Feb 192024
 
 February 19, 2024  Posted by at 2:11 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  6 Responses »


Vincent van Gogh Red Vineyards at Arles 1888

 

 

Interesting assessment fom Andrew, but I have my doubts. He sees Germany take a leading role in Europe, but I think it’s in no position to do that, neither militarily nor financially. How the mighty have fallen.

 

 

Andrew Korybko:

 

Russia finally captured the Ukrainian fortress town of Avdeevka following a protracted battle that ended in Kiev’s chaotic retreat and the abandonment of its wounded troops. The timing took place as the Western elite met in Germany for this year’s Munich Security Conference over the weekend, which conveniently enabled them to plan their next moves in this proxy war. No significant financial or military aid is expected, however, despite Ukraine’s newly clinched security pacts with Germany and France.

Rather, as was explained here earlier in the month when analyzing the latest Biden-Scholz Summit in DC, the West’s focus will be on the long-term containment of Russia in Europe beyond the borders of that former Soviet Republic. To that end, Germany’s role as the US’ preferred “Lead From Behind” partner in the EU will become more prominent, which will take the form of connecting the “military Schengen” with the revived Weimar Triangle in order to accelerate the construction of “Fortress Europe”.

The preceding three hyperlinked analyses explain these concepts more in depth as well as their relationship, but they can be summarized as Germany exploiting its comprehensive subordination of Poland to resume its long-lost superpower trajectory after a nearly eight-decade-long hiatus. The reason why the West’s attention will turn towards accelerating this geostrategic shift instead of clinging to its proxy war on Russia via Ukraine after Avdeevka is because it’s now clear that the latter is a lost cause.

Russia already won the “race of logistics”/“war of attrition” with NATO that Secretary General Stoltenberg declared almost exactly one year ago as proven by the counteroffensive’s failure and the subsequent reversal of this conflict’s dynamics whereby Ukraine is now once again on the defensive. Former Command-in-Chief Zaluzhny’s replacement Syrsky explicitly admitted this last week before the disastrous retreat from Avdeevka, which is regarded as Kiev’s last major fortress in Donbass.  

The stage is now set for a forthcoming Russian offensive that could steamroll through the rest of this region in the best-case scenario from Moscow’s perspective and the worst-case one from the West’s. That’s not to say that this will indeed happen because the so-called “fog of war” makes it impossible to accurately discern Ukraine’s full defensive capabilities behind the Line of Contact (LOC), but it’s not without reason that the West is panicking and Zelensky decided to blame them for his latest defeat.

He complained that a so-called “artificial lack of weaponry” was responsible in an allusion to the congressional deadlock over more Ukraine aid, which Biden agreed with to pressure his political foes. Navalny’s unexpected death on Friday was taken advantage of by anti-Russian hawks to demand that the House pass the Senate’s proxy war funding bill when it resumes its session later this month, but even if it’s approved, the problem is that the US has already expended its stockpiles.

While it’s possible that it could dip into those reserves that it’s saved for meeting its national security needs and coerce its vassals into doing so as well, the fact of the matter is that the counteroffensive’s failure in spite of much larger aid given to Kiev up until then suggests that this won’t make a difference. Whatever might be sent would be used solely to hold the LOC as long as possible and prevent a Russian breakthrough in order to perpetuate the stalemate that Zaluzhny was the first to admit had set in by fall.

Truth be told, that description was inaccurate since the LOC continues gradually moving westward and the pace might speed up after Russia’s capture of Avdeevka. President Putin already signaled that he won’t stop until his security guarantee requests are met through military or diplomatic means after recently regretting that he hadn’t ordered the special operation to begin sooner and saying on Sunday after the fall of that Ukrainian fortress town that victory is “a matter of life and death” for Russia.

It remains unclear when and on what terms the conflict will end, but the writing is on the wall and it clearly reads that Russia’s security guarantee requests will be met to some extent or another, ergo why the West is now planning for a decades-long “confrontation” with Russia per Stoltenberg’s own words. Therein lies the significance of the geostrategic shift that was identified earlier in this analysis regarding Germany’s role as the US’ top “Lead From Behind” partner for containing Russia in Europe.

In furtherance of that goal, NATO’s continental-wide “Steadfast Defender 2024” drills – the largest since the end of the Old Cold War – will be aimed at optimizing the partial implementation of the “military Schengen” between Germany, Poland, and the Netherlands, which France is expected to soon join. The Baltics will likely also participate as well given that they require support for building their so-called “Baltic Defense Line”, which could extend up to the Arctic if Finland gets involved too as expected.

The revived Weimar Triangle comes into play since Germany requires French backing because Berlin can’t realistically do all of this on its own, which in turn necessitated Poland’s military subordination to its western neighbor via the abovementioned logistics pact between them. A military corridor from France to Estonia, which could reach Finland via Denmark-Sweden (the second of whom is a NATO aspirant and expected to join this new “Schengen”), is therefore taking shape before the world’s eyes.

Russia’s capture of Avdeevka will therefore reverberate across Europe by accelerating the implementation of these long-term containment plans seeing as how NATO’s proxy war on it through Ukraine is obviously a lost cause after the fall of that former Soviet Republic’s latest fortress town. It’s this geostrategic dynamic that observers should pay more attention to than anything else since the resumption of Germany’s long-lost superpower trajectory is a development of global significance. 

 

 

 

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Feb 192024
 
 February 19, 2024  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  35 Responses »


Assange – by Mr. Fish

 

Julian Assange’s Final Appeal (Chris Hedges)
We Have Seen Assange’s Plight In A UK Prison (RSF)
2024: The Year from Political Hell – Martin Armstrong (USAW)
The Genocide of the West (Paul Craig Roberts)
Biden & Blinken – Rule of Illegal Power Over Rule of Law (Ralph Nader)
Western Europe Could Become The New Ukraine (Bordachev)
Everything Happening in Ukraine Matter of Life, Death for Russia – Putin (Sp.)
Denmark Will Give All Its Artillery To Ukraine – PM (RT)
Biden Offered Prime Time Russian TV Slot (Sp.)
French “Democracy” Establishes Medical Tyranny (Paul Craig Roberts)
Von der Leyen Wants Second EU Term – Bild (RT)
Netanyahu To Be Ousted – Israel Media (RT)
ICJ to Examine 57 Years of Israeli Occupation of Palestine (Wilkins)
Hunter’s Lawyers Balked at Kevin Morris Laptop Conspiracy Theories (Turley)

 

 


Anthony Bourdain: “Today nearly everything is made in China — except for courage, it’s made in PALESTINE!”

 

 

Assange

 

 

 

 

Tucker invasion

 

 

Mike Benz

 

 

 

 

Ted Cruz

 

 

Gorka Taibbi

 

 

 

 

God have mercy.

Julian Assange’s Final Appeal (Chris Hedges)

If Julian Assange is denied permission to appeal his extradition to the United States before a panel of two judges at the High Court in London this week, he will have no recourse left within the British legal system. His lawyers can ask the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for a stay of execution under Rule 39, which is given in “exceptional circumstances” and “only where there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm.” But it is far from certain that the British court will agree. It may order Julian’s immediate extradition prior to a Rule 39 instruction or may decide to ignore a request from the ECtHR to allow Julian to have his case heard by the court. The nearly 15-year-long persecution of Julian, which has taken a heavy toll on his physical and psychological health, is done in the name of extradition to the U.S. where he would stand trial for allegedly violating 17 counts of the 1917 Espionage Act, with a potential sentence of 170 years.

Julian’s “crime” is that he published classified documents, internal messages, reports and videos from the U.S. government and U.S. military in 2010, which were provided by U.S. army whistleblower Chelsea Manning. This vast trove of material revealed massacres of civilians, torture, assassinations, the list of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay and the conditions they were subjected to, as well as the Rules of Engagement in Iraq. Those who perpetrated these crimes — including the U.S. helicopter pilots who gunned down two Reuters journalists and 10 other civilians and severely injured two children, all captured in the Collateral Murder video — have never been prosecuted.

Read more …

Christophe Deloire is secretary-general and Rebecca Vincent is director of campaigns at Reporters Without Borders (RSF) .

We Have Seen Assange’s Plight In A UK Prison (RSF)

Given the high stakes for journalism and press freedom, we have been dismayed to be confronted with extensive barriers to our UK-focused work on Assange’s case. Our prison visits followed months of fighting for access after the prison arbitrarily barred us in April 2023, when we were refused entry for a vetted prison visit on the grounds that the prison had received “intelligence” that we were journalists. As a non-governmental organisation (NGO), our role differs from that of journalists. We sought access to discuss our advocacy efforts directly with Assange rather than to interview him for a media report. Over the next four months, we sought legal advice, submitted subject access requests, secured an intervention by a member of parliament, and engaged in extensive correspondence with Belmarsh. In August 2023, the block on our access was finally lifted, and we became the only NGO that has been able to visit Assange in prison.

This is not the first time the British system has created obstacles to our work on Assange’s case. We have experienced extensive and evolving barriers to accessing court hearings as NGO observers, often having no choice but to queue outside for up to five hours, very early in the morning and sometimes in freezing temperatures, to secure one of the few spaces in the public gallery. At one point during the pandemic, we were threatened with arrest simply for queueing to get into court. This absurd series of restrictions meant that RSF was the only NGO to monitor the full proceedings. We have not experienced such barriers, which effectively violate the principles of open justice and the right to a fair trial, in any case we have monitored in any other country. But these difficulties are nothing compared with the violations Assange has faced directly, including the fact that he has not been allowed to attend court hearings in person since 6 January 2021 – the last time he was seen outside prison walls.

Prisons are always grim places, and high-security Belmarsh is no exception. It’s hard to describe how Assange himself is faring in this environment, which is a stark contrast to his previous life of freedom, or even to his years at the Ecuadorian embassy. Assange’s worrying state of mental health, and his risk of suicide, have been well-documented in the medical evidence presented to court. But he is still very much involved in his case and fighting for his future. These visits allowed us to discuss and evaluate Assange’s situation with him, and RSF’s interventions led to him finally being permitted a typewriter, which he had been requesting for three years. On our last visit in January, he was clearly unwell and in pain, with a broken rib due to excessive coughing from a respiratory illness. It is a bleak and unjust situation, but it’s also clear how much worse the conditions of extradition and long-term detention in the US would be, which he may not survive.

Of course, Assange should not be in prison anywhere – not in the UK, nor the US, nor Australia, as was suggested to the UK court by the US authorities. No one, anywhere, should be targeted for publishing information in the public interest. Assange should be immediately released – perhaps through a political solution if not the courts, given the political nature of the case against him. The possibility of extradition is dangerously close. From 20 to 21 February, a panel of two high court judges will consider Assange’s final application to appeal against the order for his extradition. Any grounds that are rejected this time cannot be further appealed against, leaving the European court of human rights as his only further recourse.

In the meantime, Assange is in a high-security prison nearly 4,000 miles from the epicentre of the case, reading through a pile of books in his cell, finally typing some letters, and chatting with the few visitors who manage to navigate the myriad obstacles to get in. He has referred to his possible extradition as “Day P” – the day he might be put on a plane. It remains to be seen whether the British judiciary will deliver some form of justice at this late stage by preventing extradition, or whether the UK will become the country that enables a historically damning blow to press freedom, and the right of all of us to know.

Read more …

“60% of the world is going to the polls in 2024 to vote for a new government. You might as well throw them into a tumbler, shake well and see what comes out.”

2024: The Year from Political Hell – Martin Armstrong (USAW)

Legendary financial and geopolitical cycle analyst Martin Armstrong is predicting political turmoil, civilian unrest, war and a big economic downturn in 2024 in a new report called “The Year from Political Hell.” It’s not just a US election year, but it is an election year for more than half of the world. This is a global phenomenon which no one can be sure of the outcome. Armstrong explains, “This is not just the United States election. This is what you hear on the news locally. However, step outside this country, and, for example, Indonesia just voted in a leftist government. You have the EU going for elections. You have on May 2nd all the local elections in Britain. You have Russian elections on May 7th. 60% of the world is going to the polls in 2024 to vote for a new government. You might as well throw them into a tumbler, shake well and see what comes out. I mean it’s all over the place.”

On the war front, get ready for more mass killing, and don’t be surprised if it goes nuclear. Armstrong predicts, “There will be nuclear weapons. The neocons keep telling people on Capitol Hill that Russia would never use a nuke because they know we would use them back. That is nonsense! If you are about ready to conquer somebody, and this is all they’ve got left, they are pushing the button. . . . These people, all they want is war. They don’t care. They really do not care. They don’t care about the economy. They don’t care about anything.”

Armstrong says the coming war will make the economy “crash in 2024” as people get scared, spend a lot less and save a lot more. Armstrong says, “What we are looking at is a contraction in spending because of uncertainty. This is what these neocons are creating, and they don’t want to listen to anybody, and it is just their agenda, and they don’t care what happens to the country. . . .We are looking for a contraction of 12% to 18%. GDP is not going to be rising, but you are going to find inflation still rising.” Armstrong also says to look for “a rebellion in government debt” as people lose faith in governments around the world. This rebellion in government issued debt will include US Treasuries, according to Armstrong. This means interest rates will continue to trend upward and not downward.

On volatility in the markets, Armstrong predicts, “Look for volatility to start around July, and there may be some false flags too.” Armstrong continues to say Trump is still looking like he can “win in a landslide in 2024,” but expect the Deep State to pull every dirty trick in the book to keep him out of office. Armstrong points out, “If Trump gets back in power, they are all fired. . . . They know they are losing power. Instead of reforming and doing the right thing, they clamp down and they think they can retain power by pressing us even more. Sorry, but that’s what creates revolution.” In closing, Armstrong says, “Pretty much everything is going wrong for the Deep State. . . . confidence in government has collapsed everywhere.” This is what makes the Deep State Dems, RINOs and Neocons very dangerous. By the way, Armstrong says he would be a buyer of physical gold to hold as a core asset.

Read more …

“From the Woke perspective, which has risen to the ascendancy in the intellectual outlook in the West, all normal people are undesirables..”

The Genocide of the West (Paul Craig Roberts)

Are NGOs another example of liberal goody two shoes good intentions going wrong, or are they an organized plot against white countries? Whatever the answer, NGOs have certainly done enormous harm to white countries. After many years of negligence, Putin finally partially cracked down on Western-financed NGOs that were organizing disruptive events in Russia and creating the image of Putin as a dictator. Putin’s government required foreign-financed NGOs to register as foreign agents. Documented reports from independent journalists have established that NGOs are spearheading the immigrant-invaders who are overrunning the United States. As I recently reported, NGOs are actually recruiting “people of color” into the ranks of immigrant-invaders, providing them with transportation, money, and maps of the pathways to the US border that are supplied with accommodation, food, and health care.

One of the most important NGOs underwriting the immigrant-invaders seems to be the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), of which the current director of the US Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, himself a Jew, was a board member until December 2020. According to an article on substack, HIAS has received $100,000,000 from the US government in the past three years. If this is true, then the Biden regime is underwriting the immigrant invasion with US taxpayers’ money. The long-term, ongoing invasion of the EU and UK has benefited enormously from NGOs, especially from the moral support the NGOs provide for the invasion and for their work in conditioning Europeans to accept immigrant-invaders as the moral thing to do. You might remember the reports of the German women whose reward for welcoming the immigrant-invaders was to be raped by them. When the women complained of being raped, they were branded “racists.”

The story is the same in Sweden and Norway. NGOs are largely a post-1990 phenomena. Recently there have been reports of the impact of foreign-funded NGOs in diversifying Ireland’s population and transforming its culture in Woke directions that elevate the legitimization of sexual perversion above Christian morality. US billionaire Chuck Feeney has underwritten pro-immigrant-invader NGOs in Ireland. In Ireland NGOs have been successful in bringing abortion in under the cover of human rights. Other NGOs focus on legitimizing sexual perversion, such as Lesbians In Cork. In other words, the NGOs serve as weapons with which to revolutionize society and to replace natural life with Woke ideology and its amoral and immoral values.

Every Western country is being watered-down with diverse elements that destroy the unity of the country, turn it into a tower of babel, replace sexual and Christian morality with legitimization of sin, and transform traditional citizens into undesirables, arrogantly rejecting the majority as Hillary Clinton did Trump voters when she branded them “Trump deplorables.” From the Woke perspective, which has risen to the ascendancy in the intellectual outlook in the West, all normal people are undesirables. Consequently large numbers of NGOs have been, and are being, created, and huge sums are being funneled into them to take our culture away from us. No one is funding a countervailing effort. Indeed “our” governments provide matching funds for the NGOs. This is what I mean when I speak of the genocide of the West.

Read more …

“..this lawless, Israeli government-indentured Congress which refuses even to demand a ceasefire..”

Biden & Blinken – Rule of Illegal Power Over Rule of Law (Ralph Nader)

Among the puzzling questions that the media chooses to ignore is asking high government officials why they are exercising the illegal use of power that violates the rule of law which they are required to obey. This week, the Veterans for Peace (VFP) made it very easy for reporters to pose questions by sending an open letter (See veteransforpeace.org) to the Inspector General of the U.S. State Department and Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, invoking several U.S. statutes that require the “termination of provision of military weapons and munitions to Israel.” Josh Paul, a former senior official in the State Department’s office charged with reviewing weapon transfers to foreign countries, said: “The Secretary and all relevant officials under his purview should take this letter from Veterans for Peace with the utmost seriousness. It is a stark reminder of the importance of abiding by the laws and policies that relate to arms transfers.”

What laws are being violated by the State Department daily as it approves ships and cargo planes full of weapons of mass destruction to be used in Israel’s war crimes and genocide against hundreds of thousands of Gaza’s civilians, mostly children and women? These are the laws highlighted in the VFP letter:
• The Foreign Assistance Act, which forbids the provision of assistance to a government which “engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”
• Arms Export Control Act, which says countries that receive US military aid can only use weapons for legitimate self-defense and internal security. Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza goes way beyond self-defense and internal security.
• The U.S. War Crimes Act, which forbids grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, including wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and unlawful deportation or transfer, perpetrated by the Israeli Occupying Forces.
• The Leahy Law, which prohibits the U.S. Government from using funds for assistance to units of foreign security forces where there is credible information implicating that unit in the commission of gross violations of human rights.
• The Genocide Convention Implementation Act, which was enacted to implement U.S. obligations under the Genocide Convention, provides for criminal penalties for individuals who commit or incite others to commit genocide

Under these laws, the State Department has a “Conventional Arms Transfer Policy” which, the letter notes, “prohibit [U.S. weapons transfers when it’s likely they] will be used by Israel to commit … genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, [including attacks intentionally directed against civilian objects or civilians protected] or other serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights laws.” The VFP letter continues, “Dozens of authoritative complaints and referrals made by hospital administrators in Gaza, as well as by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Palestine Authority, South Africa, Turkey, Medicins san Frontieres, UNRWA, UNICEF, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Norwegian Refugee Council and the World Food Programme have confirmed that there is an ongoing human rights and humanitarian disaster due to Israel’s cutoff of water and electricity, deliberate destruction of sewage infrastructure and delaying of aid shipments by Israeli forces.”

If you are wondering why these laws are not being enforced – the answer is that individual citizens or groups of citizens do not have any “legal standing” to sue Secretary Blinken, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. Only a Committee of Congress, backed by a Senate or House Resolution, can take the State Department to federal court. That action to enforce Congressionally passed and enacted laws is not likely to happen in this lawless, Israeli government-indentured Congress which refuses even to demand a ceasefire. Mike Ferner, VFP National Director, observed “Just as any good soldiers can recognize when they are given an unlawful order, we believe some State Department staff are horrified at the orders they’re given and will decide to uphold the law, find the courage to speak out and demand an end to the carnage.”

Read more …

“..journalists are persistently interested in the topic of a ‘potential war with Russia’ because they see it as a good selling point to their readers..”

Western Europe Could Become The New Ukraine (Bordachev)

A side effect of the tragic Ukrainian problem for Russian foreign policy is that it helps us to understand the degree of economic and moral decay that our other Western neighbors would have to reach in order to pose a threat to our security. It is these two factors – impoverishment and spiritual decline – that create a critical mass necessary for an adventurer to drag his country into a destructive conflict. So far, as public opinion polls show, the citizens of Western European countries do not see any potential for aggressive behavior towards Russia. Despite the fact that some NATO military leaders and even politicians have suddenly started talking about the possibility of a military conflict, the inhabitants of its member states in Europe do not perceive Russia as a threat at all. Therefore, they have no feelings of aggression towards us. However, this state of affairs could change, and the most important thing is not the geopolitical situation, but the internal situation of our neighbors to the West.

The military-political conflict between Russia and NATO over Ukraine has been accompanied by hostile rhetoric in the media and political circles of Western countries that is unprecedented by the standards of recent decades. We can see how this goes through stages. It is not difficult to see the distribution of roles among the various representatives of Russia’s adversaries in Europe and North America. Now, for example, representatives of military structures are the most active. Literally every week, the Russian media discusses another statement by a British, Danish, or Dutch commander on the alleged inevitability or high probability of an armed conflict between Russia and NATO within a few years. With the same frequency, new NATO ‘secret plans’ for war with Russia are leaked to the Western European media. As a rule, they are poorly adapted to the mass-reader scenarios of yet another hypothetical exercise. The question inevitably arises – should we take all this at face value? So far, there seems to be a certain cunning in such statements.

Especially since the main organizers of the Ukraine crisis – the Americans – prefer to remain silent on the matter and are not throwing around theories about the likelihood of a direct armed conflict with Russia. The situation is fundamentally different for Washington’s European allies. First of all, Western European military and political leaders act with no formal accountability for their words. Since all security and defense decisions within NATO are made by the US, any general or politician in Europe can say whatever he wants; his words mean absolutely nothing in practice – especially since military spending is in the hands of the civilian authorities, and they are in no hurry to spend money on military exercises. Secondly, it is clear to Western European military leaders that politicians are in no hurry to fulfil the promises they made in the early stages of the conflict. As early as March 2022, for example, the German chancellor loudly proclaimed a U-turn in Berlin’s defense policy, an increase in real spending on armaments, and a build-up of military forces.

So far, nothing has been done, and the state of the German economy is not conducive to new spending that goes beyond supporting the welfare of citizens and the corporate sector. Thirdly, journalists are persistently interested in the topic of a ‘potential war with Russia’ because they see it as a good selling point to their readers. And the generals have to answer direct questions that European men in uniform, due to their lack of intellectual flexibility, cannot delicately avoid. And generally speaking, their job is to prepare for war, even if they know they will never have to fight it. Civilian heads of military departments also fall for this bait. A few days ago, for example, journalists had to literally torture the bellicose meaning out of an interview with Poland’s new defense minister.

It should be noted that officials directly involved in US military planning, as well as representatives of Eastern European countries, are more circumspect in their statements. Even officials and military officers from the former Baltic republics of the USSR have not yet issued statements of comparable alarm to their counterparts in Western Europe. Nor does NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speak of a direct armed conflict as a foreseeable probability. American restraint and better coordination between the US and those which directly represent its interests in Europe are probably at work here. Of course, German, Swedish, Dutch, and Danish generals cannot count on the same quality of communication with Washington that Warsaw has. And the Americans themselves, to their credit, are rather cautious when it comes to strategic issues – despite their adventurism and constant desire to test Russia’s patience ‘on the ground’.

The assessments of European generals and officials are even more contradictory when compared with the opinions of their populations. The Bundeswehr general’s comments on the likelihood of war with Russia were published alongside the results of an opinion poll showing that 71% of Germans do not consider Russia a military threat. The annual Munich Security Conference, the West’s main ‘production meeting’ on its relations with the rest of humanity, has produced a report devoted in part to Western Europeans’ attitudes to various threats. Observers have already noted that Russia has fallen to ninth place on the list of ‘threats’ this year. Clearly, the Western European populace no longer feels that Russia threatens them in any way. More importantly, they have no reason to be aggressive towards Russia themselves.

The real causes of major armed conflicts such as world wars are always linked to socio-economic factors. For the naturally cautious German nation to become a bunch of cannibals, it first had to sink into the economic misery and moral oppression of the 1920s. Before that, demographic growth and the unresolved social problems of industrialization created the necessary mass of people willing to kill and die on the fields of the First World War.

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“For them [the West], this is an improvement in their tactical position. While for us it is fate, it is a matter of life and death,..

Everything Happening in Ukraine Matter of Life, Death for Russia – Putin (Sp.)

Everything that is happening in the Ukrainian direction is a matter of life and death for Russia, it is the fate of the country, whereas for the West it is only a matter of their tactical position, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “I think that for ourselves, and even more so for listeners and viewers abroad, it is important to understand the course of our thoughts, to understand our condition, to understand how sensitive and important this is for our country — everything that is happening in the Ukrainian direction. For them [the West], this is an improvement in their tactical position. While for us it is fate, it is a matter of life and death,” Putin said, commenting on the historical part of his recent interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson. Last week, Putin sat down for an interview with Carlson, discussing the Ukraine conflict, the Nord Stream sabotage, Russia-NATO relations, artificial intelligence, and other topics. The interview has attracted huge interest around the world. The video has been viewed 202 million times on X. On YouTube, the video has been viewed over 17.4 million times.

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“..other EU member-states should follow suit..”

Denmark Will Give All Its Artillery To Ukraine – PM (RT)

Denmark will transfer all of its artillery to Ukraine, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said during a panel debate at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday. According to her, despite production issues, Copenhagen and the EU in general have enough arms stockpiled to supply the country with the necessary weaponry. Kiev has increasingly complained of personnel and ammunition shortages on the front lines, appealing to its Western supporters for more financing and arms. However, Brussels is yet to finalize its next aid package, while the EU’s earlier pledge to provide Ukraine with one million artillery rounds by March this year has not been met. “If you ask Ukrainians – they are asking us for ammunition now, artillery now.

From the Danish side, we decided to donate our entire artillery to Ukraine,” Frederiksen stated, adding that other EU member-states should follow suit. “I am sorry to say, friends, but there is still ammunition in stock in Europe. This is not only a question about production because we have weapons, we have ammunition, we have air defense, that we don’t have to use ourselves at the moment, that we should deliver to Ukraine,” she said. Frederiksen noted that it would be ineffective to wait for the US aid package to come through to make decisions on supplies to Ukraine. US lawmakers failed to approve additional funding of around $60 billion for Kiev before going on winter break, and are expected to resume discussions on the package on February 28.

“We have to speed up and scale up, no matter what will happen in the US. We as Europeans need to be able to protect ourselves, and to protect ourselves we need to deliver what is needed in Ukraine now. The responsibility for Europe has to be in Europe and we have to do more,” she stated. Denmark is among the major suppliers of weapons to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. It also spearheaded an effort to help Ukraine procure F-16 fighter jets and train its pilots to fly the warplanes last year, and is a member of the so-called ‘drone coalition’, a recently-formed group of countries that has pledged to give Kiev one million drones to fight Russia.

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“..on Russia 1, the country’s most popular TV channel.”

Biden Offered Prime Time Russian TV Slot (Sp.)

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin sat down for an interview with US journalist Tucker Carlson to discuss the Ukraine conflict, the Nord Stream sabotage, Russia-NATO relations, artificial intelligence and other topics. Dmitry Kiselev, general director of the Rossiya Segodnya media group — Sputnik’s parent company — said he had sent a request to the White House for an interview with US President Joe Biden. “We believe that our countries lack the ability to listen and hear each other, and we believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin has set a worthy example by agreeing to an interview aimed at the American viewer,” the letter said. “The interview is planned to be conducted by me, Dmitry Kiselev, CEO of the Rossiya Segodnya Media Group and host of the highest-rated Sunday news and analysis program Vesti Nedeli on Russia 1, the country’s most popular TV channel.”

If it goes ahead, the interview would be translated into foreign languages and distributed on Sputnik’s Telegram channel, the ria.ru website, and numerous media platforms and social networks of the media group in Russia and around the world “In general, in a good way, US President Biden must respond to all this. The best and most spectacular option for the White House would be a mirror interview with a Russian journalist. As we have a saying, waiting for an answer, like the nightingale of summer,” Kiselev said in his program.

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“Does the Kremlin comprehend that its de-nazification agenda cannot be limited to Ukraine but must be applied to the entirety of the Western world?”

French “Democracy” Establishes Medical Tyranny (Paul Craig Roberts)

Professor Michel Chossudovsky, director of Global Research, has examined the new French law that defines dissent from official medical narratives as a “sectarian aberration” and criminalizes dissent from medical narratives, such as “the mRNA vaccine is safe and effective.” The law also creates a new crime called “provocation to abstention from medical care.” A French citizen is guilty of a crime if the person refuses a vaccine or medical treatment handed down by authorities. Had the law been in place during the mass vaccination campaign with the deadly mRNA “vaccine,” all who refused would have received three years imprisonment and paid a 45,000 euro fine. This ensures that next time everyone will receive the “vaccine,” because if you refuse you will be imprisoned and the prison rules will require you to be “vaccinated.”

The new law also protects the pharmaceutical corporations from any accountability for the deaths and health damage their lies caused by criminalizing French citizens–including doctors and medical scientists–who speak against the Covid-19 “vaccines.” This demonstrates the power of Big Pharma over democracy, which with this death blow given to free speech and medical fact no longer exists in France. This is a very serious development. It is an official act by an alleged “Western democracy” that criminalizes truth. For example, French medical scientists who find that the mRNA “vaccines” result in death and health injury will be imprisoned if they report their findings. The new French law takes the determination of medical fact out of the hands of medical scientists. The “fact” henceforth is whatever Big Pharma’s paid shills among politicians and medical “authorities” say it is.

Something similar has occurred in Germany. The distinguished German attorney Reiner Fuellmich was about to file a lawsuit supported by thousands of medical doctors and attorneys against the mRNA manufacturers when he was kidnapped by the German state and imprisoned in Germany where he is currently standing trial on trumped up charges brought by what appears to be paid “witnesses.” This is not the way democracies operate. As I have written on many occasions, Western countries have ceased to be democracies. The people have no voice. The countries are governed by the agendas of the elites and powerful corporations with the money to purchase the laws that serve their agendas and interests. The people who run for office are the people approved by these elites. Trump was the exception, and look at what has happened to him. The ruling elite have made their point: “Cross us and we will destroy you.”

Western governments serve at the expense of the people the material interests of the powerful and ideologies such as the World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset.” Dutch and Irish governments are dispossessing under the rubric of “global warming” farmers of their flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, thereby driving up food prices by curtailing the supplies of meat, milk, butter, and cheese, while simultaneously allowing entry to hordes of immigrant-invaders whose support the people are forced to undertake. Today a “Western democracy” is an institution that forces citizens to support interests that are not their own. We are now witnessing, with the new French law, with the German government’s kidnapping of Reiner Fuellmich, with the American persecution of medical scientists who truthfully reported the mRNA danger, the Stalinist indictments of President Trump, and with media that no longer serve as watchdogs over the government but as propaganda ministries for government lies, the legalization and institutionalization of the tyranny that has displaced democracy in the Western world.

A large percentage of Western peoples are so indoctrinated and brainwashed that they do not see what is happening. Moreover, Western countries having been turned into towers of babel means there is no social unity, which makes it impossible to oppose the tyranny as some of the diverse elements see tyranny useful in suppressing political and ideological opponents. In the US the Democrats’ policy of wide-open borders for “people of color” but not for whites is dispossessing Americans of their own country. Despite public opposition to the policy, it has moved into high gear with, according to official numbers, entry each year of immigrant-invaders in numbers equivalent to 12 cities the size of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There is no doubt whatsoever that the goal is to replace the white American population who are powerless to do anything about it. Meanwhile the Western governments foment wars with Russia, China, and Iran and expect the demoralized citizens they are dispossessing to supply the army. Does the Kremlin comprehend that its de-nazification agenda cannot be limited to Ukraine but must be applied to the entirety of the Western world?

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She’s addicted to power.

Von der Leyen Wants Second EU Term – Bild (RT)

Ursula von der Leyen will formally announce her candidacy for a second term as president of the European Commission on Monday, German tabloid Bild has reported. Von der Leyen has already hinted that she seeks a second term, promising on Saturday to appoint a dedicated “defense commissioner” if she holds on to her office. To secure a second term, von der Leyen will first have to be nominated by her faction in the European Parliament, the centrist European People’s Party (EPP). Speaking to Reuters last month, EPP lawmaker Daniel Caspary said the party would nominate von der Leyen at a congress in March, “if that’s what she wants.” Should the EPP emerge as the largest party in June’s European elections, which it is projected to do, von der Leyen’s candidacy would then be put before the European Council.

From there, a majority vote by the council’s 27 members followed by the parliament’s final approval would see the German installed for another five-year term at the helm of the commission. Opponents of von der Leyen, chief among them Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, will have few opportunities to stymie her nomination. Despite the fact that Hungary will hold the council’s rotating presidency after the elections, no one member state can veto a majority vote in her favor. Additionally, the EPP is a big-tent organization of centrist and center-right parties, meaning potential dissenters like Italy’s Forza Italia will be easily overruled by von der Leyen’s Christian Democrats and their allies. Von der Leyen has already strongly suggested that she will seek a second term. “If I would be the president of the next European Commission, I would have a commissioner for defense,” she said at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, without spelling out what this commissioner’s responsibilities would be.

Since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began, von der Leyen has positioned herself as one of Kiev’s most ardent Western backers. She has authorized 12 packages of sanctions on Russia, overseen the dramatic expansion of the so-called ‘European Peace Facility’ – a €12 billion ($12.9 billion) fund used to funnel weapons to Ukraine – and hurried Ukraine’s bid for EU membership through the normally drawn-out application process. So antagonistic is her relationship to Moscow that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz reportedly forbade US President Joe Biden last year from endorsing her bid to succeed Jens Stoltenberg as secretary-general of NATO. According to Germany’s Welt newspaper, Scholz felt that von der Leyen’s hardline anti-Russian stance “could prove to be a disadvantage in the long term.” Von der Leyen will return to Berlin from Munich on Sunday, and is expected to announce her candidacy after a discussion with her fellow Christian Democrats on Monday, Bild reported.

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“..last thing we need right now is elections.”

Netanyahu To Be Ousted – Israel Media (RT)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not be able to retain power after the country’s military has concluded its operation against Hamas in Gaza, Ynet media outlet has claimed, citing anonymous sources within his Likud party. Amid mounting calls for early elections, the Israeli leader insisted on Saturday that now is “not the time for politics,” suggesting that the next vote will take place “in a few years.” Multiple opinion polls have demonstrated that Netanyahu’s approval ratings and those of his Likud party have been on the decline since Hamas militants conducted their deadly surprise incursion into Israeli territory on October 7, 2023. Back in December, the Israel Democracy Institute, citing survey results, claimed that more than two-thirds of Israelis want general elections to be held as soon as hostilities in Gaza are over.

A survey conducted earlier this month showed that opposition parties would secure as many as 75 of the Israeli parliament’s 120 seats if elections were held now.In its report on Saturday, Ynet quoted an unnamed senior member of Likud as predicting that “whoever was prime minister on October 7 will finish his post at the end of the war.”Another staffer from Netanyahu’s party allegedly contended that no matter “how much Netanyahu postpones the end and how much he doesn’t want to, at the end of this war we will go to elections.” According to the media outlet, the anonymous Likud bigwig added that the prime minister would be forced to call a snap election either by members of his own political force or by other parties making up the ruling coalition, with everyone understanding that “this is what’s going to happen.”

Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Netanyahu dismissed calls for a snap election, insisting that a vote for the Knesset should take place as scheduled, that is, in October 2026. “I suggest we don’t concern ourselves with that during the war,” the prime minister said, arguing that the “last thing we need right now is elections.” Netanyahu warned that internal political division in Israel would play into the hands of Hamas. The opposition Yesh Atid party released a statement describing the prime minister’s comments as “another performance by an unfit prime minister who, by all accounts, has long lost the public’s trust and continues to flee from the responsibility of the greatest failure to the Jewish people since the Holocaust.” “Israel needs change. Elections are the order of the day,” the party argued.

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“..a week of hearings on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestine..”

ICJ to Examine 57 Years of Israeli Occupation of Palestine (Wilkins)

More than 50 countries are set to participate in next week’s hearings at the International Court of Justice focusing on Israel’s illegal 57-year occupation of Palestine, a forum that follows the Hague tribunal’s finding last month that Israel is “plausibly” committing genocide in occupied Gaza. The ICJ—also known as the World Court—will hold a week of hearings on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestine, which dates to the Israeli conquest of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, Syrian Golan Heights, and Egyptian Sinai Peninsula during the 1967 Six-Day War. “The International Court of Justice is set for the first time to broadly consider the legal consequences of Israel’s nearly six-decades-long occupation and mistreatment of the Palestinian people,” Human Rights Watch senior legal adviser Clive Baldwin said in a statement.

“Governments that are presenting their arguments to the court should seize these landmark hearings to highlight the grave abuses Israeli authorities are committing against Palestinians, including the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution.” The West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Golan Heights remain under Israeli military occupation six decades after their conquest. The United Nations—to which the ICJ belongs—and many international NGOs contend that, despite removing its troops and settlers from Gaza two decades ago, Israel continues to occupy Gaza by controlling the besieged enclave’s airspace, territorial waters, and the entry and exit of people and goods. Since the October 7 Hamas-led attacks on Israel, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have killed or wounded more than 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza while forcibly displacing around 90% of the population. Numerous Israeli leaders have called for the renewed physical occupation, Jewish resettlement, and ethnic cleansing of the strip.

During the current assault on Gaza, occupation forces have also killed at least 388 Palestinians, including 99 children, in the West Bank, according to U.N. human rights officials. Israeli settlers have for decades been steadily colonizing the occupied territories under the protection of the IDF, while ethnically cleansing Palestinians whose lands and homes they steal. Next week’s hearings come on the heels of the ICJ’s provisional ruling last month in a case led by South Africa—which will be the first nation after Palestine to present at next week’s hearing—that Israel is “plausibly” committing genocide in Gaza. The tribunal ordered Israel to “take all measures within its power” to adhere to its obligations under Article II of the Genocide Convention.

Earlier this week, South Africa urgently appealed to the ICJ to act amid the looming threat of an Israeli ground invasion of Rafah. More than 1.5 million Palestinians, most of them refugees ordered to flee to the south of Gaza by invading Israeli forces, are crammed into what is now one of the world’s most densely populated places. On Friday, the ICJ declined to take any additional action against Israel, while reiterating that the “perilous situation” in Rafah “demands immediate and effective implementation of the provisional measures indicated by the court” in last month’s ruling.

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“..including the threat from Morris to sue me for defamation if I continued to raise ethical concerns over his conduct..”

Hunter’s Lawyers Balked at Kevin Morris Laptop Conspiracy Theories (Turley)

We have previously discussed the controversial representation of Kevin Morris of Hunter Biden, including the threat from Morris to sue me for defamation if I continued to raise ethical concerns over his conduct. Now a report by the New York Times suggests that even Hunter’s other lawyers had concerns over Morris’s claims, particularly the fostering of a conspiracy theory to deny the authenticity of the infamous laptop of Hunter Biden. According to the New York Times, Kevin Morris “quietly pushed a complex theory under which the repair shop was a front and the information had been made public through a cast of characters including a psychiatrist who had treated Mr. Biden’s addiction using ketamine therapy and the Trump-allied operative Roger J. Stone Jr.” That is notable because many in the media picked up on the conspiracy theory despite ample evidence that the laptop was genuine.

Indeed, a similar theory was contained in the now debunked letter of former intelligence officials just before the election — a letter widely used in the media to effectively shutdown coverage. Some later admitted that they assumed the emails were genuine. The Washington Post’s Phillip Bump and others pushed the conspiracy theory. Indeed, in 2021, when media organizations were finally admitting that the laptop was authentic, Bump was still declaring that it was a “conspiracy theory.” Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Bump continued to suggest that “the laptop was seeded by Russian intelligence.” What is equally astonishing is that in 2023 the Post expressly stood by Bump’s reporting on the laptop and other debunked claims. The media report suggests that Chris Clark and Joshua Levy stopped working on the case as the false claims were being pushed. It is not clear if they support the reporting in the Times. Levy reportedly exited from representation in March 2023 after “unease and dissent” over the Hunter Biden legal team and its direction.

Clark withdrew shortly after he admitted that Hunter’s notorious 2017 WhatsApp text demanding money from a Chinese businessman was genuine. In the message, Hunter literally describes his father sitting next to him to drive home the threat, declaring “I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled…I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight…I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father.” Morris has increasingly appeared to be something of an enabler for Hunter, reinforcing a persecution complex while funding his lavish lifestyle. What is striking about the report is that the conspiracy theory is precisely the type of disinformation that the Biden Administration has alleged against critics to seek their censorship, throttling, and banning on social media.

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Dog turtle

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Feb 052024
 


Giovanni Battista Tiepolo Allegory of the Planets and Continents 1752

 

Beijing Powerless As Chinese Stocks Crater (ZH)
Brzezinski’s Barbaric Dream. A Broader War, “Spreading Towards Iran” (Stea)
US Not Prepared for War Against Iran and ‘Axis of Resistance’ (Sp.)
EU Needs An Enemy – Kremlin (RT)
EU Gives Zelensky Life Support for Himself and His Regime. But .. (Jay)
EU Citizens’ Taxes Going To Terrorists – Moscow (RT)
Possible NATO Corps Deployment to Ukraine May Become ‘Suicide Mission’ (Sp.)
What Powerful Force Prevents the US from Defending its Borders? (PCR)
Shrinking Populations Fuel Divisive Politics (NYT)
Facebook: Tool for State Censorship, Goldmine for US Intel (Sp.)
Get The Zuck Out Of Here: 20 Years Later (RT)
Novichok Public Inquiry Turns Into A Secret Farce Before It Begins (Helmer)
E Jean Carroll Lawyer Says Trump Used Coded Version Of C-Word Against Her (G.)
Musk Took Drugs With Tesla, SpaceX Execs – WSJ (RT)

 

 

Congresswoman Luna about the new bipartisan Senate bill:

 

 

Farmers

 

 

 

 

Weinstein Border

 

 

RFK Jr

RFK/Smith

 

 

Elon Musk: “In the “bet-you-didn’t-know” category,
Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas issued written guidance making it clear that:
1. Illegal presence alone is not grounds for deportation.
2. Criminal charges, convictions or gang membership alone are not enough for deportation.
You basically have to be a convicted axe murderer to be deported! That’s because every deportation is a lost vote.”

 

 

 

 

Not much to do with Trump’s promised new tariffs, I would think. This has been coming for a while.

Zerohedge thinks it’s serious though: “..every day that Beijing is just more talk and no action brings us closer to the world’s biggest and most violent social revolt seen in history…”

Beijing Powerless As Chinese Stocks Crater (ZH)

The China Securities Regulatory Commission vowed on Sunday to prevent abnormal fluctuations, saying it would guide more medium- and long-term funds into the market and crack down on illegal activities including malicious short selling and insider trading. The brief statement followed a sudden plunge of as much as 3.4% in the benchmark CSI 300 Index on Friday — and an outpouring of frustration on social media from individual investors just days before families across the country gather to celebrate the Lunar New Year. “The statement sought to stabilize investor sentiment, but didn’t touch on fundamental problems including a lack of confidence and huge economic uncertainty,” said Shen Meng, director at investment bank Chanson & Co. “Those issues are the causes of abnormal market fluctuation.”

While authorities have taken piecemeal steps to support the economy and markets in recent months and have discussed a potential stock stabilization fund, they’ve yet to announce any major moves to stop the selloff. Weak economic data, simmering geopolitical tensions with the US, a worsening property crisis and an opaque crackdown on the financial sector have all weighed on investor sentiment. As reported last week, China’s CSI 300 tumbled 6.3% in January, a record sixth straight month of losses. Shares then rallied briefly toward the end of the month after Bloomberg reported that authorities were seeking to mobilize about 2 trillion yuan ($278 billion) for a stabilization fund, but the market has since renewed its decline, reaching the lowest level since January 2019 as once again the Beijing trial baloon was just that, and nothing more. .

Meanwhile, the hail mary media bullshit and lies continued, and over the weekend, 21st Century Business Herald daily newspaper reported that authorities should set up a stabilization fund as soon as possible to boost market confidence, with an aim to get its size to 10 trillion yuan or more. Next up it will be 100 trillion in promises, then 1 quadrillion, only by then the SHCOMP will hit 0. Meanwhile, in a sign of how exasperated some investors have become, thousands flocked to a social media account of the US embassy in Beijing to vent their frustrations over the economy and slumping share prices. In the comment section of the embassy’s Weibo post on giraffe protection on Friday evening, some 53,000 users added remarks by Saturday evening, winning over 300,000 likes. China’s internet users often struggle to find a venue to air grievances about the economy or government performance, with official accounts of Chinese state agencies or media usually either disabling the comment function or only showing selected feedback.

In the end, the outcome is a clear one: either Beijing will watch powerless as 1 billion furious Chinamen start rioting in the streets as both the real estate and capital markets crater – and only then, after countless are dead, will it inject trillions into the economy, or someone in Beijing will come to their senses and do so before there is bloodshed… Not that that’s a viable solution of course: at best, that’s kicking the can by a few years, but in the grand scheme of things, can kicking is all the world has left. And now all eyes are now on China and every day that Beijing is just more talk and no action brings us closer to the world’s biggest and most violent social revolt seen in history.

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It was Brzezinski who invented the plot of a war between Ukraine and Russia.

Brzezinski’s Barbaric Dream. A Broader War, “Spreading Towards Iran” (Stea)

In a recent interview, Paul Craig Roberts, former economic adviser (US Department of the Treasury) to the late President Ronald Reagan, outlined, with astonishing foresight, the trajectory that the current Middle East crisis may follow, and his insight is both brilliant and terrifying. To paraphrase Roberts’s analysis, the Israeli-Gaza conflict is merely the beginning of a widening conflict in the Middle East, spreading toward the neocon’s main target, Iran. Though Iran is extremely powerful now, the conflict will greatly weaken the country, making possible the West’s stealthy infiltration of jihadists into the Central Asian countries which border Iran and extend to both the Russian borders and, indeed the Chinese border, with Xinjiang, bordering Kazakhstan. Though Roberts does not mention China, the logic of his thesis would extend to China.

The purpose of these jihadists, infiltrated into countries neighboring Russia, with large Islamic populations which have, historically lived in peace with citizens of very diverse ethnic and religious identities, including Russian, Catholic, Jewish citizens, often intermarrying, will be, as Brzezinski planned. This purpose will be,[..] to incite violent, extremist religious separatist movements, destabilizing these peaceful Central Asian countries, fomenting “color revolutions” (as was tried, but failed in Kazakhstan recently), and engineering bloody putsch, in these countries, similar to the one incited in Ukraine in 2014 with the ensuing devastating wars. These infiltrated jihadists would spread and continue inciting violent separatist movements, next, within the Russian Federation itself, with Bashkortostan and Tartarstan on the Volga, with large Islamic populations, again, also hitherto living peacefully with other extremely diverse religious and ethnic citizens.

If successful in inciting separatist movements on the Volga, Russia could be isolated from the enormously rich resources in Siberia, and reduced in size to less than the area of France, and impoverished, accordingly. Though Russia may be aware of this lethal Western agenda, the militarization of the rabidly Russophobic Baltics, to the North, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and the recent accession of Finland and Sweden into Nato, with planned “Steadfast Defender 2024, including 31 NATO participants, will threaten Russia from the north and west, reducing its ability to protect itself from threats from destabilized Central Asian neighbors, and demanding that Russia fight for its survival on two fronts.

Although Brzezinski, in “The Grand Chessboard”, describes a partnership between Russia and China as a disaster to be avoided at all costs, NATO’s provocation of Russia has forced a war between Russia and Ukraine, which Brzezinski fiercely advocated in order to isolate Russia from Europe. Though the Russia-China friendship would appear to protect Russia from the aforementioned crisis, at least now, if the deadly agenda Paul Craig Roberts describes becomes a reality, the infiltration of jihadists would likely spread to China, which has, also, a large Islamic population, hitherto living peacefully with diverse citizenry.

However, as violent, externally engineered separatist movements have already occurred in Xinjiang, in the West of China, these could be exacerbated by further outside infiltration of jihadists, and could metastasize throughout China. Further, the eastern part of China could be existentially threatened by the new “Axis” of Japan, South Korea and the United States, menacing China’s survival, and again forcing China to divert its defenses from the West to the East, increasing its vulnerability, and diminishing its ability to assist Russia, amidst the rampant chaos created by the Brzezinski plan, and Washington’s current neocon agenda, world domination.

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“The United States, its assets across Iraq would be crushed. It would be overrun and by extension Syria as well and Lebanon. The world has changed. This is not just Iran, by the way. This is the whole of West Asia.”

US Not Prepared for War Against Iran and ‘Axis of Resistance’ (Sp.)

US officials have reportedly signaled that plans have been approved for a series of strikes against targets in Iraq and Syria. That would be in response to a recent drone attack on US personnel in the Middle East — which claimed the lives of three soldiers and left 34 wounded. In the wake of the strike Bloomberg claimed the Biden administration was considering a covert strike on Iran or Iranian officials as possible options. But University of Tehran Professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi told Sputnik that directly targeting Iran would be a major mistake and a major miscalculation by Washington. He suggested that scenario was very unlikely, given Iran’s missile defense and drone capabilities, as well as the vulnerability of US bases which are scattered across the Middle Eastern region.

“Let’s assume that the United States strikes Iran,” Marandi said. “The United States has bases all across the Persian Gulf. The Iranians will hit out at those bases, and then the Iranians will also punish those countries that host those bases.” The professor warned the fallout from the tit-for-tat attacks would send oil and gas prices “through the roof.” “The Red Sea would no longer be safe for oil and gas. The Western economies would collapse if there was a major escalation in our region,” Marandi underlined. “The United States, its assets across Iraq would be crushed. It would be overrun and by extension Syria as well and Lebanon. The world has changed. This is not just Iran, by the way. This is the whole of West Asia.” Given the latest US media reports, it appears far more plausible that the US would attack targets in Iraq and Syria, Marandi continued.

“[The US] will claim some sort of ‘victory over terrorists’ and that sort of nonsense which they usually say,” the professor said. “But it will be like in Yemen, they will have very little impact because the resistance to the US occupation, the illegal occupation in Iraq and Syria is very well hidden. Their assets are underground, they are spread out. And all the United States would do would be to make people angrier and make the resistance more popular, both at home and abroad. That’s exactly what we saw in Yemen.” Marandi noted that most recently instead of pushing the Israeli regime to end the slaughter in the Palestinian Gaza Strip, the US tried to facilitate the genocide by attacking Yemen. Since early January the US and its allies conducted a series of strikes against the Ansar Allah-led government in the Yemeni capital Sana’a, also known as the Houthis after their leader.

“They launched many missiles, wasted a lot of money, but they were incapable of changing the balance of power. And Yemen continues to easily strike ships. Why?” the professor asked. “Because all of their assets are underground. Their mobile radar is well-protected underground. Their missiles and drones are well protected underground. They come out, strike the target and go back underground. So the Americans failed in Yemen. They made ‘Ansar Allah,’ or what the West likes to call the Houthis, very popular across the region and across the world, and they’ll only do the same in Iraq and Syria.”

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Just like the US..

EU Needs An Enemy – Kremlin (RT)

Recent statements by EU politicians about the possibility of a war with Russia serve their own domestic interests and distract the population from internal issues like tanking economies, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has suggested. At the same time, claims of an allegedly imminent conflict with Moscow also help to justify continued funding for Kiev, he said. On February 1 EU leaders signed off on a €50-billion ($54-billion) package of economic aid to Ukraine. This followed months of back-and-forth on the matter. “They [politicians in EU countries] need to continue to construct an image of the enemy, to do it in a textured, prominent way, in order to justify the increase in spending. And, you see, the allocation of 50 billion – on the one hand, for the EU this amount is not a very big deal, but on the other hand it is still noticeable against the backdrop of the crisis markers manifesting themselves in the economies of EU countries,” Peskov told journalist Pavel Zarubin on Sunday.

This effort to distract populations from domestic problems with talk about a purportedly looming conflict with Russia has been undertaken by multiple countries of the bloc, the spokesman pointed out. In particular, Germany has clearly taken such an approach to hide the internal issues it has been facing lately, he suggested. “Germany is an economic engine of the EU, and now whole sectors of the German economy are losing their attractiveness and competitiveness. And, of course, against this backdrop, it is best to divert attention by creating some kind of enemy and maintaining its image. And for this there is probably no one better than [Russia] in their opinion,” the spokesman explained.

In recent months, senior officials from various EU countries have been urging their citizenry to brace for an allegedly inevitable conflict with Russia, with governments redirecting funding towards their militaries. Berlin has actively taken such a route, adopting a new military and strategic doctrine late last year that aims for “war-ready” forces. At the time, Chancellor Olaf Scholz claimed the country needed “a long-term, permanent change of course,” with the goal of creating “a powerful Bundeswehr” actually able to fight in the war that has been flagged as imminent. Russia has repeatedly dismissed claims that it is somehow seeking to attack any EU or NATO countries, describing such allegations as “absurd.” Late last year, for instance, Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated that Moscow has “no interest… geopolitically, economically or militarily… in waging war against [the US-led NATO bloc].”

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“..They don’t actually believe there will be a war with Russia but it’s a great story to put out there which pays dividends…”

EU Gives Zelensky Life Support for Himself and His Regime. But .. (Jay)

So by hook or by crook, the EU got its funding for Ukraine agreed. But before you get too excited, perhaps it’s worth pondering the amount. A pathetic 50bn euros spread over four years! Is this money really for Zelensky and his cabal to keep the war going though, or simply a massive bribe for him to pass most of it on, in order for him to stay in power? What is the West worried about with Zelensky leaving office too early, some astute analysts will no doubt ask. From a military perspective it would be too little too late and so it’s all destined for public services and what some EU apparatchiks are calling “keeping the lights on”. But EU leaders should be aware that a good part of this money – probably at least half of it – will go directly to Zelensky and his circle of close aides and ministers whose only job is to keep him in power.

As president, he has control over the budgets of the government ministries including the finance ministry and it would be absurd to assume that most of this money will not be diverted in a regime which redefines the scales of corruption and embezzlement. Even the CIA chief Bill Mad Dog Burns had to fly in recently to Kiev to tell Zelensky personally to “not steal too much” from the next bundle which the Biden administration is expected to sign off in the coming weeks, which is expected to be around 65 billion dollars in military aid. And so the Americans appear to be ready to continue to give the military kit, despite much of it, according to my own investigation is ending up on the black market in Libya, while the EU is happy to pay the bills of the government and salaries. The Atlantic Council sums it up thus:

“This agreement is also an important signal to Washington that Europe is stepping up and is with Ukraine for the long run. Coincidentally, debates over aid packages to Ukraine on both sides of the Atlantic unfolded at the same time last year in December and now”. “Europe missed an opportunity to better impact the U.S. debate then. The EU hit the mark this time, showing Washington that Europe is doing its part”. But doing what part exactly? The EU default position on Ukraine is to blindly follow the Biden administration and its fatalistic support of the Ukraine regime until the abyss approaches. Indeed, most of last year Biden could only repeat the mantra over and over again “whatever it takes” and the EU followed, with many member states devastated by the decision. Germany’s economy is looking like a basket case while folks in the UK pay sky-high utility bills which in most cases look like a zero has been incongruously added by mistake.

Most EU countries have no military stock left to defend themselves against any threat – which does tend to take away the credibility of the absurd narrative that Russia is about to invade at any moment. And the EU itself continues to borrow money that has to be paid back by the next generation of taxpayers long after corrupt elitists like Ursula von der Leyen have left office and only have their dirty vaccine deals to fund their retirement plan while Europe starves. There is much talk in Brussels and on member state level that more money needs to be found for the EU project and that it needs to develop its own defence policy, without using the words EU army. Even in Britain, the conservative party are preparing for war with Russia. Well, strictly speaking senior officials are preparing the media narrative. They don’t actually believe there will be a war with Russia but it’s a great story to put out there which pays dividends.

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When you bomb bakeries, yes…

This is what Ukraine will switch to: targeting civilians.

EU Citizens’ Taxes Going To Terrorists – Moscow (RT)

The West is complicit in the Ukrainian military’s killing of civilians in Donbass, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has claimed. The diplomat was referring to a Ukrainian attack on a bakery in the city of Lisichansk, apparently involving weaponry provided by Kiev’s allies, which claimed the lives of at least 28 civilians. Following the attack, the acting head of the Lugansk People’s Republic, Leonid Pasechnik, accused the Ukrainian military of deliberately targeting the building on a weekend to maximize civilian casualties. In a post on his Telegram channel, he added that “emergency services have managed to rescue ten people from under the rubble,” with doctors doing their best to save their lives. In a statement on Saturday, Zakharova said that “according to preliminary information, the strike was conducted using Western weaponry.”

She described the shelling as a “terrorist attack” meant to convey Kiev’s “gratefulness for the ‘generous’ financial support by EU countries.” The foreign ministry spokeswoman added that the EU nations’ citizens should be cognizant of what their taxes are being spent on, namely “deadly weapons systems” used by the Ukrainian military to “kill civilians.” “We suggest that Parisians imagine how they go in the morning for a baguette, and Rome’s residents – to have a cup of coffee with cornetto – but instead of freshly-baked pastry return home with relatives wounded or killed by Ukrainian terrorists,” Zakharova charged. Echoing Pasechnik, the diplomat alleged that Kiev’s forces had been well aware that civilians, including families with children and the elderly, would typically flock to the bakery on Saturdays. She added that the building had been razed to the ground as a result of the shelling.

According to Zakharova, the deadly incident is “further proof of the criminal nature of the Kiev regime.” She went on to quote Russian President Vladimir Putin, who on Friday characterized the Ukrainian military as a “terrorist organization that attacks ambulances.” He was referring to several attacks on paramedics working in Donbass last month. The foreign ministry spokeswoman concluded by saying that Moscow will inform “international organizations of yet another terrorist attack on the part of Zelensky’s gang.” The official noted that Russia expects a swift and unequivocal condemnation of Kiev’s actions. Authorities in the LPR declared Sunday a day of mourning for the 28 victims of the attack on the bakery, which include one child. Pasechnik vowed that those responsible would eventually be brought to justice “for this horrible tragedy, for every death.”

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“..Russia has complete air dominance, escalatory dominance, logistical dominance, ammunition dominance..”

Possible NATO Corps Deployment to Ukraine May Become ‘Suicide Mission’ (Sp.)

The UK has urged its NATO allies to consider sending the alliance’s expeditionary force to Ukraine, an informed source told Sputnik. According to the source, the alleged move came “in connection with the unfavorable developments in the Ukrainian theater of military operations for Kiev”. The insider added that Britain also called on NATO to consider imposing a no-fly zone over the territory controlled by the Zelensky regime and to increase military aid to Ukraine. ”The UK’s reported plans about deploying NATO’s expeditionary corps to Ukraine is “a fantastical delusion on the part of the Brits and has no foundation in reality,” retired CIA intelligence officer and State Department official Larry Johnson told Sputnik. “But just because the Brits are insane does not mean Russia can ignore them. It is a serious proposal,” he added.

Johnson was partly echoed by Matthew Gordon-Banks, an international relations consultant, former member of Parliament and retired senior research fellow at the UK Defence Academy, who said he didn’t think the rumors of a NATO force in Ukraine should be taken seriously. “The suggestions I have heard are quite unrealistic at present,” Gordon-Banks stated. Asked to comment on the “unfavorable development of events” for Kiev on the battlefield, he emphasized that “things are collapsing in Kiev quite quickly”. “[Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky has not been able to fire his top general, and I think he is now very much a ‘lame duck’ president,” Gordon-Banks argued, referring to the commander-in-chief of Ukraine’s armed forces, Valery Zaluzhny.

The same tone was struck by Earl Rasmussen, a retired US Army lieutenant colonel turned geopolitical and military affairs consultant, who warned that if the information about London’s plans is true, and “if this is somebody’s dream, it could quickly become a nightmare for British and NATO forces.”But it is not a realistic solution or proposal. Russia has complete air dominance, escalatory dominance, logistical dominance, ammunition dominance. This would be catastrophic for any UK forces and definitely would show a symbol of direct NATO involvement, which could really be dangerous, as far as escalation goes,” Rasmussen emphasized, noting that “the British forces would probably be wiped out, fairly rapidly.” The US Army veteran suggested that someone in the UK military might be having “some type of delusional experience” for even suggesting such a scenario. “It’s a suicide mission for those troops. And it definitely would pull NATO into a much more dangerous situation and direct confrontation [with Russia],” Rasmussen concluded.

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“When the Western Roman Empire was overrun, Rome ceased to exist. How can it be any different for America?”

What Powerful Force Prevents the US from Defending its Borders? (PCR)

Israel can evict Palestinians from the the Palestinians’ villages in Palestine. Tiny Latvia can deport Russian ethnics born in Latvia for not learning to speak Latvian, but mighty America cannot prevent millions of immigrant-invaders from illegally entering the US each year and remaining. How can this be? Clearly the US government is in a conspiracy with the NGOs that are recruiting and funding the invasion in order to replace the white American population. Why is the US government cooperating with anti-American NGOs to steal America from Americans? Why do Americans sit on their butts and permit their country to be stolen? Why do a majority of American women vote for the Democrats who are aiding and abetting the theft of America? When Washington speaks of “American national interests,” whose interests is meant?

The military/security complex’s interest? How does a tower of babel have a national interest? Why is it in America’s national interest to be overrun by invaders? Why is Washington worried about attack from Russia and China but not from the vastly larger army of the anti-American NGOs? Does the US military have any role other than protecting the profits of the military/security complex? How can the United States be a country when it has no borders? How can something as abnormal as a country without borders continue to exist? When the Western Roman Empire was overrun, Rome ceased to exist. How can it be any different for America? Why are voices that speak for American identity, such as VDARE, suppressed by American prosecutorial authorities?

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3rd day in a row that we’re talking about birth rates.

Shrinking Populations Fuel Divisive Politics (NYT)

In the 2000 film “Almost Famous,” Cameron Crowe’s comedy-drama about rock musicians in the 1970s, the character played by Zooey Deschanel gives her younger brother some advice. “Listen to ‘Tommy’ with a candle burning, and you’ll see your whole future,” she says. I’m going to borrow that thought: Stare at the map accompanying this article with — or without — a candle burning, and you’ll see your whole future. The map shows how the number of working-age people around the world is forecast to change by 2050. Europe’s working-age population will shrink. So will that of Brazil, China, Chile, Japan and Russia, among others. And that change could have extremely negative consequences for those societies, without mitigation. “Working-age population” can sound technical and abstract. But these are the people who staff our offices and factories, work farms, treat the sick, care for the very old and the very young.

They are the ones who have children and raise them; who build new things and fix old ones. When that population shrinks, those activities become more difficult, more expensive and less frequent. The economy slows down. Fewer workers getting paid generates less tax revenue. As the population ages, more people rely on government social security programs to fund their retirements and health care, putting those vital programs further under strain. This is mostly a story about birthrates. As countries get richer, people have fewer children; and it turns out that once birthrates fall, it’s really hard to get them back up again. Although a number of countries have tried to boost fertility through tax breaks, cash bonuses and even awards for heroism given to women who bear many children, none of those programs have made more than a marginal difference.

But look at the map a little longer, and you see the phenomenon that has allowed a few wealthy countries to cushion the blow of demographic change: immigration. Australia, Canada and the United States have small green dots, denoting modest growth in their working-age populations. That’s largely because those countries take in relatively high numbers of immigrants, who not only bolster population numbers directly when they arrive, but also tend to have more children than the native-born population. In the United States, for instance, the modest increase in births since the 1970s was entirely driven by births to immigrant mothers. In Canada, immigration is the sole driver of population growth, according to government statistics.

Immigration, to be clear, can only ever be a partial solution to this demographic shift. To put the numbers in perspective, just to stay level by 2050, Europe would have to absorb about half of the entire working-age population growth in India, the world’s most populous country. China, facing an even bigger shortfall, could take all the growth of Pakistan and all that of Nigeria — Africa’s most populous country — and still be 2 million short of where it stands now. At the same time, this map strongly suggests that being able to attract and integrate large numbers of immigrants will be an important competitive advantage for countries in the coming decades. Doing so, however, will require overcoming political barriers that arise, partly, out of the same demographic shifts.

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Gretarded.

Facebook: Tool for State Censorship, Goldmine for US Intel (Sp.)

As Americans, Europeans and others around the world signed up, logged on and voluntarily offered up private information that companies and intel agencies would have paid a fortune to get their hands on just a few short decades ago, powerful forces quickly realized the importance of collecting and engineering this new form of online human interaction. “It is clear that intelligence agencies throughout the world, not only the US, can use Facebook to their advantage,” Ryan Hartwig, Facebook contractor-turned whistleblower and co-author of ‘Behind the Mask of Facebook: A Whistleblower’s Shocking Story of Big Tech Bias and Censorship,’ told Sputnik in an interview. “The government launders their censorship through various NGOs and institutions on behalf of the US government,” Hartwig said, pointing, for example, to a 2021 report by the Stanford Internet Observatory entitled “Combating Information Manipulation: A Playbook for Elections and Beyond,” which plainly outlines tools the company uses to “remove the spread of malign information” from social media.

In his book, coauthored with attorney Kent Heckenlively, Hartwig documents how, while working as a content moderator for Facebook in the 2010s, he had witnessed the platform’s disturbing transformation after the 2016 US elections into a tool for systematically suppressing conservative viewpoints while elevating liberal ones, and cracking down on some forms of suspected hate speech while amplifying others. Of course, conservatives aren’t the only ones targeted by the social media giant’s censorship leviathan, with non-liberal left groups, critics of the US military-industrial complex, Big Pharma, Big Tech and other elite forces which run America and much of the world also falling victim. Documented instances of censorship by Facebook include the scrubbing of criticism of US and European immigration policy, climate policies, vaccines and vaccine mandates, criticisms of Facebook itself, and the vagaries of US foreign policy, with posts on these issues occasionally deleted outright, but more often hidden or deranked without users being informed using the platform’s complex, non-open source algorithm.

In 2022, Facebook rolled out a special carve-out of exceptions to its anti-hate speech rules to allow users to make explicitly Russophobic posts, issue death threats against Russian officials, use dehumanizing language to refer to Russian troops, and even offer praise for the neo-Nazi Azov** Regiment, despite the social media giant’s ban on content featuring Nazi and neo-Nazi ideology. “Facebook manipulates public opinion by suppressing unpopular opinions, or allowing newsworthy exceptions for the people they like,” Hartwig explained, noting this extends not just to big name issues, but even extremely minute details bordering on psychopathy. “For example, they made a specific rule to protect Greta Thunberg from being attacked or called ‘Gretarded’,” the former content moderator recalled, referring to the WEF-promoted climate activist. “Normally, public figures, even young individuals like Greta are allowed to be called retarded. Facebook made an exception to protect her,” Hartwig said.

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I heard a similar story last year about another company 🙂 : “The company’s headcount decreased by 22% year-over-year, following layoffs, indicating a strategic shift in its workforce.”

Get The Zuck Out Of Here: 20 Years Later (RT)

As Facebook approached its adolescence and entered the realm of maturity, its impact on society became increasingly significant. The platform, once a college-focused social hub, had evolved into a global information-sharing powerhouse, shaping not only individual interactions but also influencing broader societal dynamics. Despite the controversies, Facebook’s financial triumphs were undeniable. Meta’s Q4 2023 earnings report showcased a strong rebound in its online ad business, with a 25% year-over-year increase in sales. The company’s expenses decreased, and its operating margin more than doubled, reflecting successful cost-cutting measures. Net income also saw a significant increase, reaching $14 billion.

In addition to the positive financial results, Meta announced its first-ever dividend payment and a $50 billion share buyback, signaling confidence in its financial standing. However, the financial success was not without challenges. Meta’s Reality Labs unit, responsible for virtual reality and augmented reality technologies, generated over $1 billion in sales but recorded a $4.65 billion loss, highlighting the risks associated with cutting-edge technologies. Looking ahead this year, Meta anticipates first-quarter sales in the range of $34.5-37 billion, with expenses in 2024 projected at $94-99 billion. The company’s headcount decreased by 22% year-over-year, following layoffs, indicating a strategic shift in its workforce.

Zuckerberg has trumpeted the role of artificial intelligence in the company’s growth trajectory, emphasizing continued investments in AI and computing infrastructure. However, he has also acknowledged the company’s commitment to maintaining a relatively lean workforce, balancing technological innovation with operational efficiency. The confluence of financial triumphs, persistent challenges, and controversies marked the pivotal phase in Facebook’s transformation into Meta. The rebranding aimed to thrust the company to the forefront of the metaverse. However, this strategic maneuver encountered skepticism and formidable challenges, notably in light of substantial losses associated with metaverse-related technologies.

During its adolescent years, Facebook endeavored to stay relevant among younger generations. By introducing features like ‘Reels’, it sought to emulate the success of competitors such as TikTok. Yet, these initiatives met with only limited success, as the platform’s user base continued to age, resulting in diminished engagement, particularly from Generation Z. The challenges extended beyond shifting demographics. Facebook’s reputation suffered amid data privacy controversies. Younger users, in particular, perceived the platform as less trustworthy, further impinging on engagement. In response, the company embarked on a broader identity shift.

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He can’t seem to decide if Skripal is alive or not. But certainly strange that we’ve never seen father nor daughter again.

Novichok Public Inquiry Turns Into A Secret Farce Before It Begins (Helmer)

In a London courtroom on Friday, Lord Anthony Hughes, the retired judge whom the British government has appointed to run a public inquiry into the alleged Novichok poisonings of March and June 2018, collapsed into a farce of state secrecy. Not even the open hearings which are now scheduled to start later this year, on October 14, will in fact be open, Hughes told lawyers for the Home Office and for the family of Dawn Sturgess. This is because the police and the security services have told the judge they want a livestream default or broadcasting delay of at least fifteen minutes, possibly longer when “the police will decide if any disclosure at all will be made”, a government lawyer told the judge.Hughes announced: “I absolutely accept how difficult it is when you are batting in the dark…but it is a situation which has simply got to be coped with.”

Follow the archive on the official investigation of the cause of Dawn Sturgess’s death in June 2018, allegedly from a Novichok poison which Russian assassins left behind after they had attacked Sergei and Yulia Skripal the previous March. The Skripals have been assigned a lawyer, Adam Chapman, to represent them in the Hughes proceeding, but he wasn’t present in court on Friday. To date, Chapman hasn’t asked a question, made a written submission, or reported what the Skripals want to say about the Novichok affair. Chapman’s silence confirms that if the Skripals are still alive, they are being held by the British government incommunicado. Hughes has yet to rule on whether they will be called to testify as witnesses, and if so, whether their testimony will be given in open or secret session.

Hughes ran Friday’s hearing to just under 90 minutes. A switch of stream engineering companies and a failure by Paul Dunlay, the judge’s technician in charge of live-streaming, excluded reporters who had registered to hear the proceeding from their offices. Hughes’s spokesman apologized for the “confusion”. Dunlay said “we are not responsible for your IT systems security which may have blocked this auto response.” “My starting point,” Hughes claimed, “has always been that this is a public hearing and everything is in public unless there is a necessity for it not to be. But given the circumstances of this Inquiry – involving as it does the use of a chemical weapon on British soil – it will be of no surprise that there will inevitably be some material that will be CLOSED. Indeed that was the reason for the conversion of the original Inquest to a public Inquiry.”

Just how little will be open — and just how large “the necessity for it not to be” — were revealed in Friday’s hearing. Closed circuit television (CCTV) tapes from Salisbury and Amesbury which the police seized after the Skripal attack and the Sturgess death, and which have not been released to date, are to be allowed in evidence in the open hearing, but only, Judge Hughes has conceded, in the form of a “compilation”. What has been withheld will remain a state secret. A police report combining the Skripal incident in Salisbury of March 4, 2018, and the Sturgess incident in Amesbury four months later, on June 30, 2018, has been partially released to the Sturgess family’s lawyers, led by Michael Mansfield KC. But on Friday he told Hughes the evidential value of the report has already been compromised.

“There are 17 pages of redactions,” Mansfield said, “not all of them total pages, although the further you go into the report, starting at page, for example — it should be the same on yours, so that is page 53 onwards. There is nothing visible there, or the 20 succeeding pages. Altogether 17 pages in which, again, if we can just say, there must be questions arising there and in relation to the open and closed divide, it would be of great help if we did have a gist.” Mansfield went on to refer to a section he has read in the police report entitled “Target”. “I hope I am not exaggerating it, there are some pretty astonishing observations in this section alone and if what is said in this section alone about the target, there is and must be very much more material, or absence of material.”

Mansfield was intimating in public that the police report he has seen is missing the key elements of how the alleged Russian-made Novichok got into Dawn Sturgess’s hands and killed her, as well as the police account of how their searches of Sturgess’s house failed to detect the Novichok in a perfume bottle standing on the kitchen table until July 11, 2018 – eleven days after Sturgess had collapsed and been taken to Salisbury District Hospital, and after police reported their search of the house for suspected narcotics.


Dawn Sturgess, died between June 30 and July 8, 2018; Sergei Skripal, died in British custody at an unknown date after his last telephone call to Russia on June 19, 2019; Adam Chapman, the London lawyer appointed by the British government on March 25, 2022 — without evidence of Skripal consent.

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What am I supposed to make of this?

E Jean Carroll Lawyer Says Trump Used Coded Version Of C-Word Against Her (G.)

E Jean Carroll’s attorney says Donald Trump used a coded expression to call her the C-word during a deposition before she helped the magazine columnist win an $83.3m verdict in her defamation case against the former president. Roberta Kaplan shared the anecdote during an appearance Friday on the George Conway Explains It All podcast, saying it happened while Trump was deposed at his Mar-a-Lago resort as part of an unrelated, since-dismissed case in which he faced accusations of collaborating with a fraudulent marketing company. As Kaplan told it, at the end of the questioning, Trump’s attorneys ensured the two sides were no longer on the record before he looked at her and remarked: “See you next Tuesday.” The phrase is well-known, thinly veiled code for perhaps the most offensive misogynistic insult that can be directed at a woman, combining words that sound like the first two letters of the slur – “C” and “U” – along with words that start with the letters “N” and “T”.

Kaplan told Conway that she initially didn’t understand the meaning of what Trump said because the opposing sides weren’t scheduled to meet that upcoming Tuesday. “I, thank God, had no idea what that meant, so I said to him, ‘What are you talking about? I’m coming back on Wednesday,’” Kaplan remarked. “Literally, it was an honest answer. I had no idea what he’s talking about.” Colleagues of Kaplan informed her what the former president had meant by saying “see you next Tuesday” once they were all in their car driving away from Trump’s property, she said. “That is a teenage boy-level joke,” the podcast co-host Sarah Longwell said. Kaplan replied: “Had I known, I for sure would have gotten angry … I looked like I was being above it all, which I wasn’t. I just did not know.”

Conway – a conservative attorney formerly married to Trump’s White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway – punctuated Kaplan’s recollections by saying: “So that’s just an amazing story.” According to Kaplan, Trump had also thrown a temper tantrum that day when his legal team offered to provide lunch to Kaplan and her associates. “There was a huge pile of documents, exhibits, sitting in front of him, and he took the pile and he just threw it across the table – and stormed out of the room,” Kaplan said. That claim about Trump throwing papers across a table in particular called to mind another anecdote produced by testimony to the congressional committee that investigated the Capitol attack staged by the ex-president’s supporters after he lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden. A former White House aide testified that Trump angrily threw a plate of food at a wall in the White House – smearing it with ketchup – after his attorney general at the time publicly denied Trump’s lies that there had been voter fraud in the race won by Biden.

Friday’s remarks from Kaplan were also sure to open Trump to renewed criticism over his mistreatment of women. Conway went on CNN later Friday and said Trump was “a pig” for how he addressed Kaplan, according to the attorney. Kaplan represented Carroll in a separate legal matter that saw the former Elle magazine writer sue Trump on accusations that he sexually abused her in a department store changing room in the mid-1990s. Carroll’s lawsuit asserted that Trump then defamed her as he attacked her credibility.

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If and when you say about an outlet that takes itself very seriously that it “..is not fit to line a parrot cage for bird [poop emoji]..”, then you get this. Which sorta proves your point. And the rest will chime in, too.

Musk Took Drugs With Tesla, SpaceX Execs – WSJ (RT)

Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been taking illegal drugs for years, on many occasions alongside the board members and directors of his companies, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing sources who claimed to have either witnessed the drug use or had knowledge of it. According to the report, Musk has attended a number of social gatherings in recent years with Tesla board member Joe Gebbia, where he recreationally took ketamine, an anesthetic commonly used to euthanize house pets. Other directors, Antonio Gracias, Kimbal Musk and Steve Jurvetson, have reportedly consumed drugs like ecstasy and LSD with him at several parties, including those held at Hotel El Ganzo, a boutique hotel in Mexico allegedly known for its drug-fueled events.

According to several sources, some of the directors felt pressured to consume drugs with Musk either because refraining could upset the billionaire, or result in them “losing the social capital” of being in the CEO’s circle. Sources told the news outlet that Musk’s drug use was common knowledge among several current and former Tesla and SpaceX officials, and the volume of his consumption has become concerning in recent years. However, the companies’ boards haven’t investigated Musk’s alleged drug use nor documented any claims. On the one hand, the use of illegal substances violates antidrug policies at both firms, while on the other, official board minutes could become public, and if they mentioned Musk’s drug problems, it could put SpaceX’s federal contracts and Musk’s security clearance at risk, the report notes.

The WSJ already reported on Musk’s alleged illegal drug use last month, claiming that the CEO has a history of using drugs including cocaine, ecstasy, LSD and psychedelic mushrooms. In response to that news piece, Musk lashed out at WSJ on X, saying that the news outlet “is not fit to line a parrot cage for bird [poop emoji].” Musk noted that he regularly took random drug tests at SpaceX, which he never failed. This claim was backed by his lawyer, Alex Spiro.Later, Musk also tweeted: “If drugs actually helped improve my net productivity over time, I would definitely take them!”

https://twitter.com/i/status/1754340103873564988

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FREEMAN DYSON Emeritus Professor, Princeton Institute for Advanced Studies (2009)


THERE IS NO GLOBAL WARMING, THERE IS ONLY REGIONAL WARMING (AND IT’S A GOOD THING!):

“The change that’s now going on is very strongly concentrated in the Arctic. In fact in three respects, it’s not global, which I think is very important. First of all, it is mainly in the Arctic. Secondly, it’s mainly in the winter rather than summer. And thirdly, it’s mainly in the night rather than at the daytime. In all three respects, the warming is happening where it is cold, not where it is hot. The people in Greenland love it. They tell you it’s made their lives a lot easier. They hope it continues. I am not saying none of these consequences are happening. I am just questioning whether they are harmful. There’s a lot made out of the people who died in heat waves. And there is no doubt that we have heat waves and people die. What they don’t say is actually five times as many people die of cold in winters as die of heat in summer. And it is also true that more of the warming happens in winter than in summer.

So, if anything, it’s heavily favorable as far as that goes. It certainly saves more lives in winter than it costs in summer.So that kind of argument is never made. And I see a systematic bias in the way things are reported. Anything that looks bad is reported, and anything that looks good is not reported.A lot of these things are not anything to do with human activities. Take the shrinking of glaciers, which certainly has been going on for 300 years and has been well documented. So it certainly wasn’t due to human activities, most of the time. There’s been a very strong warming, in fact, ever since the Little Ice Age, which was most intense in the 17th century. That certainly was not due to human activity.

And the most serious of almost all the problems is the rising sea level. But there again, we have no evidence that this is due to climate change. A good deal of evidence says it’s not. I mean, we know that that’s been going on for 12,000 years, and there’s very doubtful arguments as to what’s been happening in the last 50 years and (whether) human activities have been important. It’s not clear whether it’s been accelerating or not. But certainly, most of it is not due to human activities. So it would be a shame if we’ve made huge efforts to stop global warming and the sea continued to rise. That would be a tragedy. Sea level is a real problem, but we should be attacking it directly and not attacking the wrong problem.”

 

 

Leash

 

 

Honeybees

 

 

Belly rubs

 

 

 

 

Bucket sheep

 

 

Baby hippo

 

 

Doomsday fish

 

 

Fast car

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 232023
 
 December 23, 2023  Posted by at 9:00 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  39 Responses »


Edward Hopper New York office 1962

 

The Supreme Court Sees the Politics – Jack Smith Denied Request (CTH)
A Rigged System From Top to Bottom (Donald Jeffries)
NYT Editor: Opponents to Trump’s Disqualification The New Confederates (Turley)
Slip, Sliding Towards Civil War as Trump Tossed From Colorado Ballot (Bridge)
Biden Emailed Son’s Business Associate 54 Times In 1 Year– Republicans (RT)
Ukraine Can’t Defeat Russia – Fico (RT)
‘Old Ukraine’ Is Dead – Arestovich (RT)
McGovern: Biden’s Proxy War in Ukraine Evokes Strong Memories of Vietnam Sp.)
Ukrainian Military Vows To Boost Numbers By Any Means (RT)
All Ukrainians Must Fight – Security Chief (RT)
Foreign Nations Should Sanction Ukrainian Draft Dodgers – Zelensky Aide (RT)
Germany Vows To Protect Ukrainian Men From Zelensky (RT)
Russia Warns Of ‘Complete Breakdown’ In Relations With US (RT)
Whatever It Takes Won’t Be Enough (Kunstler)
2023 Year in Review: Down Some Dark Rabbit Holes (Dave Collum)

 

 

 

 

Tucker Assange

 

 

 

 

Woody

 

 

Crooke

 

 

 

 

“For the Supreme Court to accept the request of Smith, would be for the Supreme Court to pretend the political motive was unknown..”

The Supreme Court Sees the Politics – Jack Smith Denied Request (CTH)

As we stated yesterday, following the Smith request, the Trump attorney response, and the Smith re-response, the transparency of the special counsel motive is obvious. For the Supreme Court to accept the request of Smith, would be for the Supreme Court to pretend the political motive was unknown. The Supreme Court did not pretend and was curt in their retort: “The petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment is denied.” Special Counsel Jack Smith argued in his petition to the court, the speedy resolution of Trump’s claim of presidential immunity is of an urgent national interest. The motive was/is a transparent speedy timeline effort to influence the 2024 GOP presidential primary race.

The court, heck, the entire world can see it. Arguments on the presidential immunity issue, within the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, are set for January 9, 2024. The decision of the 3-judge panel will come thereafter. Depending on the outcome, Donald Trump can then ask for a full panel appellate court review. If the Circuit Court appeal results in a non-favorable outcome, the next step is the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, the DC trial of Donald Trump is frozen awaiting a determination on the original issue of presidential immunity.

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“Peter Navarro was convicted for contempt of Congress, because he ignored a subpoena. You know, the same thing presidential offspring Hunter Biden just did this week. Former Attorney General Eric Holder did this as well. Some subpoenas are more equal than others.”

A Rigged System From Top to Bottom (Donald Jeffries)

Just the other day, New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a remarkable statement. “Before this trial even began, the judge ruled in our favor and found that Donald Trump did engage in years of significant financial fraud,” James boasted publicly. This is associated with just one of Donald Trump’s absurd legal cases. Let what this laughable, biased prosecutor said sink in for a moment. She admitted that the honorable judge had “ruled in our favor” before the case had gone to trial. Even for this collapsing Banana Republic, it’s a shocking precedent to openly brag about such a serious breach of basic legal protocol. James, whom Trump has called “racist,” recently stated, “The Donald Trump show is over.” James has referred to Trump as an “illegitimate president,” and said “his days are numbered.” She lashed out at Trump at many rallies, even declaring, “We’ll bring him down!”

Upon being elected in December 2018, James vowed, “We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well.” In this case, Trump is accused of exaggerating the value of his assets. Now, I’ve known a lot of people in my lifetime that exaggerated the value of whatever they had. Bullshitters, I believe they’re called. Or to be more polite, blowhards. Until now, being a bullshit artist wasn’t a criminal offense. The good judge in this case, Arthur Engoron, is about as biased as can be, a perfect example of the new judges who rule over the Orwellian courtrooms of America 2.0. Engoron slapped a gag order on the former president after he insulted his law clerk in a post on Truth Social. Some insults are more equal than others. Trump also received a gag order in his equally ridiculous trial for “conspiring to overthrow” the 2020 election, by complaining about the many obvious irregularities that smacked of fraud.

It’s hard to keep track of the players without a scorecard, but Jack Smith, the prosecutor in the case where Trump is being tried for alleging electoral fraud, something which Stacy Abrams continues to do in the same state, is in a category by himself. Smith has regularly taunted Trump on social media, at Trump’s own grade school level. It makes you proud to be an American to witness it. Judge Tanya Chutkan is almost identical to Engoron in her transparent bias against Trump. Trump has no chance in either case. Although a bit less classless than the TikTok judges Alex Jones has been tried by, they are similar in their disregard for traditional appearances of impartiality and the presumption of innocence, and their distaste for free speech.

Just as the lethargic American public permitted tyranny to be constructed all around them, without protesting or even noticing, they have allowed the implementation of a politicized justice system. The prosecutions of Roger Stone, Paul Manafort, Mike Flynn, Sydney Powell and other Trump associates were all politically motivated. Peter Navarro was convicted for contempt of Congress, because he ignored a subpoena. You know, the same thing presidential offspring Hunter Biden just did this week. Former Attorney General Eric Holder did this as well. Some subpoenas are more equal than others.

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“..it is up to society to protect citizens from the “nefarious” uses of free speech or free elections by cleansing ballots and social media.”

NYT Editor: Opponents to Trump’s Disqualification The New Confederates (Turley)

“Why are you standing with confederates who betrayed this country?” Those words from New York Times editorial board member Mara Gay on MSNBC captured the unhinged coverage of the Colorado Supreme Court’s disqualification of Donald Trump from the 2024 election. While the underlying theory under the 14th Amendment had been previously rejected by jurists in various states (including many Democrats), Gay had a simple take for viewers: anyone raising democratic or constitutional objections are modern day confederates. Gay was asked on MSNBC’s Morning Joe how she would respond to many of us who have questioned the constitutional basis for using the 14th Amendment to bar Trump from ballots.

Gay responded: “Why are you standing with confederates who betrayed this country? This is what they’re standing with. It’s the spirit of those confederates rather than the Americans who came together after a long and brutal Civil War that was fought to keep the Union together and clearly saw a threat in ex-confederates running for office. So much so they amended the Constitution to prevent those traitors from running for office.” It is that simple for the editors of the New York Times: either you support this previously rejected theory to prevent voters from casting their ballots for a candidate or you are a confederate. So those three Democratic appointees on the Colorado Supreme Court were just more confederate fellow travelers. Gay knows that other states and courts have rejected this theory. She knows that even the majority said that the precedent for the decision was “sparce” and that this was “uncharted territory.”

Yet, if you reach the opposing view of most judges who have looked at this question, you are standing not with the Constitution but the confederacy. The obvious attempt is to intimidate and ostracize those who may have qualms over barring citizens from voting for candidates. It is akin to being called a racist on campus if you oppose diversity policies or standards on academic grounds.

It is only the latest example of how the left is engaging in McCarthy-like tactics to portray advocates for free speech or other constitutional protections as enemies of the state. Back in the day, it was the Democrats who were denounced for raising such legal objections. Now, Democratic members and pundits attack witnesses as “Putin lovers” or supporters of “insurrectionists” in opposing censorship. Or confederates for objecting to ballot cleansing. Indeed the rhetoric used by Gay is strikingly familiar to the defense for censorship on the left. She added on MSNBC that the Colorado decision “should send a message that our electoral system can be used for nefarious purposes against democracy itself. It’s clear. It’s clear as day.” Thus, it is up to society to protect citizens from the “nefarious” uses of free speech or free elections by cleansing ballots and social media.

Of course, others simply used the opinion to vent on an almost schoolyard level. Rick Wilson of The Lincoln Project, taunted the former president and said that the court “called you out for what you are. You’re a filthy insurrectionist. You’re a losing loser who loses.” That is still weirdly preferable to labeling anyone raising constitutional concerns as standing with “confederate traitors.” Yet, it is remarkable how these critics who have long objected to Trump rhetoric have adopted the same personal and reckless rhetoric. Gay’s interview should be chilling for anyone who cares about both law and journalism. It shows the righteous rage that fuels the intolerance in our country. It also shows the potential for this insidious theory as more Democratic politicians, like those in California, who are calling for their own officials to find ways to block Trump from ballots.

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“..then it’s off to the races for something potentially unspeakable..”

Slip, Sliding Towards Civil War as Trump Tossed From Colorado Ballot (Bridge)

In an effort to ‘protect democracy,’ the Colorado Supreme Court declared Donald Trump “constitutionally ineligible” from running in the state’s 2024 primary in what appears to be the latest sign that America is heading for a calamitous train wreck. Was it any coincidence that on the very same day the Biden administration began the removal of the ‘Reconciliation Memorial,’ which was unveiled 109 years ago in Arlington National Cemetery in the aftermath of the Civil War as a symbol of America’s “national unity,” the state of Colorado denied thousands of its citizens the right to vote for – who else? In a 4-3 ruling, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that former President Donald Trump lacked the legal credentials to participate in the state’s presidential primary because of the 14th Amendment’s “insurrectionist clause,” removing his name from the state’s 2024 ballot.

The 14th Amendment on insurrection states, Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States…shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability. Colorado’s highest court overturned a ruling from a district court judge who ruled that Trump incited an insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, but said he could not be removed from the ballot because it was unclear that the provision – written in the post-Civil War period – was intended to cover the presidency.

The obvious problem with the Colorado ruling is that Special Counsel Jack Smith did not charge Teflon Trump with an attempt to mount an insurrection on January 6, nor any other day. However, if by some chance the U.S. Supreme Court would affirm the Colorado ruling, leaving Trump disqualified not just in Colorado but in many other states, then it’s off to the races for something potentially unspeakable. Meanwhile, the cancel-culture commandos continue their attack on civil liberties in other ‘democratic’ venues as well. YouTube, for example, said it will remove videos that make false assertions that institutional fraud cost President Trump the 2020 election (suitcases filled with ballots magically appearing from under desks after the media have all called it a night is just a ‘conspiracy theory,’ right?). Since September, the company has sent to the memory hole over 8,000 channels for spreading “harmful and misleading” content.

To add to the Orwellian-ness of its draconian handiwork, the Google-owned monstrosity was creepily happy to inform in its blog page that “over 77% of those removed videos were taken down before they had 100 views.” If we were talking about the game ‘whack the mole,’ such swiftness might be something to brag about. But since we’re talking about severe violations of the First Amendment, the company should feel nothing but shame. Incidentally, speaking about violations of the 14th Amendment, how about the part at the end that speaks about giving “aid or comfort to the enemies thereof”? With an estimated 5,000 illegal immigrants swarming across the U.S.-Mexico border every day, some traveling as far away as the Middle East and China just for the privilege, couldn’t these mostly military-aged strangers be considered very real enemies? It certainly would seem that U.S. President Joe Biden, who has exposed the American people to every sort of danger, could be found guilty of ‘aiding and abetting’ a very real threat – an epidemic, if you will. Is there not one Republican-led high court in the land to take up the challenge?

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“..using aliases and private email addresses..”

Biden Emailed Son’s Business Associate 54 Times In 1 Year– Republicans (RT)

US President Joe Biden exchanged dozens of emails with his son Hunter’s business associate while he was vice president, according to a Republican-led committee investigating Biden’s alleged influence-peddling. Biden has denied any involvement in his son’s overseas dealings. Files released by the House Ways and Means Committee this week show Biden using aliases and private email addresses to communicate with Eric Schwerin, Hunter Biden’s accountant, 54 times. The bulk of these exchanges took place either side of Biden’s two 2014 trips to Ukraine, with Hunter Biden appointed to the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy firm, after the first trip. The committee did not publish the contents of the emails, only describing when they were sent.

Nevertheless, the messages “directly refute previous public statements the president has made that he had no knowledge of his son’s business dealings,” the committee said in a press release. Asked earlier this month whether he knew about or partook in Hunter’s business activities, Biden said “I did not, and it’s a bunch of lies.” Hunter Biden was lavishly compensated for his work with Burisma, earning around $1 million per year for as long as his father was in the White House. Hunter’s former business partner, Devon Archer, told the House Oversight Committee in July that Hunter was appointed solely to guarantee that the company would have influence over US policy, and that Joe Biden regularly called Hunter during meetings with Burisma clients.

Biden admitted in 2018 to using $1 billion in American aid money as leverage to have a Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, fired. According to the Oversight Committee, Hunter asked his father to ensure that Shokin was sacked while the two spoke by phone during a Burisma meeting. The House Ways and Means Committee, Oversight Committee, and Judiciary Committee are currently conducting an impeachment inquiry into Biden’s alleged corruption and influence-peddling. The House of Representatives voted along party lines to formalize this inquiry earlier this month, a move that grants greater subpoena power to the committees. However, Hunter Biden has defied a subpoena calling for him to give a closed-door deposition to the Oversight and Judiciary committees, stating that he would only answer questions in a public session.

Citing witness testimony and files retrieved from a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden, Republicans allege that the Biden family received around $24 million in payments through shell companies from business figures and politicians in China, Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine while Biden was vice president. Some 150 of these transactions were flagged as “suspicious” by the US Treasury Department, according to the committees. The Ways and Means Committee describes Schwerin as “the architect of the Biden family’s shell companies,” which were allegedly used to conceal these payments. Democrats insist that Schwerin merely helped Joe Biden file his tax returns during his time as vice president.

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No Gaza or Red Sea today, but lots of Ukraine. Feels like things could change there, fast.

Ukraine Can’t Defeat Russia – Fico (RT)

No amount of Western weapons pumped into Ukraine will be enough to secure a victory over Russia, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has said, adding that this means that the conflict has no military solution. In an interview with the local Pravda newspaper on Friday, Fico – a vocal critic of sending arms to Kiev – suggested that while the West was trying its best to use Ukraine to “destroy” Russia both economically and militarily, this approach was doomed from the very start. “This plan can never work, it is an absolute misunderstanding of reality and the real position of the Russian Federation,” he noted, recalling that Moscow has gained more territory than Ukraine this year, even despite the latter’s ill-fated counteroffensive.

According to Fico, while Western sanctions are certainly unpleasant for Moscow, it would be a mistake to think that “a Russian citizen is beating his head against the wall because he cannot buy an American phone” as he can simply buy a Chinese one. When it comes to the battlefield situation, the West should honestly admit that “Ukraine does not have enough forces to militarily reverse the situation,” according to the premier. We can pour all the weapons of the world, all the money there, and Russia will never be defeated militarily. It is the turn of 2023 and 2024, and you will see that Russia will begin to dictate the terms of settlement of this conflict. Meanwhile, Fico recalled that Ukraine had a chance to end the conflict in its early stages by signing an agreement with Russia but walked away from the negotiation process after receiving promises of support from the West.

This past June, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that in the spring of 2022 Moscow and Kiev drew up a peace treaty in which Ukraine had committed to a neutral status. David Arakhamia, a Ukrainian MP who led Kiev’s delegation at the talks, later confirmed that this was one of Russia’s key demands. He also said that Ukraine broke off the engagement after then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson dissuaded it from taking the deal. Several months after the talks collapsed, four former Ukrainian regions overwhelmingly voted to join Russia in public referendums, with President Vladimir Zelensky later barring negotiations with Moscow. Russia, however, maintains it is open to engagement with Kiev. As things currently stand, “only a naive person” could imagine that Russia would contemplate leaving its new territories, Fico concluded.

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“People of cultures other than Ukrainian, be they Russian or something else, do not want to fight for a monoethnic Ukraine because Kiev discriminates against them..”

‘Old Ukraine’ Is Dead – Arestovich (RT)

Ukraine cannot exist as a monoethnic and monocultural state in its 1991 borders, which is the essence of what the government of President Vladimir Zelenksy seeks in the conflict with Russia, his former aide Aleksey Arestovich said in an interview on Friday. Speaking to journalist Yulia Latynina, the ex-official declared the nationalist Ukrainian project “dead,” stating that Kiev is unable to find people willing to fight for it. He claimed that 30% to 70% of troops on the front line refuse to go into combat and seek opportunities to desert. According to Arestovich, the refuseniks “have passed a sentence on this system, they have sealed its end.” Zelensky’s statement that the Ukrainian military leadership wants to mobilize up to 500,000 people for the war effort appears to be a form “trolling” by the commanders, Arestovich said.

The target is absolutely unrealistic, he claimed. With Kiev ramping up the pressure on draft dodgers, they will soon stop running from conscription teams and start shooting at them, the ex-official predicted. People of cultures other than Ukrainian, be they Russian or something else, do not want to fight for a monoethnic Ukraine because Kiev discriminates against them, the commentator noted. The same is true for people who live in territories under Russian control, which Kiev wants to take back by force. Ukraine “has nothing to offer to the residents of Donbass and Crimea, except for a second-rate citizen status,” he said. Meanwhile, Ukrainians who support the monoethnic project may have other issues with the government, be it a grudge over an unfair economic system or lack of political liberties.

“We live in a country of prohibitions, a country where freedoms are suppressed… where you are caught and forced into the army. Who would want to fight for such a nation?” Arestovich asked. He claimed that only by radically reforging itself as a multiethnic and multicultural nation, as befits its democratic composition, and putting its national interest first can Ukraine have a future. Such a Ukraine could convince people to live and die for it, rather than seek opportunities to flee. That kind of Ukraine could also reach a deal with Russia and the West on a viable European security architecture, thus eliminating the cause of the current conflict, he argued.

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“..the more ludicrous Team Biden’s idea about Russia’s threat to Europe gets, the more desperately they stick to it. “I saw this happen before,” McGovern said..”

McGovern: Biden’s Proxy War in Ukraine Evokes Strong Memories of Vietnam Sp.)

Joe Biden claimed earlier this month that the US can’t let Russian President Vladimir Putin win in Ukraine since “he won’t stop there. “[If] Putin attacks a NATO ally — if he keeps going and then he attacks a NATO ally — we’re committed as a NATO member to defend every inch of NATO territory, and we’ll have something that we don’t seek and that we don’t have today,” the US president stated on December 6.In response, Russian President Putin called Biden’s claim “complete nonsense”, adding that he believes that his American counterpart understands that. “Russia has no reason, no interest — no geopolitical interest, neither economic, political nor military — to fight with NATO countries,” Putin emphasized on December 17.

“The more I hear Biden and his advisers, the more I think they actually believe that the Russians are out to take over Europe like us,” Ray McGovern, a former CIA officer who prepared the president’s daily brief during the Ronald Reagan administration, told Sputnik. “It reminds me of back in the sixties when I was working on Russian policy toward Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The domino theory or the Russians theory, the Russians were trying to take over the whole world, especially Southeast Asia. Not only that, but Indonesia, the whole world just better go down the drain if the Russians prevail in Vietnam. “The “domino theory” meant that “when one nation falls to communism the impact is such as to weaken the resistance of other countries and facilitate, if not cause, their fall to communism,” as per a 1964 memo from the Board of National Estimates to the director of central intelligence. The US used the now-discredited theory to justify its involvement in the Vietnam War years after its unfortunate military campaign in Korea.

Eventually, the US got bogged down in Vietnam, with its leadership continuing to stick to the false narrative. The same is happening now in Ukraine, according to the CIA veteran: the more ludicrous Team Biden’s idea about Russia’s threat to Europe gets, the more desperately they stick to it. “I saw this happen before,” McGovern said. “There was a false narrative. We were winning in Vietnam and our forces were just about to complete the victory, except General Westmoreland was saying, and this is late 1967, ‘We just need 208 more troops because we’ve got to go into Vietnam, right up to the Chinese border, and then we’ll win for sure’. Now, that was delusional. That was crazy. And, you know, those of us who have been around a while knew what happened last time we went up to the Chinese border in Korea. Right?”

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“..221,571 Ukrainian men have arrived in Germany since then and 189,484 remained in the country..”

Ukrainian Military Vows To Boost Numbers By Any Means (RT)

Ukraine will boost the size of its army one way or another, a Defense Ministry spokesman said on Friday as cited by local media, adding that citizens should not delude themselves into thinking that only volunteers will have to fight. President Vladimir Zelensky previously stated that the Ukrainian military was looking to enroll between 450,000 and 500,000 people into the armed forces. Illarion Pavlyuk, the ministry spokesman, said on national television that the enlistment goals will be achieved through a combination of volunteer recruitment and mandatory conscription.“We urge people to join the armed forces voluntarily, without waiting for a mobilization summons, and offer them the chance to choose their specialty,” he said. “But it does not mean that only those who want to serve will do, or that one can pick from only non-combat jobs.”

The official said the military would prefer to see more volunteers but that it will make up the difference through mobilization. Zelensky reported the target draft number during a press conference on Tuesday. He implied that he had reservations about some of the ideas being floated by the military leadership, such as mobilizing women, and claimed that the plan would come at a price tag of $13.4 billion for Ukraine.German media reported this week that Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov wanted male citizens aged between 25 and 60 who reside in foreign nations to report for mobilization or face sanctions and dishonor.Kiev shut its border for men of conscription age after the hostilities with Russia erupted in February last year, banning anyone without a special waiver from leaving. However, the tabloid Bild reported that 221,571 Ukrainian men have arrived in Germany since then and 189,484 remained in the country.

In comments to Ukrainian media on Wednesday, Pavlyuk claimed that German journalists had “shifted the emphasis” of the minister’s remarks. He clarified that at this time no legal mechanisms to pressure or punish those dodging the draft on foreign soil are being considered.Meanwhile, Mikhail Podoliak, a senior aide to Zelensky, suggested on Friday that Kiev could convince host nations to strip social benefits and residency permits of draft-dodgers in order to coerce them to return.On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimated Ukrainian losses since the start of the conflict at over 383,000, with roughly half of the casualties sustained during the so-called summer counteroffensive, which Kiev launched in early June.

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“..Kirill Budanov, the chief of Ukrainian intelligence, said last week that forcing people without motivation into service would not make the army stronger..”

All Ukrainians Must Fight – Security Chief (RT)

Every Ukrainian citizen, and not only the members of the military, must serve their country during its conflict with Russia, Aleksey Danilov, the Secretary of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council, has said. In an interview with local media on Thursday, the security chief signaled that the era when some Ukrainians could turn a blind eye to the fighting was over. “This kind of calm, when… it was believed that the war was purely a matter for the military, and the rest of the country could live its own life… has passed, it must end, it doesn’t work that way,” he insisted. “Everyone should take part in this war, and not selectively: while someone is fighting, others are throwing chips in the casino. This is not fair,” the official said. At the same time, Danilov noted that Kiev’s planned mobilization drive would not last only one day or one month, but that the whole process could take at least a year.

His comments come after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky revealed earlier this week that the military had proposed calling up an additional 450-500 thousand people, and that the government wanted to allocate an additional 500 billion hryvnias ($13.3 billion) to the effort. He also stressed that Ukrainian authorities must prioritize “justice” when replenishing the military’s ranks. Meanwhile, on Thursday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said all Ukrainian men who had left the country since start of the conflict would be invited to report to recruitment centers, warning that those who fail to comply could face sanctions. However, Kirill Budanov, the chief of Ukrainian intelligence, said last week that forcing people without motivation into service would not make the army stronger.

Ukraine announced a general mobilization shortly after the start of the conflict with Russia in February 2022, barring most men aged between 18 and 60 from leaving the country. The campaign, however, has been marred by widespread draft dodging and corruption. Ukrainian officials have repeatedly signaled plans to recruit more soldiers amid Kiev’s faltering counteroffensive which has been underway since early summer but failed to gain any substantial ground. Moscow has described Ukraine’s losses during the push as catastrophic, estimating them at about 160,000 casualties.

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“..the German constitution forbids forcing any German national to serve in the military with arms in their hands and he “cannot imagine” Berlin “forcing people from other countries to do so.”

Foreign Nations Should Sanction Ukrainian Draft Dodgers – Zelensky Aide (RT)

Ukrainian men of fighting age who fled the country amid the conflict with Russia should be forced to return, Mikhail Podoliak, a senior aide to President Vladimir Zelensky, has said. A set of restrictions that would limit their access to aid and services in their places of stay is required to achieve this goal, he told Ukraine’s Channel 24 in an interview published on Friday. Podoliak’s words support comments made by Defense Minister Rustem Umerov, who told Germany’s Bild tabloid earlier in December that all Ukrainian men of military age living abroad were to be summoned to recruitment centers. The minister also warned that those who fail to comply could face sanctions.The Ukrainian Defense Ministry then clarified his statements by saying that a mobilization mechanism for Ukrainians living abroad was “not on the agenda.”

In his interview on Friday, Podoliak said that Umerov had “a right idea.” According to the Zelensky aide, no one should be allowed to just “sit out” the conflict and shed responsibility for their nation. “They should be equal,” Podoliak said, referring to Ukrainians living abroad and those who stayed and are now being mobilized. “Those should be the consultations with the governments of foreign nations where our men are residing,” he said, adding that the talks should be focused on “whether they [the Ukrainians] can further get temporary residence permit, have certain preferential treatment, get aid” there. Podoliak also said that Umerov was “probably” already considering a set of measures that would “give our guys abroad an opportunity to make a choice: either to get drafted or… lose certain opportunities granted to people that temporarily left Ukraine.”

His words came amid reports that Ukraine is struggling to refill the ranks of its army and is taking additional measures to enhance border controls amid daily attempts by men desperate to illegally flee the country. In December, Zelensky said that the nation’s military had proposed calling up an additional 450,000-500,000 people, and that the government wanted to allocate an additional 500 billion hryvnia ($13.3 billion) to the effort.

Earlier this week, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu estimated that Ukraine had lost over 383,000 soldiers since the start of the conflict, adding that roughly half of the casualties were sustained during its much-hyped summer counteroffensive. Some of Ukraine’s Western backers have already expressed their opposition to plans to force Ukrainian refugees to go back and fight. “It will not be the case that we are now forcing people to get drafted or [join] the military service against their will,” German Justice Minister Marco Buschmann told journalists on Friday. The minister said that the German constitution forbids forcing any German national to serve in the military with arms in their hands and he “cannot imagine” Berlin “forcing people from other countries to do so.”

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“..Berlin would not “force people to do compulsory military service or military service against their will.”

Germany Vows To Protect Ukrainian Men From Zelensky (RT)

Ukraine’s new mobilization drive will have no practical consequences for Ukrainians living in Germany, the country’s Justice Minister Marco Buschmann told the German Press Agency (DPA) on Friday. Kiev’s Defense Minister Rustem Umerov had told German newspaper Bild on Thursday that calls for people to report to recruitment centers would be sent out to all citizens of military age – including Ukrainians living abroad. He also warned that anyone who ignores the “invitations” would face sanctions, although he did not discuss the potential penalties. “It’s not a punishment to defend and serve your country. It’s an honor,” he stated. It comes after Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky revealed earlier this week that the military had proposed drafting an additional 450,000 to 500,000 people, and planned to allocate a further 500 billion hryvnias ($13.3 billion) towards the effort.

Bushmann said Berlin would not “force people to do compulsory military service or military service against their will.” He explained that it was a positive thing that war refugees had been accepted into Germany via a simplified procedure and given the opportunity to work.“I cannot imagine, as our constitution stipulates that German citizens do not have to serve in the armed forces against their will, that we can force people from other countries to do so,” he concluded. More than 221,000 Ukrainian men arrived in Germany after the conflict broke out, with almost 190,000 of them still in the country, according to German authorities.

Ukraine announced a general mobilization shortly after the beginning of the conflict with Russia in February 2022, prohibiting most men aged between 18 to 60 from leaving the country. Kiev has signaled plans to expand recruitment drives for more soldiers amid its stalled counteroffensive, which has failed to show any substantial results since its start in early summer.Moscow’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, speaking at a ministerial meeting on Tuesday, estimated Kiev’s losses during the push at 159,000 killed and wounded, and the total casualties sustained by the Armed Forces of Ukraine at 383,000.

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“..it is extremely difficult for the US ruling circles to accept the changing world order. Many of them are simply organically incapable of moving away from thinking in terms of their own superiority..”

Russia Warns Of ‘Complete Breakdown’ In Relations With US (RT)

Russia-US relations could sink to a new low if Washington makes more “reckless” decisions regarding the Ukraine conflict, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has warned. In an interview with Interfax published on Friday, the Russian official accused the US of pursuing a “misguided” and “dangerous” policy aimed at inflicting a “strategic defeat” on Moscow. These actions have left bilateral relations in a “comatose state,” Ryabkov said. “I can’t rule out that at some point in the future… Washington won’t go below this near-zero level that our relations are currently at, if there is no brightening when it comes to… views on what is happening [regarding] Russia and Ukraine,” he stated.

A “complete breakdown” in ties is even possible, Ryabkov added, suggesting this would mean a dramatic reduction in the respective diplomatic presence in the two countries. Even though the US is wary of completely dismantling relations, it is “not ready to find common ground… even in theory,” the diplomat further claimed.According to Ryabkov, while the two powers continue dialogue in several narrow areas, this “equilibrium could collapse at any moment due to Washington’s recklessness.” The seizure of Russian assets or military escalation could be among the triggers for a further deterioration, he said. Ryabkov stressed that Russia is not seeking to sever ties, but cautioned that “the diplomatic relations in themselves are not a totem to be worshipped, or a sacred cow to be protected.” “We are ready for any scenario,” he emphasized.

Russia and the US could potentially restore relations, although this will be hard, Ryabkov acknowledged. “The problem is that it is extremely difficult for the US ruling circles to accept the changing world order. Many of them are simply organically incapable of moving away from thinking in terms of their own superiority,” he explained. Ryabkov’s comments come after the New York Times reported on Thursday that the White House had intensified talks to seize $300 billion in Russian assets blocked in the West, which could be used to help Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly denounced the freezing of its funds as “theft,” warning of retaliation if the West goes ahead with the confiscation of the assets.

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“..to brand someone a criminal, there must be a record of indictment and conviction for a particular crime, and that, in the case of Mr. Trump, a politically-motived fairy tale about an “insurrection” doesn’t cut it.”

Whatever It Takes Won’t Be Enough (Kunstler)

And just like that — snap ! — the news about the Colorado Supreme Court’s droll action against candidate DJ Trump vanished from the front page (or top screens) of The New York Times. Do you know why? I’ll tell you: Because the political Left has finally managed to embarrass itself with a “lawfare” gambit so nakedly fatuous that it exposes the faction’s drive to destroy the election process, and with it our country. This is what you get from a regime that faked its way to power and now must strain to cover up its long train of crimes, abuses, and effronteries to common sense, while running out of tricks to keep fooling even its own deranged followers. Somehow, the act of kicking a leading candidate off the ballot has finally registered as inconsistent with “defending our democracy.”

Of course, the reckless abuse of law — “lawfare” — proceeds from the Left’s disrespect for boundaries and limits, which is exactly what law in principle concerns itself with. And from there it’s a quick leap into totalizing bad faith, the operating system for government under an imposter president, “Joe Biden.” Suddenly, mere days before Christmas, when the people want to be preoccupied with things other than politics, events merge explosively to shape the fate of the nation. In a sane world, the US Supreme Court would not just summarily strike down the Colorado ruling, but would issue a career-ending rebuke to the brain-damaged state justices who managed to not learn a basic principle of due process: innocent until proven guilty — that to brand someone a criminal, there must be a record of indictment and conviction for a particular crime, and that, in the case of Mr. Trump, a politically-motived fairy tale about an “insurrection” doesn’t cut it.

Also, in a sane world interested in truth and justice, the Republican-majority Congress would have months ago convened new hearings about the Jan 6/21 Capitol riot to undo the manifold perfidious frauds instigated by the previous Democrat-majority committee under Chairman Bennie Thompson. By now, testimony should have been compelled from Nancy Pelosi, the then Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, and former Defense Secretary Chris Miller about Ms. Pelosi’s refusal to call in national guard troops to reinforce security around the building, and to answer for the odd behavior of the Capitol Police, such as opening doors for the mob and then serving as ushers to show off the place. It seems obvious that many elected Republicans also have an interest in supporting the Jan 6/21 “insurrection” fairy tale. Do you still wonder why the evil entity infesting Washington is called “the blob”?

The Substack blogger who styles himself as El Gato Malo offers the alluring theory that a SCOTUS ruling on whether the 14th Amendment clauses that were applied to the presidency in the Colorado case, could enable Special Counsel Jack Smith to slip-in a superseding indictment (replacing the original indictment) in his DC Jan 6 case against Mr. Trump with new insurrection / rebellion charges, thus setting-up a fortified argument for states to chuck Mr. Trump off any ballot. More “lawfare,” you see. Whatever it takes. . .!

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If you have absolutely nothing to do this Christmas…

2023 Year in Review: Down Some Dark Rabbit Holes (Dave Collum)

What keeps me writing? Narcissism. I love the hugs. Catherine Austin Fitts put my entire writeup on the coming pension crisis in her Solari Reports noting, “I loved reading your year-end War and Peace.” Larry Summers told me “you have no filter.” My first Covid writeup in 2020 was said to be in the hands of Steve Scalise’s staff for uploading to the Congressional record. (I have no idea if it made it.) As outlined below, I have wonderful chats with brilliant people on the podcast circuit.

There are the Joe Sixpacks who have no voice and reach out in comments sections or by emails thanking me for voicing their concerns. So many people just want a voice. Tweeters with 20 followers are thrilled when they get a response because somebody heard them. These are the guys who listened to Oliver Anthony’s Richmen North of Richmond and were brought to tears.3 The media tried to tell us Oliver wrote an anthem for angry white guys, but montages of black guys rockin’ to his lyrics proliferated on social media. When Elon Musk publicly told Disney’s Bob Iger to “Go fuck yourself” for trying to blackmail him by pulling ad revenues, that was the fuckoff heard ‘round the world. I don’t know if Elon is a good person—probably not—but he is playing one on the internet, and he is very special in his own way.

Good writing on important subjects does not go out of date. If something is not important a month or even a year later, it was not important the day it was written. I try to touch third rails. If a 68-year-old tenured professor can’t speak up, then who can? It gets me in trouble occasionally. I got canceled pretty seriously in 2020, sleeping with a shotgun fully committed to taking at least one of those death-threatening neo-Stalinist Antifa curb stompers to the light with me if they had showed up at my house. Regular readers certainly have detected elevated anger as I witness the world’s events unfold in ways that were unimaginable a few years back. I have no intention of pussy footing around my foes. I would love to see that mass-murdering Tony Fauci fed to the spirit cookers.

If you came out of the Covid pandemic and not figured out that the entire narrative was an exercise in authoritarianism and possibly a largely peaceful depopulation, I think you are pretty lame. If, however, you grasp the Covid story, you probably have also figured out that the CIA whacked Kennedy, 911 was an inside job, and every war in at least a century was started with one or more false flag events. If so, Pat yourself on the back for grasping many big issues. Robbie Parker understands…

Maybe the Covid scam and all the associated lies proffered by credentialed experts have you wondering if the credentialed climate experts are lying too. Climate change, in my opinion, is the biggest scam in history. If, by contrast, you are supergluing yourself to roads during rush hour and throwing tomato soup onto masterpieces to save humanity, you suffer Munchausen by progressive and are a member of the biggest cult in history. Please—I beg you—when Reverend Jones gives you the nod, drink. (I have returned to climate change again this year, just to top off previous thoughts with some fresh ones and to piss of The Cult.)

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1234

 

 

Gatorboy

 

 

Owls

 

 


Sarcosuchus is an extinct genus of crocodyliform that lived during the Early Cretaceous, 133 to 112 million years ago. The largest specimen reached 9–9.5 meters (29.5–31.2 ft) long. This is a comparison between its skull a nile crocodile’s.

 

 

Gershwin

Frank
https://twitter.com/i/status/1738278116135514383

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 222023
 
 December 22, 2023  Posted by at 9:12 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  64 Responses »


Pablo Picasso Weeping woman 1937

 

Russia Is Negotiating With The Houthis For Red Sea Passage (Helmer)
‘Stopping Bloodshed In Gaza Our Primary Task:’ Lavrov (Cradle)
WHO Denies Seeing Evidence Of Hamas Using Hospitals As Hideouts (Cradle)
Saudi-French Plan Proposes Exile For Hamas Leadership (Cradle)
What? Ukraine Is Not Winning the War? (Patrick Lawrence)
On Speaking Plain ‘Putin’ (Scott Ritter)
Ukraine Losing 800 Troops A Day – ex-NATO Officer (RT)
Western Leaders Should ‘Stop Playing The Fool’ – Putin (RT)
The Bidens Move To Embrace Influence Peddling With A Twist (Turley)
DOJ Blocked Ex-Hunter Biden Prosecutor From Discussing Case With Congress (WE)
Trump Facing Mounting Challenges To Presidential Eligibility – NYT (RT)
Trump Asks Supreme Court To Deny Special Counsel’s Request (JTN)
Ex-White House Lawyer: SCOTUS Could Rule ‘9-0’ In Trump Case (Hill)
Economist Claims 2024 Will Bring ‘Biggest Crash of Our Lifetime’ in US (ET)
The Greatest Gift For All (Paul Craig Roberts)

 

 

 

 

Plimer

 

 

Orlov

 

 

Milei

 

 

Shroyer

 

 

 

 

“No one needs this war — except, of course, the United States with its Western allies and Israel..”

Russia Is Negotiating With The Houthis For Red Sea Passage (Helmer)

Russia is negotiating with the Houthis of Yemen to protect Russian oil cargoes moving through the Red Sea for delivery to India and China, the principal destinations of Russian oil currently traversing the waterway, the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, and the Gulf of Aden. Notified in advance to the Yemeni authorities and the Houthi military command, the Russian oil movements by tankers flying a variety of ship registry and national flags, are running the gauntlet of US and European Union (EU) sanctions against Russian oil exports. China is also negotiating with the Houthis for safe passage and protection of Chinese-flagged container vessels. The Chinese military base in Djibouti, recently reinforced to support a large Chinese military group intended for a United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, is also covering the waterway.

Both Moscow and Beijing are acting in semi-secret against US and EU government threats to assemble a naval fleet to convoy shipping headed to and from Israel’s southern port of Eilat. This plan, which the Pentagon is calling Operation Prosperity Guardian, follows the failure of the two US aircraft carrier groups in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf to protect Israel, and deter the Houthi operations. The Pentagon is also threatening to attack Yemeni territory. The fleet, to be assembled over the next month from the Ukraine war coalition states against Russia, will also threaten military force against the movement of Russian oil. Responding to direct questions about the new Red Sea threats on Wednesday afternoon, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Maria Zakharova, skirted saying what the Russian Security Council and General Staff have decided by asking the rhetorical question: “What will the US presence there bring to the region? Greater stability, security, crisis resolution? Or will it all end, as always, with the opposite results?”

Asked to be more specific, Zakharova said: “I have already commented on this question today. I just want to add to what has been said that any presence must have its own purpose and its own result. We see how the United States has increased its presence in the whole region: in the form of attacks on countries, aggression against sovereign regional states, interference in internal affairs, in the form of color revolutions, arms supplies, and manipulation of conflicts in the region. We see what all this has led to…The terrible crisis that has been unfolding before our eyes since October 7 this year. There is no prospect of its immediate completion or even de-escalation. Now everything is balancing on the level of whether, God forbid, this crisis will expand further. Everything is being done on our part to ensure that this does not happen.” Vzglyad, the semi-official security analysis publication in Moscow, has been pro-Israel since the Gaza war began. But yesterday it published a warning from sources identified as Russian experts on the region.

“Yemen has already reacted to this statement. Representatives of the Houthis said that this coalition does not frighten them at all. That they have all the necessary capabilities to provide an adequate response to any actions directed against them and against Yemen. And this is not just a bluff, but words that have a real understanding of their resources and the capabilities behind them. In fact, the coalition ships which will be in the Red Sea will themselves be targets for Yemeni missiles (as the Houthis have already warned)…And the Americans are unlikely to risk conducting a ground operation against them. It is generally difficult to cope with any of the armed formations in Yemen, given the experience of the Yemeni militants and the terrain…

The composition of the coalition has turned out to be quite specific. It did not include Egyptians and Jordanians suffering from Yemeni actions, nor the leaders of the region, the Saudis. There is not a single country in the Middle East except Bahrain. It turns out that none of them has wanted to defend their region, their sea and their interests from the Houthis, together with the Americans. Partly because they understand the futility of such an undertaking. Partly because they are afraid of a backlash from the Houthis. Partly because speaking out against the Houthis would mean, in this particular case, opposing their demands to de-blockade the Gaza Strip.” “No one needs this war — except, of course, the United States with its Western allies and Israel,” Vzglyad concluded.

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Then do it.

‘Stopping Bloodshed In Gaza Our Primary Task:’ Lavrov (Cradle)

The sixth Arab-Russian Cooperation Forum kicked off on 20 December in Morocco’s capital, Marrakesh, for the first time since 2019. The meeting gathered regional foreign ministers of participating countries, including Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Secretary-General of the Arab League Houssam Zaki, and ministerial delegations from various Arab states. Algeria continued a long-standing boycott of events held in Morocco. Lavrov commented on the situation in Gaza, saying that external powers are using the war between Palestinian resistance factions and Israel for their benefit. “It has become clear that some external powers are not opposed to using the periodic escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict for their interests, to ignite the fire of a regional war in the development of the many past adventures of the United States and its allies that have been launched in [West Asia] over the past 20 years, and the result is the undermining of the state, hundreds of thousands of victims and massive flows of refugees,” the Russian foreign minister said.

Lavrov also noted that Russia is in contact with its allies, especially in the Arab world, to stabilize the situation in Palestine for the long term and to transfer the work of conflict resolution to the political and diplomatic level rather than militaristically. He also continued his line of criticizing Israel, saying, “The suffering of the enclave’s population is aggravated by the consequences of the blockade imposed by Israel. We see our primary task in stopping the bloodshed and ensuring conditions for providing the necessary humanitarian assistance to all those in need.”

He continued by saying that Russia’s diplomatic mission with allies pushed the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution that demands a lasting ceasefire in Gaza, but it has been met with opposition by the US, “which takes a one-sided stance and, as usual, tries to usurp any processes and initiatives,” he stated. Lavrov ended by saying that the world is in a storm and that it’s essential to return to the international covenant that affirms the sovereign rights of all countries. He added that “Russian-Arab relations are based on the principles of equality and mutual respect, noting that Russia has many areas to develop with Arab countries.”

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It was always just a story.

WHO Denies Seeing Evidence Of Hamas Using Hospitals As Hideouts (Cradle)

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported on 21 December that northern Gaza has been left without functional hospitals due to the lack of fuel, staff, and supplies. “There are actually no functional hospitals left in the north,” the WHO representative in Gaza, Richard Peeperkorn, said to reporters via video link from Jerusalem. “Al-Ahli [Hospital] was the last one, but it is now minimally functional: still treating patients but not admitting new ones.” Peeperkorn described Al-Ahli Hospital as one that resembled a hospice, providing very limited care with only about 10 staff members, all of whom are junior doctors and nurses who provide basic first aid, pain management, and wound care with scant resources, he said. “Until two days ago, it was the only hospital where injured people could get surgery in northern Gaza, and [the hospital] was overwhelmed with patients needing emergency care,” he said.

The WHO spokesman added that the bodies of Palestinians from Israel’s recent attacks were lined up in the hospital courtyard as they could not be given safe and dignified burials. Hospitals, which are protected under international humanitarian law, have been repeatedly attacked by Israel airstrikes in Gaza since the war erupted. The Israeli army has accused Hamas of having tunnels under hospitals and using the medical facilities as command centers, a claim that has been denied by the Palestinian resistance group. When asked about Israel’s claim, Peeperkorn said: “On our missions we have not seen anything of this sort on the ground”, adding that WHO was “not in a position to assert how any hospital is being used.”

“The role of WHO is to monitor, analyze, and report. We do not attribute attacks to healthcare facilities. We are not an organization investigating crimes. I think this should be very clear,” Peeperkorn went on to say. In the south of Gaza, Israel has continued its attacks on hospitals, with the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis being hit by multiple Israeli strikes, including an Israeli tank shell that hit the maternity building, killing a 13-year-old girl. Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said earlier this month that hospitals in the southern Gaza Strip were in “total collapse, unable to deal with the quantity and quality of injuries that arrive.”

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Why would they move want to move to Algeria?

Saudi-French Plan Proposes Exile For Hamas Leadership (Cradle)

The French newspaper Le Monde published details on 20 December of a Saudi document containing a plan to end the war in Gaza, which stipulates the transfer of Hamas’ military and security leaders to the Algerian capital. The newspaper stated that the document was prepared by the head of the Gulf Research Centre, Abdulaziz bin Saqr, after a meeting on 19 November in Riyadh with the head of the North Africa and Middle East Department at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Anne Greux. The document was then transferred to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Le Monde pointed out that the evacuation of Hamas leaders to Algeria most likely refers to the leader of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Muhammad Deif, and the leader of the movement in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar.

Algeria was reportedly chosen as a potential place of exile for the movement’s leaders because of the north African nation’s good relationship with Qatar and Iran, the main supporters of the Hamas movement, and because of its security capabilities that would allow it to tightly control their activities. Le Monde contacted the Algerian ambassador in Paris, but he did not wish to comment on the matter. The plan also calls for the deployment of an Arab peacekeeping force in Gaza under UN auspices and the establishment of a “joint transitional council,” including the main factions in Gaza, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and Fatah. The council would be responsible for managing the enclave for a period of four years, and for organizing presidential and parliamentary elections.

The newspaper noted it is unclear if the plan had been approved by the Saudi authorities, or whether it was a purely personal initiative of the Gulf Research Centre head. The document stated only: “It appears that the search for a Saudi-French consensus could contribute to the crystallization of a common vision acceptable to all parties, and have an impact on the decision to end the war.” Since 7 October, the Israeli army has carried out vicious campaign against Gaza that has killed almost 20,000 people, the majority women and children. Israel’s bombing campaign and ongoing siege threaten to make the enclave completely uninhabitable.

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“..Emperor Hirohito’s famous declaration on August 15, 1945, when he announced the surrender on Japanese radio. “The war,” he told his desperate subjects, “has not necessarily progressed to our advantage.”

What? Ukraine Is Not Winning the War? (Patrick Lawrence)

“Putin’s Russia is closing in on a devastating victory. Europe’s foundations are trembling.” This was the headline atop a Dec.9 commentary in The Telegraph, the farthest right of the major London dailies. The subhead elaborated the theme in yet graver terms: “Kyiv’s counteroffensive has ended in failure. This could be NATO’s Suez moment.” The piece that followed included all sorts of goodies in this line. It is not official, not yet, that Ukraine’s grand counteroffensive, the great Russophobic hope of the Zelensky and Biden regimes earlier this year, has proven a bust and that defeat is in the offing. The closest we have to such an admission came from Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this month, when the Ukrainian president declared that the counteroffensive “did not achieve the desired results.”

I loved that moment, to be honest. It reminded me of Emperor Hirohito’s famous declaration on August 15, 1945, when he announced the surrender on Japanese radio. “The war,” he told his desperate subjects, “has not necessarily progressed to our advantage.” O.K., let’s leave Zelensky to Zelensky, Joe Biden to Joe Biden, and Antony Blinken to Antony Blinken. We can count news of failure unofficially official when mainstream media start dropping such news on their readers and viewers. The Telegraph, so far as I know, was the first big daily on either side of the Atlantic to make such blunt admissions. Others have already followed, if in gentler, more oblique language—in Zelensky-speak, this is to say. A significant moment may be upon us. What will follow once it is acknowledged that the Nazi-infested crooks in Kyiv have failed?

President Biden, as is his consistently unwise wont, radically overinvested in the proxy war he chose to start with the Russian Federation as soon as he took office three years ago next month. Having defined the Ukraine conflict as a war in the name of democracy and freedom —“values” rather than interests, this is to say—he has left the U.S. and its European clients no room for compromise and nearly none even for negotiation. What is the next move when defeat is too obvious any longer to deny? If we are about to enter uncharted territory, will it prove dangerous ground? It may, but this is not yet clear. It will be uncertain and probably unstable: This we know. Of the many things I do not like about this circumstance, I will mention a few straightaway. Biden may be the stupidest president of the postwar era on the foreign policy side: He exhibits no capacity whatsoever for nimble or imaginative thought. He is a warmonger of long standing, an election year is upon us, and he is by now in obvious danger of being impeached. His mental incompetence, atop all this, is plain for all to see.

There are also the national security people around Biden to consider. With the exception of CIA Director William Burns, who seems to dedicate himself to his career advancement, these are lockstep ideologues who share a Manichean vision of the world and how it works. And we had better think long and hard about these people now. I urge this because of an item in Politico two weeks back. The piece reported on the policy cliques’ thinking after recent Houthi attacks on U.S. warships in the Red Sea. Some officials urge a vigorous response, but the reigning view favors restraint for fear of enlarging Israel’s barbarity in Gaza into a wider war. Then, well down in the story, this paragraph: “The military’s job is to present a variety of options to senior commanders, but the ultimate decision is up to the president and the administration’s political appointees. In multiple high-level meetings this week, the Pentagon has neither briefed President Joe Biden on options to strike Houthi targets nor recommended that he do so, two of the officials said. All were granted anonymity to detail sensitive internal deliberations.”

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“..Russia’s victory in the war against Ukraine will be a defeat of NATO,” adding ominously, “This cannot be allowed.”

On Speaking Plain ‘Putin’ (Scott Ritter)

Given the failure of the collective West to impose its will on Russia through what is widely considered a proxy conflict, one would think that some form of retrospective analysis would be in order. However, to engage in such an activity constructively, an agreed-upon lexicon would be needed to communicate effectively. Since Russia is prevailing in the conflict, one would also think that a modicum of interest should be given to how Russia defines the conflict. In short, anyone who is interested in learning the lessons of the collective West’s failure in Ukraine should learn “to speak Putin.” The problem is, those in the West who should be preparing a proper lexicon from which the Russian-Ukraine conflict could be more accurately assessed are instead operating from an outdated lexicon rooted in the language and mindset of a time that no longer exists, born of a Cold War mentality that prevents any deep-seated and relevant analysis of the true situation between Russia and the West.

Both the United States and NATO have described the Russia-Ukraine conflict as possessing existential consequences for Europe and the world, with the secretary general of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, going so far as to declare in October 2022 that “Russia’s victory in the war against Ukraine will be a defeat of NATO,” adding ominously, “This cannot be allowed.” Bad news, Mr. Stoltenberg — Russia has won. While the “Special Military Operation” has yet to be concluded, Russia has seized the strategic initiative across the board when it comes to conflict with Ukraine, forcing the Ukrainian military to terminate a counteroffensive, which the government of Ukraine and its NATO allies had invested tens of billions of dollars in military resources, and tens of thousands of Ukrainian lives in hopes of achieving a decisive victory over the Russian military on the battlefield.

Today, Ukraine finds its military decimated by the fighting and unable to sustain itself as a cohesive combat force on the field of battle. The U.S. and NATO likewise find themselves unable and/or unwilling to continue supplying Ukraine with the money and material needed to continue to maintain a viable military presence on the battlefield. Russia is in the process of transitioning away from a posture of flexible defense, and instead initiating offensive operations along the length of the line of contact designed to exploit opportunities presented by an increasingly depleted, and defeated, Ukrainian army. U.S. President Joe Biden has likewise argued that a Russian victory was unacceptable.

“We can’t let Putin win,” Biden said earlier this month to put pressure on a U.S. Congress that has allowed the Ukrainian conflict to become wrapped up in domestic American politics, with key Republicans in both the Senate and House refusing to support a funding bill that lumps some $60 billion in Ukraine assistance together with money for Israel and immigration reform. “Any disruption in our ability to supply Ukraine clearly strengthens Putin’s position,” Biden concluded.

Ritter

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“Kiev needs to recruit more than 20,000 soldiers every month..”

Ukraine Losing 800 Troops A Day – ex-NATO Officer (RT)

Around 800 Ukrainian troops are being killed and wounded daily amid the conflict with Russia, retired German Air Force Colonel and prominent military analyst Ralph D. Thiele has claimed. In an opinion piece for Focus magazine on Wednesday, Thiele, who used to serve in the personal staff of NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, claimed that Kiev needs to recruit more than 20,000 soldiers every month in order to replace its dead and injured. He did not reveal his sources or basis for his calculations, however. Ukraine also requires additional personnel to be able to rotate its troops on the frontline, so that “exhausted soldiers” may recover and units may replenish their material supplies, he wrote. According to Thiele, who now heads the Political-Military Society, EuroDefense (Germany) and StratByrd Consulting think tanks, “the highly motivated defense” and subsequent counteroffensive, which he described as “a thing of the past,” came at a “high price” for Ukraine.

Kiev’s manpower and hardware are “significantly worn out,” he said. “Western weapons systems are not miracle weapons and are wearing out,” the analyst added. The worsening battlefield situation and decreasing Western support for Kiev are “eating away at the morale” of the Ukrainian troops, who “will have to save ammunition in a war of attrition and endure slaughter at the front without rest and without a greater sense of achievement,” Thiele stressed. Russia has also lost “a large number of soldiers and huge amounts of material” during the conflict, but “it has much more of both than Ukraine,” he argued. “Step by step, Russia’s superiority in the conflict with Ukraine is becoming more visible,” the analyst acknowledged. Moscow’s “strategy of attrition” is “taking effect” in terms of personnel, material, ammunition and morale, he said.

Thiele’s number of 800 Ukrainian soldiers being lost per day appears to be higher than the one announced by Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu at the expanded meeting of the Defense Ministry’s Board on Tuesday. According to Shoigu, some 400,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed or wounded since the start of the fighting in late February 2022. This means that, according to Russian figures, Kiev’s daily losses stand at around 600 servicemen. Russian President Vladimir Putin, who chaired the meeting, stressed that “we can say with confidence that our troops have the initiative” on the frontline with Ukraine. “In essence, we are doing what we consider necessary, what we want. Wherever… commanders decide active defense is best, it takes place. And where it is needed, we improve our positions,” Putin explained.

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That’s hard if you are an actual fool.

Western Leaders Should ‘Stop Playing The Fool’ – Putin (RT)

Western nations that expect Russia to collapse are misguided and should instead let their economies benefit from cooperation, President Vladimir Putin said at a government meeting on Thursday. The US and its allies have targeted Russia with unprecedented sanctions in a bid to punish Moscow for the Ukraine conflict. The country has largely adapted to the pressure, according to the Russian government and Western analysis. Putin raised the issue during a meeting of the Council on Strategic Development and National Projects, as he described Russia’s booming commercial ties with non-Western nations. He noted, however, that Moscow is not closing the door on the West. “It’s time for them [Western leaders] to stop playing the fool and waiting for us to collapse. Everyone realizes by now that if they want to benefit from cooperation with Russia, they should do so,” the president said.

Western nations have a choice between following “ephemeral considerations” motivating them to seek Russia’s destruction and “the interests of their own nations and peoples,” which require cooperation based on a “new foundation of a multipolar world,” Putin stated. Moscow has weathered Western economic attacks by reorienting its economy toward trade with countries that declined to join the Washington-led sanctions campaign, including Asian powerhouses China and India. Russia has also taken measures to decrease reliance on Western-controlled financial institutions, switching to alternative payment methods and national currencies in commerce. During a visit to Beijing on Tuesday, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said the US dollar has almost fully been replaced in trade with China.

Meanwhile, EU nations have suffered a surge in energy prices after rejecting Russian supplies to supposedly reduce dependence and cut Moscow’s profits. In particular, Russian pipeline natural gas has been replaced with more expensive liquified natural gas (LNG), sourced from the US, Qatar, and other nations. Russia is also among Europe’s LNG suppliers and has made record deliveries, according to a report by Kommersant earlier this month. Some factory owners in Germany, the leading European economy, have been forced to shut down due to increased operational costs. The Credit reform credit agency reported this month that it expects 18,100 German companies to file for insolvency this year, marking a 23.5% increase on 2022.

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“It is a curious defense that we are not corrupt because we just ripped off dupes who were corrupt people..”

The Bidens Move To Embrace Influence Peddling With A Twist (Turley)

As the House of Representatives goes into high gear in its impeachment proceedings (and possible contempt resolution against Hunter Biden), the Biden family legal problems continue to mount. In one week, it was revealed that President Biden’s brother James was caught on an FBI audiotape in a corruption investigation, while Ashley Biden, the president’s daughter, is now also facing demands for unpaid taxes. James Biden is expected to appear before the House for questioning in the coming weeks. The appearance may solidify a new line of defense for the Bidens: that they are harmless grifters. After years of denying influence peddling with the help of an obligating media, even some Democrats are now admitting that Hunter and his uncles have been selling influence. Biden associates confirmed that Joe Biden was the brand that they were peddling to foreign clients, who paid millions to the family.

The FBI tape is the latest example of how the Bidens would market their name and access. The surveillance occurred in the bribery investigation into Mississippi trial attorney Richard Scruggs. Like many Biden associates, Scruggs would eventually go to prison while the Bidens remained untouched. Scruggs forked over $100,000 to James Biden when he was seeking to reinforce support for the massive tobacco legislation and Joe Biden was viewed as skeptical on what some viewed as a windfall for trial lawyers. Scruggs admitted to the Washington Post that “I probably wouldn’t have hired [James Biden] if he wasn’t the senator’s brother.”Scruggs was just another shady figure whose business association with the Bidens would ultimately end with a prison stint. As soon as the tape came out, so did the new defense.

James Biden took the money but allegedly did nothing to land his brother. If that sounds familiar, it should. After Hunter Biden’s former business associate Devon Archer admitted that they were selling the “Biden brand,” the Bidens’ defenders immediately insisted that it was merely “illusory.” In other words, these corrupt figures wanted to buy influence and access, but they were just chumps fleeced by the Bidens. The idea is to get the public to think less of coked up Henry Hill in “Goodfellas” and more of the lovable professor Harold Hill in “The Music Man,” the charming rascal ripping off hayseeds by selling marching bands. It is a curious defense that we are not corrupt because we just ripped off dupes who were corrupt people. The problem, of course, is that influence peddling is a form of corruption. Indeed, it is a form of corruption that is so damaging to good government that the United States has pushed global agreements to ban influence peddling in other countries.

The question is whether Joe Biden knew about the influence peddling of his brothers and his son. If so, he actively assisted his family in acquiring millions to influence him on public policy or legislation. His family was effectively marketing time shares in a senator, a vice president and now a president. Whether or not Biden delivered, the family business corrupted the functions of government by converting offices into types of commodities. That is the case regardless of whether or not they delivered. It is akin to an extortionist taking money without any intent to follow through on threats of disclosure or use of damaging material. Even in today’s willfully blind politics, every voter should be able to agree on two simple facts.First, influence peddling is corruption long opposed by the government and denounced by both parties. Second, if the president knew that his son and uncles were using him for influence peddling, Joe Biden is also corrupt.

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“I will not be permitted to answer most of the questions you have for me..”

DOJ Blocked Ex-Hunter Biden Prosecutor From Discussing Case With Congress (WE)

A key prosecutor who worked for years on the Department of Justice’s case against Hunter Biden refused to answer nearly every question lawmakers asked her during recent congressional testimony after the DOJ instructed her not to speak about the case, according to a transcript reviewed by the Washington Examiner. Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley Wolf, who appeared alongside her personal lawyers, told the House Judiciary Committee last week during a closed-door interview that she was “significantly constrained” by the DOJ in what she could discuss. “My voluntary appearance here today is not without an overwhelming feeling of frustration and disappointment because as much as I would invite the opportunity to explain the decisions made and accurately describe the actions taken, I will not be permitted to answer most of the questions you have for me,” Wolf said at the start of the interview.

Wolf’s testimony came after two IRS whistleblowers who spent years working on the Hunter Biden investigation accused her of blocking investigative steps that they say were necessary to advance the case. They blamed Wolf and others for allowing the first son to avoid certain tax charges and for allowing his father, President Joe Biden, to avoid scrutiny. Republicans grilled Wolf during the interview about specific actions the whistleblowers said she took, but she responded repeatedly that she was “not able to discuss any particular matters related to an ongoing investigation.” Days ahead of her testimony, the DOJ provided lengthy written instructions to Wolf, which the Washington Examiner verified, that said that even as a former employee, she is expected not to disclose nonpublic information about the investigation and prosecution of Hunter Biden.

The department cited its internal policies and a statute that governs the disclosure of grand jury-related material as reasons for restricting her testimony. The DOJ also sternly observed that Wolf was not the appropriate witness to answer questions related to the substance of the Hunter Biden case or DOJ personnel matters, repeatedly saying that senior officials, rather than line-level officials like Wolf, were better-suited witnesses to address those topics. The DOJ also said it wanted to be cognizant of the separation of powers in prosecutions, a point that comes after Hunter Biden’s defense attorneys argued this month that his gun charges in Delaware should be dismissed on those very grounds. The first son’s lawyers claimed the DOJ breached the separation of powers by, in their view, caving to Republican lawmakers’ pressure to press charges against their client.

Wolf still provided some general comments that shed light on what she was thinking when she made the controversial decisions cited by the whistleblowers. When Wolf was asked about an email she wrote to investigators instructing them to remove Joe Biden’s name from a search warrant, she said she could not discuss the matter. She did, however, speak to the process of drafting warrants. “I think that’s important for people to understand that search warrants…are limited. They’re intrusions on people’s rights. And the default is an intrusion on someone’s rights. So that there are protections built into the process by the Constitution that the magistrates are responsible for enforcing,” Wolf said.

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“..If the Supreme Court takes the case, it will effectively stay the proceedings in all the other states..”

Trump Facing Mounting Challenges To Presidential Eligibility – NYT (RT)

This week’s decision by Colorado’s Supreme Court to disqualify Donald Trump from holding office is the first of several legal challenges that could derail the former US president’s bid to return to the White House, the New York Times has reported. At least 17 states are currently processing legal challenges to Trump’s eligibility, the newspaper claimed on Wednesday. The Times, which cited Lawfare – a website which tracks US national security issues – added that four of these lawsuits have been filed in state courts in Michigan, Oregon, New Jersey, and Wisconsin. A further eleven lawsuits, in states including Arizona, Nevada, New York, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming, have been filed in federal district courts. Trump’s legal team has said they intend to appeal the Colorado decision to the US Supreme Court.

Colorado’s top court on Tuesday ruled that Trump is ineligible to appear on the state’s primary ballot ahead of next year’s presidential elections. In a 4-3 ruling, the Colorado justices found that Trump had violated the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, which prohibits anyone who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from holding office. The former US president is accused of breaching the so-called “insurrectionist ban” over his alleged efforts to overturn the results of his 2020 election defeat to Joe Biden and inciting the riots at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. The ruling does not prevent Trump from running in other states across the US. In a statement on Tuesday, Colorado’s Supreme Court noted that its judgment placed the court in “uncharted territory” over its efforts to disqualify Trump from the state ballot. It also said that its decision could be reversed with “the receipt of any order or mandate from the Supreme Court.”

Should the US Supreme Court opt, as expected, Trump’s appeal to hear it would mean that he would be returned to the state ballot until America’s top court makes a formal decision. An appeal would also suspend the other active lawsuits across the US, according to retired appeals court Judge J. Michael Luttig. “If the Supreme Court takes the case, it will effectively stay the proceedings in all the other states,” Luttig said, according to the New York Times on Wednesday. The Supreme Court’s judgment on the issue also faces time constraints. Colorado’s Secretary of State confirmed to MSNBC this week that it must certify the candidates eligible to appear on ballots by a January 5 deadline to physically print the documents ahead of the state’s primary election in March. In addition to constitutional arguments over Trump’s capacity to potentially return to the White House, the former president also faces 91 felony counts in four ongoing criminal cases in Washington, New York, Florida, and Georgia.

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“What is ‘imperative’ … is that this case be decided correctly, not that it be decided quickly..”

Trump Asks Supreme Court To Deny Special Counsel’s Request (JTN)

Former President Donald Trump’s attorneys asked the U.S. Supreme Court to put a hold on quickly ruling on special counsel Jack Smith’s request for the high court to review the former president’s appeal of charges related to the 2020 election on the grounds that he has presidential immunity. The Supreme Court should refrain from ruling on Smith’s request until after a lower federal appellate court makes a decision on the issue, Trump’s attorneys said Wednesday in a 44-page court filing. Smith had asked the court last week to quickly rule on whether Trump could be prosecuted for allegedly attempting to overturn the 2020 election in his favor and then playing a role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot, ahead of the planned trial start date of March 4, 2024, in the middle of the 2024 presidential primary season.

The special counsel justified the date by calling it of “paramount public importance” to hold the trial “as expeditiously as possible,” but Trump’s legal team wrote that “in an omission that speaks volumes, the Special Counsel never explains why March 4, 2024, is supposedly the only ‘appropriate timetable’ for this historic prosecution. That date has no talismanic significance.” Trump’s attorneys also said that precedence favors allowing the lower appeals court to address the issue first before the Supreme Court. “What is ‘imperative’ … is that this case be decided correctly, not that it be decided quickly,” the lawyers wrote. The former president’s legal team also argued that Smith’s request to the Supreme Court “misstates the legal issue in this appeal by incorrectly framing it as whether absolute presidential immunity extends to ‘crimes committed while in office,'” the former president’s legal team said, arguing that Trump instead “asserted that a President is immune from prosecution for official acts.”

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“..the ruling “vindicates” Trump’s “insistence that this is a political conspiracy to interfere with the election and that … he’s the target and people shouldn’t tolerate that in America.”

Ex-White House Lawyer: SCOTUS Could Rule ‘9-0’ In Trump Case (Hill)

Former White House lawyer Ty Cobb predicted Tuesday that the U.S. Supreme Court could rule “9-0” in favor of former President Trump in a potential appeal of Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling that would kick Trump off the state’s ballot. “I think this case will be handled quickly. I think it could be 9-0 in the Supreme Court for Trump,” Cobb said in an interview on CNN, adding later, “I do believe it could be 9-0, because I think the law is clear.” The Colorado Supreme Court issued a ruling Tuesday that Trump should not appear on Colorado’s ballot due to his alleged role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack. Citing the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection clause,” the 4-3 ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court argued Trump engaged in an insurrection by promoting false claims of election fraud and encouraging supporters to go the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled the office of the president falls under the insurrection clause, which states those who previously took oaths to support the Constitution as a “member of Congress,” “officer of the United States,” “member of any State legislature” or an “executive or judicial officer of any State” cannot engage in a rebellion against it.“The real key issue in this case is — is Trump an officer in the United States in the context in which that term is used in the Article 3 of the 14th Amendment,” Cobb said. “And in 2010, Chief Justice [John] Roberts explained in free enterprise that people don’t vote for officers of the United States.” Cobb went on to reference multiple Supreme Court decisions that do not conclude officers include the president or vice president in this context.

Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump’s campaign, has already vowed the Trump campaign will appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority and includes three justices nominated by Trump. “The Supreme Court though will not hesitate to move quickly on this; they know what the stakes are. They know what their responsibility is,” Cobb continued. “And they can delay some of these Colorado dates to the extent that they feel they’re obligated to or have to.” Colorado’s Supreme Court put its ruling on hold until Jan. 4 to allow Trump to first seek review from the U.S. Supreme Court. If he does, his name will automatically remain on the ballot until justices resolve the appeal. Cobb further argued the ruling “vindicates” Trump’s “insistence that this is a political conspiracy to interfere with the election and that … he’s the target and people shouldn’t tolerate that in America.”

Tucker VDH

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Haven’t seen Harry Dent for a while.

Economist Claims 2024 Will Bring ‘Biggest Crash of Our Lifetime’ in US (ET)

An economist who focuses on consumer spending has issued a dire warning about the U.S. economy in the coming year. “Since 2009, this has been 100 percent artificial, unprecedented money printing and deficits: $27 trillion over 15 years, to be exact,” economist Harry Dent told Fox Business on Dec. 19. “This is off the charts, 100 percent artificial, which means we’re in a dangerous state. “I think 2024 is going to be the biggest single crash year we’ll see in our lifetime. “We need to get back down to normal, and we need to send a message to central banks,” he said. “This should be a lesson I don’t think we’ll ever revisit. I don’t think we’ll ever see a bubble for any of our lifetimes again.” Mr. Dent, who owns the HS Dent Investment Management firm, told the outlet that U.S. markets are currently in a bubble that started in late 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Things are not going to come back to normal in a few years. We may never see these levels again. And this crash is not going to be a correction,” he said. “It’s going to be more in the ’29 to ’32 level. And anybody who sat through that would have shot their stockbroker,” Mr. Dent said, making references to the stock market crash in 1929 that led to the Great Depression throughout the 1930s. “If I’m right, it is going to be the biggest crash of our lifetime, most of it happening in 2024. You’re going to see it start and be more obvious by May. “So, if you just get out for six to 12 months and stuff stays at the highest valuation history, maybe you miss a little more gains if I’m wrong. If I’m right, you’re going to save massive losses and be able to reinvest a year or year-and-a-half from now at unbelievably low prices and magnify your gains beyond compare.”

Mr. Dent’s predictions of a market crash are nothing new. In 2009, he wrote “The Great Depression Ahead,” a book that forecasted a significant market crash. In the past few weeks, several analysts have been making similar predictions of a significant stock market crash in the near future. “Based on prevailing market valuations, we estimate that poor total returns are likely for the S&P 500 in the coming 10–12 years, that equity market returns, relative to bonds, are likely to be among the worst in history, and that a market loss on the order of [minus] 63% over the completion of this cycle would be consistent with prevailing valuations and a century of market history,” Hussman Investment Trust President John Hussman, who called the 2008 crash, wrote in a note in October.

However, in a recent note, investment banking firm Goldman Sachs raised its 2024 S&P 500 target by 8 percent, to 5,100, forecasting a tailwind for U.S. stocks from falling inflation and declining interest rates. “Looking forward, the new regime of both improving growth and falling rates should support stocks with weaker balance sheets, particularly those that are sensitive to economic growth,” the firm wrote late last week.

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“Power is the horse ridden by evil..”

The Greatest Gift For All (Paul Craig Roberts)

Christmas is a time of traditions. If you have found time in the rush before Christmas to decorate a tree, you are sharing in a relatively new tradition. Although the Christmas tree has ancient roots, at the beginning of the 20th century only 1 in 5 American families put up a tree. It was 1920 before the Christmas tree became the hallmark of the season. Calvin Coolidge was the first President to light a national Christmas tree on the White House lawn. Gifts are another shared custom. This tradition comes from the wise men or three kings who brought gifts to baby Jesus. When I was a kid, gifts were more modest than they are now, but even then people were complaining about the commercialization of Christmas. We have grown accustomed to the commercialization. Christmas sales are the backbone of many businesses. Gift giving causes us to remember others and to take time from our harried lives to give them thought.

The decorations and gifts of Christmas are one of our connections to a Christian culture that has held Western civilization together for 2,000 years. In our culture the individual counts. This permits an individual person to put his or her foot down, to take a stand on principle, to become a reformer and to take on injustice. This empowerment of the individual is unique to Western civilization. It has made the individual a citizen equal in rights to all other citizens, protected from tyrannical government by the rule of law and free speech. These achievements are the products of centuries of struggle, but they all flow from the teaching that God so values the individual’s soul that he sent his son to die so we might live. By so elevating the individual, Christianity gave him a voice. Formerly only those with power had a voice. But in Western civilization people with integrity have a voice.

So do people with a sense of justice, of honor, of duty, of fair play. Reformers can reform, investors can invest, and entrepreneurs can create commercial enterprises, new products and new occupations. The result was a land of opportunity. The United States attracted immigrants who shared our values and reflected them in their own lives. Our culture was absorbed by a diverse people who became one. In recent decades we have lost sight of the historic achievement that empowered the individual. The religious, legal and political roots of this great achievement are no longer reverently taught in high schools, colleges and universities or respected by our government. The voices that reach us through the millennia and connect us to our culture are being silenced by “Identity Politics,” “political correctness,” “critical race theory” and the war against “white culture.” Prayer has been driven from schools and Christian religious symbols from public life.

Christianity is being gradually marginalized. Each year it becomes more difficult to find a Christmas card that says “Merry Christmas” instead of “Seasons Greetings.” In place of Christmas carols we get Hollywood Christmas songs. In some churches Christianity is being transmuted into Christian Zionism and the worship of Israel. Others fly LGBTQ and BLM flags. We are approaching a time when a Christian Christmas cannot be celebrated as it is not inclusive in a diverse society and therefore is politically incorrect if not a hate crime. Constitutional protections have been diminished by hegemonic political ambitions. Indefinite detention, torture, and murder are now acknowledged practices of the United States government. The historic achievement of due process has been rolled back. Tyranny has re-emerged.

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Pi

 

 

 

 

Fox

 

 

Jealousy

 

 


Elephant mother and child, in a field of of hyacinth at Kaziranga national park

 

 

Crosby and Frank
https://twitter.com/i/status/1737877893609373992

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 212023
 
 December 21, 2023  Posted by at 9:23 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  61 Responses »


Pablo Picasso The old fisherman 1895

 

SCOTUS Should Rule Unanimously (Turley)
Colorado Undermines Democracy in the Name of Democracy (Peter Meijer)
Colorado’s Supreme Court Blocks Democracy to Bar Trump (Turley)
Trump Gets Surprise Boost With Young Voters Amid Biden Disillusionment (Hill)
The Colorado Insurrection (Victor Davis Hanson)
Yemen Ready to Stare Down a New Imperial Coalition (Pepe Escobar)
Yemen’s Houthis Reveal General Mobilization Action to Send Soldiers to Gaza
Pentagon Concerned With Cost Of Repelling Houthi Attacks – Politico (RT)
Hamas Politburo Seeks End To War, Palestinian State (Cradle)
Russia’s Plan For The Ukraine Conflict In 2024 – 1 (Poletaev)
Russia’s Plan For The Ukraine Conflict In 2024 – 2 (Poletaev)
US Has A ‘Clear Plan’ For Ukraine’s Future – Blinken (RT)
US Senate Shelves Ukraine Aid Talks (RT)

 

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1737278878979088608

 

 

 

 

Led by donkeys

 

 

 

 

Scott Adams: “I’m loving the Colorado overreach. The decision will be reversed. Trump’s poll numbers will go up. But best of all, this gives you permission to assume the 2020 election was rigged – without proof – because “stop Trump at any cost” is evident in this decision.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

A split vote would be pretty bad.

SCOTUS Should Rule Unanimously (Turley)

The Colorado decision to bar Donald Trump from the ballot will be overturned because it is wrong on the history and the language of the 14th Amendment. Dead wrong. The question is whether the US Supreme Court will speak with one voice, including the three liberal justices. As with the three Democratic state justices who refused to sign off on the Colorado opinion, these federal justices can now bring a moment of unity not just for the court but the country in rejecting this shockingly anti-democratic theory. For years, the disqualification theory has been treated like some abstract parlor game for law professors. While Democrats called for the disqualification of 120 House members, it was treated as a fringe theory. It has now lost its charm as a legal brain teaser.

As I have previously written, the disqualification of Trump is based on the use of a long-dormant provision in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. After the Civil War, House members were outraged to see Alexander Stephens, the Confederate vice president, seeking to take the oath with an array of other former Confederate senators and military officers. They had all previously taken the same oath and then violated it to join a secession movement that claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans. That was a true rebellion. January 6, 2021, was a riot. That does not excuse those who committed crimes that day — but it was not an insurrection. The majority on the Colorado Supreme Court adopted sweeping interpretations of every element of the decision to find that Trump not only incited an insurrection, but can be disqualified under this provision.

It does not matter that Trump has never been charged with even incitement or that he called for his supporters to go to the Capitol to protest “peacefully.” In finding that Trump led an actual insurrection, the four justices used speeches going back to 2016 to show an effort to rebel before Trump was ever president. There are ample grounds to summarily toss this opinion to the side. However, that would not answer the call of this historic moment. What these four justices did was a direct assault on our democratic process in seeking to bar the most popular candidate in the upcoming election. Whatever the view of Trump, this is a decision that should rest with the voters. Not only are these four justices seeking to bar the votes of millions of voters (even barring the counting of write-in votes), but they are doing so in the name of democracy.

It is the ballot cleansing that is usually associated with authoritarian countries like Iran, where voters are protected from “unworthy” candidates. Justice Robert Jackson once observed that he and his colleagues “are not final because we are infallible, we are infallible because we are final.” A decision on Colorado could put this theory to rest by the sheer finality of the appeal. However, it is not the finality that is needed at this moment. We need clarity. Clarity of purpose and principle. The Supreme Court plays a unique role in our system at times like these. It must at times defy us in rejecting racism as cases such as Brown v. Board of Education. At other times, it has protected in rejecting government overreach as in cases such as Katz v. United States, demanding warrants to overcome the reasonable expectation of privacy. This is a time where it can unify us.

Turley

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“I was one of ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after January 6. I think the court’s decision is shameful.”

Colorado Undermines Democracy in the Name of Democracy (Peter Meijer)

For years, we’ve been told that Donald Trump is a worse-than-Hitler threat to democracy and that those who opposed him—leading Democrats, the courts, Noam Chomsky, Michael Avenatti, Rachel Maddow, the hosts of The View, even old Twitter—were just trying to protect it. It’s odd then to now be told that the best way to save democracy is by banning Trump from the ballot. That’s what happened in Colorado yesterday, when the state’s Supreme Court ruled in a 4–3 decision that former president Donald Trump—currently the most popular presidential candidate—was disqualified from appearing on Colorado ballots for the 2024 presidential election. The decision—perhaps the most extra-constitutional act by a high court in my lifetime—is astonishing on every level.

First, the reasoning: The Colorado court did it by reinvigorating Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which reads in part that “no person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States” who has “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”Those words were written in 1866, less than a year after the Civil War ended, a war in which over 300,000 Union soldiers died to keep America united, in order to bar many former Confederate officials from serving in government. January 6 was my third day in Congress. I had to be evacuated from the House chamber after a violent mob stormed the Capitol that day. I considered it then, and consider it now, a dark and shameful day. But no federal court has found, nor is the Justice Department even alleging, that Trump is guilty of anything close to insurrection or rebellion. And yet here is the highest court in an American state taking upon itself to conclude a violation of federal statute.

Second, the split: The vote was not unanimous, but 4 to 3. As Washington Post columnist Jason Willick noticed, all of the Colorado Supreme Court justices are Democratic appointees, so what predicted their vote was not party, but law school. “All Ivy League grads voted to disqualify. All Denver Law grads voted not to disqualify.” In a time when elite schools appear uniquely removed from reality, amid a political moment defined by elite failure, the irony is profound. Trump campaigns on “saving America” from elites seeking to thwart the will of the people. Those elites, in turn, respond by confirming Trump’s worst allegations.

Third, the consequences: What is extraordinary today will be precedent tomorrow; past exceptions become today’s rule. Bending the law and loosening interpretations to force Trump’s accountability for January 6 into the legal realm will be far more damaging in the long term than whatever Trump’s opponents think they might prevent. Broadening the Fourteenth Amendment understanding of insurrection from the horrendous bloodshed of a civil war or equivalent catastrophe will open the floodgates to tit-for-tat challenges. If Trump’s rhetorical culpability for January 6 qualifies, similar lawsuits against Democratic politicians who encouraged BLM rioters will swiftly follow. Was Kamala Harris giving “aid or comfort” when she fundraised bail money for rioters? You can imagine where this could go.

Texas

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“The result is an opinion that lacks any limiting principles. It places the nation on a slippery slope where red and blue states could now engage in tit-for-tat disqualifications..”

Colorado’s Supreme Court Blocks Democracy to Bar Trump (Turley)

In his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde wrote that “the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it.” The four Colorado justices just ridded themselves of the ultimate temptation and, in so doing, put this country on one of the most dangerous paths in its history. The court majority used a long-dormant provision in Section 3 of the 14th Amendment — the “disqualification clause” — that was written after the Civil War to bar former Confederate members from serving in the U.S. Congress. In December 1865 many in Washington were shocked to see Alexander Stephens, the Confederacy’s onetime vice president, waiting to take the same oath that he took before joining the Southern rebellion. Hundreds of thousands of Americans had just died after whole states seceded into their own separate nation with its own army, navy, foreign policy and currency.

So Congress declared that it could bar those “who have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” January 6, 2021, was many things — and all of them bad. However, it was not an insurrection. I was critical of Trump’s speech to a mob of supporters that day, and I rejected his legal claims to stop the certification of the 2020 presidential election in Congress. However, it was a protest that became a riot, not a rebellion. Indeed, despite the unrelenting efforts of many in the media and Congress, a post-January 6 Harvard study found that most of the rioters were motivated by support for Trump or concerns about the election’s fairness, not by a desire to rebel. Even the Justice Department’s special counsel Jack Smith, who threw every possible charge at Trump in two indictments, did not believe he had sufficient basis to charge Trump with incitement or insurrection.

Much can be said about this decision, but restraint is not one of them. What is most striking about the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling is how the majority removed all of the fail-safes to extend the meaning of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to block Trump. There were a number of barriers facing advocates who have tried to stretch this provision to cover the January 6 riot. The four justices had to adopt the most sweeping interpretation possible on every one of those questions in order to support their decision. The only narrow part of the opinion came with the interpretation of the First Amendment, where the four justices dismissed the free-speech implications of disqualifying presidential candidates based on political position and rhetoric.

The result is an opinion that lacks any limiting principles. It places the nation on a slippery slope where red and blue states could now engage in tit-for-tat disqualifications. According to the Colorado Supreme Court, those decisions do not need to be based on the specific comments made by figures like Trump. Instead, it ruled, courts can now include any statements made before or after a speech to establish a “true threat.” It was inevitable that the Trump-ballot challengers would find four jurists in one state willing to follow something like the Wilde Doctrine. However, it is also important to note that a series of Democratic jurists previously refused to do so in various cases. They did so not out of any affinity to Trump but out of their affinity to the Constitution.

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Surprise?

Trump Gets Surprise Boost With Young Voters Amid Biden Disillusionment (Hill)

President Biden’s problem right now is not simply that his polls are bad. It’s that he is leaking support from key Democratic blocs — and that his nemesis, former President Trump, is doing surprisingly well. The starkest example comes among young voters. A New York Times/Siena College poll released Tuesday showed Trump ahead of Biden by 6 points among registered voters under 30. If such a performance were to be reflected in an actual election, it would make a Trump victory all but inevitable. In 2020, Biden crushed Trump by 24 points among the under-30s, according to the main exit poll — and still won just a narrow electoral college victory. The new poll cannot be dismissed as an outlier, either.

An NBC News survey last month showed a very similar pattern, with voters under 35 favoring Trump by 4 points, 46 percent to 42 percent. It was the first NBC News poll of Biden’s presidency that showed Trump beating the incumbent president overall, albeit by a slim 2-point margin. The findings bring up two intertwined questions: Why is Biden doing so badly with younger voters, and why is Trump doing so well? The first part of the question is easier to answer. The 81-year-old Biden — a relative moderate and a staunch institutionalist — has never been an especially inspiring figure to young voters. Young progressives have been disappointed that he has not taken more expansive action on priorities from climate change to voting rights. Student loan repayments resumed in October after Biden’s efforts to forgive significant student debt were blocked by the Supreme Court.

That left Biden in a vulnerable position — which then became exponentially worse when Israel unleashed a furious attack on Gaza after the Oct. 7 Hamas assault that killed around 1,200 Israelis. Younger Americans are, overall, far more sympathetic to the Palestinians than older generations are. Polls suggest many such voters have recoiled at Biden’s vigorous support for Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the Palestinian death toll mounts. The New York Times poll showed voters under 30 disapproving of Biden’s handling of the Middle East conflict by an enormous margin — 72 percent to 20 percent. “It’s what’s driving young voters away from Biden more than anything, even though it is obviously one part of a larger picture,” said Usamah Andrabi, the communications director for Justice Democrats, a left-wing group. Biden has adopted a tougher rhetorical tone with Israel recently, including saying last week that it was starting to lose support because of “indiscriminate bombing.”

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“..remember Kamala Harris’s summer 2020 boasts about the protests that, she knew (contrary to “fact checkers”) had already a long history of violence..”

The Colorado Insurrection (Victor Davis Hanson)

Donald Trump is being erased from the Colorado primary (and general?) ballot, by warping the 14th Amendment, and in a way never envisioned by its creators. So now can one be guilty by fiat of Confederacy-like “insurrection,” when he has never been charged with, much less convicted of, such a crime?How can a buffoonish January 6th riot become an “insurrection,” when no one was armed, there was no plan to seize power, and protestors were advised by the purported insurrectionist leader “to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard”?As far as election insurrectionary interference, why did liberal journalist Molly Ball label the leftwing effort to defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 election a “cabal” (e.g., “That’s why the participants want the secret history of the 2020 election told, even though it sounds like a paranoid fever dream–a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information”)?

And why did Ball double-down and further call it a “conspiracy” (“There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs. Both surprises were the result of an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans, of CEOs, Silicon Valley billionaires, street protestors…Their work touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears.”)?

As far as efforts to nullify the popular vote, do we remember the pathetic 2016 ensemble of C-list Hollywood celebrities (e.g., Martin Sheen, Debra Messing, James Cromwell, BD Wong, Noah Wyle, Freda Payne, Bob Odenkirk, J. Smith Cameron, Michael Urie, Moby, Mike Farrell, Loretta Swit, Christine Lahti, Steven Pasquale, Dominic Fumusa and Emily Tyra)? They were drafted by leftwing groups to cut commercials urging the electors to reject their constitutional duties of reflecting their states’ popular votes, and instead, as faithless electors, to vote instead for Hillary Clinton, the loser in their respective states’ popular votes. How did they rationalize that anti-constitutional gambit? Well, remember Martin Sheen’s shameless sophistry to ignore the Constitution and the election results?

“As you know, our founding fathers built the Electoral College to safeguard the American people from the dangers of a demagogue, and to ensure that the presidency only goes to someone who is to an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” So what makes a high elected official an insurrectionist? Current or past advocacy for using violence against the government, as represented by, say, the Supreme Court? Or urging on more protests that had already turned violent, eventually leading to 35 deaths, 1,500 injured police officers, $1-2 billion in property damage, and a torched courthouse, police headquarters, and iconic church? Attempting to break into the White House grounds? Sending the president into a secure underground bunker?

If so, remember Kamala Harris’s summer 2020 boasts about the protests that, she knew (contrary to “fact checkers”) had already a long history of violence: “But they’re not gonna stop. They’re not gonna stop, and this is a movement, I’m telling you. They’re not gonna stop, and everyone beware, because they’re not gonna stop. They’re not gonna stop before Election Day in November, and they’re not gonna stop after Election Day. Everyone should take note of that, on both levels, that they’re not going to let up — and they should not. And we should not.” What was the Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer intending, when in 2020 he incited a throng at the very doors of the Supreme Court, warning of violence to come to two justices whom he called out by name?“I want to tell you Gorsuch. I want to tell you Kavanaugh. You have released the whirlwind and you will pay the price. You won’t know what hit you if you go forward with these awful decisions.” “Hit you”?

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“All you need to know about the new “coalition of the willing”. Saudi, UAE and Egypt – soon to become BRICS members – NOT willing.”

Yemen Ready to Stare Down a New Imperial Coalition (Pepe Escobar)

No one ever lost money betting on the ability of the Empire of Chaos, Lies and Plunder to construct a “coalition of the willing” whenever faced with a geopolitical quandary. In every case, duly covered by the reigning “rules-based international order”, “willing” applies to vassals seduced by carrots or sticks to follow to the letter the Empire’s whims. Cue to the latest chapter: Coalition Genocide Prosperity, whose official – heroic – denomination, a trademark of the Pentagon’s P.R. wizards, is “Operation Prosperity Guardian”, allegedly engaged in “ensuring freedom of navigation in the Red Sea.” Translation: this is Washington all but declaring war on Yemen’s Ansarullah. An extra US destroyer has already been dispatched to the Red Sea. Ansarullah sticks to its guns and is by no means intimidated. The Houthi military have already stressed that any attack on Yemeni assets or Ansarullah missile launch sites would color the entire Red Sea literally Red.

The Houthi military not only reaffirmed it has “weapons to sink your aircraft carriers and destroyers” but made a stunning call to both Sunnis and Shi’ites in Bahrain to revolt and overthrow their King, Hamad al-Khalifa. As of Monday, even before the start of the operation, the Eisenhower aircraft carrier was around 280 km off the closest Ansarullah controlled latitudes. Houthis have Zoheir and Khalij-e-Fars anti-ship ballistic missiles with a range of 300 to 500 km. Ansarullah Supreme Political Council member Muhammad al-Bukhaiti felt compelled to re-stress the obvious: “Even if America succeeds in mobilizing the entire world, our operations in the Red Sea will not stop unless the massacre in Gaza stops. We will not give up the responsibility of defending the Moustazafeen (oppressed ones) of the Earth.” The world better get ready: “Aircraft carrier sunk” may become the new 9/11.

Weapons peddler Lloyd “Raytheon” Austin, in his current revolving door position as head of the Pentagon, is visiting West Asia – mostly Israel, Qatar and Bahrain – to promote this new “international initiative” for patrolling the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandeb strait (which links the Arabian Sea to the Red Sea) and the Gulf of Aden. As al-Bukhaiti remarked, Ansarullah’s strategy is to target any ship navigating the Red Sea linked to Israeli companies or supplying Israel – something that for the Yemenis demonstrates their complicity with the Gaza genocide. That will only stop when the genocide stops. With a single move – a de facto maritime blockade – Ansarullah proved that the King is Naked: Yemen has done more in practice to defend the Palestinian cause than most of the key regional players put together. Incidentally, they were all ordered by Netanyahu in public to shut up. And they did.

It’s quite instructive to once again follow the money. Israel has been hit very hard. The port of Eilat is virtually closed, and its income fell by 80%. For instance, Taiwanese shipping giant Yang-Ming Marine Transport Corporation originally planned to re-route its Israel-bound cargo to the port of Ashdod. Then it cut off any shipments to any Israeli destination. It’s no wonder Yoram Sebba, President of the Israel Chamber of Shipping, revealed himself to be puzzled by Ansarullah’s “complex” tactics and “unrevealed” criteria that have imposed “total uncertainty”. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan have also been caught in the Yemeni net. It’s crucial to keep in perspective that Ansarullah only blocks ships that are going to Israel. The bulk of maritime shipping in the Red Sea remains wide open. So shipping giant Maersk’s decision not to use the Red Sea, alongside other global shipping behemoths, may be pushing the envelope too fast – as in nearly begging for a US-led patrol to be in effect.

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They mean business.

Yemen’s Houthis Reveal General Mobilization Action to Send Soldiers to Gaza

A general mobilization is being carried out in northern Yemen to send soldiers to the Gaza Strip if such an opportunity arises, member of the political office of Yemen’s Ansar Allah rebel movement, also known as the Houthis, Houtham Assad told Sputnik on Wednesday. “As for the general mobilization in support of our people in the Gaza Strip, it was launched in all provinces, training camps were opened, tens of thousands of young people volunteered to study military craft, several groups have already graduated in various provinces of Yemen,” the official said. The people are being called upon to support our people in Gaza, who are being “subjected to genocide by the Israeli occupation army with the support of the United States” the official said, adding that if the conditions are right then they will take part in military operations in the Gaza Strip.

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They’re firing $2,000,000 missiles at $2,000 drones.

Pentagon Concerned With Cost Of Repelling Houthi Attacks – Politico (RT)

Pentagon officials are worried about the growing cost of countering Yemeni Houthi drone and missile attacks in the Red Sea, Politico reported on Wednesday. This comes after several major freight companies suspended travel through the region, citing concerns over the safety of their vessels. The US Navy has shot down 38 drones and several missiles over the Red Sea in the past two months, according to the US Department of Defense. On Saturday, the US destroyer USS Carney shot down 14 drones – suspected to be launched from Yemen – in one attack alone. The Houthis have stepped up attacks on shipping in the region amid the escalating Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza. With the death toll among the Palestinians reportedly nearing 20,000, the rebels have vowed to continue their assaults until “the Israeli aggression against” their “steadfast brothers in the Gaza Strip stops.”

Politico reported that the cost of using US naval surface-to-air missiles is increasingly concerning, quoting sources from the Department of Defense. Each munition is reportedly worth an estimated 1,000 times more than the drones they’re used on. “That quickly becomes a problem because the most benefit, even if we do shoot down their incoming missiles and drones, is in their favor,” said Mick Mulroy, a former US Defense Department official and CIA officer. He believes the US needs to start looking at cheaper systems more in line with the costs expended by their opponents. The most likely method to be used in parrying Houthi strikes is expected to be the Standard Missile-2, with a range of 92 to 130 nautical miles and costing $2.1 million each. The other available tools for the job – Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles or airburst rounds – are likely to have too limited of a range, Politico’s sources said.

“My guess is the [destroyers] are shooting SM-2s for as long as they can – they are not in [the] business of taking chances on hostile targets getting close,” the former official commented.Their experts estimate that the suicide drones deployed by the Houthis cost $2,000 at most. The US doesn’t seem to have a cheaper option than what it’s using now, Samuel Bendett, an adviser with the Center for Naval Analyses, told Politico, adding that “driving down the cost of such defenses is essential in the long term.” On Monday, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the formation of an international maritime task force to counter rebel attacks on vessels in the Red Sea. Houthi spokesman Mohammed al-Bukhaiti replied on X (formerly Twitter) that the US measures are an escalation and that the rebels won’t stop until the “genocidal crimes in Gaza stop… no matter the sacrifices it costs” them.

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“Hamas wished to break the 17-year siege on Gaza and put the Palestinian issue back on the table in the international arena.”

Hamas Politburo Seeks End To War, Palestinian State (Cradle)

Hamas political leaders are in talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) about how to govern Gaza and the West Bank after the war with Israel ends, with the goal of establishing a Palestinian state, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on 20 December. “We don’t fight just because we want to fight. We are not partisans of a zero-sum game,” Husam Badran, a member of Hamas’ Doha-based political bureau, stated. “We want the war to end.” The Hamas leader’s statement marks a change from 7 October, when the armed wing of the group led an assault on Israeli military bases and settlements in which more than 1,200 Israelis were killed, both by Hamas and Israeli forces themselves due to the Hannibal Directive. Hamas wished to break the 17-year siege on Gaza and put the Palestinian issue back on the table in the international arena.

During the attack, Hamas took over 200 Israeli soldiers and civilians captive hoping to exchange them for the freedom of thousands of Palestinians long held in Israeli prisons. Now, after Israel has killed more than 20,000 Palestinians in Gaza, Hamas’s political wing is seeking an end to the conflict. “We want to establish a Palestinian state in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem,” Badran said. Badran also stated Hamas wishes to join the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which represents Palestinians at the United Nations and other international forums. “It will be a national dialogue,” Badran said. “We have always said the PLO should contain any Palestinian faction.” Badran and other Hamas officials say the talks have also included Mohammed Dahlan, a former Gaza security chief with close Emirati and Egyptian support, and former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

“I am no friend of Hamas,” Dahlan said. “But do you think anybody is going to be able to run to make peace without Hamas?” The Hamas political leaders indicated they would be willing to join the PLO and support negotiations for a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. But Badran said that Hamas had no plans to recognize Israel as long as the occupation continues. “The world has no right to ask when people are being killed,” he said. “It’s not logical to ask this question at this time.” Badran denied rumors of a division between Hamas’ Gaza branch and its political leadership in Doha. “The leadership of Hamas, both inside Gaza and outside it, is in complete agreement on strategies and political positions across various issues,” he said. Badran says Hamas is seeking a full-scale ceasefire and a full exchange of captives from both sides. “If there is a ceasefire, our stance is crystal clear: We want an exchange of all-for-all,” he said.

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Sergey Poletaev is co-founder and editor of the Vatfor project. I took the first and last bit of his long article.

Russia’s Plan For The Ukraine Conflict In 2024 – 1 (Poletaev)

Since coming to power 24 years ago, Putin has developed an image as an uncompromising fighter against the enemy, and his promise (of the Chechen war-era) to “waste them in the shi*thouses” tends to be applied to everything, including Ukraine. However, in relations with the West and Kiev, Putin has always been a man of compromise. The principle his policy in Ukraine (as indeed throughout the post-Soviet region) has been to press for an agreement. From the gas wars under ex-Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko to the Black Sea Fleet deal under his successor, Viktor Yanukovich, from the Minsk agreements under Pyotr Poroshenko to the Istanbul epic under Vladimir Zelensky, Putin has never beaten Ukraine to death, but has confined himself to slaps in the hope of making his opponent see the point.

This approach is often criticized, but Putin, like Russian elites in general, fundamentally and organically regards Ukraine as a separate country and has always recognized its right to exist. In this paradigm, Kiev itself has to accept an offer that cannot be refused, and, as insurance, Putin has always created a plan B: In order not to depend on Ukraine for gas, bypass pipelines were built; in parallel with the naval treaty, the Crimean operation was developed (and implemented in March-April 2014), and so on. In the early years, Putin talked directly with the Ukrainian elites, but as Kiev lost its independence, he negotiated with the participation of Western European powers (the Minsk agreements, signed at the second attempt) and, apparently tacitly, the United States. The agreements worked less and less well from year to year, but the approach adopted made it difficult to achieve more.

Moreover, in a vacuum, the Minsk Agreements were a kind of diplomatic triumph: after all, having been approved by the UN Security Council, Minsk-2 became an international legal treaty of supreme force, binding on Ukraine. The backup plan in case Minsk failed was the “special military operation” (as it is known in Russia) in its original form: First, a few months of heightened military tensions, then a full-scale police-style operation to force Kiev to submit to Moscow’s terms. In Istanbul in March 2022, it was proposed to involve the US, the UK, and China as the ultimate guarantors. Beijing did not seem to mind, but the West flatly refused, and Putin waited for his counterparts to get real while he kept Ukraine in his grip by force: tightening and loosening his grip.

Is it working? Well, the West has armed Kiev as much as it can (but without going totally over-the-top, such as massive supplies of long-range missiles), but it has not yet taken irreversible steps, such as Ukraine’s admission to NATO. Meanwhile, the severity of anti-Russian sanctions is balanced by the non-binding nature of their implementation. Whether it’s by secret agreement or on its own initiative, over the past two years a different balance has emerged: the West is not letting Ukraine collapse but is not provoking an escalation, while Russia is bringing Ukraine to its knees but not bringing it down.

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“..the current relative calm may well last until the US elections at the end of 2024. A deal will then be offered to the new administration, whatever it may be..”

Russia’s Plan For The Ukraine Conflict In 2024 – 2 (Poletaev)

The Kremlin’s scenario for the coming year could be as follows: maintain the current intensity of fighting, slowly advance in Donbass and exhaust Ukraine in order to demonstrate to the West the firmness of the Russian position and the futility of hopes for a military victory by Kiev. The offer, which the West cannot refuse, is essentially this: Either you give up Ukraine, or we will crush it as a state and eliminate the threat on a voluntary basis. If Ukraine does not collapse in the coming months, the current relative calm may well last until the US elections at the end of 2024. A deal will then be offered to the new administration, whatever it may be. Putin has done this before: He delayed the Minsk showdown until after Zelensky’s election, and only when he was convinced of his lack of commitment did he give the military operation the green light.

Thus, the military escalation will become another insurance policy for different occasions: in the absence of substantive agreements, a major attack with decisive targets will be launched within the framework of the current operation, and if an agreement can be reached on the demilitarization of Ukraine according to the Istanbul principles and on Kiev’s military neutrality, the sword of Damocles of a new – this time unrestrained – Russian operation will hang over Ukraine in case of attempts to change the status quo. Putin himself has hinted at such a scenario: At a memorable meeting with military correspondents in early June 2023, he spoke of a “second march on Kiev” that would require a new mobilization.

The timing can be gauged from the words of Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu: by the end of 2024, the main tasks in army construction and the development of the military-industrial complex must be completed; according to the budget plans, 2024 is also the peak year for national defense spending, and the result will have to be used somehow. One sign of the preparations for the aforementioned ‘great campaign’ will be a sharp change in official rhetoric. It will be a big, nationwide affair, so military propaganda will have to work at full throttle. But if our conclusions are correct, this is a back-up scenario, and the mobilization is also a back-up scenario.

For Putin, it is more important to make a big deal with the West than to crush Kiev: After all, this is the reasons for which the military offensive is being conducted, and the physical reduction of Ukraine is a side effect. If it succeeds, Ukraine has the chance to become a larger version of Georgia – and that would probably be the best fate for it. No deal is possible in the here and now, but after the failure of Kiev’s counteroffensive, the West is reluctant to send money and arms to keep its client in its current, not-so-good shape. Unless the tide turns, Ukraine’s chances of holding out against the Russian onslaught will diminish with each passing month, and with them the West’s hopes of overthrowing Putin by force.

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What plan? You lost, Antony.

US Has A ‘Clear Plan’ For Ukraine’s Future – Blinken (RT)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that Washington has a clear strategy for the future of Ukraine but warned that financial support is wearing thin as an aid package stalls in Congress. Speaking at his end-of-year press conference at the State Department on Wednesday, Blinken said that 2023 has been “a year of profound tests” as Washington attempts to navigate a series of global challenges in Ukraine, Gaza, and elsewhere.But as signs grow, particularly among Republicans, that US enthusiasm to continue to support Ukraine in its near two-year conflict with Russia is waning, Blinken said to reporters that Washington has a concerted strategy for the future of the country.

“We have a very clear plan,” he said, “to make sure that Ukraine can stand on its own two feet – militarily, economically, democratically – so that these levels of support and assistance will no longer be necessary.” The first of which, he suggested, was to free up additional financial aid for Ukraine so that Kiev can meet its immediate challenges. “We have to help Ukraine get through the next period of time, get through this winter, get through the spring and summer,” Blinken said. He added: “I’m also focused on the fact that they have their own plans to continue.” Pressure from Democrats, and even Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, has so far failed to persuade Republicans in Congress to rubber-stamp a $50 billion military aid package for Kiev.

Dissenting voices in the legislature have insisted that the White House agree on border security provisions as a condition of the deal. Without approval from Congress, Blinken warned that financial aid will rapidly dwindle. “There is no magic pot we can draw from,” he said. “The assistance, the support that we have designated for Ukraine that is running out, that is running down. We are nearly out of money. And we’re running out of time.” Blinken also stated that the US will continue efforts to encourage other countries to provide further support for Kiev, and ensure that Russia’s operation is a “strategic failure.”

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“They [the US government] were very worried about Russia getting closer with Europe,” Putin said..”

US Senate Shelves Ukraine Aid Talks (RT)

The US Senate will not approve a major new foreign aid package this year, including around $60 billion for Ukraine, after failing to reach a deal on domestic border security, leading lawmakers have announced. Republicans have insisted they will not approve the White House request to send billions of dollars to foreign nations unless the Democrats introduce significant immigration reforms at home. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had postponed the Senate’s Christmas break by a week in the hopes of hammering out an agreement. In a joint statement with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday, the two top senators expressed hope that a deal could be reached “early in the new year.” The statement said senators and the administration of President Joe Biden will use the remainder of the year “to work in good faith toward finalizing” a potential deal.

Unlike the Senate, the Republican-majority House declined to shorten its recess to allow more time for additional talks. Speaker Mike Johnson has called on the White House to present a clear plan on how pouring more money into Ukraine would help it prevail in the conflict with Russia. Biden has accused Republicans of holding the proposed foreign aid “hostage,” and by extension jeopardizing US national security. The National Security Council’s John Kirby reiterated during a briefing on Tuesday that the White House has “no magic pot of money” to tap into, and that existing aid for Ukraine was about to run out. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky addressed the issue during an end-of-year press conference on the same day, expressing belief that “the US will not betray us.”

“We have an agreement, and this agreement with the US will be fully implemented,” he insisted. Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Washington of initiating the Ukraine conflict with the 2014 armed coup in Kiev and using it for selfish gains as he attended a Defense Ministry meeting on Tuesday. “They [the US government] were very worried about Russia getting closer with Europe,” Putin said, adding that Washington successfully created a rift “and now they are putting the financial burden on Europe too.” According to US media, officials negotiating the border deal have agreed in principle to raise the threshold for migrants seeking to claim asylum in the US and to give the government more authority to expedite expulsions. The parties have conflicting positions on which groups of migrants should be kept in custody and which should be paroled.

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Only 2 years ago.

 

 

Jealous

 

 


The “skeleton” of a stingray. Just like sharks, stingrays don’t have any bones. Instead, their bodies are supported by cartilage, which is the same material that our ears are made from. This gives stingrays their bendy, flexible appearance.

 

 

Food commercials

 

 

Kupata

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 172023
 
 December 17, 2023  Posted by at 8:35 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,  36 Responses »


Edward Hopper Sunday 1926

 

CNN Narrative Around “Missing” Dossier On Trump-Russia Conspiracy (CTH)
Congress Approves Bill Barring Any President From Withdrawing From NATO (Hill)
Trump Quotes Putin to Prove US Democracy in Danger (Sp.)
Is Free Speech a Relic in America? (Bovard)
Scott Ritter: Joe Biden’s World War III Fantasy
Putin Reveals Secret Talk On Gaza War (Helmer)
Opposition to Netanyahu Explodes After IDF Killing of Israeli Captives (Sp.)
Running On Empty, the US Leaves Zelenskyy Hanging (Luongo)
US Knows Ukraine Can’t Win – Kremlin (RT)
Ukraine on Brink of Humanitarian Collapse, Authorities Admit (Sp.)
Zelensky’s Tone Deaf DC Trip Leaves Republicans Wishing He’d Never Come (Sp.)
Italian PM Meloni Talks Orban Out Of Veto On Ukraine’s EU Accession (TASS)
Money for Nothing and Nothing for Money (Kunstler)
Musk Doesn’t Believe In Aliens (RT)

 

 

 

 

Jack Smith

 

 

Deep State targets Elon Musk

 

 

 

 

Letitia

 

 

 

 

Nap Mearsheimer

 

 

Nap Macgregor

 

 

Pointless conflict

 

 

Today’s the youngest you’ll ever be, so live like it.

 

 

 

 

Many have addressed the dossier (binder). sundance does it best. Recommended reading.

CNN Narrative Around “Missing” Dossier On Trump-Russia Conspiracy (CTH)

• Big picture #1 The FBI/DOJ is now seriously worried that President Trump will win the 2024 election.
• Big picture #2 CNN (Natasha Bertrand, Evan Perez and Zachary Cohen) mouthpieces for the FBI Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy fraud, now begin positioning defenses against Trump s evidence of the fabrication. They want to proactively stop the dossier they know consists of the evidence.
• FACT: The authors know all the details about the 10-inch-thick dossier that was given by Trump to the DOJ for declassification 1/20/21, but shout that it is now missing.
• FACT: The raid on Mar-a-Lago came after President Trump filed a 108-page civil lawsuit in March 2022 against the coconspirators. Including: Hillary Clinton, Hillary for America Campaign Committee, DNC, DNC Services Corp, Perkins Coie, Michael Sussmann, Marc Elias, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Charles Dolan, Jake Sullivan, John Podesta, Robby Mook, Phillipe Reines as well as Fusion GPS, Glenn Simpson, Peter Fritsch, Nellie Ohr, Bruce Ohr, Orbis Business Intelligence, Christopher Steele, Igor Danchenko, Neustar Inc., Rodney Joffe, James Comey, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Kevin Clinesmith and Andrew McCabe.

The DOJ was given one copy of the 103 binder to release publicly. Now ask yourself, what documentary evidence was used to write the lawsuit? lolol, duh! The motive for the DOJ/FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago is found in the search for the binder of evidence. The national archives classified documents angle was the justification the cover story. The raid on Mar-a-Lago was the recovery effort. Who authorized the Mar-a-Lago search warrant? The same judge from the civil action. I have previously written about the binder and all of the issues around it. The CNN article is filled with multiple tell-tale indicators of why it is written.

[..] Last year, CTH outlined a four-part series of articles going deep into the background of the DOJ-FBI raid of President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, along with the outline into why it was important to them. It doesn’t matter how many different legal angles and Deep State justifications the DOJ attempts to deploy in order to divert away from what took place; the background of who, what, when and why they raided Mar-a-Lago will not change. In Part One, we outlined the background of the modern Deep State. In Part Two, we outlined the specifics of how President Trump was targeted by political operatives using tools created by the DC system. In Part Three, we outlined how and why President Trump was blocked from releasing documents. And then finally, as below in Part 4, we assembled the specifics of what documents likely existed in Mar-a-Lago.

It is important to remember, the Presidential Records Act –the presented pretext for the document conflict– is not a criminal statute. An FBI raid cannot be predicated on a document conflict between the National Archives and a former president. The DOJ-NSD warrant, and the subsequent raid on Mar-a-Lago, can only be related to records the U.S. government deems “classified” and material vital to national security interests. Hence, DOJ National Security Division involvement. In prior outlines, we have exhaustively covered the details of President Trump’s desire to publicly release information about DOJ and FBI conduct in their targeting of him during the fabricated Trump-Russia claims. However, to understand the nature of the documents he may hold, we first review the declassification memo provided by President Trump to the DOJ upon his departure from office.

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How the war industry controls Washington.

Congress Approves Bill Barring Any President From Withdrawing From NATO (Hill)

Congress has approved legislation that would prevent any president from withdrawing the United States from NATO without approval from the Senate or an Act of Congress. The measure, spearheaded by Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), was included in the annual National Defense Authorization Act, which passed out of the House on Thursday and is expected to be signed by President Biden. The provision underscores Congress’s commitment to the NATO alliance that was a target of former President Trump’s ire during his term in office. The alliance has taken on revitalized importance under Biden, especially since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

“NATO has held strong in response to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s war in Ukraine and rising challenges around the world,” Kaine said in a statement. He added the legislation “reaffirms U.S. support for this crucial alliance that is foundational for our national security. It also sends a strong message to authoritarians around the world that the free world remains united.” Rubio said the measure served as a critical tool for congressional oversight. “We must ensure we are protecting our national interests and protecting the security of our democratic allies,” he said in a statement.

Biden has invested deeply in the NATO alliance during his term, committing more troops and military resources to Europe as a show of force against Putin’s war. He has also overseen the expansion of the alliance with the inclusion of Finland and ongoing efforts to secure Sweden’s full accession. Trump, the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, has sent mixed messages on the alliance ahead of 2024. The former president’s advocates say his tough talk and criticisms of the alliance served to inspire member-states to fulfill their obligations to reach 2 percent of defense spending, lightening the burden on the U.S. But Trump’s critics say the former president’s rhetoric weakens the unity and force of purpose of the alliance. And they expressed concerns that Trump would abandon the U.S. commitment to the mutual defense pact of the alliance or withdraw the U.S. completely.

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‘Politically-motivated persecution of his political rival is very good for Russia because it shows the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach others about democracy.’

Trump Quotes Putin to Prove US Democracy in Danger (Sp.)

Former US President and 2024 Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump quoted Russian leader Vladimir Putin to prove that democracy in the States is in danger. Trump addressed his supporters during a campaign rally at the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore Center Arena in Durham on December 16. The presidential hopeful emphasized that even the Russian president believes that Trump is being politically persecuted. “Even Vladimir Putin – has anybody heard of Vladimir Putin of Russia? – says that Biden’s, and this is a quote, ‘Politically-motivated persecution of his political rival is very good for Russia because it shows the rottenness of the American political system, which cannot pretend to teach others about democracy.’ So, you know, we’ve talked about democracy, but the whole world is watching the persecution of a political opponent that’s kicking his ass. It’s an amazing thing. And they’re all laughing at us,” Trump stressed.

Putin commented on Trump’s prosecution at a plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum in September 2023, stating that the accusations against the ex-President regarding his alleged “ties” with Moscow are “complete nonsense.” “As for the prosecution of Trump… for us, what is happening in today’s conditions, in my opinion, is good, because it shows how rotten the American political system is… All that’s happening with Trump is political persecution of a political rival,” Putin said. The US presidential election is scheduled for November 5, 2024. In a number of polls, Trump, who dominates the Republican primary race, maintains a narrow lead over incumbent US President Joe Biden. Trump was indicted by a grand jury in August on four charges connected to the January riot at the US Capitol. The former US president has pleaded not guilty. Trump’s trial is set to begin on March 4, 2024.

Putin Trump

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“Almost half of Democrats surveyed in September 2023 affirmed that free speech should be legal “only under certain circumstances.”

Is Free Speech a Relic in America? (Bovard)

Is the First Amendment becoming a historic relic? On July 4, 2023, federal judge Terry Doughty condemned the Biden administration for potentially “the most massive attack against free speech in United States history.” That verdict was ratified by a federal appeals court decision in September 2023 that concluded that Biden administration “officials have engaged in a broad pressure campaign designed to coerce social-media companies into suppressing speakers, viewpoints, and content disfavored by the government.”In earlier times in America, such policies would have faced sweeping condemnation from across the political spectrum. But major media outlets like the Washington Post have rushed to the barricades to defend the Biden war on “misinformation.” Almost half of Democrats surveyed in September 2023 affirmed that free speech should be legal “only under certain circumstances.” Fifty-five percent of American adults support government suppression of “false information” — even though only 20 percent trust the government.

The broad support for federal censorship is perplexing considering that courts have vividly laid out the government’s First Amendment violations. Doughty delivered 155 pages of damning details of federal browbeating, jawboning, and coercion of social-media companies. Doughty ruled that federal agencies and the White House “engaged in coercion of social media companies” to delete Americans’ comments on Afghanistan, Ukraine, election procedures, and other subjects. He issued an injunction blocking the feds from “encouraging, pressuring, or inducing in any manner the removal, deletion, suppression, or reduction of content containing protected free speech.” Censors reigned from the start of the Biden era. Barely two weeks after Biden’s inauguration, White House Digital Director Rob Flaherty demanded that Twitter “immediately” remove a parody account of Biden’s relatives. Twitter officials suspended the account within 45 minutes but complained they were already “bombarded” by White House censorship requests at that point.

Biden White House officials ordered Facebook to delete humorous memes, including a parody of a future television ad: “Did you or a loved one take the COVID vaccine? You may be entitled….” The White House continually denounced Facebook for failing to suppress more posts and videos that could inspire “vaccine hesitancy” — even if the posts were true. Facebook decided that the word “liberty” was too hazardous in the Biden era; to placate the White House, the company suppressed posts “discussing the choice to vaccinate in terms of personal or civil liberties.”Flaherty was still unsatisfied and raged at Facebook officials in a July 15, 2021, email: “Are you guys f–king serious?” The following day, President Biden accused social-media companies of “killing people” by failing to suppress all criticism of COVID vaccines.

Censorship multiplied thanks to an epic bureaucratic bait-and-switch. After allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Act was created to protect against foreign meddling. Prior to Biden taking office, CISA had a “Countering Foreign Influence Task Force.” In 2021, that was renamed the “Mis-, Dis- and Mal-information Team (‘MDM Team’).” But almost all the targets of federal censorship during the Biden era have been Americans. Federal censorship tainted the 2020 and 2022 elections, spurring the suppression of millions of social-media posts (almost all from conservatives). During the 2020 election, CISA targeted for suppression assertions such as “mail-in voting is insecure” — despite the long history of absentee ballot fraud.

CISA aims to control Americans’ minds: A CISA advisory committee last year issued a report that “broadened” what it targeted to include “the spread of false and misleading information because it poses a significant risk to critical function, like elections, public health, financial services and emergency responses.” Thus, any idea that government officials label as “misleading” is a “significant risk” that can be suppressed. Where did CISA find the absolute truths it used to censor American citizens? CISA simply asked government officials and “apparently always assumed the government official was a reliable source,” the court decision noted. Any assertion by officialdom was close enough to a Delphic oracle to use to “debunk postings” by private citizens. Judge Doughty observed that the free-speech clause was enacted to prohibit agencies like CISA from picking “what is true and what is false.”

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“Joe Biden and his national security team are scrambling to manage the consequences of policy failure..”

Scott Ritter: Joe Biden’s World War III Fantasy

If the threat of a Third World War in the face of Congressional inaction wasn’t enough, Biden authorized the Pentagon to declassify and release to CNN an intelligence report that claimed that Russia had suffered enormous casualties in its war with Ukraine, with some 315,000 of an estimated 360,000 troops that made up Russia’s pre-conflict ground force, having been killed or wounded. The declassified intelligence report also claimed that 2,200 of Russia’s 3,500 tanks have been lost, along with 4,400 of 13,600 infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers. The release of the declassified report was clearly timed to influence the US Congress by emphasizing the very talking points that have been repeatedly made by Senator Graham and others that the US aid was “Best money we’ve ever spent” because “the Russians are dying.”

Given the history of the US intelligence community of declassifying intelligence reports for the specific purpose of releasing the information to mainstream media outlets to shape public opinion—even if the intelligence community knows the information contained in the report is wrong—one must take the report regarding Russian casualties with a heavy grain of salt. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia currently has some 617,000 troops deployed in the Special Military Operation zone. These forces are on the offensive, actively advancing on several fronts against a Ukrainian Army which is rapidly losing its ability to sustain large-scale ground combat operations. This doesn’t sound like the performance of an organization that suffered some 87% casualties, a figure which would make the survivors combat ineffective. The fact is, US and European support for Ukraine is flagging, and Ukraine is facing an existential crisis in the coming weeks and months that it most likely will not be able to resolve in its favor.

While Russian troops are taking casualties, it is far more likely than not that the real Russian casualty figures are significantly less than the number reported in the declassified US intelligence report, spread out over the original force and the hundreds of thousands of mobilized reservists and volunteers who have entered the fighting since. These losses pale in comparison to the more than 400,000 dead and nearly one million wounded Ukraine has suffered. Russia’s combat power grows every day, with fresh troops and equipment being made available for the war effort. Ukraine, on the other hand, has exhausted its reserves, and is left scraping the bottom of its human resources barrel to man whatever units it is able to organize from what is left of Ukraine’s diminished, and diminishing, arsenal. While the Russian Army is indeed large, and growing, and its capabilities expanding as it becomes more combat experienced, it is an army with a very specific mission—the defeat of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The Russian force structure is currently more than sufficient to defeat the Ukrainians on a frontage that stretches some 2,000 kilometers in length. It is even large enough to secure some additional Ukrainian territory, in addition to liberating the newly absorbed Russian territories of the Kherson, Zaporozhye, Donetsk, and Lugansk regions still held by Ukraine. But there are physical limitations as to what one can accomplish with 617,000 troops and occupying all of Ukraine before invading Poland and/or the Baltics is well beyond the capacity of the Russian forces currently deployed in the Special Military Operation. Moreover, Russian President Vladimir Putin has never intimated that Russia had any intention to either occupy all of Ukraine or seek to attack NATO — just the opposite. The Russian goals and objectives of the Special Military Operation are spelled out very clearly — demilitarization (the destruction of the Ukrainian Armed Forces), de-Nazification (the elimination of the regime of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the pro-Nazi political element inside Ukraine), and permanent neutrality for Ukraine (i.e., Ukraine will never join NATO).

There is no intent to take the war to NATO. Such thinking is a fear-based construct of the Biden administration that is inaccurate and far removed from reality, little more than a fantasy which the sober-minded Russian government, ever mindful of the need to carefully manage escalation because of the Special Military Operation, will pay scant attention to. Joe Biden and his national security team are scrambling to manage the consequences of policy failure. Putin, it seems, has not lost the war with Ukraine. Russia is winning, something no amount of funding by either the US, the Europeans, or both, can reverse. The best thing that could happen to Ukraine is for the congressional Republicans to hold steadfast to their objections and allow Ukraine to be taken off the life support that US funding provides. Ukraine is a terminal case. Continuing to underwrite its failed war effort simply prolongs the agony of its people.

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“There are secret discussions at the military level and at the foreign ministry level. But not with Putin.”

Putin Reveals Secret Talk On Gaza War (Helmer)

President Vladimir Putin has revealed secret details of the Russian initiative on the Gaza war. According to the President, Russia has a three-point proposal. “First, it is necessary to keep people in Gaza. Second, it is necessary to bring humanitarian aid on a massive scale to these people.to keep people in Gaza.” Putin’s third proposal is establish a Russian field hospital to treat wounded Palestinians at the Rafah stadium, rebuilt in 2019 after Israel destroyed the original one in 2009. “But for this to happen, we need to have consent from both Egypt and Israel. I talked to the President of Egypt, and he is in favour of this idea. I also talked to Prime Minister Netanyahu, and they consulted various armed agencies. The Israeli side believes that opening a Russian hospital in Gaza is not safe.” Putin made his disclosures in response to a Turkish reporter’s question about the Gaza war during the Direct Line broadcast on Thursday.

Putin did not mention a ceasefire; he did not criticize Israeli military operations in Gaza except to refer to the deaths of children. “The Secretary-General of the United Nations called today’s Gaza the biggest children’s cemetery in the world. This opinion speaks volumes. It is an objective opinion, what else can I say?” Putin praised the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for “playing a significant leading role in improving the situation in Gaza…He is very active in this matter. And God bless him.” Putin omitted to mention Iran, ignoring his talks in Moscow a week ago with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. Following their five-hour negotiations, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian announced that “Russia is thinking about an initiative on Gaza.” A Moscow political analyst commented after viewing Putin’s latest remarks: “Netanyahu refused a Russian field hospital but allows a UAE one? That is telling. This shows that Putin defers to the Israelis on anything related to Gaza. Nothing has changed in his position.”

[..] The Kremlin communiqué did not reveal what Netanyahu had told Putin. Subsequently, Netanyahu’s office briefed the Israeli press to report that in the 50-minute conversation, Netanyahu took the offensive, “flogs Putin”, and “expressed his annoyance over anti-Israel stances by Russian representatives at the United Nations and other fora…[and] sharp criticism over the dangerous cooperation between Russia and Iran.” Putin’s disclosure of his idea of a Russian field hospital at the same location as the UAE hospital appears to clarify the role he has been discussing with the director of the Federal Service of National Guard Troops, Viktor Zolotov. During yesterday’s four-hour long session, Putin mentioned his negotiations with Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey. There is no mention of Iran in the Kremlin transcript of the broadcast. “Not to mention Iran can indicate there are some secret discussions,” a Moscow source says, “although I doubt it. There are secret discussions at the military level and at the foreign ministry level. But not with Putin.”

Putin also stopped short of defending his Foreign Ministry’s attempts over two months and several sessions of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to secure international backing for a ceasefire, a stop to Israeli attacks on civilian targets, and humanitarian relief – every one vetoed by the US. “As for the UN’s role,” Putin said, “you know, it is nothing out of the ordinary and I have already said that. During the Cold War, there were different forces and different countries that often blocked decisions promoted by other countries. But the United Nations was initially created for the purpose of finding a consensus. Without a consensus, decisions cannot be made. So, nothing out of the ordinary is happening at the UN; it was always like this, especially during the Cold War. There is a reason why Foreign Minister of the USSR Gromyko had the nickname, Mr No, because the Soviet Union very frequently vetoed decisions. It is very significant. When there is a veto, no steps that a country sees as hostile towards itself will be taken. And it is important. It is important to preserve such mechanisms in the UN; otherwise it will simply be reduced to a talking shop as happened during a certain period after World War I.”

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“Bennett was criticized for a debate performance where he declared, “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life and there’s no problem with that.”

Opposition to Netanyahu Explodes After IDF Killing of Israeli Captives (Sp.)

Large demonstrations rocked the Israeli capital of Tel Aviv over the weekend as the country’s military admitted responsibility for the killing of three Israeli captives who were reportedly attempting to surrender. “Today we learned what happens when there is no deal,” shouted protesters outside the urban headquarters of the Israel Defense Force. The demonstrations began Friday after news first emerged of the captives’ death. The Israeli civilians, all of them in their 20s, appeared outside of a building in the Shejaiya neighborhood in northern Gaza City, according to an IDF statement released Saturday. The young men held a white flag signifying their surrender and emerged shirtless to demonstrate they weren’t hiding weapons. One reportedly yelled “help” in Hebrew. All three were shot by Israeli service members in violation of international law dictating the rules of military conduct. An IDF spokesperson said the soldiers reacted in response to a feared threat from the group Hamas.

“The shooting at the hostages was against the rules of engagement,” conceded IDF chief of staff Herzi Halevi. “It is forbidden to shoot at someone who raises a white flag and seeks to surrender. However, this shooting was carried out during combat and under pressure.” Halevi said that he accepted responsibility for the killings and claimed “we will do everything” to prevent similar incidents in the future. A brief ceasefire earlier in December resulted in the exchange of captives held on both sides of the conflict. Hamas brought about 240 Israelis back to Gaza during their surprise October 7 operation in Israel, while Israel holds thousands of Palestinians in prison, including some 2,500 who are detained without charges. Among the captives held by Israel are at least 146 Palestinian minors. Protesters have urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to negotiate a new ceasefire and exchange of captives. US media has reported that the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency was scheduled to meet with the Qatari Prime Minister this weekend to discuss the matter.

“Israel needs to actively pursue another deal, even if it means halting military operations in Gaza or releasing Palestinian prisoners with blood on their hands,” said retired Israeli Major General Noam Tibon to US media. “Otherwise, the cabinet is neglecting the hostages, and we risk not bringing them back alive.” Meanwhile, family members of citizens held in Gaza have slammed the Israeli Prime Minister’s prosecution of its proclaimed war on Hamas. “Yesterday, I heard a minister in the cabinet say that the conditions haven’t matured for the return of the captives,” said Rubi Chen, the father of 19-year-old Israeli soldier and US citizen Itay Chen who is being held by Hamas. “What is the cabinet waiting for? We urge immediate negotiation for the return of all hostages.” Israeli society has been torn apart by massive protests for more than a year as controversial Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enters his 17th year as the Middle Eastern country’s head of state.

Previously Israeli opposition took to the streets to protest a legal reform package proposed by Netanyahu that critics said would have gutted the independence of the country’s judiciary. Elements of the sweeping proposal were placed on hold amidst the show of defiance, which saw Israeli military reservists threaten mass resignations from their posts. When a member of Israel’s opposition finally took power for just over a year in 2021, former Prime Minister Neftali Bennet’s governance showed just how far politics in the country had shifted away from the liberal Labour Zionism that characterized previous administrations. Bennett was criticized for a debate performance where he declared, “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life and there’s no problem with that.” Recently, controversy erupted after video emerged of a 1986 interview with Netanyahu where he appeared to justify the bombing of hospitals. Israel has been sharply criticized for its handling of their military incursion into Gaza, with United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres saying, “Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children.”

About 70% of the more than 18,700 Palestinians killed in the besieged enclave are thought to be women and children, according to Gaza health authorities that the UN has claimed have offered accurate numbers in the past. Israel disputes the death toll. Some observers have questioned the competence of the IDF, with critics claiming the military force is more focused on filming TikTok videos than engaging professionally on the battlefield. Historically the army’s so-called Hannibal Directive has excused the killing of civilians – even Israeli civilians – in the name of pursuing greater combat objectives.

Patience

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“..it’s the emptiness of the lives they’ve led which they need to prove to everyone. How else can they justify their actions to themselves?”

Running On Empty, the US Leaves Zelenskyy Hanging (Luongo)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy made one last ditch effort to plead for US monetary and military support for the war against Russia. President “Biden” all but blackmailed the American people last week over this issue, threatening us with sending our children to fight a war to cover up his corruption and Davos’ antihuman agenda. The contempt with which I hold these people cannot be overstated. Biden has no more legitimacy to threaten us with fighting a war with Russia for Ukraine than Zelenskyy does. Yet his handlers think nothing of putting those words in his mouth after shoving his morning dose of stimmies into him to prop him up in front of the teleprompter for him to hopefully not misread. If that last sentence doesn’t make your blood boil, I’ve not been doing my job properly lo these past six years. So, challenge accepted then. Watch this clip of Zelenskyy telling us we need to forego everything to save his sorry ass.

This level of rhetoric is the zenith of toxic thinking. There is no time for anything other than fighting XXX. For Zelenskyy it is Putin. For the vampires and ghouls like Al Gore, John Kerry and Tony Blair screeching at COPE28, it is climate change. For Democrats and the Media it is Trump. By framing all of these topics in this way they betray their own agendas. It is nothing more than the full court press that all tyrants push when they are at their most vulnerable. If things were going their way they wouldn’t have to exhort people to give up everything to fight their fight for them. If Zelenskyy wasn’t such a tool for Davos and/or the Neocons who pushed him into this position, I’d actually feel some pity for him. But my humanity has limits. There comes a point where you have the face the consequences of the actions you have taken.

I don’t care if you are him, Joe Biden, George Soros, Anthony Fauci, Klaus Schwab, or any of their lieutenants. You can only outrun the hangman for so long. You can only hide behind the law and the veneer of civilization that put you in your position of power for so long. Eventually the lies and the double-dealing, the fast-talking and the pride, all catch up with you. Eventually, you ask for something that no one is willing to part with and it all comes crashing down. If Zelenskyy has an ounce of shame left in him he would go back to Kiev and makes plans to give Putin his pound of flesh to save those of the people he’s supposed to represent. Swallow the pride, save the people.

But he won’t. Neither will Biden. Or Warren. Or Hillary. Or any of them. They would rather burn the world to the ground and blackmail us to the very end than face the one thing they are all afraid of… and it isn’t just death as Alex Jones told Tucker Carlson on X/Twitter the other day. … it’s the emptiness of the lives they’ve led which they need to prove to everyone. How else can they justify their actions to themselves?

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“..between NATO’s encroachment towards Russia’s borders and the role the US and its allies are playing in the standoff between the two neighbors, Moscow can hardly trust the Western nations.”

US Knows Ukraine Can’t Win – Kremlin (RT)

The US has to review its current position on both the Ukraine conflict and relations with Russia if it wants to restore dialogue with Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told NBC in an interview published on Friday. Russia is ready to work with any American administration but would very much prefer a “more constructive” approach from Washington, he added. The interview was published just a day after President Vladimir Putin accused the US and its allies of orchestrating the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev and essentially disrupting Russia’s years-long efforts to build normal relations with Ukraine. He also questioned the prospect of restoring relations between Russia and the West, saying that between NATO’s encroachment towards Russia’s borders and the role the US and its allies are playing in the standoff between the two neighbors, Moscow can hardly trust the Western nations.

Putin would be ready to work with “anyone who will understand that from now on you have to be more careful with Russia and you have to take into account its concerns,” Peskov told NBC’s Keir Simmons in Moscow, adding that the Russian leader would like to see a US president who is “more constructive” toward Russia and values dialogue more. The Kremlin spokesman also criticized America’s current role in the Ukraine conflict by saying that Washington only throws taxpayer money “into the wind” and is unnecessarily prolonging the hostilities by sending conflicting signals to Kiev, which end up just leading to more Ukrainian deaths. A much-touted Ukrainian counteroffensive has largely failed to bring about any notable changes to the front lines over some six months of the operation. According to Russian Defense Ministry estimates, Ukraine has lost over 125,000 troops and 16,000 pieces of heavy equipment in failed attempts to advance over the past half year.

“You have to understand your responsibility for this,” Peskov said. “You are telling them [Ukrainians] — go and die,” he continued, adding that “you know pretty well that they cannot win” but still offer Kiev more money and armaments. Russia has repeatedly stated it was ready for peace talks with Kiev as long as “the reality on the ground” is taken into account. In the autumn of 2022, four former Ukrainian territories, including the two Donbass republics, joined Russia following a series of referendums. Kiev declared the referendums “sham” and has been pushing for its own “peace formula” under which Russia would withdraw its troops not only from the four regions but from Crimea as well before any talks could even commence. Moscow dismissed Ukraine’s demands as being detached from reality. “America is strongly involved in this conflict,” the Kremlin spokesman told NBC, adding that the standoff between the two neighbors is in fact a “hybrid war” against Russia launched by Washington.

Such confrontational tactics have been detrimental to global security, Peskov warned, adding that the world is “less safe than it used to be’’ before dialogue between Moscow and Washington was “shut down.” Contacts between the two nations were reduced to minimum after Russia launched its military operation in February 2022. The US and its allies openly supported Kiev in the conflict and slapped Moscow with an unprecedented number of sanctions. Western nations then also started supplying arms to Ukrainian forces. The ties have not been severed entirely, though. On Thursday, Putin revealed that dialogue between the two nations continues, particularly about the Americans accused of espionage in Russia. When asked during his marathon press conference about US nationals Paul Whelan and Evan Gershkovich, the president said that Russia was willing to exchange them but wanted to reach a deal with Washington that would be “mutually acceptable.”

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“..there may be fewer resources for the social and humanitarian spheres than we would like, which means we must endure more and longer for less money.”

Ukraine on Brink of Humanitarian Collapse, Authorities Admit (Sp.)

Amid battlefield disappointments, the Kiev regime is facing financial woes, with patron states increasingly less eager to send billions down the Ukraine “sinkhole.” President Volodymyr Zelensky returned basically empty-handed from his US visit, while in Europe, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban threw water on Kiev’s fiscal appetites. Ukrainian citizens will have a hard time scraping by next year, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk warned on Telegram. In a “statement of the obvious,” the Ukrainian official admitted that the government will face difficulties fulfilling its social and humanitarian obligations due to the ballooning budget deficit. “In 2023, two new factors emerged. Accordingly, we must all adapt quickly,” was how Vereshchuk phrased it. According to her, firstly, the conflict “may last longer than we first thought.” She added, “Secondly, there may be fewer resources for the social and humanitarian spheres than we would like, which means we must endure more and longer for less money.”

This admission by the Ukrainian deputy prime minister came as the head of the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) Tax Committee Daniil Getmantsev earlier underscored that state coffers are critically dependent on assistance from Kiev’s allies in NATO’s proxy war against Russia. By the end of the year, he stated, Ukraine needed to attract about $9.5 billion in financial support in the form of grants and preferential loans. Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal also held out hope of Ukraine receiving financial assistance to a tune of over $30 billion from the EU, US, and IMF, as well as patron states, to cover the country’s state budget deficit. Shmyhal said on September 15 that Ukraine’s government had adopted a draft budget for 2024 that presupposed record military spending worth $45.6 billion. This means there will be a scramble to cover social sphere costs, healthcare, and education. According to Ukraine’s Finance Ministry, the draft budget for 2024 provides for spending on security and defense at a level of over $48 billion, which constitutes 23% of GDP.

Ukraine’s financial woes come hand in hand with battlefield disappointments. After the botched summer counteroffensive, Kiev’s Western patrons have been facing growing “Ukraine fatigue.” Wheedling money out of the US and the EU is becoming ever more challenging for President Volodymyr Zelensky, as his recent lackluster Washington foray showed. Zelensky failed to convince lawmakers in Washington to approve a $61 billion aid package that US President Joe Biden has been pressuring Congress to approve. In Europe, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban blocked the European Union from approving a €50 billion aid package for Ukraine, even as he allowed a vote to open accession negotiations for Ukraine in the bloc to go forward.

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“..the Biden administration has deliberately sought to minimize contacts between officials in Kiev and Congressional Republicans..”

Zelensky’s Tone Deaf DC Trip Leaves Republicans Wishing He’d Never Come (Sp.)

Ukraine’s president traveled to the US capital to speak with President Joe Biden and other officials in an attempt to secure tens of billions of additional US taxpayer dollars for the proxy war against Russia. Just how impactful the trip was remains unclear, given that the House of Representatives has now adjourned for the Christmas holidays. Some Republicans reportedly couldn’t help but feel irritated by Volodymyr Zelensky’s two-day visit to Washington this week, privately telling media that the Ukrainian president did more harm than good for his cause by meddling in American politics, and wishing that he’d stayed home. “Zelensky’s visit…was not good. It was completely tone-deaf and missed the point and the issues that are really at the heart of the current funding disputes,” a Republican congressional aide said, referring to the ongoing battle over a $105 billion supplemental funding request by the Biden administration, which includes over $61.4 billion for Ukraine, plus resources to shore up the US border with Mexico.

Republican lawmakers are seeking to hammer out a deal with the White House to revamp border policy to more closely resemble that of President Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, in exchange for approval of the new money for Ukraine, although weeks of wrangling have apparently yet to yield a compromise. “It would have been better if [Zelensky] had just not come in the broader supplemental fight. It’s going to take a little bit of time to get over this,” the aide said. Some Republicans reportedly took issue with Zelensky’s approach during his trip, accusing him of trying to paint them as being “soft on Russia” over their effort to focus on domestic priorities. Another anonymous Republican aide said that the Biden administration has deliberately sought to minimize contacts between officials in Kiev and Congressional Republicans, presumably in a bid to prevent the further exacerbation of tensions among the faction of the GOP that’s growing increasingly resistant to shelling out more for cash on Ukraine.

“The ability for Republicans to talk to the Ukrainians at very senior levels is very limited. What you’re seeing is 18 month of that policy coming home to roost, where senior Ukrainian officials have no real engagement with any Republicans in the House or the Senate,” the aide said. It’s unclear what sparked the disconnect, although it was in May of 2022 that 57 House Republicans and 11 GOP senators voted against a $40 billion supplemental aid package, with that number rising to 70 House lawmakers this past July in a proposed amendment to the annual defense bill to cut off all military aid to Ukraine. The measure failed, and the $886 billion National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 includes $300 million in annual “security assistance” to Ukraine through the end of 2026. However, that’s just a fraction of the $61.4 billion supplemental request by the Biden administration.

But Republican concerns about continuing to foot the bill for Ukraine aid apparently aren’t limited to the party’s anti-interventionist MAGA wing, reports suggest, with “even the most rock-ribbed Reagan Republicans” reportedly feeling that “they’ve been bearing most of the political costs” in sending taxpayer money to Ukraine, all “without any political concessions for their party.”

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“Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said earlier in the day that his country would veto the European Union’s talks on the accession of Ukraine if they are found to be detrimental to Hungarian interests..”

Italian PM Meloni Talks Orban Out Of Veto On Ukraine’s EU Accession (TASS)

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni talked out Hungarian Premier Viktor Orban from imposing veto on Ukraine’s EU accession, Italy’s Libero Quotidiano reported on Saturday. According to the daily, the Italian and Hungarian politicians arranged a bilateral meeting on the issue before the start of the EU summit in Brussels last week. Hungary’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said earlier in the day that his country would veto the European Union’s talks on the accession of Ukraine if they are found to be detrimental to Hungarian interests. “In case Brussels, tries to squeeze in during the preparations for the real talks on the [Ukrainian] accession something that would harm us, we will be forced to resort to the tool of tough veto,” Szijjarto said.

Speaking to journalists last Friday ahead of the European Union’s Summit in Brussels on December 14-15 Orban said: “No sense of launching talks today with Ukraine [on EU’s admission].” Hungary’s Premier Orban stated previously in the month that he objected to including the issue of Ukraine’s EU membership on the agenda of the organization’s meeting in Brussels on December 14-15. Hungary has repeatedly stated its intention to keep channels of communication with Russia open in order to continue looking for ways to resolve the Ukraine crisis, among other things. Putin and Orban focused on this issue at their meeting in Beijing on the sidelines of the Belt and Road international forum on October 17.

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“Every loan that goes bad causes some money to disappear — poof! — and when a whole lot of that happens there is no money. The Federal Reserve digital currency is a kind of last resort way around that.”

Money for Nothing and Nothing for Money (Kunstler)

The financialized economy was primed to blow up in September of 2019 when symptoms of severe distress materialized in an arcane corner of the system known as the reverse repo market where banks loan each other money on extremely short term, usually overnight, to provide so-called “liquidity” — meaning the appearance of solvency. The crisis expressed itself as a dangerously sharp rise in interest rates. The Fed came up with enough liquidity to paper over the crisis, and then, miraculous to relate, the Covid-19 “emergency” a few months later gave them cover to “print” trillions of dollars and distribute the “money” rapidly into the on-the-ground economy where people bought the things of daily life.

The result of that monetary mischief was today’s inflation. Inflation, of course, is one way of going broke. You have a lot of money that is increasingly worthless. The other way of going broke is deflation, where you have no money. In the aggregate of a deflation, nobody will have any money, so at least you’ll have company in the misery of being broke. My guess is that a grievous deflation is where the current situation is headed. Deflations are provoked when people and companies can’t meet their debt obligations — can’t “service” their loans (pay interest), or pay back contracted sums of borrowed money, or simply can’t pay their bills. Every loan that goes bad causes some money to disappear — poof! — and when a whole lot of that happens there is no money.

The Federal Reserve digital currency is a kind of last resort way around that. It is a simple way for the system to pretend there is a lot of money around when there really isn’t any. It has the huge additional advantages, by way of computerized accounting, to allow the authorities to control what everybody spends their money on, especially the ability to block the purchase of this or that: a train ticket, gasoline, meat, if the authorities feel like it. It also enables the authorities to extract taxes, duties, and penalties at will, without any cooperation from the citizen. A Fed digital currency would be a giant step into the worst kind of exquisitely targeted tyranny. The excuse, of course, would be a “national emergency.”

A digital currency would likely first be tested among the most indigent in society, those with little or no income. It already is, actually, in the debit cards currently issued to illegal border-jumpers. Their card accounts are refilled monthly, making this the equivalent of a guaranteed basic income. Next, this privilege will be extended to the lower economic ranks of American citizens, and so on upward, until the whole middle-class and even the higher levels are enlisted, and then the authorities will have the ability to push everyone around.

That’s the hypothesis, anyway. I don’t believe it’s going to work. The authorities have underestimated the number of citizens who know what it means to be sovereign individuals. They will decline to be pushed around. They might even push back, start stomping on the blob’s tentacles as it reaches across the land. The citizens of one region or another of our country might go so far as to establish their own money, which would make them sovereign regions of sovereign individuals. That is going to be a problem that the blob and blobism cannot overcome.

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“Unfortunately I have seen no evidence of aliens yet,” he said in a speech at the 74th International Astronautical Congress in October, adding that “we are the aliens.”

Musk Doesn’t Believe In Aliens (RT)

Humankind is most likely the only species “in this part of the galaxy” with a consciousness, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk told an audience in Italy on Saturday, comparing our species to “a tiny candle in a vast darkness.” Speaking at an event organized by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Musk explained his desire to settle humans on Mars by quoting Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, whose ‘Fermi Paradox’ questions why, if extraterrestrial life is so probable, humans have yet to discover evidence of it. “One of the explanations, and perhaps the one that appears to be the most accurate, is that consciousness is extremely rare,” Musk said.

“People often ask me do I know about aliens or something like that,” he continued. “The crazy thing is that I’ve seen no evidence of aliens whatsoever. Most likely, at least in this part of the galaxy, we are the only consciousness that exists.” “And so you can think of human consciousness really as like a tiny candle in a vast darkness, and we must do everything we can to ensure that the candle does not go out,” he concluded. Musk has repeatedly insisted that humanity can only continue if low birth rates in the Western world are reversed, and if humans manage to become a “spacefaring civilization.” Although the second test-launch of SpaceX’s Starship rocket ended in an explosion last month, the billionaire hailed the launch as another step toward making “all life multiplanetary.”

SpaceX began developing the Starship rocket in 2012 with the express aim of using it to transport crews and cargo to the red planet. In the early stages of its development, SpaceX referred to the rocket as the ‘Mars Colonial Transporter’. Musk has often been asked his opinion on aliens, and despite jokingly referring to aliens as his “friends,” he has always cited the lack of evidence for extraterrestrial life. “Unfortunately I have seen no evidence of aliens yet,” he said in a speech at the 74th International Astronautical Congress in October, adding that “we are the aliens.”

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Max
https://twitter.com/i/status/1638312091399471104

 

 

Hydraulic

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dec 132023
 
 December 13, 2023  Posted by at 4:54 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  6 Responses »


Eugene Delacroix Greece expiring on the Ruins of Missolonghi 1826

 

 

(TAE=The Automatic Earth). I wanted to talk about some things at the end of this year. In early 2015 things changed for me. When Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President, the world of news acquired a whole new outlook. It’s one thing to not like, or agree with, someone or something. It’s quite another to go after it, or him, en masse with all you got and all of your friends. In the beginning, it seemed almost innocent. Because everyone was so convinced that he had no chance anyway.

As the year went on, that idea changed. Even though at the end, 17 months later, in November 2016, there were still plenty polls that gave Hillary Clinton a 90%-or so chance to win. It’s when I first started thinking that maybe we should adapt the approach to news at the Automatic Earth. It was no longer commenting on the news, but changing it completely. The Trump presidency was unlike any other. “They” were awake now. He remained under investigation non-stop for 4 years. Which is odd, because the Constitution invests a lot in the rights and privileges of the President.

But the losing side never stopped their attempts to interfere with both Trump and his presidency. The Mueller probe lasted for years with 10x a day insinuations, and ended in nothing found, zero, zilch, nada. It’s hard not to think from time to time that such a thing should not be possible. But Washington (both sides) did let it happen, because it’s allergic to outsiders. Both Washington and the court system have made that abundantly clear, and continue to do so. Today, he faces an insane 91 charges and 4 indictments. Which he wouldn’t if he had not declared a renewed candidacy.

What finally caught up with Trump was Covid. The only advisors he had for that (Fauci, Birx) were in the “other team”. He bought their stories hook line and sinker because there was no-one else. Operation Warpspeed has caused more deaths and disabilities than anything in American history, and they haven’t even started blaming it on him. The worldwide death toll from mRNA vaccines now stands at some 17 million, lifelong adverse effects is a multiple of that (10x?) , and we’re just 2-3 years into what will be a long tragedy.

Covid really changed my view of both TAE and the so-called news. It is one thing to interpret the available news for readers, but the story changes when there is no alternative available. Then you really need to start digging. Ironically, it was thanks to pre-Musk Twitter, which censored left right and center, including us, that we did get at least some info. There was a group of medical professionals, McCullough, Kory, Urso, Meryl Nash etc etc, who had the guts -and knowledge- to stand up to Pfizer and Fauci et al.

We now know for sure that the vaccines don’t save lives, they kill people. If we would have had a policy of, right from the start, handing out vitamin D3/K2, zinc and magnesium, even before Ivermectin and HCQ, millions of lives would have been saved, and tens of millions of disabilities would have been averted.

The reaction to reporting on that has been to demonitize us. And that hurts. Elon Musk can say Go F*ck Yourself, and Zerohedge can work around similar funding difficulties, but, small as we are, the only way we can make up for losing 1/3 of our revenue, is our readers. And you can say: grow bigger!, but Twitter sent us warnings pre-Musk, Facebook closed our account, and Google has now “officially” blacklisted us. And for what? Inciting violence? Gun trade? Drug trade? Sex trade? No, for questioning the party line.

 

All this is why we moved to making the Debt Rattle news overviews the overarching item on TAE. You can offer an different view on something the MSM report, but when you’re faced with an info tsunami, that becomes impossible. When Ukraine became the next hot topic after Trump and Covid, we started including Russian news agencies. The ones that are banned because they are “Russian propaganda”. But it’s impossible to know what happens in Ukraine just from western MSM. So are we not supposed, or allowed, to know what goes on? Thing is, that’s exactly what TAE is meant to clear up.

I notice that the four topics that have driven us since 2015, Trump, Covid, Ukraine and now Gaza, are all very much alive long after they first became “news”. Trump more than ever, 91 charges. Covid with renewed vax campaigns, despite the vax victims. Ukraine despite the fact that they lost, decidedly. Gaza despite the children’s slaughterhouse. And I will not stop saying about any of these topics, what I think must be said.

That Trump, whatever you think of him, was the most disrespected President in US history, which means the Constitution was violated and dragged through the mud. A big thing, there’s no route back from that. That Covid was Washington -and Brussels- conspiring with Big Pharma to murder millions of people. That Ukraine is a ploy to depopulate a crucial plot of land in the center of Europe, on Russia’s border. And that murdering 1000s of innocent children is never okay, period.

 

A bit more about the ads: a few years ago, we noticed that Google was taking an ever bigger part of revenues. We went from $1,000 a month to $3-400. We had the idea that their monopoly was largely over, so we looked for alternatives. We tried a whole series of those, but the end result is that the only viable way to get a reasonable return is through Google (+ added-on ads). It’s a virtual monopoly, and it’s hard to see why that still exists. As I said, now Google has blacklisted TAE, so we’re screwed in this field. And Google to this day still sends us mails about policy violations, even if we haven’t hosted their ads for years. One wonders what they think over there.

The policy violations mails say there’s something in a post that they don’t like. But not what that is. You have to guess where in a 8,000-9,000 word post their feelings are offended. The only way would seem to be to take down the entire post. We can only post what a faceless person at Google (or G-d knows, an AI engine) allows us to. It is an impossible demand.

Long story short: we should have $1,000 each from Paypal donations, Patreon, and ads. But one third of that has been missing for a few years now. And I see Paypal and Patreon also creeping down. Hopefully a Christmas fundraiser appeal will wake our readers up. I’ve said many times that I abhor paywalls. But I do think sometimes that if our core group of 5,000 readers would pay $1 a month, we’d be fine, and free to worry about other things.

 

All of this of course also affects the Monastiraki kitchen project (“Self-managed Social Kitchen Monastiraki”). Which the Automatic Earth has been supporting for 8,5 years already. And proudly so. Because when you’re old and look back on your life, you will find that what’s important is the things you did for other people. And because when you find a project such as this that lasts this long, with scores of people who bring nothing but their time and energy and often their own money, you need to cherish that. Because it’s rare.

 

 

Here’s me doing a copy and paste from last year:

Most of you will know the drill of this by now: any donations ending in $0.99 or $0.37 go straight to the Monastiraki kitchen, while other donations go to the Automatic Earth -which also badly needs them, especially for Christmas-.

I dislike few things more than asking people for money, even though the Automatic Earth now runs primarily on donations, and there’s some sweet justice in that as well, in depending on people’s appreciation of what we do, instead of ad revenues.

But I cannot do this on my own right now. To get through the winter in one piece, the Monastiraki kitchen will realistically need about €1,000 per month. I don’t have that to spare. So I’m calling on you. In earlier times, 2016-2017, we had way more than that with Konstantinos, but both Filothei and I decided a few years back, independently from each other, that we didn’t want to work with him anymore.

So let’s see where we can get today, shall we? I want to write the perfect article with the perfect plea, but there is of course no such thing. Therefore, I will be back in a few weeks time with a reminder -and updates-, hoping that y’all have gotten the message.

I love all you people so much, and I’m sorry I can’t thank you all individually who have supported -and still do- the Monastiraki kitchen and the Automatic Earth all this time, and I ask you to keep on doing just that. The details for donations on Paypal and Patreon, for both causes, are in the top of the two sidebars of this site. Could not be much easier.

Love you. Thank you.

 

 

Here’s Filothei’s photo project covering 10 years of Monastiraki kitchen, entitled Ekei (“There”).

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Dec 012023
 
 December 1, 2023  Posted by at 9:57 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  43 Responses »


Pierre Bonnard Nude in an Interior c1935

 

IDF Resumes Gaza Strip Bombing, Says Hamas Violated Truce (Sp.)
US Lectures Israel Over Gaza War – Leaks (RT)
Israel Had Actual Hamas Attack Plan A Year Before Oct. 7 Assault (Week)
What Arab States Can Do To Punish Israel (Shami)
Ukrainian Authorities Prepare People For Truce With Russia (Sp.)
Stoltenberg Prepares NATO to Accept Russian Demands (Sp.)
US Offers NATO Reality Check To Ukraine (RT)
Germany Warns Against ‘Fatal’ Ukraine Fatigue (RT)
World Laughing At Germany’s Leaders – Putin (RT)
Ukraine Is Not Fighting For Europe – Hungary (RT)
Bank Raised Red Flags About Biden Family’s $5m China Loan (JT)
Texas Sues Pfizer For “Misrepresenting COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy” (ZH)
Trump Gag Order Reinstated By NY Appeals Court (ZH)
House Panel Chairman Says J6 Videotapes Of Witness Interviews Missing (JTN)
Time To Boycott Elon’s Boycotters (ZH)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Netanyahu is Deadly Wrong | Col. Larry Wilkerson

 

 

Macgregor: Turkey sends an ultimatum to Netanyahu, 2M soldiers are ready to flatten Israel

 

 

Nap/Macgregor

 

 

 

 

Evil done for its own sake
https://twitter.com/i/status/1730164779392925835

 

 

 

 

Rudy Havenstein:

“People are moving out of cash,”

Mostly into rent, food and healthcare.”

 

 

 

 

“It’s all their fault..”

IDF Resumes Gaza Strip Bombing, Says Hamas Violated Truce (Sp.)

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Friday that it had resumed fighting against Palestinian movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip, as the latter violated the humanitarian pause by opening fire on the Israeli territory. “Hamas violated the operational pause, and in addition, fired toward Israeli territory. The IDF has resumed combat against the Hamas terrorist organization in the Gaza Strip,” the IDF wrote on Telegram. Israeli fighter jets are currently hitting Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, the Israel Defense Forces said. “The Wall Street Journal reported late on Thursday, that the two sides had agreed to extend a temporary humanitarian pause for an eighth day.

Last week, Qatar mediated a deal between Israel and Hamas on a four-day truce and the exchange of some of the prisoners and hostages, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. On Monday, Qatar announced that an agreement had been reached between Israel and Hamas on a two-day extension of the truce on the same terms as the previous one. Earlier on Thursday, the ceasefire was extended for a seventh day.

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“They have a our full support, but we told them to be nice about it..”

US Lectures Israel Over Gaza War – Leaks (RT)

Israel lacks “credit” to keep the fight against Hamas going for months and needs to change its tactics in the south of Gaza, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a war cabinet meeting on Thursday, according to Israel’s Channel 12. Blinken was in Jerusalem for meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the cabinet overseeing the war on the Palestinian militant group. Some of the quotes from the meeting somehow made their way to Channel 12, Israel’s most popular commercial TV station, which aired them on Thursday evening. “You can’t operate in southern Gaza in the way you did in the north. There are two million Palestinians there,” Blinken said at one point, according to a translation from Hebrew posted by the Times of Israel.

“You need to evacuate fewer people from their homes, be more accurate in the attacks, not hit UN facilities, and ensure that there are enough protected areas,” the US diplomat added. “And if not? Then not to attack where there is a civilian population.” When Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said that the entire Israeli society was united behind the objective of dismantling Hamas, “even if it takes months,” Blinken replied, “I don’t think you have the credit for that.” The leaked quotes also revealed that Israel does not want the Palestinian Authority to ever rule Gaza, because it “supports, educates, and finances terror,” according to Netanyahu. Blinken said the US understands that, but “other states in the region need to know what you are planning,” because “The best way to kill an idea is to bring a better idea.” Washington has backed Israel’s offensive against Gaza after the October 7 raid by Hamas that resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,200 Israelis.

Since then, however, the US government has faced public backlash over the deaths of some 16,000 Palestinians in the enclave, many of them women and children. According to a statement issued by the State Department, Blinken has “reaffirmed the United States’ support for Israel’s right to protect itself from terrorist violence in compliance with international humanitarian law and urged Israel to take every possible measure to avoid civilian harm.” Blinken also urged “immediate steps to hold settler extremists accountable for violence against Palestinians in the West Bank” and said the US “remains committed to tangible steps to advance a Palestinian state living in peace, freedom, and security alongside Israel,” according to State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

Read more …

Option 1: Israel didn’t take it serious.
Option 2: Israel had a year to prepare its response…

Israel Had Actual Hamas Attack Plan A Year Before Oct. 7 Assault (Week)

Israel possessed what turned out to be remarkably accurate Hamas plans for an attack on southern Israel for more than a year before the Palestinian militants launched their Oct. 7 terrorist incursion, The New York Times reported Thursday. “But Israeli military and intelligence officials dismissed the plan as aspirational, considering it too difficult for Hamas to carry out” and out of step with Israel’s view that Hamas wasn’t interested in war. The roughly 40-page document was “circulated widely among Israeli military and intelligence leaders,” who code-named it “Jericho Wall,” the Times reported. It “outlined, point by point, exactly the kind of devastating invasion that led to the deaths of about 1,200 people.”The Israeli military officials in charge of the Gaza sector initially said they weren’t sure what the document revealed about Hamas’ intentions, the Times reported.

But on July 6, three months before the attack, a veteran Israeli signals intelligence analyst warned that Hamas was conducting training exercises that matched the “Jericho Wall” plan, and that its military capabilities were more advanced than believed. A colonel in the Gaza division brushed off her analysis, writing in an encrypted email that the training exercise was part of a “totally imaginative” scenario and Israel should “wait patiently,” the Times reported. “It is unclear whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or other top political leaders saw the document,” the Times said, but Israeli and U.S. media reported that Egypt warned Netanyahu’s government repeatedly that Hamas was planning something big. “We know that Egypt has warned the Israelis three days prior that an event like this could happen,” Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) told reporters after an Oct. 11 closed-door intelligence briefing.

Israel’s failure to heed the warnings and connect the dots before Oct. 7, which ended up being the deadliest day in Israeli history, is considered the country’s greatest intelligence failure since missing the surprise attack that started the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas so it can never threaten Israel again. That includes an order by Netanyahu “to kill Hamas leaders around the world when the nation’s war in the Gaza Strip winds down,” The Wall Street Journal reported, and Israeli spies are already plotting to assassinate Hamas leaders living in Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar. Israel has a long, checkered history of secret assassinations, but Netanyahu “telegraphed his intentions” in a Nov. 22 nationwide address, the Journal noted.

Read more …

A lot more than they have so far..

What Arab States Can Do To Punish Israel (Shami)

Despite widespread sentiment against Israeli aggressions across West Asia and the wider Islamic world, the summit, as many expected, concluded without concrete actions against Israel, underscoring the weakness and unwillingness of 22 Arab leaders to confront Israel and its western allies. It raises a pivotal question: In lieu of a collective decision by the Arab League, what can individual Arab nations do to support Palestine, and why haven’t they done these things already? To unravel the complexities of Arab geopolitics, and for the sake of simplifying the region’s various world views and priorities, Arab states can be categorized into three main political groupings – each influenced by non-Arab actors: the US, Turkiye, and Iran.

The foreign policies of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, and Djibouti – most governed by hereditary monarchies – align closely with the US and the west. Despite hosting numerous US military bases, these states, paradoxically, could play a substantial role in supporting Palestine without resorting to conflict. Morocco, the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, Egypt, and Jordan all have economic, political, and security relations with Israel. Yet, unlike distant Latin American countries, none have severed ties, although Bahrain did suspend its economic ties. Instead, the Israeli embassies in Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, and Bahrain were evacuated by the order of Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and the Ministry’s Director-General due to massive protests in support of Palestinians. The most strategically important states in this grouping are Jordan and Egypt, both of which share borders with Israel, and have the longest-established relations with Tel Aviv.

Egypt, a key player since the Camp David Accords were signed in 1979, has the ability to immediately influence events in Gaza. But from presidents Anwar Sadat to present day’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Cairo has instead worked overtime to safeguard Israel’s southern border and actively engages in energy deals to boost their mutual economies. If it chooses to do so, Egypt can block Israeli ships in the Suez Canal, open the Rafah Crossing to Gaza to flood the besieged territory with essential aid, and halt intelligence cooperation – today, and bloodlessly. Jordan, which shares the longest border with the occupation state, lacks substantial means to counter Israeli influence. However, Amman could cut ties with Israel and threaten Tel Aviv that it will loosen its border controls – potentially allowing foreign fighters and weapons to infiltrate into the occupied West Bank – a scenario that Tel Aviv fears greatly.

Read more …

“..Russia has never refused talks, but the other side must make it clear that it is ready for them.”

Ukrainian Authorities Prepare People For Truce With Russia (Sp.)

The West and some Ukrainian politicians are beginning to prepare the people for a peaceful settlement of the conflict with Russia, said Ukrainian political scientist Ruslan Bortnik. “Western media and some of our politicians are already hanging this gun on the wall so that we can see it, so that we can get used to the sight of it. Obviously, certain preparations need to be made for possible negotiations,” the expert said. According to him, two factors are influencing the approach to the negotiations – a decrease in the amount of aid from the West and a failed attempt to bring the countries of the South to Kiev’s side.

The analyst added that the unstable state of the West forces Kiev to reconsider its general strategy of fighting Russia and return to the issue of peace. Russia has repeatedly expressed its readiness for negotiations, but the Kiev authorities have imposed a ban on them. The Kremlin also noted that now there are no preconditions for the situation to move in a peaceful direction, and the special operation’s goals remain a priority for Moscow. According to President Vladimir Putin, Russia has never refused talks, but the other side must make it clear that it is ready for them.

Read more …

“..make it easier for alliance members to accept that Russia’s demands for Kiev’s neutrality will likely to be accepted in future peace talks..”

Stoltenberg Prepares NATO to Accept Russian Demands (Sp.)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has changed his rhetoric with regard to Ukraine to make it easier for alliance members to accept that Russia’s demands for Kiev’s neutrality will likely to be accepted in future peace talks, Belgian military expert Pierre Henrot told Sputnik. Earlier in the week, Stoltenberg acknowledged that Ukraine had failed to advance its front line in the conflict with Russia over the past year even with NATO’s “significant” support, urging the alliance not to underestimate Russia’s defense capabilities. “It has been made repeatedly clear that the first demand by Russia, if and when negotiations start, would be that Ukraine remain neutral and never enter NATO,” Henrot said.

“Now that it becomes evident that Ukraine is going to lose this conflict, Stoltenberg prepares the allies, especially European public opinion, to the fact that this condition of strict neutrality of Ukraine that has been continuously demanded by Russia since the early 1990s will have to be applied.”The expert to Stoltenberg repeatedly and on multiple occasions saying that Ukraine could potentially join the alliance only after the conflict. At the same time the NATO headquarters understands any negotiation will have to deal first with Russia’s demand of Kiev’s strict neutrality, according to Henrot. The NATO foreign ministers’ meeting took place in Brussels from Tuesday to Wednesday to address the situation in Ukraine and the Palestine-Israel conflict.

As a result of the NATO Summit in Vilnius from July 11-12, NATO leaders agreed on a package of three elements to bring Ukraine closer to the alliance. The first element is the creation of an assistance program for Ukraine that will facilitate its transition to NATO standards, training and doctrine. The second element is the establishment of a NATO-Ukraine Council, and the third is the cancellation of the Membership Action Plan for Ukraine, which will allow Kiev’s accession process to be shortened from two steps to one. However, the bloc has not extended an official invitation to Kiev.

Read more …

“Ukraine is well on the path of NATO, as well as to the European Union, with the accession process, uh, beginning..”

US Offers NATO Reality Check To Ukraine (RT)

Ukraine will join the US-led military alliance only after it meets all conditions and secures the consent of every member, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken repeated on Wednesday when asked about a proposal to fast-track the process. Blinken and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba made a short press appearance on the sidelines of a NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels, painting an optimistic picture of Kiev’s current situation. “We reaffirm the commitment made in Vilnius that Ukraine will become a member of NATO when allies agree and conditions are met,” Blinken said. “Ukraine is well on the path of NATO, as well as to the European Union, with the accession process, uh, beginning,” he added.

Kuleba described the meeting with Blinken as “a clear no to fatigue, a clear yes to continued and increased support to Ukraine.” Blinken was quoting the joint communique from the July summit in Lithuania, which said that NATO “will be in a position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the alliance when allies agree and conditions are met.” Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky had reacted to the communique by calling NATO weak and its behavior “unprecedented and absurd,” drawing the ire of Washington. Earlier this month, former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen – now an adviser to the government in Kiev – proposed admitting Ukraine within the boundaries of territory it currently controls, thereby making it subject to the bloc’s Article 5 security guarantees.

Zelensky’s chief of staff, Andrey Yermak, rejected Rasmussen’s offer within days, saying there could be no compromise on Ukraine’s “independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty.” Russia has repeatedly made clear that no form of Ukraine’s membership in NATO would be acceptable to Moscow. Zelensky’s top MP and former head negotiator in Istanbul, David Arakhamia, admitted last week that Kiev could have stopped the conflict in April 2022 by agreeing to the Russian demand for neutrality, but said that the West urged Ukraine to keep fighting.

Read more …

“The view of Ukraine is currently disappearing from the public – that is fatal..”

Germany Warns Against ‘Fatal’ Ukraine Fatigue (RT)

Dwindling public attention to the Ukraine conflict will be “fatal,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has said, in the run-up to a key NATO meeting in Brussels on Wednesday. The first meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Council on the level of foreign ministers took place amid a “stalemate” on the frontline, as described by the top Ukrainian general, Valery Zaluzhny, earlier this month. Dmitry Kuleba, Kiev’s top diplomat, rejected the assessment ahead of the meeting.Western fatigue with Ukraine and its problems topped the agenda during the session, but according to German news program Tagesschau, the ministers offered no concrete solutions. “The view of Ukraine is currently disappearing from the public – that is fatal,” Baerbock warned, as quoted by the German Foreign Ministry on social media.

“We all have to work to further extend the winter protection umbrella for Ukraine,” she added, referring to bolstering Ukraine’s air defenses against Russian attacks. A short communique released by NATO after the meeting said the council has “proven to be a reliable crisis consultation mechanism.” Ukraine and members of the bloc are developing “a roadmap for Ukraine’s transition to full interoperability with NATO” – that is, switching Ukraine from Soviet to Western weapons and military tactics. Western media has reported numerous complaints by Ukrainian troops that the training they receive from NATO states is not applicable to the conflict with Russia.

Kuleba reiterated Kiev’s pitch for unrestricted support of his nation, touting the Ukrainian army as a proxy force prepared to sacrifice their lives fighting against the Russians. “The best way to avoid sending your own soldiers into a war is to help another country fight its own war,” the minister told the press. “This is what makes us very different from others. Our deal is very fair. You give us all we need, we fight.” The premise that Ukraine serves as a shield for Europe was openly criticized by Hungary, which has refused to send arms to Ukraine and has been pushing for a negotiated truce. Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto called Kiev’s claim “an exaggeration,” and said Budapest rejects any approach to the conflict based on this notion. “This is not our war,” he added.

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“Germany is being bossed by its Western partners because it lacks sovereignty, and its policymakers demonstrate poor leadership skills..”

World Laughing At Germany’s Leaders – Putin (RT)

Germany is being bossed by its Western partners because it lacks sovereignty, and its policymakers demonstrate poor leadership skills, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated at a meeting with young Russian scientists on Wednesday. Putin weighed on the EU’s push to wean itself off Russian energy following the escalation of the Ukraine conflict, arguing that by implementing the measure, Germany was only hurting itself. The president noted that either European countries are turning their backs on cheap energy on their own accord, or the decision-making is being “done by their allies from the United States due to political reasons.” In this sense, the EU’s energy security took a hit when Poland and Ukraine cut off Russian gas supplies through their territory and the Nord Stream pipelines were blown up, he added.

According to Putin, who had maintained close working relations with Berlin for most part of his political career, Kiev “receives money from Europe, from Germany… while the gas they need from Russia has been cut off.” “The Germans swallow all this because… they lack sovereignty. And some government leaders apparently lack sufficient professional skills to make adequate and professional decisions. Everyone knows who that is, they are being laughed at by the whole world.” Shortly after the Ukraine conflict escalated in February 2022, the EU unveiled a plan to wean itself off Russian energy “well before 2030.” In April 2022, Russian energy giant Gazprom announced that it would stop delivering gas via the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which runs through Poland, because the country had refused to pay for the energy using rubles due to sanctions against Moscow.

At the same time, Western restrictions launched as a response to the Ukraine conflict – including those on fossil fuel imports – were among the main culprits which led to last year’s energy crisis. The situation was exacerbated by the September 2022 bombing of the Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines, which connect Russia and Germany under the Baltic Sea. While several Western media outlets have suggested that the energy pipelines were blown up by Ukrainian-linked saboteurs, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh alleges that the attack was orchestrated by US intelligence agencies. Putin has agreed with Hersh’s conclusions, arguing that a sabotage of this magnitude would have been impossible to pull off without state support.

Lavrov

Read more …

“You can’t lead us or mislead us with statements..”

Ukraine Is Not Fighting For Europe – Hungary (RT)

Hungary rejects any approach to the Ukraine conflict that suggests that Kiev is somehow fighting to protect peace and democracy in Europe, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has said, adding that the conflict is only about Ukraine’s own territorial integrity. Speaking at a press conference following a meeting of foreign ministers of the NATO-Ukraine Council, Szijjarto called for an end to deliveries of lethal aid to Ukraine, warning that such assistance has the potential to spark an escalation of the conflict. He noted that while Hungary supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, the ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev is “not Europe’s fight” and is not about peace and democracy in Europe.

“Ukraine is fighting for itself, for its own territorial integrity, its own sovereignty and its own independence, which we value very much, because it is a heroic fight, of course, but I say again, this is not our war, which is why we reject any approach that starts from this,” Szijjarto said. He added that NATO membership for Ukraine should be out of the question given the current circumstances. He noted that Kiev’s accession to the bloc is not even an option given that countries at war cannot be accepted. Such a move would put the alliance itself in danger and could potentially spark a world war, the minister said. The second reason, according to Szijjarto, is the fact that NATO is a “community of values,” which has no place for a state that “constantly suppresses the rights of national minorities.”

Budapest has repeatedly accused Kiev of suppressing the right of the nearly 150,000 ethnic Hungarians living in Ukraine to speak their own language by introducing laws requiring that Ukrainian be spoken in public life, school, the media, as well as in offices. Despite assurances from Kiev that a bill has already been drafted to address the issue, Szijjarto insisted that simple promises are meaningless and that Hungary only believes in fully adopted and implemented legislation. “You can’t lead us or mislead us with statements,” he said. Szijjarto’s statement comes after NATO promised on Wednesday that it will “develop a roadmap toward Ukraine’s full interoperability” with the bloc’s militaries but stopped short of offering any membership prospects for Kiev.

Russia, meanwhile, has repeatedly made it clear that Ukraine’s membership in NATO would be unacceptable to Moscow. President Vladimir Putin has also cited Kiev’s potential accession to the US-led bloc as one of the key reasons for the military operation against Kiev.

Read more …

“A money laundering investigator for a bank raised serious concerns in 2017 about a $5 million loan that the Biden family received from the arm of a Chinese energy firm..”

Bank Raised Red Flags About Biden Family’s $5m China Loan (JT)

A money laundering investigator for a bank raised serious concerns in 2017 about a $5 million loan that the Biden family received from the arm of a Chinese energy firm, flagging the transaction as “high risk” and possibly tied to efforts by the communist government to gain influence through Hunter Biden, according to an explosive new memo released by congressional investigators Wednesday. The unnamed investigator specifically raised concerns that the loan had no paperwork, that a Biden family firm distributed large sums of the money to a Hunter Biden law firm and that the recipient firm inside the Biden family did not appear to have any investments in need of a loan, the memo released by House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer stated.Comer noted Wednesday that the complex $5 million trail of transactions also resulted in a $40,000 check landing in Joe Biden’s account.

The memo shows that the bank investigator identified Hunter Biden as a Politically Exposed Person (PEP), which is a widely used term in financial industry money laundering reviews to classify a person who is either “entrusted with a prominent public function” or a family member of one who is, according to The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council. “We have been monitoring the subject customer due to the PEP designation and observations on the account activity as well as recent negative news indicate this entity to be high risk,” the money laundering investigator wrote bank officials as he traced the money from Northern International Capitol Holdings (HK) Limited, a firm tied to China CEFC Energy, through the Biden family’s Hudson West III firm and to Hunter Biden’s Owasco PC law firm.

“These payments were indicated as management fees and reimbursements. We find It unusual that approximately 58% of the funds were transferred to the law firm in a few months and the frequency of payments appear erratic,” the investigator’s memo noted. “It was also previously indicated Hudson West III LLC does not currently have any investment projects at this time, which raises further concerns as millions in fees are being paid but does not appear to have any services rendered by Owasco PC.” The memo also noted that the transmission of the $5 million loan from China has “no loan agreement document submitted” and that there was public news reports that Hunter Biden was in the midst of financial difficulties.

“There has been negative news regarding the beneficial owner of Owasco PC, Robert Hunter Biden (son of former U.S. Vice President-Joe Biden) regarding allegations by his ex-wife that there were financial concerns about his extravagant spending on his own Interests (drugs, strip clubs, prostitutes, etc,) which may put his family ln a deep financial hole,” the examiner wrote. “More recent negative news indicate China targeting children of politicians and purchase of political influence through ‘sweetheart deaIs,'” the examiner added.

Read more …

“Had Pfizer used the FDA’s preferred metric — absolute risk reduction — it would have instead informed the public that “the vaccine was merely 0.85% effective..”

Texas Sues Pfizer For “Misrepresenting COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy” (ZH)

The Texas attorney general is suing pharmaceutical giant Pfizer for misrepresenting the effectiveness of the company’s Covid-19 “vaccine” and for conspiring to censor those who questioned its claims. The suit, filed Thursday, alleges that Pfizer violated the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act by engaging in false, deceptive and misleading acts as it promoted the drug.“The facts are clear. Pfizer did not tell the truth about their COVID-19 vaccines,” said Attorney General Kenneth Paxton in a statement revealing the suit. “We are pursuing justice for the people of Texas, many of whom were coerced by tyrannical vaccine mandates to take a defective product sold by lies.” The suit comes about eight months after Paxton announced an investigation of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson for potential misrepresentations about Covid-19 vaccine efficacy and “potential manipulation of vaccine trial data.”

He has accused the company of “unlawfully misrepresenting the effectiveness of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine and attempting to censor public discussion of the product,” according to a press release. “Pfizer engaged in false, deceptive, and misleading acts and practices by making unsupported claims regarding the company’s COVID-19 vaccine in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act,” the release continues Much of Paxton’s 54-page-complaint focuses on Pfizer’s December 20, 2020 claim that its vaccine was “95% effective.” However, according to the complaint, “more Americans died in 2021, with Pfizer’s vaccine available, than in 2020, the first year of the pandemic.” He also cites government reports concluding that in some places, deaths among vaccinated people outpaced those among the unvaccinated, even on a percentage basis.

Pfizer’s claim of 95% efficacy rested on deceptive framing of clinical trial observations, says the complaint: That number was only ever legitimate in a solitary, highly- technical, and artificial way—it represented a calculation of the so-called “relative risk reduction” for vaccinated individuals in Pfizer’s then-unfinished pivotal clinical trial. But FDA publications indicate “relative risk reduction” is a misleading statistic that “unduly influence[s]” consumer choice. Indeed, per FDA: “when information is presented in a relative risk format, the risk reduction seems large and treatments are viewed more favorably than when the same information is presented” using more accurate metrics. The critical 95% claim came at a point when Pfizer only had an average of two months data on participants, says Paxton.

Specifically, the Texas AG says that of the 17,000 who received a placebo, only 162 contracted the illness, which makes for a poor baseline from which to judge the efficacy of the so-called vaccine. Had Pfizer used the FDA’s preferred metric — absolute risk reduction — it would have instead informed the public that “the vaccine was merely 0.85% effective,” writes Paxton. “Moreover, according to Pfizer’s own data, preventing one COVID-19 case required vaccinating 119.”

NZL 30% death rate

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How to spell banana republic.

Trump Gag Order Reinstated By NY Appeals Court (ZH)

Color us less than surprised; but a New York appeals court reinstated Thursday the gag order imposed on former President Donald Trump by the judge overseeing his civil fraud trial. The gag order was initially imposed by Judge Engeron on Oct. 3 (after President Trump accused the judge’s top clerk of political bias in a post on social media). An appeals court judge temporarily paused the gag order on Nov. 16 while the former president appealed the order. But now, in an order issued on Nov. 30, a four-judge panel of the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Appellate Division, overturned the temporary suspension of the gag order:

“Now, upon reading and filing the papers with respect to the motion, and due deliberation having been had thereon…it is ordered that the motion is denied; the interim relief granted by order of a Justice of this Court, dated November 16, 2023, is hereby vacated,” the appeals court’s order states. Trump’s legal team filed a mistrial motion earlier this month purporting that Engoron and his clerk have “tainted” the trial with their bias against Trump. Engoron denied the motion, calling it “utterly without merit.” President Trump has not publicly commented on the latest development. Trump also faces a gag order in his federal 2020 election subversion case. That order is currently on pause as a panel of federal judges weighs its merit.

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“All of the videotapes of all depositions are gone..”

“House Republicans have no records of who the witnesses were, what they said, or why it is being used by the federal prosecutor in their case against Trump..”

House Panel Chairman Says J6 Videotapes Of Witness Interviews Missing (JTN)

Videotapes of witness interviews that the Democrat-led Jan. 6 congressional committee conducted have vanished, raising concerns for the chairman of the successor House panel that is now examining security failures related to the Capitol riot as well as possible implications for upcoming criminal trials. “All of the videotapes of all depositions are gone,” Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., chairman of the House Administration oversight subcommittee, told the “Just the News, No Noise” television show Thursday night. Loudermilk said he believes under the House rules the videotapes qualified as congressional evidence because some clips were aired at hearings, and all the tapes should have been preserved by the now-defunct J6 committee and its chairman, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.

“We found out about this early in the investigation when I received a call from someone who was looking for some information off one of the videotapes, and we started searching, and we had none,” Loudermilk explained. “I wrote a letter to Bennie Thompson asking for them. And he confirmed that they did not preserve those types. He didn’t feel that they had to. “But according to House rules, you have to preserve any data and information and documents that are used in an official proceeding, which they did, They (J6 Democrats) actually aired portions of these tapes on their televised hearings, which means they had to keep those. But yet he chose not to, I believe they exist somewhere. We’ve just got to find where all these videos are.” The revelation also could have implications for criminal trials being conducted in state court in Georgia and federal court in Washington where former President Donald Trump and allies are charged with crimes related to the Jan. 6, 2021 events.

Trump’s legal team recently was turned down by a judge when he requested certain evidence from the Jan. 6 committee.Loudermilk also revealed another tantalizing twist in the J6 committee evidence: the Democrat-led House committee sent certain evidence such as transcripts to the Biden White House and Homeland Security Department and now the transcripts have been returned to Loudermilk’s GOP-led subcommittee nearly fully redacted so their contents can’t be read. House Republicans have no records of who the witnesses were, what they said, or why it is being used by the federal prosecutor in their case against Trump, Loudermilk said. The documents “belong to the House. They should have never been sent. And second of all, do not send them back to me this heavily redacted. Those are our documents,” the chairman said. “But my question is, why was it okay for a Democrat-run House of Representatives to have unredacted documents but not when there’s a Republican committee that’s looking into this. What is it that the committee and or the White House is trying to hide?”

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Zero Hadge knows what this is like. So does the Automatic Earth: “..precisely what ad demonetization is: a not so subtle way of pushing content and editorial direction in exchange for a monthly stipend..”

Time To Boycott Elon’s Boycotters (ZH)

It was about four years ago that ZeroHedge went through ad monetization hell, having lost most of our advertisers because they did not approve of the content on this website and as a result they – together with such members of the Censorship Industrial Complex such as Newsguard, Sleeping Giants and CheckMyAds and various three letter US government agencies – did everything in their power to kill the site by starving it of ad revenue (it’s what prompted us to launch a premium, subscription-supported version without which we would not have survived, and therefore we wish to personally thank all of our premium subscribers). Fast forward to today, when Elon Musk is going through the same hell, as a growing group of companies are trying to do to X/Twitter what they tried to do to us by targeting the social media network and trying to starve it of ad revenue (their stated trigger of responding to the Media Matters fake news “report” was just a red herring: if it hadn’t been for Media Matters, they would have found some other point of “virtue” to rally around, and pull their ads).

Of course, there is one key difference: Elon is the world’s richest man, and if Twitter does not generate even one additional dollar of revenue, Elon will still be a multi-billionaire, and X can continue to operate for a long, long time if not in perpetuity (if costs are trimmed enough). It’s also why Elon yesterday had some choice words for those advertisers who had halted advertising, telling them “go fuck yourself” (with a shout out to Disney chief Bob Iger) if they think they can blackmail Musk… which is precisely what ad demonetization is: a not so subtle way of pushing content and editorial direction in exchange for a monthly stipend. Here, a brief tangent: for the most part, advertising spending is rarely about actual “advertising” and instead it is about endorsing, encouraging and funding certain ideologies and party lines which corporations agree with, encourage and seek to make default. It is about influencing the content decisions and editorial slant by implicitly threatening that the ad money can disappear at a moment’s notice if something is published the company disagrees with.

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Oscar Wilde, who died #otd in 1900, pictured in Athens in 1877.

 

 

Bear dog

 

 

Web developer

 

 

Shane

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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


Pablo Picasso Absinthe Drinker 1901

 

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

 

 

 

 

Palestine pre-1948

 

 

Putin Gaza

 

 

 

 

Nap/Macgregor

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

Tucker 2024 You’re watching death worship

 

 

Ritter

 

 

Macgregor

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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

Israel-Hamas Hostage Deal Delayed (RT)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Destroying History to Preserve an Illusion (Lauria)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And what, two thirds are now dead?

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

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

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

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Further hollowing out society.

Ukraine Conscripting Vital Workers (RT)

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

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

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

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At leasts 50% speak Russian.

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

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

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

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

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And the other 40% are…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JFK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Bug’s life

 

 

Lizard

 

 


A beetle’s foot

 

 

Water bears

 

 

 

 

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