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End the National Emergency and Public Health Emergency Declarations

Stop the Abuses of Power, Corruption, and Fiscal Irresponsibility

By Peter A. McCullough, MD, MPH | Courageous Discourse | December 23, 2022

The National COVID-19 Emergency, first declared by President Trump in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, was formally extended a second time by President Biden on February 18, 2022 and will come up for a third consideration by Biden in February, 2023. In January 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared a public health emergency (PHE) in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. Public health emergency declarations ease certain laws and regulations to make it easier to address the emergency and allow some federal grant money to flow toward addressing the emergency. A PHE is a lesser event than a national emergency, which triggers a rapid outlay of federal money to address the emergency. National emergencies also give great unliteral power to the president, allowing the president to do things such direct flows of money from the national treasury, deploy the national guard, etc.

From a clinical point of view from a physician who has treated COVID-19 from the very beginning, a PHE would be evident if hospital capacity was exceeded by COVID-19 patients and care could not be provided to other patients with urgent problems. As a general rule this would be >15% occupancy by COVID-19 patients. From that perspective, the COVID-19 PHE ended in January, 2021 once hospital capacity ramped up to meet demand. I checked the CDC website and the weekly cases of COVID-19 has maintained its unimpressive pattern of oscillations while hospitalized cases are about 5000 well below that 15% threshold of about 130,0000.

CDC December 16, 2022. As of December 14, 2022, the current 7-day average of weekly new cases (65,067) decreased 2.9% compared with the previous 7-day average (67,034). A total of 99,705,095 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the United States as of December 14, 2022. The current 7-day daily average for December 7–13, 2022, was 5,010. This is a 2.3% increase from the prior 7-day average (4,899) from November 30–December 6, 2022.

Emergency declarations have allowed for prepurchase of vaccines, government coverage of COVID-19 health care costs, Medicaid expansion, and Emergency Use Authorization of diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines without full FDA approval.

Throughout US history there has been a reluctance by the executive branch to end national emergencies and relinquish power. After investigations of abuses of power in prior years, the House agreed to a Senate amended bill, and President Gerald Ford signed the National Emergencies Act into law on September 14, 1976. This act was designed to restore the checks and balances of power and end emergencies. On two occasions, March 3, and November 15, 2022, the Senate voted 48-47 and 62-36, respectively, to end the national emergency declaration nearly three years after it was invoked. The House did not pick up the bills and the Biden administration said it would veto any attempts to end the emergency declaration. Would former President Trump have ended it? Why hasn’t any reporter asked him that question now?

As for the PHE controlled by HHS, twenty-five Republican governors have signed a letter asking President Joe Biden to direct HHS to end it, saying “it is time we move on from the pandemic and get back to life as normal.” A main reason for this move is to end the expansion of Medicaid provisions and get state budgets back into alignment.

In summary, both national emergencies and PHE are power grabs that facilitate unchecked decisions and flows of money fostering corruption and continued desire to extend the declarations. The House and the Senate figured this out back in the 1970’s and found a legislative way of ending them. Until these declarations are dropped, we will continue to careen out of control on health policy, pandemic response, corruption, and fiscal irresponsibility. The most important question you can can ask a lawmaker, governor, or president or candidate: “Are you in favor of dropping the emergency declaration and PHE? If not why?

25 governors call on feds to ‘move on’ from pandemic, end COVID-19 public health emergency Kimberly Bonvissuto DECEMBER 21, 2022

November 22, 2022 Senate Approves Resolution to End COVID-19 National Emergency Declaration

Senate Stories | Reasserting Checks and Balances: The National Emergencies Act of 1976 July 1, 2021 By Senate Historical Office

December 24, 2022 Posted by | Corruption | , , , | Leave a comment

Biden lashes out at Twitter and Musk

RT | November 5, 2022

By acquiring Twitter last month, Elon Musk took charge of a social media platform that “spews lies all across the world,” US President Joe Biden said on Friday.

The comment came shortly after reports emerged that Musk had fired thousands of Twitter employees globally as part of a cost-cutting strategy. Sources told Politico that those laid off included members of teams working on the upcoming midterm elections in the US, content moderation, and verification of politicians’ accounts.

“Elon Musk goes out and buys an outfit that spews lies all across the world,” Biden said during a Democratic fundraiser in Rosemont, Illinois, referring to the purchase of Twitter by the world’s richest man.

“There’s no editors anymore in America,” he said, as quoted by CNN.

Earlier, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed that Biden had been “outspoken about the importance of social media platforms continuing to take steps to reduce hate speech and misinformation.” That included Twitter, Facebook and any other other platform “where users can spread misinformation,” she added.

Musk’s $44 billion deal to acquire Twitter was followed by claims from left-wing politicians and activists that there had been a spike in hate speech and racism on the platform.

The owner of Tesla and SpaceX rebuffed those accusations, saying that “nothing has changed with content moderation” since he took charge just over a week ago.

On Friday, Musk revealed that Twitter was losing $4 million per day because “activist groups” had been “trying to destroy free speech in America” by pressuring advertisers to boycott his platform.

The tech entrepreneur said earlier that his goal was to turn Twitter into “a common digital town square, where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner, without resorting to violence.”

November 5, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments

FBI is ‘rotted at its core,’ Republican lawmakers say

RT | November 4, 2022

America is no longer a country where citizens are afforded equal justice under the law, as guaranteed by their Constitution, because the nation’s top law enforcement agency has been corrupted by politicized leadership and a “woke, leftist agenda” being imposed from the top, Republican lawmakers have claimed.

The allegations were contained in a 1,050-page report released on Friday by Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee. The report, which was based on information gathered from 14 FBI whistleblowers who came forward to expose a pattern of misconduct, argued that the agency was “rotted at its core.”

“Quite simply, the problem — the rot within the FBI — festers in and proceeds from Washington,” the report said. “The FBI and its parent agency, the Justice Department, have become political institutions.”

The report detailed such abuses as a secret partnership in which the FBI receives private information on conservative users from Facebook, without seeking their consent or going though the legal processes that would normally be required to tap such data.

Whistleblowers also alleged that the FBI “looked the other way” on dozens of attacks against anti-abortion groups, even as the agency sent heavily armed teams of officers to arrest pro-life activists at their homes for alleged violations of selectively enforced crimes. Parents who spoke out at school board meetings over controversial policies were targeted by investigators as alleged terrorists.

At the same time, former FBI official Timothy Thibault “shut down” a probe into the overseas business dealings of President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and attempted to keep the case from being reopened, the report said. Thibault openly displayed his political bias in social media posts that included his official title.

“America’s not America if you have a Justice Department that treats people differently under the law,” Representative Jim Jordan, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News on Friday. “It’s supposed to be equal treatment under the law. That’s not happening, and we know it’s not happening because 14 brave FBI agents came to us as whistleblowers and told us what exactly is going on here.”

The report also accused the FBI of inflating statistics on domestic extremism to help fuel a narrative promoted by President Joe Biden’s administration. FBI employees who have conservative views are being purged from the agency, it claims.

Republicans argued that the FBI was plagued by a “systemic culture of unaccountability,” as well as “rampant corruption, manipulation and abuse.” The agency’s shift toward “political meddling” has allegedly pulled resources away from legitimate law enforcement duties. For instance, one whistleblower claimed that he was told after the January 2021 US Capitol riot that child sex-abuse cases were “no longer an FBI priority and should be referred to local law enforcement agencies.”

November 4, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption | , , , , , | 2 Comments

All Those Responsible Must Pay a Price for Terrorising and Harming the People They Are Meant to Serve

BY DR GARY SIDLEY | THE DAILY SCEPTIC | NOVEMBER 2, 2022

I belong to a privileged generation. Not that I was raised in affluence; far from it. Born in 1958, to a mother who worked all her life as a weaver in the textile industry and a father employed as a maintenance mechanic at the local factory, I lived on a council estate for the first decade of my life. Money was tight, holidays were basic and infrequent, and treats – in the form of confectionary – were rare, usually restricted to a Turkish Delight chocolate bar each Sunday evening. Although I never realised it until I was 62, I was, however, part of a cohort who possessed something sacrosanct, something so very precious and – deplorably – something future generations may never enjoy again: individual freedom.

To be clear, the world I have lived in has been far from perfect. My era has been one incorporating fundamental inequalities and injustices, widespread poverty, discrimination and – particularly in my young-adult years – a recurring risk of physical assault. But despite this context, each of us took for granted a range of basic human rights: to meet with whomever we wished; to leave our homes whenever we chose; to eat whatever we wanted; to express opinions others might not agree with; to take risks, make mistakes and learn sometimes painful lessons; to wear whatever we wanted; to work to improve our career prospects and earn more money to enhance our lives and those of our families; and to decide what drugs and other medical interventions to accept. When cheap flights emerged in the 1970s and 80s, the whole world became wonderfully accessible.

My perception (probably a naïve one) of successive Labour and Conservative Governments was that, although often inept and guilty of policy errors, they broadly sought to improve the lives of their citizens and could at least be relied upon to protect us against external malignant forces. Furthermore, it seemed that the life-spans of our elected politicians were dependent upon keeping us – their constituents – satisfied by acting primarily in the interests of U.K. citizens.

But 30 months ago, this illusion was shattered.

I knew something was awry as early as February 2020. By March the same year my early-warning detector would not rest. While the media, politicians and the science ‘experts’ informed us – incessantly – that a uniquely lethal pathogen was spreading carnage across the world, and unprecedented and draconian restrictions on our day-to-day lives were essential to prevent Armageddon, I wasn’t buying it. I formed the view that a momentous event, unparalleled in my lifetime, was unfolding, but it was not primarily about a virus.

Why, at that point in time, did I recognise that something sinister was underway while almost everyone else I met seemed to be swallowing the dominant narrative? It is a difficult question to answer. Perhaps my time in the early 1980s as a psychiatric charge nurse in an NHS hospital, occasionally interfacing with the ‘infection control’ department, gave me insight into how this professional group operate. Although well-meaning, their advice regarding how to minimise the spread of contagion on a ward often seemed impractical, revealing an apparent inability to see the bigger picture. Or maybe my in-depth knowledge of risk assessment (gleaned in my doctoral thesis during my time as a clinical psychologist) had impressed upon me how woefully inaccurate we are in gauging the relative threat levels posed by various hazards inherent in our environment. What I did know for sure was that Big Pharma – arguably the most corrupt industry in the world – would exploit the emerging ‘crisis’ for its own ends. And how right I was.

The list of state-driven human rights abuses we have endured under the pretence of ‘keeping us safe’ and the (ominous) ‘greater good’ is long: prohibition of travel; confinement in our homes; social isolation; closure of businesses; denial of access to leisure activities; de-humanising mask mandates; directives (scrawled on floors and walls) dictating which way to walk; an arbitrary ‘stay two metres apart’ rule; exclusion from the weddings and funerals of our loved ones; the seclusion and neglect of our elderly; school shutdowns; children’s playgrounds sealed off with yellow and black tape; muzzled children and toddlers; students denied both face-to-face tuition and a ‘rites-of-passage’ social life; and coerced experimental ‘vaccines’ that turned out to be more harmful and less effective than initially claimed. Equally egregious were the strategies deployed to lever compliance with these restrictions, namely psychological manipulation (‘nudging’), pervasive censorship across the media and academic journals and the cancellation and vilification of anyone brave enough to speak out against the dominant Covid narrative. All-in-all, a state-driven assault on the core of our shared humanity.

As the state-orchestrated infringement of our basic human rights continued, I felt compelled to act in ways that were far outside of my comfort zone. The 61-year-old man who had never been on a protest march until summer 2020, and who had innocently assumed that most of society’s leaders were decent people who tried to do what was right, had changed. I found myself walking with tens of thousands of others along Regent Street, London, screaming “Freedom!” I pushed “Back to Normal” leaflets through the letterboxes of hundreds of my neighbours. I stood on the corner of our local shopping street with a placard held aloft stating, “Say No To Vaccine Passports”.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, I struggled to find reasons for the irrational, masochistic Covid restrictions and the ubiquitous infringement of our basic human rights. My explanations evolved. Initially I clung to the ‘panic and incompetence’ rationale, that our governments had been spooked by the images coming out of China – remember the videos of people falling dead in the streets – and the mono-focused, blinkered and catastrophic prophecies of our so-called epidemiological experts. As the atrocities persisted, this explanation was rendered inadequate, and it morphed into an ‘opportunistic agendas’ account where activists – promoting green aspirations, digitalised IDs, social credit systems, a cashless society, universal income, a biosecurity state – had exploited the anxieties associated with the emergence of a novel respiratory virus. By 2021 these conclusions, in turn, seemed insufficient to explain the persistence of the horrors we were enduring and it – belatedly – became clear that globalist and ‘deep state’ powers were at work, striving to realise their inhuman aspirations. My further reading about the activities of World Economic Forum, the United Nations, the European Union, the World Health Organisation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Wellcome Trust, Anthony Fauci and Big Pharma, and others, confirmed this emerging conclusion.

As the Covid event fades from media attention (replaced by a focus on similarly dehumanising and totalitarian responses to environmental threats, the war in Ukraine and the imminent cost-of-living crisis) it is intriguing to reflect upon its residual effects.

I continue to mourn what I have lost, a process associated with a complex mix of fluctuating emotions. For two years, our Government, aided and abetted by state-funded scientists, denied us opportunities for fun and human connection, stymied our freedoms and orchestrated a systematic campaign to coerce us to both accept experimental ‘vaccines’ and to slavishly cover our faces with cloth or plastic. Consequently, I feel anger and disgust towards many of our politicians, epidemiological ‘experts’ and behavioural scientists who were complicit with this shameful period in our history. And I now distrust all sources of information, whether it be the media, the ‘scientific’ world or public health experts. Without an anchor for truth, I float – incredulous – in an ocean of mainstream-generated misinformation.

My 60-plus years of naivety have been shattered. I believe only those few who have shown selfless integrity throughout the Covid debacle. Also, I am now sceptical about much of the green agenda: state-funded scientists lied to us about Covid so why wouldn’t they show the same self-serving dishonesty about the climate?

Closer to home, it is clear my life has changed. I feel disappointment and irritation towards many people who I previously respected and liked, such as friends who colluded with the catastrophically damaging Covid restrictions because of fear, ignorance or a desire to avoid hassle and condemnation. Many relationships are now more distant. On the rare occasions we meet there is often an ‘elephant in the room’, and when the Covid issue is touched upon I typically feel frustrated that many do not want to consider the implications of what has been inflicted upon us.

I feel similarly towards mental health colleagues who, for years, I had stood alongside and respected, collectively fighting the tyranny of biological psychiatry (its human rights infringements, coercion, overuse of drugs and vilification of those who questioned them) but who failed to recognise a much bigger tyranny when it emerged in 2020. While a handful of this anti-psychiatry lobby did soon recognise the totalitarian threat inherent to the Covid response, most bought into the dominant narrative. Heated disagreements ensued with a few, followed by ongoing mutual resentment; for most we just avoid each other.

But the residual effects of the Covid debacle are not all negative. New friendships have emerged with people from across the political spectrum. Based on a mutual respect, enduring bonds have formed with fellow sceptics both locally (through the Community Assembly and the Stand in the Park initiatives) and nationally via joint endeavours in HARTSmile Free, and PANDA. And it was uplifting to recently discover – via a chance meeting in the local pub – that the family I had lived across the road from for the last seven years, yet had rarely spoken to, had always been as sceptical as me about the dominant Covid narrative.

Furthermore, I have noticed that my behaviour has changed in subtle ways. I now make more of an effort to smile and gain eye contact with – unmasked – strangers. Similarly, when greeting acquaintances, I’m more inclined to hug or shake hands as compared to pre-2020 levels of bodily contact. (Non of that fist-bump and elbow-touch nonsense for me.) It’s as if I’m striving to compensate for the human connection deficit that we’ve accrued over the last 30 months. Or perhaps I’m making a defiant metaphorical one-finger salute to any onlookers who still adhere to the risk-averse and dehumanising dominant Covid narrative?

While we continue to drown in a sea of propaganda, censorship and coercion, who knows what the future might hold?

One thing is for sure: We must never forget what the political leaders and public health specialists inflicted upon us. Whether the reason was weakness, groupthink, conflict of interest or unadulterated corruption, the miscreants must all be held to account and pay a price for terrorising the people they are meant to serve. This assertion is not fuelled by a primitive desire for retribution – well, not primarily – but by an expectation that, if the guilty are not named and shamed, the same totalitarian impositions will be repeated again and again.

The conviction sheet is a long one. It includes political leaders at home (Boris Johnson, Keir Starmer, Nicola Sturgeon, Mark Drayford) and abroad (including Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Joe Biden and Jacinda Ardern); Bill Gates and his various funding agencies; SAGE scientists who danced to the tune of their academic and political paymasters; the behavioural science ‘nudgers’ at the helm of the worldwide psychological manipulation strategy; the professional organisations that have manifestly colluded with the state-driven tyranny (including the British Medical Association and the British Psychological Society); the conflicted drug regulators (such as the MHRA); the powerful, profit-driven pharmaceutical companies, deploying their financial clout to influence health policy decisions; and the mainstream media, who have slavishly peddled the dominant Covid narrative while dismissing alternative viewpoints.

To successfully expose the wrongdoings of such powerful individuals and institutions is a big ask. Realistically, only bottom-up resistance and protests from millions of ordinary people could achieve this aim, and in this regard there are reasons for optimism. Truth will – eventually – reveal itself. Despite the ongoing censorship and manipulation, public dissent to the attempted imposition of a biosecurity state is becoming increasingly visible. Masking in the community is – at the time of writing – practised only by an eccentric minority. The net harms of Covid restrictions are more widely recognised. Ordinary citizens increasingly claim they will not be locked down and separated from their loved ones ever again. And – perhaps more importantly – the ‘safe and effective’ vaccine narrative is crumbling, as indicated by more and more people rejecting the jabs.

If we do not wish to live in a ‘transhuman’ society devoid of personal freedoms, where our day-to-day decisions – where we go, what we say, what we eat, how we spend our money, what drugs we ingest – are determined by the state’s version of the ‘greater good’, we must all continue to show visible dissent to the globalists’ new world order.

Together, I believe we can defeat the biggest threat to Western values witnessed in my lifetime. And even if we don’t succeed, history will show that at least we tried.

Dr. Gary Sidley is a retired NHS Consultant Clinical Psychologist and co-founder of the Smile Free campaign. He blogs at Coronababble

November 2, 2022 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Biden’s Bivalent Booster Blunder

Vinay Prasad’s Observations and Thoughts | October 26, 2022

The Biden administration has made a fool of themselves with their bivalent vaccine roll out. Pretty much all decisions were errors, and very likely these will hurt them politically. The only way for Biden to save himself from his terrible Covid policy is to fire all his advisors and rehire good ones. Let’s review the facts:

The Biden administration granted emergency use authorization to Pfizer and Moderna for a bivalent booster that targeted Wuhan and BA45. That vaccine received EUA based on mouse data (8-10 mice). There were no human data at the time of approval. (Please don’t confuse the BA4/5 with BA1 bivalent)

Since then, both companies have press released results, but do not specificify the numeric values of antibodies generated in people. No one has clinical data– i.e. is there a reduction in hospitalization? Severe disease? And if so, we don’t know which people (how old) have a further reduction in severe disease or hospitalization from this vaccine.

We also know breakthrough can occur. Rochelle Walensky herself received the vaccine and then had COVID one month later. Ironically, this is probably the peak vaccine efficacy (peak Ab). I don’t know what the vaccine effectiveness is, and neither does she, but my guess is it isn’t terrific.

The Biden administration said that we didn’t have time to wait for clinical trials in people. But each passing day reveals that is a lie. The uptake of this vaccine is abysmal. No one wants it. If no one was going to get it then why not take the time to run the proper studies?

recent pre-print has shown that the bivalent booster is not better at generating BA45 antibodies than getting the old booster one more time. This is the failure of not generating human trial data.

You could have sorted this out pre-market. *Let’s be clear, these are not clinical data (living longer/better) but without better antibodies, clinical endpoints seem unlikely to be met*

Many universities are now requiring this vaccine for 20-year-old college students who have had three prior doses and Omicron. I think you have to be dropped on your head to actually believe a 20-year-old man in good health who’s gotten three doses and just had Omicron will derive any benefit from this bivalent booster. I have never met even one doctor who thinks that that is true. And yet that is the position of the Biden administration.

They are so hellbent on earning Pfizer money– I mean vaccinating people who just had covid —that they are willing to ignore the mountain of data that suggests that’s not what you should be spending your energy on.

More than a year ago, Marion Gruber and Philip Krause the number one and number two at the US FDA vaccine branch resigned, citing White House pressure to approve boosters for all ages. Their published remarks suggest that they wanted to do it only for the elderly and vulnerable. Their message was repeatedly ignored as the Biden administration rammed booster after booster through the US food and drug administration for ultra low risk populations.

They have actually said a 5-year-old who has had three doses and had covid should get this booster. It’s insane.

Their entire vaccine policy seems to be interested in giving Pfizer and Moderna a perpetual market share for a yearly vaccine. But seems to have no interest in generating credible randomized control trial evidence to inform the public. As such, they fail the American people.

I am concerned that after this White House stint: Ashish Jha, Rochelle Walensky, Vivek Murthy, and Peter Marks (post FDA) will work for or consult for Pfizer and Moderna. That would be devastating.

American people obviously do not want to receive a vaccine every year with non-trivial adverse events without knowing that it gives them some benefit. Benefit to third parties cannot be had because it cannot stop transmission.

Some misguided policy makers argue that even a small reduction in transmission is meaningful. That’s nonsense. The problem is that you can get COVID every single day of your life from now until the end of your life. Even changing the probability modestly won’t change the outcome. Because the probability you will get COVID is one over time. Think of it this way:

You can play Russian roulette with one bullet or three bullets. I would much rather play with one bullet, if I had to. But if you have to play a thousand times in a row, we all know how that game ends.

That’s COVID 19. It’s not going anywhere. You’re going to have to play over and over and over again. And that means you’re all going to get COVID. So the only question is how many doses minimize severe disease? And who needs that to be minimized?

Today in the governor’s debate of New York state, only the Republican candidate was opposed to children’s mandates. It’s amazing that the Democrats are clinging to a failed vaccine policy. Their covid-19 policy is going to lead to catastrophic losses.

They need to fire all their advisors and start new. That’s the only way to fix the situation.

October 27, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

Laptop From Hell: Watchdog Says Hunter Biden & Partners Committed 459 Legal Violations

By Ekaterina Blunova – Samizdat – 20.10.2022

Marco Polo, a non-profit founded by former Trump White House aide Garrett Ziegler, has released a 630-page analysis of Hunter Biden’s “laptop from hell.” The report provides a roadmap for GOP Congress deputies and prosecutors to pursue charges against President Joe Biden’s son and his business partners.

A team of cyber detectives brought together by ex-Trump aide Garrett Ziegler has unveiled a report after a year-long examination of Hunter Biden’s infamous “laptop from hell.”

The Ziegler team claims to have found at least 459 legal violations by the US president’s son and his associates.

The one-gigabyte report reviews the laptop’s emails, videos, calendar items, photographs, phone records, financial documents and more, while presenting a huge number of screenshots. Hunter’s alleged crimes include serving as an agent for foreign entities without disclosing so, tax fraud, falsifying business documents, prostitution, non-consensual pornography, and distribution of narcotics, according to the reports’ authors.

“I’ve been focusing on this for 13 months,” Ziegler told The Daily Wire. “It was really a thing of necessity. I recognized how rich the material was. It requires utter focus.”

The Daily Wire pointed out that “the timing of the report’s release, coming two weeks before the midterm elections, has certain symmetry to the laptop’s initial introduction to the public.” The first bombshell concerning Hunter’s laptop was dropped by the New York Post in October 2020, a few weeks before the elections. However, US social media giants suppressed the story while 51 ex-US intelligence officials denounced the exposure as “Russian disinformation.”

However, a lot has reversed since then: the US mainstream media has admitted that the laptop’s files are authentic, while independent forensic investigators confirmed that all the data belongs to Hunter Biden. For his part, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey acknowledged that censoring the laptop story was a mistake.

Marco Polo, a non-profit formed by Ziegler, stated that a goal of the investigation was to provide US Congress deputies and prosecutors a roadmap to pursue charges. The group has already sent its report to every member of Congress.

It is widely expected that the Republicans will retake the House of Representatives and, possibly, the Senate in the aftermath of the forthcoming November midterms. Earlier, GOP lawmakers signaled that the party will intensify investigations into Hunter Biden, his uncle Jim and his father Joe if it wins a majority in the lower chamber. Meanwhile, some congresspersons pledged to initiate an impeachment procedure against the incumbent president which could become a headache for Joe Biden, especially if the GOP takes the Senate.

October 20, 2022 Posted by | Corruption | , | Leave a comment

Arab oil giants endorse OPEC+ production cut, shoot down US claims of ‘Saudi pressure’

The Cradle | October 17, 2022

Members of the OPEC+ group of countries issued a slew of statements on 16 October to endorse a major oil production cut that was announced earlier this month.

These statements were released in response to the accusations of irate US officials, who said Saudi Arabia “coerced” their OPEC partners into supporting the cut, allegedly to “increase Russian revenues and blunt the effectiveness of [western] sanctions.”

Washington went on to claim that several Gulf nations contacted them “privately” to say they disagreed with the OPEC+ decision.

“I would like to clarify that the latest OPEC+ decision, which was unanimously approved was a pure technical decision, with NO political intentions whatsoever,” the UAE Energy Minister, Mohamed al-Mazrouei, Tweeted on Sunday.

Kuwait Petroleum Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Nawaf Saud al-Sabah, also welcomed the decision by OPEC+ and said the country was “keen to maintain a balanced oil market.”

Similarly, Iraq’s Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) said via a statement on Sunday that OPEC+ decisions are “based on economic indicators and are taken unanimously.”

“There is complete consensus among OPEC+ countries that the best approach in dealing with the oil market conditions during the current period of uncertainty and lack of clarity is a pre-emptive approach that supports market stability and provides the future the guidance it needs,” the SOMO statement reads.

Algerian Energy minister Mohamed Arkab called the recent production cut “historic” and expressed his full confidence in the organization’s decision during a meeting on Sunday with OPEC Secretary General Haitham al-Ghais, who said that “these statements … are proof that the decision was correct.”

Oman’s energy ministry also released a statement endorsing the decision, saying via Twitter: “The recent decision of OPEC+ to cut production is in line with its previous decisions in terms of its reliance on market data and its variables, which was important and necessary to reassure the market and support its stability.”

A day earlier, the Oil Minister of Bahrain, Dr. Mohamed Bin Daina, said in a statement that the decision to cut production “was taken unanimously and after a thorough technical study of the global market.”

On 5 October, OPEC+ – a bloc of over 20 OPEC and non-OPEC nations, including Russia – announced an oil production cut of two million barrels per day (bpd) for November, their largest cut since the start of the COVID pandemic.

The decision was made despite intense lobbying by the White House, which had hoped to keep fuel prices down ahead of upcoming midterm elections, as Joe Biden’s democratic party is facing an uphill battle.

After yet again failing to coerce their Gulf partners into boosting production levels in order to keep fuel prices down, US officials have been scrambling for an appropriate response, even reviving a piece of legislation that would allow for sovereign states to be sued in federal court.

Moreover, Washington has accused Saudi Arabia of orchestrating the cut to “benefit Russia” after the kingdom responded to the US pleas with a “resounding no.”

October 17, 2022 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cuban Missile Crisis 60 Years On: Nuke Risk Higher Today Amid Diplomatic Deficits

Samizdat – 16.10.2022

Sunday marks sixty years since the outbreak of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, a thirteen-day nuclear standoff between the United States and Soviet Union that was ultimately resolved through skillful diplomacy, the type of which some fear may be lacking to defuse current superpower tensions.

On October 16, 1962, US President John Kennedy was shown surveillance photos of what he called “unmistakable evidence” the Soviets were building installations for medium-range nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba, 90 miles off Florida’s coast. In consultations with senior officials, Kennedy was presented with two alternatives: a military invasion or a naval blockade.

The missile buildup came after Cuban President Fidel Castro asked Moscow for deterrence assistance in the wake of the US failed Bay of Pigs invasion in April of 1961.

October 22, the seventh day of the crisis, Kennedy announced the imposition of a naval “quarantine,” choosing to avoid the word “blockade” which could be considered an act of war. Blockades prevent all trade and travel whereas the quarantine only prohibited offensive military equipment.

This came after hours of difficult meetings between Kennedy and US security officials, many of whom pressed for more aggressive options.

Nevertheless, in the ensuing days, Castro mobilized Cuba’s army, the Soviet missiles were placed on ready to launch, and their ships were soon at the so-called quarantine line.
Meanwhile, American military forces were put on defense readiness condition 2, the highest in US history – just one away from DEFCON 1 – which signaled the outbreak of nuclear warfare.

Lack of Leadership & Critical Thinking

It was not until day eleven that back-channel talks began between presidential adviser Robert Kennedy and Soviet ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin, which culminated in a deal that publicly called for the US to vow not to invade Cuba in exchange for Moscow dismantling the nuclear sites. However, the negotiators also struck a private agreement that the US would remove missiles from Turkey.

The crisis ended on October 28, when Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev announced the dismantling of Soviet missile installations, while keeping the deal on Turkish missiles a secret. The solution allowed both sides to “save face,” and exhibited sophisticated diplomatic acumen on the part of both Kennedy and Khrushchev, the type of which experts fear is sorely lacking today in the face of rising nuclear tensions between the US and Russia.

Not to mention, the size and nature of present day arsenals are much different than they were sixty years ago, when the US had 3,500 nuclear warheads and the Soviets about 500. According to the Federation of American Scientists, the US currently has 5,428 nuclear warheads and Russia 5,977.

During a recent interview with CNN, President Joe Biden warned that miscalculations over the Ukraine conflict “could end in Armageddon,” just a week after suggesting the world was facing another Cuban Missile Crisis and wondered aloud about finding an “off ramp,” for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Historian Dan Lazare described the stark difference between the current approach with 1962.

“The maturity of people like Kennedy and Khrushchev can’t help but contrast with the recklessness, arrogance, and sheer stupidity of people like Biden,” Lazare told Sputnik. “Thanks to NATO’s drang nach osten, we are closer to nuclear war than we probably were in 1962. Yet negotiations are nowhere in sight. How the world has regressed in a mere 60 years.”

Unlike Biden’s declaration to find an “off-ramp,” for Putin, Lazare noted that Khrushchev and Kennedy were savvy enough to make the “behind-the-scenes” deal to remove missiles from Turkey in exchange for the Soviets doing the same in Cuba.

Historian and political commentator Anton Chaitkin feels the existence of human civilization is now endangered due to Western power structures and intellectual deficits that have made a shift away from war escalation very difficult. A situation miles away from Kennedy’s quality of “truth-seeking” that he believes “saved humanity.”

“There is no thinking at the top,” Chaitkin said. “Any critical thought, like Kennedy’s process, could have wonderful consequences.”

Former UK ambassador Peter Ford fears the Cuban missile crisis will be seen as a reason not to panic, which is dangerous because the “hubristic” West does not have the same type of leadership, not to mention it is much easier to launch a nuclear war in the 21st century.

“Biden is no Kennedy,” Ford told Sputnik. “And in the 1960s tactical nukes did not exist. The potential threshold for going nuclear today is much lower.”

American University in Moscow President Professor Edward Lozansky said the current situation is much worse than in 1962 partly because Washington wrongly believes the worst-case scenario is that Russia would only use tactical nuclear weapons and only against Ukraine and other targets in Europe.

“This is a gross miscalculation since, according to Russian military doctrine, in case of the existential threat to [the] homeland Moscow will use the strategic nuclear weapons that will reach the US,” Lozansky warned. “It looks like Washington is totally ignoring this scenario and therefore does not even want to think about compromise with Putin, looking only for his total defeat.”

No Desire to Talk or De-Escalate

University of Louvain Professor of Philosophy Jean Bricmont is also worried about signs Washington does not even want a settlement.

“During the Cuban missile crisis, there was a desire on both sides to de-escalate. I see no such sign now, at least on the American side,” Bricmont told Sputnik. “They have been provoking Russia since the 1990’s by extending NATO eastwards and profiting from Yeltsin’s weakness to ‘loot’ Russia.”

Hence, he added, the situation seems totally blocked or rather drifting towards the apocalypse.

“Is there anybody to stop that madness?” Bricmont said. “We will see or die.”

University of Illinois Professor of Law Francis Boyle, who also observed the lack of Kennedy-style diplomatic skill in the White House, is concerned that so far the Biden administration has publicly ruled out direct negotiations with Moscow over Ukraine.

“Though there could be back-channel negotiations going on right now that I am not aware of,” Boyle added. “Let’s hope there are.”

Stephen Schlesinger, one of the premier historians of the UN, said a major difference in today’s crisis has been the failure of either side to leverage third parties, like the US and Soviets did with then-UN Secretary-General U Thant.

“In the Cuban missile crisis, the leaders of the USA and USSR were sober enough to use intermediaries – including U Thant – to communicate a desire for a settlement – while in today’s hostilities, Biden and Putin are simply not talking,” he said.

Meanwhile, the lack of opposition to the US support for Ukraine has been conspicuous other than disgruntlement expressed in a few polls, while antiwar progressives in Congress have even backed billions in military aid to Kiev.

“There are a few brave folks warning of the looming disaster but their voices are drowning in the ocean of ignorance,” Lozansky said.

Boyle said the situation is unlikely to get resolved unless the antiwar movement mobilizes.

“It is really up to the American peace movement to pressure the Biden administration to open direct negotiations over the Ukraine war with the Russian government before the war degenerates out of control as almost happened during the original Cuban Missile Crisis,” Boyle concluded.

October 16, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Biden makes creepy comments to underage girl

US “president” offered dating advice to the visibly uncomfortable girl, after apparently sniffing her hair

Samizdat | October 15, 2022

US President Joe Biden was recorded apparently sniffing a young girl’s hair on Friday, before telling her “no serious guys until you’re 30.” The president has a long history of inappropriate comments to children.

Posing for photographs after a speech at a California community college, Biden placed his hands on the shoulders of a teenage girl and appeared to inhale deeply. He then offered the girl “a very important thing I’ve told my daughters and granddaughters, no serious guys until you’re 30.”

“OK… I’ll keep that in mind,” the girl replied, as Biden repeated himself. A video of the conversation was posted on Twitter by reporter Kalen D’Almeida.

Biden offered similar “advice” to a nine-year-old girl in March, and has a history of inappropriate comments to and involving children. Before taking office, Biden fondly recalled having “kids jumping on [his] lap” in a Delaware swimming pool, and the president has been photographed fondling and sniffing young women since his time as vice president.

After a number of women came forward with accusations of borderline sexual harassment in 2019, Biden described these interactions as “gestures of support and encouragement.” A week later, however, the then-candidate called a 10-year-old girl “good looking” at a campaign event.

In an entry to a diary believed by the US Justice Department to be genuine, Biden’s daughter, Ashley, wrote about taking “showers [with my] dad” as a child, saying that these encounters were “probably not appropriate.”

October 15, 2022 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , | 4 Comments

Saudi Arabia calls out US bluster

BY M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | INDIAN PUNCHLINE | OCTOBER 14, 2022 

Saudi Arabia has politely but firmly rebutted the threats and calumnies levelled by the US political elites in the past week since the OPEC decided to cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day. On Thursday, a Foreign Ministry official in Riyadh forcefully pushed back the allegation that the OPEC decision was at Saudi initiative and was politically motivated against the US, and, worse still, to help Russia. 

The Saudi official rejected the US allegations as baseless, especially the imputation that Saudi Arabia is “aligning” with Russia in the context of the Ukraine situation. The official made three substantive points: 

  • The OPEC+ decision constitutes the unanimous opinion of the member states and it is preposterous to attribute it to Saudi Arabia.
  • Purely economic considerations lie behind the decision, which takes into account the imperatives of maintaining balance of supply and demand in the oil market and limiting the volatility.
  • Saudi Arabia has taken a principled stance on the Ukraine issue, as its votes supporting two UN resolutions testify. 

The Saudi official, inter alia, made a startling disclosure that the Biden Administration had actually tried to get Riyadh to postpone the OPEC+ decision by a month. Presumably, the rage in Washington today is not so much about the oil prices as the panic that the OPEC decision casts on the US diplomacy and foreign policy in general  — and, especially, on President Biden personally — in a poor light as ineffectual and illogical, as the Republicans are highlighting. 

Conceivably, the one-month delay that was sought was intended to overlap the forthcoming midterms in the US on November 8. Unsurprisingly, the Saudis didn’t oblige the White House and it now becomes an unforgivable slight on the US’ sense of entitlement and Biden’s vanity. 

Suffice it to say, the Democrats and the Biden Administration have worked themselves into a frenzy because of their fear that the price of gas can become a combustible issue that may spell doom at the midterms. Some Democrats have gone to the absurd extent of suspecting that the Saudis are deliberately interfering in the US politics to help the Republicans’ electoral prospects. 

The Saudi statement has pointedly rejected “any dictates, actions, or efforts to distort its (Saudi) noble objectives to protect the global economy from oil market volatility.” It is a mild warning that any anti-Saudi moves will meet with resistance and will have repercussions. 

The Saudi statements came within hours of an interview by Biden with the CNN on Thursday, where he warned that “There’s going to be some consequences for what they’ve (Saudis) done, with Russia. I’m not going to get into what I’d consider and what I have in mind. But there will be — there will be consequences.”

Later, John Kirby, a White House National Security Council spokesman, said Biden believes “it’s time to take another look at this relationship and make sure that it’s serving our national security interests.”

Biden himself was speaking a day after the influential Democratic senator from New Jersey Bob Menendez threatened to block cooperation with Saudi Arabia. He excoriated Saudi Arabia, accusing it of helping “underwrite Putin’s war through the OPEC+ cartel.” Menendez ripped into the kingdom, and went on to say that the US must “immediately freeze all aspects of our cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including any arms sales and security cooperation beyond what is absolutely necessary to defend US personnel and interests.”

In good measure, Menendez added an ultimatum that he would not “green-light any cooperation with Riyadh until the Kingdom reassesses its position with respect to the war in Ukraine. Enough is enough.” 

Quite obviously, the White House’s strategy is to obfuscate the matter by making the OPEC+ decision a geopolitical challenge to the US strategies concerning Ukraine and Russia rather than as a historic rebuff to Biden’s clumsy personal diplomacy — which it is — to try to get Saudi Arabia on board his fanciful project to bring down the oil prices so that Russia’s income from oil exports will be severely curtailed. 

The fact of the matter is that the OPEC decision virtually derails the Biden Administration’s pet project to impose a price cap on Russia’s oil exports. Simply put, that hare-brained project, conceived by the US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, flounders if oil prices remain high. 

Interestingly, the G7 statement last week on Ukraine and Russia did not make any references to the price cap project. On the other hand, high oil prices will further aggravate the economic crisis in Europe even as the EU is moving towards terminating all oil imports from Russia by December 5. Meanwhile, the Biden Administration is acutely conscious that the Europeans — Germany and France included —are increasingly murmuring their discontent that the Americans played them and are selling gas at vastly higher prices in the European energy market. 

When an influential senator like Menendez throws down the gauntlet to Riyadh, it can be taken as signalling that some retaliatory action against Saudi Arabia is in the cards. Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Rep. Ro Khanna of California have introduced legislation that would immediately pause all US arms sales to Saudi Arabia for one year as well as halt sales of spare and repair parts, support services and logistical support. 

But appearances can be deceptive. The vehemence of the rage and rave have a contrived look, a touch of bluster. Significantly, in his CNN interview, Biden stopped short of endorsing the Democratic lawmakers’ call to halt weapons. Biden merely said he would look to consult with Congress on the way forward. 

Whereas, Menendez has promised to use his position as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to block any future arms sales to the Saudis. Quite obviously, the anger with Saudi Arabia has become far more palpable on Capitol Hill, but will it translate into action?  

The big question is how much of this bluster is with an eye on the mid-terms in November. The White House national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, told reporters that Biden was also looking at a possible halt in arms sales as part of a broader re-evaluation of the US relationship with Saudi Arabia, but that no move was imminent. 

Indeed, any attempt to rebalance relations with Saudi Arabia will have ripple effects at a time when the contours of an emerging alliance between Saudi Arabia and Russia are becoming apparent, the Iran question remains unresolved and high oil prices upset the US consumer and deepen the crisis in Europe — and, of course, so long as the petrodollar remains a key pillar of the western banking system. Besides, as things stand, US influence in the West Asia is today a pale shadow of what it used to be, and alienating Saudi Arabia to a point of no return will be an exceedingly foolish thing to do. 

Above all, will the military-industrial complex in the US countenance a US-Saudi break-up? Saudi Arabia is the proverbial goose that lays golden eggs. It is a terrific paymaster for the American arms industry. Geopolitical analysts often call it the US’ ATM. Equally, the bottom line is that the Democrats wouldn’t even be able to garner enough Republican support to pass legislation once Congress is back in session next month. 

The Saudi statement concludes with a word of advice for American diplomacy in these extraordinary times of multipolarity: “Resolving economic challenges requires the establishment of a non-politicised constructive dialogue, and to wisely and rationally consider what serves the interests of all countries.” (Emphasis added.) It ended recalling that “the solid pillars upon which the Saudi-US relationship had stood over the past eight decades” include mutual respect and common interests, amongst other things.     

October 14, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Economics, Russophobia | , , , | 1 Comment

Biden sets condition for meeting with Putin at G20 summit

Samizdat – October 12, 2022

US President Joe Biden says he has “no intention” of meeting with Vladimir Putin at the upcoming G20 summit in Bali to talk about Ukraine, unless the Russian leader approached him first to discuss issues like the release of WNBA star Brittney Griner who is currently imprisoned in Russia.

Speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday, Biden discussed the various issues plaguing Russian-US relations and condemned Putin’s alleged threat to use nuclear weapons in the military conflict with Ukraine.

When asked if he was willing to meet with the Russian leader at the G20 summit in November, Biden said: “Look, I have no intention of meeting with him. But for example, if he came to me at the G20 and said ‘I want to talk about the release of Griner,’ I’d meet with him. I mean, it would depend.”

Brittney Griner is a Women’s National Basketball Association star and Olympic gold medalist who was detained at a Moscow airport in February for possessing vape cartridges filled with cannabis oil. Griner pleaded guilty to the charges of drug possession and was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Russian court on August 4.

Biden went on to state that neither he, “nor is anyone else” prepared to negotiate with Russia about anything related to Ukraine and so a meeting between the two leaders would depend on “specifically what [Putin] wanted to talk about.”

“He’s acted brutally. I think he’s committed war crimes. And so, I don’t see any rationale to meet with him now,” the US leader said.

Biden and Putin have not spoken to each other directly since before Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier said that the Kremlin would consider such a meeting, but has yet to receive a proposal from Washington.

October 12, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , | 3 Comments

US increased intelligence and special forces operatives’ presence in Ukraine

In addition to possible escalation with Moscow, these operations also contradict Biden’s statements that the US will not send troops into Ukraine.

By Drago Bosnic | October 11, 2022

The US intelligence presence in Ukraine has existed at least since the end of the Second World War. After the war was over, the CIA worked closely with the Ukrainian Nazi insurgents of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) who were tasked with carrying out acts of sabotage in western parts of the Soviet Union. The OUN, led by the likes of Stepan Bandera and Yaroslav Stetsko was a Nazi organization infamous for its extreme anti-Semitism, Polonophobia (hatred of Poles) and Russophobia. It collaborated closely with the invading Nazi German forces and actively took part in the mass murder of Poles, Jews and Russians in Nazi-occupied Ukraine.

In the closing years of the Second World War, the OUN and other similar Nazi organizations were trained for behind-enemy-lines operations against the advancing Red Army. After Germany’s defeat, these forces continued their terrorist activities with the support of the CIA. The US top intelligence agency essentially recycled the Nazi German network in western Ukraine and also provided weapons and training for these forces. Declassified intelligence shows that the CIA even protected Stepan Bandera so he could coordinate and keep the Nazi movement in Ukraine alive. The CIA operation to accomplish this was codenamed PBCRUET-AERODYNAMIC, based on the now-declassified document dated June 17, 1950.

After the KGB and the Soviet military defeated the Nazi insurgents in what is present-day western Ukraine, the surviving members went dormant for the remainder of the (First) Cold War. However, during the last days of the USSR and the immediate aftermath of its dismantlement, Nazi groups were reactivated, only this time as political parties and organizations, most of which became militant by 2014. This paved the way for the NATO-orchestrated Maidan coup, bringing the Ukrainian Neo-Nazis to power. The militant wings of these organizations and political parties were directly incorporated into the Ukrainian military, including the infamous “Azov Battalion” and many other similar groups.

Although the Pentagon took over the task of training and arming these Neo-Nazi groups, the CIA and other US intelligence services never stopped working with them. US special operations forces are working closely with CIA personnel in Ukraine. According to The Intercept, the US initially withdrew its CIA and special operations operatives from Ukraine days before Russia launched its special military operation, leaving some personnel behind. However, their numbers have increased significantly in recent months. The report states that the CIA initially thought that Kiev would quickly be taken by Russian forces, but after it became clear that wouldn’t happen, the US decided to send its operatives back.

The report further states that “US intelligence and special operations within Ukraine are now far more extensive than they were early in the war, when US intelligence officials were fearful that Russia would steamroll over the Ukrainian army.” Multiple current and former US intelligence officials stated that “there is a much larger presence of both CIA and US special operations personnel and resources in Ukraine than there were at the time of the Russian invasion in February.” The New York Times made similar claims in a report authored in June, stating that there was a large CIA presence in Ukraine. Although there was no mention of US special operations forces activities in the country, the controversial report claimed that several US allies and satellite states, namely the UK, France, Canada and Lithuania, sent special operations forces to directly support the Kiev regime.

The Intercept claims that the secret CIA and US special forces operations in Ukraine are being conducted under a covert presidential finding and that this indicates US President Joe Biden quietly notified Congress of a “broad program of clandestine operations inside the country.” In the US, a presidential finding, formally known as a Memorandum of Notification (MON), is a presidential directive delivered to certain Congressional committees to allow covert CIA operations. President Biden is reportedly using an altered version of a finding originally used by the Obama administration:

“One former special forces officer said that Biden amended a preexisting finding, originally approved during the Obama administration, that was designed to counter malign foreign influence activities. A former CIA officer told The Intercept that Biden’s use of the preexisting finding has frustrated some intelligence officials, who believe that U.S. involvement in the Ukraine conflict differs so much from the spirit of the finding that it should merit a new one.”

It is currently unknown what exactly the US special operations forces are doing in Ukraine and neither is their precise location. However, it’s safe to assume they’re at least assisting the Kiev regime forces in training and possibly even targeting Russian troops during recent attacks involving Western weapons such as the HIMARS. In addition to possible escalation with Moscow, these operations also contradict Joe Biden’s statements that the US will not send troops into Ukraine.

Drago Bosnic is an independent geopolitical and military analyst.

October 11, 2022 Posted by | Militarism, Russophobia | , , , | Leave a comment