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Trump's shortlist for vice president — some potential running mates are surprising

trump south carolina
© Associate PressFormer President Donald Trump pointing to the audience during a town hall in Greenville, SC on Feb. 20, 2024. 7
Former President Donald Trump gestures to the audience during his town hall in Greenville, SC, on Feb. 20, 2024.
Former President Donald Trump acknowledged Tuesday that at least five high-profile Republicans and one former Democrat are on his shortlist for potential running mates in the general election — including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and onetime Democratic presidential primary candidate Tulsi Gabbard.

The GOP presidential front-runner confirmed his shortlist after Fox News host Laura Ingraham rattled off a list of names at a town hall event in Greenville, SC, which she said audience members deemed good choices for him to tap for the vice presidency.

The names included Gabbard, DeSantis, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.), biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem.

Star of David

Shameless new Israeli report alleging 'systematic and intentional rape' by Hamas relies on debunked Western media reports

israel propaganda hamas rape sexual violence
© CNNCNN punts Zionist propaganda like the good little mouthpiece it is.
The contents of the Israeli Association of Rape Crisis Center's paper alleging "systematic" Hamas rape derive largely from discredited second-hand testimonies and debunked media reports. Among its most heavily cited sources is a dubious NY Times article that triggered a staff revolt at the paper.

Western media outlets are hyping a new report by the Israeli government-affiliated "Association of Rape Crisis Centers" (ARCC) which maintains that Hamas combatants carried out a campaign of "systematic and intentional" rape on October 7.

"Israeli report finds evidence of 'systematic' rape and abuse during 7 October attack," a Guardian headline blared. "Report shows systematic rapes, murder of women in Israel on October 7," Germany's DPA screamed. Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post shrieked, "Hamas terrorists forced families to watch loved ones get raped at gunpoint."


Monkey with a grenade: Why nukes in EU hands would be a nightmare

© Dzika Mrowka/Getty Images
Scared of being abandoned by the US under Trump, European officials are floating the idea of the bloc's own nuclear force...

With its farmers rebelling, its economy declining, and its traditional parties decaying, you'd think the European Union has enough to worry about at home. Yet its thoroughly detached elites love to think big. And what's bigger than nuclear weapons? That's how they have ended up falling for one of Donald Trump's typically blunt provocations. The former - and likely future - American president has warned that NATO members not spending enough on defense won't be able to count on US protection on his watch.

Eminently sensible - why do declining but still comparatively wealthy EU states keep behaving like defense beggars? - Trump's threat has triggered various predictable meltdowns. The White House archly tut-tutted about the "appalling and unhinged" rhetoric of a man who is not, unlike the current president Joe Biden, overseeing a genocide together with Israel. Go figure, as they say in the US. On the other hand, many Republicans have displayed demonstrative insouciance, if not outright agreement. And that is certain to reflect what many ordinary Americans think as well; that is, if they think about Europe at all.

And as if the Big Scary Orange Man hadn't done enough damage yet, next came the Pentagon, which (sort of) revealed that Russia - that famous gas station sending out its shovel-wielding soldiers to capture German washing machines - is building, if not a Death Star, then at least something equally sinister out there in space: Sputnik déjà vu all over again, as America's greatest philosopher might have said. All of that, of course, against a background of incessant NATO scaremongering, which, it seems, has succeeded in spooking NATO most of all.

Comment: Who has the red button this week?


The 'Biden Doctrine' for Mideast peace

© Crush Rush/ShutterstockUS President Joe Biden
The Middle East is in a state of turmoil today. Amidst the competing visions of how the involved parties should be positioning themselves to find a lasting solution to the many problems they are collectively confronting, there is a single point of agreement: The Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel has forever changed the geopolitical landscape of the region. And while the various actors in Israel, Gaza, Lebanon, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and elsewhere all have a view on how this crisis will play out, one other reality has emerged. Despite the emergence of a multipolar world where Russia, China and the so-called "Global South" have come together to challenge the supremacy of US unilateralism, in the Middle East, the US remains the "indispensable nation" when it comes to charting a path toward peace in the region. Whether or not the US is up to this task is another question.

One noted observer of the Middle East, Thomas Friedman, has opined that the administration of President Joe Biden is in the process of unveiling what he calls a "Biden Doctrine" that meets "the seriousness and complexity of this dangerous moment." A careful examination of this emerging "doctrine," however, shows that it offers nothing new or bold but rather is a rehash of the same failed policies that led to the present situation.

Comment: There are no realistic solutions coming from the Biden Administration. Joined at the hip, it is too heavily committed to doing Israel's bidding.


Ukraine can't maintain advanced US-supplied weapons - Pentagon

© Marek M. Berezowski/Getty ImagesA Bradley vehicle supplied by the US • Avdeevka • December 4, 2023
The US reportedly rushed vehicles to Kiev without factoring in necessary repairs...

The US has no plan in place to maintain, service or repair tanks, armored vehicles and air defense systems Washington has given to the Ukrainian military, Pentagon Inspector-General Robert P. Storch has admitted. The failure to plan "puts at risk Ukraine's ability to fight effectively using the US-provided equipment, as well as the DoD's readiness to address other national security threats if needed," he added.

Storch revealed in two redacted reports released to the public on Tuesday that the US has delivered 186 Bradley and 189 Stryker Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV), 31 Abrams main battle tanks, and an unspecified number of Patriot air defense systems to Ukraine.

Washington's Department of Defense "had not developed or implemented a plan" to maintain any of them, according to the inspectors cited in the reports, who warned that there is nothing to suggest the weaponry could be sustained past October 2024.

All of the weapons systems were taken from the US military's own stocks "without limits," under the Presidential Drawdown Authority, according to the reports. If this practice continued, it "may require the [Department of Defense] to choose between the readiness of [Ukrainian] units or the readiness of US Army units," one official told the inspectors.


UK to consider suspending arms exports to Israel if Rafah offensive goes ahead

© Amir Cohen/ReutersIsraeli soldiers work with tanks during a military drill.
As situation in Gaza worsens, diplomatic pressure is mounting on UK to follow other countries and suspend arms sales to Israel.

The UK government will consider suspending arms export licences to Israel if Benjamin Netanyahu goes ahead with a potentially devastating ground offensive on the Palestinian city of Rafah in southern Gaza.

As the humanitarian situation in Gaza has worsened, diplomatic pressure has been mounting on the UK to follow other countries and suspend arms exports to Israel.

Ministerial sources said that while no decision had been made about a suspension of arms export licences, the UK had the ability to respond quickly if the legal advice to ministers said that Israel was in breach of international humanitarian law.

The UK has joined other allies in pressuring Israel to avoid a ground offensive in Rafah. In a letter to the foreign affairs select committee about arms export controls to Israel published on Tuesday, David Cameron, the foreign secretary, said he could not see how an offensive in Rafah could go ahead without harming civilians and destroying homes.

Arrow Down

'Almost nobody' believes Ukraine will win

© Attila Kisbenedek/AFPHungarian PM Viktor Orban
Viktor Orban has reportedly said dissatisfaction with EU policies represents an opportunity for conservatives throughout the bloc...

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said the immediate future is bleak for the European Union due to the way the Ukraine conflict is unfolding. He made the comments during a Fidesz-KDNP parliamentary faction conference behind closed doors on Wednesday, according to media reports.

Orban, who is a prominent critic of the bloc's policies and has opposed its funding of Kiev's conflict against Russia, predicted a major victory for conservative parties in the European Parliament elections in June.

According to the newspaper Magyar Nemzet, he told the conference:
"The war will not end. Europe's burden will become heavier, because financial support for Ukraine will decrease due to disputes in the US amid the presidential election. Supporting the Ukrainians has a huge political price. Farmers are revolting all over Europe, and almost nobody believes in the victory of the Ukrainians."
There may be a change in policy from Brussels after the elections, and Washington could also alter its course following the presidential election later this year, he suggested.

Comment: Case in point:
Moscow's forces have liberated the settlement of Pobeda near the capital of Russia's Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), according to a battlefield update published by the Defense Ministry on Thursday.

In addition to capturing Pobeda - whose name translates as 'Victory' - Russian troops have also improved their positions along the front line in Donetsk, defeating Ukrainian formations near the villages of Novomikhailovka and Krasnohorivka, the ministry said.

The battles resulted in heavy casualties for Ukraine, according to the report, which claimed Kiev lost over 410 servicemen, as well as a range of military hardware, including Western-supplied systems.

The Russian military also said it had destroyed the launcher and transport-loading vehicle of a US-made Patriot anti-aircraft missile system, along with other Ukrainian military equipment and manpower in 114 regions.

Last week, Moscow announced the capture of the key Donbass stronghold of Avdeevka, which had served as a pivotal fortress for Kiev since the early stages of the conflict. After months of immense pressure from Russian forces, the Ukrainian military ordered its troops to withdraw from the town on Friday, explaining that the retreat was meant to avoid heavy casualties.

The Russian Defense Ministry, however, stated that Ukrainian forces had started fleeing a day before the official order came through. It shared drone footage purporting to show large groups of Ukrainian servicemen escaping the town on foot while leaving behind heavy equipment.

Moscow has estimated that Kiev lost over 1,500 troops during the retreat, and abandoned wounded soldiers, military hardware, and equipment.


Government funds AI tools for whole-of-internet surveillance and censorship

AI goggles
I feel scared. Very scared.

Internet-wide surveillance and censorship, enabled by the unimaginably vast computational power of artificial intelligence (AI), is here.

This is not a futuristic dystopia. It's happening now.

Government agencies are working with universities and nonprofits to use AI tools to surveil and censor content on the Internet.

This is not political or partisan. This is not about any particular opinion or idea.

What's happening is that a tool powerful enough to surveil everything that's said and done on the Internet (or large portions of it) is becoming available to the government to monitor all of us, all the time. And, based on that monitoring, the government - and any organization or company the government partners with - can then use the same tool to suppress, silence, and shut down whatever speech it doesn't like.


NATO subservience: Sweden announces its largest-ever Ukraine aid package

Rb 99 missiles
Sweden has announced its largest-ever donation of military hardware to Ukraine, despite struggling to replenish stocks after previous aid packages due to sharply rising weapons prices.

The Defense Ministry in Stockholm unveiled its 15th aid package to Kiev, worth SEK 7.1 billion ($687 million), on Tuesday. It is the largest to date and will take the total amount of Swedish military aid to Ukraine since February 2022 to $ 2.9 billion, a statement from the ministry said.

The donation will include artillery shells and other munitions, an anti-aircraft system, small arms, and various other supplies to support Ukrainian forces in the conflict with Russia. It also includes ten Combat Boat 90 assault craft, 20 G-class landing craft, and unspecified underwater weapons. In addition, Kiev will be provided with financial support so that it can purchase more Swedish infantry fighting vehicles.

The Swedish Armed Forces "have made the assessment that [the equipment] may be donated if replacement purchases are made soon," the statement noted.

Comment: Even though Sweden isn't officially a member of NATO yet, it follows the dictates of the NATO alliance.

Comment: It is clear that Sweden doesn't believe its own rhetoric about Russian wanting to invade Sweden anytime soon. If that was the case, they would not deplete their own stockpiles and military capability. The Russia threat rhetoric is just fear mongering to make the Swedes give up their neutrality and instead hand over more money to the military industrial complex.

See also:

Russian Flag

Victory in Avdeevka: How Russia finally forced Ukraine to retreat from the most fortified city in Donbass

russia victory avdeevka ukraine graphic
© RTRussia's victory in Avdeevka
The area was the scene of heavy fighting back in 2014, but Kiev managed to hold it against local rebels

On Saturday, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that Avdeevka - long an important stronghold of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) northwest of Donetsk city - had been liberated. The area had been seen as strategically vital as far back as 2014, when Kiev's troops fought local Donbass separatists.

After the start of Russia's military operation, in 2022, the situation near Avdeevka escalated again and, for the past two years, battles in the surrounds were ongoing.

The most recent encounter, which began on October 10, last year, and ended with the defeat of the Ukrainian garrison, involved additional Russian troops transferred from the Liman direction and commanded by Colonel-General Andrey Mordvichev.