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[Markets] Being Frank About Costco's $1.50 Hot Dog Combo Being Frank About Costco's $1.50 Hot Dog Combo

Authored by Thomas McArdle via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Costco’s new CFO, Gary Millerchip, sent disciples of the ultra-low-priced warehouse chain into ecstasy when he told Wall Street analysts in May that the price of its legendary $1.50 quarter-pound, all-beef hot dog and soda with free refills would, despite raging inflation, remain at the price it’s held for about four decades.

“To clear up some recent media speculation, I also want to confirm the $1.50 hot dog price is safe,” Millerchip said, correcting an iffier statement that had been made by his immediate predecessor, Richard Galanti.

Customers wait in line to order below signage for the Costco Kirkland Signature $1.50 hot dog and soda combo, which has maintained the same price since 1985 despite consumer price increases and inflation, at the food court outside a Costco Wholesale Corp. store in Hawthorne, California, on June 14, 2022. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

A free market means sellers having full freedom to set the prices of their wares or services, even if it includes the “loss leaderpractice of selling at a price that seems to lose the business money. There are many reasons a retailer sells something at a money-losing price, such as to make a splash as a new business in first entering a market or to engender customer loyalty—which can result in sales of other items that do make a profit.

An infamous case of loss-leader strategy was the federally subsidized Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid car of the last decade, a four-seater originally costing nearly $40,000 even after the $7,500 federal check for each buyer. A showcase for the new, post-2008 financial crisis General Motors, which was purchased courtesy of the taxpayers by the Obama administration, its sales were disappointing. But GM insisted that the Volt, fleets of them parked unsold in dealer lots, wasn’t a product designed to make money but, rather, an assertion of “vision and leadership.”

If a supermarket wants to lose money on half-gallons of milk located in the back of the store because it believes shoppers will, during their long stroll, grab a few of the profit-generating items on the shelves between the entrance and the dairy section, it should have every right to do so. This is Costco’s thinking, since each of its over 600 aircraft-hangar-like stores in the United States is like a Disneyland of rock-bottom deals on everything from groceries to clothes to appliances.

Another celebrated example and resoundingly successful use of loss leader is Gillette selling its razors at far below cost, then pulling in lots of revenue through sales of replacement blades made exclusively for its own razors, while at the same time building a large customer base that leads to sales of other of its products with big profit margins, like aftershave and deodorant.

Costco or Gillette’s competitors, or the media, of course, have every right to call out the practice as a cynical ploy. Even running rival businesses into the ground is a legitimate motive for loss-leader pricing; after all, the materialization of any new competitor offering attractive prices can be deemed an unfair burden that could crush a long-established, popular small business. Once government is allowed to make judgments on what constitutes unlawful “predatory” pricing, there is no knowing how much healthy competition it will restrict.

Utilized in what looks to be such cutthroat purposes, loss leader facilitates and accelerates “creative destruction,” the term used by socialist economists Joseph Schumpeter and Werner Sombart to describe what Marx had vilified as capitalism’s “constant revolutionizing of production” and “uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions.” The unprofitable neighborhood deli shuttering in the wake of the low prices offered by the supermarket chain opening a new store a short drive away is as much an example of creative destruction as the dislocation caused by Henry Ford’s assembly line or the brick-and-mortar businesses that could not survive the online marketplaces of the Internet. Who visits the mall to sit down with a travel agent when they can click on booking.com, begun by a recent graduate of a Dutch technical college nearly 30 years ago? (Answer: no one; such physical travel agencies no longer exist.)

For government to poke a finger in the dike holding back creative destruction is to seek the artificial prevention of the inevitable, like attempting to hold back the Industrial Revolution. If politicians crusade against loss leader, declaring it an immorality, can it be long before it will criminalize free samples or giveaways by retailers? Absent the liberty to set prices there is no economic freedom in a free country.

In Costco’s case, loss leader is turned somewhat on its head, since its customers are providing it with its profits before they even have access to the head-spinning deal at the snack bar. The members-only warehouse club has become the world’s third-largest retailer, and with a razor-thin 2 percent profit margin, Costco makes its real money—$242 billion in revenue last year—through the $60 annual fee it charges for a membership card (double that for an executive membership providing reductions on some already low prices, plus some fringe benefits).

After shelling out that kind of dough for the privilege of being able to flash your card at the door, to walk in and see that impossible-to-believe deal at the snack counter for the iconic American junk food meal of frankfurter and fizzy drink provides a strong jolt of psychological validation. If one had doubts about parting with that $60 they might be allayed, replaced by self-congratulation.

The buck-fifty deal, however, dates all the way back to 1983, which means that adjusted for inflation Costco members were at that time paying today’s equivalent of about $4.60. It was then that Costco’s co-founders, the late Jeffrey Brotman and retired Jim Sinegal, expressed the sentimental hope that the price would never rise. In the decades since, some unusual efforts have gone into keeping intact today’s version of Vice President Thomas Marshall’s tongue-in-cheek pronouncement that “What this country needs is a good five-cent cigar” from 110 years ago.

For instance, to avoid reliance on the greater expense of outside suppliers, Costco established its own hot dog manufacturing plants in Los Angeles and Chicago. In January, Joey Kinsley of Cleveland spent a whole week eating nothing but Costco’s $1.50 hot dogs and soda, chronicling the experience on social media and explaining that he was doing so to take refuge from inflation. “It’s a deal that is unheard of in 2024,” Mr. Kinsley told Fox News.

If Costco’s $1.50 hot dog and soda went by the wayside it would have a symbolic force not unlike Dollar Tree announcing that “In the midst of unprecedented inflation, Dollar Tree recently changed its primary price point to $1.25”—the absurdity of the dollar store no longer charging a dollar on most items. In fact, last month Dollar Tree further announced that its prices are rising to $1.50 on average, with some products to be sold at $7.

So Costco bending over backward to continue to give away hot dogs for $1.50 will no doubt go down as one of the most effective uses of loss leader in corporate history, as its $60 and $120 memberships get renewed en masse year after year. But any notion that seeing that amazing price of yesteryear on the sign above the counter will persuade people into believing that inflation might not be as high as they think is belied by what consumers see just about everywhere other than at the warehouse snack bar.

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/21/2024 - 19:00
Published:6/21/2024 6:04:19 PM
[Markets] The Game Theory Of Biden's Replacement And Trump's VP Pick The Game Theory Of Biden's Replacement And Trump's VP Pick

Submitted by QTR's Fringe Finance

If there’s one political rule that always seems to hold true, it’s that both parties will wind up choosing the worst possible selection for whatever needs they seek to fulfill.

That’s just the miracle of government. Who knew that doing things as inefficiently as humanly possible — selecting candidates, spending tax money, passing legislation, appointing cabinets — was such an art form, reserved for the likes of brilliant visionaries like Jeb Bush, Jasmine Crockett, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and the likes?

The talent is uncanny. If you gave me 20 years as President, all $80 trillion in tax receipts the country brought in over that time and made it my one sole objective to do so, I still wouldn’t be able to engineer the following headline during my tenure:

Anyway, every two years, we have a major round of elections, and every two years I’m stunned that the slate of candidates we put up for election are passed off as representing the best we can do on both sides of the aisle.

And every four years, it seems like there are always running jokes during the presidential election that most people would vote for literally anybody other than the two choices they are being given.

As someone who leans conservative, I hope this maxim of choosing the worst possible replacement continues to hold true when it comes to Joe Biden’s coming replacement.

It seems fairly obvious at this point that the generally incomprehensible Biden is going to have to be swapped out with someone who is at least semi-conscious. If Democrats don’t do it between now and the election, Biden almost certainly will (1) lose the election or (2) not be finishing a second term.

The good news for conservatives is that Democrats don’t show any signs of letting up from their current strategy of torpedoing their own party.

I’ve mentioned in passing that I think a long line of centrist Democrats, including the likes of former candidate Dean Phillips or potentially Michelle Obama, would throttle Donald Trump in a national election.

This will be an unpopular statement with some, but I believe Trump is beating Biden by a wide margin not because Trump is the overwhelming objective favorite of the country, but because he’s the overwhelming favorite relative to the idea of another 4 years of Joe Biden.

If you were to stack Trump up against any middle aged centrist Democrat with a pulse who promises to pull back on woke policy and return the country to some form of normalcy, he’d likely slip significantly in the polls. I don’t know why this is so difficult for Democrats to understand, but then again they don’t exactly seem to be the party of common sense decision making. If liberals ignore this obvious decision that could instantly win them the election and instead continue playing “the game” that dictates people who have “put their time in” deserve a chance more than somebody like Dean Phillips, they’re going to lose the election.

If you think Hillary Clinton’s appearance at the Tony Awards the other night was a coincidence, think again. I think it is a sign there’s a very real chance that she is in the running to replace Joe Biden. If I had to guess, second to Hillary would be Kamala Harris because the Democrats probably feel like they “owe it” to her, not only for being current vice president but also for DEI purposes.

I can’t even begin to tell you how terrible either of these selections would be, not only for the country but for the Democratic Party. Both candidates are unbearable, and the country has already had their fill of both of them.

Clinton would be the closer race of the two, in my opinion, because if you recall correctly, Harris got curb-stomped during the Democratic primaries while making her run for president. And for the most part, it appears the country still finds her detestable.

To boot, the last four years have proven, on top of that, that she’s an airhead.

Either way, the nation would see both of these candidates as more of the same, and they would do little to advance Democrats’ against Donald Trump.

But it isn’t just Democrats that are horrific political strategists, and all one needs to do is look at Donald Trump’s shortlist for vice president to understand that.

When I read the list of those in serious consideration, I couldn’t help but quote this scene in Major League:

“Ricky Vaughn? Willie Hayes. I never heard of most of these guys. Mitchell Friedman?”

“Who’re these f*ckin’ guys?”

At first glance, it appears Trump’s strategy in picking a vice president is to get somebody milquetoast enough to move him closer to the center, not eclipse his bombast, and support him vehemently. We’ll call it the “Pence strategy”.

But as Trump quickly found out with endorsing Mike Johnson for the Speaker of the House role, a good portion of his base wants somebody who isn’t a centrist, and instead unapologetically supports the Make America Great Again agenda.

It’s baffling to me that with potential picks like Tulsi Gabbard, Kari Lake, and Vivek Ramaswamy out there, Trump would be mulling over a list that includes the likes of “Little” Marco Rubio and Doug Burgum, both of whom have the personality and likability of a damp washcloth.

I think Trump could be in the right neighborhood looking at somebody like Byron Donalds, who is strong and outspoken, and would obviously give Trump further reach into the black community, but I think the key issue he needs to defend heading into November is the abortion issue. He’s not going to lose on the issues of law and order, inflation or the economy, that’s for sure.

Trump selecting a female vice president would check a lot of boxes: it softens up his image, it gives him an inroad with women on the abortion issue, and it checks the equality box that a lot of undecided/independent liberal-ish voters close to the center wouldn’t mind checking off.


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I do understand the strategy of not wanting to change much when you’re already ahead, and I understand a guy like Doug Burgum has appeal because he brings nothing positive or negative to the campaign, but I do think Trump doesn’t need to totally focus on playing defense with his pick. Someone like Ramaswamy would bring another sharp tongue, adept at slicing and dicing through the mainstream media's bullsh*t. Former Democrat Gabbard would bring inroads not only to women voters, but to Democrats. Someone like Elise Stefanik or Kari Lake would also be a value add if Trump needs to defend the abortion issue as top priority.

The Democrats still have a legitimate shot to pull this election out, but their window to make a change is closing every day. The nonsense of not being able to pull Biden out of the race because he’s an incumbent will come back to bite them in the ass if that’s the road they want to take.

Perhaps the strategy is to allow Biden to humiliate himself at the first debate so whoever they put in his place for the second one looks that much better. But as days and weeks pass by without making a change, they are losing crucial time. They will need to warm up a second candidate — and entire second campaign — to the public, even if it is somebody they already know like Hillary Clinton.

The name of the game for the conservatives is simply not to screw anything up. I understand that there’s a case for playing “prevent defense” and slotting in somebody like Burgum as vice president, but resting on their laurels when they’re only ahead slightly could wind up doing more harm than good.

The Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII by consistently being aggressive. When you are going up against the entire Washington machine in the Democratic Party—essentially Tom Brady’s dynastic New England Patriots of the political world—sometimes it can do more harm than good to keep your foot off the gas instead of on it. Sometimes you have to go for the strategic jugular.

If you were a Democratic strategist or a Republican strategist, who would your choices be for Biden’s replacement and Trump’s VP? After all, they can’t be any worse than the leading candidates for both as they stand right now.

QTR’s Disclaimer: Please read my full legal disclaimer on my About page hereThis post represents my opinions only. In addition, please understand I am an idiot and often get things wrong and lose money. I may own or transact in any names mentioned in this piece at any time without warning. Contributor posts and aggregated posts have been hand selected by me, have not been fact checked and are the opinions of their authors. They are either submitted to QTR by their author, reprinted under a Creative Commons license with my best effort to uphold what the license asks, or with the permission of the author. This is not a recommendation to buy or sell any stocks or securities, just my opinions. I often lose money on positions I trade/invest in. I may add any name mentioned in this article and sell any name mentioned in this piece at any time, without further warning. None of this is a solicitation to buy or sell securities. These positions can change immediately as soon as I publish this, with or without notice. You are on your own. Do not make decisions based on my blog. I exist on the fringe. The publisher does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information provided in this page. These are not the opinions of any of my employers, partners, or associates. I did my best to be honest about my disclosures but can’t guarantee I am right; I write these posts after a couple beers sometimes. I edit after my posts are published because I’m impatient and lazy, so if you see a typo, check back in a half hour. Also, I just straight up get sh*t wrong a lot. I mention it twice because it’s that important.

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/21/2024 - 18:20
Published:6/21/2024 5:20:07 PM
[] Trump Opens Up an Eighteen Point Lead in Iowa, a State Obama Won Happy Nineteenth of June. I have proclaimed today a special holiday, which I call "Humpteenth." Iowa wasn't and isn't a blue state, but Obama did win it. Twice. Even in 2012, after everyone understood that he was an incompetent empty-suit... Published:6/19/2024 11:36:48 AM
[Israel / Middle East] 'Nobody Follows It': U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Says Obama's 2015 Iran Deal 'Means Nothing’

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign rally in support of Nevada Democrats at Cheyenne High School on November 01, 2022 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. With a week until the midterm elections, both Gov. Steve Sisolak and U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) hold narrow leads over their Republican opponents. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Rafael Grossi, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said on Monday that former President Barack Obama’s 2015 nuclear deal with Iran “exists only on paper and means nothing.”

The post ‘Nobody Follows It’: U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Says Obama’s 2015 Iran Deal ‘Means Nothing’ appeared first on Breitbart.

Published:6/18/2024 8:19:05 PM
[2024 Election] AP Fact-Checks Video of Barack Obama Walking Joe Biden off Stage, Citing One Anonymous Source

President Biden And Former President Obama Campaign In Philadelphia For State's Democratic Candidates
The Associated Press (AP) on Monday fact-checked a video of Barack Obama walking Joe Biden off stage by citing one anonymous source.

The post AP Fact-Checks Video of Barack Obama Walking Joe Biden off Stage, Citing One Anonymous Source appeared first on Breitbart.

Published:6/18/2024 2:59:46 PM
[Markets] Your Lyin' Eyes: Corporate Media Panics With 'Fact Checks' Over Biden's Obvious Decline Your Lyin' Eyes: Corporate Media Panics With 'Fact Checks' Over Biden's Obvious Decline

After several videos plainly showing Joe Biden's obvious cognitive decline went viral over the last week, the left is now pulling the 'out of context' thing, suggesting that they're edited "cheap fakes" that are "done in bad faith," and both NBC News and AP running 'fact checks.'

Now, the media is doing 'fact checks' to debunk your lyin' eyes! Check out NBC's (9 million follower, 25k view in 12 hours, highly ratio'd post with hilarious replies) take:

They're now calling authentic footage "cheap fakes," which as we noted yesterday, appears to be coordinated messaging with the White House.

While "deepfakes" are misleading audio, video or images that are created or edited with artificial intelligence technology, a "cheap fake," according to researchers Britt Paris and Joan Donovan, is a "manipulation created with cheaper, more accessible software (or, none at all). Cheap fakes can be rendered through Photoshop, lookalikes, re-contextualizing footage, speeding, or slowing."

To recap:

  • Biden 'wandered off' during a G7 flag ceremony while he was supposed to be taking a photo with other world leaders before Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni shepherded him back to the group. According to the fact checkers, he was 'paying respects to a paratrooper.'

According to the fact check, "Biden was greeting a parachutist who had just landed as part of the ceremony."

Yes, requiring Meloni to physically bring him back to the group.

  • He then did some weird nursing home mind-meld with the Pope, possibly (definitely) sniffing him. Unsurprisingly, no debunk! Apparently even NBC News couldn't defend this.

  • Then, the Hollywood Reporter's Chris Gardner showed a clip of Biden 'freezing' on stage last weekend, and having to be similarly guided off stage by former President Barack Obama.

 According to a new 'fact check' from AP, citing Jimmy Kimmel's spokesman and an anonymous source, Biden was simply "pausing" amid cheers.

And wait, is this a cheap fake?

Nobody's buying it...

 

Tyler Durden Tue, 06/18/2024 - 12:20
Published:6/18/2024 11:33:04 AM
[Markets] US Has Reportedly 'Ramped Up' Intel-Sharing With Israel, Alarming Democrat Lawmakers  US Has Reportedly 'Ramped Up' Intel-Sharing With Israel, Alarming Democrat Lawmakers 

Washington has significantly ramped up its intelligence-sharing with Israel, despite recent attempts by the Biden administration to distance itself from large-scale civilian casualties mounting from the Rafah ground offensive as well as airstrikes across the Gaza Strip.

The Washington Post has documented the Pentagon is now handing an "extraordinary amount" of intelligence to Tel Aviv, including "drone footage, satellite imagery, communications intercepts and data analysis using advanced software, some of it powered by artificial intelligence."

DIA monitoring center, via Wiki Commons

Much of this is said to be focused on hostage-location efforts, given also that among the Oct.7 captives there were eight Americans, but three are since believed deceased.

"If we managed to unilaterally get information that we could act on, and we thought we could actually get US people out alive, we could act," a US official told the Post, adding "there was genuinely very little information specifically about US hostages."

The report confirmed the presence of the US military's elite Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) at a CIA station in Israel, as well as personnel from the Defense Intelligence Agency. These US intel officials have been meeting with their counterparts in the country "on a daily basis". The State Department has also has a special envoy on the ground, while the FBI has also assisted ongoing investigations related to Oct.7.

WaPo also revealed that earlier in the war the US had intricate plans for a potential hostage operation to retrieve the remaining American captives (dual nationals) held by Hamas. That operation, which would have been extraordinarily high-risk both militarily as well as politically for the Biden administration, was shelved.

All of this increased intel-sharing has worried some lawmakers, who don't want the United States to be seen as too hand in glove with Israeli operations in Gaza. The Post wrote:

Other officials, including lawmakers on Capitol Hill, worry that intelligence the United States provides could be making its way into the repositories of data that Israeli military forces use to conduct airstrikes or other military operations, and that Washington has no effective means of monitoring how Israel uses the U.S. information.

Meanwhile there is this surprisingly blunt assessment from Politico concerning how the crisis impacts Biden's political future in the White House...

"Diplomats and world leaders - many of whom are gathering for the G7 summit here this week - have begun to worry that Biden’s reluctance to more fully break with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could cost him the election in November," Politico writes.

Jeremy Shapiro, a former Obama State Department official who commented on recent conversations with European diplomats, explained to the outlet that "The level of concern is something between panic and terror." He added: "The alliance is too important for these countries right now."

As for growing nervousness among US lawmakers over the intel-sharing relationship at a time Israel is being increasingly seen as a 'pariah' among many countries abroad, AntiWar.com notes that

Rep. Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, has been critical of the lack of supervision on intelligence-sharing with Israel. Calling for more "robust oversight," he recently co-sponsored a bill that would require top officials to notify lawmakers if US intel was used for an operation that resulted in civilian deaths. The legislation is still making its way through the House.

A trickle of Biden admin 'protest resignations' have meanwhile continued...

While the Biden administration has publicly pushed back and fought against things like the recent anti-Israeli actions of the International Criminal Court (ICC), including arrest warrants issued for Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, it has faced some degree of revolt from within - including a spate of protest resignations in the State Department and other agencies like USAID.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/17/2024 - 17:20
Published:6/17/2024 4:38:16 PM
[69483b22-3f30-539f-bc0a-3e31a6b0edf1] John Kerry used government email alias as secretary of state, whistleblowers say Former Secretary of State John Kerry used a pseudonymous government email address while serving as the nation’s top diplomat during the Obama administration, whistleblowers alleged. Published:6/17/2024 2:47:52 PM
[Markets] Free Money Advocates: Undoing Medical Debt From Credit Reports Isn't Enough Free Money Advocates: Undoing Medical Debt From Credit Reports Isn't Enough

Via SchiffGold.com,

The Biden Administration’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) just issued a proposal to ban medical debt from factoring into your credit score. But for free-money socialists and their Keynesian bedfellows, this doesn’t go nearly far enough: short of canceling medical debt entirely, nothing else is acceptable.

The proposal addresses a loophole so that Americans with medical debt aren’t prevented from getting loans or even losing their home due to unpaid medical bills. The announcement has set a chorus into motion from those who believe money grows on trees, and debt can be magically erased. For economically-illiterate, quixotic activists who think money can (and should) be printed out of thin air, hundreds of billions of dollars in debt can just as easily be made to disappear without economic consequences.

Even just banning medical debt from credit scores could potentially fuel inflation and lead to higher medical costs - but the one thing the free money advocates have right is that healthcare is too expensive in America.

The system is in dire need of reform.

But we have a very large country with low homogeneity where the socialized healthcare systems of high-trust societies, like some Nordic nations, would be impossible — not only economically, but culturally as well.

CFPB Data: Medical Debt Collections in Consumer Credit Panel, 2018 – 2021

Medical debt total balance and total tradelines from the CFPB’s Consumer Credit Panel, a 1-in-48 sample of de-identified credit records from one of the three major national consumer reporting agencies

Source: US Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, Medical Debt Burden in the United States. February 2022. Accessed June 2024

We also have an out-of-shape populace locked in a vicious downward cycle of atrocious nutrition, deteriorating health, and compounding pharmaceutical interventions. A “Medicare For All” scheme would inevitably translate to the constant and astronomical (lifestyle-induced) medical costs of the morbidly unhealthy being passed onto Americans who take reasonable steps to stay in decent health. Somewhere around half of adult Americans have totally preventable chronic diseases, and price inflation only worsens this pattern as people turn to cheaper and lower-quality foods to sustain their families.

But in its current form, the system itself is basically devoid of any real free market price discovery mechanism. There’s cartel-ized healthcare pricing where the total on your bill has as much to do with the dynamics of corporate and State monopolies than the cost of the service, materials, and medicines. There isn’t enough competition between giant healthcare providers, and the FDA has created a revolving door system for rubber-stamping products from pharmaceutical giants at the cost of innovation.

There’s little to no incentive to lower costs. Government intervention abounds more than ever with Obama’s Affordable Care Act, and while some are getting affordable insurance who couldn’t before the ACA, it has only achieved this by shoving those costs onto other people.

State intervention, guaranteed loans, and “debt relief” programs in medicine, education, and other industries push up prices for consumers needlessly and arbitrarily by cutting out free market mechanisms, shifting the burden to the rest of us. It’s a political ploy to curry favor to the indebted by selling out the next generation. We need the government involved less, not more, except to the extent that Americans must be protected from entrenched corporate monopolies and public-private cartels. Let the free market speak, let it set the fairest-possible prices through genuine competition, and let it self-regulate.

But a deeper root of the problem is the US dollar itself. Problems ripple outward from this common denominator — when a central bank can set monetary policy and print money on a whim, inflation is inevitable, and costs will go up. If you don’t fix the money, you can’t fix the other issues — and attempts to do so are inevitably trying to address symptoms without addressing foundational causes. From the central bank to the healthcare system, cartels and monopolies and walled gardens abound. It’s Americans who pay the price.

Passing existing debt along to the rest of the country isn’t the answer, and to truly fix healthcare in a lasting way, we must first abolish fiat money.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/17/2024 - 13:00
Published:6/17/2024 12:06:43 PM
[] Now It's Obama Leading Joe Away When he Freezes Published:6/17/2024 11:11:11 AM
[] After Week of Joe Biden's Dementia Being Obvious to Everyone, MSNBC Copes by Pushing New Storyline That It's Really Trump Who's In Steep Cognitive Decline Happy Monday, dear morons and moronettes. Once more unto the breach. MSNBC is coping hard after Biden froze again, this time at a Hollywood fundraiser. Barack Obama had to take him by the arm and lead him off the stage.... Published:6/17/2024 11:05:10 AM
[] White House Denies Biden Froze at Hollywood Fundraiser Published:6/17/2024 9:00:08 AM
[Markets] Obama And Kimmel Puppet Biden Through $30 Million LA Fundraiser As Trump Dazzles Detroit Obama And Kimmel Puppet Biden Through $30 Million LA Fundraiser As Trump Dazzles Detroit

President Joe Biden was flanked by Barack Obama and Jimmy Kimmel Saturday night for what turned out to be a record-setting $30 million fundraising haul headlined by Obama, George Clooney and Julia Roberts. 

Following the Alex Soros blueprint, instead of talking up their accomplishments and future plans (oh, right), the trio laid into Trump over his conviction on 34 counts in his 'hush-money' trial (that was so absurd that top Democrats advised not bragging about it).

"Look, part of what has happened in the last several years is we’ve normalized behavior that used to be disqualified," said Obama. "The other spectacle of the nominee of one of the two major parties is sitting in court and being convicted by a jury of his peers on 34 counts. You have his foundation, it’s not allowed to operate because it was engaging in monkey business and not actually philanthropic."

At one point Obama had to guide a confused Biden offstage.

The event comes one week after Trump hauled in roughly $27.5 million from three fundraisers in California and one in Las Vegas - where he pledged to defeat "crooked Joe Biden" in November, and return to the White House to pursue an "America First" policy that will minimize foreign intervention and secure the US border.

And while the Democrats partied for Biden, Trump was able to rock a Detroit crowd without the aid of a former president.

Though it seems like security at the Detroit Convention Center didn't do their job, so the Secret Service had to shut the place down and re-wand everyone.

Once things got going, the event went off without a hitch.

Earlier in the day, Trump visited with the black community.

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/16/2024 - 18:05
Published:6/16/2024 5:32:52 PM
[Politics] WATCH: Joe Biden Appears to Freeze, Obama Escorts Biden Off Stage During Star-Studded Fundraiser

President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event with former President Barack Obama moderated by Jimmy Kimmel at the Peacock Theater, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Joe Biden appeared to freeze while on stage during a star-studded fundraiser on Saturday night and was seen being led off the stage by former President Barack Obama.

The post WATCH: Joe Biden Appears to Freeze, Obama Escorts Biden Off Stage During Star-Studded Fundraiser appeared first on Breitbart.

Published:6/16/2024 4:38:48 PM
[Markets] "Worst He's Ever Been" - G7 Dignitaries Admit Biden Was "Losing Focus" "Worst He's Ever Been" - G7 Dignitaries Admit Biden Was "Losing Focus"

Authored by Steve Watson via modernity.news,

A report quoting insiders at the G7 summit this past week has warned that Joe Biden struggled to focus at the meeting of world leaders in Puglia, Italy. 

According to one source, Biden is “the worst he’s ever been,” with attendees from other delegations saying it was “embarrassing.”

As we highlighted, Biden was seen wandering off like a dementia patient and looking perpetually confused.

Watch: Biden Wanders Off On His Own At G7 Meeting Like A Dementia Patient 

The footage of Biden prompted mocking headlines. 

Biden also skipped the dinner later in the evening, before returning to the US.

Of course, the Biden campaign claims it’s all “lies” and the footage of him was “taken out of context.”

Biden’s campaign spokesperson Adrienne Elrod described the headlines and reports as “disinformation” and suggested that social media platforms should prevent it from being shared.

It has also been reported that the debate between Biden and Trump scheduled for June 27 will see the pair seated at tables at the request of Biden’s campaign.

Trump told the hosts of the Cats & Cosby Show last month “I hear now we’re sitting at tables. I don’t want to sit at a table.”

“I said, ‘No, let’s stand.’ But they want to sit at a table,” Trump further remarked, adding “So we’ll be sitting at a table as opposed to doing it the way you should be, in my opinion, in a debate.”

Meanwhile back at the ranch...

Your support is crucial in helping us defeat mass censorship. Please consider donating via Locals or check out our unique merch. Follow us on X @ModernityNews.

Tyler Durden Sun, 06/16/2024 - 14:00
Published:6/16/2024 2:25:10 PM
[Politics] Biden, Obama warn of Trump dangers in star-studded L.A. fundraiser Biden and Obama were joined by George Clooney and Julia Roberts as they presented Trump as a threat to democracy. The campaign said the event raised at least $28 million. Published:6/16/2024 9:45:03 AM
[792294b1-12ef-50a9-a62a-55672f23b455] Detroit pastor thanks Trump for visiting the 'hood' as Biden, Obama who ‘never came’ attend LA fundraiser Detroit Pastor Lorenzo Sewell told former President Trump Saturday he was "humbled" by his visit to his church, saying Biden and Obama never visited "the hood." Published:6/15/2024 9:15:05 PM
[World] Biden, Obama, celebrities expected to raise record amount at downtown L.A. event

President Biden is joining former President Obama, George Clooney and Julia Roberts at star-studded fundraiser in downtown Los Angeles that is expected to raise at least $28 million.

Published:6/15/2024 8:41:12 PM
[dafa827d-ccc7-57f2-b951-c95e252712f9] Biden strikes gold in California, one week after Trump's massive haul in the blue bastion Late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel will interview President Biden, former President Obama, George Clooney and Julia Roberts at a star-studded $28 million fundraiser Published:6/15/2024 7:16:01 PM
[] Barack Obama Celebrates 12th Anniversary of DACA Published:6/15/2024 6:23:04 PM
[Markets] Target Hospitality Shares Crater 35% On News Biden Admin Will Shutter ICE Facility In Dilley, Texas Target Hospitality Shares Crater 35% On News Biden Admin Will Shutter ICE Facility In Dilley, Texas

Shares of Target Hospitality were rocked on Tuesday morning, falling more than 35% during the cash session, after news broke that the government was planning on terminating a services agreement with the company's migrant programming partner.

The company offering rental accommodations with catering and hospitality services revealed that the U.S. government plans to end its contract with Target's partner for the current South Texas Family Residential Center situated in Dilley, Texas.

This termination is expected to take effect within 60 days, around August 9, MarketWatch reported.

Their report followed earlier reporting from The Wall Street Journal, stating that the Biden administration is shutting down an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility in Dilley, which has historically housed migrant families apprehended for illegal border crossings.

The report said Biden was closing the center because "it is far more expensive to operate than other ICE facilities". In other words, we've got plenty of cash to send overseas and squander on foreign aid - but not enough to keep ICE facilities open.

Officials state that without new funding from Congress, Biden's ability to deport more migrants under the revised policy hinges on increasing detention space for those awaiting removal. Closing the Dilley facility would free up resources for approximately 1,600 extra detention beds elsewhere. 

Since 2021, Dilley has only housed single adults after Biden ceased detaining families there. Shutting it down entirely would hinder any attempt by a potential second-term President Trump to repurpose it for family detention, the report said.

The Journal notes that immigration advocates view Dilley as emblematic of harsh immigration policies, with children enduring prolonged stays. Lawyers and students nationwide represented families there, contesting deportations and seeking release.

Trump has pledged a massive deportation effort if re-elected, yet such action, especially against families, depends on available detention space. 

Dilley's layout, initially for oil workers, suited family detention with its cottages and separate areas, unlike typical centers designed for adults.

Opened under Obama to deter illegal crossings, Biden discontinued family detention in 2021, favoring release with monitoring. 

Biden's recent executive action subjects migrant families to swift deportation if ineligible for asylum, detaining some briefly before deportation flights, limited by a 2015 court ruling to about 20 days.

Meanwhile Target said it will provide updates on the operational and financial impact of this termination before June 30.

Tyler Durden Tue, 06/11/2024 - 13:45
Published:6/11/2024 1:20:49 PM
[] Biden's Approval Rating Hits Fresh Low; Liberal Poll Analyst Nate Silver Renews Call for Biden to Drop Out I've mentioned before that I'm worried about Biden's numbers dropping too low before the fall, which will result in the Democrat Party -- by which I mean Obama and his top socialists, as well as the Democrat billionaire donors --... Published:6/11/2024 1:20:49 PM
[Markets] France Seeks 'Direct' Entry Into Ukraine War: Kremlin France Seeks 'Direct' Entry Into Ukraine War: Kremlin

The Kremlin says that NATO member France is fast becoming a 'direct' participant in the Ukraine war, which threatens to drastically inflame tensions and escalate the conflict further, possibly beyond Ukraine's borders.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday committed to transferring Mirage fighter jets to Kiev, as well as set up a French training program for Ukrainian pilots. He said this while Zelensky and Biden were in France commemorating and attending D-Day 80th anniversary events. Macron went so far as to repeat his call for Western countries to be willing to send troops directly into Ukraine.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov reacted as follows: "Macron demonstrates absolute support for the Kyiv regime and declares readiness for France's direct participation in the military conflict."

Via Reuters

"We consider these statements to be very, very provocative, inflaming tensions on the continent and not conducive to anything positive," Peskov said Friday on the sidelines of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Macron has pressed ahead undeterred despite repeat Moscow warnings, as The Washington Post observed

The comment, made in a news conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, is the latest sign that France and other allies may now be willing to put NATO country troops on Ukrainian soil — an idea that some allies, including the United States, have long considered potentially escalatory.

Macron on Friday called Ukraine’s request for in-country training “legitimate” and said several partners have “already given their agreement.”

“We are going to use the coming days to finalize a coalition, as broad as possible,” he said.

Some reports have claimed President Biden has talked Macron out of putting Western boots on the ground in Ukraine; however, Biden's message appears to more simply be that this action can't be taken without consensus withing NATO.

Indeed such a plan would run the risk of triggering NATO's Article 5 common defense treaty, and see nuclear-armed confrontation between Russia and the Western alliance.

The below recent analysis by Responsible Statecraft shows why Macron's plan to get allies on board at this sensitive moment politically are likely doomed to failure [emphasis ZH]...

* * *

Macron stated that Russia must not “win” the war; but, like all the other leaders of NATO, he has never defined what he means by this. Perhaps he means fighting Russia to a standstill followed by a compromise peace. In private conversations, however, French officials simply echo the U.S. line that only the Ukrainians can make peace — and the Ukrainian terms for peace require not a stalemate, but the complete military defeat of Russia.

The need for Europe to develop a capacity for self-defense should be obvious. Having nailed themselves to the Biden administration, European governments have very belatedly woken up to the realization that the next president may well be Donald Trump, and that the U.S. commitment to Europe may radically diminish. Indeed, given U.S. problems at home and in the Middle East, plus growing tension with China, this commitment is likely to diminish in future whether or not Trump is elected.

However, Macron’s hope that the supposed threat from Russia will prompt Europe to unite militarily behind French leadership vastly exaggerates both French military power and European willingness to follow France’s lead. After years of budget cuts, the French army is far too weak to intervene in Ukraine without full U.S. support. When in 2011 President Nicolas Sarkozy of France tried to take the lead in the “humanitarian intervention” in Libya, within a very few weeks he was begging an unwilling President Obama to take over the operation on behalf of NATO, for fear of a humiliating Anglo-French failure.

In terms of appealing to other European countries, Macron’s hawkish stance on Ukraine is targeting East European partners. These governments, however, are precisely the countries with the most deeply-rooted determination to oppose European strategic autonomy and maintain until the bitter end the closest possible alliance with the United States.

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/10/2024 - 02:45
Published:6/10/2024 1:54:57 AM
[Markets] The Myth That Biden Had Nothing To Do With The Prosecutions Of Trump; VDH The Myth That Biden Had Nothing To Do With The Prosecutions Of Trump; VDH

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson,

The five criminal and civil prosecutions of former President Donald Trump all prompt heated denials from Democrats that President Joe Biden and Democrat operatives had a role in any of them.

But Biden has long let it be known that he was frustrated with his own Department of Justice’s federal prosecutors for their tardiness in indicting Trump.

Biden was upset because any delay might mean that his rival Trump would not be in federal court during the 2024 election cycle. And that would mean he could not be tagged as a “convicted felon” by the November election while being kept off the campaign trail.

Politico has long prided itself on its supposed insider knowledge of the workings of the Biden administration. Note that it was reported earlier this February that a frustrated Joe Biden “has grumbled to aides and advisers that had [Attorney General Merrick] Garland moved sooner in his investigation into former President Donald Trump’s election interference, a trial may already be underway or even have concluded…”

If there was any doubt about the Biden administration’s effort to force Trump into court before November, Politico further dispelled it — even as it blamed Trump for Biden’s anger at Garland:

“That trial still could take place before the election and much of the delay is owed not to Garland but to deliberate resistance put up by the former president and his team.”

Note in passing how a presidential candidate’s legal right to oppose a politicized indictment months before an election by his opponent’s federal attorneys is smeared by Politico as “deliberate resistance.”

Given Politico was publicly reporting six months ago about Biden’s anger at the pace of his DOJ’s prosecution of Trump, does anyone believe his special counsel, Jack Smith, was not aware of such presidential displeasure and pressure?

Note Smith had petitioned and was denied an unusual request to the court to speed up the course of his Trump indictment.

And why would Biden’s own attorney general, Garland, select such an obvious partisan as Smith? Remember, in his last tenure as special counsel, Smith had previously gone after popular Republican and conservative Virginia governor Bob MacDonnell.

Yet Smith’s politicized persecution of the innocent McDonnell was reversed by a unanimous verdict of the U.S. Supreme Court. That rare court unanimity normally should have raised a red flag to the Biden DOJ about both Smith’s partiality and his incompetence.

But then again, Smith’s wife had donated to the 2020 Biden campaign fund. And she was previously known for producing a hagiographic 2020 documentary (“Becoming”) about Michelle Obama.

Selecting a special counsel with a successful record of prior nonpartisan convictions was clearly not why the DOJ appointed Smith.

The White House’s involvement is not limited to the Smith federal indictments.

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’s paramour and erstwhile lead prosecutor in her indictment of Trump, Nathan Wade, met twice with the White House counsel’s office. On one occasion, Wade met inside the Biden White House.

Subpoenaed records reveal that the brazen Wade actually billed the federal government for his time spent with the White House counsel’s staff — although so far no one has disclosed under oath the nature of such meetings.

Of the tens of thousands of local prosecutions each year, in how many instances does a county prosecutor consult with the White House counsel’s office — and then bill it for his knowledge?

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s just-completed felony convictions of Trump were spearheaded by former prominent federal prosecutor Matthew Colangelo. He is not just a well-known Democratic partisan who served as a political consultant to the Democratic National Committee.

Colangelo had also just left his prior position in the Biden Justice Department — reputedly as Garland’s third-ranking prosecutor — to join the local Bragg team.

Again, among all the multitudes of annual municipal indictments nationwide, how many local prosecutors manage to enlist one of the nation’s three top federal attorneys to head their case?

So, apparently, it was not enough for the shameless Bragg to campaign flagrantly on promises to go after Trump. In addition, Bragg brashly drafted a top Democratic operative and political appointee from inside Joe Biden’s DOJ to head his prosecution.

Not surprisingly, it took only a few hours after the Colangelo-Bragg conviction of Trump for Biden on spec to start blasting his rival as a “convicted felon.” Biden is delighted that his own former prosecutor, a left-wing judge, and a Manhattan jury may well keep Trump off the campaign trail.

So, it is past time for the media and Democrats to drop this ridiculous ruse of the Biden White House’s “neutrality.” Instead, they should admit that they are terrified of the will of the people in November and so are conniving to silence them.

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/07/2024 - 11:25
Published:6/7/2024 10:31:33 AM
[Markets] Risking PR Disaster, Netanyahu To Address Congress On July 24 Risking PR Disaster, Netanyahu To Address Congress On July 24

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, July 24th. Though intended to reinforce US support of Israel and its ongoing war in Gaza, the appearance of the polarizing prime minister amid the initial run-up to the 2024 American general election could well backfire

Many legislators will boycott the appearance, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who already promised not to show up. This won't be the first controversial joint address by Netanyahu: In 2015, he used a speech to undermine President Obama's negotiation of an agreement with Iran that severely limited its nuclear energy program. Fifty-eight Democrats boycotted the speech.  

A political lightning rod, Netanyahu is certain to inspire large protests in Washington, and perhaps other cities, coinciding with his appearance. There may well be outbursts inside the House chamber too. A senior House Democrat tells Axios that "a number [of Democrats] are going and disrupting" the speech

Netanyahu's address will come between the Republican and Democratic national conventions, and increased debate on the way Israel is conducting its US-financed, US-equipped war could well be a huge net negative for Netanyahu and his ruling coalition. 

A huge pro-Palestinian protest in Washington DC in November 2023 (Celal Gunes/ Anadolu / Getty Images via TruthOut)

 Underscoring the challenge Netanyahu faces in shoring up Israel's sagging support in the United States, the announcement of the date of his speech came the same day as the latest gruesome, mass-civilian-casualty incident in Gaza. At least 33 were killed at a shelter for displaced Palestinians, reports AP, including nine children, three women, and a number of Hamas terrorists who were hiding in the facility. The carnage came via Israel's delivery of an American-supplied GBU-39 small-diameter bomb -- as evidenced by bomb remnants at the site.    

In his own statement, Netanyahu said, "I am very moved to have the privilege of representing Israel before both Houses of Congress, and to present the truth about our just war against those who seek to destroy us, to the representatives of the American people and the entire world.” It should be noted that Netanyahu has a decidedly spotty record when it comes to "presenting the truth" to Congress

In a pointed illustration of the dicey politics surrounding Netanyahu's appearance, Thursday's confirmation of the date came in a statement issued only by two Republicans -- House Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell -- who wrote: 

“The bipartisan, bicameral meeting symbolizes the US and Israel’s enduring relationship and will offer Prime Minister Netanyahu the opportunity to share the Israeli government’s vision for defending their democracy, combatting terror and establishing just and lasting peace in the region.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose participation in a joint invitation was a prerequisite to Netanyahu's appearance, was conspicuously absent from the statement. In March, Schumer touched off a diplomatic firestorm when he gave a speech from the Senate floor in which he said Netanyahu had "lost his way" and was making Israel a worldwide "pariah." Most provocatively, Schumer called for a new election.

In his own separate Thursday statement, Schumer said “I have clear and profound disagreements with the prime minister, which I have voiced both privately and publicly and will continue to do so. But because America’s relationship with Israel is ironclad and transcends one person or prime minister, I joined the request for him to speak.”

Pro-Palestinian protesters marched in Washington last fall (Robert Nickelsberg/Getty via The Atlantic)

Schumer's careful justification of his role in giving Netanyahu the most prominent stage in American politics was no doubt intended for the increasingly large swath of American Democrats who are fiercely opposed to Israel's conduct of the Gaza war and who have a particularly dim view of Netanyahu and his government, which is widely viewed as Israel's most ultranationalist and religious yet.   

A May Economist/YouGov poll found that, among Democrats, just 15% sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians. Forty-one percent said their sympathies were "about equal," with 26% favoring the Palestinians over Israel.  

By the time July 24th comes around, Israel may be using US-supplied weapons in a second major war. Though Biden is discouraging it, Israel's war cabinet is considering the launch of a full-scale war against Lebanese political-militia group Hezbollah.  

Tyler Durden Fri, 06/07/2024 - 07:45
Published:6/7/2024 7:28:56 AM
[World] At fundraiser for Democrats, Obama calls protecting Senate majority critical The Maryland event raised $1 million, according to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Obama said Democrats have “better” candidates. Published:6/6/2024 8:06:00 AM
[Uncategorized] Giving Proper Credit Arctic sea ice extent declined from 1979-2007, but since then the trend has been flat. In 2008, Obama healed the planet. He isn’t getting proper credit for this however from NASA, who predicted the Arctic would be ice-free several years … Continue reading Published:6/4/2024 9:37:22 AM
[] NeverTrumpers and Hillary Clinton Voters Now Donating to Trump -- To Actually Save Democracy The Free Press reports that people are waking up to the genuine threat of Biden/Obama/Clinton gangsterism. many Americans had a different impression of the Trump verdict: that his conviction was proof of corruption, not justice. And while a snap poll... Published:6/3/2024 5:26:43 PM
[Markets] "The Ninnies Of Biden-World Seem Not To Understand..." "The Ninnies Of Biden-World Seem Not To Understand..."

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Which Movie Will It Be?

“It’s almost as if the principals (prosecutors and judge) were performing for their political audience - with a wink, a nod and a stage whisper (“watch this!”) as they ignore yet another fundamental element of American due process.”

- Jack DeVine on “X”

The ninnies of Bidenworld seem to not understand that by subjecting Mr. Trump to a kangaroo court they’ve made him the kind of outlaw that Americans revere above every other archetypal hero.

He’s the new American Robin Hood, the people’s outlaw - with “Joe Biden” relegated as the wicked Sir Guy of Gisbourne, master of foul play and servant of the evil regent Prince John (Barack Obama).

The galvanizing moment in this melodrama was not the verdict in Judge Juan Merchan’s kangaroo corral of a court, but the next day in the White House when “Joe Biden” was asked to comment on it as he shuffled away from the podium, halted, turned, and smirked silently at the cameras, a gesture that is sure to live in infamy.

The fun should really kick off when the judge gets to sentence Trump-the-Outlaw July 11, a few days before the Republican convention. Life in some New York state pen? A year on Rikers Island? House arrest? Who knows. But you can bet that just like Robin-of-Locksley, Donald-of-Mar-a-Lago will manage to slip out of his captors’ clutches and cleverly vanquish them.

In a sane world, of course, the US Supreme Court would be entreated to adjudicate this gross insult to due process as spelled out in Section 1 of the 14th Amendment.

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

But you might have noticed that this is not a sane world, at least not these days, and not a few supposedly sober analysts, such as Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, claim that that a SCOTUS review is a long-shot — which only confirms the reigning insanity since it’s hard to imagine a more compelling moment for the SCOTUS to carry out its fundamental duty: to elucidate the meaning of our Constitution and resolve disputes arising therefrom.

Now, it looks like what we’re seeing after a few days for the shock to wear off, is a mighty righteous rage arising among the faction designated as “Red” — that is, the anti-Woke, anti-Globalist, anti-neoMarxist, anti-Deep State blob, anti-Lawfare, anti-Democratic Party chunk of the adult US population. It amounts to a recognition that we are already in some kind of civil war, and that the tactics of “Joe Biden’s” party must and will be opposed by all means. The SCOTUS is the last resort of legal means for redress in this matter, and they would punt this duty at great peril to the country.

To clarify just what this matter is: “Joe Biden’s” White House and Department of Justice conspired with New York County (Manhattan) authorities to maliciously construct and execute a court case made of patently false charges against their principal political adversary, and with a cavalier disrespect to both state and federal law.

As such, the “Stormy Daniels Payoff Case,” as it’s known, is just the latest ploy in a long train of lawless gambits starting with RussiaGate in 2016 (the “Steele Dossier” and all) that have left hundreds of high appointed officials in the federal bureaucracy (plus many retired from it) liable to severe criminal charges ranging as far as sedition and treason. RussiaGate may have started its life as a typical campaign prank by doofuses in the Hillary Clinton organization, but it turned seriously sinister when it was adopted by the FBI and the CIA to execute a plan to harass and defenestrate the elected president, Mr. Trump.

With each subsequent prank, to distract from and cover-up their crimes, the same group of officials has committed more crimes, to the point that the federal government now behaves like a gigantic mafia, dedicated to nothing but crime of one kind or another. The Democratic Party has become this mob’s protective order; the old mainstream media its mouthpiece; and the people of this country increasingly its victims. Naturally, these criminals are now desperate to avoid having to account for their crimes, which is exactly and explicitly what Mr. Trump promises to do.

So, there it is: a criminal regime versus the people defended by their outlaw hero. Does the SCOTUS want to aid and abet this gang of criminals — led by the way, and just so you know, by Barack Obama and his Kalorama coterie, John Brennan, Mary McCord and her Lawfare coterie, Hillary and Bill Clinton and their henchmen, and scores of additional DC lawyers, fixers, and judges — or, will the SCOTUS avert an epic crisis of legitimacy by stepping in to quash the ridiculously fake New York case just concluded?

If they demur in some cowardly blur of excuses, then it’s onto the next truly nation-ending stage of this game. The “Joe Biden” regime would like nothing more than an outbreak of civil violence they can blame on “right-wing extremists.” In fact, they could and probably will gin that up themselves, just as they transformed the Jan-6-21 mass protest against widespread ballot fraud into a “MAGA insurrection.” You are also certainly aware of the sinister millions, mainly young men from faraway lands, who “Joe Biden” imported across the border the past three years. And you might imagine how they could be put to use against American citizens, along with the Democratic Party shock troops known as BLM and Antifa. Summer’s here and the time is right for fighting in the streets.

And, of course, even if the SCOTUS puts an end to this latest bit of Lawfare fuckery, the “Joe Biden” crew can always opt to just up and kill its opponent. Nothing is beneath them now. But when that happens, we’ll be in a very different kind of movie.

*  *  *

Support his blog by visiting Jim’s Patreon Page or Substack

Tyler Durden Mon, 06/03/2024 - 16:20
Published:6/3/2024 3:55:41 PM
[Columnists] Biden’s All-of-Government Vote-Buying Scheme

by Betsy McCaughey at CDN -

To bet on the upcoming presidential election, don’t just rely on polls. Look at the billions of taxpayer dollars President Joe Biden is pouring into “community organizations” in “disadvantaged communities” to tip the election scales. The community organizer who became president, Barack Obama, was a master at machine politics, using …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Biden’s All-of-Government Vote-Buying Scheme first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:5/31/2024 8:33:12 AM
[Markets] "I Just Donated $300k To Trump" "I Just Donated $300k To Trump"

Authored by Shaun Maguire via X

I just donated $300k to Trump. I’m prepared to lose friends. Here’s why.

Back in 2016 I had drunk the media Kool-Aid and was scared out of my mind about Trump. As such I donated to Hilary Clinton’s campaign and voted for her.

By 2020 I was disillusioned and didn’t vote – I didn’t like either option.

Now, in 2024, I believe this is one of the most important elections of my lifetime, and I’m supporting Trump.

I know that I’ll lose friends for this. Some will refuse to do business with me. The media will probably demonize me, as they have so many others before me. But despite this, I still believe it’s the right thing to do.

I refuse to live in a society where people are afraid to speak.

The 2016 Election

I’m going to start off with something provocative, but I think it leads to a different take on the most controversial Trump issue, which is obviously January 6th. So here goes nothing.

I believe the 2016 election was manipulated to hurt Hilary Clinton and to help Donald Trump.

Hilary Clinton herself believes this, she has denied the 2016 election result dozens of times, and still does to this day. Plot twist: I agree with her! Look into Guccifer 2.0 which was the “hacker group” that strategically leaked her emails (through Wikileaks) in a drip campaign at just the right moments. Turns out it was the Russian GRU. And remember all those fake news and bot farms? These incidents are the tip of the spear -- some of the publicly known incidents. There was extreme manipulation happening during the 2016 election.

Before proceeding, please watch at least 30 seconds of this video. It’s “24 straight minutes of Democrats denying election results.”

Russia (and others) interfering in the 2016 election was nothing new, this happens in every election, everywhere in the world. Obviously.

But for me, as someone that used to work in National Security, Russia’s implicit support for Trump made me deathly afraid of him getting elected as President.

I was wrong, and Russia miscalculated. President Trump turned out to be a master of foreign policy and particularly strong towards Russia. If you’ve never seen it before, please watch this two minute clip from Trump at a NATO breakfast 5 years ago.

If you're too lazy, Trump told Germany that they're a) owned by Russia via their energy dependence b) financing Russia's war machine by buying their energy c) not investing enough in defense, investing only 1% of GDP, which was below the 2% NATO commitment, meanwhile the US was investing 4.2% of GDP. And yet the world said he's owned by Russia?

For other Trump foreign policy wins, he: a) signed the Abraham Accords b) successfully put Iran in the penalty box, which the Biden administration immediately unwound and c) he helped India see the dangers of having their comms networks controlled by China resulting in Huawei and TikTok bans there.

My “radicalization” towards the center

August 16th, 2021 was the day I knew I could never support Joe Biden or any of the senior officials in his administration. This was the day that Afghans fell to their deaths from US C-17 airplanes at the Kabul International Airport, or KAIA as ISAF forces referred to it.

Back in 2012 I deployed to Afghanistan working for DARPA. I used to fly out of KAIA at least weekly, usually taking a Blackhawk to Bagram Airfield (BAF), but sometimes jumping on a C-130 down to Kandahar (KAF).

I'm not going to go into all of the details here, but this was personal for me -- as it was for anyone that served in Afghanistan. Most have the wrong impression of what happened there. Afghanistan wasn't Iraq. And real progress had been made. It took roughly 15 years to stabilize most of Afghanistan, but the ISAF coalition had gotten it to the place that little girls were going to school in Kabul, sometimes walked there by their mothers who weren't even wearing Burkas anymore. All of this was unimaginable a decade prior.

And then there's the strategic aspect. The US's most strategic base in Afghanistan was Bagram Airfield. Unless you've been there it's impossible to imagine how strategic this base is, and how easy it is to defend. Nestled in a remote valley at the foothills of the Himalayas. Within a couple hour flight of China and Iran, and a few minute flight to Pakistan. I believe this airfield could have been held for 50+ years with 50,000 men. A similar scale to the US permanent forces stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany or the US bases in Okinawa, Japan.

We gave up one of the most strategic air bases in the world, and arguably stability in Kabul, for political gain -- to be able to say that President Biden ended the War in Afghanistan. And we did it in the most incompetent manner possible, literally with people falling from our airplanes. Everyone I have spoken with that served in Afghanistan knows this.

Global instability

It wasn't just Afghanistan, I believe that the Biden administration has had some of the worst foreign policy in decades. And this has manifested in two major Wars breaking out during their administration, with Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Iran's proxy attack against Israel.

Was the timing just bad luck? I don't believe so. I believe that a weak America leads to a chaotic world.

The failed Afghanistan pull-out showed the weakness of the Biden administration. They failed to adapt to changing facts on the ground, chiefly the Afghan army putting up no resistance as the Taliban drove towards Kabul. If the US can't adapt quickly in a theater where we're already active, how can it react quickly to a blitz in a new theater, Ukraine? Granted the Russian's botched their blitz, miscalculating the weather, almost certainly to keep China happy as they hosted the Olympics in Feb 2022.

The most damaging foreign policy has been the Biden administration's approach to Iran. Biden resuscitated Obama's braindead Iran doctrine. Somehow believing that the theocratic Islamic Regime could be turned towards the West.

But it's much worse than this. After Hamas' attack against Israel on October 7th, Iran took credit for planning the attack publicly. Moreover, Iran was so bold that their proxies carried out over 300 attacks against US bases and Naval ships. Many of the attacks haven't been disclosed or publicized. At least 4 US soldiers have been killed in these attacks. And yet somehow despite this, the Biden administration has been rewarding Iran by unfreezing their funds, mourning the death of President Raisi and hamstringing Israel in its proxy battle.

This level of weakness is unprecedented in my opinion. The US has been kissing the ring of its attacker, literally while attacks against our Armed Forces are carried out. If you start looking, it's hard to see anything other than Iranian foreign influence in the Biden administration, such as what Semafor reported on, and which was effectively buried by our mainstream media.

The Biden administration has been a dream come true for foreign adversaries, and a nightmare for US allies. Trusting of enemies, and fickle with friends.

Israel

To anyone that follows me on X you know that I'm a staunch Israel supporter and also Zionist. I believe that Israel is one of America's most important allies in the world. Unfortunately, in a post-Snowden world, Israel is now arguably the world's top cyber power. And it's a critical intelligence ally for any US operations in the Middle East. It's also becoming an advanced weapons partner, co-developing the hypersonic missile defense system Arrow 3 and also Iron Dome + Iron Beam.

The Islamic Regime in Iran terrorizes its own people and their proxies terrorize the entire region. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has been modernizing at an exceptional pace. Somehow the Biden administration has chosen to cuddle up to Iran while driving Saudi Arabia and Israel away. This is unforgivably disastrous policy in my opinion.

Double standards

The next topic that has boiled my blood are the double standards and lawfare that Trump has faced. Here are some examples:

  • Classified documents: Hilary Clinton, Joe Biden, Mike Pence and Donald Trump were all caught with classified documents. Only Trump was indicted. Either it's a crime for all of them or none of them. All of the arguments about quantity of documents or obstruction are distractions to justify a double standard.

  • The Border Wall: remember how Trump was villainized for promoting a border wall? Biden resumed building sections of it after pausing them, which the legacy media has been very quiet about.

  • Election denialism: yes, Trump denied the 2020 election results. But as we linked to above, so did Hilary Clinton and Joe Biden regarding the 2016 results. As have hundreds of other politicians since 2000. Either they're all election deniers, or none of them.
  • Corruption charges: every inch has been searched for Trump corruption while Joe Biden's involvement with foreign countries (through Hunter) have been swept under the rug. Here are some examples.
  • Three strikes for thee but not for me: Joe Biden was the architect of the 1994 Crime Bill, which most attribute as the source of the mass incarceration we saw over the next two decades (especially amongst black communities). Crack cocaine in particular was treated harshly when combined with the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act. Watch this video. Hunter Biden would be locked up for life if the same rules were applied to him that Joe Biden imposed on thousands of others.

This is just the tip of the double standard iceberg.

Lawfare

This is too broad of a topic to go into detail here, but suffice to say I've spent hundreds of hours following the trials and researching the charges against Trump. This has been another radicalizing experience. I understand that normally when there's smoke there's fire, but in this case I think when there's smoke there's lawfare.

To anyone with a curious mind, I implore you to go deep on any of the charges against Trump, whether civil or criminal. Here's a very quick summary of some of the fishy aspects:

  • Election Interference Case: Jack Smith was appointed Special Counsel to prosecute Trump. Jack Smith previously got the Governor of Virginia convicted of corruption charges... WHICH WERE THEN UNANIMOUSLY OVERTURNED BY THE SUPREME COURT. Basically Jack Smith misled the Jury. Why would you choose Jack Smith to be the Special Counsel for this case? Maybe if all you're trying to do is to get charges to stick before an election, even if you know they'll be overturned subsequently by the Supreme Court?

  • The Classified Documents Case: once again Jack Smith is the Special Counsel.

  • Georgia Election Interference: The Fulton County DA, Fani Willis, has a history of corruption. It turns out that the outside lawyer she selected to prosecute Trump ... is someone she was having a romantic relationship with, Nathan Wade.Wade's Law firm made about $700k after Willis appointed him. This was concealed. Wade has since resigned from the case but Willis is still involved.
  • The Hush Money Case: The key witness, Michael Cohen, is a proven liar. His testimony has been filled with contradiction after contradiction.

  • Bank Fraud: Trump was ordered by Judge Engoron to pay over $350M in civil judgment that he committed bank fraud. This whole case reeked of corruption. This was an incident where no harm had been done: the banks had already been fully repaid with interest. The most important point in the case was Judge Engoron arguing that Mar-a-Lago was worth only between $18M and $27.6M when Trump had said it's worth between $426.5M and $612M. Judge Engoron tried to compare apples to oranges, with an appraised value vs market value for a property that is very clearly worth something close to Trump's range.

  • Sexual Assault / E Jean Carroll: the background to this case was almost unbelievable. In simple terms, a woman in 2019, E Jean Carroll, came out and said that 20+ years prior, in the late 1990s, Donald Trump had sexually assaulted her. The statute of limitations on this case had expired more than a decade prior to her claims. But the state of New York did something unprecedented and opened a one year window where people could file claims for sexual abuse going back to exactly the window when E Jean Carroll accused him. So that's point #1, there was lawfare around the statute of limitations. Point #2 is that the case was highly irregular and ultimately the Jury determined that Trump did not rape E Jean Carroll, despite her claims. But they did determine that he sexually assaulted her (a lesser charge than rape.)

All of these cases are too complicated for most to follow, almost by design. As someone that has been following the cases closely, I've had the opposite reaction of what was intended: a) every single case seems to have had impropriety and b) after going through Trump's entire life, if these are the worst things they can find, then he did less wrong then I otherwise would have assumed.

Fairness is one of my guiding principles in life and simply, these cases haven't been fair for Trump.

Where do I disagree with Republicans?

The number one area is abortion. This is obviously a lightning rod issue. As someone with libertarian leaning views, I believe the Republicans have the wrong stance around imposing their views on others. That said, I think Democrats misunderstand the constitutional argument that this should be a states issue.

Domestic policies

Other than abortion, I believe that President Trump and the Republicans have been better on most domestic issues. Look at the quality of life in Red States such as Florida and Texas vs that in Blue States like California, Oregon and New York. I used to live in San Francisco and now live in Los Angeles. The crime and homelessness is out of control.

Trump was villainized for his stance on building a border wall, but we've had about 10M illegal immigrants cross into the US already during President Biden's tenure.

The Democrats have been trying to regulate technology -- especially open source AI and crypto in ways that incentivize the best builders to build outside of America.

25 years ago I believe the Far Right was vastly more dangerous than the Far Left. But today I believe the Far Left, and especially Antifa, is more dangerous. Our attention and maintenance was on the Far Right while we ignored the Far Left.

The 2020 election and January 6th

Now onto the elephant in the room, the 2020 election. The topic so taboo that if you talk about it you're immediately cancelled. I'm willing to wade into this fire -- some of us need to be willing to.

I believe America has conflated two issues: the 2020 election itself and January 6th.

Just as Hilary Clinton and dozens of other democrats claimed the 2016 election was stolen (which I agree with). I believe there was a similar scale, or even more interference in the 2020 election. We need to be able to talk about this, so that we can fix the problems. Democracy doesn't work without secure elections. But it also doesn't work without peaceful transitions of power. Both are essential.

I believe there was extreme election interference but I don't believe January 6th was the right response. Bear with me.

So what was going on during the 2020 election?

I held a Top Secret (TS/SCI) clearance for about 7 years and used to work in information warfare, and also cybersecurity. I've seen nation-state tactics that most can't imagine. It is from this lens, and through access to lots of non-public information, through which I viewed the election.

If you go back to the 2020 election, arguably the most sophisticated cyberattack in history was taking place. This was the SolarWinds supply chain attack. This attack was so sophisticated that it's impossible to know exactly what it was used for. And much of what we do know has never been reported.

Washington has an interesting phenomenon where when something incredibly damaging is learned, people oftentimes clam up and refuse to deal with it. I've seen this first hand multiple times now.

But we also have things like the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, which the FBI was in possession of for roughly a year before the election, and despite it being easy to verify its authenticity, the FBI was actively telling Facebook and Twitter that it is fake news and they recommended banning sharing of the NY Post article about it.

But there were so many other issues. Not least of which was a global pandemic that almost certainly leaked from a Chinese lab, but we weren't allowed to talk about that. Nor the mail-in ballot issues.

Many point to the 2020 election and say "there's no smoking gun evidence so therefore there was no interference!" My retort is that there's not public evidence and in general the DoD/IC is afraid to push too far on the issue, knowing how damaging it would be to find interference. There's things I can't say.

The end result is a 2020 election where Biden and Trump combined received 155.5M votes vs the 128.8M combined for Hilary and Trump in 2016. That's 26.7M more votes in 2020 compared to 2016. That's a 20% increase in voter turnout in a period where the population only grew by a few percent. In an election where people weren't inspired by either candidate. And where there was more voting friction than ever before due to COVID-19.

Personally I don't think it's fair for Hilary Clinton to be able to claim the 2016 election was stolen, but Donald Trump to be indicted for the same thing.

Regarding the January 6th protests. I don't agree with them. Even if an election is stolen I think the correct democratic response is to accept it, have peaceful transition of power, and then to fight like hell on the backend to make sure it never happens again.

Regarding Trump's involvement in January 6th. The clearest thing he did was deny the election results, but again, so did Hilary Clinton. So if this isn't a crime in and of itself, then what else did he do?

The rest is fuzzy. There is conflicting testimony, especially around when the National Guard was requested. On the one hand you had the testimonies of General Charles Flynn and Lt. General Walter Piatt. But on the other side you have the testimonies of Colonel Earl Mathews, Trump's Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and The Head of the Capitol Police at the time, Steven Sund. The media reports on Trump's January 6th involvement in absolute terms but again, if you go deep, it's unclear. For me, if Trump actually asked for the National Guard to be ready to go during January 6th it's a major counterpoint against the allegations that he was inciting an insurrection.

Summary

In 2016 there were two primary reasons I voted for Hilary (and was deathly afraid of Trump)

#1) Russia helped him in the election by hurting Hilary. This made me susceptible to the media narrative that he's owned by Russia and will be a foreign policy disaster.

#2) Candidly the clip where he said "I grab them by their pussy" deeply bothered me.

These two things built a pattern in my mind that Trump was out of control.

But now with the benefit of hindsight, revisiting these two points:

#1) To my shock, I believe Trump was one of the best foreign policy Presidents in decades, and during the most complex period in almost a century, as the East rises, which leads to a changing set of rules.

#2) That clip still sits in the back of my mind, but I personally consider the double standards and lawfare against Trump to be 10x worse, and 10x more dangerous for our Democracy.

What's next?

Do I agree with Trump on everything? Of course not. The area where I disagree with Republicans the most is on Women's rights. And I'm sure I'll disagree with some of Trump's policies in the future.

But in general I think he was surprisingly prescient, such as with the border wall, and he was also a masterful negotiator, such as with the Abraham accords.

There's a real chance President Trump is convicted of felony charges and sentenced to prison. Bluntly, that's part of why I'm supporting him. I believe our justice system is being weaponized against him.

If abortion is your most important issue, then I get it, vote for Biden. If any other topic is your most important issue, then do your homework and investigate the manipulation I outlined above.

Given the two choices, I believe President Trump is overwhelmingly the stronger candidate. Again, this is something I couldn't have imagined saying in 2016.

Conclusion

Speak up. Don't be silenced. Freedom of speech is worth nothing if you're afraid to use it. We can't let cancel culture win.

There's no greater country in the world than America. But America has had a bad decade. America is blessed with a robust constitution, abundant natural resources and diverse people. The way out from here is by focusing on our strengths, which are liberalism and hard work. We need to start building again.

Best of luck to President Trump.

-----

*Note that everything in this post reflects my personal views and not the views of my employer. I work in Silicon Valley which traditionally leans very far left. I'm lucky to work at a place that tolerates spirited debate and independent thinking. If the truth is in the middle, it's impossible to find it without sharing our ideas and debating each other.

Tyler Durden Fri, 05/31/2024 - 08:10
Published:5/31/2024 7:49:26 AM
[Markets] Signs Of America's Declining Power & The Emerging Multipolar World Signs Of America's Declining Power & The Emerging Multipolar World

Authored by Christopher Roach via American Greatness,

If we want our country to be safe and powerful, we should start on the firm foundations of respect for peace, human life, and other nations’ sovereignty.

During Bush’s years as president, Democrats frequently criticized his foreign policy, complaining that he acted like a cowboy, pursuing wars unilaterally without the imprimatur of the “international community.” Internationalism was a particular obsession of 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, who lambasted the Bush administration for snubbing the United Nations and upsetting France with its Iraq policy.

Obama was mostly a darling of foreign leaders, as he ceded American power and prestige in a bid to right what he considered the historic wrongs of colonialism and western chauvinism. This was evident in his obsession with completing the Iran deal, participating in the Kyoto accords, assisting NATO attacks on Libya and Syria, and in the general tone of public diplomacy during the Arab Spring.

That said, America made quite a few interventions in the Obama years, especially in the second term, and we largely called the shots.

A Fake “International Community”

For all the talk of the international community, it was mostly a fig leaf for American unilateralism no matter which party was in charge. This practice extended from the Clinton presidency through Obama’s. When the United Nations would not approve something, we went to NATO. And when NATO wouldn’t get involved, we acted unilaterally, as in the early attacks on Syria or the targeted killing policy employed against al Qaeda

This is another way of saying that the United States acted as the sole superpower since the end of the Cold War, and this prevailed regardless of the party in power. There were some arguments on the margins, but every administration embraced this prerogative to impose the American vision of a “rules-based international order.” Even Trump, who ran on an America First platform, supported American unilateralism in Syria and expanded the provision of lethal aid to Ukraine.

In practice, the UN, NATO, and other institutions were there either to supply resources and allow the appearance of multilateralism or they were safely ignored. The United States had little fear of the International Criminal Court or the myriad other international institutions because it funded most of them, and they were effectively powerless in the face of American opposition.

The recent weakening of the United States relative to the rest of the world means that reality will begin to match the rhetoric of international institutions and begin constraining every nation, including us.

Evidence of Declining Power and Influence

Three recent examples exemplify the rapid change of our standing in the world.

First, after two decades of effort cultivating good will and cooperation in the war against terror and building a $100 million airbase, the United States is being kicked out of Niger. This follows Niger’s earlier expulsion of American ally France.

Simultaneously, Russia is rapidly and efficiently becoming a major player in Africa. Niger, one may remember, was where the “yellowcake” scandal took place during the George W. Bush administration and also the site of the massacre of an American special forces unit in 2017.

Like so much of our foreign policy, little of our official activity in Niger was known to the public and much was apparently unknown even to key decisionmakers in the government. But whether good policy or bad, it is rare for countries to kick the U.S. to the curb. The last time something like this happened that comes to mind is from 1992, when we were sent packing from Subic Bay in the Philippines.

Niger’s unceremonial expulsion of American forces suggests little interest in maintaining close ties to the United States and reduced fear of consequences. Even if the United States is overextended and overly involved in much of the world, it would still be nice to have the option to be involved (or not) on our own terms.

The second example is the International Criminal Court’s recent issuance of arrest warrants for Israel’s hawkish prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to answer for war crimes. Even at the height of public criticism of the Iraq War or the 2008 Gaza Campaign, no one would have dared to insult the United States and its proxies in this manner.

It is true that Israel has gone to war without much of a strategy, and its tactics have resulted in tens of thousands of civilian deaths. And, after moving most of the citizens of Gaza to the southern end of the small territory, it is now moving them into the opposite direction in order to attack the Rafah refugee camp, in spite of warnings from the ICC.

Of course, every war has disagreements about the right amount of force, and belligerents usually have a more generous standard for themselves than neutral third parties. Even so, these indictments are happening now after the United States engaged in substantial levels of destruction in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and elsewhere over the preceding 20 years.

What this really means is that the United States cannot control the ostensibly neutral institutions of internationalism. When it was the sole superpower, these institutions were just accoutrements to American power, unable to stop us and, in some ways, blessing American activity through their own silence.

International tribunals would go after people like Slobodan Milsoovic and other gadflies of American power, while they would not dare go after an American leader or one of our allies. These practices understandably fueled allegations of hypocrisy. But, in the latest remarkable turn of events, the ICC feels sufficiently empowered to go after the prime minister of America’s “greatest ally.”

The final example of our country’s loosening grip on power comes from the nation of Georgia. Since its “Rose Revolution” in 2003 and the ill-fated 2008 attack on its separatist province of Ossetia, which led to Russian retaliation, Georgia has clamored for closer ties to NATO and the United States. After Georgia’s defeat, the United States accepted the Russian victory as a fait accompli. While remaining an American ally, Georgia’s prospects of NATO membership were essentially eliminated.

But the United States did respond with military aid, training cadres, and a proliferation of NGOs. The latter are supposedly exemplars of Georgian civil society, but they are largely funded by the United States and often serve to further our foreign policy goals. Fearful of the increasingly negative outcome of the Ukraine War, Georgia’s newly elected leadership is seeking a rapprochement with Russia, and one of their priorities (and Russia’s) is a law requiring NGOs with extensive foreign funding to disclose their affiliations. It sounds very similar to the Logan Act here at home.

The United States responded to this proposed law with extreme measures. In addition to public protests, it has instituted a travel ban on the elected leaders of the populist Georgian Dream Party, which proposed the NGO legislation. Additional sanctions are being proposed in Congress to coerce Georgia into rejecting the registration bill, which is expected to pass on Wednesday.

The preferred mechanisms of American foreign policy in much of the world have consisted of deniable influence operations, support for preferred political parties, and, through means known and unknown, the fomentation of violent political “color revolutions” to install friendly “democratic” regimes, such as those that took place in Ukraine, Georgia, and elsewhere.

Our hectoring of Georgia is really unseemly. Actual democracy means, at its core, majority rule. Georgia elected a government that reflected the will of its people. And its people are turning away from their recent foreign and domestic policies. They apparently do not want an army of foreign-funded NGOs to spread propaganda and influence their politics without some disclosure of their foreign funding sources.

This seems reasonable enough to me, but no country has gone this far in the former Soviet space except Russia itself in 2012. Notably, since the passage of this law, Russia has proven immune from the kinds of intrigue that took down Ukraine’s Yanukovich regime in 2014.

If We Adapt, Our Country Can Flourish in a Multipolar World

These three disparate developments—the forced expulsion of the American military from Niger, the ICC indictment of Netanyahu, and Georgia’s flouting of U.S. pressure—are all harbingers of a true multipolar world. While this means the sole superpower era for the United States is over, it’s not so clear this era did much to serve the interests of the American people or peace and justice more generally.

Did the Georgian defeat at Russia’s hands help the United States? How about the decapitation of the Libyan Regime leading to an explosion of terrorism, the death of an ambassador, and infinity African immigration into Europe?

A multipolar world is one where sovereignty and independence are paramount. This is a substantial departure from the current regime of a single superpower meddling in other nations’ internal affairs at will or the Cold War’s implicit mandate that nations be in the orbit of one side or the other.

In other words, power must now be shared. Realism and justice must be the watchwords. On the realism side of the ledger, American strategy must navigate a multipolar world by setting priorities, abandoning vanity projects, reducing the scope of its ambitions, and tailoring the force structure to achieve objectives commensurate with our existing military and industrial capability, along with the likelihood of sustained public support.

Justice, too, should always be at the heart of our policy. We should not be merely strong but also committed to using our strength morally and responsibly. This is not only principled; it is also practical because it avoids conflict. If we want our country to be safe and powerful, we should start on the firm foundations of respect for peace, human life, and other nations’ sovereignty. To do this, we will have to abandon our self-serving policy of applying unprincipled exceptions to the rules we apply to others.

Tyler Durden Tue, 05/28/2024 - 23:00
Published:5/28/2024 10:21:41 PM
[Markets] Hypocrite Dems Demanding Alito Recusal Played Dumb Over Virulent Anti-Trumper Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hypocrite Dems Demanding Alito Recusal Played Dumb Over Virulent Anti-Trumper Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Senate Democrats have found their latest tantrum to attack the Supreme Court since its conservative majority - the fact that Justice Samuel Alito reportedly flew two flags outside his homes they say makes him unfit to weigh in on matters concerning Donald Trump.

In mid-January 2021, Alito flew an upside down American flag - historically used by the military as a distress signal, while in July and September of 2023, he displayed an "Appeal to Heaven" flag - commissioned by George Washington in 1775 for maritime use - outside his New Jersey vacation home.

The flags have caused uproar among Democrats, who have been scheming for years to dilute the conservative power of the Supreme Court (see: court packing). In a Friday letter to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, Democrat Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin and subcommittee head Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse urged Roberts to take steps to ensure Alito recuses himself from cases related to the 2020 presidential election and Jan. 6 attack. The Court currently has two such cases pending before it - one concerning federal prosecutors' use of an obstruction charge against Jan. 6 defendants, and another which addresses whether Donald Trump is entitled to immunity from criminal charges stemming from his actions following the 2020 election.

Now, the New York Times and Obama's law professor Lawrence Tribe are engaging in what people are referring to as "High-brow QAnon" conspiracy theories (aka 'BlueAnon);

Absolute hypocrisy (what else?)

In 2016, Democrats were absolutely silent over Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's notorious and public hatred of Donald Trump - comments she later apologized over, calling them "ill-advised."

"I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president," she told the NY Times during the election, adding "For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that."

She also called Trump a "faker" and criticized him for not releasing his tax returns.

"‘Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand,’" she joked.

Who cares, right? But Democrats playing in the sandbox want to throw sand over Alito.

When Sheldon Whitehouse, the guy currently demanding Alito's recusal, was asked by The Dispatch about Ginsburg's public comments opposing Trump during the 2016 campaign, he said "I don't know what cases she was ruling on at that point. They [Republicans] weren't asking for [recusal.].

Ginsburg notoriously weighed in on several cases involving Trump's policies, including the travel ban (Trump v. Hawaii), Trump's attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census (which was denied), and DACA - Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), though the major Court decision involving the case came after her 2020 death.

Wikipedia propagandists are hard at work

Meanwhile (and there's always a meanwhile), WikiPedia's entry on the Appeal to Heaven (aka 'Pine Tree') flag has radically changed over the past several days.

On Wednesday, it was referred to as 'a religious and political symbol by some conservative, nationalist, and Christian national activists' in the US. Now, the entry reads:

"The flag fell into obscurity until the 2020s, where it became seen as a symbol of Christian nationalism and support for President Donald Trump and his "Stop the Steal" campaign among far-right groups.

Oh...

The flag draws its meaning from a John Locke quote: "And where the Body of the People, or any single Man, is deprived of their Right, or is under the Exercise of a power without right, and have no Appeal on Earth, then they have a liberty to appeal to Heaven, whenever they judge the Cause of sufficient moment," -The Second Treatise on Civil Government (1689).

 

Tyler Durden Sat, 05/25/2024 - 19:15
Published:5/25/2024 6:36:57 PM
[] Rahm Emanuel's Brother Tears Apart Netanyahu in Gala Speech Published:5/24/2024 8:20:41 AM
[Markets] Ranking Trump's Vice-Presidential Options Ranking Trump's Vice-Presidential Options

Authored by Sean Trende via RealClearPolitics,

Playing the Veepstakes guessing game is often a losing one for analysts. Vice-presidential selection is ultimately a highly personal choice, and it is simply too difficult to venture into the mind of one individual and mimic their thought process. Perhaps more importantly, Republican presidential nominees haven’t made the obvious choice for vice president since Ronald Reagan chose George Bush in 1980. Dan Quayle, Jack Kemp, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, Paul Ryan, and even Mike Pence were all somewhat “out-of-left-field” selections for their respective presidential candidates.

It is tempting to say that the journey into the mind of a presidential candidate is particularly likely to become a failed venture when that candidate is Donald Trump. This doesn’t give Trump enough credit. Picking Mike Pence in 2016 was, in retrospect, an inspired choice and probably helped win him the presidency. In this regard, at least, his 2016 campaign was surprisingly normal.

Nonetheless, the goal isn’t to predict who Trump’s pick will be. Instead we’ll rank the prospective candidates by who would do the most good for the Republican ticket. There are a number of potential candidates not listed here. Ben Carson, Elise Stefanik, Tom Cotton, or Ron DeSantis come to mind (and Kristi Noem until about three weeks ago), and Trump really could pick someone completely out of the blue. But let’s look at the potential running mates who have gotten the most buzz of late:

10. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

First, Haley certainly isn’t showing much interest in the job. A vice-presidential candidate should, at a minimum, have endorsed the presidential candidate. There’s a universe where this is the Republican dream ticket, but relations between Haley and Trump have deteriorated so much that Trump risks looking weak or desperate were he to pick her. Probably a net negative at this point.

9. Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Sanders’ pros are threefold: She is a female governor, she served in the Trump administration, and she is supportive of Trump. Beyond that, she brings little to the table.

8. Sen. J.D. Vance, Ohio.

Vance might have made sense for Trump’s 2016 campaign, when he was trying to build a coalition by tearing away blue-collar voters from Obama’s 2012 win. But if Trump is trying to shore up the blue-collar vote in 2024, he’s in trouble. He needs to make gains elsewhere. Also Vance’s 2022 win in Ohio was fairly unimpressive, so even if he needs to win by those voters for some reason, it isn’t clear that Vance is the ticket.

7. Former Hawai’i Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

This is one I go back and forth on. Ultimately, I think Gabbard probably has too many liberal votes dating from her almost-decade in Congress. Check out her scorecard from the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, for one. That didn’t stop George H.W. Bush from being chosen in 1980, but this isn’t 1980 anymore. She’s an outside-the-box pick for a campaign that, at least right now, doesn’t have to think outside the box.

6. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott.

On paper, Scott makes sense. Trump is hoping to add non-white voters to his coalition, and the first black Senator from the South since Reconstruction seems like he would not hurt. But Scott underwhelmed in the debates and lacks the executive experience that some of the other possibilities bring to the table.

5. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Four of my top five picks are governors, and this isn’t accidental. Probably the two most important things Trump’s pick would do are: (a) reassure suburban voters that this will be a serious administration, rather than the at-times chaos-filled farrago that was Trump’s first term; and (b) give the various wings of the Republican Party confidence that when Trump leaves in 2029 he’ll leave the GOP in capable hands. Abbott has been a reasonably successful governor of the nation’s second-largest state for a decade now. His experience with the immigration issue will also help highlight a top theme of the Trump campaign for the election.

4. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Reynolds is a lot like Sanders or Vance in that she doesn’t bring a lot immediately to the table, electorally speaking – as Trump is already counting on carrying Iowa, Arkansas, and Ohio, respectively. What she does bring, though, is eight years of executive experience (14 if you count her time as lieutenant governor.) It also doesn’t hurt that she’s from a state that borders the state likely to be electoral vote number 270 for one candidate or another (Wisconsin). A serious midwestern governor who could be a serious president one day, and who doesn’t turn off one faction or another of the GOP coalition, is a pretty solid veep resume.

3. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum.

Yes, yes, I know. Burgum has Interior Secretary written all over him. But boring and safe worked for Trump in 2016, and for reassuring wavering GOP suburbanites that Trump is serious about governing in 2025, he could do a lot worse. Although Burgum certainly looks the part, he has a history that is to the left of what we would expect from a modern Republican candidate – but not so far to the left that it would cause some of the problems that a Tulsi Gabbard pick might cause.

2. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

Imagine Burgum, but make him a little more charismatic, and give him minor GOP celebrity status. That gives you Youngkin. If Trump is serious in believing that Virginia is in play this time around, he might add some interesting electoral math as well. If I had to make a pick about who I thought Trump would choose, this is probably who I’d come up with.

1. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

Yes, one of them would probably have to change his residence (c’mon, Trump owns property everywhere). Yes, there’s some bad blood from 2016 still. But Rubio makes so much sense. He takes Florida off the board (to the extent that it isn’t already) and probably ices Nevada and Arizona as well. He might put New Mexico into play. He’s reassuring to suburbanites, and beloved of anti-anti-Trump Republicans. He sounded Trumpian themes on working class woes before Trump. The only downside is the address thing, and even if neither wanted to declare residency elsewhere (much easier today than in 1789) the worst-case scenario would be that the vice-presidential election would go to the Senate, which Republicans probably control if Trump wins the presidency.

*  *  *

Sean Trende is senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics. He is a co-author of the 2014 Almanac of American Politics and author of The Lost Majority. He can be reached at strende@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @SeanTrende.

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/23/2024 - 12:20
Published:5/23/2024 12:04:41 PM
[Uncategorized] Whistleblowers Allege Obama State Department Blocked FBI From Arresting Supporters of Iran Nuclear Deal in the U.S. Illegally

“detailed at least eight instances connected to the Iran deal where the ‘FBI/DOJ/USG could have moved forward with these cases but the State Department chose to block them'”

The post Whistleblowers Allege Obama State Department Blocked FBI From Arresting Supporters of Iran Nuclear Deal in the U.S. Illegally first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:5/23/2024 8:05:48 AM
[] Quick Hits The Bee: Biden's lead over Trump in New York has fallen from 23 points in the (fake) 2020 elections to a nine point lead now. InteractivePolls @IAPolls2022 New York GE: @SienaResearch Biden: 47% (+9) Trump: 38% Other: 3% Obama found... Published:5/22/2024 5:34:19 PM
[] Obama Weirdly Congratulates Biden on His 200th Judge Mostly Selected Based on Skin Color or Gender Published:5/22/2024 1:39:24 PM
[Uncategorized] ‘MAGA Court Majority’: Former Obama Staffers Terrified Trump Could Potentially Appoint Two More SCOTUS Justices

“If he gets two appointments, that means he will have appointed five Supreme Court Justices, all of whom will be around or below the age of 60 when he leaves office."

The post ‘MAGA Court Majority’: Former Obama Staffers Terrified Trump Could Potentially Appoint Two More SCOTUS Justices first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:5/22/2024 10:36:20 AM
[Markets] EPA's Clean Power Plan Rule Prioritizes Net-Zero Over Grid Reliability EPA's Clean Power Plan Rule Prioritizes Net-Zero Over Grid Reliability

Authored by Gabriella Hoffman & Christian Palich via RealClearEnergy,

Coal and natural gas plants provide 60% of the U.S.’ affordable, reliable, and baseload power. In a time of increased electricity demand, America needs to double down on harnessing these sources—not abandon them.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s recently finalized Clean Power Plan 2.0 (CPP) rule, however, takes the country in the wrong direction. Under this regulation, one that is arguably illegal, existing coal and new natural gas power plants will be mandated to install emissions control technologies that aren’t yet commercially viable. Plants that don’t comply risk permanent closure. This unrealistic mandate is advanced under the guise of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 90% by 2032.

The Biden administration should nix this rule altogether given its many drawbacks to the American economy, all of which come with no environmental gain and are based on dubious authority. If it doesn’t reverse course, a forthcoming Congressional resolution of disapproval and newly-filed lawsuits could stop overreach here.

The EPA’s limited authority over-regulating greenhouse gas emissions was affirmed in the landmark June 2022 West Virginia vs. EPA decision. That case challenged the original Obama-era Clean Power Plan, and the Supreme Court ruled the EPA lacked the statutory authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. No change has been made to grant the EPA more authority over greenhouse gasses.

Moreover, the Clean Air Act says the EPA must craft achievable emission limitations standards that have been “adequately demonstrated.” Yet, the Carbon Capture technology that would be relied upon under this rule has never been “adequately demonstrated” on the scale that EPA is attempting to require.

The EPA rule would lead to grid instability because operators will be forced to adopt intermittent, unreliable, and costly sources like wind and solar. According to the Department of Energy, wind is only reliable 33.5% of the year while solar is dependable for just 24.9% of the time. Wind energy generation decreased for the first time last year. The federal government reports wind generation hit maturity with slower recorded wind speeds, despite adding 6.2 gigawatts of new wind capacity. Solar energy also had a bad 2023 with over 100 companies going bankrupt and expensive electricity rates. Many planned solar plants, including those receiving Inflation Reduction Act subsidies, are predicted to be canceled this year due to price collapse and waning demand.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) warned in its December 2023 Long-Term Assessment report that rigid policies like CPP 2.0 “have the potential to influence generators” to close down their plants. The risk of massive electric reliability issues across the country is by no means a political talking point. In 2023, FERC Commissioner Danly stated in a hearing to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that “there is a looming reliability crisis in our electricity markets.” In that same hearing, Commissioner Christie said “The United States is heading for a very catastrophic situation in terms of reliability.” These are the experts sounding the alarm that we need more grid capacity from baseload sources, not intermittent ones, or we could face not just loss of commerce but a loss of human life.

CPP 2.0 promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2032 by mandating coal and natural gas plants install carbon capture and storage (CCS) or face closure. But the EPA is downplaying the nascent technology’s shortcomings.

CCS, as it stands, is expensive and will diminish coal and natural gas plant efficiency by at least 14%. Moreover, natural gas and coal plants retrofitted with first-generation carbon capture technology reportedly can expect a 50% and 70 to 80% increase in electricity costs, respectively.

In the U.S., we already have highly effective emissions technology that enables coal plants to run in an incredibly environmental way. For example, just look at how states that rely heavily on coal have almost none of the air quality issues of China or India. That’s because of our emissions control technologies.

Let’s call this rule out for what it really is: It’s a vehicle to punish coal country which has left the president’s party in droves over the last 20 years, in favor of radical environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) donors who are a major constituency of this administration.

The finalized Clean Power Plan 2.0 rule is a bad deal for American energy producers and consumers. Congress should immediately pull the plug on this rule.

Gabriella Hoffman is director of Independent Women’s Forum’s Center for Energy and Conservation (iwf.org/CEC) and host of the District of Conservation podcast.

Christian Palich is Vice President of Government & External Affairs at Eagle Forge Services Company, one of the nation’s largest coal producers and a board advisory member for IWF’s Center for Energy and Conservation.

Tyler Durden Tue, 05/21/2024 - 15:45
Published:5/21/2024 3:14:55 PM
[Markets] The Biden Administration's Scientific Integrity Policies The Biden Administration's Scientific Integrity Policies

Authored by Curtis Schube via RealClearPolitics,

It is no secret that the Biden administration has prioritized insulating the administrative state from the will of the people. The goal is placing career officials on equal footing with agency leadership (i.e., political appointees). Undoing Schedule F, which would categorize federal employees with policymaking authority so as to not give them the same civil service protections as career employees, is a more high-profile example. But a lesser-known effort, detailed in a recent Council to Modernize Governance publication, is underway with scientific integrity policies.

Scientific integrity policies are not new. They were first developed in the late 1990s and focused science without predetermined outcomes informing policy decisions. They also required agencies to represent findings fairly and accurately. The Obama administration added that scientific integrity includes open discussion and firm commitment to the evidence. Clearly, this is good policy.

However, the Biden administration has quietly added new components to these scientific integrity policies. It issued an executive order directing agencies to curb “political considerations” or “improper influence” in science, which is clever rhetoric that hides the true intent.

The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) was the first to issue this policy change, stating scientific findings “must not be suppressed, delayed, or altered for political purposes….” The policy, which applies to agency leadership (i.e., officials appointed by a president), prohibits “interference” in the “design, proposal, conduct, management, [and] evaluation” of studies. Yet it requires scientists to be included in policy decisions. Indeed, prohibiting the “design” of a study or the action of even “proposing” one –a critical step for many efforts – effectively boxes out those running federal agencies from their own agency’s direction.

The policy creates an avenue for employees to report one another should they perceive said “improper influence.” But these types of rights already exist in the form of Inspector General or EEOC complaints and are unnecessary. But this reporting protocol would likely have a bottom-up effect, where a subordinate employee would hold a trump card over a superior. Encouraging employees to report one another for outside-the-box thoughts hardly fosters ingenuity (or a cohesive work environment).

The policies themselves also appear to undermine, rather than protect, scientific integrity. For instance, the administration’s mandating of equal treatment for “indigenous knowledge” is worrisome. Science should be objective, rigorous, and subject to peer-review and replication. Indigenous knowledge offers us none of these characteristics, as it is based upon tradition. And which indigenous voices will get priority? For example, the Department of the Interior recently relied upon one version of indigenous knowledge to oppose energy development in ANWR over the indigenous knowledge of local Alaska tribes who favor such development. Situations like this prove the value of objective science guiding policy decisions.

Identity politics is another suspect priority. Strangely, the policies go out of their way to require inclusivity “of all scientists,” which is followed by diversity, equity, and inclusion language. One’s sex, race, sexual orientation, etc. seemingly has little bearing on objective evidence.

Many agencies, including the EPA and the Department of Health and Human Services have implemented similar changes. EPA leadership is currently negotiating with the agency workers’ union to embed these policy changes within the collective bargaining agreement. This means that the government is headed toward a binding contract between it and the union, which can be harder to undue than a simple regulation.

The dangers are clear. Consistent with repealing Schedule F, the idea appears designed to prevent career employees from having to answer to agency leadership appointed by future administrations. Given that agency leaders are ultimately the only people within an agency who are subject to the will of the people (elections), the effort is hardly democratic.

It is likely illegal too. These policy changes are effectively a disguised effort to protect certain policy preferences during future administrations by propping up employees who have never been appointed. But the Appointments Clause gives the President alone the authority to appoint officers of the United States. An officer of the United States is one who “exercise[es] significant authority pursuant to the laws of the United States.” Handing a portion of this authority to employees and greatly limiting their respective constitutional officers’ review effectively makes those career employees unappointed officers of the United States. This is in direct opposition to the design of our Founding Fathers.

A future administration should act immediately to restore the well-intentioned scientific integrity policies from prior administrations. The American public deserves, and the Constitution requires, federal agency leaders who are empowered to make informed decisions and be accountable to the people. This cannot occur in an environment where decisions are dictated by subordinates with pre-determined outcomes.

Curtis Schube is the Executive Director for Council to Modernize Governance, a think tank committed to making the administration of government more efficient, representative, and restrained. He is formerly a constitutional and administrative law attorney.

Tyler Durden Mon, 05/20/2024 - 21:00
Published:5/20/2024 8:27:36 PM
[Markets] Two New Swing State Polls Show Why Biden Is Desperate To Debate Trump Two New Swing State Polls Show Why Biden Is Desperate To Debate Trump

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

Trump Leads in 5 Key States, as Young and Nonwhite Voters Express Discontent With Biden according to Nate Cohn at the New York Times.

A Surge in Discontent With Biden

Please consider Trump Leads in 5 Key States by Nate Cohn.

The surveys by The New York Times, Siena College and The Philadelphia Inquirer found that Mr. Trump was ahead among registered voters in a head-to-head matchup against Mr. Biden in five of six key states: Michigan, Arizona, Nevada, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden led among registered voters in only one battleground state, Wisconsin.

The race was closer among likely voters. Mr. Trump led in five states as well, but Mr. Biden edged ahead in Michigan while trailing only narrowly in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

The results were similar in a hypothetical matchup that included minor-party candidates and the independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who won an average of 10 percent of the vote across the six states and drew roughly equally from the two major-party candidates.

Nearly 70 percent of voters say that the country’s political and economic systems need major changes — or even to be torn down entirely.

Only a sliver of Mr. Biden’s supporters — just 13 percent — believe that the president would bring major changes in his second term, while even many of those who dislike Mr. Trump grudgingly acknowledge that he would shake up an unsatisfying status quo.

The sense that Mr. Biden would do little to improve the nation’s fortunes has helped erode his standing among young, Black and Hispanic voters, who usually represent the foundation of any Democratic path to the presidency. The Times/Siena polls found that the three groups wanted fundamental changes to American society, not just a return to normalcy, and few believed that Mr. Biden would make even minor changes that would be good for the country.

Mr. Trump and Mr. Biden are essentially tied among 18-to-29-year-olds and Hispanic voters, even though each group gave Mr. Biden more than 60 percent of their vote in 2020. Mr. Trump also wins more than 20 percent of Black voters — a tally that would be the highest level of Black support for any Republican presidential candidate since the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The economy and the cost of living, however, remain the most important issues for one-quarter of voters — and a significant drag on Mr. Biden’s prospects. More than half of voters still believe that the economy is “poor,” down merely a single percentage point since November despite cooling inflation, an end to rate hikes and significant stock market gains.

Goodness Gracious

“My goodness gracious, my God. That is a huge lead. No Democrat has lost that state since John Kerry.”

I believe it’s time for a musical tribute interlude.

We now return to our regularly scheduled program.

Emmerson College Polling

Emmerson College reports Trump Holds Edge Over Biden in Seven Key Swing State Polls

In Arizona, Trump leads by four points: 48% to 44%; 8% are undecided. In Georgia, 47% support Trump, 44% Biden, and 9% are undecided. In Michigan, 45% support Trump, 44% Biden, and 11% are undecided. In Nevada, 45% support Trump and 44% support Biden, while 11% are undecided. In North Carolina, 47% support Trump, and 42% Biden; 10% are undecided. In Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, 47% support Trump, 45% Biden, and 8% are undecided.

“Independent voters break for Trump over Biden in Arizona (48%-38%), Michigan (44%-35%), Nevada (43%-37%), Pennsylvania (49%-33%), and North Carolina (41%-38%). However they break for Biden over Trump in Georgia (42%-38%) and Wisconsin (44%-41%),” Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, noted.

When third-party candidates are included on the ballot, support is pulled away from Biden more than Trump in five states: Georgia, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Support is drawn evenly from each candidate in Arizona and Michigan.

Impact of a Guilty Verdict on Independent Voters’ Likelihood to Support Trump

  • AZ: 32% more likely, 25% less likely, 43% no impact

  • GA: 26% more likely, 32% less likely, 42% no impact

  • MI: 26% more likely, 30% less likely, 45% no impact

  • NC: 32% more likely, 25% less likely, 43% no impact

  • NV: 25% more likely, 32% less likely, 43% no impact

  • PA: 31% more likely, 24% less likely, 45% no impact

  • WI: 24% more likely, 30% less likely, 47% no impact

Hoot of the Day

Independents in Arizona, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania say a conviction would make it more likely they voted for Trump.

What a hoot!

That’s how much of a farce the trial is.

Biden’s Excuse for Bad Polls

If you need another hoot, I can help. Please note the White House blames the pandemic and Russia for Biden’s dismal swing state poll numbers.

Biden Challenges Trump to a Debate

“Make my day” said Biden to Trump in a Tweet, challenging Trump to a debate. Two debates are set. Trump seeks two more. What just happened?

I discussed the debate on May 15 in Biden Challenges Trump to a Debate, Trump Accepts, Advantage Whom?

What Just Happened?

Biden is so far behind in the swing state polls, that he needs to win these debate. If Biden was far ahead, it’s highly doubtful that he would go on stage for more than a short debate, and one as late as possible.

Trump cannot turn it down, so he upped the ante to four.

Winning two out of two for Biden will be hard enough. But if Biden flunks the first two he will want more.

Biden’s Extremely Big Bet

Even the Washington Post can spot Biden’s desperation.

Please consider Biden’s Extremely Big Bet

The last time the U.S. presidential election was a rematch of the previous election, Dwight D. Eisenhower smashed Democrat Adlai Stevenson into little pieces (figuratively), as he had four years before. This rematch promises to follow that pattern, not in outcome but in similarity. In 2020, Biden won as a function of narrow victories in a handful of battleground states (though he won the popular vote much more handily). This year’s outcome, by all appearances, will be even more narrowly determined.

If Biden wants to bring younger voters back into the fold, he’s got another problem. Polling shows that they prioritize the same issues as Americans overall, meaning primarily economic ones on which Trump is more favorably positioned.

Important Issues 18-29 Year-Olds

Top Issues

Two of the top three issues are inflation and housing. They are very related. Rent has gone up at least 0.4 percent for 32 months, nearly three years.

Home prices are at record highs and mortgage rates are above 7.0 percent making housing very unaffordable for those who want to buy a home.

New York Times Swing State Poll Detail

The Shocker

18-29 year-olds turned out en masse for Biden four years ago. Trump now leads age groups 18-29 and 30-44.

And it’s not just the youth vote. According to Pew, Biden captured 92 percent of the black vote in 2020. Now it’s 49-14-11 (Biden, Trump, Kennedy).

If these percentages hold, Trump is going to win every swing state plus a few more not yet presumed to be in the ballpark.

Spotlight Blacks

On April 12, the Kansas Reflector commented on Black Support for Biden.

Black voters overwhelmingly supported President Joe Biden in 2020 and were key to his win, but there is some evidence that Black voter enthusiasm for Biden may be slipping. And Trump is hoping to capitalize on that. He spoke last month at a meeting of the Black Conservative Federation and he argues that Black voters were better off financially when he was in office. Even if Black voters don’t buy that message, voters’ frustration could result in them turning to a third party candidate, Cornell Belcher, a pollster who worked for Barack Obama, told The New York Times.

To counter Trump, the Biden campaign is spending millions on radio ads in swing states at Black-owned and Latino-owned radio stations to point out the administration’s accomplishments, including investments in historically Black colleges and universities through grant funding and the American Rescue Plan Act, the cancellation of student loan debt for 3.9 million borrowers, and reducing Black child poverty in 2021, which it has connected to the then expansion of the child tax credit.

In March of last year, Black people’s unemployment rate hit a record low and the economic recovery shows that by historical standards, Black and Hispanic workers have had faster wage growth these past few years. The unemployment rate for Black people has begun to tick up again, but economists say they’re waiting for more data before considering it a long lasting trend.

But Melanie Campbell, president of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, said the unemployment rate for Black Americans does not tell the whole story. “The other part of that message has to do with, ‘OK, I may be employed but I’m still working three jobs just to pay my rent,’” she said.

Sarah Wallace, 49, a Philadephian who lives on Social Security Disability Insurance, says she has to spend the lion’s share of it on $1,500 in rent each month. She voted for Biden in 2020, but said she may vote third party this time.

“I think Biden sold all of us on his dream to get into the office … And that was that,” she said.

Generational Homeownership Rates

Home ownership rates courtesy of Apartment List

People Who Rent Will Decide the 2024 Presidential Election

On April 20, before the latest polls, and before I found the above Kansas Reflector post, I commented People Who Rent Will Decide the 2024 Presidential Election

Immigration won’t decide the election. Polls have not yet captured what will. This may come as a surprise, but the top issue housing. More explicitly, it’s shelter costs.

Who Are the Renters?

The answer is younger voters and blacks.

The Apartment List 2023 Millennial Homeownership Report shows Millennial homeownership seriously lags other generations.

Generation Z homeownership is dramatically lower still.

And according to the National Association of Realtors, the homeownership rate among Black Americans is 44 percent whereas for White Americans it’s 72.7 percent.

That’s the largest Black-White homeownership rate gap in a decade.

Young voters are angry about rent, angry over home prices, and angry over mortgage rates. That is reflected in the polls.

Economists still don’t get it. They think the economy is doing great.

If you are an asset holder, the economy might seem great (see Dear Jerome Powell, Is Everything Under Control? Spotlight Gold and Silver).

But the 36 percent of people who rent, mainly young voters and blacks, see things differently. And they will decide the election, for Trump, if the polls stay anywhere close to where they are.

Tyler Durden Sun, 05/19/2024 - 18:05
Published:5/19/2024 5:23:57 PM
[Markets] George Washington Warned Against A 'Passionate Attachment' To Israel George Washington Warned Against A 'Passionate Attachment' To Israel

By Brian McGlinchey at Stark Realities 

As war rages in Gaza, the intensifying debate over the US-Israel relationship spotlights a political paradox: Those Americans who view George Washington with deepest reverence — that is, would-be “conservatives” — are often the ones who most zealously violate the central tenet of his foreign policy philosophy.

Specifically, their fierce devotion to the State of Israel defies Washington’s admonition against “passionate attachments” to other countries — attachments that, he said, inevitably lead America “astray from its duty and its interest.”

That’s not to say that excessive advocacy for Israel is confined to the American right: As demonstrated by President Biden’s backing of Israel’s destruction of Gaza, the championing of policies that serve Israel to America’s detriment also runs rampant among establishment Democrats.

Regardless of your position on the political spectrum, Washington’s foreign policy advice merits your attention, and the US-Israel relationship serves as a case study that validates his warnings about the many evils that spring from “habitual fondness” for a foreign nation...including one that didn’t exist when his warnings were issued.

After deciding not to pursue a third term as America’s first president, Washington gave the country a parting gift: a farewell address delivered not from a podium, but from the front page of Philadelphia’s Daily American Advertiser.

Washington’s 7,641-word address reads like an owner’s manual for the young republic. He asked Americans to give “solemn contemplation” and “frequent review” to his guidance, which was “the result of much reflection, and no inconsiderable observation.”

Let’s review some key excerpts of Washington’s foreign policy guidance, starting with the principle he put above all others:

“Nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated.”

With this guidance, Washington echoed the wisdom of other American founders. Thomas Jefferson urged “peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.” John Quincy Adams approvingly said, “[America] has abstained from interference in the concerns of others, even when conflict has been for principles to which she clings…She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

In addition to “passionate attachments,” Washington denounced habitual hostility toward other countries. As we’ll discuss later, the US government’s passionate attachment to Israel is itself the font of hostilities equally unrooted in American interest.

“The nation which indulges towards another an habitual hatred or an habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest.”

While it’s a little less universal these days, “habitual fondness” for Israel remains widespread in American politics, particularly on the right and center-left, and more so among government officials than citizens.

That habitual fondness is routinely manifested by pronouncements that would make Washington, Jefferson and Madison cringe. Drawing from a common well of fawning rhetoric, politicians frequently refer to a supposedly “unbreakable bond” between America and Israel. Another cliche sees officials stating there must be “no daylight” between the two countries. Endorsing DC’s unconditional backing of Israel, and showing utter disregard for future contingencies, President Obama proclaimed that “our alliance is eternal, it is forever.”

Many politicians go so far as to say Israel is America’s “greatest ally.” One can only imagine reactions in the UK, Canada, Australia and many other countries that have gone to war alongside the United States on multiple occasions in this century, sacrificing lives and limbs as Israel offers little more than encouragement.

Taking things to mind-bending extremes, you’ll even encounter declarations that “real Americans stand with Israel” — perversely measuring American patriotism by the extent to which one is devoted to a foreign country.

"I will always stand with Israel": Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL)  wearing his IDF uniform on Capitol Hill (Bill Clark/Getty via Daily Beast)

For many — especially evangelical Christians — habitual fondness for Israel has a religious dynamic. Viewed through religious, rose-colored glasses, the State of Israel is transformed from a modern, man-made political entity — led, like all governments, by manipulative, power-hungry politicians who pursue all manner of ungodly policies — into something sacred that supposedly represents and carries out God’s will.

Exploiting the religious angle, Israel’s advocates — even a US representative speaking in a recent congressional hearing — claim that America is compelled to serve the State of Israel because the bible says God will bless those who bless the nation of Abraham and curse those who curse it — as if today’s modern political entity and what’s referenced in the bible are one and the same.

Validating Washington’s warning that habitual fondness for a foreign country makes one an unthinking slave to that affection, these same people ignore the Israeli government’s killing of Christians in Gaza and the mistreatment endured by West Bank Christians — to say nothing of recurring incidents of ultra-orthodox Israeli Jews spitting on followers of Christ.

Israel killed 18 people sheltering at Gaza's historic Greek Orthodox Christian Church of St. Porphyrius, in a devastating strike in October (Dawood Nemer / AFP via Getty Images)

Especially where government officials are concerned, passionate attachments to Israel can bring enormous financial rewards.

Case in point: Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who’s arguably the most extreme advancer of Israeli interests on Capitol Hill. When he ascended to the Senate in 2014, Cotton benefitted from $960,000 in spending on his behalf by the Emergency Committee for Israel, in addition to $250,000 contributed to a Cotton-backing PAC by New York hedge fund billionaire and Israel-backer Paul Singer, and $100,000 from pro-Israel Boston billionaire Seth Klarman.

Then there’s Donald Trump, who’s not only made pandering to Israel a staple of his speeches, but, as president, took a variety of actions that had long been on the Israeli agenda. His reward: $20 million for his 2020 re-election bid from Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, in what was reportedly a quid pro quo for moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has personally affirmed the idea that habitual fondness has made America “in some degree a slave” to Israel. In a moment of candid conversation with West Bank settlers, Netanyahu was caught on video as he boasted, “I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily.”

Those who champion Israel’s interest on Capitol Hill do their own bragging. American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobbyist Steven Rosen famously pushed a napkin across a table and said, “You see this napkin? In 24 hours, we could have the signatures of 70 senators on this napkin.”

Patriotic Americans aren’t the only ones put off by that kind of influence. Marveling at the extraordinary sway his tiny country holds over the world’s foremost power, Israeli journalist and author Gideon Levy wrote:

“A new chapter is being written in the history of nations. Never before has a small country dictated to a superpower; never before has the chirp of the cricket sounded like a roar; never has the elephant resembled the ant - and vice versa. No Roman province dared tell Julius Caesar what to do, no tribe ever dreamed of forcing Genghis Khan to act in accordance with its own tribal interests.”

President Clinton used a different kind of colorful language as he confronted the upside-down power dynamic. After being lectured by Netanyahu during his first meeting with the Israeli prime minister, an angry Clinton exploded, asking his aides, “Who the fuck does he think he is? Who’s the fucking superpower here?!”

...read the rest at Stark Realities

Stark Realities undermines official narratives, demolishes conventional wisdom and exposes fundamental myths across the political spectrum. Read more and subscribe at starkrealities.substack.com  

* * *

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ZeroHedge.

Tyler Durden Sat, 05/18/2024 - 23:20
Published:5/19/2024 12:52:08 AM
[World] Biden is hard at work abolishing America President Barack Obama said he wanted to "fundamentally transform" America. President Biden is more ambitious. He wants to abolish America. In three years, he's made an impressive start. Published:5/17/2024 3:55:41 PM
[Markets] Ukraine Formally Asks NATO To Send Troops For 1st Time, Pentagon Mulling Ukraine Formally Asks NATO To Send Troops For 1st Time, Pentagon Mulling

The continued inevitable and disastrous slide into a WW3 nuclear-armed confrontation between Russian and the West continues as The New York Times reports NATO appears to actually be seriously mulling sending troops to Ukraine to serve in the role as 'trainers' at a moment Kiev is desperate to tap and train up new manpower. And this would be closer to front line positions as well.

"NATO allies are inching closer to sending troops into Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces, a move that would be another blurring of a previous red line and could draw the United States and Europe more directly into the war," NY Times wrote Thursday. What has changed? The Zelensky government is now directly requesting it, apparently on a formal level for the first time of the conflict, according to officials.

The Times confirms "Ukrainian officials have asked their American and NATO counterparts to help train 150,000 new recruits closer to the front line for faster deployment."

Illustrative: US Army image

The report assures that at this moment anyway, the US is still saying 'no'; however chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr has said an eventual deployment of trainers inside Ukraine looks inevitable. "We’ll get there eventually, over time," he said.

The Joint Chiefs chairman said this while admitting in the next breath that US and NATO trainers positioned in Ukraine would essentially be sitting ducks under the bombs of superior Russian airpower:

For now, he said, an effort inside Ukraine would put “a bunch of NATO trainers at risk” and would most likely mean deciding whether to use precious air defenses to protect the trainers instead of critical Ukrainian infrastructure near the battlefield. General Brown briefed reporters on his plane en route to a NATO meeting in Brussels.

The report was published the same day that Ukraine's President Zelensky in his nightly address issued a desperate appeal to Western allies saying that "Russia is trying to expand the war" and that "we must force Russia to a real, just peace by all means."

Earlier in the week Zelensky abruptly announced that he has canceled all scheduled trips abroad as the crisis in Kharkiv is worsening due to Moscow's expanded cross-border offensive which seeks to push front lines significantly deeper into Ukrainian territory, where the Kremlin wants to see a buffer zone in order to protect its Belgorod region from shelling.

While there have long been indicators (including a leaked Pentagon file) that up to dozens of special forces troops from various Western countries are likely already on the ground in Ukraine, sending NATO trainers would certainly mark a colossal escalation. Already Russian forces have been actively targeting storehouses with Western weapons, and Putin himself has vowed to make West-supplied tanks and equipment "burn".

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., AP

NATO is already overseeing a significant Ukrainian troop training program in places like Germany, the UK, Poland, and even in the United States (where pilots are being trained on F-16s in Texas and Phoenix). There had been a training program on Ukrainian soil prior to the Russian invasion of February 2022, however, this was folded up in the days and weeks prior to the war's start.

The Times quoted Evelyn Farkas, a former top Pentagon official for Ukraine during the Obama administration, to point out: "Remember, when Russia first invaded Crimea in 2014, we sent increased troop numbers into Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces in western Ukraine, and we kept rotating them in all the way to 2022, when we got spooked and withdrew them."

One location being considered as a 'safer' option to establish large troop training operations is the city of Lviv, in Ukraine's far west near Poland; however, even though it is far from the front lines Russia has still at various time of the war unleashed major ballistic missile strikes on Lviv.

The ball got rolling on this discussion (on a public level at least) with French President Emmanuel Macron raising the idea of Western boots on the ground in Ukraine starting months ago. Since then Lithuania says it stands ready to act and Estonia has just this week also said the small Baltic country is "seriously" considering sending its troops. According to fresh statements:

Estonia has been "seriously" discussing sending troops to Ukraine in roles positioned away from the front lines, per a national security official.

Madis Roll, national security advisor to Estonia's president, told military news outlet Breaking Defense that his country's leaders were assessing the viability of sending Estonian soldiers to "rear" roles that wouldn't see direct combat in Ukraine.

Such a move would help relieve Ukraine's manpower crunch and allow it to send more soldiers to the front lines.

The Kremlin has repeatedly warned all of this would trigger direct war with NATO if it deploys forces to Ukraine...

Last month, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur gave a very revealing interview in European media which raised eyebrows and the alarm in Moscow. The defense chief said in the interview with the Austrian newspaper Die Presse that all NATO countries already have NATO personnel stationed in Ukraine, but that they aren't directly engaged in hostilities as they are there in advisory roles. He was responding to recent provocative statements by France's Macron. If so this is probably a small number, and he indicated they tend to be attached to embassies.

"The reality is that every NATO member country already has military personnel in Ukraine, such as military attaches or people who travel to Ukraine from time to time," the Estonian defense chief said. "What [French] President [Emmanuel] Macron said mainly related to personnel training," he added, according to a translation in Russian media. So clearly, the proverbial camel's nose is already sneaking in under the tent.

As Russia advances in Kharkiv oblast, Zelensky's appeals will grow more desperate, and pressure within NATO will grow to 'respond':

One source has pointed out how Washington tends to operate and what it all means... In asserting that NATO sending troops is “inevitable,” the Times means the decision has already been made, and all that is being awaited is the determination on how best to announce the escalation to the public.

Tyler Durden Fri, 05/17/2024 - 10:40
Published:5/17/2024 9:55:53 AM
[Markets] VDH: Has America Finally Had It With Joe Biden? VDH: Has America Finally Had It With Joe Biden?

Authored by Victor Davis Hanson,

Joe Biden’s personal approval rating is at historic lows; almost all his policies do not poll fifty percent. He is behind Trump in almost all the swing states. And now he lies serially even to sympathetic interviewers. In short, finally Biden has been exposed for what he always was and represented.

Senator and Vice President Joe Biden was always sort of a buffoon. He is by nature a grandstander who handsomely profited from his office while posing as good ole Joe from Scranton.

He is a blowhard meddler, one who proverbially has been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades (Robert Gates),” from dissenting on the Bin Laden raid to his trisection of Iraq scheme.

He is a fabulist who believes that the more animated he misleads and slurs (“semi-fascists” “fat”, “lying dog-faced pony soldier”, “chumps”, “dregs of society”, etc), the more likely he is to get away with it. He is a confessed plagiarist. And he has also invented much of his biography, from would be star, college-scholarship athlete and brilliant law student to semi-truck driver and jailed civil rights activist. His uncle, we are instructed, was eaten by cannibals. Joe assures us that he was the first in his family to go to college.

And he is a racist with a repertory of racial taunts and smears unrivaled among modern politicians (“junkie”, “boy”, “you ain’t black”, “the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy”, “put y’all back in chains”, the Corn Pop and golden-leg hairs sagas, the “racial jungle” memes, the strange brag about Delaware as a “slave state” (e.g., "You don't know my state. My state was a slave state. My state is a border state.”), and his encomia for the old Democratic racists of the Senate from former Klansman Robert Byrd (Biden’s self-described “mentor” and “guide”) to segregationist James Eastland (“never called me boy”).

Biden has always had a mean streak that explains why for years he lied about the tragic, fatal auto accident of his first wife and child, using it to libel the truck driver, who was neither drunk nor culpable but smeared publicly for years by Biden as intoxicated and guilty. For years he ignored the pleas of the trucker’s family to please stop libeling an innocent driver.

Biden just told his greatest whopper that inflation was at 9 percent (actually 1.4 percent) when he took office and yet soon spiked to 9 percent due to his reckless deficit spending and money printing spree.

But recently Biden has reached a nadir and even the Left is resigned to him as a mere construct. After bragging after October 7 that his support for Israel was rock-solid he is now cutting off military aid as it attempts finally to end the Hamas murderous threat—a reversion to old Joe Biden who in his long past has previously threatened to cut off Israel while boasting later that anyone who did so was reprehensible. (Leveraging congressional mandated aid for political advantage is precisely the (false) allegation of politicking that the Democrats demagogued to impeach Trump—to the then cheers of Biden himself).

But his sell out of Israel is but a small tessera in his election pandering mosaic. He will again begin drawing down the strategic petroleum reserve to lower gas prices during the campaign. He has badgered Ukraine not to hit Russian oil facilities. He has illegally forgiven billions in student loan aid to regain the elite youth vote. And as the campaign season begins, so too Biden suddenly poses as a border enforcer—after letting in nearly 10-million illegal aliens.

Biden has always put the agendas of his own and his family above the national interest. We witnessed that when he bragged that he fired the Ukrainian prosecutor looking into his son’s Burisma skullduggery. The Biden consortium is corrupt and was enriched with over $25 million through foreign interests’ assurance that Senator and Vice President Joe Biden would deliver on their quid pro quo investments in him.

Any other major politician who habitually invaded the private space of women and preteens to blow on their hair, gobble their necks, squeeze and hug far too long, and be accused of sexual assault would have long since been cancelled by the left.

Add the old disturbing narrative of a naked Vice President Joe Biden exiting his pool in front of female secret service agents, the showering with his pre-teen daughter, the Frank Biden and Hunter naked selfies, and there seems something eerie among the Biden family.

Despite fierce denials, the entire lawfare scheme directed at Trump originated with the White House. Biden was always said to have been exasperated with Merrick Garland for not hastily enough going after Trump.

The misadventurous Georgia prosecutor Nathan Wade met with and was tutored by the White House counsel’s office. One of the top Biden DOJ prosecutors was dispatched to rescue the bungling Alvin Bragg farce.

Jack Smith, appointed by the Biden DOJ to go after Biden’s 2024 presidential rival, timed his indictments to coincide with the campaign season, even as Smith’s office mishandled classified files taken at Mar-a-Lago to bolster its prosecution—and then lied about it.

Hard-won American deterrence was destroyed by the humiliation in Afghanistan and the lies surrounding the disaster, the Chinese balloon flight and the misinformation about it, the wars in Ukraine, Gaza, and on the Red Sea, and the accompanying disinformation from the White House.

Such recklessness abroad is the bookend to the home front where massive borrowing, the destruction of the border, crippling inflation, spiraling crime, and the epidemic of “progressive” anti-Semitism on campuses have made American almost unrecognizable.

Again, at the heart of this Biden catastrophe is the Faustian bargain of 2020 when unelectable leftist candidates dropped out in unison to use a fumbling Biden as their more presentable veneer. So he was foisted upon the nation to serve as “moderate” cover to advance a radical, veritable Obama third-term. In that sense, his duties were ceremonial—as the hard-left channeled through him the most radical agenda in U.S. history, and found his debility and dementia advantageous—the country be damned.

If Biden makes it to and through the convention, he and his record remain indefensible. And so expect his campaign largely to be waged through lawfare against Trump, and massive infusions of leftist cash to ensure record mail-in and early voting. In the campaign Biden will become an afterthought, a ghost, vapor, as his party seeks to construct the entire election one of leftwing, blue-city prosecutors, judges, and juries versus serial defendant Trump.

But will Nemesis first catch up to Biden’s long record of hubris and dishonesty?

Tyler Durden Tue, 05/14/2024 - 16:20
Published:5/14/2024 3:42:20 PM
[Markets] Another "Behemoth Solar Flare" Sparks Radio Blackout Across North America Another "Behemoth Solar Flare" Sparks Radio Blackout Across North America

After a weekend of the strongest solar storms to rock the planet in years, producing aurora across Europe, the United States, and as far as New Zealand, there is news the sun just burped its largest solar flare of Solar Cycle 25, according to space weather website Solarham

"The largest solar flare of the current solar cycle 25, and largest since 2017 was just observed around deparing AR 3664 off the west limb. The X8.7 event peaked at 16:51 UTC (May 14) causing a strong R3 level radio blackout directly over North America," Solarham wrote.

Solarham continued: "A filament located in the northeast quadrant erupted earlier today and produced a light bulb shaped CME. So far the blast appears to be headed mostly north of the Sun-Earth line. A further update will be provided whenever necessary."

NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center wrote this solar flare was the largest of the cycle cycle (and the 17th most intense solar flare ever recorded). They said the flare was a "behemoth X8.7-class flare let loose from the very infamous parting Active Region 3664. It is the most intense flare seen since 2017."

SWPC highlighted some good news: the solar flare was not directly facing Earth.

One X user responded to SWPC:

"If this happened when this group was earth-facing, during all the other craziness, this could have been remarkably bad." 

About one year ago, solar physicist Alex James at the University of College London warned that the sun's increase in solar activity was a sign that the solar maximum could arrive much sooner than anticipated. 

All this evidence suggests that Solar Cycle 25 is "going to peak earlier, and it's going to peak higher than expected," James said. 

Here is a graph of Solar Cycle 25.

In 2016, the federal government became increasingly serious about potential grid-down events produced by solar storms with an executive order signed by the Obama Administration titled "Coordinating Efforts to Prepare the Nation for Space Weather Events."

While the nation's power grid, SpaceX's Starlink satellite constellation, and other communication networks involving space-based transmission all survived the weekend solar blast, some disruptions were reported, including GPS and short-wave radio. 

Sigh... 

Tyler Durden Tue, 05/14/2024 - 15:00
Published:5/14/2024 2:34:02 PM
[Politics] Biden, Trump head to Southern California in June for big-dollar fundraisers

Trump will headline Beverly Hills and Newport Beach events. Biden will attend a downtown L.A. fundraiser with former President Obama, actors George Clooney and Julia Roberts.

Published:5/13/2024 9:16:59 PM
[Uncategorized] Biden Arms Threat To Israel Is Team Obama All The Way

"Reshaping domestic politics is more important to this administration than forging international partnerships or winning elections."

The post Biden Arms Threat To Israel Is Team Obama All The Way first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:5/11/2024 5:43:19 PM
[Markets] "It Simply Does Not Make Any Sense": Judge Trashes Election Lawsuit By The Elias Law Firm "It Simply Does Not Make Any Sense": Judge Trashes Election Lawsuit By The Elias Law Firm

Authored by Jonathan Turley via jonathanturley.org,

(MSNBC/via YouTube)

The firm of former Clinton campaign general counsel Marc Elias has lost another election case in a spectacular fashion. The Chief Judge of the Western District of Wisconsin, James Peterson (an Obama appointee), did not just reject but ridiculed the Elias Law Group challenge to a witness requirement for absentee voting. Elias have been previously sanctioned in court and accused of lying in the Steele dossier scandal by journalists and others.

U.S. District Judge James Peterson ruled against the lawsuit brought by the Elias Law Group, arguing that the witness requirement violated the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The state statute under § 6.87(2) describes what the witness must certify. The statute first sets forth in two sentences what the voter must certify on the ballot envelope. The first requirement concerns the voter certifying that he or she meets the requirements for voting generally and for voting absentee in Wisconsin.

The second requirement is certification that the voter followed the process for preparing the absentee ballot. These are the called the “first voter certification” and the “witness certification.”

The witness certification refers to a witness certifying “all of the above,” which is obviously referring to the language on preparing the absentee ballot.

Elias argued that it requires certification of everything that preceded it on the details of the voter’s record etc.

In the court’s opinion, Judge Peterson expresses disbelief at the lunacy of the Elias argument, writing:

“Normally, the court would begin by searching for other textual clues in the statute. But in this case, the most obvious problem with plaintiffs’ interpretation is that it simply does not make any sense.

The court then notes that:

“Under plaintiffs’ interpretation, every witness would have to determine the voter’s age, residence, citizenship, criminal history, whether the voter is unable or unwilling to vote in person, whether the voter has voted at another location or is planning to do so, whether the voter is capable of understanding the objective of the voting process, whether the voter is under a guardianship, and, if so, whether a court has determined that the voter is competent. See Wis. Stat. §§ 6.02 and 6.03. Many witnesses would be unable to independently verify much of the required information. The statute allows any adult U.S. citizen to serve as a witness, suggesting that a wide variety of people should be able to do the job…It makes no sense to interpret § 6.87 in a way that would make compliance virtually impossible.

If plaintiffs’ interpretation were correct, it would mean that countless absentee ballots over decades were invalid because the witness certified that the voter was qualified to vote and met the other requirements in the first voter certification, even though the witness had no basis for such a certification.”

However, it gets even wackier. They argued that a simple witness requirement constituted a type of illegal vouching under the Voting Rights Act. This is a reference to the Jim Crow era when a registered voter had to vouch for a new voter, a system meant to prevent African Americans from voting.

The case adds to a long litany of losses and controversies for Elias. That record includes allegations of lying to reporters and subverting voters.

Elias featured prominently in the filings of Special Counsel John Durham. It was Elias who made the key funding available to Fusion GPS, which in turn enlisted Steele to produce his now discredited dossier on Trump and his campaign.

During the campaign, reporters did ask about the possible connection to the campaign, but Clinton campaign officials denied any involvement. Weeks after the election, journalists discovered that the Clinton campaign hid payments for the Steele dossier as “legal fees” among the $5.6 million paid to Perkins Coie.

New York Times reporter Ken Vogel said at the time that Elias denied involvement in the anti-Trump dossier. When Vogel tried to report the story, he said, Elias “pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong.’” Times reporter Maggie Haberman declared, “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year.”

It was not just reporters who asked the Clinton campaign about its role in the Steele dossier. John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, was questioned by Congress and denied categorically any contractual agreement with Fusion GPS. Sitting beside him was Elias, who reportedly said nothing to correct the misleading information given to Congress.

The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee were ultimately sanctioned by the FEC over the handling of the funding of the dossier through his prior firm.

The Democratic National Committee reportedly later cut ties with Elias.

Elias has been sanctioned in past litigation. Yet, other democrats have continued to hire Elias despite his checkered past. Elias unsuccessfully led efforts to challenge Democratic losses.  Elias also was the subject of intense criticism after a tweet that some have called inherently racist.

Elias was back in the news in another major defeat in Maryland. He filed in support of an abusive gerrymandering of the election districts that a court found violated not only violated Maryland law but the state constitution’s equal protection, free speech and free elections clauses. The court found that the map pushed by Elias “subverts the will of those governed.”

Elias has been accused of making millions from gerrymandering and challenging election victories by Republicans (while condemning such actions by Republicans as “anti-Democratic”). His work for New York redistricting that was ridiculed as not only ignoring the express will of the voters to end such gerrymandering while effectively negating the votes of Republican voters.

Recently, Elias’ name popped up again in the scandal involving David Hogg and accounting irregularities. Hogg is accused of raising millions to support liberal candidates but allegedly spending only $263,000 on such candidates while paying $83,000 to the Elias law firm.

Previously, when allegations of self-dealing and accounting improprieties were raised with regard to Black Lives Matter, the group’s attorney, Elias, immediately stood out for many. Elias resigned from his “key role” with BLM as the scandal exploded.

It is not known if the Elias Law Group will appeal this stinging rebuke or cut its losses.

Tyler Durden Sat, 05/11/2024 - 18:30
Published:5/11/2024 5:34:48 PM
[Markets] James Carville Rages At Trump’s Success: "It's Going The Wrong Way, It's Not Working!" James Carville Rages At Trump’s Success: "It's Going The Wrong Way, It's Not Working!"

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via modernity.news,

Veteran political strategist James Carville says “Trump’s more ahead than he’s ever been” as he urged Democrats to try something different because everything they do is “not working.”

Trump’s more ahead than he’s ever been,” said Carville, lamenting how fewer Americans than ever are concerned about what happened on January 6.

“It’s going the wrong way. It’s not working. Everything we’re that throwing is spaghetti at a wall, and none of it is sticking, me included,” said Carville.

We gotta try to think of something different. Because what we’re doing is really, really not working,” he emphasized.

The former lead strategist in Bill Clinton’s winning 1992 Presidential campaign expressed frustration at his own inability to effect the outcome, lamenting, “The opinion I’ve come to is that I don’t matter.”

“It doesn’t matter. You can prepare and you can be on TV, you can write pieces, you can have a YouTube channel, you can have a podcast and nothing, nothing!” Carville complained.

MSNBC talking heads expressed similar frustration that Americans are no longer buying their hysterical narratives when they were dumbfounded by a new PBS Newshour/NPR/Marist poll that found more Americans believe Joe Biden is a threat to Democracy than Donald Trump.

The sentiment that Trump is on course to win and there’s little Democrats can do about it now they’ve chosen to run a borderline dementia patient in Joe Biden is widely shared.

Back in January, top pollster Frank Lunzt said he thought Trump was “done” after January 6 and impeachment but can now barely bring himself to admit that Trump is likely to win the presidency.

Former CNN host Chris Cuomo also recently said Trump will win the election and that he’s never seen as much energy behind a candidate, even more so than Obama in 2008.

“You know this guy’s gonna win by the way, this guy’s gonna win,” said Cuomo.

Your support is crucial in helping us defeat mass censorship. Please consider donating via Locals or check out our unique merch. Follow us on X @ModernityNews.

Tyler Durden Sat, 05/11/2024 - 14:30
Published:5/11/2024 2:20:47 PM
[] Bulwark Host Thinks Anti-Trumpers Who've Had It With Biden Are 'Children' Published:5/9/2024 9:32:08 PM
[] Ben 'Hamas' Rhodes Spreads the Terrorist Group's Propaganda with Zero Shame Published:5/9/2024 8:50:29 PM
[Markets] The Three Reasons People Hate Trump... The Three Reasons People Hate Trump...

Authored by Brent Hamacheck via American Greatness,

In my recently published book, Dissidently Speaking: Change the Words. Change the War: I use both logic and empiricism to prove (I do mean prove) that there is absolutely no such thing as “right wing-left wing” as we use the terms in this country.  They are nothing more than non-defined terms used to characterize and label people with whom we don’t agree.  I will go so far as to say that the terms are a socially acceptable form of hate speech.

When we say that “the left hates Donald Trump,” it isn’t just mistaken; it’s fallacious. 

Since there is no such thing as “left-right,” as we use the terms, there is no possible way for the “left” to hate Trump.

But he is hated by many, and there are three reasons why.

If you are a Trump supporter, there is some good news to be found in this article.  It will give you a way to potentially break through and change the minds of people in two of the three groups, and it will also help you to focus whatever hostile energy you need to dispense upon the third group, one that you cannot change and one that poses a threat to what some ignorantly label as our democracy but is more correctly understood as our republic.

Since people like acronyms, catchy abbreviations, and words that can be turned into hashtags, I will frame my breakdown of the three reasons people hate Donald Trump as the Triple S’s: Silly, Subconscious, and Sinister.

Let’s take them in order.

First are the “sillies.”  These are people who hate Trump purely because of his demeanor.  They don’t like the way he throws insults around, the way he has been caught on tape talking about women, or any of a number of other reasons that relate to personal attributes as opposed to matters of policy or his ability to govern.  I say this is silliness because we are not voting for a person; we are voting for the president. Many of the people in this group, when you ask them about Trump’s policies, agree with much or most of what he tried to do or wants to do as president.  The idea that they are putting personality above policy or principle is simply silly.

They are not asking Trump to do magic tricks and entertain the children at their five-year-old daughter’s birthday party.  If they like, they can ask Barack Obama to do that.  He seems congenial enough.  The real question is, would you rather have Obama’s smile and his socialist approach to governance, or would you rather have a somewhat caustic and abrasive person (Winston Churchill comes to mind) who tries to do what you think is better for the nation?

A quick note to say that I am making no attempt to endorse or criticize Donald Trump.  I am simply identifying why people hate him.  I am going to spend a moment on the term “hate” shortly.

The second group of folks with what gets called “Trump derangement syndrome” are those who hate the candidate-in-chief for reasons that are subconscious or subliminal. 

There are three main drivers of this subconscious hatred.  They are guilt, shame, and altruism.

Donald Trump is unapologetic in his love of country and his claims that America is exceptional and that the needs of our nation and its citizens must be placed first in any and all considerations involving domestic policy or foreign diplomacy.  This message resonates with at least half the nation, and the fire and brimstone with which he delivers it explains the energy and enthusiasm found at his rallies.  Every Trump appearance feels like the Beatles landing in America in 1964.

For a large number of people, however, while they are experiencing the rich bounty that is daily life in the United States, they know that not everyone within our borders enjoys it to the same extent they do, and even fewer do so outside of our borders.  They carry with them a feeling of guilt that they are doing so well, that their lives are so comfortable, and that they simply can’t support a person who runs around saying that America is great and Americans come first. To see Donald Trump aggressively touting such a message makes them feel ashamed.  Nobody likes feeling ashamed.

Guilt and shame then feed into one of, if not the most, destructive of all human thought patterns, which is that of altruism.  This is the notion that self-sacrifice is the highest form of virtue.  This abhorrent concept (often associated with Christianity, which is interesting insofar as the term and the concept were created 1800 years after Christ’s death and by an atheist at that) tears at the mind of many who find it difficult to spend their daily lives struggling with the notion that in order to be good they need to be willing to harm, or even destroy, themselves in the process.

Take a person who is already in inner conflict, feeling guilty, ashamed, and needing to sacrifice, and give them Donald Trump, who effectively screams “No! Don’t do that!” into their ears, and you can get an almost involuntary, subconscious, visceral internal revolt.  While voices inside their heads are screaming to be ashamed of America, Donald Trump is screaming to be proud of America from the outside.  They hate him for the conflict he brings into their lives.

These first two groups of Trump haters can be reached through constructive engagement, genuine questioning and listening, and the patient and persistent application of both. 

There is a third group of Trump haters who cannot be reached and with whom all must reckon. 

Those are the sinister ones—the ones who are not conflicted by Trump’s “America first” message but who are instead vehemently opposed to it.

These are the people who are rightly labeled as globalists—people who want America to recede into the middle of a heterogenous, global community, setting its strong nation-state aside and becoming no more significant in world affairs than are the nations of Chad, Azerbaijan, or Guyana.  “Lead from behind” is just one of the more coffee mug-ready ideas that they hold, all of which seek to have us become part of Orwell’s Oceania.

These people don’t want to confront China; they want to make money with it.  These people do not want to protect our borders; they want to open them so that we can water down our national identity.  These people don’t want us to be energy independent; they want to tilt at energy windmills by installing actual windmills and curry favor with the United Nations and the World Economic Forum (two decidedly anti-American and anti-Trump organizations).

This sinister group, hateful of the very thought of American supremacy, simply detests Donald Trump and knows that he has created an awakening among his followers as to their designs to rebuild an unleavened America.  They truly hate the man, and they consciously and irrationally want him off the stage.  How far will they go to give him the hook?  I will let you conjecture in the same manner as we are left to conjecture the veracity of results in the 2020 election or the assassination of JFK.

You cannot convert this third group, but you can’t ignore them either.  These folks who want world membership instead of leadership are not going away, and they are not going to recede into the shadows.  If you are a Trump supporter and if you like the whole concept of America first, then your best bet is to work with members of the first two groups of Trump-haters and strive for conversions.  Only with numbers can you control the threat from the “sinisters.”

I want to address why I am using the term “hate” (one my mother told me never to use).  I chose it not to defend it in any metaphysical sense but simply to pick a term that generally conveys intensity.  For the most part, the typical person opposed to Trump is not one with a pair of reading glasses on their nose, an opera playbill in their hand, and an affected English accent, claiming they have some subtle points of contention with the man’s positions.  The strength and intensity of his delivery create the same kind of equal and opposite reaction within those for whom it does not resonate.  It is Newtonian.

Perhaps, a bit twisted and imperfect in its logic, we can say that Donald Trump’s love of country generates feelings of hatred, love’s literary opposite, in response?

I have long been on record as predicting that Joe Biden will not be the man on the actual ballot come November.  It made perfect sense for the Democrats to run him for reelection so as to not turn his presidency into one of lame duck status two years into his first term.  That said, the current president clearly suffers from cognitive decline and cannot serve another four years.  I also believe he cannot actually beat Donald Trump in November, save for the intervention of some Herculean election tampering efforts.

If I am wrong and Biden is on the ballot in November, then Trump supporters have much less to fear from the Trump haters.  If, however, my prediction that he is replaced at the convention (my long-held fear is that Michelle Obama steps in; I see her as unbeatable) after stepping aside for “personal reasons” comes true, then reaching out to the first two categories of Trump haters becomes far more important.  You will need to flip some of them.  You will not be able to do it by going to Trump rallies and posting on your social media, where other Trump followers follow you.  You will need to meet them on their turf, on their platforms, and in their living rooms.  This will not be a home game for you.  You are going to have to go on the road and put on your away jersey.

I wish you strength, courage, and success.  While my own personal feelings about the former president are mixed, my strong opposition to the third group of his haters is clear and unwavering.  It needs to be a sort of political “Great Commission” to go out and make believers not out of all three nations of Trump haters, just the first two.

*  *  *

Brent Hamachek is the author of the recent Amazon top new release, Dissidently Speaking: Change the Words. Change the War.  The book is a commentary on the divisions all too common in today’s America. All proceeds from its sale go to support a not-for-profit dedicated to promoting constructive engagement between young people.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/08/2024 - 15:45
Published:5/8/2024 3:33:41 PM
[Markets] China's Xi In Serbia Says 'Never Forget' This Unprecedented US Atrocity  China's Xi In Serbia Says 'Never Forget' This Unprecedented US Atrocity 

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has been in France since Sunday where he met with French President Emmanuel Macron to talk about range of topics but especially the Ukraine war and trade between China and the European Union.

But on Tuesday he traveled to Serbia, and importantly the trip falls precisely on the 25th anniversary of the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, which came in the midst of NATO’s bombing of the Serbs of Yugoslavia during the 1999 Kosovo war.

via AP

Just ahead of arriving in the Serbian capital, Xi wrote a letter which has been published by the Serbian outlet Politika. In it he lambasted NATO and by extension United States for its historic war crime..

"Twenty-five years ago today, NATO flagrantly bombed the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia, killing three Chinese journalists," Xi's words introduced.

It happened on May 7, 1999 during US-NATO 78-day bombing campaign over Yugoslavia. That's when five US Joint Direct Attack Munition guided bombs hit scored a direct hit on the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing the journalists.

The US was adamant that it was inadvertent and unintentional, and eventually then President Clinton issued a formal apology to the Chinese government. It had marked the first time in all of modern history that a sovereign government's military attacked another country's embassy. It had not even happened once during World Wars I and II.

"This we should never forget. The Chinese people cherish peace, but we will never allow such tragic history to repeat itself," Xi wrote.

"The Chinese-Serbian friendship, forged with the blood of our compatriots, will stay in the shared memory of the Chinese and Serbian peoples," he continued.

His emphasis on the line "never forget" is interesting given it is a common line used by Americans when it comes to remembering the 9/11 terror attacks, as well as in the West when it comes to Holocaust remembrance days.

To review of what we've featured in a previous post called "America's Benevolent Bombing of Serbia," President Bill Clinton commenced bombing Belgrade in the name of human rights, justice, and ethnic tolerance. Approximately 1,500 Serb civilians were killed by NATO bombing in one of the biggest sham morality plays of the modern era. 

As British professor Philip Hammond has noted, the 78-day bombing campaign “was not a purely military operation: NATO also destroyed what it called ‘dual-use’ targets, such as factories, city bridges, and even the main television building in downtown Belgrade, in an attempt to terrorise the country into surrender.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia

Clinton’s unprovoked attack on Serbia, intended to help ethnic Albanians seize control of Kosovo, set a precedent for “humanitarian” warring that was invoked by supporters of George W. Bush’s unprovoked attack on Iraq, Barack Obama’s bombing of Libya, and Donald Trump’s bombing of Syria.

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/08/2024 - 04:15
Published:5/8/2024 3:32:38 AM
[Markets] Yes, The Constitution Does Matter... A Lot Yes, The Constitution Does Matter... A Lot

Authored by Rob Natelson via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Most of my columns for this newspaper relate to the Constitution. A common reaction among some readers—both in the online “comments” section and in direct correspondence—is that I’m wasting my time because the Constitution doesn’t matter any more. It’s irrelevant.

I have spent most of the past 30 years working in constitutional law. I think I know something about the subject. And I can report to you that the Constitution, while wounded in a few places, is mostly alive and well. This column will explain why the Constitution still matters—and matters very much.

An honor guard stands next to the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights at the National Archives in Washington on July 4, 2001. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Confusing Exceptions for the Rule

Let’s begin with a stock market analogy:

Over time, the price of a publicly traded company tends to follow (among other factors) the company’s earnings and projected earnings. Similarly, the valuation of the market as a whole tends to follow corporate earnings and projected earnings.

If earnings and projected earnings drop in a way unlikely to be remedied soon, then the price of stock generally falls. If they rise in a way that does not appear to be a fluke, the price of stock generally rises.

But this is not always so; sometimes there are exceptions. In other words, sometimes stock prices rise or fall without regard to earnings or projected earnings.

When deviations persist for any amount of time, self-promoting pundits claim that “the rules have changed” and “earnings don’t matter any more.” People who believe them irrationally buy stock (causing a bubble) or irrationally dump it (panic selling). And when the market corrects—as it always does—those people get nailed.

Their mistake is in thinking that an exception to the rule (a one-time bump or slump) is the rule itself.

Most of us get our image of constitutional law from mainstream media reports of rare and controversial cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

But as in the stock market analogy, reliance on these reports leads people to mistake (purported) exceptions for the rule.

The media reports about the highly publicized cases are often wrong or distorted.

More importantly, the highly publicized cases represent only a small fraction of the controversies the Supreme Court resolves (often unanimously) upon accepted constitutional principles ... and all of the Supreme Court’s cases together are only a small fraction of the disputes resolved by lower appeals courts—also upon accepted constitutional principles ... and the cases resolved by lower appeals courts represent only a small fraction of those decided by the trial courts ... and the cases decided by the trial courts are only a small fraction of those settled by the parties out of court ... and the settled disputes are only a small fraction of the questions answered daily by constitutional lawyers in the normal course of business.

So the public’s perception of the Constitution and constitutional law is being formed by (1) often-erroneous media reports on (2) a small fraction of (3) a small fraction of (4) a small fraction of (5) a small fraction of (6) a small fraction of constitutional decisions!

You simply cannot reach conclusions about the Constitution’s viability based on such a tiny and mis-reported sample.

Another Reason Some Think the Constitution Doesn’t Matter

Another common mistake is expecting the Constitution to do too much. People angry that the Supreme Court overruled Roe v. Wade, for example, seem to believe that because they favor legal abortion, the Constitution must require it. There is an opposing group who believe that because abortion is evil, the Constitution must prohibit it. In fact, as the late great Justice Antonin Scalia remarked, the Constitution says nothing at all about abortion. It is an issue left to be resolved by other means.

The Constitution was not designed to solve all human problems, nor could any man-made document ever do so. Even if every clause in the instrument were enforced quickly and perfectly, life still would be marred by foolish laws, unfair conditions, political and economic mistakes, and other human failings.

Mistakes in Interpretation

Sometimes an official mistake in applying the Constitution leads people to think the document doesn’t matter. But this also is wrong.

For one thing, misinterpretations can be corrected over time. During the mid-20th century, the Supreme Court misinterpreted the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment by giving insufficient protection to freedom of religion. Since the 1980s, however, the court has been correcting its mistakes, and its freedom-of-religion law is now much closer to that envisioned by the Founders.

Additionally, some mistakes result in the Constitution mattering even more than originally intended. One of my recent columns discussed the Supreme Court’s latest case on the Fifth Amendment “Takings Clause.” I wrote that the justices probably erred in applying the Takings Clause against a local government.

But does that mean the Constitution is irrelevant? Of course not. Without the Constitution, there would be no Takings Clause at all. It is far better that the clause be too broad than non-existent.

Here’s a more controversial illustration: When Sen. Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency, many people claimed he was not constitutionally qualified because he is not a natural born citizen.

My own view, after examining the factual and legal evidence, is that President Obama is natural born. But whether or not that is true, think of why we had that discussion. We had that discussion because the Constitution requires the president to be natural born. If the Constitution didn’t matter, there would be no reason to debate the issue.

And there would have been no reason for President Obama to produce a birth certificate (however disputed) showing that he was born in Hawaii.

What If the Constitution Really Didn’t Matter?

Let’s look at it another way. Suppose it were true that the Constitution didn’t matter—that the only important thing was what our masters in the “woke” establishment decided. In that event:

  • The Supreme Court would not be enforcing the First Amendment, so religious people would be under severe constraints and this newspaper would not exist.

  • If the government took your land, you would be paid nothing.

  • You could not own a gun.

  • The presidential term could be any length set by whoever was in power. Same for congressional terms.

  • President Obama could have run for a third term in 2016. And a fourth in 2020. And a fifth in 2024. (Assuming he remains influential in the Biden administration, that’s not the same as being president.)

  • Donald Trump would not have been elected president in 2016. But because the Constitution features an institution known as the Electoral College—and because the Constitution matters—he became president.

  • In fact, he probably would be in jail. But because the Constitution requires due process and because the Constitution matters, he is free and running for president again.

  • Greta Thunberg, environmental enfant terrible, could be president even though (1) she is not a native-born American (she is Swedish), and (2) she is only 21 years old.

  • And if the Constitution didn’t matter, we probably would not have elections at all—even imperfect ones. Yet we continue to do so, year after year, because the Constitution requires it. And in the overwhelming majority of cases, the certified results reflect the election’s actual results.

I could go on. Suffice to say that without the Constitution, America would be an entirely different place.

Why the Inaccuracy Is Dangerous

The inaccurate view that the Constitution doesn’t matter can have dangerous consequences. If we accept that view, then no one is bound to anything in the document. We have no legal basis for protest when an election has been corrupted or even canceled.

If we believe “the Constitution doesn’t matter,” then we have no positive law basis for complaining about loss of rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, keeping and bearing arms, property—or any of the other hundreds of rights and rules we take for granted in daily life.

Ideally, we should not take those rights and rules for granted. But on a day-to-day basis we are able to do so precisely because the Constitution matters so much.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times or ZeroHedge.

Tyler Durden Tue, 05/07/2024 - 23:40
Published:5/8/2024 12:56:08 AM
[Politics] [Josh Blackman] DACA and ACA Come Full Circle The Biden Administration "reconsiders" Obama Administration policy from 2012, expands ACA coverage to DACA recipients. Published:5/6/2024 8:10:45 AM
[Markets] Biden Administration Finalizes Rule To Allow 'Dreamers' To Enroll In 'Obamacare' Biden Administration Finalizes Rule To Allow 'Dreamers' To Enroll In 'Obamacare'

Authored by Jana J. Pruet via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The Biden administration announced on Friday that it had finalized a directive to expand the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare,” to thousands of immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

U.S. President Joe Biden talks about protecting the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as he speaks to reporters with Vice President Kamala Harris at this side about their "plan to expand affordable health care" during an appearance in Wilmington, Del., Nov. 10, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/File Photo)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) estimates that “this rule could lead to 100,000 previously uninsured DACA [Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals] recipients enrolling in health care through Marketplaces or a BHP [Basic Health Program],” the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) said in a press release.

The move took longer than promised and fell short of President Joe Biden’s initial proposal to allow those migrants access to Medicaid, which provides free or low-cost health care coverage to the nation’s lowest-income people.

But it will allow thousands of immigrants, known as “Dreamers,” to access tax breaks when they sign up for coverage after the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace enrollment opens Nov. 1, just days before the presidential election.

“Today, my Administration is expanding affordable, quality health care coverage to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients,” President Biden said in a statement on Friday. “Dreamers are our loved ones, our nurses, teachers, and small business owners. And they deserve the promise of health care just like all of us.”

The measure could boost Biden’s appeal among Hispanic voters, a crucial voting bloc that he needs to turn out at the polls.

“I’m proud of the contributions of Dreamers to our country and committed to providing Dreamers the support they need to succeed,” President Biden said. “That’s why I’ve previously directed the Department of Homeland Security to take all appropriate actions to ‘preserve and fortify’ DACA. And that’s why today we are taking this historic step to ensure that DACA recipients have the same access to health care through the Affordable Care Act as their neighbors.”

The move drew criticism from presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign spokeswoman, Karoline Leavitt, on Friday.

Joe Biden continues to force hardworking, taxpaying, struggling Americans to pay for the housing, welfare, and now the healthcare of illegal immigrants,” Ms. Leavitt said in a statement on X. “This is unfair and unsustainable, and Joe Biden’s handouts for illegal immigrants are especially devastating to Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, and union workers who are forced to watch their jobs and public resources stolen by people who illegally entered our country.

“President Trump will put America and the American worker first, she continued. ”He will seal the border, stop the invasion, and expand economic opportunity for American citizens, not illegal aliens.”

Any participant in the Obama-era DACA program will be eligible to access health care through the government marketplace.

HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said that many of those migrants have delayed getting care because they lack coverage.

“They incur higher costs and debts when they do finally receive care,” Mr. Becerra told reporters on a call. “Making Dreamers eligible to enroll in coverage will improve their health and well-being and strengthen the health and well-being of our nation and our economy.”

New Definition for ‘Lawfully Present’

The administration modified the definition of “lawfully present,” which is used to determine eligibility for coverage so that DACA participants can legally enroll on the marketplace exchange.

These changes aim to ensure complete, accurate, and consistent eligibility determinations and verification processes for health coverage for these populations,” HHS wrote.

The DACA initiative was launched by then-President Barack Obama to protect immigrants from deportation who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents as children. The program allowed them to work legally in the country.

However, the “Dreamers” were still ineligible for government-subsidized health insurance programs because they did not meet the definition of having a “lawful presence” in the United States.

Senior officials told reporters that the administration chose not to expand Medicaid eligibility for Dreamers after receiving 20,000 comments on the proposal during the public comment period. They declined to explain why it took so long to finalize the rule, which was proposed in April 2023.  The delay kept the immigrants from enrolling for coverage this year.

At one point, as many as 800,000 immigrants were enrolled in DACA, though now that figure is roughly 580,000. Officials predict only about 100,000 will actually sign up because some may get coverage through their workplaces or other ways, and others may not be able to afford coverage through the marketplace.

Other classes of immigrants, including asylum seekers and people with temporary protected status, are already eligible to purchase insurance through the ACA marketplaces.

Last year, President Biden also unveiled a regulation aimed at fending off legal challenges to DACA; former President Donald Trump moved to end the policy, and it has bounced back and forth in federal court. Last fall, a federal judge said the current version can continue at least temporarily.

“President Biden and I will continue to do everything in our power to protect DACA, but it is only a temporary solution,” Vice President Kamala Harris said in a statement. “Congress must act to ensure Dreamers have the permanent protections they deserve.”

Tyler Durden Mon, 05/06/2024 - 05:45
Published:5/6/2024 5:08:43 AM
[db69f5aa-5a49-5d97-ae45-e32e2243e69c] These illegal immigrants are eligible for Obamacare after Biden rule change Over 100,000 illegal immigrants protected by an Obama-era executive order will soon be able to obtain health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, officials said Friday. Published:5/3/2024 10:31:51 AM
[Markets] Whistleblower Reveals How "New Knowledge" Cybersecurity Firm Created Disinformation In American Election Whistleblower Reveals How "New Knowledge" Cybersecurity Firm Created Disinformation In American Election

Authored by Paul D. Thacker via The Disinformation Chronicle,

Some of the shine on the disinformation industry has gone dull in recent years, as many misinformation experts having been caught trafficking in misinformation themselves, or exposed for their ties to intelligence agencies. This should not come as a shock.

It’s a basic tenet of “mirror politics” and practitioners of propaganda to accuse others of the very same actions they plan to commit.

In late 2018, the New York Times and Washington Post reported on a leaked document discussing a secret project by Democratic Party operatives that falsely accused Republican candidate Roy Moore of support by Russians, while he was running in a tight race for the Senate in Alabama. The scheme linked the Moore campaign to thousands of Russian accounts on Twitter and drew national media attention.

We orchestrated an elaborate ‘false flag’ operation that planted the idea that the Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet,” the New York Times reported that the leaked documents stated.

The documents linked a relatively unknown company called New Knowledge to the Alabama disinformation campaign, although New Knowledge’s chief executive Jonathon Morgan said the company was not involved, and he worked on “Project Birmingham” in his personal capacity. Morgan also reached out at the time to Renee DiResta, a self-styled expert on disinformation, who told the New York Times she disagreed with such tactics, and later joined New Knowledge sometime, but only after Project Birmingham ended.

New Knowledge later changed names to Yonder, while DiResta joined Stanford University as an expert in disinformation. However, New Knowledge could not stop landing in the media spotlight.

In early 2023, journalist Matt Taibbi released a “Twitter Files” drop about “Hamilton 68,” a public dashboard created by New Knowledge. Hamiton 68 tracked hundreds of Twitter accounts to monitor the spread of purported pro-Russian propaganda online, but screenshots of emails sent by former Twitter executive, Yoel Roth, voiced alarm that the dashboard was creating, not tracking disinformation.

“I think we need to just call this out on the bullshit it is,” Roth wrote.

The “Hamilton 68” dashboard had spurred dozens of stories in major media outlets that accused conservatives of trafficking in Russian disinformation, but when Twitter looked into the dashboard’s accuracy, they found it was garbage in, garbage out.

Former FBI counterintelligence official Clint Watts headed the Hamilton 68 dashboard and Jonathon Morgan of New Knowledge had helped to build it, along with J.M. Berger at the Alliance for Securing Democracy (ASD), housed by the German Marshall Fund.

“No evidence to support the statement that the dashboard is a finger on the pulse of Russian information ops,” one Twitter official wrote of Hamilton 68.

The internal Twitter emails were so damaging that the Washington Post later posted corrections to multiple stories that reported on Hamilton 68 and its findings.

But every story about disinformation elites caught creating disinformation contains critical missing facts and minor elements of disinformation planted by the very experts being exposed. New Knowledge is no different.

Starting a month ago, I began discussing what the media got wrong about New Knowledge and Hamilton 68 with Betsy Dupuis, a former New Knowledge employee who worked on Hamilton 68. Dupuis tells me she was fired from New Knowledge after expressing misgivings upon discovering the company that branded itself  “the world’s first platform for defending online communities from social media manipulation” was itself engaging in blatant social media manipulation.

To back up her claims, Dupuis provided internal documents and photos from her time at New Knowledge, as well as screenshots of texts messages. Some of those we are publishing today.

New Knowledge poached Dupuis from another company and set her to work improving the Hamilton 68 dashboard, which was planned as a product for groups aligned with the Democratic Party. The development was underwritten with a year of funding by the Center for American Progress, a think tank and lobby shop run by party political operatives.

Dupuis says she enjoyed her work updating Hamilton 68, but she became concerned when people in the office discussed the “Alabama Project” and she began wondering if this had anything to do with Roy Moore, a Republican candidate running for Senate. When she had joined the company, Jonathon Morgan had assured her that New Knowledge would only monitor, never create disinformation.

But then several former employees from the National Security Agency (NSA) joined New Knowledge.

Out for company drinks, former NSA employees explained to Dupuis how agencies get around federal laws that ban the U.S. government from spying on and censoring Americans: they contract with companies like New Knowledge to do their dirty work. By the time New Knowledge announced they had secured a Department of Defense contract to create automated disinformation, Dupuis had had enough.

She met with Jonathon Morgan to discuss her concerns and was fired days later.

Speaking with me from her home in Austin, Dupuis says that neither Jonathon Morgan, nor Stanford’s Renee DiResta have come clean with journalists about what happened in Alabama to create disinformation during an American election. But she says she is tired of being scared and the time has come for her to speak up. “Silence doesn’t buy you safety, Dupuis says. “People will still come after you because of what you know.”

“I just kept quiet, until now, because I didn’t want to be accused of spreading a conspiracy theory,” Dupuis tells The DisInformation Chronicle. “After I was fired, I was just like, ‘You know what? This is so crazy. Nobody's ever going to believe me. I'm never going to talk about this again.’”

Jonathon Morgan did not return multiple requests for comment sent to his current job and personal cell phone number. This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

*  *  *

THACKER: What caused you to get fired at New Knowledge?

DUPUIS: When they hired me, they said that we would never do disinformation. And I felt the grounds I'd been hired on had been violated. So I went to Jonathon Morgan, who was the CEO. I had a good relationship with him, or at least I thought I did.

I told Jonathon, “Hey, this is unethical. I'm concerned about this.”

I knew there were other people who were also concerned, very disturbed about what was going on, but I didn't bring them up.

I told Jonathon, “You said we would track disinformation, but we wouldn't do disinformation.”

And he told me, “If we don't do it, somebody else will.”

Which sounds like a very classic James Bond villain. What a great way of revealing your evil plan.

THACKER: This conversation happens on a Friday, night. Then what happens to you on Monday?

DUPUIS: Well, I went home, and at this point, I really didn't want to work there anymore. I had already been talking to friends about this, and I went out to the lake with a friend.

I got a message from Sandeep Verma that I needed to come in at—I think it was 8 a.m.—which is really early in tech time. This was very confusing, so I asked if they wanted to do it remote, but I was told I needed to come in early on Monday.

They had hired this really young women to be, I think it was VP of Marketing, but also HR. She was a nepo baby: her parents had given her a bunch of money to start a fashion line that failed. And now she's an executive at my tech company.

She and Sandeep are there, and Sandeep… I don't know, he was trying to look really positive, but he looked sad also.

He said, “We're letting you go. We no longer need the position. We're going to give you a month severance if you sign this NDA.” I had to sign the NDA right there on the spot, before I left, or else I wouldn’t get severance.

I told him, “I left another job to come to this company.” He said he knew, and then I signed it and left. If they want to come after me for doing this interview, I was coerced to sign the NDA.

I felt pressured to sign it. I didn't really have a choice because of how insane things were. What am I supposed to do? Not take the severance, and not be allowed to collect unemployment because I refused to sign their agreement and then maybe tell people that there's a conspiracy going on.

THACKER: Right?

DUPUIS: What happened was so crazy. Things that people would not believe is true.

DUPUIS: I'm mid-thirties, so that puts me smack dab in the middle of millennial territory, and I grew up with internet. I was one of those kids that learned to make their own web pages and interact with the internet even before Myspace.

THACKER: When I started at UC Davis in 1994, that was the first year that University of California students were required to have an email. I learned how to type having discussions on a UC Davis chat group.

When people started to come out with this idea, about seven years back, that they had discovered there was “disinformation” on the internet, I was like, “Wait, I've been on the internet for decades. From the very beginning I saw people behave like assholes and throw crap up on the internet.”

DUPUIS: Well, there was this progression from “Do not use anything from the internet for any paper; it has to be from Ebsco or Britannica. Some trusted encyclopedia.”

You were supposed to vet sources. Now with Gen Z kids, they don't even know what plagiarism is.

THACKER: So you started off at around age ten. You're on the computer, but it was still kind of a thing for weird dudes in the basement.

DUPUIS: I kept it kind of a secret, and then MySpace came out when I was in high school. But the internet was still for nerds. I gave up pursuing a career in programing because my parents had read a bunch of articles in newspapers saying that the internet was a fad.

THACKER: But you still got involved.

DUPUIS: I got into photography in high school, and I started shooting for iStockphoto which was an early internet start-up in online stock photography. Before them, you had to order a stock photo catalog.

I was doing work for them when I was teenager making like $1,000 a month, which for a high school kid is a hell of a lot of money. I could rent an apartment $300 at the time. I thought this is going to be my job. And then the stock market crashed in 2007 and everything went away.

So, I went to college and studied art, and when I graduated the market still really sucked.

I went to go visit some friends during South by Southwest—the big music festival in Austin—to see about jobs and opportunities in 2012.

I was like, “I’m moving here.” I was kind of homeless for about a year, worked for a few random start-ups, and became part of this industry.

THACKER: But then you land your dream job at New Knowledge.

DUPUIS: I would not say it was a dream job. I was really skeptical of this company to begin with.

THACKER: You’re this young woman working in the tech industry in Austin. Why New Knowledge?

DUPUIS: I was at an oil and gas data analytics company that owned some old data sets which are very valuable. My title was software engineer, but I was working mostly as a designer, building the front end of the software. I was designing a dashboard that allowed you to build reports and interface with their data. It wasn't super advanced stuff.

It was fine, but then New Knowledge reached out to me on Angel List and, when I met with them, they were immediately ready to hire me.

I think New Knowledge was interested in me because, “Oh, you can do some of the programing, but then you can also know how data works and can do the data visualization stuff.”

I think that's what I was qualified to do for New Knowledge, but I wasn't really qualified to do this disinformation stuff.

THACKER: Did you research them to find out what they were all about?

DUPUIS: I'd never heard of them before and the politics they were involved in. My way of looking into politics was going on Facebook and subscribing to every spectrum of political ideology: Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green Party, whatever. I just read whatever because I wanted to see what everybody was thinking.

Politics was not a big deal to me, but I would casually absorb things. I knew that Russian disinformation was in the news, and stuff about Trump.

THACKER: Of course, you knew about Russian disinformation and Trump, because that's all the media wrote about for four years.

DUPUIS: Yes. But it wasn’t something I really followed. I just wanted to have intelligent conversations about what was in the news.

New Knowledge told me they do all this stuff with disinformation. Jonathon had some State Department role under the Obama administration. Sandy was a friend from high school or something from their time in Houston. He was the Chief Technical Officer (CTO.) I guess you know how that works, right?

THACKER: Well, no. From what I understand about the tech industry, people get these jobs they’re not really qualified for, but they know someone, or have some weird skill that nobody else has in the office. The programming guy who likes talking to people can suddenly become head of marketing.

I get the sense that titles are very nebulous in tech start-ups.

DUPUIS: Sandy had a degree, and I think he was serious about being a tech guy. But I don't think he had the work experience to be a CTO. But that's often the case at start-ups.

They told me about their funding and trying to get all these contracts with companies that were doing this disinformation thing. I had a vague idea about this stuff from what I was reading about Trump and just from being online for so long.

People make stuff up.

But they said they were going to build this AI tool and I was kind of skeptical.

I previously worked at a company that had done some AI thing back in 2013. A lot of times people tell you they have artificial intelligence to do some chore, but it’s really just a bunch of humans doing all the work. Which is really expensive.

Eventually, you get found out

THACKER: There’s a lot of nonsense and pretense in tech. Amazon dropped their "Just Walk Out" AI technology which automated what you bought. It was really just 1,000 workers in India acting as remote cashiers.

DUPUIS: These companies pretend to have computer automated intelligence, but it's a sham. Real people do the work it because they don't know how to make software good enough to automate the task.

So I was a little bit skeptical of that, but they had all these PhDs so maybe they could make it work. I asked, “Hey, will you guys ever want to do disinformation?”

And they said, “No, it's completely against our ethics.” I also asked if they were only going to point out disinformation whenever Republicans do it, or when both sides do it.

And they said, “We're bipartisan. In fact, we have Republicans that we've worked with for a long time.”

THACKER: How was their business set up? Who was funding them?

DUPUIS: DARPA. Jonathon had gotten his seed money from DARPA, and he had actually been through several iterations of trying to get the company off the ground. Apparently, a whole other set of co-founders had left the company. I can’t remember why.

He had a podcast called Partially Derivative and some nonprofit organization called Data for Democracy.

There was a weird thing with people in the office, people that weren't in the office, people working as contractors. Some of the contractors had this aura around them. The same as what I've heard of Renee DiResta: “We're just really passionate about disinformation!”

One contractor was just involved in building scrapers.

THACKER: Explain what scraping means. I think it means an automated system to go out and collect or scrape data off the internet, instead of doing it manually.

DUPUIS: Instead of having a person go and copy/paste everything from a website, you use a computer that collects all the data.

I knew someone who had a scraping company that the State Department, FBI and other agencies use, and they could have saved a lot of money using him. Instead, they hired this contractor to learn how to scrape Twitter.

Twitter kept denying New Knowledge access to scrape, because it costs them money when you’re pulling too much data, and they didn't have an established partnership. New Knowledge was using a lot of their bandwidth.

THACKER: Tell me about working on the Hamilton 68 disinformation dashboard.

DUPUIS: We eventually had a meeting with J.M. Berger with the German Marshall Fund. There were other people on the Zoom, but the German Marshall Fund had done this dashboard and I was supposed to redesign it.

It was ugly and looked like a programmer designed it. I was supposed to repackage it into a better dashboard and allow them to sell that as a product. They were going to sell it to the Center for American Progress.

THACKER: Just to let readers know, the Center for American Progress (CAP) is a Democratic Party think tank and lobby shop. They're most famous for being the ones who basically ran Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016. Simon Clark is a former member of CAP who now chairs the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a bogus “disinformation group” that works closely with the Biden Administration.

According to your notes from the time, the lead on this dashboard redesign at CAP was Casey Michel, who worked at their news site, Think Progress. Another was Andrew Weisburd, who was working at the German Marshall Fund and is now at Microsoft’s Threat Context.

And in the dashboard deliverables you were given, it says that J.M. Berger, who also had ties to the Brookings Institute, was developing the communities or lists of people to track.

What did the German Marshall Fund want you to make better?

DUPUIS: The dashboard was called Hamilton 68 because it had something to do with Alexander Hamilton, some paper he wrote, or something esoteric. You know how people name something after some esoteric fact to make it sound important?

THACKER: Right.

DUPUIS: The German Marshall Fund owned Hamilton 68, which was something Jonathon Morgan had built for them. I think with his previous business partners.

J.M. Berger was there because he was somehow involved with the Center for American Progress getting their own version. They were going to launch it on Think Progress, which was CAP’s news organization, but is now defunct.

I wrote specifically in my notes that Center for American Progress was giving us 12 months of funding. I don't know what that meant in terms of actual money.

THACKER: I’m gonna guess that Center for American Progress won’t tell me how much funding they were putting out for this. (The Center for American Progress did not respond to questions asking how much money they provided to upgrade Hamiltion 68 and whether they still use the system.)

DUPUIS: My job was to take Hamilton 68 and repackage it with a better design. I think I did a good job of it.

THACKER: What did this upgraded Hamilton 68 allow them to do?

DUPUIS: They could observe emerging trends on Twitter, trending hashtags, trending topics and track what people were linking to.

Click here to continue reading...

Tyler Durden Thu, 05/02/2024 - 17:15
Published:5/2/2024 4:51:21 PM
[Uncategorized] Obama’s Domestic Terror Buddy Bill Ayers Shows Up to Support Campus Occupiers at U. Chicago

"Ayers was hunted by the FBI for his alleged involvement in the 1970 bombing of the New York City Police Department headquarters, 1971 bombing of the United States Capitol building and the 1972 bombing of the Pentagon."

The post Obama’s Domestic Terror Buddy Bill Ayers Shows Up to Support Campus Occupiers at U. Chicago first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:5/2/2024 8:46:10 AM
[Politics] San Gabriel Mountains National Monument expanding by more than 100,000 acres

The Biden administration added to the Southern California monument that was established by President Obama in 2014, and also expanded the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in Northern California.

Published:5/2/2024 4:49:01 AM
[] 2005 Video of RFKJr. Resurfaces, In Which He Calls People Living in Red States Murderous, Sexually Promiscuous Pornography Abusers MXMNews: A resurfaced clip of Robert F. Kennedy during a 2005 IdeaCity speech shows Kennedy stating that "red state people are more likely to murder you." The clip which adds to resurfaced praise of former President Barack Obama's presidency and... Published:5/1/2024 2:19:05 PM
[Markets] Maté: What 10 Years Of US Meddling In Ukraine Have Wrought (Spoiler Alert: Not Democracy) Maté: What 10 Years Of US Meddling In Ukraine Have Wrought (Spoiler Alert: Not Democracy)

Authored by Aaron Maté via RealClear Investigations,

In successfully lobbying Congress for an additional $61 billion in Ukraine war funding, an effort that ended this month with celebratory Democrats waving Ukrainian flags in the House chamber, President Biden has cast his administration’s standoff with Russia as an existential test for democracy.

“What makes our moment rare is that freedom and democracy are under attack, both at home and overseas,” Biden declared in his State of the Union address in March. “History is watching, just like history watched three years ago on January 6th.”

While Biden’s narrative is widely accepted by Washington’s political establishment, a close examination of the president and his top principals’ record dating back to the Obama administration reveals a different picture. Far from protecting democracy from Kyiv to Washington, their role in Ukraine looks more like epic meddling resulting in political upheaval for both countries.

Over the last decade, Ukraine has been the battleground in a proxy war between the U.S. and Russia – a conflict massively escalated by the Kremlin’s invasion in 2022. The fight erupted in early 2014, when Biden and his team, then serving in the Obama administration, supported the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected president, Viktor Yanukovych. Leveraging billions of dollars in U.S. assistance, Washington has shaped the personnel and policies of subsequent Ukrainian governments, all while expanding its military and intelligence presence in Ukraine via the CIA and NATO. During this period, Ukraine has not become an independent self-sustaining democracy, but a client state heavily dependent on European and U.S. support, which has not protected it from the ravages of war.

The Biden-Obama team’s meddling in Ukraine has also had a boomerang effect at home.

As well-connected Washington Beltway insiders such as Hunter Biden have exploited it for personal enrichment, Ukraine has become a source of foreign interference in the U.S. political system – with questions of unsavory dealings arising in the 2016 and 2020 elections as well as the first impeachment of Donald Trump. After years of secrecy, CIA sources have only recently confirmed that Ukrainian intelligence helped generate the Russian interference allegations that engulfed Trump’s presidency. House Democrats' initial attempt to impeach Trump, undertaken in the fall of 2019, came in response to his efforts to scrutinize Ukraine’s Russiagate connection.

This account of U.S. interference in Ukraine, which can be traced to fateful decisions made by the Obama administration, including then-Vice President Biden and his top aides, is based on often overlooked public disclosures. It also relies on the personal testimony of Andrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian diplomat and Democratic Party-tied political consultant who worked closely with U.S. officials to promote regime change in Ukraine. 

Although he once welcomed Washington’s influence in Ukraine, Telizhenko now takes a different view. “I'm a Ukrainian who knew how Ukraine was 30 years ago, and what it became today,” he says. “For me, it's a total failed state.” In his view, Ukraine has been “used directly by the United States to fight a [proxy] war with Russia” and “as a rag to make money for people like Biden and his family.”

The State Department has accused Telizhenko being part of a "Russia-linked foreign influence network." In Sept. 2020 it revoked his visa to travel to the United States. Telizhenko, who now lives in a western European country where he was granted political asylum, denies working with Russia and says that he is a whistleblower speaking out to expose how U.S. interference has ravaged his country. RealClearInvestigations has confirmed that he worked closely with top American officials while they advanced policies aimed at severing Ukraine’s ties to Russia. No official contacted for this article – including former CIA chief John Brennan and senior State Department official Victoria Nuland – disputed any of his claims.

A Coup in 'Full Coordination' With the U.S.

The Biden team’s path to influencing Ukraine began with the eruption of anti-government unrest in November 2013. That month, protesters began filling Kyiv’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (Independence Square) after then-President Viktor Yanukovych, a notoriously corrupt leader, delayed signing a European Union (EU) trade pact. To members of what came to be known as the Maidan movement, Yanukovych’s decision was a betrayal of his pledge to strengthen Western ties, and a worrying sign of Russian allegiance in a country haunted by its Soviet past.

The reality was more complex. Yanukovych was hoping to maintain relations with both Russia and Europe – and use competition between them to Ukraine’s advantage. He also worried that the EU’s terms, which demanded reduced trade with Russia, would alienate his political base in the east and south, home to millions of ethnic Russians. As the International Crisis Group noted, these Yanukovych-supporting Ukrainians feared that the EU terms “would hurt their livelihoods, a large number of which were tied to trade and close relations with Russia.” Despite claims that the Maidan movement represented a “popular revolution,” polls from that period showed that Ukrainians were evenly split on it, or even majority opposed.

After an initial period of peaceful protest, the Maidan movement was soon co-opted by nationalist forces, which encouraged a violent insurrection for regime change. Leading Maidan’s hardline contingent was Oleh Tyahnybok of the Svoboda party, who had once urged his supporters to fight what he called the “Muscovite-Jewish mafia running Ukraine.” Tyahnybok’s followers were joined by Right Sector, a coalition of ultra-nationalist groups whose members openly sported Nazi insignia. One year before, the European Parliament condemned Svoboda for “racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views” and urged Ukrainian political parties “not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with this party.”

Powerful figures in Washington took a different view: For them, the Maidan movement represented an opportunity to achieve a longtime goal of pulling Ukraine into the Western orbit. Given Ukraine’s historical ties to Russia, its integration with the West could also be used to undermine the rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As the-late Zbigniew Brzezinski, the influential former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, once wrote: “Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire.” Two months before the Kyiv protests erupted, Carl Gershman, head of the National Endowment for Democracy, dubbed Ukraine “the biggest prize” in the West’s rivalry with Russia. Absorbing Ukraine, Gershman explained, could leave Putin “on the losing end not just in the near abroad" – i.e, its former Soviet satellites – "but within Russia itself.” Shortly after, senior State Department official Nuland boasted that the U.S. had “invested more than $5 billion” to help pro-Western “civil society” groups achieve a “secure and prosperous and democratic Ukraine.”

Seeking to capitalize on the unrest, U.S. figures including Nuland, Republican Sen. John McCain, and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy visited Maidan Square. In a show of support for the movement’s hardline faction, which went beyond supporting the EU trade deal to demand Yanukovych’s ouster, the trio met privately with Tyahnybok and appeared with him on stage. The senators' mission, Murphy said, was to “bring about a peaceful transition here.”

The Maidan Movement’s most significant U.S. endorsement came from then-Vice President Joe Biden. “Nothing would have greater impact for securing our interests and the world’s interests in Europe than to see a democratic, prosperous, and independent Ukraine in the region,” Biden said.

According to Andrii Telizhenko, a former Ukrainian government official who worked closely with Western officials during this period, the U.S. government’s role went far beyond those high-profile displays of solidarity.

As soon as it grew into something, into the bigger Maidan, in the beginning of December, it basically was full coordination with the U.S. Embassy,” Telizhenko recalls. “Full, full.”

When the protests erupted, Telizhenko was working as an adviser to a Ukrainian member of Parliament. Having spent part of his youth in Canada and the United States, Telizhenko’s fluent English and Western connections landed him a position helping to oversee the Maidan Movement’s international relations. In this role, he organized meetings with and coordinated security arrangements for foreign visitors, including U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, Nuland, and McCain. Most of their briefings were held at Kyiv’s Trade Unions Building, the movement’s de-facto headquarters in the city’s center.

Telizhenko says Pyatt routinely coordinated with Maidan leaders on protest strategy. In one encounter, the ambassador observed Right Sector members assembling Molotov cocktails that would later be thrown at riot police attempting to enter the building. Sometimes, the U.S. ambassador disapproved of his counterparts’ tactics. “The U.S. embassy would criticize if something would happen more radical than it was supposed to go by plan, because it's bad for the picture,” Telizhenko said..

That winter was marked by a series of escalating clashes. On February 20, 2014, snipers fatally shot dozens of protesters in Maidan square. Western governments attributed the killings to Yanukovych's forces. But an intercepted phone call between NATO officials told a different story.

In the recorded conversation, Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet told EU foreign secretary Catherine Ashton that he believed pro-Maidan forces were behind the slaughter. In Kyiv, Paet reported, “there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new [opposition] coalition.”

In a bid to resolve the Maidan crisis and avoid more bloodshed, European officials brokered a compromise between Yanukovich and the opposition. The Feb. 21 deal called for a new national unity government that would keep him in office, with reduced powers, until early elections at year’s end. It also called for the disarmament of the Maidan forces and a withdrawal of riot police. Holding up its end of the bargain, government security forces pulled back. But the Maidan encampment's ultra-nationalist contingent had no interest in compromise.

“We don’t want to see Yanukovych in power,” Maidan Movement squadron leader Vladimir Parasyuk declared that same day. “… And unless this morning you come up with a statement demanding that he steps down, then we will take arms and go, I swear.”

In insisting on regime change, the far-right contingent was also usurping the leadership of more moderate opposition leaders such as Vitali Klitschko, who supported the power-sharing agreement.

“The goal was to overthrow the government,” Telizhenko says. “That was the first goal. And it was all green-lighted by the U.S. Embassy. They basically supported all this, because they did not tell them to stop. If they told them [Maidan leaders] to stop, they would stop.”

Yet another leaked phone call bolstered suspicions that the U.S. endorsed regime change. On the recording, presumably intercepted in January by Russian or Ukrainian intelligence, Nuland and Pyatt discussed their choice of leaders in a proposed power-sharing government with Yanukovich. Their conversation showed that the U.S. exerted considerable influence with the faction  seeking the Ukrainian president’s ouster.

Tyahnybok, the openly antisemitic head of Svodova, would be a “problem” in office, Nuland worried, and better “on the outside.” Klitschko, the more moderate Maidan member, was ruled out as well. “I don’t think Klitsch should go into government,” Nuland said. “I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think it’s a good idea.” One reason was Klitschko's proximity to the European Union. Despite her government’s warm words for the European Union in public, Nuland told Pyatt: “Fuck the EU.”

The two U.S. officials settled on technocrat Arseniy Yatsenyuk. “I think Yats is the guy,” Nuland said. By that point, Yatsenyuk had endorsed violent insurrection. The government’s rejection of Maidan demands, he said, meant that “people had acquired the right to move from non-violent to violent means of protest.”

The only outstanding matter, Pyatt relayed, was securing “somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing.” Nuland replied that Vice President Joe Biden and his senior aide, Jake Sullivan, who now serves as Biden’s National Security Adviser, had signed on to provide “an atta-boy and to get the deets [details] to stick.”

Just hours after the power-sharing agreement was reached, Nuland’s wishes were granted. Yanukovich, no longer protected by his armed forces, fled the capital. Emboldened by their sabotage of an EU-brokered power-sharing truce, Maidan Movement members stormed the Ukrainian Parliament and pushed through the formation of a new government. In violation of parliamentary rules on impeachment proceedings, and lacking a sufficient quorum, Oleksandr Turchynov was named the new acting president. The Nuland-backed Yatsenyuk was appointed Prime Minister.

In a reflection of their influence, at least five post-coup cabinet posts in national security, defense, and law enforcement were given to members of Svoboda and its far-right ally Right Sector.

“The uncomfortable truth is that a sizeable portion of Kyiv’s current government – and the protesters who brought it to power – are, indeed, fascists,” wrote Andrew Foxall, now a British defense official, and Oren Kessler, a Tel Aviv-based analyst, in Foreign Policy the following month. While denying any role in Yanukovich’s ouster, the Obama administration immediately endorsed it, as Secretary of State John Kerry expressed “strong support” for the new government.

In his memoir, former senior Obama aide Ben Rhodes acknowledged that Nuland and Pyatt “sounded as if they were picking a new government as they evaluated different Ukrainian leaders.” Rather than dispel that impression, he acknowledged that some of the Maidan “leaders received grants from U.S. democracy promotion programs.”

In 2012, one pro-Maidan group, Center UA, received most of its more than $500,000 in donations from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the National Endowment for Democracy, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and financier George Soros.

By its own count, Soros’ International Renaissance Foundation spent over $109 million in Ukraine between 2004 and 2014. In leaked documents, a former IRF board member even bragged that its partners “were the main driving force and the foundation of the Maidan movement,” and that without Soros’ funding, “the revolution might not have succeeded.” Weeks after the coup, an IRF strategy document noted, “Like during the Maidan protests, IRF representatives are in the midst of Ukraine’s transition process.”

Jeffrey Sachs, a Columbia University professor who advised Ukraine on economic policy in the early 1990s, visited Kyiv shortly after the coup to consult with the new government. 

I was taken around the Maidan where people were still milling around,” Sachs recalls. “And the American NGOs were around there, and they were describing to me: ‘Oh we paid for this, we paid for that. We funded this insurrection.’ It turned my stomach.” Sachs believes that these groups were acting at the behest of U.S. intelligence. To go about “funding this uprising,” he says, “they didn't do that on their own as nice NGOs. This is off-budget financing for a U.S. regime-change operation.”

Weeks after vowing to bring about a “transition” in Ukraine, Sen. Murphy openly took credit for it. “I really think that the clear position of the United States has in part been what has helped lead to this change in regime,” Murphy said. “I think it was our role, including sanctions and threats of sanctions, that forced, in part, Yanukovych from office.”

The Proxy War Gets Hot

Far from resolving the unrest, Viktor Yanukovych’s ouster plunged Ukraine into a war.

Just days after the Ukrainian president fled to Moscow, Russian special forces stormed Crimea’s local parliament. The following month, Russia annexed Crimea following a hasty, militarized referendum denounced by Ukraine, the U.S., and much of the world. While these objections were well-founded, Western surveys of Crimeans nonetheless found majority support for Russian annexation.

Emboldened by the events in Crimea, and hostile to a new government that had overthrown their elected leader Yanukovych, Russophile Ukrainians in the eastern Donbas region followed suit.

On April 6 and 7, anti-Maidan protesters seized government buildings in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kharkiv. The Donetsk rebels declared the founding of the Donetsk People’s Republic. The Luhansk People’s Republic followed 20 days later. Both areas announced independence referendums for May 11.

As in Crimea, Moscow backed the Donbas rebellion. But unlike in Crimea, the Kremlin opposed the independence votes. The organizers, Putin said, should “hold off on the referendum in order to give dialogue the conditions it needs to have a chance.”

In public, the Obama administration claimed to also favor dialogue between Kyiv and the Russia-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine. Behind the scenes, a more aggressive plan was brewing.

On April 12, CIA chief John Brennan slipped into the Ukrainian capital for secret meetings with top officials. Russia, whose intelligence services ran a network of informants inside Ukraine, publicly outed Brennan’s visit. The Kremlin and Yanukovych directly accused Brennan of encouraging an assault on the Donbas.

The CIA dismissed the allegation as “completely false,” and insisted that Brennan supported a “diplomatic solution” as “the only way to resolve the crisis.” The following month, Brennan insisted that “I was out there to interact with our Ukrainian partners and friends.”

Yet Russia and Yanukovych were not alone in voicing concerns about the CIA chief’s covert trip. “What message does it send to have John Brennan, the head of the CIA in Kiev, meeting with the interim government?” Sen. Murphy complained. “Does that not confirm the worst paranoia on the part of the Russians and those who see the Kiev government as essentially a puppet of the West?... It may not be super smart to have Brennan in Kiev, giving the impression that the United States is somehow there to fight a proxy war with Russia.”

According to Telizhenko, who attended the Brennan meeting and spoke to RCI on record about it for the first time, that’s exactly what the CIA chief was there to do. Contrary to U.S. claims, Telizhenko says, “Brennan gave a green light to use force against Donbas,” and discussed “how the U.S. could support it.” One day after the meeting, Kyiv announced an “Anti-Terrorist Operation” (ATO) against the Donbas region and began a military assault.

Telizhenko, who was by then working as a senior policy adviser to Vitaliy Yarema, the First Deputy Prime Minister, says he helped arrange the Brennan gathering after getting a phone call from the U.S. embassy. “I was told there was going to be a top secret meeting, with a top U.S. official and that my boss should be there,” he recalls. “I was also told not to tell anyone.”

Brennan, he recalls, arrived at the Foreign Intelligence Office of Ukraine in a beat-up gray mini-van and a coterie of armed guards. Others in attendance included U.S. Ambassador Pyatt, Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov, foreign intelligence chief Victor Gvozd, and other senior Ukrainian security officials.

After a customary exchange of medals and souvenir trophies, the topic turned to the unrest in the Donbas. “Brennan was talking about how Ukraine should act,” Telizhenko says. “A plan to keep Donbas in Ukraine’s hands. But Ukraine’s army was not fully equipped. We only had stuff in reserves. They discussed plans for the ATO and how to keep Ukraine’s military fully armed throughout.” Brennan’s overall message was that “Russia is behind” the Donbas unrest, and “Ukraine has to take firm, aggressive action to not let this spread all over.”

Brennan and Pyatt did not respond to a request for comment.

Two weeks after Brennan’s visit, the Obama administration offered yet another high-level endorsement of the Donbas operation when then-Vice President Biden visited Kyiv. With Ukraine facing “unrest and uncertainty,” Biden told a group of lawmakers, it now had “a second opportunity to make good on the original promise made by the Orange Revolution” – referring to earlier 2004-2005 post-electoral upheaval that blocked Yanukovych, albeit temporarily, from the presidency.

Looking back, Telizhenko is struck by the contrast between Brennan’s bellicosity in Donbas and the Obama administration’s lax response to Russia’s Crimea grab one month prior.

After Crimea, they told us not to respond,” he said. But beforehand, “the Americans scoffed at warnings” that Ukraine could lose the peninsula. When Ukrainian officials met with Pentagon counterparts in March, “we gave them evidence that the little green men” – the incognito Russian forces who seized Crimea – “were Russians. They dismissed it.” Telizhenko now speculates that the U.S. permitted the Crimean takeover to encourage a conflict between Kyiv and Moscow-backed eastern Ukrainians. “I think they wanted Ukraine to hate Russia, and they wanted Russia to take the bait,” he said. Had Ukraine acted earlier, he believes, “the Crimea situation could have been stopped.”

With Russia in control of Crimea and Ukraine assaulting the Donbas with U.S. backing, the country descended into a full-scale civil war. Thousands were killed and millions displaced in the ensuing conflict. When Ukrainian forces threatened to overrun the Donbas rebels in August 2014, the Kremlin launched a direct military intervention that turned the tide. But rather than offer Ukraine more military assistance, Obama began getting cold feet.

Obama, senior Pentagon official Derek Chollet recalled, was concerned that flooding Ukraine with more weapons would “escalate the crisis” and give “Putin a pretext to go further and invade all of Ukraine.”

Rebuffing pressure from within his own Cabinet, Obama promised German Chancellor Angela Merkel in February 2015 that he would not send lethal aid to Ukraine. According to the U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Peter Wittig, Obama agreed with Merkel on the need “to give some space for those diplomatic, political efforts that were under way.”

That same month, Obama’s commitment gave Merkel the momentum to finalize the Minsk II Accords, a pact between Kyiv and Russian-backed Ukrainian rebels. Under Minsk II, an outmatched Ukrainian government agreed to allow limited autonomy for the breakaway Donbas regions in exchange for the rebels’ demilitarization and the withdrawal of their Russian allies.

Inside the White House, Obama’s position on Ukraine left him virtually alone. Obama’s reluctance to arm Ukraine, Chollet recalled, marked a rare situation “in which just about every senior official was for doing something that the president opposed.”

One of those senior officials was the State Department’s point person for Ukraine, Victoria Nuland. Along with allied officials and lawmakers, Nuland sought to undermine the Minsk peace pact even before it was signed.

As Germany and France lobbied Moscow and Kyiv to accept a peace deal, Nuland addressed a private meeting of U.S. officials, generals, and lawmakers – including Sen. McCain and future Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – on the sidelines of the annual Munich Security Conference. Dismissing the French-German diplomatic efforts as an act of appeasement, Nuland outlined a strategy to continue the war with a fresh influx of Western arms. Perhaps mindful of the optics of flooding Ukraine with military hardware at a time when the Obama administration was claiming to support to a peace agreement, Nuland offered a public relations suggestion.  “I would like to urge you to use the word ‘defensive system’ to describe what we would be delivering against Putin’s offensive systems,” Nuland told the gathering.

The Munich meeting underscored that while President Obama may have publicly supported a peace deal in Ukraine, a bipartisan alliance of powerful Washington actors – including his own principals – was determined to stop it. As Foreign Policy magazine reported, “the takeaway for many Europeans ... was that Nuland gave short shrift to their concerns about provoking an escalation with Russia and was confusingly out of sync with Obama.”

As Nuland and other officials quietly undermined the Minsk accords, the CIA deepened its role in Ukraine. U.S. intelligence sources recently disclosed to the New York Times that the agency has operated 12 secret bases inside Ukraine since 2014. The post-coup government’s first new spy chief, Valentyn Nalyvaichenko, also revealed that he established a formal partnership with the CIA and MI6 just two days after Yanukovych’s ouster.

According to a separate account in the Washington Post, the CIA restructured Ukraine’s two main spy services and turned them into U.S. proxies. Starting in 2015, the CIA transformed Ukraine’s military intelligence agency, the GUR, so extensively that “we had kind of rebuilt it from scratch,” a former intelligence official told the Post. “GUR was our little baby.” As a benefit of being the CIA's proxy, the agency even funded new headquarters for the GUR’s paramilitary wing and a separate division for electronic espionage.

In a 2016 congressional appearance, Nuland touted the extensive U.S. role in Ukraine. “Since the start of the crisis, the United States has provided over $760 million in assistance to Ukraine, in addition to two $1 billion loan guarantees,” Nuland said. U.S. advisers “serve in almost a dozen Ukrainian ministries,” and were helping “modernize Ukraine’s institutions” of state-owned industries.

Nuland’s comments underscored an overlooked irony of the U.S. role in Ukraine: In claiming to defend Ukraine from Russian influence, Ukraine was subsumed by American influence.

Boomeranging Into U.S. Politics 

In the aftermath of the February 2014 coup, the transformation of Ukraine into an American client state soon had a boomerang effect, as maneuvers in that country increasingly impacted U.S. domestic politics.

“Americans are highly visible in the Ukrainian political process,” Bloomberg columnist Leonid Bershidsky observed in November 2015. “The U.S. embassy in Kyiv is a center of power, and Ukrainian politicians openly talk of appointments and dismissals being vetted by U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt and even U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.”

One of the earliest and best-known cases came in December 2015, when Biden threatened to withhold $1 billion in aid unless Ukraine fired its prosecutor general, Viktor Shokin, whom the vice president claimed was corrupt. When Biden’s threat resurfaced as an issue during the 2020 election, the official line, as reported by CNN, was that “the effort to remove Shokin was backed by the Obama administration, European allies” and even some Republicans.

In fact, from Washington’s perspective, the campaign for Shokin’s ouster marked a change of course. Six months before Biden’s visit, Nuland had written Shokin that “We have been impressed with the ambitious reform and anti-corruption agenda of your government.”

And as RCI recently reported:

An Oct. 1, 2015, memo summarizing the recommendation of the [U.S.] Interagency Policy Committee on Ukraine stated, “Ukraine has made sufficient progress on its [anti-corruption] reform agenda to justify a third [loan] guarantee.” … The next month, moreover, the task force drafted a loan guarantee agreement that did not call for Shokin’s removal. Then, in December, Joe Biden flew to Kyiv to demand his ouster.

No one has explained why Shokin suddenly came into the crosshairs. At the time, the prosecutor general was investigating Burisma, a Ukrainian energy firm that was paying Hunter Biden over $80,000 per month to sit on its board.

According to emails obtained from his laptop, Hunter Biden introduced his father to a top Burisma executive less than one year before. Burisma also retained Blue Star Strategies, a D.C. consulting firm that worked closely with Hunter, to help enlist U.S. officials who could pressure the Ukrainian government to drop its criminal probes.

Two senior executives at Blue Star, Sally Painter and Karen Tramontano, formerly worked as top aides to President Bill Clinton.

According to a November 2015 email sent to Hunter by Vadym Pozharsky, a Burisma adviser, the energy firm’s desired “deliverables” included visits from “influential current and/or former US policy-makers to Ukraine.” The “ultimate purpose” of these visits would be “to close down” any legal cases against the company’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky. One month after that email, Joe Biden visited Ukraine and demanded Shokin’s firing.

Telizhenko – who worked in Shokin’s office at the time, and later worked for Blue Star – said the evidence contradicts claims that Shokin was fired because of his failure, among other things, to investigate Burisma. “There were four criminal cases opened in 2014 against Burisma, and two more additionally opened by Shokin when he became the Prosecutor General,” recalls Telizhenko. “So, whenever anybody says, ‘There were no criminal cases, nobody was investigating Burisma, Shokin was fired because he was a bad prosecutor, he didn't do his work’ ... this was all a lie. No, he did his work.”

In a 2023 interview, Hunter Biden’s former business partner, Devon Archer, said Shokin was seen as a “threat” to Burisma. Both of Shokin’s cases against Burisma were closed after his firing.

Ukraine Meddling vs. Trump

While allegations of Russian interference and collusion would come to dominate the 2016 campaign, the first documented case of foreign meddling originated in Ukraine.

Telizhenko, who served as a political officer at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington, D.C., before joining Blue Star, was an early whistleblower. He went public in January 2017, telling Politico how the Ukrainian embassy worked to help Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election campaign and undermine Trump’s.

According to Telizhenko, Ukraine’s D.C. ambassador, Valeriy Chaly, instructed staffers to shun Trump’s campaign because “Hillary was going to win.”

Telizhenko says he was told to meet with veteran Democratic operative Alexandra Chalupa, who had also served in the Clinton White House. “The U.S. government and people from the Democratic National Committee are approaching and asking for dirt on a presidential candidate,” Telizhenko recalls. “And Chalupa said, ‘I want dirt. I just want to get Trump off the elections.’”

Starting in early 2016, U.S. officials leaned on the Ukrainians to investigate Paul Manafort, the GOP consultant who would become Trump’s campaign manager, and avoid scrutiny of Burisma, as RCI reported in 2022. “Obama’s NSC hosted Ukrainian officials and told them to stop investigating Hunter Biden and start investigating Paul Manafort,” a former senior NSC official told RCI. In January 2016, the FBI suddenly reopened a closed investigation into Manafort for potential money laundering and tax evasion connected to his work in Ukraine.

Telizhenko, who attended a White House meeting with Ukrainian colleagues that same month, says he witnessed Justice Department officials pressing representatives of Ukraine’s Corruption Bureau. “The U.S. officials were asking for the Ukrainian officials to get any information, financial information, about Americans working for the former government of Ukraine, the Yanukovych government,” he says.

By the time Telizhenko spoke out, Ukrainian officials had already admitted intervening in the 2016 election to help Clinton’s campaign. In August, Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) released what it claimed was a secret ledger showing that Manafort received millions in illicit cash payments from Yanukovych’s party. The Clinton campaign, then in the early stages of its effort to portray their Republican rival as a Russian conspirator, seized on the news as evidence of Trump’s “troubling connections” to “pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine.”

The alleged ledger was first obtained by Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko, who had claimed that he had received it anonymously by mail. Yet Leshchenko was not an impartial source: He made no effort to hide his efforts to help elect Clinton. “A Trump presidency would change the pro-Ukrainian agenda in American foreign policy,” Leshchenko told the Financial Times. For him, “it was important to show ... that [Trump] is [a] pro-Russian candidate who can break the geopolitical balance in the world.” Accordingly, he added, most of Ukraine’s politicians were “on Hillary Clinton’s side.”

Manafort, who would be convicted of unrelated tax and other financial crimes in 2018, denied the allegation. The ledger was handwritten and did not match the amounts that Manafort was paid in electronic wire transfers. Moreover, the ledger was said to have been stored at Yanukovych’s party headquarters, yet that building was burned in a 2014 riot by Maidan activists.

Telizhenko agrees with Manafort that the ledger was a fabrication. “I think the ledger was just made up because nobody saw it, and nobody got the official documents themselves. From my understanding it was all a toss-up, a made-up story, just because they could not find any dirt on the Trump campaign.”

But with the U.S. media starting to amplify the Clinton campaign’s Trump-Russia conspiracy theories, a wary Trump demanded Manafort's resignation. “The easiest way for Trump to sidestep the whole Ukraine story is for Manafort not to be there,” Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and a Trump campaign adviser, explained.

The 2016 Russian Hacking Claim

The release of the Manafort ledger and cooperation with the Democratic National Committee was not the end of Ukraine’s 2016 election interference.

A recent account in the New York Times revealed that Ukrainian intelligence played a vital role in generating CIA allegations that would become a foundation of the Russiagate hoax – that Russia stole Democratic Party emails and released them via WikiLeaks in a bid to help elect Trump. Once again, CIA chief Brennan played a critical role.

In the Times’ telling, some Obama officials wanted to shut down the CIA’s work in Ukraine after a botched August 2016 Ukrainian intelligence operation in Crimea turned deadly. But Brennan “persuaded them that doing so would be self-defeating, given the relationship was starting to produce intelligence on the Russians as the C.I.A. was investigating Russian election meddling.” This “relationship” between Brennan and his Ukrainian counterparts proved to be pivotal. According to the Times, Ukrainian military intelligence – which the CIA closely managed – claimed to have duped a Russian officer into “into providing information that allowed the C.I.A. to connect Russia’s government to the so-called Fancy Bear hacking group.”

“Fancy Bear” is one of two alleged Russian cyber espionage groups that the FBI has accused of carrying out the 2016 DNC email theft. Yet this allegation has a direct tie not just to Ukraine, but to the Clinton campaign. The name “Fancy Bear” was coined by CrowdStrike, a private firm working directly for Clinton’s attorney, Michael Sussmann. As RealClearInvestigations has previously reported, CrowdStrike first accused Russia of hacking the DNC, and the FBI relied on the firm for evidence. Years after publicly accusing Russia of the theft, CrowdStrike executive Shawn Henry was forced to admit in sworn congressional testimony that the firm “did not have concrete evidence” that Russian hackers took data from the DNC servers.

CrowdStrike’s admission about the evidentiary hole in the Russian hacking allegation, along with the newly disclosed Ukrainian intelligence role in generating it, were both kept under wraps throughout the entirety of Special Counsel Robert Muller’s probe into alleged Russian interference. But when Trump sought answers on both matters, he once again found himself the target of an investigation.

In late September 2019, weeks after Mueller’s halting congressional testimony – which left Trump foes dissatisfied over his failure to find insufficient evidence of a Russian conspiracy – House Democrats kicked off an effort to impeach Trump for freezing U.S. weapons shipments in an alleged scheme to pressure Ukraine into investigating the Bidens. The impeachment was triggered by a whistleblower complaint about a phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky two months prior. The "whistleblower" was later identified by RealClearInvestigations as Eric Ciaramella, an intelligence official who had served as Ukraine adviser to then-Vice President Biden when he demanded Shokin’s firing and to the Obama administration’s other key point person for Kyiv, Victoria Nuland.

Yet Trump’s infamous July 2019 phone call with Zelensky was not primarily focused on the Bidens. Instead, according to the transcript, Trump asked Zelensky to do him “a favor” and cooperate with a Justice Department investigation into the origins of Russiagate, which, he asserted, had Ukrainian links. Trump specifically invoked CrowdStrike, the Clinton campaign contractor that had generated the allegation that Russia had hacked the Democratic Party emails. CrowdStrike’s allegation of Russian interference, Trump told Zelensky, had somehow “started with Ukraine.”

More than four years after the call, and eight years after the 2016 campaign, the New York Times’ recent revelation that the CIA relied on Ukrainian intelligence operatives to identify alleged Russian hackers adds new context to Trump’s request for Zelensky’s help. Asked about the Times’ disclosure, a source familiar with Trump's thinking confirmed to RCI that the president was indeed referring to a Ukrainian role in the Russian hacking allegations that consumed his presidency. “That’s why they impeached him,” the source said. “They didn’t want to be exposed.”

Trump's First Impeachment

The first impeachment of Donald Trump once again inserted Ukraine into the highest levels of U.S. politics. But the impact may have been even greater in Ukraine.

When Democrats targeted Trump for his phone call with Zelensky, the rookie Ukrainian leader was just months into a mandate that he had won on a pledge to end the Donbas war. In his inaugural address, Zelensky promised that he was “not afraid to lose my own popularity, my ratings,” and even “my own position – as long as peace arrives.”

In their lone face-to-face meeting, held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Trump tried to encourage Zelensky to negotiate with Russia. “I really hope that you and President Putin can get together and solve your problem,” Trump said, referring to the Donbas war. “That would be a tremendous achievement."

But Ukraine’s powerful ultra-nationalists had other plans. Right Sector co-founder Dmytro Yarosh, commander of the Ukrainian Volunteer Army, responded: “No, he [Zelensky] would lose his life. He will hang on some tree on Khreshchatyk [Kyiv’s main street] – if he betrays Ukraine” by making a peace with the Russian-backed rebels.

By impeaching Trump for pausing U.S. weaponry to Ukraine, Democrats sent a similar message. Trump, the final House impeachment report proclaimed, had “compromised the national security of the United States.” In his opening statement at Trump’s Senate trial, Rep. Adam Schiff – then seeking to rebound from the collapse of the Trump-Russia conspiracy theory – declared: “The United States aids Ukraine and her people, so that we can fight Russia over there, and we don’t have to fight Russia here.”

Other powerful Washington officials, including star impeachment witness William Taylor, then serving as the chief U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, pushed Zelensky toward conflict.

Just before the impeachment scandal erupted in Washington, Zelensky was “expressing curiosity” about the Steinmeier Formula, a German-led effort to revive the stalled Minsk process, which he “hoped might lead to a deal with the Kremlin,” Taylor later recounted to the Washington Post. But Taylor disagreed.  “No one knows what it is,” Taylor told Zelensky of the German plan. “Steinmeier doesn’t know what it is ... It’s a terrible idea.”

With both powerful Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and Washington bureaucrats opposed to ending the Donbas war, Zelensky ultimately abandoned the peace platform that he was elected on. “By early 2021,” the Post reported, citing a Zelensky ally, “Zelensky believed that negotiations wouldn’t work and that Ukraine would need to retake the Donetsk and Luhansk regions ‘either through a political or military path.’”

The return of the Biden team to the Oval Office in January 2021 appears to have encouraged Zelensky’s confrontational path. By then, polls showed the rookie president trailing OPFL, the opposition party with the second-most seats in parliament and headed by Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian mogul close to Putin.

The following month, Zelensky offered his response to waning public support. Three OPFL-tied television channels were taken off the air. Two weeks later, Zelensky followed up by seizing the assets of Medvedchuk’s family, including a pipeline that brought Russian oil through Ukraine. Medvedchuk was also charged with treason. 

Zelensky’s crackdown drew harsh criticism, including from close allies. “This is an illegal mechanism that contradicts the Constitution,” Dmytro Razumkov, the speaker of the parliament and a manager of Zelensky’s presidential campaign, complained.

Yet Zelensky won praise from the newly inaugurated Biden White House, while hailed his effort to “counter Russia’s malign influence.” 

It turns out that the U.S. not only applauded Zelensky’s domestic crackdown, but inspired it. Zelensky's first national security adviser, Oleksandr Danyliuk, later revealed to Time Magazine that the TV stations' shuttering was “conceived as a welcome gift to the Biden Administration.” Targeting those stations, Danyliuk explained, “was calculated to fit in with the U.S. agenda.” And the U.S. was a happy recipient. “He turned out to be a doer,” a State Department official approvingly said of Zelensky. “He got it done.”

Just days after receiving Zelensky’s “welcome gift” in March 2021, the Biden administration approved its first military package for Ukraine, valued at $125 million. That same month, Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council approved a strategy to recover all of Crimea from Russian control, including by force. By the end of March, intense fighting resumed in the Donbas, shattering months of a relatively stable ceasefire.

Russia offered its own reaction. Two days after its ally Medvedchuk’s assets were seized in February, Russia deployed thousands of troops to the Ukraine border, the beginning of a build-up that ultimately topped 100,000 and culminated in an invasion one year later.

The Kremlin, Medvedchuk claimed, was acting to protect Russophile Ukrainians targeted by Zelensky’s censorship. “When they close TV channels that Russian-speaking people watched, when they persecute the party these people voted for, it touches all of the Russian-speaking population,” he said.

Medvedchuk also warned that the more hawkish factions of the Kremlin could use the crackdown as a pretext for war. “There are hawks around Putin who want this crisis. They are ready to invade. They come to him and say, ‘Look at your Medvedchuk. Where is he now? Where is your peaceful solution? Sitting under house arrest? Should we wait until all pro-Russian forces are arrested?’ ”

A Whistleblower Silenced
on Alleged Biden Corruption

Along with encouraging a proxy war with Russia in Ukraine, the first Trump impeachment also promoted the highly dubious Democratic Party narrative that scrutiny of Ukrainian interference in U.S. politics was a “conspiracy theory” or “Russian disinformation.” Another star impeachment witness, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who leaked the Trump/Zelensky phone call to Ciaramella, testified that Telizhenko – who had blown the whistle on Ukrainian collusion with the DNC – was “not a credible individual.”

Telizhenko was undeterred. After detailing reliable evidence of Ukrainian’s 2016 election interference to Politico, Telizhenko continued to speak out – and increasingly drew the attention of government officials who sought to undermine his claims by casting him as a Russian agent.

Beginning in May 2019, Telizhenko cooperated with Rudy Giuliani, then acting as Trump’s personal attorney, in his effort to expose information about the Bidens’ alleged corruption in Ukraine. During Giuliani’s visits to Ukraine, Telizhenko served as an adviser and translator.

That same year, Telizhenko testified to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) as part of a probe into whether the DNC’s 2016 collusion with the Ukrainian embassy violated campaign finance laws. By contrast, multiple DNC officials refused to testify. Telizhenko then cooperated with a separate Senate probe, co-chaired by Republicans Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson, on how Hunter Biden’s business dealings impacted U.S. policy in Ukraine.

By the lead-up to the 2020 election, Telizhenko found himself the target of a concerted effort to silence him. As the Senate probed Ukraine, the FBI delivered a classified warning echoing Democrats’ talking points that Telizhenko was among the “known purveyors of Russian disinformation narratives” about the Bidens. In response, GOP Sen. Johnson dropped plans to subpoena Telizhenko. Nevertheless, Telizhenko’s communications with Obama administration officials and his former employer Blue Star Strategies were heavily featured in Johnson and Grassley’s final report on the Bidens’ conflicts of interest in Ukraine, released in September 2020.

The U.S. government’s claims of yet another Russian-backed plot to hurt a Democratic Party presidential nominee set the stage for another highly consequential act of election interference. On October 14, 2020, the New York Post published the first in a series of stories detailing how Hunter Biden had traded on his family name to secure lucrative business abroad, including in Ukraine. The Post’s reporting, based on the contents of a laptop Hunter’s had apparently abandoned in a repair shop, also raised questions about Joe Biden’s denials of involvement in his son’s business dealings.

The Hunter Biden laptop emails pointed to the very kind of influence-peddling that the Biden campaign and Democrats routinely accused Trump of. But rather than allow voters to read the reporting and judge for themselves, the Post’s journalism was subjected to a smear campaign and a censorship campaign unparalleled in modern American history. In a statement, a group of more than 50 former intelligence officials – including John Brennan, the former CIA chief – declared that the Hunter Biden laptop story “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.” Meanwhile, Facebook and Twitter prevented the story from being shared on their social media networks.

The FBI lent credence to the intelligence veterans’ false claim by launching a probe into whether the laptop contents were part of a “Russian disinformation” campaign aiming to hurt Biden. The bureau initiated this effort despite having been in possession of Hunter Biden’s laptop, which it had verified as genuine, for almost a year. To buttress innuendo that the laptop was a Russian plot, a CNN report suspiciously noted that Telizhenko had posted an image on social media featuring Trump holding up an edition of the New York Post’s laptop story.

In January 2021, shortly before Biden took office, the U.S. Treasury Department followed suit by imposing sanctions on Telizhenko for allegedly “having directly or indirectly engaged in, sponsored, concealed, or otherwise been complicit in foreign influence in a United States election.”

Treasury, however, did not release any evidence to support its claims. Two months later, the department issued a similar statement in announcing sanctions on former Manafort aide Konstantin Kilimnik, whom it accused of being a "known Russian Intelligence Services agent implementing influence operations on their behalf." Treasury’s actions followed a bipartisan Senate Intelligence report that also accused Kilimnik of being a Russian spy. As RealClearInvestigations has previously reported, neither the Treasury Department or Senate panel provided any evidence to support their allegations about Kilimnik, which were called into question by countervailing information that RCI brought to light. Just like Telizhenko, Kilimnik had extensive contacts with the Obama administration, whose State Department treated him as a trusted source.

The U.S. government’s endorsement of Democratic claims about Telizhenko had a direct impact on the FEC investigation into DNC-Ukrainian collusion, in which he had testified. In August 2019, the FEC initially sided with Telizhenko and informed Alexandra Chalupa – the DNC operative whom he outed for targeting Paul Manafort – that she plausibly violated the Federal Election Campaign Act by having “the Ukrainian Embassy... [perform] opposition research on the Trump campaign at no charge to the DNC.” The FEC also noted that the DNC “does not directly deny that Chalupa obtained assistance from the Ukrainians nor that she passed on the Ukrainian Embassy’s research to DNC officials.”

But when the Treasury Department sanctioned Telizhenko in January 2021, the FEC suddenly reversed course. As RealClearInvestigations has previously reported, the FEC closed the case against the DNC without punitive action. Democratic commissioner Ellen Weintraub even dismissed allegations of Ukrainian-DNC collusion as “Russian disinformation.” As evidence, she pointed to media reports about Telizhenko and the recent Treasury sanctions against him.

Yet Telizhenko’s detractors have been unable to adduce any concrete evidence tying him to Russia. A January 2021 intelligence community report, declassified two months later, accused Russia of waging “influence operations against the 2020 US presidential election” on behalf of Trump. It made no mention of Telizhenko. The Democratic-led claims of Telizhenko’s supposed Russian ties are additionally undermined by his extensive contact with Obama-Biden administration officials, as journalist John Solomon reported in September 2020.

Telizhenko says he has “no connection at all” to the Russian government or any effort to amplify its messaging. “I’m ready,” he says. “Let the Treasury Department publish what they have on me, and I’m ready to go against them.  Let them show the public what they have.  They have nothing ... I am ready to talk about the truth.  They are not.”

Epilogue

Just as Telizhenko has been effectively silenced in the U.S. establishment, so has the Ukrainian meddling that he helped expose. Capturing the prevailing media narrative, the Washington Post recently claimed that Trump has “falsely blamed Ukraine for trying to help Democratic rival Hillary Clinton,” which, the Post added, is “a smear spread by Russian spy services.” This narrative ignores a voluminous record that includes Ukrainian officials admitting to helping Clinton.

As the Biden administration successfully pressured Congress to approve its $61 billion funding request for Ukraine, holdout Republicans were similarly accused of parroting the Kremlin. Shortly before the vote, two influential Republican committee chairmen, Reps. Mike Turner of Ohio and Mike McCaul of Texas, claimed that unnamed members of their caucus were repeating Russian propaganda. Zelensky also asserted that Russia was manipulating U.S. opponents of continued war funding: “When we talk about the Congress — do you notice how [the Russians] work with society in the United States?”

Now that Biden has signed that newly authorized funding into law, the president and his senior aides have been handed the means to extend a proxy war that they launched a decade ago and that continues to ravage Ukraine. In yet another case of Ukraine playing a significant role in domestic U.S. politics, Biden has also secured a boost to his bid for reelection. As the New York Times recently observed: “The resumption of large-scale military aid from the United States all but ensures that the war will be unfinished in Ukraine when Americans go to the polls in November.”

Tyler Durden Wed, 05/01/2024 - 02:00
Published:5/1/2024 2:27:11 AM
[2024 Election] Exclusive: Rep. Keith Self Warns U.S. Constitutional Republic Can’t Survive ‘Fourth Obama Term’


U.S. global influence is declining under President Joe Biden, whose presidency is a continuation of Obama's policies, according to congressman Keith Self.

The post Exclusive: Rep. Keith Self Warns U.S. Constitutional Republic Can’t Survive ‘Fourth Obama Term’ appeared first on Breitbart.

Published:4/27/2024 12:53:14 PM
[Markets] Planes Almost Collide At 2 Major Airports As Boeing Probe Advances Planes Almost Collide At 2 Major Airports As Boeing Probe Advances

Authored by Jacob Burg via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

As the U.S. Justice Department decides whether to pursue a criminal case against Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is investigating dozens of airplane incidents since January, including one in which a Swiss Air jet almost collided with four other planes on the runway at JFK International Airport in New York City.

An air traffic control tower at JFK airport in New York City, on Jan. 11, 2023. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The FAA has more than 100 aviation accidents and incidents since the beginning of 2024. These include airplane and helicopter crashes, equipment and mechanical malfunctions, and communication breakdowns with air traffic controllers that almost caused runway collisions at several major U.S. airports.

These incidents come as public scrutiny of Boeing increases after multiple issues have been reported with their jets. After an Alaskan Airways flight experienced a mid-air blowout of a door plug on Jan. 5, the Justice Department is considering revoking a 2021 deferred prosecution agreement with the company and pursuing a criminal case.

There is also growing criticism of Air Traffic Control (ATC) and the FAA’s hiring practices after multiple near-collisions were reported, including at JFK Airport and Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia.

The JFK incident occurred on April 17. Pilots on a Swiss Air flight headed to Zurich, Switzerland, were forced to hit the brakes after the plane was cleared for takeoff because air traffic controllers simultaneously opened the runway for four other planes.

The next day, a similar incident played out at Reagan Washington National Airport, which services the Washington area. ATC cleared a JetBlue flight for takeoff as a Southwest Airlines flight was told to taxi across the same runway in front of it, according to ATC audio.

A runway controller cleared the JetBlue flight, while a taxiing controller cleared the Southwest Airlines flight. The two planes came within 400 feet of a collision before each controller ordered the planes to stop.

JetBlue 1554 stop! 1554 stop!” said the tower controller, as the ground controller said “2937 stop!” to the Southwest Airlines plane.

Since sudden runway stops can overheat airplane brakes, the JetBlue flight was inspected before it safely departed the airport.

The agency said it is investigating both incidents.

Juan Browne, a Boeing 777 first officer pilot for a major U.S. airline company, told The Epoch Times that while the number of airplane accidents has remained steady, ATC incidents are “on the rise.”

He said the “primary driver” of this phenomenon is the “huge turnover” in the industry, as controllers retired during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many retired early, creating a “big shortage of people, pilots, and air traffic controllers,” and some, including pilots and others, retired due to vaccine mandates.

However, other factors leading to ATC communication breakdowns include diversity-focused hiring practices, a bottleneck in controller training, distractions, and pilot error.

Diversity Hiring Practices

Many, including aviation expert Kyle Bailey, have called out the FAA for prioritizing “diversity” in its hiring practices, alleging that hiring pilots or controllers based on their skin instead of their merit, can lead to safety issues.

A JetBlue airplane at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va., on March 9, 2023. (Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Diversity really has nothing to do with safe travel,” Mr. Bailey told Fox News Digital in January.

The aviation agency’s “Diversity and Inclusion webpage, last updated on March 23, 2022, says, ”Diversity is integral to achieving the FAA’s mission of ensuring safe and efficient travel across our nation and beyond.”

In its  "Aviation Safety Workforce Plan, the agency explains this policy further.

“[Diversity] practices facilitate the organization in attracting and hiring talented applicants from diverse backgrounds and to meet future needs. A commitment to diversity and inclusion supports [aviation safety’s] strategic initiative to create a workforce with the leadership, technical, and functional skills necessary to ensure the U.S. has the world’s safest and most productive aviation sector.”

Later, the agency discusses how this can impact operations.

“The projected growth in demand and diversity from conventional customers, as well as new entrants in non-traditional areas will challenge the FAA’s ability to provide responsive and consistent service to our stakeholders, the report reads.

Air traffic controllers keep watch at Miami International Airport in Fla., on March 6, 2017. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In February, a coalition of 11 Republican attorneys general, led by Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, submitted a letter to the FAA alleging that diversity hiring practices could put passengers’ lives at risk.

“It seems that the FAA has placed ‘diversity bean counting over safety and expertise, and we worry that such misordered priorities could be catastrophic for American travelers, Mr. Kobach wrote in the letter.

“Millions of Americans place their lives and the lives of their loved ones in the hands of your agency ... Unfortunately, the Biden FAA, under your administration, appears to prioritize virtue-signaling ‘diversity efforts over aviation expertise. And this calls into question the agency’s commitment to safety, he added.

The letter accused the Obama administration of seeking out applicants with “severe intellectual” and “psychiatric” disabilities, noting that the FAA’s “Diversity and Inclusion” webpage currently has the same language on it.

Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach during a news conference outside his office in Topeka, Kan., on May 1, 2023. (John Hanna/AP Photo/ File Photo)

Mr. Browne, who has been a commercial pilot for 25 years, told The Epoch Times that there is a big drive towards on-the-job diversity in all U.S. industries, and aviation is no different.

“I can’t speak specifically to what those requirements are at the FAA ATC program, but we definitely need to ask ourselves: Are we hiring and training the correct people for the jobs?” he asked.

“How are we getting the most qualified applicants out there to fill these jobs?”

Retirements and Training ‘Bottleneck’

Another factor leading to issues with ATC is the sheer volume of retirements in the aviation industry during the pandemic, Mr. Browne said.

He explained that some pilots and air traffic controllers were close to retirement age when the pandemic started, with many deciding to retire early. This created a shortage of applicants and now a shortage of active workers, as both the FAA and ATC struggled to keep up when a waning pandemic caused airline travel demand to increase.

“So we got a lot of new folks out there on the job right now, a lot of on-the-job training going on right now. And a lot of mistakes being made up there as well,” he said.

Some also retired early because they declined to take the mRNA COVID-19 vaccine when it was briefly mandated by the FAA, Mr. Browne added.

Syringes filled with COVID-19 vaccines sit on a table at a vaccination clinic in a file image. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

With these early retirements came limited training opportunities and a “shortage of qualified controllers.”

“There was a big bottleneck in training throughout the aviation industry, whether it was for pilots or for air traffic controllers who have trained up in Oklahoma City, the home of the FAA,” Mr. Browne said.

“And so, now, the FAA is trying to do more with less.”

He explained that the agency is working its current and new controllers “much harder and longer hours than they have in the past” to “backfill” the demand after airlines quickly and unexpectedly recovered from the pandemic. This “exacerbated the shortage of both pilots and air traffic controllers,” Mr. Browne said.

In a statement to The Epoch Times, the FAA disputed the claim that there were “excessive controller retirements during the pandemic.”

Distractions, Infrastructure, Budget Issues

As a Boeing 777 pilot, Mr. Browne mostly flies overseas. When he flies into cities like London or Sydney, he says the radio channels through ATC are “a lot less chaotic” and more “organized” compared to the United States.

“Here in the States, we’re pushing so much material, so many aircraft through such a tight system and dealing with weather constantly,” he explained.

“And yet, there seems to be a lot of miscommunications between different members of the staff, for example, ground controllers versus tower controllers.”

A plane passes the air traffic control tower at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va., on June 5, 2017. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

It was a miscommunication between ground and tower controllers that resulted in the near-collision at Reagan Washington National Airport on April 18.

Mr. Browne said he often hears a lot of background noise coming over the radio from within the control towers. Pilots are instructed to maintain a “sterile cockpit” whenever they’re below 10,000 feet, he explained. That means pilots must refrain from any conversation outside plane operations until they reach that altitude to “avoid distractions.”

“Is that not the case with the ATC?” Mr. Browne asked.

He explained that working in ATC can be a boring job, so it’s “human nature to get distracted, to do something else to break the monotony,” even if it’s critical to avoid this to prevent putting passengers’ lives at risk.

However, it’s not just distractions leading to issues with coordinating plane routes on runways. The infrastructure throughout the aviation industry struggles to keep pace with the growing demand for air travel.

Mr. Browne explained that ATC, airports, runways, plane parking access, and the number of gates were all designed for “a lot less traffic.”

“But in general, where we are, the demand is outstripping the capacity of the system. And that leads to, in the case of the FAA controllers, a lot of overtime and a lot of tired controllers on the job,” he added.

There are also budget concerns for ATC. Mr. Browne wonders if Congress is allocating enough funds to keep pace with air travel demands but said that question is up to congressional leaders to consider.

A plane passes the air traffic control tower at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va., on June 5, 2017. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Lastly, pilots are sometimes at fault as well for aviation incidents, he explained.

Mr. Browne said there are multiple factors worth considering in addressing these problems. Not only could Congress increase the FAA’s budget, but ATC can be more transparent when there are incidents like the ones on April 17 and 18.

When pilots make significant mistakes, a full investigation commences immediately. But for air traffic controllers, it’s not always the same approach, Mr. Browne said.

However, the most significant factor is getting the best applicants for pilot and air traffic controller positions.

Make sure we’re hiring the right people for the job, regardless of who they are or what they are. Make sure you’re hiring the most qualified people for these very demanding jobs,” Mr. Browne added.

“If we continue to perform at this level, [these incidents] will eventually lead to a disaster.”

The FAA told The Epoch Times that it is working to address some of these issues, but did not specifically comment on the “diversity hiring” allegations.

“Hiring highly qualified air traffic controllers is a top priority at the FAA. Every FAA-certified air traffic controller has gone through months of screening and training at the FAA Academy, and that is before another 18-24 months of training to learn specific regions and airspace.

“There is a well-known national shortage of air traffic controllers and the FAA has ramped up outreach to ensure no talent is left on the table. We are accelerating the pace of recruiting, training, and hiring to meet demand while maintaining the highest qualification standards,” the agency said in a statement.

Tyler Durden Fri, 04/26/2024 - 17:00
Published:4/26/2024 4:12:21 PM
[Markets] "Our Enemy, The Fed" "Our Enemy, The Fed"

Authored by George Ford Smith via The Mises Institute,

The first thing to know about Dr. Thomas E. Woods, Jr.’s’ book Our Enemy, the Fed is he’s giving it away. Click the link, get your copy and read the whole book. Clearly, such intellectual charity is not only rare but in the educational spirit of Mises.org. The subject matter is light-heavy but Woods, author of the bestseller Meltdown (reviewed here), navigates it with the smooth skill of a master, making the reader experience satisfying from beginning to end.

The title reflects another insight, paralleling as it does Albert Jay Nock’s Our Enemy, the State. Most of us were raised to believe government and its agencies serve our best interests. As libertarian scholarship has shown the truth is the exact opposite, particularly with government’s sleazy relationship with money and banking.

Admittedly, it’s a hard idea to accept since it involves a pernicious breach of trust, but Woods makes it abundantly clear. To our overlords we are easily-duped chattel.

Until Ron Paul decided to run for president and his End the Fed came along in 2009, the general public was mostly blind to the Fed’s existence. Austrians aside, the few who knew something about it — mostly university-trained economists on the take from the Fed — considered it a vital part of an advanced industrial economy. Yet the Fed had been around for 96 years when Dr. Paul’s book emerged. Given that it’s in charge of the money we use how did it remain in the shadows for tax-burdened citizens for nearly a century? What’s up with that?

The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis tells us the Fed’s congressional assignment is “to promote maximum employment and price stability.” (Bold in original) For these it talks about interest rates, and its aim is to increase the money supply so that prices rise gently at or around a 2 percent rate. 

How gentle is a two percent rate? After 10 years of two percent monetary inflation, it would take $121.90 to buy what $100 bought in year one. But that’s over a decade, and you might not notice it unless you’re one of the hungry poor not on welfare. The Fed’s inflation of the money supply has been ongoing since it began operations in 1914, draining 96 percent of the dollar’s purchasing power.

On what planet is a 96 percent devaluation considered stability? Its real purpose is to inflate then assure us it makes good sense. Never mind the boom - bust cycle it creates along with the debauchery of our currency. We’re being gaslighted. Where did all the newly-created money go? 

Dr. Paul, who had a long career in Congress whose confrontations with Fed Chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke have become legendary in libertarian circles, tells us:

Law permits this highly secretive, private bank to create credit at will and distribute it as it sees fit.

The chairman of the Federal Reserve can blatantly inject in a public hearing that he has no intention of revealing where the newly created credit goes and who benefits. When asked, he essentially answered, “It’s none of your business,” saying that it would be “counterproductive” to do so. [My italics]

The picture I get is of people in a hideout somewhere — in this case, the FOMC meeting in the Eccles building in Washington, D.C. — cranking out money then injecting it into the economy in some mysterious manner, while telling us in Keynesian doublespeak their operations keep us safe and prosperous.

Is it really hard to fathom that those in charge might be up to no good?

Woods comes out swinging

After defining the Federal Reserve System — the Fed — as the American central bank enjoying “a government-granted monopoly on the creation of legal-tender money,” Woods proceeds to evaluate the Fed from a broad or macro perspective. 

What exactly did the Fed fix? Christina Romer who served under Obama as Chair of his Council of Economic Advisors found that “recessions were in fact not more frequent in the pre-Fed than the post-Fed period.” Even comparing the periods of 1796-1915 to post-WW II — thus omitting the Great Depression of 1930-1945 — “economist Joseph Davis finds no appreciable difference between the length and duration of recessions as compared to the period of the Fed.”

Woods takes us back through American history to see how banking and credit developed. Government, which has no money of its own, befriends ones that have it. During the period between the expiration of the first Bank of the US and the creation of the Second Bank of the US — 1811-1817 — the government granted banks the privilege of expanding credit unsecured by deposits while allowing them to tell depositors attempting to withdraw their money to “come back in a couple of years.” While banks could be charged with legal counterfeiting and embezzlement, Woods does not use the terms. In fact, nowhere in the book does he use the words “counterfeit” or “embezzle.”

When the Second Bank of the US started inflating in 1817 it created the Panic of 1819. He writes:

The lesson of that sorry episode — namely, that the economy gets taken on a wild and unhealthy ride when the money supply is dramatically and artificially increased and then suddenly reduced — was so obvious that even the political class managed to figure it out.

Many inflationists before the panic became hard-money believers after. Condy Raguet and Daniel Raymond, a disciple of Alexander Hamilton, became hard-money advocates and wrote books on economics. John Quincy Adams cited the hard-money Bank of Amsterdam “as a a model to emulate.”

But the inflationists persisted and pushed for more government intervention, and Unit banking in particular:

In the nineteenth century, nearly all American states instituted a regulation known as unit banking, which limited all banks to a single office. No branch banking was allowed, whether intrastate or interstate. The obvious result was a very fragile and undiversified banking system in which banks could be brought to ruin if local conditions turned sour.

Fractional-reserve banking is a major cause of bank panics. But the US went further. Other countries did not “cripple their banking systems” with unit banking laws. Canada, in particular, had no unit banking laws and no banking panics. The Bank of Canada did not emerge until 1934:

As Milton Friedman was fond of pointing out, although the Great Depression claimed over 9,000 American banks, the number of banks that failed in Canada at that time was zero. American bank panics, it turns out, were in large part the result of government intervention — in the form of unit banking — in the first place.

Yet it was the market and the imposed pseudo-gold standard that took the blame, and Americans got Hoover’s meddling then FDR’s New Deal.

Later in the book Woods mentions the hands-off approach to the depression of 1920-1921, “which saw unemployment shoot up to 12.4 percent and production decline by 17 percent. Wholesale prices fell by 56 percent.” And the Fed kept its printing press quiet. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research the depression was over by the summer of 1921.

Falling prices are bad?

One of the strongest parts of Woods’ book is his treatment of deflation — falling prices. It is only in the inflationary world of larcenous economics that falling prices are the “It” to be avoided.

A few of the points he makes:

  • Increasing the money supply to support increased production is a fallacy. “Any supply of money can facilitate any number of transactions.”

  • The money supply under a hard money system grows “relatively slowly, and the supply of other goods and services increases more rapidly. With these goods and services more abundant with respect to money, their prices fall.”

  • The claim that people would stop buying things if they knew prices would fall ignores the fact that people “value goods in the present more highly than they do the same goods in the future. This factor offsets the desire to wait indefinitely for a lower price.”

  • If deflation is anticipated entrepreneurs and the firms they deal with would adjust their bids accordingly.

  • With the increase in money’s purchasing power people could save simply by hoarding.

  • Who’s hurt the most by deflation? The power centers in society — government and Wall Street. We hear hysteria over deflation because it hurts the establishment the most, “and only the mildest concern about inflation, which hurts everyone else.”

Conclusion

Tom Woods has published another gem and is giving it away. The war we’re fighting now depends for its outcome on sound information and, as always, personal integrity. Never forget, the Fed must go. His book provides much of the intellectual ammunition needed to neutralize the enemy and avoid repeating the mistakes that brought us this mess in the first place.

Tyler Durden Fri, 04/26/2024 - 07:20
Published:4/26/2024 7:09:52 AM
[Markets] Supreme Court Takes New Step In Jan. 6 Case, Orders DOJ To Explain Themselves Supreme Court Takes New Step In Jan. 6 Case, Orders DOJ To Explain Themselves

Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The U.S. Supreme Court on April 23 directed the U.S. Department of Justice to reply to a man convicted in the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol.

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on April 8, 2024. (Madalina Vasiliu/The Epoch Times)

Justices said the department’s response to Russell Alford is due May 23.

Mr. Alford was convicted by a jury of four misdemeanor counts but is challenging two of the charges, arguing that they don’t apply to his conduct.

The charges should not have been brought because the laws on which they’re based bar disorderly and disruptive conduct in a Capitol building and in a restricted building, but Mr. Alford merely entered the Capitol and stood silently against a wall before exiting, the Supreme Court was told in a filing from Mr. Alford’s lawyers.

U.S. District Judge Tonya Chutkan, an appointee of President Barack Obama, originally rejected Mr. Alford’s request to dismiss the counts, finding that his “mere presence inside the Capitol disturbed the public peace or undermined public safety.”

A federal appeals court, after reviewing the rejection, upheld it in January. While Mr. Alford was “neither violent nor destructive ... a jury could rationally find that his unauthorized presence in the Capitol as part of an unruly mob contributed to the disruption of the Congress’s electoral certification and jeopardized public safety,” the ruling stated.

The court should grant review because this case presents an important question of federal statutory interpretation,” Mr. Alford’s lawyers wrote to the Supreme Court, describing the appeals court ruling as “establish[ing] a slippery and counter-textual standard for criminalizing conduct in settings for political activity.”

One of the laws, 18 U.S.C. § 1752(a)(2), bars people from “knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of government business or official functions.”

The other, 40 U.S.C. § 5104(e)(2)(D), makes it a crime to “utter loud, threatening, or abusive language, or engage in disorderly or disruptive conduct, at any place in the grounds or in any of the Capitol Buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of a session of Congress or either house of Congress, or the orderly conduct in that building of a hearing before, or any deliberations of, a committee of Congress or either house of Congress.”

The lower court rulings were wrong in part because they focused on the effects of Mr. Alford’s conduct, not the nature of the conduct, according to the writ to justices.

That focus “collapses the conduct element into the harm element by giving the adjectives no apparent force,” they said. They argued later that merely being present “is not disorderly conduct unless the presence is in defiance of an order to disperse.”

If the court grants the petition, it would review the case and decide if the rulings were appropriate.

The Department of Justice’s Solicitor General, Elizabeth Prelogar, told the court on April 12 that the government was waiving its right to file a response to the filing, “unless requested to do so by the court.” The petition was distributed to justices on April 18 for their scheduled May 9 conference. Then, on Tuesday, justices directed the Department of Justice to file a response to Mr. Alford.

Lawyers for Mr. Alford and the government did not respond to requests for comment.

If justices take up the petition and rule in favor of Mr. Alford, a number of other Jan. 6 defendants and convicts could see charges thrown out.

Obstruction Charge

The court already agreed to review another charge brought against many Jan. 6 defendants.

Justices sat for oral arguments on April 16 concerning obstruction of an official proceeding, a charge brought against former police officer Joseph Fischer after he entered the Capitol on Jan. 6.

One of Mr. Fischer’s attorneys said the charge should not have been brought because the law was only intended to be used in cases of evidence tampering.

Ms. Prelogar told justices that the charge was proper because it was “not limited to evidence impairment.”

Justice Neil Gorsuch, appointed by former President Donald Trump, wondered whether the government would bring the charge against people who heckled the court.

“Would a sit-in that disrupts a trial or access to a federal courthouse qualify? Would a heckler in today’s audience qualify, or at the State of the Union address? Would pulling a fire alarm before a vote qualify for 20 years in federal prison?” he asked.

Another justice later questioned if protesters blocking access to a trial would face the charge, noting that protests have taken place in the past at the Supreme Court but the government did not charge the protesters under the law.

Ms. Prelogar said the law might apply in such cases, if there was proof of “corrupt intent.”

Justices are due to hand down a decision in the case at some point in the future.

Tyler Durden Wed, 04/24/2024 - 17:30
Published:4/24/2024 5:10:54 PM
[bd8dfa21-b07e-55e2-8f24-3e3ed5733e2f] Columbia alum Obama silent as Jewish faculty, students face antisemitic harassment on campus Former President Obama, an alumnus of Columbia University, is staying silent on the violent antisemitic rhetoric aimed at Jewish students and faculty by campus protestors. Published:4/23/2024 11:54:22 AM
[] Former Obama Counter-Terrorism Official Charged With Child Sex Crimes in the UK I bet there's a few more pedos from Obamaworld. A former senior policy adviser to the Obama administration has appeared in court in Britain charged with child sex offences. Rahamim 'Rami' Shy, 46, who co-ordinated the US government's strategy... Published:4/22/2024 11:19:10 AM
[Markets] The Intel Agencies Of Government Are Fully Weaponized The Intel Agencies Of Government Are Fully Weaponized

Authored by 'sundance' via TheConservativeTreehouse.com,

Barack Obama and Eric Holder did not create a weaponized DOJ and FBI; instead, what they did was take the preexisting system and retool it so the weapons only targeted one side of the political continuum.  This point is where many people understandably get confused...

In the era shortly after 9/11, the DC national security apparatus was constructed to preserve continuity of government and simultaneously view all Americans as potential threats.  The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) were created specifically for this purpose.

What Barack Obama and Eric Holder did with that new construct was refine the internal targeting mechanisms so that only their ideological opposition became the target of the new national security system.  This is very important to understand as you dig deeper into this research outline.

Washington DC created the modern national security apparatus immediately and hurriedly after 9/11/01.  DHS came along in 2002, and within the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 the ODNI was formed.  When Barack Obama and Eric Holder arrived a few years later, those newly formed institutions were viewed as opportunities to create a very specific national security apparatus that would focus almost exclusively against their political opposition.

The preexisting Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Dept of Justice (DOJ) were then repurposed to become two of the four pillars of the domestic national security apparatus.  However, this new construct would have a targeting mechanism based on political ideology.  The DHS, ODNI, DOJ and FBI became the four pillars of this new institution.  Atop these pillars is where you will find the Fourth Branch of Government.

We were not sleeping when this happened, we were wide awake.  However, we were stunningly distracted by the economic collapse that was taking place in 2006 and 2007 when the engineers behind Obama started to assemble the design.  By the time Obama took office in 2009, we sensed something profound was shifting, but we can only see exactly what shifted in the aftermath.  The four pillars were put into place, and a new Fourth Branch of Government was quietly created.

As time passed, and the system operators became familiar with their new tools, technology allowed the tentacles of the system to reach out and touch us. That is when we first started to notice that something very disconcerting was happening.  Those four pillars are the root of it, and if we take the time to understand how the Fourth Branch originated, questions about this current state of perpetual angst will start to make sense.

Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, and take a walk with me as we outline how this was put together.  You might find many of the questions about our current state of political affairs beginning to make a lot more sense.

Remember, it is not my intent to outline the entire history of how we got to this place where the intelligence community now acts as the superseding fourth branch of government. Such an effort would be exhausting and likely take our discussion away from understanding the current dynamic.

History provided enough warnings from Dwight D. Eisenhower (military), to John F. Kennedy (CIA), to Richard Nixon (FBI), to all modern versions of warnings and frustrations from HPSCI Devin Nunes and ODNI Ric Grenell. None of those prior reference points are invalid, and all documented outlines of historic reference are likely true and accurate. However, a generational review is not useful, as the reference impacting us ‘right now‘ gets lost.

Instead, we pick up the expansive and weaponized intelligence system as it manifests after 9/11/01, and my goal is to highlight how the modern version of the total intelligence apparatus has now metastasized into a Fourth Branch of Government. It is this superseding branch that now touches and influences every facet of our life.

If we take the modern construct, originating at the speed of technological change, we can also see how the oversight or “check/balance” in our system of government became functionally obsolescent.

After many years of granular research about the intelligence apparatus inside our government, in the summer of 2020 I visited Washington DC to ask specific questions. My goal was to go where the influence agents within government actually operate, and to discover the people deep inside the institutions no one elected and few people pay attention to.

It was during this process when I discovered how information is purposefully put into containment silos; essentially a formal process to block the flow of information between agencies and between the original branches. While frustrating to discover, the silo effect was important because understanding the communication between networks leads to our ability to reconcile conflict between what we perceive and what’s actually taking place.

After days of research and meetings in DC during 2020; amid a town that was serendipitously shut down due to COVID-19; I found a letter slid under the door of my room in a nearly empty hotel with an introduction of sorts. The subsequent discussions were perhaps the most important. After many hours of specific questions and answers on specific examples, I realized why our nation is in this mess. That is when I discovered the fourth and superseding branch of government, the Intelligence Branch.

I am going to explain how the Intelligence Branch works:

(1) to control every other branch of government;

(2) how it functions as an entirely independent branch of government with no oversight;

(3) how and why it was created to be independent from oversight;

(4) what is the current mission of the IC Branch,

and most importantly (5) who operates it.

The Intelligence Branch is an independent functioning branch of government, it is no longer a subsidiary set of agencies within the Executive Branch as most would think. To understand the Intelligence Branch, we need to drop the elementary school civics class lessons about three coequal branches of government and replace that outlook with the modern system that created itself.

The Intelligence Branch functions much like the State Dept, through a unique set of public-private partnerships that support it. Big Tech industry collaboration with intelligence operatives is part of that functioning; almost like an NGO. However, the process is much more important than most think. In this problematic perspective of a corrupt system of government, the process is the flaw – not the outcome.

There are people making decisions inside this little known, unregulated and out-of-control branch of government that impact every facet of our lives.

None of the people operating deep inside the Intelligence Branch were elected, and our elected representative House members genuinely do not know how the system works. I assert this position affirmatively because I have talked to House and Senate staffers, including the chiefs of staff for multiple House & Senate committee seats. They are not malicious people; however, they are genuinely clueless of things that happen outside their silo. That is part of the purpose of me explaining it, with examples, in full detail with sunlight.

We begin….

In April of 2016, the FBI launched a counterintelligence operation against presidential candidate Donald Trump. The questioning about that operation is what New York Representative Elise Stefanik cites in March of 2017, approximately 11 months later (First Two Minutes).

Things to note:

  • Notice how FBI Director James Comey just matter-of-factly explains no one outside the DOJ was informed about the FBI operation. Why? Because that’s just the way things are done. His justification for unilateral operations was “because of the sensitivity of the matter“, totally ignoring any constitutional or regulatory framework for oversight; because, well, quite simply, there isn’t any. The intelligence apparatus inside the DOJ/FBI can, and does, operate based on their own independent determinations of authority.

  • Notice also how FBI Director Comey shares his perspective that informing the National Security Council (NSC) is the equivalent of notifying the White House. The FBI leadership expressly believe they bear no responsibility to brief the Chief Executive. As long as they tell some unknown, unelected, bureaucratic entity inside the NSC, their unwritten responsibility to inform the top of their institutional silo is complete. If the IC wants to carve out the Oval Office, they simply plant information inside the NSC and, from their perspective, their civic responsibility to follow checks-and-balances is complete. This is an intentional construct.

  • Notice how Comey obfuscates notification to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), by avoiding the fact James Clapper was the DNI from outset of the counterintelligence operation throughout the remainder of Obama’s term. When I get deeper into the process, we will understand how the Intelligence Branch has intentionally used the creation of the DNI position (established post 9/11/01) as a method to avoid oversight, not enhance it. Keeping an oblivious doofus like James Clapper in position held strategic value [Doofus Reminder HERE].

That video of James Comey being questioned by Elise Stefanik was the first example given to me by someone who knew the background of everything that was taking place preceding that March 20, 2017, hearing. That FBI reference point is a key to understand how the Intelligence Branch operates with unilateral authority above Congress (legislative branch), above the White House (executive branch), and even above the court system (judicial branch).

Also, watch this short video of James Clapper because it is likely many readers have forgotten, and likely even more readers have never seen it.  Watch closely how then White House national security adviser John Brennan is responding in that video.  This is before Brennan became CIA Director, this is when Brennan was helping Barack Obama put the pillars into place.  WATCH:

[Sidebar: Every time I post this video it gets scrubbed from YouTube (example), so save it if you ever want to see it again.]

The video of James Clapper highlights how the ODNI position (created with good national security intention) ended up becoming the fulcrum for modern weaponization, and is now an office manipulated by agencies with a vested interest in retaining power. The Intelligence Branch holds power over the ODNI through their influence and partnership with the body that authorizes the power within it, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI).

Factually, the modern intelligence apparatus uses checks and balances in their favor. The checks create silos of proprietary information, classified information, vaults of information that work around oversight issues. The silos are part of the problem.

Ironically, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence was created in the aftermath of 9/11/01 expressly to eliminate the silos of information which they felt led to a domestic terrorist attack that could have been prevented. The ODNI was created specifically upon the recommendation of the 9/11 commission.

The intent was to create a central hub of intelligence information, inside the Executive Branch, where the CIA, NSA, DoD, DoS, and DIA could deposit their unique intelligence products and a repository would be created so that domestic intelligence operations, like the DOJ and FBI could access them when needed to analyze threats to the U.S. This, they hoped, would ensure the obvious flags missed in the 9/11 attacks would not be missed again.

The DNI office created a problem for those who operate in the shadows of proprietary information. You’ll see how it was critical to install a person uniquely skilled in being an idiot, James Clapper, into that willfully blind role while intelligence operatives worked around the office to assemble the Intelligence Branch of Government.

  • The last federal budget that flowed through the traditional budgetary process was signed into law in September of 2007 for fiscal year 2008 by George W. Bush. Every budget since then has been a fragmented process of continuing resolutions and individual spending bills.

Why does this matter? Because many people think defunding the Intelligence Community is a solution; it is not…. at least, not yet. Worse yet, the corrupt divisions deep inside the U.S. intelligence system can now fund themselves from multinational private sector partnerships (banks, corporations and foreign entities).

  • When Democrats took over the House of Representatives in January 2007, they took office with a plan. Nancy Pelosi became Speaker, and Democrats controlled the Senate where Harry Reid was Majority Leader. Barack Obama was a junior senator from Illinois.

Pelosi and Reid intentionally did not advance a budget in 2008 (for fiscal year 2009) because their plan included installing Barack Obama (and all that came with him) with an open checkbook made even more lucrative by a worsening financial crisis and a process called baseline budgeting. Baseline budgeting means the prior fiscal year budget is accepted as the starting point for the next year budget. All previous expenditures are baked into the cake within baseline budgeting.

Massive bailouts preceded Obama’s installation due to U.S. economic collapse, and massive bailouts continued after his installation. This is the ‘never let a crisis go to waste’ aspect. TARP (Troubled Asset Recovery Program), auto bailouts (GM), and the massive stimulus spending bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA, ie. those shovel ready jobs) were all part of the non budget spending. The federal reserve assisted with Quantitative Easing (QE1 and QE2) as congress passed various Porkulous spending bills further spending and replacing the formal budget process.

Note: There has never been a budget passed in the normal/traditional process since September of 2007.

  • While Obama’s radical ‘transformation‘ was triggered across a broad range of government institutions, simultaneously spending on the U.S. military was cut, but spending on the intelligence apparatus expanded. We were all distracted by Obamacare, and the Republican party wanted to keep us that way. However, in the background there was a process of transformation taking place that included very specific action by Eric Holder and targeted effort toward the newest executive agency the ODNI.

The people behind Obama, those same people now behind Joe Biden, knew from years of strategic planning that ‘radical transformation’ would require control over specific elements inside the U.S. government. Eric Holder played a key role in his position as U.S. Attorney General in the DOJ.

AG Holder recruited ideologically aligned political operatives who were aware of the larger institutional objectives. One of those objectives was weaponizing the DOJ-National Security Division (DOJ-NSD) a division inside the DOJ that had no inspector general oversight. For most people the DOJ-NSD weaponization surfaced with a hindsight awakening of the DOJ-NSD targeting candidate Donald Trump many years later. However, by then the Holder crew had executed almost eight full years of background work.

  • The second larger Obama/Holder objective was control over the FBI. Why was that important? Because the FBI does the domestic investigative work on anyone who needs or holds a security clearance. The removal of security clearances could be used as a filter to further build the internal ideological army they were assembling. Additionally, with new power in the ODNI created as a downstream consequence of the Patriot Act, new protocols for U.S. security clearances were easy to justify.

Carefully selecting fellow ideological travelers was facilitated by this filtration within the security clearance process. How does that issue later manifest?   Just look around at how politicized every intelligence agency has become, specifically including the FBI.

  • At the exact same time this new background security clearance process was ongoing, again everyone distracted by the fight over Obamacare, inside the Department of State (Secretary Hillary Clinton) a political alignment making room for the next phase was being assembled. Names like Samantha Power, Susan Rice and Hillary Clinton were familiar on television while Lisa Monaco worked as a legal liaison between the Obama White House and Clinton State Department.

Through the Dept of State (DoS) the intelligence apparatus began working on their first steps to align Big Tech with a larger domestic institutional objective. Those of you who remember the “Arab Spring”, some say “Islamist Spring”, will remember it was triggered by Barack Obama’s speech in Cairo – his first foreign trip. The State Department worked with grassroots organizers (mostly Muslim Brotherhood) in Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, Qatar and Libya. Obama leaned heavily on the organizational network of Turkish President Recep Erdogan for contacts and support.

Why does this aspect matter to us? Well, you might remember how much effort the Obama administration put into recruiting Facebook and Twitter as resources for the various mideast rebellions the White House and DoS supported. This was the point of modern merge between the U.S. intelligence community and Big Tech social media.

In many ways, the coordinated political outcomes in Libya and Egypt were the beta test for the coordinated domestic political outcomes we saw in the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The U.S. intelligence community working with social media platforms and political operatives.

Overlaying all of that background activity was also a new alignment of the Obama-era intelligence apparatus with ideological federal “contractors“. Where does this contractor activity manifest? In the FISA Court opinion of Rosemary Collyer who cited the “interagency memorandum of understanding”, or MOU.

Hopefully, you can see a small part of how tentacled the system to organize/weaponize the intelligence apparatus was. None of this was accidental, all of this was by design, and the United States Senate was responsible for intentionally allowing most of this to take place.

That’s the 30,000/ft level backdrop history of what was happening as the modern IC was created. Next we will go into how all these various intelligence networks began working in unison and how they currently control all of the other DC institutions under them; including how they can carve out the President from knowing their activity.

  • When Barack Obama was installed in January 2009, the Democrats held a 60 seat majority in the U.S. Senate. As the people behind the Obama installation began executing their longer-term plan, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was a tool to create the Intelligence Branch; it was not an unintentional series of events.

When Obama was installed, Dianne Feinstein was the Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), and Democrat operative Dan Jones was her lead staffer. Feinstein was completely controlled by those around her including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. The CIA was in the process of turning over personnel following the Bush era, and as a result of a massive multi-year narrative of diminished credibility (Iraq WMD), a deep purge was underway. Obama/Holder were in the process of shifting intelligence alignment and the intensely political Democrat Leader Harry Reid was a key participant.

THE TRAP – Many people say that Congress is the solution to eliminating the Fourth and superseding Branch of Government, the Intelligence Branch. This is an exercise in futility because the Legislative Branch, specifically the SSCI, facilitated the creation of the Intelligence Branch. The SSCI cannot put the genie they created back in the bottle without admitting they too are corrupt; and the background story of their corruption is way too intense to be exposed now.

Every member of the SSCI is compromised in some controlling manner. Those Senators who disliked the control over them; specifically disliked because the risk of sunlight was tenuous and, well, possible; have either left completely or stepped down from the committee. None of the SSCI members past or present would ever contemplate saying openly what their tenure involved.

[Note: You might remember when Vice Chairman Mark Warner’s text messages surfaced, there was a controlled Republican SSCI member who came to his defense in February of 2018. It was not accidental that exact Senator later became the chair of the SSCI himself. That Republican Senator is Marco Rubio, now vice-chair since the Senate re-flipped back to the optics of Democrat control in 2021.]

All of President Obama’s 2009 intelligence appointments required confirmation from the Senate. The nominees had to first pass through the Democrat controlled SSCI, and then to a full Senate vote where Democrats held a 60 vote majority. Essentially, Obama got everyone he wanted in place easily. Rahm Emmanuel was Obama’s Chief of Staff, and Valerie Jarrett was Senior Advisor.

Tim Geithner was Treasury Secretary in 2010 when the joint DOJ/FBI and IRS operation to target the Tea Party took place after the midterm “shellacking” caused by the Obamacare backlash. Mitch McConnell was Minority Leader in the Senate but supported the targeting of the Tea Party as his Senate colleagues were getting primaried by an angry and effective grassroots campaign. McConnell’s friend, Senator Bob Bennett,  getting beaten in Utah was the final straw.

Dirty Harry and Mitch McConnell saw the TEA Party through the same prism. The TEA Party took Kennedy’s seat in Massachusetts (Scott Brown); Sharon Angle was about to take out Harry Reid in Nevada; Arlen Spector was taken down in Pennsylvania; Senator Robert Byrd died; Senator Lisa Murkowski lost her primary to Joe Miller in Alaska; McConnell’s nominee Mike Castle lost to Christine O’Donnell in Delaware; Rand Paul won in Kentucky. This is the background. The peasants were revolting…. and visibly angry Mitch McConnell desperately made a deal with the devil to protect himself.

In many ways, the TEA Party movement was/is very similar to the MAGA movement. The difference in 2010 was the absence of a head of the movement, in 2015 Donald Trump became that head figure who benefited from the TEA Party energy. Trump came into office in 2017 with the same congressional opposition as the successful TEA Party candidates in 2011.

Republicans took control of the Senate following the 2014 mid-terms. Republicans took control of the SSCI in January 2015. Senator Richard Burr became chairman of the SSCI, and Dianne Feinstein shifted to Vice-Chair. Dirty Harry Reid left the Senate, and Mitch McConnell took power again.

Republicans were in control of the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2015 when the Intelligence Branch operation against candidate Donald Trump was underway. [Feinstein’s staffer, Dan Jones, left the SSCI so he could act as a liaison and political operative between private-sector efforts (Fusion GPS, Chris Steele) and the SSCI.] The SSCI was a participant in that Fusion-GPS/Chris Steele operation, and as a direct consequence Republicans were inherently tied to the problem with President Trump taking office in January of 2017. Indiana Republican Senator Dan Coats was a member of the SSCI.

Bottom line…. When it came to the intelligence system targeting Donald Trump during the 2015/2016 primary, the GOP was just as much at risk as their Democrat counterparts.

When Trump unexpectedly won the 2016 election, the SSCI was shocked more than most. They knew countermeasures would need to be deployed to protect themselves from any exposure of their intelligence conduct. Dianne Feinstein stepped down, and Senator Mark Warner was elevated to Vice Chairman.

Indiana’s own Mike Pence, now Vice President, recommended fellow Hoosier, SSCI Senator Dan Coats, to become President Trump’s Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). [Apply hindsight here]

  • To give an idea of the Intelligence Branch power dynamic, remind yourself how House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), Chairman Devin Nunes, tried to get access to the DOJ/FBI records of the FISA application used against the Trump campaign via Carter Page.

Remember, Devin Nunes only saw a portion of the FISA trail from his review of a Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) previously given to President Obama. Chairman Nunes had to review the PDB at the White House SCIF due to compartmented intelligence, another example of the silo benefit.

Remember the massive stonewalling and blocking of the DOJ/FBI toward Nunes? Remember the back and forth battle over declassification surrounding the Nunes memo?

Remember, after Nunes went directly to House Speaker Paul Ryan for help (didn’t get any), the DOJ only permitted two members from each party within the HPSCI to review the documents, and only at the DOJ offices of main justice?

Contrast that amount of House Intel Committee railroading and blocking by intelligence operatives in the DOJ, DOJ-NSD and FBI, with the simple request by Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner asking to see the Carter Page FISA application and immediately a copy being delivered to him on March 17th 2017.

Can you see which intelligence committee is aligned with the deepest part of the deep state?

Oh, how quickly we forget:

The contrast of ideological alignment between the House, Senate and Intelligence Branch is crystal clear when viewed through the prism of cooperation. You can see which legislative committee holds the power and support of the Intelligence Branch. The Senate Intel Committee facilitates the corrupt existence of the IC Branch, so the IC Branch only cooperates with the Senate Intel Committee. It really is that simple.

  • The Intelligence Branch carefully selects its own members by controlling how security clearances are investigated and allowed (FBI). The Intelligence Branch also uses compartmentalization of intelligence as a way to keep each agency, and each downstream branch of government (executive, legislative and judicial), at arms length as a method to stop anyone from seeing the larger picture of their activity. I call this the “silo effect“, and it is done by design.

I have looked at stunned faces when I presented declassified silo product from one agency to the silo customers of another. You would be astonished at what they don’t know because it is not in their ‘silo’.

Through the advise and consent rules, the Intelligence Branch uses the SSCI to keep out people they consider dangerous to their ongoing operations. Any appointee to the intelligence community must first pass through the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, before they get a full Senate vote. If the SSCI rejects the candidate, they simply refuse to take up the nomination. The president is then blocked from that appointment. This is what happened with President Trump over-and-over again.

  • Additionally, the Intelligence Branch protects itself, and its facilitating allies through the formal classification process. The Intelligence Branch gets to decide unilaterally what information will be released and what information will be kept secret. There is no entity outside the Intelligence Branch, and yes that includes the President of the United States, who can supersede the classification authority of the Intelligence Branch. {Go Deep} and {Go Deep} This is something 99.9% of the people on our side get totally and frustratingly wrong.

No one can declassify, or make public, anything the Intelligence Branch will not agree to. Doubt this?  Ask Ric Grenell, John Ratcliffe, or even President Trump himself.

  • The classification process is determined inside the Intelligence Branch, all by themselves. They get to choose what rank of classification exists on any work-product they create; and they get to decide what the classification status is of any work product that is created by anyone else. The Intelligence Branch has full control over what is considered classified information and what is not. The Intelligence Branch defines what is a “national security interest” and what is not. A great technique for hiding fingerprints of corrupt and illegal activity.

[For familiar reference see the redactions to Lisa Page and Peter Strzok text messages. The Intelligence Branch does all redactions.]

  • Similarly, the declassification process is a request by an agency, even a traditionally superior agency like the President of the United States, to the Intelligence Branch asking for them to release the information. The Intelligence Branch again holds full unilateral control. If the head of the CIA refuses to comply with the declassification instruction of the President, what can the president do except fire him/her? {Again, GO DEEPHow does the President replace the non-compliant cabinet member?  They have to go through the SSCI confirmation.  See the problem?

Yes, there are ways to break up the Intelligence Branch, but they do not start with any congressional effort. As you can see above, the process is the flaw – not the solution. Most conservative pundits have their emphasis on the wrong syllable. Their cornerstone is false.

For their own self-preservation, the Intelligence Branch has been interfering in our elections for years. The way to tear this apart begins with STATE LEVEL election reform that blocks the Legislative Branch from coordinating with the Intelligence Branch.

The extreme federalism approach is critical and also explains why Joe Biden has instructed Attorney General Merrick Garland to use the full power of the DOJ to stop state level election reform efforts. The worry of successful state level election control is also why the Intelligence Branch now needs to support the federal takeover of elections.

Our elections have been usurped by the Intelligence Branch. Start with honest elections and we will see just how much Democrat AND Republican corruption is dependent on manipulated election results. Start at the state level. Start there…. everything else is downstream.

People want examples, reference points for work the Intelligence Branch conducts, specifically how it protects itself.

Here is an example: Julian Assange.

Yes, the history of the U.S. national security apparatus goes back decades; however, the weaponization of that apparatus, the creation of an apex branch of government, the Intelligence Branch, originated –as we currently feel it– under President Barack Obama.

Obama took the foundational tools created by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and used the intelligence system architecture to create a weapon for use in his fundamental transformation. An alliance of ideologues within government (intel community) and the private sector (big tech and finance) was assembled, and the largest government weapon was created. Think about this every time you take your shoes off at an airport.

After the weapon was assembled and tested (Arab Spring), the Legislative Branch was enjoined under the auspices of a common enemy, Donald J. Trump, an outsider who was a risk to every entity in the institutional construct of Washington DC. Trillions were at stake, and years of affluence and influence were at risk as the unholy alliance was put together.

To understand the risk that Julian Assange represented to U.S. Intelligence Branch interests, it is important to understand just how extensive the operations of the FBI/CIA were in 2016.

It is within the network of foreign and domestic intel operations where Intelligence Branch political tool, FBI Agent Peter Strzok, was working as a bridge between the CIA and FBI counterintelligence operations.

By now, people are familiar with the construct of CIA operations involving Joseph Mifsud, the Maltese professor generally identified as a western intelligence operative who was tasked by the FBI/CIA to run an operation against Trump campaign official George Papadopoulos in both Italy (Rome) and London. {Go Deep}

In a similar fashion, the FBI tasked U.S. intelligence asset Stefan Halper to target another Trump campaign official, Carter Page. Under the auspices of being a Cambridge Professor, Stefan Halper also targeted General Michael Flynn. Additionally, using assistance from a female FBI agent under the false name Azra Turk, Halper also targeted Papadopoulos.

The initial operations to target Flynn, Papadopoulos and Page were all based overseas. This seemingly makes the CIA exploitation of the assets and the targets much easier.

HPSCI Ranking Member Devin Nunes outlined how very specific exculpatory evidence was known to the FBI and yet withheld from the FISA application used against Carter Page that also mentions George Papadopoulos. The FBI also fabricated information in the FISA.

However, there is an aspect to the domestic U.S. operation that also bears the fingerprints of the international intelligence apparatus; only this time, due to the restrictive laws on targets inside the U.S., the CIA aspect is less prominent. This is where FBI Agent Peter Strzok working for both agencies was important.

Remember, it’s clear in the text messages Strzok had a working relationship with what he called their “sister agency”, the CIA. Additionally, former CIA Director John Brennan has admitted Strzok helped write the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) which outlines the Russia narrative; and Peter Strzok wrote the July 31st, 2016, “Electronic Communication” that originated FBI operation “Crossfire Hurricane.” Strzok immediately used that EC to travel to London to debrief allied intelligence officials connected to the Australian Ambassador to the U.K, Alexander Downer.

In short, Peter Strzok acted as a bridge between the CIA and the FBI. The perfect type of FBI career agent for the Intelligence Branch and CIA Director John Brennan to utilize.

Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson hired CIA Open Source analyst Nellie Ohr toward the end of 2015; at appropriately the same time as “FBI Contractors” were identified exploiting the NSA database and extracting information on a specific set of U.S. persons, the 2015 GOP candidates for President.

It was also Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson who was domestically tasked with a Russian lobbyist named Natalia Veselnitskaya. A little reported Russian Deputy Attorney General named Saak Albertovich Karapetyan was working double agents for the CIA and Kremlin. Karapetyan was directing the foreign operations of Natalia Veselnitskaya, and Glenn Simpson was organizing her inside the U.S.

Glenn Simpson managed Veselnitskaya through the 2016 Trump Tower meeting with Donald Trump Jr. However, once the CIA/Fusion-GPS operation using Veselnitskaya started to unravel with public reporting… back in Russia Deputy AG Karapetyan died in a helicopter crash.

Simultaneously timed in late 2015 through mid 2016, there was a domestic FBI operation using a young Russian named Maria Butina tasked to run up against republican presidential candidates. According to Patrick Byrne, Butina’s private sector handler [NOTE: remember, the public-private sector partnership], it was FBI agent Peter Strzok who was giving Patrick Byrne the instructions on where to send Butina. {Go Deep}

All of this context outlines the extent to which the FBI/CIA was openly involved in constructing a political operation that eventually settled upon anyone in candidate Donald Trump’s orbit. The international operations of the Intelligence Branch were directed by the FBI/CIA; and the domestic operations were coordinated by Peter Strzok operating with a foot in both agencies. [Strzok gets CIA service coin]

Recap: 

  • Mifsud tasked against Papadopoulos (CIA).

  • Halper tasked against Flynn (CIA), Page (CIA), and Papadopoulos (CIA).

  • Azra Turk, pretending to be a Halper asst, tasked against Papadopoulos (FBI).

  • Veselnitskaya tasked against Donald Trump Jr (CIA, Fusion-GPS).

  • Butina tasked against Donald Trump Jr (FBI). All of these activities were coordinated.

Additionally, Christopher Steele was a British intelligence officer, hired by Fusion GPS to assemble and launder fraudulent intelligence information within his dossier. And we cannot forget Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch, who was recruited by Asst. FBI Director Andrew McCabe to participate in running an operation against the Trump campaign and create the impression of Russian involvement. However, Deripaska refused to participate.

All of this foreign and domestic engagement was directly controlled by collaborating U.S. intelligence agencies from inside the Intelligence Branch. And all of this coordinated activity was intended to give a specific Russia influence/interference impression.

The key point of all that background context is to see how committed the Intelligence Branch was to the constructed narrative of Russia interfering with the 2016 election. The CIA, FBI, and by extension the DOJ and DOJ-NSD, put a hell of a lot of work into it.

We also know that John Durham looked at the construct of the Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA); and talked to CIA analysts who participated in the construct of the January 2017 report that bolstered the false appearance of Russian interference in the 2016 election. This is important because it ties in to the next part that involves Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

On April 11th, 2019, the Julian Assange indictment was unsealed in the EDVA. From the indictment we discover it was under seal since March 6th, 2018:

(Link to pdf)

On Tuesday April 15th more investigative material was released. Again, note the dates: Grand Jury, *December of 2017* This means FBI investigation prior to….

The FBI investigation took place prior to December 2017, and it was coordinated through the Eastern District of Virginia (EDVA) where Dana Boente was U.S. Attorney at the time. The grand jury indictment was sealed from March of 2018 until after Mueller completed his investigationApril 2019.

Why the delay?

What was the DOJ waiting for?

Here’s where it gets interesting….

The FBI submission to the Grand Jury in December of 2017 was four months after Congressman Dana Rohrabacher talked to Julian Assange in August of 2017: “Assange told a U.S. congressman … he can prove the leaked Democratic Party documents … did not come from Russia.”

(August 2017, The Hill Via John Solomon) Julian Assange told a U.S. congressman on Tuesday he can prove the leaked Democratic Party documents he published during last year’s election did not come from Russia and promised additional helpful information about the leaks in the near future.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican who is friendly to Russia and chairs an important House subcommittee on Eurasia policy, became the first American congressman to meet with Assange during a three-hour private gathering at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where the WikiLeaks founder has been holed up for years.

Rohrabacher recounted his conversation with Assange to The Hill.

“Our three-hour meeting covered a wide array of issues, including the WikiLeaks exposure of the DNC [Democratic National Committee] emails during last year’s presidential election,” Rohrabacher said, “Julian emphatically stated that the Russians were not involved in the hacking or disclosure of those emails.”

Pressed for more detail on the source of the documents, Rohrabacher said he had information to share privately with President Trump. (read more)

Knowing how much effort the Intelligence Branch put into the false Russia collusion-conspiracy narrative, it would make sense for the FBI to take keen interest after this August 2017 meeting between Rohrabacher and Assange, monitor all activity, and why the FBI would quickly gather specific evidence (related to Wikileaks and Bradley Manning) for a grand jury by December 2017.

Within three months of the EDVA grand jury, the DOJ generated an indictment and sealed it in March 2018.

The DOJ sat on the indictment while the Mueller/Weissmann probe was ongoing.

As soon as the Mueller/Weissmann probe ended, on April 11th, 2019, a planned and coordinated effort between the U.K. and U.S. was executed; Julian Assange was forcibly arrested and removed from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, and the EDVA indictment was unsealed (link).

As a person who has researched this fiasco; including the ridiculously false 2016 Russian hacking/interference narrative: “17 intelligence agencies”, Joint Analysis Report (JAR) needed for Obama’s anti-Russia narrative in December ’16; and then a month later the ridiculously political Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) in January ’17; this timing against Assange is too coincidental.

It doesn’t take a deep researcher to see the aligned Deep State motive to control Julian Assange. The Weissmann/Mueller report was dependent on Russia cybercrimes for justification, and that narrative was contingent on the Russia DNC hack story which Julian Assange disputes.

  • This is critical. The Weissmann/Mueller report contains claims that Russia hacked the DNC servers as the central element to the Russia interference narrative in the U.S. election. This claim is directly disputed by WikiLeaks and Julian Assange, as outlined during the Dana Rohrabacher interview, and by Julian Assange on-the-record statements.

The predicate for Robert Mueller’s investigation was specifically due to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The fulcrum for this Russia interference claim is the intelligence community assessment; and the only factual evidence claimed within the ICA is that Russia hacked the DNC servers; a claim only made possible by relying on forensic computer analysis from Crowdstrike, a DNC and FBI contractor.

The CIA holds a self-interest in upholding the Russian hacking claim; the FBI holds an interest in maintaining that claim; the U.S. media hold an interest in maintaining that claim. All of the foreign countries whose intelligence apparatus participated with Brennan and Strzok also have a self-interest in maintaining that Russia hacking and interference narrative.

Julian Assange is the only person with direct knowledge of how Wikileaks gained custody of the DNC emails; and Assange has claimed he has evidence it was not from a hack.

This “Russian hacking” claim was ultimately important to the CIA, FBI, DOJ, ODNI and U.K intelligence apparatus, it forms the corner of their justification. With that level of importance, well, right there is the obvious motive to shut Julian Assange down as soon as intelligence officials knew the Weissmann/Mueller report was going to be public.

…. and that’s exactly what they did. They threw a bag over Assange.

  • COLLAPSED OVERSIGHT – The modern system to ‘check’ the Executive Branch was the creation of the legislative “Gang of Eight,” a legislative oversight mechanism intended to provide a bridge of oversight between the authority of the intelligence community within the Executive Branch.

The Go8 construct was designed to allow the President authority to carry out intelligence operations and provide the most sensitive notifications to a select group within Congress.

The Go8 oversight is directed to the position, not the person, and consists of: (1) The Speaker of the House; (2) The Minority Leader of the House; (3) The Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, HPSCI; (4) The Ranking Member (minority) of the HPSCI; (5) The Leader of the Senate; (6) The Minority Leader of the Senate; (7) The Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, SSCI; and finally (8) the Vice-Chair of the SSCI.

Example: When the Chief Executive (the President) initiates an intelligence operation on behalf of the United States, the President triggers a “finding memo.” In essence, the instruction to the intel agency or agencies to authorize a covert operation. When that process takes place, the Go8 are the first people notified. Depending on the sensitivity of the operation, sometimes the G08 are notified immediately after the operation is conducted. The notification can be a phone call or an in-person briefing.

Because of the sensitivity of their intelligence information, the Gang of Eight hold security clearances that permit them to receive and review all intelligence operations. The intelligence community are also responsible for briefing the Go8 with the same information they use to brief the President.

~ 2021 Gang of Eight ~

The Go8 design is intended to put intelligence oversight upon both political parties in Congress; it is designed that way by informing the minority leaders of both the House and Senate as well as the ranking minority members of the SSCI and HPSCI. Under the concept, the President cannot conduct an intelligence operation; and the intelligence community cannot carry out intelligence gathering operations without the majority and minority parties knowing about it.

The modern design of this oversight system was done to keep rogue and/or corrupt intelligence operations from happening. However, as we shared in the preview to this entire discussion, the process was usurped during the Obama era. {GO DEEP}

Former FBI Director James Comey openly admitted to Congress on March 20, 2017, that the FBI, FBI Counterintelligence Division, DOJ and DOJ-National Security Division, together with the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the CIA, had been conducting independent investigations of Donald Trump for over a year without informing the Go8. Comey justified the lack of informing Go8 oversight by saying, “because of the sensitivity of the matter.”

Stupidly, Congress never pressed James Comey on that issue. The arrogance was astounding, and the acceptance by Congress was infuriating. However, that specific example highlighted just how politically corrupt the system had become. In essence, Team Obama usurped the entire design of congressional oversight…. and Congress just brushed it off.

Keep in mind, Comey did not say the White House was unaware; in fact he said exactly the opposite, he said, “The White House was informed through the National Security Council,” (the NSC). The implication, the very direct and specific implication; the unavoidable implication and James Comey admission that everyone just brushed aside, was that President Obama’s National Security Advisor, Susan Rice, was totally informed of the intelligence operation(s) against Donald Trump. After all, the NSC reports to the National Security Advisor.

Does the January 20, 2017, Susan Rice memo look different now?

Again, no one saw the immediate issue. What Comey just described on that March day in 2017 was the total usurpation of the entire reason the Gang of Eight exists; to eliminate the potential for political weaponization of the Intelligence Community by the executive branch. The G08 notifications to the majority and minority are specifically designed to make sure what James Comey admitted to doing was never supposed to happen.

Team Obama carried out a political operation using the intelligence community and the checks-and-balances in the system were intentionally usurped. This is an indisputable fact.

Worse still, the entire legislative branch of Congress, which specifically includes the Republicans that now controlled the House and Senate, did nothing. They just ignored what was admitted. The usurpation was willfully ignored.  The mechanism of the G08 was bypassed without a twitch of condemnation or investigation…. because the common enemy was Donald Trump.

This example highlights the collapse of the system. Obama, the executive branch, collapsed the system by usurping the process; in essence the process became the bigger issue and the lack of immediate legislative branch reaction became evidence of open acceptance. The outcomes of the usurpation played out over the next four years, Donald J. Trump was kneecapped and lost his presidency because of it. However, the bigger issue of the collapse still exists.

The downstream consequence of the Legislative Branch accepting the Executive Branch usurpation meant both intelligence committees were compromised. Additionally, the leadership of both the House and Senate were complicit. Think about this carefully. The Legislative Branch allowance of the intelligence usurpation meant the Legislative Branch was now subservient to the Intelligence Branch.

That’s where we are.

Right now.

That’s where we are.

Term-3 Obama is now back in the White House with Joe Biden.

Term-1 and Term-2 Obama usurped the ‘check and balance‘ within the system and weaponized the intelligence apparatus.

During Trump’s term that weaponization was covered up by a compliant congress, and not a single member of the oversight called it out.

Now, Term-3 Obama steps back in to continue the cover up and continue the weaponization.

Hopefully, you can now see the scale of the problem that surrounds us with specific citation for what has taken place. What I just explained to you above is not conspiracy theory, it is admitted fact that anyone can look upon. Yet….

Have you seen this mentioned anywhere? Have you seen this called out by anyone in Congress? Have you seen anyone in media (ally or adversary) call this out? Have you seen any member of the Judicial Branch stand up and say wait, what is taking place is not okay? Have you seen a single candidate for elected office point this out? Have you seen anyone advising a candidate point this out?

This is our current status. It is not deniable. The truth exists regardless of our comfort.

Not a single person in power will say openly what has taken place. They are scared of the Fourth Branch. The evidence of what has taken place is right there in front of our face. The words, actions and activities of those who participated in this process are not deniable.

There are only two members of the Gang of Eight who have existed in place from January 2007 (the real beginning of Obama’s term, two years before he took office when the Congress flipped). Only two members of the G08 have been consistently in place from January of 2007 to right now, today.

All the others came and went, but two members of the Gang of Eight have been part of that failed and collapsed oversight throughout the past 15 years, Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell.

TECHNOLOGY

On a global scale – the modern intelligence gathering networks are now dependent on data collection to execute their intelligence missions. In the digital age nations have been executing various methods to gather that data. Digital surveillance has replaced other methods of interception. Those surveillance efforts have resulted in a coalescing of regional data networks based on historic multi-national relationships.

We have a recent frame of reference for the “U.S. data collection network” within the NSA. Through the allied process the Five Eyes nations all rely on the NSA surveillance database (U.K, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and U.S.) The NSA database provides the digital baseline for intelligence operations in defense of our allies. The portals into the NSA database are essentially an assembly of allies in like-minded ideological connection to the United States.

Unfortunately, there have been some revelations about the NSA database being used to monitor our allies, like in the example of Germany and surveillance on Angela Merkel’s phone. As long as “the good guys” are operating honorably, allies of the United States can feel confident about having protection from the NSA surveillance of global digital data. We warn our friends if we detect something dangerous etc.

The U.S. has nodes on communication pipelines to intercept and extract data. We have also launched hundreds, perhaps thousands, of satellites to conduct surveillance and gather up data. All of this data is fed into the NSA database where it is monitored (presumably) as a national security mechanism, and in defense of our allies.

However, what about data collection or data networks that are outside the NSA database? What do our enemies do? The NSA database is just one intelligence operation of digital surveillance amid the entire world, and we do not allow access by adversaries we are monitoring. So what do they do? What do our allies do who might not trust the United States due to past inconsistencies, ie. the Middle East?

The answers to those questions highlight other data collection networks. So a brief review of the major players is needed.

CHINA

China operates their own database. They, like the NSA, scoop up data for their system. Like us, China launches satellites and deploys other electronic data collection methods to download into their database. This is why the issues of electronic devices manufactured in China becomes problematic. Part of the Chinese data collection system involves the use of spyware, hacking and extraction.

Issues with Chinese communication company Huawei take on an added dimension when you consider the goal of the Chinese government to conduct surveillance and assemble a network of data to compete with the United States via the NSA. Other Chinese methods of surveillance and data-collection are less subversive, as in the examples of TicTok and WeChat. These are Chinese social media companies that are scraping data just like the NSA scrapes data from Facebook, Twitter and other Silicon Valley tech companies. [ Remember, the Intelligence Branch is a public-private partnership. ]

RUSSIA

It is very likely that Russia operates their own database. We know Russia launches satellites, just like China and the USA, for the same purposes. Russia is also very proficient at hacking into other databases and extracting information to store and utilize in their own network. The difference between the U.S., China and Russia is likely that Russia spends more time on the hacking aspect because they do not generate actual technology systems as rapidly as the U.S. and China.

The most recent database creation is an outcome of an ally having to take action because they cannot rely on the ideology of the United States remaining consistent, as the administrations ping-pong based on ideology.

SAUDI ARABIA

Yes, in 2016 we discovered that Saudi Arabia was now operating their own intelligence data-gathering operation. It would make sense, given the nature of the Middle East and the constant fluctuations in political support from the United States. It is a lesson the allied Arab community and Gulf Cooperation Council learned quickly when President Obama went to Cairo in 2009 and launched the Islamist Spring (Arab Spring) upon them.

I have no doubt the creation of the Saudi intelligence network was specifically because the Obama administration started supporting radical Islamists within the Muslim Brotherhood, and threw fuel on the fires of extremism all over the Arab world.

Think about it., What would you do if you were Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE, Jordan, Oman or Yemen and you knew the United States could just trigger an internal uprising of al-Qaeda, ISIS and the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood to seek your destruction?

Without a doubt, those urgent lessons from 2009, 2010, 2011 triggered the formation of the Arab Intelligence Network as a network to defend itself with consistency. They assembled the network and activated it in 2017 as pictured above.

Israel

Along a similar outlook to the Arab network, no doubt Israel operates an independent data collection system as a method of protecting itself from ever-changing U.S. politics amid a region that is extremely hostile to its very existence. Like the others, Israel launches proprietary satellites, and we can be sure they use covert methods to gather electronic data just like the U.S. and China.

As we have recently seen in the Pegasus story, Israel creates spyware programs that are able to track and monitor cell phone communications of targets. The spyware would not work unless Israel had access to some network where the phone meta-data was actually stored. So yeah, it makes sense for Israel to operate an independent intelligence database.

Summary:

As we understand the United States Intelligence Branch of government as the superseding entity that controls the internal politics of our nation, we also must consider that multiple nations have the same issue. There are major intelligence networks around the world beside the NSA “Five-Eyes” database. China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Israel all operate proprietary databases deploying the same tools and techniques for assembly.

The geopolitical conflict that has always existed has now shifted into a digital battle-space. The Intelligence Agencies from these regions are now operating as the backbone of the government that uses them, and has become dependent on them. [<- Reread that].

Once you accept the digital-era intelligence apparatus of China, Russia, Saudi-Arabia, The United States and Israel, are now the primary national security mechanisms for stabilization of government; then you accept the importance of those intelligence operations.

Once you understand how foundational those modern intelligence operations have become for the stability and continuity of those governments…… then you begin to understand just how the United States intelligence community became more important than the government that created it.

Public Private Partnership – The modern Fourth Branch of Government is only possible because of a Public-Private partnership with the intelligence apparatus. You do not have to take my word for it, the partnership is so brazen they have made public admissions.

The biggest names in Big Tech announced in June their partnership with the Five Eyes intelligence network, ultimately controlled by the NSA, to: (1) monitor all activity in their platforms; (2) identify extremist content; (3) look for expressions of Domestic Violent Extremism (DVE); and then, (4) put the content details into a database where the Five Eyes intelligence agencies (U.K., U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand) can access it.

Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft are all partnering with the intelligence apparatus. It might be difficult to fathom how openly they admit this, but they do. Look at this sentence in the press release (emphasis mine):

[…] “The Group will use lists from intelligence-sharing group Five Eyes adding URLs and PDFs from more groups, including the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters and neo-Nazis.”

Think about that sentence structure very carefully. They are “adding to” the preexisting list…. admitting the group (aka Big Tech) already have access to the the intelligence-sharing database… and also admitting there is a preexisting list created by the Five Eyes consortium.

Obviously, who and what is defined as “extremist content” will be determined by the Big Tech insiders themselves. This provides a gateway, another plausible deniability aspect, to cover the Intelligence Branch from any oversight.

When the Intelligence Branch within government wants to conduct surveillance and monitor American citizens, they run up against problems due to the Constitution of the United States. They get around those legal limitations by sub-contracting the intelligence gathering, the actual data-mining, and allowing outside parties (contractors) to have access to the central database.

The government cannot conduct electronic searches (4th amendment issue) without a warrant; however, private individuals can search and report back as long as they have access. What is being admitted is exactly that preexisting partnership. The difference is that Big Tech will flag the content from within their platforms, and now a secondary database filled with the extracted information will be provided openly for the Intelligence Branch to exploit.

The volume of metadata captured by the NSA has always been a problem because of the filters needed to make the targeting useful. There is a lot of noise in collecting all data that makes the parts you really want to identify more difficult to capture. This new admission puts a new massive filtration system in the metadata that circumvents any privacy protections for individuals.

Previously, the Intelligence Branch worked around the constitutional and unlawful search issue by using resources that were not in the United States. A domestic U.S. agency, working on behalf of the U.S. government, cannot listen on your calls without a warrant. However, if the U.S. agency sub-contracts to say a Canadian group, or foreign ally, the privacy invasion is no longer legally restricted by U.S. law.

What was announced in June 2021 is an alarming admission of a prior relationship along with open intent to define their domestic political opposition as extremists.

July 26 (Reuters) – A counterterrorism organization formed by some of the biggest U.S. tech companies including Facebook (FB.O) and Microsoft (MSFT.O) is significantly expanding the types of extremist content shared between firms in a key database, aiming to crack down on material from white supremacists and far-right militias, the group told Reuters.

Until now, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism’s (GIFCT) database has focused on videos and images from terrorist groups on a United Nations list and so has largely consisted of content from Islamist extremist organizations such as Islamic State, al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Over the next few months, the group will add attacker manifestos – often shared by sympathizers after white supremacist violence – and other publications and links flagged by U.N. initiative Tech Against Terrorism. It will use lists from intelligence-sharing group Five Eyes, adding URLs and PDFs from more groups, including the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters and neo-Nazis.

The firms, which include Twitter (TWTR.N) and Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) YouTube, share “hashes,” unique numerical representations of original pieces of content that have been removed from their services. Other platforms use these to identify the same content on their own sites in order to review or remove it. (read more)

The influence of the Intelligence Branch now reaches into our lives, our personal lives. In the decades before 9/11/01 the intelligence apparatus intersected with government, influenced government, and undoubtedly controlled many institutions with it. The legislative oversight function was weak and growing weaker, but it still existed and could have been used to keep the IC in check. However, after the events of 9/11/01, the short-sighted legislative reactions opened the door to allow the surveillance state to weaponize.

After the Patriot Act was triggered, not coincidentally only six weeks after 9/11, a slow and dangerous fuse was lit that ends with the intelligence apparatus being granted a massive amount of power. The problem with assembled power is always what happens when a Machiavellian network takes control over that power and begins the process to weaponize the tools for their own malicious benefit. That is exactly what the installation of Barack Obama was all about.

The Obama network took pre-assembled intelligence weapons we should never have allowed to be created, and turned those weapons into tools for his radical and fundamental change. The target was the essential fabric of our nation. Ultimately, this corrupt political process gave power to create the Fourth Branch of Government, the Intelligence Branch. From that perspective the fundamental change was successful.

WHAT NOW? 

There is a way to stop and deconstruct the Intelligence Branch, but it requires some outside-the-box thinking and reliance on the Constitution as a tool to radically change one element within government. In the interim, we must remain focused on the three tiers that we need for success.

  • Tier One is “tactical civics” at a local level. Engaged and active citizen participation at the community, city, town and hamlet level of society. This is what might be described as grassroots level, school board level; city council level; county commissioner level.

  • Tier Two is “extreme federalism” at a state level. Engaged and active citizen participation through your State House and State Senate representative. This is state level assembly and action demands upon the State House, State Senate and State Governor.

  • Tier Three the challenge of “federal offices” on a national level {Go Deep}.  This is the part where we need President Donald Trump, and his power to confront the issues comes directly from us.

I am confident that ultimately “We The People” will win.  How we can execute the solution is more challenging; in the interim, tactical civics and extreme federalism are doable right now, in this next 2024 election cycle.

It sucks that a UniParty congress extended FISA-702.  However, even if the hail-Mary pass on Monday fails, FISA was still extended for only two-years.

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/21/2024 - 23:20
Published:4/22/2024 1:06:28 AM
[Markets] How Climate Change Narrative Is Preventing Africa From Modernizing And Gaining Prosperity How Climate Change Narrative Is Preventing Africa From Modernizing And Gaining Prosperity

Authored by Katie Spence via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Under a blazing Kenyan sun, elderly women toil on their hands and knees in the reddish-brown clay, separating the choking weeds from the small, green shoots of a finger millet crop. The women are barehanded and barefoot, and they work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. at night. Clearing a small field takes three days.

A combine harvester could replace 1,000 people,” Jusper Machogu, an agricultural engineer and farmer in Kenya, told The Epoch Times. “It makes me sad whenever I see my mom wading through millet. We have women kneeling down and uprooting weeds throughout the farm all day, and it’s sunny. Those machines would change our lives.”

(Illustration by The Epoch Times, Getty Images, Shutterstock)

But farmers like Mr. Machogu can’t get a combine harvester. Even if they could afford one from the meager salaries they make selling crops, Western nations’ climate policies prevent Africans from achieving what the West already has—modernization and prosperity.

In November 2023, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use, the President of the Republic of Kenya, William Ruto, cut subsidies for fertilizer, fuel, and electricity for the 2023/2024 financial year. He did so at the behest of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), a financial agency of the United Nations (U.N.).

I come from a community where people use cow dung to fertilize their farms,” Mr. Machogu said. “And the reason for that is because last year, the government of Kenya decided that they were going to listen to what the IMF was telling them. It was telling them to end fertilizer subsidies.

“You can imagine how that’s going to impact farmers. The fertilizer prices went up by almost two times. We have very poor people around here. So, if I was [purchasing] 20 kilos for my farm, I’m forced to get 10 kilos now.

“Most people have gone back to using cow dung, which is not a good nitrogenous fertilizer for their crop. You can’t compare urea, with a 46 percent nitrogenous content, to cow dung, with only four percent. It doesn’t make sense.”

Mr. Machogu said the IMF and the Western nations that embrace climate policies for Africa are engaging in neocolonialism, or “climate colonialism.”

And it’s no different than past colonialism, the likes of which liberal elites, such as former President Barack Obama, have condemned.

“Colonialism skewed Africa’s economy and robbed people of their capacity to shape their own destiny,” President Obama said while in Ethiopia in 2015. “Eventually, liberation movements grew. And 50 years ago, in a great burst of self-determination, Africans rejoiced as foreign flags came down and your national flags went up.”

Two years earlier, in 2013, while in South Africa, President Obama warned a group of young African leaders about the consequences of Africa achieving Western parity.

A Samburu woman works to remove an invasive plant in Naibunga Upper Conservancy, Laikipia County, Kenya, on May 12, 2022. (Luis Tato/AFP via Getty Images)

“If everybody’s raising living standards to the point where everybody’s got a car, and everybody’s got air conditioning, everybody’s got a big house, well, the planet will boil over,” he said, “unless we find new ways of producing energy.”

The new climate colonialism is being driven by global entities such as the U.N., which says Africa should have energy, but due to climate change concerns, it should focus on wind and solar.

Calvin Beisner, founder and president of the Christian-based Cornwall Alliance, said currently “the most harmful policy” is that the IMF, World Bank, and agencies such as the U.S. Agency for International Development “refuse to do loans or other funding for coal, natural gas, or oil-based electric generating stations in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia and Latin America.”

It’s particularly damaging in Africa, he said.

Vijay Jayaraj, a research associate for the CO2 Coalition, said he grew up in India and witnessed the growth of India’s industrialization—courtesy of fossil fuels.

“In terms of economic development, energy is the foundational keystone,” he said.

“If you’re going to disrupt how people get energy—where and what quality of energy they receive—it will have an impact. Not just generally, in terms of the economy and the GDP, but also the household and individual level,” Mr. Jayaraj told The Epoch Times.

Climate Colonialism

Mr. Machogu criticized the U.N.’s 2023 Sustainable Development Goals for Africa, which he said were developed after U.N. employees went to Africa to study the issues facing the continent. From that expedition, U.N. employees came up with 17 “solutions.”

They said that one of the problems is climate change,” Mr. Machogu said. “It doesn’t make sense to me because I come from Africa. We have far bigger problems—people sleeping hungry, very poor people around me. I’m more worried about that than I'll ever be worried about climate change.

“Every solution to [Africa’s] problems is centered around climate change. [The UN says to Africa] ‘If you’re going to end poverty, let’s end it in a way that we don’t impact our climate. If you’re going to have clean water, let’s do it in a way that will not be too bad for the climate.”

He said modern civilization has “four pillars of civilization”—steel, cement, plastic, and fertilizer.

“Without fossil fuels, we can’t produce these four pillars of civilization. Without fossil fuels, we don’t have energy. We must have fossil fuels. It’s how the West beat poverty.”

The U.N. Environment Programme’s (UNEP) current official position regarding Africa is to help it achieve modernization but to do so under strict environmental guidelines.

Notably, that includes increasing access to and reliance on wind and solar energy, encouraging countries within the continent to come together and talk about what’s worked and what hasn’t, “prioritizing emissions reductions from land degradation,” and developing a comprehensive framework for “Low Emissions Development.”

Camels weak from a lack of sustenance stand behind a salt water well as they migrate to find food near Mochesa in Nairobi, Kenya, on Dec. 9, 2021

Mr. Machogu said that, in layman’s terms, the U.N.’s policy boils down to “no fossil fuels for Africa,” which necessarily means no economic progress. Conversely, unrestricted access to fossil fuels could help pull Africa out of poverty.

“Let me speak for Africa because 60 percent of Africans rely on agriculture for their livelihood,” Mr. Machogu said. “We need fossil fuels for farm machinery. Despite the fact that the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, and all of these environmental organizations say solar and wind for Africa, we can’t electrify agriculture—if we did electrify, it would be a tiny percent.

Right now, our access to farm machinery is very low. I think about four or five percent [of Africans have access], which is very low compared to places like China’s 75 percent, India’s 45 percent, and the U.S.’s 95 percent. Almost everything in U.S. agriculture is done by machines. So having access to farm machinery really would change our lives because it would amplify and expand our capabilities.”

In addition to needing fossil fuels for machines and access to loans to purchase them, Mr. Machogu said expanded irrigation, courtesy of fossil fuels, would benefit Africa.

Africa is not all green,” he said. “We have other places that are very dry. So, one of the easiest ways we can end that is by irrigating our land, and we will irrigate our lands using pipes from fossil fuels."

Holding up a yellow plastic bucket and panning to his surrounding crops, Mr. Machogu said most Africans get water for crops by lugging it from wells. The further your crop is from the well, the more backbreaking and time-consuming the labor.

Finally, Mr. Machogu explained that urea use, a fertilizer made from ammonia and liquid carbon dioxide, is significantly lower in Africa, thanks, in part, to external pressure from entities like the IMF.

“Personally, we use the 40 kilos of nitrogenous fertilizer for one hectare of our land,” he said about his farm. “We have other people using 20 kilos. In other places, like Ethiopia, people use 16 kilos per hectare.

“Go to a place like the U.S., the West—which says Africa should not have access to fossil fuels—and it’s using 120 kilos [of nitrogenous fertilizer] per hectare. Europe uses 160–170 kilos per hectare, India uses 250 kilos per hectare, and China uses 360 kilos per hectare.

Read more here...

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/21/2024 - 08:10
Published:4/21/2024 7:23:22 AM
[Markets] US Fentanyl Crisis Is A 'CCP-Run Operation', Says Peter Schweizer US Fentanyl Crisis Is A 'CCP-Run Operation', Says Peter Schweizer

Authored by Terri Wu and Jan Jekielek via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Three months after the U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned a Chinese mafia leader for fentanyl trafficking, he received an award in Beijing.

Peter Schweizer in March 2022. (NTD)

In March 2021, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Overseas United Working Committee recognized Wan Kuok Koi, also known as “Broken Tooth,” as a “patriotic businessman” and the “chief representative” of all international Hongmen associations. Hongmen is synonymous with triads, or Chinese transnational organized crime syndicates, to many Chinese.

The awarding entity is a CCP United Front organization and a platform under the China Association for Science and Technology. It also pushes China’s flagship infrastructure program, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), worldwide. According to the Treasury Department notice, Mr. Wan has established a security company protecting BRI investments in Southeast Asia.

In a recent interview with EpochTV’s American Thought Leaders (ATL), investigative writer Peter Schweizer cited Mr. Wan’s case as an example of the CCP’s take on the United States’ fentanyl crisis.

The notion that ‘oh, China’s trying very hard, but they can’t fix this’ is an absolute joke in my mind,” he said.

In addition, the author of a new book titled “Blood Money: Why the Powerful Turn a Blind Eye While China Kills Americans” told ATL that the U.S. fentanyl crisis is a “CCP-run operation.”

“The drug cartels are certainly involved, but they’re the junior partner,” Mr. Schweizer said, adding that the CCP is present at “every link of the chain.”

The Chinese production of fentanyl precursors is widely known. However, Mr. Schweizer’s research also shows that China provides pill-pressing machines at cost for fentanyl-laced fake pill production, distributes the synthetic opioid in the United States, facilitates the Mexican drug cartels’ financial transactions, and provides secure communication systems to cartels so they can bypass detection by U.S. law enforcement.

Currently, fentanyl overdose is the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 45. The deadly drug was responsible for about 75,000 deaths, or 200 per day, in 2022. Compared with 3,105 deaths in 2013, the death toll increased 23-fold.

Facing this crisis, which has been growing exponentially, the U.S. government has yet to come up with an effective solution. In Mr. Schweizer’s view, U.S. leaders’ inaction is a significant factor.

He documented in his book how senior U.S. leaders, albeit initially voicing concerns about China’s involvement in fentanyl trafficking, have remained largely silent on the issue.

One of those leaders is President Joe Biden.

At a Senate hearing in 1992, the then-chair of the Judiciary Committee warned that “China is poised to become the lynchpin of the heroin trade.”

Then-Sen. Biden also criticized the then-Bush administration’s lack of action on confronting China, saying that “the truth is that the cooperation between the United States and China in fighting drugs is limited, at best, and as is its course, the administration is turning a blind eye to China’s renegade behavior.”

Yet, the Biden administration has been taking a similar approach: touting its counternarcotics cooperation with China, which relies on voluntary domestic control measures. CCP leader Xi Jinping didn’t keep similar past promises that he made to former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

Ambassador Robert Lighthizer (L); Peter Schweizer, president of the Government Accountability Institute (C); and Michael Pillsbury, senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation (R); at The Heritage Foundation's Leadership Summit in National Harbor, Md., on April 20, 2023. (Terri Wu/The Epoch Times)

Different than heroin or cocaine, fentanyl takes the lives of people who mostly take the drug unknowingly. A New York University study in 2023 showed that a majority of the people who took fentanyl didn’t intend to do so.

Therefore, Mr. Schweizer thinks calling the fentanyl crisis a drug problem is missing the mark.

To him, it’s “extremely convenient” for the Biden administration to treat fentanyl as a “drug addiction problem, rather than what it is—poisoning,” he said.

“It absolves you of trying to confront the CCP on this because you’re essentially saying this is a human nature problem in the United States.”

In Mr. Schweizer’s view, the first family’s financial ties to China prohibited them from confronting the communists to reign in the Chinese fentanyl actors—a move that could be effective “overnight” if CCP leader Xi Jinping wanted it to be, Mr. Schweizer said.

The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.

Mr. Schweizer’s findings don’t stop at the fentanyl crisis, which he sees as a part of the CCP’s broader approach of “disintegration warfare,” aimed at bringing down the United States by attacking its “soft underbelly” regarding Americans’ politics, economics, and psychology.

In the ATL interview, he also talked about the CCP’s links to activities that sow social discord by inflaming racial and gender divisions in U.S. society and “dumbing down the West” with TikTok.

The interview premieres on April 18.

Tyler Durden Fri, 04/19/2024 - 23:20
Published:4/20/2024 12:15:27 AM
[Markets] Speaker Johnson's Ignominious Betrayal Speaker Johnson's Ignominious Betrayal

Authored by David Stockman via David Stockman's Contra Corner,

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.

To put it bluntly, I would rather send bullets to Ukraine than American boys. My son is going to begin in the Naval Academy this fall. This is a live-fire exercise for me as it is so many American families. This is not a game, this is not a joke.

Needless to say, our dufus Speaker doesn’t know the “Baltics” from the “Balkans” where Serbia and other Russian friendlies are definitely not quaking in their boots about Putin.

In point of fact, however, it is not hard to see that the civil war and territorial dispute between Kiev and Moscow over the Donbas and rim of the Black Sea from Mariupol to Odessa is a one-off of Russian and regional history and Washington’s mindless push of NATO eastward to Russia’s very doorstep.

The light-yellow area of this 1897 map gave an unmistakable message: To wit, in the late Russian Empire there was no doubt as to the paternity of the Donbas and the lands adjacent to the Azov Sea and the Black Sea. Already then, they were part of the 125 years-old New Russia, which had been assembled by purchase and conquest during the reign of Catherine the Great.

Indeed, it was only in 1922 that the yellow area—essentially demarcating the four provinces of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson, which recently voted to rejoin Russia—was appended to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic by the great humanitarian and map-maker, V. Lenin.

And yet Speaker Johnson now wants to crash the Republican Party on enforcing a map drawn by one of history’s bloodiest monsters. It’s come down to that.

That is to say, the war in Ukraine would stop tomorrow without another dime of aid from the US taxpayers if Washington agreed to partition the wholly artificial polity assembled by Lenin, Stalin (parts of Poland) and Khruschev (Crimea). In every presidential election in “Ukraine” since 1991 the electorate has essentially voted for separation via 80/20 pluralities in Novorossiya and Crimea for the pro-Russian candidate and 80/20 pluralities in the center and west for the Ukrainian nationalist.

That is, America’s national security would be undermined not one bit by a new map showing two countries and no war: That is, Novorossiya (New Russia) in the east and south, on the one hand, and the parts and pieces of Poland, Galicia-Austria and the Cossack Hetmanates in the center and west, on the other. Agree to keep NATO out of this rump state of Ukraine and it’s all over except the shouting.

Nevertheless, the insanity of the Russophobia which keeps knuckleheads like Johnson from having an even rudimentary grasp of the matter reveals an even larger issue.

Namely, it explains why Washington’s hegemonic foreign policy is a dysfunctional disaster, which unceasingly spawns madness like today’s $95 billion foreign aid boondoggle.

To wit, it encourages the Empire’s client and allied states to take bellicose positions vis a vis Washington designated rivals and enemies because it brings aid to their treasuries, weapons to their militaries and prestige and self-importance to their politicians and diplomats.

Thus, would Poland’s rightwing politicians always be barking at Russia, Russia, Russia in the absence of its NATO membership and US military and diplomatic shield? We sincerely doubt they would be poking the bear, but instead would be seeking friendly accommodation with a natural trading partner.

Likewise with Germany. The latter was apparently so petrified by a rescendant Russia that as recently as 2019 it spent the grand sum of just $50 billion and 1.3% of GDP on defense, while quite logically fueling its booming industrial and export economy with cheap Russian gas.

What has changed since then is not remotely Germany’s assessment of the Russian threat. What changed is client state politics. The Green Party entered the government coalition with the Social Democrats by beating the war-drums because they saw attacking Russia and Russian gas as a way to promote their hideous crusade against fossil fuel. And they did so with impunity, knowing that Washington’s military shield had their backs.

As to Tiawan’s client state politics, it’s not even a close call. Announce that Washington’s archaic “strategic ambiguity” policy– left over from the time of two departed demons, Mao Zedong and Chaing Kai Chek—has now also departed into the “inoperative” realm of Nixon-speak and you wouldn’t need any “Indo-Pacific” aid boondoggles, either.

To the contrary, Taiwan’s leaders would be scampering to Beijing for discussions of a “Hong Kong” transition in short order. America’s homeland security, of course, would be no worse for the wear—except for saving the cost of 100,000 servicemen in the Far East and the multi-trillion cost over time of patrolling the Pacific for the benefit of exactly what?

Then, of course, we get to the $26.4 billion for Israel. That’s about 4.5% of its GDP and should come out of its own war taxes, not Uncle Sam’s credit card. Moreover, it’s proof positive of the baleful impact of the Empire’s military shield and checkbook on client state politics. As we recently showed, Israel’s defense spending has been steadily plunging to less than 5% of GDP, even as its voters have repeatedly elected bellicose governments consisting of rightwing warmongers and fanatical religious factions.

These Netanyahu governments have consistently undermined a two-state solution to the Palestine problem, even going so far as to bless the transfer of billions of cash in suitcases to Hamas in order to undermine the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority.

Likewise, Netanyahu has wantonly demonized Iran mainly for the purpose of domestic politics and as a means to assemble 60+ vote coalitions in the Knesset.

Absent the US Navy and Air Force shield in the region, however, no Israeli government would have ever conducted unending assassination raids on that country or sabotaged on Capitol Hill Washington’s attempts at constructive arrangements with Iran like Obama’s nuke deal.

Indeed, absent Uncle Sam’s $4 billion annual gift and even more valuable regional military shield, Netanyahu and his extremist coalitions would have needed to raise taxes massively in Israel in order to fund their Garrison State war policies. We doubt the Israeli electorate would have tolerated the true cost of Netanyahu’s madness for very long.

At the end of the day, what Washington now needs is a break-up of the GOP and the formation of a Peace and Freedom party from the remnants of the conservative GOP and the dovish left. Both have been ejected from the UniParty by today’s Republican and Democrat denizens of the world’s War Capital.

So perhaps Johnson’s hari-kari act will bear some fruit, after all. Not as he intended, but in the good way that American democracy desperately needs at this fraught juncture.

Tyler Durden Fri, 04/19/2024 - 21:20
Published:4/19/2024 8:35:01 PM
[International] Hold Obama-Biden Foreign Policy Responsible for Iran’s Unprecedented Attack on Israel

The terrorist Iranian regime’s unprecedented recent attack on Israel, which included 185 drones, 36 cruise missiles and 110 surface-to-surface missiles, is an unambiguous casus belli—an... Read More

The post Hold Obama-Biden Foreign Policy Responsible for Iran’s Unprecedented Attack on Israel appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:4/19/2024 10:34:20 AM
[] Twitter Discovers the Shocking White House Nickname of Ben Rhodes Published:4/18/2024 6:01:16 AM
[Democrats] FLASHBACK: Bob Casey Said the Iran Deal Would ‘Enhance’ Israeli Security. Critics Say It Funded Tehran’s Drone Strike.

When Sen. Bob Casey cast a deciding vote for the Iran nuclear deal, the Pennsylvania Democrat insisted it would "enhance" Israeli and American national security. Instead, the Obama-era agreement unlocked billions of dollars that helped Tehran fund its "unprecedented" drone attack against Israel last week.

The post FLASHBACK: Bob Casey Said the Iran Deal Would ‘Enhance’ Israeli Security. Critics Say It Funded Tehran’s Drone Strike. appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:4/18/2024 4:57:46 AM
[] Any Cop Fawning Over Donald Trump Is a Dirty Cop, Plain and Simple Published:4/17/2024 8:37:56 PM
[Politics] BREAKING: Rudy Giuliani loses bid to dismiss hundred million dollar defamation judgement The $148 million judgement against Rudy Giuliani in the Georgia case will stand, as the Obama DC judge who presided over the trial has refused to dismiss it. Here’s more from ABC . . . Published:4/15/2024 4:27:55 PM
[Uncategorized] Fifteen Years Later – A Look Back at How the Media Mistreated the Tea Party Movement

"a party for Obama bashers....It’s anti-government, anti-CNN, since this is highly promoted by the right wing conservative network, Fox"

The post Fifteen Years Later – A Look Back at How the Media Mistreated the Tea Party Movement first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/15/2024 9:02:46 AM
[] Here's How We Know the U.S. Military Is VERY Worried About WWIII After Iran's Attack on Israel Published:4/13/2024 11:29:54 PM
[] Iran Reportedly Launches Major Strike on Israel Published:4/13/2024 3:54:37 PM
[] The Demented Usurper Biden, On His Own Dictatorial Authority, Announces "Rule" That Presumes to Outlaw Most Private Gun Sales As did Obama before him, Biden believes that anytime Congress refuses to pass laws that he demands it's a "crisis" which empowers the executive to assume the power of Congress and pass laws on its own authority. It's been a... Published:4/12/2024 11:06:09 AM
[Markets] Plagiarism Scandal Hits The Fed Plagiarism Scandal Hits The Fed

Another week, another plagiarism scandal in the ivory towers.

This time, journalists Chris Rufo and the Daily Wire's Luke Rosiak found that Federal Reserve governor Lisa Cook appears to have plagiarized her academic work in violation of her former university's policy.

Lisa Cook, governor of the US Federal Reserve. Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Cook, who taught economics at Harvard and Michigan State before serving on the Obama administration's Council of Economic Advisers, went on to be appointed to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in 2022. At the time, her academic record was so thin - and focused on race activism vs. 'rigorous, quantitative econ,' that she had trouble getting confirmed by the Senate (her nomination required VP Kamala Harris to cast a tie-breaking vote).

According to Rufo, "in a series of academic papers spanning more than a decade, Cook appears to have copied language from other scholars without proper quotation and duplicated her own work and that of coauthors in multiple academic journals, without proper attribution." (Click into the below thread on X for more examples).

According to Michigan State's own policy on plagiarism, Cook is a plagiarist. In the past, administrators have warned students that "plagiarism is considered fraud and has potentially harsh consequences including loss of job, loss of reputation, and the assignation of reduced or failing grade in a course."

Cook duplicates long passages verbatim without quotation or proper attribution, changing minor words and punctuation.

What's more, Cook's rigor has also come under fire and she misrepresented her own credentials. As Rufo and Rosiak write in City Journal and the Daily Wire:

Her most heralded work, 2014’s “Violence and Economic Activity: Evidence from African American Patents, 1870 to 1940,” examined the number of patents by black inventors in the past, concluding that the number plummeted in 1900 because of lynchings and discrimination. Other researchers soon discovered that the reason for the sudden drop in 1900 was that one of the databases Cook relied on stopped collecting data in that year. The true number of black patents, one subsequent study found, might be as much as 70 times greater than Cook’s figure, effectively debunking the study’s premise. 

Cook also seems to have consistently inflated her own credentials. In 2022, investigative journalist Christopher Brunet pointed out that, despite billing herself as a macroeconomist, Cook had never published a peer-reviewed macroeconomics article and had misrepresented her publication history in her CV, claiming that she had published an article in the journal American Economic Review. In truth, the article was published in American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, a less prestigious, non-peer-reviewed magazine.

When asked for comment, Cook told the journalists: "I certainly am proud of my academic background."

As Rufo and Rosiak note in closing (emphasis ours):

Cook is no stranger to mobilizing such punishments against others. In 2020, she participated in the attempted defenestration of esteemed University of Chicago economist Harald Uhlig for the crime of publicly opposing the “defund the police” movement. She called for Uhlig’s removal from the classroom, claiming that he had made an insensitive remark about Martin Luther King, Jr. (The university closed its own inquiry after concluding that there was “not a basis” to investigate further.) Uhlig, in a 2022 op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, asked the pertinent question: Under the leadership of an ideologue such as Lisa Cook, would the Fed continue to pursue its mandate, or succumb to left-wing activism?

Time will tell if the gears of justice turn against Lisa Cook, or if repeated academic misconduct, defended by some as mere sloppiness or isolated mistakes, is fast becoming an acceptable part of the academic order—as long as the alleged author of that behavior is favored by the powerful.

 

Tyler Durden Wed, 04/10/2024 - 12:45
Published:4/10/2024 12:03:06 PM
[31572751-300b-53e1-9bf1-d1366de28e8a] President Biden, ISIS-K is ramping up its terror. You must ramp up our response President Obama famously called ISIS the 'JV team.' President Biden appears to be on track to repeat the same mistake in Afghanistan with ISIS-K. It doesn't have to happen this way. Published:4/10/2024 4:13:52 AM
[Energy] Biden Admin Gives $6.6 Billion to Project Run By Ex-Solyndra CEO

The Biden administration is giving $6.6 billion to a semiconductor project run by the former CEO of Solyndra, the failed solar energy company at the center of an Obama-era scandal over government misspending.

The post Biden Admin Gives $6.6 Billion to Project Run By Ex-Solyndra CEO appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:4/8/2024 5:26:33 PM
[Markets] Russia Finally Says 'Nyet' To Continued North Korea Sanctions Enforcement Russia Finally Says 'Nyet' To Continued North Korea Sanctions Enforcement

Authored by Joseph D. Terwilliger via AntiWar.com,

Last week, a United Nations Security Council resolution to extend the mandate for the UN Panel of Experts on DPRK sanctions was vetoed by the Russian Federation, effectively disbanding the primary enforcement mechanism for the nine rounds of sanctions that have been imposed on the DPRK since 2006, in response to their repeated nuclear and ICBM tests.

On October 9th, 2006, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) conducted their first successful test of a nuclear weapon. In response to this, the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed resolution 1718, condemning the DPRK for the test, and imposing a harsh regime of sanctions on the regime. Subsequent to a second test on May 25, 2009, they unanimously passed resolution 1874, which tightened the sanctions regime significantly and established a “Panel of Experts” to “gather, examine and analyze information…regarding the implementation of the measures imposed”, for an initial period of one year. As more and more sanctions resolutions were passed in response to further nuclear and ICBM tests, the mandate for this Panel of Experts was unanimously extended each year until last week.

Via AP

Leading up to the vote, China and Russia had proposed a compromise to extend the mandate of the Panel of Experts for one year, conditional on adding a sunset clause to the sanctions regime, as the Chinese delegate said “Sanctions should not be set in stone or be indefinite”The Russian delegate argued that the situation in Korea had changed enormously since 2006, and that continuing the sanctions in the name of preventing the DPRK from becoming a nuclear power was “losing its relevance” and was “detached from reality”.

It is rather ironic that the United States and its allies have been criticizing the Russia veto of an otherwise unanimous Security Council resolution as destabilizing, given that the US routinely uses its own veto power, as most followers of this site are well aware. This Russian application of its veto power has been described as a crisis for the “broader functioning of the UN Security Council and the post World War II international order”, even though it is completely obvious that we would have used our veto against any Russian or Chinese resolution to relax or discontinue the sanctions regime.

The sanctions imposed on the DPRK obviously did not have the desired effect of deterring them from becoming a nuclear power. It is fair to ask why they failed to achieve the desired outcome, and whether continuing sanctions are likely to alter that reality.  When I accompanied retired NBA superstar Dennis Rodman to North Korea, Kim Jong Un personally explained his logic to usHe remarked that Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi had given up his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs in 2003, in exchange for sanctions relief and security guarantees that weren’t worth the paper they were written on.  As soon as the opportunity presented itself, in Spring 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joyfully bragged that we had killed Qaddafi.

Furthermore, Saddam Hussein had allowed weapons inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency into his country, and they failed to find evidence of WMD programs (as there were none), and yet despite this, the US launched a war of regime change in 2003, which subsequently led to the death of Saddam Hussein.  He concluded his argument by pointing out the fact that although Pakistan harbored America’s number one enemy, Osama bin Laden, the US never attempted a war of regime change there.  In his mind the main difference was obvious – Pakistan was a nuclear power.

Given that the United States government has never been subtle about its desire for regime change in North Korea, and has refused to take first use of nuclear weapons by the United States off the table in the event of war with the DPRK, Kim Jong Un’s rationale is quite compelling.  I certainly had no counterargument.

One must remember that the number one goal for the North Korean regime is their own survival, and Kim Jong Un’s strategic decisions (like those of any other political leader) should be evaluated in that context – obviously his priority is to stay alive and keep his job!  With that in mind, the continued pursuit of a nuclear deterrent seems like the most rational option.  Of course he wants a better life for his people, and relief from economic sanctions, but not at the cost of risking the regime’s collapse.

It is important to clarify that long before the DPRK developed its nuclear program, the US had already nuclearized the peninsula.  Although Paragraph 13 (d) of the Korean War Armistice Agreement forbade the introduction of any new weapons into Korea, in 1958, the Eisenhower administration deployed nuclear weapons to South Korea, in clear violation of this agreement.

This was not an isolated incident either, as the US has a long history of breaking negotiated deals with rival nations.  In 1994, Bill Clinton negotiated the “Agreed Framework” in which the DPRK would shut down their graphite-moderated nuclear reactors, to be replaced with light water reactors (LWRs) to be provided by the US, with supplies of heavy oil being provided to them to provide energy in the interim.  George W. Bush then slow-walked providing the LWRs and stopped the shipments of fuel oil, leading the DPRK to restart the reactors to supply energy to their people.

Bush then made the aforementioned WMD deal with Qaddafi, which the Obama administration failed to honor.  Obama then negotiated the JCPOA deal with Iran, which Trump backed out of.  Trump then opened dialogue with the DPRK, but the Biden administration quickly returned to “strategic patience” (i.e. giving them the silent treatment).

No wonder they feel the need for a nuclear deterrent when our policy changes so dramatically every four years, making any negotiations effectively pointless. As Kim Jong Un told us, the DPRK policy is always consistent, but the US changes all the time, adding that if they don’t like what is happening, they just wait four years. After we brought a team of NBA players to Pyongyang in 2014, he further remarked that in doing so, we were the first Americans who ever kept their word. No wonder they don’t trust any security guarantees the US has offered them.

Sanctions have been referred to as war by other means (with apologies to Clausewitz), and the US now has sanctions in place against more than 20 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America. The most comprehensive sanctions are currently imposed against Russia, Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, with sanctions against China growing at an alarming rate. At the same time, the Chinese Yuan is being used increasingly for international trade instead of the US dollar as a result of sanctions prohibiting many countries from using the US financial system.

The height of the sanctions absurdity was best illustrated when the DPRK was alleged to have sold ammunition to Russia in early 2024.  In response to this allegation, the US complained to Russia that they were violating sanctions against the DPRK, and the US complained to the DPRK that they were violating sanctions against Russia. Does the United States expect other countries to just starve to death under sanctions regimes because we said so?

Is it perhaps more rational to imagine that our overuse of economic sanctions will inevitably create trading blocs and alliances among the countries subjected to them? Iran, Russia, China, and the DPRK have plenty of reasons to dislike one another. China and Russia have had a complex hostile relationship for centuries, with Chairman Mao seeking a better relationship with the US partially because he feared a Soviet invasion. Both China and Russia repeatedly voted in favor of all the sanctions imposed on the DPRK since 2006, because they did not want a nuclear North Korea in their backyard. Iran and Russia have a long history of tensions, as do Iran and China. And Iran and DPRK have only worked together in a partnership of convenience for the last 35 years because of their shared status as pariahs in the eyes of the USA.

Despite the historical tensions between Iran, Russia, China, and DPRK, the sanctions regime has forced these countries into an alliance and trading bloc of convenience, and the US has nobody to blame but themselves.  It should surprise nobody that China and Russia want to get the UN out of the DPRK sanctions business. That Russia finally vetoed the continuing mandate for the Panel of Experts should come as no surprise – the only surprise is that it took them 18 years to get there.

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/07/2024 - 18:40
Published:4/7/2024 5:53:25 PM
[Markets] Trump Rakes In $50 Million In One Night, But Israel-Advocate Adelson Still Holding Out Trump Rakes In $50 Million In One Night, But Israel-Advocate Adelson Still Holding Out

Less than a week after President Biden raised $25 million at a celebrity-studded New York City event, Donald Trump doubled him up, raking in a whopping $50.5 million at a billionaire's mansion on Saturday. However, Biden still has a big financial edge, as Trump's biggest 2020 donor -- Israel-booster Miriam Adelson -- has yet to give a single dollar. 

"This is likely to be the biggest and one of the most successful fundraising events in political history," GOP rainmaker Brian Ballard told the Wall Street Journal about the Florida event. The gigantic cash haul came at a gathering of 120 guests who paid between $250,000 and $814,000 to attend and hear Trump speak for 45 minutes. Hedge fund billionaire John Paulson, who famously bet big against the housing market before its 2008 collapse, hosted the shindig at his $110 million Palm Beach mansion.  

Trump's mega-fundraiser was held at John Paulson's Palm Beach mansion

Despite Trump winning this recent financial shootout, Biden's cash hoard stands at $192 million, about double what Trump has. The Biden campaign says its war chest is the biggest ever for a Democrat at this spot in the political calendar. 

A few of Trump's largest donors from the 2020 election are holding out, including Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman and Elliott Management co-CEO Paul Singer. However, the biggest purse waiting in the wings belongs to Miriam Adelson, widow of Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who died in 2021.

Sheldon Adelson said he "unfortunately" served in the United States Army rather than the Israeli Defense Forces

The Adelsons' foremost policy concern has been ensuring steady financial, military and political support for the State of Israel and aligning Washington with the agenda of Israel's right wing. The Adelsons have been closely allied with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, even publishing a free Israeli newspaper that boosts Netanyahu and his Likud party. 

The couple donated a jaw-dropping $90 million to Trump's 2020 campaign, rewarding him for his Israel-catering policies, including relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to contested Jerusalem, exiting the Iran nuclear deal and recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which Israel captured in 1967's Six-Day War. Trump also awarded Miriam Adelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

Trump received $90 million from the Adelsons for the 2020 campaign; he gave Miriam the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018

While observers and campaign sources say Miriam Adelson is expected to open her checkbook, some recent Trump comments have rankled supporters of the State of Israel. 

Trump raised eyebrows in recent weeks by chiding Israel for its handling of the Gaza war, telling Paul Hewitt the country's government is "absolutely losing the PR war" and must "finish [the war] fast." When Hewitt twice threw him a softball by asking if he was "still standing 100% with Israel," Trump chose not to directly answer. 

In an interview with the Adelson-backed Israeli newspaper, Trump said Israel made a "very big mistake" by sharing violent video imagery of its attacks on civilian infrastructure. However, he also touted his record on backing Israel. "In Israel, they say if I ran for office in Israel I'd get 98% of the vote," he said, later adding, "I'm not Jewish. And yet Israel for me is very important."

In the immediate wake of the Oct 7 Hamas invasion of southern Israel, Trump criticized Netanyahu, who'd angered Trump in 2020 by rushing to congratulate Biden on winning the election while Trump was still contesting the outcome. "Bibi could have stayed quiet," Trump told an Israeli journalist. "He has made a terrible mistake."

Meanwhile, via X, Biden took a shot at the company Trump was keeping at his weekend fundraiser, deriding them as a "bunch of hedge fund billionaires who want him to cut Social Security and Medicare and their taxes." He also said "this campaign is Scranton versus Palm Beach."

And hours before the big announcement, the Biden-Harris campaign team on X published a terrible leftwing meme about Biden having more cash than Trump. What's hilarious is that it took three presidents - Clinton - Obama - Biden - and an obese female rapper to raise $25mln. 

"Fascism is when the ruling party brags about forcing you to spend money fighting its attempt to jail the opposition leader for life," one X user said. 

Biden talked like his fundraiser was held at a fire hall in Scranton rather than at New York City's Radio City Music Hall. Headlined by musical and literal heavyweight Lizzo and hosted by Stephen Colbert, the top ticket cost $500,000, so it's safe to say there were plenty of wealthy people in attendance.

Biden relentlessly name-drops the Pennsylvania city where he lived for 11 years. Expect that to continue: The latest Journal poll shows Trump ahead 3 points in that biggest of battleground states

Tyler Durden Sun, 04/07/2024 - 09:55
Published:4/7/2024 9:30:17 AM
[Markets] America Is Hurtling Toward A Full-Blown Hot Civil War America Is Hurtling Toward A Full-Blown Hot Civil War

Authored by Justin Smith via The Burning Platform blog,

It never ceases to amaze me at how little so many people in this country have done to train their minds to critically analyze information. They have eyes to see and ears to see, and yet, somehow the truth of any major issue still seems to evade them, or they simply refuse to recognize the truth with it standing right in front of them, slapping them in the face.

So many things are currently plumb damned fouled up by this Biden regime and going awry on their own through the dynamics set in motion by this anti-American, lawless regime, that it’s nearly impossible to properly address them all in a single commentary. But I’ve tried to give the Reader as comprehensive an assessment as I possibly can with this piece.

Michael Savage, a longtime renown radio host, was fond of noting that “liberalism is a mental disorder” and we’re witnessing the result of its heavy utilization for far too many years without being grounded in common sense and a certain amount of pragmatic realism. And so here we are, on the cusp of the final fall of America, short of a miracle from God or true patriots taking a firm stand with rifles in hand and refusing to give an inch of ground and any further movement towards the new world order desired by our amerikkan commies.

It might sound quaint and out of touch with what some have now accepted as “the new normal”, but I say we should all wrap ourselves in the American Flag and send out the clarion call for a rush of strong, capable men to come to the aid of their country, in a manner as never before.

~ J.O.S.

“I may be crazy. But it’s no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” ~ Ivor Browne, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the University College Dublin [2017]

In an ideal and perfect world, all Americans would be following a righteously guided conscience and their better angels, and they could trust that their elected leaders were doing likewise; but, we live in a far from perfect world or society, and the fools of the country have abandoned Christian kindness, the Golden Rule and humanity for the evil of trans-humanism. Heartwarming words advocating for true freedom and liberty are far and few between in today’s society and political arenas, in a manner not too unlike the years between 1850 and 1860 that led to the Civil War; and tho’ some on both side of the political aisle still exude goodness in a way that makes each day seem a bit brighter, by and large, the Democratic Party has been completely infiltrated by Marxist-Maoist Communists, who are driving the nation towards the darkest tyranny and bloodiest days ever witnessed in America, as they attempt to stamp out the tenderness and beauty in each person’s soul and reduce us all to mere mindless cogs in their authoritarian machine.

Look around. Half or more of America’s citizenry have lost their minds and are six steps or more removed from reality, either due to the mind-numbing communist indoctrination they have absorbed from their “education” in the public school system, something genetic or a trauma from their life, some new maniacal drug that has them hooked and out of their minds, or a combination of all three.

Some would suggest that we set about immediately reforming public education to promote and defend the ideas that originally built America, but we don’t have time to change hearts and minds to counter a movement that started over a hundred years ago and now sits on the cusp of being able to solidify its current stranglehold on America, if the tide swings its way in the 2024 Election or they are able to steal the election through current fraud facilitating mechanisms. Although we can still move to properly educate the next generation in a newly reformed education system or through homeschool, now is the time to organize and assemble those within the country who already know and hold to the truth of American principles and all the freedom and liberty that follow — time to gather our like-minded American patriots and those Lions of Liberty who have had enough of witnessing this America we love so well so sorely abused, put upon and assaulted.

It doesn’t help when we have self-serving, corrupt people in high office promising to save the gullible and ill-informed from their hell and the misery it brings, if only they will support more madness to be placed in U.S. code. Vote for more economy killing “climate change” change regulations and initiatives and “we’ll put more money on your EBT cards, courtesy of Uncle Sam and the American taxpayer”. “Help us make sure the government has the final say over everybody’s children and can kill babies as they exit the birthing canal, and we’ll make certain you get privilege over all other Americans”, one can almost hear Traitor Joe whispering in some dimly lit concert hall. “You can be a champion among champions”, they say — “Let us help you change your gender”.

And if anyone stands in your way in the pursuit of any evil, it is they who will be called evil and fallen upon by the full weight of the U.S. Federal Government.

Oh yea. And as if that isn’t bad enough, Biden is now moving as fast as he can to forgive $144 billion more in student loans. He plans to announce this on Monday, April 8th 2024, and for anyone with eyes to see, this is simply corruption at its worst and Biden buying votes in the upcoming presidential election. What a slap in the face of Americans who couldn’t afford to go to college but now will be forced to bear the tax burden this move will bring.

I see the immorality growing every day, the people who revel in its evil, freaks from some futuristic sideshow that bodes ill and speaks to the destruction of humanity. and with each passing day, I find myself moving farther and farther away from those with whom I have little or nothing in common with, adrift from most of humanity too. Not in any manner that lends itself to any sadness over my situation, but rather as if to say “whew” in a realization of the relief that has come by way of my separation from those I despise most.

It’s sort of like I’m standing on the river bank watching the “ship of fools” sailing over the river falls in denial of their own mortality, thinking their crazy ideas will save them and hold them invincible, or worse, knowing they are going to die and not caring who they drag to Hell along with them. They think we’re crazy for defending America’s righteous and true founding principles and virtues and the liberty associated with them, and we think them mad for denying God, reality and the best mankind has to offer in exchange for an evil, unrestrained, immoral freedom that is no freedom at all, a bringer of Death.

Since 1965, the communists within the federal government, Congress and many state and local governments have essentially separated us and pitted us against one another as one aggrieved group or another, some special interest and through identity politics and racial hatred. They broke us into tribes and acted as if the represented each, all the while setting in place mechanisms that made us serfs to the government, The Leviathan, and reducing us all to poverty as they have gradually destroyed the bulk of the middle class in our country. The Constitution is so degraded and eroded now that any tyrant can impose his will by way of one flourish of a pen, which Traitor Joe has done through 118 executive orders, bypassing Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court.

We have a national debt that’s rapidly approaching $35 trillion and counting, that to be sure rests on the shoulders of both parties, but it couldn’t have arrived to this abysmal point without both Marxist-Maoists and RINOs accepting the tenets of the Marxist-Keynesian Modern Monetary Theory and the notion that any one nation could print and borrow an endless supply of money forever without any terrible consequence, which is currently being proven wrong. Our people struggle to pay for food and rent and new high mortgage rates have put home ownership out of reach for this new Generation Z that is coming up and expecting a successful way of life to be attainable in some form or fashion, even tho’ many of them are a great part of the problem, some thirty percent claiming to be either queer themselves or supportive of the LGBTQ sickness running rampant through American society, advocating for every known sexual perversion and deviancy one might care to mention.

Several decades ago, I realized every government in the world was using a Keynesian debt-based system, printing money as if there was no end to real assets or backing for it. Basically, the world had gone mad, as the greed of its so-called “leaders” knew no bounds, and the various governments of the world basically accepted the use of monopoly money. The charade is ongoing and the casino open, that is, ’til those at the very top decide to call in their markers and usher in the final forced phase of The Great Reset.

In 2008, as I watched the near total collapse of our economic system and heard George [Bush] say that we had to temporarily abandon the free market capitalist system in order to save it, I received a strong sense that America may have peaked and was as good as it was going to get from there on out. I had a feeling that things were only going to continue to decline, especially as one major corporation after the next receive a taxpayer funded bailout after being deemed “too big to fail”.

In unbelievable fashion, when the largest economic collapse in U.S. history hit in March 2020, to be followed by the Covid Lockdowns, pushed and kept going for years by traitors to America, such as Dr Anthony Fauci and Dr Deborah Birx, many of us saw it for the fraud it was. Still, whole swaths of our cultural freedoms and norms were very nearly destroyed, as a timid American people complied, by and large, because they couldn’t simply stand on their hind feet and tell the government despots “NO”. Even now, as many careers no longer exist and jobs are disappearing like cotton-candy on a rainy day, far too many, especially the communists among us, hold to the delusion that all is well and deny that out-of-control spending and massive national debt really do matter for the health of the nation’s economy.

Who could have possibly known at the time — other than those Deep State bad actors behind the curtain — that this was a dire harbinger of things to come and but one of the first precursors to a validation of this current system of economic fascism as the preeminent and defining feature of what everyone still mistakenly calls our “free market capitalist system”. Who knew that — if one believes Obama and now Biden — the cure for debt was more debt; the cure for greed was more greed, and that envy of the neighbors’ possessions was perfectly acceptable, even if one easily walked on over to take them by force, through armed robbery. And who could have foreseen that every Marxist-Maoist of the Democratic Party would become modern day Jezebels, condemning the innocent by way of one false accusation after another, paving the way for a vile new phenomena and way of life for the misguided youth of America.

But never in my wildest imagination did I expect to see every single government institution corrupted to its very core and heavily infiltrated by men and women seeking to destroy traditional America — to “transform America” — and bring great harm to all Americans in the process, as evil was called “good” and good was called “evil”, turning the world upside down as foretold in Isaiah 5:20, as we all witnessed in 2020, driven by the Democratic Party Communists and fascists and globalists of the country, for the most part. Never did I expect to see U.S. science so corrupted and in denial of real science, reality itself, as supposedly “educated” people were soon trying to convince the entire nation that men could really become women and women could become men — that men actually have periods and can have babies.

And as the American people continue to fail to mount a strong and passionate rejection or effective defense against the current climate change directives from the Biden regime, the Biden regime has just recently [January 26th] ordered our international export of natural gas and natural gas extraction to be placed on hold; and it’s still on hold as of this writing [April 5th], while its impact on the environment is further scrutinized. And in the meantime, the movement towards greater control over our society by way of a digital currency is gaining momentum.

I don’t think the Biden regime is going to be able to control much of anything once they completely destroy America’s energy infrastructure and our efficacy as an worldwide energy powerhouse, as we were under the Trump administration. It’s going to be damned difficult to control anything without electricity, fossil fuels or heat, and all hell will be unleashed once Americans start being forced to sit in the dark, shivering in the cold or sweltering in the heat.

When I hear Rachel “Mad-Cow” Maddow and Chris “Cry-baby” Matthews talking about Republicans who support Trump being members of a cult with “crazy ideas”, I think how ironic, that they are perfectly describing themselves and their ilk. They are so insane that they don’t even recognize themselves in that description or what it is that they don’t know; they call themselves “the normal people” as their despot leader, Traitor Joe, dismantles and tears the American republic down around the shoulders of all Americans.

In listening to many proponents of the Democratic Party Communist platform and agenda — Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer for three in particular — I cannot help but wonder when did the wards for the mentally ill release all the inmates. And so here we are in America, where the inmates of mental institutions, federal prisons, Illegal Aliens, drug dealers and sexual deviants and child predators are running the country and the Oval Office today.

I have noted in several past articles, I do believe the “united States” is currently hurling down a path on a fast track to a full blown, hot civil war. What will emerge will either be a nation squashed under an iron-fisted communist government or a people united in freedom and liberty under a limited government, restrained from ever growing or overreaching as the current Federal System has allowed and the Biden regime has done, trampling on the entire Constitution and our Inalienable God-given Rights in the process.

Although I refuse to accept any excuse for the far-reaching, incredible and massive ignorance of so many of my countrymen in this day of the internet and information, with books aplenty in every public library too, there are an unbelievable number who accumulate scores, even hundreds, of bits and pieces of the bigger picture without the ability or the will to put them together to reach any worthwhile conclusion aimed at formulating a proper course of action to resist this current totalitarian-minded movement and save themselves, their families and communities and America herself. They do not currently seem to have any real sense of urgency, unless one looks at leadership in Texas and Florida and the current manufactured border crisis.

Twenty-five state governors stood alongside Governor Abbot of Texas in the border dispute with the Biden regime, and the Governor of South Carolina sent his own National Guardsmen to the border to assist the Texas National Guard and Texas’s various law enforcement agencies who are in this struggle for America’s survival. So although I was speaking of the average citizen in the preceding paragraph, there are some holding key positions who see the rapidly approaching existential threats to all America and are reacting with a high level of urgency and accordingly, using everything within their power to stop this one segment of the madness emanating from the Biden regime.

America has been cleaved into two separate and antithetical ideologies — two opposing worldviews — with the communists and radical takers of the country supporting a dark vision of tyranny and the conservatives and independent producers supporting the light of truth and a vision of freedom and liberty. They are both hanging in the balance and waiting for gravity or some monumental event to throw the lever that moves them to act and take the country by storm, with the Democrats willing to use every illegal means imaginable.

The heavy infiltration of Illegal Aliens from many foreign countries that are unfriendly or outright enemies of America is one more dynamic and issue of concern for all who love America, since they will certainly come down on the side which is trying to destroy America. No one should be oblivious to the fact that various “sleeper cells” of Hamas and Hezbollah have been in America for several decades now. Taken in conjunction with thousands of military aged Chinese men entering the country illegally the coming chaos will be Biblical in proportion to anything we have witnessed in all American history.

Nineteenth century French economist and writer, Frederic Bastiat could have been speaking of America today and the situation She currently finds Herself, as he once stated:

“When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe.”

Americans from all across the country have either been complicit in this current treason to “fundamentally transform America”, into something strange and foreign to the Founding, or they have simply been so complacent as to allow the country to fall to her enemies-from-within, in a manner that’s proving fairly damned tough to counter for the moment due to a litany of reasons, from lawfare against conservative and independent patriots to the outright targeting of American patriots by the FBI and the DOJ. But basically, the nation is just about to reap the full, terrible consequences of what was sown so many decades ago, and everyone had better prepare as best as they can.

We can’t stop what is headed down the road towards us, no matter if we stopped all unnecessary spending or the invasion at the border today — not if we outlawed all deviancy, abuse of children through gender assignment and men competing in women’s sports, or started drilling for oil and gas like crazy overnight. The die has been cast, and no one single man or woman, sitting in the Oval Office, can change what is coming, not Trump or RFK, JR or anyone else who wants to give it a try.

All good and decent Americans, who can still remember what America used to be or who have been well taught from childhood and know what a great nation — an exceptional nation — She has been in years gone by, will soon be forced to fight against enemies-from-within and foreign enemies supported by the World Economic Forum and the United Nations, so that our friends, families and communities can survive this period and freedom and liberty shall not perish in our land. And as we fight, we must pray and hope that our side emerges victoriously from the din and cacophony of the conflagration and chaos, in order that we may purge the land of those who hate America and restore Her to a land that truly understands what “equality under the law” actually means, to be governed in a manner that actually defends and protects the Inalienable God-given Rights for all, restoring America as something better than She has been in a long, long time.

This is the war that lays ahead of us, looming just over the horizon, and our very lives and the lives of our loved ones depend on our success. The death of America as She has stood is guaranteed, unless liberty-minded patriots rise from the ashes of the next civil war. That is the reality and the future we now must face.

Keep ringing the bell … the Liberty Bell and the sound of Freedom from sea to shining sea.

Tyler Durden Sat, 04/06/2024 - 23:20
Published:4/6/2024 10:44:57 PM
[Israel-Gaza War (2023- )] Gaza War Turns Spotlight on Long Pipeline of U.S. Weapons to Israel President Biden sends arms to Israel under an Obama-era $38 billion aid agreement that runs until 2026. Israel’s purchases include the types of bombs dropped in Gaza. Published:4/6/2024 5:13:05 AM
[Politics] BREAKING: Trump fundraiser secures nearly double what Biden got last week in NYC Last week Joe Biden was in New York City with the likes of former Presidents Obama and Clinton for a fundraiser that netted him $26 million for his campaign. Trump is also . . . Published:4/5/2024 10:20:55 PM
[Uncategorized] Biden Admin Issues Rule To Thwart Trump Ability To Fire Biden Executive Branch Holdovers If He Wins

We have a sitting president attempting to hamstring a potential future president over his own branch of government by ensuring that his (Obama-Biden's) political allies remain in unchecked power.

The post Biden Admin Issues Rule To Thwart Trump Ability To Fire Biden Executive Branch Holdovers If He Wins first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:4/5/2024 2:06:15 PM
[In Education] California’s Fast-Food Minimum Wage Hike Could Spell Trouble For Public Schools

by Robert Schmad at CDN -

Kids throw Obama school lunch program food in trash

Two policies backed by Democratic California Governor Gavin Newsom could place serious strain on California’s already fiscally unhealthy public schools. California’s new minimum wage law, which took effect Monday, guarantees a wage of at least $20 an hour for workers at fast food chains with 60 or more locations across …

Click to read the rest HERE-> California’s Fast-Food Minimum Wage Hike Could Spell Trouble For Public Schools first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:4/4/2024 9:40:27 PM
[Markets] Trump Throws Support Behind Push To Switch Nebraska To Winner-Take-All Elector System Trump Throws Support Behind Push To Switch Nebraska To Winner-Take-All Elector System

Authored by Ryan Morgan via The Epoch Times,

Former President Donald Trump is cheering an effort, led by Republicans in Nebraska, to switch the state’s electoral college system to a purely winner-take-all contest.

Nebraska is currently one of two U.S. states that award some of their presidential electors to the winner of district-level contests, with Maine being the other state to follow a similar model. The 48 other states prefer a system where all presidential electors are awarded to the candidate who garners the most votes state-wide.

Last year, Republican Nebraska state Sen. Loren Lippincott introduced a bill, LB 764, that would move Nebraska back to a purely winner-take-all electoral college system.

Mr. Lippincott’s legislation now appears to be gaining momentum. On Tuesday, Republican Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen released a statement throwing his support behind LB 764, urging the state’s unicameral legislature to support its passage.

“I am a strong supporter of Senator Lippincott’s winner-take-all bill (LB 764) and have been from the start. It would bring Nebraska into line with 48 of our fellow states, better reflect the founders’ intent, and ensure our state speaks with one unified voice in presidential elections,” Mr. Pillen’s statement reads.

“I call upon fellow Republicans in the Legislature to pass this bill to my desk so I can sign it into law.”

Nebraska’s legislature is officially nonpartisan, but Republicans comprise a majority of its members.

President Trump, the 2016 and 2020 Republican presidential nominee and prospective 2024 Republican nominee, also threw his support behind Nebraska’s efforts to adopt a winner-take-all electoral college system.

“Governor Jim Pillen of Nebraska, a very smart and popular Governor, who has done some really great things, came out today with a very strong letter in support of returning Nebraska’s Electoral Votes to a Winner-Take-All System. Most Nebraskans have wanted to go back to this system for a very long time, because it’s what 48 other States do—It’s what the Founders intended, and it’s right for Nebraska,” President Trump said in a post on his Truth Social account on Tuesday.

“Thank you Governor for your bold leadership. Let’s hope the Senate does the right thing. Nebraskans, respectfully ask your Senators to support this Great Bill!”

Republicans Could Benefit From Reform

Under the U.S. electoral college system, states are given a number of electors equal to the number of U.S. Senators and House members from that state’s delegation. Senators are elected in state-wide contests, while House members are selected in district-level contests.

Nebraska’s electoral college method assigns two of its presidential electors based on the state-wide winner of the presidential election. Nebraska’s three remaining presidential electors are awarded in contests that take place within its three U.S. House districts.

Republican presidential candidates have historically won the majority of votes in state-wide contests in Nebraska. In fact, the Republican presidential candidate has won a clear majority of Nebraska voters in every presidential election since 1968.

While Republicans have historically been the clear favorite in Nebraska’s state-level contests, Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District has sometimes presented itself as more of a battleground. Republicans have swept all of Nebraska’s district-level elector contests in all but two presidential elections since 1968.

President Barack Obama won the presidential elector from Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District in the 2008 election, while Republican presidential candidate and senator John McCain won the state-wide contest and the district-level elector contests in Nebraska’s 1st and 3rd Congressional Districts.

Voters in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District swung back to the Republican presidential candidate in the 2012 and 2016 elections, allowing those Republicans to win a clean sweep of the state’s electors during those two presidential elections.

While President Trump swept all of Nebraska’s electoral contests in 2016, President Joe Biden won the electoral contest in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District during the 2020 election.

If Nebraska’s state-wide trend of support for Republican presidential candidates continues, and if Mr. Lippincott’s bill becomes law, Republican presidential candidates could expect to win an additional elector going forward.

Tyler Durden Thu, 04/04/2024 - 13:05
Published:4/4/2024 12:35:02 PM
[Politics] BREAKING: FCC to reinstate Obama-era net neutrality rules this month Joe Biden’s FCC is set to reinstate the failed Obama-era net neutrality rules this month after Democrats took back control of the five-member FCC this past October. They plan to do this . . . Published:4/4/2024 11:53:33 AM
[2024 Election] Fmr Obama Campaign Manager Messina: GOP 'Changing the Rules' in the Middle of Election

Donald Trump and Joe Biden
Former Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina said Wednesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that Republicans would be "changing the rules" in the middle of an election when discussing former President Donald Trump and Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen calling on the state legislature to assign it's Electoral College votes with the winner-take-all standard.

The post Fmr Obama Campaign Manager Messina: GOP ‘Changing the Rules’ in the Middle of Election appeared first on Breitbart.

Published:4/3/2024 6:56:39 PM
[02880986-e153-57a9-8ea4-63ad2ba51b53] Michelle Obama says Beyoncé's ‘Cowboy Carter’ album is a reminder to vote Former first lady Michelle Obama says Beyoncé's new album, "Cowboy Carter," is a reminder for the American public to vote in this year's elections. Published:4/3/2024 2:11:44 PM
[Opinion] Imposing Draconian Regulation On The Internet To Protect It From ‘Boogeyman’ Threats

by Greyson Gee at CDN -

1280px-Internet1

The internet ended nearly seven years ago—at least according to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Without net neutrality, it was all over. “This is the end of the internet as we know it,” Sanders tweeted in 2017, when President Donald Trump ended the Obama administration’s neutrality rules. “In Congress and …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Imposing Draconian Regulation On The Internet To Protect It From ‘Boogeyman’ Threats first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:4/2/2024 2:31:35 PM
[] Stray Voltage, National Rent Control, and Biden's 'Bananas' Moment Published:4/2/2024 11:41:23 AM
[Markets] Republicans Score Win In Court Battle Over Pennsylvania Ballot Requirements Republicans Score Win In Court Battle Over Pennsylvania Ballot Requirements

Authored by Zachary Steiber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Pennsylvania rules that require mail-in ballots to be dated are legal, a federal appeals court has ruled.

A man photographs himself depositing his ballot in an official ballot drop box while a long line of voters queue outside of Philadelphia City Hall at the satellite polling station in Philadelphia, Pa., on Oct. 27, 2020. (Mark Makela/Getty Images)

A state law that says voters must fill out, date, and sign envelopes containing the ballots is not prevented by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a majority said in the March 27 ruling.

The act bans denying “the right of any individual to vote in any election because of an error or omission on any record or paper relating to any application, registration or other act requisite to voting.”

But that provision “only applies when the state is determining who may vote,” U.S. Circuit Court Judge Thomas Ambro, appointed by former President Bill Clinton, wrote for the majority of a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit panel. “In other words, its role stops at the door of the voting place. The provision does not apply to rules, like the date requirement, that govern how a qualified voter must cast his ballot for it to be counted.”

The same court ahead of the 2022 election ruled that state officials must count undated ballots but the U.S. Supreme Court vacated that order. After the state’s acting secretary of state said counties should still count undated ballots, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that counties could not count mail-in ballots with missing or incorrect dates. About 7,900 ballots were not counted in the 2020 election because they were missing a signature or date, or had an inaccurate date, according to state officials.

U.S. District Judge Susan Paradise Baxter later ruled that the Pennsylvania law violated the Civil Rights Act provision, meaning Pennsylvania officials had to count mail-in ballots even if they lacked dates, or contained inaccurate dates.

Federal law prohibits a state from erecting immaterial roadblocks, such as this, to voting,” Judge Baxter, appointed by former President Donald Trump, wrote at the time, referring to the Pennsylvania law.

According to the law, a voter casting a ballot by mail must mark the ballot, then place it inside a provided envelope. That envelope must then be placed into a second envelope, which contains the areas for the date and signature.

The elector shall then fill out, date and sign the declaration printed on such envelope,” the law states.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) and other groups appealed Judge Baxter’s ruling, arguing that her conclusion was wrong.

“This is a crucial victory for election integrity and voter confidence in the Keystone State and nationwide. Pennsylvanians deserve to feel confident in the security of their mail ballots, and this 3rd Circuit ruling roundly rejects unlawful left-wing attempts to count undated or incorrectly dated mail ballot,” Michael Whatley, the RNC’s chairman, said in a statement after the new ruling was handed down.

Groups that sued over the law expressed disappointment.

“If this ruling stands, thousands of Pennsylvania voters could lose their vote over a meaningless paperwork error. The ballots in question in this case come from voters who are eligible and who met the submission deadline,“ Mike Lee, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, said in a statement. ”In passing the Civil Rights Act, Congress put a guardrail in place to be sure that states don’t erect unnecessary barriers that disenfranchise voters. It’s unfortunate that the court failed to recognize that principle. Voters lose as a result of this ruling.”

The ruling can be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the groups have not yet indicated whether they'll appeal.

Justice Samuel Alito has said that the Pennsylvania law did not appear to violate the Civil Rights Act provision because it did not deny people the right to vote.

When a mail-in ballot is not counted because it was not filled out correctly, the voter is not denied ’the right to vote,'” he said previously. “Rather, that individual’s vote is not counted because he or she did not follow the rules for casting a ballot.”

Several other justices supported his view, offered in a dissent when the rest of the court initially said Pennsylvania counties could keep counting undated ballots.

Judge Ambro offered similar rationale, writing that the provision “targets laws that restrict who may vote” and “does not preempt state requirements on how qualified voters may cast a valid ballot, regardless what (if any) purpose those rules serve.”

He was joined by U.S. Circuit Judge Cindy Chung, who was appointed by President Joe Biden.

U.S. Circuit Judge Patty Shwartz, an appointee of President Barack Obama and the third member of the panel that ruled, said in a dissent that the provision “means that state actors cannot deprive a voter of the right to vote due to an error or omission he makes on papers that he must complete to have his ballot counted, including on papers distinct from application or registration forms, if the mistake is not relevant to the State’s ability to ascertain whether he is qualified under state law to vote in the election.”

Tyler Durden Mon, 04/01/2024 - 13:20
Published:4/1/2024 12:35:23 PM
[] Banana Republic Status? It's Worse! More Like Stasi-On-The-Potomac The process is the punishment, and the Biden/Obama junta, ably abetted by the Deep StateTM is conspiring to destroy the career and livelihood of an attorney whose only "crime" was representing his client. Two corrupt apparatchiks of the left lead... Published:3/31/2024 11:01:01 AM
[Markets] Biden Claims Saudi Arabia, Qatar 'Ready To Normalize' With Israel Biden Claims Saudi Arabia, Qatar 'Ready To Normalize' With Israel

Via The Cradle

US President Joe Biden said at a campaign event on Thursday that Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are ready for a full normalization of ties with Israel. During the event – which was meant to show unity in the Democratic Party ahead of US elections in November this year – Biden was joined on stage by former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

"I’ve been working with the Saudis and with all the other Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan and Qatar. They’re prepared to fully recognize Israel. There has to be a post-Gaza plan, and there has to be a trade to a two-state solution. It doesn’t have to occur today. It has to be a progression and I think we can do that," Biden said. 

Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Since the outbreak of the war in Gaza, which has resulted in a reported over 32,000 mostly civilian deaths, Saudi Arabia has repeatedly stated that normalization with Tel Aviv is still on the table.

However, Riyadh has doubled down on its demands for concessions to the Palestinians, including, most prominently, the demand for the eventual realization of statehood. 

Washington has been devising a plan for post-war Gaza, which includes the idea of a "reformed" Palestinian Authority (PA) assuming control over administration in the strip. In late February, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu unveiled a similar plan, which included demilitarizing Gaza, forming a local governing authority, and a broader normalization pact with Arab states, including the Saudis. 

Politico reported on the same day as Biden’s campaign event that the White House, State Department, and Pentagon are discussing the potential establishment of either a "multinational force" or a "Palestinian peacekeeping team" to oversee the affairs of a post-war Gaza. 

Yet Israel has yet to achieve its goal of dismantling the Palestinian resistance and is continuing brutal and incessant airstrikes daily. "There are too many innocent victims, Israelis and Palestinians," Biden added at the event. 

"We’re in a position where Israel’s very existence is at stake. You had all those people massacred," the president said about 7 October, adding: "It’s understandable Israel has such a profound anger and Hamas is still there, but we must in-act, stop the effort that is resulting in significant deaths of innocent civilians and particularly children."

Several pro-Palestine activists erupted in chants throughout the campaign event, accusing Biden of complicity in the 'genocide' being carried out against the Palestinian people in Gaza. 

The president’s approval ratings have suffered significantly in recent months as a result of his handling of the war in Gaza, particularly due to Washington's continued fueling of the Israeli war effort with funds and munitions.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/30/2024 - 11:40
Published:3/30/2024 11:11:29 AM
[Biden Administration] WATCH: Joe Biden's Senior Moment of the Week (Vol. 87)

President Joe Biden attended a bigwig fundraiser in New York City this week alongside Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, the notorious sex pest. Donald Trump attended the wake of a murdered police officer.

The post WATCH: Joe Biden's Senior Moment of the Week (Vol. 87) appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:3/30/2024 5:19:28 AM
[2024 Election] Trouble in Paradise: Division on Left Imperils Joe Biden's Reelection Prospects

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators gather for the "Flood Manhattan for Gaza" rally outside Radio City Music Hall where US President Joe Biden is attending a fundraiser for his re-election campaign, in New York, March 28, 2024. (Photo by Leonardo Munoz / AFP) (Photo by LEONARDO MUNOZ/AFP via Getty Images)
Protests and disruptions from pro-Palestinian demonstrators at President Joe Biden's glitzy, elitist fundraiser on Thursday are the latest examples of extreme division on the left regarding his handling of the Israel-Hamas war, which is jeopardizing his reelection prospects.

The post Trouble in Paradise: Division on Left Imperils Joe Biden’s Reelection Prospects appeared first on Breitbart.

Published:3/29/2024 3:37:21 PM
[Politics] BS Detected! DNC Desperate to Change the Subject After Yesterday's Optics Disaster for Biden Published:3/29/2024 11:46:10 AM
[Politics] BREAKING: Joe Biden is trying to force trucking industry to go electric with outrageous new regulations While Joe Biden parties with Obama and Clinton in New York City, his radical EPA is releasing new rules that will force the trucking industry to switch to very expensive electric trucks . . . Published:3/29/2024 10:35:38 AM
[2024 Election] Obama Snaps at Protesters at Glitzy Fundraiser with Joe Biden, Bill Clinton

Barack Obama
Former President Barack Obama snapped at protesters at a glitzy star-studded fundraiser in New York City meant to bring in millions for President Joe Biden's 2024 presidential campaign.

The post Obama Snaps at Protesters at Glitzy Fundraiser with Joe Biden, Bill Clinton appeared first on Breitbart.

Published:3/29/2024 8:33:00 AM
[] Biden PARTYING With Lizzo While Trump Attended Cop's Wake MUST Look Bad 'Cuz Lefties Are Freaking TF OUT Published:3/29/2024 8:00:34 AM
[2024 Election] Exclusive: Trump Camp Smashes ‘Three Stooges’ Biden, Obama, Clinton for Skipping Slain NYC Officer’s Wake to Fundraise

Biden, Obama, Clinton
Donald Trump's campaign is ripping Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton for disrespecting a slain NYPD officer by skipping his wake.

The post Exclusive: Trump Camp Smashes ‘Three Stooges’ Biden, Obama, Clinton for Skipping Slain NYC Officer’s Wake to Fundraise appeared first on Breitbart.

Published:3/28/2024 2:51:56 PM
[] Panicked Obama, Bill Clinton Rally to Boost Biden Published:3/28/2024 12:05:40 PM
[Uncategorized] #RIP: Sen. Joe Lieberman Has Died At Age 82

As a reminder, it was Lieberman who spared us from Obama's "public option" in the ObamaCare push

The post #RIP: Sen. Joe Lieberman Has Died At Age 82 first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:3/27/2024 8:29:19 PM
[Markets] The Roberts Court May Force You To Drive An EV The Roberts Court May Force You To Drive An EV

Authored by Thomas McArdle via The Epoch Times,

The Biden administration has just required that the majority of automotive vehicles manufactured be electric by 2032, inflicting upon the American people troublesome cars whose price is an exorbitant $53,500 on average and that cost a fortune to repair. House Speaker Mike Johnson warned that the move will “devastate auto manufacturers.”

While electric vehicles (EVs) totaled less than 8 percent of sales of new cars last year, the Biden rule demands they reach as much as 56 percent in less than a decade, and as much as 36 percent for plug-in hybrid vehicles. The regulatory method to be employed is mandating that automakers cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than half by eight years from now. Far sooner than that as a result, just several years down the road, Americans may no longer be able to afford an ordinary gasoline-powered vehicle.

The extremism of the new regulations is a direct result of something many Americans likely didn’t think had anything to do with revolutionizing and dictating the ways they get themselves from point A to point B—2022’s so-called Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

While doing nothing to reduce inflation, the law acted as step one of the implementation of President Joe Biden’s Green New Deal, giving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explicit powers regarding greenhouse gases and in forcing solar, wind, and other expensive alternatives to fossil fuels on the private sector. The IRA’s Title VI amended the Clean Air Act to identify by name pollutants, including CO2, so the EPA would have congressional authorization to regulate them and shift to pricier green forms of energy.

Overlaid on the new powers were massive amounts of new taxpayer cash, with the act spending approximately $370 billion in incentives for solar panels, EVs, and other environmentalist wares that can’t make it in the market. Demand for electric transportation, meanwhile, looks unpromising, with Ford reducing EV manufacturing to the tune of the withdrawal of $12 billion, and Toyota looking more to hybrids than EVs.

The Biden regs set the stage for a battle royale in the Supreme Court, but to know why, let’s back up.

Congress had in 2010 settled the issue of whether carbon emissions from coal plants could be capped, deciding in favor of coal and thus saving an industry that directly provides livelihoods for tens of thousands of Americans. President Barack Obama responded by issuing EPA regulations that imposed such a cap, his administration’s Clean Power Plan of 2015. This ended the constraint against the EPA’s imposing emission reduction methods that would put coal plants out of business.

In effect, President Obama took it upon himself to rewrite the 1970 Clean Air Act via the use of an obscure, vague provision within it and force coal plants that reached the carbon emissions cap to stop operations, finance new plants classified as clean, or buy their way out via emissions allowances—anesthetizingly referred to as “cap and trade.” His autocratic scheme had the obvious goal of shutting down the nation’s coal industry in stark defiance of Congress’s wishes, using established statutory language to exercise new powers not authorized or intended by those old laws.

Not surprisingly, coal industry states such as West Virginia sued the EPA. And in 2022 in a 6–3 decision, the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in favor of the Mountain State, and 19 others, against the environmental agency and its “expert” bureaucrats in exercising these powers not granted by lawmakers.

Quoting Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s statement in a 2017 case, Chief Justice John Roberts pointed out in the majority opinion that the justices “presume that ‘Congress intends to make major policy decisions itself, not leave those decisions to agencies.’”

“Thus, in certain extraordinary cases, both separation of powers principles and a practical understanding of legislative intent make us ‘reluctant to read into ambiguous statutory text’ the delegation claimed to be lurking there,” he wrote.

An agency such as the EPA “must point to ‘clear congressional authorization’ for the power it claims.”

The misnamed Inflation Reduction Act was written by Democrats to function as that clear legislative license the chief justice demanded; one Harvard law professor predicted it would strongly discourage future lawsuits against the EPA. But the new powers the IRA gives the EPA still do not go as far as President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which imposed exacting carbon emission reductions upon individual states based on their various energy consumption levels, each state being required to submit a plan or have the EPA force its own plan on them.

Despite the Harvard professor’s soothsaying, litigation against the agency is sure to materialize. Will the West Virginia v. EPA majority hold and view President Biden’s new plan to wreck the American automotive industry as another executive branch power grab that extends beyond Congress’s intentions? Will Chief Justice Roberts be flattered that federal legislators provided the “clear congressional authorization” he suggested, if indeed he determines that is what it is? Or might others among the six SCOTUS conservatives making up the West Virginia majority peel away?

If Congress really does want to de-industrialize the United States of America in the name of global warming, it seems reasonable to insist that it does so in language that cannot be interpreted otherwise. Whether the Supreme Court chooses to demand that standard will determine whether auto transport is soon taken out of financial reach for millions of Americans.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/27/2024 - 13:25
Published:3/27/2024 12:43:44 PM
[Markets] "The Squad" Earmarked $224 Million Since 2023 – Led By AOC, It's Pork Barrel Spending By The Democratic Socialists "The Squad" Earmarked $224 Million Since 2023 – Led By AOC, It's Pork Barrel Spending By The Democratic Socialists

Authored by Adam Andrzejewski via OpenTheBooks substack,

“The Squad’ is a group of ultra-left wing Congressional socialists which has been the toast of so-called “progressives” for the last several years.

Its members might promise a worker’s paradise, in which government “withers away,” in the words of Vladimir Lenin, but for now they are only too happy to direct government largesse to the folks back home.

In fact, The Squad members have earmarked $224 million and many absurd pet projects since 2023. 

Download the full database of The Squad’s 2023 and 2024 earmarks here.

Our figures include the earmarks in the most recent $1.2 trillion spending bill from last week.

It’s a stunning display of logrolling – deep inside the status quo – they say they hate as a tool of capitalist oppression.

The Squad maxed out their pork in 2023 and 2024. Their 215 earmarked projects cost the rest of us (overwhelmingly non-socialist) U.S. taxpayers $224.1 million. Every dime was borrowed against our national debt.

New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), AKA, “AOC,” who last week did not know that “RICO” names a crime, is The Squad’s most prominent voice. She is celebrated as a “socialist superstar” by the Democratic Socialists of America.

Representative Ocasio-Cortez earmarked $1.2 million for a new building for the International Muslim Women’s Empowerment Project. Its founder teaches a “hijab grab” self-defense move involving a “kick to the groin.”

And then there’s the $500,000 for the Billion Oyster project in her district. Rich people eat oysters. However, the law prohibits anyone from either fishing or eating oysters in the Hudson River. So, this is only an engineering project for eco-marginalized people in Queens.

Other Squad members are Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), Cori Bush (D-MO), Greg Casar (D-TX), Summer Lee (D-PA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).

The Squad Practices Race-based Earmarking

Squad members shoveled some pretty stinky stuff into spending bills. It appears race-based legislating is OK if a progressive does it:

  • $850,000 to create jobs for the Black community near George Floyd Square, whose death in 2020 “added to the stress faced by the community and increased the need for support and stability in housing and commerce.” Patron: Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

  • $1.7 million to help the Environmental Leaders of Color build a “green tech park.” The group’s goal is to “assist marginalized communities in preparing for climate change’s adverse effects … so that they can thrive like healthy plants in their natural ecosystem.” Patron: Congressman Jamaal Bowman.

  • $1 million for the Immigrant Opportunity Center expansion. It’s run by CAPI USA, a nonprofit that “guides refugees and immigrants in their journey toward self-determination and social equality.” Patron: Congresswoman Ilhan Omar.

  • $1.35 million to New Immigrant Community Empowerment, a nonprofit that advocates for citizenship for all illegal immigrants. Patron: Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez ($500,000). The group received another $850,000 this year from Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY).

  • $1.5 million to build special grocery stores and education facilities for Black farmers in the community of St. Louis. Patron: Congresswoman Cori Bush.

  • $1 million for the San Antonio College Empowerment Center, which runs an Undocumented Student Support Program to help immigrants enroll in the school. Patron: Congressman Greg Casar.

The Squad’s Green Earmarks

Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez introduced her Green New Deal, in 2019. It’s the focus of 21 earmarks to build green infrastructure, move away from fossil fuels, and involve minority communities in climate policy. She and her colleagues find ways to get us to pay for their policy preference, such as:

  • $1 million to build “a network of intergenerational, trauma-informed waterfront green spaces.” The project already received $792,000 in 2022 earmark funding. Patron: Congresswoman Ayanna Presley

  • $466,000 to improve the energy efficiency of a St. Louis homeless shelter. Patron: Congresswoman Cori Bush.

  • $4 million to build an “industrial green beltway” in Dearborn, Michigan. Patron: Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.

  • $500,000 from Ocasio-Cortez will build an oyster reef to “address longstanding environmental justice inequities facing underrepresented communities in Queens.” Oyster habitats in New York have been damaged by pollution and harvesting them for food is illegal.

  • $850,000 to repair a bridge that “connects minority environmental justice communities” in Pennsylvania. Patron: Congresswoman Summer Lee.

  • $2 million for Everett, Mass. to build a park for “low-income BIPOC residents” to “stay cool during increasingly hot summers.” (“BIPOC” is an acronym for “Black, indigenous and other people of color.”) Patron: Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley.

Stopping Insane Earmarks. Or Not.

In 2024, when it got too insane, Republican members of the House finally got serious and cut a few of the whacky earmarks.

For example, Rep. Pressley’s earmark to build affordable housing for LGBTQ seniors did not make it into the final House bill.

However, in the second minibus bill, Pressley was able to add back $850,000 for LGBTQ “The Pryde” senior housing by moving the earmark to the U.S. Senate. Pressley called Republicans homophobic for attempting to eliminate her LGBTQ earmarks.

Background

From time immemorial, politicians of every stripe have used their positions to benefit those who sent them to D.C., while sticking taxpayers with the tab.

Congresspeople all play together in the sandbox, promising not to rat each other out for some strikingly goofy – or downright weird – local spending. Things got so out of hand 15 years ago, that a bi-partisan coalition led by former U.S. Senator Dr. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and President Barack Obama actually banned earmarking for ten years.

It didn’t last.

Regardless of what you may have heard about GOP hate for former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), three years ago, the House Republican caucus, in a secret vote, joined Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats to reinstate earmarks.

That moment of fiscal fealty was replaced by the naked need for pork, and in the instance, a new alliance with the Speaker.

And so, we have more tabs to face than a diet soda aisle at a big Costco.

In 2024, the so-called “minibus measures” contained 8,051 earmarks totaling $15.7 BILLION TAXPAYER DOLLARS. In 2023, the year-end omnibus was stuffed with 7,510 earmarks worth just over $16 BILLION TAXPAYER DOLLARS.

Congress must disclose earmarks online. However, it posts them in hard-to-review PDF files. (Our team at OpenTheBooks.com converts those files into Excel spreadsheets to more effectively parse what they are hiding.)

When Congress knows what it is doing is wrong, it always makes it a bit harder to find.

In all too many ways, earmarks – from both Democrats and Republicans -- are no exception.

Next week – “The Freedom Caucus Decides It Is Free to Earmark”

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/26/2024 - 17:40
Published:3/26/2024 4:49:37 PM
[World] Biden, Obama tout ACA ahead of fundraiser next week Biden, Obama and Pelosi marked the 14th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act with a campaign message. Published:3/23/2024 2:49:31 PM
[] Obama Judge Declares That Illegal Aliens Have the Right to Carry Guns (Which Of Course Liberals Deny That US Citizens Have) Of course, of course. Americans have no right to arm themselves -- but illegal aliens do! In a concerning legal twist, an Obama-era judge ruled to empower illegal immigrants with gun ownership rights, defying American legal traditions and prioritizing non-citizens... Published:3/22/2024 12:51:19 PM
[Markets] Terrorist Caught Illegally Crossing Border Says He Was 'Here To Make A Bomb' Terrorist Caught Illegally Crossing Border Says He Was 'Here To Make A Bomb'

Authored by Alice Giordano via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

A member of the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah was caught entering the country illegally at the Texas border, where he told agents he was plotting to make a bomb once settled in the country, according to a March 19 federal court document.

A group of more than 1,000 illegal immigrants walks toward a U.S. Border Patrol field processing center after crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas, on Dec. 18, 2023. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Basel Bassel Ebbadi, a Lebanese national, told a Texas border agent that he was “here to make a bomb” and that he spent several years training with the Hizballah terrorist group, an alternate name for Hezbollah, and he “was taught to kill people who were not Muslim.”

The group’s main operations are in Lebanon, Mr. Ebbadi’s native country.

Mr. Ebbadi, who is listed as being 22 years old, was transferred to the El Paso Sectors Human Intelligence Unit for further questioning, according to the criminal complaint filed by Border Patrol agent Jose L. Benitez-Medina in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas.

Mr. Benitez-Medina wrote in his complaint that Mr. Ebbadi entered the United States on March 9 by crossing the Rio Grande in an area of Texas that is not a designated port of entry for migrants.

Instead, he crossed into the United States about four miles from the Bridge of The Americas Port of Entry in El Paso. According the court document, the border agent indicated that Mr. Ebbadi volunteered his ties to Hezbollah and was initially processed for entry.

Mr. Ebbadi is currently being held at the El Paso Hardened Facility.

Past Terror Against US

As part of his court complaint, the border patrol agent noted that on Oct. 8, 1997, the United States designated Hezbollah a foreign terrorist organization and that in 2017, officials added “Lebanese Hizballah” as an alias for Hezbollah. He also listed several other aliases for Hezbollah, including Islamic Jihad for the Liberation of Palestine, Islamic Jihad, Organization of Right Against Wrong, Followers of the Prophet Muhammad, and the Revolutionary Justice Organization.

The terrorist group has been found responsible for a number of large-scale terrorist attacks against the United States, including the deadly 1983 suicide truck bombings of the American Embassy and U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut. It has also planted bombs on buses and hijacked passenger airplanes around the world.

In 1994, 85 people were killed when the group detonated bombs at a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) levied terrorism charges against a Hezbollah member found to be plotting attacks against U.S. embassies.

In 2004, the national commission appointed to study 9/11 and other terrorist attacks released a 585-page report that concluded that Hezbollah was involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The 9/11 Commission also linked the group to Hamas, the radical militia group that carried out the recently grisly attacks on Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, 2023. Hezbollah leaders praised the attack.

In 2008, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) started Project Cassandra as a way to stymie Hezbollah drug and weapons trafficking operations and money laundering activity in the United States.

However, the DEA initiative was ended by President Barack Obama soon after he took office in 2009.

In 2015, Defense Department financial crimes analyst David Asher, who helped start Project Cassandra, told Politico that the Obama administration expressed concerns the project would lead to alienating Iranian officials.

“They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down,” Mr. Asher said.

In May 2023, the DOJ seized 13 website domains it said Hezbollah was using to plot future terrorist attacks, including against the United States.

Today’s web domain seizures deny terrorist organizations and affiliates significant sources of support and make clear we will not allow these groups to use U.S. infrastructure to threaten the American people,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen said in a statement about the Hezbollah domains.

Suspected Terrorists Living in the US

Earlier this week, the New York Post reported it had obtained internal documents from the agency showing a Hezbollah member had been nabbed at the border in El Paso.

ICE’s El Paso Enforcement and Removal Office declined repeated requests by The Epoch Times to confirm Mr. Ebbadi’s detention.

After several requests made over the course of two days about Mr. Ebbadi, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol finally responded on March 18 with an email indicating only that “the individual referenced is in U.S. custody.”

Media outlets all over the world, including The Jerusalem Post and Hindustan Times, reported on the news that a Hezbollah terrorist was found to have crossed illegally into the United States.

Members of other known terrorist organizations have been living illegally in the United States.

In February, Patrick Lechleitner, President Joe Biden’s acting ICE director, said that in 2023, a Somali terrorist from the Islamic military group al-Shabaab was released into the United States after illegally crossing the U.S. border, The Daily Caller reported. He had been freely roaming until his arrest on Jan. 20 in Minneapolis, according to ICE records.

Al-Shabaab is known to have ties with the al-Qaeda terrorist group, which was linked to the 9/11 attacks.

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/21/2024 - 23:40
Published:3/21/2024 11:53:41 PM
[Culture of Corruption] How Obama, Biden and the Vindmans screwed up Ukraine

    Ukraine, Ukraine, Ukraine. It’s out of the mouths of democrats every day. They spam X with it. They’re far more concerned with the border security of Ukraine than ...

The post How Obama, Biden and the Vindmans screwed up Ukraine appeared first on Flopping Aces.

Published:3/21/2024 10:28:44 AM
[Markets] Watch: CBS Reporter Horrified When Black Former Democrats Say They Will Vote Trump Watch: CBS Reporter Horrified When Black Former Democrats Say They Will Vote Trump

Authored by Steve Watson via Modernity.news,

During a segment on the political sentiments of Black voters in Georgia, a reporter was shocked when a couple who were formerly Democrats declared that they are now going to vote for Donald Trump.

CBS News correspondent Nikole Killion was clearly horrified when Azad Ahmadi and his girlfriend, who had both previously voted for Obama, and were registered Democrats, announced they have both switched allegiances.

While Mr Ahmadi said he voted for Trump in 2016 and 2020, Alexandria announced that she had voted for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, before declaring that Trump will get her vote this time around.

She explained that the economy and the cost of living while trying to raise a family are the overriding factors, while Ahmadi noted that the Democrat party long ago stopped aligning with his outlook.

Ahmadi, now a member of the Georgia Black Republicans, explained that he changed his stance just prior to Trump’s first term, adding “I’m saying first term because I’m pretty sure he’ll be in there for a second term soon. In either case, post-Obama I decided that the party just wasn’t suitable to the goals that I have.”

A shocked Killion asked “How did you come to that conclusion? Because at the end of the day, former President Obama was the first African-American president in history.”

Ahmadi responded “Absolutely. I attended the inauguration in his first term. I grew up outside of Washington, D.C. in the ’80s and ’90s, came through the system as an institutional Democrat, went through a lot of the experiences that young black men go through. Good and bad. Ending up leaving that environment. Grew up. Started looking at the world through a new lens.”

Watch the full video below:

Trump has seen a huge increase in support from Black voters, while Biden is seeing his numbers tank.

Black voters are just not buying what Biden is selling:

*  *  *

Your support is crucial in helping us defeat mass censorship. Please consider donating via Locals or check out our unique merch. Follow us on X @ModernityNews.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/20/2024 - 11:45
Published:3/20/2024 11:19:26 AM
[Markets] "I Believe In The Black Swan": Ron Paul And Tucker Talk Ukraine, US Interventionism, And 'The Most Important Thing' "I Believe In The Black Swan": Ron Paul And Tucker Talk Ukraine, US Interventionism, And 'The Most Important Thing'

Ron Paul and Tucker Carlson sat down for an in-depth and thought-provoking exchange spanning U.S. foreign policy, the philosophical underpinnings of government intervention, and the overarching consequences of monetary policy.

Subscribers to the Tucker Carlson Network can see the entire interview here...

On Ukraine

Paul, a longtime critic of US foreign policy - particularly interventionism, slammed America's involvement in the Ukraine war. Carlson played a soundbite of Paul in 2014, when the United States was deep into the reformation of Ukraine.

"We've already spent $5 billion over the last ten years trying to pick and choose the leadership of Ukraine ... And then we participated in the overthrow of the Yanukovych government," (for which then-VP Joe Biden was point-man within the Obama administration)."

And I take a noninterventionist foreign policy position. It's not our business. It doesn't serve anybody's interests. It's part of the same thing that led us into the disaster in the Middle East. So a lot of people die and a lot of money is spent...

-Ron Paul, 2014

Carlson asked Paul just how he knew all that in 2014, to which Paul replied: "Sometimes the people who are running their operation gives you an idea, like like Victoria Nuland," who he called "the worst kind of warmonger."

"Who benefits from these bombs being dropped?" Paul continued.

On Monetary Policy and Economic Principles

According to Paul, America needs to "go through rough tumble times because the price always has to be paid," adding "How do you liquidate the debt? You know, we can't walk away from that debt.

When asked by Carlson how to do this, Paul said that the government would essentially inflate their way out of it.

"You print money, and every time you print money, the value of the dollar goes down. So the value of the debt goes down ... If you double the money supply and prices go up by 50%, it doesn't work that way. But if you do that, the real debt, it goes down. So it's a theft, it's a tax, it's evil." -Ron Paul

"So you inflate your way out of it," Carlson replied.

"Yeah. And that's that's what will happen," Paul said.

Non-Aggression

Carlson then asked a probing question regarding Paul's comment that he speaks to the "remnant" of people who understand what's going on, and who find each other - and that it's more than just practical and political, but spiritual.

"I think that, that's the same principle, you know, the non-aggression principle. Yeah. I think more Christians should know about non-aggression," Paul replied, adding that he can't stand lawmakers who "speak well and are dedicated to the Constitution and freedom and peace, and they go on and on. And, yes, they're the biggest war mongers ever. They never voted for a nickel against the military and God complex, but they still call themselves a conservative constitutionalist."

Changing Minds

While Ron Paul says he doesn't have the perfect answer to what's going on in Ukraine ("Well, now we have World War three on a doorstep. And every day we try to start another fight with Russia. And there we go. On and on. So it's, it's it's not going to be stopped that way"), he said he's encouraged by people changing their minds towards war.

Paul says that people are "starved for the truth," and when they learn it, they learn that "things can get better."

'Don't be a Counterfeiter"

According to Paul, it's easy for him to discuss monetary policy because the US government is "a counterfeiter."

"It's illegal. The Constitution says that only gold. Silver can be legal tender. So. And here. Yeah. Guess what? 1930, 34, when, Roosevelt made gold illegal," Paul said, adding that "it isn't hard for people to understand counterfeit. And the other thing is, this is not hard for people to understand taxation. It's a tax. It's a vicious tax. It's a tax on the poor in the middle class. And it enhances war. It enhances all this welfare."

How to Prepare

Carlson then asked Paul what the average person should do "if what you have predicted comes true," which he thinks it "likely will" since "there's no way to get out of the debt and a way to liquidate it except through inflation. Hyperinflation. How do you protect your family? Like, what practical steps do you take?"

To which Paul replied, "I think people should know about how how oh, throughout history, even currently, we're in the middle of it. You know, the depreciation of the money and what people can do so that they, they that I list is a real eye opener for me.

"But you can't do that forever. I think we're reaching this point where, some sudden thing is going to happen. I believe in that theory of the Black Swan."

Drilling down, Paul suggested that people learn the "most important thing" to prepare:

Understand what's going on in education, which is "why I happen to have a home schooling program, and I try to teach this stuff early because you can't change it."

Study and understand what's going on in the world. Paul says that "you have your guns and you have stored food and all that, it's not it's not going to work," adding "You have to know it's coming and it's very, very dangerous. And that's why I love to see smaller units of government." Essentially, the idea would be that in a "black swan" scenario, states would "act like they ought to act" and protect their people.

"But really, the most important thing you do is study and understand what's going on."

Own Gold. According to Paul (and what every ZH reader should already know), "Gold can protect you from inflation," something that's been "known for 6,000 years."

"You know, just since the Bretton Woods broke down. August 15th, 1971. If you were betting on a gold coin or, you know, your dollar dollar lost 98% of its purchasing power and gold went from $35 up. And that was it. You know, it's around 2000. Yeah, that's a ways to go. Yeah. Because the dollar has a ways to go to. Yeah. They can't they can't they can restore the dollar. But but there has to be a liquidation of debt..."

"And it'll come down," Paul continued.

BUT (and it's a big but...): "You can have your gold, you can have food, you can have your cabin and and guns and all this. I said it won't matter if you don't have your freedom."

'There Was A Coup And We Lost'

Paul lamented how big government is "taking stuff from us all the time," and most of it comes from the middle class, who is "poor," and "suffer the consequence of inflation."

"Very wealthy people don't have to worry about the cost of a loaf of bread, but what they make, they, they they do have to, they have to worry about the big system. Because when the big system goes on, there's not many people who are going to escape it. There will be some, Paul continued, adding that we have "deserted the constitution."

Paul says that the government has been taken over, the precise date of which was November 22nd, 1963 - the date JFK was assassinated."

"So you you say in this an I don't think it's a controversial statement anymore, but the CIA, of course, was involved in his murder," Carlson said. "You said you believe that his fate was sealed on June 10th, 1963, when he gave a commencement address at American University. Fairly famous speech, which I plan to watch tonight, actually. About peace. Tell us what you mean."

To which Paul replied, "Kennedy was controversial. He wasn't always anti-war as he was leading up to his death. Yes. He had he had some foreign policies that I wouldn't be endorsing. But he was he was coming this way," adding "And, it became known that because he did speak out and I think it wasn't that many days, you know, before his assassination."

Paul said that during all his time in Congress, he never heard anyone say that the CIA was involved in Kennedy's assassination, aside from his close friends.

He did explain his take on the deep state...

At the end of the day, Paul says "the Republic is gone."

That said, Paul and Carlson agreed that one should have optimism and faith in the principles of liberty, non-aggression and personal responsibility, as Paul has a profound belief in the capacity for change and improvement.

Tyler Durden Wed, 03/20/2024 - 07:45
Published:3/20/2024 6:45:11 AM
[Markets] It’s Time For GOP To Unite Behind Trump It’s Time For GOP To Unite Behind Trump

Authored by Bernie Marcus via RealClear Wire,

For the first time in my 94 years on earth, I fear for the future of our democracy. I see the federal government using its enormous powers with contempt for the governed instead of with the consent of the governed as our founders envisioned.

Fundamental change in America is occurring by executive order or the force of the government’s police powers instead of through the legislative process required by the Constitution. From this, I fear that free market capitalism may be replaced by big government socialism. I also fear the erosion of our rights and freedoms, including parental rights, freedom of speech and religion, and due process.   

In the past, I always had the confidence that a president who was a threat to democracy could be voted out of office in the next election. I am no longer that confident today. My lack of confidence is because the media today is not the watchdog over government that our Founders intended it to be. It is instead the lapdog of government, shielding the public from the entire truth about the policies and actions of the current administration.

One vivid example of this became a meme: the television reporters declaring while doing their standups that the riots in 2020 were “mainly peaceful” as fires raged in the background. I was not surprised earlier this month by the reprise of “Russia collusion.” Nor will I  be surprised if the media soon characterizes a Trump rally as an “insurrection.” The media may be the biggest threat to our democracy since only well-informed voters guarantee the future of it.

There is more on the line in this year’s presidential election than ever before. It is a mistake to assume that this election will be a rerun of 2020. The presumptive nominees and the world have changed since then. President Biden can no longer portray himself as “kindly Uncle Joe” or a moderate Democrat. His recent State of the Union Address, which was the most divisive of any I recall, reveals he is a very angry man and not someone Americans would want as their uncle. His policies and the undemocratic means by which he implemented them confirm he has been pulled to the far left by far-left extremists in the Democrat Party. 

The Biden administration’s policies invited an invasion along our southern border by millions of unvetted people, compromised national security, allowed crime to spin out of control in our streets, forced middle-class Americans to raid their retirement funds to put food on their tables, and divided America more than at any time in our history since the Civil War. Joe Biden has fulfilled Barack Obama’s promise to “transform” America. This is not a welcome transformation, as confirmed by Biden’s dismal job approval ratings.

When Donald Trump was in office, his Democrats and their media allies portrayed him as a pugnacious New Yorker who “did not act presidential” and somehow craved dictatorial powers. They’re still doing this, although they’ve upped the rhetoric. Over the weekend, Nancy Pelosi invoked Adolf Hitler while attacking the former president.

His detractors are unwilling to look past Trump’s rough edges and see the results he achieved during his first of what I hope will be two terms. His policies achieved the highest wage rate in 50 years while keeping inflation in check, the lowest unemployment rate for minorities, and energy independence for America, among other stunning results. Moreover, his policies and the projection of his and America’s strength kept the country out of any new foreign conflicts. It is essential to our national security that America’s enemies fear our president.

This does not mean that President Trump did not have to do better. He did, and he has done so since leaving office. Having become close to him in the last seven years, I have seen a side of him that is not seen by the public. He is truly one of the most misunderstood men in America, and I and other friends of his have urged him to let the public see the real Donald Trump. His recent praise of Nikki Haley was unifying and shows the magnanimous side of him that his friends often see. Expect more of the real Donald Trump to emerge.

The world has also changed since 2020. It is much less safe, and America’s enemies have become stronger and more emboldened. China, Iran, and Russia have become enriched by changes in America’s energy policy: canceling the Keystone Pipeline, reducing oil drilling leases, and blocking all oil drilling on certain federal lands. America’s cities are less safe because of the illegal entry into the country of millions of unvetted people from China, Russia, Central and South America, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. This is compounded by the unwillingness of local Democratic Party prosecutors to prosecute violent criminals. Moreover, the Taliban have reopened terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. The stakes now are even higher than the first Trump-Biden match. 

The running mate who Donald Trump picks will be more important than in prior elections. Although he proved in his first term that he is the most capable person to solve America’s problems, it will likely take more than four years to solve the mountain of problems America now faces.

There are several actions conservative donors should take to ensure that Trump-Biden II will have a different outcome than their first match. First, the different factions of the Republican Party must unite behind Trump and participate fully in the presidential election. Put another way, no one should sit out the presidential election or withhold their financial support to our nominee.

Second, those who have supported constitutionally dubious schemes like invoking the 14th Amendment to try to keep Trump off the ballot should discontinue such efforts.

Third, conservative donors should fund efforts to fill holes in Republican election strategies. There are, for example, gaps between Democrat and Republican efforts on early voting for low-propensity voters.  Democrats have a tremendous advantage here. There are also gaps in election mechanics, e.g., Zuckbucks are still flowing into some of the battleground states.

Fourth, Democrats have a consequential advantage in the youth vote – there is a ceiling at 35% of millennial and Gen-Z voters casting votes for the Republican nominee in the last three presidential elections. Glenn Youngkin proved that this gap can be narrowed as he split the youth vote with Terry McAuliffe in the 2021 Virginia gubernatorial election. The key to reaching and persuading young voters is more influential messengers, more impactful messages, and “clean” message distribution channels.

America is worth saving!

Bernie Marcus is the co-founder of Job Creators Network, a philanthropist, and the retired co-founder of The Home Depot.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/19/2024 - 19:40
Published:3/19/2024 7:37:48 PM
[Markets] "They Came For Me, They Can Come For You" - Former Trump Adviser Peter Navarro Reports To Prison "They Came For Me, They Can Come For You" - Former Trump Adviser Peter Navarro Reports To Prison

Authored by Jacob Burg via The Epoch Times,

Peter Navarro voiced frustration at a press conference on March 19, just before turning himself over to authorities in Miami, Florida, to begin his four-month sentence at the city’s minimum-security prison.

The former Trump White House trade adviser is the first official from President Donald Trump’s administration to serve jail time. He was found in contempt of Congress in 2023 for refusing to comply with the Democrat-led House Jan. 6 select committee subpoena.

Mr. Navarro declined to turn over records for the committee, citing the former president’s executive privilege that allows some presidential records to be blocked from disclosure.

“I am not nervous,” Mr. Navarro said to a reporter on March 19. “I am pissed.”

“When I walk in that prison today, the justice system, such as it is, will have done a crippling blow to the constitutional separation of powers of executive privilege,” he added.

Mr. Navarro reaffirmed his belief that a White House aide cannot be compelled by Congress to testify, and repeated his claims of executive privilege regarding the documents and testimony that the House Jan. 6 select committee was seeking through its subpoena.

Wearing a black shirt and gray jacket, he appeared in front of cameras at a strip mall parking lot across the road from the Miami prison where he will be serving his time. He was focused and alert while remarking on his case.

“I am the first senior White House adviser in the history of our republic that has ever been charged with this alleged crime,” Mr. Navarro said, defending his use of the term “alleged” because he believes the DOJ has historically “maintained the principle of absolute testimony immunity” for White House officials.

“And it was only with my case that somehow that has changed,” Mr. Navarro added.

He argued that as as one of the former president’s “highest advisers,” he acted as an “alter ego of the president,” which he believes grants him executive privilege and is essential to “effective presidential decision making.”

“And the principle here related to effective presidential decision-making is simply that if a president does not have the ability—between and among his advisers—to get confidential information in the sanctity of the Oval Office, he will make poor decisions which will harm the Republic,” Mr. Navarro said.

“That’s what this is about.”

In his statement on March 18, Mr. Navarro said his case should have a “chilling” effect on every American.

“The partisan nature of the imprisoning of a top senior White House aide should chill the bones of every American,” he said.

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Bid to Avoid Prison Sentence

Mr. Navarro unsuccessfully filed an emergency petition with the Supreme Court on March 15 to avoid reporting to prison on March 19, but that bid was rejected by Chief Justice John Roberts on March 18.

The former White House aide said he would continue to appeal his case following the ruling, even if a resolution comes after the end of his sentence. His prison consultant, Sam Mangel, told The Epoch Times that for someone in Mr. Navarro’s situation with a lack of an existing record, the four-month sentence could be reduced to 90 days.

One of his lawyers, Stanley Brand, told The Epoch Times that Mr. Navarro would be the first White House aide in 240 years to be jailed for contempt of Congress “despite unbroken Department of Justice opinions” that say criminal contempt cannot be applied to them.

However, Mr. Navarro is not the only former Trump White House official in hot water right now.

Steve Bannon, the former chief executive for President Trump’s 2016 campaign and later chief White House strategist, was convicted in 2022 for two counts of contempt of Congress for also refusing a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 select committee.

However, Mr. Bannon’s four-month prison sentence was delayed after he appealed his convictions. Mr. Navarro, who tried the same tactic, failed and must report to prison regardless of his pending appeals.

Some legal analysts have speculated that the two men’s differing fates—despite being convicted of similar offenses—come down to the judges presiding over their cases.

U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols, who is presiding over Mr. Bannon’s case, was appointed by President Trump.

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Mr. Navarro’s case was handled by U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta, an appointee of President Barack Obama.

The former White House aide seemed to agree with that line of reasoning and expressed disappointment while comparing his situation to Mr. Bannon’s, who remains free from prison pending his appeal.

“This is the partisan weaponization of our judicial system,” Mr. Navarro said, referring to the three Democrat-appointed judges who oversaw his appeal.

He also raised his voice while referencing the prosecutors in his case, and alleged one of them has a “Never Trump” bias against the former president.

Surrendering to Prison

Mr. Navarro will serve his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution Miami Camp, a minimum-security prison adjacent to Zoo Miami. Inmates awake to the sound of lions roaring like roosters at sunrise, Mr. Mangel told The Epoch Times.

But the prison is no “Four Seasons,” “Motel Six,” or “club fed,” Mr. Mangel said, as inmates are expected to work as they wait out their sentences.

Mr. Navarro’s other defense attorney, Stanley Woodward, said the former White House aide was checking in ahead of the 2 p.m. deadline to ensure he is processed today and not required to spend time in solitary confinement as part of the check-in process.

Mr. Woodward said they are following standard processes and procedures and are not asking for anything “special” as Mr. Navarro surrenders himself to authorities.

However, he will have the advantage of being welcomed by two of Mr. Mangel’s existing clients who are also serving their sentences at the Miami prison.

“Anyone going into this would naturally be very worried, scared, and concerned. It is a different environment,” Mr. Mangel said.

Mr. Navarro maintained he would manage while serving his sentence, but that it would affect his family the most.

“[A]s hard as it will be on me, and as hard as it will be on anybody who is in there, it is harder on their families.”

In his closing remarks, Mr. Navarro reiterated what worries him the most about his case.

“So I’m pissed,” he said. “That’s what I’m feeling right now. But I’m also afraid of only one thing: I’m afraid for this country. Because what they’re doing should have a chilling effect on every American regardless of their party.

“They come for me; they can come for you.”

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/19/2024 - 14:46
Published:3/19/2024 2:22:16 PM
[] Biden Administration Plots to Save The Iranian Terror-Proxy Hamas By Refusing to Sell Israel Arms and Ammunition The US is now a sponsor of terror, thanks to Obama/Biden. President Biden, keeping Prime Minister Netanyahu at arm's length, is reportedly considering leaving Israel short of the armaments it needs to fight Hamas. Such a politically based move risks... Published:3/19/2024 11:32:12 AM
[91e220fa-4c2c-518f-9e20-3391b8c36346] Obama holds surprise meeting with world leader after report about Biden 'rivalry' President Barack Obama met with UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak for the first time, hours after a report came out of a rivalry between Obama and Biden. Published:3/18/2024 2:43:36 PM
[Democrats] Obama Has Terrible Judgment, But He Was Right About One Thing

Joe Biden is still annoyed that Barack Obama didn't want him to run for president in 2016 (or 2020). He even brought this up to Special Counsel Robert Hur seemingly unprompted during their discussions about classified documents.

The post Obama Has Terrible Judgment, But He Was Right About One Thing appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Published:3/18/2024 2:43:36 PM
[Clips] Schweizer: ByteDance Opposes Profitable TikTok Sale Because China Wants Control, 'Give It Up' if We Can't Pass Bill Schweizer
On Saturday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Fox & Friends,” president of the GAI and a senior contributor to Breitbart News Peter Schweizer, the author of, Blood Money: Why the Powerful Turn a Blind Eye While China Kills Americans, stated that if the House TikTok bill passes, ByteDance will make a profit on the sale of TikTok, and the reason they oppose a sale “is they don’t want to give up the control and the access to our kids.” Schweizer said that TikTok has “a lot of lobbyists. They have several former U.S. senators that are on the payroll, they have senior — former senior campaign advisers, both for Presidents Trump and Obama, and you have these large American investors, including Jeff Yass, who owns a large stake, and they are throwing a lot of money into this. The thing everybody has to keep in mind with these American investors you were talking about, the Chinese law is clear, if these investors disparage or criticize ByteDance, their shares can be seized and taken away from them. So, we should not really, I would argue, take the word of what these investors are saying, because the Chinese government has them over a
Published:3/16/2024 1:15:51 PM
[Markets] Peter Navarro Asks Supreme Court To Allow Him To Avoid Reporting To Prison Pending Appeal Peter Navarro Asks Supreme Court To Allow Him To Avoid Reporting To Prison Pending Appeal

Former Trump White House aide Peter Navarro on March 15 asked the Supreme Court to allow him to avoid reporting to prison for a contempt of Congress conviction as the matter is being appealed.

Peter Navarro, a former advisor to former President Donald Trump, departs the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse in Washington on Jan. 25, 2024. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The Epoch Times' Sam Dorman reports that Navarro's request came after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit denied his request for release from prison pending appeal. Mr. Navarro revealed on March 10 that he was ordered to report to a Miami prison on March 19 for a four-month sentence.

Mr. Navarro filed an emergency petition to Chief Justice John Roberts on Friday afternoon, arguing that his appeal “will raise a number of issues on appeal that he contends are likely to result in the reversal of his conviction, or a new trial.”

“For the first time in our nation’s history, a senior presidential advisor has been convicted of contempt of Congress after asserting executive privilege over a congressional subpoena,” Mr. Navarro’s lawyers wrote.

“Navarro is indisputably neither a flight risk nor a danger to public safety should he be released pending appeal,” they added.

As Zachary Stieber detailed earlier via The Epoch Times, former Trump White House aide Peter Navarro’s bid to delay his prison sentence as he appeals his conviction was rejected on March 14 by a federal court.

Mr. Navarro, who was convicted in 2023 of contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House Jan. 6 select committee, is slated to report to prison on March 19.

His bid to stay out of prison while he appeals his conviction was turned down initially in February by U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta, who found that the trade adviser to former President Donald Trump failed to pose any substantial questions of law in his motion. Mr. Navarro then asked an appeals court to overturn Judge Mehta’s ruling.

In the decision on March 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected the fresh bid.

Appellant has not shown that his appeal presents substantial questions of law or fact likely to result in reversal, new trial, a sentence that does not include a term of imprisonment, or a reduced sentence of imprisonment that is less than the amount of time already served plus the expected duration of the appeal process,” the court said.

The ruling from the three-judge panel, which included Circuit Judges Patricia Millett, Cornelia Pillard, and Robert Wilkins—all of whom were appointed by former President Barack Obama—was unanimous.

Federal law requires individuals seeking release pending an appeal to present a “substantial question of law or fact” that is likely to result in one of the outlined results.

According to circuit precedent, a substantial question is a question “that very well could be decided the other way.”

Mr. Navarro argued in filings to the appeals court that, as a senior presidential adviser, he was protected by executive privilege. He said the case presents questions that could be decided the other way and thus the appeals court should grant his motion.

“Because the congressional subpoena to Dr. Navarro implicated former President Trump’s privilege, it was incumbent upon Congress and/or the Department of Justice to confirm with the Judicial branch that the privilege could be overcome, and, having failed to do so, the indictment as against Dr. Navarro must be dismissed,” one filing stated. “At the very least, this issue presents a “close question” or a question, “that very well could be decided the other way,” and this court should order that Dr. Navarro be released pending his appeal.

Government officials in a brief to the court said that Mr. Navarro didn’t present any substantial questions. Government lawyers said that Mr. Navarro never established that President Trump invoked privilege and that President Joe Biden waived any privilege.

And even if President Trump had asserted executive privilege, Navarro still could not show a likelihood of reversal or a new trial, because it would not have justified his total noncompliance with the subpoena,” they said.

Mr. Navarro had said that even if there was no presumptive privilege, he “reasonably believed he was dutybound to assert former President Trump’s executive privilege,” which he said should preclude prosecution for contempt.

“Once an assertion of executive privilege had been made, it was incumbent upon the respective government branches to navigate its application,” one filing stated.

In another, his lawyers said that “the government blithely dismisses Dr. Navarro’s argument that requiring a formal invocation by a former president risks vitiating the privilege entirely insofar as to hold otherwise would preclude a former president unexpectedly suffering from disability or death to assert the privilege and enable the recalcitrant or disgruntled to affirmatively waive the privilege unbeknownst to the president.”

A lawyer for Mr. Navarro declined to comment on the new ruling.

Mr. Navarro was sentenced to four months in prison by Judge Mehta, another Obama appointee. Mr. Navarro was ordered by federal officials to report to the Bureau of Prisons in Miami for detention no later than 2 p.m. on March 19, according to his lawyers.

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/16/2024 - 09:20
Published:3/16/2024 8:54:07 AM
[Markets] Taibbi: Why The TikTok Ban Is So Dangerous Taibbi: Why The TikTok Ban Is So Dangerous

Authored by Matt Taibbi via Racket News,

Did they tell you the part about giving the president sweeping new powers?

It’s funny how things work.

Last year at this time, Americans overwhelmingly supported a ban on TikTok.

Polls showed a 50-22% overall margin in support of a ban and 70-14% among conservatives. But Congress couldn’t get the RESTRICT Act passed.

As the public learned more about provisions in the bill, and particularly since the outbreak of hostilities in Gaza, the legislative plan grew less popular. Polls dropped to 38-27% in favor by December, and they’re at 35-31% against now.

Yet the House just passed the “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act” by a ridiculous 352-64 margin, with an even more absurd 50-0 unanimous push from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

What gives?

As discussed on the new America This Week, passage of the TikTok ban represents a perfect storm of unpleasant political developments, putting congress back fully in line with the national security establishment on speech. After years of public championing of the First Amendment, congressional Republicans have suddenly and dramatically been brought back into the fold. Meanwhile Democrats, who stand to lose a lot from the bill politically — it’s opposed by 73% of TikTok users, precisely the young voters whose defections since October put Joe Biden’s campaign into a tailspin — are spinning passage of the legislation to its base by suggesting it’s not really happening.

“This is not an attempt to ban TikTok, it’s an attempt to make TikTok better,” is how Nancy Pelosi put it. Congress, the theory goes, will force TikTok to divest, some kindly Wall Street consortium will gobble it up (“It’s a great business and I’m going to put together a group to buy TikTok,” Steve Mnuchin told CNBC), and life will go on. All good, right?

Not exactly. The bill passed in the House that’s likely to win the Senate and be swiftly signed into law by the White House’s dynamic Biden hologram is at best tangentially about TikTok.

You’ll find the real issue in the fine print. There, the “technical assistance” the drafters of the bill reportedly received from the White House shines through, Look particularly at the first highlighted portion, and sections (i) and (ii) of (3)B:

As written, any “website, desktop application, mobile application, or augmented or immersive technology application” that is “determined by the President to present a significant threat to the National Security of the United States” is covered.

Currently, the definition of “foreign adversary” includes Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China.

The definition of “controlled,” meanwhile, turns out to be a word salad, applying to:

(A) a foreign person that is domiciled in, is headquartered in, has its principal place of business in, or is organized under the laws of a foreign adversary country;

(B) an entity with respect to which a foreign person or combination of foreign persons described in subparagraph (A) directly or indirectly own at least a 20 percent stake; or

(C) a person subject to the direction or control of a foreign person or entity described in subparagraph (A) or (B).

A “foreign adversary controlled application,” in other words, can be any company founded or run by someone living at the wrong foreign address, or containing a small minority ownership stake. Or it can be any company run by someone “subject to the direction” of either of those entities. Or, it’s anything the president says it is. Vague enough?

As Newsweek reported, the bill was fast-tracked after a secret “intelligence community briefing” of Congress led by the FBIDepartment of Justice, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). The magazine noted that if everything goes as planned, the bill will give Biden the authority to shut down an app used by 150 million Americans just in time for the November elections.

Say you’re a Democrat, however, and that scenario doesn’t worry you. As America This Week co-host Walter Kirn notes, the bill would give a potential future President Donald Trump “unprecedented powers to censor and control the internet.” If that still doesn’t bother you, you’re either not worried about the election, or you’ve been overstating your fear of “dictatorial” Trump.

We have two decades of data showing how national security measures in the 9-11 era evolve. In 2004 the George W. Bush administration defined “enemy combatant” as “an individual who was part of or supporting Taliban or al Qaeda forces, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States.” Yet in oral arguments of Rosul et al v Bush later that year, the government conceded an enemy combatant could be a “little old lady in Switzerland” who “wrote a check” to what she thought was an orphanage.

Eventually, every element of the requirement that an enemy combatant be connected to “hostilities against the United States” was dropped, including the United States part. Though Barack Obama eliminated the term “enemy combatant” in 2009, the government retained (and retains) a claim of authority to do basically whatever it wants, when it comes to capturing and detaining people deemed national security threats. You can expect a similar progression with speech controls.

Just ahead of Monday’s oral arguments in Murtha v. Missouri, formerly Missouri v. Biden — the case so many of us hoped would see the First Amendment reinvigorated by the Supreme Court — this TikTok bill has allowed the intelligence community to re-capture the legislative branch. Just a few principled speech defenders are left now. Fifty Democrats voted against the bill, which is heartening, although virtually none argued against it on First Amendment grounds, whis is infurating. Pramila Jayapal had a typical take, saying the ban would “harm users who rely on TikTok for their livelihoods, many of whom are people of color.”

Contrast that with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who went after members of his own party, singling out Republicans encouraging a governmental power grab after years of fighting big tech abuses not just at TikTok but other platforms. These people claim to be horrified, he said, but actions speak louder than words.

“Look at their legislative proposals,” he said, noting many want to “set up government agencies and panels” on speech, effectively saying “If you’re not putting enough conservatives on there, by golly we’re going to have a government commission that’s going to determine what kind of content gets on there.”

These, he said, are “scary ideas.”

He’s right, and shame on papers like the New York Post that are going after Paul for having donors connected to TikTok. Paul has been consistent in his defense of speech throughout his career, so the idea that his opinion on this matter is bought is ludicrous. It’s a relief to be able to expect at least some adherence to principle on this topic from him or fellow Kentuckian Thomas Massie, just as we once could expect it from Democrats like Paul Wellstone or Dennis Kucinich.

I don’t often do this, but as Walter pointed out in today’s podcast, this bill is so dangerous, the moment so suddenly and unexpectedly grave, that we both recommend anyone who can find the time to call or write their Senators to express opposition to any coming Senate vote. It might help. Yes, collection of personal information and content manipulation by the Chinese government (or Russia’s, or ours) are serious problems, but the wider view is the speech emergency. As the cliché goes, forget the furniture. The house is on fire. Let’s hope we’re not too late.

Subscribe to Matt Taibbi's Racket News substack here...

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/15/2024 - 16:20
Published:3/15/2024 3:33:46 PM
[Markets] Obama's Attorney General Secretly Lobbied On Behalf Of China Over US Drone Blacklist Obama's Attorney General Secretly Lobbied On Behalf Of China Over US Drone Blacklist

Former US Attorney General Loretta Lynch tried to quietly push the Department of Defense to remove Chinese drone maker SZ DJI Technology Co Ltd from a list of Chinese military companies, a damning Reuters report has revealed.

The Obama-era official lobbied the DoD on behalf of the firm when it came under US government scrutiny over ties to China's People's Liberation Army. The Shenzhen-based company turned to Lynch as well as former Assistant United States Attorney Michael Gertzman and Associate White House Counsel in the Obama administration Roberto Gonzalez.

Via Reuters

The Pentagon starting in 2021 named DJI as constituting a potential threat to US national security for its military ties. A DoD statement at the time made clear that "The Department of Defense (DOD) position is that systems produced by Da Jiang Innovations (DJI) pose potential threats to national security." 

And further, "Existing DOD policy and practices associated with the use of these systems by U.S. government entities and forces working with US military services remain unchanged contrary to any written reports not approved for release by the DOD." Of big concern was that some of Chinese company's products were making their way into highly sensitive military programs, including used by special forces. 

Lynch's efforts have been described as technically legal, as they fall within a "loophole" inherent in The Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA. The decades-old law requires that current and former US officials publicly disclose work, especially lobbying efforts, done on behalf of foreign entities and governments. But there's also a not insignificant list of exemptions which is increasingly coming under scrutiny.

Congressional leaders are outraged, and some have vowed to end the type of loopholes which allow former officials like Lynch to secretly work on behalf of China:

Almost a dozen critics of FARA told Reuters the law’s loopholes have allowed less transparency for other companies with alleged ties to China’s military, including surveillance technology firm Hikvision and biotech firm WuXi AppTec.

Jim Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says reforms to the law are needed, given the blurry lines between many Chinese companies and the Chinese government, and to keep former members of the U.S. government from effectively lobbying on their behalf.

Risch said: "It is appalling that former senior U.S. officials use their connections to serve the interests of U.S. adversaries."

While it might be easy to dismiss this as the usual D.C. beltway revolving door of foreign interests and willing US politicians and K Street operatives lining their pockets... that a US Attorney General has been engaged in these kinds of top level and hidden dealings with China is a massive scandal in and of itself.

Lynch has previously simply claimed that because the Chinese drones in question were already in "wide use" in the US, the company's "threat to national security" designation should be dropped.

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/12/2024 - 20:00
Published:3/12/2024 7:07:47 PM
[] The Morning Report — 3/12/24 Good morning, kids. As horrendous as the abject disasters of American foreign policy during the Joey Sponge-Brain Shits-Pants and Obama years are, they are sadly not limited to their time on top of the dung heap of their creation. The... Published:3/12/2024 6:50:27 AM
[Podcasts] Todd Starnes Explains ‘Residual After-Effects of the Barack Obama Presidency’

In 2007, Todd Starnes was working at Fox News and covering then-Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.  “I just felt like that was going to be... Read More

The post Todd Starnes Explains ‘Residual After-Effects of the Barack Obama Presidency’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:3/12/2024 2:41:07 AM
[Markets] What's So Great About NATO? What's So Great About NATO?

Authored by Christopher Roach via American Greatness,

Donald Trump resumed his role as the “wise fool” in recent, off-the-cuff remarks about NATO. He suggested that free-riding NATO members who do not pay their fair share might have to fight Russia on their own. National security hawks and Trump’s media enemies responded with lots of pious talk about our sacred NATO obligations. Joe Biden even said Trump was “un-American.”

Trump is not the first to suggest NATO partners should pay their fair share. But unlike his predecessors, he is willing to employ some leverage to make it happen. The real dirty secret here, as evidenced by how long this situation has gone on, is that enabling the Europeans to neglect their own defense is a feature and not a bug of America’s dominance over the NATO organization.

The weaker our European partners are militarily, the more they need the United States. With the destruction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and imposition of severe sanctions against Russia, Europe is even more dependent on the United States for energy supplies than it was before the war began.

One disturbing and Machiavellian implication of American policy is that the official reasons for the war, such as deterring “unprovoked Russian aggression” or protecting democracy in Ukraine, are just fig leaves to conceal the real function of the campaign. Namely, the United States may be cynically funding the war to weaken Russia and Europe at the same time.

If that were true, this conflict would not merely be an expression of misguided idealism but proof of American indifference to the welfare of its vassal states in Europe. It would also demonstrate the perfidy of European leaders, who have not admitted they are hurting their own countries’ welfare in exchange for personal power.

Whether an intentional outgrowth of American policy or otherwise, the Russia-Ukraine War has put the European economies into freefall because they were built on cheap natural gas from Russia.

Does NATO Enhance the Security of Member States?

With the recent proliferation of maudlin pro-NATO rhetoric, important and controversial first principles have not been explored, such as: Why are we in NATO? Why didn’t NATO dissolve after 1991? And how much “peace in Europe” has NATO really secured?

NATO’s defenders say that it has kept the peace in Europe “since World War II.” This justification falls apart under minimal scrutiny. After World War II, the European countries that made up NATO had common interests, low levels of nationalism, and few border disputes. During the Cold War, they were united because they faced a common threat from the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. They would have had this unity regardless of any formal treaty structure.

By contrast, after the end of the Cold War, NATO’s contribution to European collective security and world peace has been less impressive.

First, all of the European partners have significantly shrunk their militaries. This has made the protection of their collective sovereignty all the more dependent on nuclear weapons, of which the United States is the chief possessor.

The dependence on the American security umbrella has both costs and benefits for us. On the cost side, other NATO countries can do little to assist the United States, and we spend an unsustainable amount on defense. But, on the benefit side, this arrangement does make Europe more dependent on trade with the United States. It “keeps the peace,” but it also impairs European nations’ sovereignty, independence, and self-respect.

Twenty years ago, France meaningfully opposed American ambitions in Iraq and otherwise voiced its own national interests. It is hard to imagine an Emmanuel Macron or an Olaf Scholz doing so today. The latter didn’t even protest his country’s natural gas lifeline being blown up. Like other welfare cases, their nations are parasitical and weaken the host, but they do not forget who is boss.

Second, NATO did little to stop the violence during the wars in the former Yugoslavia in the immediate aftermath of the Cold War. A military structure in search of a mission, President Clinton turned to NATO when the United Nations rejected American regime change proposals in Serbia. Under the NATO banner, the United States initiated a shameful attack on Serbia to assist Kosovar separatists in 1999.

The Kosovo War revealed NATO as the very opposite of a defensive alliance, but rather a meddlesome and bellicose gang whose hypocrisy had become hard to deny. This was all the more apparent when NATO conducted a similar unprovoked war on spurious humanitarian grounds against Libya in 2011.

Third, NATO’s expansion towards the borders of the former Soviet Union and then to the former Soviet Baltic states served as a massive and needless provocation. By then, Russia was a non-communist, non-ideological, and non-expansionist nation, shaking off the dreadful economic conditions and national humiliation of the Yeltsin years.

Even as George W. Bush claimed he saw into Putin’s soul, the United States and NATO did not change course. Our national security apparatus expanded the alliance to Russia’s borders, suggested Ukraine and Georgia would soon become members, placed ballistic missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, and even supported jihadist rebels in Chechnya. Combined, this all made Russia rather predictably fearful and hostile.

These policies also worked at cross purposes with American interests in other parts of the world. By encouraging a de facto alliance between Russia, China, and other emerging powers, our policy strengthens our adversaries and renders the continuation of “sole superpower” status less and less tenable.

How Would We React If Someone Treated Us Like We Treat Russia?

The possibility of adding Ukraine to NATO has not been fulfilled, but it has resulted in a massive, unfortunate, and avoidable war between Russia and Ukraine. While not a formal belligerent, NATO has openly and dangerously provided intelligence and reconnaissance support to the Ukrainians, in addition to massive financial and military aid.

Russia has so far avoided targeting American Global Hawk drones and RC-135 aircraft patrolling its borders—both of which are undoubtedly providing information Ukraine uses to attack and kill Russian forces. But imagine for a moment how the American public would react in the reverse scenario.

We know this because of the public reaction to fake intelligence that said Russia put out bounties to encourage the killing of American troops in Afghanistan. Some members of the intelligence community leaked this falsehood as a political attack on Trump during the final days of the 2020 election, and it made a lot of people understandably angry. It was, like so many of these stories, later disavowed. It is still important, though, because it reveals the incompetence and politicization of our intelligence services.

Even at the time, this always struck me as a ridiculous claim considering Russia’s permission of overflights allowing troops and equipment to reach Afghanistan. But illogic has never been a strong deterrent to lurid tall tales about Russian intrigue.

The neocons have cultivated a pervasive, unthinking, and mostly fact-free anti-Russian ideology ever since that country became more capable and assertive following Putin’s rise to power in 2000.

The Other Cold War Treaty: SEATO

Alliances are supposed to make nations stronger, not weaker. They are supposed to be mutually beneficial, and hopefully, they serve to prevent wars.

Alliances can also weaken their members by exposing them to conflicts that would otherwise only implicate a subset of their members. Alliances also make their members weaker if things go “kinetic” and member nations fail to meet their commitments. In such a case, the fair-weather friends lose their credibility, and their allies lose that nation’s help.

Sometimes alliances can make their members both stronger and weaker. Shortly after NATO came into being in 1959, the United States entered into a similar treaty called SEATO, the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization. SEATO’s members included Australia, the Philippines, France, Great Britain, and the United States. SEATO was one of the foundations for our country’s military commitments to South Vietnam.

The United States stuck to these obligations for nearly two decades, using logic similar to our current involvement in Ukraine, including the importance of maintaining credibility. But the Vietnam War proved very costly, and, over time, the American public lost confidence in the mission.

After cobbling together a peace treaty between North and South Vietnam, we skedaddled in 1973 and failed to honor our treaty obligations and other commitments to South Vietnam. This all culminated in the successful North Vietnamese offensive of 1975. When South Vietnam fell, it became clear that the loss of so much life, treasure, and credibility was a worse outcome for the United States than not having been in such an alliance in the first place.

The United States is about to learn this lesson again in Ukraine. We have no treaty obligation to Ukraine, but Biden has put our prestige on the line by repeatedly committing to stay “as long as it takes.” Since Ukraine is going to lose and the front has already started to collapse, the ultimate failure of the mission will further undermine our credibility as an ally. It will also discredit the deterrence value of America’s own military capabilities since so much of the war was fought with American equipment, American money, and American tactics.

While the credibility hit is unavoidable, America should end its involvement not only with Ukraine but with NATO before things come to a head. It seems very likely the disunited American public would renege on our treaty obligations if it meant World War III to resolve a border dispute in Romania or Estonia. There is nothing sacred about NATO; our connections to Europe have been weakened by diversity, and spending hundreds of billions of dollars on hopeless border wars in Europe is not in the American interest.

For the American NATO withdrawal to happen, Europe must rearm itself, and the United States must accept that Europe will no longer be in the position of vassals, whose inferiority is reinforced by enabling their neglect of their own collective self-defense. The current arrangement only gives the illusion of power and stability, but it is fragile and also stokes resentment and dependency among our allies.

This is to say, an American withdrawal from NATO would be good for both Europe and the United States. It would tamp down current European hostility toward Russia—because they would need to be more circumspect—while giving Russia a sense of safety that it currently lacks. It would also restore America’s strongest attribute, which is the “soft power” that we once possessed because of our rejection of colonial empire building. Our international prestige has always been inseparable from this aspect of American idealism, but it has also declined as America behaved more and more like the displaced European imperial powers in the post-Cold War era.

Outside of the NATO treaty structure, America could still care about European civilization, maintain strong commercial ties, and involve itself where its friends are threatened without having an ironclad treaty obligation to do so. This would reduce tensions and restore American flexibility. It would also be consistent with broader principles of justice that enhance our prestige and “soft power.”

This is the way counseled by George Washington, and such a posture would honor and protect American sovereignty and independence.

*  *  *

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ZeroHedge.

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/11/2024 - 05:00
Published:3/11/2024 5:17:01 AM
[Markets] Medicaid Expansion Was Supposed To Pay For Itself, Instead Hospitals Are Closing Medicaid Expansion Was Supposed To Pay For Itself, Instead Hospitals Are Closing

Authored by Mike Shedlock via MishTalk.com,

10 states did not fall for the Medicaid expansion trap under Obamacare. The rest are suffering. Private payers (you, one way or another) make up the loss.

Medicaid Expansion Puts Hospitals at Risk

The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) reports Medicaid Expansion Dramatically Increases Hospital Shortfalls emphasis mine.

Medicaid expansion ushered in through ObamaCare has led to program enrollment growth well beyond what was promised or projected. While proponents argue that expansion is a silver bullet to keep hospitals financially secure, this is simply not true.

Because Medicaid does not pay enough to cover the costs to hospitals to provide patient care, hospitals rely on private payers to make up for these losses.

The lower payment rate and more Medicaid enrollees—especially those forced out of private coverage—mean increased Medicaid shortfalls, contributing to lower profit margins. This increases pressure on hospitals’ bottom lines, especially for rural hospitals where fewer patients make it more difficult to make up the shortfalls. The result is hospital closures in expansion states across the country. New data from the Department of Health and Human Services shows just how dire the situation is for hospitals in expansion states.

Not every state chose to expand Medicaid when given the chance beginning in 2014. This provides a real-life demonstration with nearly a decade of data, showing how covering so many able-bodied adults is affecting hospitals. This data can be invaluable for non-expansion states, as well as states that have expanded.

Hospitals in expansion states were in better financial shape before they expanded—but this has since flipped.

The reason for this flip in financial stability in expansion states is that hospitals count on private payers to make up for the reduced payments provided by Medicaid. In non-expansion states, private payers averaged payments of 128 percent of hospital costs, whereas Medicaid averaged only 76 percent of costs.

As a higher proportion of hospital services are billed to Medicaid because of expansion, there are not enough private payments to boost back profits. This is especially true in rural areas without a large patient base to draw from. Thankfully, as non-expansion states have resisted calls to expand, they have not suffered from this shift in payers from private insurance to Medicaid as expansion states have.

Because Medicaid does not pay enough to cover hospital costs, hospitals in most states have Medicaid shortfalls. That is, the difference between hospital payments from Medicaid and the cost of providing services to patients enrolled in Medicaid.

Key Findings

  • Medicaid does not pay enough to cover hospitals’ costs, meaning hospitals need to make up for the shortfall by charging private payers more.

  • In expansion states, hospitals’ Medicaid shortfalls have reached $22.3 billion, increasing by 117 percent since 2013.

  • If non-expansion states were to expand, their hospitals’ Medicaid shortfalls would more than double, from $6.3 billion to $13.2 billion.

  • Non-expansion states should continue to say no to Medicaid expansion, and expansion states should work to roll it back.

Financial Struggles

Several hospitals, especially in rural areas, have recently closed and more are at risk of closing. Another argument made for Medicaid expansion is that it financially helps hospitals, especially rural hospitals. But the data from expansion and non-expansion states does not bear this out.

The more people that are shifted from private insurance to Medicaid, the higher the Medicaid shortfalls, and the lower hospital profits. Hospitals are learning that you cannot become solvent by providing more and more services below cost. This is a surefire way to bankruptcy, not solvency. Nobody would call offering goods or services below cost a successful long-term business plan.

Reality has born this out, with a broad range of hospitals in expansion states closing across the country. In the South, Arkansas’s Crittenden Regional Health had a nearly $7 million surplus before expansion but soon closed after profits turned to losses. In the West, California’s Colusa Regional Medical Center also saw its profits turn to losses soon after expansion and was forced to close. In the Midwest, Illinois’s Westlake Hospital managed a surplus before expansion but by 2019 was operating at a nearly $7 million loss and was forced to close its doors.

Expansion Would Double Shortfalls

Expansion would more than double the Medicaid shortfalls for hospitals in those states, the equivalent of losing nearly 100,000 hospital jobs

Bottom Line

This evidence is clear that any further expansion would only harm the bottom lines of more hospitals by doubling the Medicaid shortfall in any state that chooses to expand. States that have not expanded should continue to avoid the Medicaid trap and those that have expanded should roll it back. 

This was one of the easiest “I Told You So” advance predictions in history.

Best of all, we have a decade of data to prove it thanks to ten states that resisted the trap.

About to Get Much Worse

Thanks to mass immigration, rather the failure to stop it, things are about to get much worse. Denver provides the perfect example.

Please note Denver Health at “Critical Point” as 8,000 Migrants Make 20,000 Emergency Visits

The Denver hospital system is turning away local residents because it is flooded with migrant visits.

Denver Health has treated more than 8,000 migrants who lack legal documentation in the past year, totaling about 20,000 visits, according to Steven Federico, MD, a pediatrician at the health system.

The majority of these patients are coming from Venezuela and arrive needing treatment for chronic and communicable diseases after making the difficult journey.

In 2020, the health system had about $60 million in uncompensated care costs. Last year, costs sprung to $136 million, a quarter of which came from caring for non-Denver residents.

Obama claimed Medicaid expansion would pay for itself.

Whenever you hear that claim please run. Free government handouts are never free and most often backfire completely.

Congratulations to Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin, and Wyoming for avoiding the Obamacare expansion trap.

The rest of the states need to reconsider the Faustian bargain they entered.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/10/2024 - 09:20
Published:3/10/2024 8:59:46 AM
[Uncategorized] Biden Admin, Like Obama Before It, Has Found An Enemy It’s Willing To Fight: Bibi Netanyahu

The attacks on Netanyahu are escalating from the White House: Biden says capturing Hamas' last stronghold in Rafah is "a red line" while Harris says: "It's important to distinguish and to not conflate the Israeli government with the Israeli people."

The post Biden Admin, Like Obama Before It, Has Found An Enemy It’s Willing To Fight: Bibi Netanyahu first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:3/9/2024 9:39:12 PM
[World] [Steven Calabresi] Criminalizing Politics is a Threat to Democracy Both President Biden and former Presidents Obama and Trump are partly to blame Published:3/8/2024 10:06:07 PM
[Markets] Big Mysteries Surround The Predictable Presidential Rematch Big Mysteries Surround The Predictable Presidential Rematch

Authored by J. Peder Zane via RealClear Wire,

President Biden and Donald Trump’s sweeping Super Tuesday victories all but ensure the November rematch everyone’s been expecting – and dreading. And yet, this achingly predictable outcome is suffused with intriguing questions that will continue to offer high drama and psycho-drama.

Will Nikki Haley Endorse Trump? Haley never had a path to the nomination, but she definitely had plenty of well-heeled backers happy to fund the one Republican willing to attack Trump. After Tuesday’s thumping, she has finally thrown in the towel, though it’s not clear if she is listening to the people or whether the donors have abandoned her. She has reportedly not decided whether she will honor her pledge to the Republican National Committee to support the party’s ultimate candidate. In public statements, it is not her conclusion that Trump is “totally unhinged” that is giving her pause about backing him to be the leader of the free world, but his sensible effort to stack the RNC with his own people. On Sunday, displaying verbal gymnastics that would make Bill Clinton proud, she said, “The RNC [I pledged to] is now not the same RNC.”

If she believes this, it is a profound misreading of democracy. GOP voters selected Trump, not the RNC. Oh, the irony! As Democrats and Never-Trumpers issue bogus warnings about the grave threats Trump poses to democracy, our democratic system is the only reason he is poised to win the nomination. If candidates were still anointed by leaders in smoke-filled rooms, Trump is the last guy they would have picked. The Republican party is a bottom-up party in which voters – many of whom, horrors of horrors, do not possess college degrees – still reign.

This is in stark contrast to the Democratic Party. Since its early days as an instrument of Southern planters and Northern machines before giving way to the modern era’s progressive technocrats, the party has always been a top-down organization controlled by elites who claim to know what’s best for the people. That’s a major reason why Biden, despite low poll numbers and the belief among his own voters that he is too old to be an effective leader, faced no real primary challenge. He was the party’s pick.

Will Democrats Force Biden From the Race? While a Biden-Trump rematch seems assured, the race promises many monkey wrenches. Recognizing that their scorched earth attacks may be backfiring – Trump seems to be proving the adage “What does not kill me makes me stronger” – Democratic leaders spooked by Biden’s unpopularity are ramping up their panicked calls for him to step aside. But the pooh-bahs are facing strong resistance from the candidate. This is not surprising. They made a Faustian bargain in 2020 when they settled on Biden in large part because he had no core beliefs. The man who turned against bussing during the 1970s and supported 1994’s law and order crime bill because those were politically convenient stances was easily transformed into a crusader against alleged white supremacy and a champion of DEI and trans rights.

What they didn’t count on was Biden’s heroic self-image. His multiple plagiarism scandals reveal his rare ability to convince himself that other people’s ideas are really his own. Despite all evidence, he believes he is the smartest guy in the room. His insistence on repeating false stories – on everything from the deaths of his first wife and his son Beau, to his trips on Amtrak and his handling of classified documents – suggests he lives in a fantasy world where his tall tales are true. Democratic leaders are going to have a hard time convincing the president, who apparently believes he is leading the race, to stand down. The people love me, man.

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Kamala? Never say never in politics. Given Biden’s age – and Trump’s for that matter – health issues could arise. But Democrats are in an especially tough position because Harris is just as unpopular. If Biden were to step aside, it would be hard for the party of identity politics to bypass the first black vice president for a person of pallor like Gavin Newsom or Amy Klobuchar. In this context, Michelle Obama seemed the only viable option until she closed that door once more this week. Harris may be Biden’s ace in the hole.

Will Lawfare Finally Sink Trump? Trump’s position as the Republican nominee seems assured, but he faces even stronger headwinds than Biden. Some are rooted in the Democrats’ corruption of the legal system. Those 91 felony counts may be a hit job, but they will take time and money to defend. Trump has great energy, but it is not limitless. Those attacks have clearly boosted his campaign, but it is hard to predict what impact a criminal conviction, if it comes, might have on swing voters. The Supreme Court may have unanimously rejected Democrats’ effort to kick Trump off the ballot – again, they really don’t trust voters – but his opponents are sure to concoct other bogus lines of attack that Harvard law professors and New York Times scribeswill describe as serious threats until they are eventually debunked. Look for Russia collusion 9.0, 10.0, etc.

Will Trump Ultimately Sink Trump? But, as with Biden, Trump’s potential pitfalls are also rooted in his psychology. A born salesman, he talks in hyperbole – I had the largest crowd, the biggest tax cuts, the best economy – that keeps fact-checkers busy. Having made his fortune running a family business, he values loyalty above all else. When people he expects to serve fail to bend the knee, he lashes out. Hence, his mockery of Haley and his dismissal of every other Republican who opposes him as a RINO. Trump thrives on such conflict; he runs toward every fight. This is catnip for voters fed up with politics as usual, but it turns off plenty of others. It may also cost him a close race if, for example, Haley decides to run as a third-party candidate, offering a haven for disenchanted Republicans.

At bottom, Trump seems incapable of rising above himself. He has his moments, as when he recently told Fox News presenter Laura Ingraham “I don’t care about the revenge thing. … My revenge will be success.” But just when you think he’s figured out how he should act, he goes back to being his brawling self. Authenticity will only take you so far in politics. Be yourself, sure. But also be presidential.

These are our choices America, the ones we knew we’d get and long dreaded. The next eight months will remind no one of Periclean Athens, but they won’t be boring. Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Tyler Durden Fri, 03/08/2024 - 10:45
Published:3/8/2024 10:00:59 AM
[Markets] Joe Biden's State Of The Union "Shrinkflation" Swindle Joe Biden's State Of The Union "Shrinkflation" Swindle

Authored by Jim Bovard,

Since Joe Biden became president, the dollar’s purchasing power has shrunk by 18% as Americans suffered the worst inflationary ravages since the Carter era. But that plunge is trivial compared with the nation’s real affliction: Snack companies “charge you just as much for the same size bag of potato chips, only there’s a helluva lot fewer chips in it,” Biden declared Tuesday.

Has the Biden re-election campaign finally found its silver bullet? Biden is expected to vigorously denounce “corporate greed” in Thursday’s State of the Union address. The White House apparently believes that scapegoating corporate executives will magically redeem the reputation of Bidenomics.

Shrinkflation — charging the same price for a smaller product — is Team Biden’s great hope. Politico reported, “The White House has been aggressively testing out the [shrinkflation] messaging on the airwaves and in internal polling ahead of Biden’s speech.”

A couple years ago, the White House raged when malcontents responded to soaring gas prices by slapping “I Did That!” stickers with Biden’s face on gas pumps.

Will Team Biden be distributing millions of stickers with the logo “THEY DONE THAT!” showing weaselly corporate executives, to attach to grocery-store checkout lanes?

The White House wants Americans to take a loftier perspective on the president’s record. The Biden administration trashed Americans’ privacy by unleashing the FBI and other agencies to ravage the Fourth Amendment. The Biden White House bludgeoned the First Amendment by browbeating Twitter and Facebook into censoring Biden critics. Biden is expanding and unleashing the IRS to hound far more hapless taxpayers.

But Biden is good on cookies. 

“Sesame Street” star Cookie Monster bashed food companies this week on Twitter/X:

“Me hate shrinkflation! Me cookies are getting smaller.”

Biden invoked Cookie Monster’s message and seconded his rage because “his cookies are getting smaller, paying the same price.” (Let’s hope the “smaller cookies” did not involve any untoward metaphors.) The prez declared:

“I was stunned when I found out that’s what actually happened.” He condemned corporations for “charging folks more and more for less and less.” 

But unlike governments that force people to pay more taxes for worse services, corporations cannot conscript their victims.

Does Biden believe smaller cookies prove the need for a bigger federal government? Will Biden recruit a new American Protective League (notorious during World War I) to send out spies to carefully measure and weigh cookies across the land?

Will there be a series of TikTok ads with beefy people wearing undersized “Biden for President” T-shirts and bitterly lamenting they bought a cookie with only 622 calories?

In his 1928 presidential campaign, Herbert Hoover supposedly promised “a chicken in every pot.” But will Biden anchor his re-election campaign on Americans’ entitlement to cookies the size of airplane flotation devices? Heck, even President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle at least went through the motions of condemning mass obesity.

Biden’s push for the big cookies can also turbo-charge another initiative he may announce in the Thursday speech: a crackdown on health-care costs. Safeguarding the sale of giant cookies could boost the number of diabetics — thereby boosting the number of people counting on Biden to save them from the high cost of insulin.

Biden is correct that plenty of corporations have reduced the size of their products without curbing their price. I have noticed numerous food products I buy that formerly contained 1 pound have downsized to 15 ounces. As long as the product is clearly labeled, I have no grounds for howling (muttering is a different story). I don’t know the details of the specific price pressures those companies may face, but I can usually find a substitute if their prices seem predatory. On the flipside, shopping for a used car nowadays makes the cash in my pocket feel almost as worthless as Confederate currency.

Shrinkflation and many other problems are the bitter harvest of Bidenomics. But no matter how many wrenches Biden has thrown into the nation’s economy since January 2021, he considers himself blameless for all the disruptions and dislocations he has sowed. Biden long ago awarded himself the same waiver of liability on the economy that the feds gave Pfizer for its COVID vaccines. The national debt is increasing by a trillion dollars every 100 days, creating a potential economic catastrophe that could blow all the chips out of that snack bag.

In his Super Bowl ad denouncing shrinkflation, Biden declared, “The American public is tired of being played for suckers.”

So Team Biden decided to treat people like village idiots instead? Will the biggest shrinkflation of 2024 be Biden’s vote count in November?

Tyler Durden Thu, 03/07/2024 - 12:45
Published:3/7/2024 12:15:56 PM
[Editorial Cartoons] A Sad Union

by Gary Varvel at CDN -

Between Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden, the country is more divided, hateful, violent, crime-ridden, and not secure than in recent memory. Bidenomics has been great for Biden’s buddies in green energy, but not so much for American families struggling to make ends meet. Don’t want to ever miss …

Click to read the rest HERE-> A Sad Union first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:3/6/2024 12:29:49 AM
[2024 election] The blueprint for democrats stealing the 2024 election

The plan for a one-party state was in place before Joe Biden "won" the election in 2020. It was most likely hatched by the same guy who helped frame Donald Trump for "Russian collusion"- Barack Obama.

The post The blueprint for democrats stealing the 2024 election appeared first on Flopping Aces.

Published:3/5/2024 8:50:40 PM
[Uncategorized] Michelle Obama Just Says No To 2024 Run

Michelle seems content to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous.

The post Michelle Obama Just Says No To 2024 Run first appeared on Le·gal In·sur·rec·tion.
Published:3/5/2024 7:57:29 PM
[] Michelle Obama Knocks Down Rumors She Might Run For President Good to know. Michelle Obama's office released a statement to NBC News on Tuesday morning, putting to rest the rumors about her potential presidential run. "As former First Lady Michelle Obama has expressed several times over the years, she will... Published:3/5/2024 4:37:51 PM
[Politics] Michelle Obama breaks silence on whether she’ll be challenging Joe Biden later this year… Many on the left really want someone popular to come in and replace Joe Biden because they know he’s a loser this year with all the country’s problems and his own age . . . Published:3/5/2024 11:30:39 AM
[Markets] 'We Have Liftoff!' - Spot Gold Takes Out Record High 'We Have Liftoff!' - Spot Gold Takes Out Record High

Extending their run of the last few days, spot gold prices just exceeded their all-time highs, topping $2140 for the first time in history...

Source: Bloomberg

Source: Bloomberg

What is gold pricing in about future Fed action? Real rates dramatically negative?

Source: Bloomberg

Paging Benoit?

As Egon von Greyerz details in his latest note, "we have liftoff", expect more to come...

All Empires die without fail, so do all Fiat currencies. But gold has been shining for 5000 years and as I explain in this article, Gold is likely to outshine virtually all assets in the next 5-10 years. 

In early 2002 we made major investments in physical gold for our investors and ourselves. At the time gold was around $300. Our primary objective was wealth preservation. The Nasdaq had already crashed 67% but before the bottom was reached, it lost another 50%. The total loss was 80% with many companies going bankrupt. 

In 2006, just over 4 years later, the Great Financial Crisis started. In 2008, the financial system was minutes from imploding. Banks like JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and many others were bankrupt – BANCA ROTTA – (see my article First Gradually then Suddenly, The Everything Collapse

Virtually unlimited money printing postponed the collapse and since 2008 US total debt has almost doubled to $100 trillion

Gold backing of a currency doesn’t always solve a debt problem but it certainly makes it more difficult for the government to cook the books which they do without fail.

BONFIRE OF THE US BUDGET BOOKS

So tricky Dick (Nixon) couldn’t make ends meet in the late 1960s – early 70s partly due to the Vietnam war. 

Thus in 1971 Nixon, by closing the Gold window, started the most spectacular bonfire of the US government budget books. How wonderful, no more accountability, no more shackles and no more gold deliveries to de Gaulle in France who was clever to ask for gold instead of dollars in debt settlement from the US. 

So from August 1971, the US embarked on a money printing and credit expansion bonanza never seen before in history. 

Total US debt went from $2 trillion in 1971 to $200 trillion today – up 100X!

Since most major currencies were linked to the dollar under the Bretton Woods system, the closing of the gold window started a global free for all with the printing press (including bank credit) replacing REAL MONEY i.e. GOLD. 

The consequences of this “temporary” move by Nixon is that all Fiat or paper money has declined by 97-99% since 1971. 

The price of assets have obviously inflated correspondingly. In 1971 total US financial assets were $2 trillion. Today they are $130 trillion, up 65X. 

And if we include off balance sheet assets including the shadow banking system and derivatives, we are looking at assets (which will become liabilities) in excess of $2 quadrillion. 

I forecast the derivative bubble and demise of Credit Suisse in this article (Archegos & Credit Suisse – Tip of the Icebergand also in this one (The $2.3 Quadrillion Global Debt Time Bomb).

HEADS, GOLD WINS – TAILS, GOLD WINS

Luke Gromen in his Tree Rings report puts forward two options for the world economy which can be summarised as follows:

1. Dedollarisation continues, the Petrodollar dies and gold gradually replaces the dollar as a global commodity trading currency especially in the commodity rich BRICS countries. This would allow commodity prices to stay low as gold rises and drives a virtuous circle of global trade.  

If the above option sounds too good to be true especially bearing in mind the bankrupt status of the global financial system, Luke puts forward a much less pleasant outcome. 

And in my view, Luke’s alternative outcome is sadly more likely, namely:

2. “China, the US Treasury market, and the global economy implode spectacularly, sending the world into a new Great Depression, political instability, and possibly WW3…in which case, gold probably rises spectacularly all the same, as bonds and then equities scramble for one of the only assets with no counterparty risk – gold.   (BTC is another.)”

Yes, Bitcoin couldgo to $1 million as I have often said but it could also go to Zero if it is banned. Too binary for me and not a good wealth preservation risk in any case.

As Gromen says, there is a virtuous case and there is a vicious case for the world economy. 

But above both cases shines GOLD!

So why hold the worthless paper money or bubble assets when you can protect yourself with Gold!

FOR THE CBO BAD TIMES DON’T EXIST

The US Central Budget Office – CBO – has recently made a 10 year forecast.

Obviously, the CBO assumes no depression or even a little recession in the next 10 years!

Isn’t it wonderful to be a government employee and have a mandate to only forecast GOOD NEWS!  

And although the CBO forecasts a debt increase of $21 trillion by 2034 to a total of $55 trillion, they expect inflation to stay around 2%!

As I have stated in many articles, the US Federal debt has doubled every 8 years on average since Reagan became President in 1981!

I see no reason to deviate from that long term trend although there can be short term deviations. So based on that simple but historically accurate extrapolation, I could forecast the increase from $10 trillion to $20 trillion debt in 2009 when Obama took over from Bush Jr.

Extrapolating this trend, the US Federal Debt will reach $100 trillion in 2036

With debts and deficits increasing exponentially, it is not unlikely that as inflation catches fire again, $100 trillion Federal Debt will be reached earlier than 2036.

Just think about a big number of bank failures, which is guaranteed, plus major defaults in the $2+ quadrillion derivative market. Against such dire background, it would be surprising if US debt doesn’t go far beyond $100 trillion by the mid 2030s!

 STOCK MARKET BUBBLE & LEADERSHIP SWAPS

Investors and many analysts are still bullish about the stock market. As we know, markets will move higher until all investors, especially retail, are sucked in and until most of the shorts have liquidated their positions.

It has been a remarkable bull market based on unlimited debt creation. Nobody worries about the fact that 7 stocks are creating this mania. These stocks are well known to most investors: Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, Meta (Facebook), Microsoft, Nvidia and Tesla. 

These Magnificent 7 have a total market cap of $13 trillion. That is the same as the combined GDP of Germany, Japan, India and the UK! Only the US and China are bigger. 

When 7 companies are greater than 4 of the biggest industrial economies in the world, it is time to fire the management of these countries and maybe do a swap.

 GATES, COOKE, MUSK TAKING OVER GERMANY, UK & FRANCE

What about Germany’s Chancellor Scholz running Amazon. Or Rishi Sunak in the UK being in charge of Microsoft? How long would it take them to destroy these companies? Not many years in my view. They would quickly double the benefits for workers and increase debts to unsustainable levels.  

But Germany and the UK would most certainly benefit from Bill Gates of Microsoft taking on Germany and Tim Cooke of Apple running the UK. They would of course need dictatorial powers in order to take the draconian measures required. Only then could they slash inefficiencies, halve benefits and reduce taxes by at least 50%.

If the entrepreneurs just got a very small percentage of the improvement in the countries’ finances as remuneration, they would make much more money than they are currently.  

Even more fascinating would be to see Elon Musk as French President. He would fire at least 80% of state employees and by doing that he might even get the militant French unions on his side and get the country back on its feet. 

An interesting thought experiment that of course will never happen.

WHY IS EVERYONE WAITING FOR NEW GOLD HIGHS IN ORDER TO BUY???

For almost 25 years I have been standing on a soapbox to inform investors of the importance of wealth preservation.

Still only just over 0.5% of global financial assets have been invested in gold. In 1960 it was 5% in gold and in 1980 when gold peaked at $850, it was 2.7%.

For a quarter of a century, gold has gone up 7- 8X in most Western currencies and exponentially more in weak currencies like the Argentine Pesos or Venezuelan Bolivar. 

In spite of gold outperforming most asset classes in this century, it remains at less than 1% of Global Financial Assets – GFA. Currently at $2,100 gold is at 0.6% of GFA.  

WE HAVE LIFTOFF! 

So gold has now broken out and very few investors are participating. 

This stealth move that gold has made has left virtually every investor behind as this table shows: 

The clever buyers are of course the BRICS central banks. Almost all of their purchases are off market so in the short term it has only a marginal effect on the gold price. 

But now the squeeze has started as my good friend Alasdair Macleod explains so well on King World News. The Comex was never meant for physical deliveries but only for cash settlements. But now buyers are standing for physical delivery. We have also seen last month major exports of gold from the US to Switzerland. These are either Comex 400 ounce bars or US government bars sold/leased and sent to the Swiss refiners and broken down to 1 kg bars for onwards export to the BRICS. These bars will never return again even if they are only leased and not sold. 

The above process will one day bring panic to the gold market as there will be nowhere near enough physical gold for all the paper claims. 

So for any gold investors who don’t hold physical gold in a safe jurisdiction (NOT USA), I suggest that they quickly move their gold to a private vault where they have personal access, preferably in Switzerland or Singapore.

So NO FRACTIONAL GOLD OWNERSHIP, NO GOLD ETFs or FUNDS and NO GOLD IN BANKS!

At least not if you want to be sure to get hold of your gold as the gold squeeze starts. 

GOLD IS ON THE CUSP OF A MAJOR MOVE 

Having just broken out, gold is now on its way to much, much higher levels. 

As I keep on saying, forecasting the gold price is a mug’s game. 

What is the purpose of predicting a price level when the unit you measure gold in (USD, EUR, GBP etc) is continually debasing and worth less every month. 

All investors need to know is that every single currency in history has without fail gone to ZERO as Voltaire said already in 1727. 

Since the early 1700s, over 500 currencies have become extinct, most of them due to hyperinflation. 

Only since 1971 all major currencies have lost 97-99% of their purchasing power measured in gold. In the next 5-10 years they will lose the remaining 1-3% which of course is 100% from here. 

But gold will not only continue to maintain purchasing power, it will do substantially better.  This is due to the coming collapse of all bubble assets – Stocks, Bonds, Property etc. The world will not be able to avoid the Everything Collapse or First Gradually then Suddenly – The Everything Collapse  as I wrote about in two articles in 2023. 

YES, GOLD IS ON THE CUSP OF A MAJOR MOVE AS:

  • Wars continue to ravage the world.

  • Inflation rises strongly due to ever increasing debts and deficits.

  • Currency continues their journey to ZERO.

  • The world flees from stocks, bonds, and the US dollar. 

  • The BRICS countries continue to buy ever bigger amounts of gold.

  • Central Banks buy major amounts of gold as currency reserves instead of US dollars.

  • Investors rush into gold at any price to preserve their wealth. 

GOLD AS CHEAP AS IN 1971 OR 2000

The chart below indicates that gold in early 2020 at $1700 was as cheap as in 1971at $35 and in 2000 at $1700 in relation to money supply.

At this point we do not have an updated chart but it is our estimate that the monetary base has probably kept pace with the gold price meaning that the level in 2024 is similar to 2020. 

So let me repeat my mantra:

Please jump on the Gold Wagon while there is still time to preserve your wealth. 

The coming surge in gold demand cannot be met by more gold because more than the current 3000 tonnes of gold per annum cannot be mined. 

Tyler Durden Tue, 03/05/2024 - 09:20
Published:3/5/2024 8:32:47 AM
[] Monday Overnight Open Thread (3/4/24) *** The Quotes & Tweets of The Day Quote I BIG news (ignored by media): DC Circuit UNANIMOUSLY rules that Biden DOJ got much longer sentences for J6 defendants than allowed under law. Opinion authored by an Obama appointee... Published:3/4/2024 10:23:35 PM
[Markets] Why "They" Are Still Running Nikki Haley Why "They" Are Still Running Nikki Haley

Authored by Jim Quinn via The Burning Platform blog,

“She’s so transparently weak and sort of ridiculous and doesn’t know anything, and just thinks that jumping up and down and making these absurd blanket statements, and repeating bumper stickers, is just like leadership. A self-confident advanced society would never allow Nikki Haley to advance.”

- Tucker Carlson

The most highly educated people in this world are often the most willfully ignorant of what is really happening. The college credentialed crowd, especially those who “earned” them within the last twenty years, are more likely than not far less intelligent than the supposed “conspiracy theorists” who have questioned every narrative spun by the masters of the universe and their regime media propagandists over the last two decades.

The skeptics among us who assess every Deep State engineered event, designed to create outrage, fear, anger, and obedience, with the necessary suspicion and doubt, are conscious of how the real world operates and are taking precautions to navigate through the coming storms.

Among the dozens of false narratives spun by the black widow spider psychopaths, which include the Ukraine war, Gaza genocide, safe & secure border, safe and effective vaccines, safe and secure elections, the armed insurrection where no one was armed, Russiagate, declining inflation, and strong growing economy, the continuation of Nikki Haley’s ridiculously pathetic campaign for the Republican nomination. If you haven’t noticed, Trump has trounced this warmongering RINO, Liz Cheney wannabe in every primary/caucus thus far. All the other candidates dropped out, as instructed, leaving only Nimarata as the chosen option of the Deep State and their deep pocketed billionaire donors.

When something makes no sense and the behavior of a feckless politician seems irrational, there is something wicked going on behind the curtain and will not be revealed until those running the show decide it will benefit them financially, politically and increase their power over the masses. As Haley continues to pretend to be a viable candidate, with her coffers being filled by shadowy figures meeting in smokey backrooms, I was reminded of another pitiful excuse for a candidate in 2020.

A senile, old, corrupt, child sniffing coot, who was nothing more than a laughingstock on the national scene as Obama’s token establishment white guy, making a living as the Big Guy in his crackhead son’s worldwide shakedown operations in Ukraine, China and wherever he could make a buck. In case you didn’t remember, he wasn’t even an afterthought in the 2020 Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary.

Bernie the commie and mayor buttplug crushed slow Joe.  He was even losing to Pocahontas.

Anyone with some self-respect and self awareness would have dropped out, but for some unexplainable reason he stayed in the race and miraculously “won” the nomination with his inspirational speeches and glorious vision for the country. Or was he selected by those who knew they could rig the election while the basement dummy spent his days shitting his pants and taking naps? Biden was a Trojan horse installed by the Deep State controllers of this farce of an empire. Now this drooling dementia ridden pedophile is barely functional and would clearly get trounced by Trump in the general election, even with the Democrat election rigging machine in full steal mode.

Nikki will be trounced on Super Tuesday.

If she does not drop out, you know something evil is being planned.

I see only two possibilities for the Deep State funding of Haley’s continued national embarrassment.

They either plan to assassinate Trump or imprison him, therefore needing a useful idiot on par with Bush to continue their wars, destruction of our civil society, ultimate demise of our country, and transfer of power to a totalitarian global regime.

Nikki is just the neo-con, low IQ, diversity stooge for the job. Their efforts to imprison Trump seem to be failing, so the CIA, FBI, and rest of the Surveillance State traitors are likely planning a false flag assassination of Trump they can pin on a patsy who furthers one of their other false narratives.

They need Nikki, because Biden’s VP is an honest to God moron, seen as a cackling joke by 95% of Americans. Biden is finished. They will not run him in November. He will step down at the convention and be replaced by Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Gavin Newsom.

All I know for sure is the next nine months will be an epic shitstorm, with potential assassinations, civil war, global war, financial chaos and collapse, and possibly the end of our nation as we know it.

Buckle up, the ride is about to get bumpy.

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 17:00
Published:3/4/2024 4:08:20 PM
[Markets] Hunter Biden Held Previously Undisclosed Meeting With The "F**king Spy Chief Of China" Hunter Biden Held Previously Undisclosed Meeting With The "F**king Spy Chief Of China"

First brother Jim Biden told Congress last week that Hunter Biden held a previously undisclosed meeting with Patrick Ho, an executive with Chinese energy conglomerate CEFC China Energy - which, weeks earlier, paid Hunter and Jim Biden $5 million as part of a joint venture to find investments for the Chinese firm, the Washington Free Beacon reports.

Hunter had previously referred to Ho as "the fucking spy chief of China" in an audio recording dated May 11, 2018.

In a congressional deposition last month, Jim Biden said he accompanied Hunter Biden to Hong Kong in September 2017 to meet with Patrick Ho...

...The Biden family’s arrangement with CEFC China Energy has stoked national security concerns because of the Chinese firm’s links to Chinese military intelligence. Middlemen for CEFC China Energy approached Hunter Biden in 2015, when his father was vice president, about potential business deals.

According to Jim Biden, he and Hunter Biden had a "pleasant" lunch in Hong Kong with Ho, who also served as head of the China Energy Fund Committee, a think tank funded by CEFC China Energy. At the end of the meeting, Ho asked to meet alone with Hunter Biden, according to Uncle Jim. -Washington Free Beacon

 According to Jim Biden, "Ho said, ‘Can I borrow Hunter for, you know, a half-hour? We're going to go in the next room.’"

CEFC paid Hunter $1 million to represent Ho, however Hunter does not appear to have done any actual legal work on Ho's behalf. According to court records, the US government was surveilling Ho under a FISA warrant because they suspected that he was a possible agent of a foreign government.

Worming their way in

Jim Biden also described how CEFC entered the Biden orbit - telling congressional investigators that the father of one of Hunter's daughter's classmates contacted Biden about working with CEFC. The man, Scott Oh, gave Hunter a diamond ring after approaching Hunter in October 2015 to discuss "investment opportunities" involving CEFC.

Meanwhile, a former Hunter Biden business associate has revealed in a jailhouse confession that the first son sought roughly $5 million from fugitive Ukrainian oligarch Dmitri Firtash in order to try and quash a US indictment while his father Joe Biden was Vice President, Just the News reports.

Jason Galanis’ jailhouse account of an effort to assist Firtash was recently provided to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees in President Joe Biden’s impeachment inquiry, and it corroborates a story from Just the News in 2021 in which Firtash’s longtime righthand man Hares Youssef confirmed the future first son was engaged in 2015 to try to help solve Firtash’s legal woes in the United States.

Both Hares in 2021 and Galanis last month said Hunter Biden was unsuccessful – Firtash still faces charges and is fighting extradition to the United States from his safe harbor in Austria – but the efforts ultimately resulted in a $3 million investment in a tech fund called mBloom that Galanis and other Hunter Biden partners had formed.

According to the report, around $300,000 of the $3 million made it into Rosemont Seneca Bohai, one of Hunter Biden's firms - which was also used for payments Hunter received from a second Ukrainian oligarch, Mykola Zlochevsky - president of Burisma Holdings energy firm.

As Just the News reports further, Gelanis told Congressional impeachment investigators:

  • Hunter Biden offered to help Firtash try to “influence or attempt to quash” his federal indictment;
  • Galanis believed either $5 million or $5.5 million was delivered to Boies, where Hunter worked as a lawyer. The payment was to compensate Hunter Biden for trying to resolve Firtash's U.S. legal issues;
  • Youseff became “very unhappy” with Hunter Biden’s work on the matter because of the lack of progress resolving Firtash's criminal case;
  • Eventually, the effort ended and Youseff arranged to transfer $3 million of Firtash’s money to a tech startup associated with Galanis and other Hunter Biden business partners called mBloom.
  • mBloom then sent about $300,000 of that money to Rosemont Seneca Bohai, a firm where Hunter Biden often got paid for his Burisma work.

Firtash was indicted in 2014 by the Obama-Biden DOJ on allegations of corruption, and has been represented by several powerful American lawyers, including former Clinton White House lawyer Lanny Davis, ex-U.S. Attorney Dan Webb and former DOJ officials Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing.

In court, his lawyers have argued that the charges filed in Chicago were unwarranted.

"He didn't pay any bribes. He's not even charged with paying bribes. He's charged with a scheme to bribe, involving a transaction in India, that never happened," Lanny Davis said back in 2021.

According to Hunter's own recent testimony to Congress, Firtash was believed to be aligned with Vladimir Putin.

"There were two gas companies inside of Ukraine at that time. One of them was the state-owned, which was highly corrupt and connected to people like Firtash, which was directly going into Vladimir Putin's pocket," he said, explaining that Firtash's ties to Russia were connected to why he joined the board of Burisma.

"The only independent company was Burisma. And Burisma was supplying 60 percent of all natural gas to power the entire industry in Ukraine, including 78 percent of all steel mills. And so they needed to survive."

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/04/2024 - 11:00
Published:3/4/2024 10:17:35 AM
[Markets] The Endgame, Part I: The Russo-Ukrainian War And Geopolitics Of Europe The Endgame, Part I: The Russo-Ukrainian War And Geopolitics Of Europe

By Tuomas Malinen

In early February, I posted a poll on X asking whether I should write a geopolitical piece on the Russo-Ukrainian war, adding to my series mapping a worst-case scenario for the war. While the vote count for this particular poll was not very high, an overwhelming majority supported this notion.

Before conducting the poll, developments in Ukraine in December and January had led me to ponder the outcome, or endgame, of the war. In September 2022, I had established an alternative to the western narrative of the war, spewed relentlessly by our media. In it, I argued that

  • Ukrainian losses are massive, passing Russian losses possibly 5-10 times.

  • The Russian army has not collapsed, but it may have become the strongest it has been since WWII.

  • The West (NATO) is fighting a proxy-war in Ukraine with the possible aim of regime change in Russia.

  • Russia is about to create a war-machine not seen in Europe for a very long time, which it could use to unleash a devastating attack against Ukrainian (NATO) forces during the winter.

In late-October 2022, I also noted that:

The massive force Russia is amassing and the all-but-halted progress of Ukrainian forces, tells me that we are most likely approaching a turning point in the war. In the worst case, this implies that Ukraine has already lost. Even in the best case (excluding peace) this means that the war will drag on and become a resource race between NATO and Russia.

Now, essentially all of this, except the Russian winter-offensive (2022/23) have been proven true. Ukraine has effectively lost the war, or a least she cannot win it in any plausible scenario. Just a few days ago, French President Emmanuel Macron attempted a game-changer, by “not ruling out” NATO boots in Ukraine. This, unsurprisingly, led to a strong backlash both from European allies and the Kremlin, but the idea of direct NATO involvement in Ukraine had been floated. Yet, we already know that western soldiers have been in Ukraine for some time and now we also know that NATO has been providing both operational and intelligence support for Ukraine for some time.

Anyone who understands anything about the ‘power politics’ in Europe knows that radical new developments will be first proposed by some party/parties only to be shot down by other political leaders. However, after this initiation, the proposal keeps appearing in newspaper articles and comments by political leaders, which slowly turn from condemnation to neutrality and further to (reluctant) acceptance. This is why all of us concerned about pan-European security should be extremely vigilant concerning the plans of European political leaders and the elite. The analysis presented in this piece further amplify these concerns by showing that the motives of NATO in the Ukrainian conflict are unlikely to be benevolent for the European populace.

The timing of the comment by Macron, was naturally no coincidence. The AFU (Armed Forces of Ukraine) is currently facing a looming collapse of the eastern front. A key development was the fall of Avdiivka, a key town in the east, to Russians in mid-February. It now looks as though the AFU has no fortified positions after Avdiivka, which implies that the whole Ukrainian defenses can collapse in a matter of weeks.

The questions we should be asking are as follows: Why are we here again, on the verge of another major war in Europe? Why has the narrative of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO, changed so drastically from the first days of the war?

We have learned that western nations, especially the U.S. and the U.K., have been adamantly against any ceasefire, not to mention peace, in Ukraine. From the perspective of the geopolitical security structure, based on integration, created in Europe after the Second World War, this makes absolutely no sense.

Blaming only Russia for the war in Ukraine, would also be extremely naive. The actions of the U.S. in Ukraine before the onset of the first phase of the war, in 2014, do not stand up to any scrutiny. Also those, who consider Russia as a “white knight” in this macabre power play, are clinging on to beliefs that are not supported by reality. The longstanding, publicly stated position of neutrality of Russia in the conflict in Donbas, since 2014, is a blatant lie from the Kremlin. I know this, e.g. through my contacts in the operational leadership of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) mission in eastern Ukraine. But, this is just how these two major nuclear powers play this game. You just have to be careful to not blindly believe what either of the party argues.

Yet, the decisions and actions, or “errors”, NATO has made in the Russia-Ukraine war, can only be plausibly explained with two scenarios. The first one is that NATO leadership is highly erratic, while the other is that NATO is not an “defense alliance”, but an aggressor. Both of these have dire implications for the security structure of Europe.

Russian threat that wasn’t

Sir Winston Churchill described Russia as a “riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside of an enigma”. This is how Russia presents itself to many westerners. The relatively chaotic, but mostly victorious military history of Russia conceals their centuries long aim of bezopasnost, which translates to “absence of threat”. The Napoleonic wars, which led to the Fire of Moscow, and Operation Barbarossa, one of most bloody wars of invasion ever fought in Europe, have been burned deeply into the psyche of Russian leaders. For a very long time, the threat to Russia has come from the west and from the south-west. Both Hitler and Napoleon proceeded to Russia through Poland and Ukraine. This is something that the collective west often and most likely deliberately forgets.

On the other hand, the wars of invasion fought by Russia, and the Soviet Union, combined with their extensive ‘psyop’ operations in the West (conducted mostly by the Soviet Union), can be seen as an over-reach of security or direct policies of enlargement. However, also this is how major military powers operate, when they feel their security and/or interests threatened. The wars fought by Russia and the U.S. over the centuries, shows their power politics rather clearly. The difference between the two is that, while Russia has mostly fought wars close to its borders, the U.S. has waged wars, practically, across the globe.

What is also deliberately forgotten in the west is that Russia is not the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union was a superpower with the capacity to conquer and hold most of Europe. For decades, it was the second largest economy in the world, the winner of the first stage of the space race and a military giant. Russia’s economy, on the other hand, is eleventh largest in the world with a gross domestic product of $2.1 trillion in 2023, which is less than one-tenth of the U.S. economy ($26.9 trillion). The states of California and Texas, for example, have larger economies than Russia.

This quite simply means that, while Russia currently most likely leads NATO in development of modern ground forces, the economy of Russia simply cannot cope with any larger wars of invasion. The costs of the annexation of Crimea to Russia’s fiscal balance were staggering. The economic foundations, like tourism and private businesses, on the Peninsula collapsed and Russia emptied her Sovereign Reserve Fund to pay for the costs of annexation. The second military phase of the conflict has more than halved the National Wealth Fund, with its value falling by $58 billion since February 2022.

What do you think would happen, if Russia would invade, for example, the Baltics? Russian state finances would collapse without massive lending (money printing) from the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, which would bring another round of hyperinflation.

Purely from economic premises, the idea of Russia engaging in a war of invasion in Europe is preposterous! A wider war against NATO would utterly devastate Russian state finances, with a very high risk of devastating nuclear confrontation. This means that the Kremlin would not take upon such an endeavour, even if it were militarily possible (which it is not, at least not yet), without a direct threat to the survival of Russia. What could bring upon a such a threat?

The two faces of NATO

In January last year, I went through the uneasy relationship and rather aggressive history of NATO and Russia. The conclusion of my analysis was:

The history of NATO, the lack of genuine push for peace from the West, and the current extremely dangerous rhetoric demanding for “full Russian capitulation” and the change in regime in Moscow, makes me think that the threat Kremlin feels has roots in reality. It seems more and more that the U.S. and NATO are using Europe to wage a war against her opponent for 80 years. The Eurasian power structure forming between Europe, China and Russia would have risen to challenge the U.S. hegemony, and this can be seen as the motive for such a worst-case scenario.

This was a rough conclusion, but it was based on analyses of three leading geopolitical scholars (two American, one Russian). There was also one thing all geopolitical scholars, Russian and American (NATO-hawks and doves), agreed upon in the 1990's and 2000's. It was that Ukraine was a ‘no-go-zone’ for NATO. How and why did NATO then deliberately flirt with the idea of Ukraine becoming a member of NATO already in 2008? Moreover, the General Secretary of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, has given truly strange statements lately, including the statement that Ukraine would eventually become a member of NATO. This would violate all the principles and rules of how the alliance accepts new countries.

The main problem with NATO is that it seems to have a mind of its own. It does not follow the guidance of its member states, nor even advice of the most notorious ‘NATO-hawks’, like Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski. Moreover, while no formal agreement was ever signed to stop NATO from expanding to former Soviet countries in eastern Europe, there were verbal agreements and statements of such a ‘moratoria’. It’s difficult to assess, how much weight the Kremlin originally put to such promises, but according to the statements by President Putin they were not negligible. Even as late as in early-December 2021, President Putin demanded guarantees that NATO would not expand eastward any further. This can be seen as a last-minute effort to prevent a wider conflict in Ukraine.

Alas, it appears that NATO operates with two faces. Publicly it's a defense alliance, responding to the threat of Russia. Yet in the background, it is sowing the seeds of conflict, and flaming them by deliberately over-stepping the red lines of its main rival, Moscow. This leads us to the first scenario, i.e. to erratic NATO.

Scenario I: NATO, the erratic

The North Atlantic Treaty was signed on April 4, 1949 (which happens to be the same day when Finland ascended to full membership to the alliance, in 2023) between the United States, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. In it, they agreed to consider an “attack against one an attack against all, along with consultations about threats and defense matters”. Moreover, the collective defense arrangement only applied to attacks against the signatories that occurred in Europe or North America and not, for example, to conflicts in colonial territories.

This was the original aim of NATO. That is, to form a collective defense alliance between countries. It was naturally not the first of its kind in history, but it became the strongest one. The Soviet Union and its allies responded by forming the Warsaw Pact on 14 May, 1955.

All through the Cold War, NATO acted honoring its original aim. It provided a credible counter-force to the military threat of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. However, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the dismantling of the Warsaw Pact on 25 February, 1991, NATO remained. Why?

NATO started to take part or to lead military missions across the globe in the 1990's. At the same time NATO expanded eastwards with most of the eastern European countries joining the alliance between 1997 and 2020. This did not go unnoticed in the Kremlin, which drew definite red lines for the expansion in 2008. Alexander Grushko, Russia’s former deputy foreign minister stated in 2008 that, “Georgia’s and Ukraine’s membership into the alliance is a huge strategic mistake which would have the most serious consequences for pan-European security”. One Russian newspaper reported that, when Presidents Putin and Bush met, Putin stated that, "if Ukraine was accepted into NATO, it would cease to exist". These were extremely dire warnings that Ukraine was an integral part of the bezopasnost, a definite red line for Moscow. To emphasize the point, Russia invaded parts of Georgia in August 2008, after the idea of Georgia becoming a member in NATO was floated in 20th NATO Summit, held in Budapest between 2-4 April 2008 (there’s also controversy surrounding who started the war). Yet, every single one of those warnings was neglected by the leadership of NATO.

To believe that the NATO leadership is simply erratic in their decisions, in the sense that they are deliberately over-stepping the red lines of Kremlin, requires that there exists a massive deficit by recent leaders of NATO to understand the communications coming from Moscow. These deficits would need to be so massive that believing in this scenario would require questioning the sanity of NATO leadership, because they are effectively over-stepping the red lines of a country with the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons.

I cannot believe in such a scenario of insanity, which leads us to the other scenario. That is, that NATO has evolved into something very different that it was in the beginning.

Scenario II: NATO, the aggressor

NATO is effectively run by the U.S., which covers some 22% of its budget. The U.S. also played a major role in the formation of its first ever military structure. By also being the largest nuclear power in the alliance, the U.S. can be seen wielding uncontested power in NATO's decision making process. The rather strange occurrence of escalations in Ukraine under democratic rules in the U.S. (Obama and Biden) can be seen either as a weakness of leadership which President Putin took advantage of, or as weakness exploited by the “Deep State”. The aggressive stance taken by NATO in Ukraine, a non-member country, hints to the latter.

Deep state is often described as a conspiracy theory, where secret government networks collude to steer the politics of a state. However, a more plausible description for the term is a network of civil servants, guiding political leaders possibly for decades, who have formed their own view of how things should be handled. Some could describe this as a culture of governance. The thing with such networks is that, if they are subjected to a weak leader, the networks can start to run things, that is, to control decisions. The larger the network, the more extensive its power. There’s a very telling piece on this “power vacuum” a national leader faces, by no other than President Barack Obama.

Every single human institution is also prone to corruption. This is often related to the nature of the power the network yields. If it, for example, has the ability to decide the fate of nations, we can expect corruption to become rather pervasive, if the power of the network goes unchecked. This tends to happen, if it has a weak leader, that is, when the network observes that the commander-in-chief does not have the capacity to properly digest and analyze their guidance, but just act upon them. At this point, there usually is a ‘silent revolution’, where the true decision making process, of any organization, is taken over by the network. Moreover, in such cases the immovable minority, consisting of intolerant and unyielding people, is likely to take over. In positions of power such minorities tend to exhibit meanness reaching even a psychopatic level. The immovable minority may also consist of people, who have devoted themselves to a certain cause or the cause of their background organizations. There’s no lack of secretive organizations running their own agendas in our societies, on which Freemasons are probably the most well known.

In any case, the mental and physical state of the current leader of the U.S., President Joe Biden, has raised some serious questions. I was shocked to see how fragile he has become, when I watched his press conference, first time in a year, some weeks ago. He seems like an old man that should be in a retirement home. I have no doubt that he’s no longer in charge, but his team and the Deep State are.

This leads us to the question, what is the Deep State pursuing?

Answering this question is naturally possible only through indirect observations. If we observe all the “erratic” decisions and actions by NATO for the past 30 years, it’s hard to conclude anything else than that the Deep State seeks a direct confrontation with Russia. What could be the catalyst for this?

Russia holds vast mineral resources, estimated to total between $75 to $90 trillion. In a sense, this makes Russia the richest country in the world. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia sought funds from everywhere, and was very open to investments. It could be that the Deep State hopes to accomplish the same if the current Russian administration collapses, but this is a very high risk strategy.

The other likely motivation for the Russia-Ukraine war is to destroy the Eurasian alliance that was forming between China, Europe and the U.S. However, this already lies in ruins, but the aim could be to hold up the tensions so that there could be no detente between Europe and Russia/China. This requires that the war in Ukraine continues and even spreads. Peace would be very risky to this scenario, as Europe could be seeking to re-establish relations with Russia due to its importance, e.g. to European energy security. Peace at this point would also be a heavy blow to the credibility of the U.S. military power.

The third possible source of motivation is rather speculative. I have speculated on the possibility that the global elite, and a powerful group behind (or over) them is sowing their own dark plan for Europe and the world. This group could be assumed to have a strong influence on the Deep State in all major countries. Their agenda would likely consist of inflicting ultimate chaos in the world in order to establish a pervasive control mechanism. World War III, even with the risk of nuclear annihilation, could serve such an agenda.

Regardless of which of the two scenarios the current NATO leadership is following, the implications for Europe and the world are dire. This is because they both point to deepening escalation. This implies that we have entered the most dangerous period of European history since the late 1930's.

I will publish scenarios for the endgame of Russia-Ukrainian war in the coming weeks.

Tyler Durden Sun, 03/03/2024 - 07:00
Published:3/3/2024 6:32:49 AM
[Markets] Obama's CIA Asked Foreign Intel Agencies To Spy On Trump Campaign Obama's CIA Asked Foreign Intel Agencies To Spy On Trump Campaign

Authored by Robert Chernin via RealClear Wire,

The revelation that the U.S. intelligence community, under the Obama administration, sought the assistance of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance to surveil Donald Trump’s associates before the 2016 election is a chilling reminder of the lengths to which the Deep State will go to protect its interests and challenge its adversaries. (The Five Eyes countries are the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.) This bombshell, reported by a team of independent journalists, exposes a dark chapter in American political history, where foreign intelligence services were reportedly mobilized against a presidential candidate.

The alleged operation against Trump and his associates, which predates the official start of the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation, is a stark example of political weaponization of intelligence. The involvement of foreign allies in surveilling American citizens under the pretext of national security raises serious questions about the integrity of our democratic processes and the autonomy of our nation’s intelligence operations.

The narrative that has been pushed for years, that the investigation into Trump’s campaign began with an Australian tip about a boastful Trump aide, now appears to be a cover for a more extensive and coordinated effort to undermine Trump. If reports are accurate, British intelligence began targeting Trump on behalf of American intelligence agencies as early as 2015, long before the official narrative claims.

The implications of this are profound. It suggests an unprecedented level of collusion between U.S. intelligence agencies and their foreign counterparts to influence the outcome of an American presidential election. The use of foreign intelligence to circumvent American laws and surveillance limitations represents a grave threat to our nation’s sovereignty and the principles of democracy.

The fact that this operation was reportedly initiated at the behest of high-ranking officials within the Obama administration, including CIA Director John Brennan, only adds to the severity of the situation. Brennan’s alleged identification of Trump associates for surveillance by the Five Eyes alliance, and the directive to “bump” or make contact with them, illustrates a deliberate strategy to entangle the Trump campaign in a web of suspicion and intrigue.

Moreover, the reported involvement of foreign intelligence in crafting the Russia collusion narrative not only delegitimizes the subsequent investigation but also highlights the willingness of certain elements within the U.S. government to exploit international partnerships for domestic political gain. This revelation demands a thorough and transparent examination to ensure that such abuses of power are brought to light and severely punished to discourage them from being repeated.

As more details emerge, it is imperative that the American public demand accountability from those who orchestrated and executed this operation. The sanctity of our electoral process and the trust in our intelligence agencies are at stake. We must not allow the politicization of intelligence to go unchecked, nor can we tolerate the involvement of foreign powers in our democratic processes.

Robert Chernin is chairman of the American Center for Education and Knowledge. He is a longtime entrepreneur, business leader, fundraiser, and political confidant, and has consulted on federal and statewide campaigns at the gubernatorial, congressional, senatorial, and presidential levels.

Tyler Durden Thu, 02/29/2024 - 23:45
Published:3/1/2024 12:10:04 AM
[Politics] BREAKING: Judge holds Catherine Herridge in civil contempt for not divulging source Reporter Catherine Herridge has just been held in contempt by an Obama-nominated federal judge and is being ordered to pay a fine of $800 per day until she breaks. That fine, however, . . . Published:2/29/2024 7:16:16 PM
[Security] Obama’s CIA Asked Foreign Intel Agencies to Spy on Trump Campaign

The revelation that the U.S. intelligence community, under the Obama administration, sought the assistance of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance to surveil Donald Trump’s associates before the... Read More

The post Obama’s CIA Asked Foreign Intel Agencies to Spy on Trump Campaign appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Published:2/28/2024 8:54:35 PM
[Markets] Supreme Court Seems Divided Over ATF Bump Stock Regulation Supreme Court Seems Divided Over ATF Bump Stock Regulation

Authored by Sam Dorman via The Epoch Times,

The Supreme Court seemed divided during oral argument on Feb. 28 over whether it would uphold the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) regulation prohibiting ownership of bump stocks.

That regulation came after the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas where a gunman used bump stock-equipped firearms. It reversed years of ATF interpretations allowing non-mechanical bump stocks, or those without a spring.

In doing so, ATF reinterpreted a post-Prohibition law that banned the use of machine guns. Unlike other gun rights cases, the attorneys in this case—Garland v. Cargill—didn’t talk much about the Second Amendment. Rather, they sought to convince the justices that the phrases “automatically” and “single function of the trigger” within federal law either did or didn’t apply to bump stocks.

Justice Clarence Thomas, who wrote an opinion from 2022 upholding gun rights, peppered the Biden administration with questions focused on teasing out the differences in operating a firearm with or without a bump stock.

Much of the debate focused on whether bump stocks allowed a single trigger pull to initiate a process by which bullets were rapidly released.

Jonathan Mitchell, the New Civil Liberties Alliance attorney arguing for Michael Cargill, repeatedly emphasized that bump stocks only allowed one bullet per trigger pull. He also argued that firing with bump stocks didn’t meet the statutory language of “single function of the trigger” due to grammatical reasons and the fact that bump stock users had to apply pressure to maintain accelerated fire.

Principal Deputy Solicitor General Brian Fletcher and Justice Ketanji Brown-Jackson suggested instead that bump stocks allowed users to initiate a process with the bump stock after a single pull of the trigger.

“Once the shooter presses forward to fire the first shot, the bump stock uses the gun’s recoil energy to create a continuous back-and-forth cycle that fires hundreds of shots per minute,” Mr. Fletcher said.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett told Mr. Fletcher that she was “entirely sympathetic to your argument,” stating that “this is functioning like a machinegun would.” She questioned, however, why Congress didn’t pass legislation to cover bump stocks “more clearly.”

The case arose from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which ruled in favor of Mr. Cargill while noting that the legal rule of lenity required they rule against the government when the meaning of a statute was unclear.

NCLA President Mark Chenoweth told The Epoch Times he thought the Court would rule in favor of Mr. Cargill given its textualist composition.

“We have a majority of justices who are textualists, and they‘ll look at the text, and they’ll look at the way that the gun functions, and I think that they will decide that the bump stock is on the outside of the machinegun ban.”

The National Firearms Act

Justices Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh raised concerns about how ATF’s 2018 regulation would apply to people who later owned bump stocks. But most of the questioning focused on how bump stocks operate, the wording of the National Firearms Act, and Congress’ intent in passing the law in 1934.

Story continues below advertisement

The three liberal justices seemed skeptical of Mr. Mitchell’s arguments—particularly Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown-Jackson, who suggested he was asserting an irrelevant distinction for the federal law involved.

Both questioned whether the overall thrust of the 1934 law was intended to prevent use of devices like bump stocks.

“As far as I can tell, the sort of common usage of the word ‘function’ is not its operational design. It’s not the mechanics of the thing. It is what it achieves, what it’s being used for,” Justice Jackson told Mr. Mitchell.

She added that “weapons with bump stocks have triggers that function in the same way. They—through a single, right, pull of the trigger or touch of the trigger, you achieve the same result of automatic fire.”

Mr. Mitchell countered that “a single discharge of the trigger produces only one shot. It doesn’t produce a round of automatic fire. The only way you get to repeated shots with a bump stock equipped rifle is for the shooter himself to continually undertake manual action by thrusting the forestock of the rifle forward with his non-shooting hand.

Part of the confusion surrounding the statute involves ATF’s contention that “single function of the trigger” under federal law included a “single pull of the trigger.” Both Justice Neil Gorsuch and Mr. Mitchell cast doubt on that interpretation, noting that “function” was a transitive verb.

“People don’t function things,” Justice Gorsuch said. “They may pull things, they may throw things, but they don’t function things.”

Justice Kagan suggested that Mr. Mitchell’s interpretation lacked common sense.

“I view myself as a good textualist,” she said. “I think that that’s the way we should think about statutes. It’s by reading them.”

“But, you know, textualism is not inconsistent with common sense,” she added. “Like, at some point, you have to apply a little bit of common sense to the way you read a statute and understand that what this statute comprehends is a weapon that fires a multitude of shots with a single human action.”

“Whether it’s a continuous pressure on a ... conventional machinegun, holding the trigger, or a continuous pressure on one of these devices on the barrel ... I can’t understand how anybody could think that those two things should be treated differently.

Justice Alito asked Mr. Mitchell whether his case was one where “the literal language of the statute had to control even though it’s pretty hard to think that Congress actually meant that to apply in certain situations.”

Potential Congressional Action

Justice Gorsuch indicated he thought Congressional action would have been preferable to an ATF rule interpreting prior legislation. He also asked about former Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) criticizing the use of regulation to ban bump stocks.

Justice Kavanaugh noted that bump stocks didn’t exist around the time of the 1934 law’s passage. He went on to ask Mr. Fletcher: “What’s your explanation, maybe common-sense explanation or some other explanation, for why, when this does become an issue, the Bush Administration, the Obama Administration, Senator Feinstein, all say no?”

Outside of the Court, Mr. Cargill told The Epoch Times he thought Congress had authority over the issue but didn’t think it should pass a law regulating bump stocks.

The Epoch Times asked both he and Mr. Mark Chenoweth whether bump stocks were protected by the Second Amendment. “I don’t know,” Mr. Cargill said.

Mr. Chenoweth similarly said he didn’t know about the Second Amendment question and would have to look at how history did or didn’t support bump stocks’ protection under the Constitution.

“We look at this as an abuse of administrative power case, not as a Second Amendment case,” he said. “If Congress had passed this law, we wouldn’t be challenging it.”

Tyler Durden Wed, 02/28/2024 - 21:40
Published:2/28/2024 8:54:35 PM
[] Biden Checks Into Walter Reed for a Physical as Obama's Aides Publicly Panic About His Age and "Mumbly" Speech We have to talk about Pop-Pop. Former aides who worked directly with then-Vice President Joe Biden in the Obama administration have called current fears over his age "a very real issue" -- with some alarmed at how he has become... Published:2/28/2024 1:09:55 PM
[Markets] Sen. Kennedy: Biden Is "A Cancer On The American Dream" Sen. Kennedy: Biden Is "A Cancer On The American Dream"

Authored by Steve Watson via Modernity.news,

Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy slammed Joe Biden’s economic policies Monday, declaring that inflation under Biden is a “cancer on the American Dream,” and saying Biden is about as popular as chlamydia.

Appearing on Hannity, Kennedy and the Fox News host noted how every problem under Biden is being blamed on something or someone else by his Administration.

“Blame big oil, blame big business. The border isn’t his fault, nothing’s his fault,” Hannity said, adding “Everything is Trump’s fault. The border’s safe and secure, but now it’s the Republicans’ fault…Will they get away with this shifting of blame?”

Kennedy responded, “I did not think President Obama was a very good president but compared to present Biden, President Obama just shoplifted.”

“President Biden stole the whole bank. President Biden’s inflation not only hurts people, but it hurts business’,” Kennedy continued, adding “Shrinkflation exists when a business needs to raise its prices because costs have gone up as a result of inflation, but it’s scared to raise its prices because it’s scared people won’t buy its product. So it saves money by making a smaller product.”

“Unless you were homeschooled by a day drinker, you can see that shrinkflation and inflation are just different sides of the same coin,” Kennedy further posited, adding “Any economist, any reputable economist who didn’t get his degree from Costco will tell you that President Biden’s economic policies caused both inflation and shrinkflation.”

“So much of the attention right now is on present Biden’s age,” Kennedy continued, adding “It’s true that it takes longer than a trip to Jupiter for him to walk across the stage. But we can’t lose sight of the fact that his economic policies have been, almost every time, reliably and dependably wrong.”

“His inflation is a cancer on the American dream. And the American people have figured it out and that’s why if you believe the polls, the president is polling right up there with chlamydia,” Kennedy said, slamming Biden.

Watch:

As we highlighted a fortnight ago, Biden had the gall to post a 30 second Super Bowl PSA complaining about the size of ice cream packaging due to shrinkflation, as if it’s someone else’s fault:

*  *  *

Your support is crucial in helping us defeat mass censorship. Please consider donating via Locals or check out our unique merch. Follow us on X @ModernityNews.

Tyler Durden Tue, 02/27/2024 - 16:20
Published:2/27/2024 3:26:16 PM
[Markets] The Only Rx For Drug Shortages Is Competition The Only Rx For Drug Shortages Is Competition

Authored by Thomas McArdle via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

Price controls lead to shortages. This axiom is as dependable and scientifically absolute as the law of gravity. And it is the case even when the controls are elaborately disguised.

A staff member sorts through drugs while filling a prescription at the Clay-Battelle Community Health Center's pharmacy in Blacksville, W. Va., on March 21, 2017. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

So, when the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reacts to the shortages suffered in the aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdowns of vital hospital drugs, including those used in chemotherapy like Methotrexate and fludarabine, by launching a probe of distribution companies, it’s like the Federal Aviation Administration searching for ways of blaming the ground for getting in the way of the jetliner that crashed.

To FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan, the solution of shortages is a government investigation that “scrutinizes the practices of opaque drug middlemen.” Presumably, the distribution firms under scrutiny will be Cardinal Health, Cencora, and McKesson, while the collective hospital purchasing firms in the federal viewfinder are likely HealthTrust, Premier, and Vizient.

Demand for these life-saving drugs has been on the increase; no one disputes that. In a market with minimum state interference, such demand would be taken advantage of either by existing producers increasing capacity or by new firms entering the fray to deliver what the buyers are ready and willing to purchase. But when you deny manufacturers the ability to make profits in taking advantage of demand, you make delivery of new supply difficult if not impossible.

Treating health care as a right is a deceptive description of what is actually the removal of the profit motive from the production and delivery of things and services of value. When you do that in any field, you exit the reality of human nature. What, after all, is more valuable than medicines and treatments that maintain your health? And the scientists, physicians, and businesspeople who have the expertise, or even genius, to invent, mass produce, and deliver medical care to patients must expect to be compensated based on market value—which, in bad news for the envious, ends up being many, many multiples of the minimum wage—otherwise they will devote their abilities elsewhere.

In other words, like anything else for sale, health care must be opened to customer scrutiny. When it comes to generic drugs, sadly, owing to the laws on the books, it’s like walking down the aisle at the supermarket and finding all the boxes of cereal or jars of jam identical, except for the price differences. No labels, no brand names, and the brand’s accompanying reputations based on past experience buying them. The healthcare consume—be it a patient, a pharmacist or a hospital—can only make a blind, ignorant-by-design comparison.

The Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984 vastly expanded the production and accessibility of generic medicines by shrinking regulatory delays in the approval of generic versions of patented drugs. Prices of generics plummeted and their use skyrocketed. The main driver was lots of competition among generics.

But sometimes various factors can reduce that competition for certain of the products; narrow profit margins, for instance, can lead to a manufacturer getting out, and—human nature being what it is—the companies remaining finding little reason not to raise their prices, sometimes with the power of a near-monopoly. New suppliers, in the meantime, face massive regulatory hurdles; the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a backlog of thousands of applications from generic manufacturers awaiting approval, and the wait time is years. The FDA jealously and outdatedly guards its approval power even though there is no evidence that the drug supply in the United States today is any less safe than that of other developed countries. Approval in those countries should be trusted here when it comes to often vitally needed imported generics, a move that would make more drugs available, lower their prices, and improve the health of Americans.

When in 2022 a labor shortage at Teva Pharmaceuticals caused delay in production of the  generic Adderall, a treatment for attention-deficit hyperactivity, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s harsh production quotas imposed on rival manufacturers prevented them from coming to the rescue and making up for loss of supply.

Brookings Institution Center on Health Policy senior fellow Marta Wonsinska notes, “The price pressure on manufacturers is tremendous and certain types of drugs, especially generic sterile injectables, are particularly vulnerable.” This artificial environment in which buyers are forced to choose based only on price, not weighing it alongside quality, is not a true market.

The Obama administration reacted to less serious prescription drug shortages by issuing a directive on Halloween of 2011 that, among other things, ordered the FDA to work with the Department of Justice on any findings of shortages being used for stockpiling and price increases. As with the FTC today, government is always seeking a villain and refusing to gaze into the mirror.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) was long ago complaining of a “gray market” taking advantage of shortages, “with the potential for price gouging” by secondary wholesalers, causing “serious concerns for patient safety.” It was also long ago recommended that PhRMA set out to forestall more government regulation by advocating an industry-?wide policy, by brand-name and generic manufacturers alike, to require purchase only from the manufacturers themselves and sales made only directly to pharmacies and hospitals, thus eliminating the effect on prices of a gray market distribution chain. Pharmacies and hospitals would require documents recording a drug’s distribution route. The industry’s motivation for embracing this idea is the higher revenues for manufacturers that would result, and the increased safety of the drug supply chain.

Returning to the matter of human nature, setting a high price for medicines when the situation allows is not always as crass and greedy as it may sound. About 90 percent of proposed medicines that go through testing ultimately fail to be offered to health providers and patients because they are found to be unsafe or not to affect a cure or a proper treatment. Thus, the cost between invention and sale to the public comes in on average at billions of dollars for each drug. That means that these evil, greedy pharmaceutical companies recoup their astronomical investments from the one in ten medicines that do make it to shelves.

When you turn these firms into villains, declare their profits to be obscene, shake them down and force them to cut their revenues, all you are doing is making them again and again not devote the money needed to bring new cures to patients. And this remains the truth in spite of the fact of their being bad actors—gougers, con artists, and the like—to be found in the field of medicine, as they are to be found in any and every other walk of life.

As the Manhattan Institute’s Tim Rice warns, “With too many barriers to recouping their investments, pharma companies will stop taking risks, and innovation will suffer.”

Having government treat health care as a right renders that care a scarce commodity. The way for the maximum number of patients to receive the highest quality of care,  including highly expensive, innovative drugs, is to accept the real world of profit and price as necessary mechanisms of distribution in a free society, and keep the heavy, self-serving hand of government out as much as possible.

Tyler Durden Mon, 02/26/2024 - 20:20
Published:2/26/2024 7:38:05 PM
[Markets] Average Americans Are Snuffing Out 'Expert' Gaslighters Average Americans Are Snuffing Out 'Expert' Gaslighters

Authored by Rod Thompson via PJMedia.com,

There is not a ton of positive news for America or Americans, but here’s one so let’s take it: Two recent data points suggest that the dangerously high influence of “experts” on average Americans’ thinking is collapsing.

It cannot come fast enough.

First point, timed right at Presidents Day last week, the Presidential Greatness Project, a survey of historians and scholars, published its latest ranking of U.S. presidents. And, as to be expected, it's a forehead-slapper of reality disconnect.

Coming in this year at No. 14 among all-time presidents is the bumbling, muttering tool of psychopath leftists and corruptocrats everywhere, Joe Biden. This ranking hilariously puts him in the top one-third of all American presidents. The list places Donald Trump dead last, the very worst president in all of American history. Again, hilariously predictable. Of course, these are the same “experts” who in 2015 ranked Bill Clinton and Woodrow Wilson above Ronald Reagan, and put Jimmy Carter ahead of Calvin Coolidge.

Any semi-objective reading of Biden’s and Trump’s first terms by measuring how well Americans fared and how well the world fared finds Trump’s demonstrably better in almost every category, from the economy to wage growth to containment of Russia to peace in the Middle East. 

But here’s the thing: Normal Americans are realizing this.

The tell, of course, is who these “experts” are. The self-own is in their own words: “Respondents included current and recent members of the Presidents & Executive Politics Section of the American Political Science Association, which is the foremost organization of social science experts in presidential politics…” Social science is well understood to be the most leftist of the academic categories. They are the hackiest of the leftist academia.

The authors of the survey further self-own when they write in the Los Angeles Times: “Trump’s radical departure from political, institutional and legal norms has affected knowledgeable assessments not just of him but also of Biden and several other presidents.” Those “norms” are exactly what most Americans have had enough of. Yet the same bubble-dwellers saw no radical departure when Barack Obama promised and pursued the “fundamental transformation” of America. This mindset has resulted in Republicans moving further down the presidential success sweepstakes as Democrats move up.

Their lack of self-awareness in their social science academia seclusion is almost breathtaking.

The second data point, however, completely reinforces how cloistered these people are from actual Americans. It just doesn’t require a college degree to rate Biden and Trump if you literally lived through their presidencies.

Rasmussen found that Americans — those struggling through the Biden presidency in real time — say that Biden has been a dismal failure in his first term. All of the institutional “expert” help and hardened media defense perimeters in the world could not hide Biden’s growing senility and staff incompetence. Nearly 60 percent said that Biden’s presidency has been a failure, including 40 percent who called his presidency to date a “complete failure,” while another 18% called it “mostly unsuccessful.”

A paltry nine percent graded Biden “a complete success,” presumably the most diehard partisans, pretty much the same as the comical experts in the Presidential Greatness Project.

However, Rasmussen found that Americans generally approved of Trump’s first term — particularly in light of what has followed — with 56 percent labeling Trump’s first term a success, including 22 percent saying it was a “complete success.” Even some Democrats agreed, with 28 percent calling Trump’s presidency a success — including 11 percent who called it a “complete success.”

Granted, these are only two data points. But combining them suggests that Americans are turning away from the propaganda poison of the anti-American “expert” class and relying more on their own good senses. This is a good and necessary step forward.

Tyler Durden Mon, 02/26/2024 - 07:20
Published:2/26/2024 6:43:38 AM
[Politics] Michelle Obama: September Savior or ‘Suicide Mission’?

Just how desperate are the Democrats to get Biden off the ballot?

The post Michelle Obama: September Savior or ‘Suicide Mission’? appeared first on The American Conservative.

Published:2/25/2024 11:07:24 PM
[Entertainment] You'll Never Guess These Stars' Real Names Malia Obama Say her name, say her name. Nope, not that one.  In the Sundance Institute's "Meet the Artist" spotlight video, Malia Obama revealed she has ditched her famous moniker, instead going by the stage...
Published:2/24/2024 4:55:52 AM
[Markets] Alexei Navalny's Death And Curious Well-Timed Coincidences Alexei Navalny's Death And Curious Well-Timed Coincidences

Authored by Edward Curtin via Off-Guardian.org,

There is propaganda by commission and propaganda by omission, the former often serve to conceal the latter. Timing is crucial.

That the U.S. President Joseph Biden, his British, NATO, Israeli allies, and their corporate media mouthpieces are in need of a major propaganda victory is obvious. They are losing the war in Ukraine, have been condemned throughout the world for the genocide in Gaza, and are ruling over a disintegrating empire. Biden and Netanyahu’s political lives are at serious risk. And so they have just rolled out a full-court propaganda press effort aimed at covering their losses. It should be crystal clear to anyone who can use logic to see the timing involved.

The great French scholar of propaganda and technology, Jacques Ellul, wrote years ago that propaganda “is not the touch of a magic wand. It is based on slow constant impregnation. It creates convictions and compliance through imperceptible influences that are effective only by continuous repetition.”

However, once this groundwork has been laid over time – as it has been with the continuous anti-Russia Putin hysteria and support for Israel’s Zionist policies – it can be intensely ratcheted up in exigent circumstances when the long-serving narrative is in jeopardy, such as it is now.

Once the death in a Russian prison of the Western backed Russian dissident Alexei Navalny was announced on Friday, February 16, 2024, it was immediately followed by a cascade of anti-Russia pronouncements whose aim was to not only continue the demonization of Russia and its President Vladimir Putin but to serve other purposes as well.

With one fell stroke, the calm history lesson about Ukraine, Russia, and U.S./NATO that Putin had just delivered to the world via Tucker Carlson disappeared down the memory hole, as Biden, without any evidence, declared that “Putin and his thugs” and Putin’s “brutality” are responsible for Navalny’s death.

This, of course, is a replay of the false charges sans evidence waged against Russia for an earlier poisoning of Navalny, the Skripals (since disappeared by the British government), Alexander Litvinenko, et al.

Shortly after, Zelensky, performing his puppet routine while coincidently appearing at the Munich Security Conference – on Saturday, February 17, a day after Navalny’s death was announced – with Navalny’s then widow, said it was “obvious” that Putin had killed Navalny, while Biden pushed for more money for Ukraine’s doomed war against Russia, a U.S./NATO war created by the U.S. from the start with its aggressive military push to Russia’s borders and its 2015 Ukrainian coup d’état that ousted the pro-Russian leader, setting the stage for Russia’s incursion into Ukraine in February 2022. That Putin told Carlson these obvious facts, while slyly mentioning to Carlson that he understood that Carlson once tried to join the CIA, is now for most people in the West history lost behind the headlines, if it ever were anything more.

All this happened while Russia pushed through Ukraine’s defenses and took the city of Avdeevka, which had long been contested. With each day that passes, it is obvious that Biden’s Ukraine war strategy is that of a desperate politician on the ropes and that Putin has completely outfoxed the American desperados and their NATO European stooges. The MSM prefer to suggest otherwise, that hope is just around the corner if we send billions more dollars and weapons, and if with the help of our British friends, we take the war further into Russian territory and risk a nuclear confrontation. But we are in a propaganda war for the minds of the Western public.

Much of the rest of the world has seen through the risible MSM headlines used to delude the public that Russia is the great threat to world peace and stability. Like the previous Russia-gate lies, this ongoing one, coinciding with Navalny’s death, is timed to divert the public’s attention from key ongoing matters.

Tomorrow and Wednesday, Julian Assange will have his final appeal in a British court to prevent his extradition to the United States. Biden wants this journalist prosecuted for doing the job that the MSM have failed to do: Exposing the facts about the ruthless U.S. killing machine. But the bruhaha about Navalny has rendered the absolute hypocrisy over the torture and imprisonment of the innocent and brave Assange secondary and “inconsequential.” As intended, this has now become an afterthought as the mainstream media’s Russia-obsessed headlines flow uninterruptedly. The New York Times, the key propaganda organ for the Biden administration and the deep-state, reports just today that “The gravity of President Putin’s threats is now dawning on Europe” and “Navalny’s Widow Promises to Carry on Opposition Leader’s Work.”  These are typical Times’ rants.  As is its Magazine article headline from yesterday “Marilyn Robinson [the writer and friend of Barack Obama] Considers Biden a Gift of God.”

I don’t think the Palestinians would agree, but then too, their slaughter by Israel with U.S. assistance – more than 29,000 Palestinians in Gaza alone have been killed so far – and the coming IDF invasion of Rafah, have also been pushed to the back pages or to nowhere by the propaganda about Navalny and Russia.

I won’t mention the Russian election in mid-March that might possibly factor into all this since we all will be dutifully and timely told that the evil killer Putin is a dictator, ignorant, ruthless – add your own adjectives – and is no doubt trying to rig the fair-and-square U.S. November presidential election – for someone, just as he did in 2016.

Nor mention The NY Times article of February 17 by David Sanger and Julian Barnes that the “U.S Fears Russia Might Put a Nuclear Weapon in Space.”

Everyone knows that the Russians are coming to get us, as they always have. They probably killed JFK, right?

It’s easy to follow along as this propaganda eruption circles the Internet like painted ponies on a carousel. There will be no time to stop and think, to pause; to ask what the hell is going on? The ponies will dip and bob and make you dizzy.

For more corroboration of these matters, read the political analyst Gilbert Doctorow’s astute piece on how the Turkish broadcaster TRT World refused to post the interview that they did with him. Doctorow claims British intelligence killed Navalny. For some reason this should not be broached, according to TRT.

Whether Doctorow is right or not, only a very dimwitted person would think that Putin would have Navalny killed. He has nothing to gain and everything to lose by doing so. Yet the MSM and their government overlords consider most people very stupid and so are trying to blitz them with obvious propaganda through commission and omission.

We have heard this story before.

*  *  *

Edward Curtin is an independent writer whose work has appeared widely over many years. His website is edwardcurtin.com and his new book is Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies.

Tyler Durden Fri, 02/23/2024 - 23:25
Published:2/23/2024 10:52:46 PM
[2020 Election] The DOJ has imprisoned the man who can bring down Biden and Obama

  The depth of the corruption in this administration is utterly mind boggling. The fate of the country is on the line. David Weiss, the US Attorney from Delaware, who ...

The post The DOJ has imprisoned the man who can bring down Biden and Obama appeared first on Flopping Aces.

Published:2/23/2024 1:13:32 PM
[In the Courts] Appellate Court Blows Up Obama Moratorium On Coal Leasing

by Nick Pope at CDN -

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday to essentially axe an Obama-era rule that prohibited new leasing for coal mining on federal lands. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturned a previous 2022 court decision that allowed for the reinstatement of an Obama-era regulation that banned new coal …

Click to read the rest HERE-> Appellate Court Blows Up Obama Moratorium On Coal Leasing first posted at Conservative Daily News

Published:2/22/2024 3:17:13 PM
[] The Morning Rant: Minimalist Edition One of the Biden/Obama Junta's greatest errors has been the destruction of American petroleum production, and the concurrent significant increase in the price of petroleum on the world markets. Of course that is their plan...to drive up the price... Published:2/22/2024 10:09:03 AM
[Markets] 'Sue And Settle' Looks To Some Like Crony Democracy...