14
   

Monitoring Biden and other Contemporary Events

 
 
hightor
 
  4  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 05:01 am
Quote:
Both global and national affairs appeared to shift over the holiday weekend. Events of the past week or so highlighted the global stakes of not stopping the aggression of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. In turn, those global stakes highlighted that Trump’s MAGA Republicans are strengthening Putin’s hand.

Since October, MAGA Republicans have managed to delay a national security supplemental bill that would provide additional aid to Ukraine. Although a bipartisan majority of Congress supports the measure, House speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) recessed the House on Thursday without taking it up, just days after former president Trump attacked the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and suggested he would urge Russia to “do whatever the hell they want” to U.S. allies if they didn’t meet a guideline of spending 2% of their gross domestic product on their own military forces.

On Friday, February 16, Russian authorities murdered opposition leader Alexei Navalny in prison, where he was being held on trumped-up charges, and on Saturday, Russian forces advanced into the front-line city of Avdiivka.

The Munich Security Conference, the world’s largest gathering on international security policy, met this year in the midst of these events, from Friday, February 16, to Sunday, February 18. At Saturday’s lunch, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen of Denmark made a surprise announcement. Denmark, she said, will donate all its artillery to Ukraine. She suggested other countries, too, could do more than they already have.

According to Jack Detsch and Robbie Gramer of Foreign Policy, Frederiksen’s announcement “left attendees grappling with some existential questions: Are they prepared not just to help Ukraine but also to defend Europe from a possible Russian attack on a NATO country? Are democracies capable of standing up against the threat of territory-grabbing dictatorships like Russian President Vladimir Putin’s?”

Sweden today announced it will donate about $682 million in equipment and cash to Ukraine, its 15th aid package to Ukraine since the 2022 Russian invasion. The European Union today announced it is committing 83 million euros, or about $89 million, in humanitarian aid for those in Ukraine and Moldova affected by the war. Three weeks ago it approved $54 billion in military aid.

There is increasing pressure, as well, to transfer Russia’s frozen assets to Ukraine. On Saturday, February 17, the U.S. Justice Department, which is in charge of a task force called “KleptoCapture,” transferred $500,000 in forfeited Russian funds to Estonia for fixing Ukraine’s electrical transmission and distribution systems. Biden promised more sanctions against Russia on Friday and has again called for House Republicans to pass the national security supplemental bill.

Indeed, the real elephant in the room is the fact that MAGA Republicans in the House are refusing to commit more U.S. aid. The Institute for the Study of War, a nonprofit research organization, assessed on Sunday that “delays in Western security assistance to Ukraine are likely helping Russia launch…offensive operations along several sectors of the frontline in order to place pressure on Ukrainian forces along multiple axes.”

MAGA Republicans are refusing that aid although it is popular both in Congress and among Americans at large. A Pew study released Friday, before news of Navalny’s murder broke, showed that 74% of Americans believe the war in Ukraine is important to U.S. interests; 59% say it’s important to them personally.

House speaker Johnson condemned Putin as “a vicious dictator” over the weekend and said he was “likely directly responsible” for Navalny’s death. But on Monday he posted to Twitter a photograph of him standing alongside Trump, apparently at Trump’s West Palm Beach golf club, flashing a smile and a thumbs-up sign. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has vowed to try to throw Johnson out of the speaker’s chair if he even brings Ukraine funding to the floor. Trump himself referred to Navalny’s murder on Sunday simply by calling it a “sudden death” before launching into an attack on the United States.

On Sunday, former representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) came out and said it: the Republican Party has a “Putin wing.” She said: “The issue of this election cycle is making sure the Putin wing of the Republican Party does not take over the West Wing of the White House.” Conservative pundit Bill Kristol agreed, in italics: “The likely nominee of one of our two major political parties is pro–Vladimir Putin. This is an astonishing fact. It is an appalling fact. It has to be a central fact of the 2024 campaign.”

Russian authorities have cracked down on those expressing sorrow for the death of opposition leader Alexei Navalny and are refusing to hand over his body to his mother and lawyer, who flew to the penal colony north of the Arctic Circle to reclaim it, saying they need to keep the body for “chemical analysis.”

Meanwhile, a Russian who defected to Ukraine last year has been killed in Spain, and Russian authorities have arrested for “treason” a dual Russia-U.S. citizen who lives in Los Angeles as she traveled in Russia after having participated in pro-Ukraine rallies.

Putin is facing an election next month, and he may have intended the murder of Navalny to frighten other opponents and intimidate Russian voters. But it is possible it had the opposite effect.

Yesterday, Navalny’s widow, Yulia Navalnaya, stepped into his place, saying: “Putin didn’t only kill Alexei Navalny as a person. He wanted to kill our hope, our freedom, our future. But the most important thing we can do for Alexei and for ourselves is to go on fighting. I will continue Alexei Navalny’s work. Continue to fight for our country. I call on you to stand alongside me. To share not only the grief and unending pain that has enveloped us and won't let go. I also ask you to share the fury and hate for those who dared to kill our future. I speak to you in the words of Alexei, in which I believe truly: There is no shame in doing little. There is shame in doing nothing. In allowing them to scare you…. By killing Alexei, Putin has killed half of me. Half of my heart and my soul. But I have another half and it tells me that I don’t have the right to give in.”

Today she urged the European Union not to recognize the results of Russia’s March election, saying that “a president who assassinated his main political opponent cannot be legitimate by definition.”

In the U.S., there has not been any apparent move from House Republicans to come back into session to approve the national security package. Indeed, Trump appears to be strengthening his hand over the mechanics of the Republican Party, with the state parties he salted with loyalists lining up behind him, supporters in Congress killing legislation at his demand, and lawmakers who are interested in actually making laws exiting Congress out of fear or frustration.

But the apparent support of MAGA Republicans for Putin is unlikely to play well in the U.S. Today, Republican candidate for president Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina, tricked the Fox News Channel into covering live what she said was a major speech, likely leading producers to think she was withdrawing. Rather than doing so, she came out swinging with an attack on Trump.

Aaron Rupar of Public Notice recorded her comments, spoken with the backdrop of the past week in everyone’s mind. Americans “deserve a real choice,” she said, “not a Soviet-style election where there's only one candidate and he gets 99 percent of the vote.”

hcr
bobsal u1553115
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 07:56 am
That's sad...Trump is bleeding cash.

Trump is bleeding cash. New filings reveal the Trump Campaign raised $8.8 million in January, while spending $11.5 million, for a net loss of more than $2.6 million. Trump’s Save America PAC raised only $8,508 in January, and spent $3.9 million, $3 million of that in legal fees.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  3  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 08:44 am
@hightor,
Quote:
On Sunday, former representative Liz Cheney (R-WY) came out and said it: the Republican Party has a “Putin wing.” She said: “The issue of this election cycle is making sure the Putin wing of the Republican Party does not take over the West Wing of the White House.” Conservative pundit Bill Kristol agreed, in italics: “The likely nominee of one of our two major political parties is pro–Vladimir Putin. This is an astonishing fact. It is an appalling fact. It has to be a central fact of the 2024 campaign.”

They are both right, of course. And it's easy to imagine, over the next months leading up to November, how busy Russia’s Internet Research Agency troll farm will be in their role of spreading disinformation. If anyone bumps into good up-to-date reporting on this over the next months, please let me know.
0 Replies
 
Bogulum
 
  3  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 09:38 am
@blatham,
blatham wrote:

March in Nashville two days ago

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/GGkMlp-W0AEBJQO?format=jpg&name=900x900


When I see Nazi swastikas being marched about, by men in masks, it gives me the eeriest feeling - sort of like that disoriented feeling you get if you're spending the night in a hotel, and you wake up in the middle of the night and you panic because you don't know where you are for a couple of seconds. It's that feeling, multiplied by infinity.

I mean, the police and federal authorities see masked motherfuckers marching with Nazi flags and strange uniforms, and they yawn and mutter something about the first amendment. (Hell, the police are probably under some of those masks, but that's another anguish.)

Where the **** AM I?
Lash
 
  -3  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 09:50 am
Matching shirts + masked faces + fit bodies + money spent on matching / coordinating signage= feds
I see this time, they threw in a fat guy or two.

Our own spy agencies foment more coups and social confusion than any other entity worldwide.

Let’s see if the election is postponed due to (checks picture) Nazi infiltration (checks motive) because something something Trump Russia (although the US is deeply aligned with legit Nazis in Ukraine and Israel.)

Maybe a new charge against Trump featuring secret meetings with Nazis to overthrow the government.

Maybe just one more charge will do it.
izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 10:09 am
@Bogulum,
It's because of America's fetishisation of free speech.

Free speech should be about protecting people who tell the truth from repercussions from the rich and poweful.

It should not include hate speech, but in America hate speech is protected and lies are given as much protection as the truth.

In short, if the only justification for allowing something is freedom of speech it's no justification at all, there should always be something else.
izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 10:12 am
@Lash,
He should have been locked up years ago.

Fascists thrive in America.

The election won't be postponed, that's just paranoid far right horseshit.
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 10:28 am

Quote:
Pastor says Welby would not meet him if he spoke at Palestine rally with Corbyn
Archbishop said he could not meet Bethlehem Lutheran Munther Isaac if he shared platform with former Labour leader, Isaac says

The archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, cancelled plans to meet the Bethlehem-based Lutheran pastor Munther Isaac, saying he could not meet him if he shared a platform with the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at a pro-Palestinian rally, the pastor has said.

Isaac, the pastor of the Christmas Evangelical Lutheran church in Bethlehem, who has been highly critical of Israel in Gaza, saw his Christmas sermon go viral when he said if Jesus Christ was born today it would have been under the rubble.

He spoke at a Palestinian Solidarity Campaign rally at the weekend where Corbyn was also a speaker after being invited by the Palestinian ambassador to the UK, Husam Zomlot.

Lambeth Palace said it did not comment on private meetings.

The archbishop is concerned about the huge increase in antisemitism since October in the UK, and it is believed he feared it would have caused huge problems for the Jewish community if the two were to meet.

In an interview with the Guardian, Isaac said he was told by the archbishop’s aides that if he shared a platform with Corbyn, no meeting could happen. Isaac said: “It’s shameful. It’s not my type of Christianity not to be willing to meet another pastor because you don’t want to explain why you met him.

“This sums up the Church of England. They danced around positions, and ended up saying nothing. They lack the courage to say things.”

He added: “The small Christian community in Gaza has discovered what is hell on earth. Most of them have lost their homes: 45 destroyed completely and 55 partially destroyed. There is no life left for them. This war will most likely bring an end to Christian life in Gaza. Everyone wants to leave.

“It is so painful for us to see the Christian church turn a blind eye to what is happening, offering words of concern and compassion, but for so long they have been silent in the face of obvious war crimes. Churches seem paralysed, and they seem willing to sacrifice the Christian presence in Palestine for the sake of avoiding controversy and not criticising Israel. I have had so many difficult conversations with church leaders.

“I know from meeting many church leaders that in private, they say one thing, and then in public, they say another thing. I’ve had the same experience with many politicians and diplomats.”

Isaac, on a visit to the UK to build support for the Palestinians, said an immediate ceasefire was “a moral obligation”. He added: “This is not a time for neutrality or soft diplomacy. Gaza should be your moral compass.”

Welby’s allies would say he has spoken out strongly on what is happening in Gaza and will continue to seek opportunities to stand in solidarity with Palestinians, but has to remain mindful of the impact on other communities.

The House of Bishops, the upper chamber of the Church’s General Synod, issued a sharply worded call for a ceasefire on 13 February, saying Israel must stop its “relentless bombardment” of Gaza, and adding the manner in which the war was taking place “cannot be morally justified”.

Isaac said: “If it has not become clear to the world that this is a war of vengeance aimed at destroying the possibility of life in Gaza, and not a war on Hamas, I am not sure what more proof people need. The destruction of schools, universities and hospitals is everywhere. The Israeli soldiers brag and joke about it. How is the killing of 12,000 children a war on Hamas?”

The war, in its fifth month, was triggered by Hamas’s attack on Israel on 7 October last year, in which 1,200 people were killed and 250 taken hostage. Health authorities in Gaza say at least 29,000 Palestinians have been killed. About 85% of the territory’s population have been displaced from their homes, according to the UN.

“If what has happened so far cannot convince people that there needs to be an immediate ceasefire, there is something seriously wrong with our humanity. How much more catastrophic can it get?” Isaac said.

“Even as a pastor, my faith was tested in the last three months. It’s hard, it’s hard to pray and not to see results.”

He added: “My answer to the question where God is is that we have to ask where are the good people in this world. In Christianity we say we are God’s agents, we are God’s hands and feet on earth. The Gospel tells us what’s right and what’s wrong. It tells us what needs to be done. It’s on us when we choose to kill.”


https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2024/feb/21/pastor-says-welby-would-not-meet-him-if-he-spoke-at-palestine-rally-with-corbyn
Lash
 
  -3  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 10:33 am
@izzythepush,
Democrats say if Trump is elected, it may be our last election.
Are they fascists, too—or just the right wingers?

I mean, the two-party thing is the real horseshit, and it looks like your country is getting a dose. Two aligned parties pretending they aren’t working for the same predatory class…

I have acquaintances that are protesting outside the Assange trial today, and increasingly, it seems like our fates are tied together.

Doesn’t look good for us.
Lash
 
  -3  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 10:48 am
@izzythepush,
The state pressuring the state church to continue de-legitimizing / suppressing the voice criticizing Israel/US/UK.

Global behavior.

What’s the ultimate plan?
glitterbag
 
  4  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 11:33 am
Donald Trump believes he is America's 'Navalny'. I doubt that he really thinks that but he can't stop himself talking about the rarified glorification of his own specialness. He's such a threat to all of us retired deep staters, we are all working thousands and thousands of hours making up more outrageous tortures for him to enjoy. The man is such a bottomless pit of need, he loves all the attention, negative and the blind allegiance of his fans. There will never be enough attention for Trump, I think he would talk constantly as long as he was near a camera and could beg for every single minute of your rapt attention. He probably talks in his sleep and dreams he hears applause.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 11:49 am
@Lash,
You really have no concept how the C of E works.

The notion that the govt. could put such pressure on the AB of C is ludicrous.

The AB of C spends most of his time criticising the govt for the level of poverty in the UK.

You need to spend less time in these conspiracy chatrooms, you're becoming divorced from reality.

Lash
 
  -3  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 12:26 pm
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:

You really have no concept how the C of E works.
Quote:
I feel like you’ve insulated yourself against how the world works.

The notion that the govt. could put such pressure on the AB of C is ludicrous.
Quote:
You think a government pressuring any smaller, weaker entity is ludicrous? That belief is ludicrous.

The AB of C spends most of his time criticising the govt for the level of poverty in the UK.
Quote:
Poverty complaints are a time-worn relief valve—but Corbyn’s character has been assassinated because he calls out serious crimes against the people in direct opposition to the global power.

You need to spend less time in these conspiracy chatrooms, you're becoming divorced from reality.
Quote:
You need to step away from the BlueAnons & their leader Blatham.


hightor
 
  4  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 01:28 pm
Quote:
You need to step away from the BlueAnons & their leader Blatham.


Ironically, the above statement is an actual response to this one:

Quote:
You need to spend less time in these conspiracy chatrooms, you're becoming divorced from reality.


blatham
 
  1  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 02:03 pm
@Bogulum,
Quote:
When I see Nazi swastikas being marched about, by men in masks, it gives me the eeriest feeling - sort of like that disoriented feeling you get if you're spending the night in a hotel, and you wake up in the middle of the night and you panic because you don't know where you are for a couple of seconds. It's that feeling, multiplied by infinity.

That is an apt analogy, snood.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 02:04 pm
@Lash,
The Archbishop of Canterbury makes decisions for himself.

He decided not to see Corbyn and he knows his own mind.

Just because some shadowy figure is controlling you doesn't mean that's the case for most people.

I'm no Tory, or Chelsea supporter.

I stay away from Blues.
blatham
 
  3  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 02:27 pm
Re Russian disinformation on-going...
Quote:
The Plot Thickens

The former FBI informant charged with fabricating the Burisma bribery story about President Biden and his son Hunter had “extensive and extremely recent” contacts with foreign intel services, prosecutors alleged Tuesday in a court filing.

Yes, including Russian intel.

The revelation came in arguments that Special Counsel David Weiss, who is also prosecuting Hunter Biden, made for detaining Alexander Smirnov pending his trial. (Smirnov was ultimately released under conditions yesterday.)

The implications of this Russian operation are staggering, especially for the willing Republicans and right-wing media stooges who were the useful idiots propagating the disinformation for years. The James Comers, Chuck Grassleys, Jim Jordans of the world have been trafficking in this stuff as the purported basis for a Biden impeachment, which is itself tightly yoked to Trump’s campaign for re-election. Right-wing outlets, most notably Fox News, have been amplifying the claims not dozens or hundreds but thousands of times over the past several months.

Everywhere you turn, it’s Russia either helping Trump directly or indirectly by damaging Trump’s foes. The pattern is clear and persistent but also so sweeping and far-reaching that it really requires taking a step back to grasp the full scope of it all. It has dominated right-wing media, become an accepted “fact” among MAGA adherents, and allowed elected Republicans to play mainstream media like a cheap fiddle. All those breathless Biden impeachment process stories? They’re an outgrowth of this disinformation campaign.

Not to get too meta about it, but in some ways today’s Morning Memo is itself an indirect result of Russian disinfo: the effort to unpack it, explain it, draw the lines connecting the dots, and distinguish between what is real and not is an exhaustive, time-consuming, resource-intensive process, which is partly why these efforts are so effective and difficult to counter.

To make it even more meta, we’re reliant on Weiss as a narrator here, which is not a great place to be considering his flawed prosecution of Hunter Biden and the apparent fact that at least for a time he seemed to find Smirnov’s allegations credible. It’s a colossal mess.

We’re nearly a decade into Putin’s sustained, unrelenting attack on American democracy through misinformation and mischief. Among other things, the Republican Party and its standard bearer have been successfully enmeshed in it and thoroughly compromised. When this all began, Putin in his wildest imagination could not have conceived of this level of success
. TPM
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  3  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 02:35 pm
Another example of how rightwing agitprop is replete with grifters.
Quote:
Tax records reveal the lucrative world of covid misinformation

Four major nonprofits that rose to prominence during the coronavirus pandemic by capitalizing on the spread of medical misinformation collectively gained more than $118 million between 2020 and 2022, enabling the organizations to deepen their influence in statehouses, courtrooms and communities across the country, a Washington Post analysis of tax records shows...
WP
0 Replies
 
vikorr
 
  3  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 02:35 pm
@izzythepush,
Lash will stay away from / ignore most if not all of your post. She ignores anything that contradicts but doesn't fit in with her preferred narrative.

Oddly, I have a lot of time for reading 'the other side of the news'. I don't think our news gives us anything but a one sided version that won't go against our comfortable beliefs (like 'our country is good'). But I never see the news like (politicians are a different story)....journalistic 'lies' are through omission and interpretation that in the end, misleads.

To me, accepting only one side is nonsensical, and not seeing how all information fits into your beliefs is a way of becoming self-deluded. As our mind is habitual, the more you ignore other information, the stronger your self-delusion becomes...and the stronger the habit of ignoring information becomes...until you think you are right and everyone else is wrong / deluded / ignorant etc
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  3  
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2024 03:33 pm
Quote:
Media Matters@mmfa
1h
Fox News credulously promoted a story about Biden, now described by federal prosecutors as false, because it appeared to confirm a conspiracy theory it pursued for years — one that its own research “Brain Room” had warned was “disinformation” back in 2019.

Quote:
In a Thursday report, The Daily Beast summarized the findings of the 162-page research briefing book, which was authored by Fox senior political affairs specialist Bryan S. Murphy, a member of the network’s internal research “Brain Room.” It is unclear when it was first drafted, but the cover page states that it was “updated” December 9, 2019.

The document, which largely condenses and summarizes reporting from other news outlets, accuses frequent guests on the network’s most popular programs -- Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer; Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing, Republican attorneys with ties to the White House; and veteran conservative writer and Fox contributor John Solomon -- of “spreading disinformation” about former Vice President Joe Biden and the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. It says the smears originated with Yuriy Lutsenko, the former prosecutor general of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash, a client of diGenova and Toensing.

The briefing book, The Daily Beast reports, “is also seemingly critical of Fox’s own coverage” of the disinformation campaign, and it singles out Hannity for particular censure:
Quote:
The document notes omissions by Hannity, who frequently had Solomon, Toensing, diGenova, and Giuliani on his show. Murphy notes that the primetime star continued to refer to Solomon as an “investigative reporter” even after The Hill explicitly labeled his work to be “opinion.” The briefing also dings Hannity for failing to mention, in a segment featuring Toensing and diGenova about an affidavit filed on behalf of Firtash, that the pair were working for the Ukrainian oligarch Firtash—an obvious conflict of interest.

“At no time during the program does Hannity, Toensing, and diGenova mention who requested the statement nor do they discuss that they are Firtash’s attorneys,” the briefing book reads.
more here
 

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