“If [danger] ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.” --Abraham Lincoln

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KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine needs about $3 billion in foreign financial aid on a monthly basis to get through 2024, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko said on Wednesday, highlighting the challenges Kyiv faces as U.S. support begins to falter.

Marchenko said Ukraine's macroeconomic stability during the war with Russia had been possible due to a steady inflow of international financial aid from Kyiv's allies, something he added remained crucial this year.

Ukraine has received more than $73 billion in financial aid from its Western partners in the two years since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

The EU finally approved its 50 billion euro four-year facility for Ukraine this month but the U.S. financial and military support package remains stuck in Congress, blocked by Republican lawmakers.

Claire's Observations: And from where, please, is Ukraine getting this number?!?

And is Ukraine anywhere closer to achieving "military victory", two years on, against Russia?  Spoiler Alert:  Absolutely not!!!

So let's talk some logic here, shall we?!?  In light of the reality that there has been utterly no accountability for either the( US taxpayer ) money spent, or the weapons given to Ukraine , I do not want one single cent more spent on Ukraine until we know what the hell they did with the last tranche of US money or the last round of  US weapons given, period, end of discussion.

The level of corruption of this government in Ukraine absolutely knows no bounds, and I have to wonder just how much of that above-referenced figure every month will be siphoned off to benefit the crooked here?!?

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Arizona Republicans want to let ranchers in southern Arizona legally shoot and kill undocumented immigrants who cross their land.   

A bill moving through the state House of Representatives would make changes to the state’s existing “Castle Doctrine” law, which permits Arizonans to use deadly force against people who are trespassing or breaking into their home. 

Rep. Justin Heap, a Mesa Republican, told the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 14 that his House Bill 2843 is designed to close a loophole that he claims has led to “increasingly larger numbers of migrants or human traffickers moving across farm and ranch land.”

The bill comes as an Arizona rancher awaits trial after he was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and aggravated assault for killing 48-year-old Gabriel Cuen-Butimea after he shot at a group of unarmed migrants walking through his 170-acre ranch outside of Nogales. Under its provisions, 73-year-old George Alan Kelly could have been justified for allegedly killing any of the migrants.

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Rep. Bryon Donalds (R-FL) believes that black voters in support of former President Donald Trump are people who have dealt with an unfair justice system.

Donalds expressed his views during a Sunday conversation with NBC’s Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press” when he was asked about a statement Trump made during a speech to a summit of Black conservatives in South Carolina on Friday.

“And then I got indicted a second time and then a third time and a fourth time. And a lot of people said that that’s why the black people like me, because they have been hurt so badly and discriminated against. And they actually viewed me as– I’m being discriminated against. It’s been pretty amazing,” the GOP presidential candidate had said while highlighting how the Republican Party has gained more Black voters in recent times.

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He reminds the crowd that HE is the one in charge, NOT the citizens attending, and it doesn’t go well.

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Washington must prevent foreign courts and activists from vetoing U.S. national security and military decisions, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) wrote to Lloyd Austin, the U.S. defense secretary.

The senator’s Feb. 27 letter comes more than two weeks after a Dutch appeals court ruled that U.S.-owned parts warehoused in the Netherlands for F-35 jets couldn’t ship to Israel, which it alleged would use them in “serious violations of international humanitarian law” in the war against Hamas.

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FILE PHOTO: Displaced Palestinian children wait to receive free food at a tent camp, amid food shortages, as the conflict between Israel and Hamas continues, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, February 27, 2024. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/File Photo

GAZA (Reuters) -The rubble and twisted metal of Kamel Ajour's smashed-up Gaza bakery underscores one reason starving people in the north of the bombarded enclave are reduced to eating raw cactus leaves after nearly five months of Israel's military campaign.

Bread will be critical to any sustained effort to relieve Palestinian hunger, with one in six children in northern Gaza wasting from malnutrition, but most bakeries lie in rubble from Israeli bombardment and aid deliveries of flour are rare.

A crane lifted equipment from the ruins that Ajour hoped to salvage. Inside, the metal ovens and trays were piled ramshackle amid the wreckage.

An Israeli truce proposal now being studied by Hamas would allow for the import of bakery equipment and fuel to revive the ovens.

War in Israel and Gaza

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"It is most important to have a ceasefire and for bakeries to function again so we can find something to eat, and for our children, our loved ones, our families," Basel Khairuldeen said in Gaza City.

With bakeries destroyed or unable to function for lack of fuel, people have had to bake bread themselves as best they can over fires made with wood salvaged from ruined buildings.

Even small amounts of flour are often impossible to find, or too expensive to buy when available. People make bread from animal feed and birdseed. Most say they can only eat once a day at most.

Sitting by a still intact house in Jabalia, the Awadeya family have taken to eating the leaves of prickly pear cactuses to ward off hunger.

"We're living in famine. We have exhausted everything. There's nothing left to eat," he said, adding that he had lost 30 kg (66 pounds) from hunger during the conflict.


The war began when Hamas fighters rampaged into Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. Israel's military campaign has killed around 30,000 Palestinians, say health authorities in Hamas-run Gaza.

While aid is flowing into southern parts of the Gaza Strip, though too slowly to avert a hunger crisis even there, it barely makes it to northern areas that are further from the main border crossing and only accessible through more active battle fronts.

On Tuesday, the U.N. humanitarian agency OCHA said a quarter of people in Gaza were one step away from famine, warning that such a disaster would be "almost inevitable" without action.

Israel says there is no limit to the amount of humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza.

However, OCHA told the U.N. Security Council that relief agencies face "overwhelming obstacles" including restrictions on movement, crossing closures, access denials and onerous vetting procedures.

The Israeli military branch responsible for aid transfers, COGAT, said on Wednesday that 31 trucks had reached northern Gaza overnight, but it had no details on distribution, saying this was up to the United Nations.

Israel has said the failure to get enough aid into Gaza to meet humanitarian needs is due to U.N. distribution failures.

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New evidence has emerged from the misconduct hearing of Fulton County, Georgia, District Attorney Fani Willis. Text messages exchanged between attorneys Ashleigh Merchant and Terrence Bradley have come to light, revealing details that contradict Willis’ sworn testimony regarding the timeline of her affair with Nathan Wade.

Phil Holloway, an esteemed legal analyst, revealed the texts on X, highlighting the critical discrepancy in Willis’ account. According to the texts, the romantic relationship between Willis and Wade, both key figures in the legal community, began before Willis assumed office as District Attorney.

This directly conflicts with Willis’ previous statement, where she claimed the affair started in 2022. The texts suggest, “It started when she left the DA’s office (as ADA) and was judge in South Fulton,” indicating a longer duration than previously acknowledged.

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Officials in Moldova’s Russia-backed breakaway region of Transnistria appealed to Moscow for protection Wednesday, as tensions escalate with the pro-Western government.

Moldova, a candidate to join the European Union, imposed new customs duties on Jan. 1, 2024 on imports to and exports from Transnistria, which borders Ukraine and is not recognized by any United Nations member countries, including Russia which maintains close ties to the region.

On Wednesday, members of the Transnistrian congress used a rare meeting in the regional capital, Tiraspol, to ask the Russian Duma to “implement measures for defending Transnistria amid increasing pressure from Moldova, given the fact that more than 220,000 Russian citizens reside in Transnistria.”

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Despite Israeli claims to the contrary there is every indication that Hamas is far from defeated. The Israel Defense Force continues to announce casualties but there is a curious feature about these announcements. Although IDF officers and senior NCOs are listed there is rarely any mention of casualties among the lower ranks.

Privates and Lance-Corporals are hardly ever listed, which is strange as in any combat unit they would make up the majority of the combatants.

So why aren’t they being listed? Is the IDF trying to conceal the full extent of its losses by not listing casualties among lower ranks?

Significantly, these most recent IDF losses took place in northern Gaza, which the Israelis claimed they were close to securing ‘full operational control’ of in late December. Yet here we are two months later and the IDF are still taking casualties there.

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Germany was accused of a “flagrant abuse of intelligence” after revealing that British soldiers are supporting Ukrainian forces launching long-range Storm Shadow missiles.

Olaf Scholz said on Monday that he would not deliver the Taurus, Berlin’s equivalent of the Storm Shadow, as it would require soldiers assisting on the ground, citing the UK and French approach with their own systems. Mr Scholz argued that following the UK would make Germany a “participant in the war”.

The comments were seen as endangering British military and diplomatic personnel on the ground.

Tobias Ellwood, the former chairman of the Commons defence committee, said: “This is a flagrant abuse of intelligence deliberately designed to distract from Germany’s reluctance to arm Ukraine with its own long-range missile system. This will no doubt be used by Russia to racket up the escalator ladder.”

Mr Scholz was also criticised by German opposition MPs.

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The criminocracy is in danger of losing its carefully-constructed shield of invisibilty as it accelerates its deranged bid for total and permanent global control.

It is therefore obliged to ramp up its attacks on those who dare expose its existence, its crimes and its lies.

While Julian Assange is the most famous victim of its war on real journalism, another important case is that of Richard D. Hall.

Iain Davis writes: “UK independent journalist, researcher and documentary filmmaker Richard D. Hall faces conviction, sizeable damages and an injunction that could potentially end his career and his livelihood.

“The High Court of Justice has denied Hall the opportunity to present any kind of meaningful defence. This travesty of justice has potential implications, not just for Richard D. Hall, but for all journalists who dare to question power”.

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War Capital of the World

David Stockman on Washington DC

Netanyahu's Last Battle

Promises no victory, says Ramzy Baroud

A 'Good Deal' for Some War Supporters

Ukraine's tragedies, says Branko Marcetic

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NATO Special Ops Soldiers in Ukraine

Everybody knows it, says a European official

Dems Ready to Protect Speaker Johnson

If he brings Ukraine aid to the floor for a vote

100k Vote 'Uncommitted' in Michigan

To pressure Biden on Gaza

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US Sock Puppet Dies

Ted Snider on Alexi Navalny

Free Julian Assange!

Mohamed El Maazi on his latest appeal

Killing the Palestinians

Kyle Anzalone on the Biden-Netanyahu regime

Netanyahu’s Last Battle Promises No Victory, Just Slaughter in Rafah

by Ramzy Baroud Posted on February 29, 2024

The Palestinian city of Rafah is not only older than Israel, it is also as old as civilisation itself. Rafah has existed for thousands of years. The Canaanites referred to it as Rafia, and Rafia has been almost always there, guarding the southern frontiers of Palestine, ancient and modern.

As the gateway between two continents and two worlds, Rafah has been at the forefront of many wars and foreign invasions, from ancient Egyptians to the Romans, to Napoleon and his eventually vanquished army. Now, it is Benjamin Netanyahu’s turn.

The Israeli prime minister has made Rafah the jewel in his crown of shame, the battle that will determine the fate of his genocidal war in Gaza; in fact, the very future of his country. “Those who want to prevent us from operating in Rafah are essentially telling us: ‘Lose the war’,” he said at a press conference on 17 February.

There are now anywhere between 1.3 to 1.5 million Palestinians in Rafah, an area that had a population of 200,000 people before the war started. Even then, it was considered to be crowded. We can only imagine what the situation is right now, with hundreds of thousands of people scattered in muddy refugee camps, subsisting in makeshift tents that are unable to withstand the elements of a harsh winter. The Mayor of Rafah says that only 10 per cent of the needed food and water is reaching the people in the camps, where they suffer from extreme hunger, if not outright starvation.

They have lost loved ones and homes, and have no access to any medical care. They are trapped between high walls, the sea and a murderous army.

An Israeli invasion of Rafah will not alter the battlefield in favour of the occupation army, but it will be horrific for the displaced Palestinians. The slaughter will go beyond anything and everything we have seen so far anywhere in Gaza.

Where will up to 1.5 million people go when Israel’s tanks arrive? The closest so-called safe area is Al-Mawasi, which is already overcrowded. The displaced refugees there are also starving due to Israel’s blocking of aid and constant bombing of humanitarian convoys.

Then there is northern Gaza, which is mostly in ruins. It has no food to the extent that, in some areas, even animal feed, which is now being consumed by human beings, is no longer accessible.

If the international community does not finally develop the will to stop Israel, this horrific crime will prove to be worse by far than all the crimes that have already been committed by the occupation forces. It is expected that more than 100,000 Palestinians will be killed or wounded in Rafah alone.

However, an invasion of Rafah promises neither military nor strategic victory for Israel, just slaughter. Netanyahu simply wants to satisfy the bloodlust across the occupation state. Even though their armed forces have killed 30,000 Palestinians so far, and wounded 70,000, Israelis still want more revenge. “I am personally proud of the ruins of Gaza,” said Israel’s Minister of Social Equality May Golan during a Knesset session on 21 February.

At the start of the war, Israel claimed that Hamas was concentrated mostly in the north of Gaza. The north was duly destroyed, but the Resistance carried on unabated. Then Israel claimed that the Resistance headquarters was under Shifa Hospital, which was bombed, raided and destroyed. Then it claimed that Bureij, Maghazi and central Gaza were the main prizes of the war. Then, Khan Younis was declared the “capital of Hamas”. And so it has gone on and on…

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In the history of the world, nations and even empires have risen, then declined and were lost to time, leaving only artifacts behind for archaeologists to piece together what happened.  From our vantage point, it’s easier to see what happened, the slow decline in so many areas that finally led to a collapse.  Fortunately, we understand today many of the factors that have to be in place.  Unfortunately, even knowing these signs of decline may not be enough to slow or stop the momentum of your nation’s collapse.  In this video, we will lay out the eight signs of imminent collapse.  You may recognize one or all eight in your country’s recent history.  Having them all doesn’t guarantee that a collapse is inevitable, but it makes it more probable, especially if you have them all to a high degree. Here are the eight signs of imminent societal collapse.

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No, it's not a joke. 

The City of Denver has informed workers that it may be furloughing them--technically still employing them at 0 hours of work--to illegally hire illegal aliens without work permits

You can't make this s**t up. 

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The White House confirmed President Joe Biden did not take a cognitive test during his annual physical on Wednesday, and insisted he 'doesn't need' one.

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre brushed aside concerns the 81-year-old is not fit for a second term and touted his record.

She dismissed the need for a cognitive, despite the Department of Justice calling him an 'elderly man with a poor memory' in the special counsel report on his mishandling of classified documents. 

'His doctor, including the neurologist, do not believe that he needs one,' Jean-Pierre said at Wednesday's press briefing.

She responded: 'Folks need to understand that the president passes a cognitive test every day!' 

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Six children have died from dehydration and malnutrition at hospitals in northern Gaza, the Health Ministry in the besieged Palestinian territory has said, as the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the besieged enclave worsens.

Two children died at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the ministry said on Wednesday. Earlier it reported that four children died at the Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, while seven others remained in critical condition.

“We ask international agencies to intervene immediately to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in northern Gaza,” Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra said in a statement, as Israel’s attacks on Gaza continue.

“The international community is facing a moral and humanitarian test to stop the genocide in Gaza.”

Kamal Adwan Hospital’s Director Ahmed al-Kahlout said that the hospital had gone out of service due to a lack of fuel to run its generators. On Tuesday, Al-Awda Hospital in Jabalia also went out of service for the same reason.

Musalam said the children in the department are suffering from malnutrition and a lack of infant formula, and that necessary devices have stopped working due to the constant power outages as a result of fuel shortages.

Claire's Observations:  Please understand that these are the precise outcomes the Israeli government and the IDF wants;the more frequently malnutrition and disease kill people (particularly small children), the more bullets the IDF saves to assassinate other Gazans.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced on Wednesday that he will be stepping down from his position as the Senate’s top Republican in the coming months, ending a 16-year stint in party leadership.

“One of life’s most underappreciated talents is to know when it’s time to move on to life’s next chapter,” McConnell, 82, said on the Senate floor. “So I stand before you today … to say that this will be my last term as Republican leader of the Senate.”

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Donald Trump’s federal trial for seeking to subvert the 2020 election is likely to remain on hold for several more months while the Supreme Court takes up his argument that he is immune from prosecution for actions he took while president.

In a one-page order Wednesday, the court set an expedited schedule to hear the immunity issue, with oral arguments to be set during the week of April 22. In the meantime, proceedings in the trial court will remain frozen.

There was no noted dissent or other explanation of the high court’s action.

If the court rules on the matter quickly after the arguments and rejects Trump’s immunity claim, it may permit a trial on the election-related charges to occur later this summer or fall.

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A 'controversial' theatre production about race, identity and sexuality in twenty-first century America will put on two nights for black audiences to watch the play 'free from the white gaze'.

Slave Play, starring Kit Harington who is best known for his role as Jon Snow in the HBO series Game of Thrones, is coming to the Noël Coward theatre in London's West End from 29 June to 21 September. 

But on the evenings of 17 July and 17 September, the theatre will be open to an 'all-Black identifying audience'.  

One senior Tory MP, who did not want to be named, raised questions over the decision to bar white people from the show, telling MailOnline: 'I understand the subject matter of the show may have particular resonance for some but would simply question the legality of this?

'In other circles it would be illegal and racial discrimination. I don't understand why this isn't.' 

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Some people just cannot fathom that the fake news spear-headed by Victoria Nuland’s sister-in-law at the Institute for the Study of War never peace; they demonize Putin as they routinely do to anyone they oppose. My father taught me a lesson that you MUST always listen to your opponent because it is a window into his thinking process. I have read Marx not because I believed in what he was saying but to comprehend his thinking process and what led him to the conclusion that he killed more than 200 million people and still counting.

When you listen to Putin’s speech, he focuses on what many perceive as American culture. When we look deeper into American politics, the stats are revealing. They explain why many view the United States as out of control because of these extremely progressive ideas of attributing even pronouns, etc. Indeed, 93% of college professors gave to Biden. Just 7% gave to former President Donald Trump. That explains why we all know that a college education today may not be so desirable. The goal seems to indoctrinate our children to accept the political philosophies being taught in schools even though they have a proven track record of failure – consistently.

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Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), the top Democrat in the House, has suggested that Democrats would protect House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) from being ousted if he brought the $95 billion foreign military aid bill to the floor for a vote.

Some Republicans have threatened to oust Johnson as speaker if he holds a vote on the bill, and it would only take one GOP member to file a motion to vacate the speakership, which would bring about a vote to oust him.

When Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted, every single Democrat and eight Republicans voted against him. But Jeffries said some Democrats may be willing to promise to vote to keep Johnson as speaker if he moves forward the $95 billion bill, which includes aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.

“It does seem to me based on informal conversations, that were Speaker Johnson to do the right thing relative to meeting the significant national security needs of the American people by putting it on the floor for an up-or-down vote, there will be a reasonable number of people in the House Democratic caucus who will take the position that he should not fall as a result,” Jeffries said.

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As office tower vacancies continue to rise nationwide, many of these buildings are becoming economically nonviable workspaces, raising the question of what can be done with millions of square feet of underutilized space. Simultaneously, the US housing market faces a severe shortage, leaving investors and lawmakers to ponder whether underutilized office space can be transformed into multifamily buildings. 

Goldman analyst Jan Hatzius uses a discounted cash flow model to show that the current acquisition costs of office towers are still too high for conversion to multifamily buildings, indicating that offices will likely remain underutilized in the medium term. 

Hatzius pointed out that the viable point where office tower conversions would make financial sense would be a further price decline of 50%. 

About 4% of the nation's office buildings could be slated for conversion projects into housing, with the share expected to jump as the office vacancy rate is forecasted to reach 18% in 2033 from about 14% this year. 

Many of these nonviable towers are still overvalued and not cheap enough for conversion because of financing costs. Even with San Francisco's office industry in a meltdown and prices having already tumbled 35% since 2019, these levels are still too high.

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