Dec 092023
 December 9, 2023  Posted by at 9:44 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  50 Responses »

Bernini The Vision of Constantine 1670


The Evil Israel Does is the Evil Israel Gets (Chris Hedges)
Iran’s Raisi Asks Putin To Support Gaza Action – Putin Is Evasive (Helmer)
Flooding Gaza Would Be War Crime – Russia (RT)
Dozens of Democrats Could Beat Trump – Biden (RT)
Zelensky Sees the Writing on the Wall – Scott Ritter (Sp.)
White House Touts ‘Year Of Suffering’ For Russian Troops (RT)
Medvedev Warns Of Direct Russia-NATO Clash (RT)
Hunter Indictment Designed Specifically To Avoid Joe Biden (Turley)
Hunter Is In A Lot Of Trouble (@willscharf)
Hunter Biden Claims GOP Is “Trying To Kill” Him (Sp.)
Hunter Biden is a Case Study of the Perils of Legal Gluttony (Turley)
Tucker Carlson Comments On Running As Trump’s VP (RT)
Is Truth Becoming Valueless? (Paul Craig Roberts)






The day before yesterday, Refaat received a phone call from the Israeli intelligence about locating him in the school where he took refuge. They informed him that they were going to kill him. He left the school not wanting to endanger the others, and at 6 p.m. his sister’s apartment was bombed, where he was killed, his sister and her four children



Cuomo RFK










“The wars do not end. The suffering continues. The Palestinians die in the tens of thousands. This is by design.”

The Evil Israel Does is the Evil Israel Gets (Chris Hedges)

I knew Dr. Abdel Aziz al-Rantisi, the co-founder of Hamas, along with Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Yassin. Al-Rantisi’s family were expelled to the Gaza Strip by Zionist militias from historic Palestine during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. He did not fit the demonized image of a Hamas leader. He was a soft spoken, articulate and highly educated pediatrician who had graduated first in his class at Egypt’s Alexandria University. As a nine-year-old boy, he witnessed executions in Khan Younis of 275 Palestinian men and boys, including his uncle, when Israel briefly occupied the Gaza Strip in 1956, the subject of Joe Sacco’s magisterial book Footnotes in Gaza. Scores of Palestinians were also executed by Israeli soldiers in the neighboring town of Rafah, where tens of thousands Palestinians are currently being forced to flee now that Khan Younis has come under attack.

“I still remember the wailing and the tears of my father over his brother,” al-Rantisi told Sacco and me when we visited him at his home. “I couldn’t sleep for many months after that…It left a wound in my heart that can never heal. I’m telling you a story and I’m almost crying. This sort of action can never be forgotten…[T]hey planted hatred in our hearts.” He knew he could never trust the Israelis. He knew that the goal of the Zionist state was the occupation of all of historic Palestine – Israel seized Gaza and the West Bank in 1967 along with Syria’s Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula – and the eternal subjugation or extermination of the Palestinian people. He knew he would avenge the killings.

Al-Rantisi and Yassin were assassinated in 2004 by Israel. Al-Rantisi’s widow, Jamila Abdallah Taha al-Shanti, had a doctorate in English and taught at the Islamic University in Gaza. The couple had six children, one of whom was killed along with his father. The family’s home was bombed and destroyed during the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza known as Operation Protective Edge. Jamila was killed by Israel on Oct. 19 of this year. Israel’s genocide in Gaza is rearing a new generation of enraged, traumatized and dispossessed Palestinians who have lost family members, friends, homes, communities and any hope of living ordinary lives. They, too, will seek retribution. Their small acts of terrorism will counter Israel’s ongoing state terror. They will hate as they have been hated. This lust for vengeance is universal. After World War Two, a clandestine unit of Jews who served in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army, called “Gmul,” – Hebrew for “Recompense” – hunted down former Nazis and executed them. “I and the public know/What all schoolchildren learn,” W.H. Auden wrote. “Those to whom evil is done/Do evil in return.”

[..] The Biden administration has little to gain from the leveling and depopulation of Gaza, indeed it is alienating huge segments of the Democratic Party, especially as it attacks protestors calling for a ceasefire as “pro-terrorist.” Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer led chants of “We stand with Israel” and “No ceasefire” at a pro-Israel rally on Nov. 4 in Washington D.C., despite a Reuters/Ipsos survey indicating 68 percent of respondents believed that Israel should implement a ceasefire and negotiate an end to the war. That number rises to 77 percent among Democrats. Biden has a dismal approval rating of 37 percent.

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council voted 13-1 for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and unconditional release of all hostages. The U.S. voted against the resolution. The U.K. abstained. The draft resolution was not adopted due to the U.S. veto. Biden’s real base is not disenchanted voters but the billionaire class, corporations, such as the weapons industry, which is making huge profits from the wars in Gaza and Ukraine, and groups such as the Israel lobby. They determine policy, even if it means Biden’s defeat in the next presidential election. If Biden loses, the oligarchs get Donald Trump, who serves their interests as doggedly as Biden. The wars do not end. The suffering continues. The Palestinians die in the tens of thousands. This is by design.

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“The war has to be economic and infrastructure suffocation [of Israel],” a Moscow source says. “Yes, that’s the only way to beat the beast.”

Iran’s Raisi Asks Putin To Support Gaza Action – Putin Is Evasive (Helmer)

An Iranian-Russian initiative on the Gaza War was tabled when Iranian President Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi met with President Vladimir Putin for several hours on Thursday. For the time being the Kremlin is doing its best to hide it. According to Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, speaking after Raisi had returned home, “a significant part of the negotiations focused on the Palestinian issue and Russia is thinking about an initiative on Gaza. The two sides stressed the need for an immediate cessation of the war and genocide in Gaza and the West Bank, he said, noting that the presidents of Iran and Russia also called for stopping the forced migration of Gazans and the immediate opening of the Rafah border to deliver massive humanitarian aid to Gazan people.”

There was a one-on-one session between Raisi and Putin at the commencement of the talks; a session of the two presidents with brief public statements; and then closed delegation presentations and a supper. Altogether, the talks lasted five hours. There were no press briefings at the conclusion. There has been a blackout on the talks by Russian Defense Ministry, the military bloggers, and Moscow media like Vzglyad which has been taking a pro-Israel line. No Russian official will clarify what Abdollahian meant by his claim that “Russia is thinking about an initiative on Gaza” – except to point out that Abdollahian’s wording does not mean that the “initiative” at this stage was initiated by the Russian side. Vedomosti reports that “Iran would like Russia to more actively express the pro-Palestinian position within the framework of public discourse, which would correspond to Iranian rhetoric. From the point of view of the North–South economy, of course, Tehran has a priority, it’s just that against the current background it, like any Muslim country, cannot demonstrate that it can have something more important than the situation in the Gaza Strip.”

According to the Kremlin communiqué, Raisi told Putin “the events unfolding in Gaza” are “surely genocide and a crime against humanity. It is lamentable that more than 6,000 children have been killed by the hands of the Zionist regime. Even sadder is the fact that all these crimes have been supported by the United States and Western countries. What is even more regrettable is that international organisations and the human rights organisations have lost their effectiveness… One of the issues that I would like to discuss with you, Mr Putin, is Palestine, as well as the challenges faced by the oppressed but strong Palestinian people. According to statistics, one child dies every ten minutes. Bombing must be stopped as soon as possible. This is not a regional issue, but a global issue, and a solution should be found promptly.”

Putin replied by changing the subject. “Mr President, I will definitely take you up on your invitation [to visit Iran]. And I should note that we will keep working almost through the end of the year. We have scheduled the signing of an agreement on creating a free trade area between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union in late December. It will create additional opportunities for expanding our interaction.” The Kremlin has published the names of the Russian delegation accompanying Putin at the talks but refuses to disclose the names of their Iranian counterparts. “Wait for additional materials on our website”, the spokesman said. Although Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was the second ranking member of the Russian side, Iranian sources confirm there was no military counterpart on their side.

Privately, Russian sources believe the two sides are discussing the protracted, long war strategy of Hamas and Hezbollah and the parallel engagement from Yemen and Iraq. They are also discussing ideas for breaking the Israeli blockade of Gaza with massive humanitarian aid in which the Arab states and China are also engaged in the planning. “The war has to be economic and infrastructure suffocation [of Israel],” a Moscow source says. “Yes, that’s the only way to beat the beast.”

Putin 2024

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I’m afraid they’re crazy enough to try.

Flooding Gaza Would Be War Crime – Russia (RT)

If Israel is truly considering flooding the “Hamas tunnels” under Gaza with seawater, this would be a clear-cut atrocity, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, said at the Security Council meeting on Friday. China, Russia and the United Arab Emirates called for the emergency session, given the deteriorating situation in the Palestinian enclave after the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) resumed military operations at the start of December. “In recent days, shocking information has spread about Israeli plans to flood underground structures in the Gaza Strip with seawater,” Polyansky told the council. “According to publicly available information, the IDF has already built a system of pipes and pumps designed to pump seawater, and is currently discussing with the United States the practical possibility of such flooding: will there be enough water, will the ‘topography’ of the tunnels allow it, and so on.”

“Such a step, if taken, would constitute a clear war crime”. Polyansky explained that the flooding would be indiscriminate and the equivalent of ordering “take no prisoners,” while the sea water would contaminate the groundwater in Gaza and make the area uninhabitable. Documents published in mid-October suggest that the Israeli authorities would like to displace all of Gaza’s Palestinian population into Egypt. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared war on Hamas after the Gaza-based militant group raided nearby Israeli settlements on October 7, killing an estimated 1,200 people and taking scores hostage. Since then, more than 16,000 Palestinians have died in Israeli operations in Gaza.

After a week-long “humanitarian pause” at the end of November, Israel has launched a “more brutal and bloody phase” of its operation, Polyansky told the UN, with the scale of destruction indicating “indiscriminate” use of force and striking of targets considered protected by humanitarian law. “The brutal Hamas raid on October 7 cannot justify Israeli crimes against humanity,” the Russian diplomat argued. “Failure to respect humanitarian law by one side does not relieve the other from the same obligations.” Polyansky added that he doubted the International Criminal Court would do anything, as it will not act “against its Western masters.” The ICC is likely to “forgive” Israel just as it turned a blind eye to Western atrocities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, he added.

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But “I just have to run.”

Dozens of Democrats Could Beat Trump – Biden (RT)

President Joe Biden has claimed there are dozens of Democrats who could defeat Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential election, but has insisted he must be the one to do so. Some sections of the Democratic Party and the media are already treating Biden as the default nominee for next year’s presidential election. The party’s Florida branch has refused to place any other names on the ballot for its primary vote, while the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has refused to organize debates with other contenders. Biden was asked by the media on Wednesday whether he thought there were fellow Democrats who could defeat Trump. “Probably 50 of them,” the president responded, declining to offer any names. “I’m not the only one, but I will defeat him.”

Questions about Biden’s willingness to run for a second term were triggered by remarks he made at a campaign fundraiser in Boston on Tuesday. “If Trump wasn’t running, I’m not sure I’d be running,” said the incumbent leader. Again citing the challenge from his predecessor, Biden later told journalists outside the White House that “I just have to run.” Biden overcame Trump in the 2020 presidential election, and a likely rematch has been touted by the Democrats as an existential battle against the Republican frontrunner’s supposed authoritarianism. However, Biden’s approval ratings recently reached a low of just 37%, according to a CNN poll published on Wednesday. Last month, a New York Times survey predicted Biden would lose to Trump in five of six battleground states. Critics of the Democrats’ strategy claim that the party would rather risk losing to a man it has branded a unique threat to democracy, rather than make Biden contest the nomination fairly against potentially better candidates.

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“..the counter-counter offensive..”

Zelensky Sees the Writing on the Wall – Scott Ritter (Sp.)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky must face the “writing on the wall” after the failure of his summer counter-offensive, says a former UN weapons inspector. In an interview with YouTube host Danny Haiphong, Scott Ritter, a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer, Ritter gave a stark assessment of the notoriously botched Ukrainian counteroffensive that began in early summer of 2023. “The counteroffensive is over. It’s been a strategic defeat for the Ukrainians for the collective West. And what I think we’re going to see now is that the Russians, having absorbed the Ukrainian blow, are going to slowly go on the counter-counter offensive and begin to put pressure on the Ukrainians,” Ritter stressed. “The Russians will be on the initiative from now on. And eventually the Ukrainian line is going to collapse.”

Ukraine’s inability to secure any sort of tangible success on the battlefield will lead to political turmoil in Kiev, the pundit argued. Eventually, Zelensky will face the rage of his soldiers. “They feel betrayed by his incompetence. Especially when it becomes clear how corrupt he is, and how corrupt his government is. Everybody knows it,” Ritter pointed out. “There is a growing resentment over this. There are people who aren’t getting their pensions paid. People who aren’t getting the healthcare they need because of the corruption.” Ritter noted how the US is funding the entire country, paying salaries to civil servants, military personnel and healthcare workers — Washington completely disregards the same needs at home.

“As an American I take umbrage at this. If you’re going to do that there, first, do it here. Let’s take care of the immigration problem. Let’s take care of the dirty water up in Flint, Michigan. Let’s take care of the homeless problem. Let’s take care of all those junkies on the street of San Francisco and Los Angeles. Let’s take care of America before we start taking care of Ukraine,” he concluded. Recently, the Ukrainian media have given substantial coverage to rising tensions between President Zelensky and Ukraine’s top general Valery Zaluzhny. In the interview with British magazine the The Economist, the Commander-in-Chief admitted that the Ukrainian forces had reached an impasse. Zaluzhny came under fire for that statement, with Zelensky rushing to refute it.

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“He said he disagreed with the notion that the operation “not going as far as people wanted reflects some degree of Ukrainian failure.”

White House Touts ‘Year Of Suffering’ For Russian Troops (RT)

The White House wants to keep funding Ukraine in its conflict with Russia because it believes that in a year Moscow may be willing to concede to Kiev’s demands, an aide to Jake Sullivan, the US national security adviser, said in an interview on Tuesday. Jon Finer, Sullivan’s principal deputy, discussed the White House Ukraine strategy at an event hosted by the Aspen Institute, an influential US think-tank. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden’s request to allocate over $110 billion in foreign security aid, including for Ukraine, was blocked from a vote in the Senate. Finer made a case for releasing the funds despite Kiev’s inability to secure any major successes on the battlefield during its summer counteroffensive. He said he disagreed with the notion that the operation “not going as far as people wanted reflects some degree of Ukrainian failure.”

If Washington keeps bankrolling Kiev’s war effort for the next year, the Ukrainian government will maintain “a degree of parity” with Russia, he promised. “Another year of funding and another year in which Russia will have to suffer on the battlefield is fundamentally a better position than we are in today without that funding,” Finer said. “I think there is no way to dispute that.” By the end of 2024, Western nations will have ramped up arms production and be helping Ukraine do the same, the White House expects. Then Russia will have to either “come to the negotiating table on terms that would be acceptable to Ukraine” or face a stronger opponent, according to Finer’s expectations.

Kiev’s demands for peace include full control over pre-2014 Ukrainian territory, war reparations and a tribunal for the Russian leadership, as detailed last year by President Vladimir Zelensky. Moscow has dismissed it from the start as detached from reality. Moscow has cited NATO expansion in Europe and the promised inclusion of Ukraine into the US-led military bloc as a threat to its national security. Preventing that outcome is imperative, senior Russian officials have said. In the first weeks of hostilities, Ukraine and Russia came to a preliminary agreement on a truce, which would have seen Kiev drop its NATO aspirations and pledge neutrality. Then UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Kiev to “make war instead,” David Arakhamia, who led the Ukrainian delegation at the talks in Istanbul, confirmed in a recent interview.

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“ American president has ever “extorted so much money for a minor country that is in the process of collapsing..”

Medvedev Warns Of Direct Russia-NATO Clash (RT)

Moscow and Washington are tiptoeing on the precipice of a hot war, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said, adding that the last similar crisis in relations dates back to the height of the Cold War in the early 1960s. Writing on Telegram on Friday, Medvedev, who now serves as deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, weighed in on what he called US President Joe Biden’s “primitive blackmail” of Congress. He was referring to the American leader’s recent plea to lawmakers to approve a $111 billion security package, which included funding for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. To convince Republicans – who have been reluctant to support the measure due to a dispute over border security – Biden warned that Russia might not stop at Ukraine and go on to attack NATO countries, leading to a direct clash involving the US. His plea, however, failed to impress the Senate Republicans, who blocked the funding.

Medvedev said the Biden administration’s ploy “is nothing new.” According to the official, many US presidents in the past have said, “Give the money to our guy (fill in the name), or you will have to fight the Russians.” The difference, Medvedev added, is that no American president has ever “extorted so much money for a minor country that is in the process of collapsing,” which is also connected to a corruption controversy involving both the sitting US president and his family members – in reference to allegations that both Biden and his son Hunter accepted bribes from a Ukrainian gas executive. The former Russian president went on: “Never since the Cuban Missile Crisis has the threat of a direct clash between Russia and NATO leading to World War III been so real.”

The 1962 crisis brought the US and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war after Moscow responded to Washington’s deployment of missiles in Türkiye by placing its own atomic assets in allied Cuba. The two superpowers narrowly managed to defuse the tensions by withdrawing their missiles from both countries. Medvedev predicted that despite the gridlock in Congress, both the administration and its “cowering fosterling” in Kiev would get the money sooner or later, allowing all parties involved to continue profiting off the conflict. Russia has repeatedly warned the West against sending arms to Kiev, arguing that doing so will only prolong the conflict while making it a direct participant in the hostilities.

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How do you withdraw $1.6 million from an ATM?

Hunter Indictment Designed Specifically To Avoid Joe Biden (Turley)

The 56-page indictment of Hunter Biden for tax evasion makes for racy reading, with the special counsel describing a four-year criminal pattern directed at maintaining Biden’s “extravagant lifestyle.” That lifestyle included massive expenses for strippers, sex clubs, fast cars and other distractions. The steps taken by Hunter to evade taxes are impressive, but not nearly as impressive as the efforts of the Justice Department to evade any direct implications for his father, President Biden. In that sense, the indictment itself is a marvel of evasion. There are three glaring omissions in the indictment that tend to shield critical payments and conduct that implicate the president. First, the special counsel only indicts tax evasion that occurred in recent years. That’s because the long “investigation” into Hunter inexplicably allowed the statute of limitations to expire on the most controversial payments from Ukraine gas company Burisma.

Recent testimony from IRS whistleblowers suggests that wasn’t an accident. Investigators were stonewalled, they claimed, and the Justice Department was previously moving to reject any charges against Hunter Biden. Exploring those earlier Ukrainian payments opens up questions about Hunter’s influence peddling and would have highlighted the conflict in his father’s extraordinary move to force the Ukrainians to fire a prosecutor investigating Burisma by holding back a billion dollars in aid for the country. There is still no explanation why special counsel David Weiss would allow the statute of limitations to run out. But this recent indictment keeps the focus squarely on taxes not paid, not how the money was “earned” in the first place. Also missing in the indictment is any charge against Hunter Biden as an unregistered foreign agent.

Recently, the Justice Department added a charge to the indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) that he ran afoul of FARA, the Foreign Agents Registration Act. FARA also was used to go after Donald Trump associates such as Paul Manafort. The problem with charging Hunter with FARA is obvious. It opens up questions about the millions of dollars going to the Biden family from foreign sources, a topic that Attorney General Merrick Garland has spent years avoiding. In the second indictment, Weiss spends more time detailing the salacious use of this money rather than how and why it was given to the Bidens. He just matter-of-factly describes millions flowing through these accounts from China, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and other countries. By focusing on tax evasion alone, Weiss again avoids any direct reference to the focus of the influence-peddling used to raise these millions of dollars.

Even without mentioning the president, the implications of the indictment are devastating for the narrative and denials of Joe Biden. The president has continued to maintain that he had no knowledge or interaction with these dealings. Those statements are clearly and knowingly false. The president also maintained that his son has “never done anything wrong” and never accepted any money from China. That is also untrue, according to the Justice Department and Hunter himself. Yet Weiss continues to avoid any need to address the person who was the selling point of the influence peddling. It was the same person who repeatedly called in to dinners and meetings, repeatedly attended events, and held meetings and photo shots for these clients. Instead, Weiss indicts the failure to pay taxes on the proceeds of these dealings without addressing that underlying corruption. It is akin to arresting a bank robber for speeding away from the crime scene without mentioning the reason for his flight.

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X thread.

Hunter Is In A Lot Of Trouble (@willscharf)

I have reviewed the new Hunter Biden indictment. As a former federal prosecutor, and someone who has followed the Hunter saga quite closely for years, here are my initial reactions:

(1) Hunter is in a lot of trouble. With the sweetheart deal previously offered to him now off the table, Hunter is in an awful lot of trouble. He is facing four counts of willfully failing to pay his taxes for tax years 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019, and two counts of failing to file a tax return for tax years 2017 and 2018, all in violation of 26 U.S.C. § 7203. He is also charged with one count of tax evasion and two counts of filing false and fraudulent tax forms for tax year 2018, in violation of § 7201 and § 7206, for chalking up hundreds of thousands of dollars of fake business expenses. These fake expenses included payments for: hotel rooms that he turned into crack dens, payoffs for his girlfriends, strippers, escorts, luxury cars, a sex club membership, porn sites. He also tried to claim his daughter’s law school tuition as business-related legal expenses. He tried to hide income, and made numerous false statements under penalty of perjury. If he were to go to trial and be convicted of all of these counts, based on my calculations, the advisory federal sentencing guidelines range for him could easily reach 4–5 years’ imprisonment. Even if he were to plead guilty to these counts, his guidelines range sentence would likely be around 3 years. That is a lot of prison time for the son of a sitting president.

(2) Weiss appears to be playing this straight. I said after David Weiss’s appointment as special counsel that this was going to go in one of two directions: Either Weiss was going to continue the concerted effort to cover up and clean up Hunter’s long history of criminal activity to protect Joe Biden and the Biden family. Or Weiss was going rogue, and would hammer Hunter with the full force of the law. My assumption was cover up, but based on this indictment and the previous firearms indictment, I can’t find fault with his actions thus far. He is appropriately and vigorously prosecuting the tax and gun crimes that we already knew about. The real test will be what comes next. Will Hunter be offered a new sweetheart plea deal to sweep this all under the rug? Most importantly, will more indictments follow? Foreign money laundering? Failure to register as a foreign agent? Bribery? Only time will tell, but I am hopeful that maybe—just maybe—we will see some justice here.

(3) Joe Biden is a liar. If the facts in the indictment are proven, and based on Hunter’s previous abortive plea deal I believe they can be and will be, this indictment is further proof (as if we needed more) that Joe Biden lied repeatedly to the American people during the 2020 election. “My son has not made money in terms of this thing about, what are you talking about, China.” That was Joe Biden at the presidential debate on October 22, 2020. That was a lie. Biden denied that Hunter had made “a fortune in China, in Moscow and various other places” at the presidential debate on September 29, 2020. That was a lie. I could go on, but the point is made. Joe Biden needs to answer to the American people for his lies. They implicate him in criminal conspiracies abroad involving the shadiest of foreign actors, and cut to the heart of his fitness for office.

(4) More egg on the media’s face. As if mainstream media credibility could fall even lower . . . The mainstream media was an active participant in Joe Biden’s lies in 2020. The media actively ran cover, burying Hunter Biden stories, showing a startling lack of interest in the Biden family’s web of foreign business interests, and insisting — insisting! — that there was nothing to see here. The blackout on reporting about Hunter’s now-validated laptop was the pinnacle of this all hands on deck effort. I want to hear from the journalists who participated in burying these stories, who wrote fake “explainer” pieces on how the Republicans were conspiracy theorists, who lashed out at Trump for attacking Joe over the Hunter scandals. Who decided that getting Joe elected was more important than uncovering the truth. Is that what they taught you in journalism school?

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Playing the victim appears to be Hunter’s second nature.

Hunter Biden Claims GOP Is “Trying To Kill” Him (Sp.)

Hunter Biden, the son of US President Joe Biden, sat down with the Grammy-nominated musician Moby for a podcast interview that was released on Friday, detailing that the GOP is harassing him as part of an effort to tank his father’s 2024 reelection bid. The 58-year-old musician explained at the beginning of the “Moby Pod” interview that he had previously met Biden at one of his art shows while the two had been recovering from an addiction. During the interview, Biden claimed right-wing attacks against him were not actually “about” him, but are instead part of a broader approach to attack his father’s presidency. “They are trying to, in their most illegitimate, but rational way, they’re trying to destroy a presidency,” Biden said on Friday. “And so it’s not about me, and [in] their most base way, what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to kill me, knowing that it will be a pain greater than my father could be able to handle.”

“They decided that the one way in which they would be able to certainly just undermine my dad’s confidence and ability to continue to campaign and move forward – particularly after the death of my brother – [was] to think that he could lose his son that he just had regained from an almost-death, through addiction,” said Biden. During the interview, Biden also lamented his challenges with drug and alcohol addiction following the death of his mother, sister and his brother, as well as his shame at feeling like the “f***-up” in his family. He acknowledged it’s difficult to maintain sobriety when he’s the focus of “a hatred and an intensity that is both specific and global.”This is the first time Biden has spoken publicly on the topic since his memoir was released in 2021. Since then, he has allowed public statements to come from his attorneys. During the podcast, he said he was speaking out (after being advised to keep a low profile) because he wanted to help others suffering from an addiction.

“One of the reasons why I’m gonna survive this – and I’m gonna survive it clean and sober – is because I am not gonna let these motherf****** use me as just another example of why people in recovery are never gonna be OK, never to be trusted, they’re all degenerates – I’m just not gonna let that happen.” He later described being doxxed by the New York Post, which he said led to Trump supporters wearing MAGA hats, shouting through bullhorns outside his house when his wife was eight months pregnant. During the podcast, Biden also mentioned feeling sorry for Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Paul Gosar (R-AZ), who he said are “not healthy people.” The two lawmakers have been some of Biden’s toughest credits, with Greene holding up posters displaying him in graphic and sexual photos during an Oversight Committee hearing in July. The photos had come from the infamous scandal-ridden laptop belonging to Biden.

“The second thing that I realized is that these people are just sad, very very sick people that have most likely just faced traumas in their lives that they’ve decided that they are going to turn into an evil that decides that they’re going to inflict on the rest of the world,” Biden said.

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“..why ask for a sweeping immunity deal? The answer was why not. That all came crashing down when Judge Noreika just cleared her throat in court.”

Hunter Biden is a Case Study of the Perils of Legal Gluttony (Turley)

Five months ago, exasperated Biden defense counsel Chris Clark snapped at federal prosecutors to “just rip it up” after a plea bargain hit a snag in a hearing before Judge Maryellen Noreika. They did and, for the first time, Hunter could be facing a real chance for jail time. The six misdemeanor charges and three felonies carry a potential sentence of 17 years for alleged tax evasion and filing a false return. It could have been worse. The Justice Department inexplicably allowed the statute of limitations to run on the most serious allegations involving payments from years going back to 2016. Those are mentioned in the narrative of the indictment but not charged as separate offenses. None of this would have happened if Judge Noreika did not ask a very simple question about the plea agreement and a sweeping immunity provision buried in its language.

Many judges would have likely flagged through the agreement and given Hunter the sweetest of sweetheart deals. Noreika noticed that the deal seemed to give Hunter immunity for any crime going forward and asked the prosecutor if he had ever seen any agreement like this one. He honestly answered “no.” It was later learned that there was a push within the Justice Department to have no charges at all brought against Hunter in an investigation that was heavily laden with special treatment, according to IRS whistleblowers. The investigation by the House has shown how Hunter and his counsel allowed their appetite for special treatment to turn into a raging disorder. The Justice Department reportedly gave Hunter a “heads up” about planned searches and interviews, scuttling those efforts. Even though the Justice Department had an agreement to “toll the statute” to prevent the early charges from expiring, the Special Counsel just let them die without any rational reason.

In this “all-you-can-eat” legal Smorgasbord, it is little surprise that the Biden team would demand an unprecedented immunity deal and just two misdemeanors after years of tax evasion covering millions from insider trading. After all, Attorney General Merrick Garland had refused the calls of many of us to appoint a Special Counsel to look into the corruption scandal. The scandal was capped off legally and the media was running cover for Hunter.The laptop was falsely denounced as Russian disinformation and the media largely dismissed influence peddling claims. Whenever new allegations surfaced, the President and the media would literally run to the nearest ice cream shop to discuss the President’s favorite flavors. In other words, why ask for a sweeping immunity deal? The answer was why not. That all came crashing down when Judge Noreika just cleared her throat in court.

As the prosecutors struggled to explain the absurd immunity provision, the Biden legal team was obviously shocked at the notion that they might have to exercise portion control. After all, the President himself has declared “no one f**ks with a Biden.” That is when they told the prosecutors to “just rip it up.” Those are the four most dangerous words that a criminal defendant could utter in a hearing on a plea deal. They could have immediately narrowed the immunity deal and even added a few misdemeanors to salvage the deal. Instead, they shredded their client. What followed was performative and frankly a tad pathetic. To the thrill of some in the media, the Biden team promised to get aggressive with witnesses and critics. They started to make demands as if they still controlled events, including saying that they would only comply with a congressional subpoena on their own terms.

It won’t work. A bill has come due. While Garland is still protecting President Biden from a Special Counsel, Hunter Biden is going to have to face these alleged crimes and corruption. Even the media is now admitting that he was influence peddling, though maintaining a final line of defense for the president. The last defense is that it was corrupt, but merely illusory because it did not actually influence Joe Biden. In other words, Hunter is rapidly becoming expendable.

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“To go from being, like, a well-paid street corner schizophrenic to, like, a politician – it’s just kind of hard to envision..”

Tucker Carlson Comments On Running As Trump’s VP (RT)

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson has stopped short of ruling out becoming former US President Donald Trump’s vice presidential running mate in 2024, suggesting that he would need a directive from God to take the job if it’s offered to him. Carlson, who has attracted millions of viewers to his channel on X (formerly Twitter) since being fired by Fox in April, made his comments on Thursday night in response to a media report that he was the potential VP candidate favored by former First Lady Melania Trump. Asked about the report after he gave a speech at an event in Washington, Carlson said, “God would have to yell at me very loud” to accept such an offer. Independent media outlet Semafor was first to report on Carlson’s response. The political commentator noted that he doesn’t really know the first lady.

He has repeatedly insisted that he has no interest in running for elected office. “To go from being, like, a well-paid street corner schizophrenic to, like, a politician – it’s just kind of hard to envision,” he said on Thursday. However, Semafor reported, there were cheers from the audience when he didn’t fully rule out joining Trump’s 2024 ticket. Axios reported on Thursday that the former first lady was advocating for her husband to pick Carlson as his running mate. “She thinks Carlson would make a powerful onstage extension of her husband,” the outlet said, citing an unidentified person close to Trump. Trump is polling as, far and away, the leading Republican candidate to face Democrat incumbent Joe Biden in next year’s presidential election. He also faces 91 felony charges in four separate criminal cases filed by prosecutors in Washington, New York, Florida, and Georgia.

Carlson has said that he became an avid Trump supporter after the FBI raided the former president’s home in Florida last summer. He has vowed to vote for Trump and lead protests if the ex-president is convicted of a crime and jailed: “You cannot allow the regime, the president of the United States, the Justice Department, to knock the frontrunner out of the race. You can’t do that.” Other potential Trump VP candidates include Senator J.D. Vance, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, Representative Byron Donalds, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene and Arizona Senate candidate Kari Lake, according to the Axios report.

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“Many misinterpret 1984 as a warning against Stalinism and Nazism, but George Orwell was predicting the future of the Western world. That future is here.”

Is Truth Becoming Valueless? (Paul Craig Roberts)

In America and its Western puppet states, there is today no greater crime than to be a truth-teller. Despite habeas corpus and due process enshrined in British law and the US Constitution, Julian Assange has been illegally detained for a decade for telling the truth. Reiner Fuellmich, the Germany attorney, who was about to file charges against the pharmaceutical companies for deaths and injuries from the Covid “vaccine,” was kidnapped in Mexico by the German government and placed in solitary confinement in Germany on obviously false charges in order to prevent the lawsuit. Barry Young, the New Zealand Covid database administrator who released the official data showing that the alleged “vaccine” was a deadly killer, has been arrested for revealing the truth. Be sure you understand what I am telling you. Those who tell you the truth are being arrested and treated worst than mass murderers. Murder is not a threat to the corrupt ruling establishment, but Truth is.

All truth-tellers have a target on their backs, including me. For reporting accurately on Putin’s hopes for reconciliation with Washington, I was labeled a “Putin agent/dupe.” This was just the beginning. George Soros, who Elon Musk said “appears to want nothing less than the destruction of Western civilization,” finances “fact checkers” and “verification” sites, the purpose of which is to discredit those who tell the truth. The State Department, the FBI, CIA, Mossad, and any number of government agencies and official organizations in the West work overtime to discredit truth-tellers. Wikipedia labeled me an “anti-semite” for quoting WW II historian David Irving in a book review. A truth-suppression website–NewsGuard–financed by who?–describes my website, which is read in every country in the world, as “A Conspiracy-oriented website that regularly publishes falsehoods about US election, the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, and other issues.”

It is extraordinary that after describing me as a disinformation artist, NewsGuard accurately describes me as an Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury, a presidential appointment which requires confirmation by the US Senate in order to take office, as an editor of the Wall Street Journal, as an author of books published by Harvard University Press and Oxford University Press, highly prestigious publishers who required credibility on the part of their peer-reviewed authors. So here I stand, with numerous top secret security clearances over many years, confirmed in a presidential appointment by the US Senate, a Wall Street Journal editor, a Business Week columnist for a dozen or more years, an academic at Stanford University and occupant for a dozen years of the William E. Simon Chair for Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and all of these front line institutions appointed a “conspiracy theorist.”

I have the French Legion of Honor signed by French President Mitterrand, the US Treasury’s Meritorious Service Award, the US Treasury’s Silver Medal, the International Journalism Award from the Press Club of Mexico. I have been in Who’s Who In America and Who Who’s in the World for decades. I have Who’s Who in America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. I have been on boards of multi-billion dollar financial and manufacturing institutions. I have been an adviser to J.P. Morgan Guaranty Trust and other large money managers. I have endless endorsements from distinguished Americans. And a dismal unverified hired gun organization called NewsGuard declares the entire journalistic, academic, business, and political establishment to have appointed a “conspiracy theorist” to the highest positions in the society.

No, I am not bragging on myself. I am pointing out that NewsGuard has no shame. The organization declares a truth-teller who has the highest honors to be a liar. Every corrupt, evil, material interest has money to demonize the truth. NewsGuard is one of their operatives. These are people devoid of integrity, but these sorts of sites are plentiful online, and given the insouciance of the American people, these sites might have more influence than truth-tellers. It raises the questions: can truth prevail when endless money can shout truth down? Can truth survive when people show scant interest in supporting truth and those who tell it? If you look objectively with open eyes at the news and at the indoctrination that passes for education, you will see that you live in a world of lies constructed by official narratives. Throughout the Western world police powers are being used to enforce the official narratives–every one of which is a lie.

Think about what this means for science and scholarship when Big Pharma-paid shills can shout down and discredit honest independent scientists, when educators can turn fiction into fact and fact into lies, when we live in Orwell’s world where Newspeak and Doublethink prevail: “War is peace,” “Freedom is slavery,” “Ignorance is strength.” Many misinterpret 1984 as a warning against Stalinism and Nazism, but George Orwell was predicting the future of the Western world. That future is here. Stand with me or soon you will find that you cannot stand at all.

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JOHN LENNON was taken from us 43yrs ago today. Every year on the anniversary of his death, the National Trust leave the bedroom light on in John’s childhood home, all night.





Bronze doors










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






Dec 042023

Detail of a fresco from the House of the Tragic Poet, Pompeii, 2nd century BC


‘We Will Not Compromise, Let War Take Its Course’: Hamas Official (Cradle)
Key Netanyahu Aide Reveals ‘Security Envelope’ To Enclose Gaza (RT)
Pentagon Chief Warns Israel Of ‘Strategic Defeat’ (RT)
US Urges Israel To Protect Civilians, Sends More Bombs (Cradle)
Israel Risks Slipping Into Decade Of War – Macron (RT)
US Defense Secretary Revealed ‘Military Secret’ – Medvedev (RT)
Why Next Year’s Ukrainian Elections Have Been Cancelled (Poletaev)
Zelensky Has Devolved Into Authoritarianism – Kiev Mayor (RT)
No Military Solution To Ukraine Conflict – Top US General (RT)
NATO Chief Says It Should Be Ready For Bad News From Ukraine (TASS)
Just Admit You Were Wrong! (Jeffrey Tucker)
Key Witness in Biden Corruption Case Beaten in Ukraine Custody (21CW)
Andrew Weissmann Faces a Trump-Like Lawsuit (Turley)
COP28 President: ‘No Science’ Behind Calls To Phase Out Fossil Fuels (RT)
Truth: an Endangered Concept on the Verge of Extermination (Paul Craig Roberts)










Don’t look away



















“The rockets are launched and our heroes confront the occupation with full force. Netanyahu and his army failed to achieve any military objective and will continue to fail.”

‘We Will Not Compromise, Let War Take Its Course’: Hamas Official (Cradle)

Deputy Head of the Hamas Political Bureau and Qassam Brigades commander Saleh al-Arouri, told Al-Jazeera on 2 December that truce and prisoner release talks were off, and that there would be no negotiations until “the end of hostilities.” “From the beginning, the Hamas movement announced that the foreign prisoners were to be released without compensation, and that the children and women hostages were not a target and would be released,” Arouri said. “The remaining prisoners in our hands are soldiers and former soldiers, and there will be no negotiations regarding them until the end of hostilities,” he added. Prior to the collapse of the ceasefire, the US had been pushing to expand the scope of the prisoner releases to include Israeli men and military personnel.

Arouri vowed that the “decision to empty the prisons is final and irreversible,” confirming that any future deal will depend strictly on the release of all the thousands of Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. “Let the war take its course. This decision is final. We will not compromise on it.” The Hamas leader also described Israel’s goal to destroy Hamas as “unachievable,” and said that Israel has to go through this round of fighting in order to see that. Arouri’s comments came as fierce battles had resumed across Gaza, one day after the truce broke on 1 December. Fighters of the Qassam Brigades targeted five Israeli military vehicles east of Deir al-Balah camp at around noon on 3 December, resulting in the “complete destruction” of three of them, the brigades announced via their Telegram channel.

They also “liquidated” a number of soldiers holing up inside a building in Beit Hanoun. The Qassam Brigades persisted with continuous rocket fire, targeting the Raim military base and the Sderot settlement in the Gaza envelope. Earlier, the resistance group’s Telegram channel announced hitting gatherings of soldiers east of Deir al-Balah and east of Khan Yunis with “heavy-caliber mortar shells.”

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Quds Brigades and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine’s Abu Ali Mustafa Brigades have also been engaged in clashes on the battlefield, targeting Israeli forces as well as launching mortar shells and rockets. The previous evening saw intensive rocket barrages fired on Tel Aviv for the first time since 20 November. Social media footage shows an Iron Dome interceptor missile failing and plummeting towards the ground. “The latest batch of rockets on Tel Aviv from northern Gaza is a message to all concerned,” a member of Hamas’ political bureau, Izzat al-Rishq, said on Saturday evening. “The rockets are launched and our heroes confront the occupation with full force. Netanyahu and his army failed to achieve any military objective and will continue to fail.”

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“White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby made it clear that Washington does not “support any reduction of the geographic limits of Gaza… Gaza must remain Palestinian land, and cannot be reduced.”

Key Netanyahu Aide Reveals ‘Security Envelope’ To Enclose Gaza (RT)

Israel is going to create a “security envelope” in Gaza once its military has vanquished Hamas, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has revealed to the media. Earlier, Reuters reported that the Israeli government had informed several countries about its plans for a “buffer zone” in the Palestinian enclave. Israel launched its military operation against Hamas after Palestinian militants carried out a surprise incursion into the Jewish state, killing 1,200 people and abducting several hundred more. Netanyahu’s war cabinet has named the complete eradication of the Islamist group from Gaza as its aim. No clear picture has emerged yet as to the enclave’s future, however. Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Mark Regev said that “Israel will have to have a security envelope,” adding that “we can never again allow terrorists to cross the border and butcher our people the way they did on October 7.”

The official hastened to stress that “that is not Israel taking territory from Gaza,” describing the planned arrangement as “common sense.” On Friday Reuters reported, citing several anonymous officials, that Israel had notified Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Türkiye that it intended to carve out a buffer zone in Gaza after the hostilities were over. That same day, Israeli broadcaster Kan cited two informed sources in its report that Prime Minister Netanyahu had shared the security-envelope plans with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the previous day. Another anonymous senior Israeli security source told Reuters that “it is not clear at the moment how deep this will be and whether it could be one kilometer or two kilometers, or hundreds of meters” inside the Palestinian enclave.

Gaza is about 40 kilometers (25 miles) long and just 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) at its widest, and is home to some 2.3 million people. Also on Friday, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby made it clear that Washington does not “support any reduction of the geographic limits of Gaza… Gaza must remain Palestinian land, and cannot be reduced.” Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal alleged that President Joe Biden’s administration was discussing with Israel the potential relocation of Hamas militants out of Gaza to end the bloodshed and minimize damage to the Palestinian territory, already ravaged by massive Israeli airstrikes. According to Palestinian health authorities, at least 15,200 people have been killed in the enclave since early October, with thousands more injured.

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“The center of gravity is the civilian population and if you drive them into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat..”

Pentagon Chief Warns Israel Of ‘Strategic Defeat’ (RT)

Israel’s victory over Hamas will become a “strategic defeat” if the country doesn’t prevent civilian casualties during its military operation in Gaza, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said. Washington “will continue to press Israel to protect civilians and to ensure the robust flow of humanitarian aid” into Gaza, Austin vowed on Saturday, in a speech at the Reagan National Defense Forum at Simi Valley, California. “The center of gravity is the civilian population and if you drive them into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat,” the Pentagon chief said, implying that indiscriminate attacks on Gaza by Israel could prompt even more Palestinians to join the ranks of the Hamas armed group.

“It would compound this tragedy if all that awaited Israelis and Palestinians at the end of this awful war was more insecurity, more rage and more despair,” Austin added. At least 193 people have been killed since the IDF renewed its offensive in Gaza after the breakdown of the truce on Friday, Gaza’s health ministry said. The overall death toll from attacks on the Palestinian enclave since October 7, when Hamas launched its deadly incursion into Israel, stands at over 15,200, according to the ministry. “You can only win in urban warfare by protecting civilians,” Austin, a retired general and former commander of US forces in the Middle East, insisted. He also suggested that a two-state solution, in which the Israelis and the Palestinians would “find a way to share the land that they both call home,” is still the “only viable” way out of the conflict.

However, the Pentagon chief stressed that it’s Israel’s duty to respond to the attack by Hamas. The US remains Israel’s “closest friend in the world” and will continue to support the country, he promised. On Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that he made it clear to Israeli authorities that its “imperative for the US that the massive loss of civilian life, and displacement of the scale that we saw in northern Gaza, not be repeated in the south.” An Israeli official told the Times of Israel paper on Sunday that the country has put in place a deconfliction mechanism to prevent harm to human-rights workers and civilians in Gaza during the IDF’s operations against Hamas. “We learned lessons from our northern Gaza operations and we are implementing them,” the source claimed.

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“Austin said “the world will only become more dangerous if tyrants and terrorists believe that they can get away with wholesale aggression and mass slaughter.”

He was not talking about Israel. Or the US.

US Urges Israel To Protect Civilians, Sends More Bombs (Cradle)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on 2 December urged Israel to protect civilians during its campaign against Hamas in Gaza, even as the US military continues to send 2,000-pound bombs and artillery to the Israeli army for use in the densely populated and besieged enclave. Austin told the Reagan National Defense Forum in California on Saturday that shielding noncombatants in the densely populated and besieged enclave is necessary for victory in the urban fight. Austin stated that he had “learned a thing or two about urban warfare” while fighting in Iraq and leading the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS). “The lesson is that you can only win in urban warfare by protecting civilians,” Austin stressed. “If you drive [Gaza’s civilians] into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat.”

Austin’s comments came one day after fighting between Israel and Hamas resumed after a week-long truce. On Saturday, the Gaza Health Ministry reported Israeli bombing had killed 700 Palestinians in just the past 24 hours. Since 7 October, Israel has killed some 20,000 Palestinians in Gaza, the majority women and children. Despite requests by US officials that Israel kill fewer Palestinian civilians, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on 1 December that the US military continues to provide Israel large amounts of lethal weapons. The US has provided Israel roughly 15,000 bombs and 57,000 artillery shells since 7 October. This includes some 100 BLU-109, 2,000-pound bunker buster bombs, which Israel used to kill 100 Palestinians in just one strike in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza, according to US officials.

Austin went on to tell lawmakers, corporate and defense leaders, and government officials attending the security conference that “Like Hamas, ISIS was deeply embedded in urban areas. And the international coalition against ISIS worked hard to protect civilians and create humanitarian corridors, even during tough battles.” However, the US campaign against ISIS in urban areas of the Iraqi city of Mosul and Syrian city of Raqqa caused widespread destruction and huge numbers of civilian casualties. Defending US support of Israel and Ukraine, Austin said “the world will only become more dangerous if tyrants and terrorists believe that they can get away with wholesale aggression and mass slaughter.” “You’ll hear some people try to brand an American retreat from responsibility as bold new leadership,” he said.

“Make no mistake: It is not bold. It is not new. And it is not leadership.” Austin, a former board member of weapons manufacturer Raytheon, then asked the lawmakers in the crowd to pass both the military’s budget and the supplemental funding for both wars. However, even some Israel supporters in the US Congress are taking previously unthinkable views. A group of Senate Democrats has considered putting restrictions on the aid that the US gives to Israel, such as compelling it to follow international law. Senator Chris Murphy expressed that “the level of civilian harm inside Gaza is unacceptable, unsustainable.”

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“Macron questioned whether “anyone thinks it’s possible” to wipe out Hamas. “If it is the aim, the war will last for 10 years..”

Israel Risks Slipping Into Decade Of War – Macron (RT)

French President Emmanuel Macron has urged Israeli authorities to “more precisely define” the end goals of the war with Hamas, while arguing that the stated aim of totally eliminating the Palestinian militant group may result in a years-long conflict. Macron’s comments came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Saturday to continue with the ground offensive in Gaza until “all its objections” are achieved, namely rescuing remaining the hostages and completely “obliterating Hamas.” Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the UN COP28 climate conference in Dubai, Macron questioned whether “anyone thinks it’s possible” to wipe out Hamas. “If it is the aim, the war will last for 10 years,” he argued.

“There can be no long-term security for Israel in the region, if that security comes at the price of Palestinian lives, affecting the public opinions in the region,” he continued. The temporary truce between Hamas and Israel ended on Friday, with both sides blaming each other for the resumption of hostilities. Israeli officials have repeatedly stated that a comprehensive ceasefire at this moment would only benefit Hamas. Israel has accused the militant group of not meeting “its obligations to release all hostage women,” while Hamas has argued that the remaining Israeli prisoners are “soldiers and civilians serving in the army.” During the weeklong truce, Hamas released more than 100 hostages, comprising Israelis and foreign nationals, while Israel freed around 240 Palestinian prisoners.

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“’s all about defense goods commissioning to increase military production output and create jobs. And, possibly, about the enormous profit that the companies close to the Biden administration get from it..”

US Defense Secretary Revealed ‘Military Secret’ – Medvedev (RT)

The Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin has apparently revealed the true goal of his country’s enduring support for Ukraine and it has nothing to do with defending “democracy” or even battling Russia, but boils down to the modernization of the US’ own military-industrial complex, ex-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said. Medvedev, who currently serves as the deputy chairman of the country’s National Security Council, took to social media platform X on Sunday, commenting on a speech made by Austin at the Reagan National Defense Forum in the US. “We’ve launched what the Army calls ‘the most ambitious modernization effort in nearly 40 years’ for our defense industrial base,” the Pentagon boss said during the event.

Some $50 billion of our supplemental budget request would flow through our defense industrial base. And that will create or support tens of thousands of good American jobs in more than 30 states. That includes making missiles in Arizona; vehicles in Wisconsin and Indiana; and artillery shells in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas. The remarks by the secretary of defense, himself a retired general, effectively amount to an admission of the true goals of Washington, Medvedev said, suggesting that a “sincere” Austin might have inadvertently revealed a genuine “military secret” of the US. “A straightforward and simple-minded person, the general unhesitatingly stated the reason for the US involvement in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.”

The US is not driven by a desire to help stop Ukraine from “disappearing from the world map” or by an intent to fight “for democracy against tyranny,” he said. Moreover, the US is apparently not even motivated by its repeatedly proclaimed goal of “even confronting Russia to diminish its defense capacity,” the ex-president suggested. “It turns out, it’s all about defense goods commissioning to increase military production output and create jobs. And, possibly, about the enormous profit that the companies close to the Biden administration get from it,” Medvedev wrote.

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“So, why does Zelensky remain in office? It looks like the most obvious answer to this question is also the most probable one – the West does not know what to do..”

Why Next Year’s Ukrainian Elections Have Been Cancelled (Poletaev)

A year ago, trusting in their omnipotence, Ukraine and the West anticipated Russia’s inevitable defeat on the battlefield. Vladimir Zelensky personified this confidence, which culminated in the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ (AFU’s) counteroffensive in the direction of the Azov Sea. However, the AFU’s failure in the summer and fall of this year was not just a military defeat – it demonstrated the failure of Ukraine’s entire post-Soviet policy, which has been actively supported by the West. After such a fiasco, one would think Ukraine might fancy a change of leadership. So, why does Zelensky remain in office? It looks like the most obvious answer to this question is also the most probable one – the West does not know what to do. In order for a new person to replace Zelensky, Ukraine needs a new strategy, which it doesn’t have.

Western elites who went all in on the illusory idea of Russia’s military defeat are now at a loss and face a bunch of new problems: the conflict in the Middle East, far-right parties gaining support in Europe, and the political paralysis ahead of the US elections. After all, no one is quite certain that Joe Biden, whose health is deteriorating with each day, will be able to run for another term. It is important to remember that Washington has no need for Ukrainian elections as such, it just needs to keep a tight grip on Kiev. It’s true that Zelensky started to get out of control – he imagined himself to be a great military commander, lost his head, and started throwing tantrums in public, like at the NATO summit in July. The US understands that something has to be done, since a mentally unbalanced head of state is dangerous and unpredictable.

However, as of now, the US Department of State cannot orchestrate a change of power in Ukraine, particularly since Ukraine’s ‘prima donna’ refuses to leave the stage. In the absence of a clear strategy, keeping Zelensky in office seems like the lesser of two evils – if political chaos were to break out in Ukraine, it would inevitably impact the Democrats’ ratings during the upcoming elections, but if everything stays as is, the issue could be swept under the rug for the time being. Moreover, if the current administration manages to convince Congress to approve a minimum aid package for Ukraine, it would consider the job done. There is another important aspect, however. An increasing number of people both in Ukraine and in the West realize that the coming year will be a lot more difficult for Kiev.

The consequences of the fatal decisions made by Zelensky in the past two years will become fully evident – from the refusal to conclude a peace agreement in Istanbul, to the meaningless fight for Bakhmut, the failed counteroffensive, and other battles that resulted in heavy losses. Zelensky was the one who ‘embodied’ these decisions, and many people want him to suffer the consequences, so that all the negativity will be buried alongside the president when he descends into the political grave. But, for now, while Ukraine can still fight, the West wants it to fight with Zelensky in charge.

In this respect, the country’s current president is following the path of his predecessors – it has become traditional in Ukraine to heap all the guilt on the leader and then push him into oblivion. This means that soon, everyone in Ukraine may unite against Zelensky. Even his own party is involved in the game. In a recent interview, head of the Servant of the People faction David Arakhamia admitted that, in March 2022, Kiev had the chance to conclude a peace agreement on very favorable terms and without spilling so much blood – in other words, he was accusing Zelensky of failing to ensure peace.

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“In a year and a half since the beginning of the conflict with Russia, there has not been a single meeting or telephone conversation between [the city of] Kiev and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky..”

Zelensky Has Devolved Into Authoritarianism – Kiev Mayor (RT)

Ukraine’s municipal authorities now remain the only independent force in the country, which has grown increasingly authoritarian amid the conflict with Russia, the Mayor of Kiev Vitaly Klitschko has said. Klitschko shared his assessment of the state of ‘democracy’ in Ukraine in an interview with German daily Der Spiegel, published on Friday. The country’s governing institutes have greatly deteriorated amid the hostilities, with local municipal authorities effectively remaining the only independent force standing, he asserted. “Ukraine is on the path to authoritarianism,” the mayor said. “There is only one independent institution left –local authorities– and they are under enormous pressure.”

During the conflict, the central government has been communicating poorly, if at all, with local authorities, the mayor of the Ukrainian capital claimed. “In a year and a half since the beginning of the conflict with Russia, there has not been a single meeting or telephone conversation between [the city of] Kiev and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. At some point, we will get to the situation where everything depends on the mood of a single person,” Klitschko told Der Spiegel. Boxing star-turned-politician Klitschko was elevated to his position shortly after Ukraine’s 2014 Maidan coup, remaining one of the few Poroshenko-era officials to retain his post under Zelensky. Over the past few months, relations between the capital’s mayor and the central government have been marred by multiple public spats.

In June, for instance, the national government reprimanded Klitschko over the state of the city’s bomb shelters, with the heads of two districts and two acting district heads dismissed from their posts over their failure to keep the facilities operational. Klitschko also became one of the first major Ukrainian public figures to admit the failure of his country’s long-heralded counteroffensive against the Russian forces. In early November, the mayor said the troops were moving “slowly” and were unable to “swiftly breach” fortifications erected by Russia. The mayor’s assessment drastically contrasted with the stance taken by the president at the time, who was insisting the counteroffensive was still going on and consistently denied any setbacks. Zelensky conceded its failure only this week, telling AP that he now considers the fact that his country’s troops are not retreating at the moment a “satisfying” result.

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“It “takes two to tango” in diplomacy, but Ukraine and its foreign backers continue to engage in “solo breakdancing,” Lavrov said.”

No Military Solution To Ukraine Conflict – Top US General (RT)

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine will not have a purely military solution, Charles Brown Jr., the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has suggested. During his appearance at the Reagan National Defense Forum at Simi Valley, California on Saturday, Brown was asked about the possible outcome of the fighting in Ukraine – whether it would end with Kiev “retaking everything that they’d like to get back” or with “some other kind of a negotiated truce with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.” The US top general replied by saying that in “any military conflict, you don’t solve it completely by military means. It ends up with a diplomatic solution.” “You know, I can’t predict the future of how it is going to end, but I think we [the US] can help shape it” by continuing “support of Ukraine, providing them capability,” he stressed.

Brown, who became the most senior US military officer on October 1, replacing Mark Milley, said that he communicates with the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, General Valery Zaluzhny, “on a fairly regular basis.” Washington’s backing of Kiev is “important partly because Russia is one of our challenges that’s laid out in the [US] National Security and National Defense Strategies, and the work we have to do there is important to get to a better place in the long run,” he explained. In November, Zaluzhny said the situation on the frontline had devolved into a “stalemate” and that Ukraine was unlikely to achieve a breakthrough unless some surprise technological development gave it a decisive edge over Russia. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and other top officials had initially rejected his assessment.

However, this week, Zelensky announced on social media that Kiev’s forces will start building fortifications, acknowledging that the Ukrainian counteroffensive, which began in early June, failed to deliver the desired results. “We have a new phase of war, and that is a fact,” he said in an interview with AP on Thursday. When asked if there was any pressure from the US and its allies to negotiate a peace deal with Russia, Zelensky replied: “I don’t feel it yet.” On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov blamed Kiev and the West for showing no interest in peacefully resolving the conflict. It “takes two to tango” in diplomacy, but Ukraine and its foreign backers continue to engage in “solo breakdancing,” Lavrov said.

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“Wars are inherently unpredictable,” the official said. “But we know that the more we support Ukraine, the faster the war will end.”.

NATO Chief Says It Should Be Ready For Bad News From Ukraine (TASS)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO should be ready for bad news from Ukraine, according to his interview with ARD television on Saturday. “We should also be prepared for bad news,” he said, when asked if he feared that the situation in Ukraine would worsen in the future. “Wars develop in phases. But we have to support Ukraine in both good and bad times.” It is crucial to boost ammunition production, Stoltenberg said, conceding that NATO countries were unable to meet the increased demand for them. He said Ukraine is now in a “critical situation,” but declined to recommend what Kiev should do. “I will leave it to the Ukrainians and military commanders to make these difficult operational decisions,” Stoltenberg said.

He also commented on challenges faced by European defense industry. “One of the issues we should address is the fragmentation of the European defense industry,” he said. The NATO chief said it’s in the interest of Europe and is good for jobs in the industry. He said it is important not to allow ammunition prices to rise now that demand has climbed. Stoltenberg said there had been no significant developments on the battlefield over the past few months. He declined to share an outlook for what could happen next. “Wars are inherently unpredictable,” the official said. “But we know that the more we support Ukraine, the faster the war will end.”.

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“Battered by the pandemic? Seriously? The pathetic pathogen never closed a single business, school, church, country club, arts theater, mall, stadium or public park. Governments did that, on the advice of crazed experts who pushed for this nonsense..”

Just Admit You Were Wrong! (Jeffrey Tucker)

The answer to the question “Will they ever admit to being wrong?” is of course: no. I’m speaking in particular of the architects of the lockdown and mandate policies that wrecked the rights and liberties of billions worldwide. Now they want to pretend like it never happened or that someone else is responsible. And they do this even as they hammer out policies and treaties that normalize that exact response – OK, some tweaks here and there – in the future, while forging institutions that crush dissent. Those people we know about. They are rather hopeless. Let’s address a different case, the run-of-the-mill pundit who got it wrong and just cannot admit it. These are the people who should trouble us more because saying sorry in this case is completely cost-free. In fact, the opposite is true.

Readers would cheer their humility and congratulate them for honesty. The only cost would be psychological in some measure. They are supposed to be these great opinion leaders and cannot bring themselves to admit that they were so bloody wrong on such a huge topic. This comes to mind because of an effusive and even absurdist article by Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal. It was about how and why Taylor Swift is the greatest thing America has to offer. The language here is intentionally over the top and she knows it. It’s a fun way to write. I know this because I used to write this way all the time, celebrating the glories of vending machine chicken salad or the McDonald’s cheese stick or what have you. My argument here is not with the hyperbole as such. The problem comes deep into the article where she says the following:

“Downtowns across the country — uniquely battered by the pandemic and the riots and demonstrations of 2020 — are, while she is there, brought to life, with an influx of visitors and a local small business boom. Wherever she went it was like the past three years didn’t happen.” Battered by the pandemic? Seriously? The pathetic pathogen never closed a single business, school, church, country club, arts theater, mall, stadium or public park. Governments did that, on the advice of crazed experts who pushed for this nonsense with no concern for public well-being. Media got involved cheering the lockdowns and denouncing anyone who doubted their glories. Big Tech censored dissident voices.

Noonan could have fixed that sentence with the addition of one word: response. The pandemic response. It would be easy enough to type that word. Sure, that’s a bit lame but at least it is accurate. Why does she refuse? You know the answer. She was among the panic-mongers who thought the lockdowns, masks and vaccine mandates were just fine. She wrote about it constantly. I don’t know why, but she did. She has assiduously avoided admitting this for years now, even to the point of writing about the “great resignation” without ever mentioning lockdowns or vaccine mandates.

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“Ukrainian Parliamentarian and People’s Deputy, Oleksandr Dubinsky..”

Key Witness in Biden Corruption Case Beaten in Ukraine Custody (21CW)

Over the weekend, Ukrainian Parliamentarian and People’s Deputy, Oleksandr Dubinsky, was reportedly the victim of a violent attack while still in custody awaiting a state proceedings into charges of treason. According to testimony provided by Dubinsky to his lawyers, the incident took place in a pre-trial detention center, where unknown persons beat the MP, in which he sustained serious injuries. An ambulance was called, and medical staff reported multiple hematomas, and a suspected broken rib. His lawyers assert that there is a real danger to his health, and say the incident as evidence that there is in fact a credible threat to Dubinksy’s life in the current incarceration. Dubinsky’s apprehension took place on November 13th, after authorities from Ukraine’s state security agency the SBU, along with the State Bureau of Investigation, informed Dubinsky that a criminal case had been initiated against him for the high crime of state treason.

He was then ordered to be detained for 60 days. Prosecutors have alleged that Dubinsky, along with his colleague – another parliamentarian, Andriy Derkach, and former prosecutor Kostiantyn Kulyk, were part of a secret Russian GRU plot said to have been “carrying out subversive informational activities in favor of the Russian Federation,” and are suspected of “spreading misinformation” about Ukraine’s political leadership. In addition to serving in the Ukrainian parliament since 2019, Dubinsky has also gain notoriety as a journalist and media entrepreneur. Not coincidentally, Oleksandr Dubinsky, along with former Ukrainian government officials Andriy Derkach, Konstantin Kulyk, Oleksandr Onyshchenko, Andriy Telizhenko, were all placed on a US sanctions list, mainly for their role in publicly exposing evidence of widespread corruption by US government officials in Ukraine – most notably the illicit activity of the current US President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.

Back in 2019, Dubinsky had also assisted President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, during the Ukrainian leg of his investigation into Biden corruption in Ukraine. It is believed that Dubinsky could be among the key witnesses who could called upon if the US Congress proceeds forward with their investigation in the overseas activities of Biden family, and subsequent impeachment hearings for the 46th President of the United States. Both Derkach and Dubinsky brought ground-breaking evidence to light at their press conference in 2019 where, along with the Bidens, showed evidence implicating former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, as well as US behind-the-scenes micro-managing of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and its role in falsely framing former Trump campaign manager and political consultant, Paul Manafort – a questionable scandal which ultimately led to Manafort being forced out of the 2016 campaign.

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Weissmann de facto ran the utter failure that was the Mueller investigation.

Andrew Weissmann Faces a Trump-Like Lawsuit (Turley)

Many of us questioned Mueller hiring Weissmann given his reputation for stretching legal authority and perceived political bias. Weissmann reportedly congratulated acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she ordered the Justice Department not to assist President Donald Trump on his immigration ban. The Supreme Court would ultimately affirm Trump’s underlying authority, but Yates refused to allow the Justice Department to assist a sitting president in defending that authority. Weissmann gushed in an email to her, writing “I am so proud. And in awe. Thank you so much.” Weissmann seemed to respond to that criticism by aggressively proving them true. Weissmann has only become more controversial as an MSNBC analyst. He called on Justice Department officials to refuse to assist in the investigation of abuses in the Russian collusion investigation.

While opposing investigations involving Democrats, he has seemingly supported every possible charge against Trump or his associates. What Weissmann often lacked in precedent, he made up for in hyperbole. That signature is at the heart of the current lawsuit. On September 13, 2023, Weissmann was referring to Judy Hunt and noted on Twitter (now X) that “Hunt also is Cassidy Hutchinson’s good lawyer. (Not the one who coached her to lie).” In making this claim against Passantino, Weissmann actually triggered the “per se” defamation standard twice. These are categories that have been treated as defamatory per se. The allegation against Passantino would not only constitute criminal conduct but also unethical professional conduct. Two things are working in Weissmann’s interest. First, the case is in D.C. with the most favorable jury pool and bench for a Trump critic.

Weissmann was viewed by many as hitting the jackpot when the case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan. The judge previously caused a controversy by suggesting Trump should be indicted in the case of a rioter from January 6th and now is sitting as his judge in the Special Counsel’s prosecution. Second, he can argue that Passantino is a public figure and this is merely an opinion. It would seem likely that he would be viewed as an “all-purpose public figure.” Yet, that may not be enough to avoid a trial. In New York Times v. Sullivan, the Supreme Court crafted the actual malice standard that required public officials to shoulder the higher burden of proving defamation. Under that standard, an official would have to show either actual knowledge of its falsity or a reckless disregard of the truth.

The standard was later extended to public figures. The Supreme Court has held that public figure status applies when someone “thrust[s] himself into the vortex of [the] public issue [and] engage[s] the public’s attention in an attempt to influence its outcome.” [..] In creating this higher burden, the Court sought to create “breathing space” for the media by articulating that standard that now applies to both public officials and public figures. Public figures are viewed as having an enhanced ability to defend themselves and engaging in “self-help” in the face of criticism.

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“There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phase-out of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5°C..”

COP28 President: ‘No Science’ Behind Calls To Phase Out Fossil Fuels (RT)

The president of the COP28 climate conference, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, has cast great doubt over zero-emissions policies being pushed by the United Nations, claiming there is “no science” to show that stage-by-stage cuts in fossil fuel use would decrease global heating, the Guardian reported on Sunday. The chair of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference, now underway in Dubai, claimed that a gradual reduction in fossil fuel consumption would hold back sustainable development and drag humanity back to the Paleolithic period. His comments, made in response to questions from former UN special envoy for climate change Mary Robinson during a live online event in late November, are fundamentally at odds with the position of the UN and its secretary general Antonio Guterres.

“We’re in an absolute crisis that is hurting women and children more than anyone… and it’s because we have not yet committed to phasing out fossil fuel,” Robinson, who chairs The Elders, a London-based human rights and environmental NGO, was quoted by the Guardian as saying. “That is the one decision that Cop28 can take and in many ways, because you’re head of Adnoc, you could actually take it with more credibility,” she added. Al Jaber serves as chief executive of the United Arab Emirates state oil company Adnoc, while also chairing Cop28 in Dubai. Many critics have described the two roles as a serious conflict of interest. Responding to Robinson’s remarks, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said he expected the conversation to be “sober and mature,” but not “alarmist.”

“There is no science out there, or no scenario out there, that says that the phase-out of fossil fuel is what’s going to achieve 1.5°C,” he said, adding that the move would not “allow for sustainable socioeconomic development, unless you want to take the world back into caves.” When Robinson argued that Adnoc is investing heavily in future fossil fuel production, Al Jaber responded by saying that she and her supporters were reading their own media, which is biased and wrong. He also predicted that a phase-out of fossil fuels is “essentially inevitable,” but argued that countries need to be “real serious and pragmatic about it.”

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Just like TAE:

“This website has no advertising in order to be free of content regulation by Google and other parties..”

Truth: an Endangered Concept on the Verge of Extermination (Paul Craig Roberts)

This website has no advertising in order to be free of content regulation by Google and other parties. This website is politically non-partisan. It tells the truth about both political parties and about other governments. This website is not Woke or rightwing. It has no agenda but the truth. As I told the Press Club of Mexico when I was awarded the Prize for International Journalism, “our country is truth.” When we had real journalists, they understood that it was unpatriotic to lie and cover up for one’s government and country.

Finding and speaking the truth is increasingly difficult. The Twitter Files released to Matt Taibbi by Elon Musk reveal a conspiracy between Big Tech and the establishment to control the explanations by suppressing the truth. Taibbi concluded that the Twitter Files “show the FBI acting as doorman to a vast program of social media surveillance and censorship, encompassing agencies across the federal government from the State Department to the Pentagon to the CIA.” The conspiracy against the truth involves the media and the large corporations. Apple, Coca-Cola, Disney, and Walmart are among the corporations that are punishing Elon Musk for his efforts in behalf of free speech by cancelling their advertising on Twitter, now known as X. The American Establishment that is doing everything it possibly can to destroy Donald Trump has also set its sights on Elon Musk, one of the richest and most talented people on earth.

With an establishment this confident in its power, what prospects do ordinary Americans have to withstand the elements that are eroding their comprehension of reality and their own lives. Why do Americans purchase goods, services, and entertainment from corporations determined to keep them in the dark? It is well known that Disney was sponsoring the propagation of critical race theory and transgenderism in public schools. Disney even admits that it is losing shareholders’ money by making movies that confuse white kids about their identity and encourage miscegenation in order to replace “racist white people.” Yet parents continue taking their kids to Disneyland, Disney World, Disney entertainments, and purchase Disney toys. It makes no sense. It is frustrating watching white Americans support their own demise.

Something called Media Matters–financed by who?–created fake accounts and manipulated algorithms to create the fake news that X posted anti-semitic, pro-Nazi content next to advertising, thus associating advertisers with content that results in boycotts by Jewish and black lobbies. Clearly, the intent of Media Matters was to damage X. Can Elon Musk sue Media Matters for damages? Probably not, because the Woke Democrat judges support suppressing the truth. They use law as a weapon to get enemies, like Trump and Musk and me and you. Most Americans do not yet understand that they live in a tyranny and have scant Constitutional and legal protection. A rule of law is no longer our shield against arbitrary power. In a blue city or state, for a white American to defend himself against black violence is like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

The American media–indeed that of the Western world–is so compromised by security agencies and advertisers that it serves only as a Ministry of Propaganda. Even the alternative Internet media is unreliable, because the same establishment that has corrupted the print and TV media creates websites to control the narratives that support the establishment’s agendas. There are very few former insiders experienced in the way of Washington who are willing to tell the truth. To turn on the establishment costs you your friends, your connections, your social life, and results in your demonization. I provide an email so that readers can communicate with me, but I receive far more rude messages filled with foul language than I receive supporting words.

Those of us who have been around for awhile with eyes wide open can see the extent of the collapse of the culture and integrity. The young don’t see it. Not having been born into a free society, they don’t realize the loss. The creeping tyranny into which each successive year of Americans are born is normal to them. As Jesus said, “the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). Without truth there can be no justice. There is barbarism, the rule of power. We have to be discouraged when we see throughout the West that the purpose of scholarship and education is to replace fact with make-believe.

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RFK covid





Wear a mask?!
















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Jun 192021

Vincent van Gogh The sower 1888


Why Has “Ivermectin” Become a Dirty Word? (Taibbi)
Feds Now See the Need for Funding Antivirals (TSN)
What If The Mainstream Media Had Told The Truth? (PF Whalen)
AstraZeneca Vaccine Not Good Enough to See ‘Springsteen on Broadway’ (NM)
‘I’d Rather Die Actually Living’: Buffalo Bills’ Wide Receiver (G.)
EU Regulator Won’t Impose 50% Efficacy Threshold For Covid-19 Vaccines (RT)
Only 41.9% Of French Nursing Home Workers Vaccinated (RT)
Greece Bioethics Committee To Green-light Mandatory Vaccinations (K.)
Dying Of Covid-19 Has Become Optional In Russia (RT)
Will US Meet Biden’s Vaccine Goal? (ZH)
Chinese Defector’s Identity Confirmed, Was Top Counterintelligence Official (RS)
Democracy Dies at the Washington Post Editorial Board (MPN)
Who Is A “Terrorist” In Biden’s America? (Whitney Webb)
Questions About the FBI’s Role in 1/6 (Greenwald)
Free At Last (Jim Kunstler)





Positive test does NOT mean infected with SARS-CoV-2….
It means one or multiple target genes of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, that has never been purely isolated, showed a hit after immense amplification.
But what is SARS-CoV-2 besides a computersimulation?






Taibbi should ask not only “Why Has “Ivermectin” Become a Dirty Word?” but also “When Has “Ivermectin” Become a Dirty Word?”. And then apologize to his readers for completely missing the story for a year, or at least the half year it’s been since Kory’s Senate testimony -which he talks about- was cancelled.

Why Has “Ivermectin” Become a Dirty Word? (Taibbi)

One of the challenges of the pandemic period is the degree to which science has become intertwined with politics. Arguments about the efficacy of mask use or ventilators, or the viability of repurposed drugs like hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin, or even the pandemic’s origins, were quashed from the jump in the American commercial press, which committed itself to a regime of simplified insta-takes made opposite to Donald Trump’s comments. With a few exceptions, Internet censors generally tracked with this conventional wisdom, which had the effect of moving conspiracy theories and real scientific debates alike far underground. A consequence is that issues like the ivermectin question have ended up in the same public bucket as debates over foreign misinformation, hate speech, and even incitement.

The same Republican Senator YouTube suspended for making statements in support of ivermectin, Ron Johnson, has also been denounced in the press for failing to call the January 6th riots an insurrection, resulting in headlines that blend the two putative offenses. “You have these ideas about the need to censor hate speech, calls for violence, and falsity,” Kory says, “and they’ve put science on the same shelf.” As a result, doctors and organizations that may have little to do with politics but have advocated for ivermectin, from Dr. Tess Lawrie’s British Ivermectin Recommendation Development (BIRD) to California pulmonologist Roger Seheult to many others, have been shut down online with the same unilateral abruptness platforms apply to hate speech or threats.

Dr. Sabine Hazan, a gastroenterologist and CEO of a genetic sequencing laboratory called ProGenaBiome in Ventura, California, was blindsided. She got involved with ivermectin when she was pulling out the stops for Covid-19 patients. “I’m a doctor. My job isn’t to do nothing. If I wanted to do nothing, I’d be selling shampoo,” Hazan says. When patients got really sick, she tried everything, treating off-label with a number of drugs in combination, including ivermectin. Eventually, she ended up taking it upon herself to run clinical trials with repurposed, off-patent drugs like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, fearing that the lack of a profit angle would prevent a major corporate effort in that direction.

“I felt, no one is going to be investigating a cheap solution, so I did it myself,” she says. Some weeks ago, Hazan got up early on a Sunday to present findings to a group of physicians that included Dr. Kylie Wagstaff, one of the physicians in the first in vitro ivermectin study, a family doctor in Zimbabwe named Jackie Stone, and others. She uploaded the talk on YouTube, and “lo and behold, it got taken down. It’s amazing. These are doctors talking. It’s not anyone selling anything.”

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And Trial Site News should not pretend they invented the wheel.

Feds Now See the Need for Funding Antivirals (TSN)

After over a year of TrialSite reporting on the need for early-onset, antiviral-like care for COVID-19, now the U.S. government will launch a mini “moonshot” targeting antivirals necessary not only for viruses such as SARS-CoV-2 but for the inevitable new ones that will surface in the future. Powered by the same players—that is, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) as well as the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA)—under the current Executive Branch administration, a new program under Dr. Anthony Fauci’s NIAID called the “Antiviral Program for Pandemics” will target the 90% of cases involving either asymptomatic to mild-to-moderate SARS-CoV-2 infection.

But now with a focus on “sustainable platforms” to discover and develop antivirals, perhaps one of the key players in what’s been a total failure on the part of the federal research apparatus to address affordable repurposed antivirals (other than ensure Gilead could secure billions starting last May), Dr. Anthony Fauci was still able to get his customary quote, emphasizing, “New antivirals that prevent serious COVID-19 illness and death, especially oral drugs that could be taken at home early in the course of disease, would be powerful tools for battling the pandemic and saving lives.”

TrialSite makes the case below that the time to act to save lives with antivirals, especially cost-effective ones, addressing the pandemic was last summer at the latest. The federal money train spent probably north of $20 billion not only to help accelerate vaccines but also several novel experimental therapies with little pragmatic utility during a pandemic where 90% of the cases are asymptomatic to early-onset mild-to-moderate infections, necessitating care over advanced experimentation.

This platform supported the experimentation but implored that the NIH move aggressively with dozens of identified repurposed drugs to consider for treating COVID-19 early on. More on that below. But what the federal bureaucracy has done now is created yet another program where more than likely over-paid bureaucrats will be able to take credit for first and foremost handing lots of money over to biotech and pharmaceutical companies. In this post-free market, crony capitalistic world, one where regulatory capture is the norm, not the exception, this is exactly what happens as the same old cast of characters behind the last efforts are at it all over again.

They will “evaluate, prioritize and advance antiviral candidates to Phase 2” while benefitting from the present day and “expanded contract resources” of the NIH as well as the infrastructure provided by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) to “de-risk” those early pipeline candidates. They’ll spend over $300 million for research and lab support and toss in almost $1 billion for preclinical and clinical evaluation plus nearly $700 million for development and manufacturing via NIAID and BARDA.

Moreover, the feds will now spend up to $1.2 billion to create and support a new group called the Antiviral Drug Discovery (AViDD) Centers for Pathogens and Pandemic Concern that seeks to “harness the creativity of the biomedical research community and drive innovative antiviral drug discovery and development.” Seeking to develop “platforms,” the initial target is SARS-Cov-2, although as TrialSite has and will argue, they’re about a year or more late in the game, and unfortunately, the lives lost can’t be changed.

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Whalen has 5 things the media got wrog on Trump. One of them is HCQ.

What If The Mainstream Media Had Told The Truth? (PF Whalen)

2. Hydroxychloroquine Last year at this time it was verboten to even bring up the name of the drug and doing so was enough to get you booted off Twitter or Facebook. President Trump frequently touted hydroxychloroquine’s efficacy in battling COVID, and it was that advocacy which sent the media into conniptions on the subject. If Trump supports the drug, it must be bad. Last week, over a year after most Americans became familiar with the medication, a new study out of New Jersey, the hardest hit state by COVID, shows that if used in conjunction with a regimen of zinc, hydroxychloroquine can give COVID patients upwards of a 200% better survival rate against COVID. Hydroxychloroquine is indeed a miracle drug.

With modern news cycles, our attention spans are merely fractions of what they once were, but we must remember the context with which the attacks on Trump and hydroxychloroquine were being made. The media was whipping up everyone into a full-blown panic with COVID. “It’s highly infectious to the point you can’t go to church or walk around the park. If you get it bad enough to be sent to the hospital, you’re probably going to die. And there’s no cure; we’re doomed.” Meanwhile Trump was right all along, and this treatment was available the whole time. So, what if the media had told us the truth from the beginning with hydroxychloroquine? Patients who died having refused the drug because of the media’s lies need not have perished. How many thousands of patients died because of the media’s deceit? We’ll never know.

Doctors who refrained from administering the drug based on the treachery of so-called experts and the menaces in the media had patients die for no reason other than politics. Again, how many thousands of Americans died because of their fraudulence? We’ll never know. For many patients who survived severe cases of COVID, they will carry the long-term effects of the virus around with them for the rest of their lives. Severe, long-lasting damage to both the lungs and hearts of severe COVID patients is common, and it’s likely many of those folks must now endure shortened life expectancies as a result. There were undoubtedly scores of them, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic, who could have been treated with hydroxychloroquine but weren’t. If the media had told the truth, many of those patients would now be living normal lives.

Roadmap to Recovery

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Badlands. No more freedom fighter.

AstraZeneca Vaccine Not Good Enough to See ‘Springsteen on Broadway’ (NM)

Bruce Springsteen is returning to Broadway, though certain people inoculated against COVID-19 will not be allowed to see him. Springsteen’s show, set to run June 26-Sept. 4, will not be open to people who’ve been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the New York Post reported Friday. “At the direction of New York State, Springsteen on Broadway and the St. James Theatre will only be accepting proof of FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson),” the show’s website reads.

People attending the show must be fully vaccinated with an FDA-approved shot to get in. That means at least 14 days after a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNtech or Moderna vaccine, or at least 14 days after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. The Post reported Springsteen said in a statement he wanted to make the 2-hour-plus shows as “personal and intimate as possible.” Some Canadian fans who received the AstraZeneca shot were upset about potentially being denied entrance. “It’s just plain not fair,” said University of Toronto bioethicist Kerry Bowman in Wednesday’s Toronto Star.

“From an ethical point of view, it’s very difficult, because what has happened is people have made their commitment to being vaccinated for their own health and the health of their communities and the world, and people are turning their nose up at it.” The only exceptions to the vaccine policy will be for children under the age of 16 who have had a negative antigen COVID-19 screening within six hours of the show’s start, or a negative nose swab test within 72 hours of the start. Masks were not mentioned on the show’s website, which reminded guests that all seating is “not socially distant.”

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I got my vaccine from God.

‘I’d Rather Die Actually Living’: Buffalo Bills’ Wide Receiver (G.)

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley leaned into the sharp backlash from statements he’s made critical of the coronavirus vaccine on Friday, disclosing that he is not vaccinated and pledging to “live my one life like I want to regardless”. “I will be outside doing what I do,” he wrote in a statement posted to social media. “I’ll be out in the public. If your (sic) scared of me then steer clear, or get vaccinated. Point. Blank. Period. I may die of covid, but I’d rather die actually living. “I have family members whose days are numbered. If they want to come see me and stay at my house then they are coming regardless of protocol. I don’t play for the money anymore. My family has been taken care of. Fine me if you want. My way of living and my values are more important to me than a dollar.

I love my teammates and enjoy playing ball because all the outside bs goes out the window in these moments. I just want to win the Super Bowl and enjoy these relationships that will be created along the way. “I’m not going to take meds for a leg that isn’t broken. I’d rather take my chances with Covid and build up my immunity that way. Eat better. Drink water. Exercise and do what I think is necessary to be a healthy individual. That is MY CHOICE based on MY experiences and what I think is best. I’ll play for free this year to live life how I’ve lived it from day one. If I’m forced into retirement, so be it.” The 32-year old veteran also said that he has spoken with the NFL Players Association about his issues with the NFL’s new virus policies. Beasley said he is not inoculated against Covid-19 and made it clear he did not want to receive the vaccine.

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Feel lucky, punk?

EU Regulator Won’t Impose 50% Efficacy Threshold For Covid-19 Vaccines (RT)

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said it will not bring in a minimum efficacy threshold for Covid-19 vaccines. The comment comes after clinical trials showed Germany’s CureVac jab to be only 47% effective against the virus. CureVac announced data on the efficacy of its jab on Wednesday after it was tested in second- and third-phase trials involving 40,000 people across ten countries. The company suggested variants of the virus may be behind the poor result.

On Thursday, the EMA’s vaccine chief Marco Cavaleri said it was “a bit early to say” after being asked by a journalist about the CureVac results and the threat variants may pose to vaccine efficacy. “We will need to collect all the final data from this clinical trial, and have a good analysis of the outcome throughout different regions, age groups and according to different variants,” he told an EMA briefing. Asked specifically about a 50% efficacy minimum level for vaccines, he added that the EMA had “always felt it was difficult to define upfront a threshold.”

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“He said it could not be the case that there was more vaccine uptake in the general population than there was among care home workers.”

They simply know more.

Only 41.9% Of French Nursing Home Workers Vaccinated (RT)

Public Health France (SpF) has said that less than half of health professionals working in nursing homes are vaccinated against Covid-19 after the health minister called on workers to come forward and get their shot.
In data published on Thursday evening, SpF stated that only 41.9% of people working in nursing homes in France had been fully vaccinated against the deadly Covid-19 virus, despite the country’s vaccination program being nearly six months old, and 55.3% had received one shot. Healthcare workers were among the first in the country to be offered the jab. The health agency had stopped publishing this data for several weeks as it reworked its calculation method. SpF has reportedly realized that the figures were overestimated.

Meanwhile, of the care home residents surveyed, some of society’s most vulnerable people to the Covid-19 virus, only 81.1% were fully vaccinated. SpF estimates that as of June 15, 87.8% had received at least one dose. Earlier on Thursday morning, Health Minister Olivier Veran, speaking on BFM TV, made a “solemn appeal” to caregivers, in particular in nursing home staff, who have not yet been vaccinated. He also threatened to make inoculations compulsory for them. He said it could not be the case that there was more vaccine uptake in the general population than there was among care home workers. As of Wednesday, approximately 46% of France’s population has received at least one shot.

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Desperate for tourists.

Greece Bioethics Committee To Green-light Mandatory Vaccinations (K.)

The National Bioethics Committee is expected to give its approval for the mandatory vaccination of specific social and professional groups, such as health workers, in its report on Friday to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The obligation will apply in the fall once all the opportunities for the voluntary vaccination of citizens have been exhausted over the summer. In the meantime, a “persuasion campaign” will be undertaken to ensure that as many people are vaccinated as possible. Kathimerini understands that the conditions set by the committee before mandatory vaccinations begin include making the process as easy as possible and allowing people to choose the vaccine they want, and to have additional vaccination centers so that people don’t have to travel far to get the vaccine.

What’s more, the committee is set to insist on the need for information campaigns over the summer targeting specific groups, such as health professionals, educators, young people and the elderly who have not yet been vaccinated. Discussions are being held about including statistics that will prove the benefit of the vaccine. Those who refuse to be inoculated will not be fired, but they will be transferred to other divisions that are not in contact with vulnerable citizens, Kathimerini understands. The campaigns are expected to go on air from July onward, and will run for a full two to three months before any final decisions on mandatory vaccination are made.

It is a given, however, that from next autumn vaccinated people will enjoy privileges such as being able to eat in indoor dining areas. Fully vaccinated people will begin enjoying privileges in the coming weeks, as they will be able to head to gyms without a mask and enter indoor cinemas that open at the beginning of July with the demonstration of their certificate without having to upload their self-test results. As of July 1, the fully vaccinated are expected to be excluded from the program of mandatory self-tests.

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More vaccine hesitancy.

Dying Of Covid-19 Has Become Optional In Russia (RT)

In a speech on Tuesday, the head of Russia’s central bank, Elvira Nabiullina, announced that the country’s finances had recovered from the losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. “The economy has recovered to its pre-crisis level, and in many industries it has exceeded it and continues to grow,” she said. This success has been achieved without racking up substantial debts. While Western states plunge deeper into the red with borrowing, Russia’s reserves keep growing. It’s quite an achievement. However, next is the bad news. On the same day as Nabiullina was giving her triumphant speech, Russian statistical agency Rosstat released new figures on coronavirus deaths in the country, indicating that the number of people who died in the country last year was around 340,000 higher than the year prior, before the pandemic.

This means that the country suffered an increase in its mortality rate of 2,328 per million inhabitants, a figure well in excess of most other developed nations. By comparison, the equivalent numbers in the UK and USA stand at 1,275 and 1,535 per million, respectively. The good news and bad news are not unrelated. One of the reasons why Russia’s economy has been able to recover so rapidly from the impact of the virus is that after an initial tough lockdown in spring 2020, the government refused to reimpose the harshest available measures. That saved the economy, but by allowing people to freely mix, it may have enabled the spread of the virus. The economy’s recovery came at a price paid in human lives.

Cynics might accuse the Russian state of putting money before people, but Russia’s large death rate is a result of more than a lax attitude to social mingling. This is shown by a third story coming out of the country this week, with the city of Moscow issuing an order to make vaccination against coronavirus compulsory for all workers who have direct contact with the public. Justifying the move, Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin declared, “ultimately, it’s up to everyone to get vaccinated or not.” He added that whether you get the jab is “a personal matter… as long as you sit at home.” But, the politician argued, “when you go out into public places… you become an accomplice of the epidemiological process.”

The reason why Sobyanin has had to issue this order is clear. Residents of his city simply aren’t getting vaccinated. Russia is believed to have administered about 33 million vaccine doses to its 145 million population, a rate of only 23 doses per 100 people. This now lags far behind much of the rest of Europe. The UK, for instance, has administered over 100 doses for every 100 inhabitants (most Covid-19 vaccines require two doses, so a complete vaccination program would require 200 doses). Russia’s vaccination rate is therefore about one-fifth of the UK’s.

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They’ll play with the data.

Will US Meet Biden’s Vaccine Goal? (ZH)

White House officials on Thursday brushed off questions about President Joe Biden’s July 4 vaccine goal, which appears to be in jeopardy due to the current vaccination rate. Asked about the goal during a virtual briefing on Thursday, White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients did not say whether the goal could still be met. “We’ve made tremendous progress. Today, more than 175 million Americans have gotten at least one shot: as I said, 87 percent of seniors, 74 percent of people over the age of 40. And we’re now nearly 2 in 3 adult Americans, hundreds of thousands of people are continuing to get their first shot each day,” he said.

“And we are going to get to 70 percent. And we’re going to continue across the summer months to push beyond 70 percent,” he added. Biden earlier this year said he wanted 7 out of 10 adults to get at least one COVID-19 jab by Independence Day. But the rate of vaccination has fallen sharply, dropping from over 4 million to around 1 million on an average day. Only 184,847 shots were administered on Memorial Day, and several other recent days have seen a figure well under 1 million. Biden also wanted 160 million Americans to be fully vaccinated by July 4. Fully vaccinated refers to a person getting both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna shots or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson, and then two weeks elapsing.

Just 147.7 million people have been fully vaccinated as of June 17. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Sunday, after being asked whether she was concerned the goals wouldn’t be reached, that while the government can provide incentives to get a vaccine, “it is ultimately up to individuals to do that.” “What you’ve seen is that a number of states have met and surpassed that goal, right? Many have not yet. But we’ve started—kicked off this one-month campaign to do everything we can to reach it. And we’ll see where we get. We’ve got some time,” she said.

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“If the stories are true, Dong would be the highest-level defector in the history of the People’s Republic of China.”

Chinese Defector’s Identity Confirmed, Was Top Counterintelligence Official (RS)

We now know the name of the Chinese defector who has been working with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) for a few months and what his position within the Chinese military and government was, among other details. Matthew Brazil and Jeff Stein at Spy Talk reported on the “rumor,” and gave the name and background of the rumored defector: “Chinese-language anti-communist media and Twitter are abuzz this week with rumors that a vice minister of State Security, Dong Jingwei defected in mid-February, flying from Hong Kong to the United States with his daughter, Dong Yang. Dong is, or was, a longtime official in China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), also known as the Guoanbu. His publicly available background indicates that he was responsible for the Ministry’s counterintelligence efforts in China, i.e., spy-catching, since being promoted to vice minister in April 2018. If the stories are true, Dong would be the highest-level defector in the history of the People’s Republic of China.”

RedState’s sources confirmed that the defector is, in fact, Dong, that he was in charge of counterintelligence efforts in China, and that he flew to the United States in mid-February, allegedly to visit his daughter at a university in California. When Dong landed in California he contacted DIA officials and told them about his plans to defect and the information he’d brought with him. Dong then “hid in plain sight” for about two weeks before disappearing into DIA custody. According to Spy Talk, Dong’s name came up during the Sino-American Summit held in Alaska in March 2021: “In a tweet on Wednesday, Han [Dr. Han Lianchao, a Chinese defector], citing an unnamed source, alleged that China’s foreign minister Wang Yi and Communist Party foreign affairs boss Yang Jiechi demanded that the Americans return Dong and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken refused.”

RedState’s sources say that Chinese officials did demand that the United States return Dong, but Blinken didn’t exactly refuse; at that time Blinken wasn’t aware that Dong was with the US government, the sources say, and told China that the US didn’t have Dong. It’s only in the last three to four weeks that anyone outside DIA knew about the defector, according to RedState’s sources. Prior to that time, DIA was vetting the information provided and confronting Langley officials with what they’d learned without divulging the source.

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A proud tradition.

Democracy Dies at the Washington Post Editorial Board (MPN)

The Washington Post’s glaring conflicts of interest have of late once again been the subject of scrutiny online, thanks to a new article denouncing a supposed attempt to “soak” billionaires in taxes. Written by star columnist Megan McArdle — who previously argued that Walmart’s wages are too high, that there is nothing wrong with Google’s monopoly, and that the Grenfell Fire was a price worth paying for cheaper buildings — the article claimed that Americans have such class envy that the government would “destroy [billionaires’] fortunes so that the rest of us don’t have to look at them.” Notably, the Post chose to illustrate it with a picture of its owner, Jeff Bezos, making it seem as if it was directly defending his power and wealth, something they have been accused of on more than one occasion.

There was considerable speculation online as to whether Bezos himself wrote the piece, so blatantly in his interest it was. Unfortunately, this sort of speculation has raged ever since the Amazon CEO bought the newspaper in 2013 for $250 million. Being owned by the world’s richest individual does not mean that The Washington Post and its employees are rolling in dough themselves. Far from it: Bezos’ revolution at the newspaper, which has led to both increased pageviews and company value, has been largely based on simply squeezing workers harder than before. In an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review, management acknowledged that Post reporters are pushed to produce almost four times as many stories as their peers at The New York Times.

Furthermore, the Post writes and rewrites the same story but from slightly different angles and with different headlines in order to generate more clicks, and thus more revenue. Thanks to new technology, reporters’ every keystroke is monitored and they are under constant pressure from management not to fall behind. The technique of constant surveillance is not unlike what hyper-exploited Amazon warehouse workers who wear GPS devices or Fitbit watches have to endure.

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Everyone, potentially.

Who Is A “Terrorist” In Biden’s America? (Whitney Webb)

In the latest sign that the US government’s War on Domestic Terror is growing in scope and scale, the White House on Tuesday revealed the nation’s first ever government-wide strategy for confronting domestic terrorism. While cloaked in language about stemming racially motivated violence, the strategy places those deemed “anti-government” or “anti-authority” on a par with racist extremists and charts out policies that could easily be abused to silence or even criminalize online criticism of the government.

[..] In introducing the strategy, the Biden administration cites “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists” as a key reason for the new policy and a main justification for the War on Domestic Terror in general. This was most recently demonstrated Tuesday in Attorney General Merrick Garland’s statement announcing this new strategy. However, the document itself puts “anti-government” or “anti-authority” “extremists” in the same category as violent white supremacists in terms of being a threat to the homeland. The strategy’s characterization of such individuals is unsettling. For instance, those who “violently oppose” “all forms of capitalism” or “corporate globalization” are listed under this less-discussed category of “domestic terrorist.”

This highlights how people on the left, many of whom have called for capitalism to be dismantled or replaced in the US in recent years, could easily be targeted in this new “war” that many self-proclaimed leftists are currently supporting. Similarly, “environmentally-motivated extremists,” a category in which groups such as Extinction Rebellion could easily fall, are also included. In addition, the phrasing indicates that it could easily include as “terrorists” those who oppose the World Economic Forum’s vision for global “stakeholder capitalism,” as that form of “capitalism” involves corporations and their main “stakeholders” creating a new global economic and governance system. The WEF’s stakeholder capitalism thus involves both “capitalism” and “corporate globalization.” The strategy also includes those who “take steps to violently resist government authority . . . based on perceived overreach.”

This, of course, creates a dangerous situation in which the government could, purposely or otherwise, implement a policy that is an obvious overreach and/or blatantly unconstitutional and then label those who resist it “domestic terrorists” and deal with them as such—well before the overreach can be challenged in court. Another telling addition to this group of potential “terrorists” is “any other individual or group who engages in violence—or incites imminent violence—in opposition to legislative, regulatory or other actions taken by the government.” Thus, if the government implements a policy that a large swath of the population finds abhorrent, such as launching a new, unpopular war abroad, those deemed to be “inciting” resistance to the action online could be considered domestic terrorists.

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“A laughable conspiracy theory,” chortled The Huffington Post, who has done more to help the FBI find citizens allegedly at the Capitol riot than any local law enforcement agency.”

Questions About the FBI’s Role in 1/6 (Greenwald)

In 2011, Mother Jones published an outstanding, lengthy investigation by reporter Trevor Aaronson, entitled “The Informations,” which asked: “The FBI has built a massive network of spies to prevent another domestic attack. But are they busting terrorist plots—or leading them?” Aaronson covered numerous similar cases for The Intercept where the FBI designed, directed and even funded the terror plots and other criminal rings they then boasted of disrupting. A widely praised TEDTalk by Aaronson, which, in the words of organizers, “reveals a disturbing FBI practice that breeds terrorist plots by exploiting Muslim-Americans with mental health problems,” featured this central claim: “There’s an organization responsible for more terrorism plots in the United States than al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab and ISIS combined: The FBI.”

So far from being some warped conspiracy theory, that the FBI purposely targets vulnerable people and infiltrates groups in order to create attacks and direct targets to engage in them is indisputably true, well established, and a commonly reported fact in mainstream liberal media. Exactly that has been happening for decades. Yet the DNC-loyal sector of the corporate media reacted to the Revolver News article and Carlson’s segment which raised these questions as though they were positing something that no sentient being could possibly regard as viable. CNN — which spent years leading its viewers to believe that the Kremlin controlled the U.S. Government through sexual and financial blackmail — published what they labeled a “fact-check” that denounced this as a “haywire theory” that “is nothing more than a conspiratorial web of unproven claims, half-truths and inaccurate drivel about perceived bombshells in court filings.”

As it usually does, The Washington Post — which told Americans that Russians had invaded the U.S. electricity grid and that a huge army of Kremlin-loyal American writers was shaping our discourse — echoed the instant CNN/liberal consensus by mocking it as “Tucker Carlson’s wild, baseless theory,” claiming that “it’s the kind of suggestion journalists in other organizations would quite possibly be fired for if they sought to push it nearly as hard.” The standard liberal blob of HuffPost/ DailyBeast/ BusinessInsider all recited from the herd script. “A laughable conspiracy theory,” chortled The Huffington Post, who has done more to help the FBI find citizens allegedly at the Capitol riot than any local law enforcement agency.

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“But Americans have to do something to make a living,..”

Free At Last (Jim Kunstler)

The biggest question that the authorities want to evade is: if the virus did originate from the Wuhan lab, was it released by accident… or on purpose? The “Joe Biden” government is now forced to, at least, pretend that it will investigate. My guess is: they don’t want to know. It would raise enough subsidiary questions to leave a normal person panting with nausea. For instance: was China trying to soften-up the USA by disabling our economy? And soften us up… for what? Some observers who are hardly dumb or crazy think that China wants to reduce the USA to a vassal nation that can only supply China with food, oil, and other resources.

Sound far-fetched? Maybe. After all, we still have that fleet of submarines armed with multiple-warhead nuclear missiles circulating around the oceans as a kind of insurance policy. But Americans have to do something to make a living, and it sure isn’t going to be mass production of consumer goods, like in the old days. Meanwhile, the infrastructure of the service economy got gutted during the lockdowns — millions of businesses bankrupted, restaurants, yoga studios, concert venues, dog groomers, shops of all kinds, you name it — gone, and a lot of the people who took livelihoods from all that are financially ruined for good.

What’s left? Health care and pharma, two odious rackets preying on the psychological weakness of people so beaten down by adversity that they can only console themselves with junk food, liquor, sexual debauchery, and drugs, and then must beg the health care system to fix them — after which it squashes them to death with outlandish charges for services rendered? Or government, another reprehensible racket, seeking desperately now to control its citizens’ every move while everything it does is not only running wildly out of control, but via the most idiotic, suicidal policies — such as throwing the border with Mexico wide open to all comers, while it pays Americans to not work.

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Jan 172020
 January 17, 2020  Posted by at 10:57 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , ,  13 Responses »

Jack Delano Mrs. Marcella Hart, mother of three, employed as a wiper at the roundhouse. Chicago & North Western R.R. 1943


BlackRock Will Start Moving Away from Fossil Fuels (NewYorker)
Microsoft Pledges To Eliminate Carbon Footprint By 2050 (Ind.)
With Rivals Stuck In Impeachment Trial, Biden, Buttigieg To Barnstorm Iowa (R.)
Parnas Now Denies Speaking With Trump (WE)
Putin Purged the West from the Kremlin (Luongo)
China’s Economic Growth Hits 29-Year Low (BBC)
Manhattan’s Homeless Shelters Are Full, Luxury Skyscrapers Are Empty (Atl.)
The Loss of Truth In the Media Is a Threat to Our Democracy (Ray Dalio)
Bayer Close To Roundup Settlement – Mediator (R.)
Chemicals In Tap Water Cause Thousands Of Cancer Deaths Across Europe (RT)



Next week brings not only the Capitol Hill Bizarro circus, there’s also Davos. So we have BlackRock and Microsoft making their solid pledges. Because they see profit in playing nice.

“..there’s about eighty trillion dollars of money on the planet. If that’s correct, then BlackRock’s holding of seven trillion dollars means that nearly a dime of every dollar rests in its digital files”

BlackRock Will Start Moving Away from Fossil Fuels (NewYorker)

If you felt the earth tremble a little bit in Manhattan on Tuesday morning, it was likely caused by the sheer heft of vast amounts of money starting to shift. “Seismic” is the only word to describe the recent decision of the asset-management firm BlackRock to acknowledge the urgency of the climate crisis and begin (emphasis on begin) to start redirecting its investments. By one estimate, there’s about eighty trillion dollars of money on the planet. If that’s correct, then BlackRock’s holding of seven trillion dollars means that nearly a dime of every dollar rests in its digital files, mostly in the form of stocks it invests in for pension funds and the like. So when BlackRock’s C.E.O., Larry Fink, devoted his annual letter to investors to explaining that climate change has now put us “on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance,” it marked a watershed moment in climate history.

He’s right about the financial future, of course—one can’t look at the clouds of smoke now obscuring the Australian continent and come away thinking that we can maintain our present course. But anyone paying attention—which includes investment-fund C.E.O.s—has known the score for years. What’s changed now are a couple of factors. For one, fossil-fuel stocks have begun to drag down portfolios. As the Times observed, “Had Mr. Fink moved a decade ago to pull BlackRock’s funds out of companies that contribute to climate change, his clients would have been well served. In the past 10 years, through Friday, companies in the S&P 500 energy sector had gained just 2 percent in total. In the same period, the broader S&P 500 nearly tripled.”

But, at least as important, public pressure just keeps mounting. Activist campaigns have been working to make the financial industry start to pay attention. (I’m involved with one, and was among those arrested, on Friday, after a sojourn in the lobby of a Chase branch.) In the past few months, Goldman Sachs, Liberty Mutual, and the Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., have all put forth new climate policies, and the European Investment Bank—the largest international public bank in the world—announced that it would stop lending to fossil-fuel projects altogether.

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CEO Satya Nadella said on the BBC this morning that the world needs much more energy by 2040. Grow the world cleaner! Disregard these lying fools.

Microsoft Pledges To Eliminate Carbon Footprint By 2050 (Ind.)

Microsoft has promised to remove as much carbon as it has put into the atmosphere by 2050 – a goal critics say is undermined by the tech-giant’s ongoing contracts with some of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. The pledge – one of the most ambitious to be undertaken by a Fortune 500 company – includes the creation of a “Climate Innovation Fund”, which will invest $1bn (£760m) over the next four years to speed up the development of carbon removal technology. Speaking from Washington, chief executive Satya Nadella said the company would seek to be carbon-negative – taking more carbon out of the atmosphere than it puts in – by 2030. “If the last decade has taught us anything, it’s that technology built without these principles can do more harm than good,” he said.

“We must begin to offset the damaging effects of climate change,” Mr Nadella added, commenting that if global temperatures continue to rise unabated “the results will be devastating”. The move was lauded by politicians with the US – with Democratic senator Chris Coons and Republican Mike Braun, both chairs of the bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus, describing the mood as “exactly the kind of bold action we need from the business community”. However, it is unclear how the pledge will run alongside Microsoft’s work with giants in the oil industry including Chevron and Exxon Mobil – both of which were identified among the globe’s top companies for greenhouse gas emissions from 1988 to 2015, placing in 12th and 5th respectively according to environmental non-profit CDP.

Last February the firm announced it had the potential to expand Exxonmobil’s production by up to 50,000 barrels of oil a day by 2025 from the Permian Basin in the southwest US – and in 2017 it announced a multi-year deal to sell cloud services to US energy giant Chevron Corp. Bill Weihl, former director of sustainability at Facebook Inc, said Microsoft does not take into account that its work with oil companies could outweigh the gains Microsoft makes on its own carbon reduction. “There is good stuff here,” Mr Weihl said of the carbon capture plan. “But the topline message, that this is urgent, is not matched by what they’re focusing on.”

[..] The announcement follows a December lawsuit in which Microsoft was named alongside the likes of Tesla and Google parent firm Alphabet – with the companies accusing the company of being complicit in the deaths of children from the Democratic Republic of Congo who were mining a metal integral to their devices. The children cited in the landmark lawsuit had been put to work to find cobalt – a precious metal vital to the production of modern batteries that has been intensively mined since the dawn of smartphones.

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Unless Biden is called as a witness?!

With Rivals Stuck In Impeachment Trial, Biden, Buttigieg To Barnstorm Iowa (R.)

Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg will blitz Iowa before the state kicks off the party’s nominating contest on Feb. 3, while their key rivals will be largely unable to campaign because they must sit as Senate jurors in Republican President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial. Aides to Biden and Buttigieg, locked in a tight four-way battle with U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, would not comment on the unprecedented advantage next week’s Senate trial presents them. Yet newly released schedules reveal an intense on-the-ground push by both candidates in the final stretch in Iowa, while Sanders, Warren and another senator, Amy Klobuchar, will miss most remaining campaign days to participate in the impeachment trial.

“I would rather be in Iowa today,” Sanders told reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday after the trial formally kicked off. “I would rather be in New Hampshire and in Nevada and so forth. But I swore a constitutional oath as a United States senator to do my job, and I’m here to do my job.” A senior aide to former Vice President Biden, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the campaign has not recalibrated its Iowa strategy because of the Senate trial. But their No. 1 priority is getting Biden talking to as many voters as possible in Iowa in the final days of what polls suggest is a virtual tie among the four.

Biden heads to Iowa on Friday and will spend nearly every day between then and the Feb. 3 caucuses in the state, the aide said. Biden’s wife, Jill Biden, who has been campaigning heavily on behalf of her husband in Iowa and other early-voting states, will also spend much of the final 18 days in the state. [..] To be sure, Sanders, Warren and Klobuchar are not ceding Iowa. They plan to campaign there during the final three weekends and will rely on representatives traveling the state for them on weekdays when the Senate trial is in session. Warren’s campaign has said they are considering remote appearances and events hosted by key supporters or family members.

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Parnas is a natural born liar, as the MSM said until now. But not anymore? Now his words “change the entire impeachment trial”? He’s just a guy who’s been indicted and seeks relief.

Parnas Now Denies Speaking With Trump (WE)

Indicted businessman Lev Parnas said he did not speak directly with President Trump about a pressure campaign against Ukraine that sought to benefit Trump politically, despite earlier reports to the contrary. Last November, CNN reported that Parnas told close associates he had spoken to Trump. “At one point during the party that night, Parnas and Fruman slipped out of a large reception room packed with hundreds of Trump donors to have a private meeting with the President and Giuliani, according to two acquaintances in whom Parnas confided right after the meeting,” CNN wrote. “Eventually, according to what Parnas told his confidants, the topic turned to Ukraine that night,” the article continued.

“According to those two confidants, Parnas said that ‘the big guy,’ as he sometimes referred to the President in conversation, talked about tasking him and Fruman with what Parnas described as ‘a secret mission’ to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.” The New York Times told a different story Wednesday, reporting: “Mr. Parnas said that although he did not speak with Mr. Trump about the efforts, he met with the president on several occasions and was told by Mr. Giuliani that Mr. Trump was kept in the loop.” Parnas’s decision to go public has led to congressional Democrats demanding that he and other key players in the pressure campaign be called to testify in next week’s Senate impeachment trial.

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A success story like none other these days.

Putin Purged the West from the Kremlin (Luongo)

[..] the next thing to do was to reform an economy rightly criticized for being too heavily dependent on oil and gas revenues. And that is a much tougher task. It meant getting control over the Russian central bank and the financial sector. Putin was given that opportunity during the downturn in oil prices in 2014. Using the crisis as an opportunity Putin began the decoupling of Russia’s economy from the West. During the early boom years of his Presidency oil revenue strengthened both the Russian state coffers and the so-called oligarchs who Putin was actively fighting for control. He warned the CEO’s of Gazprom, Rosneft and Sberbank that they were too heavily exposed to the U.S. dollar this way in the years leading up to the crash in oil prices in 2014-16.

And when the U.S. sanctioned Russia in 2014 over the reunification with Crimea these firms all had to come to Putin for a bailout. Their dollar-denominated debt was swapped out for euro and ruble debt through the Bank of Russia and he instructed the central bank to allow the ruble to fall, to stop defending it. Taking the inflationary hit was dangerous but necessary if Russia was to become a truly independent economic force. Since then it’s been a tug of war with the IMF-trained bureaucracy within the Bank of Russia to set monetary policy in accordance with Russia’s needs not what the international community demanded. That strong Presidency was a huge boon. But, now that the job is mostly done, it can be an albatross.

Putin understands that a Russia flush with too much oil money is a Russia ruled by that money and becomes lazy because of that money. Contrary to popular opinion, Putin doesn’t want to see oil prices back near $100 per barrel. Because Russia’s comparative advantage in oil and gas is so high relative to everyone else on the world stage and to other domestic industries that money retards innovation and investment in new technologies and a broadening of the Russian domestic economy. And this has been Putin’s focus for a while now. Oil and gas are geostrategic assets used to shore up Russia’s position as a regional power, building connections with its new partners while opening up new markets for Russian businesses. But it isn’t the end of the Russian story of the future, rather the beginning.

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There’s still not enough salt to take the numbers with. But at least at 6.1%, Xi can claim he meant to do this.

China’s Economic Growth Hits 29-Year Low (BBC)

China’s economy grew last year at the slowest pace in almost three decades. Official figures show that the world’s second largest economy expanded by 6.1% in 2019 from the year before – the worst figure in 29 years. The country has faced weak domestic demand and the impact of the bitter trade war with the US. The government has been rolling out measures over the past two years in an attempt to boost growth. It comes after almost two years of trade tensions with the US – although hopes of a better relationship with America have seen improvements in manufacturing and business confidence data. This week Washington and Beijing signed a “phase one” trade deal. However, analysts remain unsure whether those recent gains will continue.

In response to the lower growth rate, Beijing is now widely expected to roll out yet more stimulus measures. The government has used a combination of measures aimed at easing the slowdown, including tax cuts and allowing local governments to sell large amounts of bonds to fund their infrastructure programmes. The country’s banks have also been encouraged to lend more, especially to small firms. New loans in the local currency hit a record high of $2.44 trillion (£1.86tn) last year. So far the economy has been slow to pick up, with investment growth falling to record low levels. Historically, China has seen much stronger economic expansion, with the first decade of the 21st Century seeing double-digit percentage growth.

But – although that 6.1% growth rate is China’s weakest expansion in almost three decades – it is much higher than other leading economies. The US central bank, for example, has forecast that the American economy will grow by around 2.2% this year. As part of the phase one deal, China pledged to boost US imports by $200bn above 2017 levels and strengthen intellectual property rules. In exchange, the US agreed to halve some of the new tariffs it has imposed on Chinese products. Speaking in Washington, US President Donald Trump said the pact would be “transformative” for the American economy.

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The long term effects of the Fed’s bubbles are disastrous. That’s why they should be taken out of the equation.

Manhattan’s Homeless Shelters Are Full, Luxury Skyscrapers Are Empty (Atl.)

In Manhattan, the homeless shelters are full, and the luxury skyscrapers are vacant. Such is the tale of two cities within America’s largest metro. Even as 80,000 people sleep in New York City’s shelters or on its streets, Manhattan residents have watched skinny condominium skyscrapers rise across the island. These colossal stalagmites initially transformed not only the city’s skyline but also the real-estate market for new homes. From 2011 to 2019, the average price of a newly listed condo in New York soared from $1.15 million to $3.77 million. But the bust is upon us. Today, nearly half of the Manhattan luxury-condo units that have come onto the market in the past five years are still unsold, according to The New York Times.

What happened? While real estate might seem like the world’s most local industry, these luxury condos weren’t exclusively built for locals. They were also made for foreigners with tens of millions of dollars to spare. Developers bet huge on foreign plutocrats—Russian oligarchs, Chinese moguls, Saudi royalty—looking to buy second (or seventh) homes. But the Chinese economy slowed, while declining oil prices dampened the demand for pieds-à-terre among Russian and Middle Eastern zillionaires. It didn’t help that the Treasury Department cracked down on attempts to launder money through fancy real estate. Despite pressure from nervous lenders, developers have been reluctant to slash prices too suddenly or dramatically, lest the market suddenly clear and they leave millions on the table.

[..] In the past decade, New York City real-estate prices have gone from merely obscene to downright macabre. From 2010 to 2019, the average sale price of homes doubled in many Brooklyn neighborhoods, including Prospect Heights and Williamsburg, according to the Times. Buyers there could consider themselves lucky: In Cobble Hill, the typical sales price tripled to $2.5 million in nine years. This is not normal. And for middle-class families, particularly for the immigrants who give New York City so much of its dynamism, it has made living in Manhattan or gentrified Brooklyn practically impossible. No wonder, then, that the New York City area is losing about 300 residents every day.

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Look, if you quote the Washington Post’s Executive Editor to make this point, you’ve already lost.

The Loss of Truth In the Media Is a Threat to Our Democracy (Ray Dalio)

While I have reflected on the corrosive effects that fake and distorted media are having on our society’s well-being for the past few years, I am now more concerned about it than ever. To me media distortions + great polarity + the upcoming elections = a significant risk to quality democracy. It is no longer controversial to say that media distortions are a serious problem. Even most of the media folks I speak with share my concern. As Martin Baron, the Washington Post’s Executive Editor, said in reflecting on the problem, “If you have a society where people can’t agree on the basic facts, how do you have a functioning democracy?” This is not just a fringe media problem; it is a mainstream media problem. A 2019 Gallup study said that only 13 percent of Americans surveyed have “a great deal” of trust in the media.

Only 41 percent of those surveyed said that they have either a “fair” or “great deal” of trust in media. That compares with 55 percent having such confidence in 1999 and 72 percent in 1976. The dramatically decreased trustworthiness has even plagued icons of journalistic trust such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as sensationalism and commercialism have superseded accuracy and journalistic integrity as primary objectives. A number of media writers have in private told me that their editors have specifically hired them to write negative, sensationalistic stories because they sell best. They explained that the financial decline of print media and the public’s short attention span have required them to produce such attention-grabbing headlines and stories or face financial decline.

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This doesn’t smell right at all.

Bayer Close To Roundup Settlement – Mediator (R.)

Bayer is close to settling more than 75,000 cancer claims related to its Roundup herbicide, mediator Ken Feinberg told Bloomberg in an interview, saying he was “cautiously optimistic” a deal could be reached in about a month. Feinberg was quoted as saying that the number of cases had grown to between 75,000 and 85,000 and “maybe more”. Bayer in October said it was now facing 42,700 U.S. plaintiffs blaming its glyphosate-based weedkillers for their cancer. Bayer has ruled out withdrawing from the market in the U.S., saying regulators and extensive research have found glyphosate to be safe.

A spokesman for Bayer said: “The number reported by Bloomberg includes potential plaintiffs with unserved cases and is a speculative estimate about the numbers of plaintiffs who might be included in a potential settlement.” He added: “The number of served cases as reported on a quarterly basis remains significantly below 50,000. Bayer does not report or speculate about potential plaintiffs with unserved cases.”

Read more …

Mass suicide continues. We cannot help ourselves, it’s a force that’s bigger than us.

Chemicals In Tap Water Cause Thousands Of Cancer Deaths Across Europe (RT)

Each year, more than 6,500 cases of bladder cancer, roughly five percent of all cases in Europe, are found to be attributable to exposure to trihalomethanes (THMs) in drinking water – and it’s all perfectly legal. For a study of countries’ water quality, the EU28 became the EU26, as adequate data for Bulgaria and Romania could not be obtained. Nevertheless, the project covered 75% of the total EU population, and a reading of its findings is ominous.

What the hell are THMs?THMs are a class of molecule that appear as a by-product of the disinfectants used to clean drinking water. When chlorine, the main chemical used to clean drinking water, comes into contact with organic matter, it breaks down into THMs. And despite being legal up to certain levels, long-term exposure to them has been consistently associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer. The EU has set that legal limit at 100 lg=L, but anything over 50 lg=L causes a 51 percent increase in the probability of bladder cancer, in men at least. This study was undertaken at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, in a city which has THM levels above the present regulatory maximum limit of 100 lg=L. Astonishingly, there is no provision for the lowering of this maximum in the latest European Council directive.

How common is bladder cancer?Bladder cancer is only the tenth most common form of cancer in the UK; 135,000 people in the EU were diagnosed with it in 2016. It is usually quite treatable with a simple surgical procedure as long as it is caught before spreading to other body parts. Some evidence suggests it affects men more than women (although this could be down to lifestyle differences, such as higher rates of smoking).

The countries with the highest percentages of bladder cancer cases attributable to THM exposure were Cyprus (23 percent), Malta (18 percent) and Ireland (17 percent). In other words, 23 out of 100 Cypriot people who are diagnosed with cancer in a given year are likely to have contracted it from their drinking water. Meanwhile, the greatest number of attributable cases actually occurred in Spain (1,482 attributable cases) and the United Kingdom (1,356) although this is a function of population as well as THM contamination.

Read more …




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Dec 022019
 December 2, 2019  Posted by at 9:42 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,  23 Responses »

Russell Lee Migrant family in trailer home near Edinburg, Texas Feb 1939


White House Says It Will Not Participate In Wednesday Impeachment Hearing (R.)
Political Affiliation Bias: We’re Embracing It Fervently (RT)
Could America Survive a Truth Commission? (CHS)
Why a Second American Revolution Is Necessary for the Entire World (Zuesse)
US Digs Deeper Into Deutsche Role In Danske Money Laundering Scandal (R.)
Albert Edwards Is Watching To Decide When The US Becomes “Japanified” (ZH)
Prince Andrew ‘Has Kept In Constant Touch With Ghislaine Maxwell (DM)
Serbia, Slovakia Join Sudden Eastern European Gold Repatriation Push
Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? (Marçal)
What Is COP25 And Can It Save The World? (G.)



“We may consider participating in future Judiciary Committee proceedings if you afford the administration the ability to do so meaningfully..”

White House Says It Will Not Participate In Wednesday Impeachment Hearing (R.)

The White House told Democratic lawmakers on Sunday that U.S. President Donald Trump and his lawyers would not participate in a congressional impeachment hearing this week, citing a lack of “fundamental fairness.” Trump’s aides responded defiantly to the first of two crucial deadlines he faces in Congress this week as Democrats prepare to shift the focus of their impeachment inquiry from fact-finding to the consideration of possible charges of misconduct over his dealings with Ukraine. The Democratic-led House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, tasked with considering charges known as articles of impeachment, had given Trump until 6 p.m. on Sunday to say whether he would dispatch a lawyer to take part in the judiciary panel’s proceedings on Wednesday.

“We cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the President a fair process through additional hearings,” White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote to Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, according to a copy of a letter seen by Reuters. Cipollone – while citing a “complete lack of due process and fundamental fairness afforded the president” in the impeachment process – did not rule out participation in further proceedings. But he signaled that Democrats would first have to make major procedural concessions.

[..] “We may consider participating in future Judiciary Committee proceedings if you afford the administration the ability to do so meaningfully,” Cipollone wrote, laying out a list of demands, including allowing Trump’s Republicans to call additional witnesses. Cipollone also complained that Democrats had scheduled Wednesday’s hearing – “no doubt purposely” – to overlap with Trump’s absence from the United States to attend a NATO summit in London.

Read more …

Next year: can Republicans still marry Democrats?

Political Affiliation Bias: We’re Embracing It Fervently (RT)

In an ultra-PC society where even the suggestion of racial, ethnic or gender bias can get a person fired or ostracized, another type of discrimination – a political affiliation-based one – is thriving, according to a new study. Discrimination may have become taboo in US society, but it hasn’t gone away. A new study shows discriminatory behavior thrives in the one area where it remains socially acceptable to judge people based on shared attributes: political affiliation. Politics remains one of the few personal characteristics not protected by equal opportunity hiring laws, and if this study is any indication, lawmakers will want to get on top of that quickly.

Shared political ideology outweighs seemingly more important factors like professional qualifications in hiring decisions, researchers from Clemson University and the University of Kansas confirmed in a study published this month in the Journal of Applied Psychology. Unchecked, this kind of discrimination is liable to produce powerful echo chambers, in which groupthink eventually becomes a prerequisite for employment. Study participants readily picked a job candidate with whom they shared a political affiliation over a more qualified candidate without that affiliation when presented with Facebook profiles containing clear indicators of the prospective hire’s political alignment. These might include statements about leading a campus Democrat or Republican group, or party symbols like the Democratic donkey or GOP elephant.

The closer the participant, acting as a recruiter, identified with a party, the higher ratings they gave to candidates who touted their membership in that party – qualifications were nigh on irrelevant. The effect held true even when candidate profiles didn’t include explicit statements of political loyalty. Recruiter participants still picked candidates who agreed with them based on profiles sporting either a pro-choice or pro-life statement; pro-Second Amendment or pro-gun control material; or support of Black Lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter, a second experiment revealed.

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Maybe we should ask: Can Americans still recognize the truth?

Could America Survive a Truth Commission? (CHS)

You’ve probably heard of the Truth Commissions held in disastrously corrupt and oppressive regimes after the sociopath/kleptocrat Oligarchs are deposed. The goal is not revenge, as well-deserved as that might be; the goal is national reconciliation via the only possible path to healing: name names and tell the plain, unadorned truth, stripped of self-serving artifice, spin, propaganda and PR. Is such a stripped-of-spin truthful account of names and events even possible in the U.S.? Sadly, there is precious little evidence that a Truth Commission in the U.S. would be anything more than a travesty of a mockery of a sham, a parade of half-truths, misdirections, falsehoods and fabrications, all aimed at one goal: protecting the powerful from the consequences of their decisions and actions.

Sadly, we’ve lost the capacity to simply tell the truth: everything, and I mean everything, is crafted to protect the guilty, polish the putrid decay of legalized looting, defraud the unwary, ease the most venal, power-mad sociopaths into positions of unparalleled power, sell low-quality goods and services nobody needs or would even want if the marketing weren’t so Orwellian, persuade debt-serfs to borrow more and bamboozle voters into further enriching the few at the expense of the many. The truth is no match for greed is good and don’t be evil, unless it’s incredibly profitable, in which case, go for it but cover your tracks (here’s looking at you, Big Tech). Outrage is reserved for whistleblowers who name names and reveal the sordid truths that the status quo has expended the nation’s treasure to protect from the light of day.

This is the pathetic state of America: our outrage is reserved for those telling the truth, not for the legions who lie, cheat, steal and prevaricate to conceal the truth at all costs.

Read more …

“All of these invasions and coups are based on nothing but lies, and the media are a necessary part of that.”

Why a Second American Revolution Is Necessary for the Entire World (Zuesse)

On November 11th, the very disturbing but clearly true “Lessons To Learn From The Coup In Bolivia” was posted to the Web. That anonymous author (a German intelligence analyst) documented the evilness of the overthrow of Evo Morales in Bolivia, and the threat now clearly posed to the world by the US regime — a spreading cancer of expansionist fascism, led from Washington. But, even more than this, he indicated that unless the individuals who are responsible for the advancing fascism are executed, there won’t be any real hope for democracy anywhere in the world.

Either this impunity will stop, or else the spread of the US international dictatorship — not only by CIA coups such as this, but by illegal international invasions such as of Iraq 2003, Libya 2011, Syria 2012-, and Yemen 2015-, — will continue and will engulf in misery ultimately the entire world. He makes clear the complicity of US ‘news’-media in the lies that ‘justify’ this coup (and ‘justified’ those invasions). It’s, by now, clearly the way the US regime functions. Of course, none of those media will publish any such truth; they all cover-up constantly for the regime, because they actually are an essential part of it. (All of these invasions and coups are based on nothing but lies, and the media are a necessary part of that.) Censorship in America is thus actually extreme, and constant.

For example: how many US-and-allied media have even reported that fascists took over in Bolivia? Instead, we’ve got newspaper editorials such as the New York Times blaming the extraordinarily successful and popular democratically elected President of Bolivia for the coup which overthrew him and replaced him by fascists (and never using the word “coup,” except once derisively, by saying that “British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, cried ‘coup’” — as if it weren’t a coup — and making no mention whatsoever that it had been done by committed fascists).

Read more …

It’s been 5 years since the first whistleblower stepped forward. Who’s in jail?

US Digs Deeper Into Deutsche Role In Danske Money Laundering Scandal (R.)

The U.S. Department of Justice has in recent weeks stepped up its investigation into Deutsche Bank’s role in the 200 billion euro ($220 billion) Danske Bank money laundering scandal, four people familiar with the inquiry told Reuters. One source said the DoJ’s new line of inquiry is whether Deutsche helped move tainted money from Danske, Denmark’s largest lender, into the United States. If proven, that could lead to steep financial penalties. Officials from the DoJ, who have been working closely with Estonian prosecutors for around a year, have also begun cooperating with Frankfurt state prosecutors, the sources said. The Frankfurt prosecutors have been exploring Deutsche’s role in processing payments for the Danish bank.

The DoJ’s focus on Germany’s largest bank and its work with Frankfurt prosecutors have not previously been reported. A Danske spokesman said it continued to cooperate with the authorities in Estonia, Denmark, France and the United States. [..] Although the Justice Department requested information from Deutsche last year relating to Danske transactions, at the time its executives believed that the investigation was focused onDanske and that the German bank itself was not a target. However, Deutsche officials were made aware in recent months that the scope of the DoJ probe had broadened to the bank’s role in facilitating the Danske trades and its possible failure to report suspicious transactions quickly enough, one of the people said.

Read more …

No inflation.

Albert Edwards Is Watching To Decide When The US Becomes “Japanified” (ZH)

There is another reason why Edwards dismisses any incipient signs of inflation in the US: his latest piece is titled “Japanification of the US beckons”, in which he writes that despite the Fed’s recent announcement of a halt to further rate cuts, “GDP growth looks fragile and there is good evidence to suggest that core CPI inflation is set to collapse towards zero. In fact, a resumption of Fed easing on the back of recessionary data and sliding inflation is likely to accelerate the convergence of US yields towards negative eurozone and Japanese yields.” Hence, the Japanification of the US, and as he further notes, if the US economy slides into recession, it is clear that “inflation will likely fall ever closer toward Japanese-style deflation.

But a rapid decline in key inflation measures, like core CPI, may be beginning to unfold already, irrespective of whether a recession is about to start or not.” To make his point, Edwards points out the October CPI data which “shocked” him, but not for the surprisingly high 0.4% headline rise M/M, but because of a specific data set that he will now be watching very closely to determine if US inflation is indeed converging with that of Japan: shelter CPI. it was this key component of the CPI basket that last month collapsed to almost zero. And since shelter has a very heavy 33% weighting in the overall CPI and an overwhelmingly dominant 42% weighting in the closely watched core CPI (ie ex food and energy), it’s only a matter of time before the decline in shelter hits the broader inflation basket.

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Not what he said in the interview.

Prince Andrew ‘Has Kept In Constant Touch With Ghislaine Maxwell (DM)

Prince Andrew has kept in constant contact with billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s ex-girlfriend Ghislaine Maxwell, it has been claimed today. The Duke of York, 59, invited Maxwell, 57, to Buckingham Palace in June, just a month before Epstein was arrested on sex trafficking charges. But a source has now claimed the pair have been in touch by phone and email throughout the scandal over the prince’s links to the convicted sex offender. They claim there is an ‘unswerving loyalty’ between the pair, who both deny any wrongdoing despite their close relationships with Epstein. The source told the Sun: ‘They have remained constantly in touch by phone and email. The Duke has an unswerving loyalty to Ghislaine and she is also very loyal to him.

‘Ghislaine will do anything to protect the Duke and the feeling is mutual. They both share the same view they have done nothing wrong.’ There is no indication of how the source knows about Andrew and Maxwell’s communications. In his car crash Newsnight interview Andrew claimed he had not spoken about Epstein when he was last in contact with Maxwell because he ‘wasn’t in the news’. [..] Ms Guiffre Roberts will give a tell-all interview to BBC Panorama tomorrow night in a programme that will also probe Maxwell’s involvement in Epstein’s criminal activity.

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They don’t have very much, do they? But yeah, why keep your gold stored abroad?

Serbia, Slovakia Join Sudden Eastern European Gold Repatriation Push

Just a few short days after Poland’s government touted its economic might after completing the repatriation of 100 tons of the barbarous relic; and with Hungary’s anti-immigrant Prime Minister Viktor Orban also ramping up holdings of the safe-haven asset to boost the security of his reserves, more Eastern European nationalist leaders are demanding their country’s gold back on home soil. As Bloomberg reports, former Slovak Premier Robert Fico, whose odds of returning to power are rising quickly, urged parliament to compel the central bank into repatriating the nation’s gold stocks, which are currently stored in the U.K.. Perhaps most vocally reflecting what many other nations also believe – sometimes your international partners can betray you.

Citing a 1938 pact by France, Britain, Italy and Germany allowing Adolf Hitler to annex a chunk what was then Czechoslovakia, Fico told reporters: “You can hardly trust even the closest allies after the Munich Agreement. I guarantee that if something happens, we won’t see a single gram of this gold. Let’s do it as quickly as possible.” Additionally, Serbia’s strongman leader Aleksandar Vucic took note, ordering the central bank to boost reserves and prompting the purchase of nine tons in October. Vucic said last week that more should be bought because “we see in which direction the crisis in the world is moving.”

The various leaders have a recent example to prove their fears right as the Bank of England refused to return Venezuela’s gold stock over political differences. “Gold is a symbol,” said Vuk Vukovic, a political economist in Zagreb. “When states purchase it, people everywhere see it as a sign of economic sovereignty.” The gold rush mirrors steps by Russia and China to diversify reserves exceeding $3 trillion away from the dollar amid flaring geopolitical tensions with the U.S.

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Interesting topic, and women need more say, but still, in many societies, women do a lot of things besides cooking and cleaning. That’s more of a western thing, and not even a modern one.

Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? (Marçal)

Men have always been allowed to act out of self-interest – as in economics, so in sex. For women, this freedom has been taboo. If not flat-out forbidden. Woman has been assigned the task of caring for others, not of maximizing her own gain. Society has told her that she cannot be rational because childbirth and menstruation tie her to the body, and the body has been identified as the opposite of reason. In women, lust and greed has always been criticized more harshly than it has in men. It has been viewed as something threatening, destructive, dangerous and unnatural. ‘People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute,’ wrote Rebecca West. Women have never been allowed to be as selfish as men.

And if economics is the science of self-interest, how does woman fit in? The answer is that man has been allowed to stand for self- interest and woman has stood for the fragile love that must be conserved. By being excluded. Even though the word ‘economy’ comes from the Greek oikos, which means home, economists have long been uninterested in what exactly happens at home. Woman’s self-sacrificing nature was said to tie her to the private sphere, and thus she was not economically relevant. Activities like raising children, cleaning, washing or ironing for her family – these don’t create tangible goods that can be bought, traded or sold. So they also didn’t contribute to prosperity, thought economists in the 1800s.

Prosperity was everything that could be transported, that had a limited supply, and that either directly or indirectly gave pleasure or prevented pain. This definition meant that everything that women were expected to dedicate themselves to went unseen. The fruits of male labour could be stacked in piles and measured in money. The results of women’s work were intangible. Dust that is swept away collects again. Mouths that have been fed grow hungry. Children who sleep, wake. And after lunch it’s time to do the dishes. After the dishes comes dinner. And more dirty dishes.

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In December 2015, when COP21 was held in Paris, I wrote in CON 21:

“COP21 is not a major event, that’s only what politicians and media make of it. In reality, it’s a mere showcase in which the protesters have been co-opted. They’re not in the director’s chair, they’re not even actors, they’re just extras.”

4 years later, nothing has changed. It’s still just theater.

What Is COP25 And Can It Save The World? (G.)

[..] There are far bigger issues hanging over COP, but they will not be decided this year, just hinted at. The biggest alarm is that the aspiration set in Paris to constrain temperature rises will require unprecedented efforts to achieve. But individual country commitments to steer the world towards that best-case scenario were not part of the binding Paris deal, but contained in a non-binding addition. So emissions are increasing again, temperatures are higher than ever, countries are not mandated by law to act – and time is running out: the IPCC concluded that on current rates we have little over a decade to halt emissions growth and bring down carbon rapidly to keep warming within the 1.5C threshold.

Current commitments made by national governments under the Paris agreement fall far short of what is required – taken together, they would still condemn the world to an estimated temperature rise of more than 3C by the end of the century. According to the UN’s latest “emissions gap” report, published a few days before the start of this year’s talks, countries must reduce their greenhouse gases by about 7.6% a year for the next 10 years, to stay within the 1.5C limit. Closing that gap will be COP26’s biggest task.

Read more …




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May 172019

Caravaggio The seven works of mercy (Sette opere di Misericordia) 1607


“Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop… And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”

– Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, one day before he was murdered


What Martin Luther King King won through many hard-fought battles, and in the end through sacrificing his own life, has to be won all over again: freedom, truth, justice. And this time it’s Julian Assange who stands in the frontline. With Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden by his side. But I know you’re not very likely to agree with that assessment.

For one thing, I picked the kind of headline that will probably make many people not read an essay. But I’m not kidding, and I’m not saying this for effect. Julian Assange is like Martin Luther King in many ways, and he deserves for people to recognize that.

Assange and Dr. King were born in different times, the former 3 years after the latter was murdered. But when anyone wants to talk King’s legacy, then Assange very much IS that legacy. It would be nice if people like Dr. King’s youngest daughter Bernice, who is very vocal on her father’s legacy, would acknowledge this. Her father certainly would have.

What Julian Assange and Martin Luther King have in common is a superior intelligence, combined with unwavering courage and an unrelenting drive for justice and truth. Both men were born so brave they realized that they might have to give their lives for their causes. And then brought that realization into practice. Both in their own way gave their lives for our sins.

Shared intelligence and courage, justice and truth. Unfortunately, another thing the two share is gross and vile sex smears. Which hurt both men much more than anything else thrown at them. Not a coincidence. Sex smears invariably and for good reason work strongest in women. And in Reverend King’s case, his religious following, who were 99% black people. Lose the women and you lose half of your potential support.

In Assange’s case, the smears, which have even been upgraded to ‘rape’, keeps people from standing up for him. Once you have that word attached to you, you will never fully get rid of it no matter what happens. J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI knew this in the 1960’s, and Robert Mueller and James Comey’s FBI certainly never forgot it half a century later.


And of course there are many many people saying that Assange is no Martin Luther King, that Dr. King was a much better man than Assange could ever be. I would urge them to study how Dr. King was perceived in the last 10 years of his life. The nation didn’t exactly revere him, far from it. Most didn’t like him at all, he was seen as a troublemaker, including by many black people, who thought he would make their lives even harder. And then there were Hoover’s sex smears.

After his murder, it took just a few years for the first campaign to establish a public holiday in his name to start. 15 years after the murder, in 1983, President Reagan signed it into law. Even if and when such a petition were started in the case of Assange’s death, which we should all hope will be many years away, the odds of it getting anywhere are slim. But the same would have been true in 1965. So there is hope.

Those willing to give their own lives in order to make other people’s lives better, richer, more just, are special people. Not flawless, for that would make them not people, but special. Yes, Jesus is an obvious example. And so is Mahatma Gandhi. And sure, I hear you say Assange is no Jesus and no Gandhi, but the pattern of peaceful resistance cannot be denied.

There are obviously plenty people who fight for what’s right. What makes Assange, Dr. King, Gandhi, Jesus stand out is that they are examples of people standing up to entire empires. They guy standing in front of the tanks in Tienanmen square in 1989 was another one. Dr. King, Gandhi, Jesus were murdered for what they did. The Chinese guy in all probability also was. That leaves us with Assange.

Does he need to die first before we can appreciate and recognize what he has achieved in our names, that he changed the world we live in for good, as in literally for good? Does it really have to end the same way? Julian Assange hasn’t even received his Nobel Peace Prize yet.



Here’s an article by Roy Peter Clark for the Poynter, November 25, 2014, about the FBI and sex smears.

How the Southern press foiled FBI’s attempt to smear MLK

Is it possible that we have to thank the white Southern press of the 1960s – even the segregationist press – for its restraint in resisting FBI attempts to smear the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., with sexual scandal? That question is raised, but not sufficiently developed, in a Nov. 11 New York Times piece written by Yale historian Beverly Gage. She discovered in the files of FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover an uncensored draft of what has been called the “suicide letter.” The letter was part of an elaborate effort to discredit King, who was about to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

Based on wire taps and audio tapes, the one-page letter, supposedly sent by an outraged black citizen, described in the vivid language of the day examples of King’s marital infidelities and sexual adventures. The writer, actually an FBI agent, threatened to go public in 34 days with details of King’s affairs. “There is only one thing left for you to do,” it read near the end. “You know what it is.”

From the article, a conversation between Gene Patterson, editor of the Atlanta Constitution from 1960-1968, later editor of the St. Petersburg Times, and Howell Raines, political editor of the St. Petersburg Times, who in 1977 published an oral history of the civil rights movement entitled My Soul Is Rested. In that book Patterson describes to Raines how he was approached by the FBI to smear Dr. King:

“An FBI agent was sent to see me with the bugging information that Dr. King had been engaged in extramarital sexual affairs. The FBI agent, obviously under orders of the director, Hoover, because nobody acted without his direction, urged me – he said, ‘Gene,…here you on this paper have raised Dr. King up to be some kind of model American, some kind of saint, some kind of moralist.’ He said, ‘Now, here’s the information, and why don’t you print it?’ The FBI, the secret police of this country!

And I had to explain to him, ‘Look, we’re not a peephole journal. We don’t print this kind of stuff on any man. And we’re not going to do it on Dr. King.’ And I said, ‘Furthermore, I’m shocked that you would be spying on an American citizen, whether it’s Dr. King or some other person because if it can happen to him, it can happen to all of us.’ And I asked him if he thought this wasn’t a misuse of the FBI. But he was highly offended at me, seeing us as an immoral newspaper for not printing back-alley gossip that the secret police of the United States were trying to ruin this man with.”

Patterson told Raines that one of the editors contacted by the FBI was Lou Harris of the Augusta (Ga.) Chronicle, a paper that supported segregation on its editorial pages. Patterson recalls:

“So I had a phone call from Lou Harris one day, and he said, ‘Gene, I had a call from an FBI agent over here, and you’d be amazed at what he told me about Dr. King.’ And I said, ‘Lou, you mean sex exploits.’ …He said, ‘Have you heard about this?’ I said, ‘Yeah, the FBI has been to see me, too.’ And I said, ‘What are you gonna do with it?’ he said, ‘Hell, I wouldn’t print that stuff. That’s beyond the pale.’ And this was a segregationist editor talking to me. And I said, ‘Lou, I’m proud of you. I’m not gonna mess with it either.’”

And then perhaps the most revealing bit.

One night, Patterson found himself on a plane to Atlanta with John Doar, one of Bobby Kennedy’s top aides in the Justice Department. Hoover was a powerful man, but supposedly subject to the direction of the Attorney General. “I want you to tell the attorney general about this,” said Patterson. “He should know what the FBI is up to.”

“Because the more I thought about it,” Patterson said, “the more worried I’d become about the misuse of secret police powers.” Patterson remembered that throughout his narrative, Doar never looked at him, staring straight ahead in stony silence. “And all of a sudden,” said Patterson, “it hit me like a thunderclap that Bobby Kennedy knew about it. I had made Doar very uncomfortable by relating it to him. Not one expression crossed that deadpan face of his. He just did not respond. It was like talking to a dead man.”

A half century after these incidents, the American intelligence and security apparatus have snooping powers well beyond anything that could be imagined by Dr. King, Patterson, and their contemporaries. Imagine the corruption of a J. Edgar Hoover armed with the weapons of the digital age. His original bugging of King, whom he hated and criticized publicly, was not in search of sexual indiscretions. Hoover’s goals were measured by the paranoid politics of his time: that King had consorted with Communists.



No matter where it leads, no matter what abuses it will bring, I’m going to tell the truth

-Dr. King







May 072019

Peter Paul Rubens Daniel in the lions’ den c1615


Zero Hedge ran an article about omissions from the Mueller report and/or investigation. It’s instructive, but there is more. First, some bits from that article:

Major Mueller Report Omissions Suggest Incompetence Or A Coverup

Robert Mueller’s 448-page “Investigation into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election” contains at least two major omissions which suggest that the special counsel and his entire team of world-class Democrat attorneys are either utterly incompetent, or purposefully concealing major crimes committed against the Trump campaign and the American people.

First, according to The Federalist’s Margot Cleveland (a former law clerk of nearly 25 years and instructor at the college of business at the University of Notre Dame) – the Mueller report fails to consider whether the dossier authored by former MI6 spy Christopher Steele was Russian disinformation, and Steele was not charged with lying to the FBI.

“The Steele dossier, which consisted of a series of memorandum authored by the former MI6 spy, detailed intel purportedly provided by a variety of Vladimir Putin-connected sources. For instance, Steele identified Source A as “a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure” who “confided that the Kremlin had been feeding Trump and his team valuable intelligence on his opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.”

Other supposed sources identified in the dossier included: Source B, identified as “a former top-level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin”; Source C, a “Senior Russian Financial Officer”; and Source G, “a Senior Kremlin Official.” -The Federalist

As Cleveland posits: “Given Mueller’s conclusion that no one connected to the Trump campaign colluded with Russia to interfere with the election, one of those two scenarios must be true—either Russia fed Steele disinformation or Steele lied to the FBI about his Russian sources.”

Mueller identified only two principal ways Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election: “First, a Russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Second, a Russian intelligence service conducted computer-intrusion operations against entities, employees, and volunteers working on the Clinton Campaign and then released stolen documents.”

Surely, a plot by Kremlin-connected individuals to feed a known FBI source—Steele had helped the FBI uncover an international soccer bribery scandal—false claims that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia would qualify as a “principal way” in which Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

[..] the only lawmaker to even mention this possibility has been Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who raised the issue with Attorney General William Barr last week: “My question,” said Grassley, “Mueller spent over two years and 30 million dollars investigating Russia interference in the election. In order for a full accounting of Russia interference attempts, shouldn’t the special counsel have considered whether the Steele dossier was part of a Russian disinformation and interfere campaign?” [..] Barr said that he has assembled a DOJ team to examine Mueller’s investigation, findings, and whether the spying conducted by the FBI against the Trump campaign in 2016 was improper.


Mueller’s second major oversight – which we have touched on repeatedly – is the special counsel’s portrayal of Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud as a Russian agent – when available evidence suggests he may have been a Western agent.

Weeks after returning from Moscow, Mifsud – a self-described Clinton Foundation member – ‘seeded’ the rumor that Russia had ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos on April 26, 2016, according to the Mueller report.

As Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) noted on Fox News on Sunday, “how is it that we spend 30-plus-million dollars on this, as taxpayers and they can’t even tell us who Joseph Mifsud is?” “…this is important, because, in the Mueller dossier, they use a fake news story to describe Mifsud. In one of those stories, they cherry- pick it,” Nunes added.

[..] As conservative commentator and former US Secret Service agent Dan Bongino notes of Mifsud, “either we have a Russian asset who’s infiltrated the highest echelons of friendly Intelligence Services, or we have a friendly who was setting up George Papadopoulos.”


This poses questions about Mueller, Mifsud and Steele and many other people and organizations involved, but the central question remains unaddressed: did Russia truly meddle and interfere in the 2016 election?

We don’t know, we have only Mueller’s word for that, and he’s ostensibly based it on reports from US intelligence, which has very obvious reasons to smear Russia. That Mifsud is presented as a Russian agent, with all the doubts about that which we have seen presented, doesn’t help this point.

That Steele hadn’t visited Russia since 1993 when he complied his dossier is not helpful either. His information could have originated with “the Russians”, or with US intelligence, and he would never have been the wiser. That is, even IF he was a straight shooter. What are the odss of that?

And of course the strongest doubts about Russian meddling and interference, along with offers of evidence to underline and reinforce these doubts, have been offered by Julian Assange and the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) group.

But as I’ve repeatedly said before, after Mueller had to let go of the “Russia collusion with the Trump campaign” accusation, he was free to let the “Russian meddling aided and abetted by Julian Assange” narrative stand, beacuse he didn’t have to provide proof for that, as long as he didn’t communicate with either the Russians (easy), the VIPS (whom he stonewalled) or Assange (who’s been completely silenced).


So we have -at least- 4 major omissions in the Mueller investigation and report:

1) the Mueller report failed to consider whether the dossier authored by former MI6 spy Christopher Steele was Russian disinformation (and Steele was not charged with lying to the FBI).

2) Mueller’s portrayal of Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud as a Russian agent – when available evidence suggests he may have been a Western agent.

3) Mueller declined to talk to the VIPS, who offered evidence that the DNC servers were not hacked but content was copied onto a disk at the server’s location

4) Mueller refused to hear Julian Assange, who offered evidence that it was not the Russians that had provided WikiLeaks with the emails.


Mueller was supposedly trying to find the truth about Trump’s ties to Russia/Putin, and he refused to see and hear evidence from two organizations, WikiLeaks and the VIPS, which he absolutely certainly knew could potentially have provided things he did not know. Why did he do that? There’s only one possible answer: he didn’t want to know.

Why not? Because he feared he would have had to abandon the “Russian meddling and interference” narrative as well. If, as both WikiLeaks and the VIPS insisted, the emails didn’t come from “the Russians”, all that would have been left is an opaque story about “Russians” buying $100,000 in Facebook ads. And that, too, is awfully shaky.

That’s an amount Jared Kushner acknowledged he spent every few hours on such ads during the – multi-billion-dollar – campaign. Moreover, many of these ads were allegedly posted AFTER the elections. And we don’t even know it was Russians who purchased the ads, that’s just another story coming from US intelligence.

It is not so hard, guys. “Omissions” or “oversight” is one way to put it, but there are others. Assange could have cleared himself of any claims of involvement in meddling and perhaps proven Guccifer 2.0 was not “Russian”. His discussions with the DOJ, preparations for which were in an advanced stage of development, were killed in 2017 by then-FBI head James Comey and Rep. Mark Warner.

Mueller never wanted the truth, he wanted to preserve a narrative. The VIPS, too, threatened that narrative by offering physical evidence that nobody hacked the emails. Mueller never reached out. Mueller, the former FBI chief, who must know who these men and women are. Here’s a list, in case you were wondering:


Steering Group, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
• William Binney, former Technical Director, World Geopolitical & Military Analysis, NSA; co-founder, SIGINT Automation Research Center (ret.)
• Bogdan Dzakovic, former Team Leader of Federal Air Marshals and Red Team, FAA Security (ret.) (associate VIPS)
• Philip Giraldi, CIA, Operations Officer (ret.)
• Mike Gravel, former Adjutant, top secret control officer, Communications Intelligence Service; special agent of the Counter Intelligence Corps and former United States Senator
• James George Jatras, former U.S. diplomat and former foreign policy adviser to Senate leadership (Associate VIPS)
• Larry Johnson, former CIA Intelligence Officer & former State Department Counter-Terrorism Official, (ret.)
• Michael S. Kearns, Captain, USAF (ret.); ex-Master SERE Instructor for Strategic Reconnaissance Operations (NSA/DIA) and Special Mission Units (JSOC)
• John Kiriakou, former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
• Karen Kwiatkowski, former Lt. Col., US Air Force (ret.), at Office of Secretary of Defense watching the manufacture of lies on Iraq, 2001-2003
• Clement J. Laniewski, LTC, U.S. Army (ret.)
• Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.)
• Edward Loomis, NSA Cryptologic Computer Scientist (ret.)
• David MacMichael, former Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council (ret.)
• Ray McGovern, former US Army infantry/intelligence officer & CIA presidential briefer (ret.)
• Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East & CIA political analyst (ret.)
• Todd E. Pierce, MAJ, US Army Judge Advocate (ret.)
• Peter Van Buren,U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (ret.) (associate VIPS)
• Robert Wing, U.S. Department of State, Foreign Service Officer (former) (associate VIPS)
• Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat who resigned in 2003 in opposition to the Iraq War


And then you lead a Special Counsel investigation, you spend 2 years and $30 million, you get offered evidence in what you’re investigating, and you just ignore these people?

And there are still people who want to believe that Robert Swan Mueller III is a straight shooter? They must not want to know the truth, either, then.

Here’s wondering if Bill Barr does, who’s going to investigate the Mueller investigation. Does he want the truth, or is he just the next in line to push the narrative?

Is there anyone in power left in America who has any courage at all to expose this B-rated theater?

Tulsi Gabbard has been reviled for talking to Assad. Why not talk to Assange as well, Tulsi? How about Rand Paul? We know he wanted to talk to Assange last year. Anyone?





Apr 252019

M. C. Escher Relativity Lattice 1953


From Twitter:

Remember Spying on Trump was called “Crossfire Hurricane”? Well now it’s renamed to “Crossfire Boomerang”. BOOM. Karma!



From the moment the Special Counsel investigation into Trump-Russia collusion began, we’ve been presented with a portrait of Robert Swan Mueller III as a man of unassailable character, a straight shooter, as impartial as can be. But Mueller was director of the FBI for 12 years (2001-2013), he was the king of the spies.

Does anyone really have the idea that the people who work in US intelligence are the country’s straightest shooters? Not everybody does. For instance, not Mike Pompeo, who bluntly stated: We lied, we cheated, we stole; It’s – it was like – we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment.”

So why should we believe Mueller is a man of such unassailable character when he rose to one of the very top ranks in intelligence? It doesn’t make much sense, except of course it’s what politics and media – and intelligence- want us to believe. It may not make sense, but boy, does it work.

And then at some point obviously you have to wonder why Mueller got the Special Counsel job on May 27 2017. Because of that unassailable character, we were told at the time. But if that doesn’t apply to Pompeo, why would it be true of Mueller? And why Mueller while there were strong links to US intelligence that would obviously have to be probed by the counsel (but were not).

That brings us straight to the next question: The main issue, post-report, is not whether Trump tried to stop the Mueller probe. The main issue instead is why it was instigated to begin with. Yes, US intelligence. CIA. And then there’s yet another question: When did Mueller know there was no collusion? Not just 1 or 2 weeks before presenting his report, that’s for sure.

So when? 6 months ago? A year? Did he ever really think there was collusion? If so, based on what? The almost entrirely discredited Steele dossier? Did he have faith in that? The Mifsud-Papadoloulos-Downer connection ‘engineered’ by CIA asset Stephen Halper? Did he have faith in that? Or was the whole thing goal-seeeked from the start?

It appears very silly to assume that Mueller did not start his job with an agenda, because of the heavy involvement of his former employees and colleagues and his best friend James Comey, whose firing by Trump was one of the main reasons to start the investigation. Sounds like a very hard one to sell, but the media did a great job. Everybody bought into it.

And then the whole thing collapsed. Yes, collapsed. Because this was never about finding the truth, it was always about digging for dirt. On Trump. Think Mueller wasn’t aware of that? I own a bridge….


Mueller was forced to find Trump and his team not guilty on conspiracy or collusion -and obstruction. This is because he would have had to prove this, and couldn’t. But he’s left the accusations against the Russian government and Julian Assange stand. Not because he has evidence for that, but because he doesn’t have to prove them.

Nobody believes a word any Russian says anymore, thanks to the MSM and US intelligence campaign against them. As for Assange, it’s obvious what Robert Mueller has done. He’s completely ignored the one person who could have helped him find the truth -just not the dirt-. and let him rot in hell. Here’s wishing for that same hell to befall Mueller and all of his family.

There is zero chance that Mueller didn’t know his buddy and successor James Comey prevented Assange from talking with the DOJ in 2017. Neither wanted Assange’s evidence to become public, because that would have killed the Russia narrative as well as the WikiLeaks one. And then what?

Let’s make one thing clear. All that proof of Russian hacking and Russian Facebook ads? It doesn’t exist. The entire story is fictional. How do we know? Because the only source that says it is true is US intelligence. And they can not be believed. As Mueller’s investigation once again shows.

Mueller and Barr, like all of Washington -it’s a bipartisan effort-, want the narrative to remain alive that the Russians hacked and meddled in the US elections in favor of Trump, and that Julian Assange was in cahoots with them. None of which Mueller has any evidence for. And Mueller at all have no problem sacrificing Assange and Chelsea Manning while they’re at it.

Assange is not the only expert source who is silenced. The Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity -VIPS- also can’t get their voice heard. People who ran US intelligence for decades are being silenced by those who succeeded them. As if they don’t exist. As if their expertise is worthless.

The evidence they offer simply doesn’t rhyme with the official narrative promoted by their successors and the CIA and FBI. Remember: Mueller only dropped in his report what he would have had to provide evidence for. The rest is still there, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.


One VIPS member is Larry Johnson, “former CIA Intelligence Officer & former State Department Counter-Terrorism Official, (ret.)”. Trump referenced him the other day on Twitter:

“Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson accuses United Kingdom Intelligence of helping Obama Administration Spy on the 2016 Trump Presidential Campaign.” @OANN WOW! It is now just a question of time before the truth comes out, and when it does, it will be a beauty!

And sure enough, the Guardian today described Johnson as a “conservative conspiracy theorist”. This stuff is predictable. But at least we know that while Mueller et al ignore the VIPS, Trump knows at least something about them. A few excerpts of a letter they sent to Trump last week (which he hasn’t seen, undoubtedly):


MEMORANDUM FOR: The President. SUBJECT: The Fly in the Mueller Ointment

[..] the Mueller report left unscathed the central-but-unproven allegation that the Russian government hacked into the DNC and Podesta emails, gave them to WikiLeaks to publish, and helped you win the election. The thrust will be the same; namely, even if there is a lack of evidence that you colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin, you have him to thank for becoming president.

Mueller has accepted that central-but-unproven allegation as gospel truth [..] Following the odd example of his erstwhile colleague, former FBI Director James Comey, Mueller apparently has relied for forensics on a discredited, DNC-hired firm named CrowdStrike, whose credibility is on a par with “pee-tape dossier” compiler Christopher Steele. Like Steele, CrowdStrike was hired and paid by the DNC.

[..] In Barr’s words: “The Special Counsel found that Russian government actors successfully hacked into computers and obtained emails from persons affiliated with the Clinton campaign and Democratic Party organizations, and publicly disseminated those materials through various intermediaries, including WikiLeaks.

Based on these activities, the Special Counsel brought criminal charges against a number of Russian military officers for conspiring to hack into computers in the United States for purposes of influencing the election.” We are eager to see if Mueller’s report contains more persuasive forensic evidence than that which VIPS has already debunked.

“But They Were Indicted! “Circular reasoning is not likely to work for very long, even with a U.S. populace used to being brainwashed by the media. Many Americans had mistakenly assumed that Mueller’s indictment of Russians — whether they be posting on FaceBook or acting like intelligence officers — was proof of guilt. But, as lawyers regularly point out, “one can easily indict a ham sandwich” — easier still these days, if it comes with Russian dressing.


The VIPS mention a few times they can’t get heard. They sent Barr a letter 5 weeks ago, and never got an answer. Here they say: “.. specialists will have a field day, IF — and it is a capital “IF” — by some miracle, word of VIPS’ forensic findings gets into the media this time around.”


The evidence-impoverished, misleadingly labeled “Intelligence Community Assessment” of January 6, 2017 had one saving grace. The authors noted: “The nature of cyberspace makes attribution of cyber operations difficult but not impossible. Every kind of cyber operation — malicious or not — leaves a trail.” Forensic investigators can follow a trail of metadata and other technical properties. VIPS has done that.

If, as we strongly suspect, Mueller is relying for forensics solely on CrowdStrike, the discredited firm hired by the DNC in the spring of 2016, he is acting more in the mold of Inspector Clouseau than the crackerjack investigator he is reputed to be. It simply does not suffice for Mueller’s former colleague James Comey to tell Congress that CrowdStrike is a “high-class entity.” It is nothing of the sort [..] Comey needs to explain why he kept the FBI away from the DNC computers after they were said to have been “hacked.”

And former National Intelligence Director James Clapper needs to explain his claim last November that “the forensic evidence was overwhelming about what the Russians had done.” What forensic evidence? From CrowdStrike? We at VIPS, in contrast, are finding more and more forensic evidence that the DNC emails were leaked, not hacked by the Russians or anyone else — and that “Guccifer 2.0” is an out-and-out fraud. Yes, we can prove that from forensics too.


No Russian hacking. No Guccifer 2.0. But Mueller mentions both a lot.

Again, if Mueller’s incomplete investigation is allowed to assume the status of Holy Writ, most Americans will continue to believe that — whether you colluded the Russians or not — Putin came through for you big time. In short, absent President Putin’s help, you would not be president.

Far too many Americans will still believe this because of the mainstream-media fodder — half-cooked by intelligence leaks — that they have been fed for two and a half years. The media have been playing the central role in the effort of the MICIMATT (the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank) complex to stymie any improvement in relations with Russia.

We in VIPS have repeatedly demonstrated that the core charges of Russian interference in the 2016 election are built on a house of cards. But, despite our record of accuracy on this issue — not to mention our pre-Iraq-war warnings about the fraudulent intelligence served up by our former colleagues — we have gotten no play in mainstream media.

Most of us have chalked up decades in the intelligence business and many have extensive academic and government experience focusing on Russia. We consider the issue of “Russian interference” of overriding significance not only because the allegation is mischievously bogus and easily disproven. More important, it has brought tension with nuclear-armed Russia to the kind of dangerous fever pitch not seen since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, when the Russian provocation was real — authentic, not synthetic.


[..] We recall that you were apprised of that Memorandum’s key findings because you ordered then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo to talk to William Binney, one of our two former NSA Technical Directors and one of the principal authors of that Memorandum. On October 24, 2017, Pompeo began an hour-long meeting with Binney by explaining the genesis of the odd invitation to CIA Headquarters: “You are here because the president told me that if I really wanted to know about Russian hacking I needed to talk to you.”

[..] Binney, a plain-spoken, widely respected scientist, began by telling Pompeo that his (CIA) people were lying to him about Russian hacking and that he (Binney) could prove it. [..] As we told Attorney General Barr five weeks ago, we consider Mueller’s findings fundamentally flawed on the forensics side and ipso facto incomplete. We also criticized Mueller for failing to interview willing witnesses with direct knowledge, like WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange.

You may be unaware that in March 2017 lawyers for Assange and the Justice Department (acting on behalf of the CIA) reportedly were very close to an agreement under which Assange would agree to discuss “technical evidence ruling out certain parties” in the leak of the DNC emails and agree to redact some classified CIA information, in exchange for limited immunity. According to the investigative reporter John Solomon of The Hill, Sen. Mark Warner, (D-VA) vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, learned of the incipient deal and told then-FBI Director Comey, who ordered an abrupt “stand down” and an end to the discussions with Assange.

Why did Comey and Warner put the kibosh on receiving “technical evidence ruling out certain parties” [read Russia]? We won’t insult you with the obvious answer.

Assange is now in prison, to the delight of so many — including Mrs. Clinton who has said Assange must now “answer for what he has done.” But is it too late to follow up somehow on Assange’s offer? Might he or his associates be still willing to provide “technical evidence” showing, at least, who was not the culprit?


VIPS can’t get their voices heard. Everyone ignores them. These are highly experienced veterans of US intelligence, whose successors, and politics, and media, simply act as if they don’t exist. And while it’s curious to see how they go out of their way NOT to create the impression that Mueller makes his “mistakes” on purpose, the gist is just that.

What this adds up to is not just that Mueller has come up with nothing in his $20-30-50 million investigation, but that he has purposely left things in his report that he has no evidence for but also doesn’t have to prove, because those he accuses cannot defend themselves. Note also that Mueller has never indicted Assange, he has only smeared him.

Mueller doesn’t just have nothing, he has less than nothing. What is left of his “findings” once the collusion and obstruction elements are gone, are things that either he himself (his team) or US intelligence has concocted out of thin air. And have you seen even one ‘journalist’ who has questioned these fantasies?

I see only ‘reporters’ more than willing to heap their own fiction on top of the report’s. They’ll grudgingly accept there’s no collusion only to run away with what can still be construed as obstruction, but not a single one questions the Russian hacking or emails or Facebook ads anymore or Assange’s involvement, though Mueller offers zero proof for any of these things. Ditto for Guccifer 2.0.

The GRU (Main Directorate of the General Staff of Russian Armed Forces, formerly the Main Intelligence Directorate) is a very advanced operation. When they hack something they leave no traces. US intelligence is just as capable of leaving GRU “traces” as the GRU itself is of NOT leaving them. The CIA is not smarter than the GRU. That’s what we’re looking at here.

How many Americans do you think there are who think this is the way to conduct investigations ostensibly aimed at truth-finding? You know, if only they knew?!

The only thing perceived as reality in America today is a bunch of fantasies designed to hide the truth. What truth there is, is left to rot in hell. What a place -and time- to live.





Dec 252018

Rembrandt van Rijn The Adoration of the Magi 16xx


I still had some things I didn’t talk about in Sunday’s Trump Derangement International, about how the European press have found out that they, like the US MSM, can get lots of viewers and readers simply by publishing negative stories about Donald Trump. The US president is an attention magnet, as long as you only write things about him designed to make him look bad.

The Guardian is only too happy to comply. They ran a whole series of articles on Sunday to do juts that: try to make Trump look bad. Note that the Guardian editorial team that okayed the articles is the same as the one that allowed the fake Assange/Manafort one, so their credibility is already shot to pieces. It’s the magic triangle of today’s media profits: spout non-stop allegations against Russia, Trump and Julian Assange, and link them when and where you can. It doesn’t matter if what you say is true or not.


Anyway, all the following is from the Guardian, all on December 23. First off, Adam Gabbatt in New York, who has painstakingly researched how Trump’s businesses, like Trump Tower and the Trump store, don’t appear to have sufficiently (as per him) switched from Happy Holidays to Merry Christmas. Sherlock Holmes would have been proud. A smash hit there Adam, bring out the handcuffs.


Trump’s ‘Merry Christmas’ Pledge Fails To Manifest

During Donald Trump’s presidential campaign he talked often about his determination to win one particular war. A war that had been raging for years, he said. Specifically: the war on Christmas. But despite Trump’s repeated claims that “people are saying Merry Christmas again” instead of the more inclusive “happy holidays”, there are several places where the Christmas greeting is absent: Trump’s own businesses.

The Trump Store, for example. Instead of a Christmas gift guide – which surely would be more in keeping with the president’s stated desire for the phrase to be used – the store offers a holiday gift guide. “Shop our Holiday Gift Guide and find the perfect present for the enthusiast on your list,” the online store urges. “Carefully curated to celebrate the most wonderful time of year with truly unique gifts found only at Trump Store. Add a bow on top with our custom gift wrapping. Happy Holiday’s!”

The use of the phrase “Happy Holiday’s” [sic] in Trump marketing would seem particularly egregious. The long-standing “War-on-Christmas” complaint from the political right is that stores use the phrase “Happy Holidays”, rather than specifically mentioning the Christian celebration. It is offered as both an example of political correctness gone mad, and as an effort to erase Christianity from the US.

It’s just, I think that if Trump had personally interfered to make sure there were Merry Christmas messages all around, you would have remarked that as president, he’s not allowed to be personally involved in his businesses. But yeah, you know, just to keep the negativity going, it works, no matter how fluffy and hollow.


Second, still on December 23, is Tom McCarthy for the Guardian in New York. Who talks about Robert Mueller’s phenomenal successes. Mueller charged 34 people so far. In a case that involves “this complexity which has international implications, aspects relying on the intelligence community, complicated cyber components”. It really says that.

And yes, that’s how many people view this. What do they care that Mueller’s original mandate was to prove collusion between the Trump campaign and ‘Russians’, and that he has not proven any collusion at all so far, not even with 34 people charged? What do they care? It looks like Trump is guilty of something, anything, after all, and that’s all the circus wants.


Robert Mueller Has Enjoyed A Year Of Successes … 2019 Could Be Even Stronger

One measure of special counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutorial success in 2018 is the list of former top Donald Trump aides brought to justice: Michael Cohen pleaded guilty, a jury convicted Paul Manafort, a judge berated Michael Flynn. Another measure is the tally of new defendants that Mueller’s team charged (34), the number of new guilty pleas he netted (five) and the amount of money he clawed back through tax fraud cases ($48m).

Yet another measure might judge Mueller’s pace compared with previous independent prosecutors. “I would refer to it as a lightning pace,” said Barb McQuade, a University of Michigan law professor and former US attorney. “In a case of this complexity which has international implications, aspects relying on the intelligence community, complicated cyber components – to indict that many people that quickly is really impressive work.”

But there’s perhaps a more powerful way to measure Mueller’s progress in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election and links between Moscow and the Trump campaign; that’s by noticing how the targets of his investigation have changed their postures over the course of 2018, from defiance to docility – or in the case of Trump himself, from defiance to extreme, hyperventilating defiance.

In reality, you would be at least as correct if you would claim that Robert Mueller’s investigation has been an abject failure. Not one iota of collusion has been proven after 20 months and $20 million in funds have been used. And any serious investigation of Washington’s culture of fixers and lobbyists would land at least 34 people who have committed acts that border on or over illegality. And in a matter of weeks, for a few hundred bucks.


Third, still on December 23, is Julian Borger in Washington, who’s been elected to convey the image of chaos. Trump Unleashed, says our modern day Shakespeare. With Jim Mad Dog Mattis characterized as “.. the last independently minded, globally respected, major figure left in the administration”... Again, it really says that.

Because woe the man who tries to bring US troops home, or even promises to do so a few days before Christmas. For pulling out America’s finest, Donald Trump is being portrayed as something eerily close to the antichrist. That truly is the world on its head. Bringing troops home to their families equals chaos.

Look, guys, if Trump has been guilty of criminal behavior, the US justice system should be able to find that out and convict him for it. But that’s not what this is about anymore. A million articles have been written, like these ones in the Guardian, with the sole intention, evidence being scarce to non-existent, of smearing him to the extent that people see every subsequent article in the light of a man having previously been smeared.


Chaos At Home, Fear Abroad: Trump Unleashed Puts Western World On Edge

The US stumbled into the holiday season with a sense of unravelling, as a large chunk of the federal government ground to a halt, the stock market crashed and the last independently minded, globally respected, major figure left in the administration announced he could no longer work with the president. The defense secretary, James Mattis, handed in his resignation on Thursday, over Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to pull US troops out of Syria.

On Saturday another senior official joined the White House exodus. Brett McGurk, the special envoy for the global coalition to defeat Isis and the US official closest to America’s Kurdish allies in the region, was reported to have handed in his resignation on Friday. That night, senators flew back to Washington from as far away as Hawaii for emergency talks aimed at finding a compromise on Trump’s demand for nearly $6bn for a wall on the southern border, a campaign promise which has become an obsession.

Now look at the next headline, December 23, Graeme Wearden, Guardian, and ask yourself if it’s really Trump saying he doesn’t agree with the rate hikes that fuels the fears, or whether it’s the hikes themselves. And also ask yourself: when Trump and Mnuchin both deny reports of Trump firing Powell, why do journalists keep saying the opposite? Because they want to fuel some fears?

From where I’m sitting, it looks perfectly logical that Trump says he doesn’t think Powell’s decisions are good for the US economy. And it doesn’t matter which one of the two turns out to be right: Trump isn’t the only person who disagrees with the Fed hikes.

The main suspect for 2019 market turmoil is the inevitable fallout from the Fed’s QE under Bernanke and Yellen. And there is something to be said for Powell trying to normalize rates, but there’s no doubt that may hasten, if not cause, turmoil. Blaming it on Trump not agreeing with Jay Powell is pretty much as left field as it gets.


White House Attacks On Fed Chair Fuel Fears Of Market Turmoil In 2019

Over the weekend, a flurry of reports claimed Donald Trump had discussed the possibility of firing the Federal Reserve chairman, Jerome Powell. Such an unprecedented move would trigger further instability in the markets, which have already had their worst year since the 2008 crisis. US officials scrambled to deny Trump had suggested ousting Powell, who was appointed by the president barely a year ago.

The Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, tweeted that he had spoken to the president, who insisted he “never suggested firing” Powell, and did not believe he had the right to do this. However, Trump also declared – via Mnuchin – that he “totally disagrees” with the Fed’s “absolutely terrible” policy of raising interest rates and unwinding its bond-buying stimulus programme, piling further pressure on the US’s independent central bank.

And now, in the only article in the Guardian series that’s December 24, not 23, by Victoria Bekiempis and agencies, the plunging numbers in the stock markets are Trump’s fault, too.


Trump ‘Plunging Us Into Chaos’, Democrats Say, As Markets Tank And Shutdown Persists

Top Democrats have accused Donald Trump of “plunging the country into chaos” as top officials met to discuss a growing rout in stock markets caused in part by the president’s persistent attacks on the Federal Reserve and a government shutdown. “It’s Christmas Eve and President Trump is plunging the country into chaos,” the two top Democrats in Congress, House speaker nominee Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, wrote in a joint statement on Monday. “The stock market is tanking and the president is waging a personal war on the Federal Reserve – after he just fired the Secretary of Defense.”

Trump criticized the Federal Reserve on Monday, describing it as the “only problem” for the US economy, even as top officials convened the “plunge protection team” forged after the 1987 crash to discuss the growing rout in stock markets. The crisis call on Monday between US financial regulators and the US treasury department failed to assure markets, and stocks fell again amid concern about slowing economic growth, the continuing government shutdown, and reports that Trump had discussed firing Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell.

The last one is from one Jonathan Jones, again December 23, again for the Guardian. And it takes the top award in the narrative building contest.

Again, the Guardian editorial team that okayed this article is still the same as the one that allowed the fake Assange/Manafort one, an editorial team that sees no problem in making things up in order to smear people. To portray Trump, Assange and anyone who’s had the misfortune of being born in Russia as suspicious if not outright criminal.

But look at what Jones has to say, and what Guardian editor-in-chief Kathy Viner and her ilk allowed and pressured him to say. He wants to have a say in how Trump should dress (seasonal knitwear), he evokes the image of Nazi architect Albert Speer for no reason at all, and then it’s a matter of mere inches until you arrive at Trump as a king, an emperor, an inner tyrant.

“He’s in a tuxedo!”, Like that’s a bad thing for Christmas. “She’s in white!”. Oh dear, call the pope. If both Trumps would have put on Christmas sweaters in front of a fire, the writer would have found something negative in that.


Trump Portrait: You Couldn’t Create A Creepier Yuletide Scene If You Tried

The absence of intimacy in the Trumps’ official Christmas portrait freezes the heart. Can it be that hard to create a cosy image of the presidential couple, perhaps in front of a roaring hearth, maybe in seasonal knitwear? Or is this quasi-dictatorial image exactly what the president wants to project? Look on my Christmas trees, ye mighty, and despair! If so, it fuels suspicions that it is only the checks and balances of a 230-year-old constitution that are keeping America from the darkest of political fates. You couldn’t create a creepier Yuletide scene if you tried. Multiple Christmas trees are currently a status symbol for the wealthy, but this picture shows the risks.

Instead of a homely symbol of midwinter cheer, these disciplined arboreal ranks with their uniform decorations are arrayed like massed soldiers or colossal columns designed by Albert Speer. The setting is the Cross Hall in the White House and, while the incumbent president cannot be held responsible for its architecture, why heighten its severity with such rigid, heartless seasonal trappings? Everything here communicates cold, empty magnificence. Tree lights that are as frigid as icicles are mirrored in a cold polished floor. Equally frosty illuminations are projected on the ceiling. Instead of twinkling fairy magic, this lifeless lighting creates a sterile, inhuman atmosphere.

You can’t imagine kids playing among these trees or any conceivable fun being had by anyone. It suggests the micromanaged, corporate Christmas of a Citizen Kane who has long since lost touch with the ordinary, warm pleasures of real life. In the centre of this disturbing piece of conceptual art stand Donald and Melania Trump. He’s in a tuxedo, she’s wearing white – and not a woolly hat in sight. Their formal smartness adds to the emotional numbness of the scene. Trump’s shark-like grin has nothing generous or friendly about it. He seems to want to show off his beautiful wife and his fantastic home rather than any of the cuddly holiday spirit a conventional politician might strive to share at this time.

It begs a question: how can a man who so glaringly lacks anything like a common touch be such a successful “populist”? What can a midwestern voter find in this image to connect with? Perhaps that’s the point. After more than two centuries of democracy, Trump is offering the US people a king, or emperor. In this picture, he gives full vent to his inner tyrant. If this portrait contains any truth about the state of America and the world, may Santa help us all.

I realize that you may be tired of the whole story. I realize you may have been caught in the anti-Trump narrative. And I am by no means a Trump fan. But I will keep on dragging you back to this. Because the discussion should not be based on a handful of media moguls not liking Trump. It should not be based on innuendo and smear. If Trump is to be convicted, it must be on evidence.

And there is no such evidence. Robert Mueller has charged 34 people, but none with what his mandate was based on, none with Russia collusion. This means that the American political system, and democracy itself, is under severe threat by the very media that are supposed to be its gate keepers.


None of this is about Trump, or about whether you like him or not, or even if he’s a shady character or not. Instead, it’s about the influence the media have on how our opinions and ideas about people and events are being shaped on a daily basis.

And once you acknowledge that your opinions of Trump, Putin et al, even without any proof of a connection between them, are actively being molded by the press you expect to inform you about the truth behind what goes on, you will have to acknowledge, too, that you are a captive of forces that use your gullibility to make a profit off you.

If our media need to make up things all the time about who’s guilty of what, because our justice systems are incapable of that, then we have a problem so enormous we may not be able to overcome it in our present settings.

Alternatively, if we trust our justice systems to deliver true justice, we don’t need a hundred articles a day to tell us how Trump or Putin are such terrible threats to our world. Our judges will tell us, not our journalists or media who are only in it for a profit.

I can say: “let’s start off 2019 trying to leave prejudice behind”, and as much as that is needed and you may agree with me, it’s no use if you don’t realize to what extent your views of the world have been shaped by prejudice.

I see people reacting to the star writer at Der Spiegel who wrote a lot about Trump, being exposed as a fraud. I also see people trying to defend Julian Assange from the Guardian article about his alleged meetings with Paul Manafort, that was an obvious big fat lie (the truth is Manafort talked to Ecuador to help them ‘sell’ Assange to the US).

But reacting to the very obvious stuff is not enough. The echo chamber distorts the truth about Trump every single day, and at least six times on Sunday, as this essay of mine shows. It’s just that after two years of this going on 24/7, it is perceived as the normal.

Everyone makes money dumping on the Donald, it’s a proven success formula, so why would the Guardian and Der Spiegel stay behind? They’d only hurt their own bottom line.

It has nothing to do with journalism, though, or news. It’s smear and dirt, the business model of the National Enquirer. That’s how far our once truthful media have fallen.



Dec 232018
 December 23, 2018  Posted by at 5:52 pm Primers Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,  10 Responses »

Diego Velázquez The Spinners 1655-60


Dirk Kurbjuweit, deputy editor-in-chief of Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine for the past 4 years, unwittingly put his foot a mile deep in his mouth this week when he reacted to a letter written by US Ambassador to Berlin Richard Grenell. His reaction presents perhaps the most perfect example of the downfall of news, journalism, the media in general, that we’ve seen so far. Most perfect among very stiff competition.

After Der Spiegel itself this week ‘outed’ its award-winning star reporter, Claas Relotius, as someone who had made up many of his lauded articles from scratch, Grenell suggested the magazine, and especially its editorial staff, shouldn’t think they can get away with putting all the blame on just this one guy. He tweeted:

We value policy criticism. We love a free press. But @Spiegel literally fabricated stories saying people (Americans) were racist & xenophobic. They made up events, details, & lies – and no editor checked the stories. Every real journalist should be outraged by this.

And he wrote a letter to Der Spiegel, albeit addressed at the ‘wrong’ editor, Steffen Klussman, who won’t be in the post until after Jan. 1:

The recent revelations of completely fabricated stories, completely fictional people and fraudulent details in Spiegel over the last seven years are very troubling to the US Embassy. These fake news stories largely focused on US policies and certain segments of the American people. It is clear we were targeted by institutional bias and we are troubled by the atmosphere that encouraged this recklessness.

While Spiegel’s anti-American narratives have expanded over the last years, the anti-American bias at the magazine has exploded since the election of President Trump. We are concerned that these narratives are pushed by Spiegel’s senior leadership and reporters are responding to what the leadership wants.

This is where Dirk Kurbjuweit’s foot enters his mouth, stage left, and starts its long journey down:

It is true that one of our reporters in large part fabricated articles, including reports from the United States. We apologize to all American citizens who were insulted or denigrated by these articles. We are very sorry. This never should have happened. In this case, our safeguarding and verification processes failed. We are working hard to clarify these issues and improve our procedures and standards.

I would, however, like to counter you on one point. When we criticize the American president, this does not amount to anti-American bias – it is criticism of the policies of the man currently in office in the White House. Anti-Americanism is deeply alien to me and I am absolutely aware of what Germany has the U.S to thank for: a whole lot. DER SPIEGEL harbors no institutional bias against the United States.

Of course, first of all, Grenell is right, if you let someone write fake stories for 7 years and your editors, which included Kurbjuweit himself, don’t catch one single lie, it looks like you’re letting the fabrications ‘slip through’ on purpose. As Grenell implies, it looks like the entire magazine is/was trying to fabricate the news, not report on it.

But that’s not where Kurbjuweit’s foot is in his mouth. That comes in the second paragraph . Where he effectively says that criticizing America and Americans, including through fully fabricated stories, does not constitute an anti-American bias. Instead, he says, Der Spiegel simply suffers from Trump Derangement Syndrome. In other words, not an anti-American bias, but an anti-Trump bias.

And that, in his view, is apparently fine. And though it is of course not, certainly for an editor of a magazine that has (make that had) a reputation to uphold, who can really blame him? In the American press, all he sees is Trump Derangement Syndrome all the time, in at least 90% of the media. So how can anyone blame a German editor for doing what the New York Times and CNN do 24/7?

The problem with all of this obviously is that all these news outlets are supposed to report the news, and none of them do anymore. They ‘report’ the opinions of their editors and ‘journalists’, and if these people don’t like whoever it is the American people elect as their president, it’s open season.

American media has made it acceptable for foreign media to write fake articles about the US president, which means ridicule of the Office of the President is fine too, and thereby the process by which he was elected. Re-read Kurbjuweit’s statement, that is what he says.

This is a sort of new normal that may well be the main legacy of 2018. It’s where the surge of social media and the internet in general have led us. In the process, they’ve swallowed the truth whole, and we may never see it again.

The truth is not a winning proposition. Fabricating stories and narratives and using them to string readers and viewers along like a modern version of the Pied Piper is a much bigger winner than the truth, and they’re all waking up to this new reality.


Der Spiegel’s response to being exposed as liars is to pretend to be open about it, but only by blaming one individual, while sparing the editors who let him roam free for 7 years.

The Guardian, which ran a fabricated story about meetings between Paul Manafort and Julian Assange in London’s Ecuadorian embassy a few weeks ago and was also exposed, has chosen a different approach: they attempt to smother the truth in silence. Both the writers of the story and editor-in-chief Kathy Viner, responsible for publishing blatant lies and fabrications are still on the payroll, there’s been no retraction and no apologies.

But there’s a flipside to this kind of thing. If you try to get away with murdering the truth the way Der Spiegel and the Guardian have done in these two instances, who’s going to read you next time around if they want to know what really happens, and take your words as true? No-one in their sound mind. So it’s necessarily a short term strategy.

Still, while it lasts, it’s profitable. And it’s mighty contagious too. If and when the foreign press no longer feels any qualms about admitting they suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome, that is because US media have paved that road for them. Before the internet fueled its (dis-)information explosion, this would have been impossible.

It makes you wonder where this will go in 2019. What’s already evident is that you can’t believe your trusted news sources anymore. And it’s not a matter of some articles being true and some not; nothing published by Der Spiegel and the Guardian can be taken for granted as true from here on in, both are done as reliable news sources. Because they’ve been exposed as having lied on purpose, and only once is enough.

Same goes for many of the formerly trusted US MSM. And that should really, really make you wonder where this will take us in 2019. Truth is eroding faster than you can keep up with, and it’s your once trusted voices that lead the erosion. Where are you going to get your news? What and who can you trust?

Here’s a thought: follow the Automatic Earth. And good thing is, you don’t have to like Trump to not like where this is going. We don’t particularly like him either. We just dislike lies and fake news a whole lot more.