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Wed, 07 Jun 2023
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Puppet Masters


The European left's fascism fantasy

EU zombies
© Unknown
France, Sweden, Italy, Finland and now Spain. The demise of the left in western Europe continues apace and yet their only solution is to seethe about fascists in a make believe world of their own.

Nine months after Giorgia Meloni was elected Prime Minister - remember the hysterical warnings about her being Mussolini in heels - the only horror the Italian left has experienced is electoral wipeout. At last weekend's local elections, Meloni's conservative Brothers of Italy party romped to victory in many towns that were once staunchly Socialist. As a jubilant Meloni crowed: 'Strongholds [of the left] no longer exist.'

At the same time Italians were endorsing Meloni, Spanish voters showed what they thought of the ruling Socialist Workers' party in their local and religion elections. Not much. The big winners were the Popular party and Vox, prompting a rattled Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez to call a snap general election. According to El Pais his Socialist party needs 'a miracle to halt the conservative wave that has already swept through several European countries'.


Senate votes to kill $400B student loan handout, sets up fifth Biden veto

© Unknown
US President Joe Biden • Billions in student loans outstanding
The Senate and the House have now voted to kill Biden's plan...

The Senate voted Thursday to scrap President Biden's proposal to forgive more than $400 billion in student loan debt, a vote that is expected to force Biden to issue his fifth presidential veto since taking office.

In a 52-46 vote, the Senate passed a resolution disapproving of the Department of Education rule implementing Biden's plan. The vote was successful thanks to Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., who voted with all 49 Republicans to scrap the loan bailout.

The Senate vote followed last week's 218-203 vote in the House to kill the program that Republicans have said is unfair to Americans who either never took out student loans or paid them off.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., on the Senate floor before the vote about Biden's plan, said:
"It's something of a slap in the face to Americans who chose more affordable college options or worked their way through school to avoid taking on student loans, or whose parents scrimped and saved to put them through college. It's deeply unfair to ask the many Americans who worked hard to pay off their loans or who never pursued college in the first place to take on the burden of student debt for individuals who took out loans for college or graduate school and agreed to pay them back."
Democrats voted overwhelmingly against the resolution and argued that Republican efforts to kill the program would hurt millions of Americans who have already qualified for debt relief.

Comment: Passing the buck? Canceling debt was Biden's promise. He can pay.

Light Sabers

Comer: FBI Director Wray's offer to see Biden bribery allegation file not enough

james comer biden bribery files fbi
© REUTERS/ Craig Hudson
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) issued a legally binding subpoena last week requiring the FBI to turn over the file by noon Wednesday.
House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer said no deal Wednesday after FBI Director Christopher Wray offered to let him privately review an informant file alleging President Biden was involved in a bribery scheme while vice president.

Comer (R-Ky.) said after his early-afternoon call with Wray that the FBI chief confirmed the existence of an FD-1023 informant file from June 2020 accusing Biden of corruption and offered Comer and committee ranking member Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) "in camera review" of the document.

The FBI had refused to share the document ahead of a Tuesday deadline following a May 3 subpoena from Comer, which the chairman said he would enforce with contempt proceedings against Wray.

In a statement following the call, Comer indicated the document standoff would continue, saying: "Today, FBI Director Wray confirmed the existence of the FD-1023 form alleging then-Vice President Biden engaged in a criminal bribery scheme with a foreign national. However, Director Wray did not commit to producing the documents subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee.

Comment: Newsweek puts out an explainer:

The specific document being sought is an FD-1023 form, an FBI record that contains an unverified report from a confidential source. Comer and Grassley's subpoena originally requested that Wray turn over all such documents created during the month of June 2020 that contained the word "Biden" to the House Oversight panel by May 30. The FBI failed to meet Tuesday's deadline.

Instead, Wray sent a letter to Comer on Tuesday, promising to giving lawmakers access to the requested information "in a format and setting that maintains confidentiality and protects important security interests and the integrity of FBI investigations." The FBI director also held a phone call with Comer and Grassley on Wednesday to discuss the bureau's decision further, offering the lawmakers "an opportunity to review information responsive to the subpoena in a secure manner to accommodate the committee, while protecting the confidentiality and safety of sources and important investigative sensitivities," the bureau told Newsweek via email later that day.

Comer was unsatisfied by his conversation with Wray, however, promising again Wednesday evening to move forward with contempt of Congress charges if the document is not released to his committee.

"Today, FBI Director Wray confirmed the existence of the FD-1023 form alleging then-Vice President Biden engaged in a criminal bribery scheme with a foreign national," read a statement posted to Comer's Twitter account. "However, Director Wray did not commit to producing the documents subpoenaed by the House Oversight Committee.

"While Director Wray — after a month of refusing to even acknowledge that the form existed — has offered to allow us to see the documents in person at FBI headquarters, we have been clear that anything short of producing these documents to the House Oversight Committee is not in compliance with the subpoena," Comer continued.

Newsweek has reached out to Comer's office via email for further comment on Wednesday's phone call.

What's in an FD-1023?

According to the FBI, an FD-1023 form is "used by FBI agents to record unverified reporting by a confidential human source." The record, however, does not validate the source's information, the bureau told Newsweek, nor does it "weigh" the source's record against other verified information obtained by the FBI.

"Revealing unverified or possibly incomplete information could harm investigations, prejudice prosecutions or judicial proceedings, unfairly violate privacy or reputations, create misimpressions in the public, or potentially identify individuals who provide information to law enforcement, placing their physical safety at risk," read a statement from the FBI.

"Information from confidential human sources and members of the public is critical to the work of the FBI and we are also committed to protecting the confidentiality of anyone who comes forward," the bureau added.

In the letter to Comer on Tuesday, Christopher Dunham, acting assistant director of the FBI, said that there are "significant limits on whether, when, and how confidential human source information can be provided outside of the FBI," reiterating that the caveats "are critical to the physical safety of our sources and others identified in source reporting, as well as to the integrity of our confidential human source program and longstanding Department of Justice confidentiality interests."

According to former FBI agent Tracy Walder, who spoke with NewsNation host Dan Abrams on Tuesday, FD-1023s are rarely shared outside of the bureau's possession "because the reality is, we want to protect our sources and methods."

"When we are releasing source information out into the public realm, that makes people then have a little bit of trepidation about coming to the FBI ... if they are not going to be protected," Walder continued.

What Republicans Want With the Document

Comer's pressure on the FBI is part of a larger promise by GOP lawmakers to increase its oversight of the Biden administration, claiming that federal law enforcement has been "weaponized" under the current White House.

Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, who serves on the House Oversight Committee, has also expressed her intent of moving articles of impeachment against Biden over the whistleblower's accusations.

It remains unclear what exactly is contained within the sought-after FD-1023, however, and neither Comer nor Grassley have provided details regarding the accusations against the president. David A. Bateman, associate professor of government at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, previously told Newsweek that the accusations against Biden should be treated with "skepticism" and called Comer and Grassley's subpoena "a PR move."

"The very specificity of the claim — the repeated invocation of form FD-1023 — should be a tell," Bateman said. "They could just say that someone has made an allegation which they are planning to investigate, which as I understand it is what an FD-1023 form is, but that would be less tantalizing than teasing the possibility of a government document providing concrete evidence of a crime."

"If they can produce credible evidence, they will produce it," he added. "Until then, or until they've established a track record of producing real evidence, there's neither much real worry of impeachment nor any reason to participate in the hype job."


Biden DOJ targets West Virginia governor's family - Republicans cry foul

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice
© AP Photo/Chris Jackson
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice
Republicans are crying foul following the news of President Biden's Department of Justice (DOJ) targeting West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice's (R) family.

Justice, who is also a GOP Senate candidate hoping to unseat Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), is the latest to experience political targeting from Biden's DOJ, as it has filed a civil complaint against his family's coal empire — over a dozen coal businesses ran or owned by his son Jay Justice — citing "repeated violations of the law" in hopes of recovering what the assistant attorney general of the DOJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division Todd Kim described as "penalties they owe as a result of those violations."

"Our environmental laws serve to protect communities against adverse effects of industrial activities including surface coal mining operations," Kim said in a statement. "Through this suit, the Justice Department seeks to deliver accountability for defendants' repeated violations of the law and to recover the penalties they owe as a result of those violations."

Comment: Coal is one of WV's few functional economies. While there are legitimate problems with the way the industry conducts its operations, they have been ongoing for years. One would wonder at the timing of this lawsuit and its particular target.

Justice had the gall to defend his citizens' children:

Snakes in Suits

Blinken dismisses calls for a ceasefire, says US must build up Ukraine's military

The Secretary of State called for Washington to continue to put militarism before diplomacy

The US will focus its efforts on arming Ukraine and not attempting to bring the war to a negotiated settlement, America's top diplomat said. Secretary of State Antony Blinken laid out a plan to massively expand Kiev's military before talks begin.

In a speech delivered in Finland on Friday, Blinken stated, "The United States - together with our allies and partners - is firmly committed to supporting Ukraine's defense today, tomorrow, for as long as it takes." He continued, "We believe the prerequisite for meaningful diplomacy and real peace is a stronger Ukraine, capable of deterring and defending against any future aggression."

Blinken dismissed the idea of even a temporary pause in the fighting. "Some countries will call for a ceasefire. And on the surface, that sounds sensible - attractive, even. After all, who doesn't want warring parties to lay down their arms? Who doesn't want the killing to stop?" He said. "But a ceasefire that simply freezes current lines in place and enables Putin to consolidate control over the territory he's seized...It would legitimize Russia's land grab. It would reward the aggressor and punish the victim."

Comment: See the video below: Is the Biden Team Delusional about Ukraine War?

Eye 1

UK gov't had 'chilling' secret unit to curb lockdown dissent

Counter-Disinformation Unit
© The Telegraph
Prof Carl Heneghan, Molly Kingsley and Dr Alexandre de Figueiredo were monitored by government disinformation units
A secretive government unit worked with social media companies in an attempt to curtail discussion of controversial lockdown policies during the pandemic, The Telegraph can reveal.

The Counter-Disinformation Unit (CDU) was set up by ministers to tackle supposed domestic "threats", and was used to target those critical of lockdown and questioning the mass vaccination of children.

Critics of lockdown had posts removed from social media. There is growing suspicion that social media firms used technology to stop the posts being promoted, circulated or widely shared after being flagged by the CDU or its counterpart in the Cabinet Office.

Documents revealed under Freedom of Information (FoI) and data protection requests showed that the activities of prominent critics of the Government's Covid policies were secretly monitored.


New CDC Director is another lockdowner

mandy cohen
In the old Soviet Union, citizens were not required to be a member of the Communist Party. But if you were not, you could never expect to rise far professionally or socially. You would never be the head of a department in university, a factory manager, much less the General Secretary. They were always recruited out of the party.

Party membership was proof of loyalty. It was a demonstration that you were willing to put loyalty over morality. Rising high in the party also meant that others in the ruling class likely had something on you. No one gained power without other powerful people knowing of your grim deeds. That way there was mutual trust, or, to put it another way, mutual blackmail.

Honor among thieves only holds true for those who are guilty of thievery.

The system was the same in Nazi Germany. You didn't have to join the party but if you refused, you could not rise in academia, military, or government. And everyone knew the rules. The party controlled the state, and members of the party controlled you. Only the members of the party were trusted with responsibility and rewarded with emoluments.

We are headed this way in the US today.

Comment: Maybe we're already there?

Snakes in Suits

FBI refuses to hand over communications about Twitter-related censorship

fbi seal
© AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana
The FBI seal is displayed on a podium before a news conference at the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The FBI has refused to provide records of its communication with Twitter, related to policing misinformation.

In December, as part of the Twitter Files, journalist Matt Taibbi published several emails between FBI officials and Twitter that showed that the FBI repeatedly contacted Twitter to flag alleged misinformation. The FBI's National Election Command Post (NECP) and the Foreign Influence Task Force were in close contact with Twitter over election misinformation, according to the emails obtained by Taibbi.

In light of the Twitter Files revelations, watchdog Protect the Public's Trust filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all records of communication between the FBI and Twitter from January 2020 to November 2022.

The FBI refused to respond to the request, claiming it "will neither confirm nor deny the existence" of the records.

"The mere acknowledgment of the existence of FBI records on third-party individuals could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy," the FBI told Protect the Public's Trust.

"The FBI's response to these requests is nothing short of bizarre," Michael Chamberlain, director of Protect the Public's Trust, told the Washington Examiner. "They twisted the substance of the requests and then asserted the right to deny acknowledging if records even exist based upon their mangled interpretation, and even though they have already admitted that the records exist."


Before books are deemed unlawful, lawyers should actually read them

Hong Kong Central Public Libraries
© Kyle Lam/HKFP
The Hong Kong Central Public Libraries.
Over 30 years ago, I was a book censor for a short time when I worked for Hong Kong's justice minister.

In the autumn of 1988, Salman Rushdie's book, The Satanic Verses, was published.

The book was a publishing sensation for all the wrong reasons. It contained chapters that fictionalised episodes in the prophet Mohammed's life. There is no need to go into detail about the book's content here. All that needs to be said is that it caused a outbreak of fury in the Muslim world.

Rioting in Pakistan and India over the book killed people. There were lively protests in many other countries. In February 1989, Ayatollah Khomeini, the Iranian supreme leader, issued a fatwah, a religious decree, that sanctioned the killing of Rushdie and his publishers for blaspheming the prophet Mohammed.

The author hid for years, but that did not stop zealots from trying to kill him. The most recent attempt on his life was in August 2022. The would-be assassin nearly killed Rushdie, who lost an eye in the attack.

Members of the Muslim community in the United Kingdom were outraged by the publication of The Satanic Verses. They asked the director of public prosecutions to prosecute the book's publishers. The director declined to prosecute.

In Hong Kong, members of the Muslim community made a similar request hoping to see booksellers prosecuted and the book banned.

Comment: Andrew Lobaczewski: "Freedom of speech and of the clash of opinions, with the observance of appropriate customs, is a necessary condition for the development of every social and political system." When left in the hands of government bureaucrats, censorship inevitably tilts to the careless - quotas must be met, regardless of actual content or legal judgment.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., there is the opposite problem. Elementary school libraries (not public), in which parents have to fight to remove pornographic books that should never have been there in the first place - yet which radical activists seem adamant must be made available to children.


Nearly 10K photos from Hunter Biden's laptop hit the web: 'Truth and transparency'

Hunter Biden
© Kris Connor/WireImage, Marco Polo
Photos provided exclusively to Fox News Digital ahead of the website's launch showed remnants of the drugs Hunter Biden had used in 2018, and another that showed him cozying up with his then-lover, Zoe Kestan, the same year.
A trove of photos from Hunter Biden's laptop has been made available to the public through a new website that launched Thursday.

The website — BidenLaptopMedia.com — will house almost 10,000 photos spanning from 2008 to 2019 and took months to complete, Garrett Ziegler, the founder of nonprofit Marco Polo, told Fox News Digital.

"It's taken us a couple of months to, one, go through the photos, about 10,000 of them, and redact the genitalia on the photos," Ziegler, a former Trump White House aide, said of the contents found on the laptop once owned by President Biden's son.

"The number one thing we're about... is truth and transparency," he said. "If the American people want to know what their first family is like, they're going to get it. And we're not going to be taking out photos that paint the Bidens in a good light."

Comment: A first family is supposed to function as an exemplar for the populace. The Bidens are at once a failure, and an exemplar - of negation.

Ziegler also noted that several photos containing private information were redacted — including images containing Social Security numbers, banking information and credit card numbers. Additionally, multiple nude photos of Hallie Biden, the widow of Beau Biden, were redacted.

Of the many photos found on the laptop, Ziegler provided Fox News Digital with two never-before-seen photos from the laptop. One photo showed Hunter Biden cozied up to his then-lover Zoe Kestan in 2018. The other image — featuring an array of drugs and a condom wrapper sitting on a table — was from a text message conversation Hunter had with Hallie Biden — the widow of Beau Biden and former lover of Hunter Biden — the same year.