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Sun, 11 Apr 2021
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GOP puts Biden administration on notice: Congress is not bound by new Iran deal

US Capitol
© Anthony T. Pope/CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikimedia
US Capitol Building
Republican foreign policy leaders in Congress officially informed the Biden administration late Wednesday that they will not be bound to any new agreement with Iran that promises relief from harsh economic sanctions, according to a copy of that communication exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The letter is a sign that any new Iran deal is likely to be plagued by the same weaknesses as the original 2015 accord, which the Obama administration never brought before Congress for approval. The decision to skirt Congress meant the deal was never ratified as a formal treaty and paved the way for the Trump administration to easily cancel it in 2018.

GOP foreign policy leaders are now warning the Biden administration that any new deal will suffer a similar fate under the next Republican administration.

The lawmakers are also sending a message to Tehran: Anything promised by the Biden administration can be taken back in the near future.

Comment: Slick Obama got away with bypassing Congress - a lot of illegitimate power in one man's hands without transparency:


Russia 'would really not want' Cold War 2.0

© Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev
The Triple Yoda, Nikolai Patrushev, hopes cooler heads can avoid sanctions such as the SWIFT 'nuclear option'

The Beltway was always fond of describing the late Andrew Marshall - who identified emerging or future threats for the Pentagon and whose proteges included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz - as Yoda.

Well, if that's the case, then Chinese national security supremo Yang Jiechi - who recently made shark fin's soup out of Tony Blinken in Alaska - is Double Yoda. And Nikolai Patrushev - Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation - is Triple Yoda.

Amid current ice-cold US-Russia relations - plunged into their worst state since the end of the Cold War - Triple Yoda, discreet, diplomatic and always sharp as a dagger, remains a soothing voice of reason, as demonstrated in a stunning interview by Kommersant daily.

Patrushev, born in 1951, is an army general who worked for KGB counter-intel in Leningrad, during the USSR days. Starting in 1994 he was the head of quite a few FSB departments. From 1999 to 2008 he was the FSB director, and led counter-terror ops in the North Caucasus from 2001 to 2003. Since May 2008 he is Russia's top security advisor.

Comment: Nothing is worse for a global bully than insights from an intuitive and articulate dignitary of its frenemy.


Biden establishes commission to study expanding Supreme Court

supreme court
© Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
US Supreme Court
President Biden signed an executive order Friday establishing a commission to study whether to add seats to the Supreme Court and other reform proposals, the White House announced, fulfilling a promise he made on the campaign trail.

The commission will be chaired by former White House counsel Bob Bauer and Cristina Rodríguez, a Yale law school professor and former deputy assistant attorney general, and largely consists of academics and former officials from across the political spectrum.

It will delve into the issue of potentially expanding the court — an idea that has been floated by some progressives but heavily criticized by Republicans — and which Biden himself has been cool to, though without explicitly ruling out the option.

The White House said in a release:
"The Commission's purpose is to provide an analysis of the principal arguments in the contemporary public debate for and against Supreme Court reform, including an appraisal of the merits and legality of particular reform proposals. The topics it will examine include the genesis of the reform debate; the Court's role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court's case selection, rules, and practices."
The White House said that the commission will hold public meetings to hear arguments from experts and interested parties. It will be required to complete a report on its work within 180 days of its first public meeting.

Arrow Down

President Biden's National Security Strategy

© Florida Politics
US President Joe Biden
The Biden Administration is full of good will, but ignorant of the world as it is. Under the authority of a senile president, it proposes to restore democracy in the world, without being aware that the social classes that made this political regime are disappearing. It hopes to re-establish the American Empire, feared by a majority of peoples, with the conviction that it is doing them a favour. Finally, it intends to continue the "endless war", but without sacrificing the lives of US soldiers. But it does not know how to explain this.

Each administration defines US national security policy after consulting with the armed forces and its own experts. This process is necessarily long - one to two years. So the Biden administration, which intends to break with Donald Trump's anti-imperialist "mistakes" without delay, has already made public the new national security principles of the United States, even if it means clarifying them later [1].

The central idea is to revitalise democracy as a system of government, so as to be able to mobilise allies and maintain the current organisation of international relations. This strategy is in line with what Joe Biden announced in Foreign Affairs a year ago during his election campaign [2].

The guidelines he has just published are extremely clear, but do not answer the questions he will have to face. The president has listed a number of themes to work on (the pandemic, the climate crisis, nuclear proliferation, the fourth industrial revolution), but he has not set out the new problems that have arisen (the decline in US production, the financialisation of the economy, the fall in the US technical level, the dizzying inequality of wealth).

Comment: Biden is not in charge. He repeats whatever he is told. Other presidents have done the same but none have been as obvious. There should be no doubts in the minds of the public, at this point, that the president is a figurehead. To his credit, Trump gave it his best shot.


Newly unearthed emails place Hunter Biden at West Wing meeting with then VP Biden and Devon Archer

Hunter & Joe Biden
© New York Post
Hunter Biden • US President Joe Biden
In a previously unreported email reviewed by The National Pulse, Rosemont Seneca Partners employee Joan K. Peugh advises Hunter Biden - who is addressed by his given name, Robert - that he is scheduled for a White House meeting on April 16th, 2014.

Prior to today, it was known that Devon Archer had attended the meeting in the West Wing, and corporate media outlets excused the matter as an "art project" discussion. Today, that version of events ends.

Just days after this meeting, then Vice President Joe Biden visited Ukraine, and both Hunter and Archer would start receiving whopping checks from energy company Burisma, an industry in which they had zero experience.

Hunter Biden recently admitted the previously dismissed "hard drive from hell" actually "could" be his.
email Joan Peugh
© screenshot
Email with new timeline


Mueller investigator assisting NY prosecutors in Trump Organization case

© AP/Patrick Semansky/FTI Consulting/Reuters/KJN
A former FBI official who was part of Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation is assisting New York prosecutors in an inquiry into the Trump Organization, according to a new report.

Morgan Magionos, an ex-FBI forensic accountant, is part of a group of outside experts from FTI Consulting aiding the Manhattan district attorney's investigation into the dealings of former President Donald Trump and his company, CNN reported on Thursday. Investigators are looking for possible bank, tax, or insurance fraud.

A former member of the bureau's international corruption unit, Magianos played an instrumental role in the prosecution of 2016 Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who was later pardoned by Trump. She left the FBI in 2019 to join FTI Consulting, a business-advising firm headquartered in Washington, D.C., which was hired by BuzzFeed to verify parts of British ex-spy Christopher Steele's discredited anti-Trump dossier.

"As a matter of policy, we do not comment on, confirm or deny reports of client engagements or potential engagements," Matthew Bashalany, managing director for media relations and communications at FTI Consulting, told the Washington Examiner when asked for comment on the report.


Biden requests $753B defense budget, a slight increase

© Frontpage/Shutterstock/KJN
The Pentagon Money
President Biden is requesting a $753 billion defense budget for next fiscal year, with $715 billion of that going to the Pentagon. The fiscal 2022 proposed budget represents a slight increase over this year — likely to upset both progressives, who had sought cuts to Pentagon budgets, and defense hawks.

The budget outline released Friday does not detail exactly what the money would buy, with a more comprehensive proposal expected later this spring. A fact sheet released by the White House said the Defense Department budget "prioritizes the need to counter the threat from China as the department's top challenge."

The budget, according to the fact sheet, also
"proposes executable and responsible investments (in the Navy fleet) supports ongoing nuclear modernization programs while ensuring that these efforts are sustainable, continues to ensure that U.S. soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and guardians remain the best trained and equipped force in the world, while also supporting Pentagon plans to divest legacy systems, support efforts to plan for and mitigate impacts of climate change (on Defense Department facilities) and invest in power and energy research and development."
The overall defense budget includes both Pentagon funding and non-Pentagon programs such as Department of Energy nuclear weapons funding.

Friday's release officially kicks off the jockeying over the defense budget on Capitol Hill, though lawmakers have already been drawing their battle lines.


Biden's border czar stepping down as crisis deepens, criticism mounts

Roberta Jackson
© Alex Wong/Getty Images
Roberta Jacobson, former Mexico ambassador and Biden border czar, speaks at White House news conference.
President Biden's border czar is stepping down less than 100 days on the job as a humanitarian crisis among surging migrants deepens and criticism of the administration's stewardship grow.

National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan announced Friday afternoon Roberta Jacobson's planned departure at the end of April as the Coordinator for the Southwest Border at the National Security Council.

Jacobson had previously served as U.S. ambassador to Mexico. And while Sullivan praised her "invaluable contribution," the sudden departure was a stark signal the administration recognizes it needs to pivot after weeks of a growing migrant crisis that has sullied Biden's efforts to project competence and confidence in the early days of his presidency.
"Consistent with her commitment at the outset to serve in the Administration's first 100 days, Ambassador Jacobson will retire from her role as Coordinator at the end of this month. She will do so having shaped our relationship with Mexico as an equal partner, having launched our renewed efforts with the Northern Triangle nations of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, and having underscored this Administration's commitment to reenergizing the U.S. immigration system."
Jacobson's departure came less than two weeks after the president named Vice President Kamala Harris to take point on the border crisis, and Sullivan said "the Vice President is overseeing a whole-of-government approach supported by outstanding public servants."

Comment: It seems the Biden administration is full of 'crisis deniers', while those with more objectivity fearlessly state it as such:
Jacobson's retirement was announced less than a month after she admitted that the White House was sending "mixed messages" to migrants from Latin America, saying "it is difficult at times to convey both hope in the future and the danger that is now."

Biden administration reportedly is considering sending cash payments to Central Americans in a bid to prevent them from making the trek north and as Harris, tapped by Biden to to handle the crisis, still has yet to visit either the border or Central America. Although the White House has clarified that Harris is addressing the "root causes" of the migrant crisis, her office has disclosed few details about her efforts.

Last week, Harris spoke with Guatemala's president, but she has not spoken with the leaders of El Salvador or Honduras — which together with Guatemala form the so-called "Northern Triangle" from which many migrants travel. Harris spoke Wednesday with Mexico's president.

Meanwhile, migrant parents already in the United States say they are not being given regular — if any — updates about the location or well-being of their children in federal custody. And it's reportedly costing US taxpayers more than $60 million a week to care for 16,500 unaccompanied migrant teenagers and children now in federally run shelters.

Customs and Border Protection announced this week that the number of illegal immigrant encounters at the southern border has exploded — rising more than 71 percent since February.

Former US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who also was acting intelligence director last year, tweeted, "Biden blames and fires a woman for his disastrous border policy."

"Roberta Jacobson, who admitted Biden's immigration policies 'may have driven people' to the border, is now stepping down as border czar. So who is in charge?" tweeted Chad Gilmartin, a communications aide to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). "VP Harris is absent from the border, while CBP data contradicts WH claims the surge is seasonal."

Earlier Friday, a California man whose brother was slain in 2018 by an illegal immigrant blasted Biden's immigration policy, saying, "We absolutely have a crisis."

"If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it's not a cow, it's a duck," Jody Jones said on Fox & Friends. "So don't sit there and tell me there's not a crisis down at the border, because there is."

White House officials have repeatedly refused to call the situation 'a crisis'.
See also:

Piggy Bank

Biden's $2 TRILLION 'infrastructure plan' is pork-laden corporate welfare

Biden limousine
© Flickr-Paris Malone | CC BY NC ND 2.0
Lookin' out for you, my corporate buddies!
President Biden has just unveiled a new $2.3 trillion "infrastructure" plan, but a shockingly large portion of this bill is actually unrelated to infrastructure.

The plan includes massive subsidies for corporations as well as state and local governments, and comes right after the administration's proposed increase in the corporate tax rate, which would raise the rate from 21 percent to 28 percent.

There's $300 billion for manufacturing, $100 billion for electric utilities, $100 billion for broadband, $174 billion for electric vehicles, and a whole lot more. A significant portion of this spending is directed at subsidizing big corporations.

Comment: From the good old days:


Muslim Brotherhood leader gets life sentence on terrorism charges in Egypt


An image of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahmoud Ezzat from October 2010
Mahmoud Ezzat, a top leader in the Muslim Brotherhood, is believed to have incited violence following the ouster of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

An Egyptian court on Thursday sentenced 76-year-old Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahmoud Ezzat to life in prison on terrorism charges, according to the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper. Ezzat was convicted on terrorism charges related to violence after the military ousted former Islamist-aligned Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.

Ezzat was arrested in Cairo in August of last year, with police reportedly finding encrypted software in his apartment that he had used to communicate with other Brotherhood members both domestically and abroad. The authorities previously believed he had fled the country.

Comment: See also: Military and political trends of 2020 that will shape 2021