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Putin ally says he sent EU Parliament a stained sledgehammer after it branded Russia a state sponsor of terrorism

The European Parliament officially declared Russia a "state sponsor of terrorism" on Wednesday, apparently irritating Prigozhin. Yevgeny Prigozhin on August 9, 2016.Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP The European Parliament declared Russia a "state sponsor of terrorism" on Wednesday. Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin responded by saying that he had sent the EU a sledgehammer. It is unclear whether the EU received the sledgehammer, which had fake blood stains on it. An ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed on Wednesday that he had sent the European Parliament a  sledgehammer stained with fake blood after it branded Russia a state sponsor of terrorism.This week, the EU Parliament announced that repeated Russian military strikes on Ukrainian civilians and its energy infrastructure had violated international law, and it had voted to recognize Moscow "as a state sponsor of terrorism and as a state which uses means of terrorism."The vote passed with 494 in favor, 58 against, and 44 abstentions.On Wednesday, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who founded the notorious Wagner Group paramilitary, responded to the vote in a notably bombast fashion.Prigozhin was quoted on a Concord Management Telegram channel as saying that he had discussed the EU vote with his Wagner commanders and decided to take action against the parliament.Concord is a catering company founded by Prigozhin, who has long been nicknamed "Putin's chef.""Today I held a meeting of the Wagner PMC commanders and told them this sad news," the statement, which was reported by both The Moscow Times and the independent Russian news outlet SOTA, said. "I do not know what law the European Parliament is guided by, but according to our legislation, from today we declare the European Parliament dissolved."It continued: "But before this procedure enters into legal force, I was instructed to submit an information case to the European Parliament."Prigozhin did not directly say what he meant by an "information case." However, a video published by SOTA on Wednesday showed a violin case containing a sledgehammer with the inscription "PMC Wagner" on its head and fake blood stains on its handle. (PMC Wagner is another name for The Wagner Group.)The violin case was carried by the Wagner Group's lawyer Igor Yeliseyev, the Gulagu.net rights group said on Telegram. Insider was unable to independently verify the reports. According to The Moscow Times, Yeliseyev gave the case to a pro-war military blogger, who was meant to pass it on to a member of the EU parliament.It is unclear whether the EU Parliament received the sledgehammer. A spokesperson did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.Earlier this month, in another Concord post, Prigozhin appeared to celebrate the brutal execution of a Russian soldier who had defected to Ukraine.In a video shared on a pro-Russian social media channel, the man was struck twice in the head with a sledgehammer. Prigozhin's response was that the man was "a traitor."Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly called on the international community to declare Russia a "terrorist state" over its invasion of his country.This latest video comes on the back of the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, saying that the parliament's official website had been hit by a cyberattack."The European Parliament is under a sophisticated cyberattack. A pro-Kremlin group has claimed responsibility," Metsola announced on Wednesday."Our IT experts are pushing back against it and protecting our systems. This, after we proclaimed Russia as a State-sponsor of terrorism. My response: #SlavaUkraini (Glory to Ukraine)," she added.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 24th, 2022

Viktor Bout, the arms dealer the US swapped for Brittney Griner, joins Russian ultranationalist party and could run for parliament

The Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout returned home last week after a prisoner exchange for American WNBA star Brittney Griner. Leonid Slutsky, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party (L) and arms dealer Viktor Bout at the party's congress in Moscow, Russia, on December 12, 2022.Aleksandr Sivov, Press Service of Liberal Democratic Party of Russia via AP Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout returned home last week after a prisoner swap for Brittney Griner. On Monday he became a member of a far-right, ultranationalist party that backs the war in Ukraine. Bout's decision was supported by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Viktor Bout, the Russian arms dealer the US swapped for WNBA star Brittney Griner last week, officially joined a far-right, ultranationalist party, which could set him up for a seat in the Russian parliament.The notorious arms dealer — known as the "Merchant of Death"— received his membership to the pro-Kremlin Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) on Monday, the BBC reported.In a video posted on Telegram, the leader of the LDPR, Leonid Slutsky, thanked Bout for joining "the best political party in today's Russia," according to The Guardian.Despite its name, the LDPR adopts a hardline, ultranationalist ideology. Since its founding in 1992, the party has demanded Russia reconquer the countries of the former Soviet Union, according to Reuters. It has backed Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.Bout returned home last week after a high-profile prisoner exchange for US basketball star Griner, who had been in Russian custody since February. Griner was found guilty of drug smuggling in early August and was sentenced to nine years in a Russian penal colony.Bout has spent the past 12 years in an American jail, after being found guilty of conspiring to support terrorists and kill Americans.He was a prominent international arms dealer during the 1990s and is believed to have done business in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Angola, Liberia, Rwanda, and Afghanistan.He was caught and arrested in Thailand in 2008 after a US Drug Enforcement Agency sting operation. Bout's new membership of the LDPR means that he could seek a seat in parliament, although the arms dealer told Russian media that he had no immediate plans to participate in "any elections," The Guardian reported. His entry into politics was applauded by close Putin allies, including Russian oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is the founder of the Wagner mercenary group."Viktor Bout is not a person, he is an example of firmness," Prigozhin said in a statement posted by his catering company, Concord, according to The Guardian."Bout will certainly be good at the head of any existing party and any movement," he added. The Pentagon, however, has expressed concerns that the convicted arms dealer could return to his old line of business. "I think there is a concern that he would return to doing the same kind of work that he's done in the past," a senior defense official told journalists last week, Insider previously reported.In an interview with the Russian state television network RT last week, Bout said he "wholeheartedly" supports Putin's war in Ukraine, adding that he would "certainly go as a volunteer" if he had the chance.The arms dealer also said he had a picture of Putin in his prison cell, telling RT: "Why not? I'm proud that I'm Russian and that our president is Putin."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 13th, 2022

Nick Fuentes is well known as a white supremacist and anti-semite. That hasn"t stopped Trump and at least 5 GOP lawmakers from associating with him since 2017.

These controversial encounters have rattled the GOP with Kevin McCarthy and Mitt Romney urging other lawmakers to avoid Fuentes. America First Foundation leader and white nationalist Nick Fuentes; former President Donald Trump; Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia; Republican Rep. Paul Gosar of ArizonaGetty Images White nationalist Nick Fuentes has associated with several MAGA stars who claim they don't know him. Fuentes has spent time with Donald Trump, Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar, among others. GOP leaders like Kevin McCarthy and Mitt Romney have urged others to stay away from Fuentes.  Conservative firebrand Nick Fuentes has had dinner with, posed for pictures alongside, and welcomed on stage at least a half dozen Republicans since becoming a star of the white nationalist movement. Interactions with the America First Foundation leader have also prompted GOP lawmakers to deny knowing who Fuentes is and what he stands for. The Anti-Defamation League describes Fuentes as a white supremacist, anti-semite, and 2020 election-denier "who seeks to forge a white nationalist alternative to the mainstream GOP." Fuentes, who has been similarly decried by the Department of Justice and Simon Weisenthal Center, also founded the far-right America First Political Action Conference in 2020 as an alternative to the Conservative Political Action Conference.Embattled former President Donald Trump is currently trying to distance himself from Fuentes following a Thanksgiving holiday sit-down at Mar-a-Lago that included rapper Kanye West, now known as "Ye." The meeting blindsided Trump's 2024 campaign staff and rattled GOP leaders. "I don't think it's a good idea for a leader that's setting an example for the country or the party to meet with [an] avowed racist or antisemite," outgoing Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson told CNN on Sunday.  Here are the elected officials who've taken heat for entering Fuentes' orbit. Former President Donald TrumpFormer US President Donald Trump speaks during an event at his Mar-a-Lago home on November 15, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida.Joe Raedle/Getty Images"He gets me," Trump reportedly said Tuesday as Fuentes flattered the former president's 2016 campaign and his in-your-face messaging. A Stop the Steal rally attendee who's been subpoenaed by the House select committee investigating the deadly siege at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, Fuentes also told Trump that he was part of the otherwise unflappable MAGA base that's disappointed by Trump's inaction on behalf of the insurrectionists charged in the riot. Trump, who has floated pardoning Capitol rioters if he's elected again, blamed the standoffishness on advisors pushing him to be more "presidential," Axios reported. Since then, Trump has sought to downplay the radioactive encounter, writing on his social media platform Truth Social that he "didn't know Nick Fuentes." The attempted damage control hasn't satisfied Republicans who want the party to rid itself of the polarizing former president once and for all. "It's incumbent upon the Republican establishment, what's left of it, to stamp this kind of element from within the GOP once and for all," former Rep. Charlie Dent told CNN over the weekend. One-time Trump ally and possible 2024 presidential contender Chris Christie said the Fuentes meeting should be disqualifying. "This is just another example of an awful lack of judgment from Donald Trump, which, combined with his past poor judgments, make him an untenable general election candidate for the Republican Party in 2024," the former governor of New Jersey said on Friday.Rep. Paul GosarRepublican Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona speaks to reporters about his Fire Fauci bill during a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesThe Arizona Republican has been heavily criticized for mingling with Fuentes. Gosar spoke at an America First PAC event in 2021, denied being involved in a planned 2021 fundraiser that upset GOP leaders, and then sent a prerecorded message to a 2022 AFPAC event that was later blamed on a "miscommunication" with his congressional staff. Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah called Gosar and fellow AFPAC participant Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia "morons" for getting involved with Fuentes. "There's no place in either political party for this white nationalism or racism," the 2012 GOP presidential nominee told CNN in February, adding, "It's simply wrong."House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy chastised Gosar for the 2022 incident, calling it "appalling and wrong." "The party should not be associated any time any place with somebody who is anti-Semitic," McCarthy said earlier this year. Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneRepublican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia speaks during an outdoor news conference on Capitol Hill September 20, 2022 in Washington, DC.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesThe far-right conspiracy theorist from Georgia claimed she knew nothing about Fuentes or his views when she decided to speak at the AFPAC conference in February 2022. "I'm not aligned with anything that may be controversial," Greene told CBS News in an interview a day after the conference. She attended the event to "address his very large following," describing them as "very young.""It's a generation I'm extremely concerned about," she said. "I went to talk to them about America First policies and I talked to them about what's important for our country going forward."When a reporter said Fuentes is a white nationalist, Greene responded, "I do not endorse those views."Last week, Greene on Twitter appeared to address Fuentes' concerns about the January 6 defendants, saying anyone who claims Trump is doing nothing for them "is either lying, clueless, or wants to hurt him.""I've been to a lot of rallies this year and I've heard him say he will pardon J6 defendants multiple times," tweeted Greene, who has visited the accused rioters in jail. "I have not heard any other potential 2024 presidential candidate say that yet."Former Rep. Steve KingRepublican Rep. Steve King of Iowa testifies during a House Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing on September 26, 2017 in Washington, DC.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesThe polarizing Iowa Republican had already been punished for espousing white supremacist rhetoric before finding his way to Fuentes. McCarthy stripped King of his committee assignments in 2019 following a troubling interview with The New York Times. King, who lost his 2020 reelection bid after years of questionable behavior, said he felt like he was being targeted by a "political lynch mob." King spoke at AFPAC's 2021 gathering and posed for a picture with Fuentes, Gosar, and other attendees. Idaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachinIdaho Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin speaks with a supporter at a campaign event at a grocery store on March 19, 2022 in Idaho Falls, Idaho.Natalie Behring/Getty ImagesMcGeachin made a video appearance at the AFPAC 2022 in February and thanked those in attendance for "joining our efforts." When later confronted about her appearance by a Boise news reporter, she said she didn't know Fuentes and never met him. She also blamed the media."The mainstream media, you do this to conservatives all the time, but you don't do it to yourself," she told a KTVB7 reporter. "That every time, any time there's any kind of affiliation with anybody at any time on any stage, that we are all guilty by association. And it's not, it's not appropriate."The reporter later asked whether McGeachin would have said "yes" to the group if she had known who Fuentes was."Well, again, this movement is so much bigger than one individual. Who cares what Nick Fuentes has to say? Who cares?" she said. "There's thousands and thousands of young conservatives all across the country that are very concerned about what's happening to our country."In a statement responding to calls for her resignation, McGeachin called "America First" policies "vital," but also said she doesn't support identity politics or other discriminatory views.McGeachin, Idaho's first female lieutenant governor, was backed by Trump and beaten decisively in her primary challenge against the incumbent Gov. Brad Little. It was the first time since 1938 that a sitting governor had been challenged by a lieutenant governor of the same party, according to the Idaho Press. McGeachin, who made "election integrity" part of her platform, is now facing scrutiny for issuing partisan messages in her official state office newsletter, at taxpayer expense, ahead of the November elections.Arizona state Sen. Wendy RogersWendy Rogers in September 2018Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll CallRogers embraced Fuentes during her AFPAC speech as someone she truly respects, calling him the "most persecuted man in America.""Nick, and the other patriots in attendance at AFPAC: please keep doing what you're doing," she said. "I admire you, and I so appreciate how you never give up. We need more strong Americans like you."Rogers later posted an image of herself on her Gab and Telegram accounts, pictured with Fuentes and Gab founder Andrew Torba behind a dead rhinoceros branded with the Conservative Political Action Conference logo and a Jewish Star of David.The Arizona Senate censured her for violent rhetoric, but did not address anti-Semitism or white nationalism in its motion, Insider's Bryan Metzger reported.Rogers, who was endorsed by Trump, won reelection in November after prevailing against a GOP primary opponent who made Rogers' ties to Fuentes a key issue.State Sen. Kelly Townsend, an ultra conservative who challenged Rogers, told Insider that she  was "horrified" after watching a compilation video about Fuentes and she pleaded with Rogers to denounce him. Townsend also criticized Trump."If he's unwilling to speak out against Nick Fuentes, then why would I want an endorsement from somebody who can't do that?" she told Insider.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 28th, 2022

How Russian ally Kazakhstan is taking a stand against the Ukraine war

Kazakhstan is toeing the line between maintaining a friendly relationship with Russia while also building stronger ties with the European Union. Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) speaks with Kazakhstan' President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev during their meeting at Moscow's Kremlin on February 10, 2022.MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images) Russian ally Kazakhstan has been subtle but firm in its opposition to the Ukraine war. Some hawkish Russians have called for the "de-Nazification" of Kazakhstan, stoking fears it could be next. Kazakhstan is balancing its friendly relations with Russia with building stronger ties with the EU. When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, its longtime ally Kazakhstan did not rush to its support.The former Soviet republic in central Asia, which shares a 4,750-mile long land border with Russia, maintains close relations with its neighbor. But despite being one of its closest allies, Kazakhstan has made subtle but firm moves to show it does not support Russia's invasion of Ukraine.Kazakhstan's official position on the war is to call for a ceasefire and a diplomatic solution, Magzhan Ilyassov, Kazakhstan's new ambassador to the UK, said in a press briefing attended by Insider.Following the invasion of Ukraine, fears have also been stoked that Russia could turn its sights to Kazakhstan next."I wouldn't lie and tell you that we're just watching it and think it's nothing to do with us," Ilyassov said."We're neighboring the Russian Federation. There are parts of our community and society that are very concerned about what's happened. There are some people who can extrapolate the scenario that it can happen to Kazakhstan."However, the ambassador pointed to the two countries' strong trade and economic ties and said it would not make sense for Russia to take any "hostile action" against the nation. A delicate balancing actKazakhstan has been toeing the line between maintaining a friendly relationship with its neighbor while also building stronger ties with the European Union. While already sharing close trade and investment ties, the EU and Kazakhstan pledged to forge "ever closer" relations at a meeting in Luxembourg in June.Kazakh Foreign Minister Mukhtar Tleuberdi attends the EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Council Meeting in Brussels, Belgium on May 10, 2021.Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesAlthough it has not outright criticized Russia for invading Ukraine, Kazakhstan has made its position clear.It denied a request to send troops to fight with Russia near the beginning of the war and has sent planeloads of humanitarian aid to Ukraine.Kazakhstan also declined to recognize the Russia-created breakaway republics Luhansk and Donetsk in southern Ukraine, which the country's president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev made a point of stating in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin while speaking at an economic forum in St Petersburg in June.The threat of 'de-Nazification'Earlier this week, a guest on the show of Vladimir Solovyov, a well-known Russian TV presenter and propagandist, said that "the next problem is Kazakhstan" because "the same Nazi processes can start there as in Ukraine."—ТРУХА⚡️English (@TpyxaNews) November 22, 2022 Putin baselessly used "de-Nazification" as a pretext for invading Ukraine in February.Other Russian politicians have made similar comments about Kazakhstan, with Sergey Savostyanov, a Moscow city parliament deputy, praising Russia's so-called mission to "denazify" Ukraine and suggesting it should next turn its sights to countries including Kazakhstan.A social media post by former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also questioned Kazakhstan's sovereignty and called it an "artificial state" this summer, but it was later deleted, and hackers were blamed."People don't understand why somebody on Russian TV would say that, what Kazakhstan has to do with Nazis," Ilyassov said.He said that while people in Kazakhstan were upset by the comments, it was important to note that Solovyov is a known provocateur, and Russian politicians who have made these comments tend to be very junior and perhaps looking to score points – meaning it is likely not reflective of any official position.Russia has indicated its unhappiness with its neighborAlthough Russia is presumably displeased by Kazakhstan's lack of support, it has chosen not to retaliate in any overt ways at a time when it has been slapped with global sanctions and alienated by the West.However, Russia has made small moves to suggest unhappiness with its neighbor."There have been some strange incidents, and no one is 100% sure if it's a coincidence or if it was designed," Ilyassov said.He pointed to this summer when, two days after Tokayev's comments in St. Petersburg, Russia temporarily shut down an oil terminal on the Black Sea that is key to exporting Kazakh oil, ostensibly due to "environmental concerns."The president has since told his government to diversify its oil supply routes.Kazakhstan aims to improve its reputationIn January, mass protests broke out across Kazakhstan over rising fuel prices, which was met with a brutal crackdown that led to the deaths of over 200 people.CSTO leaders in Yerevan, Armenia on November 23, 2022.Hayk Baghdasaryan/Photolure via REUTERSRussian-led troops were deployed to the country after Kazakhstan's president asked for assistance from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation known as CSTO, consisting of several post-Soviet states. The move was criticized by Western leaders at the time, as Russia was amassing troops on the border of Ukraine.Kazakhstan has since tried to distance itself from the incident. Ilyassov said that Russian troops were there among others from all member states and left after nearly two weeks without being involved in any action. He added that an investigation was ongoing into the events following the January protests.Tokayev, who came to power in 2019, was re-elected as president in a snap election this week. He was congratulated by both Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.An influx of Russian people and businessesKazakhstan is the ninth largest country in the world, and is bordered by Russia and China.Google MapsKazakhstan is vast, equivalent to the size of western Europe (1,000,000 sq mi), and it is the biggest landlocked country in the world. It has a diverse population of 19 million, which includes ethnic Kazakhs and Russians, and has also experienced an influx of Russian businesses and individuals.When Putin ordered the partial mobilization of reservists to Ukraine, it sparked an outpouring of fighting-age Russian men fleeing the country.Around 200,000 of them crossed the border into Kazakhstan, according to the country's official figures, and Ilyassov said that around 80% of them passed through to other destinations. Many of the remaining Russians have registered to work in the country.Dozens of foreign companies that had previously been based in Russia have also relocated to Kazakhstan.As Kazakhstan continues to try and maintain its balancing act, it remains to be seen how far it can push it without angering Moscow.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 27th, 2022

The ambitious career of Kevin McCarthy, GOP frontrunner for Speaker of the House

The frontrunner for Speaker of the House has held political office since 2002, when he began serving in the California State Assembly. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, is the GOP nominee for Speaker of the House. Over the course of his political career, McCarthy has developed a reputation for his ambition. Here's a look at his more than two decades in office and how his influence has grown among the GOP. Kevin McCarthy, a California congressman, is the House Republican nominee angling to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House in the next congressional session. While he will still need to win 218 votes to win the Speaker's gavel when Congress convenes next year, the Bakersfield Republican has developed a reputation for his ambition over his more than 20-year political career and is favored to win the position. Here's a look at McCarthy's career, starting with his time in the California State Assembly to his recent years as a political influencer poised to become second in the line of presidential succession.  Representatives for McCarthy did not respond to Insider's requests for comment.Kevin McCarthy's political career began before he was elected to the California State Assembly. He worked in Rep. Bill Thomas's district office from 1987 to 2002, when he first won state office. The son of a Bakersfield assistant fire chief, McCarthy briefly ran a deli counter out of his aunt and uncle's frozen yogurt shop as a young adult but has worked in state or federal politics for his entire career.In this March 26, 2004 file photo, then-California State Assembly Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, left, talks to reporters after a meeting with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Sacramento, Calif.AP Photo/Steve Yeater, FileMcCarthy served as California State Assemblyman until 2007 and was Assembly Minority Leader from 2004-2006. In 2006, he raised $1.15 million in campaign finances, according to OpenSecrets, slightly below the $1.36 million average raised by House members. In comparison, during the 2022 election, McCarthy raised $25.5 million — far above the $2.85 million average.In this Feb. 17, 2005 file photo, then-California State Assemblyman Kevin McCarthy, right, walks with then-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, center, and Rep. David Dreier, R-Calif., on Capitol Hill in Washington.AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, FileAfter winning his election as representative for California's 22nd Congressional District in 2007, after his former boss Bill Thomas retired from the seat, McCarthy's political influence began to grow. He served as Majority Whip, the third-ranking House Republican from 2011 to 2014.Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Thursday, June 21, 2007.Chuck Kennedy/MCT/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesIn his early years as a US Representative, McCarthy was one of three founding members of the GOP Young Guns Program — an initiative intended to promote young Republicans among the National Republican Congressional Committee.U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) speaks on day one of the Republican National Convention (RNC) at the Xcel Energy Center September 1, 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesMcCarthy ran for his House seat unopposed in 2008 and 2010. Reflecting on his one-time student, Dr. Mohsen Attaran, professor of management at California State University, Bakersfield, who taught McCarthy in his BA and MA programs, told Insider, "He's at the same time an ambitious and compassionate individual."Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), shown here in the U.S. Capitol, December 9, 2009, was chosen in a poll of congressional insiders as the GOP member of Congress with the "brightest political future."Robert Giroux/MCT/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesIn 2012, McCarthy's congressional office was revealed to be one of the top spenders in Washington, spending the equivalent of two salaries — or $95,000 —on pastries and lunches, with an additional $4,000 being spent on bottled water, ABC reported. The next highest spender that year, Republican House Speaker John Boehner, spent a comparative $64,000.House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif., leaves the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July, 11, 2012, after the Republican-controlled House voted 244-185 to repeal President Barack Obama's health care law.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteIn his fifth term, McCarthy was part of a group of mostly GOP leaders who sued the Obama administration over the president's use of executive action related to the Affordable Care Act's employer health insurance mandate.McCarthy (R-CA), leaves a meeting of the House Republican conference June 18, 2014 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesBecoming more of a figurehead within the GOP, then-House Majority Leader McCarthy took a lead role in challenging the Obama administration's policy goals. He urged President Obama to sign legislation approving the expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline and called for a firmer response to Russian aggression in Ukraine. He ran an unsuccessful bid for Speaker of the House in 2015.House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., center, with Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., right, sponsor of the Senate's Keystone XL pipeline bill version, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., chair of the Republican Conference, urge President Barack Obama to sign the legislation passed in the House and Senate approving expansion of the Keystone XL pipeline, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteMcCarthy was among the first Republicans to express support for Donald Trump and endorsed him for the Republican primary in the 2016 presidential election, signaling an alliance that would persist through two impeachments. McCarthy, now a GOP figurehead, also vastly out-fundraised other House Republicans in 2016— raising $7.74 million in campaign finance contributions compared to the average $1.73 million, according to OpenSecrets.Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks during the second day of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Tuesday, July 19, 2016.AP Photo/J. Scott ApplewhiteIn 2017, CalMatters reported "no politician has more clout with the Trump White House than [McCarthy] does," calling him "Trump's closest ally in Congress," though The Washington Post reported McCarthy had been recorded saying "I think Putin pays" Trump the year before.President-elect Donald Trump, followed by President Barack Obama, greets Congressional leadership as they arrive for Trump's inauguration ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Jan. 20, 2017.AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, PoolAs House Majority Leader, McCarthy unified House Republicans in voting against Trump's first impeachment, related to allegations the former president threatened to withhold aid from Ukraine in order to enlist the government in discrediting his political rival, Joe Biden.House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., listen to President Donald J. Trump during a signing ceremony for S. 756, First Step Act and H.R. 6964, Juvenile Justice Reform Act in the Oval Office at the White House on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018 in Washington, DC.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty ImagesMcCarthy has maintained his defense of the former president on numerous occasions, with CNN reporting he said "there's nothing that the president did wrong" on his phone call with Zelenskyy and Politico reporting he defended military expenditures at Trump's Scottish resort, saying "It's just like any other hotel."House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019.AP Photo/Susan WalshFollowing the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, McCarthy privately lambasted the then-president, even saying he would call for Trump's resignation while maintaining public support for him. Though their relationship was briefly questioned after recordings of McCarthy's criticism surfaced, Trump reaffirmed his belief in McCarthy's loyalty earlier this year.President Donald Trump steps off Air Force One, followed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., as he returns Saturday, May 30, 2020, at Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Trump is returning from Kennedy Space Center for the SpaceX Falcon 9 Launch.AP Photo/Alex Brandon"Kevin McCarthy will sell his mother's soul in order to protect his own political career and to do whatever the former president tells him to do. And that's not okay," McCarthy's 2022 political challenger, Marisa Wood, told Insider, echoing concerns from within his party that McCarthy's ambition had outweighed his morals. "He's willing to sacrifice everything for his own political gain," Liz Cheney said of McCarthy in October 2022.House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., speaks during a news conference as Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., right, looks on at Capitol Hill, in Washington, Wednesday, July 21, 2021. Pelosi is rejecting two Republicans tapped by House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy to sit on a committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. She cited the "integrity" of the investigation.AP Photo/Jose Luis MaganaToday, McCarthy is a frontrunner for Speaker of the House just as Trump has announced his third presidential campaign. Though McCarthy still needs to win 218 votes to win the Speaker seat when Congress convenes next year, he's favored to win the position.House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., heads to his office surrounded by reporters after House investigators issued a subpoena to McCarthy and four other Republican lawmakers as part of their probe into the violent Jan. 6 insurrection, at the Capitol in Washington, May 12, 2022.AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, FileRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 25th, 2022

Turkey Says US Complicit In Istanbul Bombing, Rejects Condolence Message

Turkey Says US Complicit In Istanbul Bombing, Rejects Condolence Message We reported earlier on Monday that Turkey has made an arrest for the terror bombing of a busy tourist hub in central Istanbul which left six people dead and dozens more injured.  But soon after the rare deadly attack which Turkey quickly blamed on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) - and despite no official initial claims of responsibility - Ankara officials used the incident to air broader geopolitical grievances.  Police investigate the bombing scene, via Reuters. Turkey lashed out at Washington, going so far as to suggest the Untied States was to blame the blast. "Turkey’s interior minister accused the U.S. of being complicit in a recent bombing in the city of Istanbul on Sunday that left at least six people dead and dozens of others injured," The Hill reports. The accusation was prompted by an official condolence statement from the US Embassy in Ankara. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu in a dramatic press conference said that Turkey has rejected the condolence statement from Washington.  "I emphasize once again that we do not accept, and reject the condolences of the US Embassy," Soylu said, according to Turkish state media publication Anadolu Agency. Soylu slammed the US statement as being akin to "a killer being first to show up at a crime scene." The allegation was hurled due to America's well known longtime support of Syrian Kurds, which form the core of the US-trained Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Ankara has long alleged that Washington is giving aid to "terrorists". The hugely provocative Turkish reaction to the US condolence message came despite the White House saying it stands "shoulder-to-shoulder" with its NATO ally Turkey. The U.S. strongly condemns the act of violence that took place today in Istanbul, Turkiye. Our thoughts are with those who were injured and our deepest condolences go to those who lost loved ones. We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our NATO Ally Turkiye in countering terrorism. — Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) November 13, 2022 Turkey will likely hold this against NATO applicants Finland and Sweden as well, given it has been blocking their membership to the Western military alliance based on accusations that they harbor Kurdish terrorists and entities linked to the outlawed PKK.  Turkey says it has a Syrian woman linked to the PKK in custody. However, both the PKK and Syrian YPG (as well as SDF) have issued official statements denying their involvement.  Tyler Durden Tue, 11/15/2022 - 04:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 15th, 2022

Putin ally running Russian mercenary army celebrates gruesome video that appears to show soldier who defected to Ukraine being executed by sledgehammer

Yevgeniy Nuzhin said he surrendered to Ukraine in September. On Saturday, a brutal video appeared to show him captured and executed by pro-Russian forces. A file photo of a soldier's helmet after Russian forces withdrew from Balakliia, Ukraine, on September 15, 2022.Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images A video shared on Saturday appears to show the brutal execution of Russian soldier Yevgeniy Nuzhin. Nuzhin said he was recruited to Russia's Wagner Group and surrendered to Ukraine in September. But the video suggests he was recaptured. Yevgeny Prigozhin, Wagner Group's founder, celebrated it. A video shared on a pro-Russian social media channel appears to show the brutal execution of a Russian mercenary who surrendered to Ukraine and was later captured by pro-Russian forces.The graphic video, which Insider has seen but is not linking to, was shared on November 12 and purports to show Yevgeniy Nuzhin, a Russian convict who was recruited into the Russian Wagner Group mercenary army but who later surrendered to Ukraine and intended to fight on its behalf.The video begins with a clip from an interview that Nuzhin gave in September in Ukraine, describing his decision to switch sides. Later, the video shows a man who closely resembles Nuzhin seemingly in Russian captivity and with his head taped to some bricks. According to independent Russian media outlet Meduza, the man identifies himself as Nuzhin and says that he joined the fighting in order to switch sides. He then says that on November 11 he was walking in Kyiv, was knocked out and woke up in a basement, to be told he would face judgment, per Meduza.A figure in combat gear loiters behind him, and then hits him in the head with a sledgehammer. His body falls to the floor, where another heavy blow is struck, his face out of view. Insider was unable to verify the video, and according to Meduza Nuzhin's death has not been officially confirmed in Russia.President Vladimir Putin's spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that the Kremlin has no knowledge of the incident and cannot verify it, adding: "It's none of our business," state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reported. The video was shared by the pro-Russian channel the Grey Zone. The channel is associated with the Wagner Group, and shares recruitment calls for the private army, according to BBC Russia,On Sunday, Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin was quoted on a Concord Management Telegram channel commenting on the video and appeared to confirm the man was Nuzhin. Concord is a catering company founded by Prigozhin, who has long had the nickname of "Putin's chef." Prigozhin first admitted his ownership of the Wagner Group, Putin's favored mercenary army, in September. In the Concord post, Prigozhin was quoted as celebrating the man's death, saying: "Nuzhin is a traitor."Independent Russian outlet Important Stories reported in August that the Wagner Group was recruiting from Russian prisons.  Nuzhin's surrender to Ukraine first came to light through an interview he gave to Ukrainian journalist Yuri Butusov in September. In it, Nuzhin says he was convicted in 1999 when he got into a "messy situation" with gangs and "had to shoot at people," whereupon he killed someone and injured another, per Butusov's translation. In July 2022, Prigozhin visited his prison, promising a pardon and 100,000 rubles in exchange for enlistment to fight in Russia's war in Ukraine, Nuzhin said. According to his telling, Nuzhin soon learned that he was to be "cannon fodder." He said he decided to try to surrender and to fight for Ukraine instead.  Should the man in the November 12 video be Nuzhin, several questions remain as to how he ended up being captured.Ukraine's "I Want to Live" surrender hotline, launched two weeks after Nuzhin says he surrendered, offers clemency for Russian soldiers who wish to turn themselves in. The initiative promised confidentiality and no obligation to return to Russia, for example by way of a prisoner exchange. It is also unclear how a prisoner of war could be walking freely about the streets of Kyiv, as the man said he was doing before he was apparently captured by pro-Russian forces. Ukraine's Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 14th, 2022

Turkish Police Arrest "Terror" Suspect In Istanbul Bombing That Killed 6

Turkish Police Arrest 'Terror' Suspect In Istanbul Bombing That Killed 6 Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), An ambulance leaves the blast site after an explosion on busy pedestrian Istiklal street in Istanbul, Turkey, on Nov. 13, 2022. (Burak Kara/Getty Images)  Police in Turkey have arrested a suspect following an explosion in central Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue on Sunday that left six people dead, the interior minister has confirmed. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told local media outlets on Monday that the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) was behind the bombing on the packed street in the Beyoglu district of Turkey’s largest city. The PKK is a militant political organization aiming for the establishment of an independent Kurdish state within Turkey. The organization is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union. An assessment carried out by officials suggests that “the order for the deadly terror attack came from Ayn al-Arab in northern Syria, where the PKK/YPG has its Syrian headquarters,” Soylu said. “We will retaliate against those who are responsible for this heinous terror attack.” #Breaking: Just in - Reports of an explosion in "#Istanbul", #Turkey, reports of multiple people injured. pic.twitter.com/UGbL9OmMFs — Sotiri Dimpinoudis (@sotiridi) November 13, 2022 No group has claimed responsibility for the blast yet. Soylu confirmed that six people were killed and 81 were injured in Sunday’s explosion, of which 51 have been released from the hospital and give are still in intensive care units. Two of the injured victims are in critical condition, he added. Video footage of the incident posted online shows hundreds of people fleeing the crowded area following a large explosion at around 4:13 p.m. local time. The explosion sent debris flying into the air and left several people lying on the ground. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament from his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, on Nov. 2, 2022. (Murat Cetinmuhurdar/PPO/Handout via Reuters) ‘The Perpetrators of This Attack Will Be Exposed’ A separate video appears to show a woman, who is reportedly the suspect behind the bombing, sitting on a bench on the street for around 40 minutes before placing a bag on the bench and leaving the area. The explosion occurs around one or two minutes after she had left. Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag told reporters on Sunday that there are two possibilities regarding the bag: “Either that bag had a mechanism in it and it exploded on its own, or someone detonated it from afar.” Details regarding the victims are still being updated. However, a government ministry worker and his daughter are among those dead, according to officials. Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday described the explosion as “treacherous” while offering his condolences to the victims. “Let our nation be sure that the perpetrators of this attack will be exposed with all its elements and punished as they deserve,” the President said. Several countries have also shared their condolences with Turkey and for the victims of Sunday’s attack, including Greece, Egypt, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Italy, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement on Sunday that the Biden administration “strongly condemns the act of violence” that took place in Istanbul and that the U.S. stands “shoulder-to-shoulder with our NATO Ally Türkiye in countering terrorism.” “Our thoughts are with those who were injured and our deepest condolences go to those who lost loved ones,” the statement read. However, Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu on Monday took aim at what he called the “insincerity of our so-called allies,” who he said “seem like friends to us” but “either hide all terrorists in their own country, or give life to terrorists in the areas they occupy—areas they rule, and send them money in their own senates.” Tyler Durden Mon, 11/14/2022 - 10:15.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytNov 14th, 2022

Escobar: Everybody Wants To Hop On The BRICS Express

Escobar: Everybody Wants To Hop On The BRICS Express Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Cradle, Eurasia is about to get a whole lot larger as countries line up to join the Chinese and Russian-led BRICS and SCO, to the detriment of the west... Let’s start with what is in fact a tale of Global South trade between two members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). At its heart is the already notorious Shahed-136 drone – or Geranium-2, in its Russian denomination: the AK-47 of postmodern aerial warfare. The US, in yet another trademark hysteria fit rife with irony, accused Tehran of weaponizing the Russian Armed Forces. For both Tehran and Moscow, the superstar, value-for-money, and terribly efficient drone let loose in the Ukrainian battlefield is a state secret: its deployment prompted a flurry of denials from both sides. Whether these are made in Iran drones, or the design was bought and manufacturing takes place in Russia (the realistic option), is immaterial. The record shows that the US weaponizes Ukraine to the hilt against Russia. The Empire is a de facto war combatant via an array of “consultants,” advisers, trainers, mercenaries, heavy weapons, munitions, satellite intel, and electronic warfare. And yet imperial functionaries swear they are not part of the war. They are, once again, lying. Welcome to yet another graphic instance of the “rules-based international order” at work. The Hegemon always decides which rules apply, and when. Anyone opposing it is an enemy of “freedom,” “democracy,” or whatever platitude du jour, and should be – what else – punished by arbitrary sanctions. In the case of sanctioned-to-oblivion Iran, for decades now, the result has been predictably another round of sanctions. That’s irrelevant. What matters is that, according to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), no less than 22 nations – and counting – are joining the queue because they also want to get into the Shahed groove. Even Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, gleefully joined the fray, commenting on how the Shahed-136 is no photoshop. The race towards BRICS+ What the new sanctions package against Iran really “accomplished” is to deliver an additional blow to the increasingly problematic signing of the revived nuclear deal in Vienna. More Iranian oil on the market would actually relieve Washington’s predicament after the recent epic snub by OPEC+. A categorical imperative though remains. Iranophobia – just like Russophobia – always prevails for the Straussians/neo-con war advocates in charge of US foreign policy and their European vassals. So here we have yet another hostile escalation in both Iran-US and Iran-EU relations, as the unelected junta in Brussels also sanctioned manufacturer Shahed Aviation Industries and three Iranian generals. Now compare this with the fate of the Turkish Bayraktar TB2 drone – which unlike the “flowers in the sky” (Russia’s Geraniums) has performed miserably in the battlefield. Kiev tried to convince the Turks to use a Motor Sich weapons factory in Ukraine or come up with a new company in Transcarpathia/Lviv to build Bayraktars. Motor Sich’s oligarch President Vyacheslav Boguslayev, aged 84, has been charged with treason because of his links to Russia, and may be exchanged for Ukrainian prisoners of war. In the end, the deal fizzled out because of Ankara’s exceptional enthusiasm in working to establish a new gas hub in Turkey – a personal suggestion from Russian President Vladimir Putin to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan. And that bring us to the advancing interconnection between BRICS and the 9-member SCO – to which this Russia-Iran instance of military trade is inextricably linked. The SCO, led by China and Russia, is a pan-Eurasian institution originally focused on counter-terrorism but now increasingly geared towards geoeconomic – and geopolitical – cooperation. BRICS, led by the triad of Russia, India, and China overlaps with the SCO agenda geoeconomically and geopoliticallly, expanding it to Africa, Latin America and beyond: that’s the concept of BRICS+, analyzed in detail in a recent Valdai Club report, and fully embraced by the Russia-China strategic partnership. The report weighs the pros and cons of three scenarios involving possible, upcoming BRICS+ candidates: First, nations that were invited by Beijing to be part of the 2017 BRICS summit (Egypt, Kenya, Mexico, Thailand, Tajikistan). Second, nations that were part of the BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting in May this year (Argentina, Egypt, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Thailand). Third, key G20 economies (Argentina, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Turkiye). And then there’s Iran, which has already already shown interest in joining BRICS. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has recently confirmed that “several countries” are absolutely dying to join BRICS. Among them, a crucial West Asia player: Saudi Arabia. What makes it even more astonishing is that only three years ago, under former US President Donald Trump’s administration, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS) – the kingdom’s de fact ruler – was dead set on joining a sort of Arab NATO as a privileged imperial ally. Diplomatic sources confirm that the day after the US pulled out of Afghanistan, MbS’s envoys started seriously negotiating with both Moscow and Beijing. Assuming BRICS approves Riyadh’s candidacy in 2023 by the necessary consensus, one can barely imagine its earth-shattering consequences for the petrodollar. At the same time, it is important not to underestimate the capacity of US foreign policy controllers to wreak havoc. The only reason Washington tolerates Riyadh’s regime is the petrodollar. The Saudis cannot be allowed to pursue an independent, truly sovereign foreign policy. If that happens, the geopolitical realignment will concern not only Saudi Arabia but the entire Persian Gulf. Yet that’s increasingly likely after OPEC+ de facto chose the BRICS/SCO path led by Russia-China – in what can be interpreted as a “soft” preamble for the end of the petrodollar. The Riyadh-Tehran-Ankara triad Iran made known its interest to join BRICS even before Saudi Arabia. According to Persian Gulf diplomatic sources, they are already engaged in a somewhat secret channel via Iraq trying to get their act together. Turkey will soon follow – certainly on BRICS and possibly the SCO, where Ankara currently carries the status of extremely interested observer. Now imagine this triad – Riyadh, Tehran, Ankara – closely joined with Russia, India, China (the actual core of the BRICS), and eventually in the SCO, where Iran is as yet the only West Asian nation to be inducted as a full member. The strategic blow to the Empire will go off the charts. The discussions leading to BRICS+ are focusing on the challenging path towards a commodity-backed global currency capable of bypassing US dollar primacy. Several interconnected steps point towards increasing symbiosis between BRICS+ and SCO. The latter’s members states have already agreed on a road map for gradually increasing trade in national currencies in mutual settlements. The State Bank of India – the nation’s top lender – is opening special rupee accounts for Russia-related trade. Russian natural gas to Turkey will be paid 25 percent in rubles and Turkish lira, complete with a 25 percent discount Erdogan personally asked of Putin. Russian bank VTB has launched money transfers to China in yuan, bypassing SWIFT, while Sberbank has started lending out money in yuan. Russian energy behemoth Gazprom agreed with China that gas supply payments should shift to rubles and yuan, split evenly. Iran and Russia are unifying their banking systems for trade in rubles/rial. Egypt’s Central Bank is moving to establish an index for the pound – through a group of currencies plus gold – to move the national currency away from the US dollar. And then there’s the TurkStream saga. That gas hub gift Ankara for years has been trying to position itself as a privileged East-West gas hub. After the sabotage of the Nord Streams, Putin has handed it on a plate by offering Turkey the possibility to increase Russian gas supplies to the EU via such a hub. The Turkish Energy Ministry stated that Ankara and Moscow have already reached an agreement in principle. This will mean in practice Turkey controlling the gas flow to Europe not only from Russia but also Azerbaijan and a great deal of West Asia, perhaps even including Iran, as well as Libya in northeast Africa. LNG terminals in Egypt, Greece and Turkiye itself may complete the network. Russian gas travels via the TurkStream and Blue Stream pipelines. The total capacity of Russian pipelines is 39 billion cubic meters a year. Map of Russian gas route via Turkey TurkStream was initially projected as a four-strand pipeline, with a nominal capacity of 63 million cubic meters a year. As it stands, only two strands – with a total capacity of 31,5 billion cubic meters – have been built. So an extension in theory is more than feasible – with all the equipment made in Russia. The problem, once again, is laying the pipes. The necessary vessels belong to the Swiss Allseas Group – and Switzerland is part of the sanctions craze. In the Baltic Sea, Russian vessels were used to finish building Nord Stream 2. But for a TurkStream extension, they would need to operate much deeper in the ocean. TurkStream would not be able to completely replace Nord Stream; it carries much smaller volumes. The upside for Russia is not being canceled from the EU market. Evidently Gazprom would only tackle the substantial investment on an extension if there are ironclad guarantees about its security. And there’s the additional drawback that the extension would also carry gas from Russia’s competitors. Whatever happens, the fact remains that the US-UK combo still exerts a lot of influence in Turkey – and BP, Exxon Mobil, and Shell, for instance, are actors in virtually every oil extraction project across West Asia. So they would certainly interfere on the way the Turkish gas hub functions, as well on determining the gas price. Moscow has to weigh all these variables before committing to such a project. NATO, of course, will be livid. But never underestimate hedging bet specialist Sultan Erdogan. His love story with both the BRICS and the SCO is just beginning. Tyler Durden Sat, 10/29/2022 - 00:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 29th, 2022

Multipolar World Order – Part 4

Multipolar World Order – Part 4 Authored by Iain Davis via Off-Guardian.org, Part 1 of this series looked at the various models of world order. Part 2 examined how the shift towards the multipolar world order has been led by some surprising characters. Part 3 explored the history of the idea of a world ordered as a “balance of power,” or multipolar system. Those who have advocated this model over the generations have consistently sought the same goal: global governance. In Part 4 we will consider the theories underpinning the imminent multipolar order, the nature of Russia and China’s public-private oligarchies and the emergence of these two nations’ military power. THE WIDER CONTEXT OF THE UKRAINE WAR There is no evidence to suggest that the war in Ukraine is, in any sense, “fake.” The political and cultural differences among the populace of Ukraine are older than the nation-state, and the current conflict is rooted in long-standing and very real tensions. People are suffering and dying, and they deserve the chance to live in peace. Yet, beyond the specific factors that led to and have perpetuated the conflict in Ukraine, there is a wider context that also deserves discussion. The so-called leaders in the West and in the East have had ample opportunity and power to bring both sides in the Donbas war to the negotiating table. Their attempts to broker ceasefires and to implement the various Minsk agreements over the years were weak and half-hearted. Both sides, it seems, chose instead to play politics with Ukrainian lives. And both sides ultimately fuelled the conflict. The West has done little but exacerbate the situation. And, though it faced a tough economic choice, the Russian government could certainly have leveraged its commanding position in the European energy market to better effect. If, that is, avoiding war were the objective. Whatever else it is, the war in Ukraine is the fulcrum for a transition in the balance of geopolitic power. Like the pseudopandemic that immediately preceded it, the war is accelerating the polarity shift. UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was right to observe that the Ukraine war is “a gift to NATO.” Just as the West has delivered the Russian government’s monetary policy to them, so Putin’s administration has rescued NATO from vanishing relevance. Both poles are strengthened, if for different reasons. At the same time the European Union (EU) is capitalising on both the war and the sanctions it imposed in order to reinvigorate its push towards EU military unification. The UK is involved in this push, even though in 2016 its population elected, via referendum, to leave the EU, specifically because a majority of voters did not want to give “national sovereignty” away to the union leadership. But, as we can see, it doesn’t matter what the people vote for or against. Despite having supposedly left the EU, the UK’s newly unelected Prime Minister has just signed up the UK as a “Third State,” bound by Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) agreements, under the direct military command of Brussels. As the UK partly hands its independent defence capability to the EU, it is playing its part in assisting the emergence of another pole. The International Monetary and Financial System (IMFS), which has thus far underwritten unipolar domination, is being transformed now that it’s reaching the end of its life cycle. Economic growth is being deliberately stifled in the West via sanctions but encouraged in the East. Energy flows and consumption patterns are being redirected eastward. Simultaneously, effective military power is being “rebalanced.” During the pseudopandemic, we saw much evidence of global coordination. Most unusually, almost every government acted in lockstep. China, the US, Russia, Germany, Iran, the UK and many other nations followed the same false narrative. All participated in shutting down global supply chains and limiting world trade. Most countries assiduously heeded the World Economic Forum’s preferred path of global “regionalisation.” The few that resisted were considered international pariahs. What has happened since then? We’re told the war in Ukraine has reintroduced the same old East-vs-West division that most of us are more familiar with. Yet in nearly every other significant way nations remain strangely in total agreement. It seems The war in Ukraine is practically the only dispute. MULTIPOLAR THEORY The proposed multipolar world order does not constitute a defence of the nation-state. We have already discussed how the multipolar model dovetails quite precisely with the “Great Reset” (GR) agenda, so it should come as little surprise that multipolar theory also rejects the suggested Westphalian concept of national sovereignty. Russia has numerous think tanks and GONGOs (government organized non-governmental organizations). Just as in the West, these are funded and influenced by both the public and private sectors, working in partnership. As noted by the Swedish Defense Research Agency, Russian think tank funding “part comes from the government and the rest from private actors and clients, usually big business.” Katehon is the “independent” think tank established by Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofyev (Malofeev), who has been sanctioned by the US since 2014 for his support of Ukrainian Russians, first in Crimea and then in the Donbas. The Katehon board includes Sergey Glazyev, the economist and politician who is the current Commissioner of Macroeconomic Integration for the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). In 2018, Katehon pointed out that, despite all talk to the contrary, multipolarity had largely been defined as opposition to unipolarity. That is, expressed in terms of what it isn’t rather than what it is. Katehon sought to rectify this, offering its Theory of the Multipolar World (TWM): Multipolarity does not coincide with the national model of world organization according to the logic of the Westphalian system. [. . .] This Westphalian model assumes full legal equality between all sovereign states. In this model, there are as many poles of foreign policy decisions in the world as there are sovereign states [. . .] and all of international law is based on it. In practice, of course, there is inequality and hierarchical subordination between various sovereign states. [. . .] The multipolar world differs from the classical Westphalian system by the fact that it does not recognize the separate nation-state, legally and formally sovereign, to have the status of a full-fledged pole. This means that the number of poles in a multipolar world should be substantially less than the number of recognized (and therefore, unrecognised) nation-states. Multipolarity is not a system of international relations that insists upon the legal equality of nation-states[.] The unipolar world doesn’t protect the nation-state any more than the multipolar model does, Katehon observed. According to Katehon, the Westphalian model, in its application, has always been a myth. We might say it is just another “idea” political leaders peddle to delude us into accepting the policy goals they create. They occasionally exploit “nationalism” because it is useful. EURASIANISM In their efforts to cast Vladimir Putin as a comic book villain, the Western mainstream media (MSM) has attempted to personally link him to the controversial Russian political-philosopher and strategist Aleksandre Dugin. They have labelled Dugin Putin’s Rasputin or Putin’s “brain” and have alleged that Putin considers Dugin a close ally and his favourite philosopher. There was never any foundation to these stories, however. Speaking in 2018, Dugin said “I do not hold an official position within the state apparatus. I don’t have a direct line with Putin, I’ve never even met him.” In 2022, the Western MSM’s allegations prompted Alain de Benoist, Dugin’s political and philosophical collaborator and friend of more than 30 years, to observe: Putin’s “brain!” The fact that Dugin and Putin have never met once face-to-face is a good measure of the seriousness of those who use this expression. [. . .] Dugin undoubtedly knows Putin’s entourage well, but he was never one of his intimates or his “special advisers.” [. . .] The book he wrote a few years ago on Putin is far from being an exercise in admiration: Dugin on the contrary explains both what he approves of in Putin and what he dislikes. Although Dugin has no special relationship with the Kremlin, this doesn’t mean his ideas aren’t influential there. He has acted as an advisor to the Chairman of the State Duma, Sergey Naryshkin, and to the Chairman of the State Duma, Gennadiy Seleznyov, so he certainly has political connections and is heard by the Russian political class. Dugin is perhaps the leading modern voice for Eurasianism. In a 2014 interview, he explained his interpretation of both Eurasianism and its place within multipolarity this way: Eurasianism is based on the multipolar vision and on the rejection of the unipolar vision of the continuation of American hegemony. The pole of this multipolarism is not the national state or the ideological bloc, but rather the great space (Grossraum) strategically united within the borders of a common civilization. The typical great space[s] [are] Europe, the unified USA, Canada and Mexico, or united Latin America, Greater China, Greater India, and in our case Eurasia.[. . .] The multipolar vision recognizes integration on the basis of a common civilization. [. . .] Putin’s foreign policy is centred on multipolarity and the Eurasian integration which is necessary to create a truly solid pole. Neither the oligarchs nor the global political class are deluded enough to believe that they can simply commend one political philosophy or another, or one cultural ideology or another, and thereby control the behaviour and beliefs of humanity. There will always be the need for some Machiavellian skulduggery. Putin has frequently espoused Eurasianist ideas. Conversely, Dugin is among those who have criticised Putin for his lack of a clear ideology: He must translate his individual intuition into a doctrine intended to secure the future order. He just doesn’t have a declared ideology, and that’s becoming more and more problematic. Every Russian feels that Putin’s hyper-individual approach poses a huge risk. In 2011, Putin announced his plan to create the Eurasian Union, much to the delight of Dugin and other the Eurasianists like Malofyev and Glazyev. Putin published an accompanying article: We suggest a powerful supranational association capable of becoming one of the poles in the modern world and serving as an efficient bridge between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific region. [. . . .] It is clear today that the 2008 global crisis was structural in nature. We still witness acute reverberations of the crisis that was rooted in accumulated global imbalances. [. . .] Thus, our integration project is moving to a qualitatively new level, opening up broad prospects for economic development and creating additional competitive advantages. This consolidation of efforts will help us establish ourselves within the global economy and trade system and play a real role in decision-making, setting the rules and shaping the future. Alexander Dugin Putin pointed towards a global crisis that led to the claimed need for a supranational body that could act as a pole for decision-making in a global system based upon a balance of power. What he said follows a pattern; all those who extol global governance have used the same rhetorical trick. This pattern is currently being repeated again. Irrespective of any other beliefs he may hold, Putin’s commitment to resetting the global polity is clear. Eurasianism renders the Russian Federation a “partner” within a wider union. Currently the Eurasian Union only exists in the economic sense, and Russia is overwhelmingly dominant within it. Similarly, Russia’s permanent position in the UN Security Council affords Russia relative dominance within the UN. Nonetheless, while the Russian government may hope to benefit from such unions and councils, by forming “poles” in a multipolar system and setting policies influenced by ideas like Eurasianism, it has diluted and declared a plan to eventually cede Russian “national sovereignty” to the union—to the pole. Putin’s pursuit of Eurasianism and multipolarity doesn’t necessarily indicate anything other than pragmatism. Nor does it represent a defence of the Russian nation-state. We can only guess, but Putin’s preference for Eurasianism and multipolarity is unlikely to be rooted in any particular ideology. Rather, it serves a purpose, providing his government and its partners a bigger stake in “the game.” TIANXIA Putin’s notion of “Eurasian integration” jibes with the Chinese ideology of “tianxia,” which can be translated as “everything under heaven.” In Chinese antiquity, tianxia placed the empire at the pinnacle of a global moral hierarchy. Confucian universal care dictates that a civilised state cares for its own, first and foremost, but cannot consider itself civilised if it doesn’t care for others, too. Other states are considered civilised if they care for their citizens and barbaric if they don’t. Therefore, all civilised states should care more for the interests of other peaceful and civilised states than they do for the needs or desires of barbaric states. Consequently, bonds are naturally formed between caring states, creating a kind of organic geopolitical order, as each state places its own people at the centre of a network of civilised relationships. In tianxia, the practice of Confucian universal care also operates within all institutions that comprise a state. For instance, civilised individuals naturally care for their families and their immediate communities more than they care for people outside those circles. However, no one is to act selfishly at the expense of other citizens, no matter where they reside, without falling into barbarism themselves. This is a model of state that is not based upon ethnic or “blood” ties or even national borders, but rather upon a hierarchical system of morality. Tianxia has been promoted by a few Western commentators as a “beautiful” idea. Like a philosophical Mandelbrot set it suggests a perfect moral symmetry at both at the micro and the macro scale. The multipolar world order, supposedly with tianxia at its heart, is therefore recommended as a wonderful new model of global governance and is frequently described as “win, win cooperation.” Academics like Professors Zhao Tingyang and Xiang Lanxin have said that the global adoption of tianxia would establish a “post-Westphalian world.” This view stems from their assessment that the Westphalian order is ideologically stagnant, limited to nothing more than an expedient balance of power system wherein “might is right.” The criticism from these tianxian scholars is not a fair reflection of the moral precepts expressed by the Peace of Westphalia—treaties that extolled the Christian values of forgiveness, tolerance and peaceful cooperation. The scholars’ assessment is, however, a reasonable appraisal of the actual conduct of Western states that only pretend to honour Westphalian principles. Professor Lanxin points out that China “has no ontological tradition.” That is, philosophically tianxia doesn’t ask “what is this?” but rather “what path does this suggest?” If tianxia were applied to China’s strategic foreign policy, it would be ambivalent to ideas like national sovereignty. Much like the moral foundations of Westphalian international relations, tianxia is professed but not practised. Currently, for example, China is arming the UAE and the Saudi regimes to wage war in Yemen and is also stealing Yemen’s natural resources. Is this tianxia? Where is the “win” for the Yemeni people in China’s behaviour? The drawback of noble ideas is that they can be exploited by hard-nosed geostrategists to sell any policy agenda they like. The theories of tianxia and Eurasianism provide a grounding for multipolarity. The philosophy isn’t the problem, it is its exploitation by the engineers of multipolar global governance. They don’t care what the intent of an idea is. They care only how they can use that ideology or philosophy to justify their actions if anyone asks. If philosophical thought suggests some useful strategies, all the better. When global governance over a multipolar system is the goal, then tianxia, like Eurasianism, certainly is “beautiful.” Consider the words of Professor Zhou: [Some are] concerned that tianxia would lead to “Pax Sinica” replacing “Pax Americana.” However, this concern is misplaced because under tianxia, there would be no place for a king — the system itself is king. In this sense, it would be a bit like Switzerland, where various language groups (French, German, Italian, Romansh) and local cantons all coexist in a commonwealth of roughly equal parts where the center in Bern is essentially a coordination point with a rotating president whose power is so constrained that some Swiss citizens can’t even name the person occupying the post. Tianxia relegates the political voice of the people to an irrelevance. It is multipolar, defining political power as a networked system that is not limited by national sovereignty or unipolar authority but rather operates “constrained” centres of power. For those who manipulate geopolitics covertly, it is perfect: the system itself is king. Tianxia may be a serene philosophy, but what really matters is how the theory is applied to policy. The 2017 authorised publication titled Forge Ahead under the Guidance of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s Thought on Diplomacy by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi gives us a glimpse of the kind of thing China’s political class and others call “win, win cooperation.” Xi Jinping […] puts forward new propositions on security, development and global governance. […] Xi Jinping […] has underscored China’s role and contribution to world peace and development and to upholding the international order. […] China has […] played a leading role in the Asia-Pacific cooperation, the G20’s transformation and the course of economic globalization[.] […] China has promoted the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Silk Road Fund and the BRICS New Development Bank, and has taken an active part in the formulation of rules governing such emerging areas as marine and polar affairs, cyberspace, nuclear security and climate change. […] The [Belt and Road] initiative has been widely commended for lending impetus to global growth and boosting confidence in economic globalization. […] We have taken an active part […] and worked with other countries to tackle global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cyber security and refugees. […] We advocated the formulation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and became the first country to release its national plan on implementation. It turns out that the alleged application of tianxia means upholding the international order, international financial and monetary system reform, Agenda 2030, counterterrorism, controlling human capital, exercising global cybersecurity, economic globalization and, of course, global governance. It seems Xi Jinping’s tianxia-inspired “thoughts” are just the same as the thoughts of the Rockefellers, Vladimir Putin, Klaus Schwab and all other members of the multipolar sales team. RUSSIA – THE FUSION OF THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE OLIGARCHY The Russian government and its think tanks and and oligarchs are not alone in advocating a “regionalized” world of poles. With its five “groups,” a nascent multipolar world order already exists in the form of the G20. The G20’s enthusiasm for a single global tax system demonstrates the intention to move toward a much firmer system of global governance. Previously we noted that Putin purged the oligarch collaborators of the West in fairly short succession after becoming President. Much has been written about his war against the “5th columnists.” This often infers that Putin is somehow opposed to the power of oligarchs. That isn’t true at all. The Russian government has no problem with people making huge amounts of money and then using it to exercise political power. It is just that political power must promote the Russian government’s aspirations. In fact, one of the perks of being in Putin’s circle is the opportunity to become fabulously wealthy. We have already discussed the obscene levels of wealth inequality in Russia, particularly in terms of its concentration in the hands of the oligarchs. Putin hasn’t put an end to this elitism; he has facilitated it on a grand scale. To put the matter in perspective: when Putin became President in 1999—that is, “elected” in 2000—there were a handful of Russian billionaires and oligarchs. Today, according to Forbes, there are more than 100. Perhaps it is just another coincidence, but the sanctions have provided an impetus for Russian oligarchs living overseas to return to the motherland, a trend that has effectively strengthened the Kremlin’s bond with its oligarch “partners.” In 1999, Putin inherited a Russian economy that had been holed out. Between 1999 and 2014, he oversaw a remarkable Russian economic recovery. Living standards improved significantly, GDP rose from $200 billion in 1999 to $2.2 trillion in 2014. Putin led Russia from the 20th largest economy in the world to the 7th (now 11th). It seems that luck—or price fixing!—may have played a part in this apparent economic miracle. Russia’s GDP growth tracks the global oil price quite precisely. While the Russian people benefited from some of this growth, fuelling a consumer boom, the same period also saw a huge increase in wealth inequality. A new class of Russian oligarchs hoovered up a disproportionate share of Russia’s national wealth. During his 2000 campaign to be formally anointed as President, when a radio journalist asked Putin how he would define “oligarch” and what he thought of them, he said: [The] fusion of power and capital — there will be no oligarchs of this kind as a class. Once secured in power, though, Putin’s team constructed a crony capitalist regime that is the epitome of the “fusion of power and capital.” He and his entourage effectively inverted the Western model of oligarch control, where capital is converted into political power. In Russia, political power enables the accumulation of capital, creating an almost unique class of oligarchs. Gazprom, the world’s largest publicly listed gas company, provides a case study demonstrating how the Russian oligarchy functions. Dmitry Medvedev and Alexei Miller worked in St Petersburg alongside Putin during the 1990s. Medvedev was the mayoral campaign manager for Anatoly Sobchak, who subsequently co-authored the Constitution of the Russian Federation. Putin was an advisor and then deputy to Sobchak. Miller served on the mayor’s Committee for External Relations. When Putin became President, he gave Medvedev the highest civil service rank in Russia and made Miller the Deputy Minister of Energy. Meanwhile, Putin decreed that Gazprom was a “national champion”—meaning a “private” corporation the Russian government considers essential to the Russian economy. Through various funds, the Russian government retained its 50.2% controlling interest in Gazprom, which makes Gazprom a public-private partnership. Putin appointed Medvedev and Miller to the Gazprom board. Medvedev acted as chairman until 2008, when he was selected as the nominal President of the Russian Federation, while Putin temporarily acted as Prime Minister for a few years. Miller was appointed as Gazprom CEO in 2001 and is still in that post. In 2006, Gazprom released the construction cost of its Altay pipeline from West Siberia to China. The same year it also released the expenditure figures for its Gryazovets-Vyborg pipeline. The per-kilometer cost of the Gryazovets-Vyborg pipeline was four times higher than the comparable Altay pipeline or similar pipelines, such as the OPAL pipeline in Germany. In 2008, the Russian firm PiterGaz Engineering estimated the total construction cost of the Sochi pipeline to be $155 million—at the current exchange rate. Yet Gazprom paid the present-day equivalent of $395 million. This inflated price prompted the East European Gas Analysis (EEGA) to note: Russian pipeline engineering institutions, including the corresponding divisions of Gazprom, give realistic estimations of pipeline construction costs, comparable with those of western projects. However, it looks like, on the way to the top management of Gazprom, these cost estimations get at least tripled. [. . .] Apparently, after getting a realistic cost estimation, Gazprom executives add a generous margin for contractors and brokers, so the total project cost gets 3-4 times higher. Such slush funds are found in every sector of the Russian economy, most notably in defence, infrastructure development and healthcare. The proceeds are then doled out to loyal oligarchs. They are “oligarchs” in the fullest sense of the word. Their wealth is dependent upon their partnership with the political state. In return, they use their wealth to forward the policies of the state. Their capital couldn’t be more “political.” For example, Alexey Mordachov owns the steel giant Servestal that supplies gas pipeline to Gazprom for its development projects, such as the Yakutia-Khabarovsk-Vladivostok pipeline (aka the China–Russia East-Route). Other oligarchs profiting from the scheme include Putin’s personal friends Gennady Timchenko, who owns the OAO Stroytransgaz construction company, and Arkady Rotenberg, whose Stroygazmontazh (S.G.M. Group) forms Russia’s largest gas pipeline and power grid construction company. The oligarchs are profiting from the construction of the Arctic Silk Road. They deploy their resources to ensure that the Russian government’s foreign policy objectives are realised. The Russian oligarchs and the Russian political class are in a symbiotic relationship: a public-private partnership constructing the multipolar world order. In so doing, they are engaging in the Great Reset, implementing the Rockefellers’ vision and fulfilling the dreams of Carroll Quigley’s Anglo-American network. The Russian state is more than just a public-private partnership. Moving beyond mere contractual arrangements and shared strategic goals, Russia’s government has fused the corporate and the political into a single public-private nation-state. Despite the slaughter going on in the Ukraine war and all sides’ refusal to unconditionally negotiate, Russia’s “state-owned” private energy corporation Gazprom has apparently settled its dispute with Ukrainian “state-owned” energy corporation Naftogaz and is pumping 42.4 million cubic meters of natural gas a day through Ukraine to Western Europe energy markets. The Russian Federation is paying the Ukrainian government substantial transit fees. It is effectively funding Ukraine’s war effort. The war is only for the little people. CHINA – THE FUSION OF THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE OLIGARCHY The only major developed economy in the world to have gone further than Russia in fusing the public and private sectors is China. China is a neo-fuedal capitalist state operating as a technocracy under the leadership of an oligarch dynasty. The great military and political leaders of Mao Zedong’s revolution who later successfully evaded Mao’s Cultural Revolution (1966–1976) were collectively referred to as the “eight immortals.” When the Rockefellers and the Trilateral Commission dispatched Henry Kissinger to prepare the ground for US President Nixon’s visit to China in the early 1970s, seven of the immortals decided to throw their collective political weight behind fellow immortal Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms. Deng Xiaoping The process of opening up China’s economy began in earnest following Mao’s death in 1976. Prominent Trilateralists such as then-US President Bill Clinton, global investment firms, Western-based multinational corporations and private investors stepped up foreign direct investment to assist China’s immortals in modernising the country’s economy, financial sector, military, industrial and technological capability. The modernisation enabled the rise of China’s oligarchy. For example, the immortal General Wang Zhen supported Deng’s economic liberalism but also sliced off huge chunks of China’s state assets and placed them in trust to his son, Wang Jun. Subsequently, Wang Jun collaborated with Deng’s economic advisor, Rong Yiren, to seed his now private capital into Citic Group Corp, which then became China’s “state-owned” investment company. Citic Group is a public-private partnership that today has significant influence over China’s financial services, advanced manufacturing technology, production of modern materials and urban development. In this way the immortals effectively created a public-private dynasty in China. Their immensely wealthy offspring are now collectively referred to as the “Princelings.” The Princelings can broadly be divided into three groups, each influencing important Chinese sectors and industry: political Princelings, such as Xi Jinping, manage the public sector military Princelings manage the defence and national security sectors entrepreneur Princelings manage the private sector. As a group, they have huge influence over China’s domestic and foreign policy. China is a one-party state but has not abandoned politics. The selection of Xi Jinping as Paramount Leader in 2012 marked an effective power-shift toward the Princelings, who many consider to represent the “elite.” They are “opposed” by the “Tuanpai,” whose power base stems from the Communist Youth League movement established by former president Hu Jintao. The Tuanpai are broadly popularist and more focused on the issues of working Chinese people. Other factions, such as the “Shangai Gang” and the “Tsinghua Clique,” add to the political mix. Technocracy controls citizens through the allocation of resources. China leads on the technocratic aspects of the Great Reset. It is the world’s first operational Technate, wherein the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) oversees the surveillance and control of the population through its social credit system: The establishment of a social credit system is an important foundation for comprehensively implementing the scientific viewpoint of development. [. . .] Accelerating and advancing the establishment of the social credit system is an important precondition for promoting the optimized allocation of resources. The idea is that citizens can be rewarded for good behaviour and penalised for bad. Speaking to French Television, one of the lead developers of China’s social credit system was asked how French adoption of it might have impacted the Yellow Vest protests in France. Lin Jinyue replied: I really hope that we will manage to export it in a capitalist country. [. . .] I believe that France should quickly adopt our system of social credit, to regulate their social movements. [. . .] If you had had the system of social credit, the Yellow Vests would never have been. Coincidentally, social credit-style surveillance has been greatly enhanced as a result of the pseudopandemic that began in China. To travel on public transport, enter civic buildings, be admitted to the workplace and so on, it is necessary for China’s citizens to scan their COVID Pass QR code. Green allows them to move freely; Red prevents their free movement. Biometric identification via facial recognition scanning is required to register a sim card in China. The biometric data system allows the NDRC to track the movements of every citizen and allows biosecurity to be enforced nationally. Covid QR codes, combined with digital ID, means that China’s Technate is on its way to meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 and 16. SDG 3 reads: Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks And SDG 16 says: By 2030, provide legal identity for all, including birth registration “Legal identity” is UN code for digital identity. The Chinese technocratic oligarchy is also ahead of other countries in its development and implementation of Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC). Bo li recently vacated his position as the Deputy Governor of the Bank of China to join the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as its Deputy Managing Director. Speaking at the IMF’s Central Bank Digital Currencies for Financial Inclusion: Risks and Rewards symposium, Bo Li discussed the claim that CBDC would improve so-called “financial inclusion”: CBDC can allow government agencies and private sector players to program [CBDC] to create smart-contracts, to allow targetted policy functions. For example[,] welfare payments [. . .], consumptions coupons, [. . .] food stamps. By programming, CBDC money can be precisely targeted [to] what kind of [things] people can own, and what kind of use [for which] this money can be utilised. For example[,] for food. So this potential programmability can help government agencies precisely target their support to those people who need support. So, in that way we can also improve financial inclusion. Perhaps so—although the improvement will only be afforded tothe citizen who obeys the”government agencies and private sector players”—the Princelings. Engage in “bad” behaviour and and CBDC will be used to target you for financial “exclusion.” With CBDC in place, there would be no need to switch people’s QR code to red to stop them from attending a protest. Simply program their CBDC to prevent train ticket purchases or the use of money more than a mile from home. Physical lockdowns of Covid days are replaced by CBDC lockouts, which are much easier to enforce. Bo Li speaking at the IMF symposium THE MULTIPOLAR MILITARY DIMENSION Global economic and financial power is backed up by military force. So if the powers-that-be are serious about building a new system of super-powered poles, they need to have the muscle to hold their respective positions. After all, a multipolar world order cannot be stabilised and enforced unless each pole presents a genuine military threat to the other. For most of the post-WWII period, the US-led unipolar NATO alliance possessed the most advanced military technology. Not only did the West dominate monetarily, financially and economically, it had the military advantage to go with it. Yet, just like every other aspect of former Western dominance, that, too, has disappeared, and military power has blossomed elsewhere. Suddenly, as if from nowhere, Russia is claiming technological military supremacy. It is now ahead in the arms race. The US has confirmed that Russia used a functioning hypersonic missile in Ukraine, a fact that Joe Biden called “consequential” and frankly admitted “is almost impossible to stop.” China, too, has fired a hypersonic missile. It apparently circled the globe. It then dispatched a hypersonic glide missile that struck its target in China. Again, confirmation came from senior US military officials, who called the technological advance “stunning.” Now China says it may soon be able to arm its navy with these superior weapons. Meanwhile, the West’s dunderheads, who until relatively recently dominated militarily, simply can’t wrap their minds around the ramjet engine technology (or scramjet) that powers this new breed of missiles. While China has confirmed global flight tests and pinpoint hypersonic accuracy and Russia has actually used them in the battlefield, the Pentagon and the US Defence Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) and its private-sector partners like Raytheon are still fumbling about with limited tests, hoping they might be able to develop the same operational capability sometime soon. If you can believe that! The British can’t build ships that function in warm water, and their aircraft carriers can’t sail more than a few nautical miles without breaking down. The US Navy can’t sail its ships at all. And no one in the West can build a fighter aircraft that actually works. Yet Russia has taken submarine technology to a new level, and everyone is pretty sure China has developed AI “intelligentized” fighting capability. The West’s sudden inability to stay in, let alone lead, the technological arms race certainly seems to mark a polar shift in the global military balance of power. It is likely that the Western military-industrial complex is kicking itself after spending the last 30 years handing its military technology over to the East. Now look what they’ve done! CONCLUSION The Russian government and the Chinese government are not “worse” than the US, the UK or the French government. They are just governments doing what governments do. They represent the interests of those who can keep them in power—or remove them. The multipolar world order ends the last vestiges of national sovereignty. It is the geopolitical Great Reset: the culmination of the oligarch’s longstanding plan to establish a system of global governance that affords them dominion over all. If the multipolar system proceeds, which seems likely, the 193 nations—give or take—of the world will eventually be incorporated into a few global poles. Who knows how many, but probably no more than half a dozen or so. There are some potential benefits to multipolarity. Perhaps tianxia will break out, thus reducing the risk of conflict. A “balance of power” between global poles of states could limit aggression. But if we consider how this might be achieved and who is supposedly leading it, there is reason for concern. Assuming that the Pax Americana, Pax Europa, Pax Eurasia and Pax Sinica poles, or whatever, don’t intend to disarm, wouldn’t this logically infer a proliferation of armaments globally, including hypersonic nuclear weapons? How will these poles maintain internal security? What is to stop warfare from breaking out within each pole as disputes emerge? Will other poles have to, or choose to, intervene? Let’s be honest. The omens don’t look too encouraging. We are accelerating towards the multipolar world order due in large part to a war currently being waged by one of multipolarity’s leading proponents. Similarly, the activities of the other leading proponent—in places like Yemen, for instance—hardly inspire confidence. There is no evidence to suggest that the conduct of either Russia or China is or will be intrinsically “better” than the conduct of the leading nations of the previous “order.” By far the most concerning aspect of the multipolar world order is that fewer “poles” will empower global governance. The consistent trajectory, throughout history, toward the centralisation of power hasn’t just happened by accident. The strategy of diminishing the clique of people who exercise control over the global population is a purposeful one. Were it not, it wouldn’t have been engineered in the first place. The goal of these technocrats is to possess unopposed power. We know what they desire to do with that power should they ever achieve it: enhanced biosecurity population control population surveillance digital IDs social credit systems AI automated censorship Universal Basic Income control of the food supply, of water, of energy, of housing, of education ultimately, the total control and enslavement of humanity through Central Bank Digital Currency, or some variation of it. The nation-states advocating the new multipolar world order don’t reject these control mechanisms. On the contrary, they are leading in of their development. The multipolar system is one giant leap toward global technocratic tyranny, a system they fully endorse. In Part 1, we noted that US geostrategist Zbigniew Brzezinski had identified Eurasia—”extending from Lisbon to Vladivostok”—as the setting for what he called “the game.” He observed: America must absolutely take over Ukraine, because Ukraine is the pivot of Russian power in Europe. Once Ukraine is separated from Russia, Russia will no longer be a threat. US-led Western powers, having orchestrated the 2014 Euromaidan Coup and having failed to seize control through the Ukrainian ballot box, have since then demonstrated their intent to incorporate Ukraine into the West’s strategic orbit by any means. Conflict of some sort became inevitable from that point onwards. The next eight years saw an escalating proxy conflict unfold, with virtually no serious attempts to stop it, which has led to this entirely predictable Ukraine War. The people of Ukraine and the people in the new Russian republics and oblasts of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson are viewed as expendable pawns. The conflict is all too real for them, as they fight and die and long to live in peace without the perpetual threat of violence. Yet neither the “great powers” nor their puppet leaders care about the lives of the people beyond their strategic value. The war in Ukraine is a deadly tactical ploy. The point is to fight it out, down to the last Ukrainian, if necessary, in order to facilitate the transition to the multipolar world order, thus enabling the abhorrent Great Reset and finally delivering full-blown global governance. The vulnerable ones who will freeze to death in Europe this winter—and they could number in the thousands—are mere collateral damage in “the game.” Yet war needn’t get in the way of business as usual: Russia continues to supply gas to Europe, if in greatly reduced quantities and at elevated prices, through Ukrainian pipelines. The mainstream media and much of the alternative media, in both the West and the East, market the Ukraine war as a battle for “freedom,” “sovereignty” or some such drivel. As the death toll mounts among those forced to fight for their existence, we in the wider international community, taking one side or the other, fall for the same old monstrous lies. We plant our little flags, online and off, and argue about our respective delusions, imagining that we are participating in the war, in our own small way. We act like jeering football crowds who cheer on our side to win. Globalist think tanks have long considered war a strategic catalyst for change, a point we should have learned from Norman Dodd’s investigation and report for the Reece Committee on Foundations in 1954. We are being hopelessly naive if we imagine the war in Ukraine couldn’t possibly lead to a horrific global conflict. We have no reason to “trust” the lunatics whom we allow to remain in charge. Equally, we should recognise that we are being manipulated by tactics designed to produce fear. Nuclear brinkmanship should always be seen in its fear-inducing context. The oligarchs of the world are united as they seek to establish a regionalized, multipolar system of global governance that will rule the nation-states we live in. Our political leaders, wherever they exert their claimed authority, are wholly complicit with the oligarchs’ agenda. They are selling us all out as they vie for a better seat at the table while breaking our backs in their obsequious desire to polish it. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/25/2022 - 23:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 26th, 2022

The US never banned asbestos. These workers are paying the price.

As other countries outlawed asbestos, workers in a New York plant were "swimming" in it. Now, in a fight against the chemical industry, the United States may finally ban the potent carcinogen. But help may come too late. A Hornblower Niagara Cruises catamaran sails back to its Canadian dock as passengers in blue ponchos line up at the American dock in Niagara Falls, New York, to board the Maid of the Mist, on May 15, 2014.Carolyn Thompson/AP At OxyChem's now-closed plant in Niagara Falls, New York, former workers told ProPublica that asbestos dust hung in the air and rolled across the floor in clumps, like tumbleweeds. Inhaled asbestos fibers can get trapped deep in the lungs. This can lead to inflammation and scarring and can result in chronic coughing, chest pain and a lung disease called asbestosis. The Environmental Protection Agency tried to ban asbestos in the 1980s. But the US crumpled in the face of pressure from OxyChem and its peers in the chlorine industry.   Now, in a fight against the chemical industry, the US may finally ban the potent carcinogen. But help may come too late. Co-published with NPR NewsProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.Henry Saenz remembers when he first learned what even the tiniest bit of asbestos could do to his body. He was working at a chemical plant where employees used the mineral to make chlorine, and his coworkers warned him about what could happen each time he took a breath: Tiny fibers, invisible to the eye, could enter his nose and mouth and settle into his lungs, his abdomen, the lining of his heart. They could linger there for decades. Then, one day, he might develop asbestosis, a chronic disease that makes the lungs harden, or mesothelioma, a vicious cancer that ends the lives of most who have it within a few years.By then, in the early 1990s, the dangers of asbestos were already irrefutable. The United States had prohibited its use in pipe insulation and branded it so risky that remediators had to wear hazmat suits to remove it. But unlike dozens of other countries that banned the potent carcinogen outright, the United States never did. To this day, the U.S. allows hundreds of tons of asbestos to flow in each year from Brazil, primarily for the benefit of two major chemical companies, OxyChem and Olin Corp. The companies say asbestos is integral to chlorine production at several aging plants and have made a compelling argument to keep it legal: Unlike in the horrific tales of the past, their current protocols for handling asbestos are so stringent that workers face little threat of exposure.But at OxyChem's plant in Niagara Falls, New York, where Saenz worked for nearly three decades, the reality was far different, more than a dozen former workers told ProPublica. There, they said, asbestos dust hung in the air, collected on the beams and light fixtures and built up until it was inches thick. Workers tramped in and out of it all day, often without protective suits or masks, and carried it around on their coveralls and boots. They implored the plant's managers to address the conditions, they said, but the dangers remained until the plant closed in late 2021 for unrelated reasons.It was hard for Saenz to reconcile the science that he understood — and that he believed OxyChem and government leaders understood — with what he saw at the plant every day. He did his best not to inhale the asbestos, but after a short time, he came to believe there was no way the killer substance was not already inside him, waiting, perhaps 30 or 40 or even 50 years, to strike.Now, too late for Saenz, the Environmental Protection Agency appears poised to finally outlaw asbestos in a test case with huge implications. If the agency fails to ban a substance so widely established as harmful, scientists and public health experts argue, it would raise serious doubts about the EPA's ability to protect the public from any toxic chemicals.To fight the proposed ban, the chemical companies have returned to a well-worn strategy and marshaled political heavyweights, including the attorneys general of 12 Republican-led states who say it would place a "heavy and unreasonable burden" on industry.Lost in the battle is the story of what happened in the decades during which the U.S. failed to act. It's not just a tale of workers in hardscrabble company towns who were sacrificed to the bottom line of industry, but one of federal agencies cowed again and again by the well-financed lawyers and lobbyists of the companies they are supposed to oversee.It's the quintessential story of American chemical regulation.The headquarters of Occidental Petroleum, which owns OxyChem, in Los Angeles, California, on January 29, 2010.Reed Saxon/APFor decades, the EPA and Congress accepted the chlorine companies' argument that asbestos workers were safe enough, and regulators left the carcinogen on the list of dangerous chemicals that other countries ban but the U.S. still allows. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration even let OxyChem and Olin into a special program that limited the frequency of inspections at many of their plants. Along the way, the two companies proved that they didn't need asbestos to make chlorine: They built some modern facilities elsewhere that didn't use it. But they balked at the cost of upgrading the older facilities where it was still in use — even as they earned billions of dollars from chemical sales and raked in record profits this year.OxyChem, owned by one of the country's largest energy companies, Occidental Petroleum, declined requests for an interview. After ProPublica sent a summary of its reporting, company officials said the accounts from the Niagara Falls plant were "inaccurate" but declined to say what specifically was incorrect. In a statement, the company said it complies with federal regulations on asbestos and that workers who handle it are "trained, work in restricted areas of our plant, protected by personal protective equipment and are offered annual medical examinations." The company also said it authorizes employees to stop work if they feel unsafe. "The health and safety of every plant worker and the people in our surrounding communities is our top priority," the company said.Olin did not respond to calls and emails sent over the course of a month.It has been easy to minimize the toll asbestos takes on workers. Workers' compensation cases are often confidential, and employees may fear speaking out and jeopardizing their livelihood. ProPublica reporters, however, found a unique opportunity to explore what it was really like to work at an asbestos-reliant plant after America's longest-standing facility, the one run by OxyChem in Niagara Falls, shuttered last November. With their jobs no longer on the line, Saenz and 17 other former workers, some with institutional knowledge dating back to the 1960s and others with memories less than a year old, said they felt free to talk. They agreed to hours of interviews and dug through their homes for documentation to reconstruct their work lives in the decades they spent at the plant.What they recounted — ever-present asbestos dust with scant protection — stunned six experts in industrial hygiene and occupational health who were consulted by ProPublica."Totally unacceptable," said Rachael Jones, professor and chair of the Environmental Health Sciences Department at the University of California, Los Angeles."Fraught with danger," said Dr. Philip Landrigan, a public health physician trained in occupational medicine and epidemiology who leads Boston College's program for Global Public Health and the Common Good."It sounds like something that maybe would happen in the 1940s or the 1950s," said Celeste Monforton, a lecturer in public health at Texas State University who studies occupational health and safety practices."It's just so counter to everything that they put in the record about using [asbestos] safely," Monforton said.For more than a century, OxyChem's plant on the Niagara River, just 3 miles upstream from the world-renowned falls, was a small city unto itself. It buzzed with workers day and night, and, in its heyday, had its own cafeteria, credit union and health clinic. A job there carried a certain cachet. Workers could make six figures, even without college degrees. But the plant had a dark legacy. Its previous owner, Hooker Chemical, had buried toxic waste in an unfinished aqueduct called Love Canal, then turned the property over to the city for development in the 1950s. After contaminated groundwater sickened the people who lived there, it became known as one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.A fence and a sign cordon off a contaminated toxic waste dump site in the Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls, New York, on August 2, 1978. The crisis led to federal Superfund legislation to clean up the nation's abandoned waste sites.APUnlike many of the other workers who grew up in the shadow of the plant, following their fathers and uncles into jobs there, Saenz was originally from Northern California. But he fell in love with a woman from Niagara Falls and moved there to start a family with her, working at a hotel, delivering flowers and tending bar — anything to put food on the table, he said — before deciding OxyChem was the job he wanted to stay in.He was hired in 1989 and soon after got a crash course in chemistry. A jolt of electricity, he learned, could turn a tank of salt water into three substances: chlorine, caustic soda and hydrogen. The chlorine could be sold for disinfecting water, the caustic soda for making paper, soap and aspirin. There was, however, a real danger: If the chemicals mixed, the tank could turn into a bomb. So each tank had a thick, metal screen inside to keep the chemicals apart.The screen was coated with a layer of impenetrable asbestos. OxyChem used chrysotile, or white asbestos, the most common type. It showed up on trains in oversized bags that looked like pillows stuffed with down feathers. At OxyChem, there were about 200 tanks, called cells, each the size of a dining room table and containing a metal screen. When a screen needed to be recoated, a special team of workers removed it and brought it to the cavernous cell-maintenance building. There, they blasted it with a high-pressure water cannon until the old asbestos fell off. Then, they dipped the clean screen into a wet mixture containing new asbestos and cooked it in an oven until the asbestos hardened. They worked on one or two screens each day.The asbestos job was one of the most hazardous at the plant, requiring special training. But it also provided a rare benefit. Unlike most positions, which forced workers to take afternoon and midnight shifts, the asbestos job was days only. Saenz, who initially worked in a different department, waited years for an opening on the team, eager to spend more time with his growing family. After his fourth child was born, a spot opened up.The team was a small fraternity of eight or so men who ate lunch together in a special trailer. Some days, when their shift ended at 2 p.m., they would meet at JD's, a dive bar near the plant. Other days, it was the wing joint down the street or the bar in Terry Cheetham's basement. Cheetham was the big brother of the group; the guys called him Soupie. Reserved and shaggy-haired, garrulous only with a beer in hand, he'd dropped out of high school after his father's death and gone to work for OxyChem. He wanted to help his mom support their family. Soon after Saenz joined the team, Cheetham tapped him on the shoulder. "We're going for a ride after work," he said. Later, they pulled up outside the local liquor store. As the new guy, Saenz had to carry the keg.The guys raised their kids together, helped each other's families through difficult times. At the plant, they always had each other's backs. Certain hazards, like fires, were hard to miss. Others, like chlorine leaks, were more subtle. Then, there was the asbestos. As Saenz spent more time on the job, he began noticing just how much of it surrounded him.Federal workplace safety standards require keeping asbestos fibers wet to prevent them from going airborne, having workers wear protective equipment and containing the asbestos inside certain areas. OxyChem had rules in place to meet those standards. But protocols failed to match reality at the Niagara Falls plant, according to more than a dozen workers.Water-blasting the screens was like washing a car with a high-powered hose. Asbestos splattered everywhere. It wasn't a problem when the asbestos was wet. But it would dry overnight, and the next morning, it would be stuck to the ceiling and the walls. Clumps would roll across the floor like tiny tumbleweeds. Floating particles would catch the light when the sun poured in. There was so much asbestos in the cell-maintenance building that it was impossible to keep it all wet, said Robert Cheff, who worked at the plant from 1981 to 2007. "We were constantly swimming in this stuff."Hand-specimen of asbestiform serpentine ore, also known as chrysotile, one of six minerals currently regulated as asbestos.asbestorama/Getty imagesWorkers wore protective gear for certain tasks, like pressure washing and screen dipping. But they went into the building to carry out other tasks without special suits or anything protecting their faces, despite company requirements. One worker said managers enforced those rules. But a dozen others interviewed by ProPublica recalled that the bosses looked the other way. Suiting up was impractical, those workers said. It took time away from the tasks that needed to get done and was uncomfortable, especially on hot days, when the temperature inside could reach 100 degrees.In the summer, the windows and doors were left open to keep the workers from overheating, allowing asbestos to escape outside. Wet asbestos splashed on their uniforms, coats, helmets and boots. One guy seemed to always have some on his mustache. It would dry and flake off their clothes wherever they went, they said. Saenz remembered walking into safety meetings in the administrative building with asbestos drying on his coveralls. The guys carried so much asbestos into the trailer where they ate lunch and took breaks that it needed to be replaced, former union leaders said.Their uniforms sat in the laundry, caked with dry asbestos. When the union raised the problem in 2010, managers responded by giving the team its own hamper with a lid to contain the asbestos, said longtime union officer Mike Spacone. Only after union leaders threatened to call federal authorities did the company give the team its own laundry facilities, Spacone said.On occasion, workers who handled asbestos would leave without showering in the plant's locker room or wear their work clothes home. "My kids played sports," recalled Dave Helbig, an employee from 1980 through 2021. "Sometimes I had to leave to get to their games."The company would have known employees were being exposed; workers with a high risk of exposure sometimes clipped a small monitor to their bodies to measure the amount of asbestos in the air around them. At least five times in 2001 and 2002, the levels around team member Patrick Nowak exceeded OSHA's exposure limit, his company records show. "I failed so many times, they quit testing me," he said. The records do not indicate if Nowak was wearing a protective mask known as a respirator, as some other employees' records do.Tony Garfalo wore a monitor seven times in 2001, and, on four occasions, the results exceeded OSHA's limit, his records show. Once, the asbestos level was more than five times the allowable limit. The records say he was wearing a half-face respirator. Garfalo said his bosses promised to address the situation, but "nothing changed."He and the others knew all too well the damage asbestos could cause. Garfalo said his father, who worked the asbestos job at the plant, developed asbestosis. Employees in other departments got sick from a type of asbestos-containing pipe covering that once insulated the plant, longtime employees said and court records show. Cheff said his uncle died from asbestosis at 59. A millwright named Teddy Skiba was diagnosed with mesothelioma and later died.In addition to those signature diseases, which are rare even among asbestos workers, the tiny strands can harm the body in other ways. They can put people at increased risk of heart disease by scarring the lungs, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood through them to pick up oxygen. Some scientific evidence suggests an association between asbestos exposure and stroke. And battling all kinds of illnesses with damaged lungs can weaken the body's ability to fight them; that damage can mean the difference between life and death.One retired member of the team, Umberto Bernardone, died from an aneurysm in 2004 at age 77. He had long had trouble breathing, said his son, Mario, who also worked at the plant. X-rays showed that asbestosis had scarred his lungs. "The asbestos was with him all the time," Mario said.Not long after, another retired team member, Salvatore "Buddy" Vilardo, died from a blood clot, his son said. He was 62.Cheetham, the group's big brother, had just retired when he fell ill in 2004. A doctor in Buffalo said it was cancer. Cheetham told his daughter Keri that he was certain the asbestos was responsible and asked her to consult a lawyer after he died. When the guys found out he was sick, they showed up at his house. They found their friend in a bed in his living room, under the care of a hospice nurse, struggling to breathe.Cheetham died five months before his 56th birthday. His autopsy surprised his family — it wasn't asbestos after all; an aggressive form of skin cancer had killed him. His former co-workers weren't told about the autopsy. For years, they believed his cancer had been brought on by asbestos exposure. The memory of Cheetham's last gasps haunted the guys like a ghost, a harbinger of what their own futures might hold.Elsewhere in the world, governments were taking action to protect their people. Saudi Arabia banned asbestos in 1998, Chile and Argentina did so in 2001, Australia in 2003. By 2005, asbestos was outlawed across the European Union. "It was a no-brainer," said Tatiana Santos, head of chemical policy at the European Environmental Bureau, a network of environmental citizens' groups.America's EPA could have banned asbestos. Congress could have banned it. But over and over, they crumpled in the face of pressure from OxyChem and its peers in the chlorine industry.The EPA tried to enact a ban in the late 1980s, but the companies got ahead of it. Records from the time show corporations testified that removing asbestos from chlorine plants would not yield significant health benefits because workers were only minimally exposed; they also argued it would require "scrapping large amounts of capital equipment" and thus would "not be economically feasible."Under federal law at the time, the EPA was obligated to regulate asbestos in the way that was "least burdensome" to industry. That forced the EPA to make a cold calculation: Banning asbestos in chlorine plants would prevent "relatively few cancer cases" but increase the companies' costs. So when the agency enacted an asbestos ban in 1989, it carved out an exemption for the mineral's use in the chlorine industry.The EPA made it clear that the companies should begin using alternatives to asbestos screens; in fact, according to company records made public through litigation and published as part of Columbia University and the City University of New York's Toxic Docs project, OxyChem had already developed screens that didn't need an asbestos coating. Still, the companies celebrated their immunity from regulation."WE HAVE A WIN," a lobbyist declared in an internal communication included in the Toxic Docs project.In the end, asbestos was never banned. The asbestos industry challenged the ban in court, and in 1991, a panel of federal judges deemed the rule too onerous and overturned it. The decision was a stinging blow to the EPA, several current and former employees told ProPublica. "I still remember the shock on the managers' faces," said Greg Schweer, an EPA veteran who ran its new-chemicals management branch before he retired in 2020. The office "was full of energized people wanting to make their mark. But things changed after that." The agency shelved efforts to regulate other dangerous substances and wouldn't attempt a similar chemical ban for 28 years.Most industries stopped using asbestos anyway, a phenomenon experts largely attribute to a wave of lawsuits from people with asbestos-related diseases. But the chlorine industry kept using its asbestos screens. It continued importing hundreds of tons of the substance every year, more than the weight of the Statue of Liberty.In 2002, Sen. Patty Murray a Democrat from Washington, tried to get a ban through Congress. She tried again in 2003 and again in 2007. That year, with Democrats in control of the Senate and House, her effort found some traction. OxyChem was keenly aware how much an asbestos ban would hurt its bottom line. Chlorine and caustic soda were the focus of its chemical operation, financial statements show, driving more than $4 billion in annual sales. Most of OxyChem's plants still used asbestos; if they had to close, production would tumble.Occidental Petroleum, OxyChem's owner, was a force on Capitol Hill, with lobbyists that spent millions influencing policy and a political action committee that pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into campaigns each election cycle. OxyChem was also a member of the American Chemistry Council, an influential trade organization that made campaign contributions of its own.The industry had an ally in then-Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana; at the time, at least a quarter of the 16 asbestos-dependent plants in the country were located in the Republican senator's home state, records show. At a hearing in June 2007, Vitter echoed the chlorine industry's standby talking point, that its manufacturing process involved "minimal to no release of asbestos and absolutely no worker exposure.""Now, if this were harming people or potentially killing people, that would be the end of the argument, we should outlaw it," he added. "But there is no known case of asbestos-related disease from the chlor-alkali industry using this technology."Then-Sen. Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat in favor of the ban, pushed back, saying the chlorine manufacturing process was "not as clean as one would think." But to build support for the bill, proponents ultimately agreed to exclude products that might contain trace levels of asbestos, such as crushed stone, as well as the asbestos used in the chlorine industry.The bill passed out of the Senate on a unanimous vote. But many of the public health advocates who championed the initial measure opposed the watered-down version, saying it had been practically gutted, and it failed to find support in the House. Vitter, who later went on to lobby for the American Chemistry Council, did not respond to requests for an interview.In the 15 years that followed, congressional attempts to ban asbestos would continue to fall short.The Environmental Protection Agency headquarters in Washington, DC, on January 19, 2020.Lucy Nicholson/ReutersYet another federal entity had the power to protect the OxyChem workers. There was once a time when OSHA inspectors visited the Niagara Falls plant about every year. That ended in 1996, when the plant won coveted admission into an OSHA program that exempted it from such scrutiny.The Star Program, created during the Reagan administration as part of OSHA's Voluntary Protection Programs, allows plants that can prove they are model facilities to avoid random inspections. The theory behind the program is that motivating companies to adhere to best practices on their own is more effective than having underfunded government inspectors punish them.At the Niagara Falls plant, former union leaders believed the program would protect jobs and make the facility safer, they told ProPublica. They worked with management on the application — a monthslong process that entailed updating the plant's safety practices and submitting to a rigorous inspection. But what actually changed, the union leaders said, was that OSHA inspectors came far less frequently and announced their visits well in advance. When OSHA came to re-evaluate the plant, usually every three to five years, management spent months preparing, said Spacone, the union officer. "They would clean the hell out of the place. Everything would be spotless." Work in certain areas came to a halt. Plant representatives tried to limit what the evaluators saw.Even still, in 2011, evaluators found asbestos "scattered in certain areas of the floor" and covering much of the mechanical equipment, records show. "This contamination can spread easily when dry," they wrote in a report. "Appropriate clean up procedures must be instituted to prevent airborne asbestos." The evaluators did not give the plant an official citation. In the end, they applauded the plant's "commitment to safety and health" and recommended it for continued participation in the program.Three years later, evaluators identified another issue related to hygiene: Although the plant tested the air for hazards like asbestos, it wasn't using the data to spot problems. What's more, the person in charge of the program wasn't properly trained. OSHA let the plant remain in the program on the condition that it fixed the problems within a year. The plant updated its software and the department leader took a 56-hour course, records show.Apart from the re-evaluation visits, OSHA made just two other trips to the plant between 1996 and 2021, records show. Only one included a full inspection. On that visit, inspectors cited the plant for failing to protect workers from falls. The other visit did not result in any citations.With OSHA largely out of the picture, the plant's managers became more lax about safety, Spacone said. "I started thinking [that joining the Star Program] was a mistake," he said. Debbie Berkowitz, a former chief of staff and senior policy adviser at OSHA during the Obama administration, said that, in her experience, it was possible for plants to stay in the program long after their commitment to safety had lapsed. "Once they're in, they're in," she said. "In most cases, it is a total ruse."OSHA declined to make an official available for an on-the-record interview or comment on ProPublica's findings at the Niagara Falls plant. A Department of Labor spokesperson said that plants can be terminated from the program and that unions can withdraw their support.In the absence of government intervention, union leaders tried to tackle the asbestos problem themselves, four former union presidents told ProPublica. The union repeatedly asked management to expand the asbestos team and have certain people dedicated to cleaning. Plant leaders refused, they said. "It was a never-ending battle," said Vincent Ferlito, one of the former presidents. "It always came back to the same thing: money."Fed up with the mess, Garfalo grabbed a roll of red caution tape one day in 2007 and wrapped it around the asbestos-soiled building where his team worked, to the amazement of his colleagues. He barricaded each doorway, then hung as many danger signs as he could find. The protest prompted his managers to hire professionals for a one-time clean, but they also warned him to never do it again, he said.By 2011, a year after he'd retired, Garfalo couldn't ignore a lingering cough that would occasionally startle him out of sleep. His doctor couldn't tell whether his breathing difficulties were caused by asbestos or his smoking habit, but said that smokers who are exposed to the substance have an even higher risk of serious illness. Garfalo's mind traveled back to a day, a dozen years earlier, when he climbed atop the cell-maintenance building to fix a fan, only to discover that the entire roof was coated in asbestos. Train cars parked beside the building were covered, too. He thought about the homes less than a half-mile away and wondered how far the fibers had traveled.Federal Triangle buildings, including the Environmental Protection Agency's headquarters in Washington, DC, on July 7, 2022.Patrick Semansky/APIn August 2021, OxyChem announced it was closing the Niagara Falls plant, blaming "unfavorable regional market conditions" and rising rail costs in New York state. Over time, its workforce had dwindled from more than 1,300 to about 150. OxyChem's chlorine operation was now mostly in Gulf Coast states with lower taxes and less regulation.And a law that had once protected it from "burdensome" environmental rules had changed.In 2016, Congress had updated the Toxic Substances Control Act, removing the requirement that the EPA choose regulations that burdened industry as little as possible. Though the change gave the agency another chance to ban asbestos, it wasn't going to happen during the Trump administration; the former president once alleged that the movement against asbestos was "led by the mob" and had his face featured on the packaging of Russian-produced asbestos. Under the Biden administration, however, the EPA determined that all workers in asbestos-dependent chlorine plants faced an "unreasonable risk" of getting sick from it, citing a review of the companies' own exposure-monitoring data. This April, EPA Administrator Michael Regan proposed a ban for the first time in more than three decades.It could be eight months or more before the rule is finalized. Two trade associations, the American Chemistry Council and the Chlorine Institute, are imploring the EPA to reconsider. They are once again arguing that the companies use asbestos safely — and they've turned to industry-friendly scientists and consulting firms to accuse the EPA of overestimating the risk to workers.When given a summary of ProPublica's reporting on the Niagara Falls plant and asked to respond, Chlorine Institute Vice President Robyn Brooks said her organization had no knowledge of the situation and referred reporters to OxyChem. The American Chemistry Council pointed to the plant's participation in the Star program as proof of its "record of performance."The industry groups have also made the case that a ban would jeopardize the country's supply of chlorine and could even create a drinking water shortage. But the EPA and public health advocates contest those claims. They point out that only a small fraction of the chlorine produced by asbestos-dependent plants is used to clean drinking water and that OxyChem and Olin have voluntarily closed or reduced capacity at several of those plants in recent years without catastrophically disrupting the supply chain. In fact, OxyChem told investors in August that its plans to upgrade the asbestos-reliant technology at its largest chlorine facility next year would have "no impact on customers," a transcript shows. For at least eight years, the company has been slowly upgrading some plants to a newer technology that uses a polymer membrane to separate the chemicals; it built a completely asbestos-free plant in 2014.The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has come to the companies' defense, saying asbestos is "tightly regulated" and "used safely every day" in the chlor-alkali industry. So have 12 Republican attorneys general, including Ken Paxton of Texas and Jeff Landry of Louisiana. In a letter, they questioned whether the EPA has the authority to pursue a ban, signaling a readiness to take the agency to court like the asbestos industry did in 1989. (The Chamber and most of the attorneys general declined to comment or did not respond to inquiries from ProPublica. A spokesperson for Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson called the situation at the Niagara Falls plant "very concerning" and said that it would be "completely misleading" to suggest that the letter implied approval of such circumstances.)Industry leaders are confident they will prevail. "We've been engaged in this activity for quite a while and have pushed back on it," Olin CEO Scott Sutton told shareholders on a July 29 earnings call. "I think you're not likely to see a final rule come out that is as proposed."Michal Freedhoff, the EPA's top chemical regulator, said she could not comment on what the final rule-making decision would be. But she said the agency was not backing down on the science and that ProPublica's reporting underscores the need for decisive action.Given the potential for litigation, lawmakers are renewing their effort to pass a law banning asbestos, which would be more difficult to challenge in court. "It is a brutal and painful fight," said Linda Reinstein, a leading advocate who co-founded the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization after her husband, Alan, died of mesothelioma in 2006. "We're not going away."Hanging in the balance is the health of hundreds of workers at the eight remaining asbestos-dependent chlorine plants in Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Kansas. ProPublica reached out to current and former employees at those facilities. At the OxyChem plant in Wichita, union president Keith Peacock said he was comfortable with the way asbestos was handled. "I don't know of anyone who sees this as a health issue," he said. "There are rules in place for it and everyone adheres to those safety guidelines." But Chris Murphy, a former union president at Olin's plant in Alabama, said the conditions there mirrored the ones described by the workers in Niagara Falls. He said he himself had seen asbestos caked on beams and cranes in recent years and been told to remove it with a putty knife. "There ain't nothing to it," he remembered his managers saying. "You'll be all right. It ain't that bad." He wasn't told to wear protective gear, he said, so he didn't.The former OxyChem workers who still live in Niagara Falls gather once a month to reminisce over Buffalo wings and beef piled high on salty kummelweck rolls. They can only wait and see if they develop symptoms as they enter the post-exposure time frame in which asbestos-related disease is commonly diagnosed.Saenz left the plant with a bad back in 2016. Now a 64-year-old grandfather of two, he's been having lung trouble and considering X-rays to see if there are signs of asbestos-related damage. "I'm wondering if I'm not headed down that road," he said.He sees the burden he now carries as a tradeoff for the lifestyle he was once afforded. "It was a great place to work. I was able to raise four children and buy a house and live the American dream." He even gave his son Henry Jr. his blessing to start a job at OxyChem in 2013, so long as he stayed far away from asbestos. Saenz now wonders how much more time he has left with his family."It's a nightmare," he said. "It's a price you pay, I guess."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 23rd, 2022

US trolls Hungary, the most pro-Russian EU state, reminding its leaders they are supposed to be allies with the West

Despite being a member of the EU and NATO, Hungary has been sympathetic to Russia throughout its invasion of Ukraine. A man passes by a poster that "We are being punished by the Brussels sanctions", in Budapest on October 18, 2022. Hungary's leaders have objected to the severity of EU measures against Russia.FERENC ISZA/AFP via Getty Images The US called out Hungary stance on the invasion of Ukraine, which has been softer than many nations. The US embassy reminded the EU and NATO member that the US and Hungary are supposed to be allies. It shared a joke quiz highlighting how so many Hungarian officials made anti-West statements. The US embassy in Hungary trolled the country over its soft response to Russia, reminding the EU and NATO member that the US and Hungary are supposed to be allies.The US Embassy in Budapest shared a video of a joke quiz on Monday that let people guess whether statements came from Russian President Vladimir Putin or from Hungarian officials.—US Embassy Budapest (@usembbudapest) October 17, 2022It wrote alongside the video: "In recent weeks, several senior Hungarian government figures and government-funded commentators have made harsh anti-Western and anti-American statements. Hungary and the United States are Allies.""As Russian aggression threatens us all, we must stand together, not move apart."The questions included one that said "The United States has attacked the European Union. Our response should be that we will put our gloves, and we go to war against America."Viewers were then asked to guess if the comment came from the editor of a media outlet that gets government funding, or Putin.The comment was made by the editor, the embassy said.Hungary has been the EU member least critical of Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February.Its far-right leader Viktor Orbán, who is popular with former US President Donald Trump and Fox News host Tucker Carlson, said he condemned Russia's invasion.But he been repeatedly criticized by Ukraine, the US, and EU for not taking actions to back it up.As EU countries repeatedly sanctioned Russia, Orbán denounced that approach.He said in September that the EU should scrap its sanctions, and earlier in the year blamed them for the EU's energy-supply crisis.Orbán has long been an ally of Putin, and he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy one of his "opponents" when he was reelected to a fourth term in April, two months after the invasion began.The embassy's quiz, which asked seven questions, was seemingly inspired by a similar questionnaire that the Hungarian government is giving to citizens, the BBC reported.The pamphlet featured loaded questions seemingly designed to demonstrate public support for Hungary's anti-EU stance, the BBC noted.One question was: "Household utility bills across Europe have risen to record levels. In response to the sanctions, Russia is threatening to cut off gas supplies. This is endangering supplies for home heating and the viability of the European economy.""Do you agree with the sanctions on natural gas supplies? Yes or No."The campaign also involved a government poster that describes EU sanctions as bombs falling on Hungary.It says "We are being punished by the Brussels sanctions," sparking criticism from the EU commission.Separately, the EU parliament voted last month to declare Hungary no longer a democracy, rebuking the country for the steady erosion of its political opposition, independent judiciary, and approach to academic freedom.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 20th, 2022

Cuban government asks US for aid in rare request following Hurricane Ian damage despite chilly relationship between the two nations, per WSJ

Cuba's emergency assistance request comes as one of its key economic allies — Russia — wages a months-long war in Ukraine. Workers move in a dump truck in a street flooded by sea water that breaks on the Malecon, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Havana, Cuba, Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022.AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa Cuba has requested emergency assistance from the US following Hurricane Ian's destruction. The Wall Street Journal obtained emails between the two countries detailing the ask. Cuba's appeal for US aid is notable given the countries' longstanding, chilly relationship. The Cuban government in a rare petition is asking the Biden administration for US aid to deal with the damage of Hurricane Ian, which pummeled the island nation earlier this week, according to The Wall Street Journal. The outlet obtained communications between the two governments detailing Cuba's request for emergency assistance in the aftermath of Ian's rampage. The country reportedly did not request a specific dollar amount and The Journal said the US was still determining whether Havana would ultimately supplement the request.The hurricane hit Cuba on Tuesday night where it knocked out the country's entire power grid, leaving 11 million people in the dark. The storm was also responsible for three deaths on the island in addition to massive structural damage, according to The Associated Press. The emails indicate that the US and Havana are in the process of determining how much assistance is necessary, according to The Journal. Washington reportedly confirmed that Cuban authorities would prioritize hospitals, water pumping facilities, and other crucial infrastructure should the US send assistance. The State Department did not immediately respond to Insider's request for confirmation and comment. Cuba's appeal for US aid is notable given the countries' longstanding, chilly relationship. Former President Donald Trump stoked further animosity between the nations in 2017 when his administration reversed parts of an Obama-era deal that had eased travel and commercial restrictions within the country and once more in 2021 when the US designated Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism.Relations between the two countries have been on the mend since Biden took office, though Cuba remains on the US terrorism watch list. Cuba's emergency assistance request comes as one of its key economic allies — Russia — wages a months-long war in Ukraine, The Journal noted. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 30th, 2022

Biden Administration Intentionally Weakening Military: Retired General

Biden Administration Intentionally Weakening Military: Retired General Authored by Beth Brelje via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), When the United States acts, the world is always watching, and one of the loudest messages since President Joe Biden took office came from how the United States handled its withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021. Members of the 182nd Infantry Regiment load their weapons with live ammunition before heading into the field to train at Fort Dix near Trenton, N.J., on May 16, 2022. (Joseph Prezioso /AFP via Getty Images) What message did that send globally to other government leaders who may see America as an adversary? That was a question asked by Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, during a panel discussion Thursday about America’s role on the world stage at the Pray Vote Stand Summit in Atlanta hosted by FRC Action, the legislative affiliate of Family Research Council. “I think that will go down in history as the worst foreign policy failure in U.S. history. Every decision that was made was wrong,” said Lt. General (Ret.) William Boykin, executive vice president at Family Research Council. “What did that say to the rest of the world? It said that we have weak leadership. And you have to ask yourself, why did Vladimir Putin refrain from attacking Ukraine during the Trump administration? And then he went in with barrels blazing, under the Biden administration, and I will tell you, I think a lot of that goes back to the weakness that people—both our adversaries and our friends—recognized in the Biden administration.” Other countries recognize that the Biden administration is weak and indecisive on many issues, he said, not just how the U.S. military left Afghanistan. Boykin mentioned Biden’s approach to the Paris climate change treaty and his efforts to get the United States back into the Iran nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). “What’s the value to the United States? And what’s the value to our allies, to put Iran on a pathway to nuclear warheads,” Boykin said. “I think we’re going to continue to see the consequences of not only the pullout of Afghanistan, but stupid decisions that have been made by the administration, one of which is … our president shut down our pipeline, and then turned around and went to the Saudis.” Boykin said there were several Saudi nationals flying the planes on 9/11 and that Saudi Arabia has been a major sponsor of terrorism. Despite this, Biden went to Saudi Arabia and to Russia to ask for oil after shutting down America’s oil production, Boykin said. “Does that make sense to anybody? It’s the most foolish thing,” he said. “They see that kind of decision making, and they see us as being weak, and they see this as a time when they can take advantage of us.” Weakening Military Boykin believes weakness is more than an international perception, and he gave examples of how Biden is intentionally weakening the military, including kicking out servicemembers who refused to get the COVID-19 shot and teaching critical race theory and inclusion tolerance instead of teaching how to be in a constant state of readiness for war. “All of these things that have nothing to do with the mission and everything to do with the agenda of the administration—you are doing them an injustice and ultimately you’re going to pay the price for that,” Boykin said. “At the same time, they’re turning around and writing to old generals like me, saying, ‘We need help recruiting because we just can’t recruit enough people.’ Well let me explain to you how this thing of mathematics works. You get rid of all of them, and then those who are watching from the outside say, ‘I don’t want a part of that.’ And those on the inside, many of them leave on their own.” Many in leadership at the Pentagon got their start under President Barack Obama, Boykin said. “If they’re compromised—if they lack focus, the question we need to ask as a nation is, who’s mentoring the next generation of leaders? Who’s bringing up the warrior leaders for the future? The answer is nobody,” he said. “And that’s the hardest thing to fix in terms of restoring the Navy and the Army and Air Force and the Marine Corps.” China Is Watching Perkins directed the conversation to China and asked panelist Gordon Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” how China likely views the Biden administration’s moves. “We don’t have to speculate. The Communist Party propaganda was very clear,” Chang said. The day that Kabul fell to the Taliban in Afghanistan, Chang said, Chinese newspapers declared that China would invade Taiwan at some point, and that when this happens, the island will fall within hours and the United States will not come to help. Read more here... Tyler Durden Sat, 09/17/2022 - 22:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 17th, 2022

Biden Issues "Final Decision" On State Sponsor Of Terror Label For Russia

Biden Issues "Final Decision" On State Sponsor Of Terror Label For Russia President Joe Biden has made up his mind regarding whether or not to designate Russia an official 'state sponsor of terror' - after both the Ukrainian government as well as some prominent Democratic Congressmembers have been pushing hard for him to do so. Biden has "made a final decision against designating Russia as a state sponsor of terror," White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday, according to Reuters. She described that "The designation of Russia as state sponsor of terror could delay food exports and jeopardize deals to move goods through the Black Sea," according to a press readout. US Embassy Moscow, file image The reference wis to a delicate UN-brokered agreement between Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey to allow grain exports to leave Ukrainian ports through a monitored 'safety corridor'.  Jean-Pierre was following up on a comment made by Biden the day prior: U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday said Russia should not be designated a state sponsor of terrorism, a label Ukraine has pushed for amid Russia's ongoing invasion while Moscow has warned it would rupture U.S.-Russian ties. Asked if Russia should be designated a state sponsor of terrorism, Biden told reporters at the White House: "No." In July, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the White House must designate Russia or else Congress would do it. The formal designation would allow the further expansion of sanctions on the targeted nation, and would place Russia on the list with Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria. While some countries like Latvia and Lithuania have already made the formal designation, the US administration has consistently resisted calls to do so, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently arguing that a terror designation wouldn't change things much: "The costs that have been imposed on Russia by us and by other countries are absolutely in line with the consequences that would follow from designation as a state sponsor of terrorism," he said in July. Earlier in the now six-month Ukraine conflict, the Biden administration began using the word "genocide" when talking about alleged Russian atrocities (but more recently has stopped using the specific word), but has so far resisted some Congressional calls to label Russia a terror state sponsor.  TL;DR Moscow is mainly the same as it was. Most people are carrying on as normal, and for the most part, change is barely noticeable. However, prices of certain things have skyrocketed (restaurants, clothes, travel), and there are signs things may get worse. — Jonny Tickle (@jonnytickle) September 6, 2022 Moscow has previously warned that if the US went through with a terror label designation, it would immediately sever all diplomatic relations. While relations are already of course at a low point in recent history due to the ongoing Ukraine invasion, each side still has their embassies open and diplomats in residence - though John Sullivan, the US ambassador to Moscow, has announced his retirement this week after nearly three years at the post. Tyler Durden Tue, 09/06/2022 - 18:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 6th, 2022

Russia blames Ukraine for death of Putin ally’s daughter in move that could prompt new attacks on Kyiv

Ukraine denies involvement in Darya Dugina's death, but pro-Kremlin journalists and officials have already called for Russia to attack Kyiv. Investigators work at the site of a suspected car bomb attack that killed Darya Dugina, daughter of the nationalist Russian ideologue Aleksandr Dugin, in the Moscow region on August 21, 2022.Investigative Committee of Russia/Handout via REUTERS The daughter of an influential Russian intellectual was killed by a car bomb on Saturday, Russia said. Putin allies rushed to blame Ukraine and called for attacks on Kyiv. The FSB blamed Ukraine on Monday. Ukraine denied involvement, and a former Russian MP suggested an anti-Putin group in Russia could be responsible. The death of a top Vladimir Putin ally's daughter has added a new layer of confusion and potential escalation to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.Darya Dugina, the daughter of an influential nationalist Russian philosopher, was killed on Saturday by an apparent car bomb, Russian officials said. The work of Dugina's father, Aleksandr Dugin, helped influence Putin, and Dugina was also a proponent both of his thinking and Russia's invasion.In the days after her death, some Putin allies rushed to blame Ukraine without producing evidence, and called for greater attacks on the country despite its denial of any involvement.On Monday, Russia's FSB security service said Ukraine's security services were behind the attack, and that a Ukrainian citizen had carried it out, state-run news agency Tass reported.Dugina's family friend suggested that her death may have been the result of efforts to target her father, and a former Russian lawmaker exiled in Ukraine pointed to an underground dissident group in Russia looking to overthrow Putin.Blaming UkraineMaria Zakharova, a Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, suggested that Ukraine could be responsible in a Monday Telegram post.She said if Ukraine's involvement was "confirmed" then "we should talk about the policy of state terrorism implemented by the Kyiv regime."Ukraine has denied any involvement, and the Kremlin has not commented on Dugina's death.Mikhail Podolyak, an advisor at the Ukrainian presidential office, tweeted on Monday that Russia needed to understand "the world sees war live," and that Russian "attempts" to blame Dugina's death or other attacks on Ukraine "are useless."He told Ukrainian TV, according to CNN: "Ukraine definitely has nothing to do with this because we are not a criminal state, which the Russian Federation is, and even more so, we are not a terrorist state."Potential escalationMargarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Russian state-media outlet RT, said Russia should fire missiles targeting Ukraine's "decision-making centers," The Telegraph reported.She did not explicitly say she blamed Ukraine, but called for attacks on Kyiv.Minutes after posting the initial news of Dugina's death on Telegram, she shared the address of Ukraine's security service headquarters in Kyiv and wrote: "I will try to sleep now, and when I wake up, I hope to read in the news that it was fucking bombed along with the basements."She later wrote: "I don't understand why there are still buildings on Bankova Street in Kyiv," referring to the street with the Presidential Administration of Ukraine and other official buildings.The Russian outlet Tsargrad TV, where Dugina was a commentator and her father is the editor, said "Kyiv should shake" from missile strikes, The Telegraph reported.Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also warned that Russia may escalate its attacks this week as it celebrates its independence day on August 24."We should be aware that this week Russia may try to do something particularly nasty, something particularly cruel," he said.A dissident groupIlya Ponomarev, a former Russian MP currently living in exile in Kyiv, said he believed the National Republican Army may have been responsible.He made his comments on February Morning, a Russian-language TV channel he created in Ukraine that challenges Putin, The Guardian reported.Ponomarev said the National Republican Army is a group that opposes Putin and thinks he "sent Russian soldiers to certain and senseless death," The Guardian reported."This attack opens a new page in Russian resistance to Putinism. New — but not the last," he said. The Guardian noted that it could not verify his claims about the attack or the group.Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, summed up the uncertainty to CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, as he said he hoped Ukraine was not responsible."There are so many factions and internecine warfare within Russian society, within the Russian government. Anything is possible."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 22nd, 2022

Putin allies rush to blame Ukraine for the killing of top philosopher’s daughter, as former lawmaker points to underground anti-Kremlin group

Ukraine denies any involvement in Darya Dugina's death, but some pro-Kremlin journalists have already called for Russia to attack Kyiv. Investigators work at the site of a suspected car bomb attack that killed Darya Dugina, daughter of the nationalist Russian ideologue Aleksandr Dugin, in the Moscow region on August 21, 2022.Investigative Committee of Russia/Handout via REUTERS The daughter of an influential Russian intellectual was killed by a car bomb, Russia said. Who is behind it is unknown. Some Putin allies rushed to blame Ukraine and called for attacks on Kyiv. Others pointed to movements within Russia that could be responsible. The death of a top Vladimir Putin ally's daughter has added a new layer of confusion and potential escalation to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.Darya Dugina, the daughter of an influential nationalist Russian philosopher, was killed on Saturday by an apparent car bomb, Russian officials said. The work of Dugina's father, Aleksandr Dugin, helped influence Putin, and Dugina was also a proponent both of his thinking and Russia's invasion.Who caused her death — which a family friend suggested may have been the outcome of efforts to target her father — is unknown. Russia has opened a murder investigation.But some Putin allies rushed to blame Ukraine without producing evidence, and called for greater attacks on the country despite its denials of any involvement. Russia's security service, the FSB, said on Monday that Ukraine was behind the attack, and a Ukrainian citizen carried it out, state news agency TASS reported.And a former Russian lawmaker exiled in Ukraine pointed to an underground dissident group in Russia looking to overthrow Putin.A dissident groupIlya Ponomarev, a former Russian MP currently living in exile in Kyiv, said he believed the National Republican Army was responsible.He made his comments on February Morning, a Russian-language TV channel he created in Ukraine that challenges Putin, The Guardian reported.Ponomarev said the National Republican Army is a group that opposes Putin and thinks he "sent Russian soldiers to certain and senseless death," The Guardian reported."This attack opens a new page in Russian resistance to Putinism. New — but not the last," he said. The Guardian noted that it could not verify his claims about the attack or the group.Blaming UkraineMaria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, suggested that Ukraine could be responsible in a Monday Telegram post.She said if Ukraine's involvement was "confirmed" then "we should talk about the policy of state terrorism implemented by the Kyiv regime."Ukraine has denied any involvement. Mikhail Podolyak, an advisor at the Ukrainian presidential office, tweeted on Monday that Russia needed to understand "the world sees war live," and so Russian "attempts" to blame Dugina's death or other attacks on Ukraine "are useless."He told Ukrainian TV, according to CNN: "Ukraine definitely has nothing to do with this because we are not a criminal state, which the Russian Federation is, and even more so, we are not a terrorist state."Putin and other Russian officials have not commented on Dugina's death.Potential escalationMargarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of Russian state-media outlet RT, said Russiaa should fire missiles targeting Ukraine's "decision-making centers," The Telegraph reported.The Telegraph called her "one of Vladimir Putin's favorite pro-war TV pundits."She did not explicitly say she blamed Ukraine, but called for attacks on Kyiv.Minutes after posting the initial news of Dugina's death on Telegram, she shared the address of Ukraine's security service headquarters in Kyiv and wrote: "I will try to sleep now, and when I wake up, I hope to read in the news that it was fucking bombed along with the basements."She later wrote: "I don't understand why there are still buildings on Bankova Street in Kyiv," referring to the street with the Presidential Administration of Ukraine and other official buildings.The Russian outlet Tsargrad TV, where Dugina was a commentator and her father is the editor, said "Kyiv should shake" from missile strikes, The Telegraph reported.Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, summed up the uncertainty to CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday, as he said he hoped Ukraine was not responsible."There are so many factions and internecine warfare within Russian society, within the Russian government. Anything is possible."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 22nd, 2022

Nuclear Deal Increasingly Unlikely As Iran Strengthens Ties With Russia

Nuclear Deal Increasingly Unlikely As Iran Strengthens Ties With Russia By Simon Watkins of OilPrice.com There are several reasons to be short crude oil currently – economic recession in the U.S. and looming recessions in Europe, ongoing lockdowns in China, the vested interest of the U.S. in keeping oil below US$75 per barrel of Brent, to name but three - but the prospect of an imminent new ‘nuclear deal’ between the West and Iran is not one of them. It is true that the European Union (EU) last week tabled a ‘final text’ of a new iteration of the nuclear deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – to Washington and Tehran. However, it is equally true, as conveyed at length and exclusively to OilPrice.com last week by several senior political and oil industry sources close to proceedings, that there is virtually no chance of such a deal being done without a massive concession coming from Iran that it is impossible to see the current regime making. “Nothing has changed in the past few months from when the U.S. decided that Iran was just trying to buy time for its nuclear weapons development program by continuing to submit new clauses to the text of the new version of the JCPOA agreement,” a senior energy source who worked closely with Iran’s Petroleum Ministry, told OilPrice.com. “And Washington has told everyone else in the P5+1 group [the U.S., the U.K., France, China, and Russia ‘plus’ Germany] that it will not budge from its position on the IRGC, which is aimed – as Iran knows – at destroying the IRGC’s influence, and by extension Iran’s influence – in the world,” he said. “As far as the U.S. is concerned, everything is now focused on ensuring that Iran does not get the three months it needs to finish the guidance systems it requires, with the help of Russia, to deliver weapons-grade nuclear material in the missiles it already has,” he added. A cementing of the U.S. view that “we are not going to change a single word or add a single comma in the current draft [of the new version of the JCPOA] on the table” – as a senior European Union energy source told OilPrice.com last week - came on 9 August with the launch of Iran’s ‘Khayyam’ satellite, built almost entirely by Russia and powered into orbit from the Russia-controlled Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. According to Iran, the satellite will be “used to monitor Iran’s borders and improve the country’s capabilities in management and planning in the fields of agriculture, natural resources, environment, mining, and natural disasters.” According to the U.S., the satellite is to be used for spying on its neighbors. Neither statement is entirely true, although the U.S. did hint at how serious it is when a State Department spokesman said last week of the Khayyam launch: “Russia deepening an alliance with Iran is something that the whole world should look at and see as a profound threat.” What the Khayyam satellite was launched for is to provide the final piece of the missile guidance systems that Russia and Iran have been working on for years – this one relating to improving the accuracy of missiles (by up to 25 percent for short- and medium-range missiles and by up to 70 percent for long-range missiles) according to the Iranian source. During those past few years, Iran has sent several very small (50 kilograms or less) satellites of its own making into orbit, although none of them had the relative operational sophistication of the Russian-made Khayyam satellite (which weighs over half a tonne) launched last week. Prior to the launch of the Khayyam, there were five failed launches in a row for the ‘Simorgh’ program, which involved the same type of array as the Khayyam - a rocket launched that also carries a satellite (Khayyam was launched using a Russian Soyuz-2.1b rocket booster). Attempts by Iran to lunch more larger and more operationally sophisticated satellites – like Khayyam – have previously met with ‘unexplained’ setbacks, including most notably in recent times a massive fire at the Imam Khomeini Spaceport in February 2019 that also killed three key Iranian figures in its ‘satellite’ program.  This latest advance by Iran in its quest to be able to deliver a fully functioning nuclear warhead to anywhere within a few-thousand-mile radius should come as no surprise, given that the same sponsor for North Korea’s nuclear program – China – is the key state sponsor of Iran, as analyzed in depth in my latest book on the global oil markets. After the landmark 25-year deal was struck in August 2019 between Iran and China – a story exclusively broken by me in September 2019, nearly two years before it was officially announced or reported on by anyone else – China (and Russia) gradually and quietly began to increase their cooperation on key elements of Iran’s nuclear weapons development program. In China’s case, the level of intermediation between middle-men connected to it and to North Korea and Iran was stepped up using a triangular system of technology supplies (from China to North Korea via middlemen, and then from North Korea to Iran), and payment principally in oil (from Iran to North Korea, with some also sent from Iran to China directly). Russia had agreed to take a back seat to China in Iran’s nuclear weapons program in the year or two after the 25-year China-Iran deal had actually been made (in August 2019), but shifted back to a front seat position from September 2021 (when it began to activate its plan to invade Ukraine), as China remains wary of overtly challenging the U.S. outside its own perceived area of influence in the Taiwan Strait. Iran and Russia still need “two to three months to finalise its overall missile guidance system,” according to the sources spoken to by OilPrice.com last week, although it already has a vast array of missiles already in place with varying range applications. This leaves the nuclear material itself for the warheads as the third element it needs to line up before it rates as a clear and present nuclear threat. According to the 30 May 2022 report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA): “Due to the growth of Iran’s 60 percent enriched uranium stocks, Iran has crossed a dangerous new threshold: its breakout timeline is now at zero. It has enough 60 percent enriched uranium, or highly enriched uranium [HEU] in the form of uranium hexafluoride [UF6] to be assured it could fashion directly a nuclear explosive. If Iran wanted to further enrich its 60 percent HEU up to 90 percent HEU, typically called weapon-grade uranium [WGU], used in Iran’s known nuclear weapons designs, it could do so within weeks utilizing only a few advanced centrifuge cascades.” Given this, it could be argued that bringing Iran back into the fold of global diplomatic relations by agreeing to a new iteration of the nuclear deal might be the way forward. However, for Washington, it appears that an inflection point has been reached in the Oval Office over the JCPOA in which, as OilPrice.com has been told: “We are not going to change a single word or add a single comma in the current draft [of the new version of the JCPOA] on the table.” The only thing that the U.S. will now accept from Iran is – in essence – the neutering of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which it is seeking to do via Iran signing up to the regulations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and then to becoming a fully-regulated and constantly-monitored FATF member.  With its 40 active criteria and mechanisms in place to prevent money laundering (an activity that is vital to the IRGC’s activities across the world) and nine criteria and mechanisms in place to do the same for the financing of terrorism and related activities (a core of the IRGC’s role in promoting Iran’s brand of Islam around the globe), the FATF has swingeing powers to wield against individuals, companies, or countries who transgress any of its standards and is extremely aggressive in using them by degrees, depending on whether the sanctioned entity is on its ‘grey’ or ‘black’ list. A sure sign of the U.S. has reached the end of the line regarding Iran is that – as of now – even if Iran does sign up to the FATF, Washington will not remove the designation of the IRGC as a ‘Foreign Terrorist Organisation’ (FTO) immediately, as it had promised a while ago, but will keep the damaging designation in place for at least two years, whereupon it will be reviewed, a senior source close to Iran’s Petroleum Ministry told OilPrice.com exclusively last week. “This review,” he concluded, “will also assess whether all Iranian military and intelligence elements of influence have been removed from several countries, including Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, or Iran fails the review anyway.” Tyler Durden Tue, 08/16/2022 - 02:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 16th, 2022

"It"s Time To Fasten Our Seat Belts"

"It's Time To Fasten Our Seat Belts" By Michael Every of Rabobank "It's time for all of us to fasten our seat belts" It’s hard to disagree with the above sentiment from multiple angles. What else is there to do about the ongoing shift from developed to emerging market norms in the West? In society, a famous writer is violently attacked… to shrugs rather than hugs from large parts of literary society; and Twitter --always happy to deplatform people at the drop of a hat-- allows follow-on gloating and death threats to other authors. In politics, was the FBI raid on former President Trump’s home an attack against an opponent to prevent him running in 2024, or does it show that nuclear secrets and lists of spies were left out like take-out menus? Or neither? Or both? Whether the information the FBI found was classified or not, the DOJ says it is about whether Trump should have had possession of it at all. Yet Hillary Clinton’s possession (and destruction) of thousands of similar emails was not deemed criminal, despite carelessness, due to a lack of ‘intent’: will the DOJ show Trump (or his family?) intended to share top-secret information? The smell of banana (skins) is strong in this republic from many sources. In economics, the US may be polarized and hyper-politicised, but can still pass legislation to try to shift industrial supply chains home, and just has. The likely next UK prime minister backs more tax cuts and flag-waving. That said, she also supports the Bank of England (BOE) targeting nominal GDP, not CPI, and pushing Covid debt way down the maturity curve to free up fiscal space. Of course, it is the latter the market objects to. True, the idea won’t work without industrial policy or high tariffs: but even that combo would arguably be rejected by a ‘rational’ Establishment that makes money from the failing status quo: which is very emerging market when you think about it.   Meanwhile, the leader of the British opposition backs a cap on energy bills at around £2,000 per household rather than allowing them to rise past £5,000, approaching 2.5 months of average UK take-home pay, as one study suggests two thirds of the UK, 18m households, will be in fuel poverty. Obviously, such bills are an economic disaster. Yet so is the government subsidising energy, keeping demand up in the face of low supply, and hoping energy will magically get cheaper. What would be good is industrial policy, backed by the BOE, to build more diverse sources of energy supply of all kinds. Just like they don’t in inflation-constrained emerging markets, who instead focus on flag-waving, tax cuts, attacking political opponents, or making money from political office. And don’t think these problems stop in the Anglosphere. Gaze at the wholesale cost of electricity in France and despair. Germany’s falling water levels are not just stopping normal Rhine trade flows, disrupting supply chains, but are exposing “Hungersteine,” or ‘hunger stones’. These messages carved into the rock hundreds of years ago warn, “Wenn du mich seehst, dann weine” – “If you see me, weep.” I know how they feel on many fronts. Developed market central banks now face the kind of awful choice emerging markets face all the time: keep hiking rates, and cause great pain (but win Western approval); or don’t keep hiking rates, and cause different great pain (and lose Western approval). Friday’s US Michigan consumer sentiment survey saw inflation expectations pick up once again in contrast to the carefully-massaged “transitory!” message recent data have showed: 5-10 year CPI expectations rose to 3.0% from 2.9% vs. an expected 2.8%, while the mean expectation rose from 3.4% to 4.0%. But let’s see what central banks do now they are on the spot: back in 2008 they opted to cut rates and bail out the rich (and abandon the middle-class and poor), in complete contrast to what they always told emerging markets to do in a crisis. Also fasten your seatbelt over geopolitics. That was the advice of former Australian Prime Minister Rudd in a Wall Street Journal op-ed worrying about US-China relations, and comes from a politician who speaks fluent Putonghua, and has always tried to accentuate the positive on that global front. The Economist front page this week is even blunter, as is Foreign Affairs. All three media came before a further plane-load of US congressmen and a Senator arrived in Taiwan unannounced to meet the president, just ahead of the US release of plans for deeper trade relations with Taiwan later this week, and as the US navy sails through the Strait of Taiwan again. Is that backdrop really politically conducive to a politically productive Biden-Xi meeting in Asia now apparently set? And what will be said at it if it happens? Elsewhere, Europe and the US continue to negotiate with Iran over the terms of the nuclear deal, with neither able to join the dots back to the attack on a certain writer. Russia --which is deepening ties with North Korea and Iran (whom the West wants to get closer to again)-- warns that if it is designated as a being a state sponsor of terrorism it will mean the complete end of diplomatic relations with the US. OK, enough for a Monday, and especially an August Monday. But do keep that seatbelt on. Tyler Durden Mon, 08/15/2022 - 09:57.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytAug 15th, 2022

Mar-a-Lago raid live updates: The FBI raid at Trump"s Mar-a-Lago serves as a reminder of a "lawless president," Democratic strategist says

Former President Donald Trump confirmed that the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago. Trump was out of state when federal agents raided his property in Florida. Donald Trump answers questions from reporters after making a video call to the troops stationed worldwide at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach Florida, on December 24, 2019.NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images The FBI searched former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home on Monday, sparking a firestorm. Nancy Pelosi said no person is "above the law" after the raid, but Republicans condemned it as politically motivated. Republican lawmakers and right-wing organizations are now using the search to fundraise.  The Mar-a-Lago FBI raid serves as a reminder of a 'lawless president,' a Democratic strategist saysPeople walking outside Mar-a-Lago in March 2017Darren SamuelsohnThe FBI raid on former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home puts Trump at the center of midterm elections debates, ensuring voters will hear about his legal problems from now until November.Republican and right-wing groups are already using the raid for fundraising and calling for defunding the FBI while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pledged to investigate the Justice Department and Attorney General Merrick Garland if Republicans take back the House.As they rally support for Trump, Democrats say the FBI's reported search for classified materials that Trump allegedly brought to his home from the White House will serve as yet another reminder of his scandals and massive legal problems for voters."This raises the stakes in the midterms as people see how dangerous the GOP has become," said Jesse Ferguson, a Democratic strategist. "This isn't about political advantage for one party or the other, it's a reminder of what happens if a lawless President is allowed to take power, aided and abetted by MAGA Republicans in Congress."Read MoreFBI seizes cell phone of Trump ally and Pennsylvania Republican Scott Perry, lawmaker claimsRep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., takes a question from a reporter at a news conference held by the House Freedom Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Aug. 23, 2021.AP Photo/Amanda Andrade-RhoadesA key ally of former President Donald Trump is claiming that federal agents seized his cell phone a day after they executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, though it is not known if the two are connected.In a statement provided to Insider, Rep. Scott Perry, a Republican from Pennsylvania, said that on Tuesday morning, "while traveling with my family, 3 FBI agents visited me and seized my cell phone."Perry denounced the alleged seizure, first reported by Fox News, but did not say what reason the FBI gave him for taking the phone."I'm outraged — though not surprised — that the FBI under the direction of Merrick Garland's DOJ, would seize the phone of a sitting Member of Congress," he stated.KEEP READINGTrump supporters protest FBI raid on a bridge outside Mar-a-Lago: 'It is us against the government'Trump supporters gather on Monday on a bridge leading to Mar-a-Lago.Kimberly Leonard/InsiderFollowing the FBI raid of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence, several dozen Trump supporters gathered Tuesday on a bridge that extends outside the private estate.  Just a small crowd of supporters had gathered as of 2 p.m. Several people who said they were part of Club 45 — an independent Trump-supporting organization — said more people would assemble from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., after people were done working for the day. Traffic was becoming more backed up by 3 p.m. By 5 p.m., about 60 people had gathered on the bridge.Several Trump supporters told Insider they'd heard that Trump would be driving by himself later in the day to get back into Mar-a-Lago and assess his belongings, though a local police officer refuted the rumor to Insider. In interviews, Trump supporters said they thought the FBI raid was politically motivated and would ultimately grow Trump's support, but said they weren't concerned about a civil war. Many repeated false claims that there was widespread fraud during the 2024 election. KEEP READINGHere's what it's like to traverse the members-only grounds of Mar-a-Lago, from a reporter who's been thereInsider DC bureau chief Darren Samuelsohn in March 2017 at Mar-a-Lago, while working as a White House reporter for Politico. Also pictured is the backyard of Donald Trump's private club.Darren SamuelsohnMemories of Mar-a-Lago came flooding back Monday night when the news broke that the FBI had executed a search warrant on Donald Trump's permanent residence.My visits there as a White House reporter for Politico more than five years ago came during the earliest days of Trump's presidency. They gave me an up-close look into all of the controversy and celebrity hoopla that surrounded a man who just months earlier had become the most powerful person on the planet.In all, I made three trips in March 2017 to go inside Trump's exclusive South Florida resort.READ MOREMitch McConnell declined to comment on the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago as conservatives increasingly call out his silenceSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesWith former President Donald Trump fuming over an FBI raid of his Mar-a-Lago residence, the American people have yet to receive comment from the most powerful elected Republican in Washington: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.McConnell has yet to issue a statement on Monday's raid, and he dodged a question about it at a Tuesday press conference related to flooding in Eastern Kentucky."I'm here today to talk about the flood and the recovery from the flood," he said when asked for his reaction to the raid. READ MOREWhat's in Trump's search warrant? A grab-bag of potential federal charges, a longtime DOJ prosecutor predictedMar-a-Lago one day after the FBI raid.Kimberly Leonard/InsiderThe feds knew they had only one chance to search Mar-a-Lago — so they carried a big net, Gene Rossi, for three decades a federal prosecutor out of northern Virginia, predicted.The search warrant that got them inside the waterfront Palm Beach estate of former President Donald Trump may have only been one-page long — but the warrant would have authorized FBI agents to seize evidence related to multiple federal statutes, Rossi said."I would be shocked," Rossi told Insider if the search warrant did not list the federal statutes for insurrection, for sedition, and for obstruction — three charges Trump could potentially face for alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021 siege on the Capitol.Keep ReadingRepublicans revive false claim that DOJ called parents 'terrorists' after Mar-a-Lago raidRep. Jim Jordan, a Republican from OhioKevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesRepublicans who are furious with the FBI after the agency's search of former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence are reviving a false talking point that pits the Department of Justice against parents.Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin called the raid "stunning" in a tweet and said, "This same DOJ labeled parents in Loudoun County as terrorists."On Fox News, Rep. Jim Jordan, the House Judiciary Committee's highest-ranking Republican, made a similar claim about Attorney General Merrick Garland.Since last year, Republicans hoping to use culture wars to boost their chances in the midterm elections have said that the Biden administration and Democrats have branded parents who protest at school board meetings as domestic terrorists.Read Full StoryMar-a-Lago raid prompts elected Republicans to openly acknowledge that Trump will likely run for president againWhile Republicans slam the FBI's raid of Mar-a-Lago, many are also finally admitting in public that Trump is likely to run for president again in 2024.Trump has hinted at the prospect for months now, leaving Republicans reluctant to comment or speculate on the matter. "President Trump is likely going to run again in 2024," Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, wrote on Twitter."Joe Biden is trying to use the FBI to subdue his top political opponent because they are afraid of him running in 2024," Republican Rep. Diana Harshbarger wrote on Twitter. Read Full StoryPence defends Trump and expresses 'deep concern' over FBI's Mar-a-Lago raidThen-President Donald Trump shakes then-Vice President Mike Pence's hand after a 2019 rally.Zach Gibson/Getty ImagesFormer Vice President Mike Pence defended Donald Trump after FBI agents raided Mar-a-Lago."I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump," Pence wrote on Twitter.He continued: "After years where FBI agents were found to be acting on political motivation during our administration, the appearance of continued partisanship by the Justice Department must be addressed."Read Full StoryTrump nominated the FBI Director who led Mar-A-Lago search: 'He will make us all proud'Former President Donald Trump nominated Christoper Wray for FBI Director in 2017.Brandon Bell/Getty Images, MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty ImagesChristopher Wray, the FBI director who authorized the Mar-a-Lago search was picked for the gig by then-President Donald Trump in 2017.Trump, at the time, called Wray a man of "impeccable credentials.""We will have a great FBI director. I think he's doing really well and we're very proud of that choice. I think I've done a great service to the country by choosing him," Trump said in a speech during a 2017 visit to France. "He will make us all proud, and I think someday we'll see that and hopefully someday soon."Now, Wray is feeling pressure from GOP lawmakers in the wake of Monday's raid. Read Full StoryRepublicans are fundraising off the FBI's raid of Trump's 'beautiful Florida home' at Mar-a-LagoShortly after the FBI searched former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, Republicans and right-wing groups used the opportunity to boost political fundraising efforts.A volley of emails from GOP lawmakers, political action groups, and other organizations denounced the FBI's search warrant and slammed the Biden administration."Biden's FBI raided President Trump's beautiful Florida home," the Republican National Committee wrote in a fundraising email, adding that "it's hard to believe it but it's true." Read Full StoryLindsey Graham says 'nobody's above the law' after FBI raid, but added that he's 'suspicious' of the investigationSen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).Ting Shen - Pool/Getty ImagesSouth Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham voiced a balanced reaction in response to the FBI's search warrant of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home compared to some of his colleagues."We're a nation of laws. Nobody's above the law. That's for darn sure," the Republican told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. The Trump ally said, however, that he's "suspicious" of the Justice Department's investigation and called it "dangerous territory." Read Full StoryEx-RNC chairman calls Marjorie Taylor Greene a 'shitforbrains' Republican for demanding the FBI be defundedRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from GeorgiaDrew Angerer/Getty ImagesMichael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, slammed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia for saying the FBI should be defunded. After the FBI searched former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, Greene tweeted "DEFUND THE FBI!"Steele quoted her tweet and said: "Trump failed to return classified docs requested by the National Archives. A federal judge issued a search warrant for probable cause of a crime. This is not some rando move by the FBI so you shitforbrains Republicans calling for 'defunding the FBI' for once try to be less stupid."Read Full StoryTrump family members react to FBI search, calling it 'political persecution'Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesMembers of the Trump family took to Twitter and Fox News to voice their response to the FBI's search of former president Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home."Biden's out of control DOJ is ripping this country apart with how they're openly targeting their political enemies," Donald Trump Jr. wrote. "This is what you see happen in 3rd World Banana Republics!!!"Eric Trump told Fox News on Monday night that he was the "guy who got the call," that the FBI was executing a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, calling it "political persecution.""Every day, we get another subpoena," he said. Read Full StoryA dozen House Republicans plan to dine with Trump in Bedminster on TuesdayFormer President Donald Trump is hosting a dozen of the most conservative House Republicans at his New Jersey golf club Tuesday night for a dinner meeting.Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Banks is reportedly leading the group, set to meet just one day after the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago.Read Full StoryTrump talked about his 'strange day' while calling into a tele-rally for Sarah Palin hours after the FBI raidFormer President Donald Trump campaigns for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at a rally in Anchorage, Alaska on July 9, 2022.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesAfter the raid on his Mar-a-Lago residence, former president Donald Trump called into a tele-rally for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — a long-time political ally who is now seeking an open House seat in the state's August 16 special election."Another day in paradise. This is a strange day. You probably all read about it," Trump said during a roughly 15-minute call, according to the Anchorage Daily News.Palin thanked Trump for checking in, despite the news of the raid.  Read Full StoryPelosi says FBI raid on Trump was a major step and that 'no person is above the law'—TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 9, 2022House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home as a major step, and said that not even a former president is "above the law."She is the highest-ranking Democrat to comment on the search, which took place on Monday.Pelosi was interviewed about the Monday raid on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday, where she was asked by host Savannah Guthrie if the search struck her as a "pretty serious step" for the Department of Justice to take.Pelosi replied: "Yes I think it does."She said later in the interview that Democrats "believe in the rule of law, and that's what our country is about and no person is above the law, not even the president of the United States, not even a former president of the United States."Read Full StoryMichael Cohen was jubilant after the FBI searched Trump's home, says he is finally being 'held accountable'Michael Cohen in July 2018 in New York City.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesMichael Cohen, Donald Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, posted a celebratory video after FBI agents conducted a search of the ex-president's property in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. As news broke of the raid Cohen posted a selfie of himself grinning on Twitter, and in a video later posted on TikTok spelled out what he thinks the development could mean for his former boss."I can promise you only one thing, that whatever information that it is that they took from him, it's information he didn't want exposed," he said.He said Trump would frequently stash away compromising information in places he thought it was "impervious." "Let's just all rejoice the fact that this man who has avoided, legitimately avoided, any responsibility for anything is now going to be held accountable," said Cohen. "And it goes right back to the democratic adage 'no one is above the law.'"Read Full StoryMary Trump says her uncle is panicked by FBI raid and never believed the DOJ would take actionMary Trump speaking on MSNBC on August 8, 2022MSNBCThe niece of former President Donald Trump, Mary Trump, said that he is in "panic" after the FBI raided his home in Florida late on Monday. Trump "may have been told it was coming," but he would not have believed that the FBI would actually do it, Mary Trump told MSNBC on Monday.She has for years been a vocal critic of her uncle, who has attacked her in turn.Mary said that the raid would have been "a bit of a shock" to Trump, citing what she, a psychologist, called his "narcissism and sense of entitlement.""He may have known, been told it was coming, but he could not possibly believe it was coming, because it never has. So I think that's where that panic is coming from."Read Full StoryKevin McCarthy threatens to investigate DOJ over Trump FBI raid if Republicans retake the HouseHouse Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesHouse Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatened to investigate the DOJ and Attorney General Merrick Garland, using powers the Republican Party would gain if it retakes the House in November.In a statement Tuesday, McCarthy denounced the search conducted by FBI agents in Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort."I've seen enough. The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization," McCarthy said in a statement."When Republicans take back the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts, and leave no stone unturned.""Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar," McCarthy said.Read Full StoryA law forbidding presidents from destroying or mishandling records could be why FBI agents searched Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago homePolice direct traffic outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida.AP Photo/Terry RennaThe FBI search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort appears to be over material that Trump brought back to Florida after leaving the White House.The search appears to be over material that Trump brought back to Florida after leaving the White House. That decision spurred a federal investigation, and likely the search on Monday, linked to the Presidential Records Act.Under the act, presidential records are public property and presidents are obliged to store them properly, and not to destroy them.Read Full StoryThese GOP lawmakers say they're pro law-enforcement but voted against giving congressional medals to police. Now they're excoriating the FBI on Trump's behalf.Former President Donald Trump and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene at the LIV Golf Invitational on July 30, 2022.Jared C. Tilton/LIV Golf via Getty ImagesIn June 2021, 21 Republican lawmakers stood in opposition to legislation that would have awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to police officers who risked their lives at the Capitol during the January 6 riot.On Monday, a number of these GOP lawmakers joined a chorus of voices asking for the FBI to be destroyed and defunded for executing a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. Here's what these lawmakers said about the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago — and how it contrasts with their pro-law enforcement stance. READ MORERepublicans rail against the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, calling for the FBI to be destroyed and defundedRepublican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona were among several Republican lawmakers calling for the FBI to be destroyed or defunded.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesThe far-right faction of the Republican party is up in arms about the Federal Bureau of Investigation's search of Mar-a-Lago, calling for the agency to be defunded and destroyed. Trump ally and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was one of the first to tweet her disapproval of the search, posting on Twitter: "DEFUND THE FBI!"Colorado lawmaker Lauren Boebert tweeted that she wanted the GOP to "set up a Select Committee to investigate the FBI's politically-motivated raid on Mar-a-Lago and on ALL the fraudulent persecution of President Trump from our government."House Republicans' calls to defund and destroy a law enforcement organization stands in contrast to legislation their party introduced in May 2021 to "back the blue" in opposition to a progressive push to defund the police. As recently as May 2022, top-ranking Republicans like Rep. Elise Stefanik were still pushing the "back the blue" slogan — something that both Greene and Boebert have themselves staunchly supported.READ MORELawyers received instructions to secure Trump's document room months before the FBI search at Mar-a-LagoFormer President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally on April 2, 2022, near Washington, Michigan.Scott Olson/Getty ImagesMonths before the raid on his Mar-a-Lago residence, former President Donald Trump's lawyers recieved instructions to "secure the room" in which he stored his documents, sources told CNN.The sources told CNN Trump aides added a padlock to his basement after investigators met with his lawyers at the Florida resort.Read MoreEric Trump says he was the 'guy who got the call' that the FBI was executing a search warrant at Mar-a-LagoEric Trump said on Monday night that he was the one who informed his father Mar-a-Lago was being searched.Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesTrump — speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity — said he was "the guy that got the call this morning." "I called my father and let him know that it happened," Trump said. "So I was involved in this all day." After the search, Eric Trump complained to Hannity that he thought there is "no family in American history that has taken more arrows in the back than the Trump family." "Every day, we get another subpoena," Trump said. "That's what this is about today, to have 30 FBI agents — actually, more than that —descend on Mar-a-Lago give absolutely, you know, no notice. Go through the gate, start ransacking an office, ransacking a closet. You know, they broke into a safe. He didn't even have anything in the safe. I mean, give me a break." READ FULL STORYFeds likely obtained 'pulverizing' amount of evidence ahead of searching Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, legal experts sayFormer President Donald Trump speaks at a "Save America" rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on August 5, 2022.AP Photo/Morry GashFor months, as new details emerged about the end of the Trump administration, the Justice Department confronted criticism over its slow, cautious approach to investigating the former president.Again and again, Attorney General Merrick Garland met that criticism with what has almost become his personal mantra: The Justice Department, he says, will follow the "facts and the law."On Monday, the facts and the law led FBI agents to former President Donald Trump's home.Read Full StoryTrump's 2024 rivals are swooping in to support him, claiming the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago is politically-motivatedFlorida Gov. Ron DeSantis — largely thought of to be one of Trump's key rivals for the GOP presidential ticket in 2024 — tweeted in support of the former president.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesTrump's potential rivals for a 2024 ticket quickly came to his defense on Monday night after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, widely thought of to be one of Trump's key rivals in a 2024 GOP primary, tweeted his support for the former president around an hour after Trump's statement about the FBI search dropped on Truth Social. "The raid of MAL is another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the Regime's political opponents, while people like Hunter Biden get treated with kid gloves," DeSantis tweeted, adding that he thought the US was becoming a "banana republic."DeSantis was referencing an ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden's finances. Biden has not been charged with a crime and denies any wrongdoing.READ FULL STORYTrump supporters protest the execution of a search warrant against the former president outside Mar-a-Lago and FBI headquartersSupporters of former President Donald Trump hold flags in front of his home at Mar-A-Lago on August 8, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. The FBI raided the home to retrieve classified White House documents.Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty ImagesAfter the FBI executed a search warrant on Donald Trump's residence at Mar-a-Lago on Monday, supporters of the former president gathered outside the Florida resort and FBI headquarters to protest.Though it was initially unclear which of several pending investigations into the former president the warrant was related to, ABC News cited sources saying it was in connection to 15 boxes of potentially classified documents Trump took with him from the White House to Mar-a-Lago at the end of his presidency. Read Full StoryTrump was perched in Trump Tower as he decried 'unauthorized raid on my home' at Mar-a-Lago resort: CNNTrump Tower in ManhattanSpencer Platt / Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump was in the comfort of his Trump Tower in New York City as federal agents executed a search warrant on his home in Mar-A-Lago, Florida, according to CNN reporter Kaitlin Collins.The search warrant was carried out in the early hours of Monday morning and was first reported by Florida Politics. Trump confirmed the search warrant in a statement, calling it an "unauthorized raid on my home.""Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before," his statement said. "After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate."Read Full StoryThe Biden White House was unaware that the FBI was going to search Trump's Mar-a-Lago home until the former president announced it on social mediaFormer President Donald Trump speaks to the press at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on November 22, 2018.Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty ImagesThe Biden White House was unaware that the FBI was going to search former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, White House officials said.The former president accused the bureau of prosecutorial misconduct in a statement and suggested the search was part of a politically motivated plot to stop him from running for president in 2024.A senior White House official told CBS News' Ed O'Keefe that the Biden administration wasn't made aware of the search warrant until Trump released his statement about it."No advance knowledge," the official said. "Some learned from old media, some from social media."Read Full StoryDonald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home was searched by the FBI. Take a look inside his exclusive resort that the public never sees.Donald Trump outside the entrance of Mar-a-Lago on December 21, 2016.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty ImagesDuring former President Donald Trump's time in the White House, his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach presidency exclusive resort was often referred to as "the winter White House."Now, it's just his house.Following the end of his presidential term, Trump decamped to the ornate resort. Mar-a-Lago has hosted a number of high-powered visitors over the years, as it has seemingly always served as the Trump family's gilded weekend getaway. Mar-a-Lago has served as a lavish backdrop to host important dignitaries with its elaborately decorated halls. It was built to impress.Case in point: the property was closed for 57 days amid the coronavirus pandemic after visitors like the press secretary to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Brazil's Chargé d'Affaires Ambassador Nestor Forster tested positive for the coronavirus in March.Here's a look inside the sprawling complex, which was built in the early 20th century, where the Trumps have hosted opulent holiday parties and watched Super Bowls alongside members of the exclusive private club.Read MoreTrump says FBI accessed his safe during raid at Mar-a-Lago: 'They even broke into my safe!'Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Hilton Anatole on August 06, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. CPAC began in 1974, and is a conference that brings together and hosts conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders in discussing current events and future political agendas.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump said the FBI went through his safe when they executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago on Monday. "They even broke into my safe!" Trump said in a Monday statement confirming the search.Read Full StoryThe FBI executed a search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago homeRepublican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump speaks to the media at the Mar-A-Lago Club on March 1, 2016 in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump held the press conference after the closing of Super Tuesday polls in a dozen statesJohn Moore/Getty ImagesFederal agents descended on former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago property in Florida on Monday, Trump announced in a statement.The former president denounced the raid as politically motivated, although he himself appointed the FBI's director, Christopher Wray.Read Full StoryRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 9th, 2022

Mar-a-Lago raid live updates: Trump"s search warrant could be a grab-bag of potential federal charges, a longtime DOJ prosecutor predicts

Former President Donald Trump confirmed that the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago. Trump was out of state when federal agents raided his property in Florida. Donald Trump answers questions from reporters after making a video call to the troops stationed worldwide at the Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach Florida, on December 24, 2019.NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images The FBI searched former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home on Monday, sparking a firestorm. Nancy Pelosi said no person is "above the law" after the raid, but Republicans condemned it as politically motivated. Republican lawmakers and right-wing organizations are now using the search to fundraise.  What's in Trump's search warrant? A grab-bag of potential federal charges, a longtime DOJ prosecutor predictedMar-a-Lago one day after the FBI raid.Kimberly Leonard/InsiderThe feds knew they had only one chance to search Mar-a-Lago — so they carried a big net, Gene Rossi, for three decades a federal prosecutor out of northern Virginia, predicted.The search warrant that got them inside the waterfront Palm Beach estate of former President Donald Trump may have only been one-page long — but the warrant would have authorized FBI agents to seize evidence related to multiple federal statutes, Rossi said."I would be shocked," Rossi told Insider if the search warrant did not list the federal statutes for insurrection, for sedition, and for obstruction — three charges Trump could potentially face for alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021 siege on the Capitol.Keep ReadingRepublicans revive false claim that DOJ called parents 'terrorists' after Mar-a-Lago raidRep. Jim Jordan, a Republican from OhioKevin Dietsch/Getty ImagesRepublicans who are furious with the FBI after the agency's search of former President Trump's Mar-a-Lago residence are reviving a false talking point that pits the Department of Justice against parents.Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin called the raid "stunning" in a tweet and said, "This same DOJ labeled parents in Loudoun County as terrorists."On Fox News, Rep. Jim Jordan, the House Judiciary Committee's highest-ranking Republican, made a similar claim about Attorney General Merrick Garland.Since last year, Republicans hoping to use culture wars to boost their chances in the midterm elections have said that the Biden administration and Democrats have branded parents who protest at school board meetings as domestic terrorists.Read Full StoryMar-a-Lago raid prompts elected Republicans to openly acknowledge that Trump will likely run for president againWhile Republicans slam the FBI's raid of Mar-a-Lago, many are also finally admitting in public that Trump is likely to run for president again in 2024.Trump has hinted at the prospect for months now, leaving Republicans reluctant to comment or speculate on the matter. "President Trump is likely going to run again in 2024," Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close Trump ally, wrote on Twitter."Joe Biden is trying to use the FBI to subdue his top political opponent because they are afraid of him running in 2024," Republican Rep. Diana Harshbarger wrote on Twitter. Read Full StoryPence defends Trump and expresses 'deep concern' over FBI's Mar-a-Lago raidThen-President Donald Trump shakes then-Vice President Mike Pence's hand after a 2019 rally.Zach Gibson/Getty ImagesFormer Vice President Mike Pence defended Donald Trump after FBI agents raided Mar-a-Lago."I share the deep concern of millions of Americans over the unprecedented search of the personal residence of President Trump," Pence wrote on Twitter.He continued: "After years where FBI agents were found to be acting on political motivation during our administration, the appearance of continued partisanship by the Justice Department must be addressed."Read Full StoryTrump nominated the FBI Director who led Mar-A-Lago search: 'He will make us all proud'Former President Donald Trump nominated Christoper Wray for FBI Director in 2017.Brandon Bell/Getty Images, MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty ImagesChristopher Wray, the FBI director who authorized the Mar-a-Lago search was picked for the gig by then-President Donald Trump in 2017.Trump, at the time, called Wray a man of "impeccable credentials.""We will have a great FBI director. I think he's doing really well and we're very proud of that choice. I think I've done a great service to the country by choosing him," Trump said in a speech during a 2017 visit to France. "He will make us all proud, and I think someday we'll see that and hopefully someday soon."Now, Wray is feeling pressure from GOP lawmakers in the wake of Monday's raid. Read Full StoryRepublicans are fundraising off the FBI's raid of Trump's 'beautiful Florida home' at Mar-a-LagoShortly after the FBI searched former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, Republicans and right-wing groups used the opportunity to boost political fundraising efforts.A volley of emails from GOP lawmakers, political action groups, and other organizations denounced the FBI's search warrant and slammed the Biden administration."Biden's FBI raided President Trump's beautiful Florida home," the Republican National Committee wrote in a fundraising email, adding that "it's hard to believe it but it's true." Read Full StoryLindsey Graham says 'nobody's above the law' after FBI raid, but added that he's 'suspicious' of the investigationSen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC).Ting Shen - Pool/Getty ImagesSouth Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham voiced a balanced reaction in response to the FBI's search warrant of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home compared to some of his colleagues."We're a nation of laws. Nobody's above the law. That's for darn sure," the Republican told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. The Trump ally said, however, that he's "suspicious" of the Justice Department's investigation and called it "dangerous territory." Read Full StoryEx-RNC chairman calls Marjorie Taylor Greene a 'shitforbrains' Republican for demanding the FBI be defundedRep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican from GeorgiaDrew Angerer/Getty ImagesMichael Steele, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, slammed Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia for saying the FBI should be defunded. After the FBI searched former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, Greene tweeted "DEFUND THE FBI!"Steele quoted her tweet and said: "Trump failed to return classified docs requested by the National Archives. A federal judge issued a search warrant for probable cause of a crime. This is not some rando move by the FBI so you shitforbrains Republicans calling for 'defunding the FBI' for once try to be less stupid."Read Full StoryTrump family members react to FBI search, calling it 'political persecution'Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesMembers of the Trump family took to Twitter and Fox News to voice their response to the FBI's search of former president Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home."Biden's out of control DOJ is ripping this country apart with how they're openly targeting their political enemies," Donald Trump Jr. wrote. "This is what you see happen in 3rd World Banana Republics!!!"Eric Trump told Fox News on Monday night that he was the "guy who got the call," that the FBI was executing a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago, calling it "political persecution.""Every day, we get another subpoena," he said. Read Full StoryA dozen House Republicans plan to dine with Trump in Bedminster on TuesdayFormer President Donald Trump is hosting a dozen of the most conservative House Republicans at his New Jersey golf club Tuesday night for a dinner meeting.Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Banks is reportedly leading the group, set to meet just one day after the FBI raided Mar-a-Lago.Read Full StoryTrump talked about his 'strange day' while calling into a tele-rally for Sarah Palin hours after the FBI raidFormer President Donald Trump campaigns for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at a rally in Anchorage, Alaska on July 9, 2022.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesAfter the raid on his Mar-a-Lago residence, former president Donald Trump called into a tele-rally for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — a long-time political ally who is now seeking an open House seat in the state's August 16 special election."Another day in paradise. This is a strange day. You probably all read about it," Trump said during a roughly 15-minute call, according to the Anchorage Daily News.Palin thanked Trump for checking in, despite the news of the raid.  Read Full StoryPelosi says FBI raid on Trump was a major step and that 'no person is above the law'—TODAY (@TODAYshow) August 9, 2022House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described the FBI raid on former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home as a major step, and said that not even a former president is "above the law."She is the highest-ranking Democrat to comment on the search, which took place on Monday.Pelosi was interviewed about the Monday raid on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday, where she was asked by host Savannah Guthrie if the search struck her as a "pretty serious step" for the Department of Justice to take.Pelosi replied: "Yes I think it does."She said later in the interview that Democrats "believe in the rule of law, and that's what our country is about and no person is above the law, not even the president of the United States, not even a former president of the United States."Read Full StoryMichael Cohen was jubilant after the FBI searched Trump's home, says he is finally being 'held accountable'Michael Cohen in July 2018 in New York City.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesMichael Cohen, Donald Trump's former personal attorney and fixer, posted a celebratory video after FBI agents conducted a search of the ex-president's property in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. As news broke of the raid Cohen posted a selfie of himself grinning on Twitter, and in a video later posted on TikTok spelled out what he thinks the development could mean for his former boss."I can promise you only one thing, that whatever information that it is that they took from him, it's information he didn't want exposed," he said.He said Trump would frequently stash away compromising information in places he thought it was "impervious." "Let's just all rejoice the fact that this man who has avoided, legitimately avoided, any responsibility for anything is now going to be held accountable," said Cohen. "And it goes right back to the democratic adage 'no one is above the law.'"Read Full StoryMary Trump says her uncle is panicked by FBI raid and never believed the DOJ would take actionMary Trump speaking on MSNBC on August 8, 2022MSNBCThe niece of former President Donald Trump, Mary Trump, said that he is in "panic" after the FBI raided his home in Florida late on Monday. Trump "may have been told it was coming," but he would not have believed that the FBI would actually do it, Mary Trump told MSNBC on Monday.She has for years been a vocal critic of her uncle, who has attacked her in turn.Mary said that the raid would have been "a bit of a shock" to Trump, citing what she, a psychologist, called his "narcissism and sense of entitlement.""He may have known, been told it was coming, but he could not possibly believe it was coming, because it never has. So I think that's where that panic is coming from."Read Full StoryKevin McCarthy threatens to investigate DOJ over Trump FBI raid if Republicans retake the HouseHouse Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesHouse Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatened to investigate the DOJ and Attorney General Merrick Garland, using powers the Republican Party would gain if it retakes the House in November.In a statement Tuesday, McCarthy denounced the search conducted by FBI agents in Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort."I've seen enough. The Department of Justice has reached an intolerable state of weaponized politicization," McCarthy said in a statement."When Republicans take back the House, we will conduct immediate oversight of this department, follow the facts, and leave no stone unturned.""Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar," McCarthy said.Read Full StoryA law forbidding presidents from destroying or mishandling records could be why FBI agents searched Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago homePolice direct traffic outside an entrance to former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate, Monday, Aug. 8, 2022, in Palm Beach, Florida.AP Photo/Terry RennaThe FBI search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort appears to be over material that Trump brought back to Florida after leaving the White House.The search appears to be over material that Trump brought back to Florida after leaving the White House. That decision spurred a federal investigation, and likely the search on Monday, linked to the Presidential Records Act.Under the act, presidential records are public property and presidents are obliged to store them properly, and not to destroy them.Read Full StoryThese GOP lawmakers say they're pro law-enforcement but voted against giving congressional medals to police. Now they're excoriating the FBI on Trump's behalf.Former President Donald Trump and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene at the LIV Golf Invitational on July 30, 2022.Jared C. Tilton/LIV Golf via Getty ImagesIn June 2021, 21 Republican lawmakers stood in opposition to legislation that would have awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to police officers who risked their lives at the Capitol during the January 6 riot.On Monday, a number of these GOP lawmakers joined a chorus of voices asking for the FBI to be destroyed and defunded for executing a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. Here's what these lawmakers said about the FBI's search of Mar-a-Lago — and how it contrasts with their pro-law enforcement stance. READ MORERepublicans rail against the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago, calling for the FBI to be destroyed and defundedRepublican Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona were among several Republican lawmakers calling for the FBI to be destroyed or defunded.Anna Moneymaker/Getty ImagesThe far-right faction of the Republican party is up in arms about the Federal Bureau of Investigation's search of Mar-a-Lago, calling for the agency to be defunded and destroyed. Trump ally and Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene was one of the first to tweet her disapproval of the search, posting on Twitter: "DEFUND THE FBI!"Colorado lawmaker Lauren Boebert tweeted that she wanted the GOP to "set up a Select Committee to investigate the FBI's politically-motivated raid on Mar-a-Lago and on ALL the fraudulent persecution of President Trump from our government."House Republicans' calls to defund and destroy a law enforcement organization stands in contrast to legislation their party introduced in May 2021 to "back the blue" in opposition to a progressive push to defund the police. As recently as May 2022, top-ranking Republicans like Rep. Elise Stefanik were still pushing the "back the blue" slogan — something that both Greene and Boebert have themselves staunchly supported.READ MORELawyers received instructions to secure Trump's document room months before the FBI search at Mar-a-LagoFormer President Donald Trump speaks to supporters at a rally on April 2, 2022, near Washington, Michigan.Scott Olson/Getty ImagesMonths before the raid on his Mar-a-Lago residence, former President Donald Trump's lawyers recieved instructions to "secure the room" in which he stored his documents, sources told CNN.The sources told CNN Trump aides added a padlock to his basement after investigators met with his lawyers at the Florida resort.Read MoreEric Trump says he was the 'guy who got the call' that the FBI was executing a search warrant at Mar-a-LagoEric Trump said on Monday night that he was the one who informed his father Mar-a-Lago was being searched.Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesTrump — speaking to Fox News host Sean Hannity — said he was "the guy that got the call this morning." "I called my father and let him know that it happened," Trump said. "So I was involved in this all day." After the search, Eric Trump complained to Hannity that he thought there is "no family in American history that has taken more arrows in the back than the Trump family." "Every day, we get another subpoena," Trump said. "That's what this is about today, to have 30 FBI agents — actually, more than that —descend on Mar-a-Lago give absolutely, you know, no notice. Go through the gate, start ransacking an office, ransacking a closet. You know, they broke into a safe. He didn't even have anything in the safe. I mean, give me a break." READ FULL STORYFeds likely obtained 'pulverizing' amount of evidence ahead of searching Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, legal experts sayFormer President Donald Trump speaks at a "Save America" rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on August 5, 2022.AP Photo/Morry GashFor months, as new details emerged about the end of the Trump administration, the Justice Department confronted criticism over its slow, cautious approach to investigating the former president.Again and again, Attorney General Merrick Garland met that criticism with what has almost become his personal mantra: The Justice Department, he says, will follow the "facts and the law."On Monday, the facts and the law led FBI agents to former President Donald Trump's home.Read Full StoryTrump's 2024 rivals are swooping in to support him, claiming the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago is politically-motivatedFlorida Gov. Ron DeSantis — largely thought of to be one of Trump's key rivals for the GOP presidential ticket in 2024 — tweeted in support of the former president.Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesTrump's potential rivals for a 2024 ticket quickly came to his defense on Monday night after the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, widely thought of to be one of Trump's key rivals in a 2024 GOP primary, tweeted his support for the former president around an hour after Trump's statement about the FBI search dropped on Truth Social. "The raid of MAL is another escalation in the weaponization of federal agencies against the Regime's political opponents, while people like Hunter Biden get treated with kid gloves," DeSantis tweeted, adding that he thought the US was becoming a "banana republic."DeSantis was referencing an ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden's finances. Biden has not been charged with a crime and denies any wrongdoing.READ FULL STORYTrump supporters protest the execution of a search warrant against the former president outside Mar-a-Lago and FBI headquartersSupporters of former President Donald Trump hold flags in front of his home at Mar-A-Lago on August 8, 2022 in Palm Beach, Florida. The FBI raided the home to retrieve classified White House documents.Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty ImagesAfter the FBI executed a search warrant on Donald Trump's residence at Mar-a-Lago on Monday, supporters of the former president gathered outside the Florida resort and FBI headquarters to protest.Though it was initially unclear which of several pending investigations into the former president the warrant was related to, ABC News cited sources saying it was in connection to 15 boxes of potentially classified documents Trump took with him from the White House to Mar-a-Lago at the end of his presidency. Read Full StoryTrump was perched in Trump Tower as he decried 'unauthorized raid on my home' at Mar-a-Lago resort: CNNTrump Tower in ManhattanSpencer Platt / Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump was in the comfort of his Trump Tower in New York City as federal agents executed a search warrant on his home in Mar-A-Lago, Florida, according to CNN reporter Kaitlin Collins.The search warrant was carried out in the early hours of Monday morning and was first reported by Florida Politics. Trump confirmed the search warrant in a statement, calling it an "unauthorized raid on my home.""Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before," his statement said. "After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate."Read Full StoryThe Biden White House was unaware that the FBI was going to search Trump's Mar-a-Lago home until the former president announced it on social mediaFormer President Donald Trump speaks to the press at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, on November 22, 2018.Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty ImagesThe Biden White House was unaware that the FBI was going to search former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home, White House officials said.The former president accused the bureau of prosecutorial misconduct in a statement and suggested the search was part of a politically motivated plot to stop him from running for president in 2024.A senior White House official told CBS News' Ed O'Keefe that the Biden administration wasn't made aware of the search warrant until Trump released his statement about it."No advance knowledge," the official said. "Some learned from old media, some from social media."Read Full StoryDonald Trump's Mar-a-Lago home was searched by the FBI. Take a look inside his exclusive resort that the public never sees.Donald Trump outside the entrance of Mar-a-Lago on December 21, 2016.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty ImagesDuring former President Donald Trump's time in the White House, his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach presidency exclusive resort was often referred to as "the winter White House."Now, it's just his house.Following the end of his presidential term, Trump decamped to the ornate resort. Mar-a-Lago has hosted a number of high-powered visitors over the years, as it has seemingly always served as the Trump family's gilded weekend getaway. Mar-a-Lago has served as a lavish backdrop to host important dignitaries with its elaborately decorated halls. It was built to impress.Case in point: the property was closed for 57 days amid the coronavirus pandemic after visitors like the press secretary to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Brazil's Chargé d'Affaires Ambassador Nestor Forster tested positive for the coronavirus in March.Here's a look inside the sprawling complex, which was built in the early 20th century, where the Trumps have hosted opulent holiday parties and watched Super Bowls alongside members of the exclusive private club.Read MoreTrump says FBI accessed his safe during raid at Mar-a-Lago: 'They even broke into my safe!'Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Hilton Anatole on August 06, 2022 in Dallas, Texas. CPAC began in 1974, and is a conference that brings together and hosts conservative organizations, activists, and world leaders in discussing current events and future political agendas.Brandon Bell/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump said the FBI went through his safe when they executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago on Monday. "They even broke into my safe!" Trump said in a Monday statement confirming the search.Read Full StoryThe FBI executed a search warrant at Trump's Mar-a-Lago homeRepublican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump speaks to the media at the Mar-A-Lago Club on March 1, 2016 in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump held the press conference after the closing of Super Tuesday polls in a dozen statesJohn Moore/Getty ImagesFederal agents descended on former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago property in Florida on Monday, Trump announced in a statement.The former president denounced the raid as politically motivated, although he himself appointed the FBI's director, Christopher Wray.Read Full StoryRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytAug 9th, 2022