Joseph Mallord William Turner The Tenth Plague of Egypt 1802
Highly appreciated Automatic Earth commenter TAE Summary presents another one of his series “A Tale of Two..”, and if only just for the obvious effort he put into it, let’s dig in. How do you feel about what each president has achieved? No wrong answers.
Biden is a Great President and Trump was an Awful President
• Appointed a diverse cabinet
• Signed executive orders addressing systemic racism and discrimination
• Passed the infrastructure bill to repair roads and bridges and improve internet access
• Reduced the deficit
• Led NATO in its support of Ukraine and opposition to Vladimir Putin
• Lowered the child poverty rate by increasing the tax credit for children
• Launched a program to protect earth from killer asteroids
• Officially recognized Turkish genocide of Armenians in 1915
• Sidelined the court-packing movement of the left
• Stepped up US support for Taiwan
• Announced a historic trilateral security agreement with Australia and Britain to counter Chinese hegemony
• Accelerate Covid vaccine delivery at home an abroad
• Improved the American economy by championing competition and reining in the power of big business which helped create millions of jobs
• Gave Medicare the power to negotiate drug prices and made the price of things like insulin and hearing aids cheaper
• Attacked hunger and fostered better nutrition in the US
• Funded opioid recovery programs
• Eliminated the statute of limitations for child sex abuse
• Tried to reform student loans
• Issued important cybersecurity regulations
• Chose humanity over politics when getting Brittney Griner released
• Colluded with the Russians to get elected in 2016
• Appointed unqualified family members to important positions in his administration
• Tried to ban TikTok
• Withdrew the US from the Paris Climate Accords
• Increased the deficit every year of his presidency
• Approved the Keystone Pipeline through native lands
• Disallowed transgender students from using the bathroom of their choice
• Attacked John McCain as a loser
• Ended curbs on auto emissions
• Cracked down on legal immigrants
• Impeded regulation against toxic chemicals
• Shrank the food safety net so that over 700K Americans lost their access to food stamps
• Suggested vaccines cause autism
• Accused Barack Obama of spying on his campaign
• Cut corporate taxes to the lowest level since 1939
• Oversaw the longest government shutdown in US history
• Acted as a racist and xenophobe when he implemented a travel ban from Muslim countries, blamed the Chinese for Covid, separated families at the US border, tried to build a wall between the US and Mexico and gave racist speeches
• Tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act which would have left millions without healthcare
• Inadequately responded to Covid, downplaying the dangers
• Use his influence as president to try to get Ukraine to provide damaging narratives about his political opponent
• Challenged the outcome of the 2020 election undermining democratic institutions and the public’s trust in elections which led to the events of January 6th and the deaths of 5 people
Trump was a Great President and Biden is an Awful President
• Negotiated three Arab-Israeli peace accords
• Fostered a strong economy and stock market by signing into to law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and other policies
• Started the Space Force
• Attempted the first Defense Department wide audit
• Cracked down on unwanted robo-calls
• Attempted to build a wall on the border with Mexico to stop illegal immigration
• Helped American farmers with billions of dollars in aid
• Tried to fix health technology by removing rules blocking the sharing of medical information
• Rescinded rules for federal contractors that protected them from sexual harassment claims
• Made it easier to prosecute financial crimes like money laundering
• Renegotiated trade deals with Mexico, Canada and China which benefitted American workers and businesses
• Appointed three Supreme Court justices and many other conservative judges to federal courts leading to pro-Constitutional decisions like the overturning of Roe
• Passed the VA MISSION Act which improved healthcare access and services for veterans
• Oversaw the defeat of the Islamic State’s territorial caliphate in Syria and Iraq
• Kept us out of war
• Signed executive orders and laws combating human trafficking
• Opened the borders to illegal immigrants
• Discharged thousands of troops for refusing the Covid vaccine
• Opposed efforts to stop biological males from competing in women’s sports
• Lied about border patrol agents whipping migrants
• Claimed that January 6th rioters were a bigger threat to democracy than Confederates in the Civil War
• Described terrorism from white supremacy as the most lethal threat to the US
• Oversaw the disastrous withdrawal of American troops for Afghanistan
• Mis-handled the response to Covid mandating vaccines and dividing the nation on the basis of vaccination status
• Supported lockdowns and other pandemic polices which damaged the supply chain and the world economy
• Supported violent protesters instead of the police during the BLM riots
• Lied about Hunter’s laptop saying it was Russain disinformation
• Stated that election reform is the new Jim Crow
• Suppressed first amendment rights by influencing policies of social media outlets
• Supported the war in Ukraine and vilified Russia as our enemy
• Blocked American energy production
• Illegally attempted to forgive student loans
• Printed massive amounts of money causing massive inflation
I have one comment: I don’t think that “Joe Biden” (in Jim Kunstler language) only “supported the war in Ukraine and vilified Russia as our enemy”, “Joe Biden” did a lot more to poke the bear and instigate and fire up the war. But that’s just me. You can be the judge of that too.
Also just me: when Trump left and Biden came, we were at peace. Look at us now.
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Dr.Peter McCullough names some of the key players in what is unfolding to be a conspiracy to commit the worst miscarriage of Medical Science, the biggest Medical scam and crime against humanity in history. pic.twitter.com/AgWh4f9kSg
‘Your money is not charity,” Volodymyr Zelensky told a joint session of the U.S. Congress a few weeks ago. “It is an investment in global security and democracy that we handle in the most responsible way.” And many conservative hawks, hoping to hold back the rising tide of skepticism among Republicans, have echoed this line. After the speech, Representative Dan Crenshaw called the idea of ending aid to Ukraine “absurd” and said America had “made a pretty good investment here.” My friend and colleague Matthew Continetti writes that “securing America’s position and freedom’s future without direct intervention and for a rounding error in the federal budget is a strategic bargain. Ukraine needs more, not less, U.S. aid, and it needs it now.” In Commentary in November, Noah Rothman wrote that “Kyiv’s victories are our victories, too, insofar as they advance a core American national interest: preserving the stable European covenant that has blessed Western powers with the longest, most durable peace on the Continent in the modern age.”
This view holds that for pennies on the dollar, the U.S. has been able to preserve a democracy threatened by an authoritarian regime, cripple a rival military, strengthen the NATO alliance, prevent Vladimir Putin from an inevitable invasion of NATO territory, and scare off Xi Jinping from ever messing with Taiwan. For these conservatives, the policy preferred by Joe Biden and the Democrats is one whose costs are greatly outweighed by its benefits. Except, none of this is quite true. Crippling a rival military is only worthwhile when you have a strategic reason for doing so, and we conspicuously lack one. The NATO alliance’s duties have been radically expanded with no radical expansion in the share of the alliance’s burdens shouldered by Europe.
Ukraine’s ultra-nationalist project is at odds with the democratic and liberal-internationalist values that are used to sell the conflict abroad. The conflict’s financial and moral costs to the U.S. have been growing for nearly a decade, and taking on Ukraine as a permanent dependent will grow them even more. The arc of the conflict is just as likely to encourage as to discourage Xi in his pursuit of Taiwan, given the ways in which our enmeshment in Europe will deplete our attention, resources, and will to be the world’s cop. And finally, no conflict in this blood-stained area of the globe is a mom-and-pop bingo game in which you can cash out your modest investments at any time; Vladimir Putin and Russia have a say in how this ends.
The advocates for continued aid to Ukraine must downplay the costs involved, because support for continued aid began to drop precipitously when the Biden administration began briefing the press on our strategy. It didn’t help the hawks’ cause when retired general David Petraeus went on Sunday morning television and claimed that if Russia used a so-called tactical nuke in Ukraine, the U.S. would enter the war as a full belligerent, annihilate Russia’s army, and launch decapitation strikes on the Kremlin. It instead made people ask themselves how Russia would respond to such drastic countermeasures, and to shudder at the possible answers.
Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates have admitted that Ukraine’s economy and military are almost completely reliant on bailouts from the West, and barring a dramatic turnaround, its chances of victory are slipping away. Ukraine’s “economy is in a shambles,” the ex-diplomat and former Pentagon chief wrote in the Washington Post on Saturday. The country’s “military capability and economy are now dependent almost entirely on lifelines from the West,” they continued, arguing that should Ukraine fail to mount a successful offensive in the near future, President Zelensky will be pressured by the West to negotiate a ceasefire with Russian President Vladimir Putin – something the Ukrainian leader has repeatedly refused to consider.
With the frontline relatively static since autumn, Russian forces have ground down their Ukrainian opponents in fierce fighting near Bakhmut/Artyomovsk, with an American mercenary commander recently acknowledging that Ukraine is suffering “extraordinarily high casualties” in that sector, and Ukraine’s ambassador to Canada, Vadim Pristaiko, describing his side’s casualties as “huge” and “indigestible.” Kiev has publicly proclaimed that it plans a major offensive in the spring, but Rice and Gates wrote that Ukraine may have “weeks, not months” to stay in the fight. To that end, they advocated sending the country more and heavier weapons. Although the US has already allocated more than $110 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine since February, they said that Washington won’t send heavy tanks. Germany “and other allies” should fill this need instead, they argued.
The Biden administration announced on Friday that it would give Ukraine 50 Bradley infantry fighting vehicles – the most modern armor sent to Kiev so far – as part of a $3 billion weapons package. France also pledged a number of wheeled ‘light tanks’, and Germany promised 40 Marder infantry fighting vehicles. Nevertheless, Kiev says it needs more. In an interview with The Economist last month, Ukrainian general Valery Zaluzhny said 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 the entire British or German inventory. Russia, meanwhile, has repeatedly insisted that “pumping” Ukraine with weapons will ultimately have no effect on the outcome of the conflict and will only serve to prolong the hostilities and lead to more bloodshed.
The polarization caused by the last three years didn’t come from a virus: It came from what so-called “leaders” did when the virus showed up and we, the people in this nation let them do every bit of it. The 2022 midterms were a clean demonstration of this and those actions were nasty in terms of their impact. Several states saw their margins of victory for either GOP or Democrat governors increase, not narrow, and yet the margin didn’t come from people shifting allegiance within the state; it came from migration either to or from said state. DeSantis and Lee both gained margin precisely because people left NY, Michigan, Illinois, California and other “Blue” states and moved to “Red” ones.
This had no value for DeSantis or Lee because once you win by one vote you have the same outcome as if you win by one million votes but that same shift meant that illogical repeat performances, such as Witmer, won as well because the GOP voters who left meant what remained was enough for her not to be fired. (While Pritzker also easily won that race was never really in doubt even if people didn’t leave Illinois, so I’m intentionally excluding it.) It didn’t help that the GOP ran candidates that were ridiculously outside of where mainstream public opinion is — for example, Michigan’s GOP ran a candidate opposed to abortion in all cases, including rape and incest. The GOP had to be out of its mind to do this, but do it they did and they lost.
At its core the problem, however, does not lie there: It lies in the destruction of norms that society has relied on. Don’t kid yourself no matter who screams about it: Without heterosexual reproduction and the resilience afforded by stable, two-parent homes as an “ordinary and normal” thing society eventually collapses because without a productive next generation you have nothing. Have we put any thought into this and how to at least move things back toward a more-stable outcome in that regard, and thus are we inevitably consigned to a hellscape and collapse? It’s easy to argue “No. Not one bit.” But I’ll take the other side of that wager simply because what’s going on now is in fact much less than we’ve come through before, and the pendulum will, with a high degree of probability, swing back the other way.
Kevin McCarthy has been at the head of the Republican’s House caucus since 2019. In any other ordinary year, the position of Speaker of the House would have been his almost automatically following the Republicans’ narrow victory in last year’s midterm election. But a small group on the party’s right wing turned a coronation into a multi-round fight. Twenty congressmembers were at the core of the right-wing rebellion; all but one are connected to the House Freedom Caucus, the ideological home of the party’s rightmost flank. These Republicans are notorious for their support of Donald Trump and the January 6 riots. They deserve every decent person’s scorn. But when it comes to tactics, one has to admit that they know how to play.
Desperate for their support, McCarthy had to give on issue after issue. McCarthy folded early on policy questions. He fought against the 2022 lame-duck spending bill, a core right-wing priority. He called for the resignation or impeachment of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, a target of the Right’s ire. McCarthy also agreed to create a new subcommittee in the House Judiciary Committee to investigate the “weaponization” of the federal government by the Biden administration and the FBI and CIA. More significant in the long term, he also agreed to rules changes and committee assignments that will dramatically strengthen the Right’s hand.
McCarthy agreed to add three members from the Freedom Caucus to the House Rules Committee. That will allow the far right to help shape the issues to be considered by the House. McCarthy’s own PAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, agreed not to intervene in open primaries against far-right candidates. McCarthy agreed to bring back the Holman Rule, which allows legislators to propose defunding specific federal programs, to fire specific federal officials, and to slash officials’ pay. Most significantly, he agreed to bring back the “motion to vacate the chair,” which will allow just one Republican to call for a snap vote to remove the speaker. This is a rule that the right wing previously used to remove John Boehner. Georgia representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a leading conspiracy theorist from the Republican fringe, extracted a much sought-after seat on the House Oversight Committee from McCarthy in return for her support.
The social network has fired at least a dozen employees responsible for handling the “misinformation policy, global appeals and state media” at its Dublin and Singapore offices, Bloomberg reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the latest in a series of radical reforms conducted by the company’s new CEO Elon Musk. Twitter’s head of Trust and Safety, Ella Irwin, told the publication that in order to “consolidate teams,” the company only eliminated duplicate positions and cut jobs with not enough workload to justify their existence. The Friday’s cuts reportedly affected the head of site integrity for Twitter’s Asia-Pacific region, Nur Azhar Bin Ayob, and senior director of revenue policy, Analuisa Dominguez, while others asked not to be identified.
In a separate statement to Reuters, Irwin admitted some fresh cuts in her department, but said that the company still has “thousands of people” responsible for content moderation and has “not made cuts to the teams that do that work daily.” After finalizing his purchase of Twitter for $44 billion in October, Musk acknowledged that bankruptcy was a possibility for the social media giant if it does not start generating more cash. In an attempt to cut costs, he fired half of the company’s staff, including most of the top executives and ordered the remaining employees to stop working from home. All in all, an estimated two-thirds of the company’s employees and contractors globally were laid off, fired or quit.
As the site’s new owner, Musk also pushed to scale back content restrictions, vowing to make Twitter a refuge for free speech, while ushering in a range of policy changes which triggered backlash from the media establishment and its celebrity allies. He reactivated the accounts of dozens of its more controversial users and began sharing internal company communications hinting at a massive political conspiracy between the US administration, intelligence agencies and the Big Tech platforms to censor politically inconvenient stories, opinions and people. The billionaire appeared to acknowledge that not everyone supported his recent political diversions this week, polling his followers as to whether he should “stay out of politics” or “keep shooting his feet.” He later joked, that “if I dig my grave deep enough, maybe it comes out the other side of Earth.”
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree on Saturday, imposing personal sanctions on some 119 Russian public figures. Kiev’s new blacklist includes prominent artists and journalists. Ukraine sanctioned Oscar-winning film director Nikita Mikhalkov, pop singer Philipp Kirkorov, as well as stand-up comedian Evgeny Petrosyan and opera star Anna Netrebko. Kiev also targeted a number of Russian journalists, including RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan and head of the Rossiya Segodnya media group Dmitry Kiselyov. The restrictions imposed for a 10-year period include freeze of assets, travel and visa bans, stripping of Ukrainian state awards, and some other measures. Kiev has repeatedly sanctioned Russian officials and public figures amid the ongoing conflict, with hundreds of them blacklisted already.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, 2022, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.” Shortly before the hostilities broke out, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Last September, Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, were incorporated into Russia following referendums.
“We don’t do this.” That response from Twitter to Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is a singular indictment, coming at the height of Twitter’s censorship operations. Apparently, there were some things that even Twitter’s censors refused to do. One of those things was silencing critics of Schiff and his House committee. In the latest tranche of “Twitter Files,” journalist Matt Taibbi revealed that Twitter balked at Schiff’s demand that Twitter suspend an array of posters or label their content as “misinformation” and “reduce the visibility” of them. Among those who Schiff secretly tried to censor was New York Post columnist Paul Sperry. Sperry drew Schiff’s ire by writing about a conversation allegedly overheard by one of his sources.
Sperry’s article, which appeared in RealClearInvestigations, cited two sources as overhearing two White House staffers discussing how to remove newly-elected President Trump from office. The article raised the possibility of bias on the part of an alleged key player in launching the first Trump impeachment, CIA analyst Eric Ciaramella. The sources reportedly said that Ciaramella was in a conversation with Sean Misko, a holdover from the Obama administration who later joined Schiff’s staff. The conversation — in Sperry’s words — showed that “just days after [Trump] was sworn in they were already trying to get rid of him.” Rather than simply refute the allegation, Schiff wanted Sperry and other critics silenced.
His office reportedly laid out steps to cleanse Twitter of their criticism, including an instruction to “remove any and all content about Mr. Misko and other Committee staff from its service — to include quotes, retweets, and reactions to that content.” The date of Schiff’s non-public letter in November 2020 is notable: Earlier that year, I wrote a column for The Hill criticizing Schiff for pushing for censorship of misinformation in a letter that he sent to social media companies. His office promptly objected to the very suggestion that Schiff supported censorship. We now know Schiff was actively seeking to censor specific critics on social media. These likely were viewed as more than “requests” since Schiff was sending public letters threatening possible legislative action against these same companies. He wanted his critics silenced on social media. After all, criticizing his investigations or staff must, by definition, be misinformation — right?
Saturday night, speaking from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, former President Donald Trump suggested that Joe Biden influenced Russian President Vladimir Putin to invade Ukraine in February 2022. Speaking of Biden, Trump said in video posted by Jack Posobiec on Instagram, “We have a man who has no mind left and his mind in prime time wasn’t any good, but he has no mind left. And this is the guy negotiating for us. We have a man that convinced Putin to go into Ukraine.” “Because if you look at the psychology that he used, it’s the exact opposite,” Trump said in reference to Biden’s January 2022 comments referring to Putin’s expansion into Ukraine as a “minor incursion.”
Biden said during a press conference before Putin invaded Ukraine, “I think what you’re gonna see is that Russia will be held accountable if it invades. And it depends on what it does. It’s one thing if it’s a minor incursion and we end up having to fight about what to do and not do, etc.” “Putin would have never ever gone in,” Trump said and remarked of Biden, “he knew the ramifications.” “Do you remember when Biden said, well they might take some small parts of Ukraine,” Trump said in reference to the “minor incursion” remarks. “That was what Putin wanted to hear. That there would be no problem if you take some parts of Ukraine,” Trump added.
Trump had been speaking of the war in Ukraine and the escalating conflict, including the danger of nuclear war. Trump referred to nuclear as the second “n-word” you should never say. The US has sent over $60 billion to Ukraine to aid in their ongoing war with their Russian invaders since February 2022. Congress is set to greenlight more money for Ukraine as President Volodymyr Zelensky asks the US for continued aid.
Speaking at an event at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday evening, Donald Trump slammed the Biden regime over the arrest of Ashli Babbitt’s mother. Ashli Babbitt was killed by a United States Capitol Police officer on Jan. 6. Witthoeft was arrested outside of the Capitol on Friday, the two-year anniversary of her daughter’s death. Trump brought up the arrest during a special CPAC event at Mar-a-Lago, pointing to the weaponization of law enforcement under the Biden regime. “We have a weaponized country right now with law enforcement. It’s a disgrace what’s happening to our country. Ashli Babbitt’s mother was arrested yesterday, because she was protesting the death of her daughter being shot by a lunatic who got a record of— not so good.
“And then they try and protect him and they do things— what they’ve done to that family. That they shot her, there was no reason, and then they arrested— because the mother was in a group— and they arrested yesterday the mother of Ashli Babbitt. So she loses her daughter and then on top of it, she gets arrested. “We’re not gonna let this go on. We’re not gonna let this go. on these people are horrible, horrible. And what they’ve done to protest us. I mean, these were protesters, they were protesting a dishonest election. “And whenever you mentioned that they don’t want to ever talk to you because they don’t want to have that out there. The one thing they don’t want to talk about is a dishonest election. Because they know and they’ve been caught.”
In footage circulated on social media by streamer Woke Societies, Micki Witthoeft was seen being handcuffed and taken into custody by multiple police officers while onlookers protested. “You murdered [Ashli] inside the Capitol, now you’re going to arrest her?” one onlooker said. “I did not murder her daughter,” one officer replied in front of the crowd of people. On Jan. 6, 2021, Babbitt, an unarmed Air Force veteran, was fatally shot by Lt. Michael Byrd. while attempting to make entry into the interior of the Capitol Building. According to The National Pulse’s Raheem Kassam, Witthoeft was arrested for “jaywalking.”
It’s now clear #January6th is the Democratic Left’s Reichstag Fire. A bogus “insurrection” is invoked to justify a ruthless crackdown, widespread state surveillance and intimidation of political opponents, and a terrifying regime of censorship and suspension of civil liberties
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem blasted members of the now-disbanded House Jan. 6 Committee after her Social Security number, along those of her family members, were allegedly leaked to the public. In a tweet, the GOP governor appeared to suggest she would take legal action against members. “My lawyers have asked the @WhiteHouse, the @USNatArchives, and @BennieGThompson which of them is responsible for leaking the Social Security Numbers of me, my husband, my 3 kids, and my son-in-law,” she tweeted on Friday, in a post that included images of a letter her attorneys have sent to the aforementioned parties. “What specific measures and remedies will be taken to protect our identities?” — Kristi Noem (@KristiNoem) January 6, 2023
The Washington Times reported the leak: “The recently sunsetted House Jan. 6 committee released Trump White House visitor logs from December 2020 containing nearly 2,000 unreacted Social Security numbers. At least three of the numbers, inadvertently leaked as part of the hoard of documents the committee posted online in recent weeks, belonged to members of Trump’s cabinet others. Several Republican governors and floods of other Trump allies have been caught up in the privacy breach. “House Jan. 6 Committee leaks thousands of Trump allies’ Social Security numbers: Report — The Washington Times (@WashTimes) January 7, 2023”
The document was taken down on Wednesday, according to the Washington Post, which first reported the leak, but the Government Publishing Office, which was responsible for posting the file online, does not appear to have notified the individuals whose private information was leaked. Attorneys for Noem demanded to know “how the breach of privacy occurred, who was responsible, what steps each of you has taken to remedy the breach, and what specific measures and remedies will be taken to protect Governor Noem and her family in light of the public dissemination of their private information and the heightened risk for identity theft and any other future privacy violations.” Ian Fury, a spokesman for the governor, said, “To my knowledge, we were not notified. The governor was not notified” of the leak, Slay News noted.
Former Trump Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, whose information was also leaked, told the Washington Post: “Whether it was a careless and sloppy handling of records or a deliberate disregard of decorum, either scenario is a perfunctory and callous display of government and a frightening reminder of the current state in Washington. … President Reagan was a savant indeed — the nine most frightening words to hear are ‘I am from the government and here to help.’”
Greece is planning to build a new 140-km fence to cover its whole European border with neighboring Türkiye in an effort to contain the significant flows of illegal migrants, Minister of Citizen Protection Takis Theodorikakos has announced. Construction of the first 35-km span of the new fence is set to begin “immediately,” the official told the broadcaster SKAI on Saturday. “It is a final decision of the government to create a 140-kilometer fence on the Evros [River],” Theodorikakos stated. Greece and Türkiye share an approximately 200-km common border in Europe that runs primarily along the Evros River, yet there is a stretch of dry land between the two countries. Greece already has concrete and barbed wire barrier installed at over 40km of the border, namely along the span near the Turkish city of Edirne. The fence was originally erected in 2012 and was extended in 2021.
The Evros River on its own has not proven to be a sufficiently challenging obstacle for illegal migrants, Theodorikakos noted, with the eponymous province remaining a hotspot for irregular crossings. “In Evros, the Greek police, with their deployment, have prevented the illegal invasion of the country by 256,000 illegal immigrants,” the minister said without providing a time span for this “invasion.” Over the past year, the EU has seen the highest level of illegal migration since the 2015-2016 migrant crisis. According to the latest figures by Frontex, the bloc’s border agency, some 308,000 “irregular entries” were detected across the external borders of the EU during the first 11 months of 2022, constituting a sharp 68% increase from the same period in 2021. The Western Balkan and Central Mediterranean routes have seen the most illegal migrant traffic over the past year, according to Frontex.
More than a quarter of Europeans are experiencing problems heating their homes and paying debts for housing and utilities, the Hungarian media reported on Friday citing a survey by the Szazadveg think tank. According to the survey, dubbed Europe Project, 26% of EU residents, or roughly 100 million people, are unable to properly heat their homes. Greeks appeared to be the worst affected, with 56% of the population facing difficulties with heating. In Portugal and France, 34% of residents described the same problems. Finland, Hungary, Austria and Denmark were the least affected, with less than 15% of residents admitting to difficulties. Every fourth respondent in the survey said they were unable to pay their heating bill at least once during the past year.
That figure was also the highest in Greece, with 51% of the population affected, followed by Cyprus with 37%, Ireland and Bulgaria, with 35% each. The respondents blamed inflation for their problems, as rising prices on everything from energy to food impact their ability to pay bills. According to the survey, heating bills have become far less affordable than in 2021. The authors noted that in 2021, based on data from Europe’s official statistics agency Eurostat, only 6.9% of European households (some 29.9 million people) were unable to adequately heat their homes, and 6.4% struggled with paying bills. The survey was conducted among 38,000 randomly selected European adults between October 13 and December 7, 2022. The research covered the EU, UK, Norway, Switzerland, Moldova, Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The situation is now much less dire. The authorities can focus on protecting the elderly and improving the nation’s immunity. A new push to get more people vaccinated has already been announced, although the corresponding official document does not go into specifics about how the authorities will go about it. Besides, people are much more aware of the virus and of the methods of protection. Pedestrians still go about their days in masks, still take care with hygiene and still avoid unnecessary close contacts. And more freedom does not mean that people will go out of their way to get infected. As one local Twitter user pointed out: “So in Beijing, now that everyone is free to go anywhere, ppl are exercising that right by staying at home.”
The hardest test of the new lighter rules begins on January 8, when China reopens its borders. People will be able to enter and leave the country freely and, soon after that, the Spring Festival trips will begin in earnest. Travel to and from will not be the same as before, at least at first. A number of countries, including the US, UK, France, and Spain, now have mandatory testing of everyone arriving from China to prevent the virus from spreading further. However, even if the number of daily cases rises for a short time, the world is much less vulnerable to Covid now.
China will still need to carefully weigh each step on its path towards the pre-pandemic normal. The rules might change once again and there might be setbacks or new local lockdowns. However, the process of making life easier and more predictable for a large part of the world has begun. The protests might have brought these changes about sooner than expected, or they might have simply happened at the right time. Whatever the case, China was bound to change its policy sooner or later. After all, no emergency can last forever.
Switzerland, home to less than 9 million people, is one of the biggest mRNA vaccine customers in the world relative to population. The’ve already received a staggering 33 million Covid vaccine doses, only a little over half of which were ever administered. The small country is now sitting on 13.5 million doses, nervously awaiting the delivery of a further 2 million in the coming weeks, and surely lamenting that 11.6 million more are scheduled to arrive by the end of 2023. The vast majority of these will sit for some months in freezers before the Swiss Confederation destroys them. The country already binned more than eleven million doses last year, the greater part of them after a deal to supply surplus snake oil to the third world via the failed Covax initiative fell through because nobody in Africa wants this stuff either.
Vaccine credulity may still be the mainstream, politically acceptable position, but revealed preferences show that enormous majorities everywhere are done with mass vaccination. Pharmaceutical executives can sing their doubtful hymns to the miraculous safety and efficacy of their jabs, but the quiet worldwide rejection of their garbage products is a stinging rebuke, suggesting that billions across the world harbour unexpressed scepticism towards the mRNA Covid vaccines. From here, it is only downhill for the vaccinators.
“The powerful are panicking, and so they should. Their secrets are leaking.” —Miranda Devine
“It’s all just snake oil. We want to save the planet, and the life upon it, but we’re not willing to pay the price and bear the consequences. So we make up a narrative that feels good and run with it.” — Raul Ilargi Meijer
“2023 could be a pivotal year for USA if the pervasive lies can be exposed, digested, and believed. All that exposure has to happen amidst continuing boondoggles toward the Great Reset agenda.” – Truman Verdun
“More borrowing only ever makes sense if you are expecting a larger economy in the future. All economic expansion is based on energy. Countries with energy can expand, those without cannot.” — Chris Martenson
“To be an enemy to America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal.” — Henry Kissinger
It’s hard to contemplate 2023 without spiraling into nausea, tachycardia, and cold sweat. But it is an inescapable duty here to lay out the probabilities ahead. I’ve been doing this forecast thing for some years now, and, of course, I am often wrong, so take some solace in that and relax. Maybe the new year will be all unicorns, rainbows, talking gerbils, and candied violets. 2022 sure was a cold shower. The long emergency I talk so much about finally got up to cruising speed, with the ectoplasmic “Joe Biden” revving our country into economic, political, and cultural collapse — a hat-trick of calamity — and he did it more swiftly and directly than any emperor managed in late-day Rome, with policies and actions 180-degrees contra to America’s public interest — cheered on by a thinking class that had obviously lost it consensual mind.
Was it simply to do the opposite of what the loathed and detested Mr. Trump would do? Could it be that simple or that automatic? The thinking class’s eyes have a zombified glaze these days. It’s obvious, you might agree, that “Joe Biden” is not in charge of anything, really. He’s an animatronic figure programmed to read a teleprompter and not much else. Half the time, he can’t even find his way off-stage after doing that one trick. The claque pulling his strings just may be the crew you see around him (you know, WYSIWYG): Susan Rice, Ron Klain, Jake Sullivan, Antony Blinken, Victoria Nuland, and company. Ms. Rice has kept herself completely hidden backstage at the White House for two years. Nobody ever hears about her or sees her. Weird, a little bit, for the Director of the Domestic Policy Council.
Or else, are there puppeteers deeper in the shadows, say, “JB’s” former boss Barack Obama, Der Schwabenklaus and his WEF retinue, Bill Gates and other tech billionaires, the “systemically important” bankers, George Soros…? Or some coven of super-elite warlocks we’d never heard of? The US leadership dynamic is truly mystifying and has been for two whole years. Will mysteries be revealed in 2023? Personally, I think so. Things are lining up in that direction, though who knows whether the damage can even be reversed at this point. And now onto the shape of things to come….
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been harshly criticized by the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, according to remarks published on the ministry’s website on Tuesday, Dec. 27, German news agency dpa reports. Orbán’s statements “demonstrate a pathological disregard for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people who are fighting against Russian aggression,” the Ukrainian ministry said, accusing the Hungarian leader of “political short-sightedness.” As Denis Albert reports at Remix News, the comments came in response to a statement by Orbán that the war could end if the United States stopped supplying arms to Ukraine. Orbán was working in this way towards Ukraine’s defeat, even if it would increase the danger of Russian aggression directed at Hungary, the Ukrainian ministry said.
“The Hungarian leader should ask himself if he wants peace,” the ministry said in a statement. In an earlier interview Orbán said, “Ukraine can continue fighting only as long as the United States supports them with money and weapons. If the Americans want peace, then there will be peace.” As Remix News reported, in a recent interview Orbán said that while it is important for his government that Russia poses no security threat, continued economic relations is essential for not only Hungary, but also for the entire European economy. “The answer to the question of whether we are on the right or wrong side of history is that we are on the Hungarian side of history. We support and help Ukraine, it is in our interest to preserve a sovereign Ukraine, and it is in our interest that Russia does not pose a security threat to Europe, but it is not in our interest to give up all economic relations with Russia. We are looking at these issues through Hungarian glasses, not through anyone else’s,” Orbán said.
On Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed off a controversial bill that substantially increases the government’s regulatory authority over the news media. The new law will give the government new censorship powers and is a fresh blow to press freedoms in the country. The legislation significantly increases the powers of Ukraine’s state broadcasting regulator to allow it to regulate both the print and online news media. Further, it allows for fines to be imposed on media outlets, their licenses to be revoked without due process, and even some websites to be temporarily blocked without going through the courts. Finally, it gives the regulator authority to order search giants such as Google and other social media platforms to remove content.
Zelensky’s actions are already being criticized by press freedom advocates. As this bill moved through Parliament, members of international organizations such as the European Federation of Journalists and the Committee to Protect Journalists expressed their concerns about its provisions. “The coercive regulation envisaged by the bill and in the hands of a regulator totally controlled by the government is worthy of the worst authoritarian regimes. It must be withdrawn. A state that would apply such provisions simply has no place in the European Union,” said EFJ General Secretary Ricardo Gutiérrez. “Media regulation should be implemented by a body independent of the government and its objective should be media independence, not media control,” Gutiérrez added.
“Ukraine’s media bill seriously imperils press freedom in the country by tightening government control over information at a time when citizens need it the most,” remarked Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in a statement. “Ukrainian legislators should abandon the bill, or at least pause its progress in parliament until the European Union can weigh in with recommendations.” Members of Ukraine’s National Union of Journalists strongly opposed the bill due to its potential to reduce fundamental freedoms within the country. Nevertheless, Yevheniia Kravchuk, the deputy chairperson for Parliament’s Information Policy Committee contradicted those worries by stating that Ukraine’s media legislation had not been updated since the absence of the internet 16 years prior. This new broader bill was needed to bring their media laws up to date and provide greater access to accurate information and technologies.
The conflict in Ukraine is the world’s “first multipolar war,” in which Russia is fighting for the right of every civilization to choose its own path while the West wishes to maintain its totalitarian hegemonic globalism, Aleksandr Dugin told RT in an exclusive interview on Friday. Multipolarity is “not against the West as such,” Dugin said, but “against the claim of the West to be the model, to be the unique example” of history and human understanding. The current Russophobia and hatred of Russia, he argued, are a relic of Cold War thinking and the “bipolar understanding of the architecture of international relations.” When the Soviet Union self-destructed in December 1991, it left the “global Western liberal civilization” in control of the world, Dugin noted.
This hegemon is now refusing to accept the future in which it would be “not one of the two, but one of [the] few poles,” put in its proper place as “just a part, not the whole, of humanity.” Dugin described the West as “pure totalitarian liberalism,” which pretends to have the absolute truth and seeks to impose it on everyone. “There is inherent racism in Western liberalism,” the philosopher told RT’s Donald Courter, because it “identifies the Western historical, political, cultural, experience [as] universal.” “Nothing universal exists in multipolarity,” Dugin insisted, explaining that each civilization can and should develop its own values. Russia specifically needs to overcome centuries of Western ideological dominance, he said, and create something “new, fresh, creative” that would nonetheless stand “in direct refutation of the Western liberal hegemony, against open society, against individualism, against liberal democracy.”
He rejected the “dogmatic” approaches of Marxism, fascism or liberalism to politics and economics, saying that Russia ought to strive for a “holistic” approach in which the spiritual would be more important than the material. Obsession with material goods ends up enslaving people, Dugin told RT. Dugin lamented the December 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union as a “suicide” perpetrated by the power-hungry bureaucrats in Moscow. He echoed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s description of it as a “geopolitical disaster” and described it as a major victory for “Sea Power.” While the USSR was the polar opposite of the Russian Empire in terms of ideology, he explained, in geopolitical terms the two were one and the same, the strongest power in what English geographer Harold Mackinder described as the global Heartland.
While some Western observers have dubbed Dugin “Putin’s brain,” the 60-year-old philosopher and author has no official relationship with the Kremlin. He is an outspoken supporter of the current military operation in Ukraine – whose independence he considers a Western imperial project aimed against Russian sovereignty. Dugin’s daughter Darya, 29, was assassinated in August by a car bomb planted by Ukrainian agents. Though Kiev has officially denied it, US intelligence officials later said they believe someone in the Ukrainian government was responsible.
We recently discussed schools joining the University of Chicago free speech alliance. Now, the faculty of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have adopted a resolution defending freedom of speech and expression, including speech deemed “offensive or injurious.” It is a triumph for free speech. However, while 98 faculty voted for the resolution, 52 professors voted against the free speech principles. The Free Expression Statement is a balanced affirmation of the essential role of free speech in higher education. “A commitment to free expression includes hearing and hosting speakers, including those whose views or opinions may not be shared by many members of the MIT community and may be harmful to some. This commitment includes the freedom to criticize and peacefully protest speakers to whom one may object, but it does not extend to suppressing or restricting such speakers from expressing their views. Debate and deliberation of controversial ideas are hallmarks of the Institute’s educational and research missions and are essential to the pursuit of truth, knowledge, equity, and justice.”
What is unnerving is that a third of the faculty disagreed with the resolution despite the following reservation: “MIT does not protect direct threats, harassment, plagiarism, or other speech that falls outside the boundaries of the First Amendment. Moreover, the time, place, and manner of protected expression, including organized protests, may be restrained so as not to disrupt the essential activities of the Institute.” However, the statement makes the key acknowledgment that “we cannot prohibit speech that some experience as offensive or injurious.” That is clearly unacceptable for many in academic. Silencing opposing views or voices has become a core principle for many professors who now refer to free speech as an ever present danger on campuses. MIT has not always stood by free speech. As we previously discussed, the university yielded to cancel culture by barring a guest lecture to be given by University of Chicago geophysicist Dorian Abbot in 2021.
MIT also attracted criticism over abandoning standardized testing to achieve greater diversity. It later reversed that decision. The new resolution is a victory for the “MIT Free Speech Alliance,” which has fought to defend free speech against a growing number of faculty. University of Chicago emeritus biology Professor Jerry Coyne raised some good-faith objections on his Why Evolution Is True blog, including the resolution “calling for ‘civility and mutual respect’, as well as ‘considering the possibility of offense and injury’. You simply cannot have free speech without offense and injury. Abbot’s invitation provoked precisely such offense and injury, with many people supporting his deplatforming.” However, the references are part of a graph that refers to the personal responsibility of faculty to maintain civility and mutual respect. It follows an express protection for offensive speech:
“We cannot prohibit speech that some experience as offensive or injurious. At the same time, MIT deeply values civility, mutual respect, and uninhibited, wide-open debate. In fostering such debate, we have a responsibility to express ourselves in ways that consider the prospect of offense and injury and the risk of discouraging others from expressing their own views. This responsibility complements, and does not conflict with, the right to free expression. Even robust disagreements shall not be liable to official censure or disciplinary action. This applies broadly. For example, when MIT leaders speak on matters of public interest, whether in their own voice or in the name of MIT, this should always be understood as being open to debate by the broader MIT community.”
“..we still don’t have randomized trials for so many drug recommendations, including the new bivalent vaccine, COVID vaccine boosters in young people, the optimal vaccine dosing interval, and even the antiviral drug Paxlovid in vaccinated people.”
After 54 years at the NIH, tomorrow marks Dr. Anthony Fauci’s last day in office as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). While many were angered by his changing and conflicting recommendations, I am not. They are mere symptoms of a much larger and deeper problem. Dr. Fauci’s agency failed to promptly fund key research during the pandemic. That research would have abruptly ended many of the COVID controversies that divided our country. In a study of NIH funding published in The BMJ, my Johns Hopkins colleagues and I found that in the first year of the pandemic, it took the NIH an average of five months to give money to researchers after they were awarded a COVID grant. This should be unacceptable during a health emergency.
Consider the question of how COVID spread—was it airborne or spread on surfaces? (Remember all those people wiping down their groceries?) It lingered as an open question without good research for months, as Fauci spent hundreds of hours on television opining on the matter. Finally, on August 17, 2021—a year and a half after COVID lockdowns began—Dr. Fauci’s agency released results of a study showing the disease was airborne. Thanks for that. The announcement on the NIAID website, titled “NIH Hamster Study Evaluates Airborne and Fomite Transmission of SARS-CoV-2” came 18 months too late. Imagine if, in February 2020, Dr. Fauci had marshaled his $6 billion budget, vast laboratory facilities, and teams of experts to conduct a definitive lab experiment to establish that COVID was airborne.
On this question and many others throughout the pandemic, our problem was not that the science changed—it’s that it wasn’t done. NIH funding for COVID research was also erratic. The NIH spent almost $1.2 billion on long COVID research, but virtually nothing on masks, natural immunity, COVID in children, or vaccine complications. Ironically, the NIH spent more than twice as much on aging research as it did on COVID research in the first year of the pandemic, according to my team’s analysis. I’m all for aging research, but not when a novel virus is killing thousands of Americans per day. A randomized controlled trial is the gold-standard method to establish a drug’s effectiveness. Yet remarkably, for COVID, we still don’t have randomized trials for so many drug recommendations, including the new bivalent vaccine, COVID vaccine boosters in young people, the optimal vaccine dosing interval, and even the antiviral drug Paxlovid in vaccinated people.
More disturbing, our country has been deeply divided for years about whether to mask children. The partisan arguing and harm to children could have been avoided if a proper study settled the science early. Because the NIH moved at glacial speed, most of our COVID knowledge came from overseas. The critical discovery that steroids reduce COVID mortality by one-third came only after European researchers did a randomized trial that Fauci’s agency should have commissioned quickly. Similarly, a conclusive study showing that Vitamin D reduces COVID mortality, published last month, arrived two years too late.
A House committee on Friday made public six years of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns, which showed he paid relatively little in federal taxes in the years before and during his presidency. The House Ways and Means Committee had voted to make the thousands of pages of federal returns public in a party-line vote last week, but their release was delayed while staffers redacted sensitive personal information like Social Security numbers from the documents. Friday’s release, the culmination of years of legal wrangling and speculation, included both personal and business records. Trump on Friday blasted the release in a statement and on his Truth Social platform, saying “the Democrats should have never done it, the Supreme Court should have never approved it, and it’s going to lead to horrible things for so many people.”
He also maintained the returns he fought to keep hidden — despite modern precedent that presidents make their returns public — “show how proudly successful I have been and how I have been able to use depreciation and various other tax deductions as an incentive for creating thousands of jobs and magnificent structures and enterprises.” The panel’s top Republican, Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, called the release of the documents “unprecedented,” and said Democrats had unleashed “a dangerous new political weapon that reaches far beyond the former president, overturning decades of privacy protections for average Americans.” “This is a regrettable stain on the Ways and Means Committee and Congress, and will make American politics even more divisive and disheartening. In the long run, Democrats will come to regret it,” Brady said.
The returns confirm much of what was contained in a 39-page report from the Joint Committee on Taxation released last week, including summaries from Trump’s personal tax forms and business entities, but also some new information as well. The returns show that in the 2020 tax year, Donald and Melania Trump reported $78 million in gross income from 16 foreign countries — including the United Kingdom, Ireland and St. Martin, where Trump has properties. The gross income also included a reported $1.2 million from “other countries” — abbreviated as “OC” — that were not specified.But the couple also appeared to owe nothing in federal taxes, after reporting large deductions and expenses that resulted in a net loss of $15 million. Trump then claimed a $5 million refund, according to the return.
Trump also reported zero charitable donations that year, the returns show. That was an outlier for Trump during his time in office — he reported $1.8 million in charitable giving in 2017, and just over $500,000 in charitable donations in 2018 and 2019, the returns show. Trump pledged to donate his $400,000 presidential salary while in office, money he gave to various government agencies.
Newly released tax returns for former President Donald Trump have shed light on his business losses, complicated tax set-ups and tax payments during his White House years. However, they are unlikely to have a major political impact as he eyes another presidential run, experts say. The documents confirmed that Mr Trump paid no federal taxes in 2020 and only $750 (£622) in 2016 and 2017. He paid close to $1m in 2018, however. A long legal battle led to the release of the records, and Mr Trump criticised the disclosure, warning that it will deepen the US political divide. He added that the returns “show how proudly successful I have been and how I have been able to use depreciation and various other tax deductions as an incentive for creating thousands of jobs and magnificent structures and enterprises.”
Although there’s no law requiring it, it is tradition for presidents to publish their tax returns. US presidents are paid a salary like any worker, but many also earn income from their personal businesses and investments. The newly released documents include tax returns and related documents for Donald Trump, the Donald J Trump Revocable Trust and seven corporate entities. They represent only a fraction of the former president’s over 400 separate business interests. Previously released figures show that Mr Trump paid a total of $1.1m (£906,587) in federal income taxes from 2016 to 2019, all but $1,500 of which was paid in one year. He paid no taxes in 2020, the final year of his presidency.
The documents also show that Mr Trump, who had international business dealings, held bank accounts in Ireland, the United Kingdom and China for a period that ran from 2015-17. The overseas accounts were notable, as Mr Trump held the White House in 2017, giving him significant power over US foreign policy. From 2018 onward, Mr Trump only reported having an account in the UK.
“It didn’t happen.” According to published excerpts, President Joe Biden is denying an account of the Secret Service about an agent being attacked by his German Sheppard, Major, at the White House. The statement from the President raises some interesting legal questions after he effectively called an agent a liar about an official report on one of many bite incidents with the Biden dogs. If the quote is accurate, the criticism could not only be viewed as defamatory but another unfounded attack on the integrity and veracity of federal employees by the President. This should not be dismissed as some sensational “President Bites Agent” story. It raises long-standing concerns over the lack of recourse for agents endangered or abused by protected individuals. Indeed, the controversy raises some of the issues litigated during the Clinton Administration over the status of Secret Service agents.
The book, “The Fight of His Life,” by author Chris Whipple details Biden’s continued mistrust of the Secret Service and his alleged avoidance of saying anything in front of agents. Biden has long had tense relations with the Secret Service, particularly after female agents complained about his exposing himself to them by insisting on swimming in the nude. The book claims that Biden has his own “deep state” conspiracy theories. Biden reportedly views the Secret Service as essentially the enemy within, suggesting that it is populated by “MAGA sympathizers” due to the fact that the service “is full of white ex-cops from the South who tend to be deeply conservative.”
However, this is a major escalation in that reportedly strained relationship. Some of us previously discussed the problem of the Biden dogs (including his other dog Champ) biting agents, attacks that would ordinarily lead to liability. In one eight-day period, agents were bitten every day. Indeed, outside of the White House, the Biden dogs would qualify for strict liability under the common law as displaying a vicious disposition. Under the common law, the Bidens could claim that Major and Champ were entitled to “one free bite.” The “one free bite rule” is a commonly misunderstood torts doctrine — suggesting that you are not subject to strict liability until after the first time your dog bites someone. In fact, you are subject to strict liability whenever you know or have reason to know of the vicious propensity of your animal. That can be satisfied by conduct such as frequent snapping or aggressive behavior.
[..] Now Biden is quoted as saying that he does not trust the Secret Service and believes that one agent is outright lying about one attack by Major. The President is quoted as saying “Look, the Secret Service are never up here. It didn’t happen.” The incident was reported by the agent and photos were taken to document that attack. The President’s denial of the location ignores the confirmed attack itself. Other agents complained about the disregard of the agents by the Bidens in the repeated attacks, including on agent who reportedly insisted that the president personally pay to repair a ripped coat after one attack on March 6, 2021.
Lunden Roberts, the former exotic dancer who gave birth to Hunter Biden’s love child in 2018, is reportedly seeking legal permission for her daughter to use her father’s surname. The 4-year-old girl, who has never met her father or her paternal grandfather, US President Joe Biden, would “benefit from carrying the Biden family name,” Roberts said this week in an Arkansas court filing. The request, which was first reported by the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette on Thursday, was filed in a paternity case that Hunter Biden reopened in September to seek a reduction in his child support payments. The “Biden name is now synonymous with being well educated, successful, financially acute and politically powerful,” Clinton Lancaster, a lawyer representing the ex-stripper, said in the filing.
He added that while the daughter remains estranged from her father’s family, “to the extent this is misconduct or neglect, it can be rectified by changing her last name to Biden so that she may undeniably be known to the world as the child of the defendant and member of the prestigious Biden family.” Roberts, now 31, filed her paternity case in 2019, after Biden denied that he fathered her child. At one point, he claimed to have “no recollection” of meeting the woman, a former college basketball player who was performing under the stage name ‘Dallas’ at a Washington strip club. At the time, he was reportedly dating the widow of his deceased brother, Beau Biden. A DNA test showed that Hunter Biden was the child’s father. He agreed in January 2020, when his father was running for president, to pay child support to Roberts.
He married a South African woman, environmental activist Melissa Cohen, in May 2019, just six days after meeting her. The couple had a son in March 2020. Last September, Biden asked the Arkansas court to cut his child support payments because he could no longer afford them. He cited a change in his “financial circumstances, including but not limited to his income.” His young daughter currently goes by the name Navy Joan Roberts. President Biden reportedly refused to provide Secret Service protection for the girl, even after she and her mother received threats. The elder Biden has been criticized for refusing to acknowledge his granddaughter.
A bit more of this. Because this may prevent Hunter from walking away.
Note: he denies being the father, despite the DNA, and the family even disowns the child?! What a graceful step.
“Roberts has requested a list of Hunter’s residences for the past 10 years, along with vehicles he’s owned or driven for the past five years in order to obtain evidence of his “well-established history of a lavish lifestyle.”
The woman who mothered Hunter’s secret lovechild, Lunden Alexis Roberts, filed paperwork on Tuesday requesting that an Arkansas court allow the child, Navy Joan Roberts, be given the Biden name, claiming that the toddler would “benefit from carrying the Biden family name” because it’s “now synonymous with being well educated, successful, financially acute, and politically powerful.” The Bidens, meanwhile, have completely ignored the President’s grandchild – striking her attendance from the 46th presidential inauguration and allegedly refusing to offer security aid to the mother-daughter pair, despite domestic violence threats from Roberts’ ex. The filing cites President Biden, Jill Biden and Hunter’s late brother Beau as examples of successful individuals bearing the last name, and says that the Biden family remains “estranged from the child.
To the extent this is misconduct or neglect, it can be rectified by changing her last name to Biden so that she may undeniably be known to the world as the child of the defendant and member of the prestigious Biden family.” Roberts, originally from Batesville and an Arkansas State University graduate, met Hunter Biden while she was living in Washington, D.C., and worked for him, Lancaster previously said. The child, initially referred to in the case as “Baby Doe,” was born in August 2018; the paternity suit followed in May 2019, days after Hunter Biden’s marriage to a South African filmmaker, the former Melissa Cohen. A DNA test showed, “with near scientific certainty,” that Biden is Baby Doe’s father, Judge Holly Meyer declared in a January 2020 order. That month the parties agreed on temporary child support until the issue was resolved. -Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette
Hunter Biden wrote in his 2021 book “Beautiful Things” that he fought Roberts’ paternity suit because, being a crackhead, he had no recollection of the incident that led to the pregnancy. “The other women I’d been with during rampages since my divorce were hardly the dating type. We would satisfy our immediate needs and little else,” wrote Hunter, adding “I’m not proud of it.” According to Roberts, Hunter has a “long, and lengthy, history of attempting to avoid discovery by filing endless and recurrent motions for protective orders. Additionally, this case was finally resolved the first time when this court denied the defendant’s motion for a protective order relating to discovery.”
Roberts has requested a list of Hunter’s residences for the past 10 years, along with vehicles he’s owned or driven for the past five years in order to obtain evidence of his “well-established history of a lavish lifestyle.” “[Biden] objects and refuses to provide all the requested information. Instead, [Biden] seeks a protective order,” reads a filing. She’s also requested information related to a federal investigation into Hunter’s “tax affairs.” “This information is relevant to determine if, as Federal authorities insinuated, the defendant failed to disclose all his income as this goes to earning capability and Mr. Biden’s credibility.”
Ray Epps, the uncharged man identified as a key instigator behind the January 6, 2020 Capitol Breach for telling people to storm the Capitol, said in a text message to his nephew that he “orchestrated” things, according to newly released witness transcripts from the January 6th Committee. “At that point, I didn’t know that they were breaking into the Capitol,” Epps told Congressional investigators, adding “I didn’t know anybody was in the Capitol. … I was on my way back to the hotel room.” But the night before, Epps was seen going around to various groups of Trump supporters, telling them they need to storm the capitol. In two interviews with the FBI in 2021, Epps explained his actions on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6. He admitted he was guilty of trespassing on restricted Capitol grounds and confessed to urging protesters to go to—and into—the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Epps also told members of the Committee that he found himself playing peacekeeper between Trump supporter “Baked Alaska” and the police – who called Epps a Fed. “I was trying to find some common ground,” said Epps. “This guy was trying to turn people against me…he was calling me ‘boomer,’ and it’s his generation’s fault that we’re in the position we’re in.” Despite the admissions, the FBI never arrested Epps and he was not charged by the U.S. Department of Justice with any Jan. 6 crimes. The non-action has fueled a crop of theories that he might have been working for the FBI or another agency. Epps, 61, has repeatedly denied those suggestions through his attorney. Speculation that Epps was a ‘fed’ intensified after a Revolver News reported with the headline: “Meet Ray Epps: The Fed-Protected Provocateur Who Appears To Have Led The Very First 1/6 Attack On The U.S. Capitol”
“Revolver also determined, and will prove below, that the the FBI stealthily removed Ray Epps from its Capitol Violence Most Wanted List on July 1, just one day after Revolver exposed the inexplicable and puzzlesome FBI protection of known Epps associate and Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes. July 1 was also just one day after separate New York Times report amplified a glaring, falsifiable lie about Epps’s role in the events of January 6. Lastly, Ray Epps appears to have worked alongside several individuals — many of them suspiciously unindicted — to carry out a breach of the police barricades that induced a subsequent flood of unsuspecting MAGA protesters to unwittingly trespass on Capitol restricted grounds and place themselves in legal jeopardy. -Revolver News. As speculation over Epps grew, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) claimed that Epps had “cooperated with the Jan 6 committee,” and was removed from the FBI’s most wanted list “because apparently he broke no laws.”
Sam is done. Two of his chief lieutenants, including his former lover, have turned on him, pled guilty to criminal offenses that will almost-certainly lead to a decade or more in prison, and are cooperating against him. Among the offenses they pled guilty to are installing specific bypasses of the risk-control and auto-liquidation rules on certain accounts which were utterly essential to propagate the robbery of client funds. Absent that most, if not all of the loss would not have occurred, with Alameda being forced into liquidation before the damage was severe enough to implicate customer money. That’s an intentional act and the other two admitted to being involved in doing it so its perfectly legitimate to state it as fact rather than speculation.
How far down the rabbit hole this all goes is an open question, but the real underlying issue is that the sort of nonsense with so-called “stable coins” and similar games have repeatedly been exposed and the entire house of cryptocurrency “value” rests on said claims that this is not the case. It is the case, however, and only an idiot after seeing it happen several times sequentially has any reason to believe its not present in every single one of these instances. At the core of the issue is that somewhere everyone has to get paid for what they do. If you think you found an example where this is not the case you are being scammed; you just haven’t figured out how or why yet. If there’s enough indirection you can hide this for a good long time, but eventually the market will turn against you.
This is the essence of why “cryptocurrencies” are all valueless; each transaction has a cost, someone has to pay said cost, the more complex and secure the system is the higher said cost is and all of those costs exceed that of other currency systems thus without some means of cheating so your transaction “appears” to be inexpensive to process compared against the alternatives nobody would use it unless what they were doing is fundamentally illegal and thus to use any of the “legitimated” currency systems exposes said person to immediate arrest and prosecution. What’s possibly worse, however, is that all crypto systems by definition result in an indelible and immutable forensic transaction trail that fully meets all requirements to be admissible in court and therefore the claim that somehow they are “safe” to use for illegal acts is also both false and thus an active fraud.
"The mass vaccination program is by far the largest and the most precisely targeted gain-of-function experiment ever conducted in vivo … driving the virus in a very targeted way … that will end as a bio-weapon of mass destruction"
Passing through Austin, Texas, the other night, we had drinks with a distinguished observer of global affairs and took the opportunity to ask how he thought the war in Ukraine would conclude. It is a common question these days. While no answer can be definitive, it is always interesting to discover what wise heads see out front. “Either Russia prevails on its terms,” came the answer, “or there is a nuclear exchange.” I do not think this stark assessment would have necessarily held up even a month ago. I may not have agreed with it, in any case. But the war has escalated markedly over the past week or two. And our Austin companion’s either/or prediction seems now to be the terrible truth of new circumstances. There are numerous indications that Russia is preparing to launch a major offensive in coming weeks or months.
With Volodymyr Zelensky’s circus-like visit to Washington last week, the Biden administration and the Democrat-controlled Congress have drastically, recklessly increased their investment in the Ukrainian president’s regime — a good-money-after-bad judgment if ever there was one. This now shakes out as a war between rhetoric and reality. And the former, a war waged with immense volumes of Western weaponry in defense of ideological bombast, is far more dangerous than the latter, a war waged on the ground with clearly defined objectives. As John Mearsheimer and Jack Matlock, two astute students of this conflict, have argued, neither side can afford to lose in Ukraine. But what is at stake for Russia and the West — Ukraine being the latter’s proxy — is very different.
A Russian defeat in Ukraine would be a direct threat to its security, sovereignty, and altogether its survival. These are legitimate causes. What people would not defend themselves against such a threat — especially given Washington’s long record of subterfuge in nations, not least the Russian Federation, that insist on their independence. The Biden administration’s rhetoric since the Ukraine crisis sharpened prior to the outbreak of hostilities in February has cast this conflict as a near-cosmic confrontation between liberalism and authoritarianism. I do not see that this is very different from Bush II’s biblical baloney about Gog and Magog as it prepared to invade Iraq, or Mike Pompeo’s unhinged end-times talk when he was whipping up war fever against Russia and China while serving as Donald Trump’s secretary of state.
This irresponsible rhetoric has painted every breathing, walking-around American into a corner from which the only escape is capitulation. That is why it is dangerous. Russia can win battles and wage extensive artillery and rocket campaigns and remain open to negotiation at any opportunity conditions present. Putin made this point clear once again on Sunday. It is difficult to see, by contrast, how our addled president can find his way to talks given how he and the third-rate neoconservatives who control his foreign policies have cast this conflict. And it is too easy to imagine these people reaching for the nuclear buttons once their follies become evident.
“..an all-out nuclear exchange would send enough dust in the air to block sunlight resulting in “a period of chaos and violence, during which most of the surviving world population would die from hunger.”
A Swedish group that assesses catastrophic risks warned in its annual report this year that the risk of nuclear weapons use is higher today than at any point since the US dropped nuclear weapons on Japan in 1945, AFP reported on Tuesday. Kennette Benedict, an advisor to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists who led the report for the Global Challenges Foundation, said the risk of nuclear war was greater than during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The report warned that an all-out nuclear exchange would send enough dust in the air to block sunlight resulting in “a period of chaos and violence, during which most of the surviving world population would die from hunger.”
President Biden acknowledged the risk back in October when he said the chances of nuclear “armageddon” are higher today than at any point since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Despite his recognition of the danger of his policy of supporting Ukraine against Russia, Biden continues to escalate US involvement in the war, and there is no end in sight to the fighting. Ukraine’s war effort is entirely reliant on Western support, and the US is not just sending weapons but also providing training, intelligence, and other kinds of targeting support. According to recent media reports, the Pentagon now tacitly backs Ukrainian strikes on Russian territory, and the CIA is directing sabotage operations inside Russia.
Russian officials have made clear that they believe they are not just fighting Ukrainian forces in the war but also the US and NATO. This means Russia has the pretext to launch strikes on the US and NATO, although there’s no sign that such a decision has been made. If Russia eventually chooses to retaliate by using conventional weapons against NATO, the conflict could quickly spiral into nuclear war. If Moscow decides to use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine, most experts believe it would lead to a nuclear exchange between the US and Russia.
Ukraine’s recently liberated southern city of Kherson suffered intense mortar and artillery attacks from Russian forces across the Dnipro river, while the Kremlin rejected a Ukrainian peace plan, demanding that Kyiv accept its annexation of four regions. Kherson has remained under bombardment from Russian forces which had retreated to the east bank of the river when the city was retaken in a major victory for Ukraine last month. On Wednesday, the shelling hit the maternity wing of a hospital, though no-one was hurt, according to Kyrylo Tymoshenko, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s deputy chief of staff. Staff and patients were moved to a shelter, Tymoshenko said in a post on Telegram. “It was frightening … the explosions began abruptly, the window handle started to tear off … oh, my hands are still shaking,” Olha Prysidko, a new mother, said. “When we came to the basement, the shelling wasn’t over. Not for a minute.”
On Wednesday it was revealed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government is prepping to participate in January’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, and that the Ukrainian leader is in talks with BlackRock CEO Larry Fink regarding rebuilding efforts following the war with Russia. According to Bloomberg, Zelensky said in an evening address to the nation, “Specialists of this company are already helping Ukraine to structure the fund for the reconstruction of our state.” Zelensky reportedly had a video call with Fink in September. He did not reveal whether he would be attending the WEF in person or virtually.
According to a Wednesday post on the Ukrainian President’s official website, Zelensky said, “In accordance with the preliminary agreements struck earlier this year between the Head of State and Larry Fink, the BlackRock team has been working for several months on a project to advise the Ukrainian government on how to structure the country’s reconstruction funds.” “Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Larry Fink agreed to focus in the near term on coordinating the efforts of all potential investors and participants in the reconstruction of our country, channeling investment into the most relevant and impactful sectors of the Ukrainian economy,” the post added. “During the conversation, it was emphasized that certain BlackRock leaders plan to visit Ukraine in the new year,” the post continued. “The President thanked Larry Fink for the work of the professional team that BlackRock has allocated to advise on structuring the reconstruction projects.”
No proposal that refuses to account for reality can pretend to aim for peace, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Wednesday, responding to a question about Russia’s official position on a “peace plan” floated by the Ukrainian government. “No plan that ignores that reality can pretend to have peace in mind,” Peskov said. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s proposal, floated earlier this month, envisioned a UN-sponsored “Global Peace Summit” taking place in February 2023. According to Zelensky, the agenda would be based on his ten-point “peace formula,” which includes the withdrawal of Russian troops from all territories claimed by Ukraine, Moscow paying reparations, and holding war crimes trials for individuals that Kiev accuses of aggression.
Zelensky’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba brought up the proposal anew on Monday, insisting that Russia must face judgment by an “international court” before being allowed at the table. Moscow’s First Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Dmitry Polyansky dismissed Kuleba’s statement as “nonsense,” commenting that there can be no peace talks without Russia, while the actions of Ukraine’s government may result in such a meeting eventually taking place without their participation. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Kiev must recognize the status of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye as parts of Russia as a prerequisite for any peace talks. In addition to the four regions, Moscow seeks to “prevent the creation and continuation of any threats to our security from Ukrainian territory,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview on Wednesday.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the 2014 ceasefire, brokered by Germany and France, to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.” Moscow demands that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.
“Russia will dare to use nuclear weapons if it is defeated,” Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto said in an interview with the local media, Report informs.He said that the use of tactical nuclear power is foreseen by Russia: “For us, it is inconceivable, but for Moscow, yes. But if Moscow understands that there is no return, it will go for it.” The minister assured that Rome will stand by Kyiv until the last Russian soldier leaves the sovereign lands of Ukraine: “We will help Ukraine to protect itself. Russia has crossed the border it should not have crossed.”
Boutique Ukrainian law firm T&M has launched an appalling new service allowing residents of Western European countries to “cleanse Europe of rashists,” a reference to the derogatory neologism used by officials in Kiev, which combines the words “Russian” and “fascist.” Titled “give in charge rashist” (apparently a bad translation of the Ukrainian title “turn in a rashist”), the webportal invites visitors who are “tired of potential invaders living near you” to “let us know and we will try to solve this issue in the legal field.” “We are a team of lawyers who decided to use legal methods to cleanse Europe of potential invaders,” the site explains. “No one will know who surrendered the rashist. It’s completely free. You pay nothing, but you get a bonus to karma. You are making a personal contribution to a peaceful future.”
Reporting a “possible aggressor” is said to be “easy.” Concerned citizens can easily use a form to anonymously submit the names and social media accounts of Russian citizens living in any European country, who may be “potentially dangerous” and a “carrier of propaganda and violence.” In return, the Lviv-based T&M “do everything to ensure that the relevant European authorities check the legality of such a person’s stay in Europe,” and “send a corresponding statement to the state authorities of the country in which the presence of a potentially dangerous rashist was reported.” The obvious desired end result is that the Russian in question will be arrested and deported, or perhaps even worse. A disclaimer at the bottom of the page states the service “is not intended to incite ethnic, racial, religious or other enmity,” and only serves to bring its stated targets “to justice.”
T&M has been operating in Lviv since 2014, specializing in sports law, road traffic accidents, IT and technology transfer, and corporate relations. “Give in charge rashist” is a sub-page of T&M’s main site and links back to it in its disclaimers section. “We do not collect your personal data in any way, and we use the personal data of rashists that you provide us exclusively for contacting state authorities,” it concludes. It is unknown if any “rashists” have been reported to authorities as a result of this abhorrent resource, or where they are located or what has happened to them if so. This is just the latest example of how a highly hostile environment for Russians is being created abroad, in which they are, regardless of their political leanings and beliefs, viewed as one and the same. The purpose is to ensure all Russians are falsely considered “the enemy within” by local citizens in their host countries, plotting misdeeds and wrongdoing in support of the Kremlin’s devilish plans for global domination.
Any business as usual with Russia is impossible in the near future due to the Ukraine conflict, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Tuesday. She also vowed that Berlin and its allies would intensify sanctions pressure against Moscow. Speaking to Romania’s Digi 24 TV Channel, the minister emphasized that “there can be no normal relations with this Russia” amid the fighting between Moscow and Kiev’s forces and the stand-off with the West. EU would prefer “a peaceful and democratic Russia that does not pose a threat to its neighbors,” Baerbock stated, adding that she harbors “no illusions” on the matter. “We are living in a different reality right now.” Against this backdrop, the minister noted that the West should be engaged in the “permanent strengthening of our common security in the face of Russia.”
According to Baerbock, as long as Moscow wages “the brutal war of aggression,” the West will gradually tighten its sanctions policy. However, she did not clarify what additional restrictions could be in the offing. She went on to add that Western capitals would support Ukraine “as long as necessary,” providing it with arms, as well as humanitarian and financial aid, because the nation “defends the freedom of Europe.” However, she struck a more cautious tone about Kiev’s aspirations to join the EU. While hailing the bloc’s decision to grant Ukraine candidate status in June as a “historic moment,” Baerbock admitted that “the road there will still be long and certainly sometimes difficult.” To pave the way for Kiev’ accession, Western countries are doing their best to help the nation harmonize its legal system with EU standards, she said.
Following the start of Russia’s military operation against Ukraine in late February, Germany has provided Ukraine with large amounts of weaponry and joined Western sanctions against Moscow. The restrictions targeted entire sectors of the Russian economy, particularly energy exports, while hundreds of senior officials were blacklisted, and about half of the nation’s foreign exchange reserves were frozen, a move that was denounced by Moscow as essentially “theft.” On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reiterated that the EU is waging a “hybrid war” against Moscow, arguing that Brussels’ policies have only hurt the interests of the bloc’s citizens while bringing its relations with Russia to their “lowest point.”
The January 6th special committee has formally withdrawn its subpoena of former President Donald Trump. “In light of the imminent end of our investigation, the Select Committee can no longer pursue the specific information covered by the subpoena,” wrote Rep. Bernie Thompson (D-MI) in a Wednesday night letter sent to Trump’s attorneys, which was obtained by CNN. “Therefore, through this letter, I hereby formally withdraw the subpoena issued to former President Trump, and notify you that he is no longer obligated to comply or produce records in response to said subpoena,” the letter continues.
Trump took a victory lap on Truth Social, writing: “Was just advised that the Unselect Committee of political Thugs has withdrawn the Subpoena of me concerning the January 6th Protest of the CROOKED 2020 Presidential Election. They probably did so because they knew I did nothing wrong, or they were about to lose in Court. Perhaps the FBI’s involvement in RIGGING the Election played into their decision. In any event, the Subpoena is DEAD!” As CNN notes, the committee has already dropped several subpoenas against other witnesses, and has wrapped up its investigation by referring Trump to the DOJ for potential criminal prosecution on four separate charges. The referrals, however, hold no legal weight.
Former President Donald J. Trump shared a campaign video to Truth Social providing a stern rebuke to the release of his 2015-2020 tax returns by the Democrat-led House Means and Ways Committee on Tuesday. He further called for the new Republican-led House to “immediately obtain the financial records of Joe Biden and his entire criminal enterprise.” The dramatic legal battle over the former president’s tax records ended in November when the United States Supreme Court declined to overturn an appellate court ruling that ordered Trump to hand over the records to Congress. The sole Republican candidate to announce for the 2024 presidential race denounced the move as “an outrageous abuse of power” from “radical Democrats” Friday.
“There is no legitimate legislative purpose for their action, and if you look at what they’ve done, it’s so sad for our country,” he said, after sharing the video with Breitbart. The former president called the action “unconstitutional.” “It’s nothing but another deranged political witch-hunt, which has been going on from the day I came down the escalator in Trump Tower,” he added. “Although these tax returns contain relatively little information and not information that almost anybody would understand — they’re extremely complex — the radical Democrats’ behavior is a shame upon the U.S. Congress,” Trump added. He then called upon the House GOP to aggressively acquire Biden’s financial records, as reported by Breitbart:
“The new Republican House should immediately obtain the financial records of Joe Biden and his entire criminal enterprise because that’s exactly what it is. Biden is a corrupt politician who spent years selling out America all over the world, including to Communist China. Just take a look at his accounts, take a look at all of his homes, and take a look at what his son, Hunter, has contributed to the family. The American public deserves to know the truth. We should also get to the bottom line on how Biden, on a salary of a U.S. Senator, was able to buy one mansion after another, all these different locations. When I’m president, we will expose the Washington cartel, and we will Make America Great Again.”
Incoming Republican Chairman Rep. James Comer of the U.S. House Oversight Committee told CNN in November that Hunter Biden is expected to be subpoenaed about his father’s involvement in his business dealings overseas. Comer explicitly told reporters “This is an investigation of Joe Biden.” “This committee will evaluate whether this president is compromised or swayed by foreign dollars,” Comer added. He explained, as previously reported by Newsweek, that the investigation will have “evidence that the finances, credit cards, and bank accounts of Hunter and Joe Biden were co-mingled, if not shared.”
Elon Musk went on the Fauci attack on Wednesday, insinuating that the gain-of-function (GoF) work the doctor was advocating for was essentially bioweapon research. “‘Gain-of-function’ should be called ‘bioweapon’ research, as the function referred is death!” Musk tweeted. The Twitter CEO points to a Yahoo News article from last year that unearthed a paper that Fauci wrote a decade ago, where he argues that the benefits of GoF research outweigh the potential pandemic risk. GoF research consists of genetically altering an organism, such as a virus, in order to gain an increased understanding of its function, work that was taking place at the infamous Wuhan Institute of Virology in China. “In an unlikely but conceivable turn of events, what if that scientist becomes infected with the virus, which leads to an outbreak and ultimately triggers a pandemic?,” Fauci asks in his 2012 paper.
He goes on to say that GoF research is “important work,” clearly stating that the benefits “outweigh the risks.” Musk argues that “‘Gain-of-function’ in this context is just another way of saying ‘bioweapon.'” He also points out that Fauci’s wife, Christine Grady, is the head of bioethics at the National Institutes of Health, where she is “the person who is supposed to make sure that Fauci behaves ethically.” There is mounting evidence pointing to the fact that the COVID-19 virus originated from a leak at the Wuhan lab, despite insistence from the government and from Fauci himself that this was not the case. It was revealed earlier this year that many scientists in Britain and the United States were more concerned about keeping “international harmony” than with opening the debate regarding the lab-leak theory.
The document explains that both the FDA and ATSDR have raised concerns about the negative effects of aluminum exposure in humans. Scientific studies have shown that small amounts of aluminum can interfere with cellular and metabolic processes in the nervous system. Some of the most damaging effects of aluminum range from motor skill impairment to encephalopathy (altered mental state, personality changes, difficulty thinking, loss of memory, seizures, coma, and more). Studies have also shown that adverse effects of aluminum may not be restricted to neurological conditions.* A study referenced in the PIC document and published in Academic Pediatrics found that asthma occurred in 1 in 183 vaccinated children for every 1 mg (1,000 mcg) increase in aluminum exposure.
In the United States, up to 22 doses of aluminum-containing vaccines are administered to children, with 11 doses administered from birth to 6 months of age. “Overexposure to aluminum may lead to significant harm,” said Dr. Shira Miller, founder and president of Physicians for Informed Consent. “In California, where PIC is headquartered, since Senate Bill 277 (SB 277) was enacted in 2015, numerous doses of aluminum-containing vaccines are mandated for public and private K-12 school attendance — with no exceptions for religious or personal belief exemptions. PIC asserts that vaccine mandates are unscientific and unethical and a threat to public health. SB 277, and any other law that coerces vaccination, needs to be repealed.”
After the Florida Supreme Court accepted Gov. Ron DeSantis’ request to impanel a statewide grand jury to investigate mRNA COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, “health experts” fear the move “betrays decades of established procedure designed to ensure the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, and only serves to stoke further immunization fears.” Brian Castrucci, president and CEO of public health group the de Beaumont Foundation, told The Hill that the governor “appears to be focused on creating fear around vaccines that have been shown to be safe and effective.” “These vaccines have been tested and scrutinized more than any other vaccine, and they continue to save lives. Vaccine safety is not a partisan issue and attempting to make it one puts lives at risk,” he went on.
At a roundtable earlier in December, DeSantis was joined by Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo and other health experts telling their personal stories and experience dealing with adverse effects of the mRNA vaccines. Doctors warned that more research should have been conducted to weigh the risk and benefits for certain age groups and between men and women. For example, Ladapo’s Department of Health warn of a higher risk of cardiac death particularly among young males. “It is against the law to mislead and to misrepresent, particularly when you’re talking about the efficacy of a drug,” DeSantis said of the mRNA vaccine manufacturers. The petition to the Court argued it is “likely” the companies and those who benefit from the vaccines made misleading claims to consumers “for financial gain.”
It specifically points out Moderna and Pfizer’s claims about preventing the COVID-19 disease with “94.1% efficacy” and “91.3% vaccine efficacy.” Earlier in December, DeSantis also announced that a public health integrity committee will be established. The board will advise the public and provide oversight moving forward of the public health establishment. Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at Johns Hopkins University and former principal deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, told The Hill that DeSantis’ request is not a good example of a “legitimate avenue” for scrutinizing vaccine recommendations.
“This is turning a matter of health and science into a political wedge issue, with the likely consequence that many people will be misled into placing themselves and their families at risk of serious illness and death,” he said. At the roundtable, DeSantis slammed ‘experts’ for dismissing dissenting opinions. “Part of the reason I think it’s been a bad response is because from the very beginning, you had a lot of arrogance, that it’s our way or the highway, and anyone that offers any type of a dissenting opinion, and they were censoring from day one, people that would write anti lock down things in March of 2020, April 2020, some of those would get taken down off some of these big tech platforms,” DeSantis said. “Anything [the CDC will] put out, you just assume, at this point, that it’s not worth the paper that it’s printed on.”
A recent paper published in Science confirms what many of us have been saying for well over a year now: repeated injections with modified mRNA encapsulated by LNPs messes up your immune system. It messes it up in a specific way. We have evidence from this work that the fibrosis and organ destruction we are witnessing in countless numbers of folks post COVID injection, is due to the shots and more specifically, likely due to the eventual class switching to IgG4 and subsequent prevalence (perhaps dominance) of this antibody subclass. Just so that you know, the typical relative percentages of the four subclasses of IgG in the blood are the following: 60-70% IgG1, 20-30% IgG2, 5-8% IgG3, 1-3% IgG4. So if IgG4 percentages are much higher than 1-3% in the blood, then something is out of the ordinary.
It may even manifest pathologically. To reiterate from my last Substack article, the authors found a 48,075% increase (from 0.04% – 19.27%) in spike-specific IgG4 antibodies in test subjects between the 2nd and 3rd injections of the Comirnaty product, so I suppose this would translate to a presence of IgG4 in the blood at levels higher than 1-3%. Probably closer to 20%? In any case, the shift in IgG subclass ratios is notable following the 2nd and 3rd injections. Before I dig into IgG4RD, I want to make something clear. The role of IgG4 as a ‘tolerizing antibody’ is inherently linked to T regulatory cells (Tregs) – the immune ‘tolerancers’: IgG4 is not directly responsible for tolerization. This means that IgG4 is not so much the tolerizer, as it is a medium for tolerization via Tregs.
I think calling it a tolerizing antibody is appropriate. I have provided background on Tregs in a previous Substack, but I will give a very quick summary here of their role in immunological tolerance – and also what immunological tolerance is! Immunological tolerance is the process of making sure that your immune system doesn’t turn on you. Imagine if you didn’t have a system in place to ensure that your immune cells only recognized foreign antigens as bag guys? Imagine what would happen, therefore, if your immune cells recognized your antigens as bad guys? Maybe… autoimmunity? An antigen (Ag) is a molecule that can bind to a specific antibody or T-cell receptor. Antigens can be proteins, peptides (amino acid chains), polysaccharides (chains of monosaccharides/simple sugars), lipids, or nucleic acids.
Throwback to subprime. John Bird (smaller of the two Johns) died aged 86 yesterday.
Artist Guillaume Legros paints on grass and mostly on hill & mountain sides: he has to wait for sunny days, but when this happens, slopes become immense artworks. And his paint is safe for the environment
BREAKING NEWS: DARPA Unclassified documents confirm SARS-CoV-2 was created by EcoHealth Alliance at the Wuhan Institute of Virology coordinated by Peter Daszak. It was designed to be deliberately virulent and humanized resulting in 6.5 million deaths. Anthony Fauci was involved. pic.twitter.com/qccdzftUjh
Elon Musk @elonmusk: “Much more to The Twitter Files: Covid Editon than this introductory thread. Follow-up piece to come next week, featuring leading doctors & researchers from Harvard, Stanford & other institutions. (Many of whom were, of course, actively suppressed on Twitter).”
Author David Zweig also has a longer article here. I’ll start off with his Twitter thread.
– By censoring info that was true but inconvenient to U.S. govt. policy
– By discrediting doctors and other experts who disagreed
– By suppressing ordinary users, including some sharing the CDC’s *own data*
2. So far the Twitter Files have focused on evidence of Twitter’s secret blacklists; how the company functioned as a kind of subsidiary of the FBI; and how execs rewrote the platform’s rules to accommodate their own political desires.
3. What we have yet to cover is Covid. This reporting, for The Free Press, @thefp, is one piece of that important story.
4. The United States government pressured Twitter and other social media platforms to elevate certain content and suppress other content about Covid-19.
5. Internal files at Twitter that I viewed while on assignment for @thefp showed that both the Trump and Biden administrations directly pressed Twitter executives to moderate the platform’s pandemic content according to their wishes.
6. At the onset of the pandemic, according to meeting notes, the Trump admin was especially concerned about panic buying. They came looking for “help from the tech companies to combat misinformation” about “runs on grocery stores.” But . . . there were runs on grocery stores.
7. It wasn’t just Twitter. The meetings with the Trump White House were also attended by Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others.
8. When the Biden admin took over, one of their first meeting requests with Twitter executives was on Covid. The focus was on “anti-vaxxer accounts.” Especially Alex Berenson.
9. In the summer of 2021, president Biden said social media companies were “killing people” for allowing vaccine misinformation. Berenson was suspended hours after Biden’s comments, and kicked off the platform the following month.
10. Berenson sued (and then settled with) Twitter. In the legal process Twitter was compelled to release certain internal communications, which showed direct White House pressure on the company to take action on Berenson.
Today’s edition, dropped by journalist David Zweig, focuses on ‘how Twitter rigged the Covid debate’ by taking direction from both the Trump and Biden administrations (while at the same time trying to censor the former president). What’s somewhat notable is how aggressive government (and ex-government) officials were in trying to stifle free speech, while Twitter’s non-government-linked employees would often push back (and then totally fold) – a theme we’ve observed in previous drops. In one such instance, former head of Twitter’s Trust & Safety team Yoel Roth tells former FBI lawyer and then-Twitter Deputy General Counsel Jim Baker to calm his tits over a Trump tweet. Of course, in the end the government typically got its way, as you will read below.
Zweig, who was granted access to internal files while on assignment for The Free Press, notes that “both the Trump and Biden administrations directly pressed Twitter executives to moderate the platform’s pandemic content according to their wishes.” What’s more, the censorship effort extended to Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others. In July 2021, then-U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy released a 22-page advisory concerning what the World Health Organization referred to as an “infodemic,” and called on social media platforms to do more to shut down “misformation.” “We are asking them to step up,” Murthy said. “We can’t wait longer for them to take aggressive action.”
That’s the message the White House had already taken directly to Twitter executives in private channels. One of the Biden administration’s first meeting requests was about Covid, with a focus on “anti-vaxxer accounts,” according to a meeting summary by Lauren Culbertson, Twitter’s Head of U.S. Public Policy. They were especially concerned about Alex Berenson, a journalist skeptical of lockdowns and mRNA vaccines, who had hundreds of thousands of followers on the platform: By the summer of 2021, the day after Murthy’s memo, Biden announced publicly that social media companies were “killing people” by allowing misinformation about vaccines. Just hours later, Twitter locked Berenson out of his account, and then permanently suspended him the next month.
Berenson sued Twitter. He ultimately settled with the company, and is now back on the platform. As part of the lawsuit, Twitter was compelled to provide certain internal communications. They revealed that the White House had directly met with Twitter employees and pressured them to take action on Berenson. The summary of meetings by Culbertson, emailed to colleagues in December 2022, adds new evidence of the White House’s pressure campaign, and illustrates how it tried to directly influence what content was allowed on Twitter. Culbertson wrote that the Biden team was “very angry” that Twitter had not been more aggressive in deplatforming multiple accounts. They wanted Twitter to do more.
Yeah, we could use some summaries. Authors so far: Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, Michael Shellenberger, Lee Fang, David Zweig, Leighton Woodhouse, Abigail Shrier. And perhaps others?! I hadn’t even noticed the last two.
The “Twitter Files” have now officially had more sequels than Planet of the Apes and can be difficult to absorb. Thus, I don’t think they’re getting the attention they deserve. For those of you not following the “Twitter Files” drops, let me catch you up on what I believe are some of the most important parts:
• The FBI paid Twitter $3.5 million to censor conservatives.
• The FBI pressured Twitter to give them information that would legally require warrants, though they did not have warrants.
• Leading up to the 2020 election, the FBI would eventually hold weekly meetings with Twitter and tell them whose tweets to squelch and which accounts they wanted to be suspended. Almost all were those of conservatives.
• The FBI knew the Hunter Biden laptop story was real, they knew it was coming out — weeks before the 2020 election — and they told Big Tech to expect a “Russian disinformation” drop and squelch the story. That means the FBI corrupted the election to help Joe “totally showered with his daughter, Ashley” Biden.
• There are so many former FBI employees at Twitter that they have their own Slack channel.
In response to the “Twitter Files” detailing how the FBI-Twitter circle jerk was real, the bureau called the allegations “conspiracy theories” but never actually denied its relationship with Twitter. Elon Musk provided the world with an early Christmas present on Saturday with Twitter Files Pt. IX. I’ll sum it up so you can avoid the Twitter mess and get to the relevant facts:
• The FBI was a portal, specifically the San Francisco office, for other government agencies to get to Twitter to surveil and censor Americans.
• Hiding under the title of Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), actors from local police departments to the Department of Defense (DOD) and the CIA were watching and censoring Americans — not foreigners.
• Twitter wasn’t the only Big Tech firm hip-deep in spooks. The feds had their fingers in Verizon, Reddit, Facebook, Microsoft, and, for some reason, Pinterest.
• As the 2020 election neared, the FBI-FITF assailed Twitter with hundreds of requests to censor Twitter accounts and tweets. There were so many requests that Twitter execs had to come up with a system to prioritize them.
• FBI employees were tasked with doing word searches on Twitter, looking for violations of Twitter policies — instead of chasing actual criminals.
• The FBI had roughly 80 agents working with Big Tech companies. It is unclear how many members of the DOD, CIA, etc. were involved
The “Twitter Files” released by Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk, show as many as 80 agents targeting social-media posters for censorship on the site. This included alleged briefings that Twitter officials said was the reason they spiked the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop story before the 2020 election. The FBI sent 150 messages on back channels to just one Twitter official to flag accounts. One Twitter executive expressed unease over the FBI’s pressure, declaring: “They are probing & pushing everywhere they can (including by whispering to congressional staff).” We also have learned that Twitter hired a number of retired FBI agents, including former FBI general counsel James Baker, who was a critical and controversial figure in past bureau scandals over political bias.
It is not clear what is more chilling — the menacing role played by the FBI in Twitter’s censorship program, or its mendacious response to the disclosure of that role. The FBI has issued a series of “nothing-to-see-here” statements regarding the Twitter Files. In its latest statement, the FBI insists it did not command Twitter to take any specific action when flagging accounts to be censored. Of course, it didn’t have to threaten the company — because we now have an effective state media by consent rather than coercion. Moreover, an FBI warning tends to concentrate the minds of most people without the need for a specific threat. Finally, the files show that the FBI paid Twitter millions as part of this censorship system — a windfall favorably reported to Baker before he was fired from Twitter by Musk.
Criticizing the FBI is now ‘disinformation’. Responding to the disclosures and criticism, an FBI spokesperson declared: “The men and women of the FBI work every day to protect the American public. It is unfortunate that conspiracy theorists and others are feeding the American public misinformation with the sole purpose of attempting to discredit the agency.” Arguably, “working every day to protect the American public” need not include censoring the public to protect it from errant or misleading ideas. However, it is the attack on its critics that is most striking. While the FBI denounced critics of an earlier era as communists and “fellow travelers,” it now uses the same attack narrative to label its critics as “conspiracy theorists.”
After Watergate, there was bipartisan support for reforming the FBI and intelligence agencies. Today, that cacophony of voices has been replaced by crickets, as much of the media imposes another effective blackout on coverage of the Twitter Files. This media silence suggests that the FBI found the “sweet spot” on censorship, supporting the views of the political and media establishment. As for the rest of us, the FBI now declares us to be part of a disinformation danger which it is committed to stamping out — “conspiracy theorists” misleading the public simply by criticizing the bureau. Clearly, this is the time for a new Church Committee — and time to reform the FBI.
The FBI is now, tragically, in freefall. The public is at the point, first, of asking what improper or illegal behavior will the bureau not pursue, and what, if anything, must be done to reform or save a once great but now discredited agency. Consider the last four directors, the public faces of the FBI for the last 22 years. Ex-director Robert Mueller testified before Congress that he simply would not or could not talk about the fraudulent Steele dossier. He claimed that it was not the catalyst for his special counsel investigation of Donald Trump’s alleged ties with the Russians when, of course, it was. Mueller also testified that he was “not familiar” with Fusion GPS, although Glenn Simpson’s opposition research firm subsidized the dossier through various cutouts that led back to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. And the skullduggery in the FBI-subsidized dossier helped force the appointment of Mueller himself.
While under congressional oath, Mueller’s successor James Comey on some 245 occasions claimed that he “could not remember,” “could not recall,” or “did not know” when asked simple questions fundamental to his own involvement with the Russian collusion hoax. Comey, remember, memorialized a confidential conversation with President Trump on an FBI device and then used a third party to leak it to the New York Times. In his own words, the purpose was to force a special counsel appointment. The gambit worked, and his friend and predecessor Robert Mueller got the job. Twenty months and $40 million later, Mueller’s investigation tore the country apart but could find no evidence that Trump, as Steele alleged, colluded with the Russians to throw the 2016 election.
Comey also seems to have reassured the president that he was not the target of an ongoing FBI investigation, when in fact, Trump was. Comey was never indicted for either misleading or lying to a congressional committee or leaking a document variously considered either confidential or classified. While under oath, his interim successor, Andrew McCabe, on a number of occasions flat-out lied to federal investigators. Or as the office of the inspector general put it: “As detailed in this report, the OIG found that then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lacked candor, including under oath, on multiple occasions in connection with describing his role in connection with a disclosure to the WSJ, and that this conduct violated FBI Offense Codes 2.5 and 2.6. The OIG also concluded that McCabe’s disclosure of the existence of an ongoing investigation in the manner described in this report violated the FBI’s and the Department’s media policy and constituted misconduct.”
McCabe purportedly believed Trump was working with the Russians as a veritable spy—a false accusation based entirely on the FBI’s paid, incoherent prevaricator Christopher Steele. And so, McCabe discussed with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein methods to have the president’s conversations wiretapped via a Rosenstein-worn stealthy recording device, presumably without a warrant. Note the FBI ruined the lives of General Michael Flynn and Carter Page with false allegations of criminal conduct or untruthful testimonies. Under current director Christopher Wray, the FBI has surveilled parents at school boards meetings—on the prompt of the National School Boards Association, whose president wrote Attorney General Merrick Garland alleging that bothersome parents upset over critical race indoctrination groups were supposedly violence-prone and veritable terrorists. Under Wray, the FBI staged the psychodramatic Mar-a-Lago raid on an ex-president’s home. The FBI likely leaked the post facto myths that the seized documents contained “nuclear codes” or “nuclear secrets.”
The era of the rotating cast of public health czars at the White House may finally be over. Presidents for decades have brought fresh faces to the White House to coordinate federal responses to threats such as Covid-19, mpox, Ebola, AIDS, and the bird flu. Now, Congress aims to give pandemic response a permanent home at the White House.Next year’s government funding package includes a brand-new White House Office of Pandemic Preparedness and Response Policy that would have a director appointed by the president and up to 25 staff members. “They’re not simply going to retire the role that [White House Covid-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha] plays when the emergency declaration ends,” said J. Stephen Morrison, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the director of its Global Health Policy Center.
“You can’t just keep piling on coordinators, disease by disease.” The new director’s main responsibilities would be to advise the president on preparing for pandemics and other biological threats, to coordinate response activities across the federal government — including research into new countermeasures and distribution of medical supplies — and to evaluate the government’s readiness. The director would also be a member of the Domestic Policy Council and the National Security Council. “The functions outlined are exactly what is needed at the White House, and what I’ve been calling for for years, to avoid having any single agency take the lead on something that overlaps most departments in the U.S. government,” said Ken Bernard, who worked in biodefense policy in both the Clinton and George W. Bush White Houses.
Kiev has proposed holding a so-called “peace summit” by the end of February to mark the one-year anniversary since Russia launched its military operation against Ukraine. The initiative was announced by that country’s Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, who also set out conditions for inviting Moscow to the event. In an interview with AP published on Monday, Kuleba stated that Ukraine will do whatever it can to win its ongoing military conflict with Russia in 2023, but admitted that diplomacy always plays an important role. “Every war ends in a diplomatic way,” Kuleba said, adding that “every war ends as a result of the actions taken on the battlefield and at the negotiating table.”
The minister noted that the UN was “the best venue for holding this summit, because it is not about making a favor to a certain country” and suggested that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres could act as mediator for the event. “He has proven himself to be an efficient mediator and an efficient negotiator, and most importantly, as a man of principle and integrity. So we would welcome his active participation,” Kuleba said about Guterres. Asked about the matter of inviting Russia to this “peace summit,” Kuleba insisted Moscow must first face an “international court” and be prosecuted for supposed war crimes. He also dismissed Putin’s recent calls for negotiations, stating that everything Russia does on the battlefield “proves” that Moscow does not want to talk.
Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s addressed G20 leaders in Indonesia and laid out a ten-point “peace formula,” which includes the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the withdrawal of Russian troops, an “all for all” prisoner swap, and a tribunal for those Kiev accuses of aggression. Russia, meanwhile, has insisted that Kiev must “recognize the reality on the ground” as a prerequisite for any peace negotiations, including the new status of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye as parts of Russia.
The CIA has been using a European NATO country’s intelligence services to conduct sabotage attacks inside Russia since the February invasion of Ukraine, investigative journalist Jack Murphy reported on Saturday, citing unnamed former US intelligence and military officials. The report said that no US personnel are on the ground in Russia but that the operations are being directed by the CIA. The US is using an ally’s intelligence services to add an extra layer of plausible deniability, and a former US special operations official told Murphy that layer was a major factor in President Biden signing off on the attacks. Murphy said he didn’t name the NATO country whose intelligence services were being used in the report because “doing so might endanger the operational security of cells that are still operational inside of Russia.”
The report appeared on Murphy’s personal website, and in a note at the end of the piece, he explained why it wasn’t published by a media outlet. “While working with editors at mainstream publications I was asked to do things that were illegal and unethical in one instance, and in another instance I felt that a senior CIA official was able to edit my article by making off the record statements, before he leaked a story to The New York Times to undermine this piece,” he wrote. According to the report, the covert campaign inside Russia has been years in the making. Two former military officials said that the NATO country’s spy services had hidden a cache of explosives and equipment in Russia more than a decade ago, and some of the gear has been used recently.
A former US special operations official and US person briefed on the campaign said that the CIA didn’t get involved with the NATO country’s operations inside Russia until 2014. The first time sleeper cells entered Russia that were directed by both the CIA and the NATO ally’s spy service was in 2016, and more entered the country in the following years. The NATO ally provided the undercover operatives with stories to explain their presence in Russia and documents to back them up. The report said that around the time Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, the NATO ally’s spy service activated its sleeper cells inside Russia using covert communication, and they were ready for orders on what targets to strike.
Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has accused Western powers of lying, causing a rift that will remain for decades to come, and convincing Moscow that there is no sense in trying to reach an agreement with them. Medevedev, who serves as deputy chair of the national Security Council, wrote in a keynote article on Sunday that the year 2022 has shattered illusions about the West, proving that its promises and principles cannot taken at face value. “Alas, there is nobody in the West we could deal with about anything for any reason,” he wrote. Medvedev went on to say that nations that claim global leadership deceived Russia when they claimed NATO expansion in Europe posed no threat to it.
They again lied when they backed a peace roadmap for Ukraine, which in reality was meant to give Kiev time to prepare for an eventual armed conflict with Russia, he added. The conflict in Ukraine is a war against Russia by a proxy, which was long in the making, Medvedev claimed. The behavior of Washington and others this year “is the last warning to all nations: there can be no business with the Anglo-Saxon world [because] it is a thief, a swindler, a card-sharp that could do anything.” For Russia, there will be no restoration of normal relations with the West for years or even decades to come, Medvedev predicted. “From now on we will do without them until a new generation of sensible politicians comes to power there. We will be careful and alert. We will develop relations with the rest of the world,” he wrote.
However, Medvedev argued that the loss of Western leadership could be a net positive, considering what he called the moral bankruptcy of the US-led neo-colonial order. Elites that caused the financial meltdown of 2008 and the ongoing global crisis are unable to claim global leadership, he wrote. “The West is incapable of offering to the world any new ideas, which would take humanity forward, solve global problems, or provide collective security,” the former president insisted. Medvedev expects that several regional blocs will emerge in the near future, each with its own values and rules, and that Russia will have its place in the new order.
A very strange Twitter thread from Medvedev. Elon Musk reacted: “Those are definitely the most absurd predictions I’ve ever heard, while also showing astonishing lack of awareness of the progress of artificial intelligence and sustainable energy..”
On the New Year’s Eve, everybody’s into making predictions Many come up with futuristic hypotheses, as if competing to single out the wildest, and even the most absurd ones. Here’s our humble contribution.
1. Oil price will rise to $150 a barrel, and gas price will top $5.000 per 1.000 cubic meters
2. The UK will rejoin the EU
3. The EU will collapse after the UK’s return; Euro will drop out of use as the former EU currency
4. Poland and Hungary will occupy western regions of the formerly existing Ukraine
5. The Fourth Reich will be created, encompassing the territory of Germany and its satellites, i.e., Poland, the Baltic states, Czechia, Slovakia, the Kiev Republic, and other outcasts
6. War will break out between France and the Fourth Reich. Europe will be divided, Poland repartitioned in the process
7. Northern Ireland will separate from the UK and join the Republic of Ireland
8. Civil war will break out in the US, California. and Texas becoming independent states as a result. Texas and Mexico will form an allied state. Elon Musk’ll win the presidential election in a number of states which, after the new Civil War’s end, will have been given to the GOP
9. All the largest stock markets and financial activity will leave the US and Europe and move to Asia
10. The Bretton Woods system of monetary management will collapse, leading to the IMF and World Bank crash. Euro and Dollar will stop circulating as the global reserve currencies. Digital fiat currencies will be actively used instead
Season greetings to you all, Anglo-Saxon friends, and their happily oinking piglets!
A veteran member of the European Central Bank’s rate-setting council believes it has only just passed the halfway point of its tightening cycle and needs to be “in there for the long game” to tame high inflation, Report informs referring to Financial Times. After more than a decade of aggressive easing, 2022 was the year when many leading central banks began to raise rates in response to soaring prices. The ECB increased borrowing costs by 2.5 percentage points, capping the year with its fourth rise in a row to leave its benchmark deposit rate at 2 percent.
Klaas Knot, head of the Dutch central bank and one of the governing council’s more hawkish rate-setters, told the Financial Times that, with five policy meetings between now and July 2023, the ECB would achieve “quite a decent pace of tightening” through half percentage point rises in the months ahead before borrowing costs eventually peaked by the summer. In the eurozone, consumer price inflation hit a record high of 10.6 percent in the year to October – more than five times the ECB’s 2 percent target. In the Netherlands, inflation has been higher still, peaking at 17.1 percent in September. However, growth in the bloc is grinding to a halt, leaving central bankers facing a delicate balancing act between fighting inflation and exacerbating the slowdown.
Moscow is ready to restart supplies of natural gas to the EU via the Yamal-Europe Pipeline, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak said on Monday. He noted that shipments through the route were halted for political reasons. According to the official, the EU remains a relevant market for Russia, which is able to resume supplies to a region suffering from a gas shortage. “For example, the Yamal-Europe Pipeline, which was shut down for political reasons, remains unused,” Novak said. Gas supplies via the pipeline, which usually flow westward, have been mostly reversed since Poland terminated a supply contract with Russia ahead of its end-2022 expiry date, after rejecting Moscow’s demand for ruble payments. The Polish leg of the route is currently being used to pump stored gas from Germany.
In response to Warsaw’s move, Russian state-run energy giant Gazprom cut off supplies, saying it could no longer send gas via Poland, while Moscow imposed sanctions against the firm that owns the Polish section of the Yamal-Europe pipeline. Although Russian gas deliveries to the EU via the Nord Stream and Yamal-Europe pipelines have been halted, Russian gas is still being supplied to certain European buyers via a transit line through Ukraine and the TurkStream pipeline through Türkiye. Despite the persisting problems, Novak says he still sees the EU as a viable market for Russia. “Today we can confidently say that there is a stable demand for our gas. Therefore, we continue to consider Europe as a potential market for our products. It is clear that a large-scale campaign was launched against us, which ended with acts of sabotage against the Nord Stream pipelines,” he said. The market for LNG also remains open, according to Novak, who noted that Russian LNG supplies to the EU are expected to grow to 21 billion cubic meters by the end of the year.
Germany faces a serious risk of going bankrupt due to the government’s inability to find a viable solution to the current energy crisis, the Vice President of the Bundestag, Wolfgang Kubicki, said in an interview published in the national Sunday newspaper Bild am Sonntag. According to the official, Germans now have the impression that their country is on the way to becoming a “dysfunctional state.” “Infrastructure, energy prices and the inability of the Bundeswehr [the country’s armed forces] to protect us are challenges that require immediate action from the German authorities, otherwise things will go wrong,” he said.
Kubicki blasted Economy Minister Robert Habeck over purchases of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the US for “a lot of money” while at the same time refusing to mine cheaper shale gas in Germany “for purely ideological reasons.” He added that the German authorities should revise their approach to nuclear power plants, which should continue operating while the country is facing an energy crisis. “We don’t want gas and oil supplies from Russia any more, at the same time our ‘green’ friends are restarting coal-fired power plants, while preventing a reasonable extension of the life of nuclear power plants,” Kubicki said, commenting on Habeck’s latest decisions.
The MP called for a change in the government’s strategy and the rejection of excessive financial assistance in the face of the energy crisis. “If we continue to pursue the policies of paying out money for years as part of the fight against the energy crisis, then we are at risk of national bankruptcy if not state socialism,” Kubicki warned. According to the Vice Speaker, the funds that Berlin is planning to spend on additional purchases of energy resources amid the crunch were originally destined for investments in other areas. “This money cannot be printed or covered by taxpayers. We cannot exist in a state of financial crisis for a long time due to the risk of shortage of funds to support other areas,” he said.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that “he and Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will change Europe.” In an interview for the Italian newspaper La Stampa, Morawiecki explained that Europe and power should return to stronger nation states. “We do not believe in a superstate of 27 EU member states. We want a return of a union of homelands,” underlined the Polish prime minister. Morawiecki pointed out that Europe has to choose between an authentic solidarity of equal states, or a model of a single superstate in which “decisions will be made in a couple of the largest capitals, disregarding other countries.” Referring to Russian aggression in Ukraine, Morawiecki pointed out that the Ukraine war will end only with the defeat of Vladimir Putin.
“We have warned that Russia’s colonial ambitions are a threat to eastern European countries and the entire EU,” said Morawiecki, adding that Europe must do everything to aid Ukraine, as the fall of Kyiv would open the way for Russia to conquer Europe. “Together with [Italian] Prime Minister Meloni, we stand to defend Ukraine. We realistically assess the threat posed by the Russian Federation,” the Polish leader added. According to Morawiecki, some European nations are more acutely aware of the Russian threat due to their past experiences. “That is why we all think about armaments and protecting against the threat from the East,” he explained Meloni often refers to policies pursued by Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) government, using them as a model and an example. She often mentions that European conservative parties need to cooperate, previously saying: “We will transform ideas into a government policy, just as our friends from the Czech and Polish republics have done.”
Donald Trump tore into his Republican rival, Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, on Monday over his role in helping pass a bipartisan $1.7 trillion ‘omnibus’ spending bill to keep federal government agencies and the military funded through September 2023. The former president dusted off an old favorite monicker of his for McConnell, calling him an ‘Old Crow,’ while also claiming that Democrats ‘must have something’ on the Kentucky legislator after he was one of 18 Senate Republicans to vote in favor of the bill. He had stopped using the nickname for a time after McConnell said ‘Old Crow’ was his favorite brand of Kentucky bourbon, and even once gifted bottles in a veiled dismissal of Trump’s taunts. Trump made his thoughts on the spending bill clear, deriding it as ‘ominous’ and claiming it would not have been passed under his administration.
He also hurled a racist insult he previously lodged at McConnell’s wife, his own former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. ‘The Marxist Democrats must have something really big on Mitch McConnell in order to get him and some of his friendly “Republican” Senators to pass the horrendous “All Democrat, All the Way” OMINOUS Bill,’ Trump wrote on his Truth Social app. ‘It gives Border Security to other countries, but ZERO $’s to the U.S., it fully funds the corrupt “Justice” Department, FBI (which RIGGED the Presidential Election!), and even the Trump Hating Special “Prosecutor.” It is also a massive giveaway & capitulation to CHINA, making COCO CHOW so happy!’ He wrote in a follow-up post, ‘If the Old Crow waited just 10 days, the Republican Majority in the House could have made the “Ominous” Bill MUCH, MUCH, MUCH BETTER.’
‘Just another win for the Democrats, Mitch, that wouldn’t have happened if “Trump” were President!’ Trump concluded. A pair of Republican senators loudly denounced McConnell on Sunday over his shepherding through the $1.7 trillion bill. The funding package includes fiscal victories for both parties. Many on the right who voted for it made clear that it was not the fiscal agenda they preferred but believed it was necessary to keep the military and other critical aspects of the government running smoothly. But federal spending priority talks have divided the GOP. Many on the right having opposed working with Democrats on where the government spends dollars next year.
Not so many years ago, the force counter-balancing criminal misconduct in the government was the news media, even if the reporters and editors claimed to be on the political Left. Or, shall we say, especially if they were on the Left, because the Left in those days fervently championed free speech. Reporters of that long-ago day (Seymour Hersh, John Sack, and Michael Herr) would be out digging up the true facts of a big event — say, the US Military’s deadly blunders and scams in Vietnam — and editors would plaster screaming headlines about it on the front page: GENERAL SAYS “WE HAD TO DESTROY THE VILLAGE TO SAVE IT!” When the venerable news-spieler Walter Cronkite of CBS began to hint that the war was a fiasco, public opinion across the country shifted decisively against it.
Of course, those crimes and sins were committed against people in distant lands. Now, the administrative weight of the US is rolling over its own citizens, and over the Constitution — and the news media is uniformly and enthusiastically in favor of suppressing the news about it. How that happened is one of several cosmic mysteries of our time, along with who exactly runs “Joe Biden,” and how did the many nations of Western Civ adopt in lock-step Covid-19 policies aimed at harming their own people? No reporter even of the alt.news division even tried to get inside the head of New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet during the years of RussiaGate. Did he believe all that crap his paper was putting out? Now, you realize, it’s established fact (in the federal court record) that the Steele Dossier and everything spun off of it was a flim-flam confected by Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
But even at the time, say 2017 to 2019, independent journalists were reporting the truth about it — for example, the FBI’s long-running fraud in the FISA Court — while The New York Times ardently inveighed against any emerging fact-pattern that broke through its wall of propaganda. The Times was showered with awards for that, including the Pulitzer Prize for its completely fallacious RussiaGate coverage. One easy answer is that The Times and many of its “legacy” cohorts — The WashPo, CBS, NBC, and ABC — have volunteered to be the public relations office of the Democratic Party, covering-up anything and everything the Party does against the public interest. And while that appears to be the case, it still doesn’t explain how these outfits became the enemies of truth itself, and by extension, enemies of reality.
A new Church Committee. Would it make any sense? It was hard enough to get anywhere investigating US intel in 1975, but now?! Musk has added Lee Fang to his team of journalists, and his contribution is CENTCOM files. They are all involved, all the agencies, and which politician, let alone a whole committee, will stand up to them? Twitter just sold themselves to the agencies; that was their business model.
“Brookings: Watergate shocked the American public and spurred many of its representatives in Congress to demand an investigation into the past activities of [the FBI, CIA,] NSA and others. The result was the creation of two congressional committees in 1975, chaired by Frank Church (D-ID) in the Senate and Otis Pike (D-N.Y.) in the House of Representatives. Their hearings exposed secret, arguably illegal wiretapping, bugging, and harassment of American citizens, including Supreme Court justices, reporters, and government officials, all in the name of collecting intelligence about threats to national security. The most notorious case, first exposed in the 1960s and fully documented by the Church Committee, was the wiretapping of Martin Luther King, Jr. by the NSA and by the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover, who believed him to be part of a Communist conspiracy.”
In the wake of the most recent ‘Twitter Files’ release – which showed that the FBI infiltrated the social media giant, then primed its ‘Trust & Safety’ head to interpret things like the Hunter Biden release as foreign influence – CEO Elon Musk asked Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) whether he approved ‘hidden state censorship in direct violation of the Constitution.”
As (outgoing) Chair of House Intelligence, did you approve hidden state censorship in direct violation of the Constitution of the United States @RepAdamSchiff?
Some have speculated that the speed at which Twitter reacted to the NY Post’s Hunter Biden bombshell was the result of a “powerful Dem” reaching out to the FBI’s operative, Elvis Chan. Musk also advocated for a modern-day Church Commission, responding to a suggestion promoted by investor David Sacks.
We need a new Church Commission to investigate why the FBI and Intelligence Community are engaged in social media censorship, including the suppression of the Hunter Biden story. https://t.co/eUjK8RpY4S
“Hear, hear!!” Musk replied. Of note, thought leaders such as Eric Weinstein have been calling for a new Church Commission for years to unravel revelations that the FBI participated in the Russiagate hoax against candidate – and then sitting President, Donald Trump. Meanwhile, in response to the Twitter Files revelation that the FBI was deeply embedded at Twitter, Rep. Jim Jordan said: “I have concerns about whether the government was running a misinformation operation on We the People.” Perhaps Jordan will get behind the new Church Commission idea?
The FBI handed nearly $3.5 million of taxpayers money to Twitter to pay its staff to handle requests from the bureau as it sought to ban accounts. A Twitter employee wrote in a February 2020 email that the company’s Safety, Content & Law Enforcement (SCALE) had ‘collected $3,415,323’ in less than two years from the FBI for ‘law-enforcement related projects.’ The email, which was revealed by journalist Michael Shellenberger, stated that SCALE had instituted a ‘reimbursement program’ in exchange for devoting staff hours to ‘processing requests from the FBI’. The emails was entitled ‘Run the business – We made money!’. The accounts the FBI asked Twitter to ban were largely linked to conservatives and ‘foreign influence operations’.
Twitter initially believed the Hunter Biden laptop story was ‘Russian disinformation’. It was revealed Monday that Jim Baker, Twitter’s top lawyer and ex-FBI general counsel, personally intervened to say it should be banned. Baker told Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of security, that the laptop story should be blocked – a day after getting a top secret briefing from his former FBI colleagues. He wrote: ‘There are some facts that indicate the materials may have been hacked. We simply need more information.’ We went on to write: ‘I’m guessing we are going to restrict access to their article as violation of our Hacked Materials policy.’ An investigation into Twitter’s behavior around the 2020 presidential election by the incoming Republican majority in the house has been promised with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy telling Fox News this week: ‘This is going to be a much bigger situation than people realize.’
Current Twitter CEO Elon Musk said of the emails: ‘Government paid Twitter millions of dollars to censor info from the public.’ In a previous dump, journalist Matt Taibbi tweeted: ‘Twitter’s contact with the FBI was constant and pervasive, as if it were a subsidiary.’ In response to the latest developments, House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy said in an appearance on Mornings with Maria on Fox News: ‘We’re going to do more than just subpoena them. We’re going to change the course of where the FBI is today.’ He went on: ‘Every day we learn something more.’ The congressman from California continued: ‘Why are they [the FBI] able to do this? Working together, using private businesses to go after individuals right before an election, denying the American public the truth?’
Twitter executives have granted the US Defense Department special privileges to use the social media platform for its covert online influence campaigns for at least five years, newly released internal company communications show. Investigative journalist Lee Fang published the eighth batch of documents on Tuesday, after the company’s new owner, Elon Musk, authorized the release in an effort to provide transparency about Twitter’s past decision-making. “Despite promises to shut down covert state-run propaganda networks, Twitter docs show that the social media giant directly assisted the US military’s influence operations,” wrote Fang. The journalist was allowed to make requests for internal Twitter documents through an attorney, “meaning that the search results may not have been exhaustive.”
The exposed collusion spanned since at least 2017, when Nathaniel Kahler, an official working with the US Central Command, sent an email to Twitter, requesting verification and “whitelisting” of several dozen Arab-language accounts CENTCOM was using “to amplify certain messages.” The very same day, Twitter integrity team members applied a “special exemption tag” that essentially granted the accounts the privileges of verification without a visible blue check mark. While the Pentagon allegedly promised not to conceal their affiliation, at some point profile bios and photos of some of these accounts were changed, and they began posing as ordinary users or “unbiased” sources of opinion and information.
Some accounts on the list were promoting US-backed militants in Syria, and anti-Iran propaganda in Iraq. Another was used to justify US drone strikes as “accurate” and only killing terrorists, not civilians, in Yemen. “It sounds like DOD was doing something shady and definitely not in line with what they had presented to us at the time,” one former Twitter employee told The Intercept. Other emails obtained by The Intercept showed that high-level Twitter officials, including former head of trust and safety, Yoel Roth, attorney Stacia Cardille, and deputy general counsel Jim Baker, discussed the collusion as “potentially problematic” in the following years, but allowed many of the accounts to remain active.
In one email, Baker speculated that “DoD might want to give us a timetable for shutting them down in a more prolonged way that will not compromise any ongoing operations or reveal their connections to DoD.” However, none of the emails provided to The Intercept shed any light on what exactly was discussed at the classified meetings with the Pentagon officials. The influence campaign appears to be linked to a larger-scale operation that ran beyond those several dozen Twitter accounts and across many other internet platforms, including Facebook, YouTube and Telegram, as initially highlighted by researchers at Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory back in August, and corroborated by a Washington Post investigation in September.
The White House has declined to comment on the latest revelations from the Twitter Files, which appear to show that the FBI was involved in a campaign to preemptively discredit reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop and quash it after publication. “I’m just going to refer you to the FBI. I’m not going to comment from here about that,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a daily briefing on Monday, when asked about the allegations. The son of current president and then-candidate Joe Biden forgot his laptop at a repair shop in Delaware, the owner of which later was subpoenaed by the FBI to relinquish it. However, he made a copy of the information on the device, which was then handed over to the New York Post during the 2020 election campaign. When the Post published a story about Hunter Biden’s possible influence peddling, Twitter briefly banned users from sharing it on its platform.
According to bestselling author Michael Shellenberger, who was given access to internal Twitter communications by its new owner, Elon Musk, the FBI “primed” the company’s executives to treat the legitimate news as a “hack-and-dump” operation by a malicious actor. The federal agency sent warnings to Twitter about threats of foreign influence operations amid the 2020 elections, Shellenberger reported. It also had former FBI employees – “Bu alumni” – working for Twitter, who supported the narrative and later argued that the laptop was what the agency had been warning about. Ex-FBI General Counsel Jim Baker, who was a prominent figure in the ‘Russiagate’ saga, repeatedly insisted that “the Hunter Biden materials were either faked, hacked, or both, and a violation of Twitter policy,” Shellenberger said.
He added that considering how much time the FBI had to verify the authenticity of the laptop, it was “inconceivable” that Baker believed the New York Post reporting was not legitimate. The FBI took possession of the laptop in December 2019, while the Post published the story in October 2020. Other coverage of the Twitter Files by Shellenberger and journalists Matt Taibbi and Bari Weiss explained how the US intelligence community worked hand-in-glove with the platform to flag speech for suspension that the US government deemed “misinformation.” It also showed the FBI and Twitter locked horns over the agency’s claims of increased activity by ‘propaganda’ bots, of which Twitter said it found no evidence.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk stated on Monday that henceforth only Twitter Blue subscribers will be able to voice their opinions in polls about policy changes on the platform. The billionaire’s comments came after he ran a poll asking users if he should resign, which the majority voted in favor of. Following the poll, one Twitter user suggested that only Blue subscribers, who pay a monthly fee, should be allowed to vote on such matters, since they “actually have skin in the game.” “Good point. Twitter will make that change,” Musk replied. Another user told the platform’s CEO that it’s “unwise to run a poll like this when you are now deep state enemy #1,” claiming that his adversaries have “the biggest bot army on Twitter.” Echoing this sentiment, the third user asked: “did bots brigade the Elon poll yesterday”?
“Interesting,” Musk noted. Twitter Blue is a paid monthly subscription, which adds a distinguishing blue checkmark to a user’s account and offers early access to some of the platform’s new features. For US users, the price starts at $8 per month. Musk launched the poll on Sunday asking Twitter users “should I step down as head of Twitter?” while promising to abide by its results. More than 17 million users took part in the survey, with 57.5% voting that the billionaire should quit. Before the poll concluded, Musk also warned his audience to “be careful what you wish, as you might get it.” He added that “no one wants the job who can actually keep Twitter alive. There is no successor.”
After completing his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter, Musk became its majority owner, which means that no one can force him out. However, in recent weeks, the CEO has introduced a number of controversial changes that have caused a massive public backlash. Those have included loosening the Covid-19 misinformation rules and an announcement that the platform would ban users for posting links to rival social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. In an apparent attempt at damage control, Musk later clarified that the new policy regarding other platforms would be “adjusted,” and that suspensions would only be applied “when that account’s primary purpose is promotion of competitors, which essentially falls under the no spam rule.”
This week the January 6th Committee voted to make criminal referrals to the Justice Department, including the proposed indictment of former President Donald Trump. However, the Committee’s splashy finale lacked any substantial new evidence to make a compelling criminal case against former President Donald Trump. The Committee repackaged largely the same evidence that it has previously put forward over the past year. That is not enough. Indeed, the reliance on a new videotape of former Trump aide Hope Hicks seems a case of putting “hope over experience” in the criminal Justice system. While still based largely on the failure to act, Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Cal.) insisted that “if that’s not criminal, nothing is.” The opposite may be true from a First Amendment perspective. If the failure to act is criminal, it is hard to see what would not be criminal under this standard.
After members like Schiff, again, promised new evidence to support criminal charges, the Committee continued its pattern of rehashing previously known evidence with network-quality videotapes. The failure of the Committee to offer any new and direct evidence of criminal conduct was obvious at the outset. Vice Chair Liz Cheney began her remarks by again detailing what Trump failed to do. It was a repeat of the prior hearings and for some likely left the impression of actors who are refusing to leave the stage long after the audience departed. The one new piece of evidence was largely duplicative. It shows former aide Hope Hicks saying that she also called upon Trump to make a public statement calling for peace and telling him that there is no evidence of systemic fraud.
Nevertheless, the videotape has been heralded by figures like former acting Solicitor General Neil Katyal on MSNBC as “evidence I’ve never seen before from Hope Hicks.” Katyal bizarrely claims “I think that tells you all you need to know about premeditation. Call it criminal intent. The House committees evidence here is very strong.” So all you need for premeditation is the failure to accept the weight of evidence or to act promptly after the start of a riot. Katyal might “call it criminal intent” but many judges would likely call it something else. The fact is that the J6 Committee failed to change many minds largely because of what was on display in the final public meeting. It was the same highly scripted, one-sided account repeated mantra-like for months. There is justifiable anger over these accounts, but this hearing was billed as presenting the case for criminal charges. It missed that mark by a considerable measure.
Of course, to raise obvious legal barriers to prosecution today is to invite an Internet flash mob accusing you for being an insurrectionist or fellow traveler. Major media from the Washington Post to National Public Radio routinely refer to the riot as an insurrection despite a deep disagreement over the characterization of the criminal conduct. The media unrelentingly echoes this one view despite polls showing most citizens view that day as a reprehensible “riot” motivated by loyalty to Trump.
After a Tuesday vote, Democrats on the House and Ways Committee have voted to release six years of President Trump’s tax returns, in what Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the top Republican on the Committee, called a ‘new political weapon.’ “This meeting actually sets a terrible precedent that unleashes a dangerous new political weapon that reaches far beyond the former president,” Brady told reporters on Tuesday. “I won’t speculate on what the next Congress and this committee will focus on related to tax returns, but I do know that a major focus will be on the IRS.” The committee voted along party lines, 24-16, to make public the returns – which will span 2015 to 2020. While the returns could be released as soon as hours, per The Hill, Chairman Richard Neal said that ‘sensitive information’ would be redacted, which may take days.
Update: Hours after they voted to release Trump’s tax returns, House Democrats released a report which includes the data from Trump’s taxes. You can read the report below as we are currently doing, however upon first read – and the fact that it was quietly released on a Tuesday night instead of via a Washington Post bombshell detailing specific ‘evil things’ Trump’s done, we are going to – for now, assume this is a giant nothingburger. In a coordinated response to the release, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there is an “urgent need for legislation to ensure the public can trust in real accountability and transparency during the audit of a sitting president’s tax returns – not only in the case of President Trump, but for any president,” adding “we will move swiftly to advance Chairman Richard Neal’s legislation requiring the Internal Revenue Service to conduct an annual audit of the President’s finances.”
In their closing observations, Democrats suggested that the IRS did not sufficiently audit Trump, and that high net worth individuals who use lawyers and accounting firms should be subject to enhanced actions. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), the top Republican on the Committee, warned in a press conference, “Longstanding privacy protections for all taxpayers have been compromised. Going forward, the majority chairman in the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee will have nearly unlimited power to target or make public the tax returns of private citizens—and not just private citizens: political enemies, business and labor leaders or even the returns of Supreme Court justices themselves.”
Today, the whole free (= Non-Western) world is looking on and anxiously watching, basically supportive of Russia, but not too visibly – just in case this millennial transformation goes wrong. Fundamentally, the free world knows that if Russia loses, then the cause of freedom and sovereignty in the world is finished, independent China India are finished. Then the Klaus Schwab-style nightmare of the World Dictatorship of Serfs, ceases to be fantasy and is put into practice. There will be no further point in human life and so the world will end in the Apocalypse. Alternatively, others proclaim another, equally catastrophic scenario. This is that the West will not back down in its war in the Ukraine and therefore will make the future nuclear through a false flag nuclear incident in the Ukraine, which it will pin on Russia, like Flight MH17. But the cold and hungry of the West do not want nuclear war and even if some of the elite are so crazy as to want it, not all. Crazy elitists could be replaced. As for the journalists who have continually lied to date, they would simply say that they had previously only reported what they had been told to report.
In other words, a nuclear war is not an inevitable scenario. In any case, how can Russia lose? We all believe that Russia will win, because treasonous regime change in Russia is not going to happen as it did in February 1917, and that was the only reason why, fully armed and ready for victory, Russia lost then (4). Even the arms merchants behind NATO are fearful of any official involvement or of the war spreading and Russia itself is careful to avoid any spread of war to a NATO country. They only want to fill their pockets, not the Apocalypse. It is precisely the loss of the war by the West that could provide the solution to the Western problem. The solution to reverse the situation in the West has to be radical because, as we have said, the Western delusion is millennial, the delusion lies at its very roots (5). Warnings have been given for centuries but nobody has ever listened. It is rather like a child who you tell not to play with matches, but who still insists on playing with matches to see what will happen if he lights a match and then sets fire to the whole house. And that is what has happened. The whole Western house is now on fire in an act of suicide.
The solution is regime change in the EU and the US/UK, that is, the changing of the elites. Now, all the Western countries of the world are run by elites with their many hangers-on. The elites provide bipartisan dictatorships. The ironic fact that it actually dares call these dictatorships, by the rich on behalf of the rich, ‘liberal democracies’ is irrelevant. I doubt if any regime change will come through some sort of armed uprising and I would not encourage that either. Rather governments – together with their fantastical, anti-Russian rhetoric – will collapse through the weight of their own lies, injustices and corruption, of protests, strikes and bankruptcies, of cold, poverty and hunger among people who have never been so cold, poor and hungry before. In other words, Western regimes will collapse under pressure from the grassroots, because they are so rotten on the inside. Which will collapse first, the EU or the US/UK, Eurosodom or Gomerica? We suspect the Eurozionists of the EU because those countries are bearing the brunt of their own elites’ suicide bid on the orders of the US/UK elite, and there are already splits among them.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to visit the U.S. Capitol in person on Wednesday, sources confirmed to The Hill. The visit is not set stone, but hinges on security, according to a second source familiar with the planning. The media leaks, the source said, are “not helping.” Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) confirmed the plans to The Hill. If the visit does materialize, it would likely mark the first time the Ukrainian president has left his country since before Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) sent a letter to lawmakers on Tuesday encouraging them to “be present for a very special focus on Democracy Wednesday night.” Punchbowl News first reported on the possible historic visit, citing several sources familiar with the plans.
The visit comes as Zelensky, his top military officials and aides have warned that Russia is planning to renew a large-scale ground invasion of Ukraine, and as the country suffers under devastating aerial attacks that have destroyed its energy and electricity infrastructure entering the winter season. Congress on Tuesday proposed to provide Ukraine with $45 billion in military, economic and other assistance related to Russia’s war against the country, as part of the omnibus spending package lawmakers hope to pass by the end of the week. “That President Zelensky is going to make his first trip outside the country since the war began to speak to us, to thank us and to challenge us to continue to support the Ukrainian people I think is the perfect ending to two years where President Biden has had some landmark successes,” he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron has reiterated his belief that the conflict in Ukraine will inevitably be resolved at the negotiations table, and that the West and NATO in particular will have to come up with security guarantees not only for Kiev, but Moscow as well, to secure a lasting peace.“The day of peace will involve discussions. First and foremost for guarantees to Ukraine, for its territorial integrity, its long-term security. But also for Russia, as a party that it will be to an armistice and peace treaty,” Macron said in an interview with the TF1 and LCI channels broadcast on Tuesday.The French leader first voiced the idea of “security guarantees” for Russia earlier this month, arguing that one of the “essential points” NATO had to address is Russia’s concern that the military bloc “comes right up to its doors, and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia.”
His comments triggered a barrage of criticism not only from Kiev but also fellow EU leaders from Poland, Slovakia and the Baltic states. French diplomats tried to downplay the comment, insisting that it was taken “out of context,” while Macron himself urged European allies not to “create controversy where there is none.”In the latest interview, Macron urged critics to explain what kind of alternative to eventual talks with Moscow they are proposing. “What the people who refuse to prepare this and work on it are proposing is full war. It will involve the whole continent,” he said.
Last December, Russia presented a list of security demands to the US and NATO, asking the West to impose a ban on Ukraine entering the military bloc, while insisting that NATO should retreat to its borders of 1997, before it began to expand.In January, the US and NATO refused, saying they would only be interested in strategic arms control talks. Since the conflict in Ukraine escalated in February, the bloc has also moved to welcome Sweden and Finland into the military alliance, though the expansion has yet to be finalized.
Shareholders of struggling German gas importer Uniper on Monday approved the company’s state bailout, which has so far cost the government more than €50 billion ($54 billion), Reuters reports. The company’s investors reportedly voted in favor of the two main measures, an €8 billion ($8.4 billion) capital injection by the state and allowing a further injection of up to €25 billion (nearly $27 billion). Uniper CEO Klaus-Dieter Maubach reportedly called a virtual extraordinary shareholder meeting earlier on Monday to approve the bailout plan and nationalization, warning that the firm will otherwise have to consider insolvency. The warning followed last week’s approval by the European Commission of the energy giant’s takeover by the German government. “(The measures) are indispensable for this company’s future,” Maubach said, as quoted by Reuters.
“If approval is not granted, we would have to review very critically the so-called going concern forecast for our company. In the Management Board’s view, a possible insolvency could lead to a complete loss for shareholders,” he warned. According to Maubach, Uniper currently has access to around €2.5 billion ($2.6 billion) of funds. The report indicated that as part of the bailout, the German government will end up owning just below 99% of Uniper. The German Finance Ministry will be responsible for the stake. Uniper, Germany’s top gas trader, has suffered one of the biggest financial losses in the nation’s corporate history due to skyrocketing energy prices and halted gas flows from its main supplier, Russia. The government has rushed in to rescue the firm to avoid a domino effect across the country’s energy sector.
Russia’s Transneft has received applications from Poland and Germany to pump oil for December, 2023 and the first quarter of next year, respectively, despite reports of unwillingness to continue deliveries, Nikolai Tokarev, president of Transneft, said on the air of the Rossiya-24 TV channel, Report informs referring to TASS. “They announced that they would not take oil from Russia from January 1. Now we have received applications from Polish consumers asking for 3 million tons next year, and 360,000 tons for December, and Germany has already submitted an application for the first quarter, he said.On December 12, the Polish Cabinet called for the introduction of ‘full, comprehensive sanctions without exceptions’ against Russia, including ‘comprehensive sanctions against the northern pipeline (Druzhba).’
“If this does not happen, then we will continue discussions together with the [Orlen] concern, or the concern will decide what to do next with the commitments already made,” Anna Moskva, minister of Climate and Environment of Poland, who is responsible for energy issues, told reporters. Orlen has long-term oil supply contracts with Rosneft and Tatneft. The first provides for the supply of up to 300,000 tons of oil per month and expires in December 2022, the second is concluded for 200,000 tons of oil per month and expires in December 2024. Orlen supplies all these deliveries through pipelines. Russian oil in Poland is planned to be replaced through contracts with Saudi Aramco, supplies from Nigeria, Angola, the North Sea region and from the Norwegian shelf.
You probably know the concept of “non-places.” The hall of a hotel is a good example. It looks like the living room of a home, but it is not the same thing. It is a place where people stay for brief periods of time, but do not interact with each other. They don’t know each other, they don’t even understand each other’s language. The Babel Tower was a good example of a non-place, but nowadays non-places are common. In addition to hotels, you have airports, train stations, shopping malls, waiting rooms, and many more examples.
Non-places are the ideal kind of places to engage in illegal or hidden operations. For instance, hotels are the typical place where you can meet your secret sexual partner, discuss illegal deals, or give or receive a bribe in cash. That doesn’t mean, of course, that all the customers of a hotel are criminals. It just means that non-places provide the anonymity you need for certain kinds of transactions. Anonymity makes you also vulnerable to attacks that can take the form of “character assassination,” as it happened to Dominique Strauss-Kahn in 2011.
The European Parliament provides a special kind of anonymity owing to its multinational organization. Each national delegation is jealous of its national language and its members would feel offended if they were asked to speak in English (*) which some of them are unable to do, anyway. That’s why the Union has 24 official languages and, consequently, the “Alcide De Gasperi” room in the palace of the European Parliament in Brussels has 24 translation boots, each one with at least two official interpreters. (theoretically, each boot should have 23 translators, but they would not fit inside, and I suppose that the translations are made first into English and then translated into the other 23 languages).
Given this organization, you understand the fragmentation of the European Parliament. A few years ago, I was there, and I noted how it looks mostly like the hall of a large hotel, a typical non-place. Throngs of people moving up and down, but very little interaction among those who don’t speak the same language. Even outside the parliament building, I found that the Italian delegation had a coffee shop that served Italian coffee, where everyone spoke Italian, and where you feel like being in Italy. I had the impression, and some Spanish friends confirmed it, that the whole central area of Brussels is a non-place: each national delegation had its coffee shops, restaurants, etcetera. Maybe the whole European Union is a non-place. A non-union.
The President of the Socialists and Democrats (S&D) in the European Parliament, Iratxe Garcia Perez, had summoned MEP Eva Kaili for her “ghost” vote at the LIBE committee on Qatar, but the meeting never took place as Kaili was arrested as part of the Qatar scandal investigation, Report informs, citing EURActiv. A vote at the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) on Qatar’s visa liberalisation exposed Kaili as she was not a member of the committee. During the previous plenary session of the EU House, Kaili participated in the LIBE committee and voted in favour of Qatar’s visa liberalisation. It was the same period when Kaili spoke in the plenary, saying Qatar is a “frontrunner in labour rights”.
An S&D source told EURACTIV that Kaili was not even sitting with her S&D group but in the back seats with her partner Francesco Giorgi and two people who came directly from Doha. When the votes were counted at the end of the voting process, EU lawmakers realised that there was an additional vote, the one of Kaili. Then German S&D MEP Birgit Sippel (SPD), who voted against the Commission’s proposal for Qatar’s visa liberalisation, then filed an internal complaint against Kaili to the S&D chief Garcia. A source from Garcia’s office told EURACTIV that it was the first time that the S&D chief received a complaint against Kaili. “Iratxe Garcia had scheduled a meeting in the EU Parliament in Strasbourg for Kaili to explain why she was present at that vote and, above all, why she participated in the voting process”, a source from Garcia’s office told EURACTIV.
However, the meeting never occurred as Kaili was arrested for the Qatar scandal. The same source explained that Nikos Androulakis, the President of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok – S&D), told Garcia after the summer that Kaili would not be a candidate for the next EU elections without elaborating further. Another incident that surprised socialists, according to the source, was when the Greek MEP broke the S&D line for the selection of the next secretary of the European Parliament and voted in favour of the centre-right EPP candidate, Alessandro Chiocchetti. EURACTIV Greece reported last September that after the vote, a closed-door S&D meeting took place in which socialist lawmakers lashed out at her for her position.
Robert Malone, the inventor of the mRNA vaccines, calls this the most important dataset of the Pandemic. Tom Lausen is a data activist. Via A Midwestern Doctor Lausen previously revealed the PEI and the RKI (the German equivalent of the CDC) were concealing concerning vaccine safety data. Lausen estimated that 90% of the suspicious deaths that occur after vaccination are not reported to the PEI, and approximately 90% of those reported come from the patient themselves or their relatives.
The National Association for Statutory Health Insurance Physicians (NASHIP) provided the data covering over 72 million insured Germans. NASHIP or “Kassenärztliche Bundesvereinigung (KBV),” is the coordinating body of all 17 State Associations of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians in Germany. As of 2018, it represented about 175,000 office-based physicians and psychotherapists. “The association is also actively involved in negotiations on the range of services provided by statutory health insurance companies and the remuneration of doctors. Furthermore, the KBV carries out a “security mandate” in accordance with Section 75 (1) SGB V, which is intended to ensure that all legally insured patients can receive adequate outpatient care.”
Using coded data covering 72 million Germans available from the health insurers, the number of people who died “suddenly and unexpectedly” skyrocketed compared to previous years. “It was found that in 2021 not only were 2,487,526 patients with vaccination side effects seen by the doctor, but that there were also drastic changes in clinical pictures and deaths since the start of the corona vaccination.” The following diagnostic keys were evaluated in order to analyze the rise in sudden deaths:
R96.0 Sudden death
R96.1 Death occurring within less than 24 hours of onset of symptoms, unless otherwise stated
R98 Death without others present
R99 Other imprecise or unspecified causes of death
I46.1 Sudden cardiac death
According to KBV data, in 2021 there was an increase in diagnoses of “sudden death” (R96) of +1,082 percent. With diagnostic key R96.1, the increase is even +1,673 percent.
A federal appeals court on Monday struck down a White House rule requiring anyone employed by a federal contractor to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of government contracts. A three-panel judge of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals voted 2-1 to affirm a lower court judgment that barred President Joe Biden’s September 2021 executive order in three states after Louisiana, Indiana, and Mississippi sued to challenge the rule. These three states sued the Biden administration in the Western District of Louisiana in their capacities as federal contractors themselves, winning an injunction and stay by the district court.
In upholding the lower court finding, Judge Kurt Engelhardt, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, said in his majority opinion that a broad interpretation of the law could have given Biden “nearly unlimited authority to introduce requirements into federal contracts.” He illustrated his point by saying that Biden could “hypothetically” mandate that all third-party federal contractors’ employees reduce their BMI (body mass index) below a certain number based “on the theory that obesity is a primary contributor to unhealthiness and absenteeism.” The U.S. government has contracts with hundreds of third-party contractors, and judges have indicated that the issue might affect up to 20 percent of American employees.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita touted the ruling as a legal victory against what he called President Joe Biden’s executive overreach. Rokita, who joined with two other plaintiff states in the legal action, decried Biden’s “truly unprecedented” use of the federal Procurement Act to wield executive power to impose the mandate on third-party contractors. “Hoosiers and all Americans should have the liberty to make their own decisions on whether to get vaccinated,” Rokita said in a statement. “That includes individuals who happen to work as federal contractors. No one should have to fear losing their jobs just because they opt against getting a shot.”
Here’s another awful reality (better fasten your seatbelts): What also emerged in the tweet record of Yoel Roth, the company’s chief censor (former “Head of Trust and Safety”), begins to look like a gay mafia assault on the collective American psyche. Having gained official federal government sanction and protection, a statistically tiny homosexual demographic left in charge of the country’s main public forum has been out for revenge against their perceived enemy, political conservatives — Americans disinclined to join the cheerleading for drag queen story hours, “minor-attracted persons,” transsexuals in the military, and other LBGTQ cultural pranks. In the process, that gay mafia running the public dialogue supported every lie that the government, its protector, put out, to keep the Deep State happy and well-fed. Shocking, I’m sure… but there it is.
That means the gay mafia also helped promote the most-deadly psy-op in world history: the Covid-19 scare and the mass “vaccination” crusade that will end up killing many millions world-wide, after destroying the economies of the Western Civ nations. The whole package looks like an attempt to turn the world upside down and inside out. Is it any wonder that so many feel the USA has gone crazy? Of course, these revelations aroused the widespread suspicion that these now-exposed nefarious operators in social media were merely tools for some murky plutocrat elite led by the likes of the WEF, Bill Gates, and George Soros. Could that be the greatest “conspiracy theory” of all? More likely, I hesitate to suggest, all these characters in one way or another are merely tools of history itself, as the world enters the darkest days of a Fourth Turning secular winter.
As T.S. Eliot observed: “Humankind cannot bear too much reality.” Thus, so many sense we live in dangerous times. Everything appears to be veering out-of-control, including thought itself. Disorder incites more disorder. While all this madness is going on in-country, the US government, led by the phantom president “Joe Biden,” continues to prosecute its insane proxy war in Ukraine in order to antagonize Russia. Lately the US has sent drones hundreds of miles inside Russia to blow up military airfields. How is that not an escalation of hostilities, and exactly how far do the American people want their government to take this crazy project?
FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested by Bahamian authorities Monday evening after the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York shared a sealed indictment with the Bahamian government, setting the stage for extradition and U.S. trial for the onetime crypto billionaire at the heart of the crypto exchange’s collapse. His arrest is the first concrete move by regulators to hold individuals accountable for the multibillion-dollar implosion of FTX last month. Before his arrest was announced, Bankman-Fried had been expected to testify virtually before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday, but his attorneys told CNBC that he will not appear.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who oversees that committee, said that she was “surprised” at his arrest, and disappointed that Congress would not be able to hear from him on Tuesday. Damian Williams, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said on Twitter that the federal government anticipated moving to “unseal the indictment in the morning.” The charges include wire fraud, wire fraud conspiracy, securities fraud, securities fraud conspiracy, and money laundering, according to the New York Times, citing a person familiar with the matter. Meanwhile, the Securities and Exchange Commission has initiated a separate set of charges against Bankman-Fried, relating to “violations of our securities laws, which will be filed publicly tomorrow in the Southern District of New York,” enforcement director Gurbir Grewal said in a statement.
Sunlight is the best disinfectant – unless you’re Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Gary Gensler – who scrubbed evidence of a meeting with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from his calendar, along with key details of a meeting with Billionaire leftist-operative George Soros. He also concealed September 21 meetings with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and former Bill Clinton White House official-turned-DC consultant, Minyon Moore. Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs executive, Obama administration official, Clinton’s 2016 campaign CFO, and FTX associate, essentially had two calendars. His public calendar showed that on Aug. 7, 2021, he only had a staff meeting, while his private calendar lists a meeting with Hillary Clinton, Fox News reports.
Thirteen days later on Aug. 20, 2021, Gensler’s public calendar does list a meeting with Soros, but the agenda was hidden. His private calendar reveals that the meeting was held to discuss an upcoming WSJ op-ed Soros was planning to write in which he slammed BlackRock for launching investment products for Chinese customers, while also applauding the company’s ESG policies. “Gensler’s private calendar revealing the discrepancies was obtained by the watchdog group Energy Policy Advocates and shared with Fox News Digital. The group was only able to obtain the internal records after filing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the SEC. In recent days, around the time Fox News Digital contacted the SEC, the agency updated Gensler’s public calendar to include his meeting with Clinton in August 2021. As recently as Wednesday the public calendar didn’t include the meeting, and archived copies of the webpage from April also list just a meeting with staff. -Fox News ”
When contacted for comment, the SEC initially lied – saying that the Clinton meeting was visible on Gensler’s public calendar. When confronted with screenshots to the contrary, the spokesperson said that the agency updates calendars “from time to time” when inaccuracies are discovered (by watchdog groups?). Gensler also concealed several September 2021 meetings with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Minyon Moore – both of which have been now updated on Gensler’s public calendar. “That even George Soros is calling out progressive darling BlackRock for craven blundering is striking — even if it did carry the requisite, tribal praise for BlackRock’s truly damaging ‘ESG’ (environmental, social and governance) campaigning to impose their shared ‘climate’ agenda on the U.S., an agenda also much to China’s delight,” said Chris Horner, a lawyer representing Energy Policy Advocates. “That it appears Soros received counsel from Gary Gensler on the mega-donor’s call for more SEC powers as a result is truly astonishing.”
The new drop reveals that Twitter employees did not believe former President Trump had violated Twitter’s policies. “I think we’d have a hard time saying this is incitement,” wrote one staffer in an internal message, adding: “It’s pretty clear he’s saying the ‘American Patriots’ are the ones who voted for him and not the terrorists (we can call them that, right?)…” Another staffer agreed, writing: “Don’t see the incitement angle here.” “I also am not seeing clear or coded incitement in the DJT tweet,” wrote Anika Navaroli, a Twitter policy official. “I’ll respond in the elections channel and say that our team has assessed and found no vios”—or violations—“for the DJT one.”
4. For years, Twitter had resisted calls both internal and external to ban Trump on the grounds that blocking a world leader from the platform or removing their controversial tweets would hide important information that people should be able to see and debate. 5. “Our mission is to provide a forum that enables people to be informed and to engage their leaders directly,” the company wrote in 2019. Twitter’s aim was to “protect the public’s right to hear from their leaders and to hold them to account.” 6. But after January 6, as @mtaibbi and @shellenbergermd have documented, pressure grew, both inside and outside of Twitter, to ban Trump.
7. There were dissenters inside Twitter. “Maybe because I am from China,” said one employee on January 7, “I deeply understand how censorship can destroy the public conversation.” 8. But voices like that one appear to have been a distinct minority within the company. Across Slack channels, many Twitter employees were upset that Trump hadn’t been banned earlier. 9. After January 6, Twitter employees organized to demand their employer ban Trump. “There is a lot of employee advocacy happening,” said one Twitter employee. 10. “We have to do the right thing and ban this account,” said one staffer. It’s “pretty obvious he’s going to try to thread the needle of incitement without violating the rules,” said another.
11. In the early afternoon of January 8, The Washington Post published an open letter signed by over 300 Twitter employees to CEO Jack Dorsey demanding Trump’s ban. “We must examine Twitter’s complicity in what President-Elect Biden has rightly termed insurrection.” 12. But the Twitter staff assigned to evaluate tweets quickly concluded that Trump had *not* violated Twitter’s policies.“I think we’d have a hard time saying this is incitement,” wrote one staffer. 13. “It’s pretty clear he’s saying the ‘American Patriots’ are the ones who voted for him and not the terrorists (we can call them that, right?) from Wednesday.” 14. Another staffer agreed: “Don’t see the incitement angle here.”
The fifth installment of the Twitter Files release drops today courtesy of Ms. Bari Weiss. The focus of Ms Weiss was on the decision to ban President Donald Trump from the platform, and her outline walks through the events leading up to the decision to remove him. After a review of internal discussions, slacks and conversations within the social media platform, ultimately the officers within the company decided to protect their view of democracy by removing their biggest ideological opponent. The Twitter executives justified their actions by echo-chambering a belief that President Trump was tweeting “coded messages,” the secret transmission of thoughts that can only be received by those wearing red hats, tuned to a specific psychological frequency.
As Weiss notes: “Less than 90 minutes after Twitter employees had determined that Trump’s tweets were not in violation of Twitter policy, Vijaya Gadde—Twitter’s Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust—asked whether it could, in fact, be “coded incitement to further violence.” President Trump tweeted the term “American Patriots,” which would be viewed by the Twitter ideologues as something akin to “the leader of a terrorist group responsible for violence/deaths comparable to Christchurch shooter or Hitler and on that basis and on the totality of his Tweets, he should be de-platformed.” It did not take long for the narrative to embed as the most senior Twitter regulatory officers assembled. “One hour later, Twitter announces Trump’s permanent suspension “due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”
The entirety of Twitter File #5 release surrounds this internal Twitter dynamic, carefully avoiding any discussion or sunlight from outside government actors who may have been in direct contact with the senior Twitter team. Indeed, the documents chosen to provide evidence of the debate and decision to remove President Trump are transparently devoid of any inbound government contact to the Twitter organization. Thus, at the end of Ms. Weiss carefully written expose’, she concludes with this:
See, it’s only “a handful of people at a private company“…. Nothing to see here folks, move along, move along. Apparently, DHS, FBI and CISA officials were involved in direct contact with Twitter through their DHS “trusted partnership” portal to get rid of innocuous rebel voices and influence agents like Dan Bongino, Q conspiracy theorists, and various COVID doctors who were providing information against the interests of the government. However, when it came to removing the most powerful voice of President Donald John Trump, there was nothing but static radio silence from the government side of the DHS portal. You getting this? Do you see how this is presented? “A handful of people at a private company,” that’s the story and they are sticking to it. Swear.
Once Russia ends the conflict in Ukraine, it should be given a chance to do business with Germany again, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Monday. He repeated that Moscow must and will not win, however. A Russian government that ends the hostilities “needs a chance to restart economic cooperation, in another time when this is possible,” Scholz said in Berlin, at the meeting of the Eastern Committee for German Business (OA), a trade association focused on relations with eastern Europe. “Now is not that time.” “At the moment, the relationships we have are being scaled back,” Scholz said, according to the weekly Zeit. The EU is “tightening the sanctions” now, but Russia will remain the largest country on the European continent after the conflict is resolved. “It is therefore very important that we make preparations for this time.”
Scholz described the current conflict as an attempt by President Vladimir Putin to re-create a Russian Empire that is destroying the country’s future instead, and accused Moscow of atrocities against the Ukrainian civilians. Russia must not win “and Russian will not win, either,” he told the business group. Berlin’s determination to ditch Russian energy imports – pushed mainly by Scholz’s Green coalition partners – created troubles for Germany even before the gas deliveries were disrupted by the sabotage on Nord Stream pipelines in September. Germans are now trying to make up the shortages from elsewhere, though unsuccessfully. Earlier this month, Germany’s ambassador in Washington admitted to the economic troubles, but said this was a small price to pay for a “profound transformation” of her country into a remilitarized continental power, more hostile to Russia and closer to the US.
For all of Scholz’s promises to help Ukraine, Kiev has continued to browbeat Berlin about deliveries of tanks and even more artillery. Last week, the chancellor’s predecessor Angela Merkel admitted that the 2014 Minsk agreement was not aimed at resolving the conflict in Donbass, but to “give Ukraine time” to arm against Russia. Putin said he was disappointed by Merkel’s admission and that the trust between Moscow and Berlin was now “almost at zero.”
Missile strikes have destroyed 50% of Ukraine’s energy facilities, the country’s President Vladimir Zelensky said in a call with US President Joe Biden, according to a statement published on the Ukrainian leader’s website on Monday. The Ukrainian leader also highlighted US assistance in restoring Ukraine’s energy grid and hoped that the parties would deepen cooperation on this track. In addition, Zelensky urged Biden to help Kiev establish air defenses.
Russia cannot expect security guarantees from other nations, a senior Polish diplomat has said. Calls to address Moscow’s concerns about NATO expansion in Europe have come from former and serving leaders of EU nations, including ex-German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. People should not “let themselves be persuaded … that Russia has the right to expect security guarantees from anyone,” Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski told journalists ahead of a meeting of top diplomats of EU member states, which kicked off in Brussels on Monday. “It’s just a strategic mistake – that kind of consideration. It is not Russia that needs security guarantees today, but Europe needs security guarantees from Russia,” he said, adding that the Polish delegation will call for the harshest sanctions possible on Russia during the ministerial meeting.
Moscow has for years told the US and its allies that the expansion of NATO poses a threat to Russian national security, and warned that by ignoring its objections on issues such as Ukraine’s potential membership in the US-led bloc, Western nations were crossing a red line. A last-ditch attempt to defuse tensions came last year, when Moscow offered an agreement which it said would address this concern. The proposal was rejected, with Western leaders doubling down on NATO’s open-door policy. Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in February, citing, among other reasons, the bloc’s creeping expansion to the east. While EU nations condemned the move as an act of supposedly unprovoked aggression, some politicians acknowledged that the lack of a European security architecture that would alleviate Russia’s concerns was a major destabilizing factor.
In her first interview after stepping down as chancellor, Merkel said that the failure to build such an arrangement was something “we should think about” when discussing Ukraine. Her successor, Olaf Scholz, said that “we have to go back to the agreements which we had in the past decades and which were the basis for peace and security order in Europe.” He also claimed that Russia broke these arrangements and that there was “no aggression coming from NATO.” Macron argued this month that the US-led bloc needs to prepare an offer of security guarantees for Moscow to resolve the conflict in Ukraine. He said the concerns that “NATO will deploy weapons that will threaten Russia” were understandable.
New research has found extremely hot and cold temperatures increase the risk of death among people with cardiovascular diseases, particularly heart failure. An international study, published Monday in the American Heart Association journal Circulation, looked at more than 32 million cardiovascular deaths over four decades from more than two dozen countries. It found people with heart failure experienced the most additional deaths from extreme temperatures compared to those with other heart conditions. “The decline in cardiovascular death rates since the 1960s is a huge public health success story as cardiologists identified and addressed individual risk factors such as tobacco, physical inactivity, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and others,” Dr. Barrak Alahmad, a research fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a faculty member at the College of Public Health at Kuwait University, said in a news release.
“The current challenge now is the environment and what climate change might hold for us.” The study used health data, pulled from 567 cities in 27 countries across five continents between 1979 and 2019, through the Multi-Country Multi-City Collaborative Research Network. Researchers compared cardiovascular deaths on the hottest and coldest 2.5 per cent of days for each city with cardiovascular deaths in those same cities on days that had optimal temperatures or when death rates were lowest. The study found that for every 1,000 cardiovascular deaths, extreme hot days accounted for 2.2 additional deaths, while extreme cold days accounted for 9.1 additional deaths.
European Parliament Vice President Eva Kaili, a suspect in an investigation into money laundering and corruption at the parliament, has denied receiving money from Qatar, one of her lawyers said in Greece on Tuesday. Kaili, one of 14 vice presidents of the parliament, was among four people arrested and charged in Belgium at the weekend over allegations that Qatar lavished them with cash and gifts to influence decision-making. “Her position is that she is innocent, I can tell you that,” Michalis Dimitrakopoulos, a lawyer representing Kaili in Greece, told Open TV. “She has nothing to do with financing from Qatar, nothing – explicitly and unequivocally. That is her position,” Dimitrakopoulos said. He added that Kaili had “undertaken no commercial activity in her life.” Greece on Monday froze Kaili’s assets in the country. The European Parliament has suspended her from her duties.
Greece’s Anti-Money Laundering Authority has issued a general order to freeze, until further notice, all assets that MEP Eva Kaili, 44, and her husband or her immediate family members (parents, siblings) may have in Greece. Kaili, a vice president of the European Parliament, and her husband were among four people arrested on Sunday on charges of corruption, money laundering and participation in a criminal organization. Police carried out raids at 16 houses in and around Brussels and seized €600,000 on Friday as a part of the investigation into a corruption scandal involving Qatar and prominent European politicians, dubbed Qatargate.
The order by the head of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority, former Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Haralambos Vourliotis, has already been forwarded to all Greek credit institutions to identify accounts, control movements, existence of safe deposit boxes, possession of other financial products, while at the same time an order was given to all land registry offices to freeze all real estate of the above persons. The move of the Anti-Money Laundering Authority, in addition to the broader control, which will be carried out anyway, aims, as sources told Kathimerini, to identify any cash that may be in the possession of the persons under investigation, and to ascertain whether they are products of legitimate origin or bribes.
As this investigation began on Monday morning, a real estate company set up about a month ago by the MEP and her husband in Kolonaki was identified and audited, and its entire activity has been frozen. The authority has also ordered and conducted a check on the assets of Kaili’s father. In the event that incriminating evidence is also found in Greece, Kaili could, in theory at least, request to be tried in Greece, but sources said this is unlikely. Under Belgian law, the charges against the MEP and her husband are punishable by three to five years in prison, while under Greek law the sentences range from15 years and can exceed 20 years, even reaching life sentences in very exceptional cases. However, legal sources have stressed that it is still too early to make assessment as the investigations are still in full swing and no one can predict what will emerge and what will be revealed.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen declined to answer questions about her Vice President Margaritis Schinas’ relations with Qatar at a press briefing Monday, triggering fury from the Brussels press corps seeking answers on the biggest corruption scandal to hit the EU in years. The Greek commissioner represented the EU at the opening ceremony of the World Cup last month, and has been criticized by MEPs over his tweets in recent months, lavishing praise on Qatar’s labor reforms. Asked about the Commission’s response to the Qatar corruption scandal engulfing the European Parliament, and in particular the stance of Schinas, von der Leyen was silent on the Greek commissioner.
The decision by deputy European Commission spokesperson Dana Spinant to shut down questions from journalists, sparked a furious reaction from reporters in the room, who called for more answers. “You didn’t answer a single one of the questions,” one reporter shouted as Spinant tried to close a session with reporters. “This is not the way to organize a press conference here,” Spinant responded through a chorus of protest. While von der Leyen did respond to further questions on the scandal, she did not address reporters’ questions about the circumstances surrounding Schinas’ visit to Qatar. Instead, she pointed to a proposal for a new ethics body to police all EU institutions — something she committed to more than three years ago, but which has gained little traction within any of the main institutions.
Referring to the European Commission’s transparency register, a database which lists representatives who carry out activities to influence EU policy and decision-making, she said: “We have one with very clear rules internally in the European Commission. There I think it is time to discuss whether we could not establish this over all for all EU institutions.”
Most countries have different religions, cultures, customs, values, local laws, practices, and political systems. Not only does changing other countries’ cultures not qualify as fair and just national interests, but also borders on the ridiculous when some countries unilaterally appoint themselves as heaven’s guardian on earth and incorporate such metaphysical concepts into their national interests. Does changing other people into one’s image make them more humane or Godlier? Or does it make them more pliable for exploitation? History confirms that such attempts have never been successful in perpetuating themselves, as evidenced by Alexander’s Hellenistic empire, Great Rome, Genghis Khan, the Golden Horde, the Crusades, the Islamic conquests, etc. – they were all eventually expunged or melded into the cultures that they tried to change, at a huge human and physical cost.
Undoubtedly, an exploiter’s rewards can be attractive in the short term, subject that the infringement or exploitation being successful. But in the longer term, pressure will continue to be exerted to return to the original status, or a semblance of it, and again, at a huge human and physical cost. Defending a country’s national territory is considered a paramount national interest (is also a security objective). Consequently, territorial or border disputes are the most popular reasons for starting wars, especially for smaller nations. But if we dig only skin-deep into the history, we will quickly find that almost no country has, throughout the ages, maintained its theoretical or historical borders – it has always been a continuous ebb and flow of territory usurped or lost, more so in Europe and the ex-colonialized world.
Nevertheless, many falsely justify this as a casus belli, or a rallying call, to regain what they regard as usurped national land. They do this with total disregard to the views and wishes of the current inhabitants of the territories in dispute, thus lending credence to the likelihood that it, in reality, is a camouflage to exploit another nation’s land. The sad part is that these wars regularly flare up despite the presence of the UN and the International Court, which were created, among other things, to adjudicate the validity of such territorial disputes and, unless a gross miscarriage of justice occurs, all grounds for territorial wars are unjustified.
The latest (and perhaps the last) attempt to unify Europe was the European Union. The creators of the Union understood that it was impossible to unify Europe by military means, so they tried to do it in the form of an economic free zone and an elected parliament. It was a bold attempt, but it didn’t work. It could not have worked. The Union faced enormous hostile forces, both internal and external. Britain and France were supposed to be balancing the German power, but when Britain left, in 2020, the Union suffered an economic defeat equivalent to the military one suffered by Germany in the Battle of Britain, in 1940. In both cases, they had tried to absorb Britain into continental Europe, and they had failed.
The defection of Britain left the European Union with Germany dominating it. Just like during WW2, the German government never understood that throwing its weight around was not the way to endear itself with the neighboring states. The result was the growth of anti-European forces all over the continent — the movement called “sovereignty” that aimed to restore the power of nation-states and get rid of the EU bureaucrats. So far, this movement has played only a marginal role in politics, but it has succeeded in making the EU deeply hated by everyone who is not getting their salaries from Brussels. Just as it had happened in 1941, Europe is now engaged in a desperate battle on two different fronts, but the struggle is now mainly economic and cultural, not military: it is a “full spectrum dominance” war.
The struggle is still ongoing, but it seems already clear that Europe is being defeated. Just like Germany had destroyed itself with a military attack on Russia in 1941, the European Union is destroying itself with its economic sanctions against Russia. Effectively, Europe is committing a slow and painful suicide. But that’s how full spectrum dominance works: it destroys enemies from the inside. And now? It was unavoidable that Europe would cease to be an Empire. The human and material resources that had made European dominance possible are not there any longer. But it was not unavoidable that Europe would destroy itself. Europe could have survived and maintained its independence by remaining on good terms with the other Eurasiatic powers, China, Russia, and India,
But, choosing to break the commercial, cultural, and human relations with the rest of Eurasia was not just an economic suicide. It was a cultural and moral suicide. So, what’s going to happen to poor Europe? History, as usual, rhymes: do not forget that in 1945 the official US plan was to destroy the German economy and exterminate most of the German population. Fortunately, the plan was shelved, but could that idea become fashionable again? We cannot exclude this possibility. In any case, an impoverished Europe could go back to something not unlike what it was during the early Middle Ages: depopulated, poor, primitive, a mere appendage of the great Eurasian Continent. And, yet, Europe has rebounded more than once from terrible disasters. It may happen again. Not soon, though.
The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump. The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that “a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy”. But the biggest test of Biden’s commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.
Whether the US justice department continues to pursue the Trump-era charges against the notorious leaker, whose group put out secret information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, American diplomacy and internal Democratic politics before the 2016 election, will go a long way toward determining whether the current administration intends to make good on its pledges to protect the press. Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange’s protracted prosecution. Five major media organizations that relied on his trove of government secrets, including the Guardian and the New York Times, put out an open letter earlier this month saying that his indictment “sets a dangerous precedent” and threatens to undermine the first amendment.
At the same time, officials in Australia, where Assange was born and remains a citizen, met with American counterparts to appeal for his release. “My position is clear and has been made clear to the US administration: that it is time that this matter be brought to a close,” Australia’s prime minister, Anthony Albanese, told the Australian parliament late last month. In Brazil, meanwhile, President-elect Luis Inácio Lula da Silva demanded an end to what he called the “unjust imprisonment” of Assange after a meeting with WikiLeaks editors lobbying for his freedom. Some of Assange’s defenders, who have attacked his prosecution as a trampling of the first amendment, say they are optimistic that the case may have reached a turning point that could ultimately lead to his freedom.
“This case is hugely significant,” the Columbia University law professor Jameel Jaffer, who runs the Knight First Amendment Institute at the university, said in an interview. “At the end of the day, I find it hard to believe that the Biden administration wants this case to be its press freedom legacy, and it will be its legacy if they continue to pursue it. That will overshadow everything else when it comes to press freedom.” Justice department officials aren’t tipping their hand about where Assange’s prosecution might eventually lead, as he continues to challenge his extradition to the US before a British appeals court. The justice department declined to comment on all the outside calls to drop the case, but one official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Garland “has made clear that he will follow the law wherever it leads”, as he has in other politically charged cases.
Dr Peter McCullough on medical censorship on twitter & autopsy reports of deaths from vax induced myocarditis where the deceased had NO initial symptoms. The overall autopsy series showed 71% of all patients found dead at home after vax within 20 days was due to the vaccine pic.twitter.com/1kuEgeyfz0
On January 7, @jack emails employees saying Twitter needs to remain consistent in its policies, including the right of users to return to Twitter after a temporary suspension. After, Roth reassures an employee that “people who care about this… aren’t happy with where we are” Around 11:30 am PT, Roth DMs his colleagues with news that he is excited to share. “GUESS WHAT,” he writes. “Jack just approved repeat offender for civic integrity.” The new approach would create a system where five violations (“strikes”) would result in permanent suspension. “Progress!” exclaims a member of Roth’s Trust and Safety Team.
The exchange between Roth and his colleagues makes clear that they had been pushing @jack for greater restrictions on the speech Twitter allows around elections. The colleague wants to know if the decision means Trump can finally be banned. The person asks, “does the incitement to violence aspect change that calculus?” Roth says it doesn’t. “Trump continues to just have his one strike” (remaining). Roth’s colleague’s query about “incitement to violence” heavily foreshadows what will happen the following day.
On January 8, Twitter announces a permanent ban on Trump due to the “risk of further incitement of violence.” On J8, Twitter says its ban is based on “specifically how [Trump’s tweets] are being received & interpreted.” But in 2019, Twitter said it did “not attempt to determine all potential interpretations of the content or its intent.” The *only* serious concern we found expressed within Twitter over the implications for free speech and democracy of banning Trump came from a junior person in the organization. It was tucked away in a lower-level Slack channel known as “site-integrity-auto.”
“This might be an unpopular opinion but one off ad hoc decisions like this that don’t appear rooted in policy are imho a slippery slope… This now appears to be a fiat by an online platform CEO with a global presence that can gatekeep speech for the entire world…”
1. @elonmusk , Your new company @Twitter has many ex FBI/CIA agents in high ranks. Should probably do a little housecleaning.
2. Kevin Michelena – current Twitter Sr. Corporate Security Analyst. Ex FBI Intelligence Analyst 12 years
3. Doug Hunt – current Twitter Senior Director. Ex FBI Special Agent 20 years.
4. Mark Jaroszewski – current Twitter Director Corporate Security/Risk. Ex FBI 20 years
5. Douglas Turner – current Twitter Senior Manager, Corporate and Executive Security Services. Ex FBI 14 years. Ex Secret Service 7 years.
6. Patrick G. – current Twitter Head of Corporate Security. Ex FBI Special Agent 23 years.
7. Karen Walsh – current Twitter Director – Corporate Resilience. Ex FBI Special Agent 21 years
8. Russell Handorf – current Twitter Senior Staff Technical Program Manager. Ex FBI 10 years.
9. Michael B. – current Twitter Senior Corporate Security Manager. Ex FBI 23 years.
10. Vincent Lucero – current Twitter Senior Security Manager. Ex FBI Special Agent 22 years.
11. Kevin L. – current Twitter Corporate Security Manager. Ex FBI Special Agent 25 years.
12. Matthew W. – current Twitter Senior Director of Product Trust, Revenue Policy, and Counsel Systems & Analytics. Ex FBI 15 years.
13. Claire O. – current Twitter Senior Corporate Security Analyst. Ex FBI 8 years.
14. Bruce A. – current Twitter Director, Corporate Security. Ex FBI 23 years.
15. Jeff Carlton – current Twitter Senior Manager. Ex FBI & CIA Intelligence Analyst 3 years.
16. What do all of these Twitter employees have in common? They were ALL hired since @realDonaldTrump was elected. Why, after Trump was elected, did Twitter hire over a dozen ex FBI/CIA agents and place them in Senior Management roles?
17. @elonmusk – how many “Jim Bakers” are imbedded in Twitter, possibly working against you? or…..”watching” you. I’d advise you to do some investigating and clean house.
What these files suggest is an utter license to control political speech on social media platforms. Twitter executives often sound like overlords determining what the public should be allowed to read or say. This is hardly surprising, given the constant stroking by many politicians and pundits who say they are saving democracy by limiting free speech. In speaking to media figures in April, former President Barack Obama called upon “our better angels” to shape voters’ opinions. Similarly, President Joe Biden has said social media editors are vital to protecting citizens from their own misguided values or assumptions. Without enlightened editors, he asked, “How do people know the truth?” Such comments show total contempt for the ability of people to make up their own minds on subjects ranging from elections to vaccinations.
Yet social media executives readily embraced their role in framing “the truth.” Former Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal pledged to “focus less on thinking about free speech” and more on “who can be heard.” While some of us denounced his anti-free-speech agenda, others rose in defense of Twitter maintaining one of the largest censorship systems in history. Now, these Twitter files show precisely what it means to manipulate “who can be heard” — a process that went beyond controversial suspensions of users to include a broader, secret effort to suppress disfavored viewpoints. The new documents show Twitter using blacklists and “visibility filters” to interfere with user searches or to shadow-ban individuals and prevent their tweets from trending.
The new material also indicates that “visibility filtering” was directed at various Republican campaigns, throttling or reducing candidates’ visibility before the 2020 election. Most striking in the latest documents is how Twitter censors knowingly discarded even their own policies to hamper then-President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. In one tweet, Trump referenced a mail-in voting problem in Ohio that was found to be true. Nevertheless, Twitter executives were praised for their speed to impose “visibility filters” so the tweet could not be “replied to, shared, or liked,” and the staff received a censorship “attaboy”: “VERY WELL DONE ON SPEED.”
US Republicans want Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk to testify before the House Oversight Committee next year. By revealing how his predecessors censored stories damaging to the Biden family, Musk has already done “a great service” to the committee, incoming chairman Rep. James Comer told the New York Post. “I have reached out to Elon Musk through backchannels to tell him that we would love for him to come before the committee,” Comer told the newspaper. “I’m pretty confident he’s going to provide more information, but he is welcome to come before our committee. We will roll out the red carpet for Elon Musk.” In the final weeks before the 2020 presidential election, Twitter banned the sharing of links to a New York Post story sourced from a laptop belonging to then-candidate Biden’s son, Hunter.
The story, and later articles that followed, alleged that Hunter Biden potentially earned tens of millions of dollars introducing foreign contacts – among them Mexican, Chinese and Ukrainian businessmen – to his father. Documents released by Musk last week showed that some of Twitter’s former senior executives – including legal head Vijaya Gadde, safety chief Yoel Roth, and General Counsel Jim Baker – deliberately suppressed the story and removed election-related tweets on behalf of the FBI and other government agencies. Musk’s disclosures also revealed that Twitter moderators regularly deleted content at the request of “the Biden team,” and planned the suspension of Donald Trump’s account months in advance.
“[Musk is] doing a great service to the Oversight Committee and America by disclosing all of the emails and correspondence between the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee and Twitter,” Comer continued. He added that Gadde, Roth and Baker have all been summoned to testify about their role in the censorship operation. Comer and incoming House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan announced last month that they will lead a twin-track investigation into the Biden family’s foreign business dealings and the alleged politicization of the Justice Department by President Biden, when Republicans hold the balance of power in the House of Representatives in January. “I want to be clear,” Comer stated at the time. “This is an investigation of Joe Biden, and that’s where the committee will focus in this next Congress.”
The Russia-Ukraine conflict reflects on the Balkans as a struggle between “autocracies and the law of the strongest” and “democracy and the rule of law”, European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen said during an EU-Western Balkans partnership summit in the Albanian capital Tirana this week. The last Balkan country to actually ascend to European Union membership was Croatia, in 2013. And this year, the Balkans have had to contend with the spectacle of Brussels gushing over Ukraine and rushing to grant Kiev candidate status. For context, it took Albania five years to receive candidate status (which it did in 2014). It took Serbia three years (a candidate since 2012) and Montenegro two years (a candidate since 2010).
Just imagine: You’ve been waiting years for Brussels to make a commitment, or to even show signs that it’s serious about the relationship, and suddenly it only has eyes for Kiev and seems to have forgotten about your existence.So it’s not exactly surprising that the citizens of these countries would start feeling like maybe the bloc simply isn’t marriage material. At the moment, 55% of North Macedonians have a negative view of the EU, while just 21% of Serbs see the EU positively and a majority of them are now against joining the bloc. Even in Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, confidence in European institutions has recently dipped. So it makes sense that the EU is running over there now for a big summit, worried about someone else stealing their loyalty – specifically Russia or China.
Serbia is a big friend of Russia, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said recently that Belgrade’s ties with Albania and North Macedonia in particular have never been better – even though Albania has been viewed over the past couple of decades by the West as one of its staunchest allies, including militarily, by committing troops to its efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Serbia isn’t onboard with the EU and its anti-Russian sanctions and agenda, refusing to march in lockstep with Brussels on its foreign policy towards Russia. Vucic refused to sign the summit’s Tirana Declaration, whose top clause referred to Russia’s “escalating war in Ukraine,” and reiterated his disagreement with the bloc’s sanctions policy.
It’s not a stretch to imagine that Brussels could see a threat to its anti-Russia agenda in all of this, or be concerned that other Balkan countries that followed the Western sanctions lead could feasibly start comparing their economic and energy challenges to Serbia’s situation, which still enjoys the benefits of cheap Russian gas, comprising about 85% of its gas imports. So how does the EU handle this powder keg? With all the subtlety of a hand grenade. Von der Leyen rhetorically dive bombed into the region this week, pointing out that the world is divided between autocracies and democracies and that the Balkans needed to pick a side. “We notice very clearly that the Ukraine war is not only Russia’s cruel war against Ukraine, but also a question of whether autocracies and the law of the strongest will prevail. Or whether democracy and the rule of law will prevail. And this struggle is also noticeable in the Western Balkans,” Von der Leyen said.
“..Putin said he was disappointed and shocked when he heard Merkel’s statement, adding that this was further proof that Moscow made the correct decision when it started its military operation in Ukraine..”
Berlin and Paris should pay reparations to the Donbass civilians who have been suffering Ukrainian attacks since 2014, according to Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the State Duma – Russia’s lower house of parliament. His comments came after former German chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that the Minsk peace agreements had been just a ploy to provide Kiev with enough time to build up its military. Merkel’s confession means that Berlin and Paris – who brokered the deal – “bear moral and material responsibility for what is happening in Ukraine,” Volodin wrote on Telegram on Saturday.
The premeditated failure to fulfill obligations under the accords constitutes “not only a loss of trust, but also a crime for which the signatories of the Minsk agreements – Merkel, [former French president Francois] Hollande, and [former Ukrainian president Pyotr] Poroshenko – must answer,” he stated. “They will have to pay compensation to the residents of Donbass for eight years of genocide and damages,” Volodin added. According to the MP, the ongoing Ukraine crisis has been brought about by “the deceitful policies” pursued by the French and German leaders. Volodin recalled that in 2014, Berlin and Paris also brokered a deal between the government of the democratically elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and the nation’s opposition to stop violent riots in Kiev. The unrest erupted in Ukraine’s capital after Yanukovich refused to sign an association agreement with the EU.
“It all ended with a coup d’etat in Kiev,” he stated, and “the genocide” of people in the Donbass. When the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics broke away from Kiev, Germany and France took part in signing the now-defunct Minsk agreements, which were supposed to pave the way for peace by giving the two territories a special status within the Ukrainian state. However, Russia has repeatedly accused Kiev of failing to implement the terms of the accords. Volodin’s comments came after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was disappointed and shocked when he heard Merkel’s statement, adding that this was further proof that Moscow made the correct decision when it started its military operation in Ukraine.
🇩🇪🇺🇦🇷🇺Putin – about Merkel's words about cheating with the Minsk agreements:"To be honest, it was absolutely unexpected for me. It's disappointing. Trust almost dropped to 0. How to negotiate? About what? And is it possible to negotiate with them? Where are the guarantees? " pic.twitter.com/sQ8ti1xRUH
“Disgusting” and “vile” are the words Lukashenko used to characterize Angela Merkel’s interview in which she stated that the Minsk peace agreements were used to gain extra time to arm and train Ukraine. 👇🏻 pic.twitter.com/PQcvSDpoR8
Three quarters of EU member states boosted their trade turnover with Russia in the first eight months of 2022, RIA Novosti is reporting on Saturday, citing data collected from the bloc’s various national statistics departments. Russia’s trade with Bulgaria and Greece reportedly soared 240% and 230% respectively, while trade turnover with Slovenia doubled during January-to-August period this year. At the same time, Austria and the Czech Republic boosted their trade with the sanctions-hit nation by 80%. Meanwhile, Russia’s trade turnover with both Hungary and Italy surged 70%. Belgium and Cyprus also registered increases, of 60%. All-in-all, 20 out of the 27 bloc members saw a year-over-year increase of 34% in mutual trade with Russia.
In monetary terms the trade turnover surged to €177.3 billion compared to €132.4 billion recorded for the same period a year ago. At the same time, Russia’s mutual trade with Malta saw a dramatic decline of 80%, while both Denmark and Sweden reduced their trade with the nation by 49%. Luxembourg’s trade turnover with Russia also declined, by 28%. Drops in Russia’s mutual trade with Finland and Lithuania totalled 7% and 6% respectively. Portugal reduced its trade turnover with the nation by 3%. Trade between these seven countries and Moscow amounted to €14.2 billion, against €17.3 billion a year earlier.
As a result, Russia-EU trade turnover saw an increase of 28% in January-August 2022 compared to the same period a year ago, and amounted to €191.5 billion. Of these, EU exports to Russia totalled €36.2 billion, while imports from Russia amounted to €155.3 billion. Thus, the EU’s trade deficit for the first eight months of the current year amounted to €119.1 billion, reaching its highest since 2008, when it amounted to €151 billion for the entire year.
Supreme command is in the hands of EU governments. Even though in most EU nations, the separation of powers is enshrined in the constitution, in practice that separation is not evident. Thus, EU governments are able to use a combination of often overtly abusive police action and the judicial system (judges also being dressed in black!) to subdue the citizenry and to control public opinion and public debate. The media, or the so-called free press, both private and public (with the alleged guarantees to ensure its impartiality, like in Germany), also plays a key role in controlling public opinion. Expressed in military terms, EU governments enjoy “full-spectrum dominance” in the entire public domain.
Under these conditions, it was not difficult to ban Russian media from the EU a few days after the beginning of the Russian Special Military Operation in the Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The few voices raised in protest against this massive and unprecedented censorship were easily silenced and suppressed. It is perhaps no coincidence that EU censorship was decreed by a German, namely the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Germany is the European nation that has enjoyed the longest continuous censorship and strict media control anywhere: ever since Hitler ended press freedom in 1933, the Germans have been living with controlled media and the curtailment of speech. Free speech has now been banned in Germany for almost a century! Today, the very policies first applied by the nazis have become the norm and standard all over the EU.
An essential tool for managing and controlling public debate is to ridicule and frame the opposition. Thus anybody who does not buy into the official narrative is branded a “hater,” “denier” or “conspiracy theorist.” On that account alone, it is suggested such people are unfit to participate in the public debate. If they do so nonetheless, sharper weapons are produced. In that case, it is stated the culprit has “dangerous ideas” or that he is a “potential terrorist.” As such he needs to be taken care of, for instance thrown in jail or subjected to psychiatric treatment. Numerous EU journalists and others saying unwelcome truths have been indicted, thrown in jail or interned in a psychiatric ward. In case someone proves particularly difficult to deal with, he is eliminated by way of a car accident, a “lone wolf” or a suicide.
Fortunately, those violent methods rather rarely need to be applied. State censorship with the help of the police and kangaroo courts takes care of most cases. And even before that, the maintaining of “community standards” on social media such as Facebook, Apple (I-phone), Google, Youtube, Instagram, Amazon (until recently, Twitter as well) and other platforms filters out the vast majority of “crimethink.”
Newsweek spoke with a ‘former’ U.S. Colonel who, together with ‘volunteers’, trains Ukrainian soldiers. Here is what he says about Ukrainian losses: “Bakhmut is like Dresden, and the countryside looks like Passchendaele,” he said, referring to the German city destroyed by allied bombing in World War II and the infamously muddy and bloody World War I battlefield. “It’s just a horrible and miserable place. Ukraine closely guards its casualty figures, but its forces are believed to be suffering badly around Bakhmut. “They’ve been taking extraordinarily high casualties,” Milburn said of the units training with Mozart. “The numbers you are reading in the media about 70 percent and above casualties being routine are not exaggerated.”
Despite their “tremendous morale,” Milburn said the defenders “have an acute ‘regeneration problem,’ which means getting new recruits into the line as quickly as possible.” This means those being thrown into the fight have little beyond basic training. “Typically about 80 percent of our intake who are coming off of the line have never even fired a weapon before,” Milburn said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us.” A unit that has 50% casualties is usually no longer able to fight and must be replaced. But the Ukrainians leave their units on the frontline until nearly nobody is left in them. So the number of 500 casualties per day on the Bakhmut front seems realistic. Over the last months the daily report of the Russian ministry of defense listed on average some 300 Ukrainian casualties per day.
But the ministry does not report the casualties from Bakhmut as the operations of the private military contractor Wagner are not included in it. So the daily total over the last month, despite little movement of the front lines, must have been some 800 dead Ukrainians. In the 30 days between the two maps at the top at least 24,000 Ukrainian soldiers have left the battle field. It is no wonder that such high numbers can not be replaced. The mix of dead or wounded will likely be 1 to 1 as medical evacuation from the frontline trenches is extremely difficult. Most wounded will just die there. It is not only the men that are lost. The equipment they used is mostly lost with them. 24,000 men are the equivalent of 6 to 7 NATO brigades. The German army has now only 8 of those.
When I was it that army it had 36 brigades plus significant reserve units. The same large downgrade happened with the general state of NATO. It is not ready for a war with Russia. The western wounder weapons have done little for Ukraine. The Russians have update their air defense systems to now detect and shoot down HIMARS missiles. They report some 10 to 20 of such kills per day. The shooting down of small and medium sized Ukrainian drones has dropped from 20-30 per day in the summer to 2-3 per day. Either the Ukrainians have run out of drones or the weather has made theirs unusable.
The Pentagon has given a tacit endorsement of Ukraine’s long-range attacks on targets inside Russia after President Putin’s multiple missile strikes against Kyiv’s critical infrastructure. Since daily assaults on civilians began in October, the Pentagon has revised its threat assessment of the war in Ukraine. Crucially, this includes new judgments about whether arms shipments to Kyiv might lead to a military confrontation between Russia and Nato. This represents a significant development in the nine-month war between Ukraine and Russia, with Washington now likelier to supply Kyiv with longer-range weapons. “We’re still using the same escalatory calculations but the fear of escalation has changed since the beginning,” a US defence source told The Times.
“It’s different now. This is because the calculus of war has changed as a result of the suffering and brutality the Ukrainians are being subjected to by the Russians.” Washington is now less concerned that new long-range strikes inside Russia could lead to a dramatic escalation. Moscow’s revenge attacks have to date all involved conventional missile strikes against civilian targets. Previously, the Pentagon was warier of Ukraine attacking Russia because it feared the Kremlin would retaliate either with tactical nuclear weapons or by targeting neighbouring Nato nations. However, Washington does not want to be seen publicly giving the green light to Kyiv attacking Russian soil.
Its position on Ukraine’s attacks inside Russia was defined this week by Antony Blinken, the secretary of state, who said: “We have neither encouraged nor enabled the Ukrainians to strike inside of Russia.” However, a US defence source said: “We’re not saying to Kyiv, ‘Don’t strike the Russians [in Russia or Crimea]’. We can’t tell them what to do. It’s up to them how they use their weapons. But when they use the weapons we have supplied, the only thing we insist on is that the Ukrainian military conform to the international laws of war and to the Geneva conventions. “They are the only limitations but that includes no targeting of Russian families and no assassinations. As far as we’re concerned, Ukraine has been in compliance.”
Within these limited constraints laid down by the Pentagon, Kyiv is now adopting a more aggressive, more persistent offensive against targets inside Russia. Ukraine has been careful to use its own drones, not US-supplied weapons, to carry out the strikes. The drones, based on Soviet Tupolev TU-141 Strizh surveillance systems developed in the 1970s, have been reprogrammed to give them longer range and a sizeable munition for launching at low altitude. The modified TU-141s were deployed this week in three raids against military bases 300 miles inside the Russian border and on fuel tanks about 80 miles across the Ukrainian border, in each case evading air defences. The drones can fly at 600mph at low altitude, like cruise missiles.
Putin counter strike
🇷🇺🚀☢️⚛️Putin about the preemptive nuclear strike:
"Our strategy has formulated a counter-strike. But if the enemy believes that it is possible to use the theory of a preemptive strike,then this makes us think about the threats that such ideas create for us." pic.twitter.com/wbMHpc3wzN
[..] participants were presented with brief descriptions of a series of fictitious individuals and asked to imagine that these are people whom one of their close relatives intends to marry. They were shown two profiles at a time, side by side, and asked to rate each profile by saying whether they agree or disagree with statements such as, “I would be unhappy if this person married one of my close relatives,” and “I think this person is untrustworthy.” One of the six attributes describing these targeted individuals has been their COVID-19 vaccination status, randomly varying between “fully vaccinated” and “unvaccinated.” The other attributes were age, occupation, hobbies, personality, and “family background,” which distinguished between people “born and raised in [the respondent’s country]” and people who “immigrated from the Middle East.”
Across six countries—Germany, India, Indonesia, Morocco, South Africa, and the United Kingdom—selected to represent both affluent Western and developing non-Western nations, the unvaccinated were found to be disliked among vaccinated people (14 percentage points) as much as people with drug addiction (15 percentage points), and significantly more so than people who had been in prison (10 percentage points), atheists (7 percentage points), or people with mental illness (6 percentage points). In addition, the overall dislike of the unvaccinated among vaccinated people (13 percentage points) was found to be two and a half times greater than that of Middle Eastern immigrants (5 percentage points).
In fact, according to the paper, unvaccinated people face significantly more hostility than immigrants even in 10 countries that are deemed unfriendly to immigrants. Interestingly, discriminatory attitudes against unvaccinated Middle Eastern immigrants were found to be just as strong as those toward unvaccinated natives. By contrast, researchers found that the unvaccinated respondents on average showed almost no discriminatory attitudes toward the vaccinated. “The results demonstrate that prejudice is mostly one-sided,” the authors wrote. “Only in [the] United States and Germany do we find that the unvaccinated feel some antipathy towards the vaccinated. But even here we do not find statistical evidence in favor of negative stereotyping or exclusionary attitudes.”
“The observation that vaccinated individuals discriminate against those who are unvaccinated, but that there is no evidence for the reverse, is consistent with work on the psychology of cooperation,” said leading author Alexander Bor, a political psychologist at the George Soros-funded Central European University (CEU).
The EU and the US went forward with their long-debated, long-telegraphed move to put a price cap on Russian oil at $60 per barrel. By believing they can pressure suppliers into not hauling Russian oil lest they run afoul of the sanctions that support the price cap, they believe they can take only Russian oil off the market for the long run. Because of the way oil is actually traded in the real world, versus the way it trades in Janet Yellen’s head, this policy is actually much harder to implement than it actually looks. You don’t buy oil at the crude oil counter at Target or Wal-Mart. There isn’t a price tag you can look at and say yes or no too. As Tsvetana Paraskova at Oilprice points out, crude contracts are written based on a discount or premium to a benchmark price at a particular moment in time.
“Physical traders rarely trade on a fixed price,” John Driscoll, chief strategist at JTD Energy Services Pte Ltd, told Bloomberg. “It’s a much more complex space where they trade on formulas and spot differentials to a benchmark crude for the trading of actual cargoes as well as for hedging that follows,” said Driscoll, who has more than 30 years of trading oil in Singapore. To complicate things further, the EU wants to remain flexible to change the cap at its discretion. “The price cap is not set in stone – it “is fixed for now but adjustable over time,” the EU said last week. If this sounds like a recipe for complete disaster, it is. No matter what happens here, the quantity of oil to be produced under this cap, even if it isn’t successful, will go down. Period. See chart below. If you disagree with this then you might just qualify to replace Yellen as Treasury Secretary of the US.
That said, Janet Yellen may be stupid, but she’s not that stupid. She knows what this price cap she’s championed will do. So, as always, with these people the question you shouldn’t be asking isn’t, “Will this work?” or “How will Russia respond?” but rather, “Is this the point of the exercise?” [..] If everyone involved knows that price floors and price ceilings always and without fail create production shortages, then why did they do this when the world clearly need more oil? Because this is a feature of the policy, not a bug. By doing this, like every other intervention into oil delivery since the start of the war in Ukraine, the goal was to take Russia’s supply offline and hope that other producers would see the opportunity to take market share from the evil Russians while simultaneously trying to push capital investment into competing energy technologies — like nuclear, hydrogen and unicorn farts.
A federal judge has declined to take action to hold former President Trump in contempt of court during a closed-door hearing on Friday, according to two sources with knowledge of the proceedings. Friday’s hearing was in relation to a federal probe into Trump’s handling of classified material at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago. Judge Beryl Howell urged lawyers from the Department of Justice and Trump’s team to work out the matter on their own during a 90-minute meeting in a Washington, D.C., federal court. The Justice Department has become increasingly frustrated with lawyers for Trump over the past few months for allegedly failing to comply with a subpoena asking for classified documents in Trump’s possession to be returned, sources tell Fox News.
[..] Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate was the subject of a search warrant executed in August by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, where classified documents were allegedly found to have been in his possession. Steven Cheung, senior communications adviser to Trump, told Fox News Digital that the former president and his lawyers will continue to cooperate. “The President and his counsel will continue to be transparent and cooperative, even in the face of the highly weaponized and corrupt witch-hunt from the Department of Justice. Hillary Clinton was allowed to delete and acid wash 33,000 emails after they were subpoenaed by Congress, yet absolutely nothing has happened to hold her accountable. If the Department of Justice can go after President Trump, they will surely come after any American who they disagree with. President Trump is the only one who stands in the way of the un-American weaponization of law enforcement,” Cheung said.
Gonzalo – Unconditional Surrender Is Now Russia’s Goal
Judge Nap/ Macgregor
Chief John Smith, a Chippewa Native American who was reputed to be 137 years old when he died.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service @USFWS
Important announcement: We’re designating the northern cardinal as the best holiday season bird. It just makes sense and we won’t be taking any questions at this time. Thank you.
The third installment of Elon Musk’s release of internal Twitter communications has been released, once again via veteran journalist Matt Taibbi. In this episode, which is a 3-parter, we learn what happened behind the scenes which led to the banishment of former President Donald Trump from the platform. 2. The world knows much of the story of what happened between riots at the Capitol on January 6th, and the removal of President Donald Trump from Twitter on January 8th… 3. We’ll show you what hasn’t been revealed: the erosion of standards within the company in months before J6, decisions by high-ranking executives to violate their own policies, and more, against the backdrop of ongoing, documented interaction with federal agencies.
4. This first installment covers the period before the election through January 6th. Tomorrow, @ShellenbergerMD will detail the chaos inside Twitter on January 7th. On Sunday, @bariweiss will reveal the secret internal communications from the key date of January 8th. 5. Whatever your opinion on the decision to remove Trump that day, the internal communications at Twitter between January 6th-January 8th have clear historical import. Even Twitter’s employees understood in the moment it was a landmark moment in the annals of speech. 6. As soon as they finished banning Trump, Twitter execs started processing new power. They prepared to ban future presidents and White Houses – perhaps even Joe Biden. The “new administration,” says one exec, “will not be suspended by Twitter unless absolutely necessary.”
7. Twitter executives removed Trump in part over what one executive called the “context surrounding”: actions by Trump and supporters “over the course of the election and frankly last 4+ years.” In the end, they looked at a broad picture. But that approach can cut both ways. 8. The bulk of the internal debate leading to Trump’s ban took place in those three January days. However, the intellectual framework was laid in the months preceding the Capitol riots. 9. Before J6, Twitter was a unique mix of automated, rules-based enforcement, and more subjective moderation by senior executives. As reported, the firm had a vast array of tools for manipulating visibility, most all of which were thrown at Trump (and others) pre-J6.
10. As the election approached, senior executives – perhaps under pressure from federal agencies, with whom they met more as time progressed – increasingly struggled with rules, and began to speak of “vios” as pretexts to do what they’d likely have done anyway. 11. After J6, internal Slacks show Twitter executives getting a kick out of intensified relationships with federal agencies. Here’s Trust and Safety head Yoel Roth, lamenting a lack of “generic enough” calendar descriptions to concealing his “very interesting” meeting partners.
US federal agencies worked closely with Twitter moderators to clamp down on “disinformation” during the 2020 election, while executives went to great lengths to scrub certain content they deemed false and dangerous following increasingly frequent sit-downs with law enforcement and intelligence orgs, according to the third installment of the “Twitter Files.” Shared on Friday by journalist Matt Taibbi, the trove of files includes a set of messages from Twitter’s former head of Trust and Safety Yoel Roth. The executive reveals he was running out of “generic” names on the company’s internal calendar to hide the increasingly regular meetings with federal officials ahead of the 2020 election. “DEFINITELY NOT meeting with the FBI I SWEAR,” he quipped in response to a colleague who suggested calling it a “Very Boring Business Meeting That Is Definitely Not About Trump.”
Another missive speaks of Roth’s “weekly sync” with officials from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), suggesting he consulted with three-letter agencies to discuss “election security.” The message also mentions a “monthly meeting” with the FBI’s Foreign Influence Task Force (FITF), a unit created to “identify and counteract malign foreign influence operations targeting the United States” in the wake of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential win. The FBI even went as far as to flag individual tweets thought to be problematic, in one case urging Twitter to censor a former Republican official – apparently on the basis of a Politifact article alone. The DHS, ODNI and “some NGOs that aren’t academic” were also involved in the process.
A special channel was created on October 8, 2020 for senior executives like Roth, Trust and Policy chief Vijaya Gadde and top lawyer Jim Baker – who previously worked as general counsel for the FBI – to coordinate election-related decisions, given the name “us2020_xfn_enforcement.” This “smaller, more powerful cadre” of senior executives made decisions “on the fly, often in minutes and based on guesses, gut calls, even Google searches,” while also “clearly liaising with federal enforcement and intelligence agencies about moderation of election-related content,” Taibbi wrote, dubbing the group a “high-speed Supreme Court of moderation.” In yet another exchange involving Policy Director Nick Pickles, a staffer asked if the site’s marketing team could say that posts are reviewed in conjunction with “outside experts” in promotional material. However, Pickles raised doubts, saying “not sure we’d describe the FBI/DHS as experts,” instead suggesting the term “partnerships” alone.
Lawyer sundance has long said he doesn’t trust DeSantis, who he sees as representing larger forces behind the curtain. Since Bari Weiss supports DeSantis’ campaign, while also publishing the Twitter Files with Matt Taibbi, for Elon Musk, he doesn’t trust any of them either.
The latest release of information behind the controversial “Twitter Files”, comes from Bari Weiss complete with the strategic promotion of a new website [The Free Press] launching via the booster provided by their access to the internal Twitter documents. Curiously intelligent people will note the Weiss website is structured to support the 2024 presidential bid of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is, not coincidentally, riding atop a multi-staged booster guided by Elon Musk and fueled by Wall Street billionaires. For the moment, just note and I digress – but please do not miss the connections. As noted by the former New York Times journalist, Ms. Weiss states, “the [website] authors have broad and expanding access to Twitter’s files. The only condition we agreed to was that the material would first be published on Twitter.” [..]
Overall, the story as released walks through the process that Twitter used to control users and as a consequence control the flow of information on the platform. Accounts were subject to restrictions, manipulations and other inorganic engagement controls depending on the ideology of the content being provided. [..] To put it in brutally honest terms, The United States Dept of Homeland Security is the operating system running in the background of Twitter. You can debate whether Elon Musk honestly didn’t know all this before purchasing Twitter from his good friend Jack Dorsey, and/or what the scenario of owner/operator motive actually is. Decide for yourself. For me, I feel confident that all of the conflicting and odd datapoints only reconcile in one direction. DHS, via CISA, controls Twitter.
Wittingly or unwittingly (you decide) Elon Musk is now the face of that govt controlled enterprise. If you concur with my researched assessment, then what you see being released by Elon Musk in the Twitter Files is actually a filtered outcome as a result of this new ownership dynamic. And with that intelligence framework solidly in mind, I warn readers not to take a position on the motive of the new ownership. Put simply, DHS stakeholders, to include the DOJ, FBI and Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), are mitigating public exposure of their domestic surveillance activity by controlling and feeding selected information about their prior Twitter operations.
Calling executives the “Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust” (Vijaya Gadde) and the “Global Head of Trust & Safety” (Yoel Roth) doesn’t alter their status as some of the greatest censors in history. Yet the license for this massive system clearly came from Twitter’s very top. Shadow banning and “visibility filtering” are consistent with the policies of ex-CEO Parag Agrawal, who pledged the company would “focus less on thinking about free speech” because “speech is easy on the Internet. Most people can speak. Where our role is particularly emphasized is who can be heard.” So we now know that Twitter was not only banning dissenting voices on subjects ranging from COVID to climate change but was throttling or suppressing the traffic for disfavored writers.
Among those targeted was Stanford professor Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, who wrote about how COVID lockdowns would harm children. He and others have been vindicated in flagging those worries, but Twitter secretly placed him on a “Trends Blacklist” to prevent his tweets from trending. It’s a telling list because it reflects an acknowledgment that such tweets would trend with users if the company didn’t suppress them. Some of us have been raising concerns over Twitter’s massive censorship system for years, including what I called the emergence of a “shadow state” where corporations carry out censorship the Constitution bars the government from doing. What’s striking is leading Democrats have been open about precisely this type of corporate manipulation of political speech on social media.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called upon these companies to use enlightened algorithms to protect users from their own bad reading choices. Even President Joe Biden called for such regulation of speech and discussions by wise editors. Without such censorship and manipulation, Biden asked, “How do people know the truth?” It is still early to determine possible legal implications of these files, but there are some areas likely to be of immediate concern for counsel. First, Elon Musk has suggested that some material may have been intentionally hidden or destroyed despite inquiries from Congress. Twitter was told to expect a congressional investigation into these areas. It’s not clear if this was material allegedly deleted as part of a regular process or a specific effort to destroy evidence of censorship or throttling.
Such obstruction cases, however, can be difficult to bring absent clear evidence. In 2005, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned accounting firm Arthur Andersen’s conviction for its destruction of documents under a standard record-management system. Second, destruction of documents could also prove relevant as part of an investigation into whether false statements were given under oath. Twitter executives denied such secret suppression efforts both in public and before Congress. Indeed, a recent federal filing revealed a 2021 email between Twitter executives and Carol Crawford, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s digital media chief. Crawford wanted to censor “unapproved opinions” on social media; Twitter replied that “with our CEO testifying before Congress this week [it] is tricky.”
At that hearing, social-media companies were asked about my prior testimony on private censorship in circumventing the First Amendment. In response, Dorsey insisted that “we don’t have a censoring department.” Dorsey also expressly denied under oath that there was “shadow banning” based on political ideology.
At what point in his arduous take-over of Twitter did Elon Musk realize that the package came with a joker in the deck: James A. Baker, formerly general counsel of the FBI? Did he wonder: what is this guy doing here? Were there any conversations between the two? Or did Mr. Musk just quietly observe his presence at a remove in nervous wonder, as one might, say, upon discovering a scorpion in the corner of his hotel room? Mr. Baker, you understand, was notoriously at the center of the FBI’s FISA court fuckery that got the ball rolling in the Crossfire Hurricane operation, Act One of RussiaGate, as well as the Alfa Bank caper concocted by Hillary Clinton (disclosed this year by special counsel John Durham), and probably every other sedition pie the FBI cooked in its oven in those years, considering Mr. Baker’s position as chief legal advisor to Director Chris Wray.
When the alt-news media caught onto Mr. Baker’s nefarious activities, he became inconvenient to the agency, was re-assigned to some nebulous task (polishing Mr. Wray’s cuff links?), and quit in May, 2018. He landed temporarily — or was he, rather, parked out-of-sight? — at the shadowy R Street Institute, an Intel Community cut-out, one of its countless PR channels in the DC Swamp. But then, mysteriously, Mr. Baker got hired by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in June of 2020 — the heat of a presidential election — to work under Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s general counsel (and chief of “legal, policy, and trust” [ha!]), where he remained until just the other day. Is it a stretch to imagine Mr. Baker’s former employer, the FBI — which, let’s face it, operates as a sort of blood-brotherhood — purposely installed Mr. Baker in that sensitive job at Twitter to help “moderate” the national conversation in the central forum that public debate had moved to in our time?
If so, he apparently did a crackerjack job, and just at the right time, too, after the FBI discovered, in emails they ripped off Rudolph Giuliani’s purloined cloud account, that Donald Trump’s attorney possessed of a copy of the laptop hard-drive of one Hunter Biden, son of presidential candidate Joe Biden — said computer (the FBI knew full-well by then) being stuffed not just with pornographic photos of crack orgies and other personal infelicities, but also a trove of emails and deal memos laying out a bribery and money-laundering scheme that the younger Biden was running all over Eurasia as a family business.
Much has been made of Ukraine’s retaking of Kherson, but Russia regarded it as a city of little strategic value. Rather than waste resources fighting for it, they withdrew. The Russians also let the Ukrainians have the open land, which will later become a killing field for Russian artillery. That’s the reality you’re not being told. In the words of retired U.S. Army Col. Douglas Macgregor: “The Biden administration repeatedly commits the unpardonable sin in a democratic society of refusing to tell the American people the truth: Contrary to the Western media’s popular “Ukrainian victory” narrative, which blocks any information that contradicts it, Ukraine is not winning and will not win this war. Months of heavy Ukrainian casualties, resulting from an endless series of pointless attacks against Russian defenses in southern Ukraine, have dangerously weakened Ukrainian forces.”
In the meantime, Russia is preparing to launch a massive counteroffensive. It’s completed its 300,000-man mobilization, with over 180,000 of those troops now deployed behind Russian lines in combat formations. The remaining 120,000 troops will arrive soon. This brings total Russian strength up to about 30 divisions. Once again, Col. Macgregor: “The coming offensive phase of the conflict will provide a glimpse of the new Russian force that is emerging and its future capabilities…The numbers continue to grow, but the numbers already include 1,000 rocket artillery systems, thousands of tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones, plus 5,000 armored fighting vehicles, including at least 1,500 tanks, hundreds of manned fixed-wing attack aircraft, helicopters and bombers. This new force has little in common with the Russian army that intervened nine months ago on Feb. 24, 2022.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian strength has been greatly diminished due to high casualty rates and being stretched thin. Then What? If successful, the upcoming counteroffensive would give Russia control of the entire coast from the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea. It would also give Russia control of the Dnipro River, which separates the western part of Ukraine from the eastern part and connects Kyiv to the Black Sea. Ukraine would be left as a rump state between Kyiv and Lviv. Almost all the industrial, technological and natural resource capacity of former Ukraine would be under Russian control.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, once again, accused the West of using Ukrainian troops as cannon fodder as some of the war’s most intense fighting rages in Bakhmut, an eastern city in Donetsk. Putin said the West is fighting for global domination but acknowledged that Russia will have to make a deal vis-a-vis Ukraine at some point. He said he is concerned that countries like Germany and France, which would likely help broker any deals, may not be trust worthy. “The question of trust arises. And trust of course is almost at zero… But nevertheless, in the final analysis we have to come to agreements. I have already said many times that we are ready for these agreements,” Putin said in a video message, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, the fighting playing out in the city has been compared to how forces used to square off in WWI.
The Financial Times described one of the scenes:“Then came the Russian infantry, charging in a first world war-style attack across a no man’s land of shredded trees and artillery craters. The Ukrainians popped up and mowed down many of them with machine guns and grenade launchers. Moments later, the scenes were repeated — although this time the Russian fighters had to navigate their comrades’ bodies. Again many were cut down by Ukrainian bullets. “It’s like a conveyor belt,” Kostyantyn, an exhausted Ukrainian machine-gunner who described the scene to the Financial Times, said of the Russian tactics. “For what? A fucking metre of our land.” The city is considered to be located at a valuable location and has been fortified by Ukrainian troops.
Both Russia and Ukraine have been tight lipped about their casualties in the city, but The Wall Street Journal said hospitals have been inundated with Ukrainian casualties. Ukrainian troops and civilians have taken to social media to post images from the city that show gutted buildings and charred homes. Sky News noted that Bakhumt has been called a meat grinder because of the “huge and growing number of casualties.”Putin also said in the video that Russia may look into updating its nuclear policy and take a new look at the possibility of a preventive nuclear first strike to disarm an opponent to its military doctrine, Bloomberg reported. “We’re thinking about this,” he said. “If we are talking about a disarming strike, perhaps we should think about using the approaches of our American partners.”
Washington is about to send another security assistance package to Kiev, which will include anti-drone and air defense systems, Reuters reported, citing sources. The $275 million measure is expected to be officially announced on Friday. According to officials and documents cited by the news agency, the security aid will also include rockets for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), 155mm ammunition, Humvee vehicles, and generators. At the same time, there are no details on the air defense equipment, the report says. In addition to this, the contents and the size of the aid package may change before it is approved by US President Joe Biden.
The new measure is expected to be covered by the Presidential Drawdown Authority, which allows Washington to dispatch military equipment quickly and without congressional approval. Supporting Ukraine with air defense systems has become an “absolute priority” for Western countries since Russia began targeting the country’s energy infrastructure, according to the US Department of Defense. The recurring bombardments picked up steam after Moscow accused Kiev of conducting “terrorist attacks” on Russian structures, including the strategic Crimea Bridge. In early November, the Pentagon announced a $400 million security package for Ukraine, which included ammunition for the HAWK air defense system as well as four Avenger air defense systems and additional Stinger missiles.
The same month, Ukraine received two first National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), with Washington promising to send another six. Since the start of the conflict, the US has committed more than $19 billion in security assistance to Kiev. Moscow has repeatedly warned Western countries that providing heavy weapons to Ukraine risks both crossing Russia’s “red lines,” and could lead to their direct involvement in the conflict. Washington and its allies insist they are not a party to the hostilities, but continue sending arms shipments to Kiev. The Russian Defense Ministry said the strikes on Ukraine’s power infrastructure were intended to degrade Kiev’s ability to transport troops, and Western-supplied weapons and equipment to the battlefield by rail.
[..] the Democratic administration’s rhetoric was reminiscent of the Clinton era, which was arguably the golden era of US-European symbiosis. Back then, Washington regarded the continent as an important priority and made considerable efforts to beautify it in a pan-Atlantic spirit, which was then in line with the overwhelming European sense of what was beautiful. The current US president, Joe Biden, is an old-school politician, from a time when Europe was the center of American interests. But the old school involves a sober analysis of costs and benefits. And the ability to optimize the former by maximizing the latter.
After the Second World War, and especially the Cold War, Western Europeans abandoned strategic thinking and instead followed policies which ensured a comfortable existence. The US, on the other hand, has retained the ability, if not to think, then, at least, to feel strategically. Hence an understanding (or rather an instinct) of the changing geopolitical realities. Of course, gut feelings don’t guarantee the correctness of policy, but they do imply an alignment with current needs and circumstances. Ironically, Western Europe, historically famed for its rationalism, is now much less correlated with the consequences of its actions.
Whether Washington had a cunning plan to shift the brunt of the confrontation with Russia onto its European allies, we may someday find out. However, the behavior of the United States can perhaps be explained not by scheming, but rather by clever opportunism. The fallout from the Ukrainian crisis is spreading all over the place, with the US making decisions to manage the consequences or even to exploit them for the future. This causes consternation amongst the Western Europeans: the Americans can do it, but they themselves can not. Thus, when the Biden administration passes the Inflation Reduction Act, putting American citizens in a much better position than Europeans, it is perfectly in the interests of the US. So?
Western Europe is caught in a trap and it’s unclear how it can escape. Absolute solidarity with the US on the Russian question implies subordination to a stronger partner. That said, the EU and UK are ready for this, but it means (for objective reasons): 1) that they must bear most of the costs, and 2) they should follow a common strategic position on the other issues of principle for their patron. And the main one here is China. Beijing will be Washington’s strategic rival for decades to come. However, it’s not a threat to Western Europe, and it’s not a challenge. Indeed, cooperation with it is advantageous. But why should the big brother allow his little sidekick to help someone who is at odds with him?
“..Western companies made a killing inside Russia, tens of millions of people were robbed of their savings and pensions and millions died of poverty, despair, alcoholism and in nationalist wars in the Caucasus..”
Tragically, instead of keeping the best of the old USSR, full employment, housing for all, free education, free health care, free culture and support for the exploited Third World, once the nouveau-riche nomenklatura had taken long-coveted power, they simply put in place a poor-quality imitation of the corrupt West, keeping only all that was worst in the old USSR, alcoholism, abortion and divorce on demand, corruption etc. It was the worst of both worlds. National assets were stolen (‘privatised’) by what were politely called ‘oligarchs’, tens of millions of abandoned Russians found they had become disliked minorities in new countries, Western companies made a killing inside Russia, tens of millions of people were robbed of their savings and pensions and millions died of poverty, despair, alcoholism and in nationalist wars in the Caucasus, which were directly provoked and supported by the West. It was one of the greatest thefts of resources and identity in the history of the world.
It is only since 2000 that Russian patriots have been able to develop something better to put in place of these monstrosities and despite them. This has been a generational project and could not be rushed. Only thirty years later, in 2022, was the project ready. The New Russia, purged of the parasites and traitors, is needed, but there are still institutions, like the Church, where the corrupt and infiltrators are present and so compromise them. These traitors are just like the aristocrats, generals, politicians and professionals who coveted power in 1917 and so brought the system down. Just like today’s aristocrats/oligarchs and bourgeois elite of traitors, they implemented the Western-planned February 1917 palace revolt and, once they had caused chaos, civil war and destruction, they irresponsibly ran away to the West.
Having rejected the corrupt and failed post-Soviet Russia and the bankrupted Soviet Russia (1917-1991), the patriots who wanted to form the New Russia had two past models to consider: the brief Imperial Russia (1721-1917) and the long pre-Imperial Russia (988-1721), whose ideal was ‘Holy Rus’. Interestingly the last Tsar, Nicholas II, seeing the appalling decadence of the upper class in Saint Petersburg, had looked back with nostalgia precisely to that pre-Imperial Russia and especially to one of its last rulers, Tsar Alexis (1645-1676). He named his only son after him, reconciling those who used the Old Ritual with the Church, worked towards the restoration of the Patriarchate, building churches in the national style of the previous age and reforming church singing and iconography according to that age’s standards
The price ceiling imposed by the West on Russian oil exports will impact the nations adopting the measure rather than Russia itself, President Vladimir Putin said on Friday. He noted that the cap is equal to prices at which the country is currently selling its crude. “We won’t sustain losses under any circumstances,” Putin said during a press conference following a summit of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek. The price limit on Russian seaborne oil, set at $60 per barrel, was introduced by the EU, the G7 countries and Australia on December 5. It bans Western companies from providing insurance and other services to shipments of Russian oil, unless the cargo is purchased at or below the indicated price.
Russia is not planning to sell oil to nations supporting the price cap, Putin said, adding that specific steps to retaliate against the measure will be outlined in the coming days through a presidential order. According to Putin, Russia will consider oil production cuts if necessary, although no decisions on the issue have been made so far. “We have an agreement with OPEC + on a known production target, we will think of something additional if necessary,” he said. According to the Russian leader, introducing a price ceiling will inevitably reduce investments into the oil sector, and send global crude prices skyrocketing.
Helmholtz Smith, Andrew Korybko and Andrei Martyanov have some thoughts about a recent interview the former German chancellor Angela Merkel gave to the German weekly broadsheet Die Zeit. Smith says it shows that the ‘West’ is not trustworthy. Korybko thinks it the interview will prolong the conflict in Ukraine. Martyanov says that Merkel is stupid. She isn’t. In the interview Merkel seems to claim that the Minsk agreements between the Ukrainian government and the Donbas region, which she negotiated and co-signed as guarantor, was never meant to be fulfilled. It was only meant to give time to build up the Ukrainian military. I however think that such an interpretation is wrong. Merkel is under very harsh critique not only in the U.S. but also in her own conservative party.
She is now out to justify her previous decisions as well as the current bad outcome in Ukraine. My hunch is that she is making things up. Unfortunately she also creates serious damage. The relevant passage of the interview is longer than the one paragraph Helmholtz Smith and other cite. The context is important. Here is my translation of it: “ZEIT: Do you ask yourself if the years of relative calm were also years of omissions and if you were not only a crisis manager, but also partly the cause of crises? Merkel: I would not be a political person if I did not deal with that. […some stuff about climate action …] Let us look at my policy towards Russia and Ukraine. I come to the conclusion that I made the decisions I made back then in a way that I can understand today. It was an attempt to prevent just such a war. The fact that this was not successful does not mean that the attempts were wrong.”
I think the above is genuine. The Minsk agreements were a serious attempt to prevent war by reintegrating Donbas into a federalized Ukraine. However, the Ukrainian president Poroshenko did not have the will and the political backing to fulfill the agreement. There was no chance that, under him, a federalization law would pass the Ukrainian parliament. Moreover the U.S., the only party who could have really pressured him, told him not to follow up on the agreement. But then came Zelensky who was elected by a large majority on the promise to fulfill Minsk II. He even made attempts to do that. But he soon found out that his own life was in serious danger if he continued to try. There was also U.S. pressure as it did not want Minsk fulfilled.
Merkel however can not say that out loud. By late 2019 she must have recognized that Minsk II was blocked forever. It was a serious defeat for her but there was nothing she could do about it. She therefore now comes up, ex post, with a Chamberlain excuse. The 1938 Munich agreement Chamberlain signed prevented Germany from immediately going to war and gave the UK and others time to arm up. The Minsk agreement, Merkel claims now, bought time for Ukraine to get its military into better conditions.
The chart tracks the line item, “Earnings remittances due to the U.S. Treasury,” on the Fed’s weekly balance sheet (second “Table 6,” Liabilities). This is normally a line that tracks the weekly increase in the amount that the Fed estimates it owes the US Treasury as the year goes on. “Normally” means in times when the Fed is making money. Each week adds up. For example, in 2021, all the 52 weekly amounts, each in the range between $500 million and $4 billion, added up to $106 billion that the Fed would owe the Treasury Department. Close enough for an estimate of the $107.4 billion in remittance for the year. But when the Fed started losing money on a weekly basis in September, the account did a switcheroo. Instead of showing the “weekly change” as during normal times, it shows the “cumulative loss since September 2022.”
In other words, when the Fed started losing money on a weekly basis in September 2022, the account shifted from showing a weekly change of a positive balance, to showing the total cumulative negative balance. It now no longer shows the weekly change but its total loss since September 2022. This shift from “weekly change” to “cumulative balance” is kind of a funny way of doing something? But it sort of makes sense, and here’s why: In theory, if the amount that the Fed owes the US Treasury is negative, it would mean that the US Treasury owes this amount to the Fed and would have to pay the Fed. But that’s not their deal. Their deal is that the remittance is a one-way channel, from the Fed to the Treasury.
And when it turns negative, the Fed will just sit on the negative balance that will grow over the years as long as the Fed is losing money. And when the Fed is making money again, the Fed will not remit its net income to the Treasury Department, but will apply it to this pile of accumulated losses until the pile is gone. When the pile is gone, the Fed starts remitting its profits to the Treasury again. [..] The Fed calls this growing pile of accumulated losses a “deferred asset.” Storing losses on the balance sheet as an asset, rather than showing the loss on the income statement right away, is an old corporate accounting trick, encouraged by GAAP, and includes such infamous accounts as “Goodwill” and “Intangible Assets.” The Fed is sort of just sticking to devious corporate accounting 101 here.
[..] The Fed, which creates & destroys money, cannot run out of money. I mean, we knew this all along. The Fed is not Enron, though the loss-accounting might look similar. The Fed creates its own money. And the Fed’s losses – no matter how large – will not cause the Fed to run out of money because it can always create more. So we can take that off our worry list. For the Fed, a loss is just an accounting entry, not an existential crisis. The Fed won’t print money to pay for its losses — it won’t need to. But it’ll use some of the money from the QT roll-offs that would have been destroyed and pay interest with it. And so that money for interest payments goes out the door, and the balance sheet will shrink on track with QT.
“..global bodies like the World Bank’s “Climate Smart Agriculture” program, the UN’s “protected area initiatives,” the European Commission and armies of well-funded NGO’s are executing a wholly-comprehensive platform targeting Dutch farmers..”
Holland exports the most food on earth, behind only America, on a landmass roughly the size of Indiana. Farmers the world over come to study Dutch techniques. The country embraces what’s known as the Mansholt theory—a philosophy of ensuring food security and self-sufficiency that emerged from the second world war as a response to Nazi-imposed famine. To stave-off a similar tragedy, Dutch agriculture embraces the Haber-Bosch process, a method of infusing fertilizer with nitrogen to increase yield efficiency. Invented in the early 1900s by a pair of Nobel Prize-winning chemists, Haber-Bosch is responsible for the existence of half the world’s population today (and is known in Malthusian circles as “the detonator of the population explosion”), thanks to its ability to grow more food on less land.
But now global bodies like the World Bank’s “Climate Smart Agriculture” program, the UN’s “protected area initiatives,” the European Commission and armies of well-funded NGO’s are executing a wholly-comprehensive platform targeting Dutch farmers — restricting both organic and artificial fertilizer use — while asserting “biodiversity protection” as the pretext for snatching land from the productive. Dutch farmers, in protest, have driven tractors to the Hague, tossed flaming trash onto the roads and sprayed manure across government buildings. It’s worth reemphasizing that the Dutch government is carrying out the same radical experiment conducted in Sri Lanka earlier this year — eliminating nitrogen-based fertilizer, the basis of modern survival. In the southeast Asian country, it led to a famine that toppled the government.
The Sri Lankan “disaster” fronted a simple premise: replace something with nothing. And to eliminate Russian gas from the geopolitical scene. The Colombo declaration, signed in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 2019, celebrated the end of food security and sovereignty, offering in its place a model for import-dependency and agricultural destruction now being imposed on the Dutch. “They are sweeping the culture from the land,” says Sieta Van Keimpema, a sturdy 6-foot Dutchwoman in her 50s with short, wavy black hair. She is head of the European Milk Board, and leader of the Dutch farmers’ de-facto political arm, Farmer’s Defense Force (FDF). “Our government has made laws and laws that put us in a corner that you cannot come back from,” she says. “If people cannot put food on the table you get riots. You get an unstable society. I don’t see the benefits to this.”
Why doesn’t someone shut him down when he utters such nonsense? Vladimir Zel simply declared there’s no corruption, but the EU can’t afford to accept that kind of BS. Bringing in the most corrupt country in -at least- the western hemisphere would end the EU. And they all know Russia will never accept NATO on its doorstep. We’re just wasting time -and lives.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on the Western countries in a plenary meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly to support Ukraine’s applications for membership in the European Union and NATO, Report informs, citing Ukrinform. “All of you can see Ukraine’s significant contribution to the protection of our community. Everyone sees how important it is that we really united in defense after February 24. So, due to this, you also see that Ukraine should become a full member of the European Union and NATO. And I urge you to support our applications for membership in the EU and the Alliance,” Zelenskyy said in his speech at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly via video link.
NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly has adopted a largely symbolic resolution calling on member nations to label Russia a “terrorist” state, claiming Moscow represents a “direct threat” to “Euro-Atlantic security” while demanding more military support to Kiev and an end to restrictions on the “forward deployment of NATO forces.” The non-binding declaration was passed by the NATO PA on Monday, with the body warning that “the Euro-Atlantic area is no longer at peace and that the global security environment has deteriorated rapidly” amid continued fighting in Eastern Europe, going on to denounce Russia’s military operation “in the strongest terms.”
The resolution made a series of requests to NATO members, asking them to “state clearly that the Russian state under the current regime is a terrorist one,” and to “increase military, intelligence, financial, training and humanitarian support to Ukraine,” including by “accelerating” arms shipments. The NATO bloc must “sustain this support for as long as it takes for Ukraine to prevail,” the resolution added, also asking that any existing restrictions on the “forward deployment” of Western forces along Russian borders be declared “null and void.” Washington alone has authorized nearly $20 billion in ‘lethal aid’ to Kiev since President Joe Biden took office in 2021, with much of that approved after Russia’s military operation kicked off in February.
NATO allies have acknowledged concerns that the arms flooding Ukraine’s chaotic battlefield have not been properly tracked, with the new resolution stressing the need to ensure the “traceability of the weapons delivered.” Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky addressed lawmakers from NATO states in a video message before the latest resolution was passed, praising the alliance for its military aid and for helping his country to “defend [itself] in this war.” In addition to declaring Moscow a “terrorist” state and other symbolic measures, the Parliamentary Assembly said NATO countries should work to create an “international tribunal” to prosecute Russian officials for alleged war crimes and compel “full reparation of damage loss or injury” linked to the conflict.
The Parliamentary Assembly’s resolutions are not enforceable among NATO members and are intended to merely advise the alliance on pressing issues. The body has taken an increasingly harsh stance toward Moscow in recent months, with its newly elected president, French Senator Joelle Garriaud-Maylam, insisting on Monday that Russian leaders “must be judged as terrorists in front of international tribunals.” While Monday’s resolution was largely focused on Russia and the conflict in Ukraine, it took more than one detour to single out Beijing, urging the alliance to develop a “common allied response to the increasing assertiveness of China.” The document called for “constructive dialogue,” yet also went on to denounce Beijing’s alleged “systemic challenge to Euro-Atlantic security” and “attempts to subvert the rules-based international order.”
The NATO PA declaration came after a similar resolution was adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) last month. Russia left the European NGO in March, calling it a “convenient platform for NATO’s information and political campaigns.” While Kiev has repeatedly urged the collective West to declare Russia a “state sponsor of terror,” only a handful of countries – including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic – have heeded the call, and their actions have been limited to symbolic gestures. Those with the power to enforce anti-terror sanctions against other states, namely the US, have so far refused to take that step.
The conflict between Ukraine and Russia will likely end in negotiations, which is why Kiev needs to be supplied with more weapons, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has claimed. “We all want this war to end,”Stoltenberg said in his speech at the 68th Annual Session of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Madrid on Monday, adding that it matters to the US-led military bloc how exactly the conflict concludes. “We need to realize that this war most likely will end at some stage at the negotiating table. But we must also know that the outcome of those negotiations totally depends on strength on the battlefield,” the NATO chief argued. “So, if we want an outcome, which is acceptable for Ukraine… the best way of achieving that is to provide military support for Ukraine,” he said.
NATO members “must be prepared to support Ukraine for the long haul,”Stoltenberg said, urging lawmakers to keep advocating for more aid for Kiev in their own countries. Stoltenberg acknowledged that this assistance “comes at a price” for NATO members. “In our countries, many face cost of living crisis. Energy and food bills are rising. These are tough times for many,” he pointed out. However, the NATO chief argued that Western countries will have to pay “a much harsher price” if Russia is allowed to achieve victory in Ukraine, as it would signal to other “authoritarian regimes” that they can achieve their goals by force, which would “make the world more dangerous.”
Stoltenberg also warned that “it would be a great mistake to underestimate Russia” because Moscow “retains significant military capabilities and a high number of troops.” High-ranking Russian officials have repeatedly said that Moscow is ready to negotiate a settlement with Ukraine, while accusing Kiev of being unwilling to talk, and deliberately putting forward unrealistic conditions for dialogue. Russia has described the conflict in Ukraine as a “proxy war” being waged against it by the US and NATO. Moscow has consistently criticized weapons deliveries to Ukraine by Western countries, saying they only prolong the fighting and increase the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO.
“Ukraine had previously mandated lifetime financial monitoring of “politically exposed persons,” including government officials and lawmakers – until Zelensky signed an amendment last week limiting it to just three years.”
President Vladimir Zelensky harmed Ukraine’s hopes of joining the EU by signing an amendment that reduced financial oversight of politicians, anti-corruption activists in Kiev said on Monday. The measure “practically kills” efforts to combat money-laundering, claimed the head of the Anti-Corruption Action Centre (AntAC). Ukraine had previously mandated lifetime financial monitoring of “politically exposed persons,” including government officials and lawmakers – until Zelensky signed an amendment last week limiting it to just three years. Officially, the law is supposed to “protect Ukraine’s financial system from Russia and Belarus,” but the AntAC says it will harm the country’s interests instead.
“With this law, politicians destroyed the system of financial monitoring of their loved ones, which means they actually blocked negotiations on Ukraine’s accession to the EU,” AntAC head Vitaly Shabunin said on social media. The amended law “practically kills the system of preventing money-laundering by Ukrainian politicians,” he added. AntAC’s executive director Daria Kaleniuk pointed out that the law also breaks Kiev’s promise to the European Union, one of the seven commitments made by Zelensky to Brussels in June. “In order for us to be able to convince our European partners that we are serious about joining the EU and are implementing all the necessary reforms for this, we need to correct this,” she told Hromadske.
After signing the law on Thursday, Zelensky told the Bloomberg New Economy Forum – via video link – that he’d basically ended corruption in Ukraine. “No one will be able to forgive corruption in the future Ukraine,” he said, adding that all the corrupt officials had fled the country while those that remain will not be tempted to “interfere in business operations” because all government services had gone electronic. The old law provided for lifelong financial monitoring of the president, prime minister, ministers and their deputies, members of parliament, management of the national bank, senior security officials, key judges and prosecutors, as well as military commanders.
Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia’s lower house, called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to face war crime charges over a video that claimed to show Ukrainian forces opening fire and killing a dozen Russian POWs. “Everyone has seen evidence of Ukrainian Nazis shooting our soldiers lying down, without weapons. This is how the Nazis behave,” Volodin said in a statement posted to Telegram, The Jerusalem Post reported. “The Kyiv regime deserves the most severe punishment for its atrocities.” Video purportedly shows Ukrainian troops executing a dozen captured Russian troops has faced some media scrutiny in the U.S., which would have been unheard of at the start of the war.
The New York Times reported that the video was first circulated by news outlets in Ukriane in an effort to “laud the military prowess” of the country’s military. The paper said the videos sparked a “fierce response” in Russia and Moscow has called for an investigation. The paper said the killings occurred in Makiivka, in the Luhansk region. “Countries cooperating with the Kyiv regime must understand that they support the Nazi state, sadists whose hands are up to the elbows in blood,” Volodin said. Russian President Putin’s critics say the Kremlin is loose with the Nazi designation and uses it to win support from the public against adversaries. In fact, in his 9 May Victory Day speech, Putin said that the purpose of the military action was to purge Ukraine of its “Nazi” nationalist leadership.
The Associated Press received a lot of international scorn for reporting incorrectly that Russia fired missiles into Poland. As soon as the AP attributed the missile attack to Russia almost immediately other media outlets began promoting calls for a NATO led war against Russia. Additionally, the G20 summit was taking place and various international leaders began discussing an article-5 convention against Russia. However, the single source of the AP report was wrong, a senior U.S. intelligence official, if there actually was a source. It was the Ukraine military who fired the missile into Poland, not Russia. The Daily Beast notes today that the Associated Press has fired James LaPorta, the journalist who made the claim of Russian origin.
(Via Daily Beast) – The Associated Press scared much of the world last Tuesday when it alerted readers that “a senior U.S. intelligence official” said “Russian missiles crossed into NATO member Poland, killing two people.” That report, which was widely cited across the internet and on cable news, was taken offline the following day and replaced with an editor’s note admitting the single source was wrong and that “subsequent reporting showed that the missiles were Russian-made and most likely fired by Ukraine in defense against a Russian attack.” On Monday, the AP fired James LaPorta, the investigative reporter responsible for that story, Confider has learned. The piece, which was originally co-bylined with John Leicester (who is still working at the AP), attributed the information to a single “senior U.S. intelligence official,” despite the AP’s rule that it “routinely seeks and requires more than one source when sourcing is anonymous.”
European traders are boosting purchases of Russian diesel ahead of the EU embargo on the country’s oil products, which comes into force in February, Reuters reported on Monday, citing cargo tracker Vortexa. According to the report, Russian diesel shipments headed to the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) storage region surged to 215,000 barrels per day from November 1 to November 12. It is a 126% increase from October, according to Pamela Munger, Vortexa senior market analyst. Moreover, according to Refinitiv data, so far in November Russian diesel made up 44% of the bloc’s imports of the fuel, against 39% last month. This means that Russia remains the region’s largest diesel supplier, despite the fact that overall imports of Russian fuels to the EU dropped significantly over the past months due to Ukraine-related sanctions.
The EU embargo on Russian oil comes into force next month, while the ban on petroleum products will take effect on February 5. Analysts warn it will be difficult for the region to find alternative sources for diesel once this happens, as they are scarce and more costly, while Europe’s domestic diesel production falls short of the region’s consumption. “The EU will have to secure around 500,000 to 600,000 barrels per day of diesel to replace the Russian volumes; replacements will come from the US as well as east of Suez, primarily the Middle East and India,” Eugene Lindell, market analyst at energy consultancy FGE, told Reuters.
The UK has purchased at least 39 shipments of Russian oil since February, although the cargoes were registered as imports from other countries, the Sunday Times has reported, citing tanker traffic data and trade statistics. Russian-origin oil shipments, worth about £200 ($236) million, were reportedly delivered to UK ports after ship-to-ship transfers, a practice widely used when large tankers that are unable to dock due to their size transfer their cargo to smaller vessels. According to the Sunday Times’ findings, this practice gives the shipping companies a way to register their cargo without providing the actual origin of the shipments, stating instead the country of dispatch as the source of the cargo. In this way a shipment of Russian-made goods can be registered as originating in Germany if it is brought to a UK port by a German firm.
The news outlet was able to track dozens of shipments of Russian oil that have arrived at UK ports since March, logged as originating in Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, France and other countries. At least 13 of those reportedly arrived in June and July. However, official figures on oil imports from the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the country did not receive any oil from Russia in those months. According to maritime experts, ship-to-ship transfers have become more popular since Western nations began targeting Russian oil exports this year, as part of sanctions over Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. “Ship-to-ship transfers have become a really useful method to obfuscate the destination and the origin of the cargo.
The Iranians started it, the Venezuelans perfected it, the Russians picked it up and ran with it,” Michelle Wiese Bockmann, energy and shipping analyst at the shipping journal Lloyd’s List, told the news outlet. According to Refinitiv, which monitors ship-to-ship transfers, there have been some 267 such transfers around the world involving Russian oil since March. A UK embargo on maritime Russian oil imports is scheduled to come into force on December 5. However, according to maritime experts, given the registration loophole and ship-to-ship transfer practices, it will be difficult for the UK to actually stop Russian oil from arriving in the country, even after that date.
The European Commission is investigating how it might go about confiscating hundreds of billions of dollars in Russian state and private assets, according to a document seen by Politico on Monday. The initiative’s goal is reportedly “identifying ways to strengthen the tracing, identification, freezing and management of assets as preliminary steps for potential confiscation.” The bloc has its eyes on almost $300 billion in Russian central bank assets currently frozen, plus the assets of Russians on the sanctions list. The European Council last month reminded the Commission that it had been tasked with presenting “options in line with EU and international law” for using those frozen Russian funds “to support Ukraine’s reconstruction.” Legal experts have expressed doubt it is possible to unilaterally confiscate another country’s assets under existing international law.
With an eye toward changing that law, Brussels has proposed making sanctions evasion a crime in the EU, a decision which would require unanimous assent by member countries. However, even if that agreement was forthcoming, the bloc would have to litigate each individual seizure, proving a clear link between the owner of the assets in question and Russia’s military operation in Ukraine. Foreign investments are protected against confiscation without compensation under international law. In the document seen by Politico, the EC acknowledged that central bank assets were “generally considered to be covered by immunity.” While the seizing of the assets of state-owned enterprises would avoid violating such immunity “in principle,” the Commission noted that it would “need to demonstrate a sufficient connection to the Russian state” for every case.
Less invasive would be an “exit tax” targeting the assets of sanctioned individuals attempting to transfer their property out of the EU. However, University of Amsterdam professor Stephan Schill told Politico that those individuals could claim that, as a targeted group, their human right to non-discrimination had been violated, or invoke the human right to property. Under the current rules-based international order, the EC is unable to legally expropriate Russian property, according to Schill: “The EU and member states are trying to introduce new criminal law.” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen acknowledged as much in May, pointing out that confiscating Russian central bank assets was “not something that is legally permissible in the United States” or many other countries. Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic states have nevertheless continued to push the EC to find a way to seize the frozen funds.
Renewed Ukrainian artillery attacks on the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant (ZNPP) have created a risk of a nuclear disaster, Rosatom director-general Alexey Likhachev told reporters on Monday. Moscow has called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to name and shame the attacker so Kiev would stop bombing the facility. “We were in talks with the IAEA all night,” Likhachev told reporters during the Atomexpo-2022 in Sochi. After a “relatively calm” period since September, at least 30 projectiles struck the facility over the weekend, damaging the backup generators and the spent fuel storage facility, he added. Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has been under control of Russian troops since February 28.
While the reactor blocks are strong enough to withstand shelling, damaging the spent fuel containers risks a release of radioactive material into the atmosphere, with unpredictable consequences. The Ukrainian military has repeatedly targeted the facility with Western-supplied artillery, while claiming Russia was staging “false flag” incidents to make Kiev look bad. The Ukrainian general staff eventually admitted to striking the area around the ZNPP, however. The weekend attacks amounted to the first major incident since the IAEA established a permanent observation mission at the ZNPP in early September. On Sunday, IAEA Director-General Mariano Grossi called for an immediate end to the shelling, saying that the world “got lucky” that a “serious nuclear incident” did not happen this time. However, he once again did not name the culprit.
On Monday, both the Kremlin and the Foreign Ministry called on the IAEA to do its duty to the fullest and identify those responsible for the shelling. IAEA specialists completed their inspection of the facility on Monday afternoon and sent their report to headquarters, Likhachev’s top aid Renat Karchaa told Russia’s Channel 1 TV. “They were accompanied by a highly qualified ballistics specialist we provided, and once again it was convincingly shown that the origin of these artillery strikes was Marganets,” a city in the Ukrainian-held Dnepropetrovsk region, Karchaa said. Karchaa also told reporters that Rosatom was “taking steps” to fortify the spent fuel storage facility and other parts of the ZNPP, though he did not offer any details.
The UN doesn’t have the capability to identify those behind the attacks on the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant (ZNPP), a spokesman for the secretary-general said on Monday. Russia has called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to do its job properly and acknowledge that the shelling came from the Ukrainian side. Around 30 projectiles struck the ZNPP over the weekend, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. The nuclear energy corporation Rosatom said the damage caused to the facility’s spent fuel storage came close to triggering a disaster. Moscow said it was clear the fire came from the Ukrainian-held town of Marganets, but the IAEA has avoided naming any names. “We have no way to determine” who carried out the attacks, Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, told reporters on Monday.
“We would like these attacks to stop,” Haq added, noting that the Secretariat “shares the concerns” of IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi and “joins him in calling on all parties to cease fire” around the ZNPP. Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has been under Russian control since February. Damage to the spent fuel containers risks a release of radioactive material into the atmosphere, with unpredictable consequences, Rosatom has warned. Both Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Monday that the IAEA should fully do its duty and name names. “As an authoritative and independent international body, [the IAEA] must finally move away from abstract condemnations and demands to stop the shelling of the ZNPP without addressing the culprit, and clearly and unambiguously point at those carrying out the attacks,” Zakharova said.
“This requires determination and responsibility. We really hope that they will be shown.” Zakharova also accused Western governments of giving a “blank check” to the government in Kiev for “continuing their reckless attempts to cause irreparable damage” to the ZNPP. This weekend’s attacks were the first major incident at the ZNPP since early September, when the IAEA stationed permanent observers at the site. According to Rosatom official Renat Karchaa, the IAEA inspectors surveyed the damage on Monday, accompanied by a Russian ballistics expert, and were able to see that the attack had come from the Ukrainian side. That report was transmitted to the IAEA headquarters.
Now Mr. Garland has activated one particular federal attorney, Jack Smith, with a long record as a partisan attack dog, as special counsel to finally get the job done against Mr. Trump, the proverbial indictment-worthy ham sandwich awaiting a DC District grand jury. Any cockamamie charge will do as long as it’s a felony. Mr. Garland’s strategy is two-fold: 1) to negate Mr. Trump’s remaining political career; and 2) set up a situation that will permit all DOJ attorneys and FBI officers to demur from questioning before Republican majority congressional committees about everything-under-the-sun on the grounds that the questions are germane to “ongoing investigations” that can’t be compromised. That’s the game.
By the time that game kicks-off, early January 2023, the country is liable to be punch-drunk and stumbling from a financial market crash that signals the start of an economic depression more consequential than the calamity of the 1930s. Meanwhile, Russia’s cleanup of the US-instigated mess in Ukraine will be nearly complete, to the ignominy of “Joe Biden,” at the same time that the putative president’s crimes of bribery and treason — should he still be among the living — get aired in Congress without any help required from Mr. Garland’s Justice Department — the evidence from Hunter’s laptop having already been well-perused and catalogued by an army of outside independent investigators. FTX will be in that mix somewhere.
This will all occur against the background of the now-unraveled Covid-19 story. By early 2023 the evidence of excess all-causes deaths and disabilities resulting from Pfizer and Moderna shots will be overwhelming and the nation will know it got played by a scheme between the corrupt public health authorities, the pharma companies, and the corporate medical establishment, including its discredited journals. Nobody in America will ever trust a doctor again. We’ll also probably know a good deal more about the dark and dirty deeds around the 2022 midterm election as the FTX scandal spools out and the probably hundreds of millions of FTX investor’s dollars that were express-delivered into Democratic Party coffers for ballot harvesting operations are revealed, along with the exact methods used to accomplish the mega-fraud.
Smith faces the unenviable task of investigating a presidential candidate less than two years before the election. Given the advanced stage of prior investigations, he could bring charges before Sept. 5, 2024 (or roughly 60 days before the election under Justice Department guidelines for election year filings). It is unlikely, however, that a charge against Trump could be tried in that time. However, Smith’s first test will be to avoid the initial mistakes of a predecessor, Mueller. Like Smith, Mueller was considered a natural choice as special counsel, given his extensive experience as a career prosecutor. However, Mueller’s investigation was undermined by his selection of a team — starting with his top aide, Andrew Weissmann, a controversial prosecutor who was accused of political bias.
The investigation was further undermined by FBI personnel, including Special Agent Peter Strzok, who was later removed from the team and fired by the Justice Department; Strzok has since filed a wrongful termination lawsuit. Smith can avoid tripping a similar explosive wire by selecting a team that is defined by its prior professional expertise, not its prior political views or associations. He also needs to be wary of creative avenues to indict Trump. Smith was part of the prosecution team that convicted former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) on federal corruption charges in 2014. The Supreme Court unanimously overturned that conviction as having stretched the law beyond its breaking point. If Smith is going to be the first prosecutor to indict a former president, he needs to do so with unimpeachable evidence of an unchallengeable crime.
Only one thing is certain in any of this: It will not end well. With both sides loading up staff and subpoenas, the start of the 2024 campaign season has all of the makings of an utter bloodletting. There will be ample support for both sides to fulfill their respective narratives — and no shortage of legal weapons — in this political war of attrition.
The special counsel named by the Biden administration to investigate Donald Trump oversaw a Justice Department unit rebuked by the Supreme Court for its prosecution of a prominent Republican and was linked by Congress to the IRS scandal that targeted conservative groups. Jack Smith, a war crimes prosecutor in The Hague and former chief of the DOJ public integrity section, was named Friday by Attorney General Merrick Garland to take over two investigations of Trump related to Jan. 6 and classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago. In 2014, the House Oversight Committee concluded that during Smith’s earlier stint at DOJ he set up a critical meeting between his department and IRS official Lois Lerner that set in motion the targeting of conservative nonprofits that became one of the signature scandals of the Obama administration.
The Oversight Committee obtained testimony from a DOJ official named Richard Pilger in 2014 that showed Smith set up a meeting with Lerner to discuss more aggressive enforcement of regulations prohibiting tax-exempt groups from engaging in politics in the aftermath of the landmark Citizens United free speech Supreme Court case. “According to Mr. Pilger, the Justice Department convened a meeting with former IRS official Lois Lerner in October 2010 to discuss how the IRS could assist in the criminal enforcement of campaign-finance laws against politically active nonprofits,” the committee wrote in a 2014 letter to DOJ. “This meeting was arranged at the direction of Public Integrity Section Chief Jack Smith.”
The letter concluded: “It is apparent that the Department’s leadership, including Public Integrity Section Chief Jack Smith, was closely involved in engaging with the IRS in wake of Citizens United and political pressure from prominent Democrats to address perceived problems with the decision.” The letter, which sought a transcribed interview with Smith, was signed by then Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who is now in line to become House Judiciary Committee chairman when the GOP takes over the House in January. The Treasury Department Inspector General ultimately concluded that the ensuing IRS pursuit of conservative nonprofits was inappropriate. “The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention,” the report concluded.
A top-down approach to forcibly create a common identity has never worked, and it never will. Despite the spasmodic efforts of the leftist media dictatorship, its dominance has up until now failed to force the public opinion of European countries into believing the old continent is united. Few in the West dare to contradict this, while the opinions of the East are ignored. This pretentious outlook — detached from the reality of the world — is presented to Europeans on a daily basis, but it instead serves as clear proof that those who are pushing the cause the most aggessively do not themselves believe in the thesis they claim is their own. What did Ursula von der Leyen say about Italy? If Italy elects the wrong parties during parliamentary elections, the EU “has tools” to coerce them, as in the case of Poland and Hungary.
This is what European unity looks like per the left-liberal authoritarian concept. We have heard many and varied answers to the question of why, but very few have tackled the question regarding the lack of European identity. Brussels, the left-liberal media, and the NGO networks that dictate EU policy are not the only ones who have tried and failed to forge a common European identity. Notably, Tito tried to forge a unified southern Slavic nation-state out of the diverse Yugoslavia, and his one-party dictatorship did its best to stifle dissent. The party leader, born a Croatian-Slovenian, even divorced his Serbian wife when she warned him that greater autonomy for the member republics — which Tito believed would quell the nationalist fervor that was smoldering everywhere — would tear Yugoslavia apart. The Serbian woman was right because Tito’s measures had inflamed rather than quelled nationalist sentiment.
The powerful leader forgot one thing. There was no real substance behind the party and state propaganda, which constantly talked about a united Yugoslavia. Indeed, Yugoslav identity had not emerged in the seven decades of the South Slav state. How did the philosopher John Lukacs put it? The most powerful builder of identity for people is belonging to a nation, and ignoring such basic truths in politics has fatal consequences. At the last census of Yugoslavia, only 20,000 people identified themselves as Yugoslavs. For a country of 23 million people, this is an extremely low number and would have a negligible social impact.