Jun 202024
 


Roy Lichtenstein Woman in Bath 1963

 

Russia Willing to Commit to Peaceful Negotiations (Manley)
Polish MP Calls For Landmines At Russian Border (RT)
Washington Weaponized Domestic Law and “Rules-based-order” (Paul Craig Roberts)
North Korea, Shunned For Decades, Welcomed Into New Multipolar World (Sp.)
‘No Place’ Is Safe If Israel Starts War – Hezbollah (RT)
Joe Biden’s ‘Ceasefire Proposal’ Was Just ‘Kabuki Theater’ (Sp.)
Hunter Biden’s Charge of Lying Under Oath (Patrick Lawrence)
Ryanair CEO: “It’s a Complete Scam, These People Are Not Refugees” (MN)
UK Tories Face Election Wipeout – Polls (RT)
‘God Destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah’ (RT)
Jonathan Turley: There’s A Movement To Rewrite The First Amendment (RCP)
Boeing Can’t Find New CEO – WSJ (RT)
McDonald’s Scraps AI Trial After Bacon Added To Ice Cream (RT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boondoggle

 

 

Gaetz

 

 

Ritter
https://twitter.com/i/status/1803500858656825589

 

 

Hillary
https://twitter.com/i/status/1803481223009808415

 

 

Mayorkas

 

 

 

 

 

 

“..you want to stop the fighting and the killing? Just withdraw troops.”

Russia Willing to Commit to Peaceful Negotiations (Manley)

At the end of March of this year, a nationwide poll asked Ukrainians how they thought their draft-age acquaintances might respond to a call to serve. Just 10% who responded to the poll said they would accept. Ukraine’s current military recruitment campaign has fallen short of expectations, a recent article from The Conversation suggested. The recruitment plan was first announced on April 16, 2024, with the goal of enlisting “hundreds of thousands of young Ukrainian men”, the report claimed. However, the effort has been met with “public skepticism, draft dodging and opposition to unpopular, heavy-handed attempts to root out those not heeding the call to sign up,” the report writes, adding that it has “left Ukraine struggling to fill the positions officials say are needed to beat back the invading army.”

Nicolai Petro, a professor of political science at the University of Rhode Island, sat down with Sputnik’s The Critical Hour on Monday. According to Petro, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s specific proposals on Ukraine, and world development in the future comes down to “two points”. “Putin simplified the path to negotiation, because from Russia’s perspective it’s now boiled down to just two points,” said Petro. “Withdraw Ukrainian troops from the four regions that have been admitted to Russia and, secondly, issue an official statement. Ukraine should issue an official statement that it does not intend to join NATO. And as soon as that happens, Russia is willing to commit to an immediate ceasefire and peace negotiations.”

“So why is this easier than what Ukraine proposed? Well, because Ukraine has ten sets of demands rather than just one from Russia’s perspective, which is an official statement that Ukraine will not join NATO,” he added. “The second thing that’s interesting about Russia’s proposal is that it is offering something that Ukraine has not offered, which is an end to the bloodshed. In other words, you want to stop the fighting and the killing? Just withdraw troops.”

Issues with Ukraine’s draft also highlight the fundamental issue: without funding from Western allies, Ukraine is likely to “exhaust its resources long before Russia does”, The Conversation report writes In December of 2023, former commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian armed forces, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi told leader Volodymyr Zelensky that he needed nearly 500,000 more troops. But a nationwide poll conducted at the end of March showed that Ukrainians believe only 10% of their draft-age acquaintances might respond to a call to serve.“And thirdly,” the professor continued. “Putin’s proposal essentially [shows the lie of] Western statements that Russia intends to conquer all of Ukraine and then all of Europe, because he now specifically says Russia’s territorial ambitions are limited to the four occupied regions of Crimea, which is why I think it is aimed primarily not at Ukraine.”

“The Ukrainian, Western position is we cannot negotiate and we don’t want to negotiate because negotiation itself would be an acknowledgment of an immoral act of aggression, and therefore there’s nothing to negotiate, which is why we have this summit in Switzerland not even including Russia.”“So we’re not actually negotiating or willing to negotiate anything,” Petro said. “We’re simply making a statement of defiance against a Russian invasion versus the other side, in Russia’s case, which is saying [Russia] feels threatened by NATO’s expansion, which is why [they are] taking these actions. There’s also humanitarian reasons, but we are, we have always been and continue to be willing to negotiate on what our mutual security interests are.”

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“..The treaty that banned the use, production, stockpiling and proliferation of landmines came into effect in 1999 and has been ratified by 164 countries..”

Polish MP Calls For Landmines At Russian Border (RT)

Poland should withdraw from the ban on anti-personnel mines and deploy them along the border with Kaliningrad Region, former defense minister Mariusz Blaszczak has said. Blaszczak is currently a member of parliament with the Law and Justice (PiS) party. He was the defense minister from 2018 until 2023, when PiS lost power to Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform coalition. “As part of the program to strengthen the eastern border, the authorities must withdraw from the Ottawa Convention,” Blaszczak said at a PiS press conference on Wednesday, referring to the treaty banning the use of anti-personnel landmines. Warsaw should then mine the length of its border with Kaliningrad Region, the Russian territory between Poland and Lithuania, Blaszczak argued. Last month, Tusk publicly opposed mining the border with Russia and Belarus, a move originally proposed by the PiS government. According to Tusk, Warsaw does not intend to leave the Ottawa Convention, either.

The treaty that banned the use, production, stockpiling and proliferation of landmines came into effect in 1999 and has been ratified by 164 countries. The US, Russia, India and China are among the dozen nations that have declined to participate in the ban. Blaszczak oversaw the deployment of tens of thousands of Polish troops along the border with Russia and Belarus last year, in the run-up to the general election. The new government has chosen to continue that mission, citing the alleged “hybrid war” threat from Moscow and Minsk. Warsaw has been an outspoken supporter of Ukraine under both Tusk and the previous PiS government. Poland has also served as the logistics hub for almost all deliveries of NATO weapons, equipment, and ammunition to Ukraine since the conflict with Russia escalated in February 2022.

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“..maintained by his hope that the West will come to its senses before it is too late for the survival of the Western world..”

Washington Weaponized Domestic Law and “Rules-based-order” (Paul Craig Roberts)

Merrick Garland, Biden’s specialist in using law as a weapon against Donald Trump and his supporters, recently described in the Washington Post, a CIA asset, his critics as conspiracy theorists who are undermining trust in the Department of Justice (sic).Many Americans have a different view. Garland, claiming “executive privilege,” covers up the Justice (sic) Department’s refusal to indict Joe Biden for the same offense for which Trump has been indicted by preventing the release of special counsel Hur’s interview of Joe Biden. Hur found that Biden knowingly possessed national security documents for which he had no permission, and that he was guilty of mishandling national security documents by leaving them in the trunk of his car and spread among a variety of non-secure locations. However, Hur concluded that Biden shouldn’t be indicted because of his “diminished mental facilities.” As I previously asked, how then is Biden qualified to be president of the United States and have his finger on the nuclear button? The Justice (sic) Department doesn’t say.

This and other anomalies that characterize the Biden regime raise unavoidable serious questions about the integrity of the US Department of Justice. Contrast Garland’s reluctance to even have Biden interviewed for his possession of classified national security documents with the speed with which Trump was prosecuted for allegedly inappropriate possession of national security documents. The two cases are not comparable. Trump as president has authority to declassify national security documents. Biden as VP had no such authority. Trump’s documents were locked in a room in Mar-a-Largo, Trump’s residence which is under 24/7 Secret Service Protection. Biden’s documents were in his garage, in his Corvette’s trunk, and spread among a variety of other unsecured sites. When the FBI invaded Mar-a-Lago they spread the documents on the floor and brought with them pages marked Top Secret which they added to their spread of documents for photos handed over to a compliant and corrupt American media.

The FBI did not bring top secret pages to spread among Biden’s documents and give photos to the media. What this tells us is that the US Department of Justice is devoid of integrity. It is just another lie machine like the American media. Garland has prevented any inquiry into the evidence in Hunter Biden’s laptop showing Vice President and President Biden’s participation in, and payments from, Hunter Biden’s influence peddling schemes. Instead, the prosecution of Hunter Biden has protected Joe Biden by being limited to Hunter’s gun purchase while being a drug addict and income tax invasion from the proceeds of the influence peddling but not the influence peddling itself. If he is convicted of income tax evasion from money earned from influence peddling, how can the influence peddling go unindicted? Justice (sic) Department special counsel Jack Smith who is prosecuting President Trump on felony charges has been been found guilty of lying to the judge presiding over the case. Consequently, the judge has put the trial on hold while the matter is investigated.

The Fulton County prosecutor, Fani Willis, who is prosecuting President Trump has derailed her White House orchestrated prosecution by paying her lover a vast sum of taxpayers’ funds with which he took Fani on expensive vacations. The purpose of the Biden Justice (sic) Department is to get Trump, not to serve justice. The motto of the Democrats is: “We don’t need no stinking justice, we need to get Trump and his supporters.” The American media agrees. Consequently, the Biden regime’s misuse of law as a weapon is not a story. The complete and total failure of the American media, which our Founding Fathers mistakenly relied on to hold government accountable, has left Americans with two devastating threats, one of which is domestic tyranny and the other is war with Russia, and perhaps China and Iran also. Domestic tyranny is easily possible as an insouciant American population has permitted the Democrats to steal the last two national elections and has done nothing to prevent the Democrats from stealing the election in November.

The Democrats have made it clear that they will hold on to power at the expense of democracy. Washington no longer controls the war it has instigated. Russia has defeated Ukraine. If Washington, as seems to be the case, intends to prolong the conflict by deploying NATO troops in Ukraine and by using long range missiles to target sites deep into Russia, a fatal red line will have been crossed. So far the outbreak of war has been prevented by Putin’s willingness to accept provocations and insults. Putin’s willingness to live with the West’s declared intention to destroy Russia has been maintained by his hope that the West will come to its senses before it is too late for the survival of the Western world.

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“No more sanctions against North Korea, that’s for sure. That is not going to happen. The US is not going to get anything [in the UN Security Council]..”

North Korea, Shunned For Decades, Welcomed Into New Multipolar World (Sp.)

For decades, the people of North Korea have suffered under strict sanctions imposed by the so-called “International Rules-Based Order.” On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Pyongyang and signed a strategic partnership with his counterpart Kim Jong Un, opening the secretive nation to the new emerging multipolar world. In a letter to the North Korean people, Putin praised the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) for being able to withstand “US economic pressure, provocation, blackmail and military threats that have lasted decades,” and said that the two countries are united in their fight against the US, which he said “is making every desperate effort to impose on the world the so-called ‘order based on rules’ which is nothing but a world-wide neocolonialist dictatorship based on the ‘double standards.’”

“This is huge,” explained international relations and security expert Mark Sleboda on Sputnik’s The Final Countdown on Wednesday. “Now the details of this are not known. It is being called a ‘mutual aid in case of aggression’ It does not specify and it does not rule out actually going to war with whoever the perpetrator of the aggression against either party. But I have to point out that neither does NATO’s Article Five mutual defense clause… So, by this analysis, without knowing the details yet, it seems and it’s being reported in the Western press that Russia and North Korea just signed a military alliance equivalent to NATO, which is huge.” North Korea has been under sanctions and embargoes by the United States since the Korean War started. While there have been brief periods of cooling between the US and the DPRK, the relationship has been overwhelmingly hostile over the decades.

Since 2006, the UN Security Council has passed nearly a dozen resolutions that sanctioned the DPRK, an action that required the support of both Russia and China, something that is unlikely to happen with this new paradigm.
“No more sanctions against North Korea, that’s for sure. That is not going to happen. The US is not going to get anything [in the UN Security Council],” explained Sleboda, adding that the mutual aid pact from Russia also prevents any US attack on North Korea, something it has threatened for decades.

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“..will change the face of the region and shape its future..”

‘No Place’ Is Safe If Israel Starts War – Hezbollah (RT)

Hezbollah is prepared for a full-scale conflict with Israel, the Shia militia’s head Hassan Nasrallah has said. He also warned Cyprus that it could be targeted if it hosts Israeli forces. Nasrallah gave a televised speech on Wednesday, following a memorial service for Hajj Sami Taleb Abdullah, a senior Hezbollah commander who had been killed in an Israeli strike on southern Lebanon earlier this week. “The enemy knows it must expect us on land, in the air, and at sea, and if war is imposed, the resistance will fight without constraints, rules, or limits,” he said, adding that “there will be no place safe from our missiles and drones.” The current confrontation is the “greatest battle since 1948,” the year Israel declared independence, and “will change the face of the region and shape its future,” Nasrallah said.

The Shia militia that controls much of Lebanon has prodded Israeli troops in Galilee since October 7 last year, when West Jerusalem declared war on Hamas in Gaza. The intermittent rocket attacks on both sides of the border have driven more than 53,000 Israelis and almost 100,000 Lebanese from their homes. Hezbollah is striking Israeli positions “within a certain and specific schedule,” Nasrallah claimed, noting that the group has a “very, very large amount of information” about Israeli fortifications, numbers and deployments, referring to Tuesday’s release of drone footage of the port of Haifa. According to Nasrallah, Hezbollah has all the weapons it needs to strike targets inside Israel, including previously undisclosed weapons that have yet to be used on the battlefield. The group is also well-supplied with drones and rockets.

Nasrallah also threatened Cyprus for the first time, telling the government in Nicosia that the country “opening its airports and bases to the enemy to target Lebanon means it has become part of the war.” He claimed that Israel had secret plans to use airfields in Cyprus should its own airbases be disabled by Hezbollah strikes. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced on Tuesday that it had finalized “operational plans for an offensive in Lebanon.”Responding to US calls for restraint, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said his country was “very close to the moment when we will decide to change the rules of the game against Hezbollah and Lebanon.” adding that “in a total war, Hezbollah will be destroyed and Lebanon will be hit hard.” Israel’s last major confrontation with Hezbollah was in 2006, when a ground offensive into southern Lebanon resulted in high casualties and no military gains.

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“The Biden administration did not want to appear as if they were vetoing another Security Council resolution..”

Joe Biden’s ‘Ceasefire Proposal’ Was Just ‘Kabuki Theater’ (Sp.)

The public proclamations about an alleged Israeli Ceasefire deal promoted by Biden, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and pro-Israel lawmakers in Washington was kabuki theater, designed to avoid the US having to veto another UN Ceasefire resolution and reduce domestic and international political pressure on the US Government, human rights lawyer Francis Boyle told Sputnik. “The so-called ‘peace proposal’ by Biden was a dodge,” Boyle argued on The Critical Hour. “The International Court of Justice just ruled 13 to 2 that Israel had to stop its offensive military operations in Rafah. Algeria, the Arab member of the UN Security Council then proposed a resolution… ordering the ceasefire. The Biden administration did not want to appear as if they were vetoing another Security Council resolution, both for appearances there in the Global South, the Arab-Muslim world and also here in the United States.”

“So, in order to head off that binding UN Security Council resolution terminating Israel’s offensive military operations in Rafah, the Biden administration, Blinken, concocted this phony ceasefire proposal, which was nothing more than a sort of kabuki theater.” On Tuesday, a senior Israeli official who is involved in the negotiations was quoted in Israeli media as saying that the fighting in Gaza will continue even after the Rafah offensive is finished. On Wednesday, the UN-backed Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory said that Israel had committed crimes against humanity, including forced starvation, extermination, murder and inhumane treatment of Palestinians. The chairperson of the inquiry, Navi Pillay, called for a ceasefire and the end of Israel’s siege on Gaza.

On Tuesday, two key US Democrats approved the sale of 50 F-15 fighter jets to Israel, a deal worth $18 billion. “Clearly, the United States is aiding and abetting Israeli genocide against the Palestinians in violation of Article 3 E of the Genocide Convention of prohibiting complicity in genocide, in addition [to] the Genocide Convention Implementation Act here in the United States.” The Genocide Convention Implementation Act specifies that those found guilty of violating it are subject to life imprisonment. “Israel is the American Bantustan over there in the Middle East. It’s our attack dog and cat’s paw, and without us, they simply would not survive. It’s that simple,” explained Boyle. Hamas has said it will “deal positively to arrive at an agreement,” to end the fighting. According to some reports, they asked for greater assurances that Israel would honor the ceasefire after the release of the hostages. Israel has not officially said if it supports the ceasefire deal presented by Biden.

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“..keep in place a federal attorney who had just demonstrated his willingness to protect the president’s son..”

Hunter Biden’s Charge of Lying Under Oath (Patrick Lawrence)

Much has been made of the Biden family’s displays of unity and compassion before and during Hunter Biden’s trial. President Biden flew to Wilmington for a late-night visit with Hallie Biden a few days before the trial began. Even The New York Times suggested this risked leaving the president open to charges of witness tampering, given Hallie Biden was scheduled to testify for the prosecution. Hallie Biden is the widow of Beau Biden, Joe’s oldest son, and, during Hunter Biden’s years as an addict was for a time after Beau’s death Hunter’s paramour. During testimony, Hunter’s chronic indulgences in cocaine and alcohol were almost ostentatiously played out for the jury and, it seemed, the public. The First Lady, Jill Biden, attended the trial daily but for the days she was at the Normandy beaches to join the president in marking the 80th anniversary of the D–Day landings. The Biden clan was notably stoic when the verdict was announced. Evidently for the cameras, Hunter Biden took his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden, by the shoulders, leaned to kiss her, and audibly whispered with a faint smile, “Hey.”

It is not possible to interpret these evidently rehearsed-for-the-public family displays with anything like certainty. But questions inevitably arise. They turn, almost inevitably on David Weiss’ role as the prosecutor in the gun case.Weiss is a highly problematic figure. As earlier noted, he was deeply compromised when, during federal investigations into Hunter Biden’s tax records and the broader matter of his foreign business dealings, he, Weiss, acted covertly on numerous occasions to shield Hunter Biden from the lawful scrutiny of federal investigators. Many were astonished — and many Republican political figures objected — when, the plea deal of July 2023 having collapsed, Attorney–General Garland promoted Weiss to the rank of special prosecutor. This was ostensibly to give Weiss broader powers to direct investigations into the corruption allegations Hunter Biden faced — an array that threatened to lead to the White House door.

As many critics immediately charged, the Weiss appointment seemed intended not to extend his powers but to keep in place a federal attorney who had just demonstrated his willingness to protect the president’s son — and by extension the president, let us not miss — as a matter of partisan loyalty. Hunter Biden’s trial on various charges related to his handling of his federal taxes is to begin on Sept. 5, two months to the day before the presidential elections. Weiss will again be the prosecutor. This leaves us now with two questions. One, were Hunter Biden’s attorneys in the gun trial in essence shadow-boxing? Their defense strategies — it could not be proven Hunter was using when he purchased the gun, a guilty verdict would infringe on his Second Amendment rights — were flimsy and unpromising. Was the guilty verdict, in other words, what is called in intelligence circles a limited hangout?

Has a decision been made at top levels of the Democratic- controlled federal judiciary to find Hunter Biden guilty on the lesser crime of illegal gun possession — on the argument he had to be convicted of something — so as to prepare a skeptical public for an innocent verdict in the much more consequential trial on charges of financial corruption — a trial that could directly threaten the Biden presidency? Two, where are the House hearings likely to go from here, and what will be the next step? The June 5 criminal referrals are indication enough that the Oversight and Judiciary committees are far from done, spent, or at a dead end. As previously noted in this series, it seems clear they have enough sound evidence to support a vote to impeach President Biden. But it remains to be seen whether the House committees will have the political will to press the case they appear to have, just as the outcome in California, where Weiss will prosecute the tax and corruption cases, is for now not at all certain.

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“..57 per cent of asylum seekers have no documentation to prove their identity, their age, or their country of origin..”

Ryanair CEO: “It’s a Complete Scam, These People Are Not Refugees” (MN)

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary asserted that the asylum system was “a complete scam” and that such individuals “are not refugees” because they are arriving from safe countries and then flushing their passports down the toilet. O’Leary made the comments during an appearance on the Newstalk radio station. The airline boss was asked how people are able to arrive in Ireland on Ryanair flights without proper documentation or being able to prove their identities. “Yeah because they flush them down the toilet, they arrive at Dublin airport and they flush them down the toilet,” he responded. O’Leary said non-EU visitors to Ireland had to have their passports photographed at the border control desk so the details could be sent to the government, but that this was impossible with economic migrants.

“They show up here…it’s a complete scam and these are not refugees, one of the things that drives me nuts in Ireland is we treat people as refugees who are coming from the UK or from France,” he complained. “Nobody got to Ireland from Afghanistan or from Kenya or from Nigeria or from Syria on a direct flight because there aren’t any, so you’re not fleeing persecution in the UK or in Germany, O’Leary added. “We should look after refugees, I have great sympathy for the Ukrainians, but people who are arriving here from the UK, France or other EU countries, we should be turning them back saying, here back to the EU countries where you came from.”

O’Leary said it was difficult to track what flight the migrants were on or what seat they were sitting in “because they tear up or flush their documentation down the toilets, and all of them have documentation when they board the RyanAir flight at the other side.” Ireland has been completely subsumed by economic migrants, vast numbers of whom have set up in tent cities in major Irish cities, notably the capital Dublin. Meanwhile, according to data released in Germany by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, 57 per cent of asylum seekers have no documentation to prove their identity, their age, or their country of origin, a figure that has risen from 48 per cent in 2023.

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“..ending their 14 years at the helm of the UK..”

UK Tories Face Election Wipeout – Polls (RT)

The British Conservatives are set to face a historical loss in July’s general election, ending their 14 years at the helm of the UK, according to three major polls on Wednesday. A poll by Savanta and Electoral Calculus for the Telegraph forecasts the Tories getting just 53 seats out of the 650 up for grabs in July’s vote. Not only would this mark an all-time low for the Conservative party, the poll also predicted the current Tory leader and Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, could lose his seat in Richmond and Northallerton, an unprecedented blow for a serving PM. A More in Common survey for the News Agents podcast showed the Tories heading towards getting 155 seats. Despite being the most optimistic for the Tories of the three MRP polls, this would still put them way below the current 344, and even fewer seats than they had in 1997, when the Conservative party last lost leadership to Labour.

Meanwhile, YouGov predicted the Tories will slip down to 108 seats. All three MRP polls projected that the Conservative Party would see a worse outcome than their disastrous 1906 result, when they lost to a landslide Liberal victory, with 156 seats to 397. The surveys all forecast that the Liberal Democrats will attain their best results in years. YouGov predicted the Lib Dems would get 67 seats, which would constitute their best ever general election result. More in Common put them at 49 seats, while Savanta at 50. All three surveys suggested Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer is on track to become the next Prime Minister, and all three predicted his party winning more than 400 seats – higher than the party’s record historical win in 1997.

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“Why the Western push to promote LGBTQ in Ghana could backfire.”

‘God Destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah’ (RT)

Ghana, a west African country with deeply ingrained cultural and religious values, is grappling with issues surrounding the criminalization of LGBTQ lifestyles. In February 2024, the country’s parliament passed The Promotion of Proper Sexual Rights and Family Values bill, which seeks to promote traditional Ghanaian family values. The bill imposes penalties, including imprisonment for up to five years, for the promotion of LGBTQ activities. Although the bill received unanimous support from both caucuses of the parliament, it still requires the assent of the president to become law. However, its progression has been halted by a lawsuit, citing concerns of discrimination against a section of the population, which has prevented the president from reviewing it until the supreme court determines its legality.

The hearing, adjourned in May 2024 due to allegations that the petitioners had used inflammatory language, resumed this month. The fate of the bill is now in limbo as the Supreme court of Ghana is expected to give its final verdict later this year. The pending verdict is particularly significant as it will determine whether the bill can be promulgated into law. This will also help determine Ghana’s ability to uphold its sovereignty amid pressure from western countries and institutions. Ghana’s situation reflects the complex dilemma of African countries in deciding on the position of LGBTQ in their institutional framework. It is illegal in 32 countries including Nigeria, Mauritania, Sudan and Somalia where death penalty can be imposed on people engaging in gay sex. In Uganda, the office of the president has referred to homosexuals as “sick people” who need help.

This sentiment has been echoed by the former president of Zambia, Edgar Lungu, who questioned why humans should be compelled to engage in activities even animals do not do. South Africa remains the only African country to have legalized homosexuality while others such as Rwanda have rejected discussions on the issue. In Ghana, although there’s no specific law criminalizing LGBTQ activities, attempts to regulate them are based on a perception either of a western-imposed value system that contradicts Ghanaian norms, or from a human rights perspective. Ghana, a west African country with deeply ingrained cultural and religious values, is grappling with issues surrounding the criminalization of LGBTQ lifestyles. In February 2024, the country’s parliament passed The Promotion of Proper Sexual Rights and Family Values bill, which seeks to promote traditional Ghanaian family values.

The bill imposes penalties, including imprisonment for up to five years, for the promotion of LGBTQ activities. Although the bill received unanimous support from both caucuses of the parliament, it still requires the assent of the president to become law. However, its progression has been halted by a lawsuit, citing concerns of discrimination against a section of the population, which has prevented the president from reviewing it until the supreme court determines its legality.The hearing, adjourned in May 2024 due to allegations that the petitioners had used inflammatory language, resumed this month. The fate of the bill is now in limbo as the Supreme court of Ghana is expected to give its final verdict later this year. The pending verdict is particularly significant as it will determine whether the bill can be promulgated into law. This will also help determine Ghana’s ability to uphold its sovereignty amid pressure from western countries and institutions.

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“..there is one constant here. Citizens don’t like censorship. They still don’t. It’s in our DNA.”

Jonathan Turley: There’s A Movement To Rewrite The First Amendment (RCP)

GWU law professor Jonathan Turley talks about his new book, “The Indispensable Right: Free Speech in an Age of Rage,” during an interview with FNC’s “Special Report” host Bret Baier.

JONATHAN TURLEY: Free speech is under attack and what the book argues is that we are living in the most dangerous anti-free speech period in our history. And the question is why we continue to struggle with free speech, and the book goes back and looks at the very founding of the republic when the framers had a truly revolutionary idea that free speech really adheres to us as human beings. It’s not just because we are citizens, we need free speech to be fully human.

That view was lost within a few years of the Adams administration which became, until the Biden administration, the most anti-free speech in history. President Biden is rivalling that record. We have the largest censorship system in history. But, more importantly, we have this alliance of government, corporations, media, and academia and all supporting censorship, blacklisting and other forms of limitations and this book looks at that history and why we continue to struggle with what Brandeis called “the indispensable right.”

[..] I never really imagined I would see what I now see on campuses become unorthodox and unforgiving. Academics and journalists used to be the defenders of free speech. So did the Democratic Party. It’s now become really in vogue to be anti-free speech, to say free speech is harmful, it has to be curtailed. There is a movement to rewrite the First Amendment because one law professor said it’s “excessively individualistic.” Those are popular views now on campus. And this book is sort of how we got here, why do we call it “indispensable.”

[..] [In Moody vs. Netchoice LLC], the question is whether the Supreme Court will take the issue straight on or whether it will try to take off ramp. The oral argument was not very clear on that point. But you are absolutely right. It encapsulates much of this problem — we have this alliance I talked about, that is funded through the government, organized and directed in part through the government. One federal judge called it Orwellian, and it is. And many citizens don’t like it and that’s the one positive aspect. You know, I tell the stories of people who put their lives at risk to fight for free speech. And all of our periods of rage. But, there is one constant here. Citizens don’t like censorship. They still don’t. It’s in our DNA.

What this book really tries to do to see if there is this common article of faith that we can still gather around, despite all our political divisions that this defines us in a way that we can’t lose it. And I think that there is common ground there.

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Masochists wanted.

Boeing Can’t Find New CEO – WSJ (RT)

Several high-profile candidates have turned down offers to run aerospace giant, Boeing, The Wall Street Journal has reported, as the plane-maker faces scrutiny over multiple safety issues with its products. The aerospace giant announced in March that current chief executive, David Calhoun, would step down by the end of the year, as part of a management shake-up aimed at reviving Boeing’s reputation. The company’s airliners have encountered a litany of incidents this year, beginning with a door panel on a 737 MAX 9 operated by Alaska Airlines blowing off mid-air in January, leaving a gaping hole in the side of the plane.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched several inquiries into Boeing. Whistle-blowers have alleged that the 737 Max, the 787 Dreamliner, and the 777 had serious production issues. As part of one probe, CEO Calhoun was grilled by US senators on Tuesday over the company’s patchy safety record. GE Aerospace CEO Larry Culp, widely considered the top candidate for the job, has declined Boeing’s request to consider taking over, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) said, citing people familiar with the matter. According to the publication, Culp is known as a guru of lean manufacturing, a management philosophy focused on cutting waste while continuously improving quality. Culp has said that he intends to stay on at GE Aerospace.

Other potential candidates – the CEO of Boeing’s commercial-airplanes division Stephanie Pope, and Spirit AeroSystems CEO Pat Shanahan – face various complications on their path to the top job, the WSJ wrote. David Gitlin, CEO of the home-appliances firm Carrier and a member of the Boeing board, asked to be removed from the list of potential contenders in April. Boeing executives have said they hope to have a deal by the end of June, the WSJ noted. The US Department of Justice said in May it was considering prosecuting Boeing over two crashes in 2018 and 2019 which killed nearly 350 people. The accidents were found to have been caused by an errant pitch control system that the company had not informed pilots about.

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“This technology is proven to have some of the most comprehensive capabilities in the industry, fast and accurate in some of the most demanding conditions..”

McDonald’s Scraps AI Trial After Bacon Added To Ice Cream (RT)

McDonald’s is scrapping its AI drive-through trial after videos went viral of order mix-ups, including bacon being added to ice cream. The US fast food chain has been testing a voice recognition system developed by IBM to process orders since 2021. However, reliability of the AI-powered technology has been called into question after customers reported errors in their orders and shared comical mishaps on social media. McDonald’s has instructed franchisees to remove the AI-assisted technology from the more than 100 outlets that have been using it by the end of July, as reported by trade publication Restaurant Business on Friday. The fast food chain is abandoning the trial without any sort of expansion, the publication said, citing an email the company sent to franchisees on Thursday.

“After thoughtful review, McDonald’s has decided to end our current global partnership with IBM on AOT [Automated Order Taking] beyond this year,” the message read. While the Chicago-based fast food giant didn’t give the exact reason for the move, it comes after customers shared videos showing drive-through AI picking up orders from the wrong cars, multiplying orders, and producing bizarre combinations of food ranging from bacon-topped ice cream to hundreds of dollars’ worth of chicken nuggets. In one TikTok video, a woman attempts to order vanilla ice cream and a bottle of water only to end up with ketchup sachets and multiple stacks of butter. Another video shows a customer claiming that the AI drive-through assistant confused her order with someone else’s, resulting in nine portions of tea being added to her bill.

McDonald’s, which initially sought to embrace the technology to cut back on mounting labor costs, indicated that the end of the trial would not mean its experiments with AI are over. The company said that its work with IBM “has given us the confidence that a voice ordering solution for drive-thru will be part of our restaurants’ future.” IBM also said it plans to continue working with McDonald’s. “This technology is proven to have some of the most comprehensive capabilities in the industry, fast and accurate in some of the most demanding conditions,” the company said in a statement. Other major US fast food giants, including Chipotle, Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut, have also been rolling out AI systems at their drive-throughs in a bid to replace human workers and reduce labor costs.

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Morgan Freeman

 

 

Tiny Turtle

 

 

Moose

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 182024
 


Pablo Picasso The blue room 1901

 

Next Stage – The General Staff’s Targets After Putin’s Feint (Helmer)
NYT Docs: Putin Was Willing To Compromise To End War in 2022 (Antiwar)
US Must Be Saved From WWIII – Trump (RT)
If Putin Ukraine Peace Offer Rejected, Next To Be Tougher – Intel Chief (TASS)
NATO In Talks To Put More Nuclear Weapons On Standby – Stoltenberg (RT)
Kremlin Views NATO’s Rhetoric On Putting Nukes On Alert As Escalation (TASS)
Netanyahu Disbands War Cabinet (RT)
The Unites States of Go Figure (Kunstler)
Schumer Plans Vote on Bill to Ban Bump Stocks After Supreme Court Ruling (ET)
British Conservatives Annihilated In Pre-Election Polls (RT)
Elon Musk Slams “Extinctionist Movement” Who See Humans As A “Plague” (MN)
Brain Chips To Replace Cell Phones In Future – Musk (RT)
Tesla Begins Testing Full Self-Driving On Chinese Roadways Ahead Of Rollout (ZH)
Horrors Of Biden’s Lost 85,000 Migrant Children In America (ZH)

 

 

 

 

Jim Rickards @JamesGRickards My latest interview with Steve Bannon on The War Room covers the G7 theft of Russian assets and how Russia will retaliate by putting a lien on $40 trillion at the Euroclear custodian. U.S. can’t think one move ahead. Financial chaos will result.

 

 

Black voters

 

 

Tucker Alex

 

 

 

 

Watters

 

 

 

 

“To think anyone on the other side is trustworthy, or capable of agreement, after all Putin recounted of US aggression, lying, double-dealing, and Ukrainian Nazism, is impossible.”

Next Stage – The General Staff’s Targets After Putin’s Feint (Helmer)

“[Putin’s terms] will obviously not be accepted by the West and their Ukrainian puppets,” wrote Rozhin. “Against the background of the ‘world summit’ [the Burgenstock, Switzerland, meeting on June 15-16] this will indicate that in fact the West is prolonging the war, so these statements [of Putin] are another torpedo in the summit. Russia is thus showing the countries of the Global South that it has offered a world that will be rejected by those who are broadcasting about ‘peaceful summits’…The war will continue. The goals of the SVO [Special Military Operation] will be achieved by military means.” The distinction in the last line is between Kremlin political strategy and General Staff military strategy – this is a distinction which published Russian analyses of the president’s speech and the state propaganda organs avoid identifying. The semi-official Vzglyad quoted Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, as characterizing the reaction from the West as “of an unconstructive nature”. No Russian official will say as little as this for the record.

Instead, Vzglyad has mobilized its official sources to patch over the differences between Kremlin strategy and General Staff strategy by emphasizing that Putin is following the latter. “According to [Putin], the West has received a specific condition – either Ukraine will be outside the NATO bloc, or there will be a bold and sharp onslaught that will leave no chance for the enemies. Putin is confident of victory not only over Ukraine, but also over the entire collective West. The proposal was made in order to recall this initiative after the defeat of Ukraine. But Western leaders did not understand Putin, and then they themselves will say that they want peace… But there will be no mercy, tougher conditions will be put forward.” In a second report from academics on the Kremlin-financed Valdai Club roster, Vzglyad claims “the essence of the Russian president’s speech is that the European security system no longer exists and will not be based on the same principles.”

“In addition, the Russian president managed to change the agenda of the Swiss summit…the president’s initiative is capable of transforming the security structures not only of Eurasia, but also in the perspective of the entire planet. In addition, Russia already has really working international institutions in this space: the CIS, SCO, EAEU, CSTO, BRICS, the Union State of Russia and Belarus. All these tools have proven their reliability and suitability in modern conditions.” The Kremlin’s American camp followers have repeated the semi-official line by scratching the difference between tactics and strategy, between feint and purpose. “Notice he’s [Putin] not making a demand about Odessa,” said one. “So Odessa is still off the table…So this is a prelude to the next ramp-up in Russian military operations.”

Russian skeptics, as well as non-Russian military analysts, point out that Putin has repeatedly refused to follow the General Staff’s advice, restricting their proposed military operations to an extent that there is open questioning about his reasons. One source says Putin’s June 14 exposition is “only half-right in blaming the Western ‘globalist liberal elites’ [Putin’s speech] for the current ‘extremely dangerous state of affairs’ [Putin’s speech]. Ultimately, the ideology of liberalism, inferiority complex, and corruption which dominate the oligarch-backed elite in Moscow has played a major role.” This is a reference to the role Putin invited the oil and minerals oligarch Roman Abramovich to play in the negotiations of March-April 2022 in Istanbul; in the negotiations with the Ukrainian delegation, Abramovich was Putin’s personal delegate and he outranked the official Russian negotiators.

There was strong domestic military and political opposition to this at the time in Moscow; there remains suspicion of an attempt to repeat by Putin’s Kremlin staff, represented by Peskov, even now. “He [Putin] cannot be so influenced still as to think the war against Russia via the Kiev regime will stop under the conditions he laid out, nor can he think there are any terms which the US and NATO can be trusted by the Russians to sign. That’s why the Russian Foreign Ministry tabled the terms of a non-aggression and security in Europe requiring the roll-back of NATO’s borders to 1997. That was in December 2021. To think anyone on the other side is trustworthy, or capable of agreement, after all Putin recounted of US aggression, lying, double-dealing, and Ukrainian Nazism, is impossible.”

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Much better deal than available now, and 500,000 Ukrainians still alive.

NYT Docs: Putin Was Willing To Compromise To End War in 2022 (Antiwar)

In April 2022, Ukraine and Russia were on the brink of signing a deal to end the war just weeks after it began. The New York Times published documents showing President Vladimir Putin was willing to make concessions to get an agreement signed. According to the documents, Putin initially sought to have Kiev recognize Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. However, a draft agreement from April 15, 2022, suggests both parties were prepared to set aside the issue to end the conflict. “Paragraph 1 of Article 2 and Articles 4, 5, and 11 of this Treaty shall not apply to Crimea and Sevastopol,” the document says. In December, Ukrainian negotiator Oleksandr Chalyi explained that an agreement was reached in the spring of 2022, stating the two sides “managed to find a very real compromise. We were very close in the middle of April, in the end of April, to finalize our war with some peaceful settlement.”

Kiev was also willing to accept neutrality with regards to NATO, according to the NYT. Ukraine’s negotiation team proposed a peace deal that would say the country “does not join any military alliances” and “does not deploy foreign military bases and contingents.” The draft deal would have allowed Kiev to sign bilateral agreements with NATO states, as well as become a member of the European Union, but would have required Ukraine’s security partners to lift sanctions on Russia. The Kremlin also sought to protect the rights of millions of Russian speakers living in Ukraine by forcing Kiev to repeal restrictions on the Russian language, and to bar the state from erecting monuments glorifying neo-Nazis and WWII-era Nazi collaborators. As the talks were ongoing, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was pushed by his Western backers to forgo diplomacy and attempt to forcibly expel Russian troops from his country.

Then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson made an infamous trip to Kiev to pressure Zelensky to abandon any peace negotiations, while Washington repeatedly vowed to supply unlimited military aid. The NYT report added details about US pressure on Ukraine to ditch the talks. According to a senior American official familiar with the negotiations, Washington “quietly said, ‘You understand this is unilateral disarmament, right?’” Additionally, the NYT noted that Polish leaders believed the French and German governments might have endorsed the peace agreement and pushed Ukraine to accept it. During a meeting in late March 2022, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda pressured other NATO leaders not to allow Ukraine to sign the Russian proposal.

Some US officials cautioned Ukraine not to trust Russia and warned the talks were merely a military ploy. However, two out of three Ukrainian negotiators who spoke with the NYT believed the Russian proposal was genuine, and one explained Putin had “reduced his demands” over the course of the discussions. Ultimately, decision-makers in Kiev listened to their supporters in Warsaw, London, and Washington and elected to break off the negotiations. More than two years later, the conflict drags on, with Russian forces steadily advancing on major Ukrainian cities despite renewed Western military aid. On Friday, the Russian president extended a public peace offer to Ukraine that is similar to the one nearly agreed to in 2022. However, along with Kiev agreeing never to join NATO and the West lifting sanctions on Russia, the Kremlin is now demanding that Ukraine recognize Moscow’s sovereignty over Crimea and four other Ukrainian oblasts that have been annexed by Russia throughout the two-and-a-half-year-long war.

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“..he has done more damage to the country than the ten worst presidents in US history combined..”

US Must Be Saved From WWIII – Trump (RT)

Former US President Donald Trump has warned of the possibility of a third world war breaking out under the current leadership in Washington, saying that if elected he would reverse course. Speaking at a Turning Point USA campaign event in Detroit, Trump emphasized that he had not started any new conflict during his 2017-2021 presidency, and vowed to work towards restoring peace, particularly in Ukraine, if he wins a second term. Trump claimed that Joe Biden’s “weakness and failure” were putting the US in “grave danger” and “dragging us towards World War III,” suggesting that he has done more damage to the country than the ten worst presidents in US history combined. “We have a lot of problems in this country, on top of that, we could end up in World War III because we have an incompetent leader that should never have been there,” he stressed.

Earlier this month, the Republican also warned that the world could be plunged into a devastating nuclear war due to Biden’s alleged mental decline. Speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity, Trump suggested that unlike the leaders of Russia, China, and North Korea, Biden is “not at the top of his game” and had never been “the brightest bulb” among US politicians. Trump warned that a nuclear exchange could lead to “world obliteration” and emphasized that the US currently has a leader that is “incapable of even discussing” the issue. During his speech in Detroit, the presidential candidate also criticized the Biden administration for “wasting money at levels never seen before,” particularly when it comes to continued financial support for Ukraine, and called Vladimir Zelensky “the greatest salesman that has ever lived.”

“Every time he comes to our country, he walks away with $60 billion dollars,” Trump said, adding that every time Zelensky receives money, he immediately asks for more. “It never ends,” he stressed, and vowed to have the issue “settled” before he takes office again as president. Previously, Trump has stated that the Ukraine conflict “never would have happened” if he had been president at the time and has said that he would be able to end it “in 24 hours” if he gets another term in November. He has not, however, offered any details as to how he would accomplish that goal.

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Obviously.

If Putin Ukraine Peace Offer Rejected, Next To Be Tougher – Intel Chief (TASS)

The conditions of the next peace proposal for Ukraine if the current one is rejected will be more complex and harsh, Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Sergey Naryshkin said in an interview with TASS. “The conditions on which peace can be achieved and some sort of a peace agreement may be signed will become more complex and tough for Ukraine,” he said, replying to a question as to what will happen if Ukraine refuses Russian President Vladimir Putin’s peace proposal. Earlier, Putin presented new peace proposals on settling the Ukraine conflict, providing for the recognition of Crimea, the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions as parts of Russia, the establishment of Ukraine’s non-aligned and non-nuclear status as well as its demilitarization and denazification and the lifting of anti-Russian sanctions. The Kiev regime has rejected this initiative.

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“..the only scenario in which they might resort to a nuclear option is if Russia’s very existence is at stake..”

NATO In Talks To Put More Nuclear Weapons On Standby – Stoltenberg (RT)

NATO members are debating putting more of their nuclear weapons on standby mode amid tensions with Russia and China, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said. In an interview with the Daily Telegraph on Sunday, Stoltenberg stated that NATO is in talks about taking nuclear assets out of storage and making them ready to use, since the US-led military bloc must clearly convey to the outside world that it has a strong deterrent potential. ”I won’t go into operational details about how many nuclear warheads should be operational and which should be stored, but we need to consult on these issues,” he said, adding that deliberations are already underway. The NATO chief stressed that while the bloc’s ultimate goal is a world without nukes, “as long as nuclear weapons exist, we will remain a nuclear alliance, because a world where Russia, China and North Korea have nuclear weapons, and NATO does not, is a more dangerous world.”

He voiced particular concern about what he called China’s growing nuclear capabilities, adding that NATO could soon face “something that it has never faced before, and that is two nuclear-powered potential adversaries” – Beijing and Moscow. According to Stoltenberg, the US is also modernizing its nuclear gravity bombs deployed in Europe, and its allies on the continent are also upgrading the aircraft that carry them. This came after Pranay Vaddi, Special Assistant to the US President and Senior Director for Arms Control, said earlier this month that “absent a change in the trajectory of adversary arsenals,” the US would soon reach a point where it would have to increase the number of deployed nuclear weapons.

Western media and officials have repeatedly accused Russia of nuclear saber-rattling amid the Ukraine conflict. However, officials in Moscow have repeatedly said that they have no plans to use nukes against the neighboring country, stressing that the only scenario in which they might resort to a nuclear option is if Russia’s very existence is at stake. At the same time, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov warned last week that Moscow could potentially alter its nuclear doctrine in view of a growing threat caused by “unacceptable and escalatory actions of the US and its NATO allies.”

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“..the Russian president never talks nukes “at his own initiative as he takes the issue seriously..”

Kremlin Views NATO’s Rhetoric On Putting Nukes On Alert As Escalation (TASS)

The recent remark by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that the bloc’s allied members are discussing putting their nuclear arsenals on alert is another bout of tensions, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “This is nothing else but an escalation,” Peskov said. Unlike Western officials, the Russian president never talks nukes “at his own initiative as he takes the issue seriously,” the Kremlin spokesman said. “Whenever President [Vladimir] Putin comments on the issue of nuclear arms, he does so, taking someone’s questions or questions from reporters, including foreign ones,” he explained.

Also, the NATO chief’s statement runs counter to the declaration issued following last weekend’s conference on Ukraine in Switzerland, Peskov added. The communique, he said, ruled out such rhetoric as inadmissible. Stoltenberg told The Daily Telegraph in an interview that NATO allies had started consultations on the need to put nuclear weapons on alert, including against the background of China’s plans to increase the number of its nuclear warheads.

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Nothing changes.

Netanyahu Disbands War Cabinet (RT)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dissolved the war cabinet overseeing the conflict in Gaza after a key member, retired general Benny Gantz, resigned from the emergency government, according to media reports. The prime minister reportedly announced the move to ministers at a meeting of the cabinet on Sunday. Gantz, a former defense minister without portfolio who entered the war cabinet shortly after the beginning of the conflict with the Palestinian militant group Hamas last October, announced his resignation earlier this month, citing disagreement with Netanyahu’s policies. ”The cabinet was in the coalition agreement with [National Unity MK Benny] Gantz at his request. As soon as Gantz left – there is no need for a cabinet anymore,” Netanyahu said, as cited by local media.

The prime minister is now expected to hold consultations on the Gaza conflict with a small group of ministers, including Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, who had been in the war cabinet. Shortly after Gantz’s resignation, another minister without portfolio, former IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, also resigned from the cabinet, where he served as one of three observers. Another observer, Knesset member Yechiel Tropper, made the same announcement. Both Gantz and Eisenkot said they resigned due to Netanyahu’s failure to form a strategy for the war in Gaza.

During the government meeting on Sunday, Netanyahu reportedly said, “in order to reach the goal of eliminating the capabilities of Hamas, [I] made decisions that were not always acceptable to the military echelon,” adding, “we have a country with an army and not an army with a country.” The war cabinet was established on October 11, just days after the Israeli-Hamas war broke out following the Palestinian militant group’s surprise attack on southern Israel, in which over 1,000 people were killed and around 250 were taken hostage. The cabinet was chaired by Netanyahu, and included Gantz and Gallant, along with three observers – Dermer, Eisenkot, and Shas party leader Aryeh Deri.

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“Pretend is what actors actually do, you see. They’re really good at it, and your job is to play along, suspend your disbelief. That’s the essence of showbiz.”

The Unites States of Go Figure (Kunstler)

You realize, don’t you, that everything going on around the Ukraine fiasco on the NATO side is completely insane? The folks running the US government — Barack Obama and his witches’ coven — started the whole thing over there in concert with a gang of corporate players (BlackRock, sundry oil-and-gas companies, Haliburton types, arms-makers, bunch of big banks), plus the dastardly WEF for “guidance” (ha!), looking to grab the mineral wealth of Ukraine and, ultimately, of Russia itself. Nice try. Didn’t work out. Tons of money pounded down a rat hole. Now, the chatter is that we (NATO) “can’t afford to lose.” Yeah? But we’re losing. Russia will hold the eastern Ukraine provinces and what’s left in the rest of Ukraine will be a failed state drained of men under sixty able to work at anything, bankrupt, broken. It will take a century, if ever, for Ukraine to recover from all that and the West will have gained nothing.

Anyway, that’s the true prospect. And so, the West’s “solution” to that humiliating quandary appears to be: start a bigger war, right up to and including nukes. That’s good thinking there, Butch, said Sundance. Why the European members of NATO wanted to go along with this nickel-plated clusterfuck is an abiding puzzle of history now, like who exactly bumped off JFK in 1963. Germany, the Euro club’s biggest economy, stood by listlessly while America blew up its supply of affordable natgas (the Nord Stream pipelines), which was an act of war by us against Germany. Apparently, Olaf Scholz went to our CIA station in Berlin for a haircut one day and came out with a lobotomy, staring blankly through the whole affair like a Hinterwälder steer on the killing floor. Meanwhile, goodbye industrial economy! Nice knowing you. Looks like it’s back to the fourteenth century, living on rough black bread, sleeping with the cattle under your house for heat in winter, fighting jihadis inside your town walls. . . .

What is the purpose, you ask yourself, of this new world war we’re itching to start? And why now, exactly? The stupid answers may be the correct ones. To furnish an emergency pretext allowing “Joe Biden” (Barack Obama & Co.) to “postpone” the election? If so, I guess they want a hot civil war even more than WWIII, because that’s what they’ll get. Or is it just to complete the destruction of the USA, turning us into a failed state run by a tranny Mamluk-ocracy? Or is it, as Ed Dowd has averred, to cover up the imminent implosion of the US / Euroland debt debacle? To provide cover for all that, the West held a fake peace conference at a five-star resort in Switzerland last week — flutes of Louis Roederer Cristal Brut with langoustine mousse in puff pastry boats . . . to die for! (and you just might) — and you know how serious the USA was because we sent our ace problem-solver Veep Kamala Harris, who cackled and hee-hawed her way through a session or two and then. . . just. . . split the scene, mysteriously. Russia, was conspicuously not invited, by the way. Whose idea was that?

Mr. Putin marked the occasion by issuing a sane proposal to commence peace negotiations so plain, simple, and straightforward that even “Joe Biden” might have gotten the drift: 1) withdraw Ukrainian troops from Donbas territory that has joined the Russian Federation, and 2) agree that Ukraine not join NATO. The US and NATO instantly rejected it, on grounds unspecified. According to The New York Times own search engine this very morning (June 17), the newspaper hasn’t published a news story on the Ukraine War for the past five days. Go figure . . . . While Veep Kamala Harris was yukking it up over the peace hilarity in Switzerland, “Joe Biden” went to the far more important celebrity fundraiser out in Hollywood, headlined by the likes of actors George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and late-nite snarkist Jimmy Kimmel, that is, certified experts on geopolitical conflict, united in the cause of “saving our democracy” from “the dictator Trump.”

“Joe Biden” declared that Donald Trump was bent on “retribution. . . he’s gonna get back at the people.” Roger that. But I think he meant that Mr. Trump might open some inquiries into how come the Democratic Party and its Intel blob ran one debilitating lawless hoax after another on our country for the past eight years while bankrupting it and destroying the medical system, the legal system, the currency, higher education, and the US military, not to mention jailing thousands on fake criminal charges and letting ten billion alien mutts into the country, many of them jihadis with dubious intentions.But never mind all that. $30-million got raised in Hollywood to continue the game of pretend that “JB” is running for reelection. Pretend is what actors actually do, you see. They’re really good at it, and your job is to play along, suspend your disbelief. That’s the essence of showbiz.

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“.. the high court found that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) exceeded its authority..”

How is that a “disgraceful decision”?

Schumer Plans Vote on Bill to Ban Bump Stocks After Supreme Court Ruling (ET)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he will bring a vote this week on legislation to outlaw bump stocks after the Supreme Court on June 14 struck down a Trump-era ban on the gun accessory. Mr. Schumer, at a June 16 news conference shared by CBS News, said he would bring the bill up for unanimous consent, meaning that only one senator has the power to block the measure. It is almost certain that a Republican senator would move to block the measure. “We’ll see just what Republican MAGAs do: Will they allow it to go forward, or will they cower to MAGA and hurt the American people?” Mr. Schumer said. A 6–3 opinion by the high court found that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) exceeded its authority when it interpreted a federal firearms statute to outlaw the use of bump stocks.

Bump stocks are attached to the butt end of a rifle, to take advantage of a semiautomatic gun’s recoil to fire more rapidly. “As I warned the Trump administration at the time, the only way to permanently close this loophole is through legislation. Senate Democrats are ready to pass legislation to ban bump stocks, but we will need votes from Senate Republicans,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement on June 14 after the ruling. The ATF in 2018, with the support of President Donald Trump, reversed its earlier position and declared bump stocks illegal in response to the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, in which a gunman used firearms equipped with bump stocks to fire multiple guns more rapidly, killing 60 and leaving hundreds wounded.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito filed a concurrence on June 14 that emphasized Congress’s role. “There is a simple remedy for the disparate treatment of bump stocks and machineguns,” he said. “Congress can amend the law—and perhaps would have done so already if ATF had stuck with its earlier interpretation. Now that the situation is clear, Congress can act.” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, called the Supreme Court decision “deeply disappointing.” “Today’s ruling renews a call for Congress to enact further gun safety legislation,” he wrote on social media platform X. Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost (D-Fla.) echoed that, writing on X that the ruling was a “disgraceful decision” that “will result in the death of more Americans, especially children.” Some Republicans saw the ruling as a victory for Second Amendment rights. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said on June 16 that any legislation to ban bump stocks might violate the Second Amendment.

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“Winning just 72 seats would be the party’s worst result in its 200-year history..”

British Conservatives Annihilated In Pre-Election Polls (RT)

The UK’s ruling Conservative Party is heading for “electoral extinction,” according to multiple polls published in British media over the weekend. Amid Sunak’s record unpopularity, two polls showed Nigel Farage’s Reform UK party surging to third place. According to an Opinium poll published in The Observer on Saturday, 40% of likely voters said they would choose the Labour Party when they cast their votes on July 4. Another 23% said they would vote Conservative, while 14% said they would back Reform UK candidates, a better result for the anti-immigration party than for the Greens (7%) and Liberal Democrats (12%). A Telegraph poll published the same day showed even more dismal results for Sunak’s party, with 46% of likely voters choosing Labour, 21% Conservative, and 13% opting for Reform UK.

It marks the poorest showing for the Conservatives in a Telegraph poll in five years, while Labour’s 25-point lead is the party’s largest since October 2022, when Conservative Prime MInister Liz Truss stepped down after unveiling a widely-reviled mini-budget. Reform’s share in both polls is its largest since the party’s creation in 2021. A more detailed poll carried out by Survation for the Times showed Labour winning 456 out of 650 parliamentary seats, and the Conservatives hanging on to only 72. By contrast, the Conservatives won 365 seats in 2019, a majority of 80 and at the time their best result since 1987. Winning just 72 seats would be the party’s worst result in its 200-year history. The Conservatives’ previous low point came in 1906, when under the leadership of Arthur Balfour it won 156 seats to the Liberal party’s 397.

Sunak called the election last month, before the publication of economic data showing that inflation was unlikely to fall to his government’s target. Like Truss and Boris Johnson before him, Sunak has presided over an historic decline in British living standards and a rise in energy costs and inflation, both of which soared after the UK cut itself off from Russian fossil fuels in 2022. With three weeks to go until the election, some Conservatives have accused Reform UK and its leader, Nigel Farage, of splitting the right-wing vote. “The only wasted vote is a Conservative vote,” Farage shot back last week, after a separate poll showed Reform as the country’s second-largest party. “We’re heading north and the Tories are heading south,” he continued, declaring that “the people’s revolt is just gathering momentum.”

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“..If humans go extinct or civilisation collapses, whatever policies we may have are irrelevant..”

Elon Musk Slams “Extinctionist Movement” Who See Humans As A “Plague” (MN)

In a recent interview, Elon Musk warned that those who wish to see humanity thrive are in a fight against those with an “extinctionist” philosophy, environmental extremists who see humans as a “plague on the Earth.” Musk was speaking to the Cato Institute about the “implosion of the birth rate,” noting that we should be “very concerned” because it is “accelerating in most countries.” “If there are no humans, there’s no humanity,” Musk simplified, adding “we need to make them somehow.” The Space X owner continued, “In the sort of extreme form of the environmentalist movement, people start to view humans as a plague on the surface of the earth, as a fundamentally bad thing, and with the implication that if all humans disappeared, somehow earth would be better off.”

Musk labeled it “The Extinctionist Movement,” urging that “I think at a fundamental level, you can think of things as a fight between expansionist and extinctionist philosophies.” “That’s what really matters. If humans go extinct or civilisation collapses, whatever policies we may have are irrelevant,” he further asserted. Musk further stressed that civilisation and consciousness will end and everything will be left to robots unless we “have an expansionist philosophy.” “We must seek to go beyond what we’ve done in the past to increase the number of humans,” Musk declared, adding “one way or another, this must happen.” His final message to the world was “Go forth and multiply.” It is a warning Musk has been repeating for some time now.

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He mentions so much, and the author picks out the cell phone? How about “revolutionary treatments for people suffering from various physical disabilities such as paralysis and blindness, as well as illnesses like obesity, autism, depression, and schizophrenia..”?

Brain Chips To Replace Cell Phones In Future – Musk (RT)

Cell phones will become obsolete in the future, being replaced by chips that are implanted directly in the human brain, billionaire tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has predicted. His Neuralink biotech company implanted a brain chip for the first time in 30-year-old quadriplegic Noland Arbaugh back in January. The surgical procedure involved placing the computer chip – which is about the size of a coin – in the region of the brain which controls the intention to move. The chip is then used to “record and transmit brain signals wirelessly to an app that decodes movement intention.” Musk shared his latest prediction in response to a post published on X (formerly Twitter) by a parody account named Not Elon Musk on Sunday. The original message read: “Would you install a Neuralink interface on your brain to allow you to control your new X phone by thinking?”

Musk replied by claiming that “in the future, there will be no phones, just Neuralinks.” In its press release last year, Neuralink said its Precise Robotically Implanted Brain-Computer Interface (PRIME) program aims at developing a “fully implantable, wireless brain-computer interface” that would at first grant people the ability to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts. It would later pave the way for revolutionary treatments for people suffering from various physical disabilities such as paralysis and blindness, as well as illnesses like obesity, autism, depression, and schizophrenia. In an interview with Joe Rogan in 2018, Musk suggested that Neuralink could also one day allow humans to communicate without using words, and possibly also achieve a state of “symbiosis” with artificial intelligence.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval for the first chip implantation trial last May. Several weeks after the procedure in late January, Musk reported that the man had made a “full recovery with no ill effects that we are aware of,” and was capable of moving a computer mouse around the screen “by just thinking.” However, in May, Neuralink acknowledged that it had encountered certain issues after tiny wires implanted in the brain were dislodged out of position. Nevertheless, the FDA gave the green light for a second human trial, the Wall Street Journal reported last month. The next experiment, which is reportedly slated for June, will feature a modified procedure, whereby a chip will be implanted deeper into the brain to prevent it from retracting. According to the media outlet, another eight people are expected to take part in further trials by the end of the year.

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Wow. That’s fast.

Tesla Begins Testing Full Self-Driving On Chinese Roadways Ahead Of Rollout (ZH)

Beijing recently ‘greenlighted’ Tesla the ability to roll out its driver-assistance system, known as “Full Self-Driving,” or FSD. A new report suggests Tesla is testing vehicles equipped with FSD on city streets and highways in the world’s largest car market. Reuters cited a report from the government-backed Shanghai Observer that said ten Tesla vehicles with FSD are being tested ahead of what could be a much larger planned rollout later this year. Elon Musk has been strategically paving the way for an FSD rollout in China in recent months. His surprise visit to China on April 28, where he met with top Chinese officials, including Premier Li Qiang, clearly indicated Tesla’s deepening ties with China.

One day later, on April 29, news broke in US corporate media that Tesla would partner with Chinese tech giant Baidu for mapping and navigation software to support FSD, including satisfying regulators about data security and privacy requirements. Other reports said top Chinese officials gave Musk the greenlight to roll out FSD in some limited capacity. In May, Reuters reported that Tesla was preparing to register FSD with Chinese authorities for a planned rollout later this year. Chinese state media also stated that Tesla had begun building a Megapack factory in Shanghai. The larger rollout of FSD in China will be a golden opportunity for Tesla to expand revenue streams amid the worldwide slump in EV sales. Also, this allows them to better compete with local rivals in China.

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“If this happened under former President Trump, CBS, ABC, NBC, and other media outlets would be running 24/7 specials about the horrific situation..”

Horrors Of Biden’s Lost 85,000 Migrant Children In America (ZH)

One of Muckraker.com’s journalists has taken to X, revealing an upcoming report set to expose the shocking reality behind some of the 85,000 migrant children who vanished under the Biden administration’s first term. Muckraker wrote on X that one government insider has supplied them with a “list of addresses where some of the 85,000 missing alien children have been delivered under the Biden administration.” In the video, a Muckraker journalist stood outside an abandoned Amityville, New York house. He said this is one of the thousands of addresses the government insider has provided them, adding this home with boarded-up windows allegedly had two migrant children delivered to a sponsor living at the house. “Our upcoming report will expose the horrors of the Biden administration’s unaccompanied children program,” Muckraker wrote on X.

Leftist corporate media outlets have barely covered that the Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement has lost more than 85,000 migrant children in Biden’s first term. If this happened under former President Trump, CBS, ABC, NBC, and other media outlets would be running 24/7 specials about the horrific situation. All the American people hear are crickets from leftist corporate media outlets, more focused on rainbow June month than actually caring about missing children. It is disappointing and another reason why distrust in leftist corporate media is soaring as ratings implode. In recent weeks, “Fox and Friends Weekend” co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy asked Trump in an interview about the missing migrant children situation and what he would do if reelected.

“So in just this year, fiscal year 2024, there’s been 74,000 unaccompanied children that have come across the border. In 2023, get this number, 137,275. You know, you’ve seen the images of these children … and the Joe Biden administration has lost 80,000 of them. No one can track, no one knows where they’re at … Will you commit, will the Trump administration commit to finding these children, to finding them and returning them to their families? To their countries? Because many of them have been lost into sex trafficking. It’s heartbreaking. Will you commit to that?” Campos-Duffy asked the former president.

Trump responded: “Yeah, I would do that. Sure, adding, “I haven’t been asked that question, but the answer is yes. It’s a simple answer. Many of them are dead. They have done such a bad job.” Trump also spoke with Dr. Phil about the situation, in which he said, “Can you imagine if that were Trump that had 88,000 missing children…” What Trump is referring to is corporate leftist media would be railing against him if he were president right now for the missing children. Muckraker did not provide a release date on the report: “Stay tuned, you do not want to miss what’s next.” If the climate cultists and woke zombies across the West redirected their wasted energy from rainbow parades to actually addressing human trafficking, perhaps real progress in tackling this crisis could be made.

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Kansas AG Pfizer

 

 

Turandot

 

 

Whenever I see Optimus, I just keep thinking: Joe Biden moves very energy efficient.
https://twitter.com/i/status/1802678186611777681

 

 

Horse

 

 

Baby turtle

 

 

Baby rhino

 

 

Elephants

 

 

Pride

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 052024
 
 May 5, 2024  Posted by at 9:07 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  46 Responses »


René Magritte The secret player 1927

 

Ruling Tories Suffer Crushing Electoral Defeat In England (RT)
France Seemingly Set to Part Ways With Macron, Come June Elections (Manley)
Macron is Afraid to Go Down in History as the Leader Who ‘Lost Africa’ (Sp.)
Nostalgia for the Mud (Kunstler)
Trump’s VP Short List Has a Residency Dilemma (Turley)
Prosecutors Admit Key Evidence In Trump Docs Case Has Been Tampered With (JTN)
‘Peace Formula’ On Ukraine To Succeed If West Halts Arms Supplies – Zakharova (TASS)
Trump Will Force NATO Members To Hike Military Spending By 50% – Telegraph (RT)
Biden Parole Program Has Flown Illegals To More Than 45 US Cities (ZH)
‘True Promise’: An Insider Account Of Iran’s Strikes On Israel (Cradle)
Russia Belatedly Adds Zelensky to Criminal ‘Wanted’ List (ZH)

 

 

Google bans ad

 

 

Dick van Dyke


https://twitter.com/i/status/1786568352686547015

 

 

O’Keefe

 

 

Woody RFK

 

 

 

 

Politics are shaking all over Europe.

Ruling Tories Suffer Crushing Electoral Defeat In England (RT)

The UK Conservative Party has suffered its worst defeat in decades, having lost nearly 500 council seats during this week’s local elections in England. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has admitted his party’s defeat, calling the results “disappointing.” Overall, the Tories lost 473 of the 985 seats they were defending and lost control of 12 councils in the vote held on Thursday. The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats emerged as the main victors, with Labour gaining eight councils and 185 seats, according to a Sky News tally. This is the worst showing for Tories since the late 1990s. “It appears to be the worst local elections for the Conservatives since the final years of the era of Margaret Thatcher and John Major,” said Robert Hayward, a polling expert and a member of the House of Lords, as quoted by the New York Times.

Labour politician Chris Webb has won the Blackpool South by-election, beating Conservative David Jones. “This seismic win in Blackpool South is the most important result today,” Labour leader Keir Starmer told reporters, adding that the win “shows that we are firmly back in the service of working people.” Another good news for Labour came from London, where Mayor Sadiq Khan was re-elected for a third term. “Londoners voted to give their city a fairer, safer, greener future,” Khan wrote on X (formerly Twitter).The campaigning was centered around inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, as well local issues, such as the state of housing and the work of the NHS in different areas. Sunak said on Friday that it is “disappointing to lose good hardworking Conservative councilors.” He added that he remains “focused completely on the job at hand – that’s delivering for people across the country.” Despite the upset, prime minister said he is hopeful that the voters “are going to stick with us” in the general election expected to take place in the second half of 2024.

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“Just 4% of those aged 18 to 24-years-old expressed their intention of voting for Macron’s party next month..”

France Seemingly Set to Part Ways With Macron, Come June Elections (Manley)

Two recent opinion articles have highlighted the lack of faith the French public has in their leader, Macron. The French president has been described as “trailing the hard right” as he tries to steer the EU into a direction that would mark it as a military power. According to new opinion polls, France’s Renaissance (RE) party is trailing the far-right National Rally (RN) by a far second place. A recent article published on Wednesday by The Guardian, says the blame for the RE’s poor polling rests with President Emmanuel Macron. The parties were tied in the last European election which took place five years ago. Elections for the European Parliament will take place between June 6 and June 9. The elections will be a clear sign for how the presidential election in France, in 2027, will unfold. Macron, 46, “has himself to blame for his political predicament”, the article suggests.

The French president is “barely two years into his second term in the Élysée Palace, yet lacking a parliamentary majority at home and with his government under the permanent threat of a no-confidence motion.” “[Macron] has so personalized his style of governance that voters blame him for everything from the cost of living to the rise of youth violence and the risk of terrorism during this summer’s Paris Olympic Games,” according to the news outlet. The RN is being led by Jordan Bardella, who became the president of the party in 2022. Bardella is just 28-years-old and does not carry the same legacy as his party’s former president, Marine Le Pen, though he reportedly said that he first joined the party due to Le Pen’s influence. But while Le Pen’s influence on the RN is still palpable, young voters are more drawn to Bardella. Macron was elected in 2017, becoming France’s youngest head of state apart from Napoleon Bonaparte. But now, Macron is seemingly flailing to keep up with the desires of the French public.

“I think it is less about ‘Frenchness’ in this election than as portraying the people don’t feel that they belong, the people who feel they have been humiliated, either economically – not making ends meet, not being recognized, not seeing themselves represented in parliament nor politics,” said Cécile Alduy, a Professor of French at Stanford University, explained to a German broadcaster. A separate survey published in March, shows that Macron’s party has fallen out of favorability among young French voters. Just 4% of those aged 18 to 24-years-old expressed their intention of voting for Macron’s party next month, compared to 29% among those over the age of 70. Alduy explains that the reason for this is because those who are younger have little to no historical memory regarding Nazism during World War II, as the RN has been criticized for failing to rid itself of its antisemitic heritage.

Another article by Financial Times explains Macron’s drop in popularity with an opinion poll from February which showed the main preoccupation of French voters is the cost of living. According to that poll, a drop in consumer confidence amongst the French shows a pessimism about their future. Another issue regarding France’s economy includes their high budget deficit which skyrocketed last year to 5.5% of the GDP, according to the newspaper. “Macron’s government has already had to announce emergency spending cuts, and more may be on their way in areas such as social benefits and local government budgets”, the newspaper suggests, adding that this could affect the results of the 2027 election. But the news outlet adds that while many French people use the EU elections as a way to cast protest votes against their presidents and governments, many may vote differently in a national election.

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“Macron has still a couple of years in office as president of France, and he cannot be reelected after this term..”

Macron is Afraid to Go Down in History as the Leader Who ‘Lost Africa’ (Sp.)

While French President Emmanuel Macron tries to maintain his façade as a tough guy in politics, his approval rating in France continues to sag. According to a recent Ipsos poll, Macron’s Renaissance party’s rating dropped to a measly 17%, compared to, for example, Marin Le Pen’s right-wing Rassemblement National (RN) party’s 32% rating. Currently, Macron witnesses his position weakening, both “personally” as the incumbent president and “politically with his centrist-globalist party low performance,” argues Paolo Raffone, a strategic analyst and director of the CIPI Foundation in Brussels. “Macron does not care about public opinion, following the “power” tradition of France. He knows that he has no appeal for the public opinion in France and he acts as an absolute sovereign to save the state,” Raffone tells Sputnik. At the same time, the analyst notes, Macron is essentially a “narcissist” who “does not want to be remembered as the worst president of France”: namely, as the president who witnessed France losing its hold on Africa.

“Macron has still a couple of years in office as president of France, and he cannot be reelected after this term. In this context, Macron is trying to play all his remaining cards to reinvent a political role for France in Europe,” he said. In French and EU politics, Macron is attempting to sow division among the other right-wing parties, while abroad he seeks to recover his reputational losses over the African fiasco by “trying to play a role in the Caucasus – pro Armenia and anti-Turkiye and Azerbaijan” – and in the Ukrainian conflict. “It is again a gamble with two objectives: the first, is to replace Germany’s leadership in EU foreign policy, the second, pre-position France in the eyes of the US current and future administration attempting to balance the troubled UK’s Tory leadership that could be replaced by Labor at the end of 2024 (or earlier),” Raffone explains.

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“..oppression envy..”

Nostalgia for the Mud (Kunstler)

Wasn’t it cute how the youngsters who “occupied” Columbia U’s Hamilton Hall — and were busy smashing things up inside — demanded restaurant-grade meals sent in to avert “starvation and dehydration” amongst their dauntless ranks? You could imagine a colossal mommy breast with three hundred nipples descending from the sky over upper Manhattan to nourish them back to action. “Feed me. . . !”

It turns out, actually, that at least half the troops inside were not students at all, but rather semi-pro activists paid up to $7,000 each by George Soros’s Open Society Institute and other overtly insurrection-themed orgs, so you’d think that the troops could afford to load-up their ever-ready backpacks with Clif bars and bottles of Smart Water. The order-in food and beverage gambit suggests we should understand that this is not so much politics as the acting out of a game — which is exactly what you might expect of people who spend more time on video screens than in the real world — in which something like a half-time intermission for refreshments is de rigueur.

Alas, they were not obliged with DoorDash servings of Alitcha (“Ensemble of potatoes, carrots, collard greens, and cabbage baked in turmeric,” $22.30) from the nearby Massawa Ethiopian bistro, or Firecracker Chicken from Junzi Kitchen over on Broadway and 113th Street. And then, when the cops came to roust them out into the big buses now used as paddy-wagons for such events, the occupiers were heard to whine, “I have finals and I need to go home!” You’ve got to wonder how they’ll make out when “Joe Biden” drafts their ass to go fight the Russians out on the Ukrainian buzzard flats, about which the White House is just now sending out early signals.

It has been observed that a clear majority of the pro-Hamas activists are young women — which makes sense considering that they are the largest demographic evincing mental illness on America’s social landscape these days. Thus, they are marching in support of a sect that specializes in the rape, mutilation, and murder of young women like themselves, or at least treats them as chattels, hidden under black bag-like garments. The group psychology on display has more occult angles than any movie by the Wachowski sisters.

Among the marching Columbia students who are not paid outside activists, a few are apparently Jewish, such as spokesperson Johannah King-Slutzky (actual name, hat-tip Alex Berenson, who ID’d her), the winsome creature who complained about the lack of order-in meals at Hamilton Hall. Another observer on “X” who styles himself @J9_ATX identified the syndrome in play as “oppression envy,” among women seeking compensatory validation for occupying such a privileged niche on Planet Earth as a cushy Ivy League college — featuring international cuisine stations in the dining halls — while their third world sisters trudge through the burning sands of Al-Kufra carrying water-jugs on their heads as they dodge the odious “wind scorpions” of the region.

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Don’t forget Tulsi.

Trump’s VP Short List Has a Residency Dilemma (Turley)

The Trump short list for vice presidential candidates is reportedly down to Ohio Senator, J.D. Vance, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. Rubio is a favorite for many due to his record in the Senate and his appeal to hispanic voters (where the GOP is hoping to make gains in the coming election). The problem is not Rubio or his record, but his residence. The Twelfth Amendment contains a habitation or “favorite sons” provision: “The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.” The risk is that Florida’s electoral votes could be challenged in any election since both Trump and Rubio reside in the state. That is a chunk of 30 votes in a close election. In addition other states which sought to block Trump from the ballot like Colorado could try this new tack to derail his campaign.

The most obvious option is for either Trump or Rubio to move. The easiest would be for Trump to move since Rubio represents Florida. That could include either New York or New Jersey ( where his Bedminster property is located). That option would be costly for Trump in terms of taxes. Moreover, Trump is desperately trying to get out of New York where he is effectively shackled to the defense table as his opponent, President Joe Biden, campaigns around the country. The funny thing is that Trump has been campaigning in New York and drawing some large crowds. It would be the height of irony if Trump ends up making New York competitive with a mix of the time forced to be in the state and a change of residency. Alt er natively, Rubio could resign from the Senate and focus on running with a residence in a different state. He could also attempt a more creative approach and just change residency for the election.

Under Article I, Section 3, Clause 3: No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen. Rubio can argue that he was “an Inhabitant” of Florida “when elected.” Given the recent controversy over the appointment of Democratic Senator Laphonza Butler, it could be hard for some Democrats to object. Yet, there will be some who will no doubt try. In 2000, Dick Cheney was challenged by three Texas residents when he moved back to Wyoming. They failed. Ultimately, it could also be challenged in Congress under the Electoral Count Reform Act.

Despite declaring the challenge to the Biden election was an attack on democracy, Democratic members previously challenged Republican presidents in Congress, including Jan. 6th committee head Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) In other words, it could be done but it would likely draw challenges. Then again, why should this part of the election be any different from every other part?

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Hard to believe.

Prosecutors Admit Key Evidence In Trump Docs Case Has Been Tampered With (JTN)

In a stunning admission, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team is admitting that key evidence in former President Donald Trump’s classified documents criminal case was altered or manipulated since it was seized by the FBI, and that prosecutors misled the court about it for a period of time. Legal experts told Just the News the revelation could prove to be a serious problem for prosecutors and a violation of court rules to preserve evidence in the state it was seized. In a new filing Friday, Smith’s team said that the order of documents in some of the boxes of memos that were seized by the FBI from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate was altered or jumbled, leaving two different chronologies: one that was digitally scanned and another the physical order in the boxes. “Since the boxes were seized and stored, appropriate personnel have had access to the boxes for several reasons, including to comply with orders issued by this Court in the civil proceedings noted above, for investigative purposes, and to facilitate the defendants’ review of the boxes,” Smith’s team wrote in a new court filing to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.

“There are some boxes where the order of items within that box is not the same as in the associated scans,” the prosecutors wrote. Smith’s team in a footnote also conceded it had misled the court about the problem by previously declaring that the evidence had remained in the exact state it had been seized. “The Government acknowledges that this is inconsistent with what Government counsel previously understood and represented to the Court,” the footnote said. [..] The organization of the documents in storage boxes at Mar-a-Lago is likely to be an important part of Trump‘s defense. His team is expected to argue the documents were stored in the White House in chronological order on the days that Trump received them, and that staff simply boxed them up and sent them to his home without him accessing them or knowing they contained classified information.

Smith’s team tried to downplay the problem and argued it’s not a reason for a delay in Trump’s case. But several legal experts told Just the News the court filing essentially is an admission of evidence tampering, and could be problematic. “Prosecutors and investigators should never tamper with or alter evidence in their possession, including the order of documents in a box because one never knows what may become relevant or crucial to a court or jury later in a case,” Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz said. Prominent defense attorney Tim Parlatore, who worked on Trump’s team earlier in the classified documents case but no longer is involved, said ”this admission is stunning on multiple levels.”

He said the revelation “reinforces the incompetence” of prosecutors “in conducting basic criminal investigations and prosecutions that I observed when I was on the team. “But at a deeper level, the loss of specific document locations is a destruction of exculpatory evidence,” he added. “I went through all of the boxes at NARA and the document order was important because it was clear to us that the boxes had been untouched since leaving the White House. “For prosecutors who are trying to prove that the defendants knowingly possessed these documents to then destroy the evidence that would undermine that claim is a very serious violation,” he added. Smith’s team tried to downplay the problem, offering several explanations for how the documents and their order could’ve been scrambled since the government took possession of the boxes.

“There are several possible explanations, including the above-described instances in which the boxes were accessed, as well as the size and shape of certain items in the boxes possibly leading to movement of items,” the prosecutors wrote. “For example, the boxes contain 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.” The alteration of evidence has been an issue in earlier political scandals and prosecutions in Washington. Erasure of an 18 1/2 minute segment of Richard Nixon’s White House tapes became a very important aspect of the Watergate scandal. The Iran-Con tra scandal exploded during the Reagan years with the revelation that documents were shredded before they could be obtained by investigators. The Hillary Clinton classified email scandal became more complicated in 2015 with the revelation that her team used a “Bleach Bit” program to erase emails on her secret computer server, and had email devices destroyed.

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“If I cut the supply of arms to Ukraine, Ukraine cannot resist – they will have to surrender and the war will finish,” Borrell said..”

‘Peace Formula’ On Ukraine To Succeed If West Halts Arms Supplies – Zakharova (TASS)

A “peace formula” on Ukraine boils down to cutting off Western weapons supplies to the Kiev regime, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. The diplomat noted remarks by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell who asserted that without Western arms supplies Ukraine would capitulate in two weeks. “An amazing confession! Here’s the entire ‘peace formula’ for you – the end of Western arms supplies to the Kiev regime,” she wrote on her Telegram channel. Earlier, Borrell said that the conflict in Ukraine could end as quickly as in “a couple of weeks” without Western military aid to Kiev.

“I know how to finish the war in Ukraine. I can finish the war in Ukraine in a couple of weeks just by cutting the supply. If I cut the supply of arms to Ukraine, Ukraine cannot resist – they will have to surrender and the war will finish,” Borrell said. Earlier, Swiss President Viola Amherd said her country would host a conference on the so-called Ukrainian “peace formula” at the Burgenstock resort near Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland this June. The Russian embassy confirmed that “the Swiss authorities have not sent Russia an invitation to the conference in Burgenstock.” Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that any talks on Ukraine without Russia are pointless, and are, in fact, “a negotiation process with no purpose.”.

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To keep the industry happy?

Trump Will Force NATO Members To Hike Military Spending By 50% – Telegraph (RT)

Donald Trump is eyeing plans to push the NATO members to ramp up defense spending from 2% to 3% of GDP if he is re-elected in November, The Telegraph reported on Friday, citing sources close to the former US President. Trump has reportedly been considering an increase for some time but was further persuaded by the arguments of Polish President Andrzej Duda, a source close to the ex-president told the media. The two met for talks in New York last month. Duda has repeatedly called for a boost in defense spending across the alliance, arguing that 3% is needed to defend against “growing threats,” including from Russia. Trump’s is “evolving towards 3%, especially after speaking to Duda” and that’s “not including money for Ukraine,” the anonymous source said.

Trump’s encounter with Duda also reportedly played a role in convincing him to lift his opposition to a long-delayed aid package which included $60 billion for Kiev. In February, Trump came under fire from the White House and top Western officials for suggesting he would not defend NATO allies who had failed to spend enough on defense and would even encourage Russia to attack them. In March, US intelligence agencies warned that America was facing a “fragile world order” amid Russian and Chinese threats. NATO’s 32 members have agreed on a target of spending at least 2% of GDP on defense. Last year’s NATO estimates have shown that only 11 are spending that much, including its largest contributor, the US, as well as the UK, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Greece, Hungary, Finland, Latvia, Slovakia and Denmark.

Belgium and Spain spent 1.2%, while Luxembourg, which has the smallest budget for defense compared to its GDP, spent just 1%. Only Poland, the US and Greece spent more than 3%. On Tuesday, Timo Pesonen, the EU’s top defense official, said “while the NATO allies are increasing their budget to at least 1% of GDP,” some member states “speak about 3% already.” His remarks came days after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said allies “must go further” than 2%. A source close to Trump, quoted by The Telegraph, said he also has a detailed plan for how to end the war peacefully which won’t be made public before the election. Republican presidential nominee previously said he will be able to negotiate peace because he knows the leaders of both countries, but hasn’t elaborated. “There is a plan, but he’s not going to debate it with cable news networks because then you lose all leverage,” the source said.

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“..at least 1.6 million applications were still pending as of October 2023..”

Biden Parole Program Has Flown Illegals To More Than 45 US Cities (ZH)

In a recent development, a House Committee subpoena has forced the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reveal details of its parole program designed to allow entry for thousands of individuals from several nations. The program, established in October 2022, was initially tailored to facilitate entry for Venezuelans who had American sponsors and passed a vetting process. However, the scope of the program rapidly expanded, encompassing individuals from Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua as well – eventually flying illegal aliens to more than 45 cities across the United States. According to the DHS documents, between January and August 2023, the parole program allowed over 200,000 individuals to enter the United States. While the program did not cover the cost of flights for these individuals, it permitted them to enter the country and make travel arrangements independently.

Among the program’s participants, Florida emerged as a leading destination, with around 80% of the 200,000 choosing to settle in cities such as Miami, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale. Other prominent destinations included New York, California, Texas, Nevada, and Georgia. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended the program, stating that it provided “a safe and orderly way to reach the United States” and asserting, though without presenting specific evidence, that the program “resulted in a reduction in numbers of those nationalities.” Mayorkas also highlighted its global relevance, noting its role in addressing “the unprecedented level of migration throughout our hemisphere” and suggesting that other countries might see it as a model to manage irregular migration.

That said, the documents revealed that at least 1.6 million applications were still pending as of October 2023. The program currently admits approximately 30,000 individuals per month, granting them work permits and authorizing them to live in the country for two years. Congressman Mark Green (R-Tenn.), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, expressed strong criticism of the program, stating, “These documents expose the egregious lengths Secretary Mayorkas will go to ensure inadmissible aliens reach every corner of the country, from Orlando and Atlanta to Las Vegas and San Francisco.” Green labeled the parole program “an unlawful sleight of hand” aimed at concealing the worsening border crisis from the American public.

In response to perceived poor handling of the border crisis, Mayorkas faced impeachment by the House of Representatives in February. This marked the second impeachment of a Cabinet secretary in U.S. history, and the first in nearly 150 years. However, the Senate’s Democratic majority ultimately voted to end the trial without proceeding to a vote on conviction or acquittal, following repeated delays. The disclosure of the DHS parole program documents has reignited debate over U.S. immigration policy and the handling of migration at the southern border, reflecting persistent tensions on these issues at both the national and international levels.

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‘If this is a war between Iran and Israel, why did Hezbollah involve itself in it?’

‘True Promise’: An Insider Account Of Iran’s Strikes On Israel (Cradle)

Two hours after the attack on the consulate in Damascus, the Iranian National Security Council convened and affirmed the inevitability of a response and gave a 10-day deadline to take the necessary diplomatic measures and for the armed forces to prepare their plan to respond. Diplomatically, the first step was to go to the Security Council, even though we knew that this would be futile. But it was necessary to file a complaint about the attack on our land, assert our natural right to self-defense, and request a Security Council session. Because we are not members of the Council, we had to talk to member states to request that the session be held. China, Russia, and Algeria agreed. Russia submitted the request, and the session was held, but the US, Germany, Britain, and France did not allow a statement to be issued condemning Israel. The heads of our missions abroad were also active in informing the concerned countries that we would respond to the Zionist entity.

Due to these pressures, Israel denied it had attacked a diplomatic building and that those who were targeted were not diplomats. The consulate building, four of its five floors, were purchased 45 years ago and were designated for diplomatic work. It was indeed a diplomatic building. After we assured the international community of our right to respond, some countries, such as the US, Germany, England, France, Canada, and Egypt, tried to convince us not to do so, and they confirmed their readiness to meet Iran’s requests. For example, some of these countries that were not previously willing to grant entry visas to our diplomats or officials suddenly decided to do so immediately.

When the US realized that we were serious, it sent a threat that if the response was launched from Iranian territory, it might attack Iran. Our response was that the US is not among our targets, but if it decides to involve itself in defense of Israel, we will respond by targeting it as well, and as you know, there are many American bases around us. Despite this, the US, Britain, France, and Germany insisted on the same message, yet our answer was that Israel crossed a red line. Then, they said, if we must respond, let it be from outside Iranian territory. Why did they insist that the strike not be from inside Iran? Because for a long time, they have been assassinating our nuclear scientists and carrying out sabotage operations at the Natanz nuclear reactor.

In the last six months alone, they have assassinated 18 members of our armed forces, and we have always responded through our allies [in the Axis of Resistance], but if we did that this time, we would lose face. If Lebanese Hezbollah had responded to Israel, it could have bombed Beirut, and western powers would have seized upon this to say, ‘If this is a war between Iran and Israel, why did Hezbollah involve itself in it?’ They would also hold it responsible for the subsequent unrest in Lebanon. Therefore, the insistence that the Iranian response should be through Iran’s allies was meant to distort Hezbollah’s reputation and unleash Israel to target it and other resistance forces in the region and to portray them as mercenaries of Iran. We read these western intentions well, and accordingly, the decision was taken to respond from within Iranian territory.

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“There are reports that Ukraine has had to pull back it US-supplied M1 Abrams tanks precisely because they make for such an attractive target..”

Russia Belatedly Adds Zelensky to Criminal ‘Wanted’ List (ZH)

Days ago, for the first time Russian forces mounted a major air attack on the Ukrainian command’s southern headquarters in the port city of Odessa. This suggests Moscow is increasingly targeting Ukraine’s top command and control centers. There’s been another key development late in the week suggesting Russia is escalating in response to more and more weapons and billions pouring into Kiev from the West: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has just been added to a Russian government most-wanted list of criminals. It was revealed Saturday that Zelensky’s name is now on the Russian Interior Ministry’s “wanted” list, which is an important online database. The database lists Zelensky as wanted “under an article of the criminal code” but provides no other specifics or details. This designation comes after well over two years of war, so the question is: why now?

It seems the Kremlin is signaling a new escalation which could focus on ‘decapitation strikes’ targeting Ukraine’s top leadership. Or else, is Russia establishing a legal ground for arresting him in some future scenario? While command and intelligence HQ’s have been hit by Russian airpower in the past, strikes have yet to directly target top-ranking civilian and military leadership. But it seems this is about to change. President Putin has for years demonstrated that he is very law-oriented and ‘by the book’ – that is, he must have a legal basis or rationale for acting. So Zelensky now personally being designated as ‘wanted’ perhaps provides the ‘rationale’ in a sense, from the Kremlin’s perspective. The anti-Kremlin independent news outlet Moscow Times suggests this sets the stage for new plots to try and assassinate Zelensky: The Ukrainian President said last year he was aware that at least “five or six” assassination attempts against him had been foiled.

The day after sending troops into Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an address to the nation in which he called on the Ukrainian army to overthrow Zelensky. Russia has placed several foreign politicians and public figures on its wanted list, which has tens of thousands of entries. As for Russia’s unrelenting and recently stepped-up aerial campaign, it has continued to pummel and degrade Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. This appears a tit-for-tat retaliation for Ukraine’s own devastating cross-border attacks on Russian oil depots and refineries. A fresh Russian Defense Ministry (MoD) statement has outlined that “In the past 7 days, the Russian Armed Forces carried out 25 group strikes via precision weapons and drones, hitting Ukrainian energy and transportation infrastructure facilities and Ukrainian military-industrial complex enterprises.”

“Between April 28 and May 4, in response to the Kiev regime’s attempts to inflict damage to Russian energy and industrial facilities, the Russian Armed Forces carried out 25 group strikes via precision weapons and drones, hitting Ukrainian energy and transportation infrastructure facilities, military-industrial complex enterprises, missile and ammunition storage areas, as well as unmanned speedboats and drone manufacturing workshops,” the ministry said. The MoD has also warned that any “mercenary” positions and also foreign military equipment will be specifically targeted. There are reports that Ukraine has had to pull back it US-supplied M1 Abrams tanks precisely because they make for such an attractive target.

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Trump Nancy

 

 

Bond
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Coyote

 

 

Beluga

 

 

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Jan 162024
 
 January 16, 2024  Posted by at 9:35 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  64 Responses »


Salvador Dalí The oecumenial council 1960

 

Trump Scores Major Election Victory (RT)
Lawfare Against Trump Is Running Out of Gas (Victor Davis Hanson)
Jan. 6 Committee Helped Guide Early Days Of Georgia Trump Probe (Pol.)
Prosecutors Are Charging Trump Using Laws Made To Fight The KKK (G.)
Ukraine Crisis Won’t End Until NATO Push Kiev to Negotiating Table (Sp.)
Zelensky Rejected Favorable Peace Deal With Russia – Arestovich (RT)
Moscow Slams Bild Report of Preparations for ‘NATO-Russia War’ (Sp.)
US Seeks Funds for Bioweapons Projects From Private Foundations (Sp.)
Israel and the U.S. Are Already Feeling the Weight of Houthi Justice (Dionisio)
US Lured Into Battlescape in Gaza, Yemen and Now Iraq (Alastair Crooke)
Red Sea Tensions May Become ‘Impossible To Contain’ – UN (RT)
UK To Send 20,000 Troops To NATO Exercise (RT)
Mega-Poll Predicts Disaster For Tories – But Reality Could Be Even Worse (G.)
Cheers to You, WEFers of Davos! (Kunstler)
‘Say it Nicer’: Hunter Makes a Familiar Last-Minute Offer to Congress (Turley)

 

 

 

 

Israel is finished- Macgregor

 

 


Mr. Fish

 

 

Elon Musk:
Destroying freedom of speech means destroying democracy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historic numbers.

Trump Scores Major Election Victory (RT)

Former President Donald Trump won a landslide victory in the first Republican primary of the 2024 presidential race, taking home three times more delegates than his closest opponent and over 50% of the popular vote. With more than 95% of the votes counted following Monday’s caucus in Iowa, Trump had 51% of the electorate and 19 delegates, far ahead of Republican rivals Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, who earned 21.3% and 19.1% respectively. DeSantis won eight delegates and remained in second place, while Haley scored seven. As the race came to a close late in the evening, Trump penned a social media post thanking his supporters in Iowa, writing “I LOVE YOU ALL!” The victory comes on the heels of favorable polling for the frontrunner, with an NBC News/Des Moines Register/Mediacom survey giving him an almost 30-point advantage over the other candidates.

While the same poll put former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley in second place, the number two spot went to DeSantis, Florida’s current governor. Before heading home, Haley hurled a veiled criticism at Trump, telling supporters “If you want to move forward with no more vendettas, if you want to move forward with a sense of hope, join us in this caucus.” GOP newcomer Vivek Ramaswamy, meanwhile, came in fourth with 7.7% of the vote, but won no delegates. Trump’s win in Iowa follows significant campaigning in the state, vastly outdoing his showing in the 2016 race, which Texas Senator Ted Cruz ultimately won. According to the Associated Press, Trump’s team “paid special attention to building a sophisticated digital and data operation to regularly engage with potential supporters.”

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“..Both have made a mockery of their indictment of an ex-president and, if the allegations are true, will be disbarred and prosecuted..”

Lawfare Against Trump Is Running Out of Gas (Victor Davis Hanson)

We should dispense with the tired narrative that four conscientious state and federal prosecutors—independently and without contact with the Biden White House or the radical Democrats in Congress—all came to the same disinterested conclusions that Donald Trump should be indicted for various crimes and put on trial during the campaign season of 2024. The prosecutors began accelerating their indictments only once Trump started to lead incumbent Joe Biden by sizable margins in head-to-head polls. Moreover, had Trump not run for the presidency, or had he been of the same party as most of the four prosecutors, he would have never been indicted by any of them. Yet now they are in a doom loop of discovering that the more they seek to rush to judgment before the election and gag Trump from speaking publicly about these star-chamber proceedings, the more he rises in the polls.

In truth, each succeeding cycle of corrupt leftwing lawfare that ends in failure—the Russian collusion hoax, the weaponized first impeachment, trying ex-president Trump in the Senate as a private citizen, the laptop disinformation set-up, the Alfa bank ping caper, the pathetic attempt to erase Trump from state ballots, and the unfolding Fani Willis moral debacle—does not return things to zero. Rather, they serve as force multipliers for each other. Each overreach geometrically increases the dangers to democracy, ever more turns the public off, and ironically cascades sympathy and poll numbers for the very target of their paranoias. Some of the prosecutors have colluded with White House lawyers and congressional liaisons. Some had run for office, offering campaign promises to get Trump convicted for something or other.

Now, after years of delays and deadends, all four are rushing to synchronize their trial dates to ensure that the front-running Trump is on the docket daily and not out on the 2024 campaign trail. Do we recall when leftist legal eagles claimed that of all the iffy Trump indictments, Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis had the best case against Trump? The phone call, we were told, was proof of “election interference.” It was Willis who got the first Trump “mug shot.” It was Willis, we were assured, who got Trump with the goods on tape, begging election officials to “find” the requisite missing votes that would prove his victory (note that he did not say “invent” the votes but to look for a supposedly existing trove of them). And now Willis’s signature case is in shambles.

We learn, allegedly, that 1) Willis hired her stealth boyfriend Nathan Wade as a special counsel, the day before he filed for divorce (whose records were then mysteriously sealed by the court); 2) that Wade so far has received over $650,000 as special counsel, reportedly including a miraculous ability to charge for 24 hours of continuous legal service in a single day; 3) that Willis and Wade allegedly have used her greenlighted windfall to him to go on a number of pricey junkets and cruises; 4) that to try an ex-president and the leading candidate in the 2024 presidential election, Willis picked Wade who had never tried a single felony case and was previously a “personal injury/accident” lawyer; 5) that the supposedly apolitical Willis had consulted with the January 6 partisan congressional special committee, while Wade had met for marathon meetings with the Biden White House legal counsel (and apparently billed Georgia taxpayers for receiving such federal tutorials).

The legal community’s initial dismissal of this sordid prosecutor’s office is reminiscent of the immediate efforts to downplay Claudine Gay’s plagiarism. But the charade will eventually end the same way, in this case with the resignation and likely indictment of the prosecutor, along with her boyfriend, who concocted quite a scheme at the expense of the taxpayers. Both have made a mockery of their indictment of an ex-president and, if the allegations are true, will be disbarred and prosecuted.

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Politico acts like this is normal.

Jan. 6 Committee Helped Guide Early Days Of Georgia Trump Probe (Pol.)

Georgia prosecutors probing Donald Trump’s effort to subvert the 2020 election got an early boost in the spring of 2022. It came from another set of investigators who were way ahead of them: the House Jan. 6 select committee. Committee staff quietly met with lawyers and agents working for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis in mid-April 2022, just as she prepared to convene a special grand jury investigation. In the previously unreported meeting, the Jan. 6 committee aides let the district attorney’s team review — but not keep — a limited set of evidence they had gathered. Over the next few months, committee staff also had a series of phone calls with Willis’ team. They answered the prosecutors’ questions and shared insight on matters like Trump’s false electors gambit and his efforts to pressure Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

Both of those ploys ultimately featured prominently in the criminal charges that Willis brought against Trump and his allies last summer. The contacts between the committee and Willis’ team also helped prosecutors prepare for interviews with key witnesses. The content of the meetings and calls was described by two former committee officials familiar with the outreach, who were granted anonymity to speak candidly about the contacts. The timing was corroborated by exhibits attached to new court filings in Willis’ ongoing prosecution of Trump and 14 co-defendants for their efforts to overturn the 2020 election. The committee aided Willis’ nascent probe even as it rebuffed the Justice Department’s requests for material in the separate federal criminal probe of Trump’s election subversion.

At the time, one reason the committee was more inclined to cooperate with the Fulton County team than with the federal prosecutors was that federal prosecutors might have been required to disclose the evidence in ongoing criminal cases related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. When congressional Republicans recently pressed Willis to disclose her team’s contacts with the Jan. 6 committee, she refused, calling their inquiry an affront to “well-established principles of federalism and separation of powers.” “You cannot — and will not — be provided access to any non-public information about this,” she wrote to the House Judiciary Committee last month in a letter obtained by POLITICO. Jan. 6 committee chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) had previously described “staff-level contacts” between his panel and Fulton County prosecutors. In early April 2022 — nearly two weeks before the panel’s staff met with Willis’ team — Thompson told reporters he wasn’t aware of how extensive those contacts were. And on Wednesday, Thompson told POLITICO that he did not know about the in-person visit that spring.

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The Guardian provides a stage for Clinton tool Sidney Blumenthal.

Prosecutors Are Charging Trump Using Laws Made To Fight The KKK (G.)

On Tuesday, in response to the federal case brought by special prosecutor Jack Smith over Trump’s alleged role in the January 6 insurrection, Trump threatened a new round of violence – or “bedlam” – if he loses the election. In early February, the US supreme court will also rule on the Colorado supreme court’s decision to disqualify Trump from the state’s ballot for his part in the insurrection. The two cases might appear to be disconnected, but they are inseparable in law and history. They are united by Congress’s Reconstruction-era action to enforce the 14th amendment’s extension of constitutional rights against the former Confederates’ campaign of racial and political violence – the Ku Klux Klan Acts of 1870 and 1871.

Smith has indicted Trump under the KKK Act, which incorporates the 14th amendment, section 3, of the constitution. The Colorado court’s disqualification comes under the third section of the amendment, which disqualifies from office anyone who has engaged in insurrection against the United States. There are clear and compelling reasons why Trump has been indicted under the KKK Act and disqualified under the 14th amendment, section 3. Those reasons are stated in the indictments and court rulings. Trump has been charged on the same grounds that Klansmen were prosecuted, not only during Reconstruction but also during the civil rights era of the 1960s, and he has been removed from the ballot on the same basis as Confederate traitors were removed from elective office. Complacent commentators have dismissed the charges that Trump has brought on himself, hoping to calm the waters by vainly demonstrating their fair-mindedness. But the law is not somnambulant forever and the historical reality underlying it cannot be erased as it was in the aftermath of the dismantling of Reconstruction in a ‘lost cause’ of false conciliation.

[..] Striking at former Confederates who were commanding the Klan, the act then prescribed imprisonment of “any person who shall hereafter knowingly accept or hold any office under the United States, or any State to which he is ineligible under the third section of the fourteenth article of amendment of the Constitution of the United States … ” Under the KKK Act, Grant’s attorney general, Amos Akerman, successfully prosecuted more than 1,100 cases against members of the Klan, effectively breaking it up. In the 1872 campaign, a large faction of the national Republican party opposed the KKK Act and advocated reconciliation with the south. They called themselves the Liberal Republican party and aligned with the Democrats against Grant’s re-election. The Amnesty Act of 1872, lifting the disability of section 3, was a sop to outflank the Liberal Republicans and marked the beginning of the end of Reconstruction. Still, Grant was re-elected, winning eight southern states with a black-white coalition.

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“..they need to find a way to explain to their own population (and to NATO countries) why and how they will agree on a compromise..”

“..it will be interesting to see “how Ukrainian leaders will abandon their 10 points without saying that they are reneging on them.”

Ukraine Crisis Won’t End Until NATO Push Kiev to Negotiating Table (Sp.)

Sunday’s meeting of Western national security officials in Davos on Ukraine’s ‘peace proposal’ ended “with no clear path forward,” with British business media reporting that the only “achievement” of the talks was a “more diverse family photo than last time,” including representatives from countries with close relations with Russia such as Brazil and South Africa. “There was no progress on an actual peace deal. That would be impossible without Russia, and Russia wasn’t invited. But that’s not the point,” the Financial Times assured in a chirpy summary of the meeting, saying it was meant to “remind” other countries that “Ukraine, not Russia, is the one trying to talk about peace.”

Setting aside that this disingenuous claim ignores repeated attempts by Moscow to nip the Ukrainian crisis in the bud in 2014, prevent it from escalating into a full-fledged NATO-Russia proxy war in 2022, and to signal readiness to talk in the two years since, it’s important to recognize that the Zelensky ‘peace formula’ doesn’t even pretend to seek to include Russia in the conversation, going so far as to attempt to hold its meetings in secret. And perhaps with good reason. Zelensky’s formula demands that Russia give up Crimea, the Donbass, Zaporozhye and Kherson, pay Ukraine reparations, subject its officials and military personnel to war tribunals, and make other one-sided concessions which look less like a peace deal and more like demands against a capitulating power. Moscow has predictably dismissed the proposal, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently calling them a “figment of a sick imagination.”

Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis admitted that a peace process could not be started without Russia’s participation. “One important point is to be highlighted here: Peace is no more an impossible or unspeakable word, and the idea of negotiation is again on the table. But it is important here to understand however that Ukraine’s position is still not realistic,” Jacques Sapir, director of studies at the Paris-based School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, told Sputnik. “In the mind of Kiev’s rulers, peace is to come through military victory and a reconquest by Ukrainian Armed Forces of the four oblasts (Kherson, Zaporozhye, Donetsk and Luhansk) and of Crimea. This is the content of the so-called ‘ten point plan’,” Sapir explained, highlighting the Zelensky proposal’s keystone demand.

The analyst likens Kiev’s poker face approach as an “opening move,” and believes the Zelensky regime may be willing to pursue more “realistic” options, including the idea of having Russia actually take part in talks, particularly “as the military situation is now deteriorating for Kiev.” “Ukraine’s leaders know very well that they are not in a position to aim at complete, or even partial, victory against Russia. But they have so much talked of a ‘victory’ that they need to find a way to explain to their own population (and to NATO countries) why and how they will agree on a compromise,” Sapir said. If and when talks proceed and Kiev’s position softens, Sapir suggested that it will be interesting to see “how Ukrainian leaders will abandon their 10 points without saying that they are reneging on them.”

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“..I think we face ten or 15 years of war in Europe,” Arestovich said..”

Zelensky Rejected Favorable Peace Deal With Russia – Arestovich (RT)

Ukraine had the chance to make peace at the 2022 Istanbul talks but something or someone changed President Vladimir Zelensky’s mind, according to an interview with his former aide, Aleksey Arestovich, published on Monday. Freddie Sayers, the editor in chief of the British outlet UnHerd, interviewed Arestovich almost a year after Ukraine’s top spin doctor left Zelensky’s service. He has since moved to the US, saying that Kiev wants him arrested on politically trumped-up charges. “I was a member of the Istanbul process, and it was the most profitable agreement we could have done,” Arestovich told Sayers. The Ukrainian delegation “opened the champagne bottle” when they came back to Kiev, believing the agreement was a done deal, he added.

The protocols were “90% prepared” for a direct meeting between Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Arestovich, when Zelensky called off the talks. His rejection of the talks has been widely attributed to the ‘Bucha massacre’, which Ukraine accused Russia of, but Arestovich said he did not know that for a fact. Something “absolutely” changed Zelensky’s mind and “historians will have to find an answer to what happened,” Arestovich said. “A lot of people say it was the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who came to Kiev and put a stop to this negotiation with Russia. I don’t know exactly if that is true or false. He came to Kiev, but nobody knows what they spoke about except, I think, Zelensky and Boris Johnson himself,” he told UnHerd.

Johnson’s role in scuttling the Istanbul peace talks was reported as early as May 2022 by the outlet Ukrainska Pravda. According to the outlet, he came to Kiev with “two simple messages,” that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “a war criminal” who should not be negotiated with, and that even if Ukraine was ready to sign some kind of agreement with Russia, the West was not. David Arakhamia, the leader of Zelensky’s party in the Ukrainian parliament, brought up the visit in a November 2023 interview, paraphrasing Johnson’s message as telling the Ukrainians “let’s just continue fighting.” The former British PM finally commented on the matter last week, saying he merely told Zelensky the UK would support Ukraine “a thousand percent” and that any potential agreement with Russia would be “pretty sordid.” He insisted he did not “order” anyone to do anything, however.

According to Arestovich, the conflict has now evolved beyond Russia and Ukraine, pitting the collective West against the ‘Global South’. “We have to negotiate for an all-new security system for Europe, taking into account all sides of this problem,” he told UnHerd, adding that NATO would need to discuss with Russia “what it would take to guarantee not to use military force in Europe to decide political questions.” “I should perhaps add that I am absolutely pessimistic that this will happen. I think we face ten or 15 years of war in Europe,” Arestovich said.

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“..I talked to many leaders and they tell me: ‘Why are they scaring us? We understand that Russia is not going to fight with Europe.’ Yes, we are not going to [fight] now.”

Moscow Slams Bild Report of Preparations for ‘NATO-Russia War’ (Sp.)

“Germany is gearing up for “war between NATO’s forces and Russia,” which could begin in the summer of 2025, Bild has written, citing a “secret” Bundeswehr document. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov commenting on the publication said it is nothing but fake news. “I would not like to comment on the report of Bild, this news outlet does not hesitate to use fake news,” Peskov told reporters. According to the alleged “training scenario” of the German Ministry of Defense, “on ‘Day X,’ NATO’s commander-in-chief will give the order to move 300,000 troops to the eastern flank, including 30,000 Bundeswehr soldiers,” the tabloid states. The escalation could reportedly begin as early as February 2024 with the start of Russia’s active offensive against the positions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. By June of the same year, according to Bild, Russia will have forced Kiev’s military to retreat.

The Kiev regime’s much-hyped 2023 counteroffensive which began in June suffered a resounding defeat. The Ukrainian Armed Forces lost more than 125,000 people and 16,000 units of weapons over the six-month counteroffensive, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated in late December. Without offering any specific details, the publication noted that the most likely location for a “clash” will purportedly be the so-called “Suwalki Gap” or “Suwalki Corridor” (Przesmyk suwalski). This is a section about 100 km long near the city of Suwalki in the northeast of Poland, located between Belarus and Russia’s Kaliningrad region. In July, according to the “secret document,” Russia might allegedly launch “cyber attacks and other forms of hybrid warfare” against the Baltic countries.

Furthermore, “clashes” would occur which Moscow ostensibly could use as a pretext to begin large-scale exercises on its territory and in Belarus, as per the authors. By October Russia could allegedly transfer troops and medium-range missiles to its Kaliningrad region, and December might see a border conflict erupt in the Suwalki Corridor. According to Bild, the “secret document” also indicates that when Washington is temporarily left without a leader as a result of the presidential elections in the United States in 2014, “Russia, with the support of Belarus, will repeat the 2014 invasion of Ukraine on NATO territory.” No further clarification is offered to these wild scenarios and off-mark references.

[..] In effect, Russia has only been responding to NATO’s continuous expansion. Moscow’s determination to protect itself and its allies has been explicitly outlined in its new foreign policy doctrine, signed by Russian President Putin on March 31, 2023. “Recently, the activity of the NATO military bloc as a whole has sharply increased. Significant forces from the United States, including aircraft, have been deployed to our borders, and the number of alliance troops in Eastern and Central Europe has increased,” Russian President Vladimir Putin stated while presiding over a Russian Ministry of Defense meeting on December 19. As for the repeated attempt to portray Russia as the “bogeyman,” he clarified: “[The US] was very frightened by Russia’s rapprochement with Europe. It should be the masters there. It kept scaring … evil Russia is threatening you. But I talked to many leaders and they tell me: ‘Why are they scaring us? We understand that Russia is not going to fight with Europe.’ Yes, we are not going to [fight] now.”

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Madmen.

US Seeks Funds for Bioweapons Projects From Private Foundations (Sp.)

The United States government is actively searching for new sources of funding for military biological research from leading American ‘philanthropic’ institutions, including the Clinton, Soros, Rockefeller and Biden Foundations, RCBD Troops chief Igor Kirillov has announced. “Based on an analysis of documents received in the course of the special military operation, the structure of the system created by the US administration for the global management of biological risks has become clear,” Kirillov said in a briefing Monday, summarizing an analysis of US military-biological activities in Ukraine and globally over the course of 2023. “It consists of government agencies and private contractors, including representatives of Big Pharma. Through the organs of the executive branch, a legislative framework is being created to finance military-biological research directly from the federal budget. Guarantees provided by the state attract funds from non-governmental organizations controlled by the Democratic Party leadership, including the Clinton, Rockefeller, Soros and Biden Foundations,” Kirillov said.

According to the RCBD Troops’ chief’s information, the main private contractors involved in the Pentagon’s military-biological program include Metabiota, Black & Veatch and CH2M, with the companies tasked with the construction of facilities and the supply of equipment to labs around the globe. Their work is coordinated by the DoD’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency. On the Big Pharma front, Pfizer, Moderna, Gilead, Dynport Vaccine, AbbVie, Parexel, Eli Lilly & Co, Merck and Battelle are identified as key partners. Washington’s goals are multifold, Kirillov said, and include the study of the causative agents of “particularly dangerous infections in regions of the world that are strategically important for the United States,” and achieving “superiority” in biomanufacturing, including by using biological espionage against potential geopolitical adversaries.

“Materials received have confirmed that the US military was set the task of monitoring the biological situation in the Middle East and Central Asia, territories bordering China, Turkiye, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,” Kirillov said. “Over the past year, the Pentagon developed and adopted a number of conceptual documents involving the expansion of the foreign network of US-controlled biological laboratories, and continuing military biological research beyond America’s national jurisdiction.” Furthermore, the RCBD Troops chief said, 2023 saw the creation of new administrative and technical structures, including the Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy, and the State Department’s new Bureau of Global Health Security and Diplomacy, with their main aims assumed to be centered on securing the further expansion of America’s military-biological activities worldwide.

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“..without economic stability, wars can’t be won. Even against those who arm themselves with little more than stones and sticks and a few handmade rockets..”

Israel and the U.S. Are Already Feeling the Weight of Houthi Justice (Dionisio)

For better or worse, the Houthis are the only political and military force doing anything practical to demand that Israel pay for its acts. And despite the attack on their territory, we can already say with certainty, that the Ansar Allah movement and the pro-Palestinian resistance, in general, will be strengthened by this event. Were it not for a rebel movement, made up of poor people living in great hardship, no other country in the region would do anything to bring some moral justice, however little, to this whole process. As they say, whoever has a lot, has the most to lose. Only the poor give what they need and this is a good example of that. It is even curious that here and there, apart from a few diplomatic and commercial measures, the most serious diplomatic action for Israel has come from outside the continent and the Middle East: South Africa’s accusation at the International Court of Justice that the state of Israel should be tried for genocide.

Of course, the accusation was immediately branded with the very vulgar epithet of “anti-Semitic”. But the Houthis’ role in the Red Sea has produced absolutely unpredictable and — perhaps unexpected — results for the West. The Red Sea trade route accounts for 12% of global maritime trade and 12% of all oil trade. An important part of the commercial ships that travel between the Indian Ocean and Europe pass through the Red Sea. Moreover, the importance of this route for Israel is truly decisive. The Port of Eilat essentially lives off this sea route. Disconnecting the port of Eilat from the international routes to Asia not only means that many of the goods that Israel receives from Asia will become more expensive and risk perishing, with all the economic burdens that this entails. But it also means cutting tourism, since the city of Eilat is an important tourist destination in the Middle East, and losing the competitiveness of its exports to the Asian continent.

But in the end, the financial damage might even be surmountable. What would be difficult to overcome would be the fragility in which an effective blockade of the Red Sea crossing would leave Israel.Let’s imagine a likely scenario in which the war fronts multiply and the conflict spreads to other regions (Lebanon, Syria and Yemen). Just as Oman has closed its airspace to military planes to bomb Yemen, a country like Egypt could, in a situation of great pressure and popular pressure, consider closing the Suez Canal to boats that are linked to Israel. It wouldn’t be unheard of, as we know. Oman itself has prevented U.S. military aircraft from passing through, for various reasons. One of them has to do with a certain neutrality that the sultanate is assuming on the international stage. However, this “neutrality” is also due to the ethnic tensions it has in its territory, which borders Yemen.

In any case, leaving the port of Eilat open only to boats coming from the Suez Canal would be strategically fragile. So, while it cannot be denied that the Houthi naval blockade may be a burden for the other Arab nations that receive their ships at Red Sea ports, the fact is that for none of them the situation is as dramatic as it is for Israel. Since the goods that Israel receives by sea and from Asia can come from the Red Sea without having to go through the Suez Canal, the port of Eilat is absolutely strategic for the country’s economic stability. And without economic stability, wars can’t be won. Even against those who arm themselves with little more than stones and sticks and a few handmade rockets.

Read more …

“..The endgame is inevitable: An agreement to end the conflict on Russia’s terms..”

US Lured Into Battlescape in Gaza, Yemen and Now Iraq (Alastair Crooke)

China and Russia have been remarkably quiet, watching carefully the global tectonic plates shifting around in response to the ‘two wars’ (Ukraine and Israel’s ‘multiwar’). Really it is not surprising; both states can sit back to simply watch Biden and his team persist with their strategic mistakes in Ukraine and in Israel’s multiple wars. The interlacing of the two wars will, of course, shape the new era. There are substantive risks, but for now they can observe with comfort from afar as a climatic juncture in world politics unfolds, gradually raising the pace of the attrition to a circle of fire. The point here is that Biden, at the centre of the storm, is no cool-headed Sun-Tzu. His politics are personal and highly visceral: As Noah Lanard has written in his forensic analysis of How Joe Biden Became America’s Top Hawk, his own team say it plainly: Biden’s politics is seated in his ‘kishkes’ – his guts.

That can be seen in the disdainful and graphic way in which Biden sneers at President Putin as an ‘autocrat’, and the way he talks about victims of the Hamas attack being massacred, sexually assaulted, and taken hostage, whilst “Palestinian suffering is left vague – if mentioned at all”. “I don’t really think he sees the Palestinians at all”, says Rashid Khalidi, Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University. There is a long and reputable history of leaders making the right spur of the moment decision from their unconscious, without careful rational calculous. In the ancient world this was a highly prized quality. Odysseus exuded it. It was called mêtis. But this ability was contingent on having a dispassionate temperament and an ability to see things ‘in the round’; to grasp both sides to a coin, we would say.

But what happens if, as Professor Khalidi implies, the ‘kishkes’ are filled with anger and bile; instinctive sympathy for Israel, fuelled by an outdated view of the Israeli domestic scene. “He just does not seem to acknowledge the humanity of [others]”, as a former Team Biden member put it to Lanard. Well, mistakes – strategic mistakes – become inevitable. And these mistakes are luring the U.S. in – deeper and deeper (as the Resistance foresaw). Michael Knights, a scholar at the neo-con Washington Institute think-tank noted: “The Houthis are high on their successes and will not be easy to deter. They are having the time of their lives, standing up to a superpower who probably cannot deter them”. This comes on the back of an Ukraine war already reaching – or at – its foregone conclusion. Both in the U.S. and amongst its allies in Europe, it is recognised that Russia has prevailed overwhelmingly, and across all ‘domains of conflict’.

There is next to no chance that this situation can be recouped, irrespective of money or fresh western ‘support’. The Ukrainian military taste the bitter fruits of this fact daily. Many in Kiev’s ruling classes ‘get it’ too, but are frightened to speak out. The cadre of hardliners behind Zelensky however insist to press on with their delusion of mounting a new offensive. It would be a kindness to ‘those about to die’ in another futile mobilisation for the West to call a halt. The endgame is inevitable: An agreement to end the conflict on Russia’s terms.

Ahhh, but do not forget Biden’s ‘kishkes’: This outcome would mean Putin ‘winning’ and Biden’s hope of a victory garland turning to ashes. The war must be kept going, even if its only achievement be to fire long-range missiles directly into the civilian cities of Russia (a war crime). It is obvious where this is going. Biden is in hole that only can deepen. Can’t he stop digging? Some in America may wish he would, as the Democratic electoral prospects dim. But it seems probable that he can’t, for then his nemesis (Putin) would ‘win’.

Nap Crooke

Read more …

Yes.

Red Sea Tensions May Become ‘Impossible To Contain’ – UN (RT)

The current instability in the Middle East may soon spiral completely out of control, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at a press conference in New York on Monday. Guterres once again addressed the crisis triggered by the events of October 7, when Hamas militants launched a surprise attack on Israel, killing around 1,200 people and taking more than 200 hostages. The ensuing Israeli blockade, bombing, and ground assault of Gaza has since killed almost 24,000 people, according to local health officials. The civilian death toll in Gaza has resulted in widespread international condemnation of Israel’s actions, and has already drawn the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Yemen’s Houthis into the conflict.

“Tensions are also sky-high in the Red Sea and beyond – and may soon be impossible to contain,” Guterres said, adding that he is concerned that “daily exchanges of fire” risk “triggering a broader escalation between Israel and Lebanon and profoundly affecting regional stability.” While the secretary-general condemned the actions of Hamas, he also blasted the Israeli operation as “collective punishment of the Palestinian people,” saying it has caused an “unprecedented level of civilian casualties,” while noting that “the vast majority of those killed are women and children.” Last week, the Houthis pledged to continue targeting Israeli- and US-linked ships in the Red Sea “until the siege on Gaza is lifted.”

The Houthis have also targeted British and American warships operating in the area as part of an international maritime operation organized last month by the US to safeguard shipping in the region. The “heightening tensions” also led Iran to send one of their warships to the Red Sea earlier this month. US and UK warplanes attacked Houthi targets in Yemen with around 70 airstrikes last Thursday and Friday. While US National Security spokesman John Kirby stated that the strikes are having a “good effect,” a New York Times report claimed that around three-quarters of Houthi military assets remain intact. Moscow has condemned the strikes on Yemen, calling them “illegal” and saying they were carried out in violation of the UN Charter. The UN secretary-general has said that “the longer the conflict in Gaza continues, the greater the risk of escalation and miscalculation.”

Read more …

“.. the UK and its allies have found themselves “in a new era” and “must be prepared to deter our enemies..”

UK To Send 20,000 Troops To NATO Exercise (RT)

The UK is set to deploy around 20,000 service members – as well as modern warships and fighter jets – to take part in a major NATO exercise amid rising tensions with Russia, the Defence Ministry in London has announced. In a statement on Monday, the ministry, citing excerpts from a speech to be delivered by Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, said that some 16,000 army troops – along with tanks, artillery, and helicopters – will join other bloc members on the continent to participate in Exercise Steadfast Defender 24, scheduled to take place in the first half of this year. The effort will be supported by eight warships and submarines, as well as 2,000 Royal Navy sailors. The UK will also deploy a number of aircraft, including F35B Lightning fighters and Poseidon P8 surveillance aircraft, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, Shapps is expected to call the drill “one of NATO’s largest deployments since the end of the Cold War,” adding that the UK and its allies have found themselves “in a new era” and “must be prepared to deter our enemies,” according to the statement. The statement specifically referred to the threat from the Russian “menace.” NATO began reinforcing its military footprint in Europe first after a Western-backed coup in Kiev triggered hostilities in Donbass, which is now part of Russia. However, the most drastic build-up occurred after Russia launched its military campaign against Ukraine in February 2022. In June of the same year, the US-led military bloc agreed to put 300,000 troops on high alert, up from 40,000, to deter Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has previously said that Moscow has no plans to attack NATO, arguing that there was “no geopolitical, economic … or military interest” in waging war against the bloc. Still, Moscow has also repeatedly warned that the alliance’s military activities close to its border warrant additional security measures. Putin has also said that Ukraine’s desire to join NATO was one of the key reasons for the current conflict.

Read more …

All they have left is two warmonger parties. A poor nation.

Mega-Poll Predicts Disaster For Tories – But Reality Could Be Even Worse (G.)

For Conservative MPs opening their Daily Telegraph on Monday morning it was a distinctly gloomy start to the week: a mega-poll suggesting they are heading for a crashing general election defeat. And this was arguably an optimistic take. For one thing, some pollsters believe the YouGov conclusion of a 120-seat Labour majority could be an underestimate. Additionally, the poll’s organisers seem intent on using its findings to push the party further to the right on immigration, a move that will dismay many centrist Tories, and seems unlikely to stop the rot. The notable aspects of the poll come in two main parts. The first is its findings: YouGov surveyed 14,000 people and extrapolated the results to constituencies using the multilevel regression and poststratification model, or MRP.

This predicted that the Conservatives would retain only 169 seats, 196 fewer than their 2019 total, while Labour would take 385, the Liberal Democrats 48 and the SNP 25. This would be a disaster for the Conservatives, resulting in 11 current cabinet ministers losing their seats, among them Jeremy Hunt, Grant Shapps and Gillian Keegan. But it could – and might – be worse. Rob Ford, a professor of politics at Manchester University, noted that the YouGov modelling appeared to play down the effect of tactical voting in many seats where Conservative MPs were at risk of challenge. “It doesn’t seem very credible to me that in a Tory-Lib Dem marginal, 10% of people would still support Green, and not care either way about the opportunity to get rid of a Conservative MP. It does suggest that things could be even worse for the Conservatives,” Ford said.

Another point of interest is the political backdrop to a large and very expensive polling operation. It was, the Telegraph said, commissioned by the Conservative Britain Alliance, a previously unknown organisation described only as a “group of Conservative donors”. YouGov, the Telegraph added, worked with the Tory peer David Frost, who contributed an opinion piece arguing that the only way back from the brink for the party was to go much harder on immigration, seeking to tempt former Tory voters who are backing the Nigel Farage-founded Reform UK. “The big problem is immigration, legal as well as illegal. That’s why this week’s vote on Rwanda is so important,” Frost writes.

The Telegraph runs its own analysis arguing that Reform votes would play a part in 96 losses for the Conservatives, making the difference between a catastrophic loss and a hung parliament. The combined message is clear: copy Reform, notably on small boats and on migration more generally.

Read more …

Article comes with free menu.

Wrote to Jim:
“On the very same day we got introduced to Disease X, Denmark – of Macbeth fame- announced its new king.
His name: Frederik X.”

Cheers to You, WEFers of Davos! (Kunstler)

The nabobs and panjandrums of the World Economic Forum (WEF) meet up at Davos, Switzerland, the next several days to lay plans for their latest assault on humanity. This year’s theme is “Rebuilding Trust.” Did you just blow your coffee through your nose? The outfit that coordinated the world-wide Covid-19 response (that perhaps birthed the very concept of Covid-19 itself), and especially pushed mRNA vaccines on the credulous global public — this gang of super-wealthy, super-connected, super-important celebrity punks, poohbahs, pricks, and predators wants a cuddle.

This Davos crowd — moiling around the opening soirée amid drool-worthy trays of crab puffs, asparagus gougères, lobster crostini, waygu morsels, Prosciutto-Fig bites, chickpea panisse, stuffed castelvetrano olives, wild boar and quinoa dolmas, fava bean puree toasts, pigeon pea fritters, and Nürnberger rostbratwurst pigs-in-a-blanket, all washed down by bottomless flutes of Roederer Cristal Millésime Brut— could not stop chattering about the debut of the latest viral confection, “Disease X”, said to be twenty times deadlier than Covid-19.

Imagine the opportunities this one will provide for the WEF’s Davos prom date, the World Health Organization (WHO). And just in time to create enough hysteria for the May vote on the new WHO treaty binding the world’s governments to its pandemic diktats. In that new disposition of things, whatever Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says, goes! Lockdowns. Quarantine camps. Mandatory (improved) safe-and-effective vaccines. Nevermind what the actual citizens of Countries A, B, or C might otherwise decide for themselves under the obsolete system of national sovereignty. Follow the science, useless eaters of the world! (And please quit carping about it!)

Any resemblance of “Disease X” to the remaining global free speech platform (Elon Musk’s X, formerly Twitter), is just another bothersome conspiracy theory. Of course, theories imply the discovery of proofs, and it so happens that the unelected European Commission, under its Digital Services Act (passed in Nov., 2022), has already threatened Mr. Musk’s X to remove so-called hate speech, illegal content, and disinformation or face a fine amounting to 6-percent of its annual global revenue. Hate speech and disinfo are whatever the EU says it is, including information that is true but disagreeable to the agenda of all supranational orgs such as the EU, the WEF, and the WHO. Reminds us of something Pete Hogwallop once said to Ulysses E. McGill:

Last time around, those mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna proved to be super-effective at one thing: disordering all the cells and organs in the human body so as to produce a severe auto-immune reaction resulting in death and disability. The artificial spike protein replication induced by the vaxxes has a special yen for heart tissue, the linings of blood vessels, and the reproductive organs — thus, all those world-class soccer players dropping dead in mid-kick, all the massive clots the size of shipworms discovered by the morticians, and all the spontaneously aborted babies over the past three years. By the way, having seen all this, the CDC Director, Mandy Cohen, is still pushing “updated” mRNA shots, down to six-month-old babies. No, I’m not making this up.

Read more …

“.. Indeed, in Washington, it was an open joke like when Hunter was put on the Amtrak board and later made its vice chair..”

‘Say it Nicer’: Hunter Makes a Familiar Last-Minute Offer to Congress (Turley)

This week, after weeks of Hunter mocking the House over its subpoena for a deposition, the House Oversight Committee voted to hold him in contempt. Now facing a referral for prosecution, Hunter declared that he might belatedly comply to avoid a prosecution. Hunter is nothing if not consistent. As with his taxes and other federal violations, Hunter is asking for a mulligan just before a possible indictment. For decades, Hunter has conveyed an attitude that laws do not apply to him or to other Biden family members. After all, as his father once said, “no one f**ks with a Biden.” Since he was a young man, Hunter seems to have been told that he lives a life of privilege that entitles him to considerations denied to others. Indeed, in Washington, it was an open joke like when Hunter was put on the Amtrak board and later made its vice chair.

When pressed on his lack of credentials for the position, Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware quipped that “Hunter Biden has spent a lot of time on Amtrak trains.” It appears that nothing is quite so funny as open nepotism in Washington. Not surprisingly, Hunter’s life of entitlement would lead to a life of excess and debauchery. He was one of Washington’s noble class, a scion of a political dynasty. In time, he would be brought into the family business of influence-peddling with his uncles. For decades, the Bidens have been accused of selling access and influence to Joe Biden. When things got legally difficult, Hunter could count on government guardians. When he lost his gun in 2018, Secret Service agents appeared at a gun shop to demand all records of his purchase. (Those records would later become the basis for the current gun charges against him.)

When Hunter lost his laptop, containing hundreds of incriminating files showing everything from influence peddling to alleged human trafficking, FBI agents showed up at the computer shop and reportedly conveyed an intimidating message to the owner not to speak to anyone. When years of news reports forced the Justice Department to investigate some of these crimes, the Justice Department sat on the case until the most serious tax violations from 2014 to 2015 expired under the statute of limitations. It did so despite internal objections that the period for prosecution could easily be extended. The Justice Department then sought a plea bargain so absurdly generous that it fell apart in open court, with a prosecutor admitting to the judge that he had never seen any deal like it. Notably, the cause for the collapse was an immunity agreement so obscene that no one other than a Biden would demand it, let alone get it.

Throughout this history, one thing has been consistent. Hunter has received and seems to feel entitled to legal mulligans that no other citizen could reasonably expect. It is the very meaning of “privilege” that many Democrats in Washington denounce on a weekly basis. We are not the only country with such a privileged class of scions. In China, the children of powerful leaders who live lavish lives are called the “red nobility” or “communist princelings.” Yet, even in Washington, many were floored by the display of absolute entitlement when Hunter appeared with his counsel Abbe Lowell outside of Congress at the time of his scheduled deposition. Hunter mocked the House and refused to go inside, insisting that he would only agree to give testimony on his own terms.

For those of us who have been writing about the Hunter and the Bidens for decades, it was not in the least surprising. His conduct on taxes showed the utter lack of concern over any obligations owed to the government. In a sense, his family is the government. As the Justice Department noted in its tax charges, Hunter spent his money on “drugs, escorts and girlfriends, luxury hotels and rental properties, exotic cars, clothing, and other items of a personal nature, in short, everything but his taxes.” When the IRS finally moved toward prosecution, a democratic donor named Kevin Morris reportedly gave him millions to cover his taxes and lavish lifestyle, even though he had only been introduced to Hunter at a Democratic fundraiser not long before.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Tucker Ladapo

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1746697773292962016

 

 

WEF water

 

 

Ray
https://twitter.com/i/status/1746980872102781223

 

 

Kitten
https://twitter.com/i/status/1746659297201926502

 

 

Guitar

 

 

 

 

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Nov 272019
 
 November 27, 2019  Posted by at 7:23 pm Primers Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  7 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Female bust R 1943

 

For political, but, much more, monetary reasons, the media makes their mark, and therefore Jeremy Corbyn hates Jews, Julian Assange is an unwashed rapist and Donald Trump is Putin’s handpuppet. And if you object, you’re a suspect human being. In order to make money, and retain or gain power, the media and intelligence services, along with the political powers friendly to them, inject opinions into the populace. How Orwellian do you want it?

And I get it, depending on where people lean politically, they will think these are entirely separate stories. The right will be against Corbyn, the left against Trump. And all of them together against Assange.

I was starting to write about Jeremy Corbyn yesterday, about the innuendo and allegations concerning his alleged antisemitism, and then I thought: wait, Corbyn and Trump is the same story. And Assange. They are very different people, and their stories may appear to be very very different too, but they are not really.

My personal opinion is that Assange has far too little support, and that worries me a lot every single day, while Corbyn and Trump just drown in social media and MSM nonsense. The problem is, that nonsense poses as truth today. That is what Corbyn has failed to understand, what Trump made his own to the extent that he could, and what Assange, who saw all of this better and earlier than anyone, has been entirely isolated from. But it’s still the same thing in all three cases. It’s about the media. They have become the story, instead of reporting it.

I’ve already said that I don’t think the time is right -and ripe- for Corbyn’s radical plans for Britain -if it will ever be-, but I sure don’t think Brexit should be decided on a pack of lies and smears. Still, it very much looks like it will be. “Social” media, don’t you know.

Jeremy Corbyn has long sympathized with the Palestinian people. It appears that this stance will now decide the Brexit issue. Because it allows for his detractors to label him an antisemite. Throw in an editorial once every two days or so which states that even if Corbyn himself is not an antisemite (press insurance policy), he’s guilty by association because he didn’t root out antisemitism in his party strongly enough, and you’re free to go.

But apparently the right wing is not convinced it’ll be enough, so the UK Chief Rabbi throws some more oil on the flames, and so does his close friend, the leader of the Church of England. Corbyn should have spoken out loud and clear a long time ago. He’s the right wing’s toy now. I saw this very long list of things Corbyn said and did to support the British Jewish population, but it doesn’t matter anymore. He’s got a swastika painted on his forehead now.

Corbyn keeps reasoning something like: it’s not true, so I have nothing to fear, but that’s old world thinking. Today things become reality by the grace of being endlessly repeated and, thereby, amplified. He didn’t catch the spirit of the time. He should perhaps have had a Twitter feed like Trump’s, and denounced the allegations from there. Never had a chance in the traditional media anyway.

But Corbyn does not appear to get it. Still, imagine Trump without Twitter, or Corbyn with it.

The Guardian runs a handy guide:

Antisemitism and Labour: Everything You Need To Know

• Critics of Corbyn say that criticism of Israel among some of his supporters, for example about the treatment of the Palestinian people, can too readily tip over into a generalised condemnation which becomes antisemitic. They say also that those within Labour who challenge this can face abuse and persecution. Labour says that while such incidents must be dealt with robustly, the context is that complaints connected to antisemitism amount to 0.1% of party membership, while prejudice in the Conservative party is more widespread.

• Aside from internal Labour investigations, in May the Equality and Human Rights Commission said it had placed Labour under formal investigation over whether the party had unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they were Jewish.

• Labour faced criticism from some Jewish groups after it adopted a working definition of antisemitism by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, but left out one of the 11 examples given in the definition, which said it would be antisemitic to claim “that Israel’s existence as a state is a racist endeavour”. Labour later adopted all 11 examples.

Yeah, no, you don’t fight these things by directly addressing them. It’s like “when did you stop beating your wife” or “does this dress make me look fat”, there are no correct answers. Corbyn lost 2-3 years framing his response, and now it’s too late. That Chief Rabbi:

UK Chief Rabbi Attacks Labour Party

The Chief Rabbi has strongly criticised Labour, claiming the party is not doing enough to root out anti-Jewish racism – and asked people to “vote with their conscience” in the general election. In the Times, Ephraim Mirvis said “a new poison – sanctioned from the very top – has taken root” in the party. Labour’s claim it had investigated all cases of anti-Semitism in its ranks was a “mendacious fiction”, he added. Jeremy Corbyn says Labour is tackling anti-Semitism by expelling members. It comes as Labour launches a “race and faith manifesto”, which aims to improve protections for all faiths and tackle prejudice.

Labour has been beset by allegations of anti-Semitism for more than three years, leading to the suspension of a number of high-profile figures such as Ken Livingstone and Chris Williamson, and an unprecedented investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. In his article, the Orthodox Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – who is the spiritual leader of the United Synagogue, the largest umbrella group of Jewish communities in the country – says raising his concerns “ranks among the most painful moments I have experienced since taking office”. But he claims “the overwhelming majority of British Jews are gripped by anxiety” at the prospect of a Labour victory in 12 December’s general election.

He writes: “The way in which the leadership of the Labour Party has dealt with anti-Jewish racism is incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud – of dignity and respect for all people. “It has left many decent Labour members and parliamentarians, both Jewish and non-Jewish, ashamed of what has transpired.” He adds that it was “not my place to tell any person how they should vote” but he urged the public to “vote with their conscience”.

[..] Jenny Manson, the co-chair of the Jewish Voice for Labour group which is not officially affiliated to the party, told BBC Radio 4’s The World Tonight programme she was “horrified” by the Chief Rabbi’s intervention. She added that there was no threat to Jews in the Labour Party but there was a threat from the far-right.

And his Christian friend:

Justin Welby Backs Chief Rabbi After Labour Antisemitism Remarks

The archbishop of Canterbury has in effect backed the chief rabbi’s comments on the Labour leadership’s record on antisemitism with a tweet highlighting the “deep sense of insecurity and fear felt by many British Jews”. Justin Welby does not explicitly refer to the Labour party, but his intervention a few hours after the chief rabbi’s excoriating public criticism of Jeremy Corbyn is significant.

In an article in the Times, Ephraim Mirvis, Britain’s most senior Jewish leader, accused Corbyn of allowing a “poison sanctioned from the top” to take root in the party, saying the way the Labour leadership had dealt with anti-Jewish racism was “incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud – of dignity and respect for all people”.

Welby posted on Twitter: “That the chief rabbi should be compelled to make such an unprecedented statement at this time ought to alert us to the deep sense of insecurity and fear felt by many British Jews. They should be able to love in accordance with their beliefs and freely express their culture and faith.”

Acknowledging the Church of England’s own history of antisemitism – the subject of a major report last week – Welby continued: “None of us can afford to be complacent. Voicing words that commit to a stand against antisemitism requires a corresponding effort in visible action.”

The chief rabbi’s comments were also supported by Rabbi Julia Neuberger, a crossbench peer, who said the Jewish community had been gripped by anxiety. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Lady Neuberger said that under Corbyn’s leadership “there has been this insidious antisemitic tone to quite a lot of what’s happened and an unwillingness to really face it.”

She added: “If they’re not willing to tackle that, if they’re not willing to apologise for it, if they’re not willing to sympathise, then something is going very wrong. “A political party where some of its members leave because of antisemitic taunting, which still cannot deal with it, makes people feel very uncomfortable.”

That same archbishop of Canterbury’s church was chided for, wait for it, antisemitism, but that’s safely in the past, or so they say. So now he gets to chide others for the exact same thing. No, it’s not in the church, and not in the Conservative party, let’s focus on Corbyn, just so he loses.

Church of England Says Christians Must Repent For Past Antisemitism

Christians must repent for centuries of antisemitism which ultimately led to the Holocaust, the Church of England has said in a document that seeks to promote a new Christian-Jewish relationship. However, the church’s move to take responsibility for its part in Jewish persecution was impaired by stinging criticism by the chief rabbi of the continued “specific targeting” of Jews for conversion to Christianity.

[..] The document acknowledged that two C of E cathedrals, Norwich and Lincoln, were associated with the spread of the “blood libel” in the late Middle Ages. Jewish communities were falsely accused of abducting and killing Christian children to use their blood in the making of Passover matzos (unleavened bread). “This allegation, originating in England, became the catalyst for the murder of many Jews in this country and across Europe, especially in pogroms at Eastertide.”

[..] In a foreword to the document, Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury – known to be personally close to the chief rabbi – said Mirvis’s comments were “written as a friend, and they are received in a similar spirit, however tough they are to read”. He added: “The chief rabbi has opened, with characteristic honesty and affection, a challenge upon which we must reflect. We cannot do that reflection honestly until we have felt the cruelty of our history.”

Yes, boys and girls, it’s election time, and all is fair in love and war and elections. But please pay at least some attention, don’t let these idiots frame your opinions or shape your emotions. They’re doing it for their own gains, not yours. They don’t represent you, they’re using you and will spit you out at the first occasion they see as profitable.

OffGuardian had this nice graph on how big the Labour antisemitism problem really is:

 

 

That’s right, the problem doesn’t exist. At 0.08%, nothing is a problem, it’s a rounding error. Stop listening to these people. I know, I know, too late now, and Corbyn must take the blame for that. You can’t win in 2019 with only the tools and worldview of 1969. I’m neutral on Brexit, though I don’t think the Tories’ approach, doing nothing and then expecting everything to solve itself, is good for Britain. Feels like a scam to me. Britain hasn’t made its own laws in 40 years, and it’s fine if it wants to start doing that again, but it takes a real effort. But where is that effort?

Moreover, after decades of Maggie Thatcher, neocon Tony Blair and successive Tory governments, I’m not at all surprised to read that Parts Of England ‘Have Higher Mortality Rates Than Turkey’. And so I’m not surprised either that Corbyn is so much of a threat to Boris that they send the Chief Rabbi and the Archbishop of Canterbury to finish him off, on “out of hot air” grounds.

Summarized, the media have/has changed far more than people acknowledge. Corbyn can’t win with 1969 tools, but it appears that perhaps the press can. For me this is not about Trump or Corbyn, they are merely symbolic of what is happening, the main point is that our view of the world in increasingly being pre-cooked and pre-chewed, and far too few people see what’s going on with their opinions.

They still think they’re their own opinions. But the reason why they’re fed these stories is because the media make money of off selling these opinions to them, not because of some loftier ideal.

Nice point in case is this tweet from George Monbiot, environmental writer for the Guardian:

 

 

You see, Monbiot is employed by the Guardian, at a plush salary, and he pretends to stand up for Assange here. But his employer is one of the main reasons why Assange is where he is. The Guardian has run a concerted smear campaign against Assange like nobody else I’m aware of. The entirely false story about Paul Manafort visiting Assange in the Ecuador embassy is just the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

So you would think George mentions that, and tells you he despises his own mealticket. You would think Monbiot perhaps would say: I only had 140 characters in that tweet. And I would say: no, George, you have zero character.

 

 

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Apr 142019
 


Edward Hopper The Sheridan Theatre 1937

 

Draghi Worries About Fate Of Fed’s Independence (MW)
The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in Canada Deflate (WS)
UK Tories Face European Elections Drubbing (Ind.)
Corbyn Told To Promise Final Say Referendum (Ind.)
It’s The UK Political System, Not Just MPs, That Is Failing (G.)
UK Media, MPs Unveil Latest Assange Deception (Cook)
American Values: Embassies Are For Chopping Up Journalists (McDonald)
Assange Is In The Dock, But Investigative Journalism Is On Trial (Crikey)
The Obvious Dirty Dealings Behind Julian Assange’s Arrest (OG)
Anonymous Attacks Continue Against Ecuadorian Government Websites (Cassandra)

 

 

Independence from what? Reality?

Draghi Worries About Fate Of Fed’s Independence (MW)

Concerns about central-bank independence are on the rise.Take, for example, the cover of this week’s edition of the Economist. And while not solely a U.S. concern, a steady stream of complaints by President Donald Trump about the Federal Reserve’s earlier string of interest-rate hikes and his announcement he would nominate Stephen Moore and Herman Cain — both widely criticized as unqualified and likely to act at the behest of the White house on policy decisions — to the central bank’s governing board have sparked fears the central bank’s policy independence could be at risk. (Four Republican senators have said they would vote against Cain if he were formally put forward, likely sinking his chances.)

On Saturday, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi appeared to take notice: ‘I’m certainly worried about central bank independence in other countries, especially…in the most important jurisdiction in the world.’ Draghi’s remarks, as reported by Reuters, came at a news conference at the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington. They also marked a rare instance of a central banker opining about the operations of a foreign central bank. “If the central bank is not independent, then people may well think that monetary policy decisions follow political advice rather than objective assessment of the economic outlook,” said Draghi.

Read more …

Amid all the loud news, both Canada and Australia are slipping fast.

The Most Splendid Housing Bubbles in Canada Deflate (WS)

Canada’s housing markets barely dipped during the Financial Crisis when US housing markets ran into deep trouble, causing the Mortgage Crisis that begat all kinds of other crises. Canadian homeowners and banks watched the mess from across the border and shook their heads. But now, after an 18-year housing boom, the downturn has arrived in Vancouver and Toronto, among the formerly hottest housing bubbles in the world.


The Teranet-National Bank House Price Index tracks single-family house prices, based on “sales pairs,” similar to the S&P CoreLogic Case Shiller index for US housing markets. It compares the sales price of a house in the current month to the prior sale of the same house years earlier. Using “sales pairs” eliminates the issues that affect median-price indices. But the median-price data for Vancouver is a lot more disconcerting than the Teranet data. So let’s compare how Vancouver’s housing bubble stacks up against the legendary but now also deflating housing bubble in San Francisco.

House prices in the Greater Toronto Area fell 0.3% in March from February and are down 4.3% from the peak in July 2017, the steepest 20-month decline since May 2009. From January 2002 through the peak in July 2017, the index soared 218% — meaning that house prices more than tripled. But that pales compared to Vancouver, where house prices more than quadrupled. I converted this Teranet index for Toronto house prices to “percent-change since January 2002” and overlaid the insane mind-boggling housing bubble in the San Francisco Bay Area, and it shows just how majestic the 18-year Toronto housing bubble has been:

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European elections in Britain do seem surreal.

UK Tories Face European Elections Drubbing (Ind.)

The Conservatives are facing a humiliating defeat at the European elections next month after support for the party slumped to its lowest level since 2013, according to a new poll. The survey shows the Tories on just 28 per cent when it comes to general election voting intention – a four-point fall which leaves them trailing Labour on 32. When voters were asked which party they will vote for at the European elections, Theresa May’s party languished on 16 per cent, eight points behind Labour on 24. In a clear sign support for the Conservatives is crumbling over the failure to deliver Brexit, 56 per cent of people who voted to leave at the 2016 referendum said they would back Ukip or Nigel Farage’s newly formed Brexit Party during next month’s vote.


The Brexit Party is on 15 per cent, while Ukip stands at 14 per cent when it comes to European voting intention, the YouGov poll for The Times indicated. By comparison, the Lib Dems and the Greens are both on 8 per cent, while Change UK has 7 per cent support. No 10 is still hoping to get a deal through parliament in time to avoid participation in the European elections on 23 May. But the UK is formally on track to hold the poll, having informed the EU authorities ahead of Friday’s deadline that it would be taking part. Boris Johnson’s backers have suggested he may not even campaign on behalf of his party next month in an effort to show his displeasure at the UK’s involvement. “Boris won’t campaign in European elections. He believes the prospect of the UK fielding candidates is utterly preposterous,” a source told The Times.

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Something only a small group wants. But then, that’s true of all Brexit issues and ‘solutions’.

Corbyn Told To Promise Final Say Referendum (Ind.)

Jeremy Corbyn is under intense pressure from within his shadow cabinet to give a strong commitment to a new Brexit referendum as part of Labour’s European election campaign offer. A string of senior shadow ministers are advocating a new public vote, alongside MPs from the left and right of the party, buoyed by a groundswell of support from the membership. The Independent understands Labour is now beginning the process of drawing up its manifesto with those wanting to give the public a final say on Brexit pushing the leader to make a strong bid for the Remain vote on polling day. Mr Corbyn’s team is currently engaged in talks with the Conservatives in an effort to find a Brexit compromise deal that can enjoy majority support in the House of Commons, with a referendum having been discussed during the negotiations.


The leader’s office emphasised that decisions on the manifesto were yet to be discussed, with the party simultaneously defending its majorities against the pro-Remain Change UK party run by Labour defectors and Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party. One shadow cabinet source told The Independent: “We can’t credibly agree to any deal unless there is a confirmatory referendum attached to it. “We should be telling people about that, the support is there to be had.” The European elections are set to become a rerun of the 2016 referendum campaign with parties positioning themselves along the Brexit spectrum from Leave to Remain.

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Party before country.

It’s The UK Political System, Not Just MPs, That Is Failing (G.)

Brexit has prompted a recurring nightmare among an increasingly incredulous population: our very own Groundhog Day. Two weeks after the EU granted us an 11th-hour extension to prevent us crashing out without a deal, we are back in exactly the same position. The only thing standing between us and next Friday’s cliff edge is the hope the EU gifts us another extension. Meanwhile, the political turmoil engulfing the country worsens, the two main parties increasingly consumed by division and disarray and the political leadership we so desperately need to avert crisis as elusive as ever. It’s hard to believe that the Westminster model of democracy was one prized by constitutional theorists for the stability it purportedly delivers. As the stakes get higher, our political system has proved less and less capable of delivering a resolution to the gridlock that has infected Westminster.

Brexit has been a story of the favouring of party management over the national interest. From the very beginning, Theresa May’s approach to Brexit – from her premature decision to trigger article 50 to her red lines on freedom of movement and the customs union – has been driven not by a strategy to unite the country in the wake of a divisive referendum but to keep her Brexit ultras on side. Only now it has become clear that there are MPs in her party so fanatically dogmatic that they would rather hold out for no deal than vote for her deal has she opened compromise talks with Labour. But Labour emerged from the talks on Friday complaining that no changes to the political declaration were on offer, suggesting that this move may have been more about trying to lay blame for any further delay on the opposition.

Labour’s strategy has been no less determined by party interest. Jeremy Corbyn has kept a position of barely credible ambiguity for as long as possible to avoid alienating any of its voters. Labour has maintained the charade that it could deliver a Brexit deal that delivers all the benefits of EU membership with none of costs. And Labour has failed to provide any leadership support for a confirmatory referendum on any Brexit deal, with the shadow cabinet split on the issue. Time is running out for Labour to decide once and for all whether it will properly swing its weight behind a referendum. Thanks to the mess the Tories are in, Corbyn is in a position of power, if he only chooses to use it.

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Another excellent essay from Jonathan Cook.

UK Media, MPs Unveil Latest Assange Deception (Cook)

[..] the public conversation in the UK, sympathetically reported by the Guardian, supposedly Britain’s only major liberal news outlet, is going to be about who has first dibs on Assange. Here’s the first paragraph of the Guardian front-page article: “Political pressure is mounting on [Home Secretary] Sajid Javid to prioritise action that would allow Julian Assange to be extradited to Sweden, amid concerns that US charges relating to Wikileaks’ activities risked overshadowing longstanding allegations of rape.” So the concern is not that Assange is facing rendition to the US, it is that the US claim might “overshadow” an outstanding legal case in Sweden. The 70 MPs who signed the letter to Javid hope to kill two birds with one stone.

First, they are legitimising the discourse of the Trump administration. This is no longer about an illegitimate US extradition request on Assange we should all be loudly protesting. It is a competition between two legal claims, and a debate about which one should find legal remedy first. It weighs a woman’s sexual assault allegation against Assange and Wikileaks’ exposure of war crimes committed by the US military in Iraq and Afghanistan. It suggests that both are in the same category, that they are similar potential crimes. But there should only be one response to the US extradition claim on Assange. That it is entirely illegitimate. No debate. Anything less, any equivocation is to collude in the Trump administration’s narrative. The Swedish claim, if it is revived, is an entirely separate matter.

[..] In another article on Assange on Friday, the Guardian – echoing a common media refrain – reported as fact a demonstrably false claim: “Assange initially took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy to avoid extradition to Sweden.” There could be no possible reason for its reporters to make this elementary mistake other than that the Guardian is still waging its long-running campaign against Assange, the information revolution he represents and the challenge he poses to the corporate media of which the Guardian is a key part.

[..] Assange was previously wanted for questioning, and has never been charged with anything. If the Swedish extradition request is revived, it will be so that he can be questioned about those allegations. I should also point out, as almost no one else is, that Assange did not “flee” questioning. He offered Swedish prosecutors to question him at the embassy. Even though questioning overseas in extradition cases is common – Sweden has done it dozens of times – Sweden repeatedly refused in Assange’s case, leading the Swedish appeal court to criticise the prosecutors. When he was finally questioned after four years of delays, Swedish prosecutors violated his rights by refusing access to his Swedish lawyer.

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First amendment anyone?

American Values: Embassies Are For Chopping Up Journalists (McDonald)

202310Fair-minded people across the world have rightly condemned the US-ordered arrest of Julian Assange. However, few have noted how it fits part of a pattern of American hypocrisy when it comes to the treatment of journalists. Only six months ago, Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and hacked to pieces by Saudi agents at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. He was a columnist at the Washington Post and editor-in-chief of the Al-Arab News Channel, known for his sharp criticism of the illegal US-backed Saudi war on Yemen. Despite a CIA conclusion that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the gruesome assassination, President Donald Trump stood by his ally and no meaningful sanctions or penalties were directed towards Riyadh.


Turkey itself remains a NATO member, and close US partner, despite holding more journalists behind bars than any other nation on earth. This figure stood at 68, at the end of last year, around one-quarter of the global total of 251. Now we have the indictment of Assange, which seeks to criminalize basic functions of journalism. For instance, keeping sources anonymous or deleting records of conversations. Indeed, it also appears to be a breach of America’s own First Amendment. He has been targeted by Washington for exposing evidence of appalling atrocities, carried out by the US military, in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, as a result, Assange sought sanctuary in the small London embassy of Ecuador. What followed was relentless pressure on Quito to reverse the asylum it granted the Wikileaks founder and it culminated in his arrest.

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“That would forestall extradition for long enough for Jeremy Corbyn to become PM, at which point extradition would be refused. But it may be just all screaming chaos.”

Assange Is In The Dock, But Investigative Journalism Is On Trial (Crikey)

Team Assange had a defence on the jumping bail thing: “Your honour, my client had a reasonable fear that from remand he would be extradited to the US.” That was received reasonably. “Also that the previous presiding judge Lady Arbuthnot, did not recuse herself …” That was not. “You had ample time to raise this issue, and now you are traducing the reputation of a fine judge…” Snow went on. I thought of Peter Cook’s great monologue of the summing-up of the Jeremy Thorpe trial: “You have ruined the reputation of one of the most pretty defendants.” Once Assange had been found guilty of skipping bail, it got even weirder. “Your situation is a product of your narcissism,” said the magistrate clearly riled. He did not want the situation of Justice Lady Arbuthnot further explored. I am happy to do so.


Lady Arbuthnot, who ruled on the lawfulness of Assange’s continued criminalisation in the UK in 2015, is the wife of Lord Arbuthnot, a Conservative who has held multiple defence industry posts over the last two decades. This sally got short shrift, but it seemed to me intended to do so. Although when I asked a member of the legal team how it had all gone, they said “well, you saw that shit show in there”. So perhaps not. Assange is now on remand awaiting sentencing for the fleeing bail charge — the Magistrates Court having transferred it to the Crown Court, so a larger maximum sentence of 12 months instead of six, can be awarded. Is that a plan too? That would forestall extradition for long enough for Jeremy Corbyn to become PM, at which point extradition would be refused. But it may be just all screaming chaos.

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“Of course, the idea that Moreno is handling the economy brilliantly, but somehow also needs over $10 billion dollars in loans is never addressed.”

The Obvious Dirty Dealings Behind Julian Assange’s Arrest (OG)

The US has been planning to have Julian Assange handed over for a longtime, that much is obvious. Mike Pence, the Vice President, was visiting Ecuador last year, notionally to discuss the Venezuela situation, and trade. But it was fairly obvious at the time, and even more so now, that they were discussing the details of Assange being handed over to UK authorities, and eventually extradited to the US. “Trade”, indeed. In terms of quid pro quo, the situation is clear-cut – In February, Ecuador got a $4.2 BILLION loan approved by the International Monetary Fund (amongst other pay-outs). Reuters reported on February 19th of this year:

“Ecuador has reached a $4.2 billion staff-level financing deal with the IMF, President Lenin Moreno said on Wednesday, as the Andean country grapples with a large fiscal deficit and heavy external debt. The country will also receive $6 billion in loans from multilateral institutions including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the CAF Andean development bank…” So, less than 2 months ago, it was announced Ecuador was going to receive over 10 billion dollars of loans. Where all that money will eventually end up is anyone’s guess, it certainly isn’t being spent on infrastructure or state enterprise: “Moreno has begun to implement an austerity plan that includes layoffs of workers at state-owned companies and cuts to gasoline subsidies, also plans to find a private operator for state-run telecoms company CNT and other state-owned firms.”

President Moreno has already been the subject of numerous corruption accusations. So these “loans”, nominally for “[creating] work opportunities for those who have not yet found something stable”, could more realistically be described as “a pay-off”. More than just money, Lenin Moreno has been gifted something all insecure third-world leaders crave: Western approval. The Economist ran a story on April 12th, the day after Assange was arrested, praising Lenin Moreno’s economic policies, and blaming the previous administration for the “mess” that Moreno has to clear up. (Of course, the idea that Moreno is handling the economy brilliantly, but somehow also needs over $10 billion dollars in loans is never addressed. A tiny logical contradiction compared with the nonsense the MSM dish-up on a daily basis).

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Expect it to be used against Assange.

Anonymous Attacks Continue Against Ecuadorian Government Websites (Cassandra)

Over 30 websites belonging to the Ecuadorian government are now offline — some of them defaced — in protest of the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The hackers are calling their efforts #OpEcuador, and are also promoting #OpUS and #OpUK. The United States and United Kingdom have not yet been hit with any cyber attacks, that we know of. It is important to note that none of this was directed by WikiLeaks or Assange himself. Supporters are acting on their own with the attacks. A data dump from the hackers warns that “Ecuador Government websites has been taken #Offline with 1 Direct attack. There are few most important websites that’s still down at this time. If some of their servers comes up again, we will fire again to take them down!”

Websites that have been hit include the Central bank of Ecuador, their Ministry of Interior, the Ecuadorian Assembly in UK and the main website for the Government of Ecuador — mot of which had been down for over twelve hours by Saturday evening. The hackers primarily appear to be speaking and coordinating in Spanish — though one of the data dumps was in Indonesia. A Twitter account belonging to the hackers stated that if the websites come back online they will “burn their servers.” The hacking group also called for other supporters to join them.


An InfoSec expert and Assange supporter who has been monitoring the situation told the Gateway Pundit that he is concerned that the attacks will be used against Assange by the media. “My opinion is that it’s deserved karma, but it could enable the anti-Assange media to divert attention away from Julian’s value to journalism by wrongly associating him with reckless hacktivism culture.” He also expressed concern about there being collateral damage within the large data dumps that are being posted online. Other supporters expressed similar concerns, though many still agreed that the attacks are warranted.

Read more …

Mar 292019
 


Leonardo da Vinci Vitruvian man c1510

Leonardo wrote: “Vitruvius, architect, writes in his work on architecture that the measurements of man are distributed in this manner”:

The length of the outspread arms is equal to the height of a man.
From the hairline to the bottom of the chin is one-tenth of the height of a man.
From below the chin to the top of the head is one-eighth of the height of a man.
From above the chest to the top of the head is one-sixth of the height of a man.
From above the chest to the hairline is one-seventh of the height of a man.
The maximum width of the shoulders is a quarter of the height of a man.
From the breasts to the top of the head is a quarter of the height of a man.
From the elbow to the tip of the hand is a quarter of the height of a man.
From the elbow to the armpit is one-eighth of the height of a man.
The length of the hand is one-tenth of the height of a man.
The root of the penis [Il membro virile] is at half the height of a man.
The foot is one-seventh of the height of a man.

 

 

It’s almost silly to write anything on Brexit right now, because at right now+1 everything may have changed again. But almost silly is not the same as completely silly. At this point, whatever the outcome will be, it will serve to ridicule the idea and image of the UK as a functioning democracy. Something that ironically all participants in the Kabuki theater claim to be intent on preventing.

Both major parties -and supposedly other politicians too- say that “not respecting” the result of the Brexit referendum would imperil democracy. But “respecting” it at all cost will imperil it just as much, if not more.

On June 23, 2016, people voted on the question: “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” But nobody knew what they were voting for, and that’s reflected in today’s lack of agreement on what Brexit means, almost 3 years after the vote.

People had been inundated with promises about what Brexit would mean, especially from the Leave side, anxious to paint a vision of a wealthy country ‘finally’ able to sign it own trade deals with the world, free from compulsory contributions to Brussels. But none of these things were facts, they were promises, most of whom have so far turned out to be empty.

The notion that it is the summit of democracy to make people vote on things they don’t understand (because no-one can tell them) is a curious one. And it’s perhaps even more curious to maintain that voting when people have a better idea of what their vote will entail is undemocratic. That would open a “chasm of distrust”, is the claim. In reality that chasm has long been opened, just by the behavior of politicians.

What is happening as we speak is that politicians are free to turn on a dime – and do just that- when it comes to who or what they elect to support, but people are not. And that is being presented, by both left and right, as -more- democratic. They would like you to believe this is how a democracy should function, but none of that is cast in stone. It’s just another idea.

Underlying this idea about democracy is undoubtedly to some extent the fear of violent reactions from the Leave side if there were to be a second referendum, or if Brexit gets postponed “too long”. But do they really expect the country to accept all this cattle trading lying down, where MPs scramble to find something, anything that is accepted by a narrow margin, and that narrow margin will be used to push through Brexit, which itself was voted through by a narrow margin?!

That’s a serious question that no-one seems to ask: do they believe the 6 million people who have signed an anti-Brexit petition, and the over 1 million who marched in London on March 23, and who may come out in even larger numbers on the 30th, to remain peaceful after having witnessed how their interests are being squandered by politicians jockeying for position?

 

In the June 23, 2016 referendum, the Leave side got 17,410,742 votes (51.89%) while Remain got 16,141,241 votes (48.11%). That’s awfully close. In most jurisdictions it would be impossible to hold a vote with so much potential impact on a country, on its legal system, its trade etc., with such margins. Often if not mostly, a 2/3 majority would be needed to make such drastic changes.

There are solid reasons for such legal requirements. Many people would summarize them as guaranteeing the quality of a democracy. To name an example, one would expect a potential petition to get rid of Britain’s royal family to not be decided by just one vote either.

But that’s what is very much possible in the case of Brexit. If one of the 8 indicative votes held in Parliament had gotten a one vote majority, it could have dictated the way forward. The same is true for Theresa May’s deal, even after suffering two historically large losses in the house. Boris Johnson left government because of it, then said he’s sign up anyway, and the day after did a 180º again. Is it that strange that a democracy would want to build in a few safeguards against such shenanigans?

 

But perhaps most of all, what other countries would turn to much sooner when mired in a mess such as Brexit under May has become, is a national government. Because that is the ultimate instrument to make sure your democracy functions. Provided it’s executed in good faith. Such a government need not consist of -only- politicians either. Which fits in nicely with the anonymous comment from the Guardian that I posted under the title The Failure of Party Politics earlier this week:

We are no longer able to govern, we cannot lead and we cannot decide. We must return the question of our place in the world back to the people and once that’s done we must dissolve this house and our parties and a new slate be mined because right now not one of us is fit to stand in this place and claim leadership of this disunited kingdom.

Drag the UK out of the EU on 1 or 2 votes now, after almost 3 years of chaos and incompetence, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to end up with more chaos, at least some of which will not have a peaceful character. In order to prevent that from happening, take a step back and start talking to each other. In a venue other than that Parliament, because it has failed the people.

You can renege on May’s article 50 decision and continue in the EU, just with a lot of broken trust. But push through May’s contorted plans today and you’re stuck outside pretty much forever. There’s a lot wrong with the EU, and there’s little wrong with the idea in itself of leaving it, but people didn’t vote to Leave only to get stuck with even more incompetence than they had with Brussels. And chances are they simply won’t accept it.

So forget about your party politics, that system is dead regardless of any outcomes, you’ve just shown that day after exasperating day. Get a group of judges and lawyers and business people and people from all walks of life together and start a national conversation based on trust. You’re not going to like any of the alternatives.

By sticking to the Brexit process as it’s been developing up to this point you’re not guaranteeing democracy, you’re guaranteeing its demise.

NB: I fully expect you to continue as you have. I have good friends who live in the UK, and many readers, but it’s not where I reside, so it’s not really any skin off my back. But you guys hurt my eyes. As I wrote earlier today: Sometimes I wonder what John Lennon would have said.

 

 

Jan 042019
 


Yasuhiro Ishimoto Untitled, Chicago 1950

 

Congratulations! Apple Loses Record $463 Billion in Market Cap in Three Months (Mish)
Apple Just Lost A Facebook (CNBC)
Apple Suffers Its Biggest Single-Day Loss In 6 Years (CNBC)
Why This Time Is Different (MooTrades)
Democrats Introduce Impeachment Articles On 1st Day In The House (RT)
Canada Says 13 Citizens Detained In China Since Huawei CFO’s Arrest (R.)
UBS Chairman Pours Cold Water On Deutsche Bank Merger Talk (R.)
Google Shifted $23 Billion To Tax Haven Bermuda In 2017 (R.)
Over Half Of Tory Members Consider Quitting Party Over May’s Brexit Deal (BI)
US Judge Limits Evidence In Trial Over Roundup Cancer Claims (R.)
New Brazil President Bolsonaro Launches Assault On Amazon Rainforest (G.)

 

 

Losing half a trillion in 3 months should be no surprise now central banks have killed the negative feedback from a functioning market. It’ll be runaway wild swings till it is restored.

Congratulations! Apple Loses Record $463 Billion in Market Cap in Three Months (Mish)

Apple set a record that will take a long time to beat. The first $ trillion company lost nearly half that in 3 months. On, August 2, Apple became the World’s First Trillion-Dollar Company at $207.05 per share. Hooray! On October 3, Apple had a peak market cap of about $1.138 trillion. Today, Apple’s market cap is about $675 billion. That’s a record market cap loss of $463 billion in three short months. Expect more stories similar to this, but this may be hard to top. Amazon has a chance but it needs a big disaster soon.

Read more …

• more than double the size of Wells Fargo • more than three times the size of McDonald’s • more than five times the size of Costco • more than 10 times the size of Raytheon.

Apple Just Lost A Facebook (CNBC)

In only three months, Apple has lost $452 billion in market capitalization, including tens of billions on Thursday as the tech giant’s stock sank further. Apple shares have fallen by 39.1 percent since Oct. 3, when the stock hit a 52-week high of $233.47 a share. With its market cap down to about $674 billion, those losses are larger than individual value of 496 members of the S&P 500 — including Facebook and J.P. Morgan. Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Berkshire Hathaway are the only S&P 500 members with larger market caps than Apple’s loss since its recent high.

To put the Apple market value plunge in context, $446 billion is: • more than double the size of Wells Fargo • more than three times the size of McDonald’s • more than five times the size of Costco • more than 10 times the size of Raytheon. Apple gave a sudden warning to investors on Wednesday afternoon, lowering its fiscal first-quarter revenue guidance. Wall Street reacted, with one analyst saying this will represent Apple’s “biggest miss in years” and another saying the company’s announcement “raises more questions than answers.” Apple CEO Tim Cook’s letter to investors blamed a variety of factors for the guidance cut, including declining iPhone revenue and China’s weakening economy.

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Only 6 years? That makes it sound cookie cutter.

Apple Suffers Its Biggest Single-Day Loss In 6 Years (CNBC)

Apple stock cratered almost 10 percent Thursday, a day after slashing revenue guidance in a rare acknowledgement of waning sales. The stock ended trading at $142.19, its lowest price level since July 2017. The plunge makes for Apple’s worst day of trading since January 2013, and it extends a painful year-end trend for Apple into 2019. The stock, which once traded above $230 per share, shed 30 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018. Thursday’s losses push Apple’s market valuation below $700 billion and behind the market cap of Alphabet to become the fourth most valuable publicly traded U.S. company — down from the top spot just two months ago. The company has lost $450 billion in market value since its peak of about $1.1 trillion last year.

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Hard not to think that people working in finance still can’t believe the industry doesn’t function. They keep trying to explain what happens, from inside their faulty models.

Why This Time Is Different (MooTrades)

We have seen the last three bull markets catalyzed largely by loosening liquidity conditions during the bear markets that preceded them by central banks — in more and more of a globally coordinated fashion. This has led me to believe that the expansion of liquidity is the primary driver for consistent risk asset upward price revisions (aka bull markets). More than economic developments, earnings or political discourse. As a result it is crucial to realize that the ‘punch bowl’ of quantitative easing, the veritable liquidity spigot that juiced markets higher over the last 9.5 years, is not only running dry, but going in reverse (taking liquidity from markets). The impact of this reversal cannot overstated. It will be the primary catalyst that drives this bear market in equities lower. Only a reversal of tightening liquidity conditions will drive risk assets higher again.

Macro: • $1 of US GDP growth now costs $4 of debt, and is only growing as we push on the string of debt to borrow forward demand to today. • US now has $200 trillion of unfunded liabilities over the next 10 year period. • Debt monetization isn’t just important, it will become a necessity. Otherwise rates normalize and the party ends in a very bad way (insolvency and/or extreme austerity measures).

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Everybody is getting ready for a fight. Just not one that would benefit their voters.

Democrats Introduce Impeachment Articles On 1st Day In The House (RT)

Democrats are flexing their muscles as the incoming majority in the US House of Representatives, introducing articles of impeachment and even quixotic constitutional amendments even though they have no hope of passing. Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) introduced articles of impeachment on the first day of the 2019 Congress, starting with a resolution demanding President Donald Trump be impeached for “threatening, and then terminating” then-FBI Director James Comey in 2017. Reserving the option to introduce more articles later, Sherman told CNN he wanted to be able to “force the conversation on impeachment” when (if?) the Mueller report is released, “challenging” his Democratic colleagues who haven’t yet chosen to support Trump’s impeachment.

Sherman filed the exact same impeachment resolution in 2017 but could only muster one supporter, Rep. Al Green (D-TX), who later filed his own articles of impeachment. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) didn’t even wait until she was seated as a congresswoman to go after the president’s job, publishing an op-ed on Thursday entitled “Now is the time to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump.” “We already have overwhelming evidence that the president has committed impeachable offenses,” she wrote, accusing Trump of “abuse of power and abuse of the public trust” along with a laundry list of crimes. In person, she was even more direct, reportedly telling a MoveOn.org reception, “We’re gonna impeach that mother**ker.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has been noticeably reticent on impeachment, telling NBC on Thursday that Democrats should wait for the Mueller report before making any moves. “We shouldn’t be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn’t avoid impeachment for a political reason,” she said. Many rank-and-file Democrats ran on pro-impeachment platforms, but with polls indicating only a third of Americans support the idea and a two-thirds majority in the Republican-controlled Senate required to remove the president, they are unlikely to make any sudden moves.

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“..there are almost 900 Canadians in a similar situation in the United States..”

Canada Says 13 Citizens Detained In China Since Huawei CFO’s Arrest (R.)

Canada has said 13 of its citizens have been detained in China since the Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested in December in Vancouver at the request of the US. “At least” eight of those 13 have since been released, a Canadian government statement said, without disclosing what charges if any had been laid. Prior to Thursday’s statement, detention of only three Canadian citizens had been publicly disclosed. Diplomatic tensions between Canada and China have escalated since Meng’s arrest on 1 December. The Canadian government has said several times it sees no explicit link between the arrest of Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder, and the detentions of Canadian citizens. But Beijing-based western diplomats and former Canadian diplomats have said they believe the detentions were a “tit-for-tat” reprisal by China.

Meng was released on a C$10m ($7.4m) bail on 11 December and is living in one of her two Vancouver homes as she fights extradition to the US. The 46-year-old executive must wear an ankle monitor and stay at home from 11pm to 6am. The 13 Canadians detained included Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor and Sarah McIver, a Canadian government official said on Thursday. McIver, a teacher, has been released and returned to Canada. Kovrig and Spavor remain in custody. Canadian consular officials saw them once each in mid-December. Overall there are about 200 Canadians who have been detained in China for a variety of alleged infractions and continue to face on-going legal proceedings. “This number has remained relatively stable,” the official said. In comparison there are almost 900 Canadians in a similar situation in the United States, the official said.

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Who’s going to save Deutsche? It’s far too big not to be saved. But it would drag down any other bank with it. Let the German government do it.

UBS Chairman Pours Cold Water On Deutsche Bank Merger Talk (R.)

Swiss bank UBS is not looking to merge with any other bank, Chairman Axel Weber told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper, dismissing speculation that UBS could join forces with Deutsche Bank. “There is a lot of talk in Europe and the United States about mergers but nothing happens. These are all simulation games,” he said in an interview published on Thursday. Asked specifically about whether UBS, the world’s largest wealth manager, was running simulations about Germany’s biggest lender, Weber said: “Every company has to think things over, but it makes little sense to consider mergers at group level now. These paralyze companies for years.

“UBS is much stronger today than before the financial crisis, but combining with another bank — no matter which — would be premature at this moment. We want to grow primarily organically and we surely have to be able to walk before we want to run.” Weber, a former Bundesbank chief who joined UBS in 2012, said he could imagine remaining in his post until 2022. Asked how long Chief Executive Sergio Ermotti might stay, he said UBS wanted an orderly leadership transition and was under no pressure to act while it ensured the right talent was in place.

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The Dutch finance minister published a list of tax havens a few days ago. Holland wasn’t on it. These people don’t give a sh*t about their credibility.

Google Shifted $23 Billion To Tax Haven Bermuda In 2017 (R.)

Google moved 19.9 billion euros ($22.7 billion) through a Dutch shell company to Bermuda in 2017, as part of an arrangement that allows it to reduce its foreign tax bill, according to documents filed at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce. The amount channeled through Google Netherlands Holdings BV was around 4 billion euros more than in 2016, the documents, filed on Dec. 21, showed. “We pay all of the taxes due and comply with the tax laws in every country we operate in around the world,” Google said in a statement. “Google, like other multinational companies, pays the vast majority of its corporate income tax in its home country, and we have paid a global effective tax rate of 26 percent over the last ten years.”

For more than a decade the arrangement has allowed Google owner Alphabet to enjoy an effective tax rate in the single digits on its non-U.S. profits, around a quarter the average tax rate in its overseas markets. The subsidiary in the Netherlands is used to shift revenue from royalties earned outside the United States to Google Ireland Holdings, an affiliate based in Bermuda, where companies pay no income tax. The tax strategy, known as the “Double Irish, Dutch Sandwich”, is legal and allows Google to avoid triggering U.S. income taxes or European withholding taxes on the funds, which represent the bulk of its overseas profits.

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“76% of Tory members said that warnings about no deal Brexit — like those on food & medicine — are “exaggerated or invented, and in reality leaving without a deal would not cause serious disruption.”

Over Half Of Tory Members Consider Quitting Party Over May’s Brexit Deal (BI)

Conservative party members overwhelmingly want MPs to vote down Theresa May’s Brexit deal, with more than half saying they have even considered ripping up their membership over it, according to a new poll. A survey of 1,215 Tory party members published on Friday found that 59% of Conservative party members oppose the Withdrawal Agreement May has negotiated with the European Union, while just 38% support it. Among all Conservative party members, more than half (56%) said they had considered quitting the party over May’s deal, according to YouGov polling for leading academics at the ESRC-funded Party Members Project.

The findings will spook figures in Downing Street who had hoped that Conservative MPs would return from their constituencies over Christmas having been urged by party members to get behind May and her deal. The prime minister was forced to postpone a parliamentary vote on her deal after more than 100 of her MPs announced that they planned to oppose it. [..] The Tory party membership is particularly supportive of leaving the EU without a deal, despite the myriad warnings from ministers about the disruption it would cause across multiple aspects of life in the UK, including food and medicine. A whopping 76% of Tory members said that warnings about a no deal Brexit are “exaggerated or invented, and in reality leaving without a deal would not cause serious disruption.” Just 18% said the warnings were realistic.

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The -legal- power of Monsanto should never be underestimated.

US Judge Limits Evidence In Trial Over Roundup Cancer Claims (R.)

A federal judge overseeing lawsuits alleging Bayer’s glyphosate-based weed killer causes cancer has issued a ruling that could severely restrict evidence that the plaintiffs consider crucial to their cases. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco in an order on Thursday granted Bayer unit Monsanto’s request to split an upcoming trial into two phases. The order initially bars lawyers for plaintiff Edwin Hardeman from introducing evidence that the company allegedly attempted to influence regulators and manipulate public opinion.

Thursday’s order applies to Hardeman’s case, which is scheduled to go to trial on Feb. 25, and two other so-called bellwether trials which will help determine the range of damages and define settlement options for the rest of the 620 Roundup cases before Chhabria. But Hardeman’s lawyers contended that such evidence, including internal Monsanto documents, showed the company’s misconduct and were critical to California state court jury’s August 2018 decision to award $289 million in a similar case. The verdict sent Bayer shares tumbling though the award was later reduced to $78 million and is under appeal. Under Chhabria’s order, evidence of Monsanto’s alleged misconduct would be allowed only if glyphosate was found to have caused Hardeman’s cancer and the trial proceeded to a second phase to determine Bayer’s liability.

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Time to cut all ties with Brazil.

New Brazil President Bolsonaro Launches Assault On Amazon Rainforest (G.)

Hours after taking office, Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, has launched an assault on environmental and Amazon protections with an executive order transferring the regulation and creation of new indigenous reserves to the agriculture ministry – which is controlled by the powerful agribusiness lobby. The move sparked outcry from indigenous leaders, who said it threatened their reserves, which make up about 13% of Brazilian territory, and marked a symbolic concession to farming interests at a time when deforestation is rising again. “There will be an increase in deforestation and violence against indigenous people,” said Dinaman Tuxá, the executive coordinator of the Articulation of Indigenous People of Brazil (Apib).

“Indigenous people are defenders and protectors of the environment.” Sonia Guajajara, an indigenous leader who stood as vice-presidential candidate for the Socialism and Freedom party (PSOL) tweeted her opposition. “The dismantling has already begun,” she posted on Tuesday. Previously, demarcation of indigenous reserves was controlled by the indigenous agency Funai, which has been moved from the justice ministry to a new ministry of women, family and human rights controlled by an evangelical pastor. The decision was included in an executive order which also gave Bolsonaro’s government secretary potentially far-reaching powers over non-governmental organizations working in Brazil.

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Dec 122018
 


Joseph Mallord William Turner Sunrise over Plain, with Figures 1830

 

Tory MPs Trigger Vote Of No Confidence In Theresa May Today (G.)
1000s Remain In Custody In France After Preventive Arrests (RT)
Macron’s Multi-Billion Giveaways Could Cost France Dearly (CNBC)
Yellen Warns Of Another Financial Crisis: Gigantic Holes In The System (CNBC)
IMF Warns Storm Clouds Are Gathering For Next Financial Crisis (G.)
Trump Says Fed Shouldn’t Hike Rates, But Calls Powell ‘A Good Man’ (R.)
Greece Scraps Pension Cuts (R.)
‘Forced Tech Transfer’ Must Stop Or Be Regulated – EU Envoy To China (CNBC)
Ocasio-Cortez Already Reveals The Inner Workings Of Congress (CNBC)
Faking Moon Landing More Difficult Than Doing It (RT)

 

 

May could well be out by the end of the day.

Listening to May’s speech on this topic this morning was weird. Despite her government having gutted so much of Britain’s social systems, think NHS, think child poverty, she talks about a future in which she will be leaving nobody behind. But she already did just that, in spades. It’s Orwell.

Also worth enjoying: a few hours before the Tories triggered their vote, there was this headline: Labour Keeps Open Possibility Of December No-Confidence Vote. Boy, did they miss the boat there or what? Doesn’t exactly spell having your finger on the pulse, does it? Makes Jeremy Corbyn look like a man fast asleep. Amid all the chaos, they’re still being pre-empted by the people they should have long replaced.

Tory MPs Trigger Vote Of No Confidence In Theresa May Today (G.)

Conservative MPs have triggered a vote of no confidence in Theresa May, plunging the Brexit process into chaos as Tory colleagues indicated they no longer had faith in the prime minister to deliver the deal. Sir Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 Committee, has received at least 48 letters from Conservative MPs calling for a vote of no confidence in May. Under party rules, a contest is triggered if 15% of Conservative MPs write to the chair of the committee of Tory backbenchers. A ballot will be held on Wednesday evening between 6pm and 8pm, Brady said, with votes counted “immediately afterwards and an announcement will be made as soon as possible”.

In a press release, he said: “The threshold of 15% of the parliamentary party seeking a vote of confidence in the leader of the Conservative party has been exceeded.” The prime minister will now need the backing of at least 158 Tory MPs to see off the Brexiters’ challenge, and her position would then be safe for 12 months. However, the prime minister could decide to resign if votes against her were below the threshold to topple her, but significant enough in number.

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Orwell reigns supreme. 4,500+ arrested. 4,000+ still behind bars. And here’s what the Macron government has to say about it: “..there were in fact no preventive arrests but only “preventive control” measures.”

1000s Remain In Custody In France After Preventive Arrests (RT)

The number of people arrested since the beginning of the massive popular protests that have gripped France for weeks has surpassed a staggering 4,500, with critics calling the actions of the authorities crackdown on democracy. The French police have detained a total of 4,523 people in connection to the so-called Yellow Vests protests that united tens of thousands of people across the country discontent with taxes polices and fuel prices hikes. Of those almost 4,100 still remain in police custody, the French BFM TV broadcaster reported, citing police sources. Earlier, the French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner confirmed that more than 1,900 people were arrested in connection to the protests in just one day – on Saturday, December 8.

More than 1,700 of them were taken into custody. However, the French media later reported that the number of those arrested on that day might in fact have reached 2,000 people. Part of those arrests seemed to be a preventive measure as they occurred before the protests. And the practice alarmed many. “When we [see] 1,000 people [detained] and 540 of them released two days later, it is obvious that there were at least 540 absolutely unjustified arrests,” a Paris lawyer, Raphael Kempf, told BFM, commenting on the issue. “Being locked up for 48 hours, they were deprived of their right to join a demonstration and this is shocking for a democratic country,” he added. The government, however, justified its approach by saying that there were in fact no preventive arrests but only “preventive control” measures.


Macron declaring his solidarity with the peuple from behind a gold desk.

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Napoleon is an emperor. He’s bigger than Brussels.

Macron’s Multi-Billion Giveaways Could Cost France Dearly (CNBC)

French President Emmanuel Macron announced tax cuts and wage rises on Monday in a bid to placate anti-government protesters, but the move will increase France’s budget deficit and is likely to create tensions with the European Commission. Macron promised on Monday to raise the minimum wage by 100 euros ($114) a month and that overtime will not be taxed or subject to social welfare charges. He also said the tax hike on pensions will be reversed for anyone with an income of below 2,000 euros a month, and encouraged companies to pay a tax-free end-of-year bonus.

[..] Macron’s promises might be a balm to some protesters, but economists note that they come at a cost. France’s borrowing costs rose on Tuesday with the spread between France and German ten-year bonds – seen as an indicator of risk sentiment – the widest since May 2017. The yield on France’s 10-year bond rose five basis points to 0.756 percent Tuesday before declining to 0.726 percent. Macron’s pledges are likely to get France into trouble with the European Commission for raising its budget deficit, the amount by which its spending exceeds its revenues, above the permitted limit of 2 percent of GDP. Macron’s announcement could also be a gift to Italy, given its own wrangling with the Commission over its spending plans for 2019.

“Macron’s sweeteners are coming at a cost,” Berenberg Economists Kallum Pickering and Florian Hense said in a research note Tuesday. “They add up to 10 billion euros or slightly more, equivalent to 0.4 percent of GDP. On top of the already announced 4 billion to cancel the fuel tax hike, this could push the 2019 deficit from 2.8 percent to 3.4 percent of GDP unless offset by savings, which will be difficult to find,” they noted. France’s debt-to-GDP will likely rise beyond 100 percent as a result of the concessions too.

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More Orwell: Yellen’s “The tools that are available to deal with emerging problems are not great in the United States.” Should be:“The tools that are available to deal with the problems I caused are not great in the United States.”

Yellen Warns Of Another Financial Crisis: Gigantic Holes In The System (CNBC)

Former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told a New York audience she fears there could be another financial crisis because banking regulators have seen reductions in their authority to address panics and because of the current push to deregulate. “I think things have improved, but then I think there are gigantic holes in the system,” Yellen said Monday night in a discussion moderated by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman at CUNY. “The tools that are available to deal with emerging problems are not great in the United States.” Yellen cited leverage loans as an area of concern, something also mentioned by the current Fed leadership. She said regulators can only address such problems at individual banks not throughout the financial system.

The former fed chair, now a scholar at the Brookings Institution, said there remains an agenda of unfinished regulation. “I’m not sure we’re working on those things in the way we should, and then there remain holes, and then there’s regulatory pushback. So I do worry that we could have another financial crisis.” In the wake of the financial crisis, some agency regulatory powers were vastly expanded, but others, for example, the ability of the Fed to lend to an individual company in a crisis, were curtailed. Current Fed officials have pushed back against criticism that their reforms are making the system riskier, saying they are making the system more efficient. Speaking in London in June 2017, shortly after leaving office, Yellen had said she did not believe there would be another financial crisis in our lifetimes because of financial reforms.

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What goes for Yellen and the Fed, also applies to the IMF: they apparently remain convinced that crises happen not because of, but despite them.

IMF Warns Storm Clouds Are Gathering For Next Financial Crisis (G.)

The storm clouds of the next global financial crisis are gathering despite the world financial system being unprepared for another downturn, the deputy head of the International Monetary Fund has warned. David Lipton, the first deputy managing director of the IMF, said that “crisis prevention is incomplete” more than a decade on from the last meltdown in the global banking system. “As we have put it, ‘fix the roof while the sun shines’. But, like many of you, I see storm clouds building and fear the work on crisis prevention is incomplete.” Lipton said individual nation states alone would lack the firepower to combat the next recession, while calling on governments to work together to tackle the issues that could spark another crash.

“We ought to be concerned about the potency of monetary policy,” he said of the ability of the US Federal Reserve and other central banks to cut interest rates to boost the economy in the event of another downturn, while also warning that high levels of borrowing by governments constrained their scope for cutting taxes and raising spending. Lipton said the IMF went into the last crash under-resourced before it was handed a war chest worth $1tn from governments around the world, while adding that it was important that national leaders had agreed to complete a review of the fund’s financial firepower next year. “One lesson from that crisis was the IMF went into it under-resourced; we should try to avoid that next time.”

[..] Against a backdrop of Donald Trump engaging in a bitter trade dispute with Beijing, he said China needed to lower trade barriers, while also impose tougher rules to protect intellectual property – a key complaint of the US president. Lipton suggested that Chinese trade policies that were once considered acceptable when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001 as a $1tn economy may now be inappropriate as it had become a $16tn international superpower. However, he did warn that the US should not take an overly heavy-handed approach to reform, adding: “China has many reforms that it could carry out that would be in its own interest and in the interest of countries around the globe. But China feels they can’t take those steps, as they put it, with a gun to their head, in the midst of trade tensions.”

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“I think we are a rocket ship going up.”

Trump Says Fed Shouldn’t Hike Rates, But Calls Powell ‘A Good Man’ (R.)

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday it would be a mistake if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates when it meets next week, as it is expected to do, continuing his criticism of the U.S. central bank. “I think that would be foolish, but what can I say?” Trump told Reuters in an interview. Trump said he needed the flexibility of lower interest rates to support the broader U.S. economy as he fights a growing trade battle against China, and potentially other countries. “You have to understand, we’re fighting some trade battles and we’re winning. But I need accommodation too,” he said.

Trump named Jerome Powell as Fed chairman, but has repeatedly railed against him since he took over as head of the U.S. central bank last February. Trump in August told Reuters that he was not “thrilled” with Powell’s raising interest rates. Trump was more conciliatory in his comments about Powell on Tuesday, but still criticized the policies of the man he chose for the top Fed job. “I think he’s a good man. I think he’s trying to do what he thinks is best. I disagree with him,” Trump said. “I think he’s being too aggressive, far too aggressive, actually far too aggressive.” [..] “Are we heading for a recession?” Trump said. “In my opinion, we are doing really well. Our companies are doing really well. If the Fed is going to act reasonably and rationally, I think we’ll go – I think we are a rocket ship going up.”

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Round 14 of pension cuts is reversed. The rest remains.

Greece Scraps Pension Cuts (R.)

Greece’s Parliament on Tuesday voted to scrap plans to cut state pensions, in a motion led by the left-led governing coalition hoping to shore up its flagging support ahead of a general election next year. Eventually the bailout, worth up to 86 billion euros, expired in August without IMF assistance, and Athens has said better-than-expected public finances enable it to rescind the planned cutbacks. The European Commission has approved the government’s decision. “The time has come for people to be rewarded for their sacrifices,” Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told lawmakers ahead of the vote, calling the step a “necessary breath for the people of labour … who saw their pensions and their dignity hurt.”

Pensioners, who are in many households the only people with an income due to the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone, have seen earnings shrink by up to 40 percent since Greece toppled into crisis in late 2009. Tsipras’s term ends in 2019. His SYRIZA party is trailing the conservative New Democracy by about 10 points in opinion polls. Since 2010, Greece has signed up to three international bailouts totalling almost 290 billion euros, and will remain heavily indebted for years to come. The country is monitored by its eurozone partners and the IMF to ensure it does not veer off post-bailout targets aimed at maintaining high budget surpluses in coming years.

New Democracy (ND) accused the government of increasing taxes and handing out benefits from budget revenues to win votes. “You are wearing the mask of the philanthropist just to tip people from their own savings,” ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis told Tsipras in parliament.

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“We believe in an open economy, we believe in globalization, but we need to make sure that these investments are conducive to growth.”
-Nicolas Chapuis, EU ambassador to China

Really?! Ask the people if they ‘believe’ in globalization. Ask the yellow vests.

‘Forced Tech Transfer’ Must Stop Or Be Regulated – EU Envoy To China (CNBC)

The European Union has a vested interest in promoting technology exchanges with China, but any transfers should be regulated, said the trade bloc’s ambassador to China on Wednesday. “For the last 40 years, EU companies have provided most of the foreign tech that is in China, about 50 percent of what is today in China,” said Nicolas Chapuis, ambassador of the EU delegation to China. However, the diplomat expressed concerns about China trading market access for technology. Beijing sometimes forces foreign companies to hand over their technological know-how in exchange for access to its massive domestic market.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has demanded that China cease forced tech transfers, which have become a flashpoint in the U.S.-China trade war. “This has to stop or to be regulated,” Chapuis told CNBC at the European Chamber Annual Conference 2018 in Beijing. “Of course if a company wants to open its tech books to a Chinese company — all right, that’s not an issue, but it has to be regulated so that there is no so-called ‘forced tech transfer,'” Chapuis said. Beijing has claimed it will step up protection of intellectual property rights, but experts point out that the country still wields its state-controlled legal system to take whatever trade secrets it wants for its own companies.

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Anything better than Hillary and Schumer, I guess.

Ocasio-Cortez Already Reveals The Inner Workings Of Congress (CNBC)

Although her first day on the job is still weeks away, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is already pulling back the curtain on the inner workings of the Capitol. The New York Democrat, along with other incoming freshman lawmakers, is trying to usher in a culture of openness that is enabled by a vast social media following. With nearly 3 million followers combined on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Ocasio-Cortez has used the platforms to involve her supporters during the transition period before she takes office. Her enthusiastic and often pugnacious transparency campaign has earned her praise from inside and outside the Beltway. Yet it has also drawn criticism from several corners, including from President Donald Trump’s eldest son.

In a series of pictures and videos on Instagram dubbed “Congress Camp,” she gave an inside look into new-member orientation, from choosing an office to voting for House leadership, while also showcasing the unique quirks of life on Capitol Hill. “Guys, there are secret underground tunnels between all of these government buildings!” she whispers in one video. In another post, she polls her followers on whether she should choose an office with more space or one “close to our friends.” But Ocasio-Cortez isn’t just focusing on the novelty of her experience. Last week, she tweeted sharp criticism of an orientation for new members of Congress hosted by Harvard. The event featured corporate CEOs but no labor representatives.

Ocasio-Cortez hasn’t given any indication that she will let up, however. “Our ‘bipartisan’ Congressional orientation is cohosted by a corporate lobbyist group. Other members have quietly expressed to me their concern that this wasn’t told to us in advance,” she tweeted. “Lobbyists are here. Goldman Sachs is here. Where’s labor? Activists? Frontline community leaders?” Fellow freshman member Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., echoed her criticisms. Tlaib said that Gary Cohn, former chief economic advisor to President Donald Trump and former Goldman Sachs executive, told the new members at orientation that they don’t “know how the game is played.” “No Gary, YOU don’t know what’s coming – a revolutionary Congress that puts people over profits,” Tlaib tweeted.

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Checking it twice.

Faking Moon Landing More Difficult Than Doing It (RT)

The head of the Russian space agency may joke about ‘verifying’ if the Americans landed on the moon, but there are no doubts for one Russian scientist, who weighed in on the decades-long conspiracy debate. The claim that NASA never landed astronauts on the moon and that evidence to the contrary was fabricated is among the most pervasive in popular culture and has been a point of fierce debates. Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s space chief, even recently joked that Russia’s future lunar missions will give the country an opportunity to check whether Neil Armstrong’s footprints are actually out there.

That aside, people who actually study the moon for a living believe there is no need to launch spaceships just to prove the success of the Apollo program. Fabricating a lunar landing would probably be technologically impossible and anyway economically unnecessary, told RIA Novosti Yury Kostitsyn. The man heads the Institute of Analytical Chemistry, which is directly involved in developing sensors for space and was part of the Soviet robotic study of the moon. “Faking the landing of the American astronauts to the Moon would have been more complex and expensive than actually doing it,” the scientist assured. The key piece of evidence in his own field of knowledge is the moon soil, which the Americans said to have retrieved. It was studied in labs of many countries, including the USSR, and it’s definitely not from this planet.

“Falsifying moon soil is impossible. The Americans brought back to Earth about 300 kilos of it, most of it basalt,” he explained. “We have basalts on Earth too, but they are significantly different from the lunar ones in their chemical composition, properties, and structure. There are no rock formations older than 3.7 billion years, and what the Americans brought is over 4 billion years old, comparable to the age of the solar system.” (NB. There are actually rocks of earth origin dated over 4bn years, but the ones brought from the Moon are still older.) “There is nothing to argue about Americans landing on the moon between 1969 and 1972,” Kostitsyn stressed. “You won’t hear a single cosmonaut say they didn’t.”

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Sep 052018
 
 September 5, 2018  Posted by at 2:18 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  8 Responses »


Pablo Picasso The actor 1904

 

 

I’ve had a few comments lately wondering why I’m against Brexit, while before the referendum I was not. Someone even remembered I had been talking about Beautiful Brexit back in 2016. It’s real simple. Brexit could be, or could have been, a good idea. There’s a lot wrong with the way the European Union is set up. There’s nothing democratic about Germany always having the last say when it comes to important decisions. Slaughtering the entire nation of Greece on the altar of saving Deutsche and Commerzbank says it all.

But Brexit today is not the same -anymore- as it was before or during the June 23 2016 vote. What happened is that nothing happened. The Brits wasted two whole years and change, and the complexity of the process never allowed for that kind of delay. There are many thousands of pages of EU rules and regulations that not only has the UK been bound by over the past 45 years, but that have shaped its own society.

It’s not just that these ties have to be untangled, they have to be replaced by other rules and regulations. And no, the UK can’t just go back to what they had before 1973; too much water under the bridge, both domestically and internationally. Politically, the EU may be a disaster, but the single market is quite the achievement. And they’re not going to risk it by letting London cherry-pick the rules it likes while leaving others behind. It’s a package deal.

But that is what the Brits, or at least the Tories, appear to have counted on: cherry-picking. They still do. It’s going to be a cold shower. And obviously, they’re going to blame it all on the EU, but that’s neither true nor credible. Still, expect a huge blame campaign. They’re practicing on Labour and its leader Jeremy Corbyn, who the entire UK press including the BBC and Guardian, who are supposed to balance out the slew of Murdoch rags that shape opinion, started accusing of anti-semitism a few weeks ago.

It’s as concerted an effort as the D-Notice gag orders issued earlier this year in the novichok cases. And now that the few media outlets who once had some degree of independence start saying the same things as their smut peers, Brits can safely assume they have no press left that attempts to inform them. It’s now all a propaganda machine.

 

As for Jeremy Corbyn, one can feel sorry for him, but he doesn’t even try to defend himself. Needs to take some cues from Trump? Still, if Corbyn’s a jew hater, I’m Napoleon. There’s nothing in the man’s life that points to that. Just saying that Palestinians are not treated fairly doesn’t mean you hate Jews. That this has become the thread of the ‘discussion’ is an ominous sign.

How are Brits supposed to find out what’s happening in their own country, let alone the rest of the world? There’s no-one left to tell them who doesn’t subscribe to pre-gurgitated ideas and politics. So Theresa May can claim today they know who poisoned the Skripals, and threaten further sanctions against Russia, without sharing any proof with anyone. She can do that because there are no media left in Britain that will ask questions.

If no. 10 says the Russians did it, everyone reports that. If the Blair section of the Labour party says their own leader is an anti-Semite, everyone reports that. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that both Huxley and Orwell were Brits. There is no proof needed anymore: the media will parrot anything the ‘authorities’ say.

Well, kiddo’s, enjoy it while you can, because Brexit is going to shatter that little controlled world of yours into very little pieces. Pretend won’t do it anymore after that. You will need proof for that one, in the form of actual food, and actual trade and jobs. And you won’t have those to offer.

 

Today, Bloomberg reports that both Germany and the UK are willing to accept less stringent conditions for Brexit, but after Brexit day, March 29 2019, goods can no longer move across borders the way they used to. Yes, there is a 21-month transition period, but British products will have to comply with ALL EU rules and laws to be sold to Europe, including Ireland. The same goes for products and services and people that move the opposite way. And in the meantime, the UK cannot close any trade deals with 3rd part countries that don’t comply with EU rules.

Taking control of the narrative(s), as has been the UK’s model, only gets you so far. Britain can trade with the EU, but it cannot simultaneously trade with the US under entirely different conditions. Likewise, London can let Polish people pick British fruits, but not without letting other Europeans work in Britain as well. These rules are broad, and there can be no exceptions, since 27 other countries will want them too.

Now, if only Britain had a press that would tell people what’s going on. It doesn’t. The press only parrots. And if only Jeremy Corbyn told his anti-Semitism accusers to shut up or be sued for libel, and unveil an actual alternative plan for how to do Brexit -or not-. Nobody’s seen any such plan, and Corbyn doesn’t say a thing.

The whole place is just swirling down the drain, watching silly weddings and cooking shows, sipping gin and dreaming of a lost empire nobody can actually remember anymore. And the pace of the swirling can be adapted a little, but no-one is trying to stop it from happening. Oh well, tragedy can be beautiful too.