Jun 012024
 
 June 1, 2024  Posted by at 8:26 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  58 Responses »


John French Sloan South Beach Bathers 1908

 

Trump is Convicted: What Comes Next? (Turley)
“This Is A Scam”: Trump Rails Against Judge Following Guilty Verdict (ZH)
Questioning Trump’s Guilt Is ‘Dangerous’ – Biden (RT)
Reuters: Trump Supporters Want RIOTS, Violent Retribution After Verdict (MN)
Trump Raises $53 Million in 24 Hours After Conviction (Sp.)
X To Host Town Halls With Trump, RFK Jr. (ZH)
Musk To Host Trump Town Hall After Slamming NY Verdict (RT)
Gloat While You Still Can (Kunstler)
Paul Craig Roberts: Western Involvement Escalates Ukraine Conflict (Sp.)
Zelensky’s Illegitimacy Deliberately Created – Constitution Author (Sp.)
“A Full-Scale War Isn’t A Foregone Conclusion” – Timofeev (ZH)
Medvedev Warns NATO of Nuclear ‘Miscalculation’ (RT)
Nordic Countries Greenlight Long-Range Ukrainian Strikes On Russia (RT)
Moscow Has Right to Take Proxy War With NATO Global (Sp.)
First French Troops En Route To Ukraine (RT)
Scott Ritter: Georgian ‘Foreign Agents’ Law Exposes Western Influence (Sp.)

 

 

 

 

Trump July 4th

 

 

“This article by Elie Honig, the CNN legal commentator who followed every twist and turn of the Trump Trial, and formerly worked with Alvin Bragg in the Manhattan DA’s office, is totally devastating as to the due process violations of this prosecution — particularly this stunner:”

 

 

RFK Trump

 

 

Maddow

 

 

Schiff

 

 

Never President
https://twitter.com/i/status/1796349789530972592

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only the Supreme Court can make this whole. Turley doesn’t think they will. So we’ll have a circus.

Trump is Convicted: What Comes Next? (Turley)

This morning, many of us are emerging from the late coverage last night after the conviction of former President Donald Trump on 34 felonies. I was in the courtroom for the verdict, which hit like a thunderclap (particularly after a strange snafu with the judge). The question that everyone is asking: what happens next? The scene in the court was a madhouse. Judge Juan Merchan told the court that the jury had not reached a verdict and would be dismissed for the day. Many reporters in the overflow courtroom were leaving when Merchan suddenly said that there was a verdict. People came running back into the courtroom. That was followed by 34 guilty verdicts. I am obviously saddened by the verdict, but not surprised. Until the very end, I was hopeful that there would be a hung jury, a result that could restore some integrity to the New York criminal justice system. However, I previously noted that the jury instructions made conviction much more likely. I referred to the deliberations as a legal “canned hunt” due to instructions that made conviction a near certainty.

[..] So what happens next? Obviously, appeals will be taken. As I said last night, we must keep the faith. Indeed, moments like this require us to take a leap of faith in a nation that remains committed to the rule of law. Manhattan is neither the entirety of the country nor the legal system. I believe that these convictions will be overturned, but it will take time. Judge Merchan committed, in my view, layers of reversible error. Eventually, this case may reach the United States Supreme Court. It has been suggested that an appeal could be taken directly to the Supreme Court. I find that doubtful after the Supreme Court rejected an expedited process for Special Counsel Jack Smith in his federal prosecutions. It will work first through the New York appellate system.

As for the criminal process, Trump will have to meet with a probation officer for an interview. That officer will make recommendations to the court. There is a possibility of a jail sentence for felonies that come with up to four years for each offense. Any jail sentences would almost certainly run concurrently. However, any jail sentence would be ridiculous in Manhattan for an elderly first-offender in a non-violent offense. Consistent with his past commentary, MSNBC legal analyst and former Mueller aide Andrew Weissmann predicted that Merchan will give Trump jail time. He is not alone as legal analysts seemed to get caught up in a thrill-kill conviction.

It is much more likely that Merchan will impose a sentence without a jail sentence, though with fines. The most appropriate, in my view, would be a conditional discharge that requires Trump not to commit a new crime or face potential imprisonment. Merchan could also tailor a sentence to require home confinement or even weekend jailing. Those options would raise serious conflicts with his campaigning and obviously, if elected, serving as president. Even the probation process will be awkward since a convicted defendant ordinarily has to get approval for any travel outside of the state from his probation officer. Sentences can also include community service, counseling and other requirements. After his ruling in this trial, it is impossible to rule anything out. However, any jail sentence would add even more outrage to an abuse of the criminal law system.

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“I’m the leading person for president, and I’m under a gag order by a man that can’t put two sentences together.”

“This Is A Scam”: Trump Rails Against Judge Following Guilty Verdict (ZH)

President Trump is giving a live press conference following Thursday’s guilty verdict in his ‘hush money’ trial, in which he was convicted on all 34 felony counts of falsifying business records. “I paid a lawyer, totally legal. I paid a lawyer, a legal expense,” Trump said in reference to the payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels by convicted liar and former Trump fixer Michael Cohen. “It’s not sheetrock construction, or any other thing. It’s a legal expense. Think of that. This is what the falsification of business records were. And I said, what else are you going to call it?” Trump said he would have testified during the trial, and wanted to, but “The theory is you never testify because as soon as you testify … they’ll get you on something that you said slightly wrong, and then they sue you for perjury, but I didn’t care about that. I wanted to.” “This is a scam. There’s a rigged trial. It shouldn’t have been in that venue. We shouldn’t have had that judge,” he continued. “As far as the trial itself, it was very unfair. We weren’t allowed to use our election expert under any circumstances.”

According to Trump, witnesses on his side “were literally crucified” by judge Juan Merchan. “You saw what happened to some of the witnesses that were on our side. They were literally crucified by this man, who looks like an angel, but he’s really a devil,” Trump said, referring to Merchan. A crowd of Trump Organization employees cheered the former president as he walked to the podium, passing by the escalator he descended nine years ago to announce what would become a successful 2016 presidential bid. The former president rehashed many of the complaints he’s raised for months. He bemoaned that his request for a venue change was denied, and his push for Merchan to recuse himself was dismissed. -The Hill. Trump also slammed Merchan’s gag order that prohibited him from talking about witnesses in the case, along with court staff and their family members. “Think of it: I’m the leading candidate. I’m leading Biden by a lot, and I’m leading the Republicans to the point where that’s over,” Trump said. “So I’m the leading person for president, and I’m under a gag order by a man that can’t put two sentences together.”

Following the verdict, several notable Trump supporters and prospective running mates condemned the verdict. “Massively conflicted, Biden donor and Liberal judge + stacked jury with unconstitutional jury instructions + radical leftist prosecutor = wrongful conviction,” said South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem in a statement posted to X. “No doubt Trump will be easily vindicated soon as the case will obviously be overturned on appeal.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) weighed in as well, posting “The verdict in New York is a complete travesty that makes a mockery of our system of justice,” adding that it was a “jury from the most liberal county in America.” Sen. J.D. Vance (R-OH) called the verdict “a disgrace to the rule of law and our Constitution.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson said on Friday that he believes Supreme Court justices are “deeply concerned,” and urged the court to step in when the case is appealed. Johnson told “Fox and Friends” that the conviction was “totally unprecedented” and “dangerous to our system” because it ruins people’s faith in the criminal process and the courts. “People have to believe that justice is fair, that there’s equal justice under law. They don’t see that right now,” he said. “And I think that the justices on the court, I know many of them personally, I think they’re deeply concerned about that, as we are. So I think they’ll set this straight but it’s going to take a while.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called the outcome “the culmination of a legal process that has been bent to the political will of the actors involved.”

“Today’s verdict represents the culmination of a legal process that has been bent to the political will of the actors involved: a leftist prosecutor, a partisan judge and a jury reflective of one of the most liberal enclaves in America—all in an effort to “get” Donald Trump. That this case—involving alleged misdemeanor business records violations from nearly a decade ago—was even brought is a testament to the political debasement of the justice system in places like New York City. This is especially true considering this same district attorney routinely excuses criminal conduct in a way that has endangered law-abiding citizens in his jurisdiction. It is often said that no one is above the law, but it is also true that no one is below the law. If the defendant were not Donald Trump, this case would never have been brought, the judge would have never issued similar rulings, and the jury would have never returned a guilty verdict. In America, the rule of law should be applied in a dispassionate, even-handed manner, not become captive to the political agenda of some kangaroo court. -Ron DeSantis.

Bragg

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A “political prisoner” is exactly what he is.

Questioning Trump’s Guilt Is ‘Dangerous’ – Biden (RT)

US President Joe Biden has called on Americans to accept the guilty verdict handed down to his political rival, Donald Trump. Biden argued that his presidential predecessor was “reckless” and “irresponsible” to suggest that the trial was orchestrated by the White House. Trump, currently the presumptive Republican nominee to challenge Biden in this November’s presidential election, was found guilty on Thursday of 34 counts of falsifying business records. New York prosecutors successfully argued that Trump concealed the payments – made to porn star Stormy Daniels – in order to influence the 2016 election.

“The American principle that no one is above the law was reaffirmed,” Biden said on Friday, in his first public remarks since the conviction. “Donald Trump was given every opportunity to defend himself,” the president continued, adding that Trump was judged “by a jury of 12 citizens” and can now appeal the conviction “like anyone else.” Trump has long maintained that Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, brought the case on Biden’s orders, and that judge Juan Merchan, whose family fundraises for Democrats, was too “conflicted” to oversee the trial fairly. The former president also complained that a jury in New York, which overwhelmingly votes Democrat, would be inherently biased against him.

“They’re in total conjunction with the White House and [Department of Justice],” Trump told reporters outside his Trump Tower property earlier on Friday. “This is all done by Biden and his people. Nobody’s ever seen anything like it.” Trump said that he intends to appeal the “scam” judgment, and called November’s election date “the most important day in the history of our country.” “It’s my honor to be doing this, but it’s a really unpleasant thing, to be honest,” he said, reiterating that he considered the trial “rigged.” “It’s reckless, it’s dangerous, it’s irresponsible for anyone to say this was rigged just because they don’t like the verdict,” Biden shot back. Asked after the speech whether Trump was right to call himself a “political prisoner” and blame Biden for his conviction, the president paused, said nothing, and grinned at reporters. The Republican Party has described Biden’s grin as “pure evil.”

Freckless

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Jan 6 revisited.

Reuters: Trump Supporters Want RIOTS, Violent Retribution After Verdict (MN)

Reuters has published an article claiming that Trump supporters have called for “riots and violent retribution” after the GOP nominee was convicted in the New York Trial Thursday. Here’s a screenshot of the article (in case they change it):

Reuters says that it has conducted a “review of comments on three Trump-aligned websites: the former president’s own Truth Social platform, Patriots.Win and the Gateway Pundit.” The piece continues, “Some called for attacks on jurors, the execution of the judge, Justice Juan Merchan, or outright civil war and armed insurrection.” The article then quoted one comment that stated “Someone in NY with nothing to lose needs to take care of Merchan,” referring to the judge, and adding “Hopefully he gets met with illegals with a machete.” The piece quotes another comment on Gateway Pundit, that states “Time to start capping some leftys. This cannot be fixed by voting.” The article quotes several more comments calling for violence, but admits that some have since been removed.

Reuters also charges that since the 2020 election Trump “loyalists have responded with a campaign of threats and intimidation targeting judges and court officials.” The article also quotes Jacob Ware, a research fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who has recently published a book on “far right terrorism.” Ware charges that Trump has an “ironclad ability to mobilize more extreme supporters to action, both at the ballot box and through violence.” “Until and unless he accepts the process, the extremist reaction to his legal troubles will be militant,” Ware added. This all comes after Joe Biden labelled violent BLM protests “peaceful” and contrasted them to January 6th protesters “storming” the capitol. Wow. They really are going all out on in their attack on Trump and his supporters.

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“In the 24 hours since Crooked Joe Biden and his New York henchmen got their sham trial verdict, the Trump Campaign has raised $52.8 million through the online digital fundraising platform..”

The platform was so busy it crashed multiple times..

Trump Raises $53Mln in 24 Hours After Conviction (Sp.)

Former President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign said in a press release that it raised a record $53 million in the span of 24 hours following his New York conviction. “In the 24 hours since Crooked Joe Biden and his New York henchmen got their sham trial verdict, the Trump Campaign has raised $52.8 million through the online digital fundraising platform,” the release said on Friday The new total means Trump’s campaign is receiving an average of $2 million in donations each hour, according to the release. More than one third of these contributions are from new donors to the campaign, the release said, adding that it showcases a growing opposition to the jury’s decision.

On Thursday, a New York jury found Trump guilty on all 34 criminal counts of falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. Trump said the verdict was a disgrace and part of a sham trial pushed by the Biden administration via a weaponized judicial system and a partisan judge in order to interfere in the 2024 presidential election. Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential candidate. Trump also said he will appeal the verdict while his campaign and various legal scholars noted that it does not affect his right to run for president of the United States.

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“Today they said, ‘We’d like to set up tables so you sit down.’ I said, ‘I don’t want to sit down for a debate. Let’s go,'” Trump told the crowd..”

X To Host Town Halls With Trump, RFK Jr. (ZH)

Former President Donald Trump and independent presidential hopeful Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will participate in live town halls hosted by X and cable news network NewsNation, Axios reports. The events have yet to be scheduled, nor moderators picked – however, X users will be able to ask questions of the candidates during the events, called “The People’s Town Hall,” according to the report. The Biden campaign has declined to participate. In a Wednesday evening appearance on News Nation, Kennedy confirmed his plans to participate, adding that X owner Elon Musk offered use of his platform. The moderators, which will likely include at least one NewsNation host, will have final say over the questions asked.

Axios reports that X CEO Linda Yaccarino approached NewsNation parent Nextar with the idea. NewsNation notably hosted the fourth GOP presidential primary debate last December, which was watched by over 4 million people across NewsNation and sister network CW. Meanwhile, Biden and Trump have agreed to a June 27 debate hosted by CNN – over which RFK Jr. has filed a FEC complaint over the criteria required to participate. On Thursday, CNN announced that it plans to run commercials during the event – which has been ad-free for many years under the management of the non-partisan Commission on Presidential Debates, Variety reports. CNN’s plan to include commercials was noted in rules for access that were recently issued to members of the DC Television News Pool and subscribers of its feed as well as to CNN’s affiliates.

What’s more, networks will have the option of selling their own commercials instead of running the ones that air on CNN. CNN has yet to offer information about how many ad breaks the debate will contain and how long they will be, according to one of these people. Last week Trump announced during a rally in the Bronx that one of his conditions for debating will be that they stand up. “Today they said, ‘We’d like to set up tables so you sit down.’ I said, ‘I don’t want to sit down for a debate. Let’s go,'” Trump told the crowd. “So we’re not sitting down. We’re gonna be standing up for the debate.” “If crooked Joe Biden makes it through the debate, which I think he will, [the media are] going to say it was one of the great debate performances in history,” Trump added.

Trump Musk

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“If a former President can be criminally convicted over such a trivial matter – motivated by politics, rather than justice – then anyone is at risk of a similar fate,” Musk wrote on X..”

Musk To Host Trump Town Hall After Slamming NY Verdict (RT)

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has confirmed reports that he will host a live town hall event with presidential candidate Donald Trump, after criticizing his felony conviction as politically motivated. X (formerly Twitter), which Musk owns, has partnered with the TV network NewsNation to live-stream town halls with presidential candidates on both platforms, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing an individual familiar with the matter. “This will be interesting,” Musk said on X Friday, linking to a New York Post story about the town halls. The idea is reportedly the brainchild of X CEO Linda Yaccarino. Musk apparently extended the town hall invitations to Trump, President Joe Biden, and independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Biden’s campaign reportedly declined, however.

According to the reports, X users will get to submit questions for the town hall, which will then be curated by moderators, who will include at least one NewsNation host. The date, location and moderators for the events have not yet been announced. Earlier this month, the Biden campaign sent a debate offer to Trump to appear on two legacy TV outlets – CNN and ABC News, and with no audience in the studio. The Trump campaign accepted and the debates were scheduled for June 27 and September 10. The arrangement completely bypassed the Presidential Debates Commission. On Thursday, however, a Manhattan jury found Trump guilty on 34 charges of “falsifying business records,” related to his reimbursement of then-lawyer Michael Cohen for the alleged hush money payment to adult actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump has denounced the trial and the verdict as politically motivated – as has Musk. “If a former President can be criminally convicted over such a trivial matter – motivated by politics, rather than justice – then anyone is at risk of a similar fate,” Musk wrote on X, adding that the verdict did “great damage” to the Americans’ faith in their legal system. The day before, the Wall Street Journal reported a rumor that Musk might become a White House adviser should Trump win the November election. The alleged connection has been widely interpreted as a sign that some Silicon Valley moguls were moving away from the Democrats.

Trump was a prolific user of Twitter and leveraged the platform to get his message out in 2016, when he beat the legacy media favorite Hillary Clinton. The company “permanently suspended” his account while he was still the sitting president in January 2021, following the US Capitol riot over the alleged irregularities in the 2020 election. Trump had called on his supporters to stand down, not break any laws and go home, but Democrats accused him of “inciting an insurrection” and he was banned by all major social media shortly thereafter. Musk bought Twitter in October 2022 and restored Trump’s account last year, but the former president has chosen not to actively post on the platform.

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“..Ukraine’s military lacks the know-how to actually launch the missiles, so American military “advisors” will have to be on hand to do it..”

Gloat While You Still Can (Kunstler)

Of course, the Alvin Bragg victory in the artfully constructed “Stormy Daniels Payoff Case” decided late Thursday calls to question how come the Mueller Special Counsel Probe into 2016 election interference (actually run by Mr. Weissmann, due to Mr. Mueller’s declining cognitive ability) failed to spot the same web of evidence — hard as they toiled, and they had a good two years and millions of taxpayer dollars to git’er done? My guess: too many white lawyers on the Mueller staff. Everybody knows now from watching the latest crop of television commercials that white people are unusually stupid and helpless and cannot cope with common problems without assistance from helpful people of color (POCs). So, God bless Alvin Bragg for finally fixing what Bob Mueller’s fifteen bloodhounds led by a pitbull somehow botched.

The former president is now convicted on thirty-four counts of book-keeping errors in furtherance of an alleged 2016 federal election violation that the Federal Election Commission declined to charge — that is, paying a porn star to sign a non-disclosure agreement about a sexual liaison — because it is not a crime under federal election law, and about which the head of the FEC, James E. “Trey” Trainor III, was barred by Judge Merchan from testifying on during the course of the trial for reasons yet unknown. Of course, that is but one of a great many points of law that will merit appeal in what everybody — even some white people (people of non-color, PONCs) — knows was a case so crookedly contrived that it is fated to get tossed in the higher courts, and probably with harsh remonstrance to the degenerate officers of the court who brought it and adjudicated it. But you will have to wait on that because the mills of the law grind slowly.


Joshua Lisec

Now, in the radiance of the full Woke gloat, we await Judge Merchan’s sentence, to be announced a mere few days before the Republican Convention in Milwaukee in early July. Jail time at Rikers? Home confinement (with ankle bracelet)? Severe travel restrictions? Reporting to a parole officer? Drug tests? Hey, No one is above the law! It is hard to imagine that the judge will demur from inflicting maximum humiliation on this wanton repeat violator (thirty-four times!) of book-keeping errors. It would tend to interfere with the presidential candidate’s campaign schedule, but so what? Where does it say in the Constitution that an election must be fair? Or Judge Merchan could suspend all that pending appeal and just allow Mr. Trump to go about his election business free on bail. But why would he? After all the trouble he went to. And all the glory he’s reaping for it. “Joe Biden’s” party has Mr. Trump exactly where they want him, they think: pinned down like a moth in a shadow-box, inert and pathetic. (But, in reality, more like King Kong, chained in the rank basement below the stage of a Broadway theater before busting loose in midtown and upending subway cars so as to devour the little humans tumbling out like so many tic-tacs.)

Expect Mr. Trump’s lawyers to file writs to the SCOTUS requesting expedited attention to the denial of due process issues and the election interference question. The situation is comparable to the year 2000 presidential race, where the SCOTUS stepped in on probable cause that the lower court (in Florida that time) had violated the Equal Protection clause of the constitution. In the meantime, through the luminescent fog of gloat, perhaps you did not notice that “Joe Biden” took a giant step yesterday toward commencing World War Three. The move was framed as the US gives Ukraine permission to use American missiles to strike deep within Russia. That was a bit disingenuous, you see, because Ukraine’s military lacks the know-how to actually launch the missiles, so American military “advisors” will have to be on hand to do it, meaning US military personnel will commit an act of aggression upon Russia.

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“Long-range missiles are not battlefront weapons, Roberts asserted. “If the missiles are not intended to be used for their purpose, why give them to Ukraine?”

Paul Craig Roberts: Western Involvement Escalates Ukraine Conflict (Sp.)

The West is thoroughly involved in the ongoing Ukraine conflict and is also widening it, former US Assistant Treasury Secretary in the Reagan administration Paul Craig Roberts told Sputnik commenting on the latest US announcement that President Joe Biden allowed Ukraine to use its weapons near Kharkov. Roberts pointed out that the Ukraine conflict has been widening ever since it started with the West sending every weapon to Ukraine that initially it said it would not. “Troops would never be sent, but the French Foreign Legion is now sent, and the NATO consensus is building to send NATO troops,” he said. A State Department spokesperson told Sputnik that Biden has greenlighted Ukrainian strikes using US-supplied weapons inside the Russian territory for counter-fire purposes in the Kharkov region of Ukraine, but has not authorized the use of long-range missiles, including ATACMS, inside Russia. “There is no reason for long-range missiles supplied to Ukraine by Washington except to hit distant targets. Long-range missiles are not battlefront weapons, Roberts asserted.

“If the missiles are not intended to be used for their purpose, why give them to Ukraine?” Roberts went on to say that although Russia has won in its stated goal of liberating Donbas, that region is not the endgame for the West.
“Putin has won his version of the war – the liberation of Donbas – but Washington’s version of the war is not limited to Donbas,” he said. “If Putin doesn’t quickly use the necessary force to bring the conflict to a quick end, he will be faced with NATO troops in Western Ukraine and the incorporation of Ukraine west of the Dnieper into NATO with nuclear missile bases on Russia’s expanded border.” Ukraine has received billions of dollars in donations and loans from its allies since Russia launched its special military operation in February 2022. The United States alone has provided more than $100 billion in military, economic and humanitarian aid. Russia has repeatedly warned countries supplying weapons to Ukraine that it sees military shipments as legitimate targets.

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“..The illegitimacy of Volodymyr Zelensky’s rule was intentionally set up to make negotiations with Russia impossible..”

Zelensky’s Illegitimacy Deliberately Created – Constitution Author (Sp.)

The presidential term of Volodymyr Zelensky expired on May 20. The 2024 presidential election in Ukraine has been canceled citing martial law and general mobilization. Zelensky said that the election was now “untimely”. The illegitimacy of Volodymyr Zelensky’s rule was intentionally set up to make negotiations with Russia impossible, one of the Ukrainian constitution’s authors tells Sputnik. The current constitution was adopted in 1996. Dmytro Tabachnik, then head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, was one of the members of the constitutional commission that drafted the charter. “Knowing the constitutional norms, I can say that according to Article 103 of the Constitution and the explanation of the Constitutional Court, which clearly states that the terms of the president’s powers are determined solely by the articles of the Constitution, it can be said that after May 20, Zelensky is not the legitimate leader of Ukraine,” Tabachnik said.

“According to the constitution, there can be no other interpretation — Zelensky is an illegitimate leader of Ukraine, this clearly follows from the norms of the constitution,” he underlined. Tabachnik argued that Zelensky’s illegitimacy was “specially created.” “There are various interested parties in the bloody conflict in Ukraine. One of the most devious and cynical is Britain,” Tabachnik noted. “Over the past few years, Britain has been trying to play its own separate game. Britain is primarily interested in prolonging the military actions and their escalation.” “Britain absolutely does not care about Zelensky’s illegitimacy,” the constitutional expert said. “They need to solve a task to prolong hostilities as long as possible and exhaust and not only Russia, but also their favorite senior ally, in the past younger brother [the US],” Tabachnik argued. As evidence of this, he recalled that London has already repeatedly interfered in events in Ukraine.

“The Istanbul agreements were destroyed by the direct, brazen interference of the former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. All the initial statements on the use of heavy and long-range weapons usually came from Britain as well,” Tabachnik said. “Creating stalemates between different great powers is Britain’s typical method. To bring the great powers together along the lines of their immediate neighbors,” he pointed out. “This is how they tried to shake up the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the 19th century, this is how they made mischief along the entire perimeter of the Russian Empire.” He noted that the “British model of prolonging” the conflict in Ukraine has several aspects. “The first is the gradual escalation of hostilities. Notice that British politicians are always the actors and promoters of this escalation,” Tabachnik explained. “The second is the complication of negotiations. A special Jesuitical formula was designed to complicate negotiations, consisting of three points.”

“First, the so-called ‘Zelensky formula’ was promoted, repeatedly assessed by leaders of various countries as completely unrealistic and not based on the real situation. The second point of delay was when Zelensky himself issued a decree banning any negotiations with Russia. And the third was moving towards artificial illegitimacy,” he continued. According to Tabachnkik, London is well aware that Russia, represented by its top leadership and Foreign Ministry, relies on the impeccable purity of legal formulas in international relations, so it will not negotiate with an illegitimate president. However, if negotiations with Kiev are impossible, there remains only one solution — Kiev’s capitulation.

“In the case of accepting capitulation, [legitimacy] becomes secondary,” Tabachnik argued. For instance, after Adolf Hitler’s suicide, the Third Reich was headed by Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, solely based on Hitler’s will — Dönitz was neither elected nor approved by the German parliament. “Nevertheless, the delegation formed was recognized by all allies and agreed in Potsdam on the night of May 8-9 that these individuals would sign the capitulation,” Tabachnik recalled. Russian President Vladimir Putin, following Russian-Belarusian talks on May 24, stated that Russia assumes Zelensky’s presidential mandate has ended.

Zel

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“..these “dividing lines between” Russia and the West “may be there for decades.”

“A Full-Scale War Isn’t A Foregone Conclusion” – Timofeev (ZH)

Ahead of the “Russia and China: Cooperation in a New Era” conference in Moscow on Thursday, Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) Director General Ivan Timofeev told Russian state-owned news agency Tass about the increasing likelihood of a full-scale war between Russia and the West. “A full-scale war is not is not a foregone conclusion, but unfortunately, its likelihood is growing,” Timofeev said in an interview with Tass. He said, “One option is that there will be a great rise in confrontation between us. At the root of this is the Ukraine issue, as the West continues to provide large-scale military assistance to Kyiv.” At a separate meeting on Thursday, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg told foreign ministers about the need to allow Ukraine to use Western weapons to penetrate deep inside Russia.

Timofeev warned about the rising possibility of a direct conflict with NATO: “A number of officials, particularly in France and the United Kingdom, have said that individual military units from NATO countries may be deployed to Ukraine. If they take part in military operations against Russian forces, they will become a legitimate target for our army. “Let’s hope this possible escalation involves conventional arms and not nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, NATO is spending ten times as much as Russia – if not more – on defense. It’s certainly a dangerous scenario. The RIAC director general continued: “The NATO leadership has made statements that no troops will be sent to Ukraine, and a number of EU politicians have said that this is counterproductive. That means they aren’t united on the issue.”

Timofeev added: “As for Russia, we must take every possible scenario into account. We have the capacity to deter these threats. “However, such a scenario will cause irreparable damage to everyone.” He concluded that the West will likely continue assisting Ukraine through weapons and equipment supplies, indicating these “dividing lines between” Russia and the West “may be there for decades.” Daniel Blake, Asia and emerging market equity strategist at Morgan Stanley wrote in a note to clients in April that the shift towards a multipolar world has been underway for the last five years. With that comes a war cycle, and, as we’ve penned before, a splurge in defense spending is bullish for defense companies.

Mearsheimer

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“This is not some kind of ‘military assistance, this is taking part in a war against us.”

Medvedev Warns NATO of Nuclear ‘Miscalculation’ (RT)

The West is bringing the Ukraine conflict to a stage in which it could spiral into uncontrolled escalation with potentially global repercussions, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said. This comes amid reports that many Western countries have allowed Ukraine to use foreign-made weapons to strike deep into Russia. Writing on Telegram on Friday, Medvedev, who serves as the deputy chief of Russia’s Security Council, stated that Western countries, which are said to have signed off on long-range strikes, must understand that their military equipment and personnel either operating in Ukraine or carrying out attacks on Russia from other countries, “will be destroyed.” He stressed that Russia considers all long-range systems used by Ukraine to be directly controlled by NATO personnel. “This is not some kind of ‘military assistance, this is taking part in a war against us.”

Medvedev said NATO wants Western involvement in the conflict to be seen as the independent initiative of certain countries, hoping to avoid the need to invoke the collective defense clause. The former president dismissed this narrative as a “dangerous and harmful delusion.” According to him, actions such as sending troops to Ukraine or guiding long-range weapons are a “serious escalation of the conflict.” While the US-led military bloc wants to believe that Russia would never use tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine or NATO, “life could be much worse than their frivolous reasoning” allows, Medvedev warned. He went on to say that the West risks miscalculating the chances of nuclear weapons being used, just as it failed to anticipate the start of Russia’s Ukraine operation. This is not intimidation or nuclear bluff. The current military conflict with the West is developing according to the worst possible scenario. The power of the deployed NATO-made weapons is constantly escalating. That is why today no one can exclude the transition of the conflict to its final stage.

Russia has repeatedly said that a nuclear war must never be fought, ruling out the use of any nuclear weapons against Ukraine. Some Western countries have supported NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s call last week to the bloc’s members to consider lifting “some of the restrictions they have put on the use of weapons” sent to Ukraine. Several Western media outlets also reported this week that the US, Kiev’s key backer, has allowed Ukraine to conduct “limited” long-range strikes deep into Russia. Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky’s office confirmed the reports, saying Kiev will now have a better chance of “countering Russian attempts to mass across the border.” Moscow has warned that the actions Kiev’s Western backers could lead to an escalation and serious consequences.

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The hunger for war is palpable.

Nordic Countries Greenlight Long-Range Ukrainian Strikes On Russia (RT)

NATO members Norway and Finland have said Ukraine can carry out long-range strikes against Russia using Western weapons provided by the US-led military bloc. The statement came after US President Joe Biden reportedly gave Kiev permission to use American weapons to hit targets in the part of Russia bordering Ukraine’s Kharkov Region. On Thursday, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg called on member states to permit Ukraine to use weapons for striking targets inside Russian territory. Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide has said there should be no restrictions on the use of weapons provided to Ukraine by Western countries.

“We also believe that Ukraine has an absolutely clear international right to attack Russia on its territory as part of its defense of its own territory,” Eide said in an interview with Norwegian broadcaster NRK.In an interview with Japanese media on Thursday, Finnish President Alexander Stubb said there was no problem with Ukraine striking Russian territory with weapons provided by the West, as long as it complies with international law.“There is no problem with using the weapons provided to attack Russia in self-defense. It would be hypocritical to send weapons that cannot be used,” he said, as quoted by Nikkei news agency.The Ukrainian leadership has been demanding for NATO to permit the use of its weapons to attack targets deep inside Russia.

Latvia and Poland earlier said they were in favor of such strikes. However, Italy and Hungary have voiced their opposition to the idea. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has reportedly made a U-turn on the issue, saying on Wednesday that he now supports Ukrainian strikes deep inside Russia, despite earlier concerns about escalation with Moscow, according to Politico. Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Kiev’s Western backers need to understand that long-range strikes on Russian territory using weaponry they have supplied would represent a conflict escalation and lead to “serious consequences.”

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“Medvedev said Friday that Russia would “proceed from the fact” that all long-range weapons used by Ukraine “are directly controlled by military personnel of NATO country..”

Moscow Has Right to Take Proxy War With NATO Global (Sp.)

The Biden administration joined with the leaders of Germany, Nordic countries and the Baltic states on Thursday by lifting formal restrictions on the use of NATO long-range strike systems sent to Ukraine to target areas deep inside Russia. Sputnik asked a leading European defense commentator about the move’s political and strategic implications.Russian officials blasted Washington and its allies on Friday over the escalation of the Ukrainian proxy war through NATO countries’ decision to approve long-range attacks on Russia, with both the Kremlin and the Foreign Ministry pointing out that the alliance never shied away from allowing its proxies in Kiev to target the Russian hinterland.“We are aware that attempts to strike Russian territory with American-made weapons are already being made. This is sufficient for us, and it clearly demonstrates the extent of the United States’ involvement in this conflict,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday.

Separately on Friday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that allies had approved long-range strike weapons’ deployment, and said the bloc expects Kiev to use these arms “in a responsible way” in line with international law. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova slammed Stoltenberg, saying in a Telegram post that it was “obvious that NATO was lying and creating a smokescreen, inventing a story that they supposedly had not yet decided to allow or not allow the Kiev regime to carry out strikes using Western weapons on Russian territory.” Former Russian president and deputy Security Council head Dmitry Medvedev said Friday that Russia would “proceed from the fact” that all long-range weapons used by Ukraine “are directly controlled by military personnel of NATO country,” and emphasized that “this is not ‘military assistance’, but participation in a war against us” which constitutes a possible “casus belli.”

[..] “The Russian offensive near Kharkov has been used as a reason to change Western policy,” Mikael Valtersson, a former Swedish Armed Forces officer and military observer specializing in air defense, told Sputnik. “The reasoning in Western circles was that Ukraine must be able to answer if attacks come from the Russian side of the 1991 border. From a military point of view this might be understandable, but it is still another huge step towards escalation from the West toward Russia,” the observer said. Valtersson expects the military consequences of NATO’s green light for Kiev to be “minor,” since Ukraine’s military has a limited number of long-range strike systems.

Then there’s the experience Russian Air Defense Forces have amassed over the past two years in fine-tuning their equipment specifically to target projectiles like the ATACMS and Storm Shadow. Still, the threat posed by the long-range missiles is not insignificant, particularly given Kiev’s willingness to use them in the past to target civilian areas in the Donbass and the Russian city of Belgorod. The “big question,” according to Valtersson, is “how involved the Western powers will be in targeting and other preparations for the attacks.”

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Western military personnel are already active in Ukraine and “have been there for a long time,” President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday. “They are [foreign] specialists under the guise of mercenaries..”

First French Troops En Route To Ukraine (RT)

The first group of French military instructors are coming to Ukraine, high-profile Ukrainian politician Aleksey Goncharenko said on Friday. His statement comes just days after Ukraine’s top commander Aleksandr Syrsky announced that had authorized the presence of the French personnel in the country. “My sources informed me that the first group of French instructors is already on its way to Ukraine,” Goncharenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament and a delegate to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Friday evening. NATO boots on the ground is a contentious issue inside the US-led alliance, whose members maintain that they are not parties to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Moscow, meanwhile, has said that it views Ukraine’s Western backers as direct participants, stressing that Western-supplied weapons are being used to strike targets on Russian soil. In February, French President Emmanuel Macron said that he could not rule out the possibility of NATO member states sending troops to Ukraine in the future, although French officials soon clarified that he meant non-combat personnel. Macron later argued that NATO should adopt a policy of “strategic ambiguity” towards Russia. The French leader has been working behind the scenes to forge a coalition of countries willing to dispatch trainers to Kiev, Bloomberg reported on Friday.

Syrsky, who was made Ukraine’s top general in February, said on Monday that he had signed the papers allowing instructors from France to visit Kiev’s training facilities and “familiarize themselves with their infrastructure and personnel,” and had notified French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu. Moscow has warned that any additional military aid to Kiev amounts to serious escalation. Western military personnel are already active in Ukraine and “have been there for a long time,” President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday. “They are [foreign] specialists under the guise of mercenaries,” he told the press. He said that the deployment of Western forces to Ukraine would be “another step towards a serious conflict in Europe and a global conflict.”

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“In Georgia today, as we speak, there are 27,000 Western-funded NGOs..”

Scott Ritter: Georgian ‘Foreign Agents’ Law Exposes Western Influence (Sp.)

The new “foreign agents” law will help Georgians tell right from wrong and real friends from fake ones, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter told Sputnik, arguing that the legislation should be called the “transparency law.”Georgia’s “foreign agents bill,” which designates non-governmental organizations (NGOs) receiving more than 20 percent of their funding from abroad as “pursuing the interests of a foreign power,” became law on May 28. The US immediately announced sanctions against Georgian politicians backing the legislation, while the EU threatened to freeze the country’s candidate status. One might wonder as to why the law, which resembles the US’ Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), has been received with such animosity in the West. The crux of the matter is that the legislation is aimed at exposing the West’s deep disrespect of Georgia’s sovereignty, according to former US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter.

“In Georgia today, as we speak, there are 27,000 Western-funded NGOs. What are these non-governmental organizations doing? It’s about buying a generation of Georgian citizens, a young generation, a generation that has lost touch with who they are and what they are as Georgians, a generation that is out of touch with the reality of what happened to Georgia in the 1990s,” Ritter told Sputnik.Over the past several decades, Georgians have experienced what the “European choice” really entails, Ritter continued, referring to US-backed Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s aggression against South Ossetia and Russian peacekeepers in August 2008, which was quickly repelled by Moscow. Following Saakashvili’s botched invasion, Russia recognized South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which had declared their independence from Tbilisi in the early 1990s. Currently, the Western-backed Georgian opposition wants to create a “second front” against Russia, something that would be nothing short of suicidal, according to Ritter.

This policy of confronting Russia is part and parcel of an overall package that includes Georgia becoming a member of the European Union and member of NATO, which would also mean ceding Georgia’s sovereignty to the West, the military expert warned. “Georgian Dream has the best interests of Georgia in mind,” said Ritter. “The EU wants Georgia to participate in the economic sanctioning of Russia. The Georgian Dream Party so far has said no. Look what happened to Europe when they sanctioned Russia, it boomeranged, backfired. What about Georgia? By not participating in the economic sanction of Russia, the Georgian economy has grown more than 10% over the course of the last two years and is on pace to continue this level of growth.

That’s called looking out for Georgia first.” When it comes to Georgian NATO membership, many of the nation’s seasoned military officers, who participated in NATO’s Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kosovo campaigns and brought home the dead bodies of Georgian soldiers, are no longer enthusiastic about joining the alliance, the expert remarked. Ritter explained that territorial disputes with South Ossetia and Abkhazia will not allow Georgia to join NATO any time soon, adding that the irony is that the two breakaway republics will not start settling their disagreements with Tbilisi until the latter gives up its NATO aspirations.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bird flu
https://twitter.com/i/status/1796193970097172641

 

 

Coyote
https://twitter.com/i/status/1796116009058746450

 

 

Emanuel is back

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 252024
 


Thomas Cole Prometheus Bound 1847

 

Zelensky’s Legitimacy Has Expired – Putin (RT)
Betting on Armageddon: What is Zelensky’s Plan Now That His Term is Over? (Amar)
NATO Forming Network of Cyber Labs Along Russia’s Borders (Sp.)
NATO ‘Preparing For War’ With Russia – Orban (RT)
Ukraine Enforces Desperate Conscription Laws, Russia Closes In On Kharkiv (ZH)
Speaker Johnson: Ukraine Should Use US Weapons on Russian Territory (Antiwar)
Let Ukraine Freely Strike Russia With Western Arms – NATO Chief (RT)
US Should Quit Sending Money to Ukraine, Try to Negotiate Peace – Massie (Sp.)
Will the Trump Jury Exercise Blind Justice or Willful Blindness? (Turley)
Trump Says Bronx Residents Being Left Behind By Biden Policies (ZH)
Biden Admin Is Hiring A ‘Meme Manager’; Hilarity Ensues (MN)
Boeing Sued Over Deaths Of US Marines (RT)
The CIA’s Secret Effort To Seize Control Of Social Media (ZH)
Kevin Morris Reportedly Protected by CIA in Hunter Biden Investigation (Turley)

 

 

 

 

Schumer

 

 

Prince

 

 

 

 

Comey

 

 

FBI at my door

 

 

 

 

Who can Russia have talks with for peace? Not Zelensky…

“..Russia must be absolutely sure it’s dealing with the legitimate Ukrainian authorities before it can engage in meaningful and legally binding talks..”

“..one of the goals of this conference for the Western community, the sponsors of today’s Kiev regime is to confirm the legitimacy of the current – albeit no longer valid – head of state,” he suggested, adding that “such PR moves are meaningless for legal documents.”

“The Biden administration has yet to comment on the issue of Zelensky’s status publicly. However, the European Commission and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock assured on Tuesday that he is legitimate..”

He is not legitimate just because he says so, or Brussels or Berlin do…

Any deal with Zelensky is meaningless.

Zelensky’s Legitimacy Has Expired – Putin (RT)

Russia must be absolutely sure it’s dealing with the legitimate Ukrainian authorities before it can engage in meaningful and legally binding talks to conclude the conflict between the two nations, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday. He noted that Vladimir Zelensky’s term in office has expired. The president made the remarks in Minsk on Friday during a joint press conference with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko. Putin was asked for comment on Zelensky’s presidential term running out earlier this month and the impact of this development on potential talks. Putin reiterated Russia’s readiness to engage in talks with Ukraine to end the hostilities, stating that negotiations must be based on “common sense” and acknowledge “realties on the ground,” while using the preliminary agreement reached in the early days of the conflict as the foundation.

“But with whom to negotiate? That’s a peculiar question, I agree. We realize that the legitimacy of the incumbent head of the [Ukrainian] state has expired,” the Russian leader stated. The upcoming “peace summit,” scheduled to take place in Switzerland next month and actively promoted by Kiev is designed, among other things, to prop up Zelensky in his role, Putin said. “I think one of the goals of this conference for the Western community, the sponsors of today’s Kiev regime is to confirm the legitimacy of the current – albeit no longer valid – head of state,” he suggested, adding that “such PR moves are meaningless for legal documents.”

It’s up to Ukraine’s legal system, its “parliament, constitutional court and some other governing bodies” to determine whether Zelensky is now a legitimate leader or not, according to Putin. As for Russia, in order to engage in any meaningful talks with Kiev, it must be absolutely sure it’s dealing with the country’s legitimate authorities, the president stressed. Zelensky’s term expired on Monday, while no elections were held under the pretext of the martial law introduced by Kiev early in the conflict with Russia. The Ukrainian Constitution explicitly prohibits holding parliamentary elections under such circumstances, yet does not mention presidential elections. However, while setting the length of the presidential term, it also specifies that power is transferred the moment a new president is sworn in.

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“Legitimate or not, the Ukrainian leader is a national catastrophe hell-bent on going global..”

Betting on Armageddon: What is Zelensky’s Plan Now That His Term is Over? (Amar)

On 20 May, something important changed for Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky. On that day, the five-year presidential term for which he had been elected in 2019 came to an end. He remains in office, however, without having to face fresh elections. Zelensky’s critics, including within Ukraine, argue that he is now illegitimate in a strict, constitutional sense – in effect, a usurper. His followers and defenders, including in the West, insist that Zelensky legally remains president under martial law. What is clear is that, according to the Ukrainian constitution, presidential elections can be held during wartime (unlike parliamentary ones, which are ruled out), even if a lack of clarity would require amendments, as Ukrainian experts have explained in national media. Even the New York Times acknowledged as much as recently as last October. At that point, however, Zelensky himself had not yet ruled out elections and American super hawk Senator Lindsey Graham was demanding them in his usual imperious tone.

Wartime elections in Ukraine would have posed practical challenges, although these could have been overcome. For instance, back in October, Zelensky himself stated that online voting was a possibility. Western media, including the BBC, which now claim Zelensky had no legal or practical option of standing for reelection, are misinforming their audiences by simply reproducing his regime’s current talking points. Not, obviously, for the first time. No doubt, the legal legitimacy of a president is a critical issue, especially one as high-handed and authoritarian as Zelensky has been for years and since well before the escalation of the war in February 2022. Yet what is more important are the political meaning and effects of Zelensky’s transition to past-due-date status.

In this respect, the first point to note is that is Zelensky is evading the basic accountability of an election that would inevitably increase public scrutiny of his record. Even more disturbing, however, is to see one of his closest associates turning unquestioning compliance with this move into a de facto loyalty test, complete with ominous threats. The speaker of the Ukrainian parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, a key magnate in Zelensky’s “Servant of the People” party, has reportedly even called all those who doubt the president’s continuing legitimacy “enemies of the people” and “political lice.” Of course, this rhetoric – ironically reminiscent of Stalinism – comes with the usual tired smears: Anyone who dares doubt the Zelensky regime is routinely accused of doing so at the behest of Russian agitators. Perish the thought – in Zelensky’s post-“Revolution of Dignity” and “free world” showcase Ukraine – that citizens could genuinely disagree with their superiors!

Verbal brutality of the Stefanchuk kind is especially intriguing because a reasonably reliable and recent (February) poll shows that almost 70% of Ukrainians agree that Zelensky should remain president until “the end of the state of war.” For better or worse, Zelensky’s decision to avoid elections – whatever his reasons – is not unpopular. But a closer look at the same poll reveals why the Zelenskyites are so touchy and aggressive: Widespread consent with postponing presidential elections does not translate into the same amount of popularity for Zelensky personally, or, for that matter, for his regime. For instance, in December 2023, 34% of respondents believed that he should not stand for another election (whenever the latter were to take place). By February of this year, only three months later, that share had risen to 43%. Clearly, Ukrainians who believe that this is not the right time for presidential elections and, at the same time, that Zelensky should never be a candidate again, don’t consider elections unnecessary because they are happy with his rule.

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“..carry out acts of electronic sabotage under the close tutelage of NATO supervisors..”

NATO Forming Network of Cyber Labs Along Russia’s Borders (Sp.)

NATO is forming a network of cyber laboratories along the perimeter of Russia’s borders in Estonia, Latvia, Finland and Romania, Artur Lyukmanov, the special presidential representative for international cooperation in information security of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said in an interview with Sputnik. “Washington has long been practicing methods of hybrid warfare against Russia in the information sphere. Ukraine is used as the main training ground, whose hackers, including from the much-touted ‘IT army,’ carry out acts of electronic sabotage under the close tutelage of NATO supervisors,” he said. Lyukmanov said entire units of Western security services and armed forces have been sent to Kiev.

“It’s no secret that the alliance is forming an entire network of cyber laboratories along the perimeter of the Russian borders in Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Romania, and in the future – in Georgia and Moldova. Under the auspices of the Pentagon, cyber exercises are being carried out on a systematic basis (the Cyber Flag exercises recently ended in the US), during which scenarios of confrontation with us in the digital sphere are tested,” the diplomat said. Western countries, led by the United States, are building up offensive potentials in the field of information technology to conduct computer operations against Russia and China, Artur Lyukmanov said. “Indeed, Western countries, led by Washington, continue to build up offensive ICT potentials to conduct computer operations against their geopolitical opponents, that is, Russia, China and other independent states,” he said

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“Orban noted that the bloc was created with the purpose of defending member states against aggressors, not waging wars outside its territory..”

NATO ‘Preparing For War’ With Russia – Orban (RT)

Hungary is reevaluating its role in NATO, as it has no intention to take part in actions that could involve member states in the Ukraine conflict and lead to a direct clash with Russia, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday. Speaking on local Kossuth Radio, Orban stated that his country has already been relegated to the role of a non-participant within the US-led military bloc due to its stance on Ukraine, and Budapest is now working on legal ways to retain its membership but reserve the right to abstain from joining NATO operations it disagrees with. “Hungary’s position must be redefined, our lawyers and officials are working on ways to allow Hungary to continue to exist as a NATO member without participating in NATO activities outside the bloc’s territory. We need to create a new approach, a new definition for our position as a pro-peace force within NATO,” Orban said.

According to the prime minister, there are “alarming similarities” between the emotionally charged media publications and statements by Western politicians regarding the Ukraine conflict and the atmosphere preceding the First and Second World Wars. “What is happening today in Brussels and Washington… looks like warming up for a possible direct military conflict. We can safely call it the preparation of Europe’s entry into the war,” Orban said, adding that there are working groups within NATO that are assessing the best ways for the bloc to further boost its participation in the conflict. He warned that the end result of these actions could be a direct conflict between the EU, NATO, and Russia – a “grim prospect,” as the conflict would involve nuclear powers.

Someone tell me why instead of isolating this conflict – because it is a war between two Slavic peoples, despite all the arguments on the side of Ukraine – we choose to jump into this war? Orban noted that the bloc was created with the purpose of defending member states against aggressors, not waging wars outside its territory. Commenting on Western claims that Russia could attack Europe if it defeats Ukraine, Orban said the chances of this happening are extremely slim, and these warnings only serve as an excuse to become directly involved in the Ukraine conflict. Hungary has opposed NATO funding and arming of Ukraine from the outset of the conflict in February 2022. The country has not sent any weapons to Kiev, and has not allowed its territory to be used for their delivery, despite pressure from both Brussels and Washington. Budapest has called for a ceasefire and a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

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“If only the media was as energetic about promoting peace negotiations as it has been about promoting war. ”

Ukraine Enforces Desperate Conscription Laws, Russia Closes In On Kharkiv (ZH)

Ukraine is now enforcing a new mobilization law which is being called ‘divisive’ among many Ukrainian citizens and some political leaders. The law requires men ages 18-60 to carry their military paperwork at all times to be presented to authorities on demand. It lowers the minimum draft age from 27 to 25 (Ukraine has a demographic shortage of men ages 18-25). And, all military age Ukrainian men abroad must come back to Ukraine to renew their passports, including refugees driven from their homes in the early days of the war. Conscripts must update their address, contact information, and military records within 60 days through government institutions or a mobile application. This is in preparation for a national draft database containing information on every fighting age male in the country. The conscription measures are expected to greatly reduce Ukraine’s labor pool, forcing many businesses to shut down. Essential workers are not exempt from the draft.

Vladimir Zelensky signed two other bills into effect, one allowing prisoners to be deployed to the front lines (the western media criticized Russia last year for implementing a similar measure), the other bill quintuples fines for people caught trying to evade the draft. Early versions of the law allowed for concessions on pay and better rotation for soldiers, including a policy which would relieve soldiers serving for 36 months or more. All demobilization concessions were removed from the final version; Ukraine’s military leadership argued that they needed the most experienced soldiers to remain at the front. Kyiv has offered cash bonuses to troops towards purchases of housing and cars as an incentive to join the war effort, however, critics argue that the Ukrainian treasury does not actually have the funds to fulfill the promises Zelinsky is making. To counter charges of undermining soldier morale, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry says it is working on a separate demobilization bill, but massive manpower shortages make any demobilization action highly unlikely.

Front line soldiers have repeatedly complained about the lack of rotation, with some rarely getting a chance to leave the trenches in the past two years. These desperate conscription laws arrive just as Russian forces close in on Kharkiv, the second largest city in the nation. Bombardment of the city’s defenses and infrastructure is already underway in preparation for a possible offensive. Some analysts argue that Russia does not have enough troops to take Kharkiv and that this is a distraction. Russia may open a new front near Sumy which is 100 miles away, or they may plan to full envelope Kharkiv because they know Ukraine’s troop strength is at a minimum. The western media has been an avid mouthpiece for the Ukrainian government over the past couple years with many pundits shaming Ukrainian citizens who have tried to leave to avoid being involuntarily mobilized. Seeing the complete lack of organization and the habitual embezzlement of funds among Ukraine’s leadership it’s not surprising that many citizens do not want to fight for them. If only the media was as energetic about promoting peace negotiations as it has been about promoting war.

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“Moscow recently warned the UK that if Ukraine used British weapons on Russian territory, Russian forces would target UK military sites in Ukraine “and beyond.”

Speaker Johnson: Ukraine Should Use US Weapons on Russian Territory (Antiwar)

On Wednesday, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) expressed support for Ukraine using US-provided weapons on Russian territory, a step that would risk a major response from Russia. Ukraine has been lobbying the US to allow the use of US-provided missile systems on Russian territory in the wake of Russia’s Kharkiv offensive, and the idea is gaining support in Congress. A group of bipartisan members of the House sent a letter to President Biden on Monday urging him to lift any restrictions on Ukraine’s use of US weapons. “It is essential the Biden administration allows Ukraine’s military leaders to conduct a full spectrum of operations necessary to respond to Russia’s unprovoked attack on their sovereign land,” the lawmakers said. Johnson was asked if he supported the idea of Ukraine hitting Russian territory with US weapons and replied that the US needs “to allow Ukraine to prosecute the war in the way they see fit.”

“They [Ukraine] need[s] to be able to fight back. And I think us trying to micromanage the effort there is not a good policy for us,” he told Voice of America. Moscow recently warned the UK that if Ukraine used British weapons on Russian territory, Russian forces would target UK military sites in Ukraine “and beyond.” The warning came after British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said Ukraine had the “right” to use British arms in attacks on Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is asking NATO to take another step that could lead to a catastrophic escalation. In an interview with The New York Times on Tuesday, he pleaded for the Western alliance to shoot down Russian missiles over Ukraine, which would mean direct NATO involvement in the conflict, raising the risk of nuclear war.

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You’re located in Brussels, right?

Let Ukraine Freely Strike Russia With Western Arms – NATO Chief (RT)

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has argued that members of the Western military bloc should let Ukraine freely use their weapons to launch strikes deeper into Russian territory. “The time has come for allies to consider whether they should lift some of the restrictions they have put on the use of weapons they have donated to Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said on Friday in an interview with The Economist. “Especially now when a lot of the fighting is going on in Kharkov, close to the border, to deny Ukraine the possibility of using these weapons against legitimate military targets on Russian territory makes it very hard for them to defend themselves.” Stoltenberg noted that some NATO members have already lifted restrictions on using their weapons to attack targets in Russian territory.

Asked whether he was referring to the US as the one major holdout, he said, “I think what we see now demonstrates the need to reconsider those restrictions, not least because we have fighting going on along the border between Russia and Ukraine.” However, according to Moscow, the rhetoric about restrictions on the use of US munitions are false and designed to maintain the illusion that the West is not part of the conflict. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that US weapons, such as ATACMS missiles armed with cluster warheads, have already been used on attacks inside Russia, including strikes against civilian targets. “We proceed from the fact that American and other Western weaponry strikes targets on the territory of Russia, primarily civilian infrastructure and residential areas,” he told reporters on Friday.

The NATO chief’s comments come at a time when Western leaders are making increasingly bold statements about attacks on Russian territory. US President Joe Biden held back on sending long-range weapons to Ukraine in the early days of the conflict with Russia, citing concern over the possibility of triggering a wider conflict. When more advanced weaponry was later approved, it came with strings attached, including a prohibition on hitting Russian territory. However, as the New York Times reported on Thursday, views on those restrictions have shifted as Russian forces make battlefield gains. After making a “sobering” visit to Kiev earlier this month, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reportedly began urging the administration to let the former Soviet republic use American weapons as it sees fit. A group of US lawmakers sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin earlier this week, pressing him to give the Ukrainians the permissions they have requested.

Stoltenberg said he believes NATO members can thread the geopolitical needle by supporting Ukraine’s defense without becoming direct parties to the conflict. “We provide training, we provide weapons, ammunition to Ukraine, but we will not be directly involved from NATO territory in combat operations over or in Ukraine,” he said. “So, that’s a different thing.”

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A lonely voice..

US Should Quit Sending Money to Ukraine, Try to Negotiate Peace – Massie (Sp.)

The United States should stop sending money to Ukraine and attempt to negotiate peace as soon as possible, US Congressman Thomas Massie told Sputnik on Friday. “I think we should quit sending money there. I think we should try to negotiate peace as soon as possible,” Massie said on the sidelines of the 2024 Libertarian National Convention. US lawmakers are showing dwindling support for sending military aid to Ukraine each time the matter comes to a vote, Massie highlighted. “The support for sending weapons to Ukraine is weakening in the US Congress, as you can see with each subsequent vote,” the congressman emphasized. There should be some effort made to bring both Ukraine and Russia to the upcoming conference in Switzerland as it is hard to imagine negotiations without Russia, Massie stressed “This sounds kind of hard to negotiate a peace if they don’t have Russia at the table. So I think there should be some effort to have Ukraine and Russia there,” the congressman said.

Talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden could help solve the conflict in Ukraine, and even lower-level discussions between top diplomats could help achieve progress, Massie highlighted. “I think it could help,” Massie said when asked whether talks between Biden and Putin could help solve the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. “Although, even lower-level negotiations would help as well, I think.” When asked at what level such discussion should be held, the congressman said, “Maybe at the secretary of state level, for instance.” Massie expressed his view that it is “wrong” that communications between the US and Russia are limited. “I think there should be talks,” he said. The US government freezing of foreign assets, including those of Russia, is a very short-sighted policy and sends a message to the international community that the United States may stop honoring transactions, the congressman emphasized.

“I think it’s very short sighted of our government to freeze for instance, Treasury assets, that are held by other countries, such as Russia, because it sends a message to the world that if you buy our debt, then we may not honor the transaction at some point,” Massie explained. The representative added that US moves to freeze foreign assets are “extremely dangerous” because they will increase the price that Washington has to pay to finance its debt. “I’m sure that our closest allies will still trust that we’ll be good on our word, but other sovereign funds will have a diminished appetite for financing our debt,” Massie said. “So, I think it’s very short-sighted of us to do that.” Moscow has maintained that any attempt to confiscate its frozen assets would violate international law, with the Russian Foreign Ministry labeling such an action as theft. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov has also said that Moscow is willing to issue a “symmetrical” response to this form of Western financial aggression.

The congressman argued that he opposes the US government sending more money to Ukraine unless such assistance achieves peace. “I told our own speaker – if you want to send $60 billion and the goal is to achieve some kind of peace, I might be compelled to vote for it. But I’m not voting for $60 billion that will then only necessitate another $60 billion,” the representative clarified. Massie also said that both sides to the conflict in Ukraine will eventually run out of people if fighting continues. “I think it’s immoral to grind up people in this war on both sides,” Massie added. Earlier on Friday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken announced that the United States was providing a new weapons package for Ukraine worth $275 million. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Monday the United States has already delivered many of Ukraine’s “top-priority requirements” and much more assistance is on the way.
Austin added that he expects a steady flow of US assistance for Ukraine on a weekly basis.

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“Bragg is expected to finally state with clarity what he is alleging … at the closing arguments of the case.”

Will the Trump Jury Exercise Blind Justice or Willful Blindness? (Turley)

With closing arguments scheduled for Tuesday, May 28, the prosecution of former President Donald Trump will finally head to a jury. Judge Juan Merchan has refused every opportunity to bring an end to this politically manufactured prosecution. Now it will be up to 12 New Yorkers to do what neither the court nor the prosecutors were willing to do: adhere to the rule of law regardless of the identity of the defendant. Merchan has allowed the government to bring back into life a dead misdemeanor and convert it into 34 felony counts of falsifying business records in the first degree. To accomplish this legal regeneration, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has vaguely referenced a variety of crimes that Trump allegedly was trying to conceal through the business record violations. The problem is that he has left the secondary crime mired in uncertainty to the point that experts on various networks are still debating what the underlying theory is in the case.

Indeed, Bragg is expected to finally state with clarity what he is alleging … at the closing arguments of the case. In the meantime, the prosecution is pushing to make it easier for the jury to convict. First, they have vaguely referenced a variety of possible offenses from tax to election violations. Bragg initially laid out four possible predicate crimes. It is down to three – a tax crime and violations of state or federal election law. Merchan has ruled that the jury does not have to agree on what crimes were being covered up so the jury could literally have three different views of what happened in the case and still convict Trump. Prosecutors are also seeking to effectively shorten the playing field by allowing the jurors to convict on a lower standard of proof for the key term in using “unlawful means.” The defense wants the jury instructed that it must find that such use of “unlawful means” was done with willful intent.

The prosecutors do not want to use that higher standard. For the defense, it is effectively reducing the field to the end zone to make it easier for the prosecution to score. In the last few days, the Bragg strategy has come into sharper focus in one respect. Bragg is not counting on the evidence or the law. He is counting on the jury. Call it the Lawrence O’Donnell factor. After Michael Cohen imploded on the stand in the trial, even experts and hosts on MSNBC and CNN stated that his admissions and contradictions were devastating. Cohen is not only accused of committing perjury in his testimony, but he matter-of-factly detailed how he stole tens of thousands of dollars from the Trump organization. After being disbarred and convicted as a serial perjurer, Cohen waited for the statute of limitations to run on larceny to admit that he stole as much as $50,000 by pocketing money intended for a contractor.

Liberal commentators acknowledged the fact that Cohen had committed a far more serious offense than the converted misdemeanor against Trump (but was never charged). Yet, one figure stepped forward to assure the public that all was well. MSNBC host O’Donnell said that he watched the testimony and that Cohen did wonderfully. Keep in mind that Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche asked Cohen point blank: “So you stole from the Trump organization, right?” Cohen answered unequivocably: “Yes, sir.”O’Donnell, however, rushed outside to declare that Cohen was merely acquiring a bonus that he thought that he deserved as a type of “self-help”: “Cohen [was trying] to rebalance the bonus he thought he deserved. And it still came out as less than the bonus he thought he deserved and the bonus he had gotten the year before.”

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25,000 is not a “large-scale campaign” either. Not for Trump. Not even in NY.

Trump Says Bronx Residents Being Left Behind By Biden Policies (ZH)

Former President Donald Trump took aim at President Joe Biden over a range of issues while vowing to turn New York City around “very quickly” at a rally in the South Bronx on Thursday. President Trump made the comments in front of a crowd estimated at 25,000 supporters in one of the most Democratic counties in the nation. His appearance at Crotona Park, which comes as he is on trial in New York, marked his first large-scale campaign in the state since 2016, when he held two events at the Times Union Center in Albany and another in Buffalo. As Axios (of all people) reported, the Thursday night drew a crowd that looked very different than the typical MAGA flock. The unusual sight of Trump speaking to several thousand people in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in deep blue New York is a sign of the realignment happening between the two parties.

Trump’s GOP is becoming more working class and a little more multiracial. Democrats are gaining with more well-educated voters in the suburbs. The thousands of people gathered to see the former president were a diverse group of people, including what Fox News Digital noted were Black, Hispanic, White, Asian and Muslim supporters. Ahead of Trump’s rally yesterday, both the Biden and Trump campaigns rushed to paint their opponents as racist and a worse choice for Black voters. The Biden campaign put out a digital and television ad that begins: “Trump disrespecting Black folk is nothing new.” The campaign posted on X: “Let’s remember that Trump is a lifelong racist.” The Trump campaign responded with a reminder that Biden helped pass the 1994 Crime Bill that led to mass incarceration disproportionately impacting minorities.

As Katabella Roberts reports via The Epoch Times, President Trump used the rally to criticize his Democratic rival and his immigration policies amid the ongoing crisis at the southern border, telling the crowd of attendees that his rival was failing to “get the job done” for those living in the Bronx. He also described his rival as “grossly incompetent.” President Trump said that under President Biden’s watch, impoverished communities and minorities have been hit the hardest. He said President Biden’s policies have seen inflation, crime, and illegal immigration rise. “African Americans are getting slaughtered, Hispanic Americans are getting slaughtered,” President Trump said. “These millions and millions of people that are coming into our country—the biggest impact and the biggest negative impact is against our black population and our Hispanic population who are losing their jobs, losing their housing, losing everything they can lose.”

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It’s an entire language they fail to understand..

Biden Admin Is Hiring A ‘Meme Manager’; Hilarity Ensues (MN)

The Biden campaign has posted a job listing seeking a ‘meme manager’ prompting many to submit examples of their finest Biden meme manager memes. The listing, seeking a ‘Partner Manager, Content and Meme Pages’, was posted on Daybook. It states, “In this role, you will initiate and manage day-to-day operations in engaging the internet’s top content and meme pages.” “The ideal candidate for this role is passionate about bringing political content to voters where they already are on the internet,” it adds.

Responsibilities in the post include a need to “cultivate and manage relationships with top digital media companies, podcasters, and meme pages across a number of social media platforms” as well as to “identify and land engagement opportunities.” The listing betrays the fact that Biden is haemorrhaging support among young voters, and the campaign, in its infinite ignorance, believes that a few well executed memes might turn that around. The problem is, the left can’t meme. Leftist memes routinely include walls of text explaining what they mean, rendering the meme itself pointless and absurd.

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Now the military arm of Boeing gets its turn.

Boeing Sued Over Deaths Of US Marines (RT)

The families of US servicemen killed in a V-22 Osprey crash in California in 2022 have brought a lawsuit against Boeing, Bell Textron, and Rolls-Royce, accusing them of hiding and failing to correct known reliability issues in their aircraft. Filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of California, the suit alleges that the three corporations “intentionally, recklessly and/or negligently provided false information about the safety, airworthiness, and reliability of V-22 Osprey aircraft,” its engines, systems, and component parts, according to the court documents. “The aircraft, as fielded, has failed and continues to fail to meet the government’s safety and reliability specifications and requirements and the aircraft is not safe,” the lawsuit reads.

The incident at issue occurred in southern California on June 8, “on a training mission during the day with good weather,” when a V-22 suffered catastrophic mechanical failure and crashed, killing all five Marines aboard. The subsequent investigation by the US Marine Corps found that “there was no error on the part of the pilots and aircrew and nothing they could have done to anticipate or prevent this mishap,” nor any “maintenance error” from the ground crew. The V-22 Osprey, a relatively recent addition to the US aircraft fleet, is capable of vertical take off and landing using its tilting twin proprotors, acting as both airplane-style propellers and helicopter-style rotors, depending on which flight mode the craft is using.

There have been 58 accidents involving Ospreys since 1991, with at least 20 being lost beyond repair and leading to more than 60 fatalities, according to the Flight Safety Foundation statistics. The V-22 gained the nickname ‘widow maker’, having led to 30 deaths before it even entered service in 2007. The US military temporarily ceased all flights of the aircraft for an investigation in November last year, after a V-22 crashed near Yakushima, Japan, killing eight. Two months prior, Boeing was ordered to pay $8.1 million to settle allegations that it failed to adhere to critical manufacturing specifications in its V-22 parts production. The claims were brought against the aerospace giant by three whistleblowers who worked at its Ridley Park, Pennsylvania facility.

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New “Twitter Files”.

The CIA’s Secret Effort To Seize Control Of Social Media (ZH)

While the CIA is strictly prohibited from spying on or running clandestine operations against American citizens on US soil, a bombshell new “Twitter Files” report reveals that a member of the Board of Trustees of InQtel – the CIA’s mission-driving venture capital firm, along with “former” intelligence community (IC) and CIA analysts, were involved in a massive effort in 2021-2022 to take over Twitter’s content management system, as Michael Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag report over at Shellenberger’s Public. According to “thousands of pages of Twitter Files and documents,” these efforts were part of a broader strategy to manage how information is disseminated and consumed on social media under the guise of combating ‘misinformation’ and foreign propaganda efforts – as this complex of government-linked individuals and organizations has gone to great lengths to suggest that narrative control is a national security issue.

According to the report, the effort also involved; • a long-time IC contractor and senior Department of Defense R&D official who spent years developing technologies to detect whistleblowers (“insider threats”) like Edward Snowden and Wikileaks’ leakers; • the proposed head of the DHS’ aborted Disinformation Governance Board, Nina Jankowicz, who aided US military and NATO “hybrid war” operations in Europe; • Jim Baker, who, as FBI General Counsel, helped start the Russiagate hoax, and, as Twitter’s Deputy General Counsel, urged Twitter executives to censor The New York Post story about Hunter Biden. Jankowicz (aka ‘Scary Poppins’), previously tipped to lead the DHS’s now-aborted Disinformation Governance Board, has been a vocal advocate for more stringent regulation of online speech to counteract ‘rampant disinformation.’ Jim Baker, in his capacity as FBI General Counsel and later as Twitter’s Deputy General Counsel, advocated for and implemented policies that would restrict certain types of speech on the platform, including decisions that affected the visibility of politically sensitive content.

Furthermore, companies like PayPal, Amazon Web Services, and GoDaddy were mentioned as part of a concerted effort to de-platform and financially de-incentivize individuals and organizations deemed threats by the IC. This approach represents a significant escalation in the use of corporate cooperation to achieve what might essentially be considered censorship under the guise of national security. Nina Jankowicz And The Alethea Group: Remember Nina? A huge fan of Christopher Steele – architect of the infamous Clinton-funded Dossier which underpinned the Trump-Russia hoax, and who joined the chorus of disinformation agents that downplayed the Hunter Biden laptop bombshell, Jankowicz previously served as a disinformation fellow at the Wilson Center, and advised the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry as part of the Fulbright-Clinton Public Policy Fellowship. She also oversaw the Russia and Belarus programs at the National Democratic Institute.

Jankowicz compares the lack of regulation of speech on social media to the lack of government regulation of automobiles in the 1960s. She calls for a “cross-platform” and public-private approach, so whatever actions are taken are taken by Google, Facebook, and Twitter, simultaneously. Jankowicz points to Europe as the model for regulating speech. “Germany’s NetzDG law requires social media companies and other content hosts to remove ‘obviously illegal’ speech within twenty-four hours,” she says, “or face a fine of up to $50 million.” By contrast, in the US, she laments, “Congress has yet to pass a bill imposing even the most basic of regulations related to social media and election advertising.” -Public.

In a 2020 book, How to Lose the Information War: Russia, Fake News, and the Future of Conflict, Jankowicz praises a NATO cyber security expert for having created a “Center of Excellence,” a concept promoted by Renée Diresta of the Stanford Internet Observatory, in which she made the case for the (now failed) Disinformation Governance Board that Jankowicz would briefly head up. One year later, Jankowicz began working with ‘anti-disinformation’ consulting firm, Althea Group, staffed by “former” IC analysts. Althea notably came after ZeroHedge at one point, shopping a ‘dossier’ around which suggested we were allegedly contributing to “increased online panic” amid the monumental collapse of Silicon Valley Bank. The outlets they peddled said dossier to included Bloomberg – which elected to exclude ZeroHedge from their report following a brief email exchange. Eventually, one of their operatives dropped the dossier on Twitter, only to be mocked as a propagandist.

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“..they were summoned to the CIA in Langley concerning Mr. Morris, and that because of the information provided there, he could not be a witness for the investigation. AUSA Wolf proudly referenced a CIA mug and stated that she purchased some CIA “swag” at the gift shop..”

Kevin Morris Reportedly Protected by CIA in Hunter Biden Investigation (Turley)

Recently, it became public that Kevin Morris, the entertainment lawyer who has subsidized the expenses and bought the art of Hunter Biden, had stopped his funding of Biden. Morris has paid off Hunter’s IRS debts and reportedly lent him a total of $4.9 million for housing, car payments, legal fees, and other possible costs. The so-called “sugar bro” is “tapped out” according to media reports. (For full disclosure, Morris previously threatened me with a defamation lawsuit over my writing about his representation of Hunter). Now the House has confirmed prior stories that whistleblower records indicate that the CIA prevented the Justice Department from questioning Kevin Morris as a witness in its probe of Hunter Biden. Morris has maintained that he lent Hunter millions for “no ulterior motive” and continued to support him out of friendship. Yet, when investigators started to look into the payments and the relationship, they were told that Morris had some relationship with the CIA in August 2021. According to previously unreleased information, IRS special agent and current whistleblower Gary Shapley documented the bizarre intervention of the spy agency.

In a sworn affidavit in May, Shapley declared: “During a recurring prosecution team conference call in or around late August 2021, Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) Lesley Wolf told the team that she and DOJ Tax Attorney Jack Morgan had recently returned from the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia, where they had been summoned to discuss Kevin Morris. AUSA Wolf stated that they were provided a classified briefing in relation to Mr. Morris and as a result we could no longer pursue him as a witness. Investigators probed AUSA Wolf, but since her briefing was classified and she was apparently sanitizing it to an unclassified form to share over an open phone line, she did not elaborate with more information. She reiterated more than once that they were summoned to the CIA in Langley concerning Mr. Morris, and that because of the information provided there, he could not be a witness for the investigation. AUSA Wolf proudly referenced a CIA mug and stated that she purchased some CIA “swag” at the gift shop while she was there. It is unclear how the CIA became aware that Mr. Morris was a potential witness in the Hunter Biden investigation and why agents were not told about the meeting in advance or invited to participate. It is a deviation of normal investigative processes for prosecutors to exclude investigators from substantive meetings such as this.”

It is a testament to the level of bias in the mainstream media that this story is not the sole focus of every media outlet in America. Imagine if the CIA intervened to stop an investigation into a donor maintaining one of the Trump children and supporting his effort to blunt any investigation into corruption. MSNBC would make it ongoing special programming with its own time slot. This is an agency that is supposed to avoid domestic interventions into politics as well as other areas. It is accused of pulling in a prosecutor to tell her to close part of a criminal investigation involving the financial supporter of the president’s son. Even if Morris was an asset, the question is why shut down the inquiry into his payments to Hunter Biden. The work of Morris with the CIA could be protected or redacted. Instead, the line of inquiry was shut off and Wolf reportedly left Langley with CIA swag and an empty bag of evidence.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

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Lioness

 

 

 

 

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May 222024
 


Roy Lichtenstein Crying girl 1964

 

Judge Merchan Becomes an Oddity in his Own Courtroom (Turley)
Lawrence O’Donnell Mocked Over Pathetic Defense of Michael Cohen (Turley)
Biden Drains Entire Northeast Gasoline Reserve In Bid To Lower Gas Prices (ZH)
Estonia PM Calls For Breakup Of Russia (RT)
Zelensky ‘Yelling At Generals’ – The Economist (RT)
West Sweating Over Zelensky’s Crashing Popularity – Russian Intel (RT)
Zelensky Wants NATO To Shoot Down Russian Missiles (RT)
Nuland Comments On Potential Official NATO Deployment To Ukraine (RT)
Let Ukraine Use US Weapons To Strike Inside Russia – Nuland (RT)
Lavrov Reveals Zelensky’s ‘Hysterical’ Demand for Support in Switzerland Talks (Sp.)
Ukraine ‘a Classic Failed State’ – Medvedev (RT)
FBI Agents Were Prepared for Secret Service Resistance at Mar-a-Lago (ET)
The Failure of Western Financial Sanctions (Metri)
Klaus Schwab Steps Down As World Economic Forum Executive Chairman (ZH)
Assange Granted ‘Last Chance Appeal’ For Freedom (Cradle)

 

 

Elon Musk: “In sharp contrast, X supports child safety bills”

 

 

Leavitt
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792631963355881787

 

 

Pam Bondi
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792942935861850122

 

 

 

 

Bobb

 

 

 

 

“The judge chastised Costello and even challenged him: “Are you staring me down?” In fact, it was hard not to stare. What is happening in the courtroom of Judge Juan Merchan is anything but ordinary.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won’t.”

Judge Merchan Becomes an Oddity in his Own Courtroom (Turley)

The completion of the testimony of Michael Cohen left the prosecution of Donald Trump, like its star witness, in tatters. In the final day of cross-examination, Cohen admitted to committing larceny in stealing tens of thousands of dollars from his client. Even more notably, he admitted to the larceny on the stand — after the statute of limitations had passed. There will be no dead felony zapped back into life against Cohen, as it was for Trump. Cohen clearly has found a home for his unique skill as a convicted, disbarred serial perjurer. It was not the first time that prosecutors looked the other way as Cohen admitted to major criminal conduct: In a prior hearing, Cohen admitted under oath that he lied in a previous case where he pleaded guilty to lying. If that is a bit confusing, it was just another day in the life of Michael Cohen, who appears only willing to tell the truth if he has no other alternative.

The result is truly otherworldly. You have a disbarred lawyer not only casually discussing lies and uncharged crimes, but prosecutors who proceeded to get him to remind the jury that he is not facing any further criminal charges. If any one of those jurors had stolen tens of thousands of dollars, they would be given a fast trip to the hoosegow. Yet Cohen then matter-of-factly said he plans to run for Congress due to his “name recognition” — the ultimate proof that it does not matter whether you are famous or infamous, so long as they spell your name right. As a legislator, Cohen would have the unique ability to say he will not be corrupted by Congress — because he came to Congress corrupted. While most members wait to take office to commit felonies, Rep. Cohen would show up with a self-affirming criminal record. He could then take one of the few oaths that he has not previously violated as the Honorable Rep. Michael Cohen.

At the end of the day, Cohen is the ultimate shining object for prosecutors to use as a distraction from the glaring omissions in their case. Prior witnesses testified that Trump’s payments to Cohen were designated as “legal expenses” not by Trump but by his accounting staff. Moreover, Cohen admitted that he worked for Trump for years in his murky capacity as a fixer. References to payments as a retainer were approved by Allen Weisselberg, a retired executive with the Trump Organization. The “legal expense” label was a natural characterization for a lawyer who was paid monthly and was on-call as Trump’s personal counsel. In any other district, this case would never have been allowed in trial. It certainly now should be facing a directed verdict by the court. Indeed, with any other defendant, a New York jury would be giving a Bronx cheer in derision. Even CNN hosts and experts have admitted that this case would never have been brought against another defendant or in another district. That is what Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is counting on.

Costello

The biggest problem facing the defense is not the evidence, but the judge: Judge Juan Merchan seems to be channeling George Patton’s warning, “May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won’t.” Merchan has not given any indication that he is seriously considering a directed verdict, which he should clearly grant before this goes to the jury. Merchan’s rulings have largely favored the prosecution, including some rulings that left some of us mystified. Judge Merchan continues to allow the jury to hear references to campaign-finance violations that do not exist. After gutting any use of a legal expert to testify on the absence of any such violations, the judge allowed the jury to hear Michael Cohen state that the payments to Stormy Daniels were clearly campaign violations. All that Merchan would offer is a weak instruction telling jurors not to take such statements as proof of a violation. The alleged campaign-finance violations allowed Cohen to try to implicate Trump. However, it is doubtful that Trump could have been convicted on such a charge in any other venue.

It is precisely what the Justice Department tried and failed to do with John Edwards, a Democratic candidate. After that unmitigated failure, the Justice Department dropped this theory of hush money as a campaign contribution. Indeed, after reviewing the Trump payments, not only did the Justice Department decline any charges but the Federal Election Commission did not even seek a civil fine. On Monday, Judge Merchan’s orders became even more inexplicable when Cohen’s former attorney Robert Costello took the stand. Merchan immediately started to sustain a flurry of prosecutors’ objections as Costello basically accused Cohen of multiple acts of perjury. At one point, Costello — one of the most experienced lawyers in New York and a former prosecutor — exclaimed that one of the judge’s rulings was “ridiculous.” The judge chastised Costello and even challenged him: “Are you staring me down?” In fact, it was hard not to stare. What is happening in the courtroom of Judge Juan Merchan is anything but ordinary.

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How much did Cohen take in total over the years? No way it’s just $30,000.

Lawrence O’Donnell Mocked Over Pathetic Defense of Michael Cohen (Turley)

After his disastrous testimony in Manhattan, Michael Cohen lost even hosts and legal analysts at MSNBC and CNN. MSNBC legal correspondent Lisa Rubin described Cohen as a “fabricator, liar or forgetful person.” CNN’s Anderson Cooper discussed how the testimony was “devastating for Michael Cohen’s credibility.” CNN’s legal analyst Elie Honig said that Cohen had his “knees chopped out” by the defense. All of that was before Cohen admitted that he committed grand larceny in stealing tens of thousands from the Trump company. Most analysts honestly expressed disgust at the admission and expressed shock that he was not prosecuted. The question is whether anyone could find a way to excuse grand larceny to spare viewers in the echo chamber. That is when host Lawrence O’Donnell stepped forward. So to recap. Here is what Cohen said under oath under questioning by Trump’s lawyer Todd Blanche:

Blanche: “So you stole from the Trump Organization, right?” Cohen: “Yes, sir.” Not much ambiguity but Cohen went on to explain that he intentionally inflated costs to just pocket tens of thousands of dollars. He admitted it was theft, plain and simple. For O’Donnell, it is not that simple. He rushed outside to assure MSNBC viewers that everything is fine and that this is just a form of what Cohen laughingly called “self-help.” “Cohen [was trying] to rebalance the bonus he thought he deserved, & it still came out as less than the bonus he thought he deserved & the bonus he had gotten the year before.” It would have been more convincing if O’Donnell, a self-proclaimed socialist, had just called it a redistribution effort from the super-rich to the rich. However, there was a sense of desperation in O’Donnell’s interview in offering viewers an assuring alternative explanation. Larceny did not fit with the past coverage lionizing Cohen. For many viewers, O’Donnell’s account relieved them of the need to question the basis for the prosecution of Trump.

We will have to wait to see if O’Donnell’s defense is picked up in the nearby trial of Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.). It appears that taking those gold bars and other gifts may have been just an effort of Menendez to secure a bonus that he believed was warranted from his public service. It would also mean that anyone who was denied a bonus or received less from their employer can simply steal the difference. There is a serious aspect to the O’Donnell statement. It is not clear if O’Donnell actually believes that Cohen was justified in stealing this money. However, he does show the level of self-delusion or denial that is common with many citizens who cannot see beyond the identity of the defendant. These are the same citizens who elected candidates like Letitia James as state attorney on a pledge to bag Trump for something, for anything. These are the same citizens who voted roughly 90 percent against Trump in Manhattan. These are the same citizens that are likely represented by some on this jury.

That may explain why the Trump team decided to take the risk of a “killer shot” witness like Robert Costello. Some of us believe that this case is already fatally flawed and that no reasonable jury could convict Trump. Indeed, I cannot see how any reasonable judge could deny a directed verdict. However, the Trump team does not want to wait for a long appeal. Costello comes with a risk of opening up issues on cross examination, particularly the involvement of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani. The fact is that the jury has MSNBC viewers and some who likely hold the same bias as O’Donnell. For them, what most of us see unfolding in Manhattan may not be what they see. They may only see one person in the courtroom and it is not any witness.

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“Biden just drained the Northeast strategic gasoline reserve to push gas lower by a few cents on July 4..”

Biden Drains Entire Northeast Gasoline Reserve In Bid To Lower Gas Prices (ZH)

Back in March, when reading the mammoth, 1050-page bill that was meant to avert government shutdown, but was yet another pork filled free-for-all bonanza authorizing $1.7 trillion in in discretionary spending, we stumbled upon something that was truly shocking: after Biden singlehandedly drained half of the US strategic petroleum reserve to avoid obliteration for Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections, Congress has snuck in a provision that would sell off and shutter the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve, a move that while perhaps keeps gas prices lower for a day or two, would also leave the entire continental northeast defenseless to any true environmental catastrophe or shock. We were so dismayed by the inclusion of this particular text, we wondered if it hadn’t been put there solely for the benefit of America’s enemies…

… because surely nobody in their right mind, not even the illegitimate senile occupant of the White House, would ever pursue such short-term gains at the expense of potentially disastrous long-term consequences to the entire nation. We were wrong: earlier today, just two months after the bill was signed by Biden into law, the panicking administration announced that it would sell the nearly 1 million barrels of gasoline in the US managed stockpile in northeastern states, the Department of Energy said, effectively closing the reserve.The department created the Northeast Gasoline Supply Reserve (NGSR) in 2014 after Superstorm Sandy left motorists scrambling for fuel. But, according to some megabrains hoping to justify the dumping of gas so its price drops for a few weeks ahead of the summer and avoid even more anger aimed at the president, storing refined fuel is costlier than storing crude oil, so closing the reserve was included in U.S funding legislation signed by President Joe Biden in March.

Bids to buy the gasoline located at the two NGSR storage sites in Port Reading, NJ (900,000 bbl) and South Portland, ME (98,824 bbl), are due on May 28 and the Treasury Department’s general funds gets proceeds from the sale. Incidentally, the proceeds from the reserve liquidation – which will amount to roughly $125 million gross (and far less net) – is roughly how much the government spends every 15 minutes! So is it better to have a gasoline reserve for unexpected events, or to fund a quarter hour of US government’s spending? Don’t answer that. Of course, the answer is neither – the whole point of selling the gasoline is to depress prices at the pump if only for a few days to help Americans forget about the great inflationary nightmare they have been in for the past 3 years.

The volumes will be allocated in quantities of 100,000 barrels with each barrel containing 42 gallons, the department said and said it would require that fuel is transferred or delivered no later than June 30. That will ensure the gasoline can flow into local retailers ahead of the Fourth of July holiday and that it will be sold at competitive prices. Translation: Biden just drained the Northeast strategic gasoline reserve to push gas lower by a few cents on July 4. For context, gas prices at the pump this Memorial Day will be the second most expensive in a decade – dramatically above the ten-year average of $2.91…

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Start with the US.

Estonia PM Calls For Breakup Of Russia (RT)

The conflict between Moscow and Kiev should end with the defeat and breakup of the Russian Federation, Estonia’s Prime Minister Kaja Kallas has proposed. Kallas made the suggestion on Saturday during a debate in the country’s capital, Tallinn, at an annual event dedicated to her country’s first post-soviet president. “Russia’s defeat is not a bad thing because then you know there could really be a change in society,” the prime minister told the 17th Lennart Meri Conference. The Russian Federation is comprised of “many different nations” and suggested that they should become separate states after the end of the conflict between Moscow and Kiev, she argued. “I think if you would have more like small nations… it is not a bad thing if the big power is actually [made] much smaller,” Kallas said.

The Constitution of the Russian Federation describes the polity as a multinational state. According to the 2020-2021 census, the country’s population speaks 155 different languages, with Russian being the most common. Estonia’s Prime Minister also urged Ukraine’s Western backers not to be afraid to do more to assist the government in Kiev in its fight with Moscow.”Fear keeps us from supporting Ukraine. Countries have different fears, be it nuclear fear, fear of escalation, fear of migration. We must not fall into the trap of fear because that is what [Russia’s President Vladimir] Putin wants,” she said. According to Kallas, the West must help Kiev “push Russia back to its borders” and continue to pressure Moscow via sanctions until Ukraine’s territorial integrity is restored. She also called for reparations to be paid and for the country’s leadership to be held accountable for the conflict. The prime minister insisted that in order for stable peace to be achieved in Europe, Ukraine has to be made a member of both the EU and NATO.

In February, Russia issued an arrest warrant for Kallas over her campaign to destroy Soviet WWII memorials across Estonia. The authorities in Moscow have said repeatedly that due to the unwillingness of both Kiev and the West to look for a diplomatic solution to the crisis, Russia will continue its military operation until all of its goals are achieved, including assuring the security of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine, the demilitarization and “denazification” of the country, and making sure that it never becomes a NATO member. Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the Ukrainian conflict will be decided militarily in Moscow’s favor if that is the wish of the US and its allies. “If they want it to be on the battlefield, they will have it on the battlefield,” Lavrov stressed.

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“..A military official described how at one point the president’s office issued a direct order to a unit on the ground to “retake” a certain city, and received the reply: “With what?”

Zelensky ‘Yelling At Generals’ – The Economist (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky believes his generals are hiding the truth from him and has taken to shouting at them, The Economist has claimed, citing a government source. Purported fits of presidential rage were mentioned in a Monday report on the situation in Kharkov Region, where Russian forces have gained significant ground over the last month. According to the British newsweekly, Ukrainian troops deployed there are angry at the development and have competing theories about the causes. Some blame the US and its allies for insufficient and untimely aid, not unlike Zelensky himself, while others “suspect that incompetence, or even treachery, played a more significant role.” There are also “conspiracy theories” about politicians in Kiev and Washington conspiring to sell the territory “down the river ahead of an ugly peace deal.”

Denis Yaroslavsky, a local commander who made national headlines for complaining that fortifications that were supposed to prevent Russian advances did not really exist, told The Economist that Zelensky “is being kept in a warm bath” – that is, being told comforting lies by his aides. The Economist’s anonymous government source said the president has been clashing with Ukrainian generals after allegedly sensing that he was not getting the whole truth about the frontline situation. Zelensky’s strained relations with the military leadership, which reportedly stems from him putting his political goals ahead of military objectives, has previously been covered by Ukrainian and international media. In December, the newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda claimed that the president was actively undermining Valery Zaluzhny, who at the time was Ukraine’s most senior general, in favor of Aleksandr Syrsky.

“It seems Zelensky has two kinds of troops: ‘good’ ones commanded by Syrsky and other favorites and ‘bad’ ones under Zaluzhny,” a source told the outlet. “This demoralizes [Zaluzhny] and prevents him from commanding the army as a whole.” In February, the Ukrainian leader fired Zaluzhny and appointed Syrsky as his replacement. A profile of Zelensky published by Time magazine last November said the president’s uncompromising drive for a battlefield victory over Russia was “verging on the messianic” and had put him at odds with some officers. A military official described how at one point the president’s office issued a direct order to a unit on the ground to “retake” a certain city, and received the reply: “With what?” The unit had neither weapons nor soldiers, the source explained.

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“The Ukrainian Constitution forbids certain democratic processes under martial law, such as parliamentary elections or referendums on constitutional amendments, but does not spell out the same restriction for presidential elections.”

West Sweating Over Zelensky’s Crashing Popularity – Russian Intel (RT)

Kiev’s Western backers are seriously concerned by the rapidly decreasing public support for President Vladimir Zelensky, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) has claimed. Zelensky’s five-year term in office technically expires on Monday, though he is expected to keep his position. Kiev has refused to hold a new presidential election due to martial law. The SVR claimed on Monday that opinion polls conducted in Ukraine by the US and its allies for their own internal use show a lack of trust in the incumbent leader and in some of the country’s key institutions. “The level of support for Vladimir Zelensky has dropped to 17% and keeps decreasing. Over 70% of the public distrusts all Ukrainian media, while some 90% would like to leave the country,” the statement said. “Even among the troops, who are being subjected to constant ideological conditioning, Zelensky’s popularity stands below 20%.”

Western nations have urged the Zelensky government to ramp up propaganda efforts to create fear among Ukrainians that a Russian victory would result in a disaster for them, SVR said. The president, who is allegedly concerned for his life, also launched a purge in the military and security service to eliminate possible threats, the statement continued. Kiev’s recent claim, that a ‘plot’ by senior officials to assassinate Zelensky had been outed, was “obviously fictitious” and stemmed from the crackdown on dissent, it assessed. Zelensky’s legal claim to his office is in dispute as of Tuesday. The Ukrainian Constitution forbids certain democratic processes under martial law, such as parliamentary elections or referendums on constitutional amendments, but does not spell out the same restriction for presidential elections.

Senior government officials have reasoned that organizing a national ballot under the circumstances would be unsafe for voters and prohibitively costly. Some international media have reported that in a hypothetical election, Zelensky’s popularity would make him the default choice of Ukrainians. “Many people in Ukraine see no sense in holding elections, if the obvious victor already holds the presidency. Not a single Ukrainian politician today can compare with Zelensky in terms of the level of trust and support,” the Russian-language branch of British state broadcaster BBC declared on Sunday, in a thread on X (formerly Twitter). Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Zelensky’s shaky status would put into question any treaties with Moscow that he may sign in the future.

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“Do you think it is too much?” he asked. “For a country that is fighting for freedom and democracy around the world today?”

Zelensky Wants NATO To Shoot Down Russian Missiles (RT)

The US and its allies should shoot down Russian missiles, give Ukraine more weapons, and allow Kiev to strike Russia directly, Vladimir Zelensky has told the New York Times. Zelensky spoke to the US outlet in Kiev, on the last day of his presidential term, which he has sought to extend for the duration of martial law he declared due to the conflict with Russia. He demanded that NATO countries shoot down Russian missiles over Ukraine, wondering if they are too afraid to provoke Moscow. “So my question is, what’s the problem? Why can’t we shoot them down? Is it defense? Yes. Is it an attack on Russia? No. Are you shooting down Russian planes and killing Russian pilots? No. So what’s the issue with involving NATO countries in the war? There is no such issue,” Zelensky told the Times.

“Shoot down what’s in the sky over Ukraine,” he added. “And give us the weapons to use against Russian forces on the borders.” Zelensky pointed to what the US and the UK did in mid-April, when Iran targeted Israel with a drone and missile barrage. Both the US and the EU have pushed back, saying the two situations were not comparable. The Ukrainian leader also begged for Patriot air defense systems, asking if he could get seven of them by the NATO summit in Washington. “Do you think it is too much?” he asked. “For a country that is fighting for freedom and democracy around the world today?” Zelensky also dismissed any criticism of Ukrainian democracy, given the indefinite postponement of both parliamentary and presidential elections, by announcing that Kiev “doesn’t need to prove anything about democracy to anyone, because Ukraine and its people are proving it through their war, without words, without unnecessary rhetoric.”

With Russian troops advancing all along the frontline, Zelensky and his aides have ramped up calls for more of everything – Patriot air defense systems and F-16 fighters in particular – but also demanded the lifting of restrictions on use of Western-provided weapons to strike deep inside Russia. The US and its allies have struggled to maintain the legal fiction that their missiles can only target Russian territory that Ukraine claims as its own – i.e. Crimea, Zaporozhye, Kherson, Donetsk and Lugansk – though Western-supplied weapons have been used against Belgorod Region on multiple occasions, including the Christmas market massacre.

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Wasn’t she demoted recently? Oh, wait: “..The retired US diplomat..”

Nuland Comments On Potential Official NATO Deployment To Ukraine (RT)

Former US diplomat Victoria Nuland has argued that officially sending Western instructors into Ukraine would create unnecessary risks – as NATO already provides a “huge amount” of training for Kiev’s forces on member states’ territory. Facing a severe troop shortage, Kiev has allegedly asked the US and NATO to help train some 150,000 new recruits inside Ukraine, so they can be sent to the front faster, the New York Times reported last week. In an interview with ABC on Sunday, Nuland – who was responsible for Ukraine in her State Department role and served as US ambassador to NATO – acknowledged Russia’s renewed offensive is making it hard for Ukrainian troops to “come off the front” and train abroad. However, she warned against sending Western instructors in. “I worry that NATO training bases inside Ukraine will become a target for Vladimir Putin. And it does directly implicate NATO on the ground, which could… escalate the war in a different direction and cause Putin to think that NATO territory might be fair game for him,” Nuland said.

The White House has repeatedly insisted that it will not deploy American troops – even instructors – in Ukraine. The retired US diplomat argued that “it still makes most sense to do most of the training outside of Ukraine but to give advice inside Ukraine.” The US-led military bloc has been training Ukrainian soldiers on the territory of member states including the UK, Germany and Poland, teaching them how to use Western-provided weapons. European officials have previously acknowledged the presence of some military personnel in Ukraine since the outbreak of the conflict in 2022, without clarifying whether they were training local forces. However, on Monday Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas claimed that military personnel from some NATO member states are already training Ukrainian soldiers inside the country. She insisted this will not lead to a direct confrontation with Russia because the personnel are doing it “at their own risk.”

French President Emmanuel Macron first raised the issue of sending NATO troops to Ukraine back in February, calling it an idea that should not be ruled out. Estonia and Lithuania have since expressed support for either sending instructors or support troops, to free up Ukrainian soldiers for combat duty. In early May, the Russian Defense Ministry estimated that Ukrainian military losses had surpassed 111,000 this year alone. Kiev now intends to mobilize hundreds of thousands of additional troops under a new law cracking down on draft avoidance. Over the past six weeks, Russian forces have taken more territory than Ukraine managed to capture in the six months of its failed counter-offensive last year, the Washington Post admitted last week, citing numbers from the Institute for the Study of War, a DC-based think tank run by Kimberly Kagan – Victoria Nuland’s sister-in-law.

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WWIII.

Let Ukraine Use US Weapons To Strike Inside Russia – Nuland (RT)

The US must allow Kiev to use its weapons to strike “Russian bases” deep inside the country, former senior Department of State official Victoria Nuland believes. American military aid has been provided to Ukraine on the condition that it would not use the weapons to attack targets on what the US considers Russian soil, as opposed to territories contested by Kiev. Nuland, who for decades directed Washington’s foreign policy in Europe, has called for the limitation to be lifted. ”They need to be able to stop these Russian attacks that are coming from bases inside Russia,” she told ABC News on Sunday. “The United States and our allies ought to give them more help in hitting Russian bases, which heretofore we have not been willing to do.” “Those bases ought to be fair game, whether they are where missiles are being launched from or where they are where troops are being supplied from,” Nuland added.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron similarly suggested this month that Ukraine “has the right” to strike targets inside Russia with UK-provided weapons. Moscow in response warned that if such an attack was to happen, it would consider any British military assets, be they on Ukrainian soil or elsewhere, fair game for retaliation. Ukrainian officials have reportedly launched a massive lobbying effort on Capitol Hill this month in an attempt to pressure the White House on its arm policy. Its legislators have claimed that Russia’s recent advances in Kharkov Region were a result of Kiev’s inability to deliver preemptive cross-border strikes.

Nuland accused Moscow of escalating the conflict with the operation and claimed that its goal was to “decimate [the city] without ever having to put a boot on the ground.” She claimed without evidence that Russian forces “have flattened a third of Kharkov” already. The avowed neocon reasoned that US permission to attack “Russian bases” under these circumstances would not be escalatory. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the operation in Kharkov Region was meant to dismantle Kiev’s ability to attack Russia’s Belgorod Region. Ukrainian forces have been hitting villages close to the border and the city of Belgorod itself with rocket artillery and drones for months. According to Putin, Moscow has no intention to fight for Kharkov, Ukraine’s second-largest city, at this point or time.

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“..almost hysterically demanded support for his peace formula as a means to force Russia to its knees..”

Lavrov Reveals Zelensky’s ‘Hysterical’ Demand for Support in Switzerland Talks (Sp.)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said that the Ukrainian president strongly demanded support for his “peace formula” while discussing the upcoming Switzerland “peace conference” with foreign diplomats in Kiev. Russia’s top diplomat has exposed that the Ukrainian president “hysterically” demanded that other nations back his proposed “peace formula” ahead of a ‘Peace Conference’ that is to be held in Switzerland next month. “We have information – we have the ability to receive information that is not usually intended for publication. At the end of April, while discussing this idea [Zelensky’s ‘peace formula’] with foreign diplomats in Kiev, Zelensky, according to some participants, mostly improvised in a chaotic manner, almost hysterically demanded support for his peace formula as a means to force Russia to its knees,” Sergey Lavrov said at a press conference following the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Kazakhstan.

Switzerland will host a peace conference on Ukraine on June 15-16 near Lucerne with up to 120 heads of state expected to participate. Vladimir Khokhlov, the press secretary of the Russian Embassy in Bern, previously told Sputnik that Switzerland did not invite Russia to participate in the summit and that Moscow would not participate in any case. He added that the heavily promoted idea of a peace conference is unacceptable for Russia as it “involves another attempt to push through the unworkable ‘peace formula’ that ignores Russian interests.”

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov, in turn, stated that the negotiating process on Ukraine without Russia’s involvement is meaningless, but it is necessary to understand what peace formula will be discussed at the summit in Switzerland. Moscow has repeatedly stated its readiness for negotiations, but Kiev has legislatively prohibited them. The West calls on Russia to negotiate but at the same time ignores Kiev’s constant refusal to engage in dialogue. Earlier, the Kremlin stated that there are currently no preconditions for the situation in Ukraine to move towards a peaceful resolution and Russia’s absolute priority is to achieve the goals of the special operation, which is currently possible only by military means. Kremlin officials have said that the situation in Ukraine could move towards peace only if the de facto situation and new realities are taken into account, and that all of Moscow’s demands are well known.

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“Kiev is run by a lawless and criminal regime, the former Russian president has said..”

Ukraine ‘a Classic Failed State’ – Medvedev (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s decision not to hold elections means his government has no legitimacy, according to Dmitry Medvedev, the head of Russia’s Security Council. Zelensky’s five-year mandate expired on Tuesday but he has argued that the Ukrainian constitution does not allow him to call new presidential or parliamentary elections during martial law, which he declared in February 2022. “All these manipulations with laws mean only one thing – the death of the failed state of Ukraine, its transformation into a classic failed state, to use American vocabulary,” Medvedev told TASS news agency on Monday. The US and its allies have supported Zelensky’s efforts to stay in power because they feared “the shameful fall of his criminal regime,” Medvedev added.

“That’s why there is such a high probability that Zelensky would have lost this election miserably, and the citizens of his non-existent country would have wanted a new president in the hope that he would start peace negotiations with Russia,” said the former Russian president and prime minister. Medvedev reminded reporters that Zelensky, “a political upstart,” won in 2019 precisely because he campaigned “on the rhetoric of peace.” However, Western sponsors of the regime in Kiev could not allow peace because “they make good money from the bloody bacchanalia,” he added.

The US and its allies have sought to portray the sending of weapons and ammunition to Kiev as an “investment” in their military-industrial complex worth hundreds of billions of dollars, and openly said most of that money would never reach Ukraine. Medvedev dismissed the notion that anything substantial will change in Ukraine after May 21, however. Ukrainians “didn’t live in a rule-of-law state anyway,” he said, arguing that “law and justice were forgotten ten years ago,” with the US-backed coup in Kiev and the start of the Donbass conflict. As for Zelensky, Medvedev said, he can either be captured and put on trial, or meet the same fate as his “spiritual teacher” Stepan Bandera. The leader of Ukrainian nationalists, who sought to collaborate with Nazi Germany during WWII, was assassinated by Soviet operatives in Munich in 1959.

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FBI killing Secret Service details? Really?

FBI Agents Were Prepared for Secret Service Resistance at Mar-a-Lago (ET)

FBI agents executing a search warrant at former President Donald Trump’s home in 2022 prepared for the possibility U.S. Secret Service agents resisted the agents, according to newly unsealed court documents. An operations plan for the raid of Mar-a-Lago in southern Florida stated that should President Trump arrive at Mar-a-Lago during the period when agents were there, FBI agents would be prepared to “engage with” him and U.S. Secret Service (USSS) agents who protect him.If the Secret Service agents “provide resistance or interfere with FBI timeline or accesses,” then FBI officials would contact certain individuals—their names and positions were redacted—the documents stated. The documents also stated that if Mar-a-Lago employees refused to provide a list of occupied guest rooms, FBI agents would “knock on each guest room door to determine occupation status.” Agents would request a map, list of rooms, and a skeleton key for all rooms, and were preparing to bring lock-picking equipment with them.

The documents, produced to President Trump through discovery in the criminal case against him, were placed on the docket on May 21. President Trump’s lawyers attached the documents as exhibits to a motion asking to suppress evidence seized by agents, arguing the raid was unconstitutional. The warrant was cleared by a U.S. magistrate judge after agents said there was probable cause to believe sensitive materials were being kept at unauthorized places at the resort. Officials said the raid would likely uncover evidence of obstruction of justice. Agents arrived at Mar-a-Lago at 8:59 a.m. on Aug. 8, 2022, and initiated the search at 10:33 a.m.. A summary of what transpired stated that FBI leaders coordinated with local Secret Service leaders and that Secret Service agents “facilitated entry onto the premises, provided escort and access to various locations within, and posted USSS personnel in locations where the FBI team conducted searches.”

In addition to 25 FBI employees from the bureau’s Miami office, the group of DOJ personnel included five officials from Washington and two DOJ lawyers. The group took numerous photographs, including pictures in the bedroom of former First Lady Melania Trump and a “child’s bedroom suite,” according to picture logs that were released on Tuesday. President Trump’s lawyers said in the motion that the search was “roving and highly inappropriate,” citing how it covered a gym, a kitchen, and the bedrooms where the pictures were taken. They said the warrant was too broad and authorized agents to seize virtually any document from Mar-a-Lago. Government officials have acknowledged they improperly seized passports and some other materials. Agents remained on the scene until 6:39 p.m. They flew the seized evidence to Washington the following day.

President Trump, after the execution of the warrant, was charged with mishandling national defense information, concealing documents, and making false statements. The documents included a statement on the use of deadly force, which quoted government policy in stating that “law enforcement officers of the Department of Justice (DOJ) may use deadly force only when necessary, that is, when the officer has a reasonable belief that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the officer or to another person.” The FBI also brought a medic and paramedic along on the raid, according to the documents, and listed the nearest trauma center in case anyone was injured during the execution of the warrant. Agents were equipped with standard-issue weapons, ammunition, handcuffs, and badges and brought medium and large bolt cutters.

There was no basis for the FBI to bring guns into Mar-a-Lago, according to President Trump’s lawyers.“There were no threats and no risk to agents’ safety arising from their allegations relating to possession of documents at a premises already guarded by the Secret Service,” the lawyers said. The lawyers also argued that an FBI agent omitted relevant information from the affidavit submitted to the judge as part of the request to authorize the warrant. The agent, for instance, “failed to disclose that presidents are not required to obtain clearances and that sensitive briefings including classified information had been provided to President Trump at Mar-a-Lago and other residences before and during his presidency,” the lawyers said.

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“..China’s share of world GDP based on purchasing power parity reached 18.73%, while that of the USA was 15.56%..”

The Failure of Western Financial Sanctions (Metri)

On March 24, 2024, some newspapers reported the 25th anniversary of the plane’s U-Turn over the Atlantic, with the then-Russian foreign minister, Yevgeny Primakov, due to the kick-off NATO bombings over Serbia, without approval from the UN Security Council. Amid the onslaught against Belgrade, NATO forces deliberately struck the Chinese embassy. Beijing hasn’t forgotten the date, and on May 7, 2024, President Xi Jinping was in the capital of Serbia to pay his respects to the dead and pass a message to the West. These events determined the beginning of Russia’s reconstruction, the acceleration of the Chinese rise process, and the deepening of Sino-Russian partnerships. During this period, starting from economic fragility and a military delay position concerning the USA, Russia established a strategic advantage in weapons in 2018 by developing hypersonic weapons. It also rebuilt its national economy, circumventing unprecedented economic sanctions against it.

Despite the sanctions, Russia’s economy expanded significantly in 2023 compared to other North Atlantic countries. This year, the IMF corrected its forecasts for Russia, doubling its estimates upward. The financial sanctions policy is one of the expressions of the monetary power of the dollar in the international system, especially after the Bush Doctrine of 2002 (2). However, the effectiveness of Washington’s economic sanctions regarding its foreign policy objectives has been very low, not to say null. For example, despite the severe sanctions introduced in 2007, Iran has acquired the ability to resist and develop an adequate offensive military capacity, allowing it to change the balance of forces in Southwest Asia. A month ago, on April 12, 2024, Tehran abandoned its “policy of strategic patience” and revealed to the world, through the missile attack, its ability to pierce the Israeli anti-aircraft defense system.

The main targets of U.S. sanctions (Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba) have generally succeeded in withstanding this kind of violence, and one of the most relevant reasons for this is China’s rise to the status of the largest economy, surpassing the U.S. one. In 2023, China’s share of world GDP based on purchasing power parity reached 18.73%, while that of the USA was 15.56%. Due to its dynamism, size, and sophistication, the Chinese economy made bypassing the payment systems controlled by Washington possible. For instance, after the start of Russian military intervention in Ukraine, when one imposed unprecedented sanctions, Sino-Russian trade grew 64%, reaching a record U.S. $240 billion in 2023. Not for any other reason, on April 8, 2024, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, visiting Beijing, threatened Chinese companies, stating, “There will be significant consequences for companies that provide material support to Russia. Those who do not comply will face the consequences”.

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“..Will Schwab and Soros retire on a deserted island together to watch the end of the chaotic world they enabled from a distance?”

Klaus Schwab Steps Down As World Economic Forum Executive Chairman (ZH)

Wit the organization he founded 50 years ago bringing in nearly $500 million in revenue in the year ending March 2023 (and sitting on a neat pile of 200 million Swiss francs cash), Klaus Schwab will own some things as he reportedly steps back from his role running the World Economic Forum has has headed since 1971. Semafor reports that Schwab announced his intentions to step down as executive chairman in an email to staff on Tuesday that was shared with Semafor by a person connected to the organization. The change in his role is pending approval by the Swiss government but should be finalized ahead of the WEF’s annual meeting in 2025.

Schwab, now 86, will be transitioning to a role as non-executive chairman. But Globalists should not worry about their agenda as Semafor reports that Schwab has seeded his organization with various family members to take up the tyrannical new world order torch – Schwab’s children appointed to high-ranking positions and his wife Hilde heading the organization’s foundation and awards ceremonies in Davos. Will Schwab and Soros retire on a deserted island together to watch the end of the chaotic world they enabled from a distance?

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Q again: is this a full appeal?

Assange Granted ‘Last Chance Appeal’ For Freedom (Cradle)

The UK High Court ruled on 20 May that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will have the right to appeal against extradition to the US, marking his final push for freedom. Assange’s legal team argued that judges should not accept Washington’s previous assurances that the embattled WikiLeaks founder would be able to rely on protection under the US First Amendment. He has been given a chance to make a full appeal for his legal team’s argument that he could be discriminated against, given that he is a foreign national. Assange’s legal team had previously been demanding assurances from the US that he would not face the death penalty if extradited. At Monday’s hearing, Assange’s lawyers argued that Washington had provided “blatantly inadequate” assurances that he would be protected. Problems with the US assurances were “multifold,” they said. It was only guaranteed “merely that he can seek to raise” assurances of First Amendment protection and not “rely” on them.

One of the lawyers pointed to a “deafening silence” from US prosecutors, including Gordon Kromberg – assistant US attorney in the Eastern District of Virginia, where the WikiLeaks founder would face trial. “Specific promises from prosecutors are pretty common. We will not object to bail. We will not seek the death penalty as in this case. No such specific assurance has been given here,” Edward Fitzgerald, one of Assange’s representatives, said. Fitzgerald accepted US assurances that Assange would not face the death penalty, calling it an “unambiguous promise not to charge any capital offense.” Previously, Assange’s legal team contested claims by US prosecutors that WikiLeaks’ publication of diplomatic cables created a risk that sources named in the documents would be put in harm’s way, arguing that no evidence for this exists.

“The position of the US prosecutor is that no one, neither US citizens nor foreign citizens, are entitled to rely on the first amendment in relation to publication of illegally obtained national defense information giving the names of innocent sources to their grave and imminent risk of harm,” US prosecutor James Lewis KC said during the court session. Assange could not make it to court – as in previous sessions – due to deteriorating health conditions. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of the UK High Court in support of Assange’s cause. His legal team was reportedly jubilant following the court session. Last month, US President Joe Biden said he was “considering” an Australian request to drop the case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told the local broadcasting corporation that Biden’s words were encouraging and that the case against Assange, an Australian citizen, “needs to be brought to a conclusion.”

A report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) in March said that the US is considering a plea deal offer for the WikiLeaks founder, which would allow the imprisoned journalist to plead guilty to a misdemeanor offense and avoid extradition to the US. However, his legal team said at the time that it is unlikely that Washington will change its approach.

Assange is charged with violating the 1917 Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for releasing classified US military documents that implicate Washington in war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other charges. He founded WikiLeaks in 2006. The non-profit publisher came to prominence in 2010 when it released a leaked video from inside a US helicopter as it attacked civilians and journalists in Iraq. That same year, WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of US documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as thousands of US diplomatic cables. Assange is currently being held at London’s high-security Belmarsh Prison. According to Fitzgerald, it could be months before the appeal is heard. If it is unsuccessful, he will have exhausted his appeals in the UK, which would lead to the start of his extradition to the US. In that event, he could potentially appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to block the extradition.

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Aether

 

 

Rhino

 

 

Huge fish
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792851723645567316

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 212024
 


Roy Lichtenstein Crying girl 1963

 

Assange Secures Big Win In US Extradition Hearing: How It Happened (RT)
Vladimir Zelensky: No Mandate, No Election. So What Now? (Drize)
End of Zelensky’s Term To Have No Effect On Russia’s Operation – Kremlin (TASS)
Zelensky Emerges as ‘First Obstacle’ to Peaceful Resolution of Ukrainian Conflict (SP.)
Zelensky A ‘Legitimate Military Target’ – Medvedev (RT)
Ukraine has lost 90% Of Energy Capacity – Ex-Minister (RT)
ICC Chief Prosecutor Seeks Arrest Warrants For Netanyahu And Hamas Leaders (RT)
There Is No Genocide In Gaza – Biden (RT)
Why Are Israel And The West Unravelling In Tandem? (Alastair Crooke)
Judge in Trump Case Says She’s Concerned With Special Counsel Jack Smith (ET)
Michael Cohen Admits Stealing Tens of Thousands From Trump Organization (ET)
The President Whose Voice Must Not Be Heard (Turley)
China Offloads Record Amount Of Dollar Assets – Data (RT)
Fugazy Land (Jim Kunstler)

 

 

Tapper

 

 

Biden SCOTUS

 

 

Fani
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792738591161901068

 

 

Totalitarianism

 

 

 

 

“Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Sputnik that the decision of the UK’s High Court of Justice in London doesn’t appear to be in support of the Wikileaks founder. “It is difficult to call the ongoing execution a ‘decision in favor of Assange,'” Zakharova said.”

“The UK High Court ruled that Washington’s assurances of a fair trial for the WikiLeaks founder were insufficient, allowing a full appeal.”

My first reaction: Until now, the appeals were always limited to a few small points, excluding most others. This appears different. RT claims it is a full appeal. Which would involve 1000s upon 1000s of pages of documents that may have to be revisited. I don’t see a positive confirmation of this. We’ll have to see. Knock on wood.

Assange Secures Big Win In US Extradition Hearing: How It Happened (RT)

The High Court in London has ruled that WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange has the right to appeal an extradition request by the US. Washington is seeking to put the Australian publisher on trial for espionage for disclosing alleged war crimes committed by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. The UK High Court considered Washington’s assurances that Assange would be given a fair trial if extradited to the US. The court had previously requested two sets of written guarantees from the US stating that the WikiLeaks founder would not be discriminated against due to his Australian citizenship, and would not be held in a maximum security prison or be given the death penalty. If the court had ruled that these guarantees were adequate, Assange would likely have been extradited to the US in a matter of days. While the US had provided the assurances, it did so with a number of conditions.

The American side promised not to immediately place Assange in a maximum security prison, but reserved the right to do so based on his conduct. US prosecutors also stated that the WikiLeaks founder would be able to rely on the First Amendment right to free speech during the trial, but noted that its applicability would be “exclusively within the purview of the US courts.” Assange’s supporters slammed Washington’s diplomatic assurances, with Amnesty International’s criminal justice expert Juli Hall calling them “inherently unreliable because the US government gives itself an out.” The publisher’s wife, Stella Assange, had also described the US guarantees as “blatant weasel words.” Ahead of Monday’s ruling, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the High Court in London calling for Assange’s immediate release.

During the hearing, Assange’s lawyer Edward Fitzgerald told the judges that the assurances of a fair trial given by US prosecutors could not be relied upon as American courts would not be bound by them. “We say this is a blatantly inadequate assurance,” Fitzgerald told the court. In a short ruling, the two senior judges of London’s High Court stated that the assurances provided by the US were not sufficient, and gave Assange’s legal team the right to a full appeal hearing. While the legal battle continues, Assange himself will remain in London’s top-security Belmarsh Prison, where he has been held for the past five years since his arrest in 2019 when his asylum in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London was revoked.

The legal victory was immediately celebrated by Assange’s supporters, with Amnesty International’s Simon Crowther calling it a “rare piece of positive news for Julian Assange and all defenders of press freedom.” Stella Assange applauded the court’s verdict, calling it the “right decision.” She criticized the US for the ongoing persecution of her husband, and demanded that Washington “read the situation” and drop the case against him. Former Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn also celebrated Monday’s verdict, but stressed that there was still a lot to be done to secure Assange’s freedom.

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“On May 20, Vladimir Zelensky’s presidential powers officially expired..”

Vladimir Zelensky: No Mandate, No Election. So What Now? (Drize)

On May 20, Vladimir Zelensky’s presidential powers officially expired. He retains power, however, because no elections can be held in Ukraine due to the current state of martial law. Responding to a question last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said peace agreements can only be signed with legitimate leaders. He added that the Ukrainian legal system should draw the necessary conclusions. Firstly, because there is the temptation, if not to cancel them altogether, then to postpone elections in Ukraine for as long as possible. Of course, even if peace is achieved, Ukraine’s infrastructure will have to be rebuilt in order to conduct a proper ballot. Political life also needs to be restarted. All this takes time. But the main point is that Zelensky may well lose the election. He no longer looks like a winner. Moreover, it’s relevant to ask if Ukraine will survive not just as a state but with some form of democracy. It is also unlikely to join NATO any time soon.

There is a growing sense that Zelensky’s backers are tiring of him. A true politician has to be able to run a long race, which is why US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has hinted at the desirability of holding elections. So what’s the bigger picture here? A high-level peace conference on Ukraine is scheduled for mid-June in Burgenstock, Switzerland. It’s highly likely that this will fall short of expectations, to put it mildly. If it takes place at all. At the very least, the participation of the Global South appears to be unlikely. And US President Joe Biden is apparently not coming either. What was the point of all this? Well, for Zelensky this is an important project – to get as many influential states on his side as possible. Instead, China is promoting its own peace plan, supported by Russia. And the West is subtly making it clear that, in theory, it would be open to discussions.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s recent trip to Europe saw all this discussed. We also have to recognize that it’s very difficult for Zelensky to continue fighting without enough weapons and without clear guarantees that supplies won’t stop at some point. And with mobilization not going well, Russia advancing, and the West getting tired of him, if the conference in Switzerland also fails, it will be a big blow for the Ukrainian leader. On the other hand, a compromise might be even worse. This is where you need political experience – rather than making unreasonable demands or issuing statements about saving the West. But we aren’t going to give advice. It’s clear that there is no ideal way out for Moscow either, so everything is very complicated. The chances for peace are slim, but at least some do exist.

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“The powers of the current Ukrainian president under the current Constitution expire on May 21. There is no legitimate way of extending them..”

End of Zelensky’s Term To Have No Effect On Russia’s Operation – Kremlin (TASS)

The expiration of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s term of office does not affect the special military operation, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has told reporters. “No, the special operation continues,” Peskov said when asked whether the expiration of Zelensky’s term of office might influence the special operation. The powers of the current Ukrainian president under the current Constitution expire on May 21. There is no legitimate way of extending them. Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed that the issue of the Zelensky presidency’s legitimacy after May 20 should be resolved in Ukraine by its political and legal systems.

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“He is the first obstacle to any peace negotiation. If he comes to Switzerland, it would be for receiving the support of his Western supporters and to get more aid for the war. Not for peace..”

Zelensky Emerges as ‘First Obstacle’ to Peaceful Resolution of Ukrainian Conflict (Sp.)

Nextpmonth, Switzerland is expected to host a conference ostensibly meant to help achieve a peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian conflict, even though Russia was not invited while BRICS members and Global South countries seem reluctant to attend the event. The upcoming conference at the Burgenstock resort in Switzerland, touted by its organizers as an event to further the peace process in Ukraine, will most definitely be anything but a peace summit, says Swiss MP and former executive director of the Geneva Press Club Guy Mettan. “The deliberate rejection of Russia is now jeopardizing the success of the meeting and returning against its organizers,” Mettan tells Sputnik, pointing out that Russia was not invited to participate in the conference. “Aware of this problem, the Swiss official narrative is now trying to put forward that Russia didn’t wish to participate and that its absence came from its own decision, which is false and will not mislead anybody outside the collective West.”

According to Mettan, the countries of the Global South may end up sending their representatives to this gathering, though they will likely dispatch “medium-level participants with no-decision power, in order to avoid being accused of being ‘against the peace’ or of ‘boycotting the West’.” “For the Global South, the present questions are: why should it participate in a summit which is no longer a summit, which is not focused on peace due to the non-invitation of Russia, and which will certainly be a failure?” he adds. Mettan also argues that Zelensky is in fact opposed to the “real negotiation process” as he signed a decree banning any peace talks with Russia and with his so-called peace formula essentially calling for Russia’s capitulation. “He is the first obstacle to any peace negotiation. If he comes to Switzerland, it would be for receiving the support of his Western supporters and to get more aid for the war. Not for peace,” Mettan remarks.

The lawmaker suggests that Western support for Zelensky’s regime, aimed at weakening Russia, may persist until the US presidential election in November, but afterwards, the strategy’s failures might become more apparent across the military, economic, financial, and political domains. Meanwhile, it appears that the summit in question has been snubbed by many of the prospective participants due to the “unrealistic approach” adopted by the event’s organizers, says Paolo Raffone, a strategic analyst and director of the CIPI Foundation in Brussels. During an interview with Sputnik, Raffone points out that not only Russia was not invited to the summit, but the conference itself is aimed at promoting the so-called Zelensky ‘peace formula,’ a scheme that includes the demand for Russia to cede a part of its territory to Ukraine as a precondition for ending the Ukrainian conflict. “Such an unrealistic approach is the reason for many invitees not attending. The countries that have chosen not to attend are aware that a dialogue in the absence of Russia does not represent ‘the legitimate interests of the parties’,” he explains. “Moreover, no peace talks are well funded if not based on reality. Any meaningful peace talks imply that the Ukrainian government must recognize the ‘new territorial realities’.”

“World leaders are aware that any resolution to the war in Ukraine can only find a settlement between the real world powers underpinning the events, notably Russia and US,” he adds. “While behind the scenes contacts and talks are continuing, the majority of world leaders believe that the time is not yet ripe for ‘peace talks’ and that in any case the starting point cannot be other than the document drafted and mostly agreed in Turkiye in March 2022.” The analyst also observed that the implementation of Zelensky’s plan would be impossible without the “direct military intervention of Western countries,” and that it has already become clear that “none of the Western countries will officially send troops to fight in Ukraine against Russia.”

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“He spat on the Constitution of his ‘country,’ ignored the Constitutional Court, and did not even extend, but usurped the supreme power..”

Zelensky A ‘Legitimate Military Target’ – Medvedev (RT)

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, as the leader of a “hostile political regime,” is a legitimate military target, Dmitry Medvedev, the head of Russia’s Security Council, has said. Speaking to TASS on Monday, Medvedev said that the question of Zelensky’s legitimacy as president is of no particular importance to Moscow. “For Russia, the final loss of legitimacy by the pseudo-president of the former Ukraine will not change anything,” the former Russian president said, noting that the leaders of countries waging war are “always considered” a legitimate military target. Medvedev called Zelensky a “war criminal,” who should be caught and brought to justice or “liquidated as a terrorist” for his crimes against Russians and Ukrainians.

Zelensky appeared on the Russian Interior Ministry’s wanted list earlier this month though no data has been released about criminal proceedings against him. The constitutional powers of the current Ukrainian president expired on May 20. A presidential election was originally scheduled for March, but was postponed under the pretext of martial law, which was imposed after the start of the conflict with Russia in February 2022, and has repeatedly been extended by the nation’s legislature. Zelensky announced in December 2023 that no presidential or parliamentary elections would be held as long as martial law remains in force. In early May, lawmakers prolonged martial law by another three months. According to Medvedev, Zelensky “effectively seized power” in the country after elections were annulled.

“He spat on the constitution of his ‘country,’ ignored the Constitutional Court, and did not even extend, but usurped the supreme power,” Medvedev argued, adding that Zelensky “covered himself with an inarticulate declaration of the Verkhovna Rada (the Ukrainian parliament) on the abolition of presidential elections in times of war.” In March, Ukrainskaya Pravda claimed, citing members of parliament, that Zelensky had virtually stripped the legislature of its powers and established de facto personal rule. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said recently that a “moment will come soon when many people, including those inside Ukraine, will question [President Zelensky’s] legitimacy.”

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“..Galushchenko urged Ukrainians to prepare for outages during spring and summer, and advised the population to stock up on electricity generators and power banks..”

Ukraine has lost 90% Of Energy Capacity – Ex-Minister (RT)

About 90% of Ukraine’s power generation capacity has been taken out by Russian missile attacks, according to former minister of infrastructure Aleksey Kucherenko. The situation is not expected to improve dramatically, as the damaged infrastructure cannot be restored quickly, the member of parliament warned during an interview with the YouTube channel Vishka. “We have lost around eight thousand megawatts of electricity, that’s a lot, out of eight thousand, 800 are currently working,” he said, citing power engineers, and warning of extensive power outages through the summer and winter. Moscow began targeting Ukrainian energy infrastructure in the autumn of 2022, after Russia’s Crimean Bridge was bombed that October.

In recent months Russia has intensified its strikes on Ukrainian military and energy facilities. In April, the Russian Defense Ministry said the bombardment was in response to Kiev’s attempts to target Russian oil infrastructure. Since January, Ukraine has launched multiple long-range attacks on energy facilities deep inside Russia, including oil depots and refineries, using kamikaze drones. In April, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia’s strikes on energy facilities “directly affect the defense industry of Ukraine,” calling them part of “demilitarization” efforts. Moscow reiterated the attacks are only aimed at Ukrainian military targets and facilities that support their operations, and never at the civilian population.

To alleviate the pressure on the power grid, Ukraine has introduced temporary blackouts for industrial and household consumers in all regions. The nation has also ramped up imports of electricity from neighboring EU countries – Romania, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary – and also from Moldova. Earlier this month, Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko claimed that the combined financial losses from Russian attacks amounted to more than $1 billion, and warned that the figure is likely to rise. He noted that the main damage was to thermal and hydro generation, as well as power transmission systems. In April, Galushchenko urged Ukrainians to prepare for outages during spring and summer, and advised the population to stock up on electricity generators and power banks.

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Not everyone will be pleased…

ICC Chief Prosecutor Seeks Arrest Warrants For Netanyahu And Hamas Leaders (RT)

The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has said he’s seeking arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, including Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. There are “reasonable grounds to believe” that the wanted persons are responsible for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” in Gaza and in Israel, Karim Khan outlined in a statement on Monday. Along with Netanyahu, the prosecutor is looking to arrest Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. The wanted Hamas officials include the Palestinian armed group’s leader Yahya Sinwar, the commander of its military wing –al-Qassam Brigades – Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, and the chief of Hamas’ Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh, the prosecutor’s statement reads. According to Khan, Netanyahu and Gallant are suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza such as intentional attacks on a civilian population, willful killing and causing of suffering, using starvation as a method of warfare, “extermination and/or murder” as well as other “inhumane acts.”

The wanted Hamas leaders allegedly “bear criminal responsibility” for murder, rape and other acts of sexual violence, and for taking hostages, torture and other “inhumane acts,” the prosecutor said. On October 7, Hamas fighters carried out an incursion into Israel, which resulted in about 1,200 people being killed and 250 taken hostage. The Israeli government responded to the attack by launching a large-scale military operation in Gaza that is still ongoing. According to data from the Palestinian enclave’s health ministry, 35,456 have been killed and 79,476 others wounded as a result of Israel’s airstrikes and ground offensive. Israel is not a member of the ICC and does not recognize the jurisdiction of the UN court, but the State of Palestine joined the organization in 2015. Once warrants against Netanyahu and Hamas leaders are issued, any of the court’s 124 member-states will be obliged to arrest them if they set foot on their territory.

Benny Gantz, the centrist member of Israel’s three-person war cabinet, labeled the decision by Khan to seek arrest warrants against Netanyahu and Gallant as “a crime of historic proportions.” Israel is waging “one of the just wars fought in modern history” and drawing parallels between its top officials and Hamas leaders is “a deep distortion of justice and blatant moral bankruptcy,” he claimed in a statement. The country’s far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich said that “we have not seen such a show of hypocrisy and hatred of Jews like that displayed by the court in the Hague since Nazi propaganda.” Another rightist cabinet member, national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, has urged the Israeli PM and defense minister to “ignore the anti-Semitic prosecutor and order a stepped-up assault against Hamas until they are completely destroyed.”

Back in April, when reports of a possible arrest warrant against Netanyahu emerged, the PM blamed the ICC for seeking to “paralyze Israel’s very ability to defend itself,” while fanning the “fires of anti-Semitism.” Axios reported earlier this month that a group of Republican lawmakers in the US House of Representatives had been devising sanctions against the ICC in a bid to deter it from prosecuting the Israeli leaders. The US, Israel’s major ally, is not a state party to the Rome Statute, which founded the ICC in 2002.

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We’re beyond semantics, Joe…

There Is No Genocide In Gaza – Biden (RT)

US President Joe Biden has dismissed arguments that Israel’s military operation in Gaza can be described as genocide, reiterating Washington’s support for West Jerusalem as he hosted an event for Jewish American Heritage month at the White House. On Monday, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Karim Khan, announced that he is seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Diab Ibrahim al-Masri, and Ismail Haniyeh, accusing them of “war crimes and crimes against humanity.” Speaking at the White House later in the day, Biden condemned the ICC move as well as separate allegations by the UN’s International Court of Justice that Israel’s actions in Gaza could be genocidal.

“Let me be clear, contrary to allegations against Israel made by the International Court of Justice, what’s happening is not genocide. We reject that,” Biden said. Palestinian militant group Hamas carried out an incursion into Israel on October 7 which resulted in about 1,200 people being killed and 250 taken hostage. The Israeli government responded by launching a large-scale military operation in Gaza, which according to the Palestinian enclave’s health ministry has killed over 35,000 people and left almost 80,000 others wounded. Israel has vowed to continue the offensive until Hamas is completely eliminated. “We stand with Israel to take out Sinwar and the rest of the butchers of Hamas,” Biden said on Monday. “We want Hamas defeated. We’ve worked with Israel to make that happen.”

In January, an interim ruling by the ICJ, the UN’s top court in The Hague, ordered Israel to take steps to prevent genocide and improve humanitarian conditions for Gaza’s population. The lawsuit, filed by South Africa late last year, accuses West Jerusalem of committing systematic war crimes in the Palestinian region. Ireland announced in March that it would support Pretoria’s case, calling Israel’s actions in Gaza a “blatant violation of international humanitarian law on a mass scale.” Last week, Egypt also called on Israel to “comply with its obligations as the occupying power.”

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“..more and more Israelis on both sides of the divide see their country as essentially split into two distinct (non-reconcilable) entities”. Does this sound familiar, albeit in another context?..”

Why Are Israel And The West Unravelling In Tandem? (Alastair Crooke)

Alon Pinkas, a former senior Israeli diplomat (well plugged in at the White House), says aloud the ‘reality’ about Israel which he underlines cannot be hidden further: “[There are now] two [Jewish] states – with contrasting visions of what the nation should be. There is an elephant in the Israeli room – and ‘no’: it’s not occupation, though that is its main cause”. “The elephant in the room is Israel gradually but inexorably being divided [into a high-tech, secular, liberal state] … and a Jewish-supremacist, ultranationalist theocracy with messianic, antidemocratic tendencies that encourage isolation”. “Zionism … has morphed and mutated through the settler movement and extreme right-wing zealots into a Masada-like political culture, based on the concept of the redemption of the ancient kingdom in the ancestral land. (Masada was a Sicarii cult in CE 73)”. Pinkas continues:

“[I]n essence, there is a civil war raging in Israel. It has not reached Gettysburg levels, but the deep and wide schism is becoming glaringly evident. The two political value systems are just not reconcilable. “We are fighting the Arabs (or Iran) for our existence” remains the only common thread, but it is weakening. That is a negative definition of national identity: a common enemy and threat, but very little of what unites us in terms of the type of society and country we want to be”. “Even the most fundamental common narrative, the Declaration of Independence, is now being questioned with some of its basic tenets and guiding principles a source of political contention”. Of course, one can see from which side of the divide Pinkas views his world – yet “above and beyond pondering 7 October, there is a growing realization that ‘unity’, ‘one destiny’ and ‘we have no choice and no other country’ have become meaningless and hollow clichés. Instead, more and more Israelis on both sides of the divide see their country as essentially split into two distinct (non-reconcilable) entities”. Does this sound familiar, albeit in another context?

It should. For it is a metaphor for the inexorable divide in the West, too. The war in Gaza has precipitated and sharpened the latent schisms within in the West. It too can be hidden no longer. On the one hand, there is an (illiberal) social engineering project posing as liberalism. And on the other, a project to recover the ‘eternal’ values (however imperfect) that once lay behind European civilisation. The conflict in the Middle East has thrown the parallels between the two spheres in the West into clarity. Again, the parallels and similarities are discomforting: As Pinkas says: “the divide is real, widening and becoming unbridgeable. The political, cultural and economic gaps and rifts are growing, accompanied by toxic vitriol that masquerades as political discourse. Even the most fundamental common narrative, the Declaration of Independence, is now being questioned with some of its basic tenets and guiding principles a source of political contention”.

He is referring to Israel, but the same is true in the U.S., where the basic tenets and guiding principles of the Constitution (i.e. free speech) are a source of political contention. He talks also of the Right’s claim that Tel Aviv ‘is a bubble’, but adds: “As for the bubble claim, they’re right – but New York is a bubble, Paris and London are bubbles” – geographical, as well as ideological bubbles. Yet Pinkas does not ‘get’ the paradox he creates: Is not that the core of the problem? The ‘Techie-obsessed’ Metro-Élites of America versus the Rest (i.e. ‘flyover America’)? The bubbles are the problem, not something to be brushed aside. Today, tens of thousands of students in the West are protesting the on-going massacre of Palestinians, whilst the institutional place-holders fully support the annihilation of Hamas and any ‘complicit’ civilians (which is extended by some to include all who live in Gaza). The two worldviews share no common perception. They represent contrasting visions for the future – and of the essence of their nations. October 7 exploded the simulacra of the ‘status quo’ in Israel – and at the same time, unravelled the political order in the West – as in Israel.

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“The sealing and redaction rules should be applied consistently and fairly upon a sufficient factual and legal showing..”

Judge in Trump Case Says She’s Concerned With Special Counsel Jack Smith (ET)

The federal judge overseeing one of the criminal cases against former President Donald Trump on May 19 expressed concern and disappointment with special counsel Jack Smith. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon, an appointee of President Trump, said that Mr. Smith and his team have taken inconsistent positions during the case as it pertains to keeping some information sealed, or hidden from the public. “In two separate filings related to sealing, the special counsel stated, without qualification, that he had no objection to full unsealing of previously sealed docket entries related to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. In light of that repeated representation, and in the absence of any defense objection, the court unsealed those materials consistent with the general presumption in favor of public access,” Judge Cannon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida wrote in an order.

The materials that were unsealed, though, contain information such as grand jury details that the special counsel has and continues to say, in all other filings, should be kept sealed. Judge Cannon asked for an explanation of the inconsistency. “In response to those inquiries, counsel explained that the special counsel took the position on unsealing in order to publicly and transparently refute defense allegations of prosecutorial misconduct raised in pretrial motions,” Judge Cannon wrote. “Fair enough. But nowhere in that explanation is there any basis to conclude that the special counsel could not have defended the integrity of his Office while simultaneously preserving the witness-safety and Rule 6(e) concerns he has repeatedly told the court, and maintains to this day, are of serious consequence, and which the court has endeavored with diligence to accommodate in its multiple orders on sealing/redaction.”

Judge Cannon described herself as being “disappointed in these developments.” “The sealing and redaction rules should be applied consistently and fairly upon a sufficient factual and legal showing. And parties should not make requests that undermine any prior representations or positions except upon full disclosure to the court and appropriate briefing,” she added.

The case was brought against President Trump over his alleged mishandling of sensitive documents. The order came after Mr. Smith and President Trump filed competing proposals for redactions, in response to a May 9 order from the judge that directed the parties to submit the proposals. The order concerns several motions filed by President Trump, including a motion to dismiss the case based on allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, which have not yet been placed on the docket. The proposals for redactions are also not yet public. Both parties and the judge agree that the names of potential witnesses or information that would clearly identify them should be kept hidden, along with “ancillary names” and personal identifying information such as addresses. Redactions agreed upon by both parties were accepted by the judge in the new order, with a few exceptions. President Trump’s proposed redactions to some witness statements were rejected.

“No basis is provided for these redactions, and the court has previously denied requests to redact the substance of potential witness statements are relied upon in pre-trial motions,” Judge Cannon said. The judge also turned down a request by the special counsel to redact some of the same information. Judge Cannon said that for redactions where the parties disagree, she would “accept for now” President Trump’s characterization of portions of the material falling under privilege, pending her review of privilege arguments. She would also accept the special counsel’s position on Rule 6 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, despite the concerns outlined in the order. The filings with the authorized redactions are now expected to be docketed in the coming days. Rule 6 states, in part, that a number of people, including government attorneys, must not disclose any matters occurring before a grand jury, with limited exceptions.

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“The former president has denied her claims, describing her and Mr. Cohen in April as “sleaze bags” who are making false statements against him.”

Michael Cohen Admits Stealing Tens of Thousands From Trump Organization (ET)

Former Trump associate and lawyer Michael Cohen on Monday admitted to stealing thousands of dollars from the Trump Organization as he testified during the former presidents’ trial in New York City. Mr. Cohen made the admission while facing cross-examination from defense attorney Todd Blanche. “You did steal from the Trump Organization based upon the expected reimbursement from Red Finch,” Mr. Blanche asked him, making reference to a repayment plan that was intended to pay adult film performer Stormy Daniels $130,000 and tech firm Red Finch $50,000. “Yes sir,” Mr. Cohen said in response. The former attorney then said he went to the bank and took out cash over several days, totaling about $20,000 before keeping it in a small brown paper bag. Then he gave it to the tech firm, he testified, adding he never gave the full $50,000 amount.

The Trump Organization ultimately repaid Mr. Cohen $50,000 and then doubled that payment in a practice known as “grossing up” to cover taxes he’d incur by declaring the money as income rather than a tax-free reimbursement. Mr. Blanche noted that despite Mr. Cohen’s guilty pleas in 2018 to federal charges including a campaign finance violation for the hush money payment and unrelated tax evasion and bank fraud crimes, he’d never been charged with stealing from President Trump’s company. “Have you paid back the Trump Organization the money you stole from them?” Mr. Blanche asked. “No, sir,” Mr. Cohen responded. President Trump was seen by courtroom reporters looking directly at the witness stand as Mr. Cohen made the admission about stealing. Eric Trump, Trump’s son, who is in the courtroom, posted on social media around the same time: “This just got interesting: Michael Cohen is now admitting to stealing money from our company.”

The 34 charges of falsifying business records stem from internal Trump Organization records where payments to Mr. Cohen were marked as legal expenses, when prosecutors say they were really reimbursements for Ms. Daniels’ payment. President has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers say there was nothing criminal about the Daniels deal or the way Mr. Cohen was paid. Last week, Mr. Cohen told jurors that President Trump was allegedly involved in the scheme to pay Ms. Daniels to prevent her from going public in 2016 about an alleged 2006 affair between her and President Trump. The former president has denied her claims, describing her and Mr. Cohen in April as “sleaze bags” who are making false statements against him.

The 34 charges of falsifying business records stem from internal Trump Organization records where payments to Mr. Cohen were marked as legal expenses, when prosecutors say they were really reimbursements for Ms. Daniels’ payment. President has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers say there was nothing criminal about the Daniels deal or the way Mr. Cohen was paid. Last week, Mr. Cohen told jurors that President Trump was allegedly involved in the scheme to pay Ms. Daniels to prevent her from going public in 2016 about an alleged 2006 affair between her and President Trump. The former president has denied her claims, describing her and Mr. Cohen in April as “sleaze bags” who are making false statements against him.

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Curious: President Joe Biden invoked executive privilege over the audiotape of his interrogation by Special Counsel Robert Hur. The transcripts of which were released long ago… So what’s on those tapes?

The President Whose Voice Must Not Be Heard (Turley)

Below is my column in The Hill on the curious claim of executive privilege over the audiotape from President Joe Biden’s interview with Special Counsel Robert Hur. It is the first time that I know of where the content of a presidential conversation was treated as unprivileged but the audio of the conversation claimed as privileged. It is also an invocation on answering questions about alleged criminal acts committed while a private citizen. It is, in my view, entirely without merit but Attorney General Merrick Garland appears more interested in running out the clock than prevailing on the claim.

[..] While all eyes were focused on a Manhattan courthouse for Donald Trump’s trial, a curious thing happened in Washington. President Joe Biden invoked executive privilege in defiance of Congress. It is not the invocation that is particularly unusual. What is curious is that Biden is withholding the audiotape of his own interrogation by Special Counsel Robert Hur, even though the transcript has been released as unprivileged. It appears that Joe Biden is “he who must not be heard.” The invocation of privilege over the audiotape is so transparently political and cynical that it would make Richard Nixon blush. Multiple committees are investigating Biden for possible impeachment and conducting oversight on the handling of the investigation into his retention and mishandling of classified material over decades. Classified documents were found in various locations where Biden lived or worked, including his garage. The mishandling of classified material is uncontestable. Broken boxes, unprotected areas and lack of tracking are all obvious from the photos.

The comparison to the Trump case in Florida is both obvious and disturbing. Where Trump was charged with a litany of charges, including mishandling and retention of documents (in addition to obstruction), Hur decided not to charge Biden at all. His reason was outright alarming: The president is an elderly man with failing memory. Biden made the situation even worse with a disastrous press conference in which he attacked Hur and misrepresented his findings. Biden told the public that the special counsel did not find willful retention of material. This was untrue — Hur not only found that Biden had done this, but repeatedly detailed such violations in the report. Biden also claimed that he had not shown classified material to third parties, even though Hur specifically found that he had and established that there is a witness to that violation.

Biden also attacked Hur for bringing up the death of Beau, his son who passed away in 2018. In showing why Biden could use his diminished faculties as a defense, Hur had noted that Biden got the date wrong of his own son’s death. In the press conference, Biden angrily asked “How in the hell dare he raise that?” Frankly, when I was asked the question, I thought to myself it wasn’t any of their damn business.” It was later shown that it was not Hur but Biden himself who raised his son’s death, which he often does in speeches. Hur’s view that Biden’s diminished cognitive abilities would undermine any prosecution left many dumbfounded. After all, the man who is too feeble to prosecute is not only running a superpower with a massive nuclear arsenal but running for reelection to add four more years in office.

From impeachment to oversight to the 25th Amendment (allowing the removal of a president for incapacities), there are ample reasons for Congress to demand information and evidence from the government on these questions. Congress is also interested in looking at repeated omissions for “inaudible” statements. Under this sweeping theory that Biden can legitimately withhold these recordings under executive privilege, any president could withhold any evidence of incapacity or criminality. The House is poised to find Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt for refusing to release the audiotapes. It is a cynical calculation. Garland knows that his own department will never prosecute him for contempt of Congress.

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Worst: China stops buying US treasuries…

China Offloads Record Amount Of Dollar Assets – Data (RT)

China sold a record number of US bonds in the first quarter of this year, highlighting the country’s shift away from dollar assets, the latest data from the US Treasury Department reveals. Beijing has divested a total of $53.3 billion in Treasuries and agency bonds combined in the first three months of the year, while at the same time increasing its purchases of gold and other commodities, data showed. Some analysts have suggested that this reduction in foreign exchange reserves could be part of China’s broader strategy to diversify away from US dollar-denominated assets amid rising geopolitical tensions with the US. Some experts have pointed to the economic impact of Western sanctions on Russia following the Ukraine conflict, saying that China seeks to mitigate similar risks.

“The handling of Russian reserves by the US and other G7 countries, including threats of expropriations and sanctions, likely prompted China to reduce its exposure to US Treasury assets to avoid being similarly targeted,” Craig Shapiro, a macroeconomic adviser at LaDuc Trading, told Newsweek on Saturday, referring to the seizure of Russian assets. The West has frozen roughly $300 billion in Russian sovereign funds since the start of the Ukraine conflict. The Brussels-based clearinghouse Euroclear, often seen as a custodian of China’s holdings, disposed of $22 billion in US Treasuries during the reporting period, according to Bloomberg.

As the second largest foreign holder of US Treasury securities after Japan, China’s sell-off could potentially unsettle the Treasury market and raise US borrowing costs, some economists argued. “As China is selling both despite the fact that we are closer to a Fed rate-cut cycle, there should be a clear intention of diversifying away from US dollar holdings,” said Stephen Chiu, chief Asia foreign-exchange and rates strategist at Bloomberg Intelligence. “China’s selling of US securities could speed up as the US-China trade war resumes” especially if Trump returns as president, he said. While China is selling dollar assets, its holdings of gold have surged in the country’s official reserves. The share of the precious metal in reserves climbed to 4.9% in April, the highest since records began in 2015, according to the People’s Bank of China.

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“It was a rather poor frontier province of Russia, and for a while was badly mistreated by Stalin, but it was not a problem outside of Ukraine and, frankly, it was none of our business..”

Fugazy Land (Jim Kunstler)

Really, you must agree: just about anything can happen now, and probably will, and possibly all at the same time — war, sickness, a disordered economy, chaos in money and finance, savages pouring across the open borders, assassination, mayhem in the streets, systems failure, mental illness everywhere you look. You have a sinister, blob-infested government acting like a desperate, cornered animal, fronted by a venal phantasm trailing a personal history of crime. What could go wrong? All of it. The doings in Judge Merchan’s Manhattan present the rectified essence of America’s authority problem. You will stipulate that judges are authorities in a pretty pure sense of the word. Their role is to determine what is right and what is wrong, or, at least guide the proceedings that would result in such a fair determination.

And, of course, the officers of this court, the District Attorney and his prosecutors, are also entrusted with bringing comprehensible cases that follow the facts fairly, and the laws pertaining to those facts. This maliciously misguided prosecution has only accomplished one thing so far: to demonstrate to the American public that the authority of our law has been contorted to become a sick joke. That is a ruinous lesson for the country. The free-for-all of our national life has required reliable adjudication of all the quarrels and inequities that arose out of it. For a long time, the rule of law was America’s great draw. If that goes out the window, all you’re left with is the free-for-all which pretty soon devolves into Thomas Hobbes’s nightmare existence in the state of nature where life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”

The current Trump trial in Manhattan will likely resolve this week, one way or another, though there is no way that the candidate will land in jail, even if he is convicted and sentenced to go there. That will only be another quandary for the foundering rule of law, and a dreadful challenge. Altogether this trial has alerted even the deranged news channels that the nation is still capable of feeling grossly insulted by its own rulers, and insults will be answered. Tribulation may be the only answer that will avail to correct America’s tragic capture by blobs foreign and domestic. And you must understand that our nation’s bad choices have brought these tribulations upon ourselves. Fugazy finance is finally hitting the wall it has been seeking. Wealth based on pretense eventually runs out of hallucinatory mojo. Zooming gold and silver prices signal that the US dollar is in distress. The eagle is flying upside down.

A system based on credit is one thing, when credit can plausibly be paid back. But that system is gone. Finally, you must learn what truth or consequences really means, and the truth is that our debts are unpayable and everybody knows it. The consequences await. Any way you slice that — bond market blow-up, raging inflation, bank failures, stocks cratering, a “great taking” of collateral (your property) — the effect is the same: a crashing standard of living. That will get everybody’s attention in a way that Pride Month marches won’t. If “Joe Biden” thinks he will put over a central bank digital currency to cover for all this failure, he and the blob he rode in on will be in for a rude surprise. Fugazy war isn’t working either. When did Ukraine become a problem for Western Civ? When Victoria Nuland & Company in the US State Department decided to make it a problem in 2014. Before that, going back into the mists of history, Ukraine was not a problem.

It was a rather poor frontier province of Russia, and for a while was badly mistreated by Stalin, but it was not a problem outside of Ukraine and, frankly, it was none of our business. And in a matter of months, as Russia rolls up on the Zelensky regime, it will cease to be a problem for anyone. The notion that the USA and NATO can reverse this now is insane. The nations of Western Civ won’t draft troops to battle on the ground there. There’s no will to fight in Ukraine among the young people of Europe and America. And we have no more guns or ammo to give. The war will end in humiliation for all concerned in the West, especially the “Joe Biden” regime, which has been recklessly flirting with nuclear aggression — as if this would accomplish anything but turning Western Civ into an ashtray.

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Elon water

 

 

Lioness
https://twitter.com/i/status/1792578570889445445

 

 

Lions

 

 

Merlin

 

 

Table

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 192024
 


Wassily Kandinsky Moscow Red Square 1916

 

Zelensky Blasts West For Wanting Conflict To End (RT)
Russia ‘Done’ With Western Europe ‘For At Least A Generation’ – Lavrov (RT)
Zelensky Details Ukraine’s Weapons Demands (RT)
Scott Ritter: Belousov as MoD Signals ‘Revolution’ in Russian Military (Sp.)
Russian Supremacy in High-Tech Warfare of the Future (Miles)
Ukraine Asks US To Help Locate Targets In Russia (RT)
Biden Currently Not Scheduled To Attend Zelensky’s ‘Peace Conference’ (RT)
Russia & China – Two Against One (Ray McGovern)
Israeli Crisis Deepens as IDF Failures Prompt Cabinet Resignation Threat (Sp.)
Israel-Hamas Talks ‘Stopped’ – Media (RT)
Study: Risk of Suicide Increases 12x After “Gender-Affirming” Surgery (NTB)

 

 

“Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.” Carl Jung

 

 

CNN Trump
https://twitter.com/i/status/1791466920757035442

 

 

Tic tac

 

 

https://twitter.com/i/status/1791592049117974906

 

 

 

 

Maher Biden
https://twitter.com/i/status/1791658680170979381

 

 

Cohen Cooper

 

 

Bannon
https://twitter.com/i/status/1791140064413749414

 

 

 

 

 

 

C’mon, party poopers, we’re having fun…

Zelensky Blasts West For Wanting Conflict To End (RT)

Ukraine’s president has claimed Kiev’s forces would be more successful on the battlefield if they were not banned from using Western-supplied weapons to hit targets in Russia. Russia’s ability to strike Ukraine from its own soil is giving Moscow the edge in the conflict, Vladimir Zelensky said during an interview with AFP news agency on Friday. “They can fire any weapons from their territory at ours. This is the biggest advantage that Russia has. We can’t do anything to their systems, which are located on the territory of Russia, with Western weapons,” he explained. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who visited Kiev earlier this week, said Washington has “not encouraged or enabled strikes outside of Ukraine, but ultimately Ukraine has to make decisions for itself about how it’s going to conduct this war.”

However, on Thursday Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh clarified that Washington’s position that Kiev should not target Russia with US-supplied weapons remains unchanged. Such arms can only be used to “take back Ukrainian sovereign territory,” Singh stressed. Earlier this month, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron insisted Ukraine has the “right” to use UK-supplied weapons to strike targets deep inside Russia, if it decides to do so. Moscow reacted to the statement by warning that if such an attack were to take place it could target British military facilities “on the territory of Ukraine and beyond” in response. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Kiev has urged Washington to provide intelligence on targets on Russian soil amid setbacks in Donbass and Kharkov Region. According to the NYT, US officials are currently reviewing those requests, despite previously turning them down.

Zelensky said Kiev now finds itself in a “nonsensical situation” due to the stance of the West, which “is afraid that Russia will lose the war. And it does not want Ukraine to lose it.” “Ukraine’s final victory will lead to Russia’s defeat. And the final victory of Russia will lead to Ukraine’s defeat,” he added. The Ukrainian authorities “want the war to end with a fair peace for us. Of course, the West wants the war to end. Period. As soon as possible. And, for them, this is a fair peace,” the president stated. On Friday, Russia President Vladimir Putin reiterated that Moscow “never rejected negotiations unlike the Ukrainian side,” referring to a 2022 decree by Zelensky, which officially forbade him from talks with his Russian counterpart. However, Putin stressed that Russia will not yield to “ultimatums” from Kiev and its Western backers as they try to gain though diplomacy what they have failed to gain on the battlefield.

Draft

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Western Europe will do much worse after that generation.

Russia ‘Done’ With Western Europe ‘For At Least A Generation’ – Lavrov (RT)

Russia won’t view Western European countries as partners again for “at least one generation,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has predicted.The diplomat remarked that Moscow and the West are already locked in a confrontation that has no end in sight. Top Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have repeatedly described Moscow’s ongoing military conflict with Kiev as a proxy war waged by NATO against Russia. Evidence of this, the Kremlin says, is the material aid, the training, and the intelligence that the US and many European countries have been providing to defend Ukraine. Speaking on Saturday, Lavrov cited an article by Russian political scientist Dmitry Trenin, who has written that “Europe as a partner is not relevant for us for at least one generation.” The minister said that he “can’t help but agree” and that Moscow is “feeling this in practice almost daily.”

The senior Russian diplomat also claimed, without elaborating, that “many facts speak in favor of such a prognosis.” “The acute phase of the military-political confrontation with the West continues [and] is in full swing,” Lavrov said, pointing to the nature of the narratives currently prevalent in the US and Europe. In an interview with TASS on Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Sergey Ryabkov compared Western elites to delinquent youths and provocateurs intent on escalating tensions to the brink of a “catastrophic collapse,” and with no regard for the consequences. Speaking of the work of Russian diplomats in the West, the official revealed that it is “in a crisis-management mode, aimed at preventing an escalation into a really massive conflict.”

NATO is “a group in which we feel not an ounce of trust, which triggers political and even emotional rejection” in Moscow, Ryabkov told the media outlet. He said that, no matter who comes out on top in the US presidential election in November, “no chance for the improvement of the situation can be seen, considering the fundamental anti-Russian consensus of the American elites.” During his inauguration speech on Tuesday, nonetheless, Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted that Moscow does not “refuse dialogue with Western states.” “The choice is theirs,” the president proposed, posing the question: “Do they intend to continue trying to restrain the development of Russia, continue the policy of aggression and relentless pressure that they have pursued for years, or look for a path to cooperation and peace?”

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“..we have about 25% of what we need to defend Ukraine..”

We always do. No matter how much you give…

Zelensky Details Ukraine’s Weapons Demands (RT)

Ukraine requires more air defense systems and warplanes from its Western backers in order to achieve parity with Russia, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has said. Moscow has the upper hand in the battle for the skies, Zelensky acknowledged during an interview with AFP on Friday. “I believe that today, we have about 25% of what we need to defend Ukraine. I’m talking about air defense,” he said. As for warplanes, Kiev should be provided with between 120 to 130 modern aircraft, “so that Russia does not have air superiority,” the Ukrainian leader stated. “In total, we need this fleet of F-16s in the number I am talking about, in order to have parity,” he added.

During his visit to Kiev earlier this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington is “intensely focused” on finding and delivering Patriots and other air defense systems to Ukraine. Zelensky told Blinken that his military needed two Patriot batteries to protect the Kharkov Region alone, where Russian forces have been advancing in recent weeks. In late March, then-Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that at least five Patriots operated by Ukraine had been destroyed since the start of the year. Last month, Germany promised to provide Kiev with one more of the US-made air defense systems. Earlier this week, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that the F-16s will arrive in Ukraine within the “next few months,” retracting her earlier claim that the planes will be there “within the next month.”

Denmark and the Netherlands jointly promised to supply Kiev with 61 US-designed fourth generation jets in August 2023. Reports in Western media in recent months explained delays in deliveries of the planes were due to complications in the training of Kiev’s pilots and the lack of proper airfields that would be able to host the F-16s in Ukraine. Russia has warned repeatedly that foreign weapons being sent to Kiev will not prevent Moscow from achieving its military goals, and will merely prolong the fighting and increases the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO. According to officials in Moscow, the provision of arms, intelligence sharing, and the training of Ukrainian troops mean that Western nations have already become de-facto parties to the conflict.

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The military becomes an integral part of the budget, not some added layer.

Scott Ritter: Belousov as MoD Signals ‘Revolution’ in Russian Military (Sp.)

Russia is integrating lessons from the conflict in Ukraine to write the military doctrine of the future, according to former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s appointment of Andrei Belousov to serve as the country’s new Minister of Defense has provoked speculation in the West. The Kremlin cited the need to appoint a civilian as a head for the Defense Ministry to foster an environment “open to innovations and advanced ideas” to explain Putin’s decision to reshuffle the ministry, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitri Peskov clarified. In addition, the official noted that it is very important to integrate the economy of the military bloc into the country’s economy to match the dynamics. Former US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter claimed Belousov’s appointment “goes beyond simply trying to bring economic structure and discipline to an expansive and expanding military industrial base” in a post on the X social media platform.

The former UN weapons inspector joined Sputnik’s The Critical Hour program Wednesday to discuss what he described as Russia’s “new revolution in military affairs.” “What wins the war is the arsenal of democracy,” said Ritter, pointing to the Allied Forces’ victory in World War II. “The ability of the United States to kick in its industrial capacity to just produce tanks, produce aircraft, shipping an endless stream of military goods that gets fed into the meatgrinder of conflict and you basically out-produce your enemy. That helped us not just build up our military, but prop up the British.” “This is the key to warfare, the ability to sustain the high intensity of modern warfare,” the analyst insisted. “Russia has stepped its defense industry into gear… Russians have come out and said they are in a de facto war, not just with Ukraine but with the collective West, which means they are in a conflict against the collective defense industrial capacity of Europe and the United States.”

Russia has invested significantly in arms and ammunition production over the last several years as Ukraine’s allies struggle to provide the country with sufficient weaponry. Observers have acknowledged the weakened state of Europe’s arms production capabilities as the continent fell into dependence on the US military presence after World War II. The military reliance on the United States has allowed Washington to shape European foreign policy in important ways.
But concerns have been raised over US military capabilities as well, as a policy of military Keynesianism has geared arms production in the direction of private profit and economic stimulus. Additionally, the War on Terror has caused US armed forces to adapt to fighting irregular guerrilla armies in the Middle East rather than large state-sponsored militaries. The result is that two decades of technological development have left the country ill-equipped to combat a sophisticated foe such as Moscow.

However, Russia’s military innovation carries its own set of concerns, warns Ritter, claiming the Soviet Union became overly-focused on its defense sector during the Cold War. “This is the problem that the Soviet economy ran into in the 1970s, when the percentage of the economy that was dedicated to defense industry reached over 7.5%,” said Ritter. “That was an imbalance that the Soviet economy couldn’t sustain… You need to continue to have the defense industry churning along to produce what it’s producing, but it has to be balanced with economic realities.” “You need to have a viable domestic economy,” he explained. “Sergei Shoigu was good at getting the defense industry up and running… Had he remained in power as the minister of defense there’s a chance that the [Russian] economy would’ve overheated from a defense standpoint. Enter Andrei Belousov.” “This is a man who knows the Russian economy inside and out,” claimed Ritter.

“He predicted the 2008 turn around, he predicted the 2012 dip. He has the ear of the president and the respect of everybody and he’s being brought in to ensure that the defense industry keeps chugging along but it doesn’t overheat, to find that balance with the civilian economy.” But Ritter claimed Belousov would focus not only on macroeconomic concerns, but also on innovation within Russia’s defense industry: the “revolution in military affairs.” Ritter explained that Belousov would be tasked with integrating everything Russia has learned from the Ukraine conflict into its new military doctrine, taking note of both tactical and technological innovations. The realities of drone and electronic warfare will be fused with strategic insights to transform the country’s approach to fighting conflicts, he claimed.

Russia will also adapt to an increasingly-belligerent NATO, said Ritter, responding to the expansion of the bloc to Sweden and Finland as well as the hostility of the Baltic states. “One thing that we’ve learned about the West is that if they go to war against Russia, they’ll run out of ammunition in seven to ten days,” said the former weapons inspector. “Russia plans on never running out of ammunition. This is a lesson learned. Russia knows that having firepower supremacy on the battlefield is one of the guarantees of victory.” “Nobody else in the world is ready for the kind of revolution in military affairs that Russia is getting ready to unleash, and this is what makes Mr. Belousov the most dangerous man in the world as far as the West is concerned.”

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“..the West still seems incapable of learning that quantity can indeed be a quality of its own.”

Russian Supremacy in High-Tech Warfare of the Future (Miles)

“The US has been Ukraine’s single most important ally” in its conflict with Russia, observes analysis from Business Insider Friday, but Kiev’s use of American weapons systems has left it reliant on technology with “serious flaws.” The website’s investigation reveals Russian superiority in a number of areas, including drones and electronic warfare, as well as the deficiencies of the United States’ military production sector. “One area in which the US has revealed its shortcomings is in electronic warfare,” the author writes. “Russia’s jamming systems have created major issues with Western precision weaponry, including GMLRS rockets and Excalibur artillery shells. Russia’s electronic warfare units have become increasingly adept at scrambling the GPS navigation systems used to guide the missiles and shells to their targets, sending them off course and rendering them useless.”

The observation was also made recently by The New York Times, which acknowledged that Russia’s electronic jamming capabilities have managed to disable even the US’s vaunted HIMARS missiles, and echoed this week by an ex-Pentagon analyst. The retired Army lieutenant general suggested America is significantly behind in developing similar technology. The Business Insider analysis also noted that Russia has better adapted to modern realities of fighting in the age of drone warfare, with constant surveillance making attempts to obscure troops and supply routes impossible. US Army units currently rely on a small number of outdated drones, the article admits. The US military’s attempts to develop microwave weapons and drone swarms to counter Russian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have so far failed to bear fruit, demonstrating the weaknesses of a military industrial complex that for decades has been focused on “war against militant groups such as the Taliban* in Afghanistan” rather than combating large state actors.

The result has been an inefficient defense production base, both in terms of cost and developing sufficient quantities of weapons. Analysis published earlier this year revealed that Russia is now producing three times more ammunition than the United States and all European allies of Ukraine combined as Russian military industry has stepped into high gear. Kiev reportedly “was being outfired at a rate of 10-1 on parts of the front line” earlier this year, notes Business Insider. The article observes that the United States is capable of producing high-quality armaments, but claims they are hopelessly expensive compared to Russian equipment that can be produced at a much lower cost, allowing the country to prevail in “fights which require endurance.” A similar observation was made recently by geopolitical analyst and ex-US Marine Brian Berletic, who noted, “the West still seems incapable of learning that quantity can indeed be a quality of its own.”

“The collective West still believes firmly in its own full-spectrum supremacy in terms of political, economic, and military power, despite the growing body of evidence to the contrary,” Berletic added. “Russia for many years worked on making itself more self-sufficient in general, dismantling many potential dependencies on an increasingly aggressive and irrational West. This clearly paid off when Western sanctions in 2022 failed to have the crippling impact Washington, London, and Brussels had hoped for, and instead backfired on the West itself.” “Russia has continuously expanded its military industrial base while at the same time the West allowed theirs to atrophy,” he concluded. “The result is a proxy conflict where the collective West is incapable of matching let alone exceeding Russia’s level of ammunition, weapons, and vehicle production.” “And while the West appears to understand this mistake in hindsight, they still seem incapable of grasping just how much time is needed to rectify this or accept the possibility that it is perhaps impossible at this point to rectify.”

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Moscow WILL hit them.

Ukraine Asks US To Help Locate Targets In Russia (RT)

Kiev has urged Washington to provide intelligence on targets on Russian soil, as the Ukrainian Armed Forces lose ground on the battlefield, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, saying US administration officials have begun “to review” the request. In addition, members of Ukraine’s parliament have approached lawmakers in Washington, requesting the green light to use US-provided weapons in strikes on Russia, the paper wrote, citing US and Ukrainian officials. The Russian offensive in Kharkov Region was facilitated by the US restrictions, which are “handcuffing the Ukrainian war effort,” Kiev’s delegation told Congress, according to news website Politico. Despite such requests being turned down in the past, administration officials are now reviewing the latest requests, the NYT wrote.

Intelligence from the US and other allies on military targets on Russian soil would allow Ukraine to better plot approach routes for its drones and missiles, the newspaper said. With detailed terrain mapping, it would allow them to fly low and avoid radar detection, increasing their effectiveness. While Kiev already has access to commercial satellite imaging data, US intelligence would provide more detailed and timely information, they wrote. General Charles Q. Brown Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed that Kiev has been seeking to ramp up strikes inside Russia. The Ukrainians have been “asking us for help to be able to strike into Russia,” the US general told reporters on Thursday, while flying to Brussels for NATO meetings. The day before, State Secretary Antony Blinken stated that the US has left it up to Ukraine whether or not it uses US-supplied armaments to attack Russian territories. “We have not encouraged or enabled strikes outside of Ukraine, but ultimately Ukraine has to make decisions for itself about how it’s going to conduct this war,” he told reporters in Kiev.

In early May, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said Kiev had the right to use UK-provided weaponry to for cross-border strikes on Russian targets. Moscow condemned the remarks and summoned London’s ambassador. Any use of British weapons against Russian territory could prompt Moscow to strike “any British military facilities and equipment on the territory of Ukraine and beyond,” the Russian Foreign Ministry warned. Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed on Friday that it is Kiev’s repeated strikes against residential districts in Russia that is forcing Moscow into creating a buffer zone on the border, as Russian forces push Ukrainian troops further back into Kharkov Region.

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Kabuki.

Biden Currently Not Scheduled To Attend Zelensky’s ‘Peace Conference’ (RT)

A Swiss-hosted conference on the Ukraine conflict, set for next month, is not on US President Joe Biden’s event schedule, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby has told reporters. More than 160 countries have been invited to take part in the summit, which is set to take place on June 15-16 at the Burgenstock Resort near Lucerne. Russia, however, isn’t among them. “I don’t have anything on his schedule to speak to in that regard,” Kirby said during a press briefing on Friday, when asked whether Biden plans to attend the event, which is expected to revolve around Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s proposed roadmap for ending the conflict with Russia. Zelensky’s ‘peace plan’ implies a complete withdrawal of Russian forces from all territories Ukraine considers its own, for Moscow to pay reparations, and for a war crimes tribunal.

Russia has dismissed the proposal as “unrealistic” and a sign of Kiev being reluctant to seek a diplomatic solution to the hostilities. Earlier this week, Swiss President Viola Amherd said the summit has already drawn delegations from more than 50 countries. Amherd, who in January agreed to host the summit at Zelensky’s behest, added that Switzerland wants to persuade China and more countries from the Global South to sign up. Beijing, which previously stressed that talks on a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine conflict must inevitably involve Russia, has yet to confirm whether it will send a delegation. Brazilian President Lula da Silva said he doesn’t see much point in the meeting unless both parties to the conflict attend the event, indicating that he will not participate, CNN Brazil reported on Thursday. His South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa has also decided to skip the summit.

Moscow previously said Switzerland is unfit to help mediate peace, calling the country “openly hostile” because it has implemented EU sanctions against Russia, which may signal how Swiss interests are beginning to align with those of Washington and its allies with regards to Moscow. Speaking to journalists on Friday, President Vladimir Putin reiterated that Russia was ready for talks. He emphasized that Moscow was constantly being reproached, but hasn’t been asked to attend the conference. “They want to gather as many nations as possible, convince everyone that the best proposal is the terms of the Ukrainian side, and then send it to us in the form of an ultimatum,” he said of the upcoming event.

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“..Friendship between the two States has no limits, there are no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation …”

Russia & China – Two Against One (Ray McGovern)

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s extremely warm reception of President Vladimir Putin yesterday in Beijing sealed the increasingly formidable Russia-China strategic relationship. It amounts to a tectonic shift in the world balance of power. The Russia-China entente also sounds the death knell for attempts by U.S. foreign policy neophytes to drive a wedge between the two countries. The triangular relationship has become two-against-one, with serious implications, particularly for the war in Ukraine. If U.S. President Joe Biden’s foreign policy geniuses remain in denial, escalation is almost certain. In a pre-visit interview with Xinhua, Putin noted the “unprecedented level of strategic partnership between our countries.” He and Xi have met more than 40 times in person or virtually.

In June 2018, Xi described Putin as “an old friend of the Chinese people” and, personally, his “best friend.”For his part, Putin noted Thursday that he and Xi are “in constant contact to keep personal control over all pressing issues on the Russian-Chinese and international agenda.” Putin brought along Defense Minister Andrey Belousov as well as veterans like Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and key business leaders. Xi and Putin signed a strong joint statement Thursday, similar to the extraordinary one the two issued on Feb. 4, 2022, in Beijing. It portrayed their relationship as “superior to political and military alliances of the Cold War era. Friendship between the two States has no limits, there are no ‘forbidden’ areas of cooperation …” The full import of that statement did not hit home until Putin launched the Special Military Operation into the Donbass three weeks later.

China’s muted reaction shocked most analysts, who had dismissed the possibility that Xi would give “best friend” Putin, in effect, a waiver on China’s bedrock policy of non-interference abroad. In the following weeks, official Chinese statements made clear that the principles of Westphalia had taken a back seat to “the need for every country to defend its core interests” and to judge each situation “on its own merits.”

Thursday’s statement expressed concern over “increased strategic risks between nuclear powers” — referring to continued escalation of the war between NATO-supported Ukraine and Russia. It condemns “the expansion of military alliances and creation of military bridgeheads close to the borders of other nuclear powers, particularly with the advanced deployment of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery, as well as other items.” Putin has undoubtedly briefed Xi on the U.S. missile sites already in Romania and Poland that can launch what Russians call “offensive strike missiles” with flight time to Moscow of less than 10 minutes. Putin surely has told Xi about the inconsistencies in U.S. statements regarding intermediate-range nuclear missiles. For example, Xi is aware — just as surely as consumers of Western media are unaware — that during a Dec. 30, 2021, telephone conversation, Biden assured Putin that “Washington had no intention of deploying offensive strike weapons in Ukraine.”

There was rejoicing in the Kremlin that New Years’ Eve, since Biden’s assurance was the first sign that Washington might acknowledge Russia’s security concerns. Indeed, Biden addressed a key issue in at least five of the eight articles of the Russian draft treaty given to the U.S. on Dec. 17, 2021. Russian rejoicing, however, was short-lived. Foreign Minister Lavrov revealed last month that when he met Antony Blinken in Geneva in January 2022, the U.S. secretary of state pretended he’d not heard of Biden’s undertaking to Putin on Dec. 30, 2021. Rather, Blinken insisted that U.S. medium-range missiles could be deployed in Ukraine, and only that the U.S. might be willing to limit their number, Lavrov said.

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More power for the ultra-right. Bibi likes.

Israeli Crisis Deepens as IDF Failures Prompt Cabinet Resignation Threat (Sp.)

The country’s emergency war cabinet appeared on the verge of collapse Saturday with a key member voicing opposition to its leadership. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s grip on power appeared under threat this weekend when a key member of the country’s war cabinet threatened to resign. Opposition leader Benny Gantz issued an ultimatum Saturday, claiming he would leave the emergency political formation if Netanyahu does not implement his six-point plan for the country’s military operation in Gaza by June 8. Among Gantz’s demands are efforts to ensure the return of Hamas-held Israeli captives, a demilitarization of the Gaza Strip and a move towards international administration of the Palestinian territory.

Gantz, a retired army general, has criticized Netanyahu’s prosecution of the country’s military campaign in Gaza, reflecting public frustration in Israel over the prime minister’s failure to secure the return of Israeli hostages. Fighting has resumed in northern Gaza recently as Hamas fighters have returned to the area, prompting claims the country has failed to accomplish Netanyahu’s stated aim of defeating Hamas. The threat suggests the transpartisan political cooperation that emerged after Hamas’ October 7 attack threatens to break down, potentially leading to calls for new elections. Critics have claimed Netanyahu has prolonged Israel’s military campaign in Gaza to maintain his hold on power. The Prime Minister was previously under investigation on multiple charges of corruption, with the judicial process against him set to resume if he is toppled.

Recent polling reveals Netanyahu’s approval rating in Israel stands at some 32%. The country has been rocked by large demonstrations for months with protesters calling on the prime minister to step down An open letter signed by dozens of prominent Israelis earlier this year called on Netanyahu’s “immediate removal,” deeming him an “existential” threat to the country. Political polarization in the country has remained high since large anti-Netanyahu protests took place in 2019 and 2020. Netanyahu was briefly dislodged from power in 2021, with a government led by Naftali Bennett emerging to take his place, but he returned as prime minister in late 2022. The loss of the support of Gantz could make Netanyahu more reliant on hard line members of his coalition like Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, who have called for the expulsion of Palestinians and the rebuilding of Israeli settlements in Gaza.

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“..there is one party that wants to end the war and then talk about the hostages, and there is another party who wants the hostages and wants to continue the war.”

Israel-Hamas Talks ‘Stopped’ – Media (RT)

Peace negotiations between Israel and Hamas have been put on hold over major disagreements, Israeli broadcaster Kan has reported, citing anonymous sources. Haaretz has confirmed the “impasse” in the talks, which were mediated by Qatar and Egypt. Hostilities in Gaza broke out last October after Hamas militants staged a deadly incursion into Israeli territory, killing an estimated 1,200 people and abducting hundreds more, most of them civilians. Israel retaliated with a military campaign against the armed group, subjecting the densely populated Palestinian enclave to months of heavy aerial bombardment. According to Hamas-controlled health authorities in Gaza, Israel’s military operation has claimed the lives of more than 35,000 Palestinians, with nearly 80,000 sustaining injuries.

While Qatari, Egyptian and US middlemen have for months been trying to get the two belligerents to agree to a ceasefire, so far these efforts have apparently been fruitless. In its report on Friday, Kan alleged that the negotiations “are not taking place at the moment” since “Egypt and Qatar have adopted the position of Hamas.” According to the media outlet, the mediators suggested sealing a ceasefire in exchange for the release of hostages. Kan quoted its anonymous sources as saying that there is a “large” divergence of opinion between the Palestinian militant group and Israel, especially over how each would define the “end of the war.” Another major bone of contention, the broadcaster claimed, was Israel’s refusal to unconditionally release incarcerated Hamas militants at the group’s request. On Saturday, Israel’s Haaretz, citing an unnamed foreign source familiar with the talks, also reported that the negotiations “are currently at an impasse, and there is no progress.”

On Tuesday, the prime minister of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, revealed that recent weeks had seen “some momentum building,” but that “unfortunately things didn’t move in the right direction.” “Right now, we are in a status of almost a stalemate,” he said. Sheikh Al Thani noted that “there is one party that wants to end the war and then talk about the hostages, and there is another party who wants the hostages and wants to continue the war.” There is little hope for progress unless Israel and Hamas see eye to eye on this fundamental issue, he warned. The Qatari prime minister also questioned whether Israel was seeking an end to hostilities in good faith. ”I don’t think that they are considering this as an option… even when we are talking about the deal and leading to a potential ceasefire,” he said.

Finkelstein

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No-one’s surprised.

Study: Risk of Suicide Increases 12x After “Gender-Affirming” Surgery (NTB)

A new study hot off the press has confirmed what most of us already knew: people who get “gender-affirming” surgery have more than 12 times higher instances of suicide attempts than those who don’t get the surgeries. The study, supported with money from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Texas, was published just a few weeks ago and looked at data from over 90 million patients across the U.S. Here is the pertinent finding, highlighted in the abstract below:

Trans activists have been lying to the public for years, telling parents that “gender-affirming” surgery prevented suicide. We all knew the opposite was true, and now there is clear data supporting it.

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Woody
https://twitter.com/i/status/1791098665404153945

 

 

Lioness
https://twitter.com/i/status/1791476013303820402

 

 

Retriever
https://twitter.com/i/status/1791507615954170295

 

 

Bear pear
https://twitter.com/i/status/1791491596573130756

 

 

Great white
https://twitter.com/i/status/1791865110283079697

 

 

Sleepy dog

 

 

Deep path

 

 

Yaxi

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

May 172024
 


Leonard Misonne Waterloo Place, London 1899

 

Why Trials Like Trump’s Must Be Televised (Alan M. Dershowitz)
Trump Lawyer “Dog Walks” Michael Cohen Through Lie After Lie (ZH)
Trump Believes a ‘Great Silent Majority’ Will Vote for Him in November (ET)
Joe Biden Invokes Executive Privilege Over Special Counsel Recordings (ZH)
Freezing the Arms Shipment to Israel Not an Impeachable Offense (Turley)
Martin Armstrong: ‘West Governments Need War’ (SF)
Zelensky Blames ‘Whole World’ For Ukraine’s Failures In Kharkov (RT)
Slovakia Faces ‘Civil War’ – Interior Minister (RT)
Hunter Biden Loses Bid to Halt Tax Evasion Court Proceedings (ET)
“We’ve Had A Hell Of A Run”: Druckenmiller Sells 441,000 Shares Of Nvidia (ZH)
Biden Should Have Pardoned Trump – Romney (RT)
‘Big Blunder’ To Let China And Russia Get Close – US Strategist (RT)

 

 

Vivek debate

 

 

Ogles

 

 

Xi Putin
https://x.com/i/status/1791264681694556387

 

 

Videos are being transferred from twitter.com to X.com. It is not going seamless. Should improve as the day goes by.

 

 

Moose
https://x.com/i/status/1790990564646609003

tiktokers
https://x.com/i/status/1791220831252595119

 

 

 

 

Spectacle?!

Why Trials Like Trump’s Must Be Televised (Alan M. Dershowitz)

If you were flipping between CNN and Fox News following the cross-examination of Stormy Daniels in the New York criminal case against former President Donald Trump, you would have had the impression that the CNN commentator, who professed to be reporting what happened in the courtroom, described a completely different event from what the Fox News reporter, who was also in the courtroom, described. It was as if they had seen two different witnesses and two different lawyers. The CNN commentator reported that Daniels had done a great job holding up against the incompetent cross-examination of Trump’s lawyer. The Fox News commentator reported that the extraordinarily effective Trump lawyer had totally destroyed Daniels’ credibility. Who were you to believe? The CNN commentator was an experienced lawyer who was purporting to describe accurately what had happened without bias or subjectivity.

The Fox News commentator was a former judge and prosecutor with vast experience, who also claimed to be describing the cross-examination without bias. Neither of the commentators even pretended to paint a gray picture. One was starkly black, the other unambiguously white. No nuance in either account. If the trial had been televised, the dominant color would have been gray. Perry Mason cross-examinations rarely occur in real life, and witnesses like Daniels rarely emerge unscathed from cross-examinations even by mediocre lawyers. We, the American public, however, have been denied the right to judge for ourselves how the case against the once and possibly future president is going. We cannot judge the credibility of witnesses, the fairness of the judge or the effectiveness of the lawyers. We must depend on the subjective and generally biased accounts of often partisan “reporters.”

Polls following the OJ Simpson case suggested that those who personally watched the trial on TV were less surprised by the not guilty verdict than those who only read about it in the media, which generally described it as an open and shut case and predicted a guilty verdict. They downplayed or omitted the gaps in the prosecution case and the mistakes made by prosecutors that may have led jurors to find reasonable doubt. The same may be true of the Trump case, except that everyone is seeing the case through the prism of the reporters, rather than with their own eyes. Those who get their “news” from anti-Trump sources will be surprised and outraged if there is an acquittal or hung jury in this “strong” case. Those who get their “news” from pro-Trump sources will be surprised and outraged by a conviction in this “weak” case.

The result of making us rely on partisan secondary sources rather than our own direct observations is inevitable distrust in the justice system. If “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” lack of visibility is a major source of distrust. Every important trial involving public figures should be televised. Now the trial of Senator Robert Menendez is starting. It, too, should be publicized so that the public can see how the judiciary deals with an important case involving a member of the legislative branch. Even the Supreme Court now permits live audio broadcasts of important appellate cases. Hopefully, they will soon allow telecasting since there is little difference between listening and seeing the justices and the lawyers. The framers of the Constitution intended all judicial proceedings to be public – no secret trials. At the time of the framing, public meant open to print journalists. Today, public means audio and video publication.

The New York trial of Trump is a national scandal. There is no real crime. The judge has allowed testimony that is highly prejudicial and irrelevant. He has made numerous unfair rulings, of which the prosecution has taken advantage. The public has the right to see this abuse with their own eyes, so that we all can judge for ourselves and not allow possibly biased reporters to judge for us. Now the government’s star witness is testifying. Michael Cohen’s credibility promises to be a key factor in the jury’s deliberation. Every citizen should have a right to make his or her own assessment of his credibility or lack thereof. There is no good argument for allowing CNN to tell us whether he is believable, when we might come to a different conclusion based on direct observation with our own eyes.

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Star witness, blindsided by prank calls from a 14-year old.

Trump Lawyer “Dog Walks” Michael Cohen Through Lie After Lie (ZH)

President Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen had his “knees chopped out” by Donald Trump’s defense attorneys in cross-examination during Trump’s ‘hush money’ trial. Cohen was grilled by Trump attorney Todd Blanche about a pivotal phone call that connected Trump to allegations that he approved reimbursements to pay porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election. In one exchange, Blanche accused Cohen of lying about speaking with Trump on the phone in October 2016 to reassure his boss that he was handling the payment to Daniels. Blanche then confronted Cohen with text messages that contradicted the lie – revealing that Cohen in fact spoke with Trump’s bodyguard, Keith Schiller. Trump attorney Todd Blanche grilled him about a pivotal phone call that had connected President Trump to the allegations at the center of the case.

He accused Mr. Cohen of calling the former president’s bodyguard, Keith Schiller, to complain about harassing phone calls—not to disclose an update on a plan to purchase the silence of Ms. Clifford. Mr. Cohen said that the prank calls were a part of the conversation with Mr. Schiller. “Now your memory is that you were testifying truthfully on Tuesday, and you had enough time to update Mr. Schiller about all the problems you were having with these harassing calls?” Mr. Blanche asked him. “I always run everything by the boss immediately,” Mr. Cohen said. “It could’ve just been me saying, ‘everything’s been taken care of, it’s been resolved.’” “That was a lie. You did not talk to President Trump that night,” Mr. Blanche said. “You can admit it.” “No sir, I can’t,” Mr. Cohen said. “Because I’m not sure that’s accurate.” “This jury doesn’t want to hear what you think happened,” Mr. Blanche said. -Epoch Times. Cohen appeared blindsided by the line of questioning, and wavered in his recollection of the phone call before blurting out “I believe I was telling the truth!”

Blanche then slapped Cohen around for telling Congress that he didn’t want to work in the Trump administration – only to be confronted with conversations in 2016 in which he expressed disappointment that he was overlooked for the role of Trump’s chief of staff. Cohen also lied about seeking a pardon from Trump, for which his attorneys later had to issue a statement to correct the record. After Cohen had his ass handed to him, CNN pundits were beside themselves. “It was incredible…lawyers want to build a box around the witness & slam it shut–that’s what Todd Blanche did to Cohen…it was an extraordinary cross…Cohen was cornered in…a lie,” said host Anderson Cooper. The network’s top legal analyst said “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a star witness get his knees chopped out quite as clearly and dramatically as what just happened with Michael Cohen.”

https://x.com/i/status/1791174382288765323

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“It’s got to come down much more. That’s a lot of inflation, their number they announced.”

Trump Believes a ‘Great Silent Majority’ Will Vote for Him in November (ET)

Former President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he believes he has a “great silent majority” who will vote for him during the 2024 election. While speaking to radio host Hugh Hewitt, the former president claimed that he may have the “biggest ever” silent majority, using a term that was popularized by former President Richard Nixon in 1969. He then made reference to the relatively large crowd turnout during last weekend’s rally in Wildwood, New Jersey. “I have a great silent majority … the term was very, very powerfully associated with Nixon, and I didn’t want to be copying the term actually, so it’s the great silent majority,” President Trump said, adding that he believes that 107,000 people attended the Wildwood rally. The Epoch Times could not immediately authenticate that figure. The former president in 2020 made similar claims about a silent majority turning out in droves for him during that year’s election.

But the term was famously used by President Nixon to refer to conservative voters who did not participate in the current political discourse at the time, later resurfacing in the campaigns of former President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. In his interview with Mr. Hewitt, the former president said that he believes inflation may cause some voters to cast ballots in favor of him, coming after the Labor Department released figures Wednesday showing that the consumer price index slightly eased in April. “It’s a lot of inflation when added to the inflation that we’ve suffered that’s been so bad,” President Trump said, likely referring to years of rising prices since the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s got to come down much more. That’s a lot of inflation, their number they announced.” The former president’s remarks on Wednesday come as a recent poll from Siena College shows that President Joe Biden is trialing the former president in five of six battleground states.

President Trump, notably, is ahead by 6 percentage points in Arizona, 11 points in Georgia, and 13 points in Nevada, the survey revealed. He’s ahead about 3 points in Pennsylvania and 1 point in Wisconsin, while is down by 1 point to President Biden in Michigan. In the 2020 election, races were called for President Biden in all of those states mentioned in the Siena College survey. In a Wall Street Journal poll conducted in April, President Trump garnered a lead of between 2 and 8 percentage points among voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and North Carolina on a ballot that included third-party and independent candidates. The results were similar in a one-on-one matchup with President Biden, it said.

The former president also was viewed as having better physical and mental fitness for the job by 48 percent of respondents, compared to 28 percent for President Biden, the poll showed. Meanwhile, a recent Reuters-Ipsos poll showed that more Americans believe President Trump would handle the economy better than President Biden. Some 41 percent of respondents in the three-day poll said the former president has the better approach, compared to 34 percent for the current president.

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“Because of the President’s longstanding commitment to protecting the integrity, effectiveness, and independence of the Department of Justice and its law enforcement investigations….

…he won’t let us see any of it…”

Joe Biden Invokes Executive Privilege Over Special Counsel Recordings (ZH)

After the DOJ stonewalled over surrendering an audio recording of Special Counsel Robert Hur’s interview with President Joe Biden over his handling of classified documents, the White House has invoked executive privilege to block House Republicans from obtaining it. On Wednesday, Attorney General Merrick Garland requested that Biden assert executive privilege over the recordings following a subpoena from the House Judiciary and Oversight committees. “Because of the President’s longstanding commitment to protecting the integrity, effectiveness, and independence of the Department of Justice and its law enforcement investigations, he has decided to assert executive privilege over the recordings,” said White House counsel Ed Siskel in a letter obtained by The Hill. The Feb. 27 subpoena requested copies of notes, audio files, video and transcripts related to Hur’s probe, and had a deadline of March 7.

“Americans expect equal justice under the law and DOJ is allowing the Bidens to operate above it,” House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) said in an April statement. “Special Counsel Hur’s report outlined that classified documents Joe Biden stashed for years relate to countries where his family cashed in on the Biden brand.” In response to a request for audio of what author Mark Zwonitzer recorded while interviewing Biden, whose two memoirs he wrote, Assistant AG Carlos Felipe Uriarte said there is no need for the department to hand it over because the committees also have transcripts of the interviews. “To go further by producing the audio files would compound the likelihood that future prosecutors will be unable to secure this level of cooperation,” Uriarte wrote.

“They might have a harder time obtaining consent to an interview at all. It is clearly not in the public interest to render such cooperation with prosecutors and investigators less likely in the future.” Uriarte then reiterated that the DOJ has provided ample evidence to the committees. Hur’s 345-page report concluded that no charges should be brought against Biden due to cognitive decline. “We have also considered that, at trial, Mr. Biden would likely present himself to a jury, as he did during our interview of him, as a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” Hur wrote. Hur cited 2017 conversations between Biden and Zwontizer, which Hur described as “painfully slow, with Mr. Biden struggling to remember events and straining at times to read and relay his own notebook entries.”

Hur

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“President Trump will not be our last president and what we leave in the wake of this scandal will shape our democracy for generations to come..”

Freezing the Arms Shipment to Israel Not an Impeachable Offense (Turley)

Political analysts on the left and the right have acknowledged that Biden’s hardened stance toward Israel is due to his faltering poll numbers and the threat that he could lose Michigan and Minnesota in the upcoming election. A loss in Michigan, where the state’s large Muslim population has rejected Biden’s past support for Israel, would likely doom his chances for reelection. Even assuming that Biden’s recent changes were motivated by politics in Michigan (which I believe is a fair assessment), it would not be a high crime and misdemeanor. Presidents routinely act out of political interests. Indeed, a democracy involves using one’s voting power to influence politicians like Biden to change policy. The more than 100,000 “uncommitted” votes in Michigan’s Democratic primary clearly spooked the Biden White House.

To impeach presidents for such discretionary conduct would make impeachment a type of “vote of no confidence” device used in countries like the United Kingdom. That is not the purpose of impeachment, which was meant to be a rarely-used measure to address the most egregious forms of presidential misconduct. The recent resolution falls into a type of “just desserts” rationale for impeachment. I testified in the first Trump impeachment and opposed it on constitutional grounds. I warned Democrats that they would rue the day that they lowered the standard and short-circuited the process for impeachment. At the time, I told the House Judiciary Committee: “President Trump will not be our last president and what we leave in the wake of this scandal will shape our democracy for generations to come.

I am concerned about lowering impeachment standards to fit a paucity of evidence and an abundance of anger. If the House proceeds solely on the Ukrainian allegations, this impeachment would stand out among modern impeachments as the shortest proceeding, with the thinnest evidentiary record, and the narrowest grounds ever used to impeach a president. That does not bode well for future presidents who are working in a country often sharply and, at times, bitterly divided.” After ignoring that warning, Democrats went a step further in the second impeachment in 2021 and used what I called a “snap impeachment” in an attempt to punish Trump for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol.It would be an easy thing to say “well, turnabout is fair play, so a pox upon their house.”

The problem is that this is the people’s house and we all are harmed by the destruction of the impeachment process. Democrats were wrong in 2019 and 2021 to impeach Trump, but yielding to the same political motives now is no virtue. Ironically, the new impeachment resolution does precisely what Biden is accused of doing: using constitutionally bestowed powers for raw political purposes. The White House has insisted that this latest effort is “ridiculous.” Except that isn’t ridiculous given Democrats’ past actions. But it is equally wrong.

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“I named my computer model after Socrates because the oracle of Delphi had said that he was the smartest man in Greece.”

Martin Armstrong: ‘West Governments Need War’ (SF)

Your predictive model is based on precise calculations. The cycles of history and the economy thus seem to chase each other along the time span of history. If I’m not mistaken, you compared the current context to the crisis and dissolution of the Roman Empire. Is it correct? History repeats because human nature never changes. The Roman Empire is but one example from history of its success and failures. It lasted longer than anyone because it did not impose cultural regulations. The Christians called them pagans because they had so many Gods. That was the product of their policy of freedom of religion. Athens had Athena, Northern Europe had Thor, so they did not try to change the culture of the lands they conquered. They created a common market where someone in Britain could sell products to someone in Rome. So the freedom of religion, low taxation, freedom of movement, and a common market combined to create the Pax Romana.

Is it still possible to avoid a large-scale world conflict? It is unlikely that we can avoid world war. Governments need war because their debts are no longer sustainable. They will use the war as the excuse for defaults – as was the case for WWII. They will create Bretton Woods II with the IMF digital currency as the reserve. [..] Is it correct to claim that your analysis succeed in covering the intersection of geopolitics, Global Markets and Economic Confidence? Can you explain to us in a simple way how your Socrates predictive model works? By the way, why did you name it just like the Greek philosopher? I named my computer model after Socrates because the oracle of Delphi had said that he was the smartest man in Greece. He tried to prove the oracle wrong and the process proved it to be correct. He was put on trial and sentenced to death because he knew too much. My computer has taught me a lot in geopolitics, we had a major bank in Lebanon in the 1980’s and they asked if I could create a model on the Lebanese pound.

I put the data in the computer and it came out and said their country would fall apart in 8 days. I thought something was wrong with the data. When I told the client, they asked me what currency would be best, and I said the Swiss Franc. Eight days later the civil war begn. Obviously they saw the movement of money themselves and came to me for the timing. The same thing happened with a client in Saudi Arabia who was a big shipper. He called me asking me what gold would do tomorrow because Iran was going to begin attacking shipping in the gulf. So once again, there was advanced information about war. By 1998, I understood how the computer was forcasting such events. I warned in June at our London conference that Russia was about to collapse. The London financial Times had snuck into the back of the room and reported that forecast on the front of their newspaper on June 27th 1998. Russia collapsed about 6 weeks later.

Are unpredictable events, such as the terrorist attack in Moscow, also considered among the parameters of your predictive model? A “black swan” type event can change the course of history and geopolitical relations?” Yes, we saw the capital flows shift a day in advance, up to a week in advance in the case of the attack in israel. The defense stocks began to rise even with 9/11 the government used our model to look at who bought puts on airlines in the days before. Someone always knows when they’re going to do these types of events. And they move their money either to profit or to avoid a loss. The computer is tracking everything. It cannot tell me which person has done it. Just that the move is about to take place.

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The whole world except for himself.

Zelensky Blames ‘Whole World’ For Ukraine’s Failures In Kharkov (RT)

The whole world is to blame for Ukraine’s failure to stop Russia’s recent advances in Kharkov Region and must now help Kiev to change the situation, President Vladimir Zelensky told ABC News in an interview on Thursday. It comes after Russian forces managed to capture several settlements near Ukraine’s second-largest city over the past week. Top military officials in Kiev have admitted that the situation is now “extremely difficult,” and that Ukrainian troops are struggling to hold ground due to being outgunned and outnumbered. Asked if he believes Ukraine’s failures on the battlefield to be the fault of the US, Zelensky told ABC reporters that “it’s the world’s fault,” and accused the international community of giving “the opportunity for Putin to occupy.” The Ukrainian leader said the country “cannot afford to lose Kharkov,” and that “the world can help” Kiev to hold on to the vital city in the country’s northeast.

“All we need are two Patriot systems,” Zelensky said, suggesting that “Russia will not be able to occupy Kharkov if we have those.”ng to source billion-dollar Patriot air defense systems for Ukraine. Last month, Zelensky insisted that Ukraine needs 25 such batteries but later revised that number to “at least seven.” The president also complained that funding that has been approved by the US for Kiev is not actually reaching the country and is instead being spent “in American factories, creating American jobs.” Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who visited Kiev this week, assured the Ukrainian leadership that Washington was “actively and urgently” trying.

Each Patriot battery comprises a power plant, radar and control stations, truck-mounted missile launchers, and support vehicles, and costs around $1 billion. Ukraine is currently believed to possess at least three Patriots, one of which is stationed near the capital. Last year, one of these batteries was reportedly damaged or destroyed in a Russian hypersonic missile strike. Moscow, meanwhile, has repeatedly stated that no amount of Western weapon systems can change the inevitable outcome of the conflict, and has warned that continuing to arm Ukraine will only prolong the bloodshed and increase the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO.

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Alright for now.

Slovakia Faces ‘Civil War’ – Interior Minister (RT)

Slovakia appears to be on the brink of a civil war, its interior minister has warned, following the attempted assassination of Prime Minister Robert Fico on Wednesday. The head of the Slovak government was shot in the eastern town of Handlova, where he had chaired a working meeting. The gunman, identified by the media as an opposition party supporter in his early 70s, acted on political motives, according to Deputy Prime Minister Robert Kalinak. Interior Minister Matus Sutaj Estok warned that the country was “on the edge of a civil war” over political tensions. Social media is full of “hateful comments” in the wake of the attack, he added. Meanwhile, according to Kalinak, who spoke to journalists outside the hospital in the city of Banska Bystrica, where Fico was rushed for emergency surgery, “the inability to accept the will of some part of the public, which some group does not like, is the result that they have worked towards today.”

Fico, a nationalist and euro-skeptic, assumed office last year, after his Smer-SD party won the parliamentary election in September. He promised to put Slovakia’s interests first, including in the highly-contentious issue of the Ukraine conflict. His refusal to provide more arms to Kiev stood in sharp contrast to the previous government. His victory was a defeat for Progressive Slovakia (PS), which suffered a second electoral upset in April. The presidential candidate endorsed by the pro-EU party was defeated by Peter Pellegrini. PS co-founder Zuzana Caputova is set to complete her term as president next month. Fico has lashed out at comments coming from supporters of the opposition, particularly those upset by the waning power of the Progressives. He has also accused some media outlets of fanning the flames.

Some Slovaks are denouncing supporters of political forces they do not like as “misguided blind folk” that they are ashamed to have as their neighbors, he lamented in a video statement last month. Politicians face obscenities in the streets, he added. ”I expect this frustration to turn so intense that it could lead to the murder of one of the leading government officials,” Fico warned. Many Slovak politicians and foreign leaders have condemned the attempt on Fico’s life. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Slovak leader was a “courageous and strong-spirited man,” and that those qualities would hopefully help him overcome the crisis. Fico’s deputy, Tomas Taraba, said his surgery was a success and that the prime minister is expected to recover.

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It’s alive!

Hunter Biden Loses Bid to Halt Tax Evasion Court Proceedings (ET)

Hunter Biden lost his bid to halt his tax evasion district court proceedings in California on Wednesday after the Ninth Circuit declined to hear his appeal. District Judge Mark Scarsi denied Mr. Biden’s motion for a stay of proceedings in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California pending the outcome of his appeal. The stay had been requested on May 10 after Mr. Biden filed his interlocutory appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. On Wednesday, the Ninth Circuit panel ruled in favor of the special counsel and dismissed Mr. Biden’s appeal. This rendered moot a motion filed by Mr. Biden’s lawyers on Tuesday asking the judge for an expedited hearing on his motion to halt proceedings or, alternatively, for the judge to consider his written motion without hearing oral arguments.

“Because the panel’s order moots Mr. Biden’s motion, the Court grants the application to rule on shortened time and denies the motion,” Judge Scarsi wrote in his order on Wednesday Judge Scarsi’s order stated that his prior orders and the trial schedule would remain in place, and that the court would hear any further requests to modify the pre-trial schedule at a conference on May 29. Mr. Biden, who had argued that the district court’s jurisdiction had been divested once he filed his interlocutory appeal, filed his motion for a stay after the judge wrote in a May 9 order that failing to do so would be “at his own peril.”

Special Counsel David Weiss, who is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government, opposed Mr. Biden’s bid to halt proceedings while waiting to hear the outcome from the Ninth Circuit. He argued that any “problems” with scheduling conflicts in both Mr. Biden’s California tax evasion case and his Delaware gun charges case “are entirely of his own making. In his brief asking for an expedited hearing filed on Tuesday, Mr. Biden’s lawyers told Judge Scarsi that he wasn’t aware that failing to file a motion to stay pending appeal would be “at his own peril,” and that he promptly filed his motion to stay the next day after the judge’s order came down.

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“..the AI boom is likely a “mega-trend like we’ve never seen,” with the potential to be bigger than the internet. ”

“We’ve Had A Hell Of A Run”: Druckenmiller Sells 441,000 Shares Of Nvidia (ZH)

Billionaire investor Stanley Druckenmiller, head of the Duquesne Family Office, sees the artificial intelligence bubble as overextended. He has slashed some of his holdings in “Magnificent Seven” technology stocks, including Nvidia. He’s not alone. Other notable fund managers and company insiders are jumping ship and unloading their shares. A recent 13F filing reveals that Druckenmiller’s family office sold over 441,000 shares of Nvidia Corp. in the first quarter, reducing its stake to only 176,000 shares, or worth just about $158 million. Since 13F filings are backward-looking, the firm may have further divested or adjusted those holdings since the first quarter. We suspect Druckenmiller has not added to his Nvidia holdings.

Early last week, the billionaire investor appeared on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” explaining that his exposure to Nvidia was reduced after it went from $150 per share to $900 in just over a year. “I’m not Warren Buffett,” Druckenmiller emphasized, noting, “I don’t own things for 10 or 20 years. I wish I was Warren Buffett.” Druckenmiller said that when Microsoft-backed ChatGPT soared in popularity, he doubled down on his Nvidia position because it was an obvious no-brainer. “Even an old guy like me could figure out what that meant,” he said, adding the AI boom is likely a “mega-trend like we’ve never seen,” with the potential to be bigger than the internet.

Druckenmiller concluded: “I just need a break. We’ve had a hell of a run. A lot of what we recognized has become recognized by the marketplace now.” Besides Druckenmiller, 13F filings showed David Tepper slashed his holdings in Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta Platforms. David Bonderman’s Wildcat Capital Management sold Meta stock, bringing his position to $23.7 million. Michael Platt’s BlueCrest Capital Management dumped Nvidia and Amazon.

Read more …

Would Trump have accepted?

Biden Should Have Pardoned Trump – Romney (RT)

US Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has suggested that President Joe Biden blundered politically by allowing his administration to prosecute Donald Trump, his hated Republican rival. “Had I been President Biden, when the Justice Department brought on indictments, I would have immediately pardoned him,” Romney said in an MSNBC interview aired on Wednesday. “I’d have pardoned President Trump. Why? Well, because it makes me, President Biden, the big guy and the person I pardoned a little guy.” Romney, a former Republican presidential candidate who has clashed repeatedly with Trump, said Biden made an “enormous error” by allowing prosecutors to indict the ex-president last year for mishandling classified documents and trying to block the transfer of power after losing the 2020 election. The two federal cases are among four criminal indictments against Trump, who has accused Biden and his allies of using sham prosecutions to interfere in the 2024 presidential race.

“He should have fought like crazy to keep this prosecution from going forward,” Romney said. “It was a win-win for Donald Trump. Pressed on the principle of leaving prosecutorial decisions to the Justice Department, the senator said Biden should have led like former President Lyndon B. Johnson. “I’ve been around for a while. If LBJ had been president, and he didn’t want something like this to happen, he’d have been all over that prosecutor saying, ‘You better not bring that forward or I’m gonna drive you out of office.’” Romney, who was defeated by Barack Obama in the 2012 election, has announced plans to retire from the Senate in January 2025, when his term ends. He has criticized both Trump and Biden for running for the presidency again this year, saying they should instead make way for a younger generation of leaders.

Upon announcing his decision last September to leave the Senate, Romney scolded his own party’s voters for favoring Trump. “There’s no question that the Republican Party today is in the shadow of Donald Trump,” he said. “He is the leader of the greatest portion of the Republican Party. It’s a populist, demagogue portion of the party. Look, I represent a small wing of the party. I call it the wise wing of the Republican Party.” Romney, 77, is the son of a former Michigan Governor George Romney and made upward of $200 million during his career in the private-equity business. He was elected governor of Massachusetts in 2002. He has been a leading proponent of prolonging the Russia-Ukraine conflict, saying that using Kiev’s forces to weaken the Russian military “is about the best national defense spending I think we’ve ever done.”

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A new world.

‘Big Blunder’ To Let China And Russia Get Close – US Strategist (RT)

US President Joe Biden’s cabinet has made a major policy mistake by driving Russia and China into a strategic partnership, Heritage Foundation fellow Michael Pillsbury said on Thursday. Pillsbury spoke to Fox and Friends as Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing on his first foreign trip since inauguration. “To draw, to push together two nuclear powers, Russia and China, it’s really a blunder of the highest order,” he told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade. According to Pillsbury, China spent much of the past 75 years in conflict with the Soviet Union, “so to see them come together like this to me is just shocking.” It’s one of the biggest blunders we’ll see in my lifetime.”

Pillsbury has helped Washington formulate its China policy since the 1970s. He held a variety of posts at the Pentagon and as a staff member for the US Senate, before settling at China-centric desks at the Hudson Institute and later at Heritage. It has long been a policy objective of Washington to keep China and Russia apart, starting with President Richard Nixon’s detente with Beijing in the 1970s. This policy was in effect as late as 2020, with President Donald Trump trying to use tariffs to pressure China into working with the US, noted Pillsbury. “This would never happen under Trump,” he said. “This was one of Trump’s goals never to allow this to happen.” When Kilmeade suggested that China “needs” the US and EU markets, so the West has leverage over Beijing, Pillsbury pointed out that this “simply isn’t happening under Biden.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also commented on the US attempts to split China away from Russia. In an interview on Thursday, he said that China was “strong enough” to resist the “brazen” attempts at pressure. China and Russia both “defend the principles of fairness and the democratic world order based on the multipolar realities and international law,” Putin said on Thursday, adding that relations between the two countries “are not aimed against anyone.” Putin described the Russo-Chinese cooperation as “one of the main stabilizing factors on the international stage.” Xi agreed, arguing that ties between Beijing and Moscow are a “model of relations between large powers and neighboring states, characterized by mutual respect, trust, friendship and mutual benefit.”

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Horse sculpt
https://twitter.com/i/status/1791077037496799692

 

 

Geert

 

 

Flying cow

 

 

 

 

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May 052024
 
 May 5, 2024  Posted by at 9:07 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , ,  46 Responses »


René Magritte The secret player 1927

 

Ruling Tories Suffer Crushing Electoral Defeat In England (RT)
France Seemingly Set to Part Ways With Macron, Come June Elections (Manley)
Macron is Afraid to Go Down in History as the Leader Who ‘Lost Africa’ (Sp.)
Nostalgia for the Mud (Kunstler)
Trump’s VP Short List Has a Residency Dilemma (Turley)
Prosecutors Admit Key Evidence In Trump Docs Case Has Been Tampered With (JTN)
‘Peace Formula’ On Ukraine To Succeed If West Halts Arms Supplies – Zakharova (TASS)
Trump Will Force NATO Members To Hike Military Spending By 50% – Telegraph (RT)
Biden Parole Program Has Flown Illegals To More Than 45 US Cities (ZH)
‘True Promise’: An Insider Account Of Iran’s Strikes On Israel (Cradle)
Russia Belatedly Adds Zelensky to Criminal ‘Wanted’ List (ZH)

 

 

Google bans ad

 

 

Dick van Dyke


https://twitter.com/i/status/1786568352686547015

 

 

O’Keefe

 

 

Woody RFK

 

 

 

 

Politics are shaking all over Europe.

Ruling Tories Suffer Crushing Electoral Defeat In England (RT)

The UK Conservative Party has suffered its worst defeat in decades, having lost nearly 500 council seats during this week’s local elections in England. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has admitted his party’s defeat, calling the results “disappointing.” Overall, the Tories lost 473 of the 985 seats they were defending and lost control of 12 councils in the vote held on Thursday. The Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats emerged as the main victors, with Labour gaining eight councils and 185 seats, according to a Sky News tally. This is the worst showing for Tories since the late 1990s. “It appears to be the worst local elections for the Conservatives since the final years of the era of Margaret Thatcher and John Major,” said Robert Hayward, a polling expert and a member of the House of Lords, as quoted by the New York Times.

Labour politician Chris Webb has won the Blackpool South by-election, beating Conservative David Jones. “This seismic win in Blackpool South is the most important result today,” Labour leader Keir Starmer told reporters, adding that the win “shows that we are firmly back in the service of working people.” Another good news for Labour came from London, where Mayor Sadiq Khan was re-elected for a third term. “Londoners voted to give their city a fairer, safer, greener future,” Khan wrote on X (formerly Twitter).The campaigning was centered around inflation and the cost-of-living crisis, as well local issues, such as the state of housing and the work of the NHS in different areas. Sunak said on Friday that it is “disappointing to lose good hardworking Conservative councilors.” He added that he remains “focused completely on the job at hand – that’s delivering for people across the country.” Despite the upset, prime minister said he is hopeful that the voters “are going to stick with us” in the general election expected to take place in the second half of 2024.

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“Just 4% of those aged 18 to 24-years-old expressed their intention of voting for Macron’s party next month..”

France Seemingly Set to Part Ways With Macron, Come June Elections (Manley)

Two recent opinion articles have highlighted the lack of faith the French public has in their leader, Macron. The French president has been described as “trailing the hard right” as he tries to steer the EU into a direction that would mark it as a military power. According to new opinion polls, France’s Renaissance (RE) party is trailing the far-right National Rally (RN) by a far second place. A recent article published on Wednesday by The Guardian, says the blame for the RE’s poor polling rests with President Emmanuel Macron. The parties were tied in the last European election which took place five years ago. Elections for the European Parliament will take place between June 6 and June 9. The elections will be a clear sign for how the presidential election in France, in 2027, will unfold. Macron, 46, “has himself to blame for his political predicament”, the article suggests.

The French president is “barely two years into his second term in the Élysée Palace, yet lacking a parliamentary majority at home and with his government under the permanent threat of a no-confidence motion.” “[Macron] has so personalized his style of governance that voters blame him for everything from the cost of living to the rise of youth violence and the risk of terrorism during this summer’s Paris Olympic Games,” according to the news outlet. The RN is being led by Jordan Bardella, who became the president of the party in 2022. Bardella is just 28-years-old and does not carry the same legacy as his party’s former president, Marine Le Pen, though he reportedly said that he first joined the party due to Le Pen’s influence. But while Le Pen’s influence on the RN is still palpable, young voters are more drawn to Bardella. Macron was elected in 2017, becoming France’s youngest head of state apart from Napoleon Bonaparte. But now, Macron is seemingly flailing to keep up with the desires of the French public.

“I think it is less about ‘Frenchness’ in this election than as portraying the people don’t feel that they belong, the people who feel they have been humiliated, either economically – not making ends meet, not being recognized, not seeing themselves represented in parliament nor politics,” said Cécile Alduy, a Professor of French at Stanford University, explained to a German broadcaster. A separate survey published in March, shows that Macron’s party has fallen out of favorability among young French voters. Just 4% of those aged 18 to 24-years-old expressed their intention of voting for Macron’s party next month, compared to 29% among those over the age of 70. Alduy explains that the reason for this is because those who are younger have little to no historical memory regarding Nazism during World War II, as the RN has been criticized for failing to rid itself of its antisemitic heritage.

Another article by Financial Times explains Macron’s drop in popularity with an opinion poll from February which showed the main preoccupation of French voters is the cost of living. According to that poll, a drop in consumer confidence amongst the French shows a pessimism about their future. Another issue regarding France’s economy includes their high budget deficit which skyrocketed last year to 5.5% of the GDP, according to the newspaper. “Macron’s government has already had to announce emergency spending cuts, and more may be on their way in areas such as social benefits and local government budgets”, the newspaper suggests, adding that this could affect the results of the 2027 election. But the news outlet adds that while many French people use the EU elections as a way to cast protest votes against their presidents and governments, many may vote differently in a national election.

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“Macron has still a couple of years in office as president of France, and he cannot be reelected after this term..”

Macron is Afraid to Go Down in History as the Leader Who ‘Lost Africa’ (Sp.)

While French President Emmanuel Macron tries to maintain his façade as a tough guy in politics, his approval rating in France continues to sag. According to a recent Ipsos poll, Macron’s Renaissance party’s rating dropped to a measly 17%, compared to, for example, Marin Le Pen’s right-wing Rassemblement National (RN) party’s 32% rating. Currently, Macron witnesses his position weakening, both “personally” as the incumbent president and “politically with his centrist-globalist party low performance,” argues Paolo Raffone, a strategic analyst and director of the CIPI Foundation in Brussels. “Macron does not care about public opinion, following the “power” tradition of France. He knows that he has no appeal for the public opinion in France and he acts as an absolute sovereign to save the state,” Raffone tells Sputnik. At the same time, the analyst notes, Macron is essentially a “narcissist” who “does not want to be remembered as the worst president of France”: namely, as the president who witnessed France losing its hold on Africa.

“Macron has still a couple of years in office as president of France, and he cannot be reelected after this term. In this context, Macron is trying to play all his remaining cards to reinvent a political role for France in Europe,” he said. In French and EU politics, Macron is attempting to sow division among the other right-wing parties, while abroad he seeks to recover his reputational losses over the African fiasco by “trying to play a role in the Caucasus – pro Armenia and anti-Turkiye and Azerbaijan” – and in the Ukrainian conflict. “It is again a gamble with two objectives: the first, is to replace Germany’s leadership in EU foreign policy, the second, pre-position France in the eyes of the US current and future administration attempting to balance the troubled UK’s Tory leadership that could be replaced by Labor at the end of 2024 (or earlier),” Raffone explains.

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“..oppression envy..”

Nostalgia for the Mud (Kunstler)

Wasn’t it cute how the youngsters who “occupied” Columbia U’s Hamilton Hall — and were busy smashing things up inside — demanded restaurant-grade meals sent in to avert “starvation and dehydration” amongst their dauntless ranks? You could imagine a colossal mommy breast with three hundred nipples descending from the sky over upper Manhattan to nourish them back to action. “Feed me. . . !”

It turns out, actually, that at least half the troops inside were not students at all, but rather semi-pro activists paid up to $7,000 each by George Soros’s Open Society Institute and other overtly insurrection-themed orgs, so you’d think that the troops could afford to load-up their ever-ready backpacks with Clif bars and bottles of Smart Water. The order-in food and beverage gambit suggests we should understand that this is not so much politics as the acting out of a game — which is exactly what you might expect of people who spend more time on video screens than in the real world — in which something like a half-time intermission for refreshments is de rigueur.

Alas, they were not obliged with DoorDash servings of Alitcha (“Ensemble of potatoes, carrots, collard greens, and cabbage baked in turmeric,” $22.30) from the nearby Massawa Ethiopian bistro, or Firecracker Chicken from Junzi Kitchen over on Broadway and 113th Street. And then, when the cops came to roust them out into the big buses now used as paddy-wagons for such events, the occupiers were heard to whine, “I have finals and I need to go home!” You’ve got to wonder how they’ll make out when “Joe Biden” drafts their ass to go fight the Russians out on the Ukrainian buzzard flats, about which the White House is just now sending out early signals.

It has been observed that a clear majority of the pro-Hamas activists are young women — which makes sense considering that they are the largest demographic evincing mental illness on America’s social landscape these days. Thus, they are marching in support of a sect that specializes in the rape, mutilation, and murder of young women like themselves, or at least treats them as chattels, hidden under black bag-like garments. The group psychology on display has more occult angles than any movie by the Wachowski sisters.

Among the marching Columbia students who are not paid outside activists, a few are apparently Jewish, such as spokesperson Johannah King-Slutzky (actual name, hat-tip Alex Berenson, who ID’d her), the winsome creature who complained about the lack of order-in meals at Hamilton Hall. Another observer on “X” who styles himself @J9_ATX identified the syndrome in play as “oppression envy,” among women seeking compensatory validation for occupying such a privileged niche on Planet Earth as a cushy Ivy League college — featuring international cuisine stations in the dining halls — while their third world sisters trudge through the burning sands of Al-Kufra carrying water-jugs on their heads as they dodge the odious “wind scorpions” of the region.

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Don’t forget Tulsi.

Trump’s VP Short List Has a Residency Dilemma (Turley)

The Trump short list for vice presidential candidates is reportedly down to Ohio Senator, J.D. Vance, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum. Rubio is a favorite for many due to his record in the Senate and his appeal to hispanic voters (where the GOP is hoping to make gains in the coming election). The problem is not Rubio or his record, but his residence. The Twelfth Amendment contains a habitation or “favorite sons” provision: “The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves.” The risk is that Florida’s electoral votes could be challenged in any election since both Trump and Rubio reside in the state. That is a chunk of 30 votes in a close election. In addition other states which sought to block Trump from the ballot like Colorado could try this new tack to derail his campaign.

The most obvious option is for either Trump or Rubio to move. The easiest would be for Trump to move since Rubio represents Florida. That could include either New York or New Jersey ( where his Bedminster property is located). That option would be costly for Trump in terms of taxes. Moreover, Trump is desperately trying to get out of New York where he is effectively shackled to the defense table as his opponent, President Joe Biden, campaigns around the country. The funny thing is that Trump has been campaigning in New York and drawing some large crowds. It would be the height of irony if Trump ends up making New York competitive with a mix of the time forced to be in the state and a change of residency. Alt er natively, Rubio could resign from the Senate and focus on running with a residence in a different state. He could also attempt a more creative approach and just change residency for the election.

Under Article I, Section 3, Clause 3: No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen. Rubio can argue that he was “an Inhabitant” of Florida “when elected.” Given the recent controversy over the appointment of Democratic Senator Laphonza Butler, it could be hard for some Democrats to object. Yet, there will be some who will no doubt try. In 2000, Dick Cheney was challenged by three Texas residents when he moved back to Wyoming. They failed. Ultimately, it could also be challenged in Congress under the Electoral Count Reform Act.

Despite declaring the challenge to the Biden election was an attack on democracy, Democratic members previously challenged Republican presidents in Congress, including Jan. 6th committee head Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) In other words, it could be done but it would likely draw challenges. Then again, why should this part of the election be any different from every other part?

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Hard to believe.

Prosecutors Admit Key Evidence In Trump Docs Case Has Been Tampered With (JTN)

In a stunning admission, Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team is admitting that key evidence in former President Donald Trump’s classified documents criminal case was altered or manipulated since it was seized by the FBI, and that prosecutors misled the court about it for a period of time. Legal experts told Just the News the revelation could prove to be a serious problem for prosecutors and a violation of court rules to preserve evidence in the state it was seized. In a new filing Friday, Smith’s team said that the order of documents in some of the boxes of memos that were seized by the FBI from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate was altered or jumbled, leaving two different chronologies: one that was digitally scanned and another the physical order in the boxes. “Since the boxes were seized and stored, appropriate personnel have had access to the boxes for several reasons, including to comply with orders issued by this Court in the civil proceedings noted above, for investigative purposes, and to facilitate the defendants’ review of the boxes,” Smith’s team wrote in a new court filing to U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon.

“There are some boxes where the order of items within that box is not the same as in the associated scans,” the prosecutors wrote. Smith’s team in a footnote also conceded it had misled the court about the problem by previously declaring that the evidence had remained in the exact state it had been seized. “The Government acknowledges that this is inconsistent with what Government counsel previously understood and represented to the Court,” the footnote said. [..] The organization of the documents in storage boxes at Mar-a-Lago is likely to be an important part of Trump‘s defense. His team is expected to argue the documents were stored in the White House in chronological order on the days that Trump received them, and that staff simply boxed them up and sent them to his home without him accessing them or knowing they contained classified information.

Smith’s team tried to downplay the problem and argued it’s not a reason for a delay in Trump’s case. But several legal experts told Just the News the court filing essentially is an admission of evidence tampering, and could be problematic. “Prosecutors and investigators should never tamper with or alter evidence in their possession, including the order of documents in a box because one never knows what may become relevant or crucial to a court or jury later in a case,” Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz said. Prominent defense attorney Tim Parlatore, who worked on Trump’s team earlier in the classified documents case but no longer is involved, said ”this admission is stunning on multiple levels.”

He said the revelation “reinforces the incompetence” of prosecutors “in conducting basic criminal investigations and prosecutions that I observed when I was on the team. “But at a deeper level, the loss of specific document locations is a destruction of exculpatory evidence,” he added. “I went through all of the boxes at NARA and the document order was important because it was clear to us that the boxes had been untouched since leaving the White House. “For prosecutors who are trying to prove that the defendants knowingly possessed these documents to then destroy the evidence that would undermine that claim is a very serious violation,” he added. Smith’s team tried to downplay the problem, offering several explanations for how the documents and their order could’ve been scrambled since the government took possession of the boxes.

“There are several possible explanations, including the above-described instances in which the boxes were accessed, as well as the size and shape of certain items in the boxes possibly leading to movement of items,” the prosecutors wrote. “For example, the boxes contain items smaller than standard paper such as index cards, books, and stationary, which shift easily when the boxes are carried, especially because many of the boxes are not full.” The alteration of evidence has been an issue in earlier political scandals and prosecutions in Washington. Erasure of an 18 1/2 minute segment of Richard Nixon’s White House tapes became a very important aspect of the Watergate scandal. The Iran-Con tra scandal exploded during the Reagan years with the revelation that documents were shredded before they could be obtained by investigators. The Hillary Clinton classified email scandal became more complicated in 2015 with the revelation that her team used a “Bleach Bit” program to erase emails on her secret computer server, and had email devices destroyed.

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“If I cut the supply of arms to Ukraine, Ukraine cannot resist – they will have to surrender and the war will finish,” Borrell said..”

‘Peace Formula’ On Ukraine To Succeed If West Halts Arms Supplies – Zakharova (TASS)

A “peace formula” on Ukraine boils down to cutting off Western weapons supplies to the Kiev regime, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. The diplomat noted remarks by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell who asserted that without Western arms supplies Ukraine would capitulate in two weeks. “An amazing confession! Here’s the entire ‘peace formula’ for you – the end of Western arms supplies to the Kiev regime,” she wrote on her Telegram channel. Earlier, Borrell said that the conflict in Ukraine could end as quickly as in “a couple of weeks” without Western military aid to Kiev.

“I know how to finish the war in Ukraine. I can finish the war in Ukraine in a couple of weeks just by cutting the supply. If I cut the supply of arms to Ukraine, Ukraine cannot resist – they will have to surrender and the war will finish,” Borrell said. Earlier, Swiss President Viola Amherd said her country would host a conference on the so-called Ukrainian “peace formula” at the Burgenstock resort near Lake Lucerne in central Switzerland this June. The Russian embassy confirmed that “the Swiss authorities have not sent Russia an invitation to the conference in Burgenstock.” Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that any talks on Ukraine without Russia are pointless, and are, in fact, “a negotiation process with no purpose.”.

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To keep the industry happy?

Trump Will Force NATO Members To Hike Military Spending By 50% – Telegraph (RT)

Donald Trump is eyeing plans to push the NATO members to ramp up defense spending from 2% to 3% of GDP if he is re-elected in November, The Telegraph reported on Friday, citing sources close to the former US President. Trump has reportedly been considering an increase for some time but was further persuaded by the arguments of Polish President Andrzej Duda, a source close to the ex-president told the media. The two met for talks in New York last month. Duda has repeatedly called for a boost in defense spending across the alliance, arguing that 3% is needed to defend against “growing threats,” including from Russia. Trump’s is “evolving towards 3%, especially after speaking to Duda” and that’s “not including money for Ukraine,” the anonymous source said.

Trump’s encounter with Duda also reportedly played a role in convincing him to lift his opposition to a long-delayed aid package which included $60 billion for Kiev. In February, Trump came under fire from the White House and top Western officials for suggesting he would not defend NATO allies who had failed to spend enough on defense and would even encourage Russia to attack them. In March, US intelligence agencies warned that America was facing a “fragile world order” amid Russian and Chinese threats. NATO’s 32 members have agreed on a target of spending at least 2% of GDP on defense. Last year’s NATO estimates have shown that only 11 are spending that much, including its largest contributor, the US, as well as the UK, Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Greece, Hungary, Finland, Latvia, Slovakia and Denmark.

Belgium and Spain spent 1.2%, while Luxembourg, which has the smallest budget for defense compared to its GDP, spent just 1%. Only Poland, the US and Greece spent more than 3%. On Tuesday, Timo Pesonen, the EU’s top defense official, said “while the NATO allies are increasing their budget to at least 1% of GDP,” some member states “speak about 3% already.” His remarks came days after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said allies “must go further” than 2%. A source close to Trump, quoted by The Telegraph, said he also has a detailed plan for how to end the war peacefully which won’t be made public before the election. Republican presidential nominee previously said he will be able to negotiate peace because he knows the leaders of both countries, but hasn’t elaborated. “There is a plan, but he’s not going to debate it with cable news networks because then you lose all leverage,” the source said.

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“..at least 1.6 million applications were still pending as of October 2023..”

Biden Parole Program Has Flown Illegals To More Than 45 US Cities (ZH)

In a recent development, a House Committee subpoena has forced the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to reveal details of its parole program designed to allow entry for thousands of individuals from several nations. The program, established in October 2022, was initially tailored to facilitate entry for Venezuelans who had American sponsors and passed a vetting process. However, the scope of the program rapidly expanded, encompassing individuals from Cuba, Haiti, and Nicaragua as well – eventually flying illegal aliens to more than 45 cities across the United States. According to the DHS documents, between January and August 2023, the parole program allowed over 200,000 individuals to enter the United States. While the program did not cover the cost of flights for these individuals, it permitted them to enter the country and make travel arrangements independently.

Among the program’s participants, Florida emerged as a leading destination, with around 80% of the 200,000 choosing to settle in cities such as Miami, Tampa, and Fort Lauderdale. Other prominent destinations included New York, California, Texas, Nevada, and Georgia. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas defended the program, stating that it provided “a safe and orderly way to reach the United States” and asserting, though without presenting specific evidence, that the program “resulted in a reduction in numbers of those nationalities.” Mayorkas also highlighted its global relevance, noting its role in addressing “the unprecedented level of migration throughout our hemisphere” and suggesting that other countries might see it as a model to manage irregular migration.

That said, the documents revealed that at least 1.6 million applications were still pending as of October 2023. The program currently admits approximately 30,000 individuals per month, granting them work permits and authorizing them to live in the country for two years. Congressman Mark Green (R-Tenn.), Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, expressed strong criticism of the program, stating, “These documents expose the egregious lengths Secretary Mayorkas will go to ensure inadmissible aliens reach every corner of the country, from Orlando and Atlanta to Las Vegas and San Francisco.” Green labeled the parole program “an unlawful sleight of hand” aimed at concealing the worsening border crisis from the American public.

In response to perceived poor handling of the border crisis, Mayorkas faced impeachment by the House of Representatives in February. This marked the second impeachment of a Cabinet secretary in U.S. history, and the first in nearly 150 years. However, the Senate’s Democratic majority ultimately voted to end the trial without proceeding to a vote on conviction or acquittal, following repeated delays. The disclosure of the DHS parole program documents has reignited debate over U.S. immigration policy and the handling of migration at the southern border, reflecting persistent tensions on these issues at both the national and international levels.

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‘If this is a war between Iran and Israel, why did Hezbollah involve itself in it?’

‘True Promise’: An Insider Account Of Iran’s Strikes On Israel (Cradle)

Two hours after the attack on the consulate in Damascus, the Iranian National Security Council convened and affirmed the inevitability of a response and gave a 10-day deadline to take the necessary diplomatic measures and for the armed forces to prepare their plan to respond. Diplomatically, the first step was to go to the Security Council, even though we knew that this would be futile. But it was necessary to file a complaint about the attack on our land, assert our natural right to self-defense, and request a Security Council session. Because we are not members of the Council, we had to talk to member states to request that the session be held. China, Russia, and Algeria agreed. Russia submitted the request, and the session was held, but the US, Germany, Britain, and France did not allow a statement to be issued condemning Israel. The heads of our missions abroad were also active in informing the concerned countries that we would respond to the Zionist entity.

Due to these pressures, Israel denied it had attacked a diplomatic building and that those who were targeted were not diplomats. The consulate building, four of its five floors, were purchased 45 years ago and were designated for diplomatic work. It was indeed a diplomatic building. After we assured the international community of our right to respond, some countries, such as the US, Germany, England, France, Canada, and Egypt, tried to convince us not to do so, and they confirmed their readiness to meet Iran’s requests. For example, some of these countries that were not previously willing to grant entry visas to our diplomats or officials suddenly decided to do so immediately.

When the US realized that we were serious, it sent a threat that if the response was launched from Iranian territory, it might attack Iran. Our response was that the US is not among our targets, but if it decides to involve itself in defense of Israel, we will respond by targeting it as well, and as you know, there are many American bases around us. Despite this, the US, Britain, France, and Germany insisted on the same message, yet our answer was that Israel crossed a red line. Then, they said, if we must respond, let it be from outside Iranian territory. Why did they insist that the strike not be from inside Iran? Because for a long time, they have been assassinating our nuclear scientists and carrying out sabotage operations at the Natanz nuclear reactor.

In the last six months alone, they have assassinated 18 members of our armed forces, and we have always responded through our allies [in the Axis of Resistance], but if we did that this time, we would lose face. If Lebanese Hezbollah had responded to Israel, it could have bombed Beirut, and western powers would have seized upon this to say, ‘If this is a war between Iran and Israel, why did Hezbollah involve itself in it?’ They would also hold it responsible for the subsequent unrest in Lebanon. Therefore, the insistence that the Iranian response should be through Iran’s allies was meant to distort Hezbollah’s reputation and unleash Israel to target it and other resistance forces in the region and to portray them as mercenaries of Iran. We read these western intentions well, and accordingly, the decision was taken to respond from within Iranian territory.

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“There are reports that Ukraine has had to pull back it US-supplied M1 Abrams tanks precisely because they make for such an attractive target..”

Russia Belatedly Adds Zelensky to Criminal ‘Wanted’ List (ZH)

Days ago, for the first time Russian forces mounted a major air attack on the Ukrainian command’s southern headquarters in the port city of Odessa. This suggests Moscow is increasingly targeting Ukraine’s top command and control centers. There’s been another key development late in the week suggesting Russia is escalating in response to more and more weapons and billions pouring into Kiev from the West: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has just been added to a Russian government most-wanted list of criminals. It was revealed Saturday that Zelensky’s name is now on the Russian Interior Ministry’s “wanted” list, which is an important online database. The database lists Zelensky as wanted “under an article of the criminal code” but provides no other specifics or details. This designation comes after well over two years of war, so the question is: why now?

It seems the Kremlin is signaling a new escalation which could focus on ‘decapitation strikes’ targeting Ukraine’s top leadership. Or else, is Russia establishing a legal ground for arresting him in some future scenario? While command and intelligence HQ’s have been hit by Russian airpower in the past, strikes have yet to directly target top-ranking civilian and military leadership. But it seems this is about to change. President Putin has for years demonstrated that he is very law-oriented and ‘by the book’ – that is, he must have a legal basis or rationale for acting. So Zelensky now personally being designated as ‘wanted’ perhaps provides the ‘rationale’ in a sense, from the Kremlin’s perspective. The anti-Kremlin independent news outlet Moscow Times suggests this sets the stage for new plots to try and assassinate Zelensky: The Ukrainian President said last year he was aware that at least “five or six” assassination attempts against him had been foiled.

The day after sending troops into Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an address to the nation in which he called on the Ukrainian army to overthrow Zelensky. Russia has placed several foreign politicians and public figures on its wanted list, which has tens of thousands of entries. As for Russia’s unrelenting and recently stepped-up aerial campaign, it has continued to pummel and degrade Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. This appears a tit-for-tat retaliation for Ukraine’s own devastating cross-border attacks on Russian oil depots and refineries. A fresh Russian Defense Ministry (MoD) statement has outlined that “In the past 7 days, the Russian Armed Forces carried out 25 group strikes via precision weapons and drones, hitting Ukrainian energy and transportation infrastructure facilities and Ukrainian military-industrial complex enterprises.”

“Between April 28 and May 4, in response to the Kiev regime’s attempts to inflict damage to Russian energy and industrial facilities, the Russian Armed Forces carried out 25 group strikes via precision weapons and drones, hitting Ukrainian energy and transportation infrastructure facilities, military-industrial complex enterprises, missile and ammunition storage areas, as well as unmanned speedboats and drone manufacturing workshops,” the ministry said. The MoD has also warned that any “mercenary” positions and also foreign military equipment will be specifically targeted. There are reports that Ukraine has had to pull back it US-supplied M1 Abrams tanks precisely because they make for such an attractive target.

Read more …

 

 

 

 

Trump Nancy

 

 

Bond
https://twitter.com/i/status/1786614227584901508

 

 

CO2

 

 

Coyote

 

 

Beluga

 

 

Share

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 292024
 
 April 29, 2024  Posted by at 9:05 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , ,  65 Responses »


Théodore Géricault Prancing Grey Horse 1812

 

Justice Thomas Raises Scrutiny on Jack Smith Appointment in Trump Case (ET)
Was Trump Set Up In Classified Docs Saga? (Margolis)
US Voters Warming Up To Trump – CNN Poll (RT)
Spielberg Helping To Direct Biden’s Campaign – NBC (RT)
The US and the UK Are Pushing For Total War On All Fronts (RT)
Zelensky Wants 10 More Years Of US Funding (RT)
‘Motherland Is Not For Sale’ – Zakharova (RT)
Many People to Question Zelensky’s Legitimacy Soon – Kremlin (Sp.)
Ukraine Rejected 2022 Peace Deal Over Russian Language, ‘Banning Nazism’ (Sp.)
Zelensky Demands EU ‘Fulfill Obligations’ On Ukrainian Membership (RT)
Israel Concerned Biden May Throw Netanyahu ‘Under the Bus’ at ICC (Sp.)
Insane vs Sane – Demonic vs Divine – Catherine Austin Fitts (USAW)

 

 

 

 

Macgregor
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784739796197269970

 

 

Putin
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784696945174360069

 

 

Truth

 

 

66 years apart.

 

 

 

 

Tax
tax
tax
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784302250577305950

 

 

RFK JFK

 

 

 

 

“..Mr. Smith “does not have authority to conduct the underlying prosecution.”

Justice Thomas Raises Scrutiny on Jack Smith Appointment in Trump Case (ET)

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has asked former President Donald Trump’s lawyers about whether they challenged special counsel Jack Smith’s authority to bring charges against the president. On April 25, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case about President Trump’s being immune from prosecution for official acts carried out during his presidency. During the hearing, Justice Thomas asked John Sauer, the attorney who represented President Trump in court, “Did you, in this litigation, challenge the appointment of special counsel?” Mr. Smith was appointed to the case by Attorney General Merrick Garland. Mr. Sauer said that Trump attorneys have not raised such concerns “directly” in the current case at the Supreme Court. However, “it points to a very important issue here, because one of [the prosecution’s] arguments is, of course, that we should have this presumption of regularity,” Mr. Sauer stated.

“That runs into the reality that we have here an extraordinary prosecutorial power being exercised by someone who was never nominated by the president or confirmed by the Senate at any time,” he said. “We hadn’t raised it yet in this case when this case went up on appeal.” Mr. Sauer said he agrees with the “analysis provided by Attorney General [Edwin] Meese and Attorney General [Michael B.] Mukasey,” referring to the amicus brief the two former attorneys general submitted to the Supreme Court on March 19. In it, the two attorneys general noted that irrespective of what one thinks about the immunity issue, Mr. Smith “does not have authority to conduct the underlying prosecution.” “Those actions can be taken only by persons properly appointed as federal officers to properly created federal offices. Smith wields tremendous power, and effectively answers to no one,” they wrote. “However, neither Smith nor the position of special counsel under which he purportedly acts meets those criteria. And that is a serious problem for the rule of law, whatever one may think of the conduct at issue in Smith’s prosecution.”

Attorney General Garland appointed Mr. Smith as special counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice, citing several statutes. However, none of these statutes even “remotely authorized the appointment by the Attorney General of a private citizen or government employee to receive extraordinary criminal law enforcement power under the title of Special Counsel.” The two attorneys general added there are times when the appointment of a special counsel would be appropriate and that the U.S. Constitution allows for such appointments. However, “the Attorney General cannot appoint someone never confirmed by the Senate, as a substitute United States Attorney under the title ‘special counsel,’” they added. “Smith’s appointment was thus unlawful, as are all actions flowing from it, including his prosecution of former President Trump,” they wrote.

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing President Trump’s immunity case as part of Mr. Smith’s indictment of the former president alleging an attempt to subvert the transfer of presidential power following the 2020 election. President Trump is charged with four criminal counts in the case. President Trump had requested that the lower courts back his claims of presidential immunity, as the actions were undertaken while he was serving as president. After the lower courts refused to grant the request, the 45th president appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, contending that his actions as president are covered by presidential immunity. The Supreme Court agreed to consider the following question—“whether and, if so, to what extent does a former president enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office?”

In court, Mr. Sauer warned the justices against giving a judgment that undermines presidential immunity, noting that U.S. presidents would no longer be able to carry out their job properly if they were unsure whether their actions would trigger prosecution years after their time in office. “The implications of the court’s decision here extend far beyond the facts of this case,” he said. “For 234 years of American history, no president was ever prosecuted for his official acts. The framers of our Constitution viewed an energetic executive as essential to securing liberty.” “If a president can be charged, put on trial, and imprisoned for his most controversial decisions as soon as he leaves office, that looming threat will distort the president’s decision-making precisely when bold and fearless action is most needed.” Moreover, a lack of presidential immunity will denote that every president becomes a potential candidate for extortion by political rivals while still in office, Mr. Sauer added.

“Prosecuting the president for his official acts is an innovation with no foothold in history or tradition and is incompatible with our constitutional structure,” he said. The Supreme Court justices appeared skeptical about President Trump’s claims that he has the right to absolute immunity for his actions as president. However, the justices also appeared to be open to accepting that presidents have some level of immunity. The court could decide to remand the case to the Washington district court, with instructions for differentiating between official and private acts of a president so that additional fact-finding proceedings can be done. Such a move would delay the former president’s trial in Washington and potentially proceedings related to three other cases. This would give President Trump a strategic win as he attempts to hold off trials until after the presidential election.

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Looks like he was set up in every single case.

Was Trump Set Up In Classified Docs Saga? (Margolis)

This week in Florida, Judge Aileen Cannon unsealed a trove of new documents that Jack Smith fought to keep hidden. And you’ll soon find out why. Among the documents unsealed were extensive exhibits, motions, and other filings shedding light on the intricate web of communication between the Biden White House and the National Archives and Records Administration in the lead-up to Trump’s indictment. Investigative journalist Julie Kelly found something interesting in the documents that could change everything. The first things is testimony from an FBI agent who testified that the General Services Association (GSA) had been in possession of Trump’s boxes in Virginia before ordering Trump’s team to come get them. “So an entire pallet full of boxes that had been held by GSA somewhere outside of DC is dumped at Mar-a-Lago,” Kelly notes. “Apparently these are the boxes that ended up containing papers with ‘classified markings.'” “I will double check indictment but I don’t recall this event in the timeline,” she added.

So, it appears that the Biden administration may have been responsible for shipping classified information to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. This development is significant because Trump has previously blamed the GSA for packing the boxes that contained the classified documents, only to later accuse Trump of essentially stealing them and using that as pretext for sending the FBI to raid his Mar-a-Lago home in August 2022. “It was a set-up from the get-go,” remarked Tom Fitton, the founder of Judicial Watch. Meanwhile, Joe Biden had classified information that he was never entitled to have stored in boxes in his garage for years, but was not charged. Biden blamed staffers for packing the classified information.

While this may not prove the Biden administration set up Trump in the classified documents case, considering the way the Biden administration has abused the legal system against Trump, no one can confidently say they wouldn’t. Even so, it still raises other legitimate questions. For example, if the GSA had been in possession of the boxes, why wasn’t a review of the materials conducted before they instructed Trump’s team to get them? When it comes to classified information, they wouldn’t have expected Trump and his staff to be responsible for ensuring that classified documents weren’t among the records. Perhaps they did review the contents of the boxes and knew classified documents were contained in them before they told Trump’s people to come get them.

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“..A CNN poll released on Thursday showed that just 13% of Americans believe Trump is being treated the same as other criminal defendants.”

US Voters Warming Up To Trump – CNN Poll (RT)

Americans appear to be looking more positively at former US President Donald Trump as this year’s election draws closer, increasingly favoring him over incumbent Joe Biden and viewing his term in office as a success, a new CNN poll has shown. The poll released on Sunday found that US voters favor Trump by a 49%-43% margin in a hypothetical one-on-one matchup with Biden. That compares with the Republican’s 49%-45% over the incumbent Democrat in January. Trump has a wider lead when the full field of contenders is included, as will be the case when voters go to the polls in November, the survey showed. He has a 42%-33% margin over Biden, followed by 15% for independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. The remaining 10% support third-party candidates or are undecided. Two-thirds of US voters do not understand how anyone could support Biden, while 52% say there is no chance they would vote for the incumbent under any circumstance.

By comparison, 63% of respondents cannot see how anyone could support Trump, and 47% say there is no chance they would vote for him. Only 47% of voters are satisfied with the candidates they have to choose from, including 44% of Democrats and 63% of Republicans, CNN said. Biden is viewed negatively by 58% of voters, while 53% have a negative opinion of Trump. Only 65% of respondents believe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election, unchanged from when the same question was asked after the January 2021 US Capitol riot. Opinions of Trump’s term as president have improved since he left office. Looking back on his performance, 55% of Americans believe Trump’s presidency was a “success,” up from 45% when voters were polled after the riot. By comparison, 39% of respondents believe Biden’s term has been a success, the survey showed.

Similarly, six in ten Americans disapprove of Biden’s performance as president. He gets low marks for his handling of several issues of top concern for voters, including 66% disapproval on the economy, 71% disapproval on inflation and 71% disapproval on the Israel-Hamas war. Only about four in ten Americans believe the US “has a responsibility” to be involved in Middle East conflicts. Trump has accused Biden and the incumbent’s allies of trying to derail his candidacy through the court system. The ex-president faces 91 criminal charges in four separate indictments. A CNN poll released on Thursday showed that just 13% of Americans believe Trump is being treated the same as other criminal defendants. Only 44% are confident that the jury chosen in the first Trump case that has gone to trial – now underway in New York City – will deliver a fair verdict.

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“Trump’s support stands steadily at 49%, while Biden holds 43%..”

Spielberg Helping To Direct Biden’s Campaign – NBC (RT)

Steven Spielberg, one of Hollywood’s best-known film directors, has been enlisted to assist US President Joe Biden with his re-election campaign providing strategy for the Democratic National Convention (DNC) that is scheduled to take place between August 19 and 22 in Chicago, NBC reported on Friday. According to the publication, Spielberg, who is a long-time supporter of Biden, has been actively participating in meetings with the organizers of the event, where more than 5,000 delegates from 50 US states will officially select the Democratic party’s presidential and vice presidential nominees. The filmmaker is reportedly offering his insights on how best to “convey the president’s successes and his vision for the country” to delegates and viewers as Biden prepares to face former President Donald Trump in a November rematch.

“Steven wants to be as helpful as possible to the president,” a well-placed source told the Deadline media outlet. “He believes this is one of the most important elections in the nation’s history.” Spielberg has proven to be a dedicated donor to the Biden-Harris ticket, having appeared at a mega-fundraiser in December last year, which was hosted by his friend and former DreamWorks business partner Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is also a co-chair of Biden’s campaign. The famed director, however, has no plans to produce a movie of the August event as he did for John Kerry’s and Barack Obama’s nominations, the NBC source has said.

The publication also mentions that Biden’s campaign is in a separate negotiation with former President Obama about appearing at a Los Angeles fundraiser in mid-June, which would reportedly feature George Clooney and Katzenberg as hosts. A previous star-studded event in New York City last month, which was attended by Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, raised more than $25 million in one night. Biden currently trails behind his Republican rival, according to a new national poll released by CNN on Sunday. Trump’s support stands steadily at 49%, while Biden holds 43%, which is a two-point drop since January when 45% of Americans said they were ready to cast a vote for the current president.

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“..It is reactionary to the extent it does not have a vision for improving the world, but wants to take back the world to the way it was..”

The US and the UK Are Pushing For Total War On All Fronts (RT)

The events of recent weeks have produced a sudden jolt in Western politics. From a lethargy that was starting to creep into US and western discourse over the Ukraine war, Iran’s attack on Israel suddenly seemed to have had the effect of awakening Ronald Reagan from his grave and leading to a surge of neo-conservativism on steroids, on both sides of the Atlantic. US House Speaker Mike Johnson did a complete 180-degree U-turn and proclaimed himself a “Reagan Republican” passing a series of aid bills for astronomical overseas spending that he had otherwise blocked for months, as he denounced an “axis of evil.” Along with that, a proposed TikTok ban bill came out of nowhere too and was quickly signed into law.

Then the UK decided to devote its largest ever aid package to Ukraine, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warning of an “axis of authoritarian states” and amplifying ideologically combative rhetoric. At the same time, it was then revealed Biden had sent 300km long range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine despite having pledged not to do so for years, fearing escalation. Finally, EU President Ursula von der Leyen has suddenly dramatically increased economic warfare on China, pushing the European Commission to open probes on scores of Chinese exports. Where exactly did all this come from?

It’s almost as if the US and its allies seized upon the tensions between Iran and Israel in order to “whitewash” their slate and double down on a series of objectives they are otherwise losing public support for, including the war in Ukraine, but also Israel’s invasion of Gaza. One has to wonder if the Israeli attack on the Iranian compound in Damascus, which provoked Tehran’s response, was deliberately staged, coordinated and planned for this purpose. It served the mutually convenient goal of letting both Prime Minister Netanyahu and Western governments off the hook for whatever opposition they had otherwise faced.

It should be abundantly clear now that the current powers that be, in London and Washington, have absolutely no intent of letting up on the wars they have provoked, while also pushing for a potential third one with China, and seem indifferent to the consequences, even if for example, the Israel-Gaza war is shattering the West’s claims of moral superiority. In each case, the stakes are very high, Western foreign policy at large has taken on a very zero-sum and ideological character which bemoans the loss of hegemony, and seeks to uphold it at all costs. It is reactionary to the extent it does not have a vision for improving the world, but wants to take back the world to the way it was. It is a sense of entitlement and privilege that wants to suppress an emerging multipolarity.

Because of this, it has become impossible for Western leaders to ever consider the concept of compromise in these respective theaters, and they refuse under any circumstances to make concessions which could be deemed strategic. This has produced a position where the only outcome they are willing to accept in Ukraine is what they deem “the defeat of Putin,” and have been subtly escalating ever since, edging ever closer to the point where a “proxy war” becomes a direct one for all intents and purposes. NATO military advisors are already on the ground, and Ukrainian attacks are being guided by NATO intelligence or even coordinated by British admirals.

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“The agreement should be truly exemplary and reflect the strength of American leadership..”

Zelensky Wants 10 More Years Of US Funding (RT)

The latest US aid package for Kiev, which was only approved by Congress after more than six months of partisan feuding, might be small potatoes compared to what Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has in mind for his biggest benefactor. The Kiev government is negotiating with President Joe Biden’s administration on a long-term agreement that would put Washington on the hook to provide Ukraine with military, economic and political support for the next decade, Zelensky said on Sunday in his daily video address. Such commitments are needed to ensure Ukraine with the “efficiency in assistance” it needs to stem the recent battlefield advances by Russian forces and gain the upper hand, he insisted. “We are working to commit to paper concrete levels of support for this year and for the next ten years,” Zelensky said. “It will include military, financial, and political support, as well as what concerns joint production of weapons.”

Kiev has already signed bilateral security agreements with several NATO members, including the UK, Germany and France. Zelensky said he wants the long-term deal under negotiation with Washington to be the strongest such pact for Ukraine. However, Ukraine’s bilateral agreements with Western backers so far have stopped short of mutual-defense commitments. The deals merely pledge long-term aid, including support in the event of a future attack, and they are not legally binding. The agreement with Berlin, for instance, can be terminated with six months’ notice. Zelensky said he wants Ukraine’s bilateral pact with Washington to include specific levels of aid. “The agreement should be truly exemplary and reflect the strength of American leadership,” he said.

US lawmakers approved $61 billion in additional aid for Ukraine earlier this month, after House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-Louisiana) overrode opposition in his own party to pass the bill with unanimous Democrat support. The Biden administration ran out of funding for Ukraine aid earlier this year, after using up $113 billion in previously approved assistance packages. Republican lawmakers have argued that Biden is merely prolonging the bloodshed in Ukraine without offering a clear strategy for victory or a peace deal with Russia. A poll released in February showed that nearly 70% of Americans want Biden to push for a negotiated settlement with Moscow, involving compromises on both sides, rather than continuing to fund the conflict.

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“Germany is mostly concerned about the move potentially opening a Pandora’s box of historical restitution and reparations claims, including those linked to the nation’s own Nazi past..”

‘Motherland Is Not For Sale’ – Zakharova (RT)

Russia will not cede any territory in exchange for the prospect of recovering its assets frozen abroad, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Telegram on Sunday. Zakharova was commenting on a Wall Street Journal article claiming that Germany is considering trying to use the funds as leverage during potential peace talks between Moscow and Kiev. Berlin has been opposing the US push to seize the frozen Russian assets and use them to fund Ukraine’s military and economic needs, according to the article, which was published on Sunday. One of the arguments reportedly brought up by German officials revolved around using the money as “leverage in any talks to end the war.” That strategy would supposedly force Moscow to “cede” some of the territory that Kiev lays claim to, the WSJ said. The outlet did not provide any exact quotes or identify any specific German officials supporting this line of thought. “I do not know who says what but assets are not to be exchanged for territories,” Zakharova wrote in a Telegram post. “The motherland is not for sale.”

Zakharova also maintained that the Russian assets should “stay untouched” and warned that “any Western theft would be met with a harsh response.” “Many people in the West have already understood this. It’s a pity that not everyone [has],” she added. The EU and other G7 nations have blocked an estimated $300 billion in reserves belonging to the Russian central bank since the start of the Ukraine conflict in 2022. Most of the funds are being held by the Belgium-based clearinghouse Euroclear. Earlier in April, the US passed a bill allowing Washington to liquidate frozen Russian assets and transfer the funds obtained to Ukraine. However, the US holds only around $6 billion out of the total amount. Washington has long been pushing its allies to seize the money outright but has encountered resistance from some allies, particularly Germany, according to the WSJ. The potential use of the funds as a bargaining chip in future talks is just one of Berlin’s reasons, though, according to the WSJ. Germany is mostly concerned about the move potentially opening a Pandora’s box of historical restitution and reparations claims, including those linked to the nation’s own Nazi past, it said.

Berlin is currently facing such demands from Poland, which has been seeking $1.3 trillion in compensation since 2022. Greece asked for over $300 billion in 2019, while in Italy courts even reportedly attempted to seize German state property to fund paying compensation to the descendants of victims of the Nazi occupation. The German government has so far brushed off those demands, arguing that “international law prohibits individuals from making claims against states in foreign courts and that state assets are immune from seizure,” the WSJ said. Seizing Russia’s money would violate this principle and greatly undermine Berlin’s legal position, it added. Similar concerns are also reportedly driving Japan’s opposition to seizing the assets, since it also faces reparation claims from South Korea and other neighbors, the outlet reported. Tokyo and Berlin should also not be the only ones to worry since the move could open a way for other nations to claim reparations for slavery and colonialism, according to the WSJ.

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“Ukraine does not spare its own citizens. And this is a tragedy for the people, a tragedy for the country.”

Many People to Question Zelensky’s Legitimacy Soon – Kremlin (Sp.)

Many people, including in Ukraine, will question the legitimacy of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy soon, and he will “have to justify himself,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday. “Very soon, the moment will come when many people, including in Ukraine, will question his [Zelensky’s] legitimacy. In any case, even from the legal point of view, it will have to be done. And he will have to justify himself somehow,” Peskov told Rossiya 1 reporter Pavel Zarubin. When asked to comment on the remarks of the Ukrainian president, who assessed the new weapons supply to Kiev as a good deal enabling Ukrainians to fight for themselves, the Kremlin spokesman called Zelensky the “specific president of the specific regime.” “Ukraine does not spare its own citizens. And this is a tragedy for the people, a tragedy for the country. First, they infected their country with all sorts of nationalist manifestations, and now they no longer shun anything: they do not hesitate to throw new thousands and thousands of people into the furnace of this war,” Peskov added.

He also expressed the belief that Russia would achieve victory in the special military operation, as the dynamics of the situation on the front were showing that the “outcome is predetermined.” Ukraine was due to hold a presidential election on March 31, but it was called off due to martial law and general mobilization. Zelensky, who was sworn into office in May 2019, said it was “not the right time” for elections. Russia launched its special military operation in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, in response to calls by the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics. Moscow said the operation, which targets Ukrainian military infrastructure, aims to “demilitarize and denazify” Ukraine and completely liberate Donbass. Western nations have imposed numerous sanctions on Russia and have been supplying weapons to Ukraine.

Read more …

“.. a number of Western states, including the US, UK, and France, promised support to Kiev, but refused to guarantee it.”

Ukraine Rejected 2022 Peace Deal Over Russian Language, ‘Banning Nazism’ (Sp.)

Russia and Ukraine were closer than ever to concluding a peace treaty in April 2022, but the Kiev regime rejected several of Moscow’s demands outright, German newspaper Welt Am Sonntag revealed. Specifically, terms regarding the status of the Russian language, and Kiev’s official rejection of Nazism were seen as unpalatable by the regime led by Volodymyr Zelensky, according to the 17-page draft peace treaty between the sides obtained by Welt. It follows from the draft, agreed during negotiations in Turkiye on April 15, 2022, that Moscow and Kiev reached an agreement on the basic conditions for ending the conflict, but there were some unresolved issues that were to be discussed personally by President Vladimir Putin and Volodymyr Zelensky in the same month. That summit was never to take place. “Countless lives” could have been spared if this “advantageous” deal had been concluded, the outlet stated.

Since the beginning of Russia’s special military operation, Ukraine’s military has lost almost 500,000 people, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated on April 23. Welt cited a member of the former Ukrainian negotiating team as calling it, in hindsight, “the best deal we could have had.” First of all, in line with Article 1 of the draft treaty, Ukraine committed itself to “permanent neutrality.” Thus, Kiev was to abandon ambitions of membership in a military alliance, including NATO. The ensuing 13 sub-points of the first article outline the extensive definition of neutrality. Ukraine agreed never to “receive, produce, or acquire nuclear weapons,” not to allow foreign weapons or troops on its soil, and not to provide its military infrastructure, including airports and seaports, to any other country. Furthermore, in line with the draft, Kiev renounced holding military exercises with foreign participation and partaking in any military conflicts. However, EU membership for Kiev was explicitly not hindered, according to Article 3 of the document.

Article 5 of the draft treaty had outlined comprehensive security guarantees that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, UK, France, China, and Russia – could provide for Ukraine. In the event of a conflict, the guarantor states would commit to supporting Kiev’s self-defense within a maximum of three days, as enshrined in the UN Charter. This assistance could take the form of “joint action” by all or individual guarantor powers. According to Article 15, this treaty was supposed to be ratified in each signatory state to ensure legal validity. The article notes that one of the difficulties regarding this issue was the requirement for the consent of all guarantor states, which meant Russia could resort to a veto. At the same time, a number of Western states, including the US, UK, and France, promised support to Kiev, but refused to guarantee it.

Read more …

Time to replace Ursula.

Zelensky Demands EU ‘Fulfill Obligations’ On Ukrainian Membership (RT)

Kiev has fulfilled every requirement the EU has set out for it, and is ready to begin accession talks, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky stated in a video address on Sunday, demanding that the bloc now follow through. Kiev made a formal request to join the bloc in February 2022, shortly after the escalation of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. It was granted candidate status in June of the same year. In December 2023, EU officials agreed to open up accession negotiations, setting out a number of steps for Kiev to take first in preparation. All these steps have been completed, Zelensky claimed in a video address on Sunday, promising that this is the year to bring “results with the European Union.”
“Ukraine has fulfilled all the necessary conditions for the real start of the accession negotiations, and now the EU side must fulfill its obligations,” he said.

The EU’s accession criteria include stable democratic institutions, the rule of law, protection of human rights and minorities, along with a robust market economy and the institutional capacity to cope with the responsibilities of being an EU member state. One of the key issues to tackle was widespread corruption. Amid a string of high-level corruption scandals, lawmakers from Ukraine’s biggest sponsor – the US – expressed concerns about their aid being misused. Last month, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry announced plans to introduce a new logistics planning department, after several high-ranking military officials were arrested for embezzlement in the months before. Kiev is currently preparing for a peace conference set to take place in Switzerland this June, Zelensky added. “The world majority must force Russia into peace – and it can do this,” he said.

Moscow has not been invited to participate, and has dismissed the conference as “nonsense.” President Vladimir Putin reiterated earlier this month that Russia has not rejected a peaceful solution to the conflict, but would not accept a deal that ignore the country’s interests. Kiev is also gearing up for the NATO summit this summer, according to the Ukrainian president. The US-led military bloc “should not be afraid of its own strength or shy away from its own foundations,” he said, calling for a “strong political signal.” Ukraine’s ambition to join NATO – a goal enshrined in its constitution – was one of the key reasons for Russia’s military operation against Kiev, Moscow has stated. One of Russia’s major goals in the conflict is Ukrainian neutrality, Putin has said.

Read more …

“.. the Hague could not consider arrest warrants against Israeli leaders without Washington’s informal consent…”

Israel Concerned Biden May Throw Netanyahu ‘Under the Bus’ at ICC (Sp.)

Most of America’s overseas allies are signatories to the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute. The US itself quit the Court in 2002 before launching its war of aggression in Iraq. Israel is not a party to the ICC, but is concerned about the “dangerous precedent” that could be set by threats to drag its leaders before the Court. Israeli officials are concerned the Biden administration may abandon the Netanyahu government if the ICC issued arrest warrants against the Israeli prime minister and senior members of his cabinet. “Where is Biden? Why is he quiet while Israel will potentially be thrown under the bus?” an Israeli diplomatic source told the Jerusalem Post on Sunday. The source’s comments follow reports in Israeli media this week citing senior ICC sources that the Hague could not consider arrest warrants against Israeli leaders without Washington’s informal consent.

“The sources at The Hague said that it is impossible that the chief prosecutor would have decided on such a dramatic step, in a war that is still ongoing…if he had not at least had a ‘green light’ from the Americans. If this is true, this is another unprecedented low in relations between Israel and the US, at a very sensitive time, on the eve of the ground entry to Rafah,” Israeli journalist Amit Segal wrote. The Jewish News Syndicate pointed to ICC chief prosecutor Karim A. A. Khan’s alleged tendency to take marching orders from the US, pointing to Washington’s support for his election in 2021, and to his controversial decision to close out two ICC cases which “greatly troubled the Americans” related to suspected US war crimes in Afghanistan.

Separately on Sunday, Israel’s Walla news site reported that Netanyahu had spearheaded a “nonstop push over the telephone” focused on calls to the White House, to prevent ICC arrest warrants from being issued. Netanyahu warned Friday that Israel would “never stop defending ourselves,” and that while “decisions of the court in the Hague will not affect Israel’s actions, they would be a dangerous precedent threatening the soldiers and officials of any democracy fighting criminal terrorism and aggression.” “Under my leadership, Israel will never accept any attempt by the ICC to undermine its inherent right of self-defense. The threat to seize the soldiers and officers of the Middle East’s only democracy and the world’s only Jewish state is outrageous. We will not bow to it,” Netanyahu added.

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“Washington is a criminal enterprise, and there is no electing someone big enough to change this.”

Insane vs Sane – Demonic vs Divine – Catherine Austin Fitts (USAW)

Catherine Austin Fitts (CAF), Publisher of The Solari Report, financial expert and former Assistant Secretary of Housing (Bush 41 Admin.), has long said, “The federal government is being run as a criminal enterprise. . . .not just a little criminal, but a lot criminal.” Now, CAF contends what is going on in America is much more than greedy criminals. CAF says, “This has turned into warfare against “We the People” on a spiritual level.” CAF goes on to point out, “There is so much effort in persuading people to think there is nothing you can do, and it’s hopeless. Let me tell you something . . . the central bankers are telling you what they are going to do, and this is not far away in the future. You have all these merchant codes where you cannot use your credit card to buy a gun or the bank throws you out. That’s the control grid getting built.”

What can you do to fight for freedom? CAF says, “Bring transparency, and the second thing is to use cash. If we can all use cash, build cash back up and keep checks going, if you have cash and checks, they cannot go to an all-digital financial system. Find out who is leading the way in your state, and see what you can do to support them. Above anything, you can pray because this is a spiritual war. The devil wants you to believe it’s hopeless and there is nothing you can do. . . . It’s not true. The sane cannot go along with the insane. The divine cannot go along with the demonic. You have to say NO! I am seeing this all over the country. I am seeing Treasurers and State Attorney Generals, and they are all pushing back because they realize this is insane. You cannot go along with this.”

CAF says not only do the Deep State globalists want control of the financial system, but they also want control of your food. CAF says, “You see at this level when you are trying to protect freedom, they cannot get financial control unless they can control the food supply. People can always start their own currencies as long as they can grow food. If you look at the push for financial control and central bank digital currency, it is the same push. They are pushing to control the food supply.” CAF thinks Washington is so broken, corrupt and criminal that whoever wins the Presidential Election it will not make much of a difference. CAF points out, “Look at how quickly Speaker Mike Johnson caved. Speaker Johnson caved for Ukraine and war all over the world, but he won’t protect our borders. Mike Johnson, Christian, conservative and not a dime to protect our borders. . . Washington is a criminal enterprise, and there is no electing someone big enough to change this. This is not Trump vs Biden. This is the pro-centralization team in Washington. We have to pull power back from Washington.”

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Water fuel cell

 

 

Comfiest
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784425052705792202

 

 

Zookeeper

 

 

Fluff
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784455315921994040

 

 

Duck fight
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784344522064809985

 

 

Bambi
https://twitter.com/i/status/1784575390943465716

 

 

Cat+

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 212024
 
 April 21, 2024  Posted by at 9:45 am Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,  37 Responses »


Andrew Wyeth Christina’s world 1948

 

House Passes $95 Billion Aid Package For Ukraine, Israel And Taiwan (ZH)
American Aid ‘Keeps History On Right Track’ – Zelensky (RT)
Who Gets What From Congress’ $61 Bln Bag of Goodies? (Sp.)
David Sacks Warns Ukraine Will ‘Collapse Anyway,’ Despite Aid Bill (Sp.)
US Aid Bill ‘Insufficient’ for Ukraine’s Needs, Bolsters US Military (Sp.)
US Lawmakers Approve More Government Spying (RT)
US Confiscation of Russian Assets Will ‘Supercharge’ De-Dollarization
$500 Russian Drones Destroying $10,000,000 American Tanks – NYT (RT)
‘Pariah’ Israel Dragging US ‘Into Garbage Bin of History’ (Sp.)
Trump Wants To ‘Kill His Opposition’ – Hillary Clinton (RT)
Texas Is a Fading Conservative State (Paul Craig Roberts)
A Collective “Common Enemy” Now Stalks Mankind (Karganovic)

 

 

24 hours without internet at home. A little bit of improvisation today.

 

 

 

 

Vivek Trump SS

 

 

Third eye

 

 

 

 

 

 

But not the border. Mike Johnson became speaker BECAUSE he said he’d protect the border.

House Passes $95 Billion Aid Package For Ukraine, Israel And Taiwan (ZH)

The House on Saturday passed a set of foreign aid bills that would send $61 billion to Ukraine, $26 billion to Israel, and $8 billion to the Indo-Pacific region. In total, the foreign assistance package totals $95 billion – which only passed after Speaker Mike Johnson cut a deal with Democrats in order to force it through by a vote of 311 to 112. The Senate is expected to pass the package, which was negotiated in conjunction with the White House, marking a victory against conservative lawmakers who insisted on protecting the US border before sending money abroad to protect those of other countries. “We cannot be afraid of our shadows. We must be strong. We have to do what’s right,” House Foreign Affairs Chairman Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican, said. Democrats and some Republicans waved Ukrainian flags during the vote, a rare moment of bipartisanship in a bitterly and narrowly divided House.

“Traditional House Republicans led by Speaker Mike Johnson have risen to the occasion,” House Democratic leader Hakeem Jeffries said. “We have a responsibility to push back against authoritarianism.” -Bloomberg. Earlier in the day, the House passed an $8 billion aid package aimed at countering Chinese aggression towards Taiwan, as well as a bill that would force Chinese-controlled ByteDance Ltd to divest from TikTok or face a US ban. The bill also allows for the confiscation of Russian dollar assets in order to help fund more assistance to Ukraine. Breaking down the Ukraine aid – of the $61 billion, $13 billion will replenish US stockpiles of weapons, and $14 billion will go towards US defense systems for Ukraine. $7 billion will go toward US military operations in the region. We assume the remainder will go directly to Ukrainian oligarchs.

The Israel bill, which passed by a vote of 366 to 58, includes $4 billion for missile defense. Notably absent was so much as a dime for the US border… “Nothing is done to secure our border or reduce our debt,” said Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), whose outrage was shared with Reps. Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Paul Gosar of Arizona, who say they’re ready to boot Johnson from his Speakership. “Ukraine is not even a member of NATO,” Greene continued. Who would have known!

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The history of corruption, that is.

American Aid ‘Keeps History On Right Track’ – Zelensky (RT)

The decision by the US House of Representatives to allocate tens of billions of dollars to Kiev will bring Ukraine closer to a “just end” in its conflict with Russia, President Vladimir Zelensky wrote on X (formerly Twitter), thanking Speaker Mike Johnson for his support. The nearly $61 billion package approved on Saturday contains funding for the purchase of weapons and military equipment, as well direct financial assistance to Ukraine. Passed after months of delays and political wrangling, the bill next moves to the Senate, which already indicated in February that it will approve it.“I am grateful to the United States House of Representatives, both parties, and personally Speaker Mike Johnson for the decision that keeps history on the right track,” Zelensky wrote, suggesting that the aid will “keep the war from expanding,” and “save thousands and thousands of lives.”

“Just peace and security can only be attained through strength,” he wrote. Zelensky added that Ukraine “will undoubtedly use American assistance to strengthen both of our nations and bring a just end to this war closer.” Republican lawmakers had previously refused to back the bill, tying their approval to demands for better protection of the border with Mexico and a crackdown on illegal immigration. Kiev was forced to deal with increasing ammunition shortages after aid from the US – Ukraine’s biggest sponsor – began to dry up. Biden blamed Ukraine’s recent setbacks on the battlefield, including the loss of the strategic city of Avdeevka, on “congressional inaction.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Saturday’s vote “predictable,” adding that it will “further enrich the US and further ruin Ukraine,” and “cause more Ukrainians to die because of the Kiev regime.”

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“..very little change will be noted by those actually fightin..,”

Who Gets What From Congress’ $61 Bln Bag of Goodies? (Sp.)

The House approved nearly $100 billion in assistance to Washington’s overseas allies, partners and client states on Saturday, with supporters of the aid managing to overcome opposition after a six-month deadlock in the chamber. Nearly $61 billion of the $95 billion from the proposed funding package is committed to fueling the conflict in Ukraine (at least $23 billion of that to be spent replenishing depleted US weapons stocks). Over $26 billion in additional commitments are made to Israel (nearly eight times what Washington normally sends Tel Aviv’s way in a given year). $8.12 billion is committed to stirring up tensions with China in Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific region more broadly. Passing the House, the aid package is now set to be voted on by the Senate, where leaders from both parties have been clamoring for months for the foreign assistance to be urgently passed. If it passes the Senate, the legislation will end up on President Biden’s desk for signature.

Supporters and opponents of the foreign aid package gave stirring speeches ahead of the Saturday’s House vote restating their positions. “I often say it’s never too late to do the right thing. But waiting to do the right thing comes at a cost,” Maryland Democrat Steny Hoyer said. “We saw that cost in Israel this week as an emboldened Iran launched an unprecedented attack on our ally. For Ukraine the cost of our inaction is great if incalculable. It is measured in Ukrainian lives, towns and territory lost…Today we act. We act to make it clear to the world that America is still the defender of freedom, democracy and international law.” Georgia Republican Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a staunch opponent of further US assistance to Ukraine, military or otherwise, proposed an amendment to slash support for Kiev to zero. “The United States taxpayer has already sent $113 billion to Ukraine, and a lot of that money is unaccounted for,” Greene said.

“The federal government continues to fund the military-industrial complex, and this is a business model that requires Congress to continue to vote for money to fund foreign wars. This is a business model that the American people do not support. They don’t support a business model built on blood and murder and war in foreign countries while this very government does nothing to secure our border. The American people are over $34 trillion in debt and the debt is rising by over $40 billion every single night while we all sleep. But yet nothing is done to secure our border or reduce our debt.” Pointing to polling indicating that a majority of Americans disapprove of new aid to Ukraine, Greene said Congress has chosen to vote to “protect Ukraine” instead of protecting “the American citizens that pay your paycheck.” “

Ukraine is not even a member of NATO. But the most important thing you hear in Washington, DC is that we have to send Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars over to Ukraine and keep the money going, to continue to murder Ukrainians, wipe out an entire generation of Ukrainian men…What kind of support is that? It’s repulsive,” the Georgia Republican said. The tens of billions of dollars in new US aid doled out via the legislation passed by the House Saturday may prolong the Ukrainian crisis, but won’t be able to secure a NATO victory in the proxy war against Russia, says former DoD senior security policy analyst Michael Maloof. “Now, the money that’s going to Ukraine for the most part will probably go to US defense contractors in various states, but to make newer equipment for our own stockpiles, which will then allow the US to unload older stuff for Ukraine,” Maloof told Sputnik.

“It’s not going to be enough for Ukraine to overcome its current geostrategic position at this point, simply because they don’t have a consistent ability to arm,” the observer added, pointing out that along with the weapons themselves is the ability to find the men to use them, something the Kiev regime is having increasingly severe difficulty doing as it is. “Other money to be provided to Ukraine is intended to pay government employees,” US Air Force Lt. Col. (ret.) Karen Kwiatkowski, a former DoD analyst, told Sputnik. “Thus presumably it will include meeting soldiers’ needs but it goes to Kiev bureaucrats first. Given how it will be allocated, very little change will be noted by those actually fighting,” Kwiatkowski believes, estimating that of the $61 billion allocated, $45 billion will remain in the US and $16 billion will be sent to Ukraine as so-called direct aid.

“Likely the $16 billion that makes it to Ukraine will be instantly absorbed to pay government bills rather than the war effort,” she said, pointing to Kiev’s massive budget deficit. “They have no means to undertake a counteroffensive, and just given the amounts of artillery that they burn through, what even the US is proposing probably wouldn’t last more than six months at best. And it’s undetermined what Europe is going to provide. So I think the Ukraine basically is over. It’s just a mop up [operation for] the Russians. And it’s just going to take time for that reality to sink in to Zelensky, who should begin considering getting out of there fast because I don’t think the country is going to politically last much longer,” Maloof said.

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“If you vote to send our money abroad while waving a foreign flag, you’ll be called an American patriot. If you vote to keep our money at home to fund domestic priorities like the border, you’ll be called a foreign agent.”

David Sacks Warns Ukraine Will ‘Collapse Anyway,’ Despite Aid Bill (Sp.)

Previously, the US billionaire investor David Sacks underscored the need to “cut a deal” and seek a detente with Russia to avoid a third world war. He told a gala for the Republican think-tank American Moment in Washington that US involvement in the ongoing proxy conflict in Ukraine was only prolonging the standoff. The collapse of Ukraine is inevitable, despite the US House of Representatives having passed a foreign aid package that includes $61 billion in aid for Kiev, American entrepreneur David Sacks wrote on the X social media platform. “These scenes of celebration are going to look particularly foolish when Ukraine collapses anyway. The federal government can print more money; it can’t just print more artillery shells and air defense missiles,” the investor wrote, reacting to the jubilant scene in the House, where some of the lawmakers were seen waving Ukrainian flags. He continued by saying, “And I should have added, they can’t print more soldiers.”

The post by Sacks was in reply to a similarly deprecatory one by GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who posted footage from the House after the bill was passed, commenting that, “they vote to send more of your hard-earned money to a corrupt foreign regime. And just like that they shout ‘UKRAINE! UKRAINE!’ while happily working to secure Ukraine’s borders, not ours. The billionaire investor pointed out in his thread on X that, “It’s not “just” $61 billion. Ukraine will need massive annual cash infusions to stave off total defeat. So it’s $61 billion as the baseline for an annual appropriation in a new forever war.” He pointed out that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars also began with “annual appropriations in the $60B range. Those wars ended up costing trillions.” “Simple math,” the investor remarked, showed that the new funding bill could do no more than possibly buy Ukraine “precisely half of a Summer Counteroffensive.”

And, of course, everyone knows full well how that much-heralded counteroffensive attempt ended up last year – limited battlefield achievements coupled with massive manpower and hardware losses. According to Sacks, it is a bizarre world, where “If you vote to send our money abroad while waving a foreign flag, you’ll be called an American patriot. If you vote to keep our money at home to fund domestic priorities like the border, you’ll be called a foreign agent.” The entrepreneur recalled that according to US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, “CIA Director Burns had to warn [Ukraine’s President Volodymyr] Zelensky to stop stealing so much money. His subordinates were angry that he wasn’t sharing the spoils.” “Do you think that problem has been resolved and Zelensky will share more this time?” queried David Sacks.

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“Russia has been quite successful in its goal of ‘demilitarizing’ both Ukraine and NATO..”

US Aid Bill ‘Insufficient’ for Ukraine’s Needs, Bolsters US Military (Sp.)

After more than 2 month of hard negotiations, the US House of Representatives has passed a multi-billion foreign aid package. However, the bill has sparked debate and criticism, with experts questioning its efficacy and allocation. David Pyne, a former US Department of Defense officer and executive vice president of Task Force on National and Homeland Security, offered a critical assessment of the aid package. He argued that the allocated funds are “woefully insufficient” for Ukraine’s wartime needs. The bill “will not change the outcome of the war which will inevitably end with a Russian victory and Ukraine being forced to accept Russia’s peace terms”, Pyne believes. Questions also arise regarding the distribution of the aid, since House Speaker Mike Johnson indicated that only a fraction, approximately $12-14 billion, would directly provide weapons to Ukraine.

However, Pyne raised concerns that a substantial portion, around 80%, would benefit US defense industries. He highlighted the potential for President Biden to utilize drawdown authority, enabling the redirection of additional funds from existing military stocks to Ukraine. Furthermore, Pyne shed light on Ukraine’s critical shortages of artillery shells and air defense missiles. He outlined Russia’s success in inflicting significant casualties on Ukrainian forces and emphasized the challenges in addressing Ukraine’s munitions deficits. “Russia has been quite successful in its goal of ‘demilitarizing’ both Ukraine and NATO, causing the US and its NATO allies to unilaterally disarm themselves of tens of thousands of its most modern weapon systems and transfer them to Ukraine”, stated Pyne.

Pyne highlighted the stark disparity between Russian and Ukrainian&NATO artillery capabilities, noting that “Russia produces over three times as many artillery munitions than all of NATO combined”. “Russian forces have been successful in inflicting half a million Ukrainian military casualties including about 250,000 killed in action and 250,000 seriously wounded with as many or more Ukrainian amputations over the past two years than France suffered… on the Western Front during World War One,” Pyne said. The assessment underscores the complexity of providing effective support to Ukraine amidst escalating conflict. As the aid bill moves forward, discussions surrounding its implementation, distribution, and broader geopolitical implications are likely to persist, as well as questions regarding US true purposes and intentions towards Ukraine as a nation.

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“..the FBI had illegally used its surveillance powers against American citizens more than 278,000 times in a 12-month period..”

US Lawmakers Approve More Government Spying (RT)

The US Senate has passed legislation renewing and expanding an expiring law that enables the government to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans under the guise of protecting them from foreign threats. The bill was approved by a 60-34 vote in the early morning hours of Saturday, authorizing a two-year extension of the so-called Section 702 program of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). President Joe Biden is expected to quickly sign the legislation, renewing the spying tool after it expired at midnight on Saturday. Section 702 is ostensibly about surveilling the communications of foreigners for intelligence purposes, including detection of possible terrorist plots against the US. However, many of the phone calls and messages that are tapped by Washington’s spying apparatus occur between foreigners and US citizens.

The FBI has accessed the 702 database of intercepted communications to investigate targeted Americans, such as Black Lives Matters activists, journalists, members of Congress, political donors, and possible participants in the January 2021 US Capitol riot. Such searches normally require investigators to secure a warrant, meaning a court has found probable cause to suspect that the targeted person has committed a crime. Critics of the program had demanded that reforms be made before renewing Section 702 to protect US citizens from unconstitutional spying. A 2023 investigation by the US FISA court found that the FBI had illegally used its surveillance powers against American citizens more than 278,000 times in a 12-month period. Congress voted down an amendment that would have required warrants for probes of communications involving Americans.

“Section 702 has been abused under presidents from both political parties, and it has been used to unlawfully surveil the communications of Americans across the political spectrum,” said Kia Hamadanchy, senior policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union. “By expanding the government’s surveillance powers without adding a warrant requirement that would protect Americans, the House has voted to allow the intelligence agencies to violate the civil rights and liberties of Americans for years to come.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) hailed the fact that the FISA program was reauthorized “in the nick of time,” just as it was expiring. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) said that failure to renew the spying powers could cause US officials to “miss a key piece of intelligence,” such as a threat to American troops stationed overseas or a potential terrorist attack.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) lamented the fact that lawmakers declined to pass his amendments to the FISA bill, which would have enabled the government to continue spying on foreigners while protecting the civil liberties of Americans. His proposal was voted down by an 82-11 margin. “We could have ensured both constitutional rights and national security were protected,” Paul said. “Yet again, the Senate was asked to consider the question: ‘Can liberty be exchanged for security?’ And sadly, the majority of senators said, ‘Yes, it can.’”

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“..lack of control [by the owners] over assets is not a good basis of any currency.”

US Confiscation of Russian Assets Will ‘Supercharge’ De-Dollarization

On Saturday, the US House of Representatives passed the cheekily-named REPO Act, which would enable US President Joe Biden to confiscate roughly $6 billion in frozen Russian assets held in US banks and send it to Ukraine.The provision is part of a package bill that also includes over $95 billion in aid to Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific, as well as a potential TikTok ban.The bill is expected to pass in the Senate and then be immediately signed by US President Joe Biden. While the $6 billion represents only a fraction of the more than $300 billion in Russian assets frozen by the G7 countries in 2022, most of that money is held in Europe and US lawmakers hope that it will encourage European lawmakers to do the same.

“We’re making good progress in how to access that funds on an agreed basis that I think we can take forward to the G7,” UK foreign minister David Cameron, whose government has already come out in support of seizing Russian assets, told reporters earlier this month. The decision to confiscate Russian assets and provide them to Ukraine represents a major escalation in the West’s sanction war against Russia. However, the move is short-sighted by the US because it will accelerate global de-dollarization, which will remove one of the most powerful tools the US has.

“It’s reinforcing the need to de-dollarize on the part of any third-party country. Be it Russia, be it China – be it anybody else, including any country in the G-7 that may be marginally supportive of the United States. This is pure and simple economic blackmail,” Paul Goncharoff, an analyst and management consultant at Dezan Shira & Associates in Moscow told Sputnik. “Now they’re wondering ‘Am I putting it into something that will be seized or frozen?’ So lack of control [by the owners] over assets is not a good basis of any currency.” “So it just supercharges de-dollarization. And that’s not good, especially when you have an America that is used to living on larger and larger debt raised by people placing the trust and buying treasuries and bonds,” Goncharoff added.

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“The drones’ accuracy exceeds 90%, the NYT said, adding that they are also capable of hitting heavy armor in its weakest spots..”

$500 Russian Drones Destroying $10,000,000 American Tanks – NYT (RT)

Expensive American M1 Abrams tanks delivered to Ukraine are increasingly falling prey to Russian drones that cost only a fraction as much, the New York Times reported on Saturday. Even “one of the most powerful symbols of American military might” is not invulnerable to such attacks, it said. At least five US-supplied tanks out of the 31 provided by Washington have already been destroyed by Russia, the American media outlet said, adding that three others had been “moderately damaged.” In most cases, the tanks have been destroyed by first-person-view (FPV) kamikaze drones, also known as loitering munitions. Such drones are capable of actively maneuvering before hitting their target.

In at least one instance, though, an Abrams tank was taken out in a duel against a Russian T-72B3 main battle tank. The Russian military has published upwards of a dozen clips, mostly taken from drones, showing the destruction of US-supplied equipment. According to the NYT, the tanks turned out to be “more easily taken out by exploding drones than some officials and experts had initially assumed.” The media outlet cited an Austrian historian and military expert, Colonel Markus Reisner, who described such a situation as “unbelievable.” The paper also described the Russian UAVs as “highly-accurate, low-cost tank killers.”

The drones’ accuracy exceeds 90%, the NYT said, adding that they are also capable of hitting heavy armor in its weakest spots. The UAVs “can cost as little as $500,” the paper reported, are capable of “taking out a $10 million Abrams tank.” The paper also admitted that there was no “easy, or single” way to defend a tank against a drone attack. US-made Abrams tanks made their long-expected appearance on the front line in late February amid the Ukrainian effort to halt advancing Russian troops after the capture of the Donbass town of Avdeevka. A batch of 31 M1 Abrams tanks was pledged to Kiev early last year, ahead of the ultimately disastrous Ukrainian counteroffensive. The delivery was made in full only by mid-October, when the ill-fated push had already largely been exhausted.

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“The United States government for so long now, hasn’t seen a war they didn’t want to be a part of.”

‘Pariah’ Israel Dragging US ‘Into Garbage Bin of History’ (Sp.)

On Friday, the US vetoed granting Palestine full membership in the UN, which was promised to the Palestinians in 1948 when the state of Israel was created. The US has been Israel’s strongest supporter in the UN, previously vetoing three ceasefire resolutions before finally allowing a fourth to pass through abstention last month. Earlier, Israel struck Iran in response to Iran’s attack last week, which was itself a response to Israel attacking Iran’s consulate in Damascus earlier this month. The attack, which was described by both sides as minor, came after Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would not respond until after Passover, which runs from April 22 to April 30. Israel’s apparent insistence on launching a regional war in the Middle East is dragging the United States with it “Into the garbage bin of history,” and US lawmakers seem willing to watch it happen, journalist Esteban Carrillo, the head of news at The Cradle, told Sputnik’s Political Misfits on Friday.

While discussing the recent US vote against Palestinian statehood in the UN, Carrillo explained that it is working against US interests “It’s completely a case of the tail wagging the dog. And US politicians just seem so content to just go along with it,” he explained. “What does Netanyahu have over the heads of these people? Because it doesn’t seem like they are even willing to consider at this point stepping away from this pariah that is just dragging them down into the garbage bin of history.” Tensions between Iran and Israel seem to have cooled somewhat after Israel’s attack was so minor. Explosions were heard near an Iranian base outside of Isfahan, but Iran claimed there was no damage or injuries. A second attack against the city of Tabriz was likewise thwarted.

The attack, which Iran claims came from within its own territory, seemed designed to make Israel not appear “as weak as they are,” Carrillo explained. “After six months of flattening Gaza and killing tens of thousands of Palestinians, they have failed to achieve a single strategic objective against Hamas.” However, the small scope of the attack also seemed designed to allow Israel to “play tough guy” without igniting a larger conflict. “Iran’s response over [Friday morning’s] attack is essentially summed up in ‘what strike? What happened? Our air defenses took everything down,’” said Carrillo. But that doesn’t mean Israel is finished. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is still determined to keep the war going to ward off political and legal challenges facing him. “I don’t think that we’re out of the water yet in terms of [Israel] dragging the United States into a regional war,” Carrillo explained, adding earlier that it isn’t hard to convince US lawmakers to join fights. “The United States government for so long now, hasn’t seen a war they didn’t want to be a part of.”

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‘A vote for Trump is a vote for Putin’ – Hillary Clinton. Yawn…

Trump Wants To ‘Kill His Opposition’ – Hillary Clinton (RT)

Former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has claimed that the man who defeated her in the 2016 election, Donald Trump, is a wannabe strongman who aims to murder his political enemies. Speaking in a podcast interview posted on Friday by Democrat activist Mark Elias, Clinton said American voters had underestimated how “dangerous” Trump would be as president. She likened Trump, now the presumptive Republican nominee in this year’s US presidential election, to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Putin does what [Trump] would like to do – kill his opposition, imprison his opposition, drive journalists and others into exile, rule without any check or balance,” Clinton said. “That’s what Trump really wants.” Ironically, Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, have themselves long been accused by some conservatives of eliminating people who pose a threat to their power or wealth.

In fact, investigative journalist Danny Casolaro coined the conspiracist term “Clinton Body Count” in the late 1980s, in reference to the allegedly mysterious deaths of people with connections to the Clintons. Casolaro was found dead in a West Virginia hotel room in 1991 with his wrists slashed 10-12 times. His death was ruled a suicide. Hillary Clinton also has made a habit of linking Trump to Russia and Putin. Her presidential campaign helped trigger allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election by funding the since-discredited Steele dossier. She told Elias that Putin is just one of the US adversaries whom Trump would like to emulate, and that his other role models include Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“We have to be very conscious of how he sees the world because in that world, he only sees strongman leaders,” Clinton said. “He sees Putin. He sees Xi. He sees Kim Jong-un in North Korea. Those are the people he is modeling himself after, and we’ve been down this road in our world history. We sure don’t want to go down that again.” If Trump is elected president again, Clinton warned, “it will be like having a dictator. I don’t say that lightly. Go back and read Project 2025. They’re going to fire everybody. The person in the government who knows about what may be the next pandemic? ‘Get rid of him, he didn’t vote for me, or I don’t like the way he looks.’”

She added: “It’s really important to think about what could happen to our world with Trump back in the White House – withdrawing us from NATO, not caring about what happens in Europe… the idea that he wants Ukraine to fail, the idea that he doesn’t want us to be able to surveil our enemies. I mean, this is a very scary prospect.” Clinton expressed optimism that Trump will not be able to defeat incumbent President Joe Biden in November because Democrats will be running the election in key states, including Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. Trump has maintained that all allegations against him are part of a politically motivated smear campaign. He dismissed the ‘Russiagate’ accusations as a hoax and witch hunt that aimed to sabotage his presidency and block him from forging better US relations with Russia.

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“Where there is no vision, the people are lost..”

Texas Is a Fading Conservative State (Paul Craig Roberts)

Americans regard Texas as a Conservative state. It is not. The conservatism is only skin deep. The conservatism is limited to a small majority of the people. Professional organizations, such as the Bar Association, many city governments, the universities, and the public schools have been infiltrated and taken over by woke liberals. Texas universities are as crazed, corrupt, and anti-American as those in the Northeast and on the West coast. They serve the same agendas, such as indoctrinating white people that they are racist, legitimizing sexual perversity, redefining American patriots as Nazis and Trump Deplorables. The public schools teach that white people are racists and confuse kids about their gender. The Bar Association uses law as a weapon against Republicans, such as attorney Sidney Powell.

The Texas Bar Association disciplined Sidney Powell, first convicting her of misconduct and fraud for filing lawsuits challenging fraudulent vote counts in the 2020 presidential election, and revoking her license as punishment. The state appeals court found that the bar association had convicted her on the basis of zero evidence. It was just a vendetta by woke liberals devoid al all integrity against a Republican.This is America today. In the hands of blue cities and states and in the US Department of Justice (sic) law as law no longer exists. Neither does the US Constitution. What exists is a weapon to be used against Trump Republicans and dissenters from official narratives.

In America there are two systems of law. One system located in red states is a rule of law. The other in blue states is a system of law as a weapon to destroy opponents. We see this clearly in blue NY and blue Atlanta where show trials devoid of any evidence are being conducted against President Trump. We see it in the Justice (sic) Department’s continuing misuse of law to force attendees at the January 6 rally to incriminate themselves by pleading guilty in order to avoid a 20-year prison sentence for exercising their constitutional right to protest.

The totally corrupt Biden Regime has an open border policy for the explicit purpose of turning red states into blue ones by filling them with millions of immigrant-invaders in order to overload the voting rolls with Democrat voters. The Democrats assume that they have purchased the loyalty of the immigrant-invaders by allowing them in and supporting them on public welfare while giving them work permits so that they can underbid the employment of American citizens. Evidence was recently provided that Biden has flown at public expense 360,000 immigrant-invaders into Florida, and evidence was provided that the Biden regime has funded the Jewish NGO that is recruiting world-wide immigrant-invaders with $300,000,000. American citizens are helpless, because almost half of them are so utterly stupid that they vote for their own self-destruction by voting Democrat.

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“..Harari deserves credit for blood-curdling honesty, if not for the morality of his and his masters’ “visions.”

A Collective “Common Enemy” Now Stalks Mankind (Karganovic)

Yuval Hariri, Klaus Schwab’s spokesman, recently made a statement that should send chills up everyone’s spine. “If bad comes to worse and the Flood comes,” Harari said, he and the likeminded cabal of shadowy world masters will “build an Ark and leave the rest to drown.” Elsewhere, Harari elaborates on the reasons for his fellow elitists’ cold-hearted indifference to the fate of the vast majority of Earth’s inhabitants: “If you go back to the middle of the 20th century …and you think about building the future, then your building materials are those millions of people who are working hard in the factories, in the farms, the soldiers. You need them. You don’t have any kind of future without them.” What he means is that you – referring to the dominant social and financial elites of that era – still “needed” the labour of millions in the various fields of economic endeavour in order to turn a profit.

Since then, how have things changed according to “futurologist” Harari? “Now, fast forward to the early 21st century when we just don’t need the vast majority of the population, because the future is about developing more and more sophisticated technology, like artificial intelligence [and] bioengineering, most people don’t contribute anything to that, except perhaps for their data, and whatever people are still doing something useful, these technologies increasingly will make them redundant and will make it possible to replace those people.” Elitist mouthpiece Harari deserves credit for blood-curdling honesty, if not for the morality of his and his masters’ “visions.” He is plainly signalling the view that this writer, the editors of this portal, its readers and the rest of mankind are expendable and apart from whatever economic utility they still might possess are bereft of any inherent dignity or value.

Harari and his immediate superior in the elitist nomenklatura, Klaus Schwab, technically are private individuals. Their organisational vehicle, the World Economic Forum, is a private NGO registered in Switzerland. Formally, they neither represent nor do they speak for any government or official structure with a proper claim to legitimacy. They have no licence to plan or arrange the future of humanity, beside the self-authorisation to do so which they and the oligarchical globalist power centres they commune and mingle with have arrogated to themselves. No one elected or empowered them to plan anybody’s future, other than their own, and even that strictly in their private capacity.= Yet disposing of the future of mankind is precisely what they presume to do, in Davos in plenary session once a year and the rest of the time in conspiratorial confabulation amongst themselves.

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Catfish
https://twitter.com/i/status/1781592640623886517

 

 

Horses dolphins
https://twitter.com/i/status/1781559109487124859

 

 

King

 

 

Octopus
https://twitter.com/i/status/1781604985345606000

 

 

Resting sharks
https://twitter.com/i/status/1781720652241846625

 

 

Reflex

 

 

Piggy bank

 

 

Great white

 

 

Rhino

 

 

Aquarium
https://twitter.com/i/status/1781745912303251759

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 202024
 


John French Sloan Sunday, Women Drying Their Hair 1912

 

Batshit Crazy America (James Howard Kunstler)
Speaker Johnson’s Ignominious Betrayal (David Stockman)
Oil Prices Spike After Israel Strikes Iran (RT)
Only Hamas Wants Bigger War As Iran, Israel Signal Strikes ‘Done’ (ZH)
Israeli Settlers, Soldiers ‘Wiping Palestinian Communities Off the Map (CD)
West Plotting To Assassinate Zelensky – Medvedev (RT)
The West ‘One Step Away’ From Sending Troops to Ukraine – Orban (Sp.)
Russia Ready For Ukraine Talks, But Not With Zelensky – Lavrov (TASS)
No Ceasefire With Ukraine Even If Talks Start – Lavrov (RT)
Apple Removes Popular Messaging Apps In China (RT)
This Is What The Digital Revolution Brought Us (Paul Craig Roberts)
Trump Media Stock Spikes After CEO Pens “Naked” Short Letter (ZH)
Boeing Whistleblower Threatened With ‘Physical Harm’ – CNN (RT)
Impending Event Could Push Price Of Bitcoin Into Stratosphere (RT)

 

 

 

 

The gag order has to come off!

 

 

Excellent.

 

 

Elon reality

 

 

Robotaxi

 

 

 

 

Tucker Nixon

 

 

Kennedy meme

 

 

 

 

Blame the women? You’d think not, but then you see Hillary, Pelosi, Fani, Laetitia et al. With “Joe Biden” as the male role model. Maybe Jim has a point.

Batshit Crazy America (James Howard Kunstler)

Before the saints come marching in, the human archetypes strut down the avenue in their revealing regalia. Do you know why the archetypal batshit crazy women of the Democratic Party adore “Joe Biden?” I’ll tell you: because he represents perfectly and exactly the “patriarchy” they revile in his floridly comic senescence. “Joe Biden” is the patriarchy disabled, feeble, feckless, impotent, and reduced to inanity. He would be pitiful if the patriarchy itself were not so contemptible. This is exactly how the batshit crazy women want it to look. Do you wonder why “progressive” (i.e. batshit crazy) elite class women seem so unperturbed about the conspicuous number of rapes committed by “newcomers,” as they style illegal border-jumpers these days, who are by an overwhelming percentage “military-age men”? Because, having functionally transformed the ranks of American men into eunuchs, they relish the arrival of so many wild and lustful fellows on the scene, as long as post the imagined bodice-ripping exploits they can be dominated and domesticated — turned into so many swimming pool cleaners and busboys to be ordered around.

Of course, much of that archetypal psychodrama is only played out in the batshit crazy mind of batshit crazy women; for the sake of decorum it is never acted-out. The lurid, shameful fantasies are instead displaced onto Donald Trump, the archetypal “Big Daddy” who so insolently evaded the castration shears of Hillary Clinton — with the help of Russian arch-rapist “Putin” — and keeps on coming at the batshit-crazy women like Jason Voorhees, the psycho-killer in the Friday the 13th horror series (Qu’est-ce que c’est, ladies?) Proof of Mr. Trump’s rapey-ness has been finally and formally declared in the E. Jean Carroll defamation trial. It’s certified, you see, though the trial itself was a joke of performative pretense. All you really need is a cast of characters, including the judge, Lewis Kaplan, who are sufficiently deranged and degenerate to carry out the performance.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James was up next to attempt the financial castration of Mr. Trump with an artfully concocted civil case that magically transformed a normal real estate transaction into a victimless fraud (say, what?), prompting the Rumpelstiltskin-like Judge Arthur Engoron to declare an unprecedented cash penalty of $354-million, designed to enable the confiscation and forced sale of Mr. Trump’s buildings. That hasn’t quite worked yet, and may never work, given how appeals courts up to SCOTUS might view the malicious prosecution based on Ms. James’s repeated campaign promise to. . . pin something on Trump. Batshit crazy “progressives” have managed to not notice how inconsistent with American legal precedent this case was — because they held all the levers of power in New York State: governorship, legislature, and AG’s office, and their power to do whatever they liked was all that mattered.

For the moment Judge Juan Merchan presides over Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg’s fake case of 34 clerical misdemeanors (past the statute of limitations on them), repurposed as felonies committed for the intention of breaking some federal election law (unspecified). Last time I checked, county courts have no jurisdiction over federal law, most particularly unspecified federal law, which is to say no law at all. The question nobody has asked or answered is: what is the flaw in our system of jurisprudence that allows such an insane and preposterous case to play out so harmfully? I can only suppose that this is what happens when ethics and moral codes are brutally excised from the larger culture that law is but one part of. It is the way of Homo sapiens that moral codes derive generally from the supervision of fathers in the upbringing of human young and, later on, as children develop into adults, these codes are archetypally re-enacted and enforced by men in the greater social matrix. Why? Because it requires a strong sense of boundaries. Boundaries are the essence of the “patriarchy.”

Remove men from the scene, or castrate them politically, and you are sure to end up with a problem knowing right from wrong. We’re apparently subject now to the misrule of women with boundary problems who, for one reason or another, rebelled against Daddy and never got over it. It’s a peculiar irony — so far unexplicated by the hierophants of social theory — that the more affluent and successful Daddy was, the more he was hated for it by his female offspring. The result of all that is the Democratic Party of our time as run by the batshit crazy women, fearful of sex and its consequence (babies), paradoxically subject to biological promptings and unable to find suitable mates among the men they’ve turned into eunuchs of one sort or another; resentful of the dull managerial jobs that have replaced the anathematized “jobs” of motherhood; filled with rage and revenge fantasies which, because of their boundary problems, have now extended to willing the destruction of our country. It’s an uninviting view of what’s happened to us, but there it is, like so much meat on the table.

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“..you truly have to wonder about what miniature minds like Congressman Johnson’s are actually thinking..”

Speaker Johnson’s Ignominious Betrayal (David Stockman)

Speaker Johnson’s ignominious betrayal of fiscal sanity might well be the death knell for the GOP. He is apparently risking his speakership on behalf of $95 billion of foreign aid boondoggles that Uncle Sam cannot remotely afford, and which actually provide zero benefit to the homeland security of America. And we do mean zero, as in nothing, nichts, nada, nyet and nugatory, as we amplify below. What Johnson’s impending Waterloo means, therefore, is not merely the prospect of another wild and wooly succession battle, but actually that there is no point at all in the preservation of a Republican majority and GOP House Speaker. After all, the Washington GOP has become so infected with neocon warmongers and careerist pols who spend a lifetime basking in the imperial projects and pretensions of the world’s War Capital that apparently the best the House GOP caucus could do when it ejected the previous careerist deep stater from the Speaker’s chair was to tap the dim-witted nincompoop who currently occupies it.

The Republican party is thus truly beyond redemption. As JFK once said about the CIA, its needs to be splintered into a thousand pieces and swept into the dustbin of history. Indeed, when you look at the calamitous fiscal trajectory embedded in the CBO’s latest 30-year fiscal outlook, you truly have to wonder about what miniature minds like Congressman Johnson’s are actually thinking. That is to say, the latest CBO report published in March presumes that there will never be another recession and no inflation flare-up, interest rate spike, global energy dislocation, prolonged Forever War or any other imaginable crisis ever again—just smooth economic sailing for the next 30 years. And yet, and then. Even by the math of this Rosy Scenario on steroids the public debt will reach $140 trillion at minimum by 2054. In turn, that would cause interest payments on the public debt with rates no higher than those which prevailed between 1986 and 1997 to reach $10 trillion per year.

You simply don’t need paragraphs, pages and whole monographs worth of analysis and amplification to understand where that is going. The nation’s fisc is now on the cusp of descending into the maws of a doomsday machine. So how in the world do these elements of Johnson’s offering make even the remotest sense? Speaker Johnson’s Foreign Aid Boondoggle: Indo-Pacific aid: $8.1 billion. Israel: $26.4 billion. Ukraine: $60.8 billion. Total: $95.3 billion. Apparently, it’s because Johnson and a good share of the Washington GOP have succumbed wholesale to neocon paranoia, stupidity, lies and hollow excuses for warmongering. For crying out loud, Putin has no interest in molesting the Poles, to say nothing of storming the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. He is certainly no Ghandi, but well more than smart enough to recognize that with Russia’s GDP of $2.2 trillion and war budget of $80 billion there would be no point in going to war with NATO’s $45 trillion of GDP and combined war budgets in excess of $1.2 trillion.

Likewise, China’s $50 trillion debt-ridden Ponzi would collapse in months if its $3.5 trillion flow of export earnings were disrupted after attempting to land its single modern aircraft carrier on the California coast. And Iran has no nukes, no intercontinental range missiles and a GDP equal to 130 hours of US annual output. So, some Axis of evil! Yet that’s exactly what the Speaker said this morning after going to too many Deep State briefings and apparently having his own johnson yanked once too often. The Swamp creatures surely see the lad’s naivete and blithering ignorance as a gift that doesn’t stop giving. That is to say, a “mark” who knows nothing at all about the world from sources not stamped, “Top Secret (lies)”.

Speaker Mike Johnson: “We’re going to stand for freedom and make sure that Putin doesn’t march through Europe… we’re the greatest Nation on the planet, and we have to act like it”, This is a critical time right now, a critical time on the world stage. I can make a selfish decision and do something that’s different but I’m doing here what I believe to be the right thing. “I think providing lethal aid to Ukraine right now is critically important. I really do. I really do believe the intel and the briefings that we’ve gotten. I believe Xi, Vladimir Putin and Iran really are an axis of evil. I think they’re in coordination on it. “So I think that Vladimir Putin would continue to march through Europe if he were allowed. I think he might go to the Balkans next. I think he might have a showdown with Poland or one of our NATO allies.

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That’s just after one half-assed strike.

Oil Prices Spike After Israel Strikes Iran (RT)

Global prices for crude oil jumped by as much as 3.5% shortly after Israel carried out a series of strikes on Iran in the early hours of Friday. Both oil benchmarks soared over $3 a barrel in early trading before retreating. By 12:00 GMT, Brent crude oil futures for June delivery were down $0.50 at $86.63 per barrel. The May contract for US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) dropped $0.43, or 0.52%, to $82.30 per barrel. Israel launched an attack on Iranian territory in the early morning hours, a senior US official confirmed in an interview with ABC News. Al Jazeera reported that Iranian state television had also confirmed the strikes, and that air defenses had been activated. Flights across several areas, including Tehran and Isfahan, were suspended.

The attack, the latest tit-for-tit exchange between the two nations, came nearly a week after Iran unleashed a barrage of 300 aerial drones and missiles on Israel. The shelling was conducted in response to a suspected Israeli strike on an Iranian consular building in Syria that killed 12 people, including three senior Iranian military officers. Tehran believes Israel was behind the bombing, although West Jerusalem has neither claimed nor denied responsibility. Iran is the world’s seventh largest oil producer, according to the US Energy Information Administration, and the third-largest OPEC member. It produces around 3.2 million barrels of crude per day, and last year ranked as the world’s second largest source of oil supply growth after the US.

The spike in oil prices is seen by analysts as a self-evident market reaction to mounting concerns about a renewed escalation of hostilities between Israel and Iran. “Rising geopolitical risk premiums translate to a risk-off environment at this juncture with a heightened risk of oil supply disruption at least in the short-term,” Kelvin Wong, an analyst at OANDA in Singapore, told Reuters. Earlier this week, energy experts at Bank of America warned that an all-out war between Israel and Iran, which will inevitably impact energy infrastructure and disrupt Iranian crude supplies, is expected to drive oil prices up by $30-$40 per barrel. Increased tensions in the region could also jeopardize shipping through the Strait of Hormuz between Oman and Iran. About a fifth of the world’s total oil supply passes through the crucial shipping route.

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There are plenty warmongers on all sides. But for now they’ve been subdued.

Only Hamas Wants Bigger War As Iran, Israel Signal Strikes ‘Done’ (ZH)

There has been no Iranian response against Israel for the overnight Israeli retaliation attack on the Islamic Republic. US officials have since confirmed that it was in fact an Israeli attack, yet all the while Iran’s leaders are trying desperately to downplay it, saying it inflicted no damage, and that several reported explosions were actually the result of Iran’s air defenses intercepting a few drones, particularly over the city of Isfahan, site of a key nuclear facility. Importantly, as we predicted, Tehran is saying it has no plans for further retaliation following the oddly toothless, performative response from Israel. Officially, Iran and its state media are even referring to the attack incident as having been done by “infiltrators” while not readily naming Israel, also declaring that the aggression ‘failed’. So far, it is looking like none of Iran’s nuclear facilities were actually hit. Reuters has called Iran’s stance “a response that appeared gauged towards averting region-wide war.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a fresh statement sought to emphasize that the United States was not involved in any offensive operations against Iran, nor did he confirm Israel was behind it during the remarks, and the West continues to urge restraint by both sides. The Washington Post is also acknowledging Iranian media’s muted response in wake of overnight events: “Iranian state media was muted in its response to the attack, saying its air defense systems had intercepted “three small drones” in Isfahan province. There was no damage to Iran’s nuclear sites, including those in Isfahan, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Friday morning. Isfahan is the site of Iran’s largest nuclear research complex; the area is home to a military base.” Israeli national security officials were cited in the The Jerusalem Post on Friday as saying, “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Israel retaliated where they were attacked.” However, JPost additionally noted some strange qualifiers, suggesting both sides are taking a ‘nothing to see here folks’ approach:

“That said, officially, Israel will not accept responsibility for this attack for strategic reasons. Sources explain that the Iranians claim it was an “explosion at a factory” because they wish to avoid escalation. Israeli sources told the Post that it’s unclear why the Pentagon disclosed to the American media that Israel was involved; they could have remained silent, they say. They could have preserved Iran’s dignity and avoided escalating the situation on their own.” An earlier Bloomberg report disclosed that Israel had informed the White House on Thursday that a military strike on Iran was being planned in “the next 24-48 hours.” Bloomberg is now reporting Friday morning that “an Iranian military official signaled Tehran doesn’t feel compelled to react to the blasts which US officials say were caused by Israeli strikes, with semi-official Mehr agency quoting Army Commander-in-Chief Abdolrahim Mousavi saying Tehran has already reacted to Israeli threats.”

Iran’s President Ebrahim Rais made a planned speech on Friday and did not mention the overnight attack on Iranian soil, only the last Saturday offensive operations against Israel: “Operation True Promise led to authority, unity and cohesion in the country,” Raisi said. “Today, all political groups and factions believe that this response was necessary and a big honour for the country,” the Iranian president added, saying nothing further about the Israeli attack just hours prior. There’s only one group at this point that appears to be disappointed that it’s over: “HAMAS OFFICIAL SAYS ISRAELI AGGRESSION ON IRAN IS AN ESCALATION AGAINST THE REGION”. “HAMAS OFFICIAL CALLS FOR EXPANDING ENGAGEMENT AGAINST ISRAEL OVER WAR OF GENOCIDE IN GAZA AND ESCALATION IN THE REGION.” Hamas leadership likely thought this is the start of the ‘big war’ in Gaza’s defense – which still possibly may come – but at this point of “cooler heads” prevailing is no longer looking likely.

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“While the attention of the world is focused on Gaza, abuses in the West Bank, fueled by decades of impunity and complacency among Israel’s allies, are soaring.”

Israeli Settlers, Soldiers ‘Wiping Palestinian Communities Off the Map (CD)

Israeli soldiers have either passively watched or participated in the uprooting of at least seven communities in the West Bank since October of last year, Human Rights Watch said Wednesday in a new report documenting surging settler violence in the occupied Palestinian territory. The rights group interviewed dozens of eyewitnesses and examined video footage showing harassment and other abuse of Palestinians in the West Bank “by men in Israeli military uniforms carrying M16 assault rifles.” Following the Hamas-led October 7 attack on southern Israel, the Israeli military drafted more than 5,000 settlers into “regional defense” units in the West Bank, Haaretzreported earlier this year.

The Israeli newspaper noted that “alongside this large-scale mobilization, the [Israel Defense Forces] has distributed some 7,000 weapons to the battalions as well as to settlers who were not recruited into the army but received them as civilians whom the army considers eligible to carry military arms.” HRW’s investigation found that “armed settlers, with the active participation of army units, repeatedly cut off road access and raided Palestinian communities, detained, assaulted, and tortured residents, chased them out of their homes and off their lands at gunpoint or coerced them to leave with death threats, and blocked them from taking their belongings.” “Israeli settlers and soldiers are literally wiping Palestinian communities off the map,” said Omar Shakir, HRW’s Israel and Palestine director.

“While the attention of the world is focused on Gaza, abuses in the West Bank, fueled by decades of impunity and complacency among Israel’s allies, are soaring.” The new report comes days after Israeli settlers—escorted by IDF soldiers—went on their latest destructive and deadly rampage in the West Bank, killing at least two Palestinians, injuring dozens, and setting homes and vehicles ablaze. At least 20 households were displaced after Israeli settlers burned down their homes. The wave of settler violence came after a missing 14-year-old Israeli boy was found dead in the area around the West Bank city of Ramallah. The Israeli military said the boy was killed in a “terrorist attack.”

Since October 7, according to the United Nations, Israeli settlers have launched more than 720 attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, displacing at least 206 households comprised of 1,244 people—including 603 children. Israeli soldiers in uniform have been present at many of the attacks. “Settlers and soldiers have displaced entire Palestinian communities, destroying every home, with the apparent backing of higher Israeli authorities,” Bill Van Esveld, associate children’s rights director at HRW, said in a statement Wednesday. “While the attention of the world is focused on Gaza, abuses in the West Bank, fueled by decades of impunity and complacency among Israel’s allies, are soaring.”

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Warsaw and Kiev had a nice story on Russia wanting to get him. Medvedev turned that around.

West Plotting To Assassinate Zelensky – Medvedev (RT)

Allegations that a Polish man was plotting with Moscow to assassinate Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky are a sign that Kiev’s Western backers want to “liquidate” the Ukrainian leader, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has claimed. On Thursday, Polish officials reported the arrest of a man who is accused of trying to provide sensitive information to the Russian intelligence services. The information could have been used in an attempt to kill Zelensky, Warsaw and Kiev have claimed. “An attempt on the life of the chief Banderite [Zelensky] in Poland? That is truly serious,” Medvedev, who serves as deputy head of the Russian Security Council, wrote on social media on Friday in response to the claims. “It may be the first piece of evidence that people in the West have made a decision to liquidate him. Be afraid, clown!”

The term ‘Banderite’ refers to the Ukrainian nationalist movement of Stepan Bandera, which was responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Poles during World War II. The Nazi collaborator is considered a national hero in modern Ukraine. The Polish citizen, identified as Pawel K. by the National Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw, faces up to eight years in jail if convicted on charges of attempting to work with a foreign power against national interests. Specifically, Pawel K. is accused of trying to share information with Moscow about Rzeszow–Jasionka Airport in southeastern Poland. The facility is used to ship weapons and munitions that NATO members donate to Ukraine to fight Russia.

Polish officials, however, have claimed that his tips could “among other things” have helped Moscow plan a hit on Zelensky during a visit to Poland. Kiev’s successor to the KGB, the SBU, repeated the allegations in a statement of its own. Warsaw has claimed Pawel K. was in contact with Russian nationals who are “directly involved” in the Ukraine conflict. Polish authorities were tipped off about the alleged threat by Ukrainian security services. Zelensky has told Western media that Russia has been trying to kill him for years, with multiple attempts prevented by his security detail. However, former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that Russian President Vladimir Putin personally assured him in March 2022 that Moscow would not kill Zelensky.

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“This is a military whirlpool that can drag Europe to the bottom. Brussels is playing with fire..”

The West ‘One Step Away’ From Sending Troops to Ukraine – Orban (Sp.)

The West is one step away from deploying military forces in Ukraine, which could mean an end for Europe, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday. “We are one step away from the West sending troops to Ukraine. This is a military whirlpool that can drag Europe to the bottom. Brussels is playing with fire,” Orban said at an event dedicated to the start of the campaign before the European Parliament elections, aired by the HirTV broadcaster. European leaders have “already got involved” in the conflict in Ukraine, they call it “their war”, and Europe has already spent about 100 billion euros ($106 billion) on Ukraine, Orban mentioned. French President Emmanuel Macron riled up his NATO allies, especially Germany, when he said in February that Western leaders had discussed sending troops to Ukraine. While no consensus had been reached, nothing could be ruled out, he added. Moscow warned that any threat from NATO would meet a response.

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“..talks with Vladimir Zelensky are off the table, as they would lead nowhere..”

Russia Ready For Ukraine Talks, But Not With Zelensky – Lavrov (TASS)

Russia’s signals that it is ready to negotiate on Ukraine are “not just for show,” but talks with Vladimir Zelensky are off the table, as they would lead nowhere, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with radio stations Sputnik, Govorit Moskva (Moscow speaking) and Komsomolskaya Pravda. “We are fully convinced that we need to continue the special military operation. We indicate our readiness for negotiations not just for show. This is indeed the truth, but talking to Zelensky is pointless for many reasons,” he said.

The first negotiations between Russia and Ukraine after the start of the special military operation took place in early March 2022 in Belarus, but they did not bring tangible results. On March 29, 2022, the next round took place in Istanbul, when Moscow for the first time received from Kiev the principles of a possible future agreement recorded on paper. It included, in particular, obligations on the neutral, non-aligned status of Ukraine and its refusal to deploy foreign weapons, including nuclear weapons, on its territory. However, the negotiation process was interrupted by Ukraine unilaterally.

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Zero trust left.

No Ceasefire With Ukraine Even If Talks Start – Lavrov (RT)

Russia has no intention of ceasing hostilities with Ukraine even if the two countries engage in peace talks, as Kiev has proven itself to be an unreliable actor, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said. In an interview with Russian media on Friday, the diplomat stressed that Moscow does not trust the leadership in Kiev. “We have said that we are ready for the negotiations, but – unlike the Istanbul story – we will not make any pauses in the fighting during the negotiations. The process must go on,” he said. The two sides have not directly talked to each other since their sit-down in Istanbul in late March 2022. Russia, which initially expressed satisfaction with results of the meeting and withdrew its forces from the outskirts of Kiev as a goodwill gesture, later accused Ukraine of backtracking on all progress achieved in Türkiye, saying it had lost trust in Kiev’s negotiators.

The foreign minister noted that a major obstacle to any peace process that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky “forbid himself from negotiating” with the current authorities in Moscow. He was referring to a decree that Zelensky signed in the fall of 2022, which banned his government from any talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The realities on the ground have changed “significantly” since the time when the Istanbul negotiations took place, and “those realities must be taken into account,” Lavrov stressed. He clarified that he was talking not only about the situation on the frontline, where Russian forces have recently been making gains, but also the fact that the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, and the Kherson and Zaporozhye Regions, which joined Russia as a result of referendums in the fall 2022, are now parts of the country in line with the Constitution. “Everybody should understand this very well,” the diplomat stressed.

Lavrov said it is “absolutely clear” to Moscow that Kiev and its Western backers “do not understand this and… are not even ready to look for any hypothetical compromises.” Since late 2022, Zelensky has been promoting his so-called ‘peace formula,’ which calls for Russia to withdraw from all territories claimed by Kiev and pay reparations, and for the formation of a war crimes tribunal. The Russian foreign minister again outright rejected the plan, calling it an “ultimatum” that provided for no alternative solutions.

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WhatsApp, Threads, Telegram and Signal

Apple Removes Popular Messaging Apps In China (RT)

Apple has pulled several popular messaging apps from its storefront in China at the request of the government in Beijing over alleged national security concerns, the US-tech giant announced on Friday. Meta’s WhatsApp and Threads apps, as well as messaging services Telegram and Signal, are no longer available for download on the AppStore in China, Bloomberg reported. The Wall Street Journal has claimed that Korean Line has also been made inaccessible to Chinese users. Before their removal, none of the apps were widely used in China, where Tencent’s WeChat is the overwhelmingly dominant service.

In a statement to Reuters on Friday, Apple said China’s Cyberspace Administration had requested the removal of instant messengers from the App Store for reasons of national security, but stressed that the apps remain available on all other storefronts. The US-based tech giant noted that it is obliged to comply with the laws of the countries in which it operates, even if it does not agree with them. At the same time, other Meta apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger are still available for download on the Chinese AppStore. However, as was the case with the removed messaging apps, it is still difficult to access these platforms without special proxy tools such as a virtual private network (VPN) to circumvent Beijing’s Great Firewall.

The four removed apps remain available in China’s two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, Reuters noted. While the specific reasons for the request to remove the apps remain unknown, the step may be tied to a law passed in China last year which requires all apps operating in the country to register with the local regulatory body. In August, Chinese authorities called on foreign developers to adhere to this rule by the end of March 2024 or be forced to remove their apps from the marketplace.

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”We now have reality-immune kids. The digital revolution is the foundation for our coming Age of Tyranny..”

This Is What The Digital Revolution Brought Us (Paul Craig Roberts)

Your information is everywhere on the internet. It is in your banking, financial, credit card, cell phone, internet, utility, and online purchase accounts and in the accounts of these companies’ service providers. Your information is in more places than you can imagine. The internet system is easy to hack, because it was created as an open system for the military. Depending on what thieves gain access to, they may make purchases on your current credit cards and/or drain your bank accounts. Identity thieves can also use all or some of your data to open new credit or loan accounts – and then let the unpaid debts pile up. By opening a lot of new accounts in a short period of time, thieves can lower your credit score. The repercussions of a low credit score are immense. The FBI, the NSA can put kiddie porn on your computer and arrest you.

We can be spied on without warrants in violation of the Constitution. Cyber security does not exist. It is a myth. The digital revolution has totally destroyed our constitutional right to privacy and has left us insecure to every kind of malevolent event. The shifting of all custom relations costs to the customer, resulting in service users spending endless time with a robot trying to correct service and account problems. Problems previously handled in 3 minutes now take 3 hours, sometimes three days. The digital revolution has brought us kids who have never played outside in the sunshine and live in a world of video games. We now have reality-immune kids. The digital revolution is the foundation for our coming Age of Tyranny. The developers of the digital revolution are humanity’s worse enemies. The only solution is to bring back the analogue days.

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Nunes et al are more tech- and finance savvy than thought.

Trump Media Stock Spikes After CEO Pens “Naked” Short Letter (ZH)

Shares of Trump Media spiked on Friday after the company alerted the Nasdaq to ‘potential market manipulation’ from ‘naked’ short selling of its stock. The warning came as the company, which trades under the symbol $DJT, offered shareholders detailed instructions on how to prevent someone from loaning out their shares to short sellers. In a Friday morning letter to Nasdaq CEO Adrena Friedman, CEO Devin Nunes noted that as of Wednesday, “DJT appears on Nasdaq’s ‘Reg SHO threshold list,’ which is indicative of unlawful trading activity.” “This is particularly troubling given that ‘naked’ short selling often entails sophisticated market participants profiting at the expense of retail investors,” Nunes continued. In his letter, Nunes pointed to circumstantial evidence – including DJT being the most expensive stock to short in the US, which he said would give brokers “significant financial incentive to lend non-existent shares,” CNBC reports. The letter also links to a CNBC article which delves into the high premiums brokers were charging short sellers for loans of DJT to sell.

“I write to bring your attention to potential market manipulation of the stock of Trump Media & Technology Group Corp,” wrote Nunes. “As you know, ‘naked’ short selling — selling shares of a stock without first borrowing the shares of stock deemed difficult to locate — is generally illegal pursuant to Securities and Exchange Commission (‘SEC’) Regulation SHO,” the letter continues. “Data made available to us indicate that just four market participants have been responsible for over 60% of the extraordinary volume of DJT shares traded: Citadel Securities, VIRTU Americas, G1 Execution Services, and Jane Street Capital,” Nunes said, adding: “In light of the foregoing, and Nasdaq’s obligation and commitment to protect the interests of retail investors, please advise what steps you can take to foster transparency and compliance by ensuring market makers are adhering to Reg SHO, requiring brokers to disclose their ’Net Short” positions, and preventing the lending of shares that do not exist.” Shares of DJT began spiking premarket, and were up as much as 11%.

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A risky position to take. From March 12: “A former Boeing employee has been found dead in the US days before he was due to give evidence in a whistleblower lawsuit against the aerospace giant. [..] John Barnett, a 62-year-old former Boeing quality manager was found dead in his car, allegedly from a self inflicted wound, in a hotel parking lot – seven years after retiring from a 32-year career with the group.”

Boeing Whistleblower Threatened With ‘Physical Harm’ – CNN (RT)

Hundreds of people could die unless American aerospace giant Boeing addresses critical safety issues, a whistleblower has told the US Senate, also claiming that he was threatened with “physical violence” for going public, CNN has reported. Sam Salehpour, an engineer at Boeing, told two Senate committee hearings on Wednesday that he has been voicing safety concerns for several years but has been “ignored” and told “not to create delays.” “The safety problems I have observed at Boeing, if not addressed, could result in a catastrophic failure of a commercial airplane that would lead to the loss of hundreds of lives,” he said. His testimony comes as Boeing grapples with the fallout from a major safety crisis. Fears were raised after an incident on a 737 MAX in January, when an Alaska Airlines flight bound for California from Portland, Oregon, had to turn back after a door panel blew off at 16,000 feet (4,900 meters), injuring several of the 171 passengers aboard and sucking clothing and cell phones out of the aircraft.

After raising concerns, Salehpour said “I was told not to create delays. I was told, frankly, to shut up.” There is “no safety culture” at Boeing, he claimed, alleging that employees who raise the alarm are “ignored, marginalized, threatened, sidelined and worse.” The engineer insisted he was testifying due to his confidence that Boeing was “putting out defective airplanes.” He cited alleged practices by the planemaker, including people jumping on pieces of the airplane to correct misalignment between sections of jets. Salehpour has reportedly urged Boeing to ground all 787 jets for inspection. The US Federal Aviation Administration said it is investigating the allegations that Boeing took shortcuts to reduce production bottlenecks while making the 787. Salehpour also raised issues about the production of the 777, another wide-body jet.

Boeing did not have any witnesses at either hearing, according to CNN, but at a briefing earlier this week the company defended its production standards. The manufacturer said that in 13 years of service, the 787 fleet has safely transported over 850 million passengers on more than 4.2 million flights, while the 777 fleet has safely flown more than 3.9 billion passengers around the world. Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun announced in March that he will step down by the end of the current year, in a move seen as major management shakeup.

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Halving. “The final halving is expected to occur in 2140..”

Impending Event Could Push Price Of Bitcoin Into Stratosphere (RT)

The price of Bitcoin, the world’s highest-valued cryptocurrency, surged past $64,000 on Friday, rebounding from a drop below the $60,000 mark. The crypto continues to experience volatility ahead of an upcoming ‘halving’ event, which has sparked controversy over its potential impact. The latest Bitcoin halving – a mechanism to limit supply that takes place every four years – is expected late on Friday night or early Saturday. Halving is when the rewards for Bitcoin miners are slashed in half to slow the supply of the crypto into the market. This time, the reward for mining new bitcoins will decrease from 6.25 bitcoins to 3.125. The final halving is expected to occur in 2140, when the number of bitcoins circulating will reach the theoretical maximum supply of 21 million. As of March 2024, about 19.65 million bitcoins were in circulation, leaving just around 1.35 million to be released via mining rewards.

Experts say the impending halving event comes with heightened expectations that the reduced amount of bitcoin entering into circulation will create a kind of supply shock that will drive prices up. The last halving, in 2020, preceded a five-fold increase in Bitcoin’s price, following a pattern that has seen record-breaking rallies for the cryptocurrency after each previous such event, in 2016 and 2012, respectively. “The halving helps naturally increase price due to supply and demand over a medium- to long-term outlook, which in turn brings new people in as the price increases past previous all-time highs. So, indirectly, it plays a huge part in shaping investor sentiment and market speculation,” Danny Scott, chief executive of crypto platform CoinCorner, told The Independent. “Historically, the value of Bitcoin has increased after each halving event. This trend is likely to continue during the current market cycle, considering the high amount of institutional interest,” according to Kadan Stadelmann, Chief Technology Officer of blockchain firm Komodo Platform.

In January, the US Securities and Exchange Commission approved the first ever Bitcoin spot exchange-traded funds (ETFs), bringing billions of dollars’ worth of institutional investment to the market for the first time. This increase in demand, combined with the upcoming reduction in supply, has led some analysts to believe that Bitcoin could hit new heights in the coming months. Despite some kind of volatility in recent weeks, Bitcoin remains a strongly performing asset, up 40% so far in 2024 and more than double where it was at the same time last year. Investors anticipate the price could break above its previous all-time high of $70,105, reached last month. Meanwhile, the founder of Draper Associates, Tim Draper, has projected the halving could even push the price of Bitcoin as high as $250,000 by July.

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Lord Byron died April 19 1824 in Missolonghi, Greece. This is one of his last poems.

 

 

RFK Gates

 

 

Capybara
https://twitter.com/i/status/1781232167109980375

 

 

Jaguar Lion

 

 

Cow jump

 

 

Deer hunter

 

 

Turtle

 

 

Skidding

 

 

Elephant, cubs

 

 

 

 

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