to trial, Whitehouse simply declared “it is hard for me not to reach the conclusion that this [judge] is deliberately slow-walking the case to put it into a position where should [Trump] be elected, he can order that the investigation and prosecution be terminated.” His colleague Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) insisted that Cannon was “managing this case in a way that is making it highly unlikely that it will be resolved in a timely fashion.” Coons added “Justice deferred is often justice denied.” It is a bizarre statement. Classified documents cases routinely take longer to go to trial. The alternative is to cut off the ability of the defense to fully review the documents and review objections for resolution before trial. Yet, because the defendant is Trump and these Democrats want the trial to influence the election, such defense protections are now evidence of judicial bias.

They, of course, ignore that Cannon has ruled repeatedly against major Trump motions in the case. Sen. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said Cannon’s “at it again, doing everything she can to delay.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), offered the most telling line. He said “I question whether this judge understands the magnitude or the legal import of this trial.”Indeed, it is the timing as much as the charges that makes this so important to the Justice Department and the Democrats. Smith has crafted this case to impact the election and the failure of the court to support that effort is apparently grounds for recusal. Blumenthal called for such a motion before the window is lost before the election: “It’s a classic dilemma for justice that a particular judicial officer may be conducting a trial that could be better done by somebody else.” Despite the statement of his colleague Coons, this is a case where justice delayed is justice.

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“You may assume that Houthi rebels in Yemen want to avoid attacks by the U.S., but they don’t care — they live in caves anyway, so you can’t bomb them into the Stone Age because they’re already there//”

Putin Doesn’t Bluff (Jim Rickards)

One of the persistent problems in intelligence analysis is what experts call “mirror imaging.” This is jargon for an analytic flaw in which the analyst assumes that his beliefs and preferences are shared by an adversary. Instead of looking at the adversary as he actually is, the analyst is looking in a mirror while assuming he is looking at the adversary. This is an extremely dangerous flaw. You may be rational, but the mullahs who rule Iran are not. You may believe that leaders want economic growth, but Communist Chinese leaders elevate the party over all other considerations including the well-being of their people. You may assume that Houthi rebels in Yemen want to avoid attacks by the U.S., but they don’t care — they live in caves anyway, so you can’t bomb them into the Stone Age because they’re already there. Nowhere is this flaw more apparent today than in the U.S. intelligence analysis of Vladimir Putin.

In 2008, President Bush said that Ukraine and Georgia should join NATO. A few months later, Putin invaded Georgia, annexed part of its territory and destroyed Georgia’s chances of joining NATO. In 2014, the U.S. backed a coup d’état in Ukraine that deposed a duly elected leader. Three months later, Putin annexed Crimea from Ukraine and made it part of the Russian Federation. In 2021, NATO began formal processes to admit Ukraine as a member. In February 2022, Russia began a special military operation that’s resulted in 500,000 dead Ukrainian soldiers. Some estimates are even higher. Ukraine’s chances of joining NATO are now zero. In every case, U.S. analysts did not believe Putin would take the steps he did because they thought it might somehow weaken Putin or Russia. That’s mirror imaging at its worst. The truth is Putin doesn’t bluff. When he says he will do something, he does. When he says he will react to some Western act, the reaction takes place.

Putin said if the West steals Russian assets, Russia will retaliate by seizing billions of dollars of direct foreign investment in Russia owned by major European companies such as Siemens, Total, BP and others. And sure enough, just days after Biden signed legislation to authorize the theft of Russian assets, a Russian court ordered $440 million be seized from JPMorgan. The escalation in the asset seizure war has begun. Putin will win in the end. Unfortunately, escalation is also increasing on the geopolitical front. The U.S. and some of its European allies are becoming increasingly desperate about Ukraine’s ability to hold off Russia on the battlefield. The recent $61 billion aid package for Ukraine (about two-thirds of which will go to U.S. defense companies) won’t be nearly enough to reverse the tide. The U.S. and its NATO allies have already given just about all they can afford to give Ukraine without jeopardizing their own security. The problem isn’t a lack of money but a lack of weapons and ammunition. Before the aid package was approved, critics complained that Ukraine was losing because the U.S. was withholding desperately needed materiel. But that’s not really true.

The Europeans could have simply bought the weapons from the U.S. and delivered them to Ukraine. They didn’t. Why? Because the weapons simply weren’t there. Yes, there will always be a supply of weapons flowing to Ukraine — they’re not going to run out completely. But Ukraine won’t have nearly enough weapons and ammunition to undertake meaningful offensive operations against the Russians. They’ll just have enough to keep them in the fight, which is the goal of NATO. Unfortunately for Ukraine, the problems run much deeper than a lack of equipment. They’re also running out of trained manpower. Former commander Valeriy Zaluzhny has suggested Ukraine needs an extra 500,000 troops. But they’re having trouble finding new volunteers. An estimated 650,000 fighting age men have fled Ukraine. Meanwhile, the Russian army is even larger than it was before the invasion, and Russian industry is churning out weapons and ammunition at astonishing rates.

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“..could we knock down 99 percent of those missiles coming in?”

US Defenseless Against Russian Hypersonic Missiles, Iranian Drones – DoD (Sp.)

The crisis in Ukraine and escalating tensions in the Middle East have demonstrated that the US’ $886 billion defense budget has not translated into real-world capabilities on the ground. Now, an explosive verbal exchange on Capitol Hill has revealed that North America’s skies are defenseless against not only Russian, but even Iranian missiles. An otherwise boring and formulaic briefing by senior Pentagon officials to lawmakers from the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces went off the rails on Wednesday after subcommittee Chairman Angus King took the floor and forced Department of Defense officials to reveal that North America is helpless against adversaries it has spent years agitating around the world. “The truth is we have no defense for hypersonic missiles – yes or no? Mr. Hill, any defense on the hypersonic missile?

You’re the commander of an aircraft carrier in the Greenland Gap. If we have a hypersonic missile launched from Murmansk [traveling at] 6,000 miles an hour, what do you do?” King asked, querying Deputy Secretary of Defense for Space and Missile Defense John Hill. “We have some systems to defend in the terminal stage but we need more, you’re correct, Senator King… that our hypersonic defenses are inadequate and we do need [more]. SM-6 is in the Navy’s terminal range [capability], the Patriot – I’ll let General Gainey speak to the specifics on that. Those are examples but no argument, we need to focus on hypersonic defenses,” Hill responded. “So why are we talking about 2029 and even stretching that out? This is next year kind of stuff. I don’t get your budget,” King countered, referencing the lack of focus on anti-hypersonic capabilities in current US defense spending plans.

“What we faced in the budget this year – it was a difficult year, particularly with the Fiscal Responsibility Act caps that we had to work with. There were must-pay bills that we had to work with for the personnel, the salaries, the health care, inflation costs. When you get down to the point of where you get down to the discretionary types of things where you can really control your choices,” Hill said. “But that’s your mission – your mission is missile defense,” King retorted. “The budget decisions are made at a higher level and so you’re trading off between readiness or your future investments,” Hill said. “Well let me put the question another way: let’s say what happened on April 14 [Iran’s retaliatory missile and drone attack on Israel, ed.] happened over the Arctic Ocean – 300 missiles, drones, UAVs came across the Arctic Ocean toward Canada and North America. Could we do what Israel and we and other countries did – could we knock down 99 percent of those missiles coming in?” King asked. “No chairman,” Air Force General Gregory Guillot, commander of US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), responded.

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One major accident away from bankruptcy.

Boeing’s Setbacks Show Why US Industries Lose Competitive Edge (Sp.)

Boeing’s problems keep piling up. The company faces a new inquiry over B787 Dreamliner safety inspections and is feeling the blowback from sanctions on Russia. Passengers and crew members have been evacuated from a Corendon Airlines Boeing 737-800 after one of the plane’s tyres burst during landing in Turkey. The accident occurred on Thursday at Gazipasa, an airport near the Turkish town of Alanya. It was the third serious incident involving one of the aviation giant’s aircraft in just two days, the Daily Mail noted. Bad news has dogged Boeing for the past few years, undermining its profits and driving down its share price. Earlier this week, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) opened a new probe into whether the Seattle-based corporation broke rules during inspections of its long-haul B787 Dreamliner passenger jet, and whether its employees falsified aircraft records.

The FAA announced last month that Boeing had “voluntarily” revealed that some of its employees had not performed required tests to confirm adequate bonding and grounding of the fasteners connecting the wings to the fuselage, and had then falsely reported the checks had been completed. Quoting a source familiar with the issue, CBS News said as many as 450 aircraft could be affected, including around 60 airframes still on the production line. According to the FAA, the aircraft still in Boeing’s possession are undergoing re-inspection, while the company maintains that the reported “misconduct” would not pose an “immediate safety-of-flight issue.” The FAA’s latest inquiry comes on the heels of a US Congressional investigation into the safety culture and manufacturing standards at Boeing. Sam Salehpour, a Boeing quality engineer, told Congress last month that the industrial giant was cutting corners to speed up production — which is fraught with acute safety risks.

The whistle-blower also complained that Boeing employees raising red flags over quality issues were “ignored, marginalized, threatened, sidelined and worse.” He told Congress that he was afraid of being subjected to “physical violence” after exposing the aerospace corporation’s flaws Two other Boeing whistleblowers, Joshua Dean, former quality auditor at Boeing supplier Spirit AeroSystems, and John “Mitch” Barnett, a former Boeing employee, passed away in May and March, respectively. Dean died after a short illness, while Barnett was found dead in an apparent suicide. Barnett and Dean both raised the alarm over manufacturing defects in Boeing’s 737 Max and other planes, after a series of crashes involving the aircraft. In January, all 171 Boeing 737 Max 9 planes were temporarily grounded by the FAA after a door panel blew out on an Alaska Airlines flight. The same month, an oxygen leak was discovered on board a Boeing 737. Remarkably, the aircraft was scheduled to carry US Secretary of State Antony Blinken from the Davos World Economic Forum.

At least ten more whistle-blowers, including former and current employees, are ready to testify against the aerospace company, the Independent reported, quoting lawyers for both Dean and Barnett. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Boeing is facing a new problem stemming from anti-Russia sanctions, imposed by the US over Moscow’s special operation in Ukraine. As a result, the industrial giant cannot deliver enough B787 Dreamliners. According to the WSJ, the trouble was caused by a lack of heat exchangers – temperature-regulating parts for the B787 – which were previously produced in Russia. Even though the production was shifted to the US and the UK, new factories have proven incapable of keeping up with demand.

Boeing’s inability to obtain enough heat exchangers disrupted the pace of Dreamliner manufacturing. The company was forced to warn investors that it will not deliver as many planes as anticipated this year. American Airlines blamed Dreamliner delays for its decision to suspend some international and long-haul flights this year and next. Boeing also severed ties with a major Russian titanium supplier and halted selling spare parts and maintenance services to Russian airlines that operate its passenger planes. The WSJ admitted that US anti-Russia sanctions significantly backfired on Boeing and jet manufacturing in general, naming Russia “a big player in the global aerospace supply chain.”

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China possesses approximately 370 warships, compared to the US fleet of 291 vessels. In 2023, China added 30 ships to its fleet [..] the US built only two warships last year..”

Aging US Fleet and Drained Stockpiles No Match for China and Russia (Sp.)

The US Navy faces delays in vessel repairs and a sluggish pace in construction of new warships. The crisis was reported by the US Naval Institute (USNI) and the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), according to Asia Times. Diana Maurer, Director of Defense Capabilities and Management at the Government Accountability Office, testified to the Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee on May 1. She revealed that fewer than 40 percent of US Navy ships had completed repairs on time, despite available space in shipyards. According to the GAO, “the Navy has not developed a full cost and schedule estimate for its Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP) – an effort to improve its dry docks, facilities, and equipment – and reports that it will not be able to do so until Fiscal Year 2025.” Maurer signaled that shipyard conditions are second only to F-35 Lightning II sustainment costs, raising the alarm over the Navy’s readiness.

In his own congressional testimony, Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral James Kilby acknowledged that issues related to “ship production and repair” rank among the top challenges confronting the US Navy today. The US Navy’s ship design practices are largely outdated, which contributes to the slower pace, less predictable costs and performance outcomes of warship construction when compared to commercial shipbuilding. According to GAO, the Navy has been slow to embrace new design tools such as 3-D modeling and digital twinning, and still provides its contractors with 2D design data for legacy ship classes. Shipbuilders also complain that the Navy is usually slow to provide vendor-furnished information (VFI) – the documents that shipyards need as input to engineering and design products – to feed digital models. The Navy’s contractors want clearer technical tasks as well as funding for acquiring and implementing new digital tools.

The issue has been raised amid the US growing competition with China and the Biden administration’s saber-rattling over the island of Taiwan and the South China Sea. At the Senate panel’s hearing, Republican Senator Dan Sullivan from Alaska lamented that the building of new submarines and surface warships in the US is well below the pace set by China. Last July, a leaked US Navy intelligence briefing slide published by The War Zone revealed that China’s shipbuilding capacity is 232 times greater than that of the US. While the People’s Republic’s shipyards have a capacity of over 23.2 million tons, the US capacity is less than 100,000 tons according to the leaked presentation, which was confirmed as authentic in September 2023 by a US Navy spokesperson.

The US Naval Institute admitted in 2021 that China already boasted the world’s largest navy, while in February 2024, US Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) commander Admiral Samuel Paparo warned that Beijing was winning the shipbuilding numbers game. According to Congress, China possesses approximately 370 warships, compared to the US fleet of 291 vessels. In 2023, China added 30 ships to its fleet, 15 of which were large surface combatants including cruisers, destroyers. and an additional aircraft carrier. By contrast, the US built only two warships last year.

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“..claiming that inflation was 9 percent when he came into office, when in reality it was 1.4 percent..”

Biden Denies Economic Reality In Car Crash CNN Interview (MN)

During a brutal CNN interview aired Wednesday, Joe Biden looked shocked when host Erin Burnett reeled off a list of stats detailing how bad the economy is. Instead of suggesting how he is going to improve the situation, Biden denied any of it was real and claimed every poll showing Americans favouring Trump on the economy is wrong. “Voters, by a wide margin, trust Trump more on the economy,” Burnett noted, before listing possible reasons for that including the cost of buying a home having doubled, real income accounting for inflation being down, economic growth being way short of expectations and consumer confidence being near a two year low. “Are you worried that you’re running out of time to turn [the economy] around?” Burnett asked Biden. “We’ve already turned it around,” Biden bizarrely claimed, before adding that “the polling data has been wrong all along.”

When Burnett pointed out that Grocery prices are up almost a third, Biden shrugged it off and claimed Americans “have the money to spend.”

He repeated the tired lie about creating millions of jobs that everyone knows is complete rubbish because he’s including jobs that were reinstated from the pandemic:

Biden also told an absolute whopper, claiming that inflation was 9 percent when he came into office, when in reality it was 1.4 percent. After Biden took office, inflation surged to rates unseen since the early 1980s, peaking at an annual rate of 9.1 percent in June 2022, a full 17 months after he took office. Yet, he is claiming it was ALREADY at 9 percent. Since Biden took office, the average prices of goods and services have increased 19 percent, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. By comparison, during Trump’s four years in office, prices increased by 8 percent, or roughly 2 percent per year, which is the normal annual rate of inflation.

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Good thing he went to see her.

Tucker Carlson Interviews Biden Accuser Tara Reade (RT)

American journalist Tucker Carlson has released a 22-minute interview with RT contributor and former US Senate aide Tara Reade, who rose to prominence after accusing Joe Biden of having sexually assaulted her back in 1993. The interview was recorded in Moscow, where Reade moved last year due to concerns for her safety in the US. In 2020, at the height of the US presidential election campaign, Reade publicly accused Biden of having subjected her to a “violent sexual assault” on the Capitol grounds in 1993. She was working on the Democratic senator’s team at the time. In a 2021 interview, President Biden said the incident “never happened.” In her interview with Carlson, Reade recounted how the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI had “harassed” her, claiming that she had even received “death threats. According to the former aide, US authorities built a case against her after accessing her email and social media accounts.

She added that, while the FBI and the DOJ had come close to indicting her, they wouldn’t disclose what her supposed crime was as the whole case was “sealed.” Reade suggested that the real reason behind the legal proceedings was her failure to ‘shut up’ about the sexual assault allegedly perpetrated by Biden. She claimed that the mainstream US media had lapped up “innuendos” about her, with most outlets working as “proxies of the US government.” Reade added that, in addition to her sexual harassment allegations against Biden, her recent criticism regarding the state of the US economy as well as the “proxy war against Russia via Ukraine” had made US authorities view her as a “traitor.” She said this was all the more “heartbreaking” because she had spent years working for the Democratic Party, and “believed in it wholeheartedly.” “I’ve never committed a crime. I’m not a traitor. I’m not a spy,” she told Carlson.

Tara Reade

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Who is the weak link?

Whole West Is Working To Supply Ukraine – Putin (RT)

The collective West has been working tirelessly to arm Ukraine against Russia, seeking to destroy it in its present form throughout the conflict, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said. He made the remarks while hosting a group of military commanders in the Kremlin who have distinguished themselves in the special operation against Ukraine. The meeting took place on Tuesday after Putin’s inauguration for his fifth term in office, but was released only on Thursday amid Victory Day celebrations. “We know, and you know this better than anyone else, the enemy has enough modern tools, since the entire Western community is working for our enemy, dreaming about Russia ceasing to exist in its current form,” Putin stated.

The collective West itself has created a “system of confrontation,” believing Russia to be a “weak link” in it, the president explained. The conflict with Ukraine, however, has already proven that is not the case and the West was mistaken, Putin stated. “I am sure they are now convinced that this was far from the reality, and rather the opposite is true,” he said. Putin underscored the need to further develop military technologies and be “one step ahead” of the country’s adversaries in order to be “successful.” Among other things, Putin commended on the efforts of Russian civil society to actively support the country’s troops and supply the military with assorted additional tools, ranging from mask nettings to sophisticated drones.

“In our country, as we often say, the so-called people’s military industrial complex is growing now. To be honest, when I meet with those who are in one way or another involved in such activities, the combat work in the civilian sphere, I, frankly, am surprised myself,” Putin stated. In order to be truly effective, however, civilian crowdfunded projects still require the state’s involvement and support, the president said. “Of course, all this must be concentrated in a certain way, everything must be sorted into the right places in a certain way, and supported at the state level. That’s what we are doing,” Putin concluded.

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“..based on the desire to justify current followers of the Nazis..

West ‘Trying To Distort’ History Of WWII – Putin (RT)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has used his address at the military parade in Moscow celebrating the 79th anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany to accuse the West of “distorting the history” of the conflict. He also accused the US-led bloc of wielding “colonial policies” aimed at elevating a few nations by restraining the development of other sovereign states. According to Putin, Western nations “would like to forget the lessons of World War II.” “We see how they are trying to distort the truth about World War II – it interferes with those who are accustomed to building their essentially colonial policy on hypocrisy and lies. They demolish memorials to true fighters against Nazism and place traitors and Nazi collaborators on pedestals,” the president said. He called this revanchism policy a “mockery of history” based on the desire to justify current followers of the Nazis.

“These [actions] are part of the general policy of Western elites of inciting more and more regional conflicts, interethnic and interreligious hostility, and restraining the development of sovereign independent states,” Putin stated, noting that no country or military bloc has a right to do so, which World War II proved. We reject any state or alliance’s claims to exceptionalism. We know what the exorbitance of such ambitions leads to. This year’s Victory Day celebration is taking place amid a tense geopolitical situation due to the Ukraine conflict, in which most Western states have firmly taken Kiev’s side. Over the past two years, many Western leaders have been spreading what Moscow calls Russophobia, claiming that Russia may attack Europe if it secures victory in Ukraine. Putin emphasized that while Russia would do everything possible to prevent a global conflict, it will not allow anyone to threaten its own safety and sovereignty.

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Eva

 

 

17 million

 

 

1000s

 

 

Feather star

 

 

Bees

 

 

Break
https://twitter.com/i/status/1788300348085407848

 

 

 

 

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Aug 162020
 


Michael Andrews Lights VII: A Shadow 1974

 

Clinesmith Was Working For Mueller When He Forged That Email (RS)
Democrats Still Denounce This ‘Investigation Of Investigators’ (Turley)
FBI Misled Congress on Reliability of Steele Dossier (SAC)
CIA Behind Guccifer & Russiagate – Binney (SCF)
Biden Campaign Not Putting Any Surrogates On Sunday Shows Pre-Convention (Fox)
Finance Execs Cheer Selection of Kamala Harris as Dem VP (LI)
Hillary Clinton ‘Ready To Help’ In Biden Administration If Asked (NYP)
Biden Accuser Tara Reade Slams Dems For Bill Clinton Convention Speech (NYP)
Info On Wikileaks, “Hacked Information” Banned Under New YouTube Rules (MPN)
PBOC: China’s Yuan Continues To Grow As An International Currency (SCMP)

 

 

US politics has definitely become the new main topic, replacing COVID. The big picture as we now get it from Durham and various declassified docs is that the biggest scandal in America over the past 4-5 years was not alleged Russian support for Trump that allegedly skewed the 2016 election.

Instead, it is that all of that story, not just some or most of it, but all of it, was fabricated from whole cloth by Trump’s opponents in intelligence, media and the Democratic party. With all of Trump’s all too obvious flaws, they elected to go with a fantasy story. It will all make the coming (or ongoing) election season a hot stew of boiling over spices.

Meanwhile, Biden’s people refuse to let anyone go on the habitual Sunday talk shows, Joe remains in the basement, Kamala will be kept far apart from any journalist who might ask an actual question, and Hillary’s ready to “help”.

Which means that if Biden is withdrawn at some point, as seems likely, the US could be governed by two women so unpopular in their own party they both lost seemingly easy votes. Nobody on that side of the divide appears to care. But in the end it’s not the corporate sponsors or the party bigwigs who do the voting, it’s the people; they just hope they’ve spread enough hatred of Trump to get the votes.

 

 

The usual weekend stumble along numbers. US deaths down to 1,071, good enough to ditch the graph.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump Durham

 

 

It’s in the little details…

Clinesmith Was Working For Mueller When He Forged That Email (RS)

One important fact getting overlooked in all the discussion of whether FBI Attorney Kevin Clinesmith’s guilty plea represents the sacrifice of a minor criminal so the ringleaders can escape justice or the beginning of the end for those who were running the show is exactly whose show Clinesmith was a part of when the crime he’s admitted committing occurred. You see, Clinesmith wasn’t working for James Comey on June 19, 2017, the date he altered that CIA email inconveniently identifying Trump’s onetime foreign policy advisor Carter Page as a trusted source. By that point in time, Clinesmith was part of Robert Mueller’s Independent Counsel investigation. And it was Mueller’s crew who made use of the renewed FISA warrant to spy on Page that Clinesmith’s willingness to commit forgery had enabled.

On the recommendation of acting Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, Trump had fired Comey on May 9, 2017. As a consequence, Comey’s second-in-command, Andrew McCabe automatically took over as acting FBI Director till June 7, when Trump appointed Christopher Wray. (Wray was interim director until his Senate confirmation on July 20.) McCabe was in charge for less than a month. But within just 8 days he’d started a second investigation of Trump in addition to the still ongoing Crossfire Hurricane probe of his campaign’s ties to Russia. Despite Trump’s having fired Comey at Rosenstein’s urging and the president’s authority to terminate the director of the FBI for any reason he pleases, McCabe wasted no time in using his boss’s dismissal as a pretext to investigate Trump for obstructing Crossfire Hurricane.

Given the enormity of his new responsibilities after suddenly becoming the head of the FBI and how quickly McCabe rushed to add a second investigation of the President of the United States to them, you’d almost think he must have been planning it before Comey was even fired. Interestingly, McCabe had also helped tip over the very first domino that ultimately led to Robert Mueller’s appointment as independent counsel. Though it hasn’t received nearly enough attention, he played a substantial role in ginning up the phony controversy over whether Jeff Sessions lied to Congress about his contacts with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during his confirmation hearing.

Sessions takes a lot of heat for enabling the Mueller probe by recusing himself. But though there’s no question he made a disastrous error, most people aren’t aware of the stuff going on in the background that almost seems like it could have been designed to make Sessions step aside and put Rosenstein in control. A few months before starting that second investigation into whether Trump obstructed justice by taking Rosenstein’s advice, Andrew “Itchy Finger” McCabe had triggered another criminal investigation of Sessions for lying about his contacts with Kislyak at the request of Democratic Sens. Patrick Leahy and Al Franken. The fuss quickly died down and Mueller closed the investigation in January 2018. But the ginned-up controversy did force Sessions to recuse himself; which put Rosenstein in a position to urge Trump to fire Comey; which then put McCabe in the position to start a second investigation of Trump for obstruction of justice for taking Rosenstein’s advice.

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Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Democrats Still Denounce This ‘Investigation Of Investigators’ (Turley)

“Gosh almighty.” Those words from former Vice President Joe Biden sum up plenty about the announced criminal plea by former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith. Of course, Biden was not referring to the implications of the FBI lawyer who lied to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court for the efforts to continue the surveillance of an adviser to the campaign of Donald Trump. Nor was he referring to growing evidence that the Russia investigation was launched based on false and flawed evidence. Biden was referring to the federal investigation by United States Attorney John Durham that led to the criminal plea by Clinesmith. Like most other Democrats, Biden previously denounced the investigation and the effort to look into criminality. Now that criminality has been found, Democrats and commentators still insist there are no reasons to continue it.

From the start, Democrats overwhelmingly condemned the investigation despite admitting Durham is a respected prosecutor. Leaders like House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff deemed the investigation “tainted” and “political.” Biden mocked the very idea of an “investigation of the investigators” and added, “Give me a break. Gosh almighty.” These are the same figures who repeatedly cited plea agreements in the special counsel investigation by Robert Mueller as proof that real crimes were waiting to be found. When the plea by former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn was announced, it was cited as the critical development even though FBI agents said they did not believe Flynn had intentionally lied about his conversations with Russian diplomats.

Many in the media cited the plea by Flynn to disprove the insistence by Trump that the Mueller investigation was a hoax. But they are not citing the plea by Clinesmith to disprove the statement by Biden. Indeed, they have barely covered it. It does not appear to matter that Clinesmith said “viva la resistance” after the 2016 election or that, after claiming he was devastated by the victory of Trump, he lamented that “my god damned name was all over those legal documents investigating his staff.” But several Democrats and commentators maintained there was never a targeting of the campaign before the special counsel appointment. That was untrue. Declassified documents show that an agent was used with a national security briefing of Trump and his aides during the campaign to gather information for the Russia investigation.

Who did the agent report to? Clinesmith and Peter Strzok at the FBI, who infamously referred to his own “insurance” with the chance that Trump might be elected.

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The courts AND Congress.

FBI Misled Congress on Reliability of Steele Dossier (SAC)

Documents recently released by the Senate Intelligence Committee indicate that there were strong doubts about the reliability of the Steele Dossier as early as December 2016. As the FBI and CIA worked together to create an Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) to present to President Barack Obama, those in the CIA camp, according to the now-declassified interviews conducted by the Senate Intelligence Committee, worried that the FBI was playing up the Steele Dossier too much. Sen. Lindsey Graham released a statement on the Senate Judiciary Committee website in which he addressed the newly declassified documents: “This document clearly shows that the FBI was continuing to mislead regarding the reliability of the Steele dossier. The FBI did to the Senate Intelligence Committee what the Department of Justice and FBI had previously done to the FISA Court: mischaracterize, mislead and lie.


The characterizations regarding the dossier were completely out of touch with reality in terms of what the Russian sub-source actually said to the FBI. “What does this mean? That Congress, as well as the FISA Court, was lied to about the reliability of the Russian sub-source. I will be asking FBI Director Wray to provide me all the details possible about how the briefing was arranged and who provided it. “Inspector General Horowitz’s team found this briefing document. Inspector General Horowitz and his team deserve great credit for uncovering systematic fraud at the Department of Justice surrounding the Carter Page FISA warrant. I’m also very appreciative of the Department of Justice’s release of the FBI document used to brief the Senate Intelligence Committee.”

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We’ve known this for a long time. But nobody wants to report on it.

CIA Behind Guccifer & Russiagate – Binney (SCF)

William Binney and other independent former U.S. intelligence experts say they can prove the Russiagate narrative is bogus. The proof relies on their forensic analysis of the data released by Guccifer. The analysis of timestamps demonstrates that the download of voluminous data could not have been physically possible based on known standard internet speeds. These independent experts conclude that the data from the Democrat party could not have been hacked, as Guccifer and Russiagaters claim. It could only have been obtained by a leak from inside the party, perhaps by a disgruntled staffer who downloaded the information on to a disc. That is the only feasible way such a huge amount of data could have been released. That means the “Russian hacker” claims are baseless.

Wikileaks, whose founder Julian Assange is currently imprisoned in Britain pending an extradition trial to the U.S. to face espionage charges, has consistently maintained that their source of files was not a hacker, nor did they collude with Russian intelligence. As a matter of principle, Wikileaks does not disclose the identity of its sources, but the organization has indicated it was an insider leak which provided the information on senior Democrat party corruption. William Binney says forensic analysis of the files released by Guccifer shows that the mystery hacker deliberately inserted digital “fingerprints” in order to give the impression that the files came from Russian sources.

It is known from information later disclosed by former NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that the CIA has a secretive program – Vault 7 – which is dedicated to false incrimination of cyber attacks to other actors. It seems that the purpose of Guccifer was to create the perception of a connection between Wikileaks and Russian intelligence in order to beef up the Russiagate narrative. “So that suggested [to] us all the evidence was pointing back to CIA as the originator [of] Guccifer 2.0. And that Guccifer 2.0 was inside CIA… I’m pointing to that group as the group that was probably the originator of Guccifer 2.0 and also this fabrication of the entire story of Russiagate,” concludes Binney in his interview with Sputnik news outlet.

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“I don’t understand what’s going on here. This is the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen that you would you know, you’re basically giving a campaign…”

Biden Campaign Not Putting Any Surrogates On Sunday Shows Pre-Convention (Fox)

Chris Wallace – Host of Fox News Sunday & Author of “Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days that Changed the World ” spoke with Fox News Radio’s Guy Benson about the upcoming DNC convention. Wallace spoke to why the Biden campaign isn’t putting any campaign surrogates on any of the Sunday shows the weekend before the DNC convention. Saying,

“So I’ve been doing Sunday shows with conventions. I started on Meet the Press in 1988. I’ve been doing it on and off. For what? What is that? Thirty two years. And and it always happens that the Sunday before the convention. The campaign puts out top officials to preview the convention and to say this is what we’re gonna try to get accomplished. So, you know, we put counting all week on, you know, having a top official from the Biden campaign, the campaign manager, the top pollster, the chief strategist, to talk about what they’re going to talk about during this next week. They are not putting anybody out. And at first I thought, well, maybe it’s because it’s Fox News and they’re boycotting us. No, they’re not putting anybody out on any of the Sunday shows point.

I don’t understand what’s going on here. This is the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen that you would you know, you’re basically giving a campaign. And as I say, it’s a traditional thing. We’re gonna do it for the Republicans a week from Sunday. What are you trying to accomplish this week? And they the Biden campaign isn’t putting anybody out. And this just is of a piece with the the vice president not not doing really any serious interviews, not answering any questions since the rollout. I don’t you know, you can you can try and I understand and has worked pretty well. And he continues to lead with what I’ll call the basement strategy. I don’t think you can hide from now until Election Day. I just I just don’t think it’s possible.”

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This should cause many on the left to not vote for her and Joe. “She’s a great fundraiser”…

Finance Execs Cheer Selection of Kamala Harris as Dem VP (LI)

With the prospect of longtime bank critic and progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren being chosen as Joe Biden’s running mate now officially dead, Wall Street executives are openly applauding the presumptive Democratic nominee’s selection of California Sen. Kamala Harris as a signal that the top of the party’s ticket in November will be sufficiently “moderate” for their liking. Charles Myers, the founder of financial advisory firm Signum, told CNBC after Biden announced the California Democrat as his vice presidential pick that his “clients really wanted to know if Biden was going to stay in the center, and his pick of Harris reinforces that.” “While certain to generate excitement and to invite additional scrutiny of Harris’ record, we see this choice as a net positive for the Biden ticket,” Myers wrote in a note to clients late Tuesday.

“Harris, who generally could be called a centrist, will not push Biden to the left or the right on major policy issues. She will be supportive of Biden and the Democratic Party’s policy platform.” Other Wall Street executives echoed Myers’ assessment in interviews with CNBC, pointing to Harris’ experience as a senator and California Attorney General as well as her fundraising abilities. “I think it’s great,” said Marc Lasry, the CEO of investment firm Avenue Capital Group. “She’s going to help Joe immensely. He picked the perfect partner.” Ray McGuire of Citigroup and Blair Effron of investment firm Centerview Partners also hailed Biden’s choice of Harris as “great.” “She has a strong and active fundraising organization,” said Mike Kempner, founder of corporate public relations firm MWWPR.

“She will be an important and immediate addition to the Biden fundraising effort. She is a fundraising star. Her experience as a prosecutor makes her uniquely qualified to deliver the case against Trump.” Biden’s selection of Harris as his running mate comes months after Wall Street executives and other corporate donors warned the former vice president against picking Warren, a frequent and fierce critic of big banks and advocate for the interests of consumers. “She would be horrible,” one anonymous Wall Street executive and Democratic donor told CNBC in April. A longtime Biden fundraiser said “a lot of the donor base, on board and coming, would prefer almost anyone but Elizabeth.”= Veteran progressive organizer and radio host Jim Hightower suggested nothing about the choice of Harris should be surprising, but said the selection only makes more clear the road ahead for those wanting much bolder social change:

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A country ruled by two highly unpopular women among their own party, Kamala and Hillary. Why do it?

Hillary Clinton ‘Ready To Help’ In Biden Administration If Asked (NYP)

Hillary Clinton could be headed back to D.C. The former 2016 Democratic presidential candidate said she is “ready to help in any way I can” when asked if she would take a job in a Biden administration. “I’m ready to help in any way I can,” Clinton said at the 19th Represents Summit on Thursday. “Because I think this will be a moment where every American — I don’t care what party you are, I don’t care what age, race, gender, I don’t care — every American should want to fix our country … So if you’re asked to serve, you should certainly consider that.” Clinton previously served as Secretary of State under the Obama administration alongside Joe Biden, whom she formally endorsed for president in late April.


Clinton also spoke at the summit, which references the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, in defense of voting by mail for the November election. She criticized President Trump for implementing what she called a “hostile takeover” of the US Postal Service. Clinton added she fears Trump will use the mail service as part of a bid to cast doubt on election results should he lose. “I have every reason to believe that Trump is not going to go silently into the night if he loses,” Clinton said. “He’s going to try to confuse us. He’s going to try to bring all kinds of lawsuits.”

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The Dems live in their own little world.

Biden Accuser Tara Reade Slams Dems For Bill Clinton Convention Speech (NYP)

Why him? That’s what Tara Reade is demanding to know after learning Bill Clinton snagged a prime speaker’s slot at this week’s Democratic National Convention, calling the move “unconscionable.” Reade, who made headlines this year when she accused Joe Biden of shoving her against a wall and forcibly penetrating her with his fingers at a Capitol Hill office building in 1993, slammed party bigwigs for bringing in Bubba. “The Democratic National Committee has made it clear to survivors that they enable and they uphold institutionalized rape culture by allowing Bill Clinton to be a main speaker,” Reade told The Post. She added: “He has a history of sexual misconduct.”

So she wondered why DNC brass would put him on the big stage. “It is unconscionable that Bill Clinton is a main speaker, and this is coming from someone who voted for him. This is coming from a multi-generational Democrat.” Reade said she believes Clinton is a sexual predator. “This is based on talking to two of the survivors and also the court documents that have now been released because of Ghislaine Maxwell.” Clinton infamously palled around with Maxwell’s boss, Jeffrey Epstein. Giving Clinton a forum at the convention will set a “dangerous precedent,” Reade said. “They are holding up the MeToo movement as a shield for the sexual predators they are allowing in the Democratic establishment.”

She added: “I feel that hypocrisy, like sexual assault and sexual harassment, is an equal opportunity offender and it’s a nonpartisan issue. So I think the hypocrisy of the Democratic party is on full display by their speaker line-up for the Democratic national convention.” Biden has repeatedly said women who come forward with allegations of sexual assault should be believed, but he’s vehemently denied Reade’s accusation and said he doesn’t remember her working for him. The fallout from the scandal has left Reade “destitute,” she said. “After I came forward about Joe Biden, I lost everything, my work, my housing everything,” Reade said. “The weaponization of fear and shame to silence survivors has to stop.”

Read more …

“Many go to the platform precisely because it offers alternative and more diverse opinions to corporate-dominated radio, print and television. But YouTube is now funneling them back towards those same sources.”

“The emails, Clinton contends, swung the election from her to Trump. If this is the case, the decision to ban all discussion of them would have fundamentally altered the democratic process.”

Info On Wikileaks, “Hacked Information” Banned Under New YouTube Rules (MPN)

Social media giant YouTube announced yesterday a host of new measures it says are aimed at preventing any interference in the upcoming presidential elections. Chief among the list it wrote on its blog, is “removing content that contains hacked information, the disclosure of which may interfere with democratic processes, such as elections and censuses.” An example it gives, would be deleting “videos that contain hacked information about a political candidate.” It also promised to “raise up authoritative voices” when it comes to current events and politics by changing its algorithm to show users more credible channels and “reduce the spread of harmful misinformation and borderline content.” Example channels that produce authoritative content, it tells readers, includes Fox News and CNN. It also noted it would expand information panels underneath videos.

There are a number of reasons this new policy could concern users of its platform. Firstly, the great majority of leaked information — the lifeblood of investigative journalism — is anonymous. Often, like in the cases of Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning or Reality Winner, whistleblowers face serious consequences if their names become attached to documents exposing government or corporate malfeasance. But without a name to go with a document, the difference between leaked data and hacked data is impossible to define. Thus, powerful people and organizations could claim data was hacked, rather than leaked, and simply block all discussion of the matter on the platform. Hearing the news, some feared already existing content from investigative journalists would be subject to removal under the new guidelines.

YouTube’s choice of Fox News and CNN as reliable sources might also raise eyebrows in some quarters. According to the latest Reuters Institute Digital News Report, fewer than half of all Americans trust the two networks (Fox at 42 percent and CNN at 47 percent). And a new study from Gallup/Knight Foundation finds that fewer than a third of the country has a favorable view of the media more generally, including only 19 percent of those under thirty (YouTube’s prime demographic). Many go to the platform precisely because it offers alternative and more diverse opinions to corporate-dominated radio, print and television. But YouTube is now funneling them back towards those same sources.

The 2016 presidential election was colored by Wikileaks’ release of the Podesta emails, discussion of which would be banned under YouTube’s new rules. The Hillary Clinton campaign alleges the emails were hacked from Podesta’s computer. The published communications, the authenticity of which is not in doubt, informed the country of the machinations of the Democratic Party, how it tipped the electoral scales in favor of Clinton and against Bernie Sanders in the primary, how Clinton stated to Wall Street that she had a “public” and a “private” position on regulation, insinuating she was lying to the nation, how representatives of Qatar wanted to meet with her husband Bill for “five minutes” to present him with a $1 million check for his birthday, and how her own staff held her in contempt. The emails, Clinton contends, swung the election from her to Trump. If this is the case, the decision to ban all discussion of them would have fundamentally altered the democratic process.

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Dream on.

PBOC: China’s Yuan Continues To Grow As An International Currency (SCMP)

China’s central bank said it expects more countries to accept the yuan for cross-border payments and settlements amid growing concerns about the country’s high exposure to the US dollar. In its annual report on the internationalisation of the yuan, which was released on Friday, the People’s Bank of China estimated “rapid and robust growth” this year despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Such expansion would help to consolidate the growth momentum seen since the yuan was added to the IMF’s currency basket in 2015. “We expect more market participants will accept yuan as settlement and payment currency,” it said.

China is heavily exposed to the US-led Clearing House Interbank Payment System (CHIPS) and the Belgium-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), which means it is vulnerable to US sanctions, such as those imposed on Iran and Russia. A total of 11 officials from mainland China and Hong Kong were put on a US sanctions list last week, as the rivalry between the world’s two largest economies continues to escalate. China’s state-owned banks with overseas operations could be the next targets if they are found to have business links to the sanctioned officials. The central bank report indicated rapid growth in the internationalisation of the yuan in recent years.

The total value of cross-border yuan payments and receipts by banks on behalf of clients rose 24.1 per cent year on year in 2019 to 19.67 trillion yuan (US$2.83 trillion). The value of global reserves of the yuan rose 1.95 per cent in the year to become the world’s fifth largest, while its share of the foreign exchange trading market was 4.3 per cent. The report also cited a survey conducted by Bank of China that said 69 per cent of the 3,300 foreign industrial and commercial companies polled planned to use or increase their use of the yuan. The yuan internationalisation index, released by Renmin University of China last month, rose 13 per cent last year to 3.03 and is forecast to rise to 5 in the first half of this year. But the currency still trails the US dollar at 50.85 and euro at 26.28.

The central bank said it would continue to remove barriers to cross-border use of the yuan, open up financial markets wider to foreign investors and promote the development of offshore yuan markets. The report highlighted countries involved in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, domestic free-trade zones and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area as having the most potential for growth. It also forecast the rapid expansion of China’s Cross-border Interbank Payment System, which was launched in 2015 and is now used in nearly 100 countries. In 2019, it handled 1.9 million cross-border yuan transactions – an increase of 31 per cent from 2018 – while the total amount involved rose 28 per cent to 33.9 trillion yuan.

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