Martin Johnson Heade Thunderstorm on Narragansett Bay 1868
Ursula is a weird specimen
VON DER LEYEN speaks on China-dominated raw materials needed for the 'green transition':
"The war in Ukraine is not only a European war, it is a war for the future of the entire world. So Europe's horizon can only be the entire world… Long live Europe."
h/t @MintPressNews pic.twitter.com/QRsGJpbTyI
— COMBATE |🇵🇷 (@upholdreality) November 3, 2022
Tucker Carlson: Elections remind leaders that they work for us pic.twitter.com/KfpFWubXY8
— Wittgenstein (@backtolife_2023) November 4, 2022
“Central banks only use one kind of medicine, and that is more printed money. Now, you are getting negative returns on printed money. So, that is not going to save anything.”
• $2.5 Quadrillion Disaster Waiting to Happen – Egon von Greyerz (USAW)
Egon von Greyerz (EvG) stores gold for clients at the biggest private gold vault in the world buried deep in the Swiss Alps. EvG is a financial and precious metals expert. EvG is a former Swiss banker and an expert in risk. He says the risk in the global markets has never been this high. EvG explains, “Credit has increased dramatically through derivatives. All instruments being issued now by banks, pension funds, stock funds, it’s all synthetic. here is no real underlying payments in anything almost. Therefore, my estimate for derivatives would be at least $2 quadrillion, and I think that is probably conservative. Then, we have debt on top of that of $300 trillion, and we also have a couple hundred trillion dollars of unfunded liabilities. So, we are talking about $2.5 quadrillion, and that’s with a global GDP of $80 trillion.
So, there is a disaster waiting to happen, and especially because all this created money has created no value whatsoever. . I always knew this would collapse, and it’s taken longer than I expected, but I think we are at the end of a major era. . . . These derivatives, at some point in the coming few years, will actually turn into debt. Central banks will have to cover all the outstanding liabilities of the commercial banks as we are seeing now with Credit Suisse, Bank of England and etc. This is going to happen across the board. Whether it’s called derivatives or called debt, as far as I am concerned, it’s the same thing. It will have the same effect on the world financial system, which will be disastrous, of course.” EvG says the derivative markets were simply a way for financial institutions to carry debt and not show it on their balance sheets. In the end, everything will balance out.
EvG goes on to say, “Nobody can repay the debt, and they can’t even pay interest. . . So, therefore, when the debt implodes, so will the assets that were financed by this debt. So, both sides of the balance sheet have to come down. Whether it comes down by 50%, 75% or 90%, I don’t know. . All I think about is risk, and the financial system will not survive in its present form. Central banks only use one kind of medicine, and that is more printed money. Now, you are getting negative returns on printed money. So, that is not going to save anything. Sadly we are looking at a situation when this system will start to implode . . The rich are still rich, but the poor are really poor. . Overall in the UK, Germany and most European countries, people don’t have enough money to live.
This is a human disaster already. With food costs going up 25% and energy going up the same and gasoline, interest rates and rents, people don’t have enough money, and that is happening now. It’s a human disaster of mega proportions. It’s so sad, and governments will have no chance of doing anything about it.” In closing, EvG says, “This is why it is getting closer for implosion because the whole system can’t take this. .The risk is increasing exponentially. So, I think people should be prepared . . Most asset markets have lost money, and it is going to get worse.”
“..Biden continued to wonder why Russia keeps “talking about” nuclear weapons..”
Putin hasn’t mentioned them even once.
• No Sign Russia Preparing To Use Nuclear Weapons – White House (RT)
The US does not see any indications that Russia is getting ready to use its nuclear arsenal in the conflict in Ukraine, White House spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Wednesday. However, he added that Washington considers such a possibility “deeply concerning” and takes it “seriously.” Earlier on Wednesday, the New York Times published a piece, citing “multiple senior American officials,” who claimed some Russian generals had been discussing “when and how Moscow might use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine.” Russian President Vladimir Putin was not involved in these discussions, the paper said. The conversations took place at some point in mid-October, it added.
This is not the first time the White House has made such a statement. Last month, Kirby stated that Washington saw no indications that Russia was preparing to deploy a nuclear weapon. The threat of a nuclear war has been a hot topic recently after Putin vowed to defend Russia’s territory and people using “all the forces and resources we have” in late September. His remarks were then widely interpreted by Western pundits and officials as a veiled nuclear warning, which prompted US President Joe Biden to warn about a potential “nuclear Armageddon.” Putin clarified his statement later by saying that Moscow has not even mentioned tactical nuclear weapons, let alone threatened to use atomic weapons.
His words, however, did not alleviate fears in Washington, as Biden continued to wonder why Russia keeps “talking about” nuclear weapons if it does not plan to use them. Meanwhile, top Western diplomats and defense ministers largely brushed off Russia’s concerns about Kiev potentially using a so-called ‘dirty bomb’ to frame Moscow. Such a munition uses conventional explosives to scatter radioactive material over a wide area. Moscow also raised the issue in the UN Security Council, prompting the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to send an inspection to several Ukrainian facilities to investigate the claims.
Fanning the flames.
• G7 To Set Fixed Price On Russian Oil (RT)
The Group of Seven (G7) countries and Australia have agreed to set a fixed price for Russian oil instead of a floating rate pegged to an oil price index, Reuters reported on Friday, citing sources. “The Coalition has agreed the price cap will be a fixed price that will be reviewed regularly rather than a discount to an index… This will increase market stability and simplify compliance to minimize the burden on market participants,” a source told Reuters. The source added that linking the price to an oil price index, for example, the Brent international benchmark, which was one of the options discussed, could lead to increased volatility and diminish the desired effect of the cap. For instance, if Brent started to rise due to lower supply on the market, the cap would rise accordingly, which would benefit Russia.
According to the report, the actual price has not been decided on yet, but will be in the coming weeks. The price will be regularly reviewed, and may be revised in the future if the coalition partners see the need to do that. The G7 countries have been discussing a price cap on Russian oil for months now, planning for the measure to reduce Russia’s profits from oil exports without damaging supply. The cap is to come into effect on December 5 for oil and on February 5 next year for petroleum products. Russia, however, has repeatedly said it will not sell oil to countries that introduce price caps. Moscow’s ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, recently warned that price caps may further worsen the global energy crisis.
“The recipe for ‘face-saving’ developed in the Department of Treasury – the so-called ‘price cap’ for Russian oil – leads a global economy to even darker corners of this kind of Knossos labyrinth. At the same time, the promised Ariadne’s thread – our willingness to sell ‘black gold’ at a loss – was nothing more than a myth from the very beginning. We will not ensure the well-being of others at our own expense. We will not sell resources to those who artificially hold back prices,” the diplomat wrote in an article for the National Interest magazine.
“What changes with Russia “suspending” its own deal with Ankara and the UN, is that from now on, Moscow can proceed any way it deems fit to neutralize terrorist threats and even invade and take over Ukrainian ports..”
• No Pain, No Grain: Putin’s Black Sea Comeback (Escobar)
The attack on Sevastopol may have been the catalyst leading to a Russian move to close down the Black Sea – with Odessa converted into an absolutely priority for the Russian Army. There are serious rumblings across Russia on why Russophone Odessa had not been the object of pinpointed targeting before. Top infrastructure for Ukrainian Special Forces and British advisers is based in Odessa and Nikolaev. Now there’s no question these will be destroyed. Even with the grain deal in theory back on track, it is hopeless to expect Kiev to abide by any agreements. After all, every major decision is taken either by Washington or by the Brits at NATO. Just like bombing the Crimea Bridge, and then the Nord Streams, attacking the Black Sea Fleet was designed as a serious provocation.
The brilliant designers though seem to have IQs lower than refrigerator temperatures: every Russian response always plunges Ukraine deeper down an inescapable – and now literally black – hole. The grain deal seemed to be a sort of win-win. Kiev would not contaminate Black Sea ports again after they were demined. Turkey turned into a grain transport hub for the poorest nations (actually that’s not what happened: the main beneficiary was the EU). And sanctions on Russia were eased on the export of agricultural products and fertilizers. This was, in principle, a boost for Russian exports. In the end, it did not work out because many players were worried about possible secondary sanctions.
It is important to remember that the Black Sea grain deal is actually two deals: Kiev signed a deal with Turkey and the UN, and Russia signed a separate deal with Turkey. The corridor for the grain carriers is only 2 km wide. Minesweepers move in parallel along the corridor. Ships are inspected by Ankara. So the Kiev-Ankara-UN deal remains in place. It has nothing to do with Russia – which in this case does not escort and/or inspect the cargoes. What changes with Russia “suspending” its own deal with Ankara and the UN, is that from now on, Moscow can proceed any way it deems fit to neutralize terrorist threats and even invade and take over Ukrainian ports: that will not represent a violation of the deal with Ankara and the UN. sSo in this respect, it is a game-changer.
“For decades in the Soviet Union, and later in Russia, draftees were required to serve for two years in infantry units and three years in the Navy.”
• Russian MP Urges Doubling Of Military Service Time (RT)
Russia could extend the term of compulsory military service from one to two years, Viktor Bondarev, a senator who chairs the defense committee of the upper chamber of the parliament, has said. Bondarev said that consultations on the topic would be held with the Defense Ministry. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that President Vladimir Putin’s administration has “no stance”on the issue. Speaking to Russia’s RIA Novosti media outlet on Thursday, Bondarev said: “We absolutely need to introduce a two-year stint of military service.” He explained that the twelve months that draftees must currently serve are not enough to become acquainted with modern weaponry.
The senator refused to specify a time frame for the proposed change to be implemented. “I think all of this will be supported,”Bondarev concluded, arguing that “it’s life itself that is telling us that we must do it.” Calls to extend compulsory military service have previously been made by other Russian lawmakers. When asked for comment on the proposal, Peskov told journalists on Thursday that “the final say here should rest with the Defense Ministry.” He said that any changes should be dictated by the ministry’s needs, adding that it had not requested an extension of the current military service term. “We see statements, read [them], but here we have no stance on this matter,” Peskov said.
The current one-year period of mandatory military service for draftees was introduced back in 2008 as part of a major reform of the Russian army instigated by the government. The authorities were seeking to transition away from a conscript army to a professional one. For decades in the Soviet Union, and later in Russia, draftees were required to serve for two years in infantry units and three years in the Navy.
“..the IMF admits it cannot tell how much of the $35 billion in foreign cash grants and loans promised to Kiev has been disbursed, or to whom..”
• Thieves’ Paradise In Kiev (Helmer)
A new report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reveals that the Ukraine has become a thieves’ paradise in which corporate loan defaults are written off; embezzlement from banks is not traced; the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) no longer audits the country’s bank liabilities and reserves; and the IMF admits it cannot tell how much of the $35 billion in foreign cash grants and loans promised to Kiev has been disbursed, or to whom. “Disbursements of all committed funds over the remaining months of the year is urgently needed and will make a difference,” declares Kristalina Georgieva (lead image), the IMF Managing director since 2019, “especially in light of the recent horrific damage to energy infrastructure.” Georgieva was speaking in Berlin on October 25.
“In a best-case scenario,” she added, “we estimate that Ukraine’s financing needs would be about $3 billion per month. When we incorporate some additional financing for higher gas imports and some repair of critical infrastructure, we quickly reach $4 billion per month. The recent missile attacks, which have clearly caused much more damage, not only confirms the validity of these estimates but leads us to consider $5 billion upper range.” However, in a 32-page IMF staff report on the state of Ukrainian budget finance and the risk of system-wide financial collapse, the Fund experts have concluded that “large-scale forbearance with a delayed recognition of NPLs [commercial bank non-performing loans] and the suspension of NBU enforcement actions and audits of financial statements make a comprehensive assessment of the impact of the war difficult and uncertain.” [..]
“Uncertainty” is IMF officialspeak for black hole. “The balance of probabilities,” according to the staff paper dated October 3, “would suggest that Ukraine has an unsustainable level of debt.” According to the Fund rules, this should suspend or stop IMF and all other foreign government cashflows. Georgieva and the IMF board, dominated by the US, say otherwise. The black hole, the staff report goes on to say, is “unique to the extreme circumstances now prevailing in Ukraine, [so] very high uncertainty makes it difficult, at present, to estimate with sufficient precision the impact of the war on the debt outlook, and what would be required to restore sustainability.” sInstead, they have accepted a promise issued in a letter to the Fund dated October 1 from the Ukrainian Finance Minister Sergei Marchenko and NBU Governor Kirill Shevchenko.
“We commit to undergoing a new safeguards assessment of the National Bank of Ukraine and will continue providing IMF staff with the NBU’s audit reports and authorize its external auditors to hold discussions with staff.” This is a future promise. The NBU audit reports already received by the Fund in Washington ought to show exactly how much foreign cash has been received at the NBU, and what has happened to it in the disbursement throughout the Ukrainian public finance system. They don’t. In fact, the staff report tables show “disbursed and prospective official financing” conflating the two numbers together, and treating both as imprecise and unreliable because they are “2022 proj[ected].”
Are they going to extradite their citizens?
• Turkey Holds Off On Finland And Sweden In NATO (DW)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu poured cold water over Sweden and Finland’s aspirations to rapidly join NATO on Thursday, saying that, despite some progress, the countries had not met all the conditions of the three-way deal struck to allow them to enter the military alliance. “Both countries are expressing that they are committed to the memorandum, but what matters is the execution,” Cavusoglu said at a press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Istanbul, according to a translation by Turkish broadcaster TRT. Finland and Sweden applied to join NATO in May, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but has faced opposition from Ankara, which accused the countries of supporting “terrorism” by harboring Kurdish militants wanted by the Turkish state.
The three countries struck a deal in June in which the Nordic states pledged to “address Turkey’s pending deportation or extradition requests of terror suspects expeditiously” and lift an alleged arms embargo on Ankara. The agreement cleared the only major obstacle for the countries to join the military alliance. Unanimous consent from the 30 NATO members is necessary. Cavusoglu said the countries had made positive steps, such as with export rules. “But, he added, “right now we cannot say that all those commitments have been lived up [to] by those countries.” Stoltenberg, who met with leaders from Sweden and Finland in recent days, said the countries were doing their bit to implement the joint memorandum. Sweden is in the process of banning membership in terrorist organizations, which will help with the number of people who can be extradited, he noted.
“Sweden and Finland have delivered,” Stoltenberg said. “It is time to welcome Finland and Sweden as full members of NATO,” he said. Having the two already close partners join NATO’s ranks was crucial “to prevent any misunderstanding or miscalculation in Moscow” and to send a clear sign that the alliances door remains open, Stoltenberg stressed.
• Sense Of National Unity In Russia On The Rise (RT)
The number of Russians with a sense of national unity has increased dramatically amid Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine, the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) reported on Thursday. According to a new poll from the center published on the eve of Unity Day, 56% of respondents believe there is national unity in Russia. This is “the maximum figure since the measurements started,” VCIOM said, noting that, last year, only 31% of Russians reported sharing this view. In 2012, when the survey was conducted for the first time, those who believed that the country was unified was less than 23%, while 56% believed there was no such thing. “Russians themselves point to positive changes. Every other person believes that national unity in the country has increased over the past year (49%),” VCIOM said.
Around 15% of respondents view the peaceful coexistence of different people in Russia as a key manifestation of unity, and 9% believe that “at difficult times, Russia comes together” – the same percentage say the “majority of the population supports one leader and his policy.” Among those who believe there is unity, 28% say this is due to the attitude of Western countries towards Russia amid the military operation in Ukraine. According to the research center, which interviewed 1,600 adults by phone on October 28, all socio-demographic groups have a sense of “the unity of the people” in a more or less similar way – this is stronger in small towns (62%) and villages (60%) than in Moscow and St. Petersburg (both 45%). As would be expected, fewer and fewer people now say that national unity is declining – 37% – compared to last year’s 61%.
“They fear only God and consider fighting against oppression a religious duty..”
• They Will Never Understand The Islamic Republic (Mirzaei)
Iran is not Libya or Iraq during Saddam Hussein who stood alone in face of a NATO onslaught. Iran is both powerful on its own, and has powerful allies. Tehran is not alone in facing the evil empire and today, not just regional allies but great powers such as Russia and China have major stakes in Iran. Any foreign intervention, or bombing campaign against Iran will be met with missiles raining on Israel and US bases across the entire West Asia. If they want to test the Islamic Republic´s capabilities, then they must be ready to make very big sacrifices, because the era of hit and run attacks is over. The westerners didn’t understand why Iranians were angry at them in 1979 and why they overthrew a “modern king” in favour of a “backward Islamic theocracy”.
Many westerners still cannot understand how the Islamic Republic can be so popular among the Iranian people, and often just refuse to believe it. Why would they understand? They don’t know how 200 years of humiliation and subservience to others feel. They don´t know how it feels to have elected a prime minister, only to see him overthrown by foreigners who returned an unpopular dictator to the throne. They don´t know how it feels to have their country´s natural resources plundered by foreigners for decades. Throughout the years since the Revolution, the Islamic Republic and its allies have given a lot martyrs for the cause of liberating West Asia from the Zionist empire.
From the war against Saddam´s Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of young men were martyred, to the wars against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, these martyrs were inspired and driven by Imam Hussein´s immortal struggle against oppression. This is the ideology on which the Islamic Republic was formed and still rests on. They do not fear the US and its fabled “military might”. They do not fear American “super duper” bombs and missiles. They fear only God and consider fighting against oppression a religious duty, just like Imam Hussein did 1400 years ago. This is what the westerners do not understand when they try to intimidate Iran and its allies.
Again: Why does the US have biolabs in Ukraine?
• UN Security Council Votes Against Probe Into US Biolabs (RT)
The UN Security Council has rejected Russia’s call for an international investigation into claims that the US used laboratories in Ukraine to develop biological weapons. While China backed Russia’s proposal, the US, Britain, and France voted against it, and the ten rotating council members abstained. Russia insists that the US and Ukraine have been violating the 1972 international convention that bans the development, production, and stockpiling of biological weapons. According to Moscow, several laboratories in Ukraine were working on a secret “military-biological” program, which involved studies and the stockpiling of samples of anthrax, cholera, and other infectious diseases.
Washington and Kiev both deny developing biological weapons. Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said in March that the laboratories were conducting “ordinary scientific research.” During the vote in the Security Council on Wednesday, US envoy, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, argued that the Russian proposal for a probe is “based on disinformation, dishonesty, bad faith, and a total lack of respect for this body.” Thomas-Greenfield reiterated that the activities under the Pentagon’s Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program in Ukraine and other former Soviet states “are not for military purposes.
The US Mission to International Organizations in Geneva, Switzerland said in April that the CTR’s goal in Ukraine was to help the country “consolidate and secure pathogens and to continue to ensure Ukraine can detect and report disease outbreaks before they pose security or stability threats.” Dmitry Polyansky, Russia’s deputy envoy to the UN, meanwhile, said he was “deeply disappointed” by the vote. He said “the Western countries are simply afraid” of an international investigation into the issue.
“To help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data, our offices will be temporarily closed and all badge access will be suspended..”
• Twitter’s “Red Wedding” Moment Arrives As Musk Layoffs Begin (ZH)
Twitter – long considered a safe space for election-influencing jackboots drunk on their own arrogance – is having its ‘Red Wedding’ moment, as one Employee characterized the widely anticipated mass layoffs following Elon Musk’s acquisition of the social media giant. Indeed, with the abruptness of a guillotine, the company’s 7,500 employees were suddenly notified in a Thursday email that the layoffs had begun. According to the NY Times, workers were instructed to go home and not come back on Friday as the cuts proceeded. “In an effort to place Twitter on a healthy path, we will go through the difficult process of reducing our global work force,” read the email. “We recognize that this will impact a number of individuals who have made valuable contributions to Twitter, but this action is unfortunately necessary to ensure the company’s success moving forward.”
According to previous internal messages and an investor, around half of Twitter’s employees were just laid off – however the final number is unknown. On Wednesday employees circulated a message on Slack that suggested 3,738 people could be fired, but that changes could still be made to the list. On Thursday evening, employees posted heart emojis and salutes in their Slack channel. The mass layoffs come a little more than a week after Musk completed his $44 billion purchase of Twitter – after which he immediately fired its chief executive and other top managers, while other execs have since resigned or were fired. Managers were asked to make lists of employees based on performance. Meanwhile, Musk brought over 50 engineers and employees from his other businesses – including Tesla – to assist with the firings.
[..] “Has the red wedding started?” one employee wrote on Slack, a reference to a massacre scene in “Game of Thrones.” Nine minutes later, the company sent the email informing workers of the layoffs. Employees who will keep their jobs would receive a message saying so on their corporate accounts, the message said, while employees being laid off would be notified on their personal accounts. As the Times further points out, keeping employees out of the office on Friday means that laid off workers can’t take any items from the company (or sabotage it). “To help ensure the safety of each employee as well as Twitter systems and customer data, our offices will be temporarily closed and all badge access will be suspended,” the email continues.
” Multinational corporations are political entities.”
• Multinational Advertisers Begin Pulling Out of Twitter (CTH)
In the prediction section of the recent Twitter discussion CTH mentioned the reason and unspoken motive behind a prediction that multinational corporations would start to pull their advertising money from Elon Musk. We are simply in an era where there is no distinction between the WEF guidance for multinational corporations and the instructions toward governments’ they support. Free speech and freedom of expression are against both their interests. Multinational corporations are political entities. The former distinctions between the private and public sector have been purposefully erased. Evidence can be found in the vaccination mandate and within corporate responses to voter outcomes during elections. As predicted, it begins….
(Via Wall Street Journal) –” Food company General Mills Inc., Oreo maker Mondelez International Inc., Pfizer Inc. and Volkswagen/Audi are among a growing list of brands that have temporarily paused their Twitter advertising in the wake of the takeover of the company by Elon Musk, according to people familiar with the matter. Some advertisers are concerned that Mr. Musk could scale back content moderation, which they worry would lead to an increase in objectionable content on the platform. Others are temporarily halting their ads because of the uncertainty at the company as top executives exit and Mr. Musk considers a raft of changes, some of the people said. Kelsey Roemhildt, a spokeswoman for General Mills, whose brands include Cheerios, Bisquick and Häagen-Dazs, confirmed the company has paused Twitter ads.”
Fascism was traditionally defined as an authoritarian government working hand-in-glove with corporations to achieve objectives. A centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, using severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. That system of government didn’t work in the long-term, because the underlying principles of free people reject government authoritarianism. Fascist governments collapsed, and the corporate beneficiaries were nulled and scorned for participating. Then, along came a new approach to achieve the same objective.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) was created to use the same fundamental associations of government and corporations. Only this time, it was the multinational corporations who organized to tell the government(s) what to do. The WEF was organized for multinational corporations to assemble and tell the various governments how to cooperate with them, in order to be rewarded by them. Corporatism was/is the outcome. The government is now doing what the multinationals tell them to do, and in return the multinationals install the compliant politicians.[..] What results is a slightly modified definition of fascism: “…A massive multinational corporate conglomerate; telling a centralized autocratic government leader what to do; and using severe economic and social regimentation as a control mechanism; combined with forcible suppression of opposition by both the corporations and government.”
Put Fauci on the stand.
• Judge Rejects Attempt To Block Censorship Depositions Of Biden Officials (JTN)
A judge has rejected an attempt by several top Biden administration officials to keep them from having to testify in a lawsuit alleging the administration colluded with social media companies to suppress opposing viewpoints. Judge Terry Doughty, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, on Wednesday denied the partial stays requests from Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly and White House Digital Strategy Director Rob Flaherty.
Other defendants in the case filed last month by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry include White House Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and former Disinformation Governance Board Director Nina Jankowicz. The attorneys general alleged the administration worked to encourage social media platforms to censor “disfavored” views and speakers. “The Court finds that both the public interest and the interest of the other parties in preserving free speech significantly outweigh the inconvenience the three deponents will have in preparing for and giving their depositions,” Doughty, a Trump appointee, wrote in his ruling this week.
“We can’t complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful.”
• GOP Rep. Asks Musk About Twitter Censorship of Hunter Biden Laptop Story (ET)
A Republican congressman is urging Elon Musk, Twitter’s new owner, to hand over all records related to the social media company’s suppression of a story about Hunter Biden’s laptop in the weeks leading to the 2020 presidential election. Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, said in a letter that he expects Twitter’s new leadership to cooperate with the investigation into “the Biden family’s pattern of influence peddling to enrich themselves and President Biden’s involvement in these schemes.” “As part of this investigation, Committee Republicans are reviewing the role Big Tech—including Twitter—played in supporting the Biden campaign in 2020 by suppressing certain stories implicating the Bidens,” Comer wrote in an Oct. 28 letter to Musk.
A previous attempt to obtain relevant information from Twitter was unsuccessful, according to Comer, as former Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal never responded to the congressional request that the company “preserve all documents and communications” regarding the decision to limit the reach of a New York Post article about emails retrieved from Hunter Biden’s laptop. Those emails, according to the Post, showed a direct link then-presidential candidate Joe Biden had with his son’s dubious business dealings in China and Ukraine. Shortly after the story’s publication, Twitter not only prohibited users from sharing it, but also suspended the Post’s account for two weeks. Users who tried to share the story’s link were greeted with a message saying, “We can’t complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful.”
Those who tried to open the link in existing posts were also warned that it was “potentially spammy and unsafe.” Meanwhile, Facebook also algorithmically censored the laptop story after getting a general warning against “Russian disinformation” from the FBI. Musk has expressed sympathy with the Post, saying in April that “suspending the Twitter account of a major news organization for publishing a truthful story was obviously incredibly inappropriate.” In a more recent post, the billionaire said the reason he acquired Twitter is that “it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.”
Going after Trump again.
• DOJ Mulls Special Counsel Investigation Should Trump Run Again (JTN)
Department of Justice officials have reportedly discussed the possibility of appointing a special counsel to oversee the investigations related to former President Donald Trump should he opt to run again for the nation’s top job in 2024. Though they are waiting for the midterm elections to pass before making major public moves, the DOJ is reportedly bringing on additional experienced prosecutors and preparing for a potential slew of indictments against major figures in Trump world, CNN reported, citing “sources familiar with the matter.” “Now federal investigators are planning for a burst of post-election activity in Trump-related investigations,” CNN reported.
“That includes the prospect of indictments of Trump’s associates – moves that could be made more complicated if Trump declares a run for the presidency.” Trump has previously faced a special counsel investigation from Robert Mueller, who explored the now-thoroughly-debunked Trump-Russia collusion narrative. While the DOJ seeks to avoid the appearance of partisan political activity, federal officials have already prompted a bevy of external criticism for alleged political persecution, most notably in the wake of the FBI’s raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in early August.
Officials reportedly hope that an independent special counsel handling Trump matters might insulate the DOJ somewhat from accusations of partisanship, though Trump-related issues are far from the only matters attracting such scrutiny. Whistleblowers have come forward from within the bureau over the alleged bias senior officials have shown in their handling of sensitive investigations, especially those involving Trump or first son Hunter Biden. While Trump has not yet made any formal announcement of his candidacy, he has repeatedly hinted that he plans to seek another term in the White House.
• New York Judge Appoints Monitor To Oversee Trump Organization Dealings (JTN)
A New York judge on Thursday handed state Attorney General Letitia James a big win in her civil fraud case against the Trump Organization by appointing an independent monitor to oversee the company’s major financial transactions. Justice Arthur Engoron also required the company to secure court approval before transferring its major assets, per NBC. Under the terms, the monitor will require 30 days’ advance notice of any company restructuring or plans for “disposing or refinancing of significant Trump Organization assets.”
Trump attorney Chris Kise denounced the order, insisting that “It’s really about seizing control of a successful company,” but James’s office insists the order was necessary to guard against “ongoing fraudulent activity or deceptive activity.” The “Trump Organization has a consistent record of not complying with court orders. It should not be incumbent on the court or the attorney general to be looking over their shoulder,” said Kevin Wallace, an attorney with James’s office, per the outlet. James filed the request for an injunction against the Trump Organization in mid-October, asserting that the company was restructuring to avoid legal obligations.
“The Trump Organization now appears to be taking steps to restructure its business to avoid existing responsibilities under New York law,” James wrote at the time. “Indeed, in many areas, the Trump Organization has continued using practices they knew to be improper or fraudulent.” The New York Democrat is pursuing a fraud case against the company, asserting that it has grossly overstated the value of its assets. She has previously rejected a settlement offer from the company and former President Donald Trump himself has denounced the suit as a political witch hunt.
Biden Union Station
Weekend at Biden’s
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