Thursday 19th of May 2022

the moral obligation is to help russia eliminate the fascists from ukraine…….

A US plan to provide nearly $40 billion in additional military and economic aid to Ukraine amid its conflict with Russia has hit a speed bump, with Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) blocking a quick vote to approve the funding bill and likely delaying passage to at least next week.

Paul stood in the way on Thursday by objecting to a request by Senate leaders to approve “unanimous consent,” a provision that allows bills with strong bipartisan support to be fast-tracked without debate. The former presidential candidate said he would only allow for a quick vote if the bill was revised to include the appointment of a special inspector general to monitor how the massive aid package is spent – a demand that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) refused to meet.

Schumer claimed that Washington had a “moral obligation” to help Ukraine in its fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “immoral war.” He said Paul’s oversight provision was strongly opposed by Democrats and Republicans alike.

There is now only one thing holding us back: The junior senator from Kentucky is preventing swift passage of Ukraine aid because he wants to add, at the last minute, his own changes directly into the bill,” the majority leader said. He added, “All he will accomplish is to singlehandedly delay desperately needed Ukraine aid.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) also pressed for an immediate vote on the bill, which passed overwhelmingly in the House on Wednesday. He called for Paul’s revision to be voted on as an amendment, which would likely fail, clearing the way for passage of the aid package.

Paul insisted that his proposal be added to the bill, which would require that the revised legislation go back to the House for another vote after Senate approval. He noted that the latest package would bring total US aid to Ukraine to $60 billion since the conflict began in February, nearly as much as Russia earmarks annually for its entire defense budget.

The senator argued that the US would be funding Ukraine’s war effort with borrowed money, adding to America’s $30 trillion debt and worsening its inflation crisis. “Americans are feeling the pain, and Congress seems intent on only adding to that pain by shoving more money out the door as fast as they can,” Paul said.

 

READ MORE:

https://www.rt.com/news/555397-us-ukraine-aid-package-delayed/

 

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thieves in the US jungle……..

When proposing a budget-busting $33 billion for Ukraine, President Joe Biden indicated his desire to confiscate Russian assets and send the money to Kiev. It’s an extremely bad idea, one which would undermine America’s rule of law while impeding peace between Russia and Ukraine.

The administration offered a plan to combat sanctions evasion and “streamline the process for seizure of oligarch assets, expand the assets subject to seizure, and enable the proceeds to flow to Ukraine.” This included creating “a new criminal offense, making it unlawful for any person to knowingly or intentionally possess proceeds directly obtained from corrupt dealings with the Russian government.”

The president requested expanded authority from Congress and is pushing on an open door. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer backed the proposal: “There’s no reason that Putin’s viciousness and these ill-gotten gains should just stay the way they are when Ukraine desperately needs the money.”

Moreover, the House approved legislation urging the administration to act. H.R. 6930 incorporated “the sense of Congress” that “the President should take all constitutional steps to seize and confiscate assets under the jurisdiction of the United States of foreign persons whose wealth is derived in part through corruption linked to or political support for the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin and with respect to which the President has imposed sanctions.”

Essentially, the president would be allowed to do whatever he wanted with any property taken. The House indicated that “All rights, title, and interest in any property so confiscated should vest, upon the terms directed by the President, in such agency or person as the President may designate from time to time, and upon such terms and conditions as the President may prescribe.” The money is to be used for Ukraine.

There may be no more unsympathetic target today than any person or organization tied to Russia. Rep. Tom Malinowski, a Democrat from New Jersey, asked his colleagues to imagine “giving all of Russia’s wealth—the yachts, the bank accounts, the villas, the planes—back to Putin and his cronies as Ukraine lies in ruin, as the Ukrainians bury their dead? We cannot imagine doing that. We will not do that.” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan took a similar position, though he spoke in more measured tones: “As we seize these assets, our goal is not to give them back; our goal is to put them to a better use than that.”

Their anger is understandable. Moscow’s attack on Ukraine was unjustified. Hopefully the invasion will fail and peace will be restored quickly.

However, nothing justifies allowing the president to seize property based on an accusation and transfer it to someone not harmed by the property owner. After all, not every person or organization tied to Russia bears responsibility for the attack on Ukraine or is a friend of Vladimir Putin and the ruling regime.

In fact, in the West, Russians are being fired from jobs for simply voicing support for Moscow, not criticizing the Putin government, and having been born in Russia. Wimbledon plans to bar tennis players because of their nationality. This brings to mind the excesses of red-baiting and McCarthyism in America and the utterly deranged Cultural Revolution in China, in which people were punished for what they were seen to represent rather than what they did or believed.

Western liberal societies engaging in collective punishment are undermining their own principles and values. The policy also is counterproductive, reinforcing Putin’s meme that his government is defending Russians from the West as well as Ukraine. Treating Russian citizens as enemies of America and Europe will encourage them to defend their country and rally around their government.

Yet such concerns have been dismissed because grabbing Russian cash has become a priority. It is supposed to go to a good cause, helping Ukrainians. However, that alone cannot justify seizing and redistributing other people’s assets. Imposing economic sanctions, prohibiting new transactions, is prospective. Doing so affects future behavior. People can adjust their behavior and comply. Prosecutions come after due warning. Penalties are imposed for active violations, not past occurrences.

In contrast, confiscations are almost entirely backward looking. Although Western states froze a significant chunk of Russian government assets, most attention is being directed at tracking down the resources of individuals targeted either for being regime decisionmakers or supporting regime decisionmakers. Or, more accurately, they have been accused of being regime decisionmakers or supporting regime decisionmakers.

Most of the money belongs to the latter, the so-called oligarchs. The press has detailed allied governments searching for yachts owned by Russia’s super-wealthy, though they are merely among the most photogenic assets subject to seizure. U.S. authorities have frozen bank accounts and seized aircraft. The Europeans also have grabbed helicopters, real estate, and artwork. Schumer explained he intended to add a provision to Biden’s aid legislation to make it a U.S. crime to possess the proceeds of “corrupt dealings with the Russian government.” Once taken, the money would be passed onto Kiev.

Similarly, European Council President Charles Michel is encouraging European Union members to do likewise. He explained that “Personally, I’m absolutely convinced that this is extremely important not only to freeze assets but also to make possible to confiscate.” It was a matter of fairness, he continued, “to make this money available…especially for the rebuilding of the country. It’s a question of fairness, a question of justice.”

Guilt would be decided beforehand. Observed Bruce Fein, a Justice Department official during the Reagan administration: “The targeted oligarchs receive neither notice nor an opportunity to respond, nor an opportunity to confront accusers, nor an independent or impartial decisionmaker—summary justice at its worst.”

However, the Constitution does not allow the U.S. government to do as it pleases even with foreigners’ assets. Christopher Anders of the American Civil Liberties Union observed: “The problem with the bill as introduced was that the complete absence of any due process protections would likely have resulted in a court handing Russia a propaganda win by having an American court invalidate both the sanctions law and the sanctions themselves.”

Malinowski dismissed this concern, contending that the money should be considered to belong to the Russian state and such people did not deserve the procedural protections available to Americans: “They are allowed to manage these assets on behalf of Putin in exchange for their loyalty to the regime. They earned this money by stealing it in a country where there is no due process, and then they take advantage of our due process to protect it.”

It’s a clever argument, but Malinowski treats as fact claims that require proof. The world is filled with kleptocracies in which well-connected businessmen gain wealth through favors from government. Heck, that happens in America. Some may be de facto state agents, while others run genuinely private, if perhaps corrupt, enterprises. In the latter case in Russia, the victims are other Russians, not Ukrainians. Then the Russian people are entitled to the money.

Giving confiscated funds to Ukraine might feel good, but that doesn’t make it right or just. Should Washington be able to deny constitutional protections to anyone accused of being a terrorist, drug dealer, child molester, or other criminal du jour? Indeed, creative prosecutors have often misused legislation originally approved to deal with special circumstances, most notably organized crime and terrorism, against other criminals. There is no reason to assume government officials would not do the same with new, streamlined procedures for property confiscation.

There is another serious problem with the attempt to willy-nilly steal the property of Russians and treat it as reparation payments. Peace between Russia and Ukraine looks far away. If Moscow figures that the West plans to treat it as a defeated power no matter what happens at the negotiating table, it has less reason to make a deal.

Indeed, the Putin regime likely would see this legislation as signaling the continuation of sanctions even if Russia made peace. As much as Putin and his cronies deserve punishment, the Russian people do not. Nor do the Ukrainian people, who currently are paying the highest price for the war.

It would be far better for Washington to use the status of confiscated property as an inducement for Moscow to make a speedy and reasonable peace deal. To the extent that the War Party is able to turn America’s objectives from supporting Ukraine to defeating Russia, peace will become much more difficult to achieve. Continued military escalation is likely, with serious danger of open conflict between Russia and NATO forces. Given Moscow’s relative conventional weakness, the Putin government might use tactical nuclear weapons to maintain rough military parity. This is a road that no one, including Washington, should want to go down.

The Biden administration should follow the law when sanctioning and confiscating Russian property. Civil liberties and property rights enjoy constitutional protection for a reason. The Russo-Ukrainian war does not justify cutting constitutional corners.

 

 

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.

 

READ MORE :

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/seizing-russian-assets-is-a-bad-idea/

 

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THE LAWLESSNESS OF THE US JUNGLE IS FRAUGHT with stupidity and moronics... — and such unilateral action could be considered as a declaration of war. Doug Bandow has not studied the reality of the situation.

 

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eliminating the nazis of ukraine….

German-born Einstein, himself a Jew, left his home country after the Nazis came to power, given their anti-Semitism and revanchist military sentiments, which the pacifist scientist completely rejected. Still, he figuratively had a hand in the creation of the US atomic bomb, convincing the authorities to begin its development with his letter.

A rare letter penned and signed by famed physicist Albert Einstein urging international powers to adopt a tougher stance against Nazi Germany is set to be sold at an auction in little more than a week on May 24.

The letter, auctioned by the Kedem Auction House in Jerusalem, Israel, is dated 1936 and addressed to Danish journalist Karen Stampe Bendix. It was written as Nazi Germany's threat to European Jews became more apparent, as well as Adolf Hitler's rising political extremism and warmongering.

 

In it, the scientist, who was known as a passionate pacifist throughout his life, wrote: "There are diseases that cannot be overcome without surgery. I cannot deny this even though I abhor the knife."

 

Einstein emphasized in the letter that given the current circumstances, there was no choice but to face Germany and even to take the initiative.

 

"It would have been best to intervene already three years ago," he wrote. "Most regrettable is the feeble stance of England, insofar as it indeed postpones the start of war, but certainly cannot prevent it."

 

The physicist urged the Danish journalist to find solace in her own circumstances, claiming that Denmark "is unthreatened by the impending turbulence" and promising her that "even if it is economically difficult, there is yet strange consolation in that no place on earth is in a better situation." That assumption, however, as we know, proved to be inaccurate when Nazi forces attacked and conquered Denmark in just six hours in 1940.

Describing his refuge in the US, Einstein said that there was "heavy unemployment here as well, and unlike the situation in the past, [there is] a mood of pessimistic resignation with the state of affairs."

 

"On the other hand, the difficult circumstances here have not led to the heated political passions so familiar to us from Europe," he noted.

 

Then, he also speaks about his wife's health and the living conditions in the New World.

 

"We live in an old, pretty house in picturesque surroundings… but I am still plagued by an unimaginable flood of letters," he said.

 

Last year, another pre-war letter of Einstein's, dated the summer of 1939, was sold at an auction. In that letter, written in English and addressed to William Morris, a German-Jewish immigrant who settled in the US and founded a talent agency, the scientist praised Morris' "splendid work" in assisting Jewish refugees.

Einstein's private notes on the theory of relativity, which sold last year for a record multimillion-dollar sum at an auction in Paris, are also among the previous letters and notes written by him and sold at auction in recent months.

 

READ MORE:

https://sputniknews.com/20220513/cant-overcome-without-surgery-einsteins-letter-with-call-to-fight-nazi-germany-hits-auction-1095478365.html

 

 

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Unfortunately, the USA has become a fascist country regardless of who is president. The entire US political system relies on the militarisation of this country. This is not new, but for many years it was somewhat hidden by "debonaire" presidents until Ike Eisenhower.....

 

 

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the NYT comes to term with it...

 

BY John V. Walsh

 

The New York Times has a job to do – and it has done that job spectacularly well over the past few months. The Times is a leader, in the opinion of this writer, the leader in spelling out the US narrative on the war in Ukraine, a tale designed to keep up morale, give the war a high moral purpose and justify the untold billions pouring from the taxpayers’ pockets into Joe Biden’s proxy war on Russia. Day in and day out in page after page of word and picture it has been instructing one and all, including politicians and lower level opinion shapers, exactly what to think about the war in Ukraine.

So, when the Times says that things are not going well for the US and its man in Kiev, Volodymyr Zelensky, it is a man bites dog kind of story. It tells us that some truths have gone from uncomfortable to undeniable. Such was nature of the page one story on May 11, headlined "Russians Hold Much of the East, Setbacks Aside." 

Even that anti-narrative headline softens the bitter truth. The first paragraph of the story fesses up more completely, stating, "Obscured in the daily fighting is the geographic reality that Russia has made gains on the ground." Not "holding" ground but "gaining" ground. Not exactly a morale booster.

The Times goes on, "The Russian Defense Ministry said Tuesday that its forces in eastern Ukraine had advanced to the border between Donetsk and Luhansk, the two Russian-speaking provinces where Moscow-backed separatists have been fighting Ukraine’s army for eight years.". Here it reminds us that the first shots in this war were not fired on February 24, as the narrative goes, but eight long years ago in the Donbas. It is a jolting reminder for those who base their support for the war on "who fired the first shot," that their "moral" view has a considerable blind spot.

The Times continues: "…. the Donbas seizure, combined with the Russian invasion’s early success in seizing parts of southern Ukraine adjoining the Crimean peninsula ….gives the Kremlin enormous leverage in any future negotiation to halt the conflict." 

It goes on: "And the Russians enjoy the added advantage of naval dominance in the Black Sea, the only maritime route for Ukrainian trade, which they have paralyzed with an embargo that could eventually starve Ukraine economically and is already contributing to a global grain shortage." More bad news.

More, "Russia has all but achieved one of its primary objectives: seizing a land bridge connecting Russian territory to the Crimean peninsula." And, "The last stronghold of Ukrainian resistance in this area, at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, has been whittled to a few hundred hungry troops now confined mostly to bunkers." Ouch!

Finally, turning its attention to the economy, the Times states: "The war has "put Ukraine’s economy under enormous stress, with the heavy devastation of infrastructure and production capacities," the bank said in an economic update. It estimated that 30 percent to 50 percent of Ukrainian businesses have shut down, 10 percent of the population has fled the country and a further 15 percent is displaced internally." That is a grand total of 25% of the population displaced from their homes.

This sad tale of failure, misery and death is broken up by considerable verbiage, some anecdotes from the front and the testimony of Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence, whose testimony is guarded but bleak. But read with thought, there is a big failure looming over the enterprise.

So, in a panic the US continues to throw mountains of cash at the problem, about $63 billion if one includes the recent infusion of about $40 million about to whistle through the Senate and already passed by the House with only 57 Nays, all Republican. (And therein lies another story, the demise of antiwar sentiment in the Democratic Party and its rebirth among the populist Tucker Carlson Republicans who have joined with the GOP libertarians on this one.)

But why this abrupt shift in tone by the Times. Lax editorial oversight? This does not appear to be the case, because right on cue on the same day we are treated to an Opinion piece entitled: "America and Its Allies Want to Bleed Russia. They Really Shouldn’t." It suggests that it is time for the U.S. to wave the white flag.

The piece concludes thus: 

"But the longer the war, the worse the damage to Ukraine and the greater the risk of escalation. A decisive military result in eastern Ukraine may prove elusive. Yet the less dramatic outcome of a festering stalemate is hardly better. Indefinite protraction of the war, as in Syria, is too dangerous with nuclear-armed participants.

"Diplomatic efforts ought to be the centerpiece of a new Ukraine strategy. Instead, the war’s boundaries are being expanded and the war itself recast as a struggle between democracy and autocracy, in which the Donbas is the frontier of freedom. This is not just declamatory extravagance. It is reckless. The risks hardly need to be stated."

It appears some in the Foreign Policy Elite and other precincts of the Deep State have seen the looming disaster for the proxy war on Russia being waged by Biden, Nuland, Blinken and the rest of the neocon cabal. The prospect of nuclear holocaust lying at the end of this road may be enough to rouse them from their Exceptionalist torpor. They seem to want to stop the train that they have set in motion before it runs off the cliff. It is not clear whether they will prevail. But it is clear that we need to drive those responsible for this dangerous debacle out of power -before it is too late.

 

 

John V. Walsh, until recently a professor of physiology and neuroscience at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School, has written on issues of peace and health care for Asia Times, San Francisco Chronicle, EastBayTimes/San Jose Mercury News, LA Progressive, Antiwar.com, CounterPunch, and others.

 

READ MORE:

https://original.antiwar.com/john-v-walsh/2022/05/12/ny-times-shifts-pro-war-narrative-documents-failure-of-us-in-ukraine/

 

 

 

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