live stream video block
Thanks to Thomas Malthaus providing link to Mr. Bhadrakumar's piece, symptomatically called Biden’s existential angst in Ukraine. As is expected, Bhadrakumar's piece revolves largely around the article in WaPo by Robert Gates and Condoleezza Rice titled Time Is Not on Ukraine’s Side. As is the case with many policy "pieces" in the United States it is written by people who fucked it up big time one way or another in their distinguished careers. Robert Gates, being a smart man, had his own delusions on the matters he was dealing with during his tenure as the head of CIA, Secretary of the State and SecDef. In the end, I remember his public speaking in 1996-97 (IIRC) at the Seattle's Madison Mayflower Hotel conference where he didn't understand that his threats to choke financially Yeltsin's Russia were a highly desirable act for those forces in Russia which, in the end, came to power due to US and NATO criminal idea to gang-bang Serbia in 1999.
But that is common for the majority of America's graduates of Soviet/Russian Studies field--to exercise illusion that they know what Russian people want, based on communicating with circles of people in Russia who tell those graduates, from CIA's chief to such "scholars" like Michael McFaul, what they want to hear. That's the MO of the US "Intelligence Community". And whilst Rice and Gates' piece is sober and grim (for 404 and US hegemony) there is also a tacit recognition of the strategic realities on the ground. Here is what Bhadrakumar points out which is crucial:
Rice and Gates indirectly acknowledge that Russia is on a winning streak, contrary to the western triumphalist narrative so far. Evidently, the expected Russian offensive ahead is rattling their nerves... Pentagon is unsure of Surovikin’s future strategy. From what they know of his brilliant success in evicting NATO officers from Syria’s Aleppo in 2016, siege and attrition war are Surovikin’s forte. But one never knows. A steady Russian build-up in Belarus is underway. The S-400 and Iskander missile systems have been deployed there. A NATO (Polish) attack on Belarus is no longer realistic.
President Joe Biden’s scheduled trip to El Paso, Texas, on Sunday, to finally get a first-hand look at the illegal immigration crisis plaguing America’s border towns might be more of a rose-colored glasses situation than it should be.
According to the U.K. Daily Mail, witnesses on the ground in El Paso claim that local officials have made considerable efforts to clean up some of the migrant camps that had been set up in late December as waves of illegals anticipated the end of Title 42.
“It’s a dog and pony show,” one Sacred Heart Church volunteer told the outlet. “They’ve cleaned it all up for him.”
There's been growing domestic pressure in Sweden for the country's leadership to stand up to Turkey and not implement the kind of drastic changes in laws that Ankara is pushing in order for Sweden to become a NATO member.
For example, a recent survey found almost 80% of Swedes believe the country shouldn't compromise its legal principles, Bloomberg reported last week. Amid the pressure, Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson days ago for the first time acknowledged that Turkey is asking too much.
Kristersson said starting a week ago of Turkey's security demands for it to joint NATO, "they also say that they want things that we cannot and do not want to give them."
Christmas and New Year’s have now come and gone, and doubtless, like most families, you spent much of your time over the holidays fighting with one another over age-old, tried-and-tested board games like Chutes & Ladders, Ludo, or Risk. But things could have been far worse. Had you been unlucky enough to receive one of the new wave of woke, “racially aware,” identity-politics-based board games that are increasingly appearing on the market, then far from a simple inter-sibling quarrel over whether or not your big sister really threw a six, a full-blown race war might well have broken out within the comfort of your own living room.
One typical example, a Monopoly clone called Reality Check: The Game of Privilege, seeks to spark “heart-to-heart conversations” between sickeningly cis, hetero white males and sainted minority groups of any and all persuasions, up to and including, to judge by illustrative photos on the game’s website, Asian transsexuals cosplaying as Cesar Romero’s version of the Joker from the 1960s TV series Batman. Billed as “A boardgame about privilege & systemic oppression,” players traverse a board trying to “complete your Life Achievement” goals whilst collecting “woke tokens” and “fight[ing] the power with Righteous Action cards that change the rules and awaken special characters.” Fans can even purchase a “Microaggression Booster Pack” to add to their base set of Community Chest-type cards saying things like “Your Governor has banned Planned Parenthood in your State. All Cis Women, Trans Men and Non-Binary players must pay $25K to cross State lines to receive the care they need.” I didn’t even know I was pregnant.
Common sense. How can you possibly be against it? Americans of a certain generation used to talk about “Mom and apple pie” as examples of things that you cannot help but love, and it looks like common sense should get the same thumbs-up. But what is common sense?
If we are going to be persnickety then we have to go back to Plato and Aristotle. The ancient Greek word equivalent to “common sense” was doxa, which actually turns philologically into “dogma.” Latin-speaking translators of Aristotle (Boethius being the most famous, before he went to jail) used “sensus communis,” but this is more to do with our actual physical senses, as you would expect from the empirical Aristotle. It means that we all experience the world in much the same way. But common sense now has a more modern meaning, essentially translating from the classical world as “Don’t be a dumbass.”
Common sense as I was brought up to understand the term meant not doing what I did the other day, which was cook while reading a book. I was so engrossed that I reached, unthinkingly and gloveless, for one of the handles of a cast-iron pot in which I was cooking beans. The rather Aristotelian result was that I raised a heat blister on my thumb that took a week to heal. That was hardly exercising common sense—plus, it hurt.
To notice black women are overwhelmingly obese is racist (and fighting body positivity).
To argue black women should not be obese, and instead seek a healthy lifestyle to ensure a better quality of life is equally if not more racist.
Webmaster addition: I miss the days when Scientific American had articles about real science!
Douglas Macgregor recently argued in these pages that Washington’s refusal to acknowledge Russia’s legitimate security interests in Ukraine and to negotiate an end to the war will cement “the path to protracted conflict and human suffering.” As Macgregor observed, even while the tide is now turning in Ukraine, Washington’s foreign policy continues to be fueled by the ideological self-delusion of the true believers: “Like the ‘best and the brightest’ of the 1960s they are eager to sacrifice realism to wishful thinking, to wallow in the splash of publicity and self-promotion in one public visit to Ukraine after another.”
It is indeed a spectacle eerily reminiscent of events over half a century ago, when Washington’s proxy war in Vietnam was escalated even as it was failing. The U.S./NATO-led proxy war against Russia in Ukraine has already bankrupted the Ukrainian economy, an outcome some observers saw nine months ago. It will also accelerate the decline of the U.S. international role and global economic prospects. When great powers fail to balance their economic base with their military power and strategic commitments, they risk imperial overstretch. That is America’s key global risk in the 2020s. And due to the U.S. role in the world economy, the global repercussions of such overstretch will be adverse, extensive, and long-lasting.
When Fox News commentator, former Democratic Member of Congress, and presidential contender Tulsi Gabbard confronted New York Republican Congressman-Elect George Santos about the long list of lies he used during the recent election campaign, the best defense he could come up with was that Democrats do the same.
In this rare case, Santos was telling the truth, since it is hardly a secret that many politicians do lie to get elected and continue the practice while in the office.
According to Alan Dershowitz, a prominent Harvard Law School professor and criminal defense lawyer “For better or worse, under American law, lying is not a crime.”
Tulsi Gabbard is correct when she says that “Every one of our elected leaders in Washington has taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. There is no greater form of disrespect of democracy and the Constitution and the American people than lying and attempting to deceive us…. That’s not a functioning democracy. That’s a dictatorship.”
Israel's newly appointed National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir paid his first visit on Thursday to Nafha Prison for Palestinian prisoners to make sure that conditions had not improved in the wake of a High Court ruling in their favour, Haaretz reported.
Israel Prison Service Commissioner Katy Perry accompanied the far-right extremist Ben-Gvir during his visit to the prison.
During the visit, Ben-Gvir was presented with the new wings of the prison built last year, which include further restrictions on Palestinian prisoners.
"I came to Nafha Prison yesterday to ensure that the murderers of Jews are not getting better conditions as a result of the construction of new cells, and I was glad to see that the Israel Prison Service does not intend to improve their holding conditions," Ben-Gvir said.
An inaugural oil field has been discovered in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland, stated its Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources via social media.
An investigation confirmed that the black liquid observed in a waterwell drilled in the Sallahey area, Marodi-Jeh region, was oil. According to Somaliland officials, UK company Genel Energy will begin further exploration and production in the field.
Genel Energy has been operating in the unrecognized state since 2012. The firm received an exploration license from local authorities for two onshore blocks. In 2021, it signed a leasing agreement with OPIC Somaliland Corporation for an oil block along the border between Ethiopia and Somalia.
Israel’s new national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, lost no time in demonstrating who is boss. On Tuesday, days after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was sworn in, the ultra-nationalist politician marched straight in to the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem – probably the most incendiary site in the Middle East.
Ben-Gvir did so despite reports that he had agreed with Netanyahu to delay such a visit for fear of the potentially explosive consequences.
But who will hold him to account for playing with fire? A prime minister who desperately needs Ben-Gvir’s support to stay in power so that Netanyahu can legislate an end to his corruption trial and keep himself out of jail? Or the Israeli police force that Ben-Gvir himself now has unprecedented control over?
The operation on Saturday came just days after Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, an ultranationalist with a long record of anti-Palestinian rhetoric and stunts, began his post as part of Israel's new government, its most conservative right-wing ever. He now oversees the police.
Police alleged the meeting was funded by the Palestinian Authority and attended by PA activists, which it said was in violation of Israeli law. Police said they prevented the meeting from taking place and that they were operating under an order by Ben-Gvir to shut it down.
Police declined to provide evidence backing up their claim and a spokesman for Ben-Gvir referred questions to the police.
Both major parties in the US are insane: this was demonstrated again recently when the US Congress approved an additional $45 billion in aid to Ukraine – the government's request had previously amounted to $37 billion. Thus, total US support has now increased to $111 billion.
The aid was part of a law passed by both chambers of the US Congress - the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA is $1.7 trillion - $858 billion earmarked for defense spending.
Of that, $817 billion goes directly to the US Department of Defense, with the rest going to national security programs within the Department of Energy. It is by far the largest amount ever spent by a US government.
Webmaster addition: What's in your wallet? Probably not much!
In MY last TCW article on January 5, I noted that the weather in Ukraine and western Russia had been unseasonably mild, thus making any offensive moves very difficult: both wheeled and armoured vehicles would rapidly become mud-bound. In the last day or so, however, temperatures have dropped to around minus 7C. This should solidify the ground for movement and also freeze, or partially freeze, the rivers so that crossing operations could take place.
Putin has, of course, announced a ceasefire over the period of the Orthodox Christmas. At best this is a cover, under which troops and equipment will be positioned for a strike, perhaps around the end of the Christmas period on January 12 by which time the ground and rivers should be hard. Putin can, of course, choose his time and place and having done so, will mass regular forces, supported by all available air and sea power, missile troops and artillery, cyber forces and deep fires to destroy yet more infrastructure and, of course, an information operation in support of physical manoeuvre. Meanwhile, the long, fortified frontier will be held by positional units from locally recruited bodies and Ministry of Interior troops.
On the Ukrainian side, the army is stretched thin. Most if not all of the regular army is deployed to cover the Donbas area, facing the now-well developed Russian defensive lines. They too have taken risks, holding ground elsewhere with convalescent units and home guardsmen. Recent promises of Bradleyand Marder armoured vehicles from the USA and Germany will be good for morale, but these vehicles will take time to deliver and longer still to train crews. They will not affect any moves in the near future.
During the balloting last night for Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Congressman Matt Gaetz got a whisper in his ear. Whatever was said clearly caused Gaetz to get sick to his stomach and agree to change his vote. In the brief video below, the expression on Gaetz face seems to say it all.
Watch as Congressman Matt Gaetz seems to get "off an offer he couldn't refuse . . ."
A year ago, when the first photos appeared of U.S. soldiers beating and sexually humiliating detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, President George W. Bush expressed horror and disgust. Recognizing the damage that the abuses had done to the image of the U.S. abroad, he promised, in an interview broadcast to the Arab world via the Pentagon-funded TV station Al-Hurra, that the crimes would not go unpunished.
In the coming months, he affirmed, "those mistakes will be investigated, and people will be brought to justice."
And, indeed, investigations have been conducted, court martials have been held, and a few perpetrators have been convicted. One soldier, army reservist Charles Graner, Jr., was sentenced to a ten-year term of imprisonment, the heaviest penalty to date.
But these results represent partial justice, at best. Notably, with the exception of one major personally implicated in abuse, only low-ranking soldiers -- privates and sergeants -- have been held to account.
The Russian Ministry of Defence released an urgent statement of the Interdepartmental Coordination Headquarters of the Russian Federation for Humanitarian Response in Ukraine, warning of the upcoming provocations prepared by the Kiev regime.
According to the Russian military, special services of Ukraine have prepared a new large-scale anti-Russian provocation aimed at discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and accusing Russian servicemen of allegedly committing war crimes.
On the eve of Orthodox Christmas, representatives of the State Bureau of Investigation and the Security Service of Ukraine organized the opening of graves in cemeteries in the settlements of Cossack Lopan, Veliky Burluk, Shipovatoe and Khatnoye in the Kharkiv region, where local residents who died of natural causes during the stay of Russian troops in these areas were buried from February 24 to September 6, 2022.
After exhumation, the bodies of Ukrainian citizens were further mutilated and dumped into specially prepared “pits” on the outskirts of these settlements to create a fake “evidence” of alleged “torture” and “executions” of civilians by Russian servicemen.
Some of the world’s most powerful hedge funds and other investors are holding up vital help for crisis-hit Sri Lanka by their hardline stance in debt-relief negotiations after the Asian country’s $51bn (£42bn) default last year, according to 182 economists and development experts from around the world.
In a statement released to the Guardian on Sunday, the group said extensive debt cancellation was needed to give the economy a chance of recovery and that Sri Lanka would be a test case of the willingness of the international community to tackle a looming global debt crisis.
The group – including the Indian economist Jayati Ghosh, Thomas Piketty, the author of the bestselling book Capital, and Greece’s former finance minister Yannis Varoufakis – said private sector creditors such as investment companies and hedge funds were preventing a deal.
Israel’s spy agency, Mossad, treats the United States as if it is a “hostile power”, partly to shift the balance of power in favor of Tel Aviv's interests, an academic has said citing the Zionist regime’s involvement in espionage activities against the US.
Pro-Palestine professor, David Miller, sacked by Bristol University over his criticism of Israel and Zionism, made the comments in Press TV’s Palestine Declassified aired on Saturday.
With $10.4 million US daily foreign aid to Israel, some might think that the US and Israel could not be closer, however, Israel is considered by US intelligence officials to be one of the most aggressive regimes in launching surveillance operations on US soil, targeting even the very seat of power.
Miller explained that while the US is supposed to be an ally, “the way in which Mossad operates is to assume and to treat the US as if it was a hostile power.”
He went on to add that there is no such allegation against other countries’ spy agencies, rather it is only Mossad which is regarded as being the most aggressive of the foreign spy agencies.
Webmaster addition: Remember the massive Israeli spy ring uncovered just before 9-11?
The Mars candy company said Thursday it will debut all-female M&M’s packages for a limited time to honor women.
The company’s feminist-themed candy wrappers will feature its female characters, Fox News reported Saturday.
“In addition to featuring the three female M&M’s on the wrappers, each package in this limited run will only include the corresponding green, brown and purple candy-coated chocolates,” the outlet said.
A 16-year-old student died after suffering a “medical emergency” during a flag football game Thursday in Las Vegas.
Ashari Hughes, a sophomore at Desert Oasis High School, was playing in a home game against Valley High School when she collapsed at around 7:30 p.m., the Las Vegas Review-Joural reported. The student was rushed to the hospital but was later pronounced dead.
Desert Oasis High School principal Ian Salzman wrote in a letter to parents that Hughes “suffered a medical emergency during an athletic event” and was provided medical aid from staff until paramedics arrived, Fox 5 reported.
“It is with a heavy heart that I inform you that the student passed away. The school and the entire district mourn the loss of this young life,” Salzman wrote.
According to her family, Hughes was experiencing chest problems during the game and went to the sideline before she collapsed, Fox 5 reported.
Hughes’ family had reportedly considered pulling her from sports as she had been experiencing ongoing cardiovascular problems. A doctor had cleared her to play in athletic competition, the family noted.
“America is the friend of all Iraqi people.” This was the sign put up at Abu Ghraib prison – one that replaced Saddam’s portrait when the US took it over as part of the war on terror.
It was Abu Ghraib prison that introduced the world to the violent infrastructure of torture in the war on terror. In 2004, when photos emerged documenting extensive torture ranging from prisoners on leashes to bodies piled atop each other in pyramid structure to prisoners standing in crucifixion like postures, there were global shockwaves at the displays of brutality.
The prison, which was the site of massive torture, also housed a largely innocent population – approximately 70-90 percent of the prisoners were mistakenly detained, according to the Red Cross in a 2004 report (pdf).
With no end to the war on terror, the legacy of Abu Ghraib prison remains as important as ever, especially where a lack of accountability continues to permeate all operations in Iraq.
In 2004, when the Abu Ghraib scandal first emerged, former President Bush responded saying that, “Under the dictator, prisons like Abu Ghraib were symbols of death and torture. That same prison became a symbol of disgraceful conduct by a few American troops who dishonoured our country and disregarded our values …”
The French government wanted a modernist redesign of Notre-Dame, according to its former culture minister, with President Macron’s wife pitching a new spire resembling male genitalia.
Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, who served as Minister for Culture under Prime Minister Jean Castex and, by extension, President Emmanuel Macron from 2020 to 2022, claims in her autobiography that the government wanted to make some sort of modernist statement in the rebuild of the fire-damaged 800-year-old cathedral, The Times reports.
“When I got back to the ministry, the office was in a state of stress: the Élysée Palace was dreaming of an ‘architectural gesture’ and was accusing me of just doing what I please,” she wrote, referring to the French president’s official residence.
Bachelot, who appears to have been insistent on as faithful a reconstruction of the Catholic cathedral as possible, said she did “not regret this insubordination” after Brigitte Macron, the French president’s controversial wife, showed her a proposed design “topped with a sort of erect phallus with its base surrounded with golden balls” at a meeting.
The Taliban have branded Prince Harry an attention-seeking “loser” after he claimed to have killed 25 of their men while on duty in Afghanistan.
The woke royal, once respected by much of the public for his ten years of military service, including two tours in Afghanistan, caused controversy by publicising his claimed kill count in his tell-all memoir Spare, a ghostwritten celebrity-style work replete with crass tales of outdoor coitus, drug abuse, and being thrown into a dog food bowl by his brother, the future king, during an argument over his “rude” wife.
However, his claim that he killed exactly 25 people in combat as an Apache pilot, while perhaps not the most eye-catching episode he recounts, may prove to be the one with the most serious consequences, with political, military, and security figures warning he has not only heightened the risk of an attempt at a professional or amateur “revenge attack” that could harm him, his family, or his neighbours in the elite enclave of Montecito, California, but “incite some people to attempt an attack on British soldiers anywhere in the world”.
However, while some Taliban figures have responded to the prince’s macho claims by calling for him to be charged with war crimes, others have responded with ridicule.
I probably should have codified these before the turn of the new year but I didn’t even think of doing one of these lists until someone mentioned it on Twitter a few days ago.
So, here it goes.
My predictions for 2023 and all center around the big theme of 2023, the loss of confidence in the world we’ve always known.
In other words 2023 will embody the phrase we use down here in the South, “Losing my Religion.”
Question: The launch of the special military operation in Ukraine and ensuing developments, including an unprecedented deterioration of our relations with the West, was the main event of the outgoing year. Do you think the conflict in Ukraine can last a long time, say, five years? What should we brace for? Is a direct military confrontation with the countries that support Kiev possible?
Sergey Lavrov: The actions of the countries of the collective West and Vladimir Zelensky, who is controlled by them, confirm the global nature of the Ukraine crisis. It is no longer a secret that victory over Russia “on the battlefield” is the strategic goal of the United States and its NATO allies. They see it as a mechanism to significantly degrade or even destroy our country. Our opponents are ready to do much to accomplish this goal.
The United States is the main beneficiary of the military conflict as it seeks to reap biggest benefits from it in economic and military-strategic terms. At the same time, Washington is addressing an important geopolitical goal, which is to destroy the traditional ties between Russia and Europe and to overpower its European satellites even more.
Ateam of investigative journalists called Off Investigation has just posted a documentary describing how French President Emmanuel Macron stashed the fortune he accrued during his stint as managing partner at the Rothschild bank, from 2010 to 2012 .
According to their findings, Rothschild managing partners enjoy the privilege of receiving only one-fifth of their pay in France, while the other four-fifths are deposited in trusts harbored in the Channel Islands. This part of the funds can be legally concealed from the French tax authorities.
However, when he was elected President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron was under the obligation to declare the totality of his assets in order to check for any conflicts of interest. However, he omitted to declare the fortune he had sitting abroad.
The journalists could not learn the size of this fortune, but it should be considerable seeing the role he played in the sale transaction of Pfizer’s baby milk activities to Nestlé. In 2014, after leaving the Élysée where he was Deputy Secretary-General under President Hollande, Emmanuel Macron tried to settle in London, where he could have feasted on his secret fortune without needing to repatriate it to France.
What is democracy but platitudes and dog whistles? The national direction is quietly predetermined — it’s not up for debate. The president’s role is to sell it to the public; you might say he’s the public-relations director in chief:
“. . . my Administration will seize this decisive decade to advance America’s vital interests, position the United States to outmaneuver our geopolitical competitors, tackle shared challenges, and set our world firmly on a path toward a brighter and more hopeful tomorrow. . . . We will not leave our future vulnerable to the whims of those who do not share our vision for a world that is free, open, prosperous, and secure.”
These are the words of President Biden, in his introduction to the National Security Strategy, which lays out America’s geopolitical plans for the coming decade. Sounds almost plausible, until you ponder the stuff that isn’t up for public discussion, such as, for instance:
The national defense budget, recently set for 2023 at $858 billion and, as ever, larger than the rest of the world’s military budget combined. And, oh yeah, the modernization — the rebuilding — of the nation’s nuclear weapons over the next three decades at an estimated cost of nearly $2 trillion. As Nuclear Watch put it: “It is, in short, a program of nuclear weapons forever.”
And the latter, of course, will go forward despite the fact that in 2017 the countries of the world — well, most of them (the vote in the United Nations was 122-1) — approved the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which flat-out bans the use, development and possession of nuclear weapons. Fifty countries ratified the treaty by January 2021, making it a global reality; two years later, a total of 68 countries have ratified it, with 23 more in the process of doing so. Not only that, as H. Patricia Hynes points out, the mayors of more than 8,000 cities all across the planet are calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.