Nov 252023
 
 November 25, 2023  Posted by at 9:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  31 Responses »


Giorgio de Chirico The Enigma of the Hour 1910

 

No Ceasefire in the Propaganda War (Craig Murray)
As Israel Pounds Gaza, BBC Journalists Accuse Broadcaster Of Bias (AlJ)
Was October 7th a Hamas or Israeli Massacre? (Cradle)
The Eviction Notice Is Being Written, and Will Come in Four Languages (Escobar)
Ukraine Conflict Could Have Ended In Spring 2022 – Kiev’s Top MP (RT)
US, Germany Trying To Nudge Ukraine To Negotiating Table (TASS)
Zelensky Flags New Military Conscription Drive (RT)
Maidan 10 Years On… (SCF Op-ed)
Control of AI Can Be Similar To Nuclear Non-Proliferation Rules – Putin (TASS)
Eliminating Central Bank ‘Non-Negotiable’ – Argentina’s Milei (RT)
Netizens Slam Biden’s ‘Thanksgiving Guide for Responding to MAGA Nonsense’ (Sp.)
The Biden Administration’s EV Goals Are an Expensive Fantasy (RCW)
How Electric Vehicles Harm The Environment They’re Supposed To Save (RT)

 

 

 

 

Haaretz

 

 

 

 

Finkelstein
https://twitter.com/i/status/1727797005513117828

 

 

 

 

Scott Ritter reveals why he gave up his career to fight against Netanyahu & the Israeli Right-Wing

 

 

Nap Macgregor

 

 

 

 

VDH

 

 

Garland

 

 

 

 

 

 

“This “justice” system is an essential part of the imposition of apartheid and the slow genocide, which did not just start this autumn. The BBC won’t tell you that either..”

No Ceasefire in the Propaganda War (Craig Murray)

I have had BBC News on in the background for the last two hours. In that time there have been three lengthy interviews with different relatives of Israeli hostages held by Hamas. There has not been a single interview with a Palestinian relative of a Palestinian prisoner held by Israel. Today 13 Israeli prisoners and 39 Palestinian prisoners are due to be released. 90% of the BBC mentions of prisoner releases do not include the Palestinians at all. Just finished is a ten minute interview of a Professor in Kent on the psychological effects on Israeli hostages. Earlier there was an expert from Tel Aviv on the psychological impact on Israeli hostages’ families. There has been no mreport whatosever of the impact on Palestinian prisoners and their families. The BBC simply does not treat the Palestinians as human, whereas the emphasis on Israeli personal victimhood is incessant and unrelenting.

Of the 300 Palestinian women and children prisoners on the list possibly to be released during the ceasefire, 252 have never been charged with any crime. 23 were charged with stone throwing. Since October 8 over 200 Palestinian children have been taken prisoner, none of whom had anything to do with the October 7 attacks. That rather puts the possible release of 33 children and six women today into perspective. But it is not a perspective the BBC would ever give you. Over 2,000 Palestinians are held by Israel in “administrative detention”, without charge or trial. Some for over twenty years. Since 1967 Israel has made over 1 million arrests of Palestinians. This “justice” system is an essential part of the imposition of apartheid and the slow genocide, which did not just start this autumn. The BBC won’t tell you that either, and appears to have no problem with permanently showcasing its Israel based correspondents churning out the Israeli propaganda narrative, with no attempt at either perspective or balance.

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“The group does not plan to send the letter to BBC executives, believing such a move was unlikely to lead to meaningful discussions..”

As Israel Pounds Gaza, BBC Journalists Accuse Broadcaster Of Bias (AlJ)

The BBC has been accused by its journalists of failing to tell the story of the Israel-Palestine conflict accurately, investing greater effort in humanising Israeli victims compared with Palestinians, and omitting key historical context in coverage. In a 2,300-word letter written to Al Jazeera by eight UK-based journalists employed by the corporation, the BBC is also said to be guilty of a “double standard in how civilians are seen”, given that it is “unflinching” in its reporting of alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine. Fearing reprisal, the journalists requested anonymity. The group does not plan to send the letter to BBC executives, believing such a move was unlikely to lead to meaningful discussions. They sent Al Jazeera the letter as a humanitarian disaster in Gaza escalates, and as grim milestones are reached at pace.

At the time of writing, more than 14,500 Palestinians have been reported as killed by Israeli bombardment, including at least 6,000 children. “The BBC has failed to accurately tell this story – through omission and lack of critical engagement with Israel’s claims – and it has therefore failed to help the public engage with and understand the human rights abuses unfolding in Gaza,” the letter reads. “Thousands of Palestinians have been killed since October 7. When will the number be high enough for our editorial stance to change?” Israel declared war against Hamas after the Palestinian group, which governs the densely populated enclave, attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing about 1,200 Israelis and taking more than 200 hostage. Rights groups and hundreds of thousands of protesters worldwide, outraged by the soaring Palestinian death toll in Gaza, have called for a ceasefire.

The war has also divided newsrooms globally, with disagreements over how each side is being portrayed, the allegedly unequal level of empathy shown to Israeli and Palestinian victims, and the use of language. The BBC journalists said that across British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) platforms, terms like “massacre” and “atrocity”, have been reserved “only for Hamas, framing the group as the only instigator and perpetrator of violence in the region. This is inaccurate but aligns with the BBC’s overall coverage”. The Hamas assault, while “appalling and devastating … does not justify the indiscriminate killing of thousands of Palestinian civilians, and the BBC cannot be seen to support – or fail to interrogate – the logic that it does,” their letter reads.

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“..Nor has the Israeli government investigated her death or told her relatives how she died. This is because Leil was likely not killed by Hamas, but by the Israeli army.”

Was October 7th a Hamas or Israeli Massacre? (Cradle)

A farewell ceremony was recently held for 12-year-old Liel Hezroni, an Israeli girl from Kibbutz Be’eri who died during the Hamas-led Al-Aqsa Flood military operation on 7 October. There was no traditional burial, just a ceremony, because her body has never been found. Israeli officials initially claimed that the Palestinian resistance killed 1,400 Israelis that day, including 112 in Be’eri. Though Liel died on “Israel’s darkest day,” no government official attended the farewell ceremony to offer condolences to her family. Nor has the Israeli government investigated her death or told her relatives how she died. This is because Leil was likely not killed by Hamas, but by the Israeli army.

Liel died when Israeli military forces fired two tank shells into a home in Be’eri that held 15 Israeli hostages and the 40 Hamas fighters who had taken them captive. Yasmin Porat, 44, is one of two Israelis to have survived the incident. She remained with Liel and other hostages for several hours in the house, guarded, she says, by fighters who treated them “humanely,” and whose “objective was to kidnap us to Gaza. Not to murder us.” Porat’s bombshell revelation was that when Israeli forces arrived, “they eliminated everyone, including the hostages,” the mother of three told Kan. “There was very, very heavy crossfire.”

An official Israeli police investigation into the Nova music festival attack near the Gaza border adds to the growing claims that the army killed civilians. The initial narrative of a Hamas-led massacre of 260 Israelis is swiftly being debunked as Israeli citizens demand investigations and more information surfaces. According to Haaretz, a police source disclosed that an Israeli combat helicopter, upon arrival, not only targeted Hamas fighters but also fired at Israelis attending the festival. The police report has now adjusted the festival death toll to 364 casualties.

A report from Yedioth Ahronoth on 15 October suggested that Hamas intentionally made it difficult for pilots to distinguish between them and Israelis by dressing in civilian clothing. This, it is argued, made the pilots hesitate to attack targets on the ground at first, but they soon began to fire indiscriminately: “The rate of fire against the thousands of terrorists was tremendous at first, and only at a certain point did the pilots begin to slow down the attacks and carefully select the target.” The willingness of occupation forces to unleash overwhelming firepower in this way helps explain the large death toll on 7 October. It also sheds a light on the stark discrepancy between two narratives – one, of a trigger-happy, murderous Hamas that killed hundreds “indiscriminately,” versus the other picture, Palestinian fighters who treated captives ”humanely.”

Israeli government spokesperson Mark Regev admitted in an interview last week on MSNBC that the initial death count of 1,400 Israelis from the resistance operation was a mistake. The revised count lowered the number to 1,200. We “overestimated, we made a mistake,” Regev said. “There were actually bodies that were so badly burnt we thought they were ours, in the end, apparently, they were Hamas terrorists.” If some 200 Hamas fighters and Palestinians were burned so severely by tank and helicopter fire that they could not be identified, logic dictates that many Israelis met a similar fate. It may also explain why there was nothing left of Liel Herzoni’s body to bury at her farewell ceremony.

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“..President Putin defined sending humanitarian aid to Gaza as a “sacred duty”, which in Russian code includes, crucially, the military spectrum..”

The Eviction Notice Is Being Written, and Will Come in Four Languages (Escobar)

The Eviction Notice is being written. And it will come in four languages. Russian. Farsi. Mandarin. And last but not least, English. A much-cherished pleasure of professional writing is to always be enriched by informed readers. This “eviction” insight – worth a thousand geopolitical treatises – was offered by one of my sharpest readers commenting on a column. Concisely, what we have here expresses a deeply felt consensus across the spectrum not only in West Asia but also in most latitudes across the Global South/Global Majority. The Unthinkable, in the form of a genocide conducted live, in real time on every smartphone in the third decade of the millennium – which I called the Raging Twenties in a previous book – has acted like a particle accelerator, concentrating hearts and minds. Those that chose to set West Asia on fire are already confronting nasty blowback. And that goes way beyond diplomacy exercised by Global South leaders.

For the first time in ages, via President Xi Jinping, China has been more than explicit geopolitically (a true Sovereign cannot hedge when it comes to genocide). China’s unmistaken position on Palestine goes way beyond the geoeconomics routine of promoting BRI’s trade and transportation corridors. All that while President Putin defined sending humanitarian aid to Gaza as a “sacred duty”, which in Russian code includes, crucially, the military spectrum. For all the maneuvering and occasional posturing, for all practical purposes everyone knows the current UN arrangement is rotten beyond repair, totally impotent when it comes to imposing meaningful peace negotiations, sanctions or investigations of serial war crimes. The new UN in the making is BRICS 11 – actually BRICS 10, considering new Trojan Horse Argentina in practice may be relegated to a marginal role, assuming it joins on January 1st, 2024.

BRICS 10, led by Russia-China, both regulated by a strong moral compass, keep their ear on the ground and listen to the Arab street and the lands of Islam. Especially their people, much more than their elites. This will be an essential element in 2024 during the Russian presidency of BRICS. The current order of business in the New Great Game is to organize the expulsion of the Hegemon from West Asia – as much a technical challenge as a civilizational challenge. As it stands, the Washington-Tel Aviv continuum are already prisoners of their own device. This ain’t no Hotel California; you may not check out any time you like, but you will be forced to leave.

That may happen in a relatively gentle manner – think Kabul as a Saigon remix – or if push comes to shove may involve a naval Apocalypse Now, complete with expensive iron bathtubs turned into sub-ocean coral reefs and the demise of CENTCOM and its AFRICOM projection. The crucial vector all along is how Iran – and Russia – have played, year after year, with infinite patience, the master strategy devised by Gen. Soleimani, whose assassination actually started the Raging Twenties. A de-weaponized Hegemon cannot defeat the “new axis of evil”, Russia-Iran-China, not only in West Asia but also anywhere in Eurasia, Asia-Pacific, and pan-Africa. Direct participation/normalization of the genocide only worked to accelerate the progressive, inevitable exclusion of the Hegemon from most of the Global South.

All that while Russia meticulously crafts the integration of the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Baltic Sea (Finnish hysteria notwithstanding), the Arctic and the Northwestern Pacific Sea and China turbo-charges the integration of the South China Sea. Xi and Putin are gifted players of chess and go – and profit from stellar advisers of the caliber of Patrushev and Wang Yi. China playing geopolitical go is an exercise in non-confrontation: all you need to do is to block your opponent’s ability to move. Chess and go, in a diplomatic tandem, represent a game where you don’t interrupt your opponent when it is repeatedly shooting itself on the knees. As an extra bonus, you get your opponent antagonizing over 90% of the world’s population. All that will lead to the Hegemon’s economy eventually collapsing. And then it can be beaten by default.

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Not new, but first time from Ukraine sources.

“As soon as Russia pulled back its troops from the vicinity of Kiev, as a gesture of good will, Ukraine reneged on the deal, Putin said..”

Ukraine Conflict Could Have Ended In Spring 2022 – Kiev’s Top MP (RT)

Russia was ready to stop the fighting had Ukraine agreed to remain neutral, but the West advised Kiev to keep going, the head of President Vladimir Zelensky’s parliamentary faction – and the chief negotiator at the peace talks in Istanbul – David Arakhamia admitted on Friday. Arakhamia, who heads the ‘Servant of the People’ parliamentary group, told the TV channel 1+1 that Moscow had offered Kiev a peace deal in March 2022, but the Ukrainian side did not trust Russia. “Russia’s goal was to put pressure on us so that we would take neutrality. This was the main thing for them: They were ready to end the war if we accepted neutrality, like Finland once did. And we would make a commitment that we will not join NATO. This was the main thing,” said Arakhamia.

However, agreeing to neutrality and giving up NATO membership would have required changing the constitution of Ukraine, Arakhamia explained. “Secondly, there was no trust in the Russians that they would do this. This could only be done with security guarantees,” he told 1+1. During the talks, Arakhamia added, British then-PM Boris Johnson arrived in Kiev and told Ukrainian officials to keep fighting and not sign any agreements with Moscow. Johnson’s role in scuttling the peace talks in Istanbul was revealed in May 2022 by the outlet Ukrayinska Pravda. However, neither the British politician – who was ousted as PM in June that year and eventually landed a job at an American think tank – nor the US government ever officially acknowledged pressuring Kiev into reneging on the draft agreement, which Arakhamia himself had signed with the Russians. Kiev had likewise never officially commented on the matter – until now.

Earlier this year, Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed to African leaders that Moscow and Kiev had signed a draft agreement “on permanent neutrality and security guarantees for Ukraine” at the talks hosted by Türkiye. As soon as Russia pulled back its troops from the vicinity of Kiev, as a gesture of good will, Ukraine reneged on the deal, Putin said. The Russian withdrawal was presented by Western governments and media as a Ukrainian military victory and they began sending heavy weapons and equipment to Zelensky’s government, fueling the conflict for the next 18 months.

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“The German-US plan is to supply Kiev with just the kind of weapons and just the right quantity of them to allow the Ukrainian military to hold the current frontline..”

US, Germany Trying To Nudge Ukraine To Negotiating Table (TASS)

The US and Germany want to push Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky toward talks with Russia by providing Ukraine with only just enough weapons to hold the current frontline, the Bild newspaper reported, citing sources in the German government. “The German-US plan is to supply Kiev with just the kind of weapons and just the right quantity of them to allow the Ukrainian military to hold the current frontline, but not retake the conquered territories,” the newspaper reported. “Zelensky must come to the realization that things cannot go on like this on his own, without demands from the outside,” one of the sources told the newspaper. “He must address the nation of his own volition and explain that it is necessary to hold talks.”

The US and Germany want Zelensky to realize that extending the conflict makes no sense for his country. However, neither Chancellor Olaf Scholz nor US President Joe Biden plan to make direct demands that he start negotiations. The US and Germany are the largest suppliers of weapons to Kiev. Bild said the situation at the battlefield is “grim” for Ukraine and that “Russian troops are advancing, albeit slowly.” According to the newspaper, the German government’s main goal now is to help officials in Kiev achieve a “strategically favorable negotiating position.” “The White House and the chancellor’s office are coordinating their actions in this matter,” the sources said.

Bild also reported that Washington and Berlin have a plan B. “What Berlin and Washington want as an alternative to negotiations is a frozen conflict without an agreement between its sides,” one of the sources said. Under that scenario, the current line of engagement will be “a kind of a new border” between Ukraine and Russia. “It would be like Minsk (the Minsk agreements – TASS), but without Minsk,” the source said. The newspaper reported that many German decisions on arms deliveries are now made by Scholz’s office, not by the Defense Ministry headed by Boris Pistorius. According to the report, Pistorius is ready to transfer Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine, but his “hands are tied.”.

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“The West has been pushing Zelensky to expand the conscription age to men aged 17-70 and mobilize more women..”

Zelensky Flags New Military Conscription Drive (RT)

Ukraine will announce a new “complex plan” of mobilization next week, President Vladimir Zelensky said on Friday after meeting with the General Staff. While he offered no details, other Kiev officials hinted at the possibility of demobilizing some soldiers that had been fighting since February 2022. Ukraine has been under pressure to make up the losses incurred in the four-month “counteroffensive” on the southern front, which Russia has estimated at over 90,000 men. “As for the issue of mobilization, you know how complex and very relevant it is,” the Ukrainian president said at a press conference on Friday. “Today there was a comprehensive report on what the challenges are, how to resolve the issue, what to do, what legislative changes, who must do this… A comprehensive plan on this issue will be available next week.”

Kiev first announced a mobilization and declared martial law in February 2022, when the conflict with Russia escalated. It has repeatedly widened the conscription net since, to the point where some German researchers warned this week it could jeopardize Ukraine’s economic recovery. Aleksey Danilov, the secretary of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, told Ukrainian radio on Friday that at least some of the men mobilized early on in the conflict with Russia might be released from service “in the near future.” “We all know that we now have a problem with mobilization, one might say, a failure of mobilization,” Roman Kostenko, secretary of the parliamentary committee on Defense, National Security and Intelligence, told Ukraine’s Radio NV on Friday. “After the military commissars were replaced, we experienced a failure in mobilization.”

Zelensky had purged all the regional conscription offices earlier this year, citing widespread corruption. By the end of August 2023, over 20,000 men eligible for the draft had fled Ukraine – and another 21,000 tried to flee but were caught, the BBC reported last week. According to Kostenko, Kiev needs to find a solution quickly or it will face “big problems,” describing mobilization as a bigger challenge than the shortage of artillery ammunition. The West has been pushing Zelensky to expand the conscription age to men aged 17-70 and mobilize more women, Russian intelligence said earlier this week. Kiev has neither confirmed nor denied these claims.

Former Deputy Defense Minister Anna Maliar – whom Zelensky sacked in September – told the outlet Liga on Thursday that Ukrainians “shouldn’t be afraid” of mobilization. Ukraine needs to realize some “unpleasant things,” she said, such as that the Russians “simply physically have more people” while Ukraine has a smaller army that “will not get larger” and fewer weapons. “The time for popular solutions has already passed,” Maliar said. “As an adult society, we just need to understand these things and not expect that there should be good news every day.”

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“Von Der Leyen, who now so absurdly eulogizes Ukraine, was the German minister of Defense during the Maidan coup. Her family’s Nazi past was quite fitting for the role she played in pumping NATO weapons and training to build up Ukrainian paramilitaries..”

Maidan 10 Years On… (SCF Op-ed)

Ten years on from the Maidan uprising in Kiev, the country of the Ukraine has descended into utter chaos, corruption, fascism, destruction and suffering. And yet the Kiev regime and its Western state supporters have the audacity to call the tragic, bloody morass “a decade of dignity”. European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen declared this week: “Ten years of dignity. Ten years of pride. Ten years of striving for freedom. The cold November nights of Euromaidan changed Europe forever. The whole country took to the streets and spoke with one voice… The future for which Maidan fought has finally begun. Glory to Ukraine! Long live Europe!” It is nauseating to hear such bare-faced lies and distortions. “The whole country took the streets”? It was a minority of Nazi ideologues bankrolled by Western powers.

“Speaking with one voice”? The Maidan coup leaders murdered and burned opponents to death as in the Odessa pogrom on May 2, 2014, or in the deadly air strike on unsuspecting Lugansk civilians on June 2, 2014. Bitterly amusing, though, Von Der Leyen inadvertently speaks the truth when she said the Maidan event “changed Europe forever”. It certainly did that, but in an opposite and awful way to her ridiculous, rosy view. As this excellent documentary film makes clear, when the Western transAtlantic powers couldn’t get their way in dragooning Ukraine into joining the EU-NATO axis, the next step was to orchestrate a violent coup d’état in Kiev. This week ten years ago, the elected president of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych rejected a vigorously promoted “association agreement” with the EU, preferring instead to orient the country towards closer economic integration with Russia and the Eurasian markets.

That decision by the president triggered relatively minor protests in Kiev dubbed the EuroMaidan which began on November 21, 2013. The rapid escalation of violent protests was obviously fomented and mobilized by external forces: the United States, European Union, the CIA and NATO. It was a repeat of the U.S.-sponsored Orange Revolution in Kiev in 2004 which had failed back then to fully decouple Ukraine from historically close relations with Russia. A second time around, however, the color revolution process would be more deadly and determined. Three months after the initial street demonstrations and amid mounting organized deadly subversion, the coup was executed on February 20, 2014. President Yanukovych fled the country.

A NeoNazi regime seized power and immediately transformed Ukraine into a bastion of anti-Russia hate. World War Two Nazi collaborators were venerated and made public heroes. Russian-speaking people were attacked and lynched. This is all documented, albeit censored out of history by the Western media. American and European politicians midwifed the birth of a monster. The objective was always to create a fascist Frankenstein terrorist state that would do the Western imperialists’ dirty work of destabilizing Russia. American imperialist ideologues like Zbigniew Brzezinski had touted and written books about Ukraine as the bridgehead for destabilizing Russia. The roots of such intrigue can be traced back to the early CIA recruitment of Ukrainian Nazis in the aftermath of World War Two to harass the Soviet Union.

Joe Biden, who was then the vice president in the Obama administration (2008-16), was intimately responsible for the transmogrification of Ukraine. Along the way, Biden even got his drug-addict playboy son Hunter a lucrative job as an executive in the country’s largest gas company. Von Der Leyen, who now so absurdly eulogizes Ukraine, was the German minister of Defense during the Maidan coup. Her family’s Nazi past was quite fitting for the role she played in pumping NATO weapons and training to build up Ukrainian paramilitaries for launching terror attacks on the Russian-speaking regions in the weeks, months and years after 2014.

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“Putin speculated that the best option would be to reach agreements before any threat in the field of artificial intelligence might emerge. “Do you know when this will be possible? When everybody feels threatened.”

Control of AI Can Be Similar To Nuclear Non-Proliferation Rules – Putin (TASS)

Humanity can agree on common principles of controlling artificial intelligence similar to the nuclear non-proliferation rules, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a conference on artificial intelligence. “Humanity has worked out certain rules related to the use of nuclear technologies, including those in the military field: non-proliferation. It formulated the rules for non-proliferation of delivery vehicles and nuclear technologies as such. There are such rules. Humanity has managed to create this. In the field of artificial intelligence, we can achieve common solutions acceptable to all and necessary for all,” Putin said. His point of view was supported by the head of Sberbank German Gref.

“You are absolutely right. It seems to me that it is in the interests of all people, all of humanity, to approach this process with a sense of great responsibility,” Gref said. He is certain that this process should be fully controlled by people. During the discussion Putin speculated that the best option would be to reach agreements before any threat in the field of artificial intelligence might emerge. “Do you know when this will be possible? When everybody feels threatened. When everyone feels threatened by uncontrolled proliferation, by uncontrolled work in this area, then we will immediately see a wish to reach agreements. It would be the best if common awareness of looming threats led to the wish to negotiate,” Putin said.

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He’s an interesting man. I like the video.

Eliminating Central Bank ‘Non-Negotiable’ – Argentina’s Milei (RT)

Argentina’s incoming president Javier Milei confirmed on Friday that he will keep his promise to shut the nation’s central bank. The statement was posted by his office on X (formerly Twitter). The shutdown was Milei’s signature campaign pledge along with “shock therapy” to fix Argentina’s beleaguered finances that includes dollarizing the economy, privatizing state-owned media outlets and other public companies including energy firm YPF. The statement reportedly came in response to what Milei has called “false rumors” that he had eased off on his plans, with some people claiming he was picking a more moderate Cabinet than expected.

Milei, who will take office on December 10, predicted it would take him “between 18 and 24 months” to decrease inflation, which is nearing 150%. Some economists have raised concerns that Milei’s “shock therapy sets Argentina on a path of deep uncertainty.” Experts suggested that dollarizing the $622 billion economy at a time of depleted international reserves could plunge the South American nation into another spell of hyperinflation.

Milei

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“The guide urges Biden supporters to say that “inflation is the lowest” under POTUS, in response to the claim that “the economy was better under Trump!”

Netizens Slam Biden’s ‘Thanksgiving Guide for Responding to MAGA Nonsense’ (Sp.)

The Biden campaign has faced strong criticism from internet users for sharing a set of talking points designed to assist supporters of the President in engaging in political discussions during Thanksgiving, covering a wide range of topics including immigration and the economy. The list, titled “Your handy guide for responding to crazy MAGA nonsense this Thanksgiving,” was shared on X and rejected by many users as nothing but propaganda and gaslighting. “You’re literally gaslighting Americans about the economy. So many Americans are struggling to make ends meet due to inflation,” a netizen wrote.

Another user pointed out the irrelevance of releasing similar talking points before Thanksgiving Day on November 23, noting: “Why not just encourage families to focus on each other, the things that unites them, and their thankfulness for health, each other, etc? One of the guide’s talking points was related to inflation in the US. The guide urges Biden supporters to say that “inflation is the lowest” under POTUS, in response to the claim that “the economy was better under Trump!”. In reality, however, inflation has risen to a four-decade high of 9.1% in June 2022 under the 46th U.S. president. Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics also shows that about 60% of Americans are still living paycheck to paycheck as inflation eats away at their wages.

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A society commiting suicide.

The Biden Administration’s EV Goals Are an Expensive Fantasy (RCW)

The Biden administration is pushing for widespread electrification in less than 20 years through government subsidies and coercive regulations as part of its aggressive climate agenda. The truth is that President Joe Biden’s goals are an illusion at the expense of the American people. While EV proponents try to claim that EVs will soon be cheaper than gasoline vehicles, our new research demonstrates that EVs benefitted from hidden subsidies that total nearly $50,000 per EV. Who is footing that bill? Gasoline vehicle owners, taxpayers, and utility ratepayers are. Electric vehicles primarily benefit from regulatory credits and generous fuel economy standards, which average $27,881 per vehicle. EVs have been given an unlawful 6.67 multiplier to their rated fuel economy, so that an EV with a rated fuel economy of 100 miles per gallon is credited as if it is getting 667 miles per gallon.

What’s more, the EPA’s proposed fuel economy standards are designed to require that 67% of new passenger cars sold be all-electric by 2032, demonstrating a clear government preference toward EVs without proper consideration of costs and benefits. For gasoline vehicles, the price you see at the gas pump covers the cost of extracting, refining, and transporting the gasoline, but the same cannot be said for the cost of charging an EV. EVs require new charging infrastructure, and their large power draw increases the strain on electricity infrastructure. As our research highlights, a typical EV charging overnight at home consumes as much power as several homes, and an EV charging at a fast-charging station in 30 minutes consumes as much power as a small to medium-sized grocery store. A few extra EVs in the neighborhoods are manageable, but widespread EV adoption will require significant and expensive grid upgrades.

Adding insult to injury, EV owners alone aren’t shouldering these increased electricity costs, which average $11,833 per vehicle over 10 years. Until a utility starts charging EV owners for the extra infrastructure costs to serve them, those costs are shared among all the utility’s customers. Residential electricity costs across the U.S. have risen 20% over the last three years, and a rapid forced adoption of EVs will only make this problem worse. Direct federal and state subsidies provide EVs with another $8,984 per vehicle over 10 years, including the widely publicized $7,500 federal tax credit in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act and smaller state subsidies for EVs. All these subsidies, of course, are borne by the American taxpayer.

President Biden’s expensive green pipe dream is not without irony. While Biden administration claims that these draconian EV mandates are necessary to combat climate change, the widespread adoption of EVs in the developed world would have negligible effects on global emissions and climate. For starters, if EVs are able to displace all the carbon emissions from U.S. passenger cars, that would only cut out 20% of U.S. carbon emissions. Our calculations show that even if the U.S. eliminated all of its carbon emissions by 2050, the effect on global temperatures in 2100 would only be 0.08 degrees Celsius.

[..] The lifetime emissions of the electric version of the Volvo SUV at the center of the study are only a third less than the emissions of the gasoline version, and that is when it is charged on the carbon-light European grid. Different assumptions could lead to an EV emitting more carbon than its gasoline counterpart. The obvious conclusion is that without rapid reductions in carbon emissions from the electric grid, an equally Herculean task to EV mass adoption, EVs will continue to produce significant carbon emissions. Emissions from gasoline vehicles are projected to decline 20% over the next decade, and hybrids, which nearly double the fuel efficiency of a gasoline vehicle with a battery that is 50-100 times smaller than an EV battery, would actually produce the least amount of lifetime emissions. But the net-zero advocates are needlessly demanding all EVs—or nothing.

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“India’s EVs depend on just the 8,738 Public Charging Stations (PCS) that are operational as of June 2023 [..] The number of PCS needs to increase to a minimum of 1.32 million..”:

How Electric Vehicles Harm The Environment They’re Supposed To Save (RT)

Five Indian cities, including the capital, New Delhi, consistently rank in the world’s top ten worst air-polluted cities. Vehicular emissions are significant contributors; Delhi alone has around four million cars – no wonder the government of India is promoting electric vehicles (EVs) on a large scale. While India’s target is a 30% market share of EVs by 2030, the share is currently only 1.1%. Moreover, concerns exist about whether EVs are a green option if pollution is transferred from the cities to the countryside. Around 27.4 million EVs were running on Indian roads as of July 2023, according to the ‘Vahan4’ portal of the Ministry of Road, Transport, and Highways. To achieve its goal of net zero by 2070 to cut down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, India is expanding its EV market.

The hope in New Delhi, for example, is that a rise in the number of green-number plate vehicles will herald a day when its air will become breathable again. However, India’s EVs depend on just the 8,738 Public Charging Stations (PCS) that are operational as of June 2023, as per the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), Ministry of Power data. The number of PCS needs to increase to a minimum of 1.32 million, states the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on ‘Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles,’ to support the 30% market share target. But will EVs really be emission-free? For an EV to achieve maximum environmental benefit, the electricity used for charging must be generated from green or renewable sources. However, much of India’s electricity is still dependent on coal-based thermal power plants, and the government is on a spree to auction more mines and make non-operational mines functional again.

India’s total thermal installed capacity is 238.1 Gigawatts, and over 48.67% of thermal power (around 116 GW) is obtained from coal, and electricity demand is increasing by 4.7% annually. As per the National Electricity Plan (2022-32), the projected peak electricity demand for 2026-27 will be 277.2 GW, and for 2031-32, it will be 366.4 GW. Despite efforts to generate electricity from renewable sources, according to NEP 2022-23, much of India’s electricity will still be derived from thermal plants running on coal by the early 2030s. The share of coal-based capacity in the total installed capacity for the year 2026-27 is likely to be 38.57% and 28.83% for the year 2031-32, which will be around 107 GW and 106 GW respectively, by 2026-27 and 2031-32 – little difference from the present scenario.

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Dr. Gabor Maté and Dr. Tarek Loubani, a doctor who treats patients in Gaza and runs the Glia Project which seeks to provide medical supplies to impoverished locations, break down Israel’s systematic destruction of medical practice in Gaza. Loubani recounts his own experiences to portray a horrendous site in which children are forced to undergo surgery using “prehistoric” medicines without anesthesia, and innocent civilians are left for dead due to Israel’s blockading of crucial medial supplies. Maté describes these horrors through the lens of trauma, and gives insight as to how war psychologically destroys all its victims.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penguin

 

 

Raccoon

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 242023
 
 November 24, 2023  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Jean-Michel Basquiat Self Portrait 1982

 

Hamas is Winning the Battle for Gaza (Scott Ritter)
Gaza: A Pause Before The Storm (Pepe Escobar)
IDF Knew Real Hamas HQ While Lying About al-Shifa (CN)
1,000 Boats To Leave Türkiye For Gaza In New ‘Freedom Flotilla’ (Palinfo)
How Zionists Rewrote the History of The Second World War (McCrae)
How the Democratic Party Faked an American Insurrection (Robert Bridge)
Zelensky Weighing Trump Peace Plan: ‘Time to Wrap This Conflict Up’ ? (Sp.)
2004, 2014, 2022: What Is Ukraine Celebrating? (Oncan)
Dems Fear Ukraine Might Not ‘Survive’ Until 2024 as House Halts Funding (Sp.)
Ukraine Has No One Left to Fight Because of Desertion (Sp.)
Pfizer Sues Poland Over Covid-19 Vaccine (RT)
Eurozone Economy ‘Stuck In The Mud’ – Economist (RT)
Germany to Choose Lifeline for Its Embattled Economy Over Ukraine Aid (Sp.)
Stark Warning Against UK Following Sweden By Going Cashless (Exp.)
European Lawmakers Vote For Abolition Of Member State Vetoes (RMX)
OpenAI Researchers Warned Board of AI Breakthrough Ahead of CEO Ouster (R.)

 

 

 

 

Nap/Macgregor

 

 


Dr. Areilla Oppenheim from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, did the first extensive DNA study in 2001 on Israelis and Palestinians, and concluded that emigrants on ships to Palestine before it became Israel were 40% Mongolian and 40% Turkish. There was no Semitic blood…

 

 

Ray McGovern: They Killed JFK, Will We Let Them Kill Peace?

 

 

Nap/Wilkerson

 

 

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

Nap Celente

 

 

Joe Lauria: “Is it any coincidence that a 4-day ceasefire allowing cameras to show food trucks delivering aid to Gazans coincides with the 4-day Thanksgiving holiday, when Americans often debate politics and won’t be confronted with images of genocide and deprivation as they overeat? The killing will resume when they go back to work on Monday.”

 

 

Actress Melissa Barrera is fired from the next Scream film sequel for daring to speak for the persecuted #Palestinians – “I’d rather be excluded for who I include, than be included for who I exclude.”

 

 

If you think the pope is pro-Palestinian, wait until you meet Jesus.

 

 

 

 

“..Hamas baited a trap for Israel which the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predictably rushed into.”

Hamas is Winning the Battle for Gaza (Scott Ritter)

When Hamas launched its October 7 attack on Israel, it initiated a plan years in the making. The meticulous attention to detail that was evident in the Hamas operation underscored the reality that Hamas had been studying the Israeli intelligence and military forces arrayed against it, uncovering weaknesses that were subsequently exploited. The Hamas action represented more than sound tactical and operational planning and execution—it was a masterpiece in strategic conceptualization as well. One of the main reasons behind the Israeli defeat on October 7 was the fact that the Israeli government was convinced that Hamas would never attack, regardless of what the intelligence analysts charged with watching Hamas activity in Gaza were saying. This failure of imagination came about by Hamas having identified the political goals and objectives of Israel (the nullification of Hamas as a resistance organization by undertaking a policy built on “buying” Hamas through an expanded program of work permits issued by Israel for Palestinians living in Gaza.)

By playing along with the work permit program, Hamas lulled the Israeli leadership into complacency, allowing Hamas’ preparations for their attack to be carried out in plain view. The October 7 attack by Hamas was not a stand-alone operation, but rather part of a strategic plan possessing three main objectives—to put the issue of a Palestinian state back on the front burner of international discourse, to free the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, and to compel Israel to cease and desist when it came to its desecration of the Al Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest place. The October 7 attack, on its own, could not achieve these outcomes. Rather, the October 7 attack was designed to trigger an Israeli response which would create the conditions necessary for Hamas’ objectives to reach fruition. The October 7 attack was designed to humiliate Israel to the point of irrationality, to ensure that any Israeli response would be governed by the emotional need for revenge, as opposed to a rational response designed to nullify the Hamas objectives.

Here, Hamas was guided by the established Israeli doctrine of collective punishment (known as the Dahiya Doctrine, named after the West Beirut suburb that was heavily bombed by Israel in 2006 as a way of punishing the Lebanese people for Israel’s failure to defeat Hezbollah in combat.) By inflicting a humiliating defeat on Israel which shattered both the myth of Israeli invincibility (regarding the Israel Defense Forces) and infallibility (regarding Israeli intelligence), and by taking hundreds of Israelis hostage before withdrawing to its underground lair beneath Gaza, Hamas baited a trap for Israel which the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predictably rushed into.

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“South Africans do know a thing or two about apartheid. They, like other critics of Israel, better be extra wary moving forward.”

Gaza: A Pause Before The Storm (Pepe Escobar)

While the world cries “Israeli genocide,” the Biden White House is gushing over the upcoming Gaza truce it helped broker, as though it’s actually “on the verge” of its “biggest diplomatic victory.” Behind the self-congratulatory narratives, the US administration is not remotely “wary about Netanyahu’s endgame,” it fully endorses it – genocide included – as agreed at the White House less than three weeks before Al-Aqsa Flood, in a 20 September meeting between Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and Joe “The Mummy” Biden’s handlers. The US/Qatar-brokered “truce,” which is supposed to go into effect this week, is not a ceasefire. It is a PR move to soften Israel’s genocide and boost its morale by securing the release of a few dozen captives. Moreover, the record shows that Israel never respects ceasefires.

Predictably, what really worries the US administration is the “unintended consequence” of the truce, which will “allow journalists broader access to Gaza and the opportunity to further illuminate the devastation there and turn public opinion on Israel.” Real journalists have been working in Gaza 24/7 since October 7 – dozens of whom have been killed by the Israeli military machine in what Reporters Sans Frontieres calls “one of the deadliest tolls in a century.” These journalists have spared no effort to go all the way to “illuminate the devastation,” a euphemism for the ongoing genocide, shown in all its gruesome detail for the entire world to see. Even the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), itself relentlessly attacked by Israel, revealed – somewhat meekly – that this has been “the largest displacement since 1948,” an “exodus” of the Palestinian population, with the younger generation “forced to live through traumas of ancestors or parents.”

As for public opinion all across the Global South/Global Majority, it “turned” long ago on Zionist extremism. But now the Global Minority – populations of the collective west – are watching raptly, horrified, and bitter that in just six weeks, social media has exposed them to what mainstream media hid for decades. There will be no turning back now that this penny has dropped. The South African government has paved the path, globally, for the proper reaction to an unfolding genocide: parliament voted to shutter the Israeli embassy, expel the Israeli ambassador, and cut diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv. South Africans do know a thing or two about apartheid. They, like other critics of Israel, better be extra wary moving forward.

Anything can be expected: an outbreak of foreign intel-conducted “terra terra terra” false flags, artificially induced weather calamities, fake “human rights abuse” charges, the collapse of the national currency, the rand, instances of lawfare, assorted Atlanticist apoplexy, sabotage of energy infrastructure. And more. Several nations should have by now invoked the Genocide Convention – given that Israeli politicians and officials have been bragging, on the record, about razing Gaza and besieging, starving, killing, and mass-transferring its Palestinian population. No geopolitical actor has dared thus far. South Africa, for its part, had the courage to go where few Muslim and Arab states have ventured. As matters stand, when it comes to much of the Arab world – particularly the US client states – they are still in Rhetorical Swamp territory.

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They simply want all hospitals gone, make the strip unlivable.

IDF Knew Real Hamas HQ While Lying About al-Shifa (CN)

Although corporate news media have made it clear they don’t buy the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claim that al-Shifa Hospital has been a cover for a Hamas command and control center and weapons armory, Western media have failed to report a much bigger story. The IDF and the Israeli government already knew when they launched their propaganda campaign about al-Shifa that Hamas had no military command and control facility hidden there because it had already found the complex kilometers away. As Consortium News reported last week, for 15 years the Israelis claimed Hamas was operating its primary command and control base from a tunnel underneath al-Shifa. After the Israeli bombing campaign against Gaza began in October, the Israeli military amplified that message to press its contention that by hiding the Hamas high command, al-Shifa Hospital had lost its immunity from military operations under the law of war, and could now legitimately be taken over by force.

On Nov. 11, IDF spokesman Richard Hecht declared that al-Shifa was the “main hub of Hamas activity;” Newsweek reported the IDF regarded al-Shifa Hospital as “Hamas’s main command post” and the Times of Israel headlined “Hamas leaders again hiding under hospital”. The crescendo of Israeli propaganda about al-Shifa being a “human shield” for Hamas came with a long report published by The New York Times on Nov. 14. It was based on interviews with eight present and former intelligence and defense officials, describing a vast military command complex under al-Shifa with multiple levels. But something quite unexpected had happened during this new round of press stories on al-Shifa that completely demolished the entire IDF story line: the IDF had gained control of the real Hamas command and control center in an area where the Hamas leadership had previously had their above-ground offices in the Al Atatra neighborhood, in the extreme northwest of Beit Lahiya city, 8.5km away from al-Shifa.

After that office building was demolished, the IDF discovered a major tunnel facility that was quite certain had been the central headquarters for the Hamas high command — the command and control center for the entire war. As the IDF leaked to The Jerusalem Post in a story published Nov. 14, the discovery was made “several days ago” of a tunnel with an elevator that reached thirty meters underground, compared with only five meters underground in other tunnels. Furthermore it had been equipped with oxygen, air conditioning and more advanced communications than seen anywhere else. That major IDF discovery, made on or before the Nov. 11 false stories about al-Shifa, threatened to undermine the Israeli political campaign to justify the IDF’s takeover and destruction of Gaza’s hospitals on the grounds that they were “human shields” for Hamas.

Al-Shifa Hospital was the centerpiece of that campaign, based on the claim that it was hiding the high command of Hamas in a tunnel underneath it. Obviously the IDF and the extreme right-wing Israel government would want to stop all further publicity about the discovery of the actual Hamas high command’s underground base. No story about the discovery of the real Hamas high command bunker has been published inside Israel or elsewhere in the nearly two weeks since the detailed Jerusalem Post piece on Nov. 14. Somehow the Israeli government and media have been able to completely suppress the discovery of the Hamas headquarters, despite the fact that a number of foreign news media have offices in Tel Aviv and the story is still available on the internet.

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“..the boats will carry 4,500 people from 40 countries, “including anti-Zionist Jews.”

1,000 Boats To Leave Türkiye For Gaza In New ‘Freedom Flotilla’ (Palinfo)

Approximately 1,000 boats have gathered in Türkiye on Wednesday before heading toward Gaza in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade in a similar attempt from over a decade ago. In an interview with Turkish news website Haber7, Volkan Okçu, one of the organizers of the protest, indicated the boats will carry 4,500 people from 40 countries, “including anti-Zionist Jews.” Among the 1,000 vessels would be 313 boats filled with Russian activists, and 104 filled with Spanish activists, he said. Only 12 Turkish vessels will join the flotilla, he told Haber7. However, Okçu said in a later tweet that he expected the number of Turkish vessels to be much higher.

The activist indicated to Haber7 that the flotilla is scheduled to leave Turkish coasts on Thursday. The maritime convoy is set to make a first stop in Cyprus before continuing toward the Israeli port of Ashdod. Some participants in the flotilla will also reportedly take their spouses and children on board.

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“Hitler sought to radicalise Muslims for jihad against the British and French colonial powers, as had the Kaiser in the First World War.”

How Zionists Rewrote the History of The Second World War (McCrae)

The truth about the relationship between the Third Reich and the Jews is more complicated than the induced horror of a trip to Auschwitz. Robert Oulds, in his masterpiece, World War II: the First Culture War (2023), describes what happened in Palestine, a less-known yet dramatic theatre of the Second World War. In the 1930s Hitler had supported a Jewish homeland, as was already emerging since the Balfour Declaration of 1917. But the Holy Land around Jerusalem was keenly contested. The British had suppressed the Arab Revolt of 1936 to 1939, but Palestine and the wider Middle East were volatile.. Hitler sought to radicalise Muslims for jihad against the British and French colonial powers, as had the Kaiser in the First World War. As Oulds explains: ‘Hitler planned to use Crete as a steppingstone to reach Cyprus and from there take Palestine from the British and Zionists who were in the process of colonising the Mandate.’

The Zionist paramilitary organisation, the Stern Gang, sought cooperation with the Nazis, to liberate Palestine from British control, but their overtures were coolly received. Hitler favoured the Arab nationalists. Meanwhile, twelve thousand Palestinians, mostly but not exclusively Christian, had volunteered to serve in the British army. According to Oulds, ‘the Nazis admired Islam because its adherents were prepared to sacrifice their lives for their cause. Furthermore, as the Nazis were opponents of Judeo-Christian heritage, they thought that Islam could be a useful tool in undermining the traditions which the National Socialists despised.’ Ironically, this was similar to the aim of the Frankfurt School, whose Cultural Marxist professors were predominantly of the Jewish intelligentsia targeted by Hitler.

Muslims, particularly from the Caucasus, Bosnia and the Crimean Tatars, were recruited to the Waffen SS. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem helped the Germans in this regard. However, Hitler’s Middle-Eastern endeavour was unsuccessful. Zionists showed little gratitude to the British for the initiation of the Jewish state. The Stern Gang killed about two hundred servicemen, many of whom had fought bravely in the North African desert against Rommel’s army. In 1946, ninety-one people died in the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, site of the British administrative headquarters. Twenty-eight lives were lost, including five British soldiers, in an attack on the El Kantara to Haifa express train in 1947. Other violent campaigns of terror and ethnic cleansing were waged by other Jewish terrorist organisations, including the Haganah, Irgun, and Lehi.

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“And just like that the J6 Committee’s violent insurrection narrative has crumbled..”

How the Democratic Party Faked an American Insurrection (Robert Bridge)

“Truth and transparency are critical,” Johnson said in a prepared statement. “This decision will provide millions of Americans, criminal defendants, public interest organizations, and the media an ability to see for themselves what happened that day, rather than having to rely upon the interpretation of a small group of government officials.” Democrats, however, who have milked the ‘insurrectionist’ narrative for everything it is worth, predictably chafed at the release, calling it a ‘risk to national security.’ “It is unconscionable that one of Speaker Johnson’s first official acts as steward of the institution is to endanger his colleagues, staff, visitors, and our country by allowing virtually unfettered access to sensitive Capitol security footage,” said New York Democrat Rep. Joseph Morelle, who sits on the Committee on House Administration. “That he is doing so over the strenuous objections of the security professionals within the Capitol Police is outrageous. This is not transparency; this is dangerous and irresponsible.”

For almost two years, Democrats, who managed to cherry-pick the most suggestive scenes of the footage, portrayed January 6th as everything from another September 11 to a second Pear Harbor. Last year, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), the photogenic member of the Democrat’s radical progressive wing, was shown visibly upset after having to “relive” the events of the Capitol riot. “I am so angry. Having to relive that footage,” she sobbed, rubbing her forehead. “I know it’s not just me. This is everyone.” “These attacks killed people, traumatized people and for any of you right-winger Trump loyalists, he sent his own people to jail, and promised his own people that he would pardon them.” The inconvenient truth, however, is that only one person was killed on the day of the Capitol riot – unarmed Air Force veteran and avid Trump supporter, Ashli Babbitt, who was shot by a police officer.

Now, Republicans are demanding justice be served and that the incarcerated protesters be immediately set free. “And just like that the J6 Committee’s violent insurrection narrative has crumbled,” said conservative commentator Charlie Kirk over X (formerly Twitter). “The Capitol Police facilitated the protesters passage through the building…the vast majority of J6ers should be immediately released.” However, with the Democrats still in control of Washington, D.C., together with the FBI, the Justice Department and other administrative offices, the Republicans will have to wait until November 4th – and possibly longer if they lose their White House bid – before any real justice is meted out. Meanwhile, federal officials have said there is no evidence that law enforcement officials helped coordinate the attacks.

“If you are asking whether the violence at the Capitol on January 6 was part of some operation orchestrated by FBI sources or agents the answer is emphatically no,” FBI Director Christopher Wray told Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) during a House Committee hearing. Higgins was questioning Wray about two Greyhound buses he said dropped off FBI agents dressed as Trump supporters at the Capitol on January 6, referring to the vehicles as “ghost buses.” Whatever the case may be, the fresh revelations were a silver lining in a shitstorm that has been following Donald Trump, who hopes to win back the White House next November despite multiple legal woes. “Congratulations to Speaker of the House Mike Johnson for having the Courage and Fortitude to release all of the J6 Tapes, which will explicitly reveal what really happened on January 6th!” Trump wrote on Truth Social Friday.

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“Buying a ticket to the Trump Circus could really backfire for Zelensky..”

Zelensky Weighing Trump Peace Plan: ‘Time to Wrap This Conflict Up’ ? (Sp.)

In a recent interview with US media, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signaled a belated interest in a peace proposal pitched earlier this year by former US President Donald Trump. In June, before a failed Ukrainian counteroffensive and a renewed Russian offensive, Zelensky had appeared incredulous at the suggestion of a negotiated settlement. In May, Trump claimed he “would have that war settled in one day, 24 hours” if he were president, saying he would sit down with both Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin, both of whom “have their weaknesses.” The following month, as Ukraine was preparing to launch a highly anticipated counter-offensive, Zelensky told a US newspaper he “couldn’t understand” Trump’s statement, noting that in the four years Trump was in the White House, he didn’t secure the return of Crimea – by then part of the Russian Federation following its secession from Ukraine – or the Donbass – then governed by the autonomous People’s Republics that had not yet been recognized by Moscow – to Ukrainian control.

However, the Ukrainian counteroffensive fell flat on its face, failing to secure all but the most meager of territorial gains for Ukraine at an appalling human and materiel cost, and now Russian forces have launched their own operations aimed at pushing Ukrainian forces out of claimed Russian territories. Speaking with a US television news outlet on Tuesday, Zelensky said he was “ready” to hear Trump’s proposal. “Let’s speak with him and give him this possibility to show what steps [are] of his peace formula,” Zelensky said. “He can share it with me,” the Ukrainian leader said. “Yes, we can stop this war if we will give Russia Donbass and Crimea, to my mind that our country will not be ready for that such [a] peace plan. That is not [a] peace plan.” However, earlier this month, Zelensky told another US news outlet that he would only need “24 minutes” to explain to Trump “that he can’t manage this war … he can’t bring peace because of Putin.”

The US has already funneled more than $113 billion in aid to Kiev since Russia’s special operation began in February 2022, according to US government statistics, and Biden has called on Congress to approve a massive $61.4 billion aid bill. On Monday, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin traveled to Kiev and declared the US would “continue to stand with Ukraine” and “will continue to support Ukraine’s urgent battlefield needs and long-term defense requirements.” Michael Shannon, a political commentator and Newsmax columnist, told Sputnik on Wednesday that Zelensky’s shift toward Trump was a risky intervention into US domestic politics that could seriously backfire. “It’s beginning to look like Zelensky’s blank check for US financial and military support has been returned for insufficient funds. The attitude on the part of the Biden administration and the left has been changing from ‘fighting to the last Ukrainian’ to ‘maybe it’s time to wrap this conflict up,’” Shannon told Sputnik.

“You can see evidence of this change in the coverage of the diplomatic portion of the conflict,” he noted. “The Regime Media is discussing negotiations without the previous preconditions. Zelensky can read the room and may be thinking that listening to Trump will signal an openness to alternative outcomes for the war.” However, Shannon also floated the opposite possibility: that Zelensky sees this maneuver as a ploy to provoke the White House into doubling down on support for Ukraine. “Or, it could be that Zelensky knows Trump is absolutely toxic to the Biden administration and he hopes that by meeting with Trump it will make a negotiated peace at this time anathema to the administration,” he explained. “Call it a ‘diplomatic bank shot’ if you will. A very risky bank shot. Zelensky would have been smarter to continue to ignore Trump.”

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Not much left to celebrate..

2004, 2014, 2022: What Is Ukraine Celebrating? (Oncan)

The catalyst for the Maidan coup, as it is now known, was the suspension of the association process with the EU by the Ukrainian government on November 21, 2013. Allegations of corruption further fueled pro-Western actions. A symbolic moment occurred on December 8 of the same year when the Lenin statue in Kiev was demolished, signaling a transformative shift for Ukraine. The activists leading the Maidan protests were primarily figures associated with Ukraine’s Western-backed ultra-nationalist and neo-Nazi movements. The Social-Nationalist Party, founded in 1991 and later renamed Svoboda (ironically meaning “Freedom”), played a significant role in the 2014 protests through its youth organization, Ukrainian Patriot.

Notably, neo-Nazi figure Andrey Biletskiy, founder of Trizub (established in 2002 and later transformed into the Azov Battalion), symbolizes the character of the Maidan regime, having been imprisoned for demolishing the Lenin statue in 2011 but subsequently released to enter parliament after the coup. Dmitry Yarosh, the founder of Praviy Sektor and a manager of Trizub, emerged as a leading figure in neo-Nazi organizations during and after the Maidan protests. Yarosh further gained influence as the chief advisor to the Chief of General Staff of Ukraine. The United States, a major international supporter of the Maidan protests, was notably represented by Victoria Nuland, who, as the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, distributed cookies to Ukrainian activists during the ongoing protests. Nuland’s involvement in shaping the post-coup administration, coupled with the claim that the USA spent $5 billion on Ukraine over two decades, highlighted the significant U.S. role.

The strong U.S. support for the Maidan coup also found expression in the appointment of Hunter Biden, the son of then-U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, to the board of directors of Burisma, Ukraine’s largest energy company. Following the coup, the ultra-nationalist government’s initial actions aimed to erase the Soviet past, suppress Russian cultural presence, and undertake moves against Russians in the country. The Ukrainian administration implemented measures such as banning the Russian language in public spaces, erecting statues of Nazi collaborators (particularly Bandera), designating their birthdays as public holidays, equalizing the status of Red Army veterans and members of Nazi collaborator organizations, official affiliation of neo-Nazi groups with the Ukrainian army, and the banning, persecution, and killing of members of the Communist Party and socialist organizations.

Russians, predominantly located in the east of the country, formed anti-fascist unions and engaged in Anti-Maidan actions to protect against attacks. This resistance led to the establishment of the Federal State of Novorossiya, comprising the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Despite the Minsk protocol signed by Ukraine, Russia, Donetsk, Lugansk, and OSCE representatives for a ceasefire, Ukrainian forces persisted in their attacks. A protracted war ensued, exacerbated by the special military operation launched by Russia.

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Make peace you fools.

Dems Fear Ukraine Might Not ‘Survive’ Until 2024 as House Halts Funding (Sp.)

The crisis in the Middle East, the possibility of a government shutdown, and the election of a new House speaker have shifted Washington’s attention away from Ukraine, with officials in the Pentagon and civilian agencies sending increasingly desperate warning signals that they’re running out of cash to sink into NATO’s proxy war against Russia. White House officials and Democratic lawmakers lobbying for the extension of US economic and military assistance to Ukraine have sounded the alarm over GOP House Speaker Mike Johnson’s perceived foot-dragging in setting up a vote on the issue. Citing recent attempts to include Ukraine funding into omnibus, must-pass funding measures, Democratic lawmakers pointed out that the next stopgap funding bill won’t be coming until late January or early February of 2024, and expressed fears about whether Kiev can hold out for that long.

“I don’t know that Ukraine can survive until February of 2024,” Democratic Senator Chris Murphy told Beltway media this week. “My sense is they start to run short of ammunition in the next several weeks.” “We have to bear down, get this done and get this supplemental passed soon because the brave Ukrainians who are fighting as winter is coming are looking at losing the supplies they’ve needed for ammunition, for missiles, for drones, for defense, for armor, and we cannot possibly afford to abandon Ukraine,” his colleague, Democratic Senator Chris Coons concurred. Johnson and his conservative Republican colleagues in the House of Representatives torpedoed President Joe Biden’s proposed $105 billion all-in-one funding bill this month containing money for Ukraine, Israel, cash for US brinksmanship with China in the Pacific, and the border crisis, instead pushing through a stopgap measure preventing a government shutdown and assuring funding for government services, but not a cent more.

The bill passed the Senate, and President Biden reluctantly signed it, despite earlier threats by the White House to veto the measure. For the Pentagon and US civilian agencies tasked with doling out cash to Kiev, Johnson’s reluctance to tee up a vote on Ukraine poses a real danger, with US military officials warning earlier this month that there was only about $1 billion remaining in the Ukraine war chest, and a USAID administrator revealing that its funds for direct budgetary support were all gone. “Without further appropriations, the government of Ukraine would need to use emergency measures such as printing money or not paying critical salaries, which could lead to hyperinflation, and severely damage the war effort,” USIAD assistant administrator Erin McKee said in congressional testimony earlier this month.

Senior White House aides informed media that part of the administration’s problem with Johnson is that it “does not yet have a clear read” on the politician’s negotiating style, and expressed concerns that the speaker may not be as malleable as his predecessor, Kevin McCarthy to backroom side deals (which helped culminate in McCarthy’s ouster).

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“Ukrainian prisons are currently holding at least a few brigades of deserters. Their motive is clear: fear of death..”

Ukraine Has No One Left to Fight Because of Desertion (Sp.)

The botched counteroffensive has caused the Kiev regime a serious shortage of human resources for mobilization, not to mention growing questions from Kiev’s Western allies and donors as to what they are actually providing money and weapons for. In 2021, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine initiated 117 criminal cases for desertion. Another 2,028 cases were classified as “unauthorized leaving of a military unit or place of service,” meaning that individuals left their units with the intention of returning. In addition, there were 33 cases of self-inflicted injuries.In the first nine months of this year, 4,638 soldiers deserted from the Ukrainian Armed Forces, 10,940 temporarily left service, and there were 161 cases of self-harm. Deserters face sentences of five to eight years in prison. In some instances, these cases often end with a pretrial agreement and a suspended sentence.

Ukrainian prisons are currently holding at least a few brigades of deserters. Their motive is clear: fear of death. Local media reported that a Russian missile destroyed several dozen soldiers in their barracks. One survivor fled, taking his rifle with him. His friends say he surrendered as a PoW. Nevertheless, he was sentenced to eight years in prison. Another soldier left his position after it was shelled, but returned later. He was sent to a military psychiatrist. He did not fully recover, disappeared again, then was arrested and sentenced to 2.5 years in prison. Another deserter admitted in court that he feared for his life during the attack on Liman. According to him, the operation was poorly planned and lacked fire support. Sentence: five years. Some try to flee abroad. In July, a deserter was caught on the border with Romania. He was also sentenced to five years.

They are also sent to penal battalions. This is not widely publicized, but it happens. At the front, however, they only trust those who surrendered at the first opportunity, and now they are only assigned to construction work. Officers are punished for the desertion of subordinates. Therefore, if a soldier declares that he would rather go to jail than face bullets, he will be kept in the rear. However, fatigue from the fighting is mounting for everyone. Losses are enormous and finding replacements are problematic. Many combat units are 30-40 percent short of personnel. Almost everywhere, there are hidden desertions. Soldiers, sergeants, and officers feign illness and try to stay at headquarters and in rear units – anything to avoid the front lines. And then “psychologists” rush to help, complaining that many people live by the principle “see no evil, hear no evil,” so the state should intensify propaganda.

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Reminder: Von der Leyen “negotiated” with Bourla on WhatsApp (or a similar app) , because she was not required to save such talks.

Pfizer Sues Poland Over Covid-19 Vaccine (RT)

US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has escalated its feud with Poland over excess Covid-19 vaccine doses that were ordered under a massive contract with the European Union, filing a lawsuit to demand payment for 60 million jabs that Warsaw didn’t need. The case was filed this week in Brussels, demanding 6 billion zloty ($1.5 billion) for the vaccines that Poland’s government declined after it stopped taking delivery of the jabs in April 2019. Warsaw was locked into buying its share of Covid-19 inoculations under a controversial contract that the European Commission signed with Pfizer in 2021 on behalf of EU nations. The bloc wound up ordering 1.1 billion doses under the contract, saddling EU states with a vaccine glut as the Covid-19 pandemic waned.

The EU prosecutor’s office announced an investigation of the procurement process amid allegations of corruption and secret backroom dealings. Polish officials questioned the role of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in making the deal. Von der Leyen admitted to privately communicating with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla for weeks during the contract negotiations, but the European Commission said last year that her text exchanges with the executive could not be found. The first hearing in Pfizer’s lawsuit is scheduled to take place on December 6. The company offered earlier this year to give the EU more time to complete its minimum vaccine purchases under the binding contract, but it insisted that it eventually be paid for the full number of doses to which the bloc committed. Poland refused to sign on to a revised EU agreement with the drugmaker.

Polish Health Minister Katarzyna Sojka told broadcaster TVN24 on Wednesday that there is some hope of resolving the Pfizer lawsuit “in a positive way.” She noted that Warsaw is not alone in the issue, as other EU states will face similar lawsuits. Pfizer decided to go forward with the lawsuit “following a prolonged contract breach and a period of discussions in good faith between the parties,” a company spokesman told Politico. Millions of Poles refused to receive Covid-19 vaccines, and Warsaw halted deliveries of the jabs as an influx of Ukrainian refugees in early 2022 strained the government’s finances.

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“The situation is especially dire in the Eurozone’s two largest economies, Germany and France..”

Eurozone Economy ‘Stuck In The Mud’ – Economist (RT)

The lingering economic downturn in the Eurozone signals that the region may plunge into a recession by the end of the year, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing economists and private-sector activity surveys. According to S&P Global, the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) in the region continued to shrink in November, plunging to 47.1 points, the sixth consecutive monthly reading below 50 – the threshold separating contraction from growth. The same trend was seen in both manufacturing and services. “The Eurozone economy is stuck in the mud,” Hamburg Commercial Bank chief economist Cyrus de la Rubia told the news outlet. According to the expert, everything points to “a second consecutive quarter of shrinking GDP” after a 0.1% drop in gross domestic product in the previous quarter, which would constitute a technical recession.

The situation is especially dire in the Eurozone’s two largest economies, Germany and France, de la Rubia said, noting that both are “in the grip of considerable weakness.” While Germany’s contraction somewhat eased in November and private-sector activity shrank at a slower pace than in the previous month, the country remains “in recession territory” and its economy may return to growth no sooner than next year, the analyst predicted. The state of affairs in France, meanwhile, was even worse, with the country’s PMI little changed at 44.5. Both manufacturing and services are suffering from weak demand, while the surge in unused business capacity triggered the first decline in private-sector employment in three years. This put the country’s economy “in a kind of a dead-end,” according to another economist at Hamburg Commercial Bank, Norman Liebke. Inflation in both France and Germany remained far above target levels and is unlikely to decrease sufficiently enough to stop weighing on their economies in the short term, de la Rubia said.

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They didn’t choose, the Federal Constitutional Court made the choice for them.

Germany to Choose Lifeline for Its Embattled Economy Over Ukraine Aid (Sp.)

The German Finance Ministry has announced a freeze on almost all new spending approvals for 2023, permitting only current liabilities and exceptional new obligations, after a Federal Constitutional Court ruling questioned the legality of several hundred billion euros in special funds. Berlin is facing a tough choice between financial support for German businesses and continuing to waste money on the “failed project” that is NATO’s proxy war against Russia in Ukraine. As “Ukraine fatigue” percolating throughout the West increasingly pulls the rug from under Kiev’s hopes for continued financial and military assistance being funneled to it, another blow might have been dealt to Europe’s efforts to sustain aid for the regime, the WSJ noted.

German Finance Minister Christian Lindner announced a freeze on public spending for the rest of the year on Monday. Applicable to almost the entire budget for 2023, the decision was made due to “the need to review the overall budgetary situation for the federal budget,” as per a statement from the ministry. The move came in the wake of a bombshell ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court last week. The judicial ruling stated that the €60 billion (over $65 billion) earmarked for the pandemic response cannot be repurposed for other initiatives, like advancing green manufacturing practices or boosting solar energy production. The court said Berlin was bound by the country’s constitutionally enshrined fiscal rules that limit budget deficits to 0.35% of gross domestic product in normal times.

The implications of the move are such that Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government is now facing a dilemma. The increasingly unpopular Scholz Cabinet had been counting on a flood of spending on “green-energy projects and technology,” along with multibillion-euro-worth subsidies to construct chip-making plants, the WSJ underscored. Now, Berlin will either have to go ahead with painful budget cuts or raise taxes, or even both. But most importantly, in the short term, Berlin will need to decide whether priority shall be given to boosting Europe’s collective defense, and directing more aid to the Kiev regime, or “cushioning the impact of surging energy prices and inflation on businesses and households,” the outlet said. Nevertheless, Berlin will continue supporting a €50 billion four-year Brussels budget package for Ukraine for next year, according to cited German sources conferring with the bloc’s officials on November 17.

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There are reasons why it’s been used for centuries. Don’t throw it away, because you will get a lot of disadvantages.”

Stark Warning Against UK Following Sweden By Going Cashless (Exp.)

Britain should not follow Sweden towards becoming a cashless society, the leader of a Scandinavian grassroots movement has warned. Björn Eriksson, a former president of international police organisation Interpol, set up his campaign group to fight against the ditching of notes and coins in Sweden. And in a warning to the UK against going cashless, he said: “My message would be keep the two systems side by side. “It’s true that it costs more to have a system of cash running parallel with a digital system, but look upon it as an insurance. “There are reasons why it’s been used for centuries. Don’t throw it away, because you will get a lot of disadvantages.” Mr Eriksson launched Kontantupproret – Cash Rebellion – in 2015 due to concerns that some people were being cut adrift by the decline of cash in Sweden.

He said: “It just happens that I tried to be more modern and suddenly I could see there is something curious with this. “Everybody seems to be happy, nobody’s talking about those left aside. And that was more or less the starting point.” He said those affected include pensioners, women fleeing abusive relationships, the disabled, refugees, voluntary organisations, small businesses and people living in the north of the country where internet coverage can be a problem. Just eight percent of people in Sweden used cash for their most recent payment, according to a 2022 survey by the country’s central bank, down from 39 percent in 2010. But Britain is not that far behind with figures from UK Finance showing 14 percent of transactions last year used notes and coins.

Banks are vanishing from high streets up and down the country with 5,753 branches shutting their doors since January 2015, figures from consumer group Which? show. And some shops, cafes, restaurants and other venues across the UK will now only accept plastic. In Sweden, many banks have stopped handling cash altogether and Mr Eriksson said it is increasingly difficult to pay with notes and coins in shops. He said: “If you take foods you still have the possibility but notice it’s very easy to pay with digital means, maybe you have five places where you can do it in a shop, while if you have cash it’s a long line and you have to wait and then you can use your cash. “If you want to have a cup of coffee in Stockholm and you walk from the Parliament to the Central Station, for example, there is nowhere you could get your cup of coffee because they have a little sign saying we are cashless.”

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Are they trying to blow up the union?!

European Lawmakers Vote For Abolition Of Member State Vetoes (RMX)

European lawmakers approved plans on Wednesday to remove the national veto for EU member states in the latest attempted power grab by Brussels to wrestle control away from national governments. A total of 291 MEPs supported the proposal put forward by the “Verhofstadt Group,” a group of MEPs led by the arch-federalist Guy Verhofstadt to amend the European Union treaties in favor of greater centralization and limiting the sovereignty of member states. The vote was only narrowly passed with a majority of just 17 after a faction of conservative parliamentary groups expressed considerable opposition to the move.

In the plenary debate on the matter on Tuesday, Verhofstadt claimed that veto rights had been used by member states disillusioned with the European Union’s trajectory to “blackmail” the bloc, a thinly veiled jibe at Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has refused to sanction the European Union’s proposed amendments to the bloc’s collective budget to further finance the Ukrainian war effort. In response, a former co-rapporteur to the Verhofstadt Group, Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, accused federalists in the European Parliament of attempting “to transform the EU into a superstate,” continuing his opposition to the plans outlined in a recent interview with Remix News.

The public is not supposed to notice that a putsch is about to take place, that the European Union as a community of sovereign states is being abolished and a superstate is being created without any consent of the people, says Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski Saryusz-Wolski resigned from the working committee led by Verhofstadt in protest at the development of the plan that would further politicize the European Commission, give Eurocrats sole competency over several issues including the environment, education, and public health, and remove the need for unanimity among member states in key policy areas. The Polish MEP called the move “a silent putsch with communist roots.”

Vice Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group Rob Roos, contrasted the vote on Wednesday with the Dutch election being held on the same day, posting on X: “Today the festival of democracy takes place in the Netherlands, but in Strasbourg our democracy is being buried. “A European Parliament majority just voted for the abolition of the Netherlands’ veto in many areas. Vote for a party that defends our veto!” he added. The resolution in reality changes little. It gives an insight into the consensus of the parliament but treaty change ultimately remains a matter upon which unanimity among member state governments is required.

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“OpenAI defines AGI as autonomous systems that surpass humans in most economically valuable tasks..”

Better listen to Elon, and not let Bill Gates run away with it.

OpenAI Researchers Warned Board of AI Breakthrough Ahead of CEO Ouster (R.)

Ahead of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s four days in exile, several staff researchers wrote a letter to the board of directors warning of a powerful artificial intelligence discovery that they said could threaten humanity, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The previously unreported letter and AI algorithm were key developments before the board’s ouster of Altman, the poster child of generative AI, the two sources said. Prior to his triumphant return late Tuesday, more than 700 employees had threatened to quit and join backer Microsoft in solidarity with their fired leader. The sources cited the letter as one factor among a longer list of grievances by the board leading to Altman’s firing, among which were concerns over commercializing advances before understanding the consequences. [..]

After being contacted by Reuters, OpenAI, which declined to comment, acknowledged in an internal message to staffers a project called Q* and a letter to the board before the weekend’s events, one of the people said. An OpenAI spokesperson said that the message, sent by long-time executive Mira Murati, alerted staff to certain media stories without commenting on their accuracy. Some at OpenAI believe Q* (pronounced Q-Star) could be a breakthrough in the startup’s search for what’s known as artificial general intelligence (AGI), one of the people told Reuters. OpenAI defines AGI as autonomous systems that surpass humans in most economically valuable tasks. Given vast computing resources, the new model was able to solve certain mathematical problems, the person said on condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak on behalf of the company.

Though only performing math on the level of grade-school students, acing such tests made researchers very optimistic about Q*’s future success, the source said. Reuters could not independently verify the capabilities of Q* claimed by the researchers. Researchers consider math to be a frontier of generative AI development. Currently, generative AI is good at writing and language translation by statistically predicting the next word, and answers to the same question can vary widely. But conquering the ability to do math — where there is only one right answer — implies AI would have greater reasoning capabilities resembling human intelligence. This could be applied to novel scientific research, for instance, AI researchers believe.

Unlike a calculator that can solve a limited number of operations, AGI can generalize, learn and comprehend. In their letter to the board, researchers flagged AI’s prowess and potential danger, the sources said without specifying the exact safety concerns noted in the letter. There has long been discussion among computer scientists about the danger posed by highly intelligent machines, for instance if they might decide that the destruction of humanity was in their interest. Researchers have also flagged work by an “AI scientist” team, the existence of which multiple sources confirmed. The group, formed by combining earlier “Code Gen” and “Math Gen” teams, was exploring how to optimize existing AI models to improve their reasoning and eventually perform scientific work, one of the people said.

Altman led efforts to make ChatGPT one of the fastest growing software applications in history and drew investment – and computing resources – necessary from Microsoft to get closer to AGI. In addition to announcing a slew of new tools in a demonstration this month, Altman last week teased at a summit of world leaders in San Francisco that he believed major advances were in sight. “Four times now in the history of OpenAI, the most recent time was just in the last couple weeks, I’ve gotten to be in the room, when we sort of push the veil of ignorance back and the frontier of discovery forward, and getting to do that is the professional honor of a lifetime,” he said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. A day later, the board fired Altman.

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Sea angel
https://twitter.com/i/status/1727792704078168321

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 232023
 
 November 23, 2023  Posted by at 9:47 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  30 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Absinthe Drinker 1901

 

Israel-Hamas Hostage Deal Delayed (RT)
Stolen Glory: Qatar, Not Biden, Did Leg Work to Secure Gaza Truce (Sp.)
Destroying History to Preserve an Illusion (Lauria)
Putin Thinks ‘Decades Ahead’ – Key Aide (RT)
Zelensky Has Good Reason to be Scared of Regime Change – US Vet (Sp.)
EU Drafting ‘Security Plan’ For Ukraine Amid Bickering Over Further Aid (Sp.)
Western Countries Train 100,000 Ukrainian Troops In Less Than Two Years (TASS)
Ukraine Conscripting Vital Workers (RT)
There Are No Russian-Speaking Ukrainians’ – Kiev (RT)
60% of Americans Believe Joe Biden Helped Son’s Business Dealings (RT)
Majority of American Households Own Guns and Support Gun Rights (Turley)
President JFK: His Life and Public Assassination by the CIA (Curtin)
RFK Jr. Vows To Dismantle ‘Military Empire’ (RT)
Dutch Election: Anti-Islam Populist Wilders Set For Big Win (BBC)

 

 

 

 

Palestine pre-1948

 

 

Putin Gaza
https://twitter.com/i/status/1727325551722176970

 

 

 

 

Nap/Macgregor

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

Tucker 2024 You’re watching death worship

 

 

Ritter

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

Trump Turkey
https://twitter.com/i/status/1727047306766328313

 

 

 

 

“Let us look at ourselves, if we have the courage, to see what is happening to us.”
– Jean-Paul Sartre

 

 

 

 

“Israel says hostage swap with Hamas won’t begin before Friday..”

Israel-Hamas Hostage Deal Delayed (RT)

A hostage exchange deal between Israel and the Hamas militant group will be postponed until Friday, a senior Israeli official has said. The arrangement was originally set to begin on Thursday, with Israeli forces expected to pause operations for four days to allow aid into the besieged Gaza Strip. Israeli National Security Council Director Tzachi Hanegbi announced the delay in a statement on Wednesday, stressing that the negotiations were still underway and that the deal was set to be finalized. “The contacts on the release of our hostages are advancing and continuing constantly. The start of the release will take place according to the original agreement between the sides, and not before Friday,” Hanegbi said.

An unnamed Israeli official cited by Haaretz added that the four-day pause to Israel’s military operations would also be delayed, suggesting air and ground raids in Gaza would continue until the deal is officially implemented. A spokesperson for the US National Security Council, Adrienne Watson, said the one-day delay did not indicate the deal was in danger, stating that it “was agreed and remains agreed.” “It is our view that nothing should be left to chance as the hostages begin coming home. Our primary objective is to ensure that they are brought home safely. That is on track and we are hopeful that implementation will begin on Friday morning,” Watson said.

Israel’s cabinet agreed to the hostage deal late on Tuesday night. Under terms brokered with the help of Qatari, Egyptian and American mediators, Hamas would release 50 Israeli hostages – all women and children – in exchange for 150 Palestinian civilians currently held by Israel. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would also halt attacks on Gaza for four days, and would pause operations for one more day for every ten additional captives freed by the Palestinian militant group. According to Hamas, Israel has also agreed to halt all drone flights over the southern portion of Gaza during the four-day pause, and to limit flights over the north to certain times of day.

The IDF has urged Palestinian civilians to evacuate to the south for their own safety, though rights groups have accused Israeli forces of continued strikes in the evacuation zone, including on United Nations shelters. Israel maintains it attacks military targets only. More than 200 people were taken hostage by Hamas during the group’s October 7 attack on Israel, which left some 1,200 people dead. Some of the captives are foreign nationals, including citizens of the US, Thailand, Britain, France, Argentina, Germany, Chile, Spain and Portugal, according to Israeli officials. Israel has launched weeks of airstrikes on Gaza and escalated a ground raid on the territory, killing more than 12,000 Palestinians, including over 5,000 children, according to health officials in the Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave.

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“..the US only joined in the ceasefire talks because the costs for Biden were “getting extremely politically costly..”

Stolen Glory: Qatar, Not Biden, Did Leg Work to Secure Gaza Truce (Sp.)

Hamas and Israel each confirmed in the early hours of Wednesday morning that a humanitarian pause and prisoner exchange deal had been reached. The surprise agreement, made possible thanks to behind-the-scenes mediation led by Qatar, is expected to include the exchange of 50 Israeli hostages (all of them women and children) and up to 150 Palestinian women, children and teenagers held in Israeli jails. The halt in hostilities is expected to start Thursday morning at 6:30 am local time, with Qatari officials saying the four-day truce could be extended. The deal will allow the delivery of hundreds of trucks-worth of humanitarian and medical aid and fuel to the besieged Gaza Strip, and should see the complete suspension of Israeli military flights over its southern areas and restrictions on flights over the north.

The fragility of the agreement has been exemplified by stern warnings by Hamas that its fighters would “remain at full combat readiness to protect the Palestinian people and resist the occupation,” and by incendiary comments by Tel Aviv that it plans to “continue the war in order to return home all the hostage, complete the elimination of Hamas and ensure that there will be no new threat to the State of Israel from Gaza.” Doha graciously cited Egyptian and US support during the negotiations as a factor in their success, but officials in Washington and US media immediately began a campaign of self-aggrandizement designed to talk up the importance of President Biden’s “secret” role. Biden welcomed the agreement, saying in a statement he was “extraordinarily gratified” over the fact that Israeli nationals held captive by Hamas will be released, and that he “appreciates” the Netanahu government’s “commitment…in supporting an extended pause” to hostilities to “alleviate the suffering of innocent Palestinian families in Gaza.”

[..] “Much of the work was done not by the United States or by Joe Biden personally, but by Qatar,” Dr. Mehran Kamrava, a professor of government at Georgetown University’s Qatar campus, told Sputnik. The negotiations were done by the kingdom’s prime minister, its foreign minister and “personnel on the ground,” in that order, the academic emphasized, adding that it was Doha that was responsible for “much of the difficult negotiations,” not the US. “The US administration involved itself in order to appear as if they are in favor of what they call a ‘humanitarian pause’ or a ‘ceasefire.’ In fact, the US administration has steadfastly refused to put an end to the genocide of Palestinians by the Israeli government,” Kamrava stressed. The scholar believes the US only joined in the ceasefire talks because the costs for Biden were “getting extremely politically costly,” with former president Donald Trump projected to wipe the floor with Biden if elections were held today, according to recent polling, in part due to the incumbent’s loss of support about the pro-ceasefire youth demographic.

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“..to keep Westerners ignorant about what their governments have been up to in the Middle East that has caused so much havoc.”

Destroying History to Preserve an Illusion (Lauria)

On April 9, 2016 Consortium News published an article, republished last Sept. 12, “Why Americans Are Never Told Why,” which sought to explain why the historical context surrounding terrorist attacks on the West is suppressed to whitewash any responsibility Western governments may have for putting their populations in danger. Instead, Western leaders prefer their people believe the illusion that totally irrational actors attack them because “they hate their freedoms” and not because of an aggressive foreign policy towards the Middle East. Making clear that these attacks against civilians were never justified, the article contained links to statements from perpetrators spelling out why they attacked the West, including a “Letter to the American People” from Osama bin Laden, which explained in detail why al Qaeda struck the U.S. on Sept. 11, 2001.

The link in the article pointed to the letter’s publication by The Guardian on Nov. 24, 2002. That document has now been removed by The Guardian. It did so last Wednesday, Nov. 15, after 21 years. The newspaper gave this explanation: “The transcript published on our website had been widely shared on social media without the full context. Therefore we decided to take it down and direct readers instead to the news article that originally contextualised it. The clips crossed over to X, formerly Twitter, in a supercut tweeted by the writer Yashar Ali, who wrote that “thousands” of the videos had proliferated across TikTok. Ali’s tweet itself racked up more than 11,000 retweets and 23.8m views. ‘The TikToks are from people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Many of them say that reading the letter has opened their eyes, and they’ll never see geopolitical matters the same way again,’ wrote Ali.

In a statement on Thursday, the White House said: ‘There is never a justification for spreading the repugnant, evil, and antisemitic lies that the leader of al Qaeda issued just after committing the worst terrorist attack in American history.’” Even after linking to The Guardian article that supposedly gave the letter the “context” The Guardian says was missing, it still did not publish bin Laden’s historical document. With the stated aim of providing “context,” The Guardian instead has destroyed the context that puts Western foreign policy towards the Middle East in a very grim light. It is difficult not to conclude that that was The Guardian‘s and TikTok’s motives: to succumb to Western government’s pressure to run interference for the West and Israel to keep Westerners ignorant about what their governments have been up to in the Middle East that has caused so much havoc.

It also spotlights the disastrous consequences of Israel’s decades-long occupation of the Palestinians. This episode is yet another example of suppressing the historical context of a current event that undermines the West’s interpretation. We saw it in Ukraine, when previously published news by mainstream media of the 2014 U.S.-backed coup and the influence of neo-Nazis in Ukraine was airbrushed from the story in 2022 and made taboo to mention. It is like banning historians from mentioning the Versailles Treaty as one cause of World War II in the grossly misleading contention that it somehow justifies Nazi atrocities. Explaining the historical context of Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine is what journalists are supposed to do, and what Consortium News has done, to explain what happened, not to justify it.

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“The point is that Putin does not make a single decision ‘for elections’, based on a short-term planning horizon. He always thinks in terms of the next generations..”

Putin Thinks ‘Decades Ahead’ – Key Aide (RT)

Unlike the leaders of Western democracies, Russian President Vladimir Putin does not think in terms of the next election but the next generation, his economic adviser Maksim Oreshkin has said. Oreshkin revealed the Russian leader’s time preference in an interview with the outlet Moskovsky Komsomolets (MK), published on the eve of Wednesday’s artificial intelligence conference in Moscow. “Russia compares favorably with individual European countries, which you called democracies,” Oreshkin told MK. “The planning horizon there is short. The main thing is to hold out until the next elections, and then who cares if the grass will grow. We all know very well that President Putin’s planning horizon is not three months, not a year, or even five years. These are decades ahead, generations.”

Oreshkin pointed to how much Russia has changed since 2000, when Putin was first elected, noting the increases in life expectancy, car and home ownership, agricultural production and exports. “The point is that Putin does not make a single decision ‘for elections’, based on a short-term planning horizon. He always thinks in terms of the next generations,” the aide said. Oreshkin denied that the Kremlin was preparing any “bitter pills” for Russians after the March 2024 election. Instead, he said, the government had in mind a development strategy for education and infrastructure. “We all want to see the improvement of societal infrastructure in the country as quickly as possible, to speed up the renovation of schools, kindergartens, roads, and improve primary health care. The question is only how to pay for such rapid change,” he told MK.

According to Oreshkin, Russia has managed to absorb the negative impact of Western sanctions and its economy has grown by 5% in the third quarter of 2023. The budget deficit has turned out to be far smaller than the Kremlin anticipated, and the overall economic situation is quite good, he argued. The only fields that are still hurting are those that had relied on exports to Europe – such as oil, gas and lumber – or were dominated by Western suppliers, such as cars.

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“..he warned his generals to stay out of politics or risk harming the unity of the nation.”

Zelensky Has Good Reason to be Scared of Regime Change – US Vet (Sp.)

Volodymyr Zelensky knows that the writing for him is already on the wall, as the West is looking for a more convenient figure to replace him, says Mark Sleboda, an international affairs and security analyst. Hence, Zelensky has incessantly claimed in recent interviews with the Western press that “the Russians” want to stir up a “Maidan 3” in Ukraine in order to oust him. The president’s words about the third “maidan” (“square”) is a reference to two coups which took place on Independence Square in central Kiev in 2004 and 2014. The latter brought to power Western-backed ultra-nationalists who started an all-out war against Russian-speakers in the east of the country. “One of the important things to remember is that until that putsch, that ‘revolution of dignity’ backed by the US and the EU, in Ukraine’s constitution it was necessitated that they remain a neutral state. They had to remain neutral.

“They could not join NATO. They could not join the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty organization. When the new West-backed regime seized power they, of course, completely got rid of that aspect of the Constitution,” Mark Sleboda told Sputnik. “And it is fascinating that today they’re celebrating the anniversary of the beginning of this Maidan. But just a few days ago, Zelensky was publicly saying that he feared a ‘third Maidan’, tacitly admitting that the Maidan is a fraud, that the original Maidan was a foreign-inspired putsch to overthrow the government, [which was] lacking any legitimacy. And he is now saying that he fears another one of the same, which, you know, is a really interesting commentary of his celebration of what happened now.”

While the Ukrainian president presented zero evidence to back his claims of Russia preparing a coup in Kiev, there are clear indications of the ongoing internal battle between the Zelensky cabinet and Ukrainian top brass, according to Sleboda. One of them was a famous “stalemate” interview given by Commander-in-Chief of Ukrainian Armed Forces Gen. Valery Zaluzhny to the Economist, later scolded by Zelensky. Another one was a mysterious death of Zaluzhny’s aide who was blasted by a grenade on his birthday on November 6. Earlier, on November 3, Zelensky unilaterally dismissed Viktor Khorenko, who was known to be close to Zaluzhny, from the post of commander of special operations forces. Likewise, the commander of the medical forces Tatyana Ostashchenko was replaced with Anatoly Kazmirchuk by the Kiev regime without consulting Ukraine’s top general.

“That’s just become abundantly clear in the recent days as this political rift, as The New York Times has openly referred to it, between the Kiev regime’s political and military leadership, between Zelensky and Zaluzhny, the Kiev regime’s top general. And just today, despite these celebrations and the arrival of multiple Western political figures for this occasion – that they’re still trying to make a big deal out of – Zelensky once again came with a slap down on Ukraine’s military leadership. And it obviously pointed at Zaluzhny. But he warned his generals to stay out of politics or risk harming the unity of the nation.”

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“Originally, the EU sought to allocate a mind-boggling sum of €20 billion ($21.8 billion) [..] now the sum has shrunk to a proposed 5 billion for next year, so it is reportedly hoped that member states might at least agree to that.”

EU Drafting ‘Security Plan’ For Ukraine Amid Bickering Over Further Aid (Sp.)

The futility of continuously propping up Kiev amid its botched counteroffensive, accrued massive manpower and weaponry losses, and reports of escalating government infighting is becoming increasingly impossible to ignore. Hence, the growing chorus of political voices both in the US and in Europe questioning the viability of the Kiev regime. Amid the specter of dwindling military and economic support for the regime of President Volodymyr Zelensky, the European Union has reportedly devised a draft paper containing security guarantees for Ukraine. With Volodymyr Zelensky sounding the alarm right and left about the prospects of Western support to Kiev decreasing to a trickle, the framework document concocted to appease Ukraine’s increasingly snubbed President will reportedly be central to upcoming consultations between the Group of Seven (G7) nations and Kiev.

The assembled proposals are said to be built on the bilateral arrangements that Kiev hopes to wrangle out of some of its Western patrons this year. These draft EU paper purportedly contains commitments that include offering a “predictable, efficient, sustainable and long-term mechanism for the provision of military equipment to Ukraine.” At this point it is worth noting that EU member states have already been fast-depleting their own armed forces’ stocks by arming Ukraine and fueling the proxy war with Russia. Needless to say, the European defense industry will have its task cut out for it if it takes on the afore-mentioned commitment. Furthermore, there are growing divisions within the bloc over long-term aid for Ukraine.

Originally, the EU sought to allocate a mind-boggling sum of €20 billion ($21.8 billion) to cover costs of providing weapons to Kiev. However, that did not go over well with some of the member states, with some, like Germany, reportedly disagreeing with the proposed terms, as per a cited EU diplomat. Accordingly, now the sum has shrunk to a proposed 5 billion for next year, so it is reportedly hoped that member states might at least agree to that.

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And what, two thirds are now dead?

Western Countries Train 100,000 Ukrainian Troops In Less Than Two Years (TASS)

As many as 100,000 Ukrainian troops have received training in Western countries in a little under two years, Daniil Getmantsev, head of the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) financial committee, said. “Our partner countries have trained 100,000 troops for the Ukrainian armed forces. This result was achieved in less than two years, while the initial plan was to train 20,000 to 30,000 service members,” he wrote on Telegram. According to Getmantsev, there is a coalition of 32 countries united in two military missions, the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative and the European Union Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine. The coalition is focused on training troops and providing instructors, training grounds and equipment.

The lawmaker highlighted four priorities of troop training. They include a basic military training course aimed at turning recruits into infantry riflemen in 35 days; training in the use of foreign-made weapons and military equipment, as well as the training of high-demand military specialists (combat medics, deminers and snipers among others); the training of commanders and instructors in various specialties who will share their knowledge with troops in Ukraine; and collective training of troops of various levels. Getmantsev emphasized that Ukraine had limited opportunities to train troops on its own training grounds, so Kiev saw Western countries’ assistance as very important.

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Further hollowing out society.

Ukraine Conscripting Vital Workers (RT)

Frontline casualties and conflict-related emigration are set to decimate the Ukrainian labor force, as they take away skilled workers and younger replacements, the German newspaper Die Welt reported on Monday. Ukraine is having problems drafting new troops to fight Russia and intends to address the problem by widening the scope of conscription and cracking down on draft-dodgers. But the country’s long-term economic viability is being undermined by the “bloodletting” on a scope that is hard to estimate, the outlet warned. Citing analysis by Yuliya Kosyakova, a labor market researcher at the University of Bamberg in Germany, who assessed the economic impact of the mass migration from Ukraine triggered by hostilities with Russia, the outlet concludes that the country’s recovery prospects are dire. Many

Ukrainian refugees have enough capital to resettle and have no plans to return, Kosyakova noted. “Those people fled the war or the draft. They have now created a new home abroad, and over 30% want to stay there.” In particular, the loss of middle-aged men – many of whom are experienced workers – has left a gap in the workforce that “will make reconstruction in Ukraine considerably more difficult and delayed,” she added. Kiev ordered mass mobilization right after hostilities with Russia began in February 2022 and barred men aged 18 to 60, who could potentially be called up, from leaving the country without a special waiver. The initial focus was on volunteers and people with military experience, but that pool of manpower has long been exhausted, Ukrainian MP Sergey Rakhmanin, who sits on a parliamentary security committee, said in an interview last month. The Defense Ministry is pushing lawmakers to facilitate conscription of younger men, since the average age of Ukrainian frontline troops has reached well over 40, he said.

The approach to the draft by officials, who regularly use heavy-handed tactics to snatch recruits, as well as corruption that allows dodgers to buy their way out of service, prompted President Vladimir Zelensky to sack all regional conscription chiefs in August. But the move did not address core problems with the system, Rakhmanin claimed. sUkrainian MPs are currently preparing a bill which would strip exemptions for many citizens, including those caring for disabled family members or receiving their second university degree, which are perceived by officials as vehicles for draft dodging. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu on Tuesday estimated Ukrainian military losses in November alone at over 13,700 people, adding to the more than 90,000 casualties between early June and the end of October. Kiev’s war machine is on the brink of complete collapse, the Shoigu claimed during a ministerial meeting.

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At leasts 50% speak Russian.

There Are No Russian-Speaking Ukrainians’ – Kiev (RT)

Ukraine does not have any Russian-speaking citizens, Taras Kremin, the country’s state language protection commissioner, has declared. Kiev has introduced a frenzy of measures in recent years to sever historical and cultural ties with Russia, as it scrambles to strengthen the status of the Ukrainian language despite accusations of prejudice against national minorities. In an interview aired by the Ukrainian branch of the US state-run Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Kremin rejected the suggestion that some Ukrainians could be called “Russophones,” describing the term as “a marker introduced by the Russian ideology.” “We are all Ukrainian citizens… Ukrainian is the dominant language in all spheres of public life. Regardless of whether it is national communities or foreigners, everyone in the country must have a command of the Ukrainian language,” the ombudsman insisted.

Earlier this year, Kremin stated that Ukrainians who speak Russian should not be referred to as “Russian-speaking,” claiming that the term had been used for decades by “Russian propaganda”to promote internal divisions in Ukraine. Citing a 2021 Constitutional Court ruling, he also insisted there were only Ukrainian citizens who had been “Russianized.” According to a March 2022 poll by the Sociological Group Rating, about 20% of Ukrainians considered Russian to be their native language. A Social Monitoring survey in 2021 suggested that more than 50% of Ukrainians were willing to read books and watch movies in Russian. Ukrainian authorities embarked on a campaign to push Russian out of all areas of life immediately after the 2014 Western-backed Maidan coup. The measures sparked widespread public outrage and were among the key reasons behind the hostilities in Donbass.

In 2018, the Ukrainian Constitutional Court overturned a 2012 law granting regional status to the Russian language, while at the same time Kiev adopted initiatives seeking to curb its use in education, mass media, business, and culture. Russia has repeatedly denounced Ukraine’s language policies. President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow’s military operation against its neighbor was partly to protect people who consider themselves part of Russian culture. On Monday, the speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, went as far as to deny the existence of Russian ethnic minorities, arguing that they had no special rights. The statement sparked outrage in Moscow, with Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova saying the remarks came from “the Nazis of the 21st century.”

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And the other 40% are…

60% of Americans Believe Joe Biden Helped Son’s Business Dealings (RT)

Some 60% of Americans think that President Joe Biden “helped and participated in” his son Hunter’s foreign business dealings, according to a Harvard/Harris poll published on Monday. Republican lawmakers are currently investigating Biden’s alleged influence-peddling, and will soon decide whether to impeach the president. According to the survey, 81% of Republicans, 39% of Democrats, and 59% of independent voters agreed that “Joe Biden helped and participated in Hunter Biden’s business.” The president and his son both scored low favorability ratings in the survey, with 55% of respondents having an “unfavorable” or “very unfavorable” view of Hunter Biden, and 48% holding the same view of Joe Biden.

Reports of President Biden’s involvement in his son’s dealings first surfaced before the 2020 election, when the New York Post published files from Hunter’s laptop suggesting that businesspeople from China, Ukraine, Russia, and other countries, paid Hunter for access to his father during the elder Biden’s time as vice-president of the US. Hunter’s former business partner, Devon Archer, told a Congressional hearing in July that Hunter’s position on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy firm, was given to him solely to guarantee that the company would have influence over US policy. Archer also alleged that Joe Biden dined multiple times with Hunter’s clients, and that Hunter received money transfers immediately after at least two of these meetings.

Earlier this year, the Republican-run House Oversight Committee and House Judiciary Committee released evidence suggesting that Biden and his family received around $20 million in payments through shell companies from business figures and politicians in Ukraine, China, Russia, and Kazakhstan. 150 of these transactions were flagged as “suspicious” by the US Treasury Department, according to the committees. Former US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy opened an impeachment inquiry into Biden’s alleged profiteering in September. Earlier this month, current Speaker Mike Johnson said that the GOP will decide “very soon” whether to formally prosecute the president. Biden denies ever speaking to his son about his businesses, despite being photographed with some of Hunter’s clients. Archer also told Congress that Biden called Hunter at least 20 times during Burisma meetings to impress the Ukrainian company’s potential clients.

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“Almost half of Democrats are gun owners and over half believe gun ownership is necessary. It is one of the greatest disconnects of either party with their membership..”

Majority of American Households Own Guns and Support Gun Rights (Turley)

According to NBC, a majority (52%) now say that they or someone in their household owns a gun. Most notably, the Harvard poll shows that six in ten voters believe owning a gun is a necessary part of protecting themselves from criminals. Despite the strong anti-gun rights message from the White House and the media, the public seems to be moving significantly in the opposite direction. Some 55% of voters now believe that “Woke politicians are to blame for rising crime.” With gun control one of the top issues for Democrats going into this election, the polls show a growing gap with a majority of voters on the issue, particularly as crime continues to rise among the top issues for 2024. The NBC polling shows a record number of Americans are now gun owners. The current level is up six percent from 2019 when 46% of Americans said that they or someone in their household owned a gun. It is now up 10 points in the last ten years.

Notably, that includes 41% of Democrats. If this trend continues, half of the Democratic voters will soon be living in households with gun owners. Some 45% of independents confirm ownership as do 66% of Republicans. The Harvard poll is likely to be more chilling for the Democratic Party. Not only do citizens overwhelmingly blame woke policies on the left for rising crime, but 42% believe that crime and safety is getting worse in their community. Only 21% believe that it has gotten better. Harvard then asked “Do you think you need to have a gun today in case you are attacked by criminals, or do you think owning a gun is unnecessary?” A majority of voters in all three categories (Democrat, Republican, or independent) said that a gun is necessary. That includes 54% of Democrats. (Some 77% of Republicans and 56% of independents agreed).

Consider that for a second. Almost half of Democrats are gun owners and over half believe gun ownership is necessary. It is one of the greatest disconnects of either party with their membership. While Democrats have found a winning issue on abortion in recent elections, it represents a growing separation on one of the other key issues in this election. President Biden has pursued some of the most aggressively anti-gun policies of any president. Legally, the polling shows that the public seems to be moving toward the view of the Supreme Court despite unrelenting attacks in the media. Since the Court declared the right to bear arms to be an individual right in Heller, the media has overwhelmingly decried the decision (and later decisions). Reporters generally quote staunchly critical law professors who portray the Court as “gun-crazy” and disconnected from both the Constitution and reality.

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“President Joseph Biden, like all the presidents that followed Kennedy, is JFK’s opposite, an unrepentant war-monger..”

President JFK: His Life and Public Assassination by the CIA (Curtin)

Why President Kennedy was publicly murdered by the CIA sixty years ago has never been more important. All pseudo-debates to the contrary – including the numerous and growing claims that it was not the U.S. national security state but the Israelis that assassinated the president, which exonerates the CIA – the truth about the assassination has long been evident. There is nothing to debate unless one is some sort of intelligence operative, has an obsession, or is out to make a name or a buck. I suggest that all those annual JFK conferences in Dallas should finally end, but my guess is that they will be rolling along for many more decades. To make an industry out of a tragedy is wrong. And these conferences are so often devoted to examining and debating minutiae that are a distraction from the essential truth.

As for the corporate mainstream media, they will never admit the truth but will continue as long as necessary to titillate the public with lies, limited hangouts, and sensational non-sequiturs. To do otherwise would require admitting that they have long been complicit in falsely reporting the crime and the endless coverup. That they are arms of the CIA and NSA. The Cold War, endless other wars, and the nuclear threat John Kennedy worked so hard to end have today been inflamed to a fever pitch by U.S. leaders in thrall to the forces that killed the president. President Joseph Biden, like all the presidents that followed Kennedy, is JFK’s opposite, an unrepentant war-monger, not only in Ukraine with the U.S. war against Russia and the U.S. nuclear first-strike policy, but throughout the world – the Middle-East, Africa, Syria, Iran, and on and on, including the push for war with China.

Nowhere is this truer than with the U.S. support for the current Israeli genocide of the Palestinians in Gaza, a slaughter also supported by Robert Kennedy, Jr., who, ironically, is campaigning for the presidency on the coattails of JFK and his father Senator Robert F. Kennedy, who would be appalled by his unequivocal support for the Israeli government. By such support and his silence as the slaughter in Gaza continues, RFK, Jr. is, contrary his other expressed opinions, supporting a wide range of war-related matters that involve the U.S.- Israel alliance, which is central to the military-industrial forces running U.S. foreign policy. To say this is dispiriting is a great understatement, for RFK, Jr., a very intelligent man, knows that the CIA killed his uncle and father, and he is campaigning as a spiritually awakened man intent on ending the U.S. warfare state, something impossible to accomplish when one gives full-fledged support to Israel. And I believe he will be elected the next U.S. president.

The Biden administration is doing all in its power to undo the legacy of JFK’s last year in office when on every front he fought for peace, not war. It is not hard to realize that all presidents since John Kennedy have been fully aware that a bullet to the head in broad daylight could be their fate if they bucked their bosses. They knew this when they sought the office because they were run by the same bosses before election. Small-souled men, cowards on the make, willing to sacrifice millions to their ambition.

JFK

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“Kennedy said his uncle’s death created a “national trauma,” and the vision that he prized the most – “America as a peaceful nation” – died with him.”

RFK Jr. Vows To Dismantle ‘Military Empire’ (RT)

US presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has observed the anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination by vowing to pick up where his uncle left off in trying to make America a peaceful nation. “If the American people choose me as their president, I will resume the process that my uncle broached 60 years ago of unwinding the American military empire,” Kennedy said in an op-ed published on Wednesday by Fox News. “I will return the military to its proper function of defending the homeland.” John F. Kennedy was murdered on November 22, 1963, while riding in a presidential motorcade in Dallas. His alleged assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was killed two days later at a Dallas police station. Nearly five years after that, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated at an event in Los Angeles, while campaigning for president.

Like his late uncle and father, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is a lifelong Democrat, but he’s running as an independent in the 2024 presidential election. Last month, he dropped his bid to run against incumbent President Joe Biden for the Democratic nomination, saying both of the nation’s major political parties are dominated by “corrupt interests.” He has the highest favorability rating among all 2024 contenders, according to a Harvard CAPS-Harris poll released on Monday, and he’s polling with the strongest support for a US third-party candidate in 40 years. Kennedy said his uncle’s death created a “national trauma,” and the vision that he prized the most – “America as a peaceful nation” – died with him. The then-president defied pressure from within his administration, including the Pentagon and the CIA, to go to war in Laos in 1961 and Berlin in 1962, Kennedy said.

He also faced pressure to invade Cuba and to bomb Russian missile batteries during the Cuban Missile Crisis. “His advisers assured him that the launchpads were not operational,” Kennedy said. “They were wrong, and his defiance quite likely saved the world from nuclear Armageddon.” In the months leading up to his death in 1963, JFK intensified his push for peace, arguing that war wasn’t inevitable. He signed a nuclear test ban treaty with the Soviet Union in August of that year and issued an order in October mandating the withdrawal of 1,000 US military advisers from Vietnam. As his nephew noted on Wednesday, that order was never implemented, and his successor’s ramping up of the conflict in Southeast Asia “set the template for an endless succession of regime-change wars.”

“We lost our identity as a peaceful nation. We began to neglect the real source of our nation’s strength – the vitality of our economy and the health of our people – and drained our finances and our moral authority abroad in a series of wars of questionable justification, none of which have made Americans safer.” Kennedy argued that much of Washington’s $33 trillion debt stems from military spending, including $8 trillion poured into regime-change wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. He added that 800 foreign military bases add to the financial burden. “Imagine what could have been if we’d devoted those resources toward education, infrastructure, poverty, health or the environment. We would be, paradoxically, a stronger and more secure nation.”

Kennedy also called for ending “reckless, belligerent policies” of provoking Russia and China. He pledged to shut down most overseas military bases and shrink the US armed forces. “It’s not too late to step off the war path and onto the peace path that John F. Kennedy envisioned for our nation,” he said. Kennedy announced a petition drive earlier this week calling for Biden to release secret government documents regarding JFK’s assassination. Congress passed legislation in 1992 requiring the release of all records related to the murder by 2017, but both Biden and former President Donald Trump held back some documents. “What is so embarrassing that they’re afraid to show the American public 60 years later?” the petition asked. “Trust in government is at an all-time low. Releasing the full, unredacted historical records will help to restore that trust.”

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Wilders has been under -increasingly- strict secret service protection since 2004 (fatwa). As MP, that might be(come) overseeable. As PM, not so much. Travel with an extensive detail? Or rely on foreign services?

Dutch Election: Anti-Islam Populist Wilders Set For Big Win (BBC)

Veteran anti-Islam populist leader Geert Wilders has won a dramatic victory in the Dutch general election, according to the latest forecast. After 25 years in parliament, his Freedom party (PVV) is set to win 37 seats, well ahead of his nearest rival, a left-wing alliance. “The PVV can no longer be ignored,” he said. “We will govern.” His win has shaken Dutch politics. But he will have to persuade other parties to join him in a coalition. His target is 76 seats in the 150-seat parliament. Mr Wilders, 60, was in combative mood in his victory speech: “We want to govern and… we will govern. [The seat numbers are] an enormous compliment but an enormous responsibility too.”

Before the vote, the three other big parties ruled out taking part in a Wilders-led government because of his far-right policies. But that might change because of the scale of his victory. The left-wing alliance under ex-EU commissioner Frans Timmermans is set to come second with 25 seats. He made clear he would have nothing to do with a Wilders-led government. It was time to defend Dutch democracy and rule of law, Mr Timmermans told supporters: “We won’t let anyone in the Netherlands go. In the Netherlands everyone is equal.” That leaves third-placed centre-right liberal VVD under new leader Dilan Yesilgöz, and a brand new party formed by whistleblower MP Pieter Omtzigt in fourth.

Freedom party leader Mr Wilders made a direct appeal to his political rivals to work together, and both Ms Yesilgöz and Mr Omtzigt congratulated him on his success. Although Ms Yesilgöz doubts Mr Wilders will be able to find the numbers he needs, she says it is up to her party colleagues to decide how to respond. Before the election she insisted she would not serve in a Wilders-led cabinet, but did not rule out working with him if she won. Mr Omtzigt said initially his New Social Contract party would not work with Mr Wilders, but now says they are “available to turn this trust [of voters] into action”.

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A Bug’s life

 

 

Lizard

 

 


A beetle’s foot

 

 

Water bears

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Nov 222023
 
 November 22, 2023  Posted by at 9:21 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  74 Responses »


Paul Cézanne Young Italian Woman at a Table c1900

 

Israel’s Cabinet Approves Ceasefire, Hostage Deal With Hamas (Sp.)
Gaza ‘Truce’ Won’t Halt The Regional War (Illaik)
Will the Scorpion Sting the US Frog? (Alastair Crooke)
Putin Calls For Joint Global Efforts To End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (TASS)
Will Russia-China Patience Extinguish the Fire in West Asia? (Pepe Escobar)
Biden Op-ed Likening Russia to Hamas is Result of Dementia – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
Western Leaders Came to Ukraine to Test Kiev Regime Viability (Sp.)
US Mission To NATO Signals Zelensky Must Sit At “Negotiating Table” (ZH)
Rep. Goldman Denounced “Dangerous” Rhetoric Using Dangerous Rhetoric (Turley)
‘All In’ for Trump House Speaker Johnson Pays Visit to Mar-a-Lago (Sp.)
Trump Seeks To Halt Gag Order In Election Meddling Case (BBC)
We Must Demand Justice for the January 6th Protestors! (Ron Paul)
Texas AG Sues Pfizer Over Tainted Children’s Drugs (ZH)
Lawsuit Against Alleged CIA Spying On Assange Visitors (Gosztola)

 

 

 

 

Children of Gaza

 

 


“Interest on the federal debt is now so immense that it’s consuming 40% of all personal income taxes… If federal finances continue on their current path, we are only a few years from the entirety of income taxes being needed to finance the debt…”

 

 

Morning Joe


https://twitter.com/i/status/1726977947549213107

 

 

Nap Macgregor

 

 

Scott Ritter: “Israel been defeated on the battlefield! We will not SAVE THEM this time..”

 

 

Sachs UN

 

 

Martyanov

 

 

 

 


Truth Social files defamation suit vs 20 media companies

 

 

The head of the aid organization that runs the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza, now under sustained assault by Israeli forces, wrote a letter to Pres. Biden: “You have destroyed the international rules of the game, insulted the authority of the UN, torn apart the sense of justice, and hurt human values, and tarnished the face of human civilization.”

 

 

 

 

Nobody believes in Israel’s good intentions.

Israel’s Cabinet Approves Ceasefire, Hostage Deal With Hamas (Sp.)

The Israeli cabinet has accepted a deal with Palestinian movement Hamas for a temporary ceasefire and the release of hostages in a vote on Wednesday, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported. The newspaper cited a senior Israeli official as saying that the deal would see Hamas release 30 children and eight mothers, as well as 12 more women, during a four-day ceasefire. The official also said that all the branches of the Israeli security services supported the deal, the newspaper reported. The deal includes only Israelis, but Hamas may release foreign nationals under deals with other countries, the report said. Implementing an agreement between Israel and Palestinian movement Hamas on the release of hostages will start a day after the deal is reached and the US anticipates the freeing of additional hostages, a senior Biden administration official said during a press briefing.

“Even if we get an agreement tonight or tomorrow morning, the implementation would not start until 24 hours after that,” the official said on Tuesday evening. “If we had an agreement tonight, the implementation would probably be Thursday morning Israel time.” Palestinian movement Hamas will release 50 of some 240 hostages being held in the Gaza Strip, women and children first, over a four-day ceasefire that was approved by Israel’s cabinet, the Associated Press reported Tuesday, citing the Israeli government. Israel would publish a list of names of prisoners to be released under a deal with Palestinian movement Hamas within the next 24 hours so that Israelis can appeal the release in court, Axios reported Tuesday, citing an Israeli official. The report added that Israel would extend the truce by an additional day for every ten hostages released.

Palestinian movement Hamas said in a statement on Wednesday that it has agreed with Israel on a four-day truce in the Gaza Strip with the cessation of all hostilities and the release of 50 Israeli hostages in return for 150 Palestinian prisoners. “Following difficult and complex negotiations that lasted for many days, we announce that … we, thanks to the persistent efforts of Qatar and Egypt, have reached an agreement on a humanitarian truce (temporary ceasefire) for four days, according to which a ceasefire on both sides comes, as well as the cessation of all military activities of the occupation army in all areas of the Gaza Strip, as well as the cessation of the movement of its military equipment into the Gaza Strip,” Hamas said on Telegram.

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“..In short, the ground battle in northern Gaza has only just begun, and is gearing up to get even hotter in the weeks ahead.”

Gaza ‘Truce’ Won’t Halt The Regional War (Illaik)

The Israeli military has announced the expansion of its ground operations in the northern Gaza Strip. After seizing territories on Gaza’s coastline, in the western part of the northern strip, Tel Aviv’s actual ground operation is now beginning. For more than three weeks of its ground offensive, the occupation army has been operating in areas close to the shoreline, in places where tunnels cannot be dug, and, therefore, areas where the Palestinian resistance does not have significant defensive capabilities. But now, the occupation army is moving eastward from the Gaza coast, allowing the armed resistance to maneuver far more easily and inflict greater losses on the invading soldiers and their armored vehicles – as has become quite evident in recent days. In short, the ground battle in northern Gaza has only just begun, and is gearing up to get even hotter in the weeks ahead.

In support of the resistance in Gaza, the Yemeni army and Ansarallah fighters seized an Israeli-owned vessel in the Red Sea on 19 November after threatening to target all Israeli ships crossing the Bab al-Mandab Strait. Over the past week, on Lebanon’s border with Israel, the Lebanese resistance Hezbollah has increased the frequency of its military operations. On 20 November, the occupation army monitored more than 40 attacks on its positions, one of which was carried out with four rockets, each with an explosive warhead weighing around 500 kilograms. The salvo destroyed the Israeli ‘Branit’ military barracks near the border with Lebanon. In just the past three days, Hezbollah has carried out an average of 12 military operations against Israeli targets each day. Simultaneously, Iraqi resistance attacks are continuing against US military bases in Iraq and Syria – over sixty operations to date.

The increased pace of clashes across West Asia is, however, being widely ignored by many of Tel Aviv’s western allies, whose attention has been diverted by ongoing prisoner exchange talks between Israel and the Palestinian resistance, mediated by Qatar and the US. These weeks-long negotiations are being treated as evidence that the next phase will necessarily be a de-escalation in Palestine. Those expectations have been fanned by a leak that Israel’s cabinet has discussed the imminent demobilization of a number of army reservists. While the Israeli military may indeed demobilize part of the reserve forces it called up after 7 October, this decision is not based on de-escalatory considerations. The more than 300,000 Israeli reservists initially mobilized was far too great for the capacity of the occupation army, which was unable to absorb these personnel into its fronts in Gaza, Lebanon, and the West Bank.

Despite this, many still optimistically cling to the de-escalation narrative. They are further encouraged by official US statements criticizing – albeit in a watered-down manner – Israel’s targeting of Palestinian civilians, and point to the occasional US-Israel divergences over what they call the “post-Hamas phase” in Gaza as further proof that Tel Aviv will have to scale down its war. But at the current stage of the conflict, these discrepancies and observations are considered totally irrelevant by officials in the region’s Axis of Resistance. They note instead that Washington continues to maintain its pace of arms support for Israel, as it has done since the war’s onset, while sticking to its refusal to entertain any permanent ceasefire.

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“..he manoeuvres to alleviate criticism and to stay in power as long as he can. More importantly, he hopes this will enable him to spread the blame, shedding all and any responsibility and accountability from himself..”

Will the Scorpion Sting the US Frog? (Alastair Crooke)

The allegory is one in which a scorpion depends on the frog for its passage across a flooded river, by hitching a lift on the frog’s back. The frog distrusts the scorpion; but reluctantly agrees. During the crossing the scorpion fatally stings the frog swimming the river, under the scorpion. They both die. It is a tale from antiquity intended to illustrate the nature of tragedy. A Greek tragedy is one in which the crisis at the heart of any ‘tragedy’ does not arise by sheer mischance. The Greek sense is that tragedy is where something happens because it has to happen; because of the nature of the participants; because the actors involved make it happen. And they have no choice but to make it happen, because that is their nature.

It is a story that was deployed by a former senior Israeli diplomat, well versed in U.S. politics. His telling of the frog fable has Israel’s leaders desperately fending off responsibility for the 7 October débacle, with a cabinet furiously trying to turn the crisis (psychologically) from culpable disaster – to present the Israeli public instead with an image of epic opportunity. The chimaera being presented is one that by reaching back to earliest Zionist ideology, Israel can turn the catastrophe in Gaza – as Finance Minister Smotrich has long argued – into a solution that once and for all ‘unilaterally resolves the inherent contradiction between Jewish and Palestinian aspirations – by ending the illusion that any kind of compromise, reconciliation or partition is possible. This is the potential scorpion sting: the Israeli cabinet betting all on a hugely risky strategy – a new Nakba – that could draw Israel into major conflict, but in so doing also sink what remains of western prestige.

Of course, as the former Israeli diplomat underlines, this ploy is essentially constructed around Netanyahu’s personal ambition – he manoeuvres to alleviate criticism and to stay in power as long as he can. More importantly, he hopes this will enable him to spread the blame, shedding all and any responsibility and accountability from himself. [Better still], “it can place Gaza in an historic and epic context as an event that might render the PM as a formative wartime leader of grandeur and glory”. Far-fetched? Not necessarily. Netanyahu may be writhing politically for survival, but he is a true ‘believer’ too. In his book, Going to the Wars, historian Max Hastings writes that Netanyahu told him in the 1970s that, “In the next war, if we do it right, we’ll have the chance to get all the Arabs out … We can clear the West Bank, sort out Jerusalem.” And what is the Israeli cabinet thinking about the ‘next war’? It thinks ‘Hizbullah. As one minister noted recently, ‘after Hamas, we will turn to deal with Hizbullah’.

It is precisely the confluence of a lengthy war in Gaza (along lines established in 2006), and an Israeli leadership seemingly intent to provoke Hizbullah on to, and up, the escalatory ladder, which is causing red lights to flash inside the White House, according to the former Israeli diplomat. In the 2006 war with Hizbullah, the entire urban populated suburb of Beirut – Dahiya – was levelled. General Eizenkot (who commanded Israeli forces during that war and is now a member in Netanyahu’s ‘War Cabinet’) said in 2008: “What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on … From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases … This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.”

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Putin first wants more countries to step up to the plate. He won’t be isolated.

Putin Calls For Joint Global Efforts To End Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (TASS)

The international community should join forces to find a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Russia’s position is consistent and does not change with the situation. We urge the international community to join forces in order to ease tensions, ensure a ceasefire and find a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he noted, addressing an extraordinary summit of the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). According to Putin, “BRICS nations and the countries of the region could play a key role in this work.” “This is why the participation of our colleagues from the Middle East in today’s meeting, who were invited to join BRICS as full members earlier in the year, is particularly important,” the Russian leader noted.

“I would like to use this opportunity to respectfully commend their efforts to improve the situation, particularly by holding the Peace Summit in Egypt and the extraordinary Arab-Islamic Summit in Saudi Arabia,” Putin said. The Russian president highlighted the fact that “all BRICS countries share similar positions on the need to make joint efforts to find a long-term and sustainable solution to the prolonged Israeli-Palestinian issue.” In his view, “this became evident in the UN General Assembly’s vote on a draft resolution on a humanitarian ceasefire, as well as in discussions of a UN Security Council resolution on the Middle East settlement, which was adopted for the first time in seven years.” “Even though the resolution only calls for humanitarian pauses and not for a ceasefire, we see its adoption as a step in the right direction,” the Russian president pointed out. He stressed that “while a full ceasefire would be better, such humanitarian pauses are required for efforts to release hostages and evacuate civilians and foreign nationals from the Gaza Strip.”

The UN Security Council earlier passed a Malta-drafted humanitarian resolution aimed at assisting children in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict zone. The seven-point document particularly calls for long humanitarian pauses and the immediate release of all hostages, especially children. Putin also thanked his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for facilitating the evacuation of Russian nationals from Gaza. The Russian leader emphasized the need to achieve lasting peace in the Middle East and prevent the conflict from expanding. “By and large, ensuring a long-term and sustainable ceasefire is certainly the most pressing goal,” Putin noted. “It is important to stop other countries from being dragged into the war in the Middle East and prevent the conflict from expanding, as well as to preserve the fragile interfaith peace,” he added.

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“..that’s actually BRICS 10, because after the election of pro-Hegemon Zionist Javier “Chainsaw Massacre” Milei for President, Argentina is now out of the picture, and possibly discarded by January 1st, 2024..”

Will Russia-China Patience Extinguish the Fire in West Asia? (Pepe Escobar)

Everyone familiar with West Asia – from US generals to grocers in the Arab Street – knows that Israel is a landed aircraft carrier whose mission is to keep West Asia in check on behalf of the Hegemon. Of course in a dog eats dog geopolitical environment it’s easy to misunderstand all wag the dog shenanigans. What’s certain is that for hegemonic circles of the US Deep State, and certainly for the White House and the Pentagon, what matters in the current incandescent juncture is the uber-extreme/genocidal Likud-led Netanyahu government in Israel, not “Israel” per se. That projects Netanyahu as the exact mirror image of the beleaguered sweaty sweatshirt actor in Kiev. Quite the geopolitical gift – in terms of deflecting blame away from the Hegemon for a genocide deployed live on every smartphone on the planet.

And all that conducted under a veneer of legality – as in the White House and the State Department “advising” Tel Aviv to act with moderation; yes, you can bomb hospitals, schools, medical workers, journalists, thousands of women, thousands of children, but please be gentle. Meanwhile, the Hegemon has deployed an Armada to the Eastern Mediterranean, complete with two very expensive iron bathtubs, sorry aircraft carrier groups plus a nuclear submarine close to the Persian Gulf. That’s not exactly to survey guerrillas in underground tunnels and to “protect” Israel. The ultimate – neocon and Zio-con – targets are of course Hezbollah, Syria, Hashd al-Shaabi in Iraq and Iran: the whole Axis of Resistance.Iran-Russia-China, the new neocon-defined “axis of evil”, which happen to be the Top Three Actors of Eurasia integration, for all practical purposes have interpreted the genocide in Gaza as an Israeli-American operation. And they have clearly identified the key vector: energy.

The inestimable Michael Hudson has noted how “we’re really seeing something very much like the Crusades here. It’s a real fight for who is going to control energy, because, again, the key, if you can control the world’s flow of energy, you can do to the whole world what the United States did to Germany last year by blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines.” And that brings us to the fascinating case of the OIC/Arab World delegation of Foreign Ministers now on tour of selected capitals promoting their plan for a complete ceasefire in Gaza plus negotiations for an independent Palestinian state. The delegation, called the Gaza Contact Group, includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Indonesia, Nigeria and Palestine.

Their first stop was Beijing, meeting Wang Yi, and the second stop Moscow, meeting Sergei Lavrov. That tells us all we need to know about BRICS 11 in action – even before the fact. Well, that’s actually BRICS 10, because after the election of pro-Hegemon Zionist Javier “Chainsaw Massacre” Milei for President, Argentina is now out of the picture, and possibly discarded by January 1st, 2024, when BRICS previously 11 starts under the Russian presidency. The OIC/Arab League special conference on Palestine in Saudi Arabia had yielded a meek final declaration that disappointed virtually the whole Global South/Global Majority. But then something started to move. Foreign Ministers started to coordinate closely. At first Egypt with China, after previous coordination with Iran and Turkey. That may sound counter-intuitive – but it’s all due to the gravity of the situation. That explains why the Iranian Foreign Minister is not part of the current traveling delegation – which is led, in practice, by Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The meeting with Lavrov coincided with an extraordinary online BRICS meeting on Palestine, called by the current South African presidency. Crucial point: the flags of new members Iran, Egypt and Ethiopia could be identified behind the speakers. Iran’s President Raisi went no holds barred, calling for BRICS member states to use every political and economic tool available to pressure Israel. Xi Jinping called once again for a two-state solution and positioned China as the mediator of choice. For the first time Xi in his own words laid it all out: “There can be no security in the Middle East without a just solution to the question of Palestine. I have emphasized on many occasions that the only viable way to break the cycle of Palestinian-Israeli conflict lies in a two-state solution, in the restoration of the legitimate national rights of Palestine, and in the establishment of an independent state of Palestine.” And it should all start via an international conference.

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“The story is that Joe Biden, the president of the United States is lacking in such mental capacity that the presidency is being managed by people who weren’t elected to do that job. That’s what people should be worried about.”

Biden Op-ed Likening Russia to Hamas is Result of Dementia – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

US President Joe Biden lacks the mental ability to draw parallels between Russia and Hamas, says a former US Marine. The Washington Post ran an op-ed under Biden’s byline at the weekend, likening the Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas’ breakout from the besieged Gaza Strip on October 7 to Russia’s military operation in Ukraine in defence of the Russian-speaking Donbass region — following eight years of Ukrainian shelling of civilians. Biden “didn’t write this” as he “doesn’t have the mental capacity,” Ritter told Sputnik. “I’m not picking on him, I’m just being honest,” he said. “This was written by his national security staff. It was edited by Jake Sullivan. I believe [US Secretary of State] Tony Blinken came in with a lot of stuff that this was a collaborative effort by the people who are managing Joe Biden.” “This is the story, not the content of the op-ed,” Ritter stressed. “The story is that Joe Biden, the president of the United States is lacking in such mental capacity that the presidency is being managed by people who weren’t elected to do that job. That’s what people should be worried about.”

But he said the words attributed to Biden no longer carry the same weight as comments by previous presidents, thanks to the proliferation of alternatives to the mainstream media. “So when Joe Biden or his managers publish an op-ed of this nature, it no longer has the same cachet, the same impact that it would have ten years ago,” Ritter argued. “Today, it’s immediately cancelled out as ridiculous as absurd.” Ritter wrote for Consortium News last week that Biden and Blinken were being disingenuous in their call for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, given that no Israeli leader in decades has been serious about implementing it. “Even if such a governing coalition could be crafted together to politically sustain the idea of a two-state solution that fails to resonate with Israelis and Palestinians alike, there remains the ultimate hurdle that needs to be cleared before any notion of a lasting peace between Israeli and Palestinian states premised on the notion of equality — Israel’s nuclear weapons program,” Ritter wrote.

The former weapons inspector said Israel’s nuclear program had been “shrouded in ambiguity from the moment it was born, back in the 1960s when they actually produced a weapon.” “The United States has been the principal reason why this has happened,” Ritter pointed out. “The Nixon administration was confronted with the fact that Israel had nuclear weapons. We knew it. And they were in violation of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, because even if they didn’t sign the treaty, we signed the treaty. And the treaty only allows five declared nuclear powers. So we would have to sanction Israel.” He underscored the aggressive nature of Israel’s military doctrine known as the “Samson option” after the biblical hero who collapsed the temple of the Philistines, killing them and himself. That doctrine mandates first use of nuclear weapons against neighboring Middle Eastern states if Israel faces military defeat and a return to Palestinian majority rule.

“That’s Israel’s nuclear policy, that if Israel goes, everybody goes,” Ritter explained. “And we went along with it because we believed that we could secure Israel enough so they would never have to use this weapon.” But Biden’s ostensible resurrection of the two-state solution calls that doctrine into question, he said. “A Palestinian state implies that Israel has normalized relations with their Palestinian neighbors and by extension, their regional neighbors.Therefore, there could be no justification for the continuation of this policy,” Ritter said. “Moreover, Palestine could never be considered free and independent so long as it was living next door to a nuclear power, an undeclared nuclear power.”

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“European leaders want to understand whether they will have their say in the process of replacing Zelensky, or whether this political transformation in Kiev will be carried out, as usual, by two powers – London and Washington..”

Western Leaders Came to Ukraine to Test Kiev Regime Viability (Sp.)

European Council President Charles Michel arrived in the Ukrainian capital on Tuesday as well as Maia Sandu, president of Moldova. Separately, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius took the train to Kiev to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on an unannounced visit. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin landed in Ukraine on Monday to unveil a new US military aid package worth $100 million for the Ukrainian military. Prior to that, new Foreign Secretary David Cameron made his first trip to the Eastern European country last week. “Firstly, we must not forget that today all ‘progressive’ humanity is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Maidan,” Dmitry Evstafiev, political scientist and HSE University professor, told Sputnik with a touch of irony referring to the 2014 February coup in Kiev.

“Therefore, all the main European leaders, in Kiev, in fact, defend the policy that they began 10 years ago to finally turn Ukraine against Russia. This was a very important strategic choice. And this was, first of all, a European choice, not an American one. The Americans simply hijacked the processes that the Europeans launched, hijacked it successfully and effectively in such a way that today’s Europe, while still representing something geopolitically, no longer represents anything in terms of geoeconomics.” Secondly, it has become obvious that the Zelensky regime is becoming “catastrophically toxic” not only for the United States, but also for Europe, Evstafiev continued. “For the United States, the Zelensky regime has become toxic for quite a while, and it was a very difficult story for the Americans, which turned the issue of supporting, in fact, a radical nationalist, almost dictatorial at that time, and now an overtly dictatorial regime, into one of the most important topics of internal political struggle in the United States,” the professor remarked.

Per Evstafiev, Washington is no longer concealing the fact that it wants to turn a Ukraine conflict into a big European war using the desire of the Zelensky regime to somehow survive amid the deteriorating military situation and dwindling US support. The high-profile visits came at a time when the West has shifted focus on the Palestinian-Israeli standoff, which reportedly frustrated Zelensky. The Western mainstream press has also recently changed its coverage of the conflict from lauding Ukraine to admitting Kiev’s failure to proceed with its counteroffensive. Against this backdrop, European leaders are apparently trying to find out to what extent the Kiev regime is viable and whether it is worth continuing to support Volodymyr Zelensky, the expert said.

“And here there is a second layer to this issue: European leaders want to understand whether they will have their say in the process of replacing Zelensky, or whether this political transformation in Kiev will be carried out, as usual, by two powers – London and Washington. In this sense, of course, the outright incapacity of the German government and the virtual absence of political leadership in Germany becomes a huge problem for Europeans. Nevertheless, Europeans may try to seize on some opportunities in Kiev and try to defend their positions and their interests in the process of changing power in Kiev.”

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“U.S. and European officials have begun quietly talking to the Ukrainian government about what possible peace negotiations with Russia might entail to end the war..”

US Mission To NATO Signals Zelensky Must Sit At “Negotiating Table” (ZH)

The official X account of the US Mission to NATO wrote Monday, “In this tough and dynamic battle, Ukraine’s soldiers are fighting bravely every single day, and they continue to inspire the world with their bravery and courage.” “We will continue to support them to be in the strongest possible position at the negotiating table when the time comes,” the statement said. This marks a drastic shift in public messaging. Up to a short while ago, the Biden administration had essentially banished the words “negotiating table” from its public discourse. Journalist Glenn Greenwald has commented of this narrative shift: “The West is now telling Zelensky, more or less explicitly and right out in the open: time to wrap this up.” This significant difference in public rhetoric has also begun to appear more and more in mainstream media, which has also very belatedly reflected the American public’s ‘war fatigue’ – which was already setting in even before Ukraine’s much-vaunted early summer attempt at a counteroffensive…

It’s widely believed that talks could already quietly be happening, and that Washington is finally pressuring the Zelensky government to find compromise. “U.S. and European officials have begun quietly talking to the Ukrainian government about what possible peace negotiations with Russia might entail to end the war, according to one current senior U.S. official and one former senior U.S. official familiar with the discussions,” an early November report in NBC said. “The conversations have included very broad outlines of what Ukraine might need to give up to reach a deal, the officials said.” Certainly, at the very least this will include Kiev permanently giving up any future claims on Crimea. But the question of the four annexed territories is what will determine whether a peace deal is reached or not.

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“He claims, as have other Democratic members, that “you can’t use hate speech.” That is demonstrably and completely wrong. Hate speech is protected under the First Amendment. You cannot commit hate crimes.”

Rep. Goldman Denounced “Dangerous” Rhetoric Using Dangerous Rhetoric (Turley)

Even in his freshman year, Democratic New York Rep. Dan Goldman has proven one of the most controversial members in Congress from attacking witnesses to inadvertently undermining the Biden defenses. The latest controversy involves a call to “eliminate” Donald Trump after accusing him of using “inflammatory rhetoric.” He has since apologized for his own language. Despite being one of the many past targets of Goldman’s wrath, I do not believe that Goldman was calling for violence. It was what I call “rage rhetoric” in my book The Indispensable Right. However, the incident shows the perils of criminalizing political speech. Goldman remains a favorite on MSNBC where he rarely fails to disappoint viewers with his brand of smash-mouth politics and rhetoric. It was, therefore, somewhat ironic for Jen Psaki to interview him on the inflammatory rhetoric in this election on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki.”

Goldman responded: “rhetoric is really getting dangerous, more and more dangerous, and we saw what happened on Jan. 6, when he uses inflammatory rhetoric. It is just unquestionable at this point that that man cannot see public office again. He is not only unfit, he is destructive to our democracy and he has to be eliminated.” Some have called for Goldman to be investigated by the Secret Service. Others have called for a censure resolution. I do not agree. It was clearly reckless rhetoric and not a true threat. Yet, the incident shows how inflammatory terms are often used in politics. In the very same sentence in which Goldman denounced “dangerous” rhetoric, he proceeded to use dangerous rhetoric. Rep. Goldman has been one of the most vocal voices for prosecuting incitement based on such language.

In an interview with NPR, Goldman (who was counsel in the Trump impeachment) defended the use of such rhetoric as the basis for impeachment or prosecution: “there’s all sorts of speech that is criminalized. You can’t – you know, you can’t use hate speech. You – people – in all sorts of crimes. You can’t send death threats across, you know, the Internet. There are so many criminal laws that do criminalize speech, and so the notion that the president of the United States somehow has a First Amendment right to be protected by the government for his speech doesn’t make any sense. It’s a backwards argument, and it’s a loser.” As a threshold observation, the interview shows how dangerously ill-informed Goldman is on the First Amendment. He claims, as have other Democratic members, that “you can’t use hate speech.” That is demonstrably and completely wrong. Hate speech is protected under the First Amendment. You cannot commit hate crimes.

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“I have endorsed him wholeheartedly,” Johnson said. “He had a phenomenal first term. His first two years, as you all know, we brought about the greatest economic numbers in the history of the world, not just the country, because his policies work.”

‘All In’ for Trump House Speaker Johnson Pays Visit to Mar-a-Lago (Sp.)

On Monday, US House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) made the pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago, the estate of former US President Donald Trump, who is leading the polls among Republicans in the 2024 race for the presidency. According to US media reports, Johnson attended a fundraiser hosted by Trump for US Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) who, like Johnson, is a close supporter of Trump. It was reportedly the first time Johnson and Trump have spoken since the Louisiana lawmaker became House Speaker a month ago. The previous Speaker, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), had a troubled relationship with the former president, and it was ultimately a strongly pro-Trump faction of the House GOP Caucus that caused McCarthy’s eviction from the Speaker’s seat in early October.

In the fracas of selecting a new Speaker, Trump endorsed Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) instead of Johnson and even floated the idea of him becoming Speaker himself for a time, since the Constitution doesn’t require that the Speaker be a sitting member of Congress. However, Trump did eventually urge Republican lawmakers to rally behind Johnson because he was the leading candidate and the lower Congressional chamber had been without leadership for three weeks. After Johnson was elected Speaker, Trump praised him for being an underdog. “At this time yesterday, nobody was thinking of Mike,” Trump said. “And then we put out the word, and now he’s the Speaker of the House. So I want to just thank all of the supporters that I have, and I want to thank all the supporters that Mike has, and again, he’ll be a great Speaker. I think you’re going to be very proud.”

Johnson has remained loyal to Trump, too. Johnson and Bilirakis were both signatories of an amicus brief to the US Supreme Court in late 2020 that supported Trump’s claim that the November 2020 election had been marred by fraud, invalidating his loss to Joe Biden. While those claims have been widely discredited in the years since, including by many who were part of Trump’s cabinet at the time, Johnson is one figure who has maintained that the 2020 election was “stolen” from Trump. Last week, Johnson told reporters he was “all in” on Trump’s 2024 election bid. “I have endorsed him wholeheartedly,” Johnson said. “He had a phenomenal first term. His first two years, as you all know, we brought about the greatest economic numbers in the history of the world, not just the country, because his policies work. And I’m all in for President Trump.”

Trump has not yet won the Republican National Committee’s endorsement as their presidential candidate, but has led the pack of candidates since announcing his intention to run. The latest poll by Morning Consult found two-thirds of GOP voters ready to pull the lever for Trump in November 2024; however another poll by Harvard CAPS-Harris found that 60% of likely Trump voters said there is “at least some chance” they would support a different candidate. Behind Trump, the Morning Consult poll found just 13% of GOP voters support Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and 9% support former UN ambassador Nikki Haley. However, Trump is also facing down several criminal cases that have levied a wide array of federal offense accusations at him, including related to the January 6, 2021, insurrection by his supporters at the US Capitol and the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago during an FBI raid in August 2022. Some of the charges could bar him from running for public office if he is found guilty.

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There are so many of these, it’s hard to keep track.

Trump Seeks To Halt Gag Order In Election Meddling Case (BBC)

An appeals court is weighing a bid by Donald Trump to halt the limited gag order he faces in his federal trial on election subversion charges. The order keeps Mr Trump from speaking out against court personnel, potential witnesses or the special counsel’s office. It is currently on hold. Lawyers for the former president and current Republican frontrunner called for the order to be revoked. But a three-judge panel appeared sceptical over lifting the restriction. The trio of Democratic appointees grilled both sides over the most appropriate way to balance free speech considerations with the integrity and safety of those involved in a criminal trial that begins next March. After an initial hearing that was scheduled for 40 minutes but lasted more than two hours, the judges did not issue an immediate ruling.

Attorneys for Mr Trump had challenged what they called an effort to censor his speech in the midst of a hotly contested presidential campaign. But prosecutors with the US justice department argued he has a “well-established practice of using his public platform to target his adversaries”. Mr Trump’s criticism of those involved in the federal case over the 2020 election had occurred most recently this weekend, they noted. At a Saturday campaign rally in Iowa, Mr Trump called Special Counsel Jack Smith, the key prosecutor involved in the case, “deranged” and a “Trump-hating prosecutor”. He also said that Mr Smith’s “wife and family despise me much more than he does”, at “about a 15 on a scale of 10”.

They were the types of remarks that Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is overseeing the election subversion case, has sought to limit since she issued a “narrowly tailored” gag order last month. Her intention, she said, was to prevent “a pre-trial smear campaign”. “The order is unprecedented and it sets a terrible precedent for future restrictions on core political speech,” John Sauer, Mr Trump’s attorney, told the Washington DC appeals court on Monday. Mr Sauer claimed there was no evidence that anybody involved in the case was facing an “imminent, pending threat” because of Mr Trump.

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“Yes, there was an insurrection of sorts. Those in power hated Donald Trump so much that they were willing to torture and even murder their fellow Americans to keep him from the presidency. Unless these people are brought to justice, we will have no Republic left to defend.”

We Must Demand Justice for the January 6th Protestors! (Ron Paul)

New US House Speaker Mike Johnson struck a blow for liberty and justice last week when he finally authorized the release of all the tapes from the January 6, 2021 “insurrection.” We were told by no less than President Biden himself that this was the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.” The FBI was unleashed by the Biden Administration to hunt down hundreds of participants in this “insurrection” and lock them up in the gulag where they awaited trial in torturous conditions – many in solitary confinement. A Congressional Committee was set up under then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi to “get to the bottom” of the “Trump-led insurrection.” It did not include a single Representative nominated by the opposition Republican Party, but rather two “Republicans” – Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger – who could be relied on by Pelosi and the Democrats to toe the line.

In short, the whole thing was an old-fashioned Soviet show trial, where the evidence was kept secret and the pre-determined verdict – guilty – was to be used to tighten the grip of the ruling regime and intimidate any further dissenters into silence. The message was clear: “speak out against the ‘perfection’ of the 2020 election and you may find yourself in the gulag along with the insurrectionists.” It was terrifying and profoundly anti-American. And, as we finally can see for ourselves thanks to Speaker Johnson, it was a huge lie. The new video shows demonstrators shaking hands with police officers once they entered the Capitol Building. They were welcomed into the building by officers who even held the doors for them to enter! They had no way of knowing that they would soon be rounded up and locked away.

Does that mean no crimes were committed on January 6th? Not at all. The tapes already released were carefully chosen to single out examples of violence and other possible criminality. But the full release of the tapes demonstrates beyond a doubt that the endless propaganda that this was a coordinated attempt to overthrow the government was false. And as for that violence and mayhem on January 6th? How much of it was instigated by undercover FBI agents? New footage clearly shows officers outside the building firing on protestors with no warning. That must be why, in hearing after hearing, Biden Administration officials like Attorney General Merrick Garland have refused to tell Congress the number of federal agents present and their roles in instigating violence.

The release of this evidence should immediately result in the release of all non-violent protestors awaiting trial or serving their sentences. Those in power responsible for promoting this lie should take their places in the jail cells. This delayed justice will not help protesters like Matthew Perna, however. Though the new video release clearly shows him calmly walking inside the Capitol in the presence of unconcerned police officers, when Merrick Garland’s Department of “Justice” announced they would seek terrorism charges against him, Perna, in despair, decided to hang himself in his garage. Yes, there was an insurrection of sorts. Those in power hated Donald Trump so much that they were willing to torture and even murder their fellow Americans to keep him from the presidency. Unless these people are brought to justice, we will have no Republic left to defend.

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Texas AG Ken Paxton is busy. He has officially opened an investigation into Media Matters for potential fraudulent activity, and sued Pfizer at the same time.. Both of whom are dealing with the same judge.

Texas AG Sues Pfizer Over Tainted Children’s Drugs (ZH)

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued Pfizer and Tris Pharma “for defrauding the Texas Medicaid program by providing adulterated pharmaceutical drugs to Texas children.” Specifically, Pfizer’s ADHD drug “Quillivant XR” was “knowingly distributed” to children on Medicaid despite the drugmaker’s “pattern of failing quality control tests” due to a flawed manufacturing process by Tris, which Pfizer contracted with to produce the drug, according to the complaint. “I am horrified by the dishonesty we uncovered in this investigation,” said Texas AG Ken Paxton. “Pfizer and Tris intentionally concealed and failed to disclose the issues with Quillivant to receive taxpayer funded benefits through Texas Medicaid, defrauding the state and endangering children.

Our Civil Medicaid Fraud Division has done an outstanding job holding these pharmaceutical companies accountable.” According to the filing, “At no point did Defendants warn Texas Medicaid providers or decision-makers that Quillivant had known manufacturing issues affecting its efficacy, thereby depriving the Medicaid program of the crucial information it relies on.… As a result, thousands of Texas children received an adulterated Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance.”The lawsuit, initially filed under seal, was unsealed at the AG’s request.

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“Barnea, who represents the CIA and Pompeo, contended that the Fourth Amendment right to privacy under the U.S. Constitution did not apply at the Ecuador embassy in London..”

Lawsuit Against Alleged CIA Spying On Assange Visitors (Gosztola)

United States court held an extraordinary hearing on November 16, where a judge carefully considered a lawsuit against the CIA and former CIA director Mike Pompeo for their alleged role in spying on American attorneys and journalists who visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Judge John Koeltl of the Southern District of New York pushed back when Assistant U.S. Attorney Jean-David Barnea refused to confirm or deny that the CIA had targeted Americans without obtaining a warrant. He also invited attorneys for the Americans to update the lawsuit so that claims of privacy violations explicitly dealt with the government’s lack of a warrant. In August 2022, four Americans sued the CIA and Pompeo: Margaret Ratner Kunstler, a civil rights activist and human rights attorney; Deborah Hrbek, a media lawyer who represented Assange or WikiLeaks; journalist John Goetz, who worked for Der Spiegel when the German media organization first partnered with WikiLeaks; and journalist Charles Glass, who wrote articles on Assange for The Intercept.

The lawsuit alleged that as visitors Glass, Goetz, Hrbek, and Kunstler were required to “surrender” their electronic devices to employees of a Spanish company called UC Global, which was contracted to provide security for the Ecuador embassy. UC Global and the company’s director David Morales “copied the information stored on the devices” and shared the information with the CIA. The agency even had access to live video and audio feeds from cameras in the embassy. On June 4, 2023, the Spanish newspaper El País reported that UC Global director David Morales had a folder on his laptop marked “CIA.” Spanish police initially withheld 213 gigabytes of files in a criminal case against Morales that has unfolded as the U.S. government pursues Assange’s extradition on Espionage Act charges. (Morales and UC Global were sued as well.)

Often a lawsuit—especially one involving allegations of illegal and unchecked surveillance—would end swiftly. A judge would accept all of the “national security” arguments made by the CIA and dismiss the case. However, Koeltl has chosen to be more fair and measured when assessing the stunning allegations. Barnea, who represents the CIA and Pompeo, contended that the Fourth Amendment right to privacy under the U.S. Constitution did not apply at the Ecuador embassy in London. The CIA did not play a “sufficient role in controlling or directing” the actions of Morales and UC Global contractors. When Barnea maintained that CIA access to live video feeds would not necessarily mean that the agency was in control or directing UC Global, Koeltl seemed baffled.

“So U.S. agents were monitoring the feed in the United States, and that’s not sufficient involvement by the government?” “You don’t seem to dispute in your papers that a warrant would be necessary to seize the contents of the electronic devices,” Koeltl said, as Barnea outlined the government’s argument that Americans who visited Assange had no “reasonable expectation of privacy” when they entered the embassy. “You don’t seem to dispute in your papers that a warrant would be necessary to seize the contents of the electronic devices,” Koeltl said, as Barnea outlined the government’s argument that Americans who visited Assange had no “reasonable expectation of privacy” when they entered the embassy. Barnea replied, “I don’t believe that a warrant is ever required outside the United States. The Second Circuit [Court of Appeals] has held that the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment only applies within the United States.”


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Net Zero

 

 

 

 

Moderna

 

 

 

 

Carnivore

 

 

Belgium bicycle

 

 

Raccoons

 

 


Argentinosaurus lived on the then-island continent of South America somewhere between 97 and 93.5 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period. It is among the largest known dinosaurs and this is the size of its leg (human for scale).

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 282023
 


Vincent van Gogh The garden of the asylum at Saint-Rémy 1889

 

No Truce With the Heartland (Luongo)
Eurasian Heartland Rises to Challenge the West (Pepe Escobar)
After Bakhmut (Douglas Macgregor)
Counteroffensive Can Start At Any Moment – Ukrainian Official (RT)
Ukraine Demands German Missiles Capable Of Striking Moscow (RT)
Africa Foresees End Of Unipolar World – Russian Envoy (RT)
Credit Rating Agency Downgrades US (RT)
Debt Ceiling Deal Between White House And GOP Reached In Principle (ZH)
EU Sanctions Talks Hit Roadblock – Politico (RT)
China Rebuffing All Contact With US Military: Pentagon (ZH)
John Durham and the Burying of American History (Patrick Lawrence)
Roger Waters Under Criminal Probe Over Anti-Nazi Satire (RT)
Fisher-Price Introduces ‘My First Gender Transition’ Playset (BBee)

 

 


The winner from the Texas Sand Sculpture Festival.

 

 

Eli Crane

 

 

Anthony Bourdain

 

 

Rogan Smith

 

 

 

 

Veritas

 

 

Carrey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps it’s time to see Mackinder from a Chinese perspective. In 1904 that may not have seemed important, but today?!

No Truce With the Heartland (Luongo)

Ukraine has always represented the apotheosis of the Neocon/Neoliberal world order. As Crooke points out, they are facing a very unpleasant choice: “The war is now, in this way, being projected as a binary choice: ‘End the war’ versus ‘Win the war’. Europe is tergiversating –standing at the cross-roads; hesitantly starting down one road, only to reverse, and indecisively take a few cautious steps down the other. The EU will both train Ukrainians to fly F-16s; and yet is coy about providing the planes. It smacks of tokenism; but tokenism is often the father to mission-creep.” Indeed it is. Because of the closed-mindedness of those in power in the West — their biases, racism, and arrogance — they will not stop in Ukraine until they are forced to by circumstances.


Those circumstances will likely be dictated by the revamped Russian military now configured to fight a longer and different kind of war than the one that began in February 2022. Every day we see signs that Russia’s military-industrial capacity is increasing rapidly while the EU languishes. The US is rapidly trying to bring back onshore manufacturing lost to the ZIRP and Greenspan Eras, but this is a slow and painful process especially since it has run out of room on the balance sheet to deficit spend to accelerate things. “Biden” and his merry band of vandals in D.C. are more than happy to burn the place to the ground more thoroughly than the British did in the War of 1812 if they can’t get their way on unlimited taxing and spending.

So, here we are. Bakhmut has fallen. The Ukrainian counter-offensive is non-existent. If anything it was already absorbed by Putin and Prigozhin. Zelenskyy will now get F-16s to attack Crimea and use that as some moral high ground for justifying NATO’s official involvement after Russia’s inevitable counter-attack. Then the air will be thick with the smell of thermobarics in the morning. But, regardless of any of that, there will be no truce in the Heartland. Russia will not back down. China will back them to the end, as will OPEC+ and the rest of Central Asia. But they will not escalate one inch further than they need to. Allowing the West to keep thinking they can win is the ultimate form of grinding out a superior opponent.


[..] While the West fights desperately to stave off defeat of the Heartland, it’s clear the rest of the World Island is making plans to leave them behind. At some point there are simply too many people and too much pressure to keep pushing the world towards a conclusion it doesn’t want to go. And that’s when everything changes, literally overnight. Until then, it will be another day, another escalation, another pointless political knife fight and thousands of people dying needlessly. When he published that paper in 1904 all Mackinder did was formalize British imperial thinking into an easily-digested thesis for morons. Today we are being gaslit by these morons into believing our lives depend on fighting for ‘freedom’ in central Ukraine. It was written as the British empire’s grip on power was beginning to wane. World War I would put the capper on that.

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More heartland. BRICS + Central Asia.

Eurasian Heartland Rises to Challenge the West (Pepe Escobar)

President Xi Jinping telling President Putin at the end of their summit last March in Moscow that we’re now facing “great changes not seen in a century” directly applies to the new spirit reigning across the Heartland. Cue to the China-Central Asia summit last week in Xian, the former imperial capital, where Xi solidified the expansion of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) from Western China in Xinjiang to its western neighbors and then all the way to Iran, Turkey and Eastern Europe. Xi in Xian particularly stressed the complementing aspects between BRI and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), once again showing that all five Central Asian “stans”, acting together, should counter-act the proverbial external interference via “terrorism, separatism and extremism”.

The message was stark: these hybrid war strategies are all integrated with the attempt by the Hegemon to continue fostering serial color revolutions. The purveyors of the “rules-based international order”, Xi implied, will go no holds barred to prevent ongoing Heartland integration. The usual suspects in fact are already spinning that Central Asia is falling into a potential trap, fully captured by Beijing. Yet this is something Kazakhstan’s “multi-vector diplomacy”, coined way back in the Nazarbayev years, would never allow. What Beijing is developing, instead, is an integrated approach via a C+C5 secretariat with no less than 19 separate channels of communication. The heart of the matter is to turbo-charge Heartland connectivity via the BRI’s Middle Corridor.

And that, crucially, includes technology transfer. As it stands, there are dozens of industrial transfer programs with Kazakhstan, a dozen in Uzbekistan, and several in discussion with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. These are extolled by Beijing as part of “harmonious Silk Roads”. Xi himself, as a post-modern pilgrim, detailed the connectivity in his keynote speech in Xian: “The China-Kyrgystan-Uzbekistan highway that runs across the Tian shan Mountains, the China-Tajikistan expressway that defies the Pamir Plateau, and the China-Kazakhstan crude oil pipeline and the China-Central Asia Gas Pipeline that traverse the vast desert – they are the present-day Silk Road.”

[..] Moscow is very much aware of the high stakes. For instance, for a year and a half virtually every month a Russian delegation arrives in Tajikistan to implement, in practice, the “pivot to the East”, developing projects in agriculture, health care, education, science and tourism. Central Asia should have a leading role in BRICS+ expansion – something supported by both BRICS leaders Russia and China. The idea of a BRICS + Central Asia is being seriously floated from Tashkent to Almaty. That would imply establishing a strategic continuum from Russia and China to Central Asia, South Asia, West Asia, Africa and Latin America – spanning the logistics of connectivity trade, energy, manufacture production, investment, technological breakthroughs and cultural interaction.

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“Zelensky’s supporters no longer believe in the myth of Ukrainian victory..”

After Bakhmut (Douglas Macgregor)

Until the fighting begins, national military strategy developed in peacetime shapes thinking about warfare and its objectives. Then the fighting creates a new logic of its own. Strategy is adjusted. Objectives change. The battle for Bakhmut illustrates this point very well. When General Sergey Vladimirovich Surovikin, commander of Russian aerospace forces, assumed command of the Russian military in the Ukrainian theater last year, President Vladimir Putin and his senior military advisors concluded that their original assumptions about the war were wrong. Washington had proved incurably hostile to Moscow’s offers to negotiate, and the ground force Moscow had committed to compel Kiev to negotiate had proved too small. Surovikin was given wide latitude to streamline command relationships and reorganize the theater.

Most importantly, Surovikin was also given the freedom of action to implement a defensive strategy that maximized the use of stand-off attack or strike systems while Russian ground forces expanded in size and striking power. The Bakhmut “Meatgrinder” was the result. When it became clear that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and his government regarded Bakhmut as a symbol of Ukrainian resistance to Russian military power, Surovikin turned Bakhmut into the graveyard of Ukrainian military power. From the fall of 2022 onward, Surovikin exploited Zalenskiy’s obsession with Bakhmut to engage in a bloody tug-of-war for control of the city. As a result, thousands of Ukrainian soldiers died in Bakhmut and many more were wounded. Surovkin’s performance is reminiscent of another Russian military officer: General Aleksei Antonov.

As the first deputy chief of the Soviet general staff, Surovikin was, in Western parlance, the director of strategic planning. When Stalin demanded a new summer offensive in a May 1943 meeting, Antonov, the son and grandson of imperial Russian army officers, argued for a defensive strategy. Antonov insisted that Hitler, if allowed, would inevitably attack the Soviet defenses in the Kursk salient and waste German resources doing so. Stalin, like Hitler, believed that wars were won with offensive action, not defensive operations. Stalin was unmoved by Soviet losses. Antonov presented his arguments for the defensive strategy in a climate of fear, knowing that contradicting Stalin could cost him his life. To the surprise of Marshals Aleksandr Vasilevsky and Georgy Zhukov, who were present at the meeting, Stalin relented and approved Antonov’s operational concept. The rest, as historians say, is history.

Macgregor

If President Putin and his senior military leaders wanted outside evidence for Surovikin’s strategic success in Bakhmut, a Western admission appears to provide it: Washington and her European allies seem to think that a frozen conflict—in which fighting pauses but neither side is victorious, nor does either side agree that the war is officially over—could be the most politically palatable long-term outcome for NATO. In other words, Zelensky’s supporters no longer believe in the myth of Ukrainian victory. The question on everyone’s mind is, what’s next? In Washington, conventional wisdom dictates that Ukrainian forces launch a counteroffensive to retake Southern Ukraine. Of course, conventional wisdom is frequently high on convention and low on wisdom.

On the assumption that Ukraine’s black earth will dry sufficiently to support ground maneuver forces before mid-June, Ukrainian forces will strike Russian defenses on multiple axes and win back control of Southern Ukraine in late May or June. Roughly 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers training in Great Britain, Germany, and other NATO member states are expected to return to Ukraine and provide the foundation for the Ukrainian counterattack force. General Valery Gerasimov, who now commands the Russian forces in the Ukrainian theater, knows what to expect, and he is undoubtedly preparing for the Ukrainian offensive. The partial mobilization of Russian forces means that Russian ground forces are now much larger than they have been since the mid-1980s.

Given the paucity of ammunition available to adequately supply one operational axis, it seems unlikely that a Ukrainian offensive involving two or more axes could succeed in penetrating Russian defenses. Persistent overhead surveillance makes it nearly impossible for Ukrainian forces to move through the twenty- to twenty-five-kilometer security zone and close with Russian forces before Ukrainian formations take significant losses. Once Ukraine’s offensive resources are exhausted Russia will likely take the offense. There is no incentive to delay Russian offensive operations. As Ukrainian forces repeatedly demonstrate, paralysis is always temporary. Infrastructure and equipment are repaired. Manpower is conscripted to rebuild destroyed formations. If Russia is to achieve its aim of demilitarizing Ukraine, Gerasimov surely knows he must still close with and complete the destruction of the Ukrainian ground forces that remain.

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Repeat every day.

Counteroffensive Can Start At Any Moment – Ukrainian Official (RT)

Ukrainian forces are “ready” to launch their much-touted counteroffensive, the head of the National Security and Defense Council told the BBC in an interview on Saturday. Aleksey Danilov said the military top brass are now waiting for the right moment to launch the attack. “It could happen tomorrow, the day after tomorrow or in a week,” Danilov answered when pressed about a potential start of the counteroffensive, which Kiev has been talking about for months. A major assault was initially expected to start in spring or even late winter, but Kiev repeatedly postponed it, citing adverse weather conditions and the need to obtain all necessary weapons and equipment from western backers. Danilov said it would have been “weird” for him to reveal the exact date, as “that cannot be done.”

He described the planned attack as a “historic opportunity” that his nation “cannot lose” if it wants to become a “big European country.” “We understand that we have no right to make a mistake,” he added. In April, The New York Times reported that Ukraine’s Western supporters might start to pressure Kiev into launching talks with Moscow should the much-anticipated offensive fail to yield any major gains. Kiev has been sending mixed signals on the counteroffensive. Earlier this week, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s aide, Mikhail Podoliak, told Italy’s Rai TV channel that it “has been going on for several days”. However, on Thursday, another presidential advisor, Igor Zhovkva, contradicted that statement, saying Ukrainian forces were still preparing for the operation.

Danilov denied the offensive had already begun, claiming that Ukrainian strikes against Russian “control centers” and “military equipment” were just routine operations. Danilov’s remarks came as Russia outlined its conditions for ending the conflict with Ukraine. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin told TASS on Saturday that Kiev should abandon the idea of joining NATO and the EU, guarantee the rights of minorities, and declare Russian a state language. Ukraine must also recognize the “new territorial realities,” the high-ranking diplomat said, referring to four former Ukrainian territories that joined Russia following referendums in autumn 2022, as well as Crimea, which reunited with Russia in 2014 following another referendum. However, Danilov stated earlier in May that there could be no peace talks “on Russia’s terms.”

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Does Germany wish to be a target?

Ukraine Demands German Missiles Capable Of Striking Moscow (RT)

Ukraine has asked Berlin to provide it with long-range air-launched missiles that could potentially reach Moscow, a spokesperson for Germany’s Defense Ministry confirmed on Saturday. On Friday, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reported, citing two unnamed “insiders” within the German military, that Ukraine “urgently wants” Swedish-German Taurus missiles. These munitions could be allegedly placed on US-made F-16 fighters, which are now being considered for delivery to Kiev by several Western countries. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky is said to have asked for the missiles during his meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin earlier this month.

For now, it is unclear whether Berlin, which earlier said it did not have any F-16s to send to Kiev, will grant this request. The report said the demand presents Berlin with a dilemma, as some in the German government doubt whether Ukraine would sensibly use such a weapon – which can travel 500km (310 miles) and is armed with a 500kg warhead. As Kiev may use the Taurus to strike Moscow from the border, “some fear that in a situation of dire need, Kiev could allow the war to escalate uncontrollably,” the paper added. According to the outlet, another problem is that the Taurus needs extremely precise and up-to-date information to stage attacks, raising questions as to whether Berlin would be willing to share such data with Kiev.

Earlier this month, the UK decided to supply Ukraine with Storm Shadow missiles with a range of over 250km (155 miles), with Moscow’s Foreign Ministry condemning the move as another step towards a “serious escalation.” Later, the Russian Defense Ministry said that Kiev used the weapon to conduct a strike on civilians in the Donbass city of Lugansk, resulting in six children injured, according to local authorities. Even without long-range missiles, earlier this month Kiev unsuccessfully attempted to conduct a strike on the Kremlin using two drones, which according to Moscow was an attempt to assassinate Russian President Vladimir Putin. Kiev has denied any involvement, with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky claiming that “we fight on our territory” and “we don’t have… enough weapons for this.”

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“..the aggressive imposition of Western ‘new values’ causes growing rejection there and only brings Russia and African countries closer together.”

Africa Foresees End Of Unipolar World – Russian Envoy (RT)

The West’s attempts to pressure Africa to turn on Russia have failed as people on the continent realize the true nature of the conflict in Ukraine and see that the unipolar world order is coming to an end, according to the head of the Russia-Africa Partnership Forum. Oleg Ozerov, who is also Russia’s ambassador-at-large, told Newsweek on Friday that the attendance of 40 out of 54 nations of the continent at the Russia-Africa Interparliamentary Conference had “shattered the myth of Russia’s alleged isolation due to the events in Ukraine, persistently promoted in the West.” “People in Africa understand very well that the former Soviet republic has turned into an arena of confrontation between the new and the old world paradigms, between different visions of the future, not just a trivial feud between neighbors,” he said.

According to the diplomat, the well-balanced and neutral approach towards “Russia’s confrontation with the West” by Africa, China, India and Latin American nations “confirms once again that the transition to… multipolar architecture is irreversible.” Those countries clearly understand that the time for “unipolar world-order is running out,” he added. What Africa needs now is promotion of local solutions and national interests, as well as deliverance “from the rigid constraints of globalism promoted by neo-liberalist ideologists,” Ozerov said. “African countries count on Russia’s support” in achieving those goals, he stated. Moscow is backing efforts to complete the decolonization process in a number of African countries, while also working to put together a broad anti-terrorist front on the continent “free from any hidden agenda or double standards,” the diplomat continued.

“The US and EU want Africa to play the role of a mere supplier of raw materials to the ‘civilized world,’” Ozerov said. But Russia has a different approach as its “primary interest is to assist the development of Africa’s domestic energy and electricity markets, where we have considerable expertise, especially as regards nuclear energy,” he explained. Moscow has “no vested interests, such as to preserve its zone of influence or aggressively guard markets from any ‘outsiders,’” and Africans see that, the envoy said. And that’s the reason why “the unprecedented pressure by the West on Russia’s partners in Africa is not that effective in practice.” Ozerov said that, during his trips to the continent, it became obvious to him that “the aggressive imposition of Western ‘new values’ causes growing rejection there and only brings Russia and African countries closer together.” Russia is due to host a high-level Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg in July, with the envoy saying that recent developments indicate that the event is going to be “a success.”

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What’s the influence on Treasury purchases?

Credit Rating Agency Downgrades US (RT)

China Chengxin International Credit Rating (CCXI) slashed its sovereign credit score for the US by one notch earlier this week, becoming the first among top rating firms to make the move. The leading Chinese agency, a joint venture between Beijing Zhixiang Information Management Consulting and US ratings giant Moody’s, lowered the US to AAg+ from AAAg, having placed it on review for a further downgrade, according to a statement released on Thursday. “The intensification of political divisions between the two parties in the United States has increased the difficulty of resolving the debt-ceiling issue,” the statement reads.

“Even if a consensus is reached, the brinkmanship would pose uncertainty to the US government’s policy path and dampen economic confidence, which could trigger further volatility in the US politics and economy,” the agency added. According to CCXI, US debt sustainability is currently being seriously challenged, with the highest level of borrowing among the previously AAAg-rated nations, while the issue is being complicated by hawkish policies of the US Federal Reserve. The regulator has hiked the key interest rate several times over the past few months, raising the risk of asset depreciation on the balance sheets of many financial institutions. The credit rating agency Fitch previously put the US on watch for a potential downgrade, having warned that the nation could soon lose its AAA score due to an inability to pay its bills, within a matter of days.

Meanwhile, Moody’s said a mid-June interest payment on Treasuries will be critical for maintaining its top AAA grade. Republicans and Democrats have struggled to reach an agreement to increase the debt ceiling for weeks, prompting warnings from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that the US is “highly likely” to default if Congress does not act soon. The move would be a first in American history, as the government has never defaulted on its debt, which has swelled to more than $31 trillion. Late on Friday, Yellen extended the deadline for a potentially devastating default, saying the government has just a few more days to argue over the debt ceiling before it runs out of cash.

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“The debt ceiling deal “cuts” spending by 0.2% of GDP or about $50 billion. Is that good enough?”

“Of the $80 billion Democrats appropriated to the IRS over ten years, the “deal” rescinds $1.9 billion. You read that right. That’s the kind of “get” that’s so good McCarthy agreed to increase the debt ceiling $4 trillion.”

Debt Ceiling Deal Between White House And GOP Reached In Principle (ZH)

The White House and GOP negotiators have reached an agreement in principle to raise the US debt ceiling, averting a default. The deal raises the debt limit and keeps non-defense spending ‘near flat’ for two years, while cutting and capping various federal programs, the NY Times reports. After 2025, however, there will be no budget caps. It was structured with the aim of enticing votes from both parties, though it would most likely draw the ire not only of conservative Republicans but also Democrats furious at being asked to vote for cuts they oppose with the threat of default looming. If the progressives or the Freedom Caucus don’t blow it up, the plan has a chance of Congressional passage before June 5, the date Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has warned any deal must be finalized by in order to avoid hitting the “X-date”, when the Treasury can no longer meet its obligations.


“After weeks of negotiations, we have come to an agreement in principle,” said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, adding that there are “historic reductions in spending” and “consequential reforms.” “There are no new taxes, no new government programs,” McCarthy continued, adding that they would be spending tonight writing the agreement. McCarthy expects a vote on Wednesday. In the House, Republicans hold a narrow majority – meaning unhappy right-wing lawmakers who have demanded significantly larger budget cuts in exchange for raising the ceiling may hold it hostage (lookin’ at you Gaetz). That said, McCarthy can at least say he tried – inking in principle a compromise that would effectively freeze federal spending that had been slated to expand.

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“European diplomats are hesitant to openly name and shame those who stall the negotiations, allegedly out of fear that more EU countries suspected of facilitating sanctions-evasion could also rebel.”

EU Sanctions Talks Hit Roadblock – Politico (RT)

The negotiations over the European Union’s 11th package of sanctions against Russia have been stalled amid opposition from Athens and Budapest, who demand their companies be removed from the Kiev-compiled list of “war sponsors,” according to Politico. Two rounds of talks in Brussels this week ended with no deal in sight, as there was “no pressure” to discuss smaller issues until crucial objections by the member states are addressed, the publication reported on Saturday citing multiple anonymous diplomatic sources. The main roadblock is said to be Kiev’s notorious list of “sanctions-evaders” and “international sponsors of war,” which features multiple European companies because they maintained business ties with Russia.

Compiled by the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP), the list includes such giants as German wholesaler Metro, French retailer Auchan, Italian cement company Buzzi Unicem and Austrian banking group Raiffeisen, among others. Hungary was the only EU state to voice objections during a foreign ministers’ meeting on Monday, insisting that Kiev’s baseless accusations against its leading financial institution OTP Bank could be formalized with the bloc’s next round of sanctions. On Wednesday, however, Greece stepped into the forefront of the discussion, saying that allegations of sanction circumvention could be “very damaging” to its economy as well.

“Greece reiterated that, should there be concrete evidence of violation of sanctions, these should be brought to the attention of the member states concerned, at the technical level, so that this be adequately investigated and then due action will be taken,” an unnamed EU diplomat told the publication. Politico claimed that the Ukrainian list and the next sanctions package are “not linked” and the duo was simply holding the talks hostage as “political leverage.” However, European diplomats are hesitant to openly name and shame those who stall the negotiations, allegedly out of fear that more EU countries suspected of facilitating sanctions-evasion could also rebel. In the meantime, two sources said that the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, acknowledged the problem and “it is now up to him to work with the Ukrainians on a solution.”

Budapest has taken a neutral stance in the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev, as it refused to provide military aid to Ukraine or allow Western aid to pass through its territory. Although Hungary had largely taken part in the existing EU sanctions against Russia, it has repeatedly criticized the restrictions and opposed those that might affect its own economy, including its conventional and nuclear energy sectors. Athens also defied the bloc’s efforts to cut all economic ties with Moscow, with imports of Russian goods by Greece more than doubling to a record €9.33 billion ($10 billion) last year. The trade balance between the two countries in 2022 was negative, however, with the value of Greek exports to Russia last year decreasing to €156.4 million from €206.6 million in 2021.

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They’re arming Taiwan. So what is there to talk about?

China Rebuffing All Contact With US Military: Pentagon (ZH)

Top Pentagon officials have once again said that China is ignoring and rebuffing the US military’s attempts to establish and open line of communication, which is crucial to avoiding inadvertent conflict in regions such as in the South China Sea where both naval powers operate. “Open communication channels between the US and China are important in maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Indo-Pacific Affairs Ely Ratner said on Thursday,” regional media reports. “The Pentagon’s attempts to reach out to China’s military in recent months have been ignored or rebuffed,” Ratner told an audience at the DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He sought to stress that the Pentagon “believes in the importance of open lines of communication with the PRC [People’s Republic of China] and we have sought to build out those open lines of communication. Unfortunately… we’ve had a lot of difficulty when we have proposed phone calls, meetings, dialogues.” “The US and Department of Defense have had an outstretched hand on this question of military to military engagement, but we have yet to have consistently willing partners,” Ratner emphasized further. Earlier this month there was hope that US-China dialogue would be back on track following the meeting between National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Chinese Communist Party Politburo Member and China’s Director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission Wang Yi in Vienna on May 10-11.

That meeting was generally reported and regarded as positive, given that before that all such high level diplomatic contacts had been off ever since the ‘spy balloon’ shootdown incident over the American east coast in early February. But even if the rival militaries are struggling to keep open communications, Washington and Beijing are pushing forward with trade talks: “U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo sat down with her Chinese counterpart Wang Wentao in Washington D.C. on Thursday to discuss “concerns” surrounding bilateral trade. Marking the first cabinet-level exchange between the two countries in months, the U.S. talked about American companies operating in China. According to a readout by the Commerce Department, “The two had candid and substantive discussions on issues relating to the U.S.-China commercial relationship, including the overall environment in both countries for trade and investment and areas for potential cooperation.”

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“..part of the effort to bury the Russiagate hoax the way the Warren Commission buried the facts of the Kennedy assassination for many years.”

John Durham and the Burying of American History (Patrick Lawrence)

I appreciate the Durham Report for the chronology of events it indicates. This is now easier to follow than it has been previously. In simple terms, Clinton authorized an operation to frame Trump within days of the leak of emails from Democratic Party servers in July 2016. The FBI’s leadership acted quickly to set this operation in motion. It first considered using the offhand remarks of George Papadopoulos, a minor Trump campaign volunteer, to obtain surveillance warrants against various of Trump’s advisers. When that proved too flimsy, the agency’s top officials turned to the Steele Dossier. The agency knew it was junk, but they punched it up sufficiently to get the warrants needed to proceed against Trump and his people. This was Crossfire Hurricane, the FBI’s anti–Trump op at the heart of the Russiagate hoax.

“The truth is, we had almost all of the information a long time ago. What we didn’t have was the certification of the information by a government authority, by a legal authority,” Walter Kirn remarks in America This Week. “I think Durham did a job of showing reach to the highest levels of the government. Apparently everyone was briefed on the reality of this thing early on, very early on. All the highest authorities knew it was bullshit.” Perfectly fair comment, an astute summation. Then Kirn continues in a very curious way: “In a way, I guess it became necessary that the system vindicates itself by finding that which could not be found and asserting that which could not be proved, to the point that the moment where it mattered passed away. President Trump’s no longer president. All of the harms that were done by this thing have been done. They changed our history, they changed our media. They changed our sense of information and why it’s important.”

Kirn is right to suggest that “the system” appears to figure that a report such as Durham’s can now be released because it is all water under the bridge—a little in the way the U.S. will acknowledge one or another of its coup operations long after the facts have ceased to matter. Similarly, it looks as if Garland found this an opportune moment to send the Durham Report to Capitol Hill, effectively to remove the entire Russiagate affair from the common American consciousness. With a presidential election 18 months away, Biden’s attorney-general must dispose of Russiagate and Durham’s probe as hastily and as best he can.

But I am not with Kirn when he asserts all the harm has been done. No, it has not. Russiagate changed history all right. And the destruction of this history is to my mind the greatest harm of all. This is the very oddest thing about the Durham Report: It purports to rip off the veil shielding the plot against Donald Trump from view, but it shapes up after a few days’ consideration as part of the effort to bury the Russiagate hoax the way the Warren Commission buried the facts of the Kennedy assassination for many years.

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He’s been doing it for 50 years.

Roger Waters Under Criminal Probe Over Anti-Nazi Satire (RT)

German police have launched a criminal investigation into English rock legend and Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters on suspicion of glorifying Nazism during two concerts in Berlin. The musician has insisted the performance was in opposition to fascism. On Friday, in a statement quoted by several media outlets, the Berlin police said that Waters was suspected of inciting hatred, and that the probe was centered on his performances on May 17 and 18 in the German capital. In footage posted on social media, the musician can be seen wearing a leather trench coat resembling a Nazi uniform with two crossed hammers and a red armband. He then proceeds to take a mock gun and shoot into the crowd.

“The context of the clothing worn is deemed capable of approving, glorifying or justifying the violent and arbitrary rule of the Nazi regime in a manner that violates the dignity of the victims and thereby disrupts public peace,” the police said. Nazi-related symbols are outlawed in Germany, with an exception being made for educational or artistic purposes. Waters’ performance was apparently in reference to the film “the Wall,” an adaptation of the eponymous 1979 Pink Floyd album. The rock star appears as the album’s protagonist who hallucinates being a fascist dictator addressing a Nazi rally. Waters’ concerts also featured a pig-shaped balloon floating in the air, with a logo of the Israeli weapons company Elbit Systems and the Star of David.

The show also involved showing the names of people fading in on the screen, including Anne Frank, a Jewish diarist who died in a Nazi concentration camp, and Palestinian Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed while covering an Israeli military operation in May 2022. The Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon suggested that Waters wanted to compare Israel to the Nazis, describing the musician as “one of the biggest Jew haters of our time.” On Friday, the musician addressed the controversy, writing on Twitter that he had become a target of “bad faith attacks” from those who disagreed with his political views. “The elements of my performance that have been questioned are quite clearly a statement in opposition to fascism, injustice and bigotry in all its forms”, he said, adding that he had spent his entire life speaking out “against authoritarianism and oppression.”

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“Therapist doll that, when squeezed, whispers, “Don’t tell your parents.”

Fisher-Price Introduces ‘My First Gender Transition’ Playset (BBee)

In a show of solidarity with a vocal minority of gender activists who don’t purchase their products, Fisher-Price introduced the “My First Gender Transition” playset for kids ages 2 to 9. “The My First Gender Transition playset helps your child have a fun time playing pretend while in no way being inculcated with an emotionally destructive ideology,” said Product Manager Murthina Spillwig who may soon be updating her resumé. “Parents in our focus groups were excited to force their kids to pretend to enjoy the playset for Instagram.” The playset is bursting with a plethora of features to confuse your toddler, including:

-My First Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Analogue puberty-blocking toy syringe
-Top Surgery For Tykes toy surgical table
-Barnyard and jungle-themed breast binders and packing underwear
-Therapist doll that, when squeezed, whispers, “Don’t tell your parents.”
-A lifesize poster of inspiring role model Dr. Rachel Levine
In anticipation of the success of the gender-affirming playset, Fisher-Price has announced they will soon be releasing the “My First Detransition” playset.

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Perfect job

 

 

Bukele

 

 

Aweeeee

 

 

Iguana
https://twitter.com/i/status/1662395821977894916

 

 

 

 

Deactivate a cat

 

 

 

 

Sea slug
https://twitter.com/i/status/1662378744160440321

 

 

 

 

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Jan 072023
 
 January 7, 2023  Posted by at 9:30 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  89 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Interieur au Pot de Fleurs 1953

 

Ukraine On ‘NATO Mission’ – Defense Minister (RT)
Ukrainian Political Scientist: Putin Needs Truce To Prepare New Offensive (Az.)
US To Send Ukraine Dozens Of Bradleys In $2.85b Aid Package (RT)
US To Arm Kiev With Sea Sparrows – Politico (RT)
WWIII HAS BEGUN: Medvedev Wants Hypersonic Missiles Near Washington (Celente)
McCarthy Elected House Speaker After Last-minute Call From Trump To Gaetz (PM)
Senators Make New Demand Regarding FBI, Hunter Biden, Obama White House (CB)
2 Yrs After Jan. 6: 1,000 Arrests; Zero ‘Insurrection’ Charges (Attkisson)
Jan. 6 Comm. Releases Social Security Numbers Of Trump Officials, Allies (Fox)
Adam Schiff’s Assault on the First Amendment (BB)
Ted Cruz Slams Joe Biden for Turning Pharmacies Into Abortion Centers (LN)
Biden Spokeswoman Blames Trump Ahead Of Border Visit (Fox)
Repentance (Kunstler)

 

 

 

 

VSRF

 

 

 

 

‘Unavoidably Unsafe’
https://twitter.com/i/status/1610373150767824901

 

 

Disturbing trend

 

 

 

 

 

 

What? Has NATO denounced this? Since when can NATO not do its own business?

Ukraine On ‘NATO Mission’ – Defense Minister (RT)

Kiev is shedding blood to carry out the mission NATO set for itself and expects the “civilized West” to provide weapons and ammunition in return, Ukrainian Defense Minister Aleksey Reznikov has said in an interview for a domestic TV channel. Appearing on the 1+1 network’s TSN channel on Thursday evening, Reznikov pointed out that at the Madrid summit last summer, NATO declared Russia the greatest threat to the US-led bloc. “Today, Ukraine is addressing that threat. We’re carrying out NATO’s mission today, without shedding their blood. We shed our blood, so we expect them to provide weapons,” he said.

Reznikov also claimed that his NATO colleagues have told him, both in conversations and via text messages, that Ukraine is the “shield of civilization” and “defending the entire civilized world, the entire West.” Ukrainian officials, from President Vladimir Zelensky on down, routinely make public appeals for tanks, missiles, artillery and ammunition. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu told the General Staff in December that Moscow was de facto fighting the collective West. By his estimates, the government in Kiev has received almost $100 billion worth of weapons, ammunition and other supplies in 2022 alone. Reznikov has led that effort, boasting to the US outlet Politico in October that he had figured out the Pentagon’s political process. His goal, he said, was to keep raising the bar until Ukraine received main battle tanks.

While that particular threshold has yet to be crossed, on Friday Washington announced the delivery of 50 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, the most modern armor sent to Kiev so far, as part of a $3 billion weapons package. Earlier this week, France pledged a number of wheeled ‘light tanks’ as well. These shipments are intended to replace Ukraine’s battlefield losses. Last month, Kiev’s top general Valery Zaluzhny told The Economist he would need 300 more tanks, up to 700 infantry fighting vehicles, and 500 howitzers to conduct offensive operations. This is more than the number of such vehicles in British or German inventory. Moscow insists that Western weapon deliveries only serve to prolong the conflict, and has repeatedly warned Ukraine’s backers that this could result in an all-out military confrontation between Russia and NATO.

Read more …

Yeah, Putin needs just 36 hours for that.

Ukrainian Political Scientist: Putin Needs Truce To Prepare New Offensive (Az.)

On January 5, Vladimir Putin instructed the Russian Defense Ministry to introduce a ceasefire along the entire line of contact from 12:00 on January 6 to 24:00 on January 7. Kyiv rejected this proposal, calling it a cover and declaring Russia’s intention to bring equipment, ammunition and military personnel closer to the positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The Ukrainian political scientist believes that Vladimir Putin needs this truce in order to prepare a new offensive in Ukraine by February-March. “Russia is now short of shells, and for them this truce was necessary,” Reichel said. According to him, Russia now has only one option for a mediator in the person of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, because Western leaders will not talk with Putin: “Negotiations with China made it clear that the country wants to distance itself from the conflict without providing special support either to Russia or to Ukraine.


India is not up to the war in Ukraine now, it already has so many internal and external problems with Pakistan and China. Therefore, Erdogan is now the only person with whom Moscow can talk and whom Kyiv can listen to. Using his mediating experience Turkiye has offered Russia the idea of a truce, thereby taking a step towards future negotiations, in which Putin is very interested,” he added. According to the expert, it was immediately obvious that Kyiv would not agree to a truce. “This truce is nothing but a political cover, Ukraine does not need it,” he said. Yuri Reichel explains this by the fact that any truce is beneficial for Russia, which is now trying to accumulate certain reserves in the Donbas, Zaporizhzhia in order to prevent a possible Ukrainian offensive, which, according to Western and Ukrainian experts, is being prepared in February-March.

Read more …

Do US taxpayers now pay twice for these obsolete machines?

US To Send Ukraine Dozens Of Bradleys In $2.85b Aid Package (RT)

The U.S. will send Ukraine nearly $3 billion in military aid, in a massive new package that will for the first time include several dozen Bradley fighting vehicles, U.S. officials said Thursday, in the Biden administration’s latest step to send increasingly lethal and powerful weapons to help Ukraine beat back Russian forces, according to AP. European allies also stepped up their weapons commitments. Germany announced it will provide armored personnel carriers and a Patriot missile battery to Ukraine, and France said it will soon hold talks to arrange for the delivery of armored combat vehicles.


All of the announcements, however, fall short of sending heavier battle tanks, which are more complex to use and have a longer-range gun. The Bradley, an armored carrier used to transport troops to combat, is not a tank but is known as a “tank-killer” because of the anti-tank missile it can fire. The latest U.S. aid — totaling about $2.85 billion and about 50 Bradleys — is the largest in a series of packages of military equipment that the Pentagon has pulled from its stockpiles to send to Ukraine. It is aimed at getting as much to the Ukrainian forces as possible during the winter months, before spring sets in and an expected increase in fighting begins.

Read more …

“..fitting US-made munitions onto Soviet-made launchers suggests heavy US involvement in such an upgrade..”

US To Arm Kiev With Sea Sparrows – Politico (RT)

The US may supply Ukraine with RIM-7 Sea Sparrow short-range anti-aircraft missiles, Politico reported on Thursday, citing unnamed officials. The missiles are expected to be fitted onto Soviet-made Buk launchers in an attempt to mitigate a shortage of munitions for the systems remaining in Kiev’s inventory. The missiles, developed in the early 1960s, are expected to be included in a new upcoming military aid package to prop up Ukraine in the ongoing conflict with Russia. “The package will for the first time include radar-guided Sea Sparrow anti-air missiles, which can be launched from the sea or on land to intercept aircraft or cruise missiles. In a bit of battlefield innovation, the Ukrainian military has managed to tweak its existing Soviet-era Buk launchers to fire the Sea Sparrow,” the outlet wrote, citing “two people familiar with the matter.”

Politico did not explain how Kiev came up with this “battlefield innovation,” but given that Ukraine has never been in possession of RIM-7 missiles, fitting US-made munitions onto Soviet-made launchers suggests heavy US involvement in such an upgrade. The missiles in question had previously been successfully fitted onto the Kub anti-aircraft launchers, the predecessor of the Buk system, in a collaboration between Raytheon and the Polish defense manufacturer WZU Sa. The upgrade to Soviet-made launchers was first unveiled in the early 2010s.

The inclusion of unspecified “surface-to-air” missiles into the new massive $3 billion aid package for Ukraine was confirmed by White House officials during a news briefing on Friday. In recent months, Western backers of Kiev have intensified their efforts to bolster Kiev’s anti-aircraft defenses, struggling to deal with a ramped-up bombing campaign against critical Ukrainian infrastructure launched by Moscow in the aftermath of the Crimean Bridge blast. Recent deliveries to Ukraine have included US-made short-range NASAMS systems, German IRIS-T air defense systems, while at least one battery of the US Patriot system, the backbone of NATO’s anti-aircraft defense, is expected to be transferred to Kiev in the near future.

Read more …

Seems a bit overdone.

WWIII HAS BEGUN: Medvedev Wants Hypersonic Missiles Near Washington (Celente)

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s national security council, on Thursday called for Moscow’s hypersonic Zircon missiles to be placed about 100 miles off of the coast of the U.S. in retaliation for Washington’s support of Ukraine. He called for these missiles to be in close striking distance to Washington, D.C. and called them a New Year gift. Business Insider reported that the Kremlin announced Wednesday that it will sail the Admiral Gorshkov warship armed with the Zircons “on a long-range voyage that would pass through the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, and Mediterranean Sea.” The ship is one of Russia’s most advanced warships. In 2019, the ship docked at a Havana, Cuba, the port.


The AP reported at the time: All of the Russian naval missions to Cuba have been seen as a projection of military power close to U.S. shores, although neither Cuba nor Russian have described them as anything other than routine. His threat came after a U.S. embassy video emerged that supported Russians who oppose the war in Ukraine, Reuters reported. We reported in May that Moscow said it successfully fired its Zircon from a warship in the Barents Sea that traveled 625 miles and hit its target in the White Sea. The missile can reportedly travel nine times the speed of sound. In April, Russia also successfully test fired its new Sarmat superheavy Intercontinental Ballistic Missile that can reportedly deploy 10 or more nuclear warheads on each missile.

Read more …

Theater.

McCarthy Elected House Speaker After Last-minute Call From Trump To Gaetz (PM)

California Rep. Kevin McCarthy won a late night vote to become Speaker of the House on Friday night after Donald Trump called Matt Gaetz, a source familiar with the situation confirmed to The Post Millennial. Gaetz was leading the charge to oppose McCarthy along with Rep Lauren Boebert, and had opposed McCarthy in nearly every vote since Monday. This after McCarthy made major concessions to the 20 GOP holdouts who spent the week vocally opposing his leadership. Those concessions, however, were not as key as the head of the MAGA movement insisting its members stop rejecting the victory of a GOP-led House.


The final vote saw the hold-outs Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Andy Biggs, Crane, Good and Rosenthal not stand in the way of McCarthy’s leadership This after a vote earlier on Friday saw the flip of 14 in the GOP who had been consistently voting against his speakership. Florida’s freshman Congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna posted some of the concessions made by McCarthy. She had offered her vote for McCarthy on Friday, making a note in the House of the successful negotiations between the Trump-backed speaker hopeful from California and the MAGA contingent.

Read more …

What investigations will we see?

Senators Make New Demand Regarding FBI, Hunter Biden, Obama White House (CB)

Two GOP senators who have been investigating alleged Biden family corruption for years have stepped up their efforts. After Facebook and Twitter suppressed, to an extent, explosive revelations about Hunter Biden’s laptop in October 2020, Republican Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin want more answers. Grassley and Johnson have sent a letter to Zuckerberg noting that in October 2020, “when the New York Post published articles based on evidence from Hunter Biden’s laptop, many news and social media organizations inappropriately rushed to censor and discredit the initial reporting and falsely labeled it as ‘disinformation.’” Mainstream media outlets have finally admitted that the information gleaned from the laptop was not Russian disinformation but was in fact real.

“You recently appeared to indicate that the reason why Facebook made the unwise decision to censor articles about Hunter Biden’s laptop was based on an alert from the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” the senators wrote. Whistleblowers have also alleged to Senator Johnson that local FBI leadership instructed its employees not to look at the Hunter Biden laptop immediately after the FBI had obtained it,” the senators noted further, going on to say that Americans “deserve to know whether the FBI used Facebook as part of their alleged plan to discredit information about Hunter Biden.” “Congress and the American people require clarity with respect to the extent the FBI communicated with Facebook during the 2020 election about Hunter Biden-related information,” they added.

Expected incoming House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan believes there’s been a seismic shift regarding the ongoing federal investigation of President Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden. The Ohio Republican suggested “something is up” with the probe because of a new interest in the story by many of the same media outlets that initially dismissed reports of corruption evidence stemming from materials and emails obtained from a laptop he reportedly abandoned at a computer repair store in Delaware in 2019. “It sure looks like Joe Biden was involved,” Jordan added. “So, my, how this story has changed. And now, we find out these text messages and emails that link the entire family, not just Hunter and Joe and — but also uncle, the — Joe’s brother, James Biden, is involved in this as well.”

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“..there was no evidence proving that Byrd did not fear that Babbitt could kill him..”

2 Yrs After Jan. 6: 1,000 Arrests; Zero ‘Insurrection’ Charges (Attkisson)

Two years after the January 6 pro-Trump rally and Capitol riots, the Dept. of Justice has charged nearly 1,000 people with crimes. However, nobody has been formally accused of “sedition,” “treason,” or “insurrection,” according to officials. Sedition is defined as: Conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against the authority of a state or monarch. Insurrection is defined as: A violent uprising against a government or authority. Treason is defined as: Betrayal of one’s own country by attempting to overthrow the government through waging war against the state or materially aiding its enemies. The closest related charge made is “seditious conspiracy,” which is planning or plotting with at least one other person to incite rebellion against the authority; not necessarily, personally, committing an act of sedition.

Several suspects pleaded guilty to seditious conspiracy. At least one of them, a member of the “Oath Keepers” group, was not present at the US Capitol on January 6. To date, it is inaccurate and arguably libelous to refer to January 6 defendants as “insurrectionists.” Most of the defendants, approximately 860, are charged with entering or remaining in a restricted federal building or grounds. Typically, when Congress is conducting business on the House or Senate floor, the public has a right to enter the US Capitol and watch the proceedings. However, members of the public were blocked from attending on January 6, and there would not have been space for the many thousands to observe in the normal gallery seats. So far, the Dept. of Justice reports, about 192 people have been sentenced to jail or prison.

Officials say 52 people have pleaded guilty to federal charges of assaulting law enforcement officers. The only person shot at the US Capitol on January 6 was an unarmed protester named Ashli Babbitt. The US Capitol Police officer who killed her, Lt. Michael Byrd, was not charged with a crime. Officials kept his identity secret for weeks while they investigated the shooting. Prosecutors eventually found there was no evidence proving that Byrd did not fear that Babbitt could kill him. A shooting by an officer in fear of his life is typically considered to be justified. In an interview, Byrd claimed he’d “saved countless lives” by killing Babbitt, even though Babbitt was unarmed, and there was no evidence she attacked or intended to attack anyone.

July 6th
https://twitter.com/i/status/1611491464537862144

Read more …

“..inadvertently..”

Jan. 6 Comm. Releases Social Security Numbers Of Trump Officials, Allies (Fox)

When the House Jan. 6 committee released hundreds of documents from its investigation online at the end of the year, it inadvertently made public nearly 2,000 Social Security numbers belonging to high-profile individuals who visited the White House in December 2020, according to a report. The Washington Post reported Friday that the leaked Social Security information was included in a spreadsheet buried within the “massive cache” of records from the committee’s work. Social Security numbers belonging to at least three members of Trump’s cabinet, a few Republican governors, and several Trump associates were reportedly compromised. The data was part of the White House visitor logs published by the committee.


While many Social Security numbers in the logs were redacted, the Post reported that around 1,900 of them were not. The Government Publishing Office (GPO), which was responsible for publishing the file, does not appear to have notified any of the individuals whose private information was released, the report said. Those whose Social Security information was made public include South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) and her family, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R), former Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. Others include an unnamed federal district court judge and a federal appeals court judge, at least half a dozen people who testified before the Jan. 6 committee, and a lawyer who represented another witness before the committee, the Post reported.

Read more …

“..Sperry’s reporting was never refuted..”

Adam Schiff’s Assault on the First Amendment (BB)

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) violated the First Amendment and, arguably, his oath to uphold the Constitution in 2020 when his office demanded that Twitter suspend the account of Paul Sperry, an investigative journalist. Sperry happens to be the journalist who reported in 2019 that the “whistleblower” who worked with Schiff to engineer the impeachment investigation against President Donald Trump was Eric Ciamarella, a CIA analyst who had worked at the White House. Though Democrats convinced the media and Silicon Valley to suppress the story, Sperry’s reporting was never refuted, and the article remains live at RealClearInvestigations today.

This week, investigative journalist Matt Taibbi revealed in the “Twitter Files” that Schiff’s office at the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee sent a list of requests to Twitter, including that it suspend Sperry. Schiff claimed, without evidence, that Sperry was spreading “QAnon conspiracy theories.” (Sperry denies he has ever done so, anywhere.) Twitter declined that request, but suspended Sperry in 2022 with no explanation. The attempt by any member of Congress to suppress the freedom of expression of a journalist is a flagrant violation of the First Amendment, which specifically restricts Congress from interfering in a free press. That violation is even more egregious when perpetrated by a congressional leader with unique access to secret information, and who implies that he has evidence no one else does and is acting to protect national security.

Schiff, who is now considering a run for U.S. Senate, is a frequent guest on mainstream media news programs, who have given him wide latitude for years to promote unfounded claims, such as the “Russia collusion” hoax. These journalists, who described Trump as a threat to press freedom merely for insulting the media, have a professional and ethical duty to demand that Schiff explain why he thought he could censor any journalist. It is also worth revisiting Schiff’s egregious record on civil rights in general. Last year, this author outlined five reasons that a new Republican-run Congress should subpoena Schiff — as he has subpoenaed so many others.

Read more …

“This decision was not made with the wellbeing and health of women in mind..”

Ted Cruz Slams Joe Biden for Turning Pharmacies Into Abortion Centers (LN)

Senator Ted Cruz, a longtime pro-life Texas senator, is not happy with Joe Biden’s recent ruling from his FDA that essentially turns pharmacies into abortion centers. As LifeNews reported, the FDA will allow pharmacies to sell the dangerous abortion drug that has killed millions of babies and injured thousands of women. Previously, mifepristone could only be dispensed by clinics, medical offices, and hospitals or under the supervision of a licensed physician. Following the decision, Walgreens and CVS announced they will sell the abortion drug that has killed millions of babies. Cruz slammed the decision, saying that not only will it expand abortions that kill babies, it will put women’s health at risk because the mifepristone abortion pill has killed at least dozens of women and injured countless thousands more.


“This decision was not made with the wellbeing and health of women in mind,” he said. “We should all be able to recognize that these pills can cause very serious side-effects, and should never be taken without medical supervision.” Cruz continued: “This is a reckless decision that puts the lives of women and girls in Texas and America in danger in order to push a pro-abortion agenda. This decision is not based on science, but on radical politics, and I am deeply disappointed by the callousness of the FDA.” The FDA has already lifted its in-person requirement for a doctor visit which is a medical necessity because taking the abortion pill in a variety of situations such as an ectopic pregnancy can be fatal for women. The decision will set up the ability of customers to purchase the abortion pill via teleconference — denying women the doctor’s visit they should be getting to avoid potential death or major complications.

Read more …

After two years of absence…

Biden Spokeswoman Blames Trump Ahead Of Border Visit (Fox)

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday blamed the previous administration for the immigration crisis facing the Biden administration, accusing Republicans of making the problem worse by opposing Democratic proposals for comprehensive immigration reform. Ahead of President Biden’s first visit to the southern border as president, Jean-Pierre told reporters that immigration reform is a “high priority” for the administration and that Biden is looking for Congress to act in the face of historic rates of illegal immigration overwhelming resources at the border.

“The president inherited a mess because of what the last administration did. We inherited a mess. And, you know, Republicans in Congress made it worse by blocking comprehensive immigration reform,” Jean-Pierre said at the daily White House press briefing. “And so what you’re seeing from this president is he’s acting. He’s acting to protect, to continue to protect the border, secure the border, and also deal with irregular migration.” Biden announced several changes to his immigration policies Thursday in a major speech from the White House. His speech came after more than 2.3 million migrant encounters were reported in FY 2022, breaking the historic 1.7 million record encountered in FY 2021.

So far in FY 2023, which began in October, the first two months have outpaced the same period last year — with 233,740 encounters in November, compared to 174,845 in 2021 and 73,994 in 2020. To address this crisis, Biden will expand a humanitarian parole program for Venezuelan nationals to include Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans, allowing some 30,000 individuals per month from those countries to be paroled into the U.S. for a two-year period if they meet certain conditions. Those who attempt to cross the border illegally will be ineligible for the program.

Read more …

“..Something will emergently replace this monster we call “health care.”

Repentance (Kunstler)

And what are they going to do now? Pretend that none of this is happening? Continue to demonize, discredit, and punish the few doctors who won’t pretend? My PC doc doubles as Chief Health Officer of his group practice. He’s fired doctors and others on the staff who refused to take the shots his company mandated. He’s dishonored his Hippocratic oath. He’s in mid-life with, one would assume ordinarily, many working years ahead of him. The information about vaccine deaths and disabilities is going to get worse, and his own behavior around the crisis is going to look worse, probably even to himself. There are hundreds of thousands of doctors like him. As of now, early 2023, there is no general movement among them to explain or apologize for their actions. What will happen?

I’ll tell you what will happen: medicine as we’ve known it is going to collapse, along with most other activities in our society. Apart from ethical offenses against the public in the single instance of the Covid-19 emergency, doctors and their administrative cohorts have stealthily surrendered to a racketeering business model that had already badly damaged the practice of medicine before Covid-19 came on the scene. Remember: as a general principle, organisms and systems often assume their greatest size just before the go extinct or fail. That’s exactly what you’re seeing in the conglomeratization of hospitals in the USA. If the idea was to remove redundancies for the sake of “efficiency,” then they did exactly what destroys ecosystems. Anyway, the net effect of all that hospital consolidation was just to make access to health care much more difficult for the average citizen, and the only benefit was to make multi-millionaires of the executives who run the hospitals.

Then Covid-19 came along and they decimated their own workforce with vaccine mandates. Now, many hospitals can barely function, and many have had to shut down specific services. Quite a few hospitals are going bankrupt, which only feeds the predatory consolidation still ongoing. When the financial, banking, and insurance disorders ahead start to bite later this year, hospitals will be shutting down. In the meantime, a lot of people will lose their lives to the disastrous side-effects of the vaccines. It is already the case, that the vaccine-injured who seek help from the medical system are lied-to, mis-treated, or ignored. Some of these are the doctors themselves and other health professionals who collide with reality the hard way. Something will emergently replace this monster we call “health care.”

Maybe it will still think of itself medicine, but it will operate at a much smaller scale, minus a lot of the expensive and rather miraculous high-tech developed in our time, but also minus a lot of hazardous high-tech interventions, especially pharmaceuticals, that were used as revenue streams despite the adverse blowbacks they induced. Will the doctors recover the trust of the public? It’s going to be a slog for them. They’ll have a long way to go just to recover their own honor and self-respect. Some sort of organized act of apology and repentance will have to happen first.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

It takes time

 

 

 

 

Speed
https://twitter.com/i/status/1611121105640505350

 

 

Ant hill

 

 

 

 

Glass octopus

 

 

Tiger mom

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 222018
 


Vincent van Gogh Green Wheat Field With Cypress 1889

 

US Hints at China Truce as World Warns of Trade-War Threat (BBG)
US Banks Push Mortgage Apps As Home Lending Slows (R.)
Chinese Gangs Are Laundering Drug Money Through Vancouver Real Estate (GN)
New Zealand’s Ban On Home Sales To Foreigners Is “Discriminatory” – IMF (BBG)
Whirling Whirling (Jim Kunstler)
Home Office Under Theresa May Was Urged in 2014 To Act On Windrush (Ind.)
Tory Ministers Milking The System Are The Real Shirkers (G.)
Theresa May’s Hateful ‘Hostile Environment’ Immigration Policy (O.)
Europe’s Depopulation Time Bomb Is Ticking in the Baltics (BBG)
Members of European Parliament Call For Boycott of FIFA World Cup in Russia (UAW)
World Bank Recommends That Countries Eliminate Minimum Wage (BB)
Hopes For Greek Debt Deal Low Amid EU-IMF Discord (K.)
Turkish Justice Minister: Greece ‘A Gathering Place For Criminals’ (K.)
Nassim Nicholas Taleb Has Never Borrowed a Cent in His Life (Esq.)

 

 

At least in words, China has caved.

US Hints at China Truce as World Warns of Trade-War Threat (BBG)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he’s considering a trip to China amid a trade dispute with Beijing that finance chiefs warn could derail the global economic upswing. Mnuchin said he’s “cautiously optimistic” of reaching an agreement with China that bridges their differences over trade. “A trip is under consideration,” Mnuchin told reporters on Saturday in Washington at the IMF’s spring meetings. “I’m not going to make a comment on timing, nor do I have anything confirmed.” China’s Ministry of Commerce said Sunday it is aware that the U.S. is considering a visit to Beijing to negotiate economic and trade issues and welcomes such a move.

A visit by the U.S. Treasury secretary to China could signal a breakthrough in the spat between the world’s two-biggest economies, whose threats to slap tariffs on each other have rattled markets and raised fears of a trade war. It would come at a sensitive time for the region’s geopolitics, with negotiations under way on a planned meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un. Mnuchin’s remarks came as finance ministers and central bankers at the IMF meetings gave their latest economic assessments, often citing trade as a threat looming over the strongest upswing in seven years.

[..] Mnuchin said he met with Yi Gang, governor of the People’s Bank of China, at the IMF gathering this week. The discussions focused on issues related to the Chinese central bank, not trade, said the secretary. Mnuchin said they also discussed China’s planned further opening of some markets, a move that U.S. has encouraged and “appreciated.” “China will vigorously push forward the reform and opening-up of the financial sector, significantly relax market access restrictions, create a more attractive investment environment, strengthen the protection of intellectual properties and actively expand imports,” Yi said in a statement on Saturday. China has announced plans to gradually remove foreign ownership caps for limits for car-, ship- and aircraft-makers.

Read more …

“Buying a house is supposed to be a joyful thing..”

US Banks Push Mortgage Apps As Home Lending Slows (R.)

Big U.S. banks are racing to launch websites and mobile apps to make getting a mortgage faster and easier, investments that may have modest near-term payoffs as home lending activity slows. Lenders have been spending on digital tools to cut costs, eliminate error-prone paperwork and appeal to younger home buyers. However, they are chasing a shrinking pool of refinancing business and new home loan volumes are still below pre-crisis levels. Bank of America has spent $1 billion on its digital banking services in the last six years and launched its lineup of techy mortgage products last week. Wells Fargo rolled out its website and app service during the first quarter, and JPMorgan Chase, which is investing $1.4 billion in technology in 2018, plans to launch its offering later this year.

Bank of America’s app automatically fills in a customer’s address, employment history and other information that the bank already has, cutting out hundreds of boxes customers would otherwise have to fill. JPMorgan’s lets customers e-sign important documents. Quicken Loans was the first to gain traction with digital home loans following its 2016 Rocket Mortgage launch. The app is now key to its mortgage sales with more than 98 percent of the $20 billion in first-quarter lending volume accessing Rocket Mortgage at some point in the mortgage process, Quicken spokeswoman Brianna Blust said.

Quicken was the biggest home lender by volume in the fourth quarter of 2017 and first quarter of 2018, Blust said. It was the second-largest U.S. mortgage lender for the full year 2017, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance Publications. “Buying a house is supposed to be a joyful thing,” said Steve Boland, Bank of America’s head of consumer lending. “Filling out 330 fields is not, I think, something that brings you joy.” Refinancing volumes have plunged as interest rates have risen, meaning lenders must compete for a much smaller revenue pie in fresh home purchases.

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Bit over the top?

Chinese Gangs Are Laundering Drug Money Through Vancouver Real Estate (GN)

Criminal syndicates that control chemical factories in China’s booming Guangdong province are shipping narcotics, including fentanyl, to Vancouver, washing the drug sales in British Columbia’s casinos and high-priced real estate, and transferring laundered funds back to Chinese factories to repeat this deadly trade cycle, a Global News investigation shows. The flow of narcotics and chemical precursors — and a rising death count in western Canada caused by synthetic opioids — is driven by sophisticated organized crime groups known as Triads. The Triads have infiltrated Canada’s economy so deeply that Australia’s intelligence community has coined a new term for innovative methods of drug trafficking and money laundering now occurring in B.C.

It is called the “Vancouver Model” of transnational crime. Details of the Vancouver Model are outlined in a November 2017 report obtained by Global News from B.C.’s provincial government, in a freedom of information request. The report, by John Langdale of the department of security studies and criminology at Macquarie University, was presented to Australian intelligence officers and Austrac, the country’s anti-money laundering agency. B.C. Attorney General David Eby has reviewed the report, and recently travelled to Ottawa to inform a federal committee of his concerns. His message was blunt. Eby testified that Canada’s anti-money laundering system has completely failed. He told the committee that gangsters have been openly carrying hockey bags stuffed with hundreds of thousands in drug cash into B.C. casinos, and there has not been a single prosecution.

In an interview with Global, Eby said the Australian report shows “that Vancouver is now recognized internationally as a hub of transnational money laundering.”

Read more …

Is this also about Chinese gangs?

New Zealand’s Ban On Home Sales To Foreigners Is “Discriminatory” – IMF (BBG)

The IMF has criticized New Zealand’s “discriminatory” ban on home sales to foreigners, saying it’s unlikely to improve housing affordability. “Foreign buyers seem to have played a minor role in New Zealand’s residential real estate market recently,” the IMF said in a statement Tuesday, after concluding its annual Article IV mission to New Zealand. If the government’s broader housing policy agenda is fully implemented, that “would address most of the potential problems associated with foreign buyers on a less discriminatory basis,” it said. The new Labour-led government has pledged to fix the nation’s housing crisis with a raft of measures, including a ban on foreign speculators buying residential property, removal of tax distortions and an ambitious building program.

House prices have surged more than 60% in the past decade amid record immigration and a construction shortfall, shutting many out of the housing market. [..] Proposed changes to the Overseas Investment Act, which the government says will bring New Zealand into line with neighboring Australia, will classify residential land as “sensitive,” meaning non-residents or non-citizens can’t purchase existing dwellings without the consent of the Overseas Investment Office. While non-resident foreigners will be allowed to invest in new construction, they will be forced to sell once the homes are built.

Read more …

“Their parting shot to an unjust world was voting for Donald Trump. Next time, they won’t even be around.”

Whirling Whirling (Jim Kunstler)

It begins to look like The USA will litigate itself into Civil War Two with the first battle being half the lawyers in the Department of Justice prosecuting the other half until Anthropogenic Global Warming puts the DC Swamp completely underwater and all parties concerned scuttle off into the deep blue sea. It was rather a shock to see the photo lineup of all those familiar faces — Comey, Hillary, McCabe, Loretta Lynch et. al. — in the criminal referral “matters” sent over to the DOJ by congress on Wednesday, as if they were some mob of goombahs caught running a waste management kickback racket in the Hackensack mud-flats.

But the evidence trail has been in plain sight for more than a year that Justice Department officials of various ranks and stripes colluded to bring off a legalistic coup d’etat against the loathed and despised winner of the 2016 election — with a little help from (of all things and personae) Russia, as in that political smallpox blanket known as the Steele Dossier. Mixed metaphors aside, it looks like all the clones of Ricky Ricardo and Lucy engineered in some CIA black lab will never satisfy the amount of ’splainin’ that needs to be done, and that the ensuing trials may last longer than the lifetimes of millennials still struggling on campus with their gender presentation. There may be even more line-ups to come.

I’m thinking players like Susan Rice, the Podesta brothers, Huma Abedin, John Brennan, James Clapper, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and perhaps the gentleman who preceded the Golden Golem of Greatness in the oval office. This melodrama will make The Lord of the Rings look like a knock-knock joke. Meanwhile, the Republic actually whirls around the drain, both as a legitimate polity between Montauk Point and the Farallon Islands, and as an actor on the world stage. The Washington bureaucracy is not the only swamp that needs to be drained. There’s also the reeking Okeefenokee wasteland known as the US economy, led by its financial avatars on Wall Street who engineered the orgy of asset-stripping that chewed through the industrial states like some flesh-eating bacteria.

There is nothing left in Flyover-land. I drove through part of it yesterday on a book-reporting chore: the “quiet corner” of northeastern Connecticut south of Worcester, Mass, a valley of decrepitating mill towns and opiate addiction, like some place out of H.P. Lovecraft’s demon-haunted imagination, where the sun comes up twenty minutes later than anywhere else, and a dwindling population of malevolent diseased imbeciles shriek their lonesome agonies of failure and destitution to a God that never returned from lunchbreak one day in 1985. Their parting shot to an unjust world was voting for Donald Trump. Next time, they won’t even be around.

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No accident.

Home Office Under Theresa May Was Urged in 2014 To Act On Windrush (Ind.)

Home Office officials were urged four years ago to act on the growing problems facing the Windrush generation, it has emerged, including recommendations to create a specialist taskforce which was only set up this week. It follows intense pressure on the government department and Theresa May over their handling of the Windrush scandal that has highlighted the plight of members of a generation of immigrants who arrived as British citizens in the mid-twentieth century. This week both Amber Rudd, the home secretary, and the prime minister have personally apologised for the debacle, promising compensation for those affected and setting up a new dedicated team in the Home Office tasked with helping members of the Windrush generation prove their right to British citizenship.

But the government now faces renewed criticism after it emerged that a similar recommendation – the creation of specialist Home Office unit – was made in October 2014 while Ms May was in charge of the department as home secretary. In a detailed report, published in October 2014 by the Legal Action Group, it was also warned that thousands of migrants who have been in Britain legally for decades were falling victim to the “hostile immigration” policies aimed at illegal immigrants in the UK. The recommendations of the Chasing Status report also included maintaining applicants’ ability to work and claim benefits while their status is resolved.

[..]The Labour MP David Lammy, who has been a leading campaigner for those members of the Windrush generation experiencing difficulties, told The Independent: “It is utterly extraordinary that the Home Office was clearly aware of the impact that their pernicious policies would have, yet ignored all the warnings and impact assessments. “The apologies made by the home secretary and prime minister are merely crocodile tears given that they were fully aware of the human cost that their policies would have. It’s time for a proper and independent review of our immigration policy and the hostile environment.”

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“Lose one form, and you lose cancer treatment and your liberty – lose a generation’s forms, and you’re the effing PM..”

Tory Ministers Milking The System Are The Real Shirkers (G.)

If I were editing a tabloid newspaper this week – and I’m always open to guest stints – I would have had advertising vans out since Monday. They would have been crawling v-e-r-y slowly back and forth past the houses of Theresa May, Amber Rudd, Nick Timothy and David Cameron – and those just for starters. Instead of the repulsive GO HOME message that adorned the infamous vans May’s Home Office sent out, which resulted in the eventual deportation of precisely 11 migrants, I would have something along the lines of STAY HOME. Stay home, permanently. Whether they would get the message is uncertain. Collectively, Britain did its very best to provide a hostile environment for May with the election result. The message was very clear: take a hike. Not a hiking holiday, but the full hike.

Yet the import does not seem to have got through to the prime minister, or the various arse-coverers around her. It’s fair to say we are dealing with a very specific class of unworthy here. There are few groups who take less responsibility for their actions, as this week in the Windrush scandal has laid starkly bare. Some of the most senior political figures in the land are – in the purest sense of one of their favourite terms – shirkers. They are feckless. They act like these things are happening to them, as opposed to because of them. Given the judgments they like to visit on the weaker members of society for comparatively minuscule transgressions, this makes them the most raging hypocrites too.

[..] And on they all go. If the government is in any doubt as to why so many millions think it’s one rule for them and another for the little people, then this week couldn’t be a better primer. You lose one form and you lose your job, your cancer treatment, your benefits, your liberty; you lose a generation’s forms and you’re the effing prime minister. Those condemned to battle the systems that ministers design know what happens if they make tiny errors. Furthermore, they know that if they messed up a tenth as badly in their jobs, they’d be sacked. But in the arse-over-tit world of government, you’re safe because your sacking would make the big boss – May – look weak. Just like your HR department, right? Except on crystal meth.

I don’t want to fall back on a series of politicians’ best-loved cliches, but this level of irresponsibility is just scrounging with a red box. They play for high stakes – but never their own. It’s the sort of system-milking demonised in a benefits office in Grimsby but regarded as career progression in Westminster. It makes it appear there’s no glass ceiling in modern political life, just a reinforced lead floor. Once you’re in, you basically have to die to stop earning rewards.

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“Children as young as 10 who were born in the UK are subjected to a “good character” test when they apply for citizenship..”

Theresa May’s Hateful ‘Hostile Environment’ Immigration Policy (O.)

History will judge Theresa May harshly. In recent weeks, the appalling stories about the impact of the government’s “hostile environment” policy reported by our sister paper, the Guardian, have continued to grow in number. They paint a shocking picture of a Kafkaesque state that has denied people who came to the UK from the Commonwealth as children their rightful entitlement to work, to housing and to healthcare. May has maintained these are people who have been wrongly caught up in her 2013 decision as home secretary to create a “really hostile environment” for people living in Britain illegally. But their tragic stories are the direct consequence of a policy so punitive that it would inevitably make life intolerable for legal British residents.

People without a passport are now being required to provide an absurd level of proof – four pieces of documentary evidence for each year of residence – of their legal status. Without this, they can no longer work, rent a home, open a bank account or access NHS care and may be detained and threatened with deportation. Doctors, bank clerks and landlords have become obliged to snoop on their fellow citizens by checking up on their immigration status.

[..] Those who become caught up in this are confronted with a cruel Home Office bureaucracy that operates outside the principles of natural justice. Officials are incentivised to reject applications for the tiniest of technical errors; immigration application fees are so high they are generating profits of up to 800% for the state, and there is no longer any right of appeal or legal aid available in most types of immigration cases. Children as young as 10 who were born in the UK are subjected to a “good character” test when they apply for citizenship; if they have been cautioned, their application can be refused.

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The EU fails everywhere, and spectacularly. It sucks the periphery dry. Just like Rome did.

Europe’s Depopulation Time Bomb Is Ticking in the Baltics (BBG)

With much of Eastern Europe already in the European Union or looking to join, living standards have been rising in the cities that dot these former Soviet satellites. More storefronts beckon to western tourists, who have grown more eager to wander among the cobblestones of historic capitals that were once less than hospitable. But a closer look outside the central squares reveals a different reality. According to the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, nine of the world’s countries most at risk of losing citizens over the next few decades are former East bloc nations. Porous borders and greater opportunity in the west have lured people away. Meanwhile, the populist wave sweeping the continent has made it next-to-impossible for African or Middle Eastern refugees to take their place.

Former Latvian economic minister Vjaceslavs Dombrovskis, now head of the Certus think tank, compared the westward migration of young eastern Europeans to the industrial revolution, when peasants rushed to large urban centers. He said these countries risk turning into what ancestral villages are for city dwellers: “a lovely place where you might spend an odd weekend with your folks.” The trend is hitting especially hard in the Baltics. Latvia, with a current population of 1.96 million, has lost about 25% of its residents since throwing off Soviet control in 1991. The UN predicts that by 2050, it will have lost an additional 22% of its current population—second only to Bulgaria—and by 2100, 41%.

In Estonia, with a population of 1.32 million, the UN foresees a 13% decline by 2050, growing to 32% by 2100. And in Lithuania, the current population of 2.87 million is expected to drop by 17% in 2050. By 2100, it will have lost 34%. As bad as those numbers look, the trend looks even worse for Ukraine and Moldova. The UN predicts 36% and 51% declines in those nations by the end of the century, respectively. Russia, meanwhile, is expected to lose 13% by 2100. Several factors are contributing to the depopulation of Eastern Europe, and Latvia has all of them: low income, compared with more developed EU nations; insufficient growth; and strong anti-immigrant sentiment. The average annual take-home pay among all EU nations was 24,183 euros ($29,834) in 2015, according to Eurostat, while in Latvia it was only 6,814 euros ($8,406).

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There are 751 members. 60 support this.

Members of European Parliament Call For Boycott of FIFA World Cup in Russia (UAW)

60 members of the European Parliament called on EU member states to boycott the FIFA World Cup in Russia, DW reports. The initiator of this appeal is a representative of the Green Party, Rebecca Harms. She believes that Russian President Vladimir Putin cannot be a host of the World Cup while the war continues in Syria and Ukraine. She also pointed out that Russia supports right-wing extremist and anti-democratic parties in the EU and has been trying to influence elections. Overall, the statement was signed by representatives of 5 factions of the European Parliament from 16 countries. The authors of the document indicate that Russia itself is pushing Europe towards such steps.

A group of deputies reminded others about the poisoning of former GRU agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, which they called a mockery of European values. MEPs believe that EU member states should take the UK and Iceland as good examples of the countries which counter the “strengthening of the authoritarian and anti-Western course of the Russian president.” The authors also draw attention to the unsatisfactory situation with human rights and freedoms in Russia, especially the violation of freedom of speech. Earlier, a White House representative urged British and American fans to think twice before going to the World Cup in Russia.

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Let’s shut down the World Bank. It’s been rotting for too long.

World Bank Recommends That Countries Eliminate Minimum Wage (BB)

A draft of the World Bank’s annual flagship World Development Report says that its creditor-states (the poorest countries in the world) should eliminate their minimum wage rules, allow employers to fire workers without cause, and repeal laws limiting abusive employment contract terms. The bank argues that this is necessary to stop employers from simply investing in automation and eliminating workers altogether. The report does not contemplate the possibility that the world’s governments would just raise taxes on corporations and their investors to provide for all their citizens.

Poor countries – especially decolonized countries – are often in debt to organizations like the World Bank and IMF, sometimes because they were forced to literally buy their freedom (like Haiti, whose slave-descended population had to remit a sizable portion of its annual GDP to the descendants of French slavers until 1947), sometimes because their wealth was looted by colonists during and after the colonial period, and sometimes because rich creditor nations were complicit in the exfiltration of the nation’s treasure by gangster-politicians, a practice that continues to this day.

Countries generally carry more debt than they can hope to repay, and teeter on the brink of continuous default, putting them at the mercy of creditor-organizations, who can order changes to national laws, sell-offs of public industries and assets, and other measures that further reduce debtor-states’ ability to prosper, creating more debt and deeper concessions. The World Bank’s recommendations feel like the beginning of the end-game of late-stage capitalism, a recognition that the post-war era in which cruel exploitation of workers was considered a bug rather than a feature is drawing to a close, and a return to a kind of market feudalism, where property rights – no matter how corrupt their origins – always trump human rights.

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Divide and rule.

Hopes For Greek Debt Deal Low Amid EU-IMF Discord (K.)

Hopes for a breakthrough on the issue of Greek debt relief at a summit of eurozone finance ministers in Sofia on Friday are muted following a lack of progress in talks between European officials and representatives of the IMF in Washington over the weekend. Talks involved all of the key players in the debate on Greece’s debt, including IMF chief Christine Lagarde, European Monetary and Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovci, and the finance ministers of Germany, Italy, Spain and France. But a long-standing rift between EU and IMF officials over how a debt relief mechanism should operate continued, with the Fund representatives insisting that it should be automatic and the Europeans saying it should be tied to conditions.

In view of the resistance put up chiefly by Germany, the EU’s largest economy, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos expressed his concern that the debt relief being considered for Greece would be inadequate. Another worry is over creditors’ objections to a growth plan proposed by Greece. European officials responded with a 30-page memo to Greece’s 85-page proposal, requesting more detail and a stricter time frame. The growth plan was one of the issues discussed by leftist SYRIZA’s political secretariat during a session chaired by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday.

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What you say about a neighbor you want good relations with.

Turkish Justice Minister: Greece ‘A Gathering Place For Criminals’ (K.)

Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul has written to his Greek counterpart Stavros Kontonis saying “Greece is becoming a gathering place for criminals” following a court ruling releasing one of eight Turkish servicemen seeking asylum in Greece, Anadolu reported on Saturday. Gul’s letter came a day after Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim slammed the Council of State ruling, saying Greece was becoming a “safe haven” for Turkey’s enemies. The ruling issued on Thursday by Greece’s highest administrative court relates to Süleyman Özkaynakçı, who piloted the helicopter in which he and seven other Turkish servicemen fled to Greece in July 2016 following Turkey’s failed coup.

However it is expected to apply to all eight servicemen. In his comments on Friday, Yildirim said it was “unacceptable” for people who took part in the coup attempt in the summer of 2016 to be protected by Greece. “Unfortunately, recently, criminals of the FETO organization have started seeing Greece as a safe haven,” he said, referring to what Ankara describes as a terrorist group led by exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen. “I hope they will extradite the members of this organization,” he said, adding that Turkish authorities “do not desire a negative impact on Greek-Turkish relations because of members of the FETO organization.”

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“We have to worry about the 2 percent—the intellectuals and politicians making the big decisions who don’t have skin in the game and are messing the whole thing up for everybody else.”

Nassim Nicholas Taleb Has Never Borrowed a Cent in His Life (Esq.)

People ask me my forecast for the economy when they should be asking me what I have in my portfolio. Don’t make pronouncements on what could happen in the future if you’re immune from the consequences. In French, they use the same word for wallet and portfolio. I have never, ever borrowed a penny. So I have zero credit record. No loans, no mortgage, nothing. Ever. When I had no money, I rented. I have an allergy to borrowing and a scorn for people who are in debt, and I don’t hide it. I follow the Romans’ attitude that debtors are not free people. I carry euros, dollars, and British pounds. What I do with my money is personal. People who say they give it to charity, that’s a no-no in my book. Nobody should ever talk about a charitable act in public.

Better to miss a zillion opportunities than blow up once. I learned this at my first job, from the veteran traders at a New York bank that no longer exists. Most people don’t understand how to handle uncertainty. They shy away from small risks, and without realizing it, they embrace the big, big risk. Businessmen who are consistently successful have the exact opposite attitude: Make all the mistakes you want, just make sure you’re going to be there tomorrow. Don’t invest any energy in bargaining except when the zeros become large. Lose the small games and save your efforts for the big ones. There’s nothing wrong with being wrong, so long as you pay the price. A used-car salesman speaks well, they’re convincing, but ultimately, they are benefiting even if someone else is harmed by their advice.

A bullshitter is not someone who’s wrong, it’s someone who’s insulated from their mistakes. There is less “skin in the game” today than there was fifty years ago, or even twenty years ago. More people determine the fates of others without having to pay the consequences. Skin in the game means you own your own risk. It means people who make decisions in any walk of life should never be insulated from the consequences of those decisions, period. If you’re a helicopter repairman, you should be a helicopter rider. If you decide to invade Iraq, the people who vote for it should have children in the military. And if you’re making economic decisions, you should bear the cost if you’re wrong.

Ninety-eight percent of Americans—plumbers, dentists, bus drivers—have skin in the game. We have to worry about the 2 percent—the intellectuals and politicians making the big decisions who don’t have skin in the game and are messing the whole thing up for everybody else. Thirty years ago, the French National Assembly was composed of shop owners, farmers, doctors, veterinarians, and small-town lawyers—people involved in daily activities. Today, it’s entirely composed of professional politicians—people who are just divorced from real life. America is a little better, but we’re heading that way.

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