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Fri, 25 Jun 2021
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Russiagate's queen goes for the Tucker defense: Court rules Maddow's audience knows she offers exaggeration and opinion, not facts

rachel maddow russiagate
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on her program that a court ruled is understood even by her own viewers to offer exaggeration and opinion, not facts
"Maddow's show is different than a typical news segment where anchors inform viewers about the daily news," an Obama-appointed judge ruled.

MSNBC's top-rated host Rachel Maddow devoted a segment in 2019 to accusing the right-wing cable outlet One America News (OAN) of being a paid propaganda outlet for the Kremlin. Discussing a Daily Beast article which noted that one OAN reporter was a "Russian national" who was simultaneously writing copy for the Russian-owned outlet Sputnik on a freelance contract, Maddow escalated the allegation greatly into a broad claim about OAN's real identity and purpose: "in this case," she announced, "the most obsequiously pro-Trump right wing news outlet in America really literally is paid Russian propaganda."

In response, OAN sued Maddow, MSNBC, and its parent corporation Comcast, Inc. for defamation, alleging that it was demonstrably false that the network, in Maddow's words, "literally is paid Russian propaganda." In an oddly overlooked ruling, an Obama-appointed federal judge, Cynthia Bashant, dismissed the lawsuit on the ground that even Maddow's own audience understands that her show consists of exaggeration, hyperbole, and pure opinion, and therefore would not assume that such outlandish accusations are factually true even when she uses the language of certainty and truth when presenting them ("literally is paid Russian propaganda").


Black Cat

Psaki backdates crime surge in attempt to undercut links to protests, cop defund push, but cold statistics tell the real story

Jen Psaki
© Tom Brenner/Reuters
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday appeared to embrace a Democratic argument that anti-brutality protests and the subsequent 'Defund the Police' push aren't to blame for rising crime — despite statistics that suggest otherwise.

Psaki said crime began increasing about 18 months ago when the COVID-19 pandemic started — and not 13 months ago with the nationwide protests and riots that followed the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop.

"There's been actually a rise in crime over the last five years, but really the last 18 months," Psaki said at her daily press briefing, ahead of a speech by Biden on Wednesday on rising crime, which Psaki said the White House believes is actually linked to the availability of guns.

Comment: Reality wins out. Witness Chicago's plight, where lunatic Mayor Lightfoot has pushed her defund police platform:
Sixteen people were shot, seven of them fatally, on Monday alone in Mayor Lori Lightfoot's (D) Chicago.

NBC 5 reported that fatalities began at 9:45 a.m. when a 67-year-old man was shot dead in a road rage incident.

The Chicago Sun-Times noted that the next fatality occurred about 3:40 p.m., when a 23-year-old man was shot and killed while sitting in a vehicle in East Garland Park.

The Times pointed out that two people, an 18-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man, were shot dead in Woodlawn Park at about 5:40 p.m. Both victims sustained gunshot wounds to the head and were pronounced dead at the scene.

NBC 5 also observed that a 28-year-old man was shot and killed about 8:40 p.m. while "working on his car" in "the 10400 block of South Eggleston Avenue." The man was shot multiple times, transported to a hospital, and pronounced dead.

A 32-year-old man was shot and killed while sitting in a vehicle around 9:40 p.m. He was in the vehicle with a woman "in the 11800 block of South Michigan Avenue" when someone opened fire, killing him and wounding her.

Minutes later, a 19-year-old was shot and killed while sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle "in the 300 block of West 52nd Place."

Breitbart News explained that 49 people were shot, five fatally, over Father's Day weekend in Mayor Lightfoot's Chicago.
The benighted policy of cutting policing budgets plus the installation of Soros-backed, soft on crime AGs, has led to this debacle. But don't believe your lying eyes.


New evidence shows COVID-19 was in US weeks before previously thought

Blood sample
© istock.com
A lab blood sample
Some of the blood specimens collected in the United States for the NIH's All of Us research program starting on January 2, 2020, have antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, officials focused limited testing capacity on symptomatic people who had recently traveled to or been in close contact with someone who had traveled to places with confirmed outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2. A year later, it's clear that some proportion of viral transmission — perhaps as high as 50 percent — comes from presymptomatic or asymptomatic individuals, making it difficult to trace transmission.

In a study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases June 15, researchers analyzed blood collected between January 2 and March 18, 2020, and found antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in samples from nine people in five US states, meaning that the virus was likely present in the US in late 2019.

Ashley St. John, an infectious disease researcher at Duke-NUS Medical School in Singapore who was not involved in the study, reported:
"We suspected that there were probably cases that preceded the ones that were diagnosed and confirmed. This is very suggestive that there were probably multiple exposures prior to those initial cases. We can probably use serology to find potentially even earlier exposures in a similar way."

Comment: Finally someone is cracking the shell on the timing and location(s) of the virus via antibodies in the US. More answers...more questions.


Trump: 'I have not conceded' 2020 loss; might have 'different president' now if not for Pence choice

© Getty Images
Former US President Donald Trump
Former President Donald Trump said Monday that he has not conceded the 2020 presidential race, that if the election is proven fraudulent it will be up to the public and "perhaps politicians" to decide how to respond, and that if Mike Pence had sent disputed election results back to state legislatures for review the country "might very well have a different president right now."

Trump told Just the News' Water Cooler in an exclusive interview on Real America's Voice.
"No, I never admitted defeat. We have a lot of things happening right now ... all you have to do is read the newspapers and see what's coming out now."
Last week during an interview with conservative commentator Sean Hannity, Trump had remarked about the 2020 contest that
"shockingly, we were supposed to win easily at 64 million votes and we got 75 million votes and we didn't win, but let's see what happens on that."
On the possibility of being reinstated as president if the 2020 contest is verified as fraudulent, Trump said such a decision would be "up to public" or "perhaps politicians."
"If the election was fraudulent, people are gonna have to make up their own minds. It's not gonna be up to me. It's gonna be up to the public. It's gonna be up to, perhaps, politicians. I don't think there's ever been a case like this where hundreds of thousands of votes will be found. So we'll have to see what happens."


Offering millions in support, taking it away on a whim, Washington acts 'immorally' with Kiev, says Russian Foreign Ministry

Ukraine defense forces
© Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko
Ukraine Territorial Defense Forces in exercise near Kyiv Ukraine
Following the decision to freeze $100-million-worth of military aid due to be sent to Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry has accused the US of acting immorally in its policy towards Kiev, and playing games for its own benefit.

According to spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Washington's decision to keep the money, despite once pledging it, shows how the US is manipulating both the citizens and leadership of Ukraine. When the support was initially proposed, it benefited Washington. A few months later, the situation has changed, and the US immediately changed its mind. Zakharova said:
"This is a classic game with Ukraine on the part of the US. It is maneuvering and flirting. This [has been] a constant deception of the citizens of Ukraine for many years."
The spokeswoman's statement comes after the White House denied temporarily freezing an aid package to Kiev worth up to $100 million. According to the publication Politico, Washington pledged the money earlier this spring, following a military build-up on both sides of the Ukraine-Russia border. The package was due to include "short-range air defense systems, small arms, and more anti-tank weapons," it was reported. However, shortly before the landmark summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart, Joe Biden, last week, the White House allegedly put the package on hold.

Comment: Whether this is bait and switch or timing choice, the message from the US is quite clear: 'We are in control - period.'


Spanish government set to pardon nine Catalan independence leaders

Pedro Sanchez
© Albert Gea/Reuters
Pedro Sánchez: ‘When it comes to weighing up political decisions, the future has to matter more than the past.’
Spain's socialist-led government will on Tuesday approve the deeply controversial pardons of the nine Catalan independence leaders who were jailed over their roles in the illegal, failed attempt to secede from the rest of the country in October 2017.

The prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has acknowledged that the decision will anger many Spaniards, but insists the act of clemency is the best way to bring the country back together and to help find a political solution to the enduring territorial crisis.

Sánchez finally confirmed the long-anticipated move during a speech in Barcelona on Monday in which he stressed the need for coexistence, magnanimity and a fresh start. The pardons will be formally approved during Tuesday's cabinet meeting.

The nine - among them six members of Catalonia's former government who had not fled Spain, plus the speaker of the regional parliament and two influential activists - were convicted of offences including sedition by the supreme court in 2019.

Comment: See also:


Former Brazil President Lula da Silva acquitted in yet another corruption case

Lula da Silva
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was acquitted due to lack of evidence Monday in one of the corruption cases for which he was being tried, it was announced. Together with Lula, six other officials who had also been charged with favouring auto companies in exchange for bribes were found not guilty.

Judge Frederico Botelho de Barros Viana maintained the prosecution did not "convincingly demonstrate" how the former president and his chief of staff "had participated in the supposedly criminal context."

The magistrate also specified that "there are elements that demonstrate the performance of Mauro Marcondes' company - Marcondes and Mautoni - in terms of the extension of tax benefits to CAOA and MMC companies, there is no adequate evidence and not even minimally capable of demonstrating the existence of an illicit adjustment between the accused to transfer amounts in favour of Lula and Carvalho," about former Cabinet Chief Gilberto Carvalho, who was also secretary of the Presidency under Dilma Rousseff.

The Prosecutor's Office had accused the former president in 2017 of modifying, in exchange for alleged bribes, a legislative measure to favour companies in the automotive sector through an extension of tax benefits for five years, but the accusation was later dismissed and in the closing arguments in May it had requested Lula's acquittal.

Comment: See also:


Taliban perceives 'hasty withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan as 'victory'

Taliban warning sign
© Reuters/Jim Hollander
Taliban warning sign
Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was installed following the expulsion of the Taliban* from Kabul, has harshly criticised the US and NATO for failing to eradicate terrorists in the country over the last two decades. He argued that western nations are leaving Afghanistan "in total disgrace and disaster".

The view of American troops packing their things as they prepare to leave Afghanistan after nearly 20 years of war is apparently a sight for sore Taliban eyes. The group, which has been fighting against NATO forces for the last two decades, is treating this moment as their victory in the lengthy fight,

The Daily Beast has reported citing a Taliban media official: "We strongly believe the US military was terribly defeated in Afghanistan. And they're running away from Afghanistan in a hurry", Taliban representative Khalid Zadran said.

According to media reports, the Taliban is already making use of the situation. While the US hands over its military bases to Kabul's forces, the group's troops are reportedly taking over some of the now-unguarded districts and provinces. Apparently, the Afghan security forces have so far been unable to stop their progression.

Comment: Perhaps the 'military' was not the 'change agent' needed to turn Afghanistan into a subordinate Western neighborhood. Given the outcome, change was never the goal. It was profit not progress.


The Empire strikes: US government SEIZES website of Iran's Press TV, two other media outlets

US seize IRan website presstv
© https://www.presstv.com/
The Press TV website has been disappeared.
US authorities have seized the web domains of Iran's international media outlets Press TV and Al-Alam, along with the Yemeni TV channel Al Masirah, run by the Houthi faction.

Visitors to the three domains were greeted on Tuesday with a notice that they were seized under US laws that allow civil and criminal forfeiture of property involved in "trafficking in nuclear, chemical, biological, or radiological weapons technology or material, or the manufacture, importation, sale, or distribution of a controlled substance."

The seizure notice by the US Department of Justice also invokes a law governing presidential authority in dealing with "unusual and extraordinary threat; declaration of national emergency," which includes the Iran Nonproliferation Amendments Act of 2005 and the ironically named Iran Freedom Support Act of 2006.


FBI monitoring of social media posts pre-Jan 6 raises even more questions of what it REALLY knew prior to Capitol Hill riot

protesters enter capitol building january 6
© AFP / Saul Loeb
Supporters of US President Donald Trump walk around in the Rotunda after breaching the US Capitol in Washington, DC.
Publicly, US authorities have rigidly stuck to the story that no one saw the January 6 Capitol ruckus coming. But the publication of internal documents is casting further doubt on the established version of events.

On June 21, NBC News reported on a recent court filing that raises further questions about whether the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) foresaw what happened in Washington DC on January 6 and, if so, why the agency failed to sound the alarm in good time.

The document in question is an FBI investigative report on social media activity prior to that fateful day, produced in February, showing that enraged Donald Trump supporters were openly talking about bringing firearms to the Capitol in order to instigate a "revolution." The offending posts were used as justification to launch a probe into protest attendee Thomas Webster, a former New York Police Department officer, who was indicted the following month for attacking a Capitol Police officer.

Comment: More and more information is coming out that not only did the FBI have plants in the different groups attending the Jan 6 protests, they were the ones egging on the violence. Couple that with the various "light-touch" and confusing stand-down orders and you have the perfect dragnet for unsuspecting patriots who are now cast as enemies of the state. Tucker nails it: